4 April 2018   Leave a comment

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, killed by an assassin’s bullet.  I was finishing my first year in college and 1968 was a dizzying year.  King’s death was discouraging to many of us, but it also served to make us promise to carry on his work, a task that remains incomplete.  He stands among the greatest in the field of human rights, along with Gandhi and Mandela, and his message was relevant not simply to Americans but to everyone who believed that the fundamental worth of every human being should never be questioned.  His speech in Washington, DC in 1963 is one of the most important speeches ever delivered by anyone and it never fails to move me to tears.

 

 

Outgoing National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, gave a speech to the Atlantic Council about what he regards as the Russian threat to world order.  It was a very assertive speech and McMaster laid out serious charges against Russian conduct:

“So for too long some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats.  Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions.  And we have failed to impose sufficient costs.

“The Kremlin’s confidence is growing as its agents conduct their sustained campaigns to undermine our confidence in ourselves and in one another.  Last month, Russia used a military-grade nerve agent in an attempted murder that endangered the lives of over 130 people, including many children.  This attack was the first offensive use of nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.  It was an assault on the United Kingdom’s sovereignty.  And any use of chemical weapons by a state party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Russia has also conducted numerous cyberattacks against free nations.  On March 15th, the Trump administration released a report condemning the Russian government for malicious cyber intrusions that targeted U.S. critical infrastructure, including our energy sector.  And we also know that Russia was behind the recent NotPetya cyberattack that caused billions of dollars in damage around the world.

“Further, over the past year Russia has conducted numerous intercepts of U.S., allied, and partner aircraft and vessels, including in the Nordic-Baltic region, threatening freedom of navigation and endangering our personnel.”

The rhetoric likely reflects McMaster’s sense of freedom since he is leaving the position on 9 April to be replaced by John Bolton.  But the rhetoric differs radically from the rhetoric of President Trump on Russian matters.  To his credit, President Trump did expel 60 Russian diplomats in tandem with similar expulsions by US allies in response to the chemical weapons attack in Great Britain.  But President Trump did not eliminate 60 positions from Russian representation in the US–all the expelled diplomats will be replaced.

The video of McMaster’s speech is below.

 

Posted April 4, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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