Modern Israel Turns 70 — here are 70 fascinating facts about the modern Jewish State you might not know!

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — It’s been an exciting and joyful week here as Israelis celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Jewish State’s modern existence. Fireworks. Dancing. Picnics. Air shows. And so much more!

I must say it’s been deeply humbling to move here with my wife and sons, to become Israeli citizens, to build friendships with Arabs and Jews and so many others, and in recent months to actually move to Jerusalem and live here in the capital city that King David established some 3,000 years ago. Sometimes, it simply seems surreal. It’s certainly a great place to raise a family — and write novels!

This summer, The Joshua Fund — the ministry Lynn and I founded in 2006 to mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors — will be hosting another “Prayer and Vision Tour” here in Israel, as well as our first-ever Epicenter Prayer Summit. It will be time to walk where Jesus and the apostle and prophets walked, study the Word of God, worship, fellowship with Israeli and Palestinian believers, and truly pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all those in the region. The tour is filling up fast. There aren’t many seats left. So, please register yourself and your family today before we have to close the registration!

On Facebook yesterday, I posted a short video on modern Israel’s 70th prophetic anniversary. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch and comment on it. Today, I also wanted to post this list of the 70 most fascinating facts I’ve learned about this Beautiful Land and her precious people. I hope you’ll find them interesting, too, and share them with family and friends. Thanks, and may the Lord bless you as you bless Israel and her neighbors!

