Since the beginning of the election cycle, the vast majority of media establishments have predicted an overwhelming victory for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries. This is not to say that people do not like Bernie Sanders — by all accounts his supporters are ardent and numerous, compared to the lackluster and complacent conservatism which drives the Hillary campaign — but that his position as an outsider on the left-wing of the Democratic Party and a self-identified “socialist” in a nation defined by anti-communism make his candidacy improbable and a Sanders victory unthinkable. Senator Sanders’s performance has surpassed all expectations, holding his own against Clinton in key battleground states and demonstrating the profound gap between the Democratic Party establishment and its voter base. Sanders has avoiding slipping out of the race and national memory like his former competitors the woefully unprepared and utterly forgettable Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, and Martin O’Malley, but he remains 200 delegates behind — not including ‘superdelegates’, a group of party officials not responsible to popular vote — and most sources still predict an inevitable loss to the juggernaut of the Clinton campaign. Although not entirely inaccurate, these expectations do not reflect a depth of analysis befitting the monumental nature of the 2016 Presidential Election. This article will demonstrate that while Hillary Clinton’s superior position is undeniable, her advantages are largely spent at this point in the campaign; a Sanders victory — and possibly a Sanders presidency — is still possible, if not probable. The potential characteristics and challenges of a Clinton or Sanders administration will also be discussed, with emphasis on domestic stability and international relations in a crucial period of global history. This map, showing the county level results of votes in Democratic Primaries, is a good place to start.
The ceasefire agreement signed on September 5th is more maintained by a stalemate between Pro-Russian militias and Ukrainian security forces than by combatants actually obeying the truce. Largely due to the influx of Russian arms, armor, and troops, Pro-Russian forces have halted the Ukrainian advance. The Ukrainian forces have switched to defensive positions, columns of Russian tanks and APVs continue to move throughout the rebellious territory, and supplies for rebels reportedly flood through the uncontrolled border. Although such an obvious effect barely deserves mention, those who bear the main brunt of the War in Donbass are civilians; shelling continues to kill civilians and damage key infrastructure in Mariupol, Donetsk, and Luhansk. Despite the additional measures passed following its most recent summit in Wales, NATO can look upon the situation in Eastern Ukraine and say that it has lost. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, has accepted a peace deal proposed by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, that leaves the Donbass under the administration of Novorossiya, amounting to de facto Russian control. Russia still controls of Crimea and Sevastopol, amidst reports of human rights abuses against the Tatar community there. All of the goals of Western intervention in Ukraine have been lost: Civilian casualties remain high in the East, valuable infrastructure has been destroyed in Ukrainian’s most industrialized region, Ukraine remains corrupt and oligarchical, and Ukrainian sovereignty continues to be violated in both the Crimean peninsula and the Donbass. Mr. Putin’s goals in Ukraine have been accomplished, as the country is destabilized, Crimean and Sevastopol remain Russian possessions, and they control the Donbass through a combination of direct military force and a supplicant rebel administration. Looking back, NATO and the West can learn from its own mistakes that led to Mr. Putin’s strategic victory in Ukraine.
Today NATO released the series of declarations from its Wales Summit, which in addition to reiterating and reaffirming a lot of NATO commitments, contains a number of new developments within the alliance. For those of you who are fluent in bureaucratese and enjoy reading 11-page NATO documents the link is at the bottom of the post If not, the key declarations are below:
5) Action Response Plans that direct immediate NATO action are updated to include information from new developments in the North Africa, West Asia, and Eastern Europe.
8) A combined land, maritime, air, and special forces group called the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) has been created. They are trained to be fully operational within days of deployment and have been specifically mentioned for use in the European periphery (say if Al Qaeda attacked in Libya or if Russia annexed Transdniestria).