All posts by Ron Ridenour

Banana Kingdom Denmark

September 2, the day that Yankee President Donald Trump should have been in Denmark, between 1200 and 1500 demonstrated against US-Denmark wars to tell both states: “Yankee Go Home” and “Take Back Denmark’s Sovereignty.” This was the largest anti-war gathering in a long time. Some people came out just to protest vulgar Trump, or to oppose planet pollution, and other issues.

Trump cancelled the trip because the Kingdom of Denmark, as the Queen and her politicians call Denmark, would not sell the real estate capitalist its colony island of Greenland [As much as many danes might like to believe such is the case, Greenland is not Denmark’s “colony island,” and the Danish PM intimated as much herself — DV Ed]. I suppose Trump figured that since Denmark had already delivered its foreign policy sovereignty to “the greatest country in the world” two-three decades ago that it would be willing to sell him Greenland, so that the US Military Empire could have more military bases with nuclear armament placed there. Yet his logic was premature.

On the same day we demonstrated, Denmark’s “social democrat” war minister “coincidentally”, sent four F16 war jets Denmark had bought from Trump-land years ago to “protect” the Baltic from the big bad bear.

Denmark’s government also announced it was buying top-notch sonar, so it could play along with its Big Daddy, when they go searching for allegedly Putin-run submarines and, of course, there would be more funds for NATO. Not least, Denmark’s war minister announced that she would assure that her elite killers—Commando troops and Navy Seals (Jaegerkorpset and Froemandskorpset)—will be used all the more to protect Denmark against Russia. She announced this without stating what the threat was, but assured us that this “fellowship” with NATO and the US will “be effective when there is need for it.”

So, Big Daddy got what he wanted without wasting his time and tax money with a trip to Banana Kingdom Denmark.

On Flag Day, September 5, mothers and fathers in military uniforms pinned war medals on 700 children chosen that day, because their parents were or had been sent out to do their duty. The media printed a photo of a mother in uniform pinning a war medal on a child about five years old.

On the following day that the feminist prime minister (Mette Frederiksen) and feminist war minister (Trine Bramsen), alongside the male feminist secretary of state (Jeppe Kofod), announced the same number of soldiers (700), coincidentally, would be sent to war zones or potential war zones: Syria, Africa, the Baltic for starters. The explanation for this escalation was “Russia’s aggressive behavior in the East” and that there were terrorists in many countries. They will also sail Denmark’s largest vessel, a frigate, to assist a US aircraft carrier group. Denmark will assist the US in its sanctions and saber-rattling against Iran.  Denmark already participates in war missions in Afghanistan (now for 18 years) and Iraq, and “defense” of Kosovo and Estonia. They will continue to do so.

“We have once again been asked to contribute to peace and stability out in the world’s hot spots. I am proud of that,” asserted the “Social Democrat” war minister. (Note)

One would have thought, Banana Kingdom Denmark has certainly proven itself, yet once again, to be the best possible warring ally the US Military Empire could wish for, but no, these contributions to US/NATO war-making were not enough.

During this week of jingoistic swashbuckling, 40 war ships with 4,500 marines from 16 NATO countries docked in Copenhagen’s harbor. The government also extended its territory reserved for military war game maneuvers from 6000 to 14,000 hectares. Finally, at least for now, the Royal Family’s main home, Amalienborg Palace, will be blocked off from all traffic by 1.2 meter tall bronze bollards. Christianborg’s Parliament was similarly blocked off earlier but with mere 85 centimeter tall granite balls.

I mean, what more could the US Military Empire ask of its little Viking ally?

Note: On an historical note, we should recall that there are two direct opposite definitions of “fellowship” (or “unison”) for social democrats and socialists and communists. Back during the days leading up to the Russian Revolution, the Russian social democratic party had two factions, “Bolsheviks” and “Mensheviks”—the former wanted socialism (leading toward a stateless communist society), and the latter opted for “social democratic” capitalism—a la Bernie Sanders of today. The split ended with the Russian Revolution being attacked by social democrats and their allies, the aristocratic “white army” and its allies the US, six European states and Japan. Before the 1917 revolution, German social democrats had gone along with the bourgeoisie’s senseless world war, and social democrats have since followed suit in scores of countries and in hundreds of wars.

Denmark Peace and Justice Conference Connects Activism Against Poverty, Pollution and War

Most people in the West think of Denmark as a tolerant, peace-loving country, even—according to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—as a socialist country. Trump views this as a disease to be excised, and avoided in the US at all costs, while Sanders sees this as an ideal for America.

The truth is far from these tales. Denmark runs on a solidly capitalist economy, and it has been at war against all the countries the US has invaded since Iraq in 1990. Its troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq; and its planes bombed Syria not long ago. The various governments have cut back the social network of “free” education and healthcare to the bare bones in the last decade. The elderly, for instance, who cannot bathe themselves, must wait up to seven weeks before a social welfare assistant can come to wash them and clean house, and must do so in the few minutes strictly allotted. (See my series, ”Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy”.)

There are a few, quiet progressive or radical groupings in Denmark, no peace movement, but a burgeoning climate movement. Yet one alternative institution, Tvind, tries to influence people in Denmark, throughout Europe and in some “third world” countries to be activists and teachers of activism. Tvind started in 1970 (see sidebar below) and for the past five years has sponsored an international Peace and Justice Conference.

One of the unusual aspects of Tvind, at its schools, residences and conferences, is that no alcohol or any drugs are allowed. I was there four days and never did anyone, not even the 20-30 year-old majority, speak of any need for these normal crutches, and they danced after all the work until after midnight stone sober. Maybe they got their energy from a sense of fulfilling togetherness and the delicious vegetarian-ecological food they prepared for two dozen students and another 150 people, who came to the conference from Denmark and a dozen more European countries east and west, a handful from India, Africa and Latin America.

This year’s conference took place in mid-May for three days. The kick-off speech dealt with “the Russian ‘peace threat’”, other global perspectives, and how to resist; how to bring the deadly and polluting institution of militarism and its wars into the consciousness and the agenda of those opposing climate change. Previous conference themes had dealt with how to stop wars not refugees; to transform from militarism to conflict resolution and peace; and no justice no peace.

”A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflict constructively; know and live by international standards of human rights; gender and racial equality; appreciate cultural diversity; and respect the diversity of the earth. Such learning cannot be achieved without intentional sustained and systematic education for peace,” read the invitation.

This year’s program included over 30 workshops, half-a-dozen key speeches, music, a theater piece, artwork, poems, sports and networking. Workshop topics included: fighting with the poor; humanity in action in India; youth in climate action with refugees in Europe; movements for change in the USA; the difference between what the US government tells us about why it wages war and what the real reasons are; war and ecocide; songs for peace; pedagogy of liberation; what is going on in Venezuela; perspectives for our future, and how to take part of creating one.

Making music together with Italian musician Paolo Rossetti

Hans Blix-Noam Chomsky did not attend but Blix was interviewed for the conference, and a Democracy for Now interview with Chomsky was viewed. Blix was the UN’s chief investigator sent to Iraq in 2002-3 to find out if the government had “weapons of mass destruction,” the excuse that President George Bush used to invade it. In 2004, Blix stated that, “there were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction.” Nevertheless, “let’s kick ass” Bush set up the “coalition of the willing” to destroy much of Iraq and murder over one million people. The Danish government declared war on Iraq to please the US—the only country to actually declare war. While Blix is a man of the Swedish Establishment, a strong supporter of capitalism, EU and nuclear energy, and Chomsky is a rebel anarchist, the two agreed that the greatest threats and challenges to humanity are: climate change and the growing possibility of a nuclear war. Blix said that the former is slow suicide; the latter is quick suicide. The doomsday clock stands at two minutes to midnight, the first time since it did during the Cuba missile crisis, in 1962.

Trine Wendelboe is a Dane who moved to Dowagiac, Michigan 13 years ago. She directs research and development at the One World Center connected to Tvind. This small town is headquarters for the Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians. The center aims to take action against worldwide poverty and climate change.  Wendelboe spoke of the growing poverty and anxiety overwhelming Americans, and about some of the movements resisting the disasters people confront.