  1. 82% of the nation’s citizens are proud to be Israelis, according to a new poll, and 81% believe the country is a good place to live.
  2. 73% of Israeli Arab citizens feel a sense of belonging, and 60% say they are proud to be Israelis, according to a 2017 poll.
  3. Wonder Woman is an Israeli — Gal Gadot, who played the superheroine in the film that has raked in $821 million at the box office worldwide, was born and raised in Israel. Gadot (pronounced “Ga-DOTE”) is arguably the most famous Israeli in the world today, eclipsing the Prime Minister.
  4. That said, the most famous Jewish Israeli of all time — followed and beloved by more than 2 billion people worldwide at present — is Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth. Indeed, recent studies find that between 25,000 and 30,000 Israeli Jews, and some 871,000 Jewish Americans, have become followers of Jesus, and the numbers are growing. 
  5. Israel’s three greatest exports: The Bible, Judaism and Christianity.
  6. Ironically, the most famous and revered person in Judaism — Moses — was born and raised in Egypt and never stepped foot in the Land of Israel in his lifetime.
  7. Curiously, far more Christians than Jews believe in the Biblical statements and prophecies explaining that God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people and will restore the Land of Israel to the Jewish people in the “last days.” (for a partial list of such prophecies, see below, #57 through #70.)
  8. According to a survey by Pew Research, only 61% of Israeli Jews believe that God gave the Land of Israel to them.
  9. According to Pew, only 40% of American Jews believe that God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.
  10. By contrast, fully eight-in-ten American Evangelicals believe that the Abrahamic Covenant that granted the Land of Israel to the Jewish people was a promise God made for all time, that it was unconditional, that it could not be revoked – a mere 5% disagree. (see Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem survey by LifeWay Research)
  11. Fully eight-in-ten of American Evangelicals believe the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy – only 20% think it was merely an interesting geopolitical event but unrelated to God keeping His promises. (see Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem survey by LifeWay Research)
  12. Nearly eight-in-ten Evangelicals (76%) believe that Christians should support Jewish people’s right to live in the sovereign state of Israel(see Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem survey by LifeWay Research)
  13. More than seven-in-ten American Evangelicals (72%) say they want to know more about what the Bible teaches about Israel’s future(see Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem survey by LifeWay Research)
  14. That said, American Evangelical Millennials are sending the Church a sobering message — they’re not against Israel, not yet, not at all, but the survey makes it clear that many of them really don’t understand Israel’s place in the biblical narrative. Thus, their support for Israel is nearly 20 points less than their parents and grandparents. Extrapolate that going forward. Unless the Church gives younger believers a healthy, balanced, solidly biblical understanding of God’s love and plan for Israel, overall Evangelical support for the Jewish State could very well plummet over the next decade as Millennials represent an ever-larger percentage of the overall Church body.
  15. At the same time, American Evangelical Christians are deeply concerned about the need for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with one another. Indeed, 59% of Evangelicals believe Christians should do more to love and care for Palestinian people, and fully 66% of younger Evangelicals believe this. What’s more, 73% are concerned for the safety of Christians in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. And 41% agreed with the statement: “Jewish people have a biblical right to the land of Israel, but also have a responsibility to share the land with Palestinian Arabs.” Only 28% disagreed with this statement, while 31% said they weren’t sure. (see Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem survey by LifeWay Research; see also my column in the Jerusalem Post, “Are Evangelical Christians Anti-Palestinian?”)
  16. The United States was the first nation in the world to recognize the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 — and President Harry Truman, a devout Bible believing Christian, made his decision to stand with the Jewish state despite intense opposition within his own administration, including from his Secretary of State. Truman’s decision was announced to the world 11 minutes after Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared the nation’s independence. 
  17. Israel currently has diplomatic relations with 161 countries, an extraordinary development given thousands of years of anti-Semitism and the efforts of many in modern times to isolate and shun the State of Israel.
  18. The current President of Israel’s Supreme Court is a woman — her name is Esther Hayut. The U.S. has never had a woman serve as a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  19. Five of the seven newly appointed Israeli Supreme Court justices are women.
  20. Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab citizen, served as a Justice on Israel’s Supreme Court from 2003 until 2017. Joubran was the first Israeli Arab to serve on the High Court. Indeed, he also served for a time as Deputy Chief of the Supreme Court. He stepped down last year at the mandatory retirement age of 70. (Learn more about his judicial legacy.)
  21. 18 Arab Israeli citizens currently serve as Members of Knesset, Israel’s national parliament, the highest number in the nation’s history.
  22. Ayoob Kara — an Israeli Arab (Druze) politician in the Likud Party — as served as a Member of Knesset since 1999. He currently serves in the cabinet as the Minister of Communications.
  23. Raleb Majadele — an Israeli Arab politician in the Labor Party — became the first Arab Muslim ever to be appointed an Israeli Cabinet Minister. In 2007, he served as Minister Without Portfolio. Then, in part of 2007 through 2009 he served as Minister of Science, Culture and Sport.
  24. In 2017, a record 3.6 million tourists visited Israel — a 25% increase over the previous year.
  25. Of all tourists to Israel in 2017, a stunning 54% were Christians.
  26. Of all tourist to Israel in 2017, only about one-fifth were Jews.
  27. Of the 7,000 languages in the world, Hebrew is the only dead language in history ever to have been revived from effective extinction. (Learn more how this came to pass.)
  28. Today, there are 9 million Hebrew speakers in the world today. 
  29. The population of Israel in 2018 is ten times larger than in 1948 — 8.842 million now, compared to 805,000 then.
  30. Some 6.589 million Jews are citizens of Israel today.
  31. Some 1.849 million Arabs are citizens of Israel today.
  32. Of Israel’s entire population, 3.2 million are immigrants while the rest are “sabras,” born here in the Land.
  33. The international legal legitimacy for the modern State of Israel comes from U.N. Resolution 181, what is more commonly known as the “Partition Plan.” The resolution “was approved on November 29, 1947 with 33 votes in favor, 13 against, 10 abstentions and one absent.” These are the countries who voted for the resolution, and thus for the creation of the State of Israel: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian S.S.R., Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian S.S.R., Union of South Africa, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela. (click here to read the resolution in full and to see the full list of how countries voted.)
  34. On March 26, 1979, Israel signed an historic peace treaty with Egypt, following intense negotiations at Camp David in September 1978.
  35. On October 26, 1994, Israel signed an historic peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  36. On September 13, 1993, Israel signed an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians, an accord known as “Oslo I.”
  37. On September 28, 1995, Israel signed a second interim peace agreement with the Palestinians, an accord known as “Oslo II.”
  38. Of all the countries in the world, Israel is ranked #2 for venture capital funds flowing into the country, second only to the United States.
  39. “Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the U.S.,” reported Forbes magazine — “The [Israeli] Ministery of Economy released a statement [in 2017] saying 94 Israeli-founded companies are currently traded on the NASDAQ, for a combined worth of $70 billion.” 
  40. In 2013, Google bought the Israeli company, Waze, for a cool $1.15 billion — Waze invented a state-of-the-art GPS navigation app.
  41. Cell-phone technology was invented in Israel — “It was at Motorola’s Israel R&D center that Israeli engineers first developed original cell-phone technology. Most of the technology in your mobile phone can be traced back to Israeli engineering. From the tool that guards your mobile identity to a new keyboard solution, Israeli expertise keeps your phone from getting bigger yet staying cutting edge.” (Israel 21c)
  42. Voice mail technology was invented in Israel
  43. Amazon’s Kindle was invented in Israel — “The Java platform inside Amazon’s best-selling Kindle was developed in Israel. Some four years ago, Amazon contacted Sun, later acquired by Oracle, and asked the company to develop a customized platform to run the software in a new e-book reader device under design. Sun handed the project on to its Israeli R&D office in Herzliya, and it was designed and developed there. After several years, a prototype was created to Amazon’s satisfaction, and manufacturing began. Amazon is now the undisputed leader in the e-reader category.” (Israel 21c)
  44. PlayStation was invented in Israel — “Circuit technology engineers at the IBM Haifa Development Lab played an integral role in developing the cell broadband engine chip controller that powers the Sony Playstation3 introduced in late 2006. The idea for the powerful chip came from Sony-Toshiba-IBM and was turned into an actual product through the collective efforts of 30 researchers working in Israel. The Playstation3 sold 197,000 units on the first day of its debut on the market, and one million within the first six weeks. IBM R&D Labs in Israel was established in 1950 and now encompasses about 1,000 employees at the Haifa Research Lab, the IBM Israel Systems and Technology Group Lab and the IBM Israel Software Lab. Locations include Haifa, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Rehovot and Jerusalem.” (Israel 21c)
  45. The first USB flash drive was invented in Israel.
  46. One of the world’s most advanced early microchips — the Intel 8088 — was invented in Israel.
