Category Archives: NATO

After a Year of Biden, Why Do We Still Have Trump’s Foreign Policy?

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President Biden and the Democrats were highly critical of President Trump’s foreign policy, so it was reasonable to expect that Biden would quickly remedy its worst impacts. As a senior member of the Obama administration, Biden surely needed no schooling on Obama’s diplomatic agreements with Cuba and Iran, both of which began to resolve long-standing foreign policy problems and provided models for the renewed emphasis on diplomacy that Biden was promising.

Tragically for America and the world, Biden has failed to restore Obama’s progressive initiatives, and has instead doubled down on many of Trump’s most dangerous and destabilizing policies. It is especially ironic and sad that a president who ran so stridently on being different from Trump has been so reluctant to reverse his regressive policies. Now the Democrats’ failure to deliver on their promises with respect to both domestic and foreign policy is undermining their prospects in November’s midterm election.

Here is our assessment of Biden’s handling of ten critical foreign policy issues:

  1. Prolonging the agony of the people of Afghanistan. It is perhaps symptomatic of Biden’s foreign policy problems that the signal achievement of his first year in office was an initiative launched by Trump, to withdraw the United States from its 20-year war in Afghanistan. But Biden’s implementation of this policy was tainted by the same failure to understand Afghanistan that doomed and dogged at least three prior administrations and the U.S.’s hostile military occupation for 20 years, leading to the speedy restoration of the Taliban government and the televised chaos of the U.S. withdrawal.

Now, instead of helping the Afghan people recover from two decades of U.S.-inflicted destruction, Biden has seized $9.4 billion in Afghan foreign currency reserves, while the people of Afghanistan suffer through a desperate humanitarian crisis. It is hard to imagine how even Donald Trump could be more cruel or vindictive.

  1. Provoking a crisis with Russia over Ukraine. Biden’s first year in office is ending with a dangerous escalation of tensions at the Russia/Ukraine border, a situation that threatens to devolve into a military conflict between the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear states–the United States and Russia. The United States bears much responsibility for this crisis by supporting the violent overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014, backing NATO expansion right up to Russia’s border, and arming and training Ukrainian forces.

Biden’s failure to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse, and Cold Warriors within his administration are threatening Russia instead of proposing concrete measures to de-escalate the situation.

  1. Escalating Cold War tensions and a dangerous arms race with China. President Trump launched a tariff war with China that economically damaged both countries, and reignited a dangerous Cold War and arms race with China and Russia to justify an ever-increasing U.S. military budget.

After a decade of unprecedented U.S. military spending and aggressive military expansion under Bush II and Obama, the U.S. “pivot to Asia” militarily encircled China, forcing it to invest in more robust defense forces and advanced weapons. Trump, in turn, used China’s strengthened defenses as a pretext for further increases in U.S. military spending, launching a new arms race that has raised the existential risk of nuclear war to a new level.

Biden has only exacerbated these dangerous international tensions. Alongside the risk of war, his aggressive policies toward China have led to an ominous rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, and created obstacles to much-needed cooperation with China to address climate change, the pandemic and other global problems.

  1. Abandoning Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. After President Obama’s sanctions against Iran utterly failed to force it to halt its civilian nuclear program, he finally took a progressive, diplomatic approach, which led to the JCPOA nuclear agreement in 2015. Iran scrupulously met all its obligations under the treaty, but Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA in 2018. Trump’s withdrawal was vigorously condemned by Democrats, including candidate Biden, and Senator Sanders promised to rejoin the JCPOA on his first day in office if he became president.

Instead of immediately rejoining an agreement that worked for all parties, the Biden administration thought it could pressure Iran to negotiate a “better deal.” Exasperated Iranians instead elected a more conservative government and Iran moved forward on enhancing its nuclear program.

A year later, and after eight rounds of shuttle diplomacy in Vienna, Biden has still not rejoined the agreement. Ending his first year in the White House with the threat of another Middle East war is enough to give Biden an “F” in diplomacy.

  1. Backing Big Pharma over a People’s Vaccine. Biden took office as the first Covid vaccines were being approved and rolled out across the United States and the world. Severe inequities in global vaccine distribution between rich and poor countries were immediately apparent and became known as “vaccine apartheid.”

Instead of manufacturing and distributing vaccines on a non-profit basis to tackle the pandemic as the global public health crisis that it is, the United States and other Western countries chose to maintain the neoliberal regime of patents and corporate monopolies on vaccine manufacture and distribution. The failure to open up the manufacture and distribution of vaccines to poorer countries gave the Covid virus free rein to spread and mutate, leading to new global waves of infection and death from the Delta and Omicron variants

Biden belatedly agreed to support a patent waiver for Covid vaccines under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, but with no real plan for a “People’s Vaccine,” Biden’s concession has made no impact on millions of preventable deaths.

  1. Ensuring catastrophic global warming at COP26 in Glasgow. After Trump stubbornly ignored the climate crisis for four years, environmentalists were encouraged when Biden used his first days in office to rejoin the Paris climate accord and cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But by the time Biden got to Glasgow, he had let the centerpiece of his own climate plan, the Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP), be stripped out of the Build Back Better bill in Congress at the behest of fossil-fuel industry sock-puppet Joe Manchin, turning the U.S. pledge of a 50% cut from 2005 emissions by 2030 into an empty promise.

Biden’s speech in Glasgow highlighted China and Russia’s failures, neglecting to mention that the United States has higher emissions per capita than either of them. Even as COP26 was taking place, the Biden administration infuriated activists by putting oil and gas leases up for auction for 730,000 acres of the American West and 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. At the one-year mark, Biden has talked the talk, but when it comes to confronting Big Oil, he is not walking the walk, and the whole world is paying the price.

  1. Political prosecutions of Julian Assange, Daniel Hale and Guantanamo torture victims. Under President Biden, the United States remains a country where the systematic killing of civilians and other war crimes go unpunished, while whistleblowers who muster the courage to expose these horrific crimes to the public are prosecuted and jailed as political prisoners.

In July 2021, former drone pilot Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison for exposing the killing of civilians in America’s drone wars. WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange still languishes in Belmarsh Prison in England, after 11 years fighting extradition to the United States for exposing U.S. war crimes.

Twenty years after it set up an illegal concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to imprison 779 mostly innocent people kidnapped around the world, 39 prisoners remain there in illegal, extrajudicial detention. Despite promises to close this sordid chapter of U.S. history, the prison is still functioning and Biden is allowing the Pentagon to actually build a new, closed courtroom at Guantanamo to more easily keep the workings of this gulag hidden from public scrutiny.

  1. Economic siege warfare against the people of Cuba, Venezuela and other countries. Trump unilaterally rolled back Obama’s reforms on Cuba and recognized unelected Juan Guaidó as the “president” of Venezuela, as the United States tightened the screws on its economy with “maximum pressure” sanctions.

Biden has continued Trump’s failed economic siege warfare against countries that resist U.S. imperial dictates, inflicting endless pain on their people without seriously imperiling, let alone bringing down, their governments. Brutal U.S. sanctions and efforts at regime change have universally failed for decades, serving mainly to undermine the United States’s own democratic and human rights credentials.

Juan Guaidó is now the least popular opposition figure in Venezuela, and genuine grassroots movements opposed to U.S. intervention are bringing popular democratic and socialist governments to power across Latin America, in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Honduras – and maybe Brazil in 2022.

  1. Still supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and its repressive ruler. Under Trump, Democrats and a minority of Republicans in Congress gradually built a bipartisan majority that voted to withdraw from the Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen and stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia. Trump vetoed their efforts, but the Democratic election victory in 2020 should have led to an end to the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Instead, Biden only issued an order to stop selling “offensive” weapons to Saudi Arabia, without clearly defining that term, and went on to okay a $650 million weapons sale. The United States still supports the Saudi war, even as the resulting humanitarian crisis kills thousands of Yemeni children. And despite Biden’s pledge to treat the Saudis’ cruel leader, MBS, as a pariah, Biden refused to even sanction MBS for his barbaric murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  1. Still complicit in illegal Israeli occupation, settlements and war crimes. The United States is Israel’s largest arms supplier, and Israel is the world’s largest recipient of U.S. military aid (approximately $4 billion annually), despite its illegal occupation of Palestine, widely condemned war crimes in Gaza and illegal settlement building. U.S. military aid and arms sales to Israel clearly violate the U.S. Leahy Laws and Arms Export Control Act.

Donald Trump was flagrant in his disdain for Palestinian rights, including tranferring the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to a property in Jerusalem that is only partly within Israel’s internationally recognized border, a move that infuriated Palestinians and drew international condemnation.

But nothing has changed under Biden. The U.S. position on Israel and Palestine is as illegitimate and contradictory as ever, and the U.S. Embassy to Israel remains on illegally occupied land. In May, Biden supported the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, which killed 256 Palestinians, half of them civilians, including 66 children.


Each part of this foreign policy fiasco costs human lives and creates regional–even global–instability. In every case, progressive alternative policies are readily available. The only thing lacking is political will and independence from corrupt vested interests.