The closing workshop and last speech were held by the Dutch transformation coach and Camino Real guide Gert-Jan van Hoon. Along with young DNS teachers Nadezda and Justas they asked how participants can stick together, how do they not get “blown away”, in order to heal the soul and Mother Earth.

Gert and open future workshop at Tvind’s Peace and Justice conference

I spoke with a dozen participants about what the conference had meant to them. Some were DNS students, a few were in the 10-month international development volunteer program, and some had only attended the conference. Here are comments regarding what they got out of it and how they might “not get blown away”.

Annie Wood, an English student in the DNS program, immediately took up planning her first action following the conference—a student strike in the nearby city of Holstebro. This would be part of the Friday For Future movement actions, which began in March with about 1.6 million strikers at 2000 locations on all continents

She had been inspired by her studies at Tvind and by the conference to write a poem, “The Choice”, which she read to the participants. Here are excerpts:

Here’s my first rhyme for the world to hear
written from inspiration about something I hold dear.
To me it makes clear sense and I think it should to you too,
because right now I’m heartbroken, this has got me feeling blue.

We are killing our home, this great big planet earth.
We are plundering, draining and polluting it for everything its worth.
Yes you’ve heard this story before, maybe you’re bored with the same old lines
but if you don’t help make it better, this story will tell the end of our times…

Maybe we don’t know what is right or what we want,
but we should know by now it’s not war but it is provident.
It’s not hate, destruction or poverty.
It is love, peace, justice what brings a happy life to me.

A Danish youth, Lars, heard of Tvind from The Establishment’s prejudiced view that its founders and teachers are authoritarian “brainwashers”. “Strange”, he surmises in typical Danish irony, “I never knew that brainwashing actually could open up hearts as it has done these days. We clearly felt a warm welcome to share our ‘stories’, as they say in America. We did that but most importantly we engaged in enthusiastic discussions one-to-one and in groups what it is that we want and need to do to save this world, to make it better than it is.”

Maxsim, a 22-year old Lithuanian, said, “We are all impressed with one another in that each of us has so much to share that is useful and positive.”

Maxsim had been deluged with a hateful view of Russia so pervasive in his country. But at the conference he heard a different picture of Russia today, one that indicates neither its people nor its leaders wish nor are acting to make war but rather are acting to protect their sovereignty and defend themselves against an escalating war threat from the US/NATO.

Mariana is a college student from Portugal studying management. She won a free week-long trip to Tvind to help prepare the conference. “These days have shown me that I am not content with becoming a manager for capitalism. I have to find something else for my future, some kind of education that can lead to a job that people actually need. I don’t know what but it shall come.”

Jette, a retired nurse and amateur illustrator, felt it was “lovely to see that people actually looked at one another and smiled or spoke a few words together as they passed by, instead of what we are used to here that one looks away from one another when passing by. And then such a pleasure to see how effective everyone is in doing their tasks while also so willing to play.”

Yusef is a 22-year old Kurdish refugee from Syria who looks ten years older. His parents fled the war-torn land first and made it to Denmark. Yosef was homeless for a time, hungry, on the run. He came to Denmark five years ago, and now lives with his parents.

One summer three years ago, Yusef wanted to do something useful, to participate in a summer camp. A camp at Tvind was among the choices his social worker showed him, something unusual for government paid workers to do.

Yusef said that he, “fell in love with the place and I’ve come here three years in a row now—to the camp and to this conference. I’ve learned a lot especially at this one. As a teenager, I had joined some demonstrations against Assad. I thought it was cool, you know. But I saw that the opposition was brutal too, and some of them were/are being supported by the US. One of the issues that we Kurds had was that we couldn’t automatically get government work when we graduated from universities with degrees, say, in medicine but Arabs could. Otherwise, we also had free education and health care. Shortly after demonstrations began in 2011, Assad agreed to change the rules so we could get government paid work. I realized after a while and since being here, that we were, and are being used and misused by the Americans and all the media hysteria. I now regret that I took part in demonstrations. Assad is not nearly as bad as he is painted to be.”

Vladimir is a 19-year old Russian, offspring of South Korean parents, living in the Czech Republic where he saw an announcement about this conference. He and I worked together in the kitchen one morning, two persons from two entirely different worlds and one four times the age of the other.

Vladimir is shy and not much for words but he opened a bit in our talk. “It is new for me to see people embrace one another and to work together. People here are not thinking so much about themselves. They are not selfish but thinking about the environment, about humanity and the planet.

“I’ve decided to join the ten-month traveling-learning-teaching program. I’ll be back to prepare for the African program, to open new horizons.”

*****

Sidebar: About Tvind

Tvind started (1970) near Ulfborg village (2000 pop.) on Denmark’s west coast by the North Sea. A small group of young teachers settled there to live collectively and with a shared economy. They sought to become pioneers in social development, education and with sustainable environmental projects. Today, there are hundreds of members in the “Teacher’s Group” in several countries.

The first task was to build living quarters, mainly from prefabricated wooden buildings. They dug foundations and made water and sewage systems. They bought and repaired ten buses, which would be used to travel to other countries to learn and teach.

The “Teacher’s Group” developed an educational system based on the concept of a rural collective and a travelling school. They expanded internationally becoming a global people’s corporation.

On September 1, 1972, 100 youth—ten young teachers and 90 students—created a four-year training program to become teachers in primary and secondary schools. This program is called the Necessary Teaching Training College (DNS in Danish letters).

DNS was started from a “necessity to train another kind of teachers to bring more relevant knowledge, mobilization and life to children.”

The times were a-changing but the Establishment and its schools were not. There were pressing issues and contradictions, such as the growing inequality between rich and poor, which were not on the agenda of society’s schools.

DNS became an international program. Today most students at Tvind are from many European countries. There are few from Denmark since the state has refused to support studies at Tvind financially following allegations of tax evasion and misuse of funds by former leaders—a matter still pending. Clearly Tvind/DNS are as controversial today as they were half-a-century ago.

In 1996, Tvind started an international network “Humana People to People”. Humana assists people to lift themselves out of poverty. During a ten-month program, international volunteers learn and work with poor people to learn new skills to farm organically, using windmill energy, assuring clean water, building solar water pump and solar light systems, producing jatropha seed oil for biodiesel energy and animal feed, building homes, and establishing mini-loans for self-employment especially for women. Another aspect is planting tens of millions of trees.

Humana programs exist in the Caribbean, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Zambia. One form of financing these activities is the UFF—development aid from people to people—which collects used clothing that is sold to support Humana projects.

With a DNS bachelor monograph graduates (now over 1000) can become teachers at some schools in a few countries; take jobs with UN aid programs; work with the poor in many countries. Their notion is that the battle for the future of humanity is, “the fight of the poor against the three sisters of capitalism: free trade, free enterprise, freedom of endless profiteering.”

Tvind in Ulfborg also has a care center for people with special needs, a day school, and a school for youth with special needs and others who seek an alternative education—all supported by the local municipality. Students, other than those in the day school, live on campus. The DNS students also live there. There is a second school in Denmark, One World Center at Lindersvold.

The “Teachers Groups” has three other schools in England, Norway and Michigan, USA using the “determination of modern method”, the pedagogical approach shaped at DNS. This gives the student the main responsibility for training and results. Learning is structured with 50% individual studies, 25% common courses, and 25% personal experiences.

Tvind is renowned for building the first modern windmill (1975-8), the largest in the world at that time (54 meters tall with a 54 meters wingspread). Four hundred people began the construction, and through the years several thousands participated. An estimated 100,000 people visited Tvind to watch the process. When the mill was completed, it had only cost the equivalent of $1 million in today’s value—paid for out of Tvind teachers’ salaries.

Tvindkraft (windmill’s name) offered the designs and ideas to any and all, but the state didn’t want them because it was committed to going with nuclear energy. Nevertheless, the Danish people soon rejected this idea, in part because Tvind showed that windmill energy was possible, cheaper and much better for the environment. Tvindkraft is the basis for all of Denmark’s famous windmills.