  47. The world’s first instant-messaging system was invented in Israel.
  48. Microsoft’s two most popular operating systems, NT and XP, were developed primarily in Israel. Microsoft has had a strong presence in Israel for many years and has two R&D centers in Herzliya that employ 600 people. In 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the American software giant is as much Israeli as it is American.” (Israel 21c)
  49. “Semiconductor chip maker Intel was one of the first multinationals to come to Israel. It set up a small chip design center in Haifa in 1974 — Intel’s first outside of the United States. Today, Intel Israel employs 7,800 people, and is the corporation’s headquarters for global R&D for wireless technology. The 8088 processor was designed and developed here, as was the Centrino and the SandyBridge, powering millions of laptops worldwide. In March, Intel Israel’s general manager, Maxine Fassberg, announced that the SandyBridge processor accounts for 40 percent of the chip giant’s revenue. In 2011, Intel Israel’s exports totaled $2.2 billion.” (Israel 21c)
  50. Drip irrigation was invented in Israel — “Amazing to think that the huge worldwide industry of modern drip irrigation all began when Israeli engineer Simcha Blass noticed a tree growing bigger than its neighbors in the Israeli desert, and found that it was fed by a leaking water pipe. Today, Netafim, the company founded in 1965 to commercialize his idea, is recognized as the worldwide pioneer in smart drip- and micro-irrigation. It has revolutionized the agricultural industry, operating systems in 112 countries with 13 factories throughout the world and 2,400 employees.” (Israel 21c)
  51. The world’s leading desalinization system was invented in Israel — “Israel’s IDE Technologies is the leading company worldwide in desalination — the process of turning seawater into drinking water — with 400 desalination plants in 40 countries producing 2,000,000 cubic meters of water a day. IDE Technologies operates the world’s two largest desalination plants in Israel and is now building China’s largest and greenest desalination plant. The new plant uses runoff steam from a power plant to help run the desalination machinery — producing water for the power plant, drinking water for the community and salt to sell.” (Israel 21c)
  52. The Pill-Cam was invented in Israel — “Founded by Dr. Gavriel Meron in 1998, Yokneam-based Given Imaging revolutionized the world of gastrointestinal diagnosis by developing a miniature camera in a pill, called the PillCam, to visualize and detect disorders of the GI tract. The PillCam is now the gold standard for intestinal visualization and is sold in more than 60 countries around the world.” (Israel 21c)
  53. One of the world’s leading instant-messaging systems — Viber — was invented in Israel.
  54. The world’s leading collision prevention and driverless car-technology — MobileEye — was invented and created in Israel.
  55. The game Rummikub was invented in Israel.
  56. The game MasterMind was invented in Israel.
  57. BIBLICAL PROPHECIES ABOUT ISRAEL — The most famous of the Bible prophecies about the rebirth of Israel are found in the book of Ezekiel, chapters 36 through 39. Here, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, writing more than 2,500 years ago, describes in great detail, in chapter after chapter, how “in the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16) the Lord will remember the Jewish people, resurrect the “dry bones” of the Jewish people who seemed left for dead (Ezekiel 37:1-14), remember the land of Israel, bring the Jewish people back to the land, cause the land of Israel to flourish again, and help the Jewish people rebuild the ancient ruins of Israel. The prophet also describes how the Lord would help the Jewish people survive and multiply and be blessed again in a resurrected land of Israel—which Ezekiel describes as “the center of the world” (Ezekiel 38:12)—even though their enemies would repeatedly seek to destroy them. Consider some of these and other passages in more detail.
  58. Ezekiel 36:8-10—“But you, O mountains of Israel, you will put forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel; for they will soon come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown. I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt.”
  59. Ezekiel 36:22-24—“It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name. . . . For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.”
  60. Ezekiel 37:1, 11-14—“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. . . . Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.” Therefore prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,’ declares the Lord.”’”
  61. Ezekiel 38:8, 12—“After many days you [Gog, a key enemy of Israel] will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. . . . the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.”
  62. Ezekiel was by no means the only Hebrew prophet who foretold Israel’s miraculous rebirth and the Jews’ return to the Holy Land after centuries of exile. Consider these additional key passages of Scripture.
  63. Isaiah 66:8-9—“‘Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?’ says your God.”
  64. Jeremiah 16:14-15—“‘Therefore behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when it will no longer be said, “As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but, “As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.” For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.’”
  65. Jeremiah 31:3-9—“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, and go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the planters will plant and will enjoy them. For there will be a day when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim call out, “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.” . . . Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, and I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; a great company, they will return here. With weeping they will come, and by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, on a straight path in which they will not stumble; for I am a father to Israel.’”
  66. Amos 9:11-15—“‘In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,’ declares the Lord who does this. ‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved. Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,’ says the Lord your God.”
  67. In the New Testament era, Jesus of Nazareth repeatedly reaffirmed the teachings of the Hebrew prophets. Indeed, he challenged people for not having read or understood or believed the Hebrew Scriptures. By reaffirming the truth and the value of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus reaffirmed the truth and the value of God’s promises to resurrect the people and the land of Israel in the last days. Matthew 5:17—“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 19:4 (NLT)—“‘Haven’t you read the Scriptures?’ Jesus replied. Matthew 22:29 (NLT)—“Jesus replied, ‘Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.’”
  68. What’s more, Christ specifically spoke of the rebirth of Israel in Matthew 24:32-33. “Now learn the parable from the fig tree,” he said. “When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” What is the “parable from the fig tree” to which Jesus referred? The fig tree repeatedly symbolizes the nation of Israel throughout the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 24, for example, the Lord referred to the Jewish people as figs—some good, some bad—as he promised to bring them back from captivity to the Promised Land. Hosea 9:10 says, “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.” In Micah 4, in a passage specifically about the last days and people coming to Jerusalem to visit the Lord’s Temple, Micah writes that when it comes to the Jewish people in the last days, “each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree.” When Jesus spoke of the “parable from the fig tree” in Matthew’s Gospel, he was referencing these and similar passages. He was saying that when you see the State of Israel reborn, and Jews coming back to the Holy Land, and the land of Israel turning green and flourishing again—and when you see this happening in the context of all the other signs, all the other “birth pangs”—then you should know we are in a special and distinctive moment in history, a moment unlike any other. At that time, while we won’t know the day or hour of Christ’s return, the Lord Jesus told us to “recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33).
  69. The apostles certainly believed the ancient prophecies about the rebirth of Israel would one day come to pass. In Acts 1:6, they asked the Lord Jesus after his resurrection if he was now going to bring the prophetic promises to fulfillment, end the Roman occupation, and rebuild the kingdom of Israel. It is reasonable to believe they expected Israel to be reborn as a politically independent state at any moment. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” they asked. Jesus did not say that theirs was a stupid question. He did not say those prophecies about Israel’s future rebirth were inaccurate or irrelevant or canceled by Jewish unfaithfulness to God, or that his followers were misinterpreting those passages. Rather, he said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7). For Christ and his apostles, it was not a matter of if the Father would fulfill his promises to Israel and the Jewish people, but when. And since the Lord Jesus knew the promises would not be fulfilled for more than 1,900 years, he mercifully chose not to give the disciples any details, for it may well have discouraged them.
  70. The apostle Paul also repeatedly affirmed the truth and value of all the Hebrew prophecies in the Scriptures. In so doing he reaffirmed the rebirth of Israel and the re-gathering of the Jews in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:16, for example, Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching.” That certainly covers all the prophecies in the Old Testament, including those describing the future resurrection of Israel. In Romans 9:3-4, Paul writes about his deep love for “my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites” and explains that to the children of Israel “belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises.” When he speaks of “the covenants,” Paul speaks of all the covenants. He does not exclude the Abrahamic covenant, in which the Lord unconditionally promised the land of Israel to the Jews, his chosen people according to Genesis 12 and 17, among other passages. What’s more, when Paul speaks of “the promises,” he speaks of all God’s promises to the Jewish people. He does not exclude the promises of Ezekiel 36, 37, 38, or any of the other promises of resurrecting the nation of Israel or re-gathering the Jewish people to Israel.

Happy Birthday, Israel — may my people turn to the God of Israel, His Word, His prophets, and His beloved Son!

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BREAKING NEWS: President Trump orders expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats & spies, orders Russian consulate closed. Good move — but here are 5 more things President Trump must do, and soon.

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UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — To his credit, President Trump took further steps today to toughen his approach towards Vladimir Putin in light of a growing series of reckless and dangerous actions taken by the Russian dictator, specifically using chemical weapons against civilian individuals on NATO soil.

Mr. Trump is expelling 60 Russian diplomats and spies — 48 from the embassy in Washington and 12 from the Russian mission to the U.N. He’s also closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. 

It’s not enough to truly get Putin’s attention and affect his behavior. Indeed, according to an exclusive new poll conducted by John McLaughlin — one of President Trump’s pollsters — 52% of Americans believe the Trump administration must do “much more” to confront the Putin threat. And conservatives and Evangelical leaders should press Mr. Trump towards this end.

That said, in combination with other actions President Trump and his administration have taken in recent weeks, it’s movement in the right direction, and that’s encouraging.

UPDATES:

  • As of Monday morning, 17 countries have ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats and intelligence agents: U.S. (60), U.K. (23), Ukraine (13), Canada (4), Germany (4), France (4), Poland (4), Czech Republic (3), Lithuania (3), Netherlands (2), Italy (2), Denmark (2), Estonia (1), Romania (1), Croatia (1), Latvia (1), and Finland (1) — this is an impressive act of a coordinated response by NATO.
  • Russia Will Expel U.S. Diplomats in Response to Washington (The Moscow Times)

“President Donald Trump is ordering the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, Washington, in the wake of the UK nerve agent attack,” reports CNN this morning. 

“The President is taking the action in response to the poisonings of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, the administration announced,” the CNN report added. “Forty-eight of the diplomats work at the Russian embassy and a dozen at the United Nations in New York. They and their families will have seven days to leave the country.”

“With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to a Fox News report. “The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior.”

“Today, the United States began the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations who have abused their privilege of residence in the United States,” UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday. “After a review, we have determined that the 12 intelligence operatives engaged in espionage activities that are adverse to‎ our national security.” 

The Associated Press noted that “Britain has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats, accusing them of being undeclared intelligence agents, which led Russia to expel the same number of British diplomats. The European Union has already recalled its ambassador to Russia.”

Let’s be clear, President Trump has been significantly tougher on Russia than President Obama was — and he’s taken additional measures in recent weeks against Russia that have been positive, as I’ve previously noted

But much more is needed. Here are five steps the President and his team should take, and soon:

  1. IMPOSE MORE SANCTIONS: President Trump needs to impose far more — and far tougher — sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchs to punish them for their crimes and prevent new crimes. Follow their money. Freeze their assets. Make it difficult or even impossible for them to use or move their money from U.S. and European banks. Prevent these gangsters from having the freedom to travel into the U.S. and NATO countries. In short: hit the Russians where it really hurts, in their wallets. 
  2. MAKE MUCH TOUGHER STATEMENTS: President Trump personally needs to speak out more clearly and more firmly against Putin’s aggressions in comments, speeches, interviews and Tweets. Don’t just leave this to surrogates. Right now, Mr. Trump seems unwilling or unable to directly criticize Putin and this is being perceived by many as weakness. He needs to show leadership.
  3. DELIVER A MAJOR SPEECH: The President needs to deliver a major address to the American people defining just how serious a threat Vladimir Putin and his regime pose to the U.S. and our allies, and laying out a comprehensive series of strategies to contain and counter the threat, including cyber attacks against our economy, energy and electoral system. 
  4. DEPLOY MORE DETERRENT FORCES: The President needs to order the build up of many more U.S. and NATO deterrent forces in the three lightly-defended Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, NATO allies each — to prevent Putin from being tempted to grab them.
  5. HOLD A SUMMIT WITH NATO LEADERS: The President also ought to host a summit meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and other NATO leaders to discuss and implement additional unified strategies.

As I portray in my new thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, tremendous damage to the U.S. and our entire Western alliance could be done by a Russian dictator who feels he can continue to kill his opponents and invade neighboring countries without consequence. To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it. True evil is rising in Moscow. It must be understood, confronted and contained with great urgency and great courage, before it’s too late.

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A Czar is born. Now that Putin has consolidated all Russian power in his hands, what must President Trump & his team do to counter the rising Kremlin threat? (My new column for Fox News.)

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(Ft. Myers, Florida) — The following are excerpts from my new column for Fox News:

  • Vladimir Putin didn’t simply secure re-election on Sunday, winning 77 percent of the vote in a rigged election. He has consolidated all power in his hands and emerged as a modern-day Czar. He has also set his country on a collision course with the West, one that could prove catastrophic.
  • A close look at Putin’s record and rhetoric reveals a man consumed with re-creating a totalitarian state, expanding the country’s borders and rebuilding the glory of Mother Russia….
  • In the face of such a grave and growing threat, however, President Trump has been essentially radio silent about the most dangerous dictator on the planet. He only mentioned Russia once in his State of the Union address. He rarely if ever Tweets criticism of the Russian leader. Indeed, Mr. Trump is more critical of his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, than he is of Putin.
  • Now that Putin has finished with his re-election charade, we must be prepared for the possibility that he will become even more aggressive — kill more critics, possibly invade another country.
  • Now is the time, therefore, for President Trump to impose far more — and far tougher — sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchs to punish them for their crimes and prevent new crimes. The moves he made last week were steps in the right direction, but not nearly enough.
  • Follow the money of Putin’s inner circle. Freeze their assets. Make it difficult or even impossible for them to use or move their money from U.S. and European banks. Prevent these gangsters from having the freedom to travel into the U.S. and NATO countries. In short: hit the Russians where it really hurts, in their wallets.
  • Mr. Trump must also speak out clearly and more firmly against Putin’s aggressions in interviews and tweets. He should deliver a major speech declaring that Putin poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and our allies….
  • Meanwhile, the president ought to host a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and other NATO leaders to discuss and implement additional unified strategies…..
  • Darkness is falling in Russia. A virulently anti-American Czar is sitting in the Kremlin, plotting his next moves. Only decisive American leadership, in concert with our allies, can stop him. And stop him we must.

[To read the entire column in full, please click here.]

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“The Kremlin Conspiracy” hits New York Times list of best-selling fiction — and reaches #6 on Publishers Weekly list — on the day of rigged elections in Russia.

KREMLIN-bestseller-graphic

(Pensacola, Florida) — We just got the news that The Kremlin Conspiracy has hit the three major national best-seller lists in the United States this week.

Let me just say thank you so much to all of my readers who have been so enthusiastic and supportive of this new novel. I am enormously grateful for your support. And on behalf of our entire team, we are also grateful for all the word of mouth — to everyone who has been writing about and reviewing The Kremlin Conspiracy on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media. Please keep it up!

Today, of course, are the presidential elections in Russia. As I’ve noted, “Don’t expect a Pennsylvania-18 race, where the results aren’t known until late in the night. It’s all rigged. The X factor is simple how many people will actually turn out to pledge their loyalty to Czar Putin, and how big Putin’s rigged margin of victory will be.”

I’ll post analysis tomorrow. Please follow me on Twitter for updates on the official results and spin out of Moscow. In the meantime, please keep praying for the people of Russia. Darkness is falling in that historic country, and even darker days lie ahead.

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As Putin’s aggression mounts, Trump & team begin to get tougher. Much more is needed, but it’s movement in the right direction. (Analysis & Washington Examiner story on our Russia poll and “The Kremlin Conspiracy.”)

Putin-Trump

(Dallas, Texas) — On Sunday, Russians go to the polls to reaffirm their loyalty to their Czar in the Kremlin. Don’t expect a Pennsylvania-18 race, where results aren’t known until late in the night. It’s all rigged. The only question is how many people will actually turn out to vote, and how big Putin’s rigged margin of victory will be.

Yesterday morning, the Washington Examiner published a story citing our exclusive poll on Russia, “Poll: 72% say Putin a ‘clear and present danger’ to US, 60% fear attack.” This was the first mainstream coverage of the survey and The Kremlin Conspiracy.

Here are excerpts from the story by “Washington Secrets” columnist Paul Bedard:

  • Rosenberg, who provided the survey to Secrets, pointed to the finding that over 50 percent of Americans are concerned that Trump isn’t taking the treat seriously and that the White House has gone “radio silent” instead of criticizing the Kremlin.
  • “He has been tougher on [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions than Putin,” said the author whose books are popular with official Washington, including Vice President Mike Pence.
  • He added that the concerns about the Putin-Trump relationship could become an issue in the 2018 midterms if the president doesn’t get behind the public’s demand for tougher action.

As Thursday unfolded, we began to see signs that President Trump and his team are beginning to get tougher with Putin. Consider:

  • PRESIDENT TRUMP CAUTIOUSLY POINTED AT MOSCOW FOR NERVE-AGENT ATTACKS IN THE U.K. — “President Trump said on Thursday that it ‘certainly looks’ as if Moscow is behind the poisonings of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom,” reported The Hill. “‘I spoke with the prime minister and we are in deep discussions — a very sad situation. It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it,’ Trump told reporters, referring to British Prime Minister Theresa May. ‘Something that should never, ever happen, and we’re taking it very seriously.'”
  • THE PRESIDENT IMPOSED NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIAN INDIVIDUALS & COMPANIES: “The Trump administration on Thursday sanctioned 19 Russian individuals and five Russian entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election and engaging in cyber-attacks,” reported Fox News. “The announcement was made by the Department of the Treasury and includes the 13 Russians who were recently indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.”
  • THE PRESIDENT ISSUED A JOINT STATEMENT WITH NATO ALLIES AGAINST RUSSIAN NERVE-AGENT ATTACKS IN THE U.K. — “The UK confirmed the use of a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia and briefed Allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible. The UK also confirmed that this was an indiscriminate and reckless attack against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk,” noted the statement.NATO has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called on those responsible to be held to account. NATO regards any use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.
  • THE PRESIDENT DIRECTED U.N. AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY TO MAKE A TOUGH STATEMENT AGAINST RUSSIA — “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Wednesday the United States believes Russia is responsible for the attempted assassination of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain — and the U.N. Security Council should hold the Kremlin ‘accountable,'” reported NBC News. “‘The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,’ Haley said at a Security Council meeting in New York. Haley said the United States stood in ‘absolute solidarity’ with Britain after the country expelled 23 Russian diplomats in response to the chemical attack last week on the ex-spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia.”
  • BLAMED RUSSIA FOR CYBER ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. ELECTRICAL GRID — “The Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure,” reported Reuters. “Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday….The decision by the United States to publicly attribute hacking attempts of American critical infrastructure was ‘unprecedented and extraordinary,’ said Amit Yoran, a former U.S. official who founded DHS’s Computer Emergency Response Team.” 

And earlier in the week, the President made another positive move, tapping CIA Director Mike Pompeo to serve as the new Secretary of State. As I wrote on this page, Pompeo is a fantastic choice. No one gets the Putin threat better than he does. He’s experienced, clear-eyed, tough, and he has the ear and confidence of the President, unlike the honorable but unsuccessful Rex Tillerson.

The GOP also issued a fact sheet yesterday explaining how President Trump has done much more than President Obama to get tough with Russia. Worth reading (click here.)

This is all movement in the right direction, and it’s encouraging. But it’s not enough. Much more must be done, including: 

  • The President needs to impose far more — and far tougher — sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchs to punish them for their crimes and prevent new crimes. Follow their money. Freeze their assets. Make it difficult or even impossible for them to use or move their money from U.S. and European banks. Prevent these gangsters from having the freedom to travel into the U.S. and NATO countries. In short: hit the Russians where it really hurts, in their wallets. 
  • The President needs to speak out more clearly and more firmly against Putin’s aggressions in comments, speeches, interviews and Tweets.
  • The President needs to deliver a major address to the American people defining just how serious a threat Vladimir Putin and his regime pose to the U.S. and our allies, and laying out a comprehensive series of strategies to contain and counter the threat, including cyber attacks against our economy, energy and electoral system. 
  • The President needs to build up more U.S. and NATO deterrent forces in the three lightly-defended Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, NATO allies each — to prevent Putin from being tempted to grab them.
  • The President also ought to host a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and other NATO leaders to discuss and implement additional unified strategies.

Evidence of Vladimir Putin’s brazen aggression against the U.S. and our NATO allies is mounting by the day. Consider just a few of the headlines this week:

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Two critical questions: First, did Putin order nerve agent attacks in the U.K.? Second, are NATO allies like the Baltic States at risk of a Russian attack? (My new column for The Jerusalem Post.)

Putin-phone

(Dallas, Texas) — First, a few thoughts on the situation unfolding in the U.K.

  • The poisoning of a Russian father and daughter — opponents of Vladimir Putin — on British soil by a military-grade nerve agent was reprehensible. It must be condemned by every world leader. The number of Putin critics murdered or severely injured in Great Britain is in the double digits and continues to rise. This is absolutely unacceptable and must not go unpunished.
  • I applaud British Prime Minister Theresa May for announcing an immediate series of punitive measures against the Russian government, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats suspected of being spies, the largest number of such expulsions in thirty years. 
  • NATO HQ also just issued a statement on these attacks on British soil, which reads in part: “The UK confirmed the use of a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia and briefed Allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible. The UK also confirmed that this was an indiscriminate and reckless attack against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk….NATO has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called on those responsible to be held to account. NATO regards any use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.
  • This is a start, but it’s not nearly enough. NATO leaders need to develop and urgently implement a far more comprehensive, robust and unified set of strategies to confront and counter rising Russian military, intelligence and cyber aggression under Putin. This should include but not be limited to tough sanctions on Moscow.
  • Most importantly, President Trump needs to speak out forcefully against Putin and take the lead on imposing sanctions on Russia for a growing list of Kremlin aggressions, including efforts to subvert U.S. elections in 2016, invasions of multiple countries, murder of dissidents, etc. Congress overwhelmingly passed a new Russia sanctions law last year. It’s time for the President to put it to use.

Second, allow me to address the growing danger to the Baltic States.

Sixty-one percent of our Americans in our exclusive new survey say they are concerned Vladimir Putin is preparing to invade another country — possibly a small NATO country in Europe, or a Middle Eastern state — given that in recent years he has already invaded the Republic of Georgia, southern Ukraine, eastern Ukraine and sent Russian military forces into Syria.

Are the Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and/or Lithuania — specifically vulnerable to attack? I believe the answer is yes. I discussed this last week over breakfast with Lithuania’s Ambassador to the U.S..

Let me explain why in more detail in this new fact sheet, “Does Vladimir Putin Pose a Threat to the Baltic States and the Rest of NATO?”

Also, I address this sensitive subject in a new column in The Jerusalem Post. Here are excerpts. Please click here to read the column in full.

  • Last week, the foreign ministers of all three Baltic nations were in Washington, laying the groundwork for an April 3 summit between US President Donald Trump and the presidents of their countries to discuss the Russian threat.
  • Now, an exclusive new survey reveals a majority of Americans are increasingly concerned by the threat Putin poses and worried that President Trump is not doing enough to keep the nation and her allies safe…..
  • In my new political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, the fictional president of the Russian Federation is plotting a lightning-fast military attack to re-conquer the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – once enslaved by Moscow during the Soviet era. Given that all three countries have been NATO members since 2004, the move risks triggering a nuclear war with the US and NATO alliance.
  • The gamble at the heart of the Kremlin leader’s plot is that using upwards of 100,000 Russian troops, Moscow could grab one or more of the Baltic States in less than 96 hours but that in the end neither the US nor the rest of NATO would actually come to their allies’ defense. If that were truly the case – if the West really abandoned the heroic Baltic peoples – this would mean the collapse of the NATO alliance overnight.
  • There can be no alliance, after all, if no one is willing to enforce Article Five, the heart of the mutual defense pact which says that if one country is attacked, all other countries in NATO will consider themselves under attack and rush to their defense.
  • In the novel, of course, I portray a worst-case scenario. But with each passing day, I’m becoming concerned fiction could become fact.
  • Putin, after all, has directly threatened the Baltic States, among other European nations.
  • “If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” the Russian leader said to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in September 2014….
  • 51.9% [of Americans surveyed] said they were not convinced that the president fully understands the Putin threat and they want Trump to do “much more” to counter it….
  • Three examples come to mind of actions President Trump should be taking but is not:
  1. Imposing sanctions on Russia – Congress overwhelmingly passed bill last year to impose sanctions on Russian officials, but thus far President Trump still hasn’t taken action. It is time to impose sanctions on Russia for their increasingly aggressive behavior, including unsuccessful efforts to subvert US elections and invasion of multiple countries.
  2. Increasing troop levels in the Baltic states – At the moment, there are fewer than 5,000 NATO troops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the three NATO allies that lie right on the Russian border and feeling increasingly at risk of Russian subversion or outright invasion. President Trump could and should be sending more U.S. forces, tanks and other heavy equipment and ammunition to the Baltics to create a speed bump big enough Putin wouldn’t feel tempted to cross. So far, he has not, nor has he pressed other NATO countries to do enough.
  3. Speaking out against Putin – the president does not hesitate to tweet criticism of everyone from the leaders of North Korea to Alec Baldwin to his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Why then is he so quiet about Putin? I see no convincing evidence at this point that his silence has a criminal or corrupt motive. But it is odd and unsettling to many Americans, given what a grave and growing threat Putin is.
  • Given Russia’s history of invasions, aggression and interference, the poll found that 72.5% agreed that Putin and the government of Russia pose a “clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, our NATO allies in Europe and our Mideast allies, such as Israel”….

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BREAKING: Pompeo tapped as new Secretary of State. Fantastic choice. No one gets Putin threat better than he does. Experienced. Clear-eyed. Tough. Pro-Israel. And he has the ear & confidence of President Trump. Tillerson never did.

Pompeo-Joel

(Dallas, Texas) — Major breaking news this morning: CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped as the new Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson.

Pompeo is a fantastic choice — I absolutely could not be more pleased, especially because Pompeo is so clear-eyed and tough on Russia. He gets the grave and growing threat posed by Vladimir Putin, and he’s serious about the need to dramatically and urgently strengthen the U.S.-NATO alliance.

Indeed, at a time when President Trump has been nearly radio silent on the Putin threat, Pompeo is the perfect choice to run the State Department. He could help the President develop a comprehensive new policy to counter rising Russian aggression. He could help the President craft a major speech to the nation to explain the Putin threat and how we’re going to deal with Putin after he wins re-election next Sunday.

Pompeo will be a key player in crafting the strategy to deal with Iran, North Korea and China, among the most serious foreign policy challenges we face. He also is extremely knowledgeable on the Arab-Israel conflict and can play an increasingly important role in a range of U.S. policies in the Mideast, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

Here’s quick glance at his strengths and experience:

  • Pompeo understands the intersection between intelligence, national security and global diplomacy as well or better than anyone who has served as Secretary of State going back to George Schultz and James Baker in the Reagan administration.
  • Graduated first in his class at West Point.
  • Served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
  • Earned a JD from Harvard.
  • Served as a Member of Congress, and thus knows how to operate on Capitol Hill.
  • Served on the House Intelligence Committee (where we got to know each other).
  • Strongly pro-Israel.
  • Solid relationships with our Sunni Arab allies, understands their enormous value to U.S. national security, and sees the historic convergence between American, Israeli and Sunni Arab interests.
  • Serious about wanting to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Strongly opposed to the regime in Tehran, and opposed to President Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal, and determined to undo the damage the deal has caused — in sharp contrast with Tillerson who did not see the deal as a major problem.
  • Excellent on North Korea and China.
  • And no one is more clear eyed about the Putin threat than Mike Pompeo — he truly understands the threat posed by Vladimir Putin in a way I was never convinced Tillerson did, and I’m personally relieved that President Trump has chosen someone so strong on Russia.
  • Most importantly, Pompeo truly has the ear and the confidence of President Trump in a way that Tillerson never had. As CIA Director, Pompeo has been briefing the President almost every day since he took office. They talk about the most sensitive issues on the global stage. Pompeo knows his stuff, and knows how to communicate with the President. They like each other. They know how to work well together. He is, therefore, excellently suited to serve as Secretary of State — this is a position, after all, that requires truly knowing the President’s mind, and being perceived as being close to him, so as to be able to communicate effectively with leaders all over the world.
  • Pompeo is also a fan of my political thrillers — what’s not to love?

Please pray for Mike and his wife, Susan, and family. This is a huge promotion but also a very tough job at a very dangerous moment on the world stage.

UPDATE: some of my previous comments on Tillerson (see here, here, and here):

  • Tillerson seems like an honorable man & had enormous business experience as CEO of . But his skills have not transferred effectively to DC. He’s not proving an effective diplomat. He’s terribly slow to appoint key staff & ambassadors. Morale is low. A change is needed.

  • Tillerson has no experience in government or global diplomacy, to be the Secretary of State, and has not replaced Tillerson despite continuing controversy and strains in the relationship. The President has publicly contradicted his Secretary of State numerous times (see also here), and privately weighed replacing him. I’m sure that Mr. Tillerson is a fine and honorable man and he has an impressive record in the private sector. However, the American people need world-class diplomat and one that the President has full confidence in, and one that world leaders know has the President’s full confidence and ear. In such a tumultuous global environment, it was a mistake for the President to appoint him, and a mistake not to make a change immediately.

To understand more about Pompeo — who he is and what he believes — here’s a range of articles worth reading, please a conversation Pompeo had with folks at the American Enterprise Institute last year.


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Why is the President “radio silent” on Putin’s aggression? Trump is tougher on Jeff Sessions than on the Russian dictator. Obama was weak on Moscow. Trump must show steel. [My interview with Fox News.]

Shannon-Joel-RussianMeddling

(Washington, D.C.) — In just seven days, Russians go to the polls. Barring something unforeseen, Vladimir Putin will be re-elected once again. He’s acting more aggressively than ever. Is President Trump and his team fully prepared to counter Putin in the months and years ahead?

On Friday night, I was interviewed on the Fox News Network about the churning controversies in the Russia investigation, our exclusive new poll on how Americans see Vladimir Putin, and my new novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy

To watch the interview (which last 5:02 minutes), please click here.

Here is the transcript:

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR OF FOX NEWS @ NIGHT: President Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, reportedly told officials who were developing options to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to quote, “stand down” and “knock it off.” And that is according to a new book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn called, “Russian Roulette.” Let’s discuss it with Joel Rosenberg, New York Times best-selling author of the brand-new book, The Kremlin Conspiracy. Great to have you with us, Joel.

ROSENBERG: Thank you. Great to be with you.

BREAM: Okay, so what do you make of this? I want to read a little bit more of this. Apparently there were folks who — the President [Obama] well knew what was going on, intrusions into state election systems, stealing emails; they knew all kinds of things that were going on, and there were teams of officials that were trying to get a response together. Then they were told by Susan Rice, according to this book, “‘Don’t get ahead of us,’ she warned him. ‘The White House is not prepared to endorse any of the ideas.’ Daniel and his team’ — one of the actors — ‘in the cyber-response group were given strict orders, ‘Stand down.’ She told him to, “knock it off,’ he recalled.” 

ROSENBERG: It is incomprehensible that in the midst of a presidential campaign — a general election — that a national security advisor would tell a team of people dealing with Russian attacks — aggressive attacks — [to stand down.] I mean, according to the book, and I’ve read the excerpts that are available now, the Russians were relentlessly hitting us from every possible direction. And this team of government officials were trying to figure out how to stop it, then how to counter it, then possibly how to punish the Russians to make sure they would stop it for good. But the national security advisor for President Obama tells them to “stand down” — back off — and essentially in the end they did practically nothing. It’s as indefensible as it is incomprehensible.    

BREAM: Well, and you know from reading the excerpts, there were so many conversations going on that they were worried it would blow things out of proportion, that it would further unsettle the elections, which is what they thought the Russians were all about doing, creating chaos, disrupting things, especially on Election Day. And there was a real conversation within the Obama administration about whether doing something really aggressive with Russia really would actually make those things happen.

ROSENBERG: Right, but that’s different from what Isikoff and Corn are saying. As far as I understood it from their article, or their book, was they were saying that the national security advisor, Susan Rice, told them, “Stop developing options” — not, “Which ones are the right ones to use? Let’s go use this one instead of that one.” That’s what leaders do, make choice between options. You tell a team, “stop developing options,” and therefore we’re not going to do anything to stop Russia?

Look, we did this new poll. We released a new poll that was done by John McLaughlin, one of the President’s pollsters, and we released it this week as we released my new novel. Because I’m writing fiction about a Russian dictator trying to mess with us, and with NATO. Well, I wanted to understand what Americans really think about Vladimir Putin in real life. Seventy-two percent of say Vladimir Putin is a “clear and present danger” to the national security of the United States and our allies because of all of his invasions, his cyber attacks. I mean, he’s invaded Georgia. He’s invaded southern Ukraine. He’s invaded eastern Ukraine. He’s slaughtering people in Syria. They see him as a problem. They don’t see — yet — President Trump convincing them that he fully understands the threat and is willing to deal with it effectively. Fifty-two percent say, “The President is not convincing me yet.” 

BREAM: Yeah, because they’ve heard him [Trump] talk tough about Iran and other places, with North Korea. They don’t see it on the same level with Russia. Although, the administration a few weeks ago laid out everything we have done with response to Russia, and there have been some really tough actions. But as you say, a lot of average Americans don’t see that he’s taking the same tough tack as he does with these other adversaries.

ROSENBERG: Well that’s right. Look, I’m not saying that the President’s policies [towards Russia] so far are bad. Like, he’s increasing defense spending dramatically in the United States. He’s pushing NATO to spend more on their own defense, and they’re doing it. He’s got a great national security team around him. But he’s radio silent when it comes to Vladimir Putin, the worst dictator on the planet. He’s tougher on Jeff Sessions, than he is on Vladimir Putin.

You know, my fictional dictator [in the novel] takes this as weakness. There was a quote by Vladimir Lenin years ago, and he said, “Probe with bayonets. If you find mush, push. If you find steel, stop.” Putin is probing us for weaknesses — in cyber, in invading countries, in taking out dissidents, and under Obama, “mush.” Will he find steel in President Trump? That’s what we need.

BREAM: Well, I’ve got to tell you — you know how I feel about your books. I’m taking The Kremlin Conspiracy with me on vacation tomorrow. My husband, when I told him, he said, “Great, I’ll see you three days from now.” Once you pick it up, you can’t put it down. Joel, great to have you with us.

ROSENBERG: Thanks. Good to see you. 

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Rush Limbaugh praises “The Kremlin Conspiracy” on-air as “a superb novel.”

Rush-KremlinConspiracy

(Washington, D.C.) — On his Friday radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave an nincredible plug for my new political thriller, and I’m very grateful.

Here’s the transcript and a link to the audio:

“By the way, a new book recommendation if you’re looking for something great to read, spy thriller novel stuff — it’s Joel Rosenberg’s The Kremlin Conspiracy, and it’s about real-world events, real live people, Vladimir Putin, a major figure in this. And the way to think about Putin is as Michael Corleone in The Godfather: not rash. Not hotheaded. Not a street thug, but a cold-blooded, calculated killer.  It’s a superb novel.  It’s an edge-of-the-chair, arms-tensed-up-as-you-read-this-thing, and it just came out, and it’s awesome.  It’s called The Kremlin Conspiracy.  Joel Rosenberg, our old buddy here.”

Thanks, Rush! You’re a good friend and I’m so glad you’re enjoying my new novel!

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Exclusive poll: Americans see Putin as “clear & present danger” to U.S. security, but say President Trump must do “much more” to keep U.S. and allies safe. Here’s the inside story.

Trump-Putin

(Washington, D.C.) — An exclusive new survey reveals a majority of Americans are increasingly concerned by the threat Russian President Vladimir Putin poses and worried that President Donald Trump is not doing enough to keep the nation and our allies safe.

My publisher and I commissioned the survey, which was conducted by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates, who has done polling on behalf of a number of U.S. and foreign clients, including President Trump. McLaughlin polled 1,000 likely U.S. voters regarding three specific questions related to Russia, Putin and President Trump.

The answers are particularly interesting in light of recent developments. For example, Putin’s recent State of the Union address was his most belligerent in 18 years. He bragged about Russia’s nuclear arsenal and complained that no one was listening to his claims of achieving nuclear superiority. He even showed a video of animated, simulated Russian nuclear missiles headed toward Florida. This made national and global headlines and raised fresh questions of just how dangerous the Russian leader is.

What concerns me is that only 34.5 percent of Americans said they were convinced the president truly understands the magnitude of the threat Russia poses and is doing enough to counter the threat. On the other hand, 51.9 percent said they were not convinced that the President fully understands the threat and they want Trump to do “much more.” Thirteen percent weren’t sure.

When broken down by political affiliation, the survey showed 77.5 percent of liberals, 26 percent of conservatives and 61 percent of moderates said they were not convinced Trump understands the Russia threat and is taking appropriate action.

Three examples come to mind of things President Trump should be doing but isn’t:

  • IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA — Congress overwhelmingly passed bill last year to impose sanctions on Russian officials, but thus far President Trump still hasn’t taken action. It is time to impose sanctions on Russia for their increasingly aggressive behavior, including unsuccessful efforts to subvert U.S. elections and invasion of multiple countries.
  • INCREASE NATO TROOP LEVELS IN THE BALTIC STATES — At the moment, there are fewer than 5,000 NATO troops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the three NATO allies that lie right on the Russian border and feeling increasingly at risk of Russian subversion or outright invasion. President Trump could and should be sending more U.S. forces, tanks and other heavy equipment and ammunition to the Baltics to create a speed bump big enough Putin wouldn’t feel tempted to cross. So far, he has not, nor has he pressed other NATO countries to do enough.
  • SPEAK OUT AGAINST PUTIN — The President has no hesitancy to Tweet criticism of everyone from the leaders of  North Korea to Alec Baldwin to his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Why then is he so quiet about Putin? I see no convincing evidence at this point that his silence has a criminal or corrupt motive. But it is odd and unsettling to many Americans, give what a grave and growing threat Putin is.

Given Russia’s history of invasions, aggression and interferences, the poll found that 72.5 percent agreed that Putin and the government of Russia pose a “clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, our NATO allies in Europe and our Mideast allies, such as Israel.”

Most officials in Washington are focused on the threats posed by North Korea, Iran, ISIS and al Qaeda, but as serious as those threats are, leaders must not ignore how grave a threat Putin poses to the U.S. and our NATO and Middle Eastern allies.

Indeed, found that fully 60.5 percent worry Putin could be planning other military attacks – perhaps the invasion of a small NATO country, or a Middle Eastern country – because he thinks the international community is not really willing to stop him. 

Look, the national security team President Trump has put into place – from Vice President Mike Pence to Defense Secretary James Mattis to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, among others – are first-rate professionals. They clearly understand the threat and the stakes. But President Trump and Congressional leaders in both parties must urgently work together to develop and lay out for the American people a comprehensive and bipartisan strategy to counter the Russian threat and dramatically strengthen the NATO alliance.

The poll results reinforce the theme of my newest political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, specifically that the threat of evil should not be underestimated. The book tells the story of a fictional leader in Moscow who fashions himself a 21st century Czar, all while the American President and his team are distracted by domestic political troubles and rising tensions in North Korea and Iran.

Kremlin ConspiracyThe plot of The Kremlin Conspiracy could be described as “ripped from tomorrow’s headlines.” In the novel, the fictional President of the Russian Federation is plotting a lightning-fast military attack to re-conquer the three Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — once enslaved by Moscow during the Soviet era. Given that all three countries have been NATO members since 2004, the move risks triggering a nuclear war with the U.S. and NATO alliance.

This week, foreign ministers of all three Baltic nations are in Washington, laying the groundwork for an April 3 summit between President Trump and the presidents of the Baltic States to discuss the Russian threat and urge the U.S. to pre-position more troops and equipment in the region to create a credible deterrence to Putin.

As I’ve often said, “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” What if our leaders in Washington are so focused on the threats emanating from North Korea, Iran, ISIS, and China—true threats, all—that they are blindsided by a Russian tyrant plotting the collapse of NATO? I pray this is only the stuff of a high-octane political thriller. But with every day that passes, I fear it may be more fact than fiction.

We need to be praying for President Trump and his national security team that they would have the wisdom and courage to do all that’s necessary to counter the Putin threat and keep the U.S. and our NATO and other allies safe.

For full results of the poll and more information about The Kremlin Conspiracy, please visit JoelRosenberg.com.

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