The United States has squandered unprecedented wealth, global goodwill and a historic position of international leadership to pursue unattainable imperial ambitions, using military force and other forms of violence and coercion in flagrant violation of the UN Charter and international law.

Candidate Biden promised to restore America’s position of global leadership, but has instead doubled down on the policies through which the United States lost that position in the first place, under a succession of Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump was only the latest iteration in America’s race to the bottom.

Biden has wasted a vital year doubling down on Trump’s failed policies. In the coming year, we hope that the public will remind Biden of its deep-seated aversion to war and that he will respond—albeit reluctantly—by adopting more dovish and rational ways.

The post After a Year of Biden, Why Do We Still Have Trump’s Foreign Policy? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ukraine: The West Has Paved the Road to War with Lies

The Three Big Lies Pertaining to Ukraine:

  1. The West’s leaders never promised Mikhail Gorbachev and his foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze not to expand NATO eastward. They also did not state that they would take serious Soviet/Russian security interests around its borders. And therefore, each of the former Warsaw Pact countries has a right to join NATO if they decide to freely.
  2. The Ukraine conflict started by Putin’s out-of-the-blue aggression on Ukraine and then annexation of Crimea.
  3. NATO always has an open door to new members. It never tries to invite or drag them in, doesn’t seek expansion. It just happens because East European countries since 1989-90 have wanted to join without any pressure from NATO’s side. That also applies to Ukraine.

Lie # 1 – The West never promised Gorbachev not to expand NATO

Concerning the first lie, listen to or read US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, here on January 7, 2022.

Here he presents a series of accusations and empirical lies about Russian politics and behaviours, predictably omitting every mention of the simple fact that it takes two to have a conflict and defying Eric Clapton’s wise advice that “before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.” His body language and submachine gun stumbling way of speaking reveal that he is perfectly aware that he is lying. Note in passing that the journalists present ask only “understanding” questions. The whole thing smacks the Soviet Union shortly before its collapse.

Why is it so evident that he lies?

TFF has reproduced two essential pieces from the National Security Archive at George Washington University with irrefutable documentation that Gorbachev indeed was given such assurances – “cascades” of them! as is stated in the articles – by all the most influential Western leaders at the end of 1989 and into 1990:

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev heard” – and

NATO Expansion: The Budapest Blow Up 1994

Read them, and you will be shocked.

You’ll find that they have lots of notes and, in sum, no less than 48 original historical documents. For instance, here is just one of the 48 informing us about then NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner’s view and statement:

Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: “The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.”

Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion – “13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view” – and that he will speak against Poland’s and Romania’s membership in NATO to those countries’ leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Woerner emphasizes that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.

This is just one of the “cascades” of statements and assurances given to the Russians at the time. Over 30 years ago, 13 out of 16 members were against NATO expansion because they respected Russia’s crisis and legitimate security interests! Today – 2022 – NATO has 30 members!

Is the U.S. Secretary of State, his advisors and speechwriters unaware of the next-door National Security Archives? Are we really to believe that they have no clue about the conditions and dialogues at the end of the first Cold War? If so, they ought to resign or be fired for their unbelievable incompetence.

If not so – if they know the content of these historical documents – Mr Blinken, his advisors and speechwriters know that they lie.

Lie # 2 – It all started with Putin snatching Crimea

The second lie is a lie by omission. Antony Blinken and almost all Western politicians, including the NATO S-G, and mainstream media simply omit that the West attempted a regime change in Kyiv in 2014 and that Putin’s reacted to it by annexing Crimea.

The Maidan riots took place in February 2014, the sniper fire on February 20. Russia formally annexed – or accepted self-determination – of Crimea on March 18. The complex Western-instigated and -financed turmoil was orchestrated by the EU, US and NATO leadership, as you can read in articles or books by people who know such as Gordon M Hahn and Richard Sakaw (“Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands”), Stephen Cohen, Henry Kissinger and many more here.

To put it crudely, the conflict issue was the Western attempt at getting Ukraine to side not with Russia but with Western institutions, the EU and, later, NATO. One problem would be Russian-speaking minorities, the opinion polls concerning NATO membership which were not in favour and, more strongly, that Russia would a) never accept Ukraine in NATO – but very well as a neutral state between – and neither that Russia’s extensive military base in Crimea, on lease for 30+ years ahead, should end up being located in a NATO country.

This entire regime-change policy under the Obama administration was one big insensitive and plain foolish idea also in the light of the old promises given to Gorbachev.

But of course, that cannot be admitted today, eight years later. To cover it up, the US/NATO must blame the present situation on Russia, on Russia only. Russia annexed Crimea for no good reason; nothing “we” did preceded that move or could explain it.

Like with the lie about promises never given to Gorbachev and this omission of Western regime change in Ukraine, one must ask: Are they really so desperate and so politically naive that they believe that we neither remember nor can put 2 + 2 together?

Lie # 3 – NATO doesn’t seek expansion, it merely has an open door to all potential new members who qualify.

Now to the third lie. It’s stated repeatedly and in a larger context by NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg here:

NATO as an alliance has enormous resources to influence opinions in potential member states. Contrary to his open door talk, NATO’s Charter speaks only about inviting new members, not about holding a door open for anyone who might want to join.

It should be well-known by now – but isn’t – that in the late 1990s, Vladimir Putin asked to join NATO – but it didn’t happen, did it, Mr Stoltenberg? And why not? Because Putin – Russia – wanted to be invited as an equal partner and not sit and wait till Montenegro had become a member, to put it bluntly. NATO decided to close the door at Putin’s request.

This – fantastic – story is told by a former NATO Secretary-General, George Robertson; there is no reason to assume that is not credible or just a rumour. Or, for that matter, that Putin was not serious.

And what an exciting thought: Russia in NATO! Who would Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Blinken – and all the rest of the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC – then have to put all the blame on? How then legitimate NATO’s permanent armament and its 12 times higher military expenditures than Russia’s?

Mr Stoltenberg must know that he lies when saying NATO has an open door. It doesn’t for Russia. It doesn’t even have open ears for Russia’s legitimate security concerns. But it knows how it would never accept what it requires Russia to accept. Here is a quotation from January 14, 2022, documenting the double-standard, the exceptionalist self-understanding of the US:

“US will act ‘decisively’ if Russia deploys military to Cuba or Venezuela.” – The White House

United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the idea “bluster in the public commentary” and noted that the deployment of Russian military infrastructure to Latin America was not a point of discussion at the recent Russia-US Strategic Stability Dialogue in Geneva.

“If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively,” he said, responding to a question from a journalist.

The US opposition to Russian troop placement in the Americas may raise some eyebrows in Moscow, which has repeatedly complained about US armed forces being located near Russia’s western frontier.” (Russia Today, January 14, 2022)

Finally, Mr Stoltenberg is very proud of NATO’s generous training and assistance to potential NATO members. Before they are admitted, they must go through all kinds of reforms and accept practical, military and political support. And what is the real purpose of all that training and generous help? Stoltenberg says it in the video:

“…It also makes the societies of Ukraine and Georgia stronger. So resilient, well-functioning societies are also less vulnerable from interference from Russia.”

In plain Realpolitik language: the goal is to disconnect countries from Russia’s influence, program them for NATO membership and then they decide in complete freedom to ask to become members.

Remember, NATO never drags in members. NATO set up its office in Kyiv in 1994. And here you’ll see how Olga Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, standing at NATO’s HQ with Stoltenberg, consistently talking about NATO as Ukraine’s “allies,” expecting all kinds of guarantees and – in Foreign Policy of course – argues that Ukraine Needs a Clear Path to NATO Membership in the face of Russian aggression.

Accumulate expectations and add a series of lies when Reality emerges as a train coming against you in a dark tunnel. And you have the perfect recipe for war – Cold or Warm. Or both.

The post Ukraine: The West Has Paved the Road to War with Lies first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Skepticism Alert: Washington and NYT Expose Russian False Flag

On 14 January, a breaking news story from the New York Times informed its readers: “U.S. Says Russia Sent Saboteurs Into Ukraine to Create Pretext for Invasion.”

Unsurprisingly, Washington “did not release details of the evidence it had collected.” Why did the NYT not question the withholding of evidence? Why even deign to report what so easily could be dismissed, by definition, as hearsay? Is that because the White House is a paragon of truth-telling? Did its erroneous reporting by disgraced writer Judith Miller that Iraq possessed weapons-of-mass-destruction precipitating a US-led invasion not teach NYT a lesson?

Nevertheless, the NYT chooses to lend credence to the anti-Russia accusation. It sources Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, who “said the Russian military planned to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. She said Moscow was using the same playbook as it did in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, a part of Ukraine.”

What does it say about the NYT when it unquestioningly quotes a person or entity? One might well surmise that the NYT has accorded its imprimatur that what has been said is an unquestionable fact. What about relevant background information that is omitted by the NYT?

Since when does a referendum in which 97% of the population chose to join Russia rather than remain a part of Ukraine? Why does this expression of the democratic will constitute an annexation? The US tried to have the referendum ruled illegal in the United Nations Security Council but this was, predictably, quashed by a Russian veto. China abstained noting that Crimea is not a superficial consideration and that there is a “complex intertwinement of historical and contemporary factors.” And how could the UN go against self-determination for Crimea when that principle is enshrined in Article I of the UN Charter? UN secretary-general António Guterres said the principle of self-determination “remains both a source of pride for the Organization and a crucial pillar of its work going forward.