By 2015, the windmill had produced 20 million kWh. Tvindkraft still provides all the energy Tvind uses. Yet Tvind gets no credit from Denmark’s Establishment since they teach that collective living, common production and sharing is better for people and the environment than capitalism’s greedy foundation.  Nevertheless, in 2008, they won the European Solar Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in renewable energy.

Tvindkraft still standing and functioning 41 years later. Tvind comes from the local dialect word for the surrounding “twisting” brook in that area (Jette Salling Photo)

FREE Julian Assange: FREE Us All

Photo from Sky News UK

My hero, our hero, our solidarity genius, who made it possible for us all in the whole world to know so much of how, of what and why the evil powers who rule us do against us so that they can make the world in their image of wealth and power. Assange exposed so much of that evil for us all to see. We can not let them take him from us. He is our blood. He is our consciousness.

Julian Assange is the embodiment of what our common artist Leonard Cohen sang to us:

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart
.

— Leonard Cohen, Villanelle for our Time, from the studio album Dear Heather, 2004

Surpassing US Military Supremacy

When I first heard of Andrei Martyanov, I was skeptical about his intentions. Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, USSR, 1963, he became a naval officer and expert on Russian military and naval issues. He took part in conflicts in the Caucasus. In mid-1990s, he moved to the US for reasons unstated in print. He currently works as laboratory director of a commercial aerospace group, and blogs on the US Naval Institute Blog and one on the other side of the fence, unz.com.

This is not a typical leftist or peace activist, but after reading his book and a piece on the website of the world’s most aggressive naval institution, I surmise that this Russian-American seeks to influence the avaricious eagle into realizing that warring against the cautious bear would not achieve success for anyone. Here is his conclusion of that blog piece:

Today, the Russian Navy is on its way to becoming a leaner and more potent… version of its former Soviet self, capable of carrying out any task in defense of its country. By doing so, the Russian Navy has finally found its mission. Considering Russia’s immense and tragic experience with warfare, such an accomplishment is no small feat. Especially in the absence of a coherent navy specific doctrine.

This statement is in keeping with what Martyanov sees as his book’s key mission, to assist his native country in defending its national sovereignty, which entails acting to prevent a nuclear world war. As he states in the conclusion of his book, Losing Military Supremacy: the Myopia of American Strategic Planning, he is most worried that it is the United States that will pull the triggers to set off world war III.

“The main task today is to prevent by all means any possibility of this delusional, self-proclaimed exceptional nation unleashing Armageddon because of frustration with its own weakness…” so well exposed by now.

Martyanov refers to the fact that despite all the hubris, the US has failed to win most of the wars it has started since WWII. Korea was a stalemate. It lost to Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos. Afghanistan will never be conquered. The victory over a much inferior Iraqi military largely destroyed the cradle of civilization and left nearly all its people hating the US. The current government wants the US out of its country. The US got rid of Libya’s leader Gaddafi only to be replaced by three internally fighting self-declared governments, whose extremist Muslims wantonly murder, smuggle and enslave people. The once richest people in Africa are now among the poorest. The US has divided people in Syria, and Ukraine where they placed a neo-fascist coup government in power.

The US’s military thinks in offensive weaponry much more so than in defensive ones. It couldn’t even defend its most hallowed buildings, including the Pentagon, from 19 terrorists in 2001. Seventy percent of military funding is aimed at fighting wars abroad to take other lands’ resources.

That reality is based on what I call “America Über Alles” mentally engrained in nearly every person born in the country from babyhood. Former Ronald Reagan treasury assistant secretary Paul Craig Roberts puts it this way:  “The arrogant hubris of American exceptionalism and the myths that sustain it are subjected to devastating analysis in this long overdue book.”

Martyanov shows us with facts, documentation, and policies that the US has always been at odds with the very existence of Russia, the world’s largest country with self-sustaining resources. It has lied that it was the victor in WWII, alongside with Britain. All evidence points to the contrary. The victorious Russian military defeated the Nazis on the Eastern Front and moved into Europe as the main force. Russia also aided the US defeat the Japanese by sending nearly a million troops to Hokkaido, keeping its promise to President Roosevelt.

Martyanov cites Hans Morgenthau to explain this peculiar American geopolitical “realism”. As one of its fathers, Morgenthau, told his audience at the US Naval War College, in 1957:

…if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today.

Regardless of the crimes of Stalin against many of his people, he stood for “socialism in one country”, and the “containment” policy of US governments during the Cold War, which was started by Churchill and Truman not Stalin, did not bother the Soviet leadership. Throughout the world where there were uprisings against tyrants and struggles for socialism, the Soviets always cautioned them. In contrast, it was the US that extended its territory in a neo-colonial manner, what we call imperialism, not necessarily by occupying land but by controlling the resources and foreign policies of much of the world, including the former European colonialists.

Martyanov writes,

The Soviet Navy, like the modern Russian Navy today, was built largely for a single purpose: to prevent a NATO attack on the USSR from the sea. Power projection in its classic, US Navy interpretation, was the last thing in mind for Soviet strategists. There simply was no intent to start a war; the intent was to prevent it.

Russia does have the capability to deal major damage to NATO’s European members but, apart from Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which would bring the United States into the conflict, even if there hadn’t been such an article, the immediate question is: Why would Russia attack or damage European countries which are worth way more for Russia free and prosperous than they would be if damaged and theoretically, subjugated?

To achieve the needed capacity and public support for such an intent [war], the United States needs to run a very tight routine. It has to simultaneously present, sometimes by gross inflation, a set of threats to itself…while nonetheless insisting on American overwhelming military superiority over any power. It is a very schizophrenic policy requiring a constant reconciliation of opposites: If one claims itself to be almost omnipotent militarily, as the US does non-stop, it is really difficult to prove that one is also and simultaneously very vulnerable. In some psychiatric sense it is very close to the more specific Russophrenia phenomenon, where Russia is simultaneously about to collapse and about to overtake the US, and the combined West. It is a classic Orwellian scenario from Nineteen Eighty-Four, which also involves such ideological imperatives as hate sessions and public affirmation of one’s loyalty to the powers that be.

The list of America’s military interventions in the last 70 years is unrivaled. It is no surprise then that the US consistently tops a wide range of global public opinion polls as the main threat to the world peace. No other nation can undertake such a massive range of wars all over the globe as does the US.

The chronic lying that politicians and the mass media spew forth, such as engaging in and winning wars in the name of human rights, continue undiluted. Today, it is the Trump government that claims victory over IS in Syria when, in reality, the US did little to effectively fight IS or al Qaeda. Rather it was the determination of the Russian government and military not to allow Syria to fall into the hands of those terrorists that did the job. When the US military did engage in fighting these extremist terrorists they worked at cross purposes. The scenario of competition between the US army and navy, and the military vs. the deep state CIA often resulted in one group of US-supported terrorists fighting another US-supported group of terrorists.

The whole foundation of russiagate is also based on lies. When Vladimir Putin became president he, like his drunken predecessor Boris Yeltsin, sought to be friends and even an ally with the US. Putin even discussed with George Bush the possibility of Russia coming into NATO and EU, which US deep state leaders rejected. Nevertheless, Putin offered Bush his support in his war against Afghanistan. The one key difference between Yeltsin and Putin was (is) that the latter acts to reverse the disastrous economic policies of the Yeltsin-Clinton team, which raped Russia of its gold and resources (increased poverty from 1.5% to 50% of the population), as Putin acts to regain national sovereignty with a robust capitalist economy in which the rich actually pay taxes .

Bush rewarded Putin by abolishing the all-important Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty made by another Republican conservative, Richard Nixon, and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, in 1972. Bush also allowed the CIA to stir up terrorist conflicts in Russia’s area.

Bush senior advisor Karl Rove summarized the essence of US foreign policy: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”1

It took the cautious, disciplined Russian leader seven years before he finally saw that building a friendship/alliance with the US was not possible. In 2007, Putin gave his landmark speech in Munich in which he merely stated the obvious, ”the fundamental principles on which US foreign policy was built were unilateralism based on both real and perceived national power, and that he rejected that”, writes Martyanov. But his realistic view got interpreted by the “war hero” Senator John McCain as “the most aggressive remarks by a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War.”

