It almost seems like an eternity in today’s frenetic media environment, but back in June there was one point where the media was obsessing over Russian bounties in Afghanistan.
However, after it was discovered by intelligence officials and generals that these claims were baseless, several media outlets had to retract this story.
Similar to the “Russiagate” hysteria, “bounty gate”, where Trump was accused of ignoring Russians allegedly paying the Taliban to kill American troops, eventually died down.
Well, until recently.
ZeroHedge reported that the State Department and the Pentagon have used the bounty allegations as leverage while engaging in diplomacy with the Russians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a stern warning that “there will be an enormous price to pay” if the Kremlin actually paid Afghan fighters to kill Americans or other allied forces in the region.
In an interview with Radio Free Europe on August 12, Pompeo went public about the warning.
“That’s what I shared with Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov,” Pompeo stated. “I know our military has talked to their senior leaders as well. We won’t brook that; we won’t tolerate that.”
Russia has denied these allegations, which would have otherwise heightened tensions between the two countries.
In the same interview, Pompeo stated, “We will do everything we need to do to protect and defend every American soldier and, for that matter, every soldier from the Czech Republic or any other country that’s part of the Resolute Support Mission to make sure that they’re safe.”
This is the first time that any U.S. diplomat has brought up the Russian bounty allegations with Russian officials.
It remains to be seen if Pompeo is using this story as leverage against the Russians or if he’s genuinely working to undermine Trump from within based on the fact that Trump views this story as a “hoax.”
If it’s the latter case, this goes to show that the Russian hostility is a bipartisan trend that is not conducive to any form of positive statecraft.
In a time when China has aspirations to become a global hegemon, it would be great for the U.S. to use Russia as a check against it.
Unfortunately, antics like these will likely push Russia into China’s geopolitical orbit and further solidify a rival axis that could prove hostile to U.S. interests.
Texas Political Establishment Attempts to Derail Shelley Luther’s Campaign
The special election for Texas’ Senate District 30 is on pace to be one of the most heated races in the Lone Star State.
At a candidate forum on September 18, 2020, Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for opening her business in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott’s shutdown order, confronted outgoing State Senator Pat Fallon.
Fallon vacated his seat and is now backing a successor in State Representative Drew Springer.
“We don’t want somebody who’s going to be at odds with our Republican governor,” Fallon said September 18 at the Grayson County Republican Women’s Club.
I didn’t support some of the things that he has done about opening up. … So, he’s made some mistakes. He’s our Republican governor, the 80/20 rule … because you’re not going to get any bills passed unless the governor signs them.
“Let me make something clear. I am accountable to my fellow citizens in Senate District 30. Not our Governor,” Luther responded on September 19 on Facebook:
This is exactly what is wrong with Austin. Our politicians are more loyal to Abbott than us, even when they disagree with him.
I will work with Governor Abbott when he is fighting to protect the liberty of Texans, and I will oppose him when he pushes unilateral dictates that shut down our local businesses.
Fallon and Luther had a tense exchange, which was caught on video.
“You want me to go all in on this race?” Fallon questioned Luther. “I have been 5 percent in on this race. You want me to go all in on it, I’m welcome to.”
“This has become a straight-up fight between Abbott and the ‘Kumbaya’ Professional Political Class vs. the grassroots and people who remember what limited government and principles should look like,” opined conservative activist Mike Openshaw.
“Respectfully, being willing to be jailed for fighting over-reaching government shows principle; that counts for something, Patrick,” Openshaw continued.
Luther has recently received endorsements from conservative Collin County Judge Chris Hill and Young Conservatives of Texas. Springer, on the other hand, received an endorsement from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which asserted that Luther was going down a “far right” path.
A Republican is expected to carry the senate district, which may still require a runoff if the leading candidate does not get enough votes during the first round of the special election.
Election Day will be on September 29.
Luther is viewed as the truly conservative option and many believe she could help break the political status quo in Austin that has kept conservative legislation from ever being passed.
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