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Wednesday, September 21

Elementary, my dear Putin: The Saudis

Last night on the John Batchelor Show Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen mentioned that Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Permanent Representative the United Nations, asked in front of a microphone who was running American defense policy -- the White House or the Department of Defense. 

Steve emphasized that Churkin wouldn't have made the statement unless authorized by Putin, that it was Putin who wanted the answer.  And this wasn't a rhetorical question, Steve pointed out, in light of the debacle visited on the Cessation of Hostilities agreement that the White House and Kremlin perspired over for many days.

Interestingly, the MMA-style slugfest in Washington might actually be happening between the Pentagon and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than the White House and Pentagon, if we recall JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford's astounding statement last night. With the CoH up in flames -- literally -- Dunford breezily asserted the agreement was holding up, just a few bumps in the road that was all.

Kick 'em in the teeth, General Dunford! Semper Fi!  Pundita if you don't settle down we're going to spend the rest of the year blogging about cooking shows. 

At the moment the Pentagon has the upper hand in the fight. Foreign Policy reported yesterday:
Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of the Air Combat Command, told reporters that “for the foreseeable future … we will be in deconfliction mode and not in the joint operations” mode with the Russians.
So if the CoH agreement isn't dead, it's on life support. But I believe one would have to look outside Washington to understand why.  

All right, let me see if the podcast of Steve's analysis of this latest Battle of the Potomac is posted yet. [taptaptap]  Yes! Yes!    


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