Putin saw that US foreign policy is built on military supremacy, so he set forth a policy of rearming the Russian military to defend the country against any aggressions launched by the US. Already the next year, 2008, he let the US know that Russia would not allow it to bring Georgia or the Ukraine into NATO, thus surrounding Russia all the more.

Russia didn’t attack Georgia first, another US lie. Even the former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later admitted that it was Georgia, which started that war.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia were independent states that Georgia President Mikjail Saakashvili attacked, killing many of them and some Russian troops before Russia fired backed. The Russo-Georgian War showed that Russia’s conventional military power mattered. Russia sent an army to Georgia of equal size to Georgia’s, which had been poorly trained by the US/NATO, and defeated it in four days, in August 2008.

Besides the issue of NATO alliance, the US wanted to use Georgia as a pipeline for oil as it demanded with Afghanistan, and tried with Syria, in 2009. Taleban said no, and the US invaded. Assad said no, and the US organized a rebellion against Assad in 2011. It got its pipeline through Georgia in 2005—piping crude oil from Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. But the US is never satisfied, that’s what “globalization” is all about.

The most unique aspect of Martyanov’s book in relationship to many other informative, truthful books coming from alternative publishers about Russia/Soviet and US relations, is that this military expert analyzes the military forces of both countries and shows who has what capabilities militarily.

Russia’s Modern Weaponry

“During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,” Putin explained in his 2018 State of the Nation address, “we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.” “Those technological breakthroughs are now here. Sadly, we never got the diplomatic ones we needed.”

Putin’s message was clear: “You didn’t listen to us then, you will listen to us now”.

Martyanov maintains that today there is parity in military capacity:

“1) The United States military in future conflicts will have to deal, in the case of conventional conflict against a near-peer, let alone peer, with an adversary who will have C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] capability either approaching that or on par with that of the US.”

“2) US real and perceived advantage in electronic means of warfare (EW) will be greatly reduced or completely suppressed by present and future EW means of the adversary thus forcing US forces to fight under the conditions of partial or complete electronic blindness and with partially or completely
suppressed communications and computer networks.

“3) The US will encounter combat technologies not only on par but often better designed and used, from armor to artillery, to hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles, than anything the US military has ever encountered.

“4) Modern air-forces and complex advanced air defense systems will make the main pillar of US
military power—its Air Force—much less effective.

“5) Today the US military will have to deal with the grim reality of its staging areas, rear supply facilities and lines of communications being the target of massive salvos of long-range high subsonic, supersonic and hyper-sonic missiles. The US military has never encountered such a paradigm in its history.”

I do not have the knowledge nor the space to detail and judge the many weapons that Martyanov includes in his book to show that the US is not capable of winning a conventional war, or that many weapons Russia has are aimed at preventing US weapons from reaching their goals.

Here is but a taste of what the author tells us Russia is capable of doing with its modern weapons.

“Russian generation 4++fighters, such as the SU-35C, with their Irbis radar capable of ‘seeing’ even an F-22 figther as far as 90 kilometers away, to say nothing of modern Air Defense complexes such as the S-400 which can track and engage any aero-ballistic targets. The coming of the revolutionary S-500 air-defense system may completely close Russia and her allies’ airspace from any aerial or even ballistic threats…In 2007, the 3M22 Zircon hyper-sonic missile is already dramatically redefining naval warfare and makes even remote sea zones a ‘no-sail’ zone for any US major surface combatant, especially aircraft carriers…the TU-160M2 strategic bombers with new, 10,000-kilometer range cruise missiles getting ready to be deployed. The combined air and submarine launch of hundreds of such weapons could effectively incapacitate, with minimal damage to civilians, the American state.”

It is not just Putin or his government and the military that is fed up with trying to be friends or at least allies with the United States. The people, too, are tired of trying. That means that once again the US is seeking “regime change” (and “meddling in elections”) against the democratic will of the people. Gallup and national polls of 2017 and 2018 show that less than one-third of Russians think good relations is even important anymore. The 2018 national poll (Vzglyad) showed that 80% wanted to have either neutral or even hostile relations with the US.”

“Only 14.7% wanted allied relations with the US. The US is simply no longer attractive as a model, whether economic, cultural or social, in Russia and the majority of Russians view the United States as a very real threat,” Martyanov concludes.

  1. NYT Magazine, October 17, 2004.

While State Leaders Make War, Spanish Children March for Peace

Jacaranda schoolchildren marching for world peace

Benalmádena, Spain — Seven hundred and seventy primary and elementary school children, aged three to 12, walked and skipped three kilometers to the main square (Plaza de España) here in this town located in Spain’s Andalusia province, and back to their municipal school, Jacaranda.

On this 30th march for international peace in commemoration of the day that Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated (January 30, 1948), the children sang “No to War”, “Yes to Peace”, “Save the Children,” “Friendship Yes, Violence No”. (The event was postponed a week due to a storm.)

They were accompanied by their 29 classroom teachers and about 100 parents and grandparents.

For a week each January, these students study peace, solidarity and friendship values, and how to protect Mother Earth from man-made pollution. The day dedicated to “Save the Children” includes students asking their parents for donations of funds and clothing for poor children. Since 2011-2, they have raised some 7500 Euros ($8500). A committee of teachers and parents decides where to send the donations, sometimes in Spain and sometimes abroad.

The students also make designs for banners and T-shirts. A committee of students and teachers decides what designs are used. The municipal marine sports and water firms donated 3000 Euros to manufacture 1000 T-shirts that the students and teachers wear.

I have participated in hundreds of peace activities but never one where the prime activists are young children. I asked some children and parents what marching for peace means to them.

Ten-year-old Julia made the T-shirt design for last year. “I love peace” is centered on the blue shirt, and “We must all work to create peace” is the co-slogan. All words are in Spanish and English.

Julia tells me, “We can’t get peace in the world without everyone together, building for it. I just thought about that when I drew.”

This year’s T-shirt is pink. A dove is flying leading three children wearing shirts with a peace sign, a heart and a smile, and the words: peace, respect, solidarity, equality, happiness, friendship and love.

Along the march, I meet up with Carmen, Jonathan, Tillie and Dario ages 11-12. Their collective voice speaks gleefully: “Togetherness is beautiful. Racism and machoism are wrong.”

Lise, 4, feels that marching is “fun”. Her teacher adds, “Teaching peace can be fun. Teaching war is not.”

One mother tells me, “We are so grateful for this school, because it focuses on developing a consciousness of peace and friendship, of love, really. We do not make wars; it is the politicians. War for oil. This,” says the parent, opening her arms as to embrace the hundreds of children assembled before the march began, “this is life.” Her husband adds, “Not forming Hitlers and Francos, and those of today’s times.”

A Polish couple moved from their country to Benalmádena, in part to get away from warring conflicts. Carolina and Robert tell me as they march, “We must help create a future, and this school is one way of doing it. Wars are for politicians and the rich. Here the children are stimulated with peaceful thoughts.”

Thirty-year old Carmen walks beside her husband and her father as they follow their two children and grandchildren. “I bring my children to this school because of the values they teach,” Carmen says. “The academic part is OK but the best is the morality that is taught, and done so without authoritarian finger pointing. The teachers let our well-nourished children know that other children in the world die of hunger, others barely live with little nutrition; many live with fear and in violent danger. They are helping our children become conscientious adults. This is humanitarian, this is caring, and one day our children may make a real difference for peace.”

One of those kids, 9-year old Karin, tells me, “We are happy to have our parents help other children no matter where they are.”

At the Plaza de España, the children sing and dance to cheerful songs, waving their arms and stepping in tune. I ask a local policewoman what she thinks of the children’s peace march in the context that her government is killing people in the Middle East. “It is not ‘my’ government. It is the world government making wars. We need more love and peace.”

Three children read manifestos for peace that 6th graders had written in Spanish and English:

Peace needs education with values, behavior and attitudes that allow personal and social harmonia, refusing all types of violence.