Why does the NYT not mention how Crimea became a part of Ukraine in the first place? Is it not pertinent that Crimea became a part of the Ukraine as result of a transfer from Russia by the USSR in 1954? When Ukraine departed the USSR did it still merit keeping Crimea and the Sevastopol Naval Base important for Russian security?

Is it not crucial to mention that the Crimean referendum only took place after a US-instigated coup that toppled the elected government in Ukraine and saw Neonazis assume governmental office in Kyiv?

Is it journalism to quote a Pentagon official as saying the intelligence about the operation is “very credible”?

The NYT relates that the refusal to reveal evidence is “for fear of alerting the Russian operatives whose movements are being tracked”? What kind of excuse is that? If indeed any of this “intelligence” is true, then the operatives must now know that they were tracked?

Despite all the aforementioned, the NYT seems cocksure about their reporting: “The American allegations were clearly part of a strategy to try to prevent an attack by exposing it in advance.” Those clever Americans thwarting a Russian attack and saving Ukraine without having to fire a shot. Cough, cough.

Among the Russian demands from the nugatory Brussels talks, the NYT notes, without further comment: “Russia has also demanded that the United States remove all of its nuclear weapons from Europe, and that Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia, three surrounding states that once were part of the Soviet empire, never join NATO.”

The current editors at the NYT should know well the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet the NYT did not connect the dots to Soviet nukes in Cuba and American nukes in Europe. Why were American concerns about nukes across the pond in Cuba a grave security threat while nukes in Europe on Russia’s front porch are not a security threat to Russia?

As a matter of principle, the US-NATO side ought best to consider the security concerns of all actors. And while all the actors are considering, a suggestion: consider declaring continental Europe a nuclear weapon-free zone. It should help anxious Europeans should sleep a bit easier.

The post Skepticism Alert: Washington and NYT Expose Russian False Flag first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why Washington’s Focus on “Credibility” is a Recipe for War

The most pressing threat to global security right now isn’t so-called “provocations” by either Russia or China. It is the United States’ misplaced obsession with its own “credibility”.

This rallying cry by Washington officials – echoed by the media and allies in London and elsewhere – is code for allowing the US to act like a global gangster while claiming to be the world’s policeman. US “credibility” was apparently thrown into question last summer – and only when President Joe Biden held firm to a pledge to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.

Prominent critics, including in the Pentagon, objected that any troop withdrawal would both suggest the US was backing off from a commitment to maintain the so-called “international order” and further embolden the West’s “enemies” – from the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) group to Russia and China.

In a postmortem in September, General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, echoed a view common in Washington: “I think that our credibility with allies and partners around the world, and with adversaries, is being intensely reviewed by them to see which way this is going to go – and I think that damage is one word that could be used.”

At the same time, a former defence official in the George W Bush administration judged US credibility after the Afghanistan withdrawal at “rock bottom“.

The only way this understanding of US “credibility” makes sense is if one disregards the disastrous previous two decades of Washington’s role in Afghanistan. Those were the years in which the US army propped up a bunch of wildly unpopular kleptocrats in Kabul who ransacked the public coffers as the US launched an arms’ length drone war that ended up killing large numbers of Afghan civilians.

To bolster its apparently diminished “credibility” after the troop withdrawal, the US has imposed crushing sanctions on Afghanistan, deepening its current famine. There have also been reports of CIA efforts to run covert operations against the Taliban by aiding its opponents.

Cold War relic

Washington’s “credibility” was also seemingly in peril when US and Russian officials met in Geneva this week for negotiations in the midst of a diplomatic, and potential military, standoff over Ukraine.

The background are demands from Moscow that Washington stops encircling Russia with military bases and that Nato end its relentless advancement towards Russia’s borders. Nato should be a relic of a Cold War-era that officially ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991. Moscow dissolved its own version of Nato, the Warsaw Pact, more than three decades ago.

Russia had been given verbal assurances in 1990 by George HW Bush’s administration that Nato would not expand militarily beyond the borders of what was then West Germany. Seven years later, President Bill Clinton signed the Nato-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, which committed Russia and Nato not to treat each other “as adversaries”, while Nato reiterated that there would be no “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” in former Eastern bloc states.

Every subsequent US administration has flagrantly broken both of these pledges, with Nato troops now stationed across eastern Europe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Moscow feels as menaced by Nato’s aggressive posturing, which serves to revive its Cold War fears, as Washington would if Russia placed military bases in Cuba and Mexico.

No one should forget that the US was prepared to bring the world to the brink of armageddon in a nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union in 1962 to prevent Moscow from stationing nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Historic alliance

Despite the current clamour about the need for the US to maintain its “credibility”, Washington was in fact only being asked at the Geneva talks to start honouring, 30 years late, commitments it made long ago and has repeatedly violated.

The latest flashpoint is Ukraine, Russia’s neighbour, which has been roiling since a coup in 2014 overthrew the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Moscow. The deeply divided country is split between those who want to prioritise their historic ties with Russia and those who want to be embraced by the European Union.

Moscow – and a proportion of Ukrainians – believe Washington and Europe are exploiting the push for an economic pact to engineer Ukraine’s subordination to Nato security policies, directed against Russia. Such fears are not misplaced. Each of what were formerly Soviet states that became an EU member has also been recruited to Nato. In fact, since 2009 it has been an official requirement, through the Treaty of Lisbon, that EU member states align their security policies with Nato.

Now US “credibility” apparently depends on its determination to bring Nato to Russia’s front door, via Ukraine.

US perfidy

Reporting on a working dinner with Russian diplomats last Sunday, before the Geneva meeting, Wendy Sherman, the US deputy secretary of state, recast that perfidy as the US stressing its commitment to “the freedom of sovereign nations to choose their own alliances”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is being widely made out to be the aggressor after he posted tens of thousands of troops at the border with Ukraine.

One can argue whether those soldiers are massed for an invasion of Ukraine, as is being widely assumed in the western media, or as a show of force against a US-led Nato that believes it can do whatever it pleases in Russia’s backyard. Either way, a miscalculation by either side could prove disastrous.

According to the New York Times, General Milley has warned the Russians that an invasion force would face a prolonged insurgency backed by US weaponry. There are reports that Stinger anti-aircraft missiles have already been delivered to Ukraine.

Similarly, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has threatened“confrontation and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression on Ukraine”.

Drumbeat of war

This reckless way of projecting “credibility” – and thereby making confrontations and war more, not less, likely – is currently on show in relation to another nuclear-armed power, China. For many months, the Biden administration has been playing what looks like a game of chicken with Beijing over China’s continuing assertion of a right to use force against Taiwan, a self-governing island off the coast of China that Beijing claims as its territory.

Few countries formally recognise Taiwan as a state, and nothing in relations between Taipei and China is settled. That includes heated disagreements over the division of airspace, with Taiwan – backed by the US – claiming that a whole chunk of southeast mainland China falls within its “defence zone”. That means the scaremongering headlines about record numbers of Chinese warplanes flying over Taiwan need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

The same disputes apply to China and Taiwan’s respective claims to territorial waters, with a similar potential for provocation. The pair’s conflicting views of what constitutes their security and sovereignty are a ready hair-trigger for war – and in circumstances where one party possesses a large nuclear arsenal.

Nonetheless, the Biden administration has stomped into this long-simmering feud by feeding the media with alarmist headlines and security analysts with talking points about a possible US war with China over Taiwan. Top Pentagon officials have also stoked concerns of an imminent invasion of Taiwan by China.

Diplomatically, President Biden snubbed his nose at Beijing by inviting Taiwan to attend his so-called “democracy summit” last month. The event further inflamed Chinese indignation by showing Taiwan and China in separate colours on a regional map.

The CIA has announced the establishment of a new espionage centre with an exclusive focus on China. According to CIA director William Burns, it is necessary because the US is faced with “an increasingly adversarial Chinese government”. That “adversary”, however, poses no direct threat to US security – unless Washington chooses provocatively to bring Taiwan under its security umbrella.

Washington’s drumbeat has been so constant that a recent poll showed more than half of Americans supported sending US troops to defend Taiwan.

Nuclear hard line

The picture is the same with Iran. US “credibility” is being cited as the reason why Washington needs to take a hard line against Tehran – goaded, as ever, by Israel – on its presumed ambitions to build a nuclear bomb.

Israel, of course, has had its own large arsenal of nuclear weapons for decades – entirely unmonitored and in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Both the US and Israel fear Iran wants to level the nuclear playing field in the Middle East. Israel is determined to make sure that only it has the power to make nuclear-backed threats, either against others in the region or as leverage in Washington to get its way.

President Barack Obama’s administration signed an agreement with Iran in 2015 placing strict limits on Tehran’s development of nuclear technology. In return, Washington lifted some of the most punishing sanctions on the country. Three years later, however, President Donald Trump reneged on the deal.

Now Iran suffers the worst of both worlds. The US has again intensified the sanctions regime while demanding that Tehran renew the deal on worse terms – and with no promise, according to US Secretary of State Blinken, that the next US administration won’t tear up the agreement anyway.

US “credibility” does not depend, it seems, on Washington being required to keep its word.

In the background, as ever, is the threat of joint military reprisals from Israel and the US. In October, Biden reportedly asked his national security adviser to review Pentagon plans for a military strike if this one-sided “diplomatic process” failed. A month later, Israel approved $1.5bn for precisely such an eventuality.

Drunk on power

Washington’s emphasis on its “credibility” is actually a story the US elite tells itself and western publics to obscure the truth. What is really prized is America’s ability to enforce its economic interests and military superiority unchallenged across the globe.

After the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the US overthrow of the elected government of Iran to reinstall its dictator-monarch, there is barely a corner of the planet where the US has not meddled. In Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and its so-called “backyard”, Latin America, US “credibility” has required interventions and war as an alternative to diplomacy.

In October 2019, as Trump suggested that US troops would be pulled out of Syria – where they had no authorisation from the United Nations to be in the first place – Leon Panetta, a former defence secretary and former head of the CIA, observed that the decision had “weakened the US” and “undercut our credibility in the world”.

He added: “There isn’t an ally that we’ve around the world that doesn’t now distrust us and worry about whether or not we will stand by our word.”

But this kind of credibility is built not on principle, on respecting others’ national sovereignty, or on peace-building, but on the gangsterism of a superpower drunk on its own power and its ability to intimidate and crush rivals.

Washington’s “word” is only selectively kept, as its treatment of Russia and Iran highlight. And enforcement of its “credibility” – from breaking commitments to threatening war – has had a predictable effect: they have driven Washington’s “enemies” into an opposition camp out of necessity.

The US has created a more menacing adversary, as Russia and China, two nuclear powers, have found a common purpose in asserting a countervailing pressure on Washington. Since the late summer, the two have held a series of war games and joint military exercises, each of them a first.

The world is entering what looks like a new, even more complex cold war, in which any misunderstanding, mishap or false move could rapidly escalate into nuclear confrontation. If it happens, the pursuit of US “credibility” will have played a central part in the catastrophe.

First published in Middle East Eye

The post Why Washington’s Focus on “Credibility” is a Recipe for War first appeared on Dissident Voice.

NATO Expansion: Blinken and Stoltenberg Lie Intentionally and the Media Let Them

NATO Expansion: Blinken and Stoltenberg lie intentionally and the media let them

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg

To deceive, telling half-truths, or a complete lie is nothing new in politics, particularly security politics. But until some 20-30 years ago, I would – perhaps naively – see it as an exception. Tragically – and perhaps to many readers’ surprise – it is now the rule. At least in U.S. and NATO circles, and that is particularly regrettably since The West professes to be a democratic system with specific values and even a moral leader to The Rest.

Lying systematically about facts – historical facts – and other countries and cultures should be incompatible with The West’s perception of itself. But, today, it isn’t.

Lies are widespread in so-called security politics when some militarist project doesn’t make any (common) sense to intelligent people when the real motives have to be covered up and war is being prepared or when the sociological cancer called the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, and the elites it consists of, try to obtain even larger military expenditures from their taxpayers.

You lie to manufacture an enemy that can justify what you will do and enrich yourself. With 40+ years of experience in security politics in general and NATO/US policies in particular, I know too much – sorry for the arrogance – and have become too cynical to believe that what goes on goes on for the sake of self-defence, security or peace.

Some quick examples of gross empirically revealed lying to the word – all the liars still at large:

• In the 1990s, Yugoslav President Milosevic was Europe’s new Hitler (Bill Clinton) and planned a genocide on the Albanians in Kosovo.

• Saddam Hussein’s soldiers threw babies out of their incubators in Kuwait City.

• Afghanistan had to be destroyed because of 9/11.

• Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

• The US-led Global War On Terror – GWOT – has been about reducing terrorism.

• The US/NATO orchestrated regime-change attempt in Syria from 2011 to 2016 was exclusively about Dictator al-Assad’s sudden sadist “killing of his own.”

• Gaddafi was just about to murder all who lived in Benghazi.

• The conflict around Ukraine was started by Putin’s “aggression” on Crimea, nothing preceded it.

• Iran has always plotted and lied to acquire nuclear weapons.

• There are only bad things to say about Russia and China and…

You may continue on your own.

A recent lie is particularly nasty because it is not about some limited event or pretext. It is a cynical attempt to rewrite contemporary history to justify (even further) NATO expansion and intimidate Russia.

The lie is this:

• The West’s leaders never promised Mikhail Gorbachev and his foreign minister Edvard Shevardnadze not to expand NATO eastward. They also did not state that they would take serious Soviet/Russian security interests around its borders. And that, therefore, each of the former Warsaw Pact countries has a right to join NATO if they decide to freely.

It is this lie I am going to deal with below, and you can hear these lies presented by Antony Blinken and Jens Stoltenberg – in slightly different versions – with crystal clarity in the following two videos.

Before I start, let me say that it has never been my style to focus on or attack individuals. I’ve always been more interested in structures and processes and in how they shape people. But there comes a time when leaders must be held accountable because they choose to lie repeatedly, although they do have the choice not to.

And because lies have often been war crimes in the making.

Antony Blinken

First, US Secretary-of-State, Antony Blinken on January 7, 2022 – scroll the video below to 38:30 where he begins to speak and distorts the Ukraine conflict history and then, at 43:00-45:00, continues to say that Russia is driving the false narrative that the West had given assurances to Russia/Gorbachev about not expanding NATO back in 1989-90. It wouldn’t and couldn’t, he says. And all the claims Russia makes are false and shall not permit “us” to be diverted from the main thing: Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Right after (45:40) comes another lie – Russia also invaded Georgia. Anyone who has studied the U.S. Congressional Research Service’s analysis of 2009, “Russia-Georgia Conflict in 2008: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests,” knows that this issue was vastly more complex and that it was Georgia – led by hotheaded U.S. friend Mikheil Saakashvili whose political life ever since has resembled a tragicomic farce – that had occupied the larger part of South Ossetia before Russia intervened massively. The responsibility for the war and violence can not seriously be placed on the Russian side alone.

And he continues his self-righteous accusations. Blinken’s list is long, and he reads his accusation list with a submachinegun speed, sometimes so stumbling and unclear that one must wonder whether he is uncomfortable because he is subconsciously aware that he lies, deceives and omits to make his psycho-political projections of the U.S.’s own dark sides sound intelligent, logical and truthful.

This U.S. Secretary of State can’t be bothered by facts or nuances. Neither could his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, who was proud to say that at the CIA, he directed “We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole. We had entire training courses….” Mr Blinken continues reading his obsessive, hateful listing of all the sins of Russia. As if the US/NATO did not exist and, therefore, there was no conflict which normally takes a least two parties. In his comprehensive conflict illiteracy, this conflict has only one party: Russia.

The intellectual level is deplorable. NATO allies and mainstream media have no public opinion or critical views on any of it. One must assume that they agree and can make no better analyses themselves.

Now, take a look – at least at the sequences, I’ve mentioned above. Then, I show you how Mr Blinken is lying deliberately under the video.

Now, how can Mr Blinken flatly deny that assurances were given to Gorbachev?

The only source I have been able to find is an article by Steven Pifer from 2014, which argues that Gorbachev himself denies that NATO expansion was ever discussed, “Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says ‘No’” which refers to an interview with Gorbachev in Russia Beyond.

But this is a piece of citation fraud.

Steven Pifer quotes from it but stops right before the well-known statement in the interview article by then U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, that “NATO will not move one inch further east.” He also omits these words by Gorbachev himself:

The decision for the U.S. and its allies to expand NATO into the east was decisively made in 1993. I called this a big mistake from the very beginning. It was definitely a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990. With regards to Germany, they were legally enshrined and are being observed.

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Can this really be interpreted to mean that Gorbachev says that no assurances were ever given?

We get a key to why Blinken uses a fake analysis: Because it fits his posturing as a paragon of truth and because Mr Pifer is a senior fellow at Brookings but also a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and adviser to one of the most hawkish think-tanks, Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

A slight twist, omission or interpretative casuistry isn’t that important, is it? Well, if you are not yet convinced that Mr Blinken lies deliberately, I ask you to now go to the authoritative National Security Archive at George Washington University. It’s an incredible source of facts, and we should thank it for making the truth available through comprehensive documentation on so many security-related issues.

TFF has reproduced two essential pieces from that archive of irrefutable documentation that Gorbachev indeed was given such assurances – “cascades” of them! as is stated in the article – by all the most influential Western leaders at the end of 1989 and into 1990:

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev heard” – and

NATO Expansion: The Budapest Blow Up 1994

Read them, and you’ll be shocked.

You’ll find that they have lots of notes and, in sum, no less than 48 original historical documents. For instance, here is just one of the 48 informing us about then NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner’s view and statement:

Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: “The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.”

Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion – “13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view” – and that he will speak against Poland’s and Romania’s membership in NATO to those countries’ leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Woerner emphasizes that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.”

This is just one of the “cascades” of statements and assurances given to the Russians at the time. Over 30 years ago, 13 out of 16 members were against NATO expansion because they respected Russia’s crisis and legitimate security interests! Today – 2022 – NATO has 30 members.

Is the U.S. Secretary of State, his advisors and speechwriters unaware of the next-door National Security Archives and what is in them concerning one of contemporary history’s most important events: the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact? Are we really to believe that they have no clue about the conditions and dialogues at the end of the first Cold War? If so, they ought to resign or be fired for their unbelievable incompetence.

If not so – if they know the content of these historical documents – Mr Blinken, his advisors and speechwriters know that they lie.

Their words, therefore, should never be trusted. Neither should the media that avoid highlighting these lies and thereby become complicit. The task of a supposedly free press is to reveal the power abuse of democratically elected people who deliberately fill their constituencies with lies.

Simple as that.

Jens Stoltenberg

In this press conference video from January 7, 2022, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg states some of the same rhetoric, distortions, simplifications and lies. Not to mention platitudes accompanied by an almost funny body language of bombastic gestures to compensate for his weak content, mantras and repetitions.

Listen at around 19:00 minutes how he maintains that NATO enlargement has been “extremely important for stability and peace and freedom and democracy in Europe” where it can indeed be argued that that enlargement is the main reason that Europe is now in a situation which can reasonably be called the 2nd Cold War.

Why else has NATO not created the desired and stipulated peace and stability since it was created in 1949? So, no, Mr Stoltenberg, you cannot continue – like your masters in Washington – to argue that the present war risks are caused by Russia and Russia alone? If that’s what they order you to say, you have the option to choose decency and resign.

The NATO Secretary-General repeats that each state has a sovereign right to decide its own course and choose its own security arrangements. And that NATO has not dragged in anybody, and they have all just decided democratically to become a member.

That is simply not true.

NATO as an alliance has enormous resources to influence opinions in potential member states. Contrary to his open door talk, NATO’s Charter speaks only about inviting new members, not about holding a door open for anyone who might want to join.

It should be well-known by now – but isn’t – that in the late 1990s, Vladimir Putin asked to join NATO – but it didn’t happen, did it, Mr Stoltenberg? And why not? Because Putin – Russia – wanted to be invited as an equal partner and not sit and wait till Montenegro had become a member, to put it bluntly. NATO decided to close the door at Putin’s request.

This – fantastic – story is told by a former NATO Secretary-General, George Robertson; there is no reason to assume that is not credible or just a rumour. Or, for that matter, that Putin was not serious.

And what an exciting thought: Russia in NATO! Who would Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Blinken – and all the rest of the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, then have to put all the blame on? How then legitimate NATO’s permanent armament and 12% higher military expenditures than Russia’s?

Mr Stoltenberg must know that he lies when saying NATO has an open door. It doesn’t for Russia. It doesn’t even have open ears for Russia’s security concerns (which each and every NATO member, the U.S. in particular, would consider reasonable if a Russian military alliance incrementally crept close to their borders).

And he must know that he lies when he acts as though he does not know that Russia has been against that very NATO enlargement that he fakes has been so positive for all of Europe during no less than 30 years.

Funnily, Stoltenberg first emphasises (around 19:30) that all new NATO members have freely decided to join. Then he boasts about all NATO does to train, help, support candidates and how important Ukraine is as a NATO partner while not a member. As he says, candidates need to carry through reforms to meet NATO standards. And NATO gives them “practical and political support” so they can – later – meet NATO standards and become members.

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What an extraordinary altruism NATO radiates! Are we really to believe that NATO certainly drags in no one, as he maintains?

NATO set up an office in Kyiv, Ukraine, already in 1994, and here you can see how – incrementally – Ukraine has been dragged in, seduced, and promised a great Euro-Atlantic future in one document after the other.

And here you’ll see how Olga Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, standing at NATO’s HQ with Stoltenberg, consistently talks about NATO as Ukraine’s “allies,” expect all kinds of guarantees and – in Foreign Policy of course – argues that Ukraine Needs a Clear Path to NATO Membership in the face of Russian aggression.

And now, the integration process has probably gone so far that neither NATO nor Ukraine would be able to see any other alternative but full membership at some point. Being fiancées, why not marry through a formal membership – as has been said about Sweden?

In its Russia-humiliating policies, NATO has not even seen it coming: That with all the promises, structures and processes accumulating and creating expectations, the alliance would, at some point, run into serious conflict with Russia. If so, the entire alliance suffers from conflict illiteracy and a tremendous lack of foresight.

An that is why you have to construct Russia as a huge militarily aggressive state with an unsympathetic leader – one “we” can freely demonise and don’t even have to listen to.

Now, listen then to this Stoltenberg statement about the – real – importance of NATO’s help (20:45): “…It also makes the societies of Ukraine and Georgia stronger. So resilient, well-functioning societies are also less vulnerable from interference from Russia.”

Just a welcoming open NATO door to countries that decide freely and democratically that they want to knock on it?

It’s time for a reality check in NATO Realpolitik’s – outdated – world. If you do not manifestly want to provoke and increase war risks, you would do it completely differently every day since 1989.

The NATO expansion basis is obvious: Get as many as possible into NATO, demonise Russia and Putin and make it impossible for Russia to have any influence in Europe and on its future.

How strange, indeed, that Russia perceives the Alliance’s expansion right up to its borders as a deliberate military threat and a politically motivated undermining of its status and power!

How surprising that it thinks its security interests in its near-abroad should be respected, just because it has been invaded historically from the West and contained all along its borders since the Second World War in which, by the way, it lost some 24 million people!

It is tragic beyond words that the West has not a single politician today like Willy Brandt, Egon Bahr, Olof Palme or any of the real statesmen who gave Gorbachev cascades of assurance because they possessed two essentially important qualities: intellectual competence and empathy, a wish and ability to try to live themselves into the situation of “the other” and thereby think in terms of common security at lower military levels.

They were mature personalities basing their policies on analysis and consultations. They knew that you can only achieve security with and not against “the other”.

Instead, NATO has only anti-intellectual, self-centred and -aggrandising militarists running the self-defeating “know-everything-listen-to-nobody” show foolproven by history to lead to war.

And it is tragic beyond words that the peoples of Europe do not debate these issues and that all alternatives to militarism have been deprived of all their resources while NATO militarism costs trillions of dollars what are desperately needed in all other sectors of Western society.

In summary, the US/NATO world threw away the most significant and precious opportunity to create peace in Europe after 1945, when it decided to take advantage of Russia’s weakness. As suggested by Gorbachev and many security and peace intellectuals at the time, the members of the old blocs could have joined forces and created an entirely new all-European security and peace architecture.

We are now facing the tragic consequences of the arrogant winner-takes-it-all policy manifested by the US Clinton administration’s decision to ignore all the assurances and begin expanding NATO eastward in 1994, helped by submissive European allies that had neither the intellectual capacity nor political will to manifest their own interests.

That is why they have to lie to us today.

Kazakhstan:  NATO’s New Frontier?

Kazakhstan reminds of Armenia (September 2015), also energy price increases, Georgia (April 2009), opposition attempting to force pro-Russian President Mikheil Saakashvili, from power; and even to some extent of Ukraine (2014) – Maiden riots supposedly because then President Viktor Yanukovych, lured into negotiations with Europe for an association agreement with the European Union, behind which was – who else – NATO. The majority of Ukrainians had no idea about these ongoing negotiations and their background. So, the riots were planned by long hand and had nothing to do with the short-cut EU negotiations. Talks were eventually interrupted when Yanukovych received assurances from Russia for a “better deal”.

That’s when hell broke out on 21 February 2014 and the Maidan massacre took place. Its violent destruction was disproportionate to the cause. Western hired mercenaries were behind the merciless killing. The Maidan massacre murdered some 130 people, including some 18 policemen. That’s when it became clear – another Color Revolution was being instigated by the west – and always, but always with NATO in the back.  NATO’s goal was setting up one or several bases in Ukraine, the closer to Moscow, the better.

Just for the record, the 1991 agreement between Europe and the new Russia, stipulated that there would be no new NATO bases further to the east (of Berlin), was never respected by the west. That’s why President Putin is drawing red lines, and rightly so.

Perhaps, one of the first such Color Revolutions in recent history was Serbia, when in early 2000 Serbian youth chanted “Slobo, Save Serbia! Slobo Save Serbia!”. Later that year, a “reform-minded” foreign-funded and trained group of young people infiltrated the Serbian pro-Milosevic youth and brought Milosevic, the president loved by most Serbs, to fall in October 2000. He was arrested immediately shipped to the ICC prison in The Hague, where he awaited trial for highest treason and crimes against humanity, which he did not commit.

His lawyers accumulated enough proof for Milosevic to demonstrate that the west was behind this Color Revolution and, indeed, the total dismantling of former Yugoslavia. If these documents would become known to the Court, the ICC, one of the most important interferences and destruction of a country in recent history would shed an irrevocable light on the crimes of the west, at that time led by President Clinton et al. So, Milosevic had to be “neutralized’. On March 11, 2006, he was found dead in his prison cell, a so-called suicide. This, despite the fact that since June 2001, he was on constant suicide watch.

Well, these are the stories of Armenia, Georgia and Serbia, but back to Kazakhstan, which resembles in many details these preceding so-called Color Revolutions. NATO having been unsuccessful under Russia’s strict red line – to advance further toward Moscow in Ukraine, or before in Belarus — is trying now on the southern front, with Kazakhstan.

This is clearly an attempted coup, no longer just protests about a gas price hike. It was engineered by the west – see this interview on the Kazakhstan crisis of Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos with Kevork Almassian (video 46 min. 6 January 2022):

No chance of success with this new coup attempt – just more propaganda for the west. President Putin will never allow these former Soviet republics to slide into the power base of the west, of NATO, especially now, since it is well known that over 90% of the population of all these former Soviet Republics want to stay firmly in Russia’s orbit.

The repeated protest patterns in Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, and now in Kazakhstan are clearly indicative of western / NATO pressure to destabilize Russia and, ideally, so they keep dreaming since WWII – bring Russia into the “western influence base” – call it slavehood. In several of these cases the base reason for riots were massive energy price hikes, were just a pretext to heavy violent interference by western mercenaries under the guidance of NATO.

Never to forget NATO is always the power base behind these moves, because the end game is one or several NATO bases in the countries they are trying to putsch. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be very smart, as the west ought to know that none of these former Soviet Republics will betray Russia – almost all the people, including all the higher-level politicians, want to remain firmly in Russia’s zone of influence. Kiev was an exception. Kiev since WWII has been a Nazi stronghold, something that doesn’t apply to the rest of Ukraine.

In Kazakhstan, after what appears as local rather peaceful riots, violent elements were introduced from “outside”, in the form of well-trained almost para-military protesters, out to kill. It is what has become known as an attempted “Color Revolution”.

In Kazakhstan the death toll far exceeds 30, including 18 policemen, at least two of whom were decapitated. Hundreds have been injured. While according to Kazakh President Tokayev, constitutional order was largely restored last Friday, 7 January, unrest continues and nearly 4000 people were arrested. The extreme violence took over government buildings and burnt them down; the airport was occupied. The level of violence was way disproportionate for a gas price hike. Clearly other motives are at stake.

The vast majority of the 19 million Kazakhs have not taken to the streets, because of the gas price increase, which was not as dramatic as the western main stream media has you believe. The majority lives in rural areas and avoids violence.

These latest Kazakh upheavals could also be called a below-the-belt NATO approach to destabilize Russia, since NATO seems to have failed in Ukraine. In other words, undermining Russia’s position on Ukraine.

During the weekend, China’s President Xi Jinping called Kazakh President Tokayev, hinting at US interference, assuring Tokayev that China is backing Russia. He is also pledging direct support to Kazakhstan. See this Xi Jinping Calls Kazakh Pres Tokayev, Hints at US Interference, Backs Russia, Pledges Support

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Friday. Peacekeepers from Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan were deployed to Kazakhstan earlier last week. President Tokayev was saying they would stay “for a limited period of time” to support the local security forces. Indeed, this morning, January 11, President Tokayev has declared the CSTO mission completed and is discussing with the troops their repatriation.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense later clarified that the CSTO forces have also been tasked with the protection of important facilities and key infrastructure and were not supposed to participate in “operational and combat” activities.

The EU, a typical undecided hypocritical agent, also offered the bloc’s assistance to help resolve the crisis with several countries calling on both the protesters and government forces to refrain from violence.

Yeah, right: calling on both parties to refrain from violence, when, in fact, the violent element was introduced clearly by NATO members, most of whom are Europeans. Once again, the trustworthiness of Europe is down in the pits. All it will do is appease some ignorant western, mostly European citizen with a massive flood of pro-western propaganda.

The question in the room is why Russian and Kazakh governments’ special services did not foresee this type of “Color Revolution” coming, especially after Russia’s drawing a red line on Ukraine? And after the west had lost her coup attempt in Belarus? Is it possible that the Ukraine distraction – hyped up by the western media with constant threats of a nuclear WWIII scenario – diverted President Putin’s attention from other vulnerable attack areas, such as Kazakhstan? And possibly Belarus? The latter is currently quiet. But to an outside eye, it looks like a temporary calm. And Ukraine is far from over.

As long as Russia is running after the problem, rather than taking an offensive surprise lead, Putin may remain in a defensive bind. Reacting, rather than being pro-active. That’s always a disadvantage and may deserve strategic rethinking.

Just imagine what a pro-active surprise move might be. For example, Russia setting up a military base in Mexico. And why not? Russia would certainly have the stature and standing in terms of friendly relations with Mexico to do so. It would be a game changer. It would put a different spin on world geopolitics. Why not give it a try by starting talks with AMLO, Mr. Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s President.

The west’s / NATO’s intent has been since the 1990s to separate Kazakhstan from the orbit of the former Soviet Union and today’s Russia. So far unsuccessfully, for the reasons pointed out before. Kazakhstan exports 30% to and imports 60% from Russia and China. Today more than ever Kazakhstan is part of the Eurasian alliance. It is a de facto integrated nation and one in close partnership.

The Russians and Kazakhs have learned from Ukraine. It didn’t take President Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev long to request assistance from Russia; and it didn’t take long for President Putin to respond, through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO – Eurasian security organization; members: Russia (de facto leader), Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan).

In addition to the CSTO troops, Russia also sent air force troops to counter the militants. Chances are that this will not become a new Kiev, where Assistant Foreign Minister Victoria Nuland, so eloquently said “f*ck Europe!” since the US had already spent 10 million dollars over the past years to prepare this coup.….

What we see in Kazakhstan are very well trained and armed militants – not peaceful protesters, as would have been the case when protests started over gas price increases – it is clear that peaceful protesters do not take over government buildings and airports, they do not shoot police officers to kill – this is clearly foreign intervention.

It is amazing – and sad – to watch how Europe plays along, letting NATO troops eventually ravaging the European territory – when Russia interferes. Only brainless European leaders (sic) will allow NATO playing war games that could turn anytime “hot” – hot again on the territories of Europe.

That’s what the European Union has become. She is led by an unelected lady, Madame Ursula von der Leyden, formerly Germany’s Defense Minister, but more importantly and much less visibly, she is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum. We know who calls the shots over the European Union – and most of the viciously dictatorial leaders (sic) of the EU member countries, stripped of their sovereignty – are scholars from Klaus Schwab’s special courses for “Young Global Leaders”. This also applied for the most covid-tyrannical heads of states around the world.

They shall not prevail.

Back to Kazakhstan. The same people who scare (mostly) the western people to death for a virus that has never been isolated and identified, are also behind destroying Russia and China.

If they were to succeed in Kazakhstan, they would have managed to weaken Russia considerably, and the next step would most likely be NATO’s ignoring Moscow’s red line on Ukraine with the aim of arming Ukraine and making it eventually a NATO country.

This is, however, still unlikely because Putin then would not hesitate invading Ukraine through the Dunbass area, defending Russia’s interests.   NATO and the US know that they have no chance against Russia’s newest defense systems.  Would they let it happen, letting Europe be obliterated for the third time in a bit more than 100 years?

The fight for Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus is a pivotal strategic chess game.  Undoubtedly Russia will win it, but at what cost for Europe, for Eurasia?  The more severe the covid restrictions the west will impose – and the east will obey – the higher the price for maintaining or regaining sovereign European and Eurasian countries.

The post Kazakhstan:  NATO’s New Frontier? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Coming This 2022: Refugees, Democracy and Human Rights

Although 2021 is now behind us, there are many issues that will linger for a while, or much longer, and will certainly dominate much of the news in 2022, as well. These are but a few of the issues.

NATO-Russian Brinkmanship 

Exasperated with NATO expansion and growing ambitions in the Black Sea region, Moscow has decided to challenge the US-led Western alliance in an area of crucial geopolitical importance to Russia.

Ukraine’s quest for NATO membership, especially following the Crimea conflict in 2014, proved to be a red line for Russia. Starting in late 2021, the US and its European allies began accusing Russia of amassing its forces at the Ukrainian border, suggesting that outright military invasion would soon follow. Russia denied such accusations, insisting that a military solution can be avoided if Russia’s geopolitical interests are respected.

Some analysts argue that Russia is seeking to “coerce the west to start the new Yalta talks,” a reference to a US, UK and Russia summit at the conclusion of World War II. If Russia achieves its objectives, NATO will no longer be able to exploit Russia’s fault lines throughout its Western borders.

While NATO members, especially the US, want to send a strong message to Russia – and China – that the defeat in Afghanistan will not affect their global prestige or tarnish their power, Russia is confident that it has enough political, economic, military and strategic cards that would allow it to eventually prevail.

China’s Unhindered Rise 

Another global tussle is also underway. For years, the US unleashed an open global war to curb China’s rise as a global economic power. While the 2019 ‘Trade War’, instigated by the Donald Trump administration against China delivered lukewarm results, China’s ability to withstand pressure, control with mathematical precision the spread, within China, of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continue to fuel the global economy has proved that Beijing is not easy prey.

An example of the above assertion is the anticipated revival of the Chinese tech giant, Huawei. The war on Huawei served as a microcosm of the larger war on China. British writer, Tom Fowdy, described this war as “blocking exports to (Huawei), isolating it from global chipmakers, forcing allies to ban its participation in their 5G networks, imposing criminal charges against it and kidnapping one of its senior executives”.

However, this is failing, according to Fowdy. 2022 is the year in which Huawei is expected to wage massive global investments that will allow it to overcome many of these obstacles and become self-sustaining in terms of the technologies required to fuel its operations worldwide.

Aside from Huawei, China plans to escalate its response to American pressures by expanding its manufacturing platforms, creating new markets and fortifying its alliances, especially with Moscow. A Chinese-Russian alliance is particularly important for Beijing as both countries are experiencing strong US-Western pushback.

2022 is likely to be the year in which Russia and China, in the words of Beijing’s Ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, stage a “response to such overt (US) hegemony and power politics”, where both “continue to deepen back-to-back strategic cooperation.”

The World ‘Hanging by a Thread’

However, other conflicts exist beyond politics and economy. There is also the war unleashed on our planet by those who favor profits over the welfare of future generations. While the Glasgow Climate Pact COP26 began with lofty promises in Scotland in November, it concluded with political compromises that hardly live up to the fact that, per the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “we are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe”.

True, in 2022 many tragedies will be attributed to climate change. However, it will also be a year in which millions of people around the world will continue to push for a collective, non-political response to the ‘climate catastrophe’. While Planet Earth is “hanging by a thread” – according to Guterres – political compromises that favor the rich become the obstacle, not the solution. Only a global movement of well-integrated civil societies worldwide can compel politicians to heed the wishes of the people.

Refugees, Democracy and Human Rights

The adverse effects of climate change can be felt in myriad ways that go beyond the immediate damage inflicted by erratic weather conditions. War, revolutions, endemic socio-economic inequalities, mass migration and refugee crises are a few examples of how climate change has destabilized many parts of the world and wrought pain and suffering to numerous communities worldwide.

The issue of migration and refugees will continue to pose a threat to global stability in 2022, since none of the root causes that forced millions of people to leave their homes in search of safer and better lives have been addressed. Instead of contending with the roots of the problem – climate change, military interventions, inequality, etc. – quite often the hapless refugees find themselves accused and demonized as agents of instability in Western societies.

This, in turn, has served as a political and, at times, moral justification for the rise of far-right political movements in Europe and elsewhere, which are spreading falsehoods, championing racism and undermining whatever semblance of democracy that exists in their countries.

2022 must not be allowed to be another year of pessimism.  It can also be a year of hope and promise. But that is only possible if we play our role as active citizens to bring about the coveted change that we would like to see in the world.

Happy 2022!

The post Coming This 2022: Refugees, Democracy and Human Rights first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What Does America Stand to Gain by Surrounding Russia with Missiles?

This article was first published in the print and online edition of the Washington Times’ Cross Talk with Dr. Edward Lozansky.

In the wake of the December 31 phone call between Presidents Biden and Putin, two very different perceptions of reality were brought into conflict which we can only pray will be resolved in the coming days and weeks of meetings between both sides.

Where one side sees itself committed to supporting Ukraine’s independent right to join NATO in order to help empower the trans Atlantic rules based order, the other side sees an encroaching military encirclement of its vast territory under a military doctrine dubbed “full spectrum dominance”. This latter doctrine, born in the bowels of Brzezinski’s “Flexible Response” doctrine of 1980, assumes that it is possible to deliver a nuclear first strike on Russia (and China) with only minor “acceptable” rates of collateral damage suffered as a consequence.

Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul correctly identified President Putin’s fears of NATO’s ongoing encroachment in a December 21 tweet, but was McFaul correct to dismiss these concerns as the crazy ravings of a paranoid Russian dictator with no bearing in reality? Or is there something to Putin’s fears?

Considering the rapid growth of NATO from 16 to 29 nations in 24 years, and the obsessive drive which post-Maidan Kiev governments have made to enter into the military pact, Putin’s fears shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly.

When you also consider 1) the vast array of military games that have taken place on the Black Sea in recent years, 2) the expansion of the anti-ballistic missile shield which weapons experts have proven can be turned into offensive systems with relative ease, 3) America’s abrogation of several trust building treaties since 2002, 4) the vast increase of arms sales to Ukraine over the past year, and 5) the promotion of first-use nuclear bombs by leading western officials in the last few weeks of 2021, it is clear that Russia’s fears are not unfounded as McFaul or other hawks encircling Biden would have it seem.

Considering McFaul is a renowned “color revolution expert” who was caught trying to arrange a failed “white revolution” in Russia in 2011, it must be assumed that his perspective is more than a little polluted.

Even China has felt the burn of full spectrum dominance and western regime change operations in recent years, with a massive armada of military bases, troop buildup, war games and anti-ballistic missiles like THAAD deployed in South Korea where 20 thousand American troops are stationed and ready for battle. These troops are joined by 50 thousand soldiers in Japan, while talks of creating a Pacific NATO (aka: QUAD) has occupied the conversations of military officials in Washington, Japan, India and Australia since 2020.

Ukraine and Taiwan: Spark Plugs for WW3?

As much as Biden, McFaul, Carter, or Nuland might scream and shout that “Crimea will always belong to Ukraine,” the fact is that a democratic plebiscite did occur in 2014 which resulted in a majority vote to return the peninsula to Russia. Whether you like it or not, that happened.

As much as war hawks might also scream that the island of Taiwan is an independent nation deserving of US military support, according to the United Nations, and Taiwan’s own constitution, the island is still legally a part of China. That’s just a basic fact of life that no amount of media spin can change.

Should we treat the words of leading NATOcrats like Jens Stoltenberg seriously when he threatens to move US nukes in Germany closer to Russia’s border? Should we dismiss the claims made by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter that the USA should support a color revolution in Russia? Should we ignore the words of Senator Roger Wicker when he called for a nuclear first strike on Russia on December 8?

Whether or not American citizens take such words seriously, the fact is that Vladimir Putin and his military advisors certainly do.

USA Should Agree to Putin’s Demands

Taking the above facts into consideration, Putin’s demands for written agreements on freezing the growth of NATO’s eastward expansion should strike any American patriot as eminently reasonable.

After all, who does NATO’s growth actually benefit? Does it benefit the Ukrainian people if US missiles are installed in Kiev, which would only see the nation suffer the risk of a Russian retaliatory attack? And who on earth will gain if the world is pushed to nuclear war?

So why not make the oral promises of 1990 between James Baker, Bush Sr. and Gorbachev (that NATO would not expand one inch eastward) legally binding now once and for all?

If Putin requests that war games halt on Russia’s border (which he will reciprocate in turn) and requests that no short or medium range missiles be placed on Ukrainian soil (which he will reciprocate in turn) while re-empowering the Russia-NATO council, then what harm does this do to the USA’s interests? Moscow is, after all, only 300 miles away from Ukraine’s border, so this sort of security guarantee is perfectly rational.

Just to put it into perspective, I doubt a single American would feel secure if either Russia or China carried out military war games in the Gulf of Mexico while placing Russian-controlled missiles in Ottawa. And how secure would Americans feel if Moscow’s intelligence agencies were openly supporting rabidly anti-American Mexicans who wished to become a part of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization of the Americas?

So rather than risk lighting the world on nuclear fire in a bid for global hegemony, why not simply agree to Putin’s red lines, while also toning down the sabre-rattling in the Pacific while we’re at it?

Doing these simple things will involve returning to the tried-and-true methods of diplomatic engagement and acting like the UN Charter actually matters in international affairs. It will also involve treating other nations like partners with common interests, instead of assuming that everyone not under our hegemony are enemies vying for dominance in a world of diminishing returns.

It may be a lot to ask the NATOcrats running rampant in Washington, but I guarantee you that the majority of Americans from all sides of the political aisle will be overjoyed to avoid a nuclear holocaust.

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Fighter Jets Useless against Real Security Threats

“It’s never enough” said former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien about military spending. “They always want more.” ((Jay Hill, in the House of Commons,  quoting then Prime Minister  Jean Chrétien from an article by Stephanie Rubec in the Ottawa Sun, October 20, 2003.))

Canada shouldn’t spend huge sums on 88 new fighter jets incapable of protecting the population against pressing security threats. The warplanes will simply strengthen Canada’s powerful, offensive air force.

Amidst a pandemic and climate crisis the security argument for spending $19 billion – $77 billion over their life cycle – on fighter jets is extremely weak. New warplanes won’t protect against climate induced disasters or new viruses. Worse still, purchasing heavy carbon emitting fighter jets diverts resources away from dealing with these genuine security threats.

But we require these warplanes to protect Canada, say the militarists. In fact, many countries don’t have fighter jets. More than 30 nations, including Costa Rica, Iceland and Panama, don’t have an active military force at all while Ireland hasn’t had fighter jets for two decades. Nor has New Zealand, but the militarists who demand Canada follow its “Five Eyes” counterparts won’t mention that.

Nor do they discuss how Canada’s free trade partner Mexico has no operational fighter jets. Doesn’t that country face a similar menace from the Russians or Chinese? The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is far better equipped than its counterpart in Mexico, a country with more than twice Canada’s population.

RCAF has about 90 operational CF-18s. It is one of the better warplanes and will remain a top-tier fighter jet for many years to come. RCAF is about the 16th best equipped air force in the world. But Canada is the 39th most populous state. Should Canadians spend lavishly to maintain an air force far better equipped than this country’s relative population size?

Considering the resources required to mitigate the climate crisis and pandemic why not simply maintain the CF-18s and when the RCAF’s standing approaches Canada’s share of the global population consider purchasing new fighter jets. If the RCAF were designed to defend Canada that would be the sensible approach. But that is not, in fact, its purpose. The RCAF is structured primarily to support the US war machine.

Canada’s air force says CF-18s intercept 6-7 aircraft each year in Canada’s Air Defence Identification Zone, which is 100-200 nautical miles from its coastline. (Canada’s territorial airspace is 12 nautical miles from the coastline.) By comparison, notes Brent Patterson, Canada’s CF-18s have conducted 1600 offensive bombing missions over the past 30 years in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Syria and Libya.

While the military tightly controls news during fighter jet missions, some information has trickled out about what happens when these planes drop bombs from the sky. Pentagon documents suggest CF-18s were responsible for a January 2015 air strike in Iraq that killed as many as 27 civilians. The RCAF claimed it had “no obligation”, reported the internal US documents, “to conduct an investigation” of the incident. In October 2015 the CBC also reported, “Canadian fighter planes have now been connected to a second airstrike in Iraq that has been reviewed by the Pentagon for possible civilian casualties.” In another incident, a CF-18 reportedly killed 10 and injured 20 Iraqi civilians on November 19, 2015.

In 2011 seven Canadian CF-18 fighter jets dropped at least 700 bombs on Libyan targets. Two months into the bombing United Press International reported that Ottawa “ordered 1,300 replacement laser-guided bombs to use in its NATO mission in Libya” and a month later they ordered another 1,000 bomb kits. A number of coalition members placed strict restrictions on their forces’ ability to strike ground targets. These and other countries’ militaries frequently “red carded” sorties, declaring that they would not contribute. “With a Canadian general in charge” of the NATO bombing campaign, explained the Globe and Mail, “Canada couldn’t have red-carded missions even if it wanted to, which is why Canadian CF-18 pilots often found themselves in the most dangerous skies” doing the dirtiest work. reported that on March 29, 2011, two CF-18s launched strikes that directly aided the Jihadist rebels in Misrata and on May 19 Canadian jets participated in a mission that destroyed eight Libyan naval vessels. On their return to Canada, reported: “[pilot Maj. Yves] Leblanc’s crew carried out the final mission on the day Gaddafi was captured, and were flying 25,000 feet over when Gaddafi’s convoy was attacked.” Human Rights Watch found the remains of at least 95 people at the site where Muammar Gaddafi was captured. According to the human rights group, a sizable number “apparently died in the fighting and NATO strikes prior to Gaddafi’s capture” with multiple dozens were also executed by close range gunshot wounds. Some accused NATO forces of helping to murder Gaddafi.

In the spring of 1999 eighteen CF-18s dropped 532 bombs in 678 sorties during NATO’s bombing of Serbia. About two thousand died during NATO’s bombing. Hundreds of thousands were internally displaced and hundreds of thousands were made refugees in a war that contravened international law.

Two dozen CF-18s were deployed to Iraq in 1990. Among few other coalition members, Canadian fighter jets engaged in combat. They joined US and British counterparts in destroying most of Iraq’s hundred plus naval vessels in what was dubbed the “Bubiyan Turkey Shoot.” Coalition bombing destroyed much of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure. The country’s electricity production was largely demolished as were sewage treatment plants, telecommunications equipment, oil refineries, etc. Twenty thousand Iraqi troops and thousands of civilians were killed. The UN resolution allowed for attacks against Iraqi establishments in Kuwait while the US-led forces bombed across Iraq in what Mark Curtis described as the open “rehabilitation of colonialism and imperialism.”

Buying 88 new fighter jets has little to do with protecting Canadians. It’s about funneling public resources to arms firms and strengthening the Royal Canadian Air Force’s capacity to fight in offensive US and NATO wars. Is this really how we should be spending public resources? If the government was truly concerned about security, it would spend the money on public/co-op housing, cleaning up ecological devastation and preparing for the next pandemic.

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Failure of US media on Ukraine

We need to constantly remind ourselves about the US media. During the Cold War, there was the saying that the difference between the New York Times and the Soviet Pravda was that Pravda readers knew they were being lied to. Unfortunately, current coverage by the US media about the movement of Russian troops demonstrates the applicability of that saying today.

Lies by Omission

For example, the US public is continually being told that the movement of a large number of Russian troops is a major crisis-inducing provocation of the US and NATO over Ukraine. There is much speculation about whether or not Russia will attack Ukraine and how the US and NATO should react to an attack. This coverage portrays Russia as the initiator of this situation and that the US and NATO  are being forced to react. Unsurprisingly, the US media fails to remind the public about recent history that provides vital context for current events.

Promise and Betrayal

After the fall of the Berlin Wall there were negotiations about the reunification of Germany. During these negotiations, the US Secretary of State James Baker and West German officials promised that NATO would not expand eastward if the Soviets allowed Germany to be reunited. This promise was crucial for the Soviets given previous devastating invasions by Western European nations. For example, during WWII, estimates are that the Soviet Union lost over 26 million people, about 13% of its 1939 population. The Soviet Union was thus understandably concerned about a possibly hostile military group coming closer to its border.

In 1996, George Kennan, architect of the U.S. containment policy towards the Soviet Union, warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories would be a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” In 1998, Thomas Friedman solicited Kennan’s reaction to the Senate’s ratification of NATO’s eastward expansion. Kennan said: ”I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else.”

Despite Kennan’s warning, the Clinton administration broke the US promise and expanded NATO towards the Russian border. The following Bush and Obama administrations both continued the expansion and betrayal. Kennan was clearly correct and the NATO expansion has provoked an unnecessary crisis.

Cuba and Ukraine

Russia has strongly opposed further expansion of NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, nations that share borders with it. NATO missiles could quickly reach Moscow allowing little time for Russia to react. However, the US and NATO, blinded by arrogance and lacking any real statesmen, continue to dismiss Russia’s existential concerns.

Just as the US went to the brink of nuclear war over Soviet missiles in Cuba, Russian President Putin has drawn a red line over the entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Just as the US said that Cuba couldn’t have Soviet missiles positioned there, Russia is saying that Ukraine and Georgia can’t join NATO nor have US missiles positioned there.

US-supported coup and illegitimate government

The Western media has also downplayed the 2014 US-supported coup of the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The US wanted a leader of Ukraine to be someone who would want to join NATO. A mostly nonviolent protest of Ukrainians who wanted to join the EU began after Yanukovych rejected a bad EU economic aid offer in favor of a much better deal from Russia.

Eventually, after a violent government response to months of protests, a compromise between the government and the political opposition was negotiated by foreign ministers from Poland, France and Germany. Despite this agreement, violence and intimidation by the far-right immediately resumed and quickly led to Yanukovych’s departure. George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor, a U.S. firm known as the ‘Shadow CIA’, said: “It really was the most blatant coup in history.”

Kosovo and Crimea

After the coup and the installation of an illegitimate government, Russia annexed Crimea and supported people in eastern Ukraine who rejected the Ukrainian government. The US-led West reacted quite strongly, particularly against the annexation of Crimea. However, Russia pointed out how the West supported the secession of Kosovo from Serbia.

According to Matthew Parish, a noted international lawyer based in Geneva, if nations cannot reach agreement on the right of minorities to secede and the emergence of new states, “then the difference between Kosovo and Crimea is precisely nothing, save one of political expediency; and the colour of that lens depends upon which direction one may be looking through it. Viewed from the west, Kosovo is most expedient whereas Crimea is not. When one gazes through the eastern corner of the same lens, reflections may be reversed.”

Russian troop deployment and US-led NATO war games

US and Western stenographers posing as an independent media portrayed the positioning of a large number of Russian forces on its border with Ukraine as a huge provocation. It is unsurprising that these stenographers didn’t hype the numerous and large US/NATO war games in the Baltic and Black Sea areas as a provocation to Russia. Can you imagine the US reaction if a hostile military force were to hold war games near US borders?

Minsk II Protocol

An agreement was reached in February 2015 by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine that could resolve the crisis. The Minsk II Protocol was approved unanimously by the UN Security Council. Samantha Power, then US ambassador to the UN, said: “The consensus here, and in the international community, remains that Minsk’s implementation is the only way out of this deadly conflict.”

Instead of conducting war games and sending weapons to Ukraine, why not apply pressure on Ukraine to implement this agreement. Given what Samantha Power said, this seems to be the best way to avoid a war where there are no winners.

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