We’re Not in a New Cold War – It’s Far Worse

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Yves here. Readers have been discussing escalating tensions with Russia actively in the comments section. This Real News Network interview provides a sobering assessment of where things stand. Because RNN provided a rush transcript, it has some typos, in the form of the omission of apostrophes. I cleaned it up as best I could so forgive any I overlooked.

SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

In the past two weeks relations between Russia and the United States have dramatically deteriorated. First the US broke off talks with Russia over cessation of hostilities in the bombing campaign in Aleppo in Syria. Russia then disengaged from a critical nuclear armament negotiations related to a treaty that had been in place since 2000 as a part of a post-Cold War disarmament framework. Now more recently, White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest said that US is considering a response to alleged Russian hacking of US political groups such as the DNC. Here’s a clip of John Kerry, Secretary of State, alleging that Russia has been engaged in war crimes in Syria, truly escalating things.

JOHN KERRY: Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals, medical facilities, and children, and women. These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation in war crimes.

PERIES: Then here’s what the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson had to say about Russia-US relations and alleged cyber hacks.

SPEAKER: I would also like to comment on what is now happening with Russia-US relations. I do this with great regret because there’’s no good news here. We regret we observe how Washington continues to destroy mutual relations. What we hear on a daily basis about Russian hackers is simply a lie. Nobody has seen them but everyone already knows of them.

PERIES: Joining us to discuss how serious the deteriorating circumstances between Russia and US are, is Richard Sakwa. He is professor for Russian and European politics at the University of Kent and an associate fellow of the Russian and Eurasian program at Chatham House. He has published widely on Soviet Russian and post-Communist affairs. His upcoming book is titled Russia Against the Rest: Pluralism and the Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order. Thanks so much for joining us Richard.

RICHARD SAKWA: My pleasure.

PERIES: Richard, at the surface it looks like relations between Russia and the United States are heavily deteriorating and we can add the additional component of UK now who’s been authorized to engage the military exercises that’’s been going on over Syria if they’re feeling threatened by it. These are the airstrikes that are going on in Syria. Is the situation as bad as it sounds?

SAKWA: It’’s probably worse. I think that we are, the world as a whole, is balancing on the edge of a volcano. You may know that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists argue that we are now their doomsday clock at 3 minutes to midnight and that’’s about as bad as it’s ever been. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall going up in 1961. So it’’s extremely bad and the worst thing is that there’’s actually no particular sign. No sign of it possibly getting better in the near or even immediate future. One of the things that makes it particularly dangerous now is that the old Cold War systems that had been put in place after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 have largely been dismantled. So you could argue, and I would certainly argue, it’’s not a new Cold War. It’’s far worse.

PERIES: Richard, let’s take one of these at a time. First let’s take the situation where the United States is accusing Russia of being involved in the email hacks that are going on in order to influence US elections. Is there any legitimacy to these allegations, and what is the response of Russia here?

SAWKA: Well, the response is clearly negative to say that. But nothing’s [inaud.]. I would have to say that the case is not [certain]. It doesn’t mean to say that Russia isn’t involved. But so far there’’s been no evidence. It’’s so hard to prove these things. In this case we know, for example, the hack of the Democratic National Committee, that there’’s a fellow called Guccifer 2.0 was involved from Romania. You may say that’’s got nothing to do with Russia but he’s got a Russia site and he’s got Russian language skills.

So it’’s completely, so far the evidence is circumstantial. Those specialist agencies who claim Russia’’s responsible argue that Russia’’s got the technical capacity and the motivation to do it. Certainly that’’s the case but it’’s unproven. Whether it actually will shake the American election, I’’m not sure. For example, what was revealed? The huge amount that was revealed that the DNC was covertly supporting Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. It’’s damaging. So I think we should be careful not to shoot the messenger here but look at the message. It’’s quite damaging I think if that was the case. In fact it was the case that what was meant to be an impartial body was demonstrably not impartial. I think that’’s a scandal to be investigated.

PERIES: Richard, whenever there is a US election underway, they would like to have the threat of war hovering over them, and Russia and China as enemies of the state is conveniently evoked. How much of these tensions are just posturing in light of the election coming up, or is there real evidence of these hacks?

SAKWA: It’s certainly a lot of posturing. I think that in this case it’’s not a sort of [crisis] that immediately threatens the United States in offense of the United States specifically coming under attack. So I don’’t think that the benefits of incumbency will be deserved from tracking Russia, China, anybody else. However, the level of [rhetoric], informational warfare, and mutual condemnation have reached unprecedented levels. I don’’t think it’’s just connected with the presidential levels. It’’s been gathering pace for at least 2 or 3 years. And the worst thing is that this is taking place under the watch of President Obama, and he’s a man who’s clearly rational, very calm, very collected. Yet if this is how bad it can get under an intelligent, calm individual like Obama, imagine what it could be under any possible alternative successor.

PERIES: Richard, there’’s been a much ado about how the president of Russia, Putin, prefers to have a Trump presidency over a Hillary Clinton presidency. What do you make of that?

SAKWA: I think Russia faces the choice that we all face. Certainly US citizens face. That is choice between two candidates who both have huge negatives. From the Russian perspective of course, Hillary Clinton has long been very antagonistic to Putin himself. They’ve get on very bad. I think they’ve got mutual contempt for each other plus her political baggage goes back quite a long way. Yes, she was involved in Obama’s [reset] early on in 2009-2010. But soon after that added to relations deteriorating quite badly. And even in the second presidential debate on Sunday, she once again talked about Russian aggression which is very strange since in Syria and elsewhere it’’s the inability to come to terms has led into a situation in which it’’s not a question of aggression it’’s a question of just trying to find a way out.

On the other side of course, Trump is no gift, I think, to anybody. I think Russian analyst as much as anybody else understands that his positions are unstable, even though he occasionally has said things that will please Moscow. For example, that NATO is obsolete. But very soon after that, he backtracked and actually said NATO’s absolutely essential. So therefore everybody knows it’’s very hard to deal with Donald Trump.

PERIES: Richard, let’’s turn to Syria. The situation in Syria is intensifying since the talks between the US and Russia have broken off for the time being and the situation in terms of engaging Russian airstrikes in Syria by the UK military RAF. What do you make of all of this and is there any end in sight to this intensification?

SAKWA: Well on the one side, the British debate just recently, and Boris Johnson our foreign minister’s comments, I think just typical bombast and bluster. I think the most–I mean, talks fortunately I think are at least starting, to give credit to him, and they’re going to a meeting in Switzerland I think this coming weekend. So hopefully that’ll start a diplomatic process again.

The thing is that there’’s so many things going on that as you say, it’’s difficult to get a handle on it. One of the things which we should really–and obviously the situation in Aleppo’s absolutely awful. But then if you track back a little bit when you had the ceasefire, what happens? The United States attacked the forces at Deir al-Zour, which was a stationary position. There’’s been a stalemate there for over 2 years. The United States perfectly well knew where the Syrian forces were.

So the fact to say that it was an accident by their attack is farfetched. It may be the case in which case it’’s incompetence. What it meant was in one minute nearly 100 Syrian soldiers died. It meant the Islamic State took over the position that they’ve been trying to get for a long time, including the air field at Dei Al-Zour. So basically, Russia believes that the United States is trying to push all Syrian forces out from [inaud.]. that’’s one thing that’’s a background thing.

As for that convoy which was attacked, again we don’’t know. It may have been a Russian force. May have been a Syrian force. But there’’s no signature–if it had come from above you’d actually have shell holes below. But it was probably attacked from the side. In other words, it was probably some sort of Islamic State or militant attack. So again that’’s not proven. So time after time after time when they have these accusations. Of course it’’s awful in Aleppo. But you go back last year when Russia started the air bombing campaign on the 30th of September last year, what did the United States do? It immediately transferred over a thousand TOW anti-tank weapons to the militants in Syria to attack and defeat the Soviet Syrian army. It was quite extraordinary.

In other words, what could have been as it were let the state however unpleasant or sad the regime may have been, it could have put an end to the [inaud.] for Syrian people. Instead of which, the United States rushes in arms to intensify the conflict and [conflagration]. And as I said we can track back over and over again all the way to Hillary Clinton’s call for the overthrow of the Assad regime soon after the first demonstrations back in 2011. That’’s unbelievable. Have they learned nothing after Libya, after Syria, after Iraq, after Afghanistan even?

So it’’s a complete breakdown of the situation. And I think even though the situation is dreadful, I think that this here [inaud.] at the moment is utterly hypocritical because at the same time the west is imposing sanctions on Syria which across the country hospitals, and schools and all other facilities have no genuine access to medicines. Tens of thousands of people are dying and suffering because of western sanctions on Syria today.

PERIES: Alright Richard we’re going to wrap up this segment for now but we’’ll have you back to continue this discussion. Thanks for joining us.

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  1. Pavel

    Well if things weren’t bad enough, @wikileaks tweeted this about 2 hours ago:

    Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.


    There is appropriately ominous discussion of this at Hacker News here. Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of something serious (e.g. Julian Assange arrest or worse).

    @wikileaks has posted 3 messages of this type (one for “John Kerry”, one for “UK FCO”, one for “Ecuador”); some are wondering if these are the “dead man’s switch” codes to unlock documents in case of Assange’s death or disappearance.

    pre-commitment 1: John Kerry 4bb96075acadc3d80b5ac872874c3037a386f4f595fe99e687439aabd0219809

    All a bit scary to say the least. The sabre-rattling against Russia these last few days has been absolutely insane, to say the least. This won’t help.

    1. pretzelattack

      so britain, or the us with britain’s permission, if we need the poodle’s assent. and agree the push for war with russia is just freaking insane.

      1. windsock

        Well, it will take our minds off Brexit. You know we Brits thrive in the wartime Blitz spirit. Maybe this is May’s Falklands moment?

        1. craazyboy

          Not to fear. The US just launched our new $14 billion aircraft carrier and a new $4B high tech destroyer. So that there is $18 billion of cruise missile fodder for either Russian or Iranian cruise missiles. I’d recommend any Navy servicemen to apply for a job on the Uk’s flagship. That one looks like it’s not going anywhere.

          1. Pavel

            Well don’t worry, the US and UK have that shiny new trillion dollar F-35 to protect their ships.

            Oh, wait a minute