Many wars could be avoided through dialogue, reaching pacific agreements that could benefit us all. When it comes down to it, we are all equal human beings, born of a father and mother: tall and short, blond and brown, with round or extended eyes, with different colors of skin.

It is not enough to talk about peace. We must believe in and work for peace. The children and adults of Jacaranda are ‘peaceniks’. Each year we join hands and march through the streets of our beautiful town, traveling a common path of solidarity and joy, offering our grain of sand for peace in the world.

A second statement, read in English by a 12 year-old girl, states:

If you look up the word peace in the dictionary, it speaks about tranquility and non-violence…a synonym might even be a truce. I think Peace is far more than a truce… If we are to achieve peace, we have to make a difference.

Peace is the feeling that everybody wants to enjoy in the world. How do I feel it? When everyone around me in my family, my circle of friends and my neighborhood is happy, eager to love, to accept and relate…then I feel at peace…Peace starts with me, and begins with a smile.

The day’s peace activity ends by freeing doves from a cage, and with tears on many adults’ cheeks.

Jacaranda school’s education

While the school is state funded, it has its own values, not necessarily those of the Spanish state, which wars against several countries in the US-led so-called “coalition of the willing against terrorism”. Nevertheless, the town’s mayors and other members of the town council are always present at the square where students sing and read their manifestos for peace.

Spain’s King Felipe VI recently made a trip to Iraq. He is the first Spanish monarch to visit Iraq in 40 years. He went to encourage his occupying troops in the “cradle of civilization” devastated by the invasion since 2003. The current Iraqi government wants the “coalition of the willing” to leave its war-torn country. Spain has fought beside the US in its wars since 1992 against Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It warred against Afghanistan from 2002 to 2015 where 102 of its soldiers died.

Before the peace march, I discussed with the school’s principal, Juan Luis Castro, and head teacher, Camino Albillos, how it can be that the state wars against people (who have not attacked and do not threaten Spain) while this public school rejects wars and teaches peace.

Camino explained:

Our 1978 constitution sets down principles of working for peace, and gives public school administrators and teachers the freedom to teach, and to help develop alongside with parents their own religious and moral values.

Here’s my translation of that part of the Spanish constitution’s preamble:

The Spanish Nation, wishing to establish justice, freedom and security and promote the well-being of those who make up the nation, in use of their sovereignty, proclaim the will to…Collaborate in the strengthening of peaceful relations and effective cooperation among all the peoples of the Earth.

The constitution’s Article 27. states:

1. “Everyone has the right to education. Freedom of teaching is recognized. 2. Education shall aim at the full development of the human personality in respect of democratic principles of coexistence and fundamental rights and freedoms. 3. The public authorities guarantee the right that assists parents so that their children receive the religious and moral training that is in accordance with their own convictions. 7. Teachers, parents and, where appropriate, students can intervene in the control and management of all centers supported by the Administration with public funds, under the terms established by law.”

Camino told me:

We teachers learn to teach through our students. We don’t have a particular doctrine but we view all humans in a holistic manner, such as did Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori. Today, it is called emotional intelligence, or creative intelligence. Most teachers want peace. We hope our children will grow to be critical thinkers, not sheep but full humans who question, who are active in finding solutions to problems we have, and to protect the earth. We are an ecological school.

The founders of the school named it after the blue-flowered tree. They placed emphasis on teaching values of peace and solidarity, and using teaching methods formulated by Steiner and Montessori. The founders chose the peace march to mark the day Gandhi was murdered. The UN International Day of Peace (September 21), and the International Day of Non-Violence (October 2) also honor peace efforts and the life of Gandhi.

Principal Luis Castro told me:

Our laws allow our teaching methods and values. Many other schools in Spain practice these ideals and forms as well, though there is no network. The state decides on general curricula. We have the liberty to respect universal values: violence is no solution to conflicts. We do not enter into the particular foreign policies of the various political parties and governments, but we do not justify what they do when using violence and warfare. We say humans must reflect and discuss, empathize with one another, respect humanity and the planet.

Jacaranda morality seems to work for the many thousands of children who have attended the school through its 30 history. “We do not have bullying here, nothing that has required implementing the protocols required for such bad treatment of one another,” concluded Camino. “We have learned from the terrible years of fascism and Franco,” added Juan Luis.

Photos by Jette Salling

Fight for Promised Peace Dividend

Ron Ridenour: You wrote the book, The Peace Dividend: the most controversial proposal in the history of the world, (Lulu Publishing). What is the basic idea of this project?

John Rachel:  In 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the citizens of the United States and the world were promised the arrival of a new era of peace and prosperity. The Cold War was over. Much of the money spent in the military standoff with the Soviets, and the preparation for a cataclysmic war, would now be diverted to peaceful ends. This massive reordering of our priorities and the windfall which would result was called the peace dividend. It never arrived.

That same year, Paul Wolfowitz , then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, stated:

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.  This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine is paralleled by the geo-political analysis of Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter. Brezezinski’s doctrine was codified in his landmark book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, a comprehensive theoretical framework rationalizing U.S. supremacy and world domination.

Here is a key passage outlining where the application of American power is paramount:

How America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.

These unapologetic and unambiguous behests for U.S. World Empire are now official and unchallenged policy. It presumes the U.S. will govern the entire planet. The unbridled arrogance advanced by Wolfowitz is now aggressively promoted by neoconservatives – ‘neocons’ – who at present completely control the policymaking machinery of the U.S. government, meaning the Executive Branch and Congress. [Ridenour: The liberals or neo-liberals in the Democratic Party and their allies, the alleged “progressive” cohorts, have adopted this war policy as well.]

“Cooperation”, “coexistence”, “peace”, “respect for the interests of other nations” all are intentionally absent from the operative lexicon of the neocons.

We ask: Why is the world in such turmoil? Why do we have so many enemies? Why is peace now viewed as the stuff of pipe-dreams? The answer to these and related questions is quite simple: almost every current policy decision is an implementation of the neocon divide-and-conquer strategy and agenda. What this means is that the creation of chaos, division, antagonism, confrontation across the globe is quite intentional and specifically engineered to keep any potential challengers to U.S. hegemony weak and ineffective.

This is not just dangerous – probably suicidal – but grotesquely wasteful. Massive federal spending is literally going up in smoke. It’s bombs, bombs, and more bombs. The National Defense Strategy also calls for the relentless, unquestioned, unchecked, completely unwarranted intimidation of Russia and China. Such planning raises the specter of annihilation of life on the planet.

The Peace Dividend Project seeks to engage a vast majority of the American public to reverse this disastrous course, and seeks redress for the enormous damage this aggressive imperial project has done to individuals, families, communities, the entire social and economic fabric of our nation.

RR: What are the finances in this project?

JR:  Trillions of dollars have been collected from taxpayers over the past 26 years – since the promise of a peace dividend – under false pretenses and then squandered. The wars fought over that two-and-a-half decades – still going on in seven countries right now – were and are based on lies. The need to expand the military is a fraud. The entire War On Terror is a con. Conservatively the total cost of this (using the government’s own deflated official figures) comes to $4.82 TRILLION. That is money that should have been put to productive, humane use.

Instead the government took our hard-earned money, blew up cities, destroyed whole countries, killed millions of innocent people (8), including 6,796 [2015 figures] of our own soldiers, created more terrorism than ever (9), and made the U.S. the pariah (10) of the world.

WE DEMAND THIS MONEY BACK! It comes to almost $15,000 per person, nearly $60,000 for a family of four. The $4.82 trillion injected back into the economy will not only provide some immediate relief to those individuals who’ve been most devastated by the fraud, but it will give a much needed boost to our consumer-driven economy, create jobs, opportunity, a new start for those who’ve been held back by the wanton deception and theft. The injection of that huge sum of money into the nation’s cash stream will also mean increased tax revenues for our use.

The war industry will take a temporary hit, but it can be retooled to put all those superb engineering and manufacturing resources to work on our infrastructure, solving the problems of climate change, and creating a sustainably-functioning eco-friendly economy and society. Lots of work, but they’ll just have to start working on green projects instead of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles.

This is doable. The $4.82 trillion is refundable over three years, about $1.6 trillion per year. That’s only 8.25% of our GDP. Of course, since it’s about 36.3% of our federal budget, the budget will have to be dramatically restructured. The Peace Dividend plan is designed to completely change the course of the nation and how governments do business. The Peace Dividend Project includes a detailed plan (11) for doing just that. It’s much easier than most might think. About as easy as the $16.8 trillion bailout of banks all over the world (12) rationalized by the 2008 financial meltdown.

RR:  What are the conditions necessary for this project to work?

JR:  There must be . . .

  • Sufficient numbers of people oppressed and exploited, producing …
  • Non-negotiable demands for redressing the injustice and abuse, coupled with …
  • An effective mechanism or path for removing the oppressors from power.

Two of those requirements (1,3) already exist, though submerged by a lot of intense propaganda and distraction. The frustration, anger, sense of being shafted by the system exists in spades. Mechanisms are also there. The conditions are ripe. We just need to organize and act.

What has been lacking is the second item, a coherent, cogent “ultimate ultimatum”, setting the U.S. on a completely different trajectory, one that would eliminate the horrible suffering of war, and the onerous price citizens now pay for instable military adventurism. Refusal to fulfill the demand will result in a massive insurrection in one form or another.

RR: How do you expect to reach all the pertinent candidates for national office?

JR: There already are many who want to run for office on a peace platform. This last election, we got 110 candidates  to sign the Contract For American Renewal.

The success of the Peace Dividend electoral strategy depends on inaugurating a firestorm of public outrage over the theft of our tax dollars under false pretenses and used to prosecute fraudulent wars with exorbitantly expensive military junk for profit. When “We want our money back!” becomes viral, truly progressive politicians who want to work for a peaceful future will run under the Peace Dividend banner. Why? Because it is right, and it will guarantee victory for decent politicians who have been locked out by the warmongering establishment – both political parties, the media, the Deep State (Pentagon and CIA). The key is public awareness and outrage, a public unified by the Peace Dividend concept.

RR: How can this project really be implemented?

JR: 1)  Every peace and progressive organization could make the Peace Dividend concept a centerpiece of their publications, public appearances, protests, rallies, every effort to message the public. This doesn’t mean they abandon what they now do. It means that the Peace Dividend is given equal billing. This project is completely compatible with and relevant to, for example: Black Lives Matter, Fight For 15, End Citizens United, immigration reform, even free university and college. Endless war destroys prospects for ending corruption and having a functioning, representative democracy. Peace organizations should especially get involved (such as): World Without War, Black Alliance For Peace, Code Pink, Black Agenda Report, Popular Resistance, US Labor Against The War, Veterans For Peace, War Resisters League, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Peace Action.

2)  High-profile “progressive” elected politicians must be convinced that promoting the Peace Dividend concept is in their own and everyone’s best interest. It will unify efforts for a more just, humane, peaceful world under one “peace progressive” banner. Public figures who are not in elected office and who have spoken out on behalf of peace are easier to identify: Robert Scheer, Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Tom Engelhardt, Glen Ford, Cynthia McKinney, Amy Goodman, Dennis Kucinich, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Medea Benjamin, Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, Paul Street, Abby Martin, Jimmy Dore, Oliver Stone, Ray McGovern, John Wight, Finian Cunningham, David Swanson, Gareth Porter, Henry Giroux, Paul Craig Roberts, Lee Camp, Cornell West, Richard Wolff, Ann Wright, Ron Paul, Jessie Ventura, Cindy Sheehan, Ron Kovic…

RR: What do you say to critics who reject the idea as “impossible” or “pie in the sky”?

JR: 1)  Something is impossible until it’s not. Human flight, artificial intelligence, a mentally-compromised, corrupt reality show TV celebrity as the President of the United States, come immediately to mind. All impossible. Laughable. Until they weren’t.

2)  What’s truly “pie in the sky” is thinking that the people who directly and enormously profit from war will listen to our pretty please appeals for a kinder, gentler world. These folks only care about money and power. We’re all collateral damage to the empire builders. Peace activists say many of the right things. But the people who need to listen and act – those who make the decisions about war and peace – are not listening. So we have to replace the puppet decision-makers with ones who will listen to everyday citizens and then work for us.

RR: What do you say to peace groups that are active in various projects and think they don’t have time or energy for another?

JR: Current strategies for ending war and promoting peace are not working. We are going backwards. We have more war, greater prospects for yet more war, massive militarization of our society and economy. We need different arguments.

The logic of the Peace Dividend refund is so basic and visceral it can’t be distorted. “You’ve been conned! OUR money has been stolen to fight fraudulent wars. WE deserve a refund!” And as we struggle for that reparation, the insane war system can be stopped in its tracks.

The public is frustrated, unhappy, and many are desperate. They know the government and mass media lie; that the system is rigged. The public is ripe for our calling out the fraud. Many voted for Trump, because he said a lot of the things on the campaign trail they wanted. Yet their trust was once again misplaced. They don’t want traditional answers. That is the beauty of the Peace Dividend idea. It’s fresh! It could start a peace “buzz” in the public! It could even make headlines, which our current peace efforts do not.

RR:  Let’s say hypothetically that you get a candidate contract, that you get enough congressional votes for the peace dividend. You still have the president veto.

JR:  1)  Think back to your high school civics class: Congress can impeach the President, but the President can’t impeach Congress.

2)  A movement of this scale must include the election of a peace-friendly, or better yet a Peace Dividend Refund-committed president.

RR: Let’s say you get the president to sign the dividend contract, you still have a capitalist system with a military empire fortress. You say you want real reform and peace. Why do you think The Establishment is going to let you (the majority) get away with that?

JR: Demanding the Peace Dividend refund and reform agenda is the mechanism by which we truly drain the Washington DC swamp. The new legislators and new president will be bound by contract to put into law the Peace Dividend refund. This will require further legislation, which will completely reorient national priorities. The plan impacts taxation and tax sheltering, subsidies, DoD allocations and war, control of the currency, foreign policy, Wall Street. The weapons industry and corporate autocrats—the ruling elite—will have to abide by these new laws unless they decide to unleash a military attack (public or private). That would be a military coup and would lead to a civil war. While certainly a possibility, that tragic turn of events is beyond the scope of this discussion.

While enacting the Peace Dividend agenda, the way government does business and our dealings with the rest of the international community would be revolutionized such that the real challenges necessary for the continuation of the human race as a viable species could begin to be solved:

1)  Nuclear war and the resulting nuclear winter threatens the survival of the human species.

2)  Climate change threatens civilization and human extinction.

3)  Wealth inequality creates massive suffering and social instability.

4)  Capitalism is an intrinsically flawed, self-destructive, oppressive economic system.

I know the Peace Dividend proposal is an outrageous, unprecedented, completely outside-the-box idea. That is entirely intentional. We must be audacious and uncompromising. We are confronting a ruthless ruling elite enemy that confers us no dignity, literally no place of importance in a world they believe is exclusively theirs to do as they see fit. So the choices are clear:

1)  Either it is the Peace Dividend or some equally outrageous assault on the system or . . .

2)  It is a bloody revolution that will destroy the country or . . .

3)  We live as slaves to suffer and die under the tyranny of perpetual war and capitalist exploitation.

We need to choose and we need to choose quickly. Time is running out.

• John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter, music producer, neo-Marxist, and a bipolar humanist. He has written eight novels and three political non-fiction books. His most recent polemic is The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World. His political articles have appeared at many alternative media outlets. He is now somewhat rooted in a small traditional farming village in Japan near Osaka, where he proudly tends his small but promising vegetable garden. “Scribo ergo sum.”

Scapegoating Russia for Corporate Riches and Internal Fear

To the millions of victims of the Cold War, and those who have struggled valiantly for a lasting friendship between the American and Soviet/Russian people.

That is authors Jeremy Kuzamarov and John Marciano’s dedication of this scholarly work that should be a text for high school, college and university students in the US and worldwide.

“We write this book as the curtain slowly draws down on the American Empire,” thus opened Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in their monumental historical tome The Untold History of the United States. (Their book accompanies the 2012 Showtime documentary film in 12 episodes)

This could easily have been the opening sentence of The Russians are Coming, Again (TRACA) (Monthly Review Press, May 2018, 240 pages).

The book’s title comes from the 1966 Academy Award–winning film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, directed by Norman Jewison, which parodies the Cold War paranoia pervading the US during the war against Vietnam and depicts chaos that seized a small coastal New England town after a Soviet submarine ran aground. The sub-title—“first as tragedy, then as farce”—comes from Karl Marx’ description of history repeating itself.

Half-century after the film was released US citizens are again being instructed to fear the “Russian menace”. Bastions of “objective media outlets” bombard us with such ridiculousness. Why? Just ask one question. What could Russia gain from being a menace to the world’s mightiest of nations; from interfering in its elections; from threatening war by moving some of their military close to their own borders where they are encircled by US-NATO forces, which spend ten times what Russia does on military might; “menaced” by a president who offered and provided real material assistance for the US war against Afghanistan; by a Russian president who went fishing with the two Bush presidents, a Russian leader who plays the piano and sings “Blueberry Hill”?

The charge of election interference has been accepted by most of the media even though intelligence agencies, whose legitimacy is at one of its lowest points following the weapons of mass destruction lie-debacle in Iraq—released a report so bereft of actual evidence that they could only make an “assessment.” In Deep State jargon that means a “guess”. Forensic specialists working with dissenting intelligence veterans asserted that the hack on the email server of the Democratic National Committee chairman was the result of a leak by someone on the inside carried out in United States eastern time zone.

Much of the book centers on a historical perspective of contemporary U.S.-Russian relations emphasizing how the absence of historical consciousness has resulted in a repetition of past tragedies and farces mainly conducted for economic profit for the massive weapons/war industry.

I quote a key paragraph at the conclusion of the book emphasizing this theme:

One clear lesson we can draw from history is that the Russians have more reason to fear us than we have to fear them. We should not be fooled by alarmist claims about Putin and a new Russia imperialism, a form of projecting our own behavior onto someone else…” as history has shown.

It was the United States that invaded the Soviet Union—not vice versa. It was the United States that encircled the Soviet Union with military bases during the Cold War and initiated many other provocative policies while intervening aggressively in Third World nations under the pretext of fighting Communism. A study by Ruth Leger Sivard that analyzed 125 military conflicts from 1946 to 1981, 95 percent in the Global South, found ‘Western powers accounting for 79 percent of the interventions, Communists for 6 percent.” Most of the latter were enacted around their borders with the exception of Cuba, which supported multiple African liberation wars against European colonial powers.

The foreword of Sivard’s book, World Military and Social Expenditures 1981, was written by George F. Kennan, who had been the epitome of a US imperialist war strategist. Late in life, he reversed himself regretting his policy of “communist containment”, which he authored under President Truman. Kennan is but one of thousands of key military, intelligence/covert operatives, and close presidential advisors/secretaries who have come over to the side of truth and peace. Many of those people are key protestors of the current war hysteria: Paul Craig Roberts, William Blum, Jack Matlock, Ramsey Clark, John Stockwell, Ray McGovern.

These dissident veterans remind us that it was the United States that expanded NATO toward the Russian border in violation of a 1990 promise not to do so, and meddles in the affairs of nations on Russia’s border, including Ukraine and Georgia. They also oppose overthrowing leaders not totally under US tutelage, like Qaddafi in Libya, Hussein in Iraq, and attempting to remove Assad in Syria—all of which alarms the Russians.

It is the US government that has methodically and chronically interfered in scores of nations’ elections; removing their leaders by murder or invasion. Just read one of William Blum’s books about this sordid record of manufacturing “democracy” for those it wishes to rule.

“Russia has a checkered past as a nation as do we,” write the authors, “however, it has never intervened militarily in Mexico or Canada, funneled expansive military aid to them, tried to manipulate their politics,” as the US has done and does to Russia’s neighbors.

Here is but one of many examples the authors provide readers about how unfair and imbalanced the US media are about US and Russian politics.

The mass media tirelessly demonizes Russia and President Putin, preparing public opinion for war while ignoring or belitting the few peace activists in the US. For example: according to Edward S. Herman, the Times from January 1 to March 21, 2014, had twenty-three articles on the Pussy Riot group to signify alleged Russian limits on free speech, and gave one member of the group op-ed space to denounce Putin. The group had been arrested after disrupting a church service and were given a two-year sentence. Around the same time, eighty-four-year-old Sister Megan Rice was given a [three-year] jail sentence for protesting a nuclear weapons site in Tennessee, but she was mentioned only in the back pages and not given an opportunity to publish an op-ed. Nor could she meet with the Times editorial board as Pussy Riot did.

She, and two comrade activists, served two years before release in 2014.

The first chapter of TRACA discusses the new Cold War, with a focus on the Russophobic discourse and demonization of Putin in the New York Times and its political implications.

The second chapter goes back to when the Franklin Pierce administration sent a military delegation to assist Russia during the Crimean War (ironically enough), and Russia returned the favor by sending a naval fleet as a signal to Britain and France to not intervene militarily on behalf of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. Half a century later (1918-20), the unprovoked U.S. invaded the new Soviet Russia without the consent of Congress.

The US military commander in Siberia, William S. Graves, considered the invasion a violation of Russia’s sovereignty. Graves also denounced horrible atrocities conducted by both US forces and allies in the Russian White Army.  Among those killed were former members of the constituent assembly, railroad workers who had struck for higher wages, and at least two thousand Jews.

In that war US and British troops pioneered the use of nerve gas designed to incapacitate and demoralize the Red Army.

In the United States, critics of the intervention were prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts that made it a crime to “willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the U.S. form of government, constitution, military or naval force or flag.”

So Much for Freedom of Speech!

The book also shows how the Russian army and people were the actual victors of WWII. Less than half-a-million US forces lost their lives compared to 27 million Russians and other Soviet people, about half of all deaths in the war.

In February 1942, General Douglass MacArthur, who later was willing to invade “red” China and use nuclear weapons, said of the Russian military:

I observed such effective resistance to the heaviest blows of a hitherto undefeated enemy, followed by a smashing counterattack which is driving the enemy back to his own land. The scale and grandeur of this effort marks it as the greatest military achievement in all history.

The next four chapters provide a panoramic history of the first Cold War, showing how it was an avoidable tragedy.

“NATO chiefs tellingly concluded in 1950 that the Soviet armed forces had not increased since the end of the Second World War, and there were no serious ‘indications that the USSR is preparing for [war against the West].’ General Albert Greunther, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff in Europe, stated that Soviet ‘industrial production [was] not geared to an all-out war,’” wrote the authors.

Kuzmarov and Marciano conclude that it was “the imperatives of class rule that drove the United States to expand its hegemony worldwide, the warping of the American political economy through excessive military spending, [and caused] the purges and witch hunts, and the Cold War’s adverse effect on the black community and unions.”

The final chapter delves into the Cold War’s effect on Third World nations, which suffered from proxy wars and regime change operations. The era’s victims and dissidents are spotlighted, and it is hoped that their “wisdom and courage may yet inspire a new generation of radicals”.

Again, the authors cite the rabid anti-Communist General MacArthur, of all people, who asserted that during the Cold War the US government “kept us in a perpetual state of fear—kept us in a perpetual stampede of patriotic fervor—with the cry of a grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”

The Cold War was started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman despite having no fear of any Soviet military threat. General Walter Bedell Smith became the Central Intelligence Agency’s second director (1950-3). He had been General Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff and Truman’s ambassador to the Soviet Union. He was so confident that the Soviets would not “undertake a deliberate military attack on . . . our concentrations of aircraft at Wiesbaden [Germany]” that he would “not hesitate to go there and sit on the field myself.”

The authors’ conclusion about the Cold War:

As brutal a leader as he was, Stalin cannot be held singularly responsible for starting the Cold War if we consider that the US controlled more than 2,000 bases and 30,000 military installations at the end of the Second World War, virtually encircling the Soviet Union.

Add to that the USSR was totally impoverished, bankrupted and shattered by Nazi genocide.

US Cold War further waged ‘limited wars’ in Korea and Vietnam where it splashed oceans of napalm, defoliated the landscape, killed millions of civilians, supported drug trafficking proxies in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and unleashed chemical and likely biological warfare, while training repressive police forces in dozens of countries.

The Cold War also devastated communities of leftists and activists in the United States as a result of McCarthyite witch hunts, eroding the prospects for social democracy and included the warping of the US political economy and development of a permanent warfare state; the corruption of science, US universities, and the media; victimization of blacks; and the abuse of civil liberties…and its lingering effects on US political culture, which can be seen in the hysteria about Putin.

So what did the US get out of the Cold War? Enormous profits for military contractors like Lockheed, Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, Chrysler, and Hughes Aircraft. These corporations employed legions of former army officers, spent millions of dollars in lobbying, and increasingly financed the political campaigns of candidates from both major parties. US taxpayers were the ones who got fleeced. A 1959 congressional probe led by F. Edward Hébert (D-LA), a Southern conservative Democrat, found that major military contractors had defrauded the government of millions of dollars by pocketing excess profits and charging unnecessary overhead for no-bid contracts. They were given blank checks to produce weapons systems that often-proved to be faulty.

That criminal behavior continues today.

What did the people get? About 20% are poor and many suffer mal-nutrition. Americans rank number 18 in infant mortality. The nation’s infrastructure is in ruins, the schools are imprisoning students who learn far less than most other industrialized nations’ students. The blockaded and attacked small nation of Cuba has better health care and educational benefits than does the richest nation and greatest aggressor in the world.

Trillions of dollars the people could have benefited from pay for murderous projects like Operation Paperclip, which left a legacy of “ballistic missiles, Sarin gas cluster bombs, underground bunkers, space capsules and weaponized bubonic plague.” “Eight of the scientists had worked directly with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, or Herman Goering, ten were part of the Nazi storm troopers. Six stood trial at Nuremburg…. The best-known Paperclip scientist was Werner von Braun, who was instrumental to the development of guided missiles and the U.S. space program. These operations also included [the CIA and] US army’s biological weapons program at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which led to the creation of anthrax, pest-laden bombs, and herbicides like Agent Orange, which resulted in birth deformities, cancers, and environmental damage in Southeast Asia… and Operation MK-ULTRA sponsored research in the behavioral sciences.” The CIA helped to place Nazi scientists in universities, which also trained secret police in Vietnam.

Under the mad illogic of the Cold War, the United States developed a nuclear stockpile of 22,229 warheads (or 10,948 megatons of TNT) by 1961 compared to 3,320 Soviet warheads (3,420 megatons of TNT). In 1954, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) put forth a plan to attack the Soviet Union with hundreds of bombs, turning it into “a smoking, radiating ruin at the end of two hours.” “The plan involved killing 80 percent of the population in 118 major cities, or 60 million people.” “That same year the United States began to place nuclear weapons in Europe…a clear provocation and threat from the Soviet point of view, one that ignited their own escalation of the arms race.”

The Cold War ideology intertwined with the racist McCarthyism of the times. Key African American leaders for equality, justice and peace were demonized by it—W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King. The Establishment even cajoled some black spokespersons to condemn these heroic fighters for justice, and this atmosphere aided in the assassination of King.

In the 1980s, the most popular president in US history, Ronald Reagan, was the circus master of internal conflicts throughout Central America where he backed gruesome dictators and militarists who massacred and tortured hundreds of thousands of people.

Reagan’s administration supplied over $100 million in weapons to Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, whom Reagan dubbed as “freedom fighters” in the style of the American founding  fathers. In January 1984, CIA agent Duane Clarridge inaugurated a program to mine Nicaragua’s harbors. Two Nicaraguans were killed and fifteen sailors were injured. The World Court condemned the US for mining the harbor in Managua, which caused death and destruction. Its verdict was ignored just as was the verdict that Reagan had sponsored the Iran-Contra crime and defied his own congress that prohibited military support to the Contras. That “patriotic operation” included sending weapons to Iran, which was at war with Iraq, and the US was allied with Iraq.

The crimes of the Cold War are too long for any book review, but the authors do their best to re-reveal them. They point out that during the first Cold War:

The Soviet Union was a perfect foil for the United States because the absence of political freedom could be played up for propaganda purposes. The true danger, however, was that Communism represented an alternative to capitalist industrialization, structured around a command economy, attractive to Third World nations that equated capitalism with colonialism.

Putin’s Russia fulfills a similar function in US demonology…[bad] Russia helps to reaffirm US national identity and visions of exceptionalism and righteousness at a time of escalating domestic crises, and helps rationalize the expansion of NATO and maintenance of huge military budgets. The result is that we are again threatened with the outbreak of a Third World War, with the United States again bearing considerable responsibility.

Without a movement supporting the sovereign rights of Russia and all nations, US politicians and the mass media hypnotize ordinary people with the false slogans that the US fights for democracy; i.e., majority rule. The June 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 87 percent of Russians have confidence in Putin; 58 percent of Russians say they are satisfied with their country’s direction. The New York Times, however, depicts Putin as a new Tsar, a threat to global stability.

So much for majority rule!

Kuzmarov and Maricano point out that the masses of Russians appreciate their elected leader because he turned the country back to them after the Yeltsin-Clinton plundering. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, GDP in Russia plunged by forty percent, people lost their social benefits, 75 percent were plunged into poverty, longevity for men dropped to about fifty-seven years and disease epidemics revived. The 1990s was a horrible decade, though the New York Times extolled Boris Yeltsin as a ‘key defender of Russia’s hard-won democratic reforms” and “enormous asset for the U.S.’” Today, economic and social conditions have greatly improved.

The authors provide a wonderful index. They are meticulous in documenting how Establishment politicians and militarists are recreating the Red Scare witch-hunt of the 40s-50s. One of numerous ironies is that its early advocates were Republican Party hawks such as Senator Joe McCarthy and his chief aide Roy Cohn. The right-wing fanatic Cohn was also a key player in the murder of the heroes Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Then he became a loyal friend and lawyer of Donald Trump.

This “gay homophobe, the anti-Semitic Jew, the self-serving, self-loathing one-time chief counsel and henchman of red-baiting Senator Joe McCarthy of 1950s infamy…got Trump his tax breaks for Trump Tower. ‘Donald calls me 15 to 20 times a day,’ Cohn said in 1980 to reporter Marie Brenner,” so wrote Michael Kruse for Politico Magazine.

Today, the loudest of new Red Scare proponents are Democratic Party spokespeople and their comrades in the military, the Deep State and the media. Repeating history as a farce, the rekindled Cold War atmosphere makes those who explain Putin’s truly benign motives are subjected to neo-McCarthyite attacks.

The one bone I must pick with the authors is their placement of Bernie Sanders in the same category with protestors against this new Cold War scenario. They write:

As the Bernie Sanders campaign, Occupy Wall Street, and spinoffs like the Democracy Spring movement have reminded us, the priorities of US government elites in both the Republican and Democratic parties are not the same as those of the public at large. Greedy, ideologically driven plutocrats want open markets, control of world resources, and access to military bases that could enable the extension of corporate interests, power, and U.S. hegemony. The public at large wants peace, security, a healthy environment, and access to good jobs, which plutocratic interests threaten at every turn.

Bernie Sanders, however, is no different than other Cold Warriors. He has backed all the Establishment wars for decades. He only voted against the Iraq war but then voted for funding it. Sanders supports Clinton, the Democratic Party and Russiaphobia. The first priority of every person who wishes to live in a peaceful world with justice and equality is to oppose wars of aggression for domination and profit.

I concur with the authors’ final words:

We believe that our only hope remains the development of a citizens’ campaign for peace and justice along the lines of the anti-Vietnam War movement, one capable of restoring some sanity to our foreign policy. We must do everything in our power to try to stop the new Cold War, which threatens even more damage to humanity than the first one, started by Woodrow Wilson following the Russian Revolution and extended by Harry S. Truman & Co.