There’s a lot going on in Russia’s near-abroad, the countries on the periphery of the Russian Federation. There’s a war brewing in Ukraine, with talks in Geneva between Russia and the West seeming to fail this week. There are also Russian troops in Kazakhstan, there at the invitation of the autocratic Kazakh government in response to protests over fuel prices. To check in on the situation, Benjamin Wittes sat down on Lawfare Live with Alina Polyakova of the Center for European Policy Analysis; Alex Vindman, the Pritzker Military Fellow at Lawfare; Ambassador William Courtney, who served as ambassador to Kazakhstan; and Dmitri Alperovitch, the founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator. They talked about what’s going on in Kazakhstan, the failure of the diplomatic process in Geneva, and the war that seems to be coming in Ukraine.
Historian Nicholas Mulder on his book “The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War” from Yale University Press.
The next narrative of the Open Borders cabal
“It’s really important to understand that behind this is not just the national security apparatus that is always looking for threats – there’s also a powerful industry that has made huge amounts of money in the last two decades, and is now using climate change to argue for more military and border spending. Quite a few of the big military and border firms have a lot of influence in the corridors of power, they are lobbying constantly for increased spending on borders. Many of these same border firms also provide services to the fossil fuel industry.”
Quote: “How do you get people to no longer support the idea of secure borders because from our conversation, it sounds like secure borders is kind of just a racist dog whistle. So does the public clearly understand what border security means? As you know, one story of a migrant committing a crime, especially a violent sensational crime can undo the victimization of millions, if not 10s of millions. How can this narrative of migrant fleeing climate change being more a threat than a victim when it takes one it takes only one sensational act to reinforce those fears? How can that idea of migrants as threat be overcome?”
Avetis Muradyan joins Ash Milton in Brazil to discuss his article in Palladium 04 on why elites often rise from the criminal underworld. Other topics include observations on the Brazilian favelas, the importance of frontiers, and how one learns to be human.
Mark Helprin, novelist and senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, joins Spencer to discuss America’s—and the West’s—apparent death wish. By making us as vulnerable as possible abroad, while simultaneously mimicking the authoritarianism of our supposed enemies at home, our leaders are flirting with disaster. What will come next—and is there any hope for the future?
In Episode 226 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Dmitri Alperovitch, the former CTO and co-founder of CrowdStrike, the world’s largest cybersecurity company, which has been involved in investigations of several high-profile cyberattacks including the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, the 2015–2016 cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the 2016 email leak involving the DNC. Alperovitch currently serves as Chairman of the non-profit Silverado Policy Accelerator, where he focuses on advancing American prosperity and global leadership by working directly with both the executive branch and Capitol Hill on issues related to cyber, trade & industrial security, and ecological & economic security. What prompted this conversation was a Twitter thread that Dmitri published recently, in which he explained why he believes the Kremlin has already made its decision to invade Ukraine later this winter—in late January or possibly early February—and that military confrontation is in fact the preferred route for Putin at this point. It’s a fascinating thread and we encourage you all to read through it after listening to today’s episode.
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Serbia today has become a market for some of the cheapest manual labor on the planet, in which many people work long hours with poor pay in squalid work conditions, sometimes even wearing adult-diapers during work hours because they are prohibited from bathroom breaks during that time. Women are routinely fired as soon it is discovered that they are pregnant. Ordinary men and women are “rented out” brevi manu by the state to foreign investors. To secure well-located, functional factories filled with cheap manual labor, foreign investors often bribe Serbia’s kleptocrats. To attract foreign investors, Serbian officials pay subventions, typically amounting to the monthly or yearly salary of each factory worker. The investor wins because they (essentially) get free land and free labor from government officials who cover the workers’ salaries. The elites win because they get bribes and kickbacks. Everybody in the orbit of the Serbian elite gets a cut. The only real losers in all of this are the citizens: it is from their tax-dollars that these subventions, which are issued only once elites are sufficiently bribed, ultimately get paid. What’s more, many of these projects are often abandoned five years into their lifespan, leaving nothing but empty buildings and unemployed factory workers. In a way, it’s really just a neo-feudal arrangement disguised as capitalism. Those with the means to do so, usually the highly educated, often leave the country as soon as they finish university. This works out well for the feudal overlords, who have no use for the educated anyway.
Do American companies feel an obligation, apart from any legal mandates, to act in ways that advance U.S. national security or foreign policy objectives? With senior policymakers intently focused on these and related issues, is the private sector giving them sufficient attention? This panel explored a suite of issues related to global companies that do business in China and the implications for national security, human rights, and the rule of law.
– Amb. Craig Allen, President, US-China Business Council
– Amb. Kelley Currie, Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues
– Mr. John S. Jenkins, Jr., Executive Vice President and General Counsel, TE Connectivity
– Dr. Kori Schake, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
– Moderator: Judge Carlos T. Bea, Senior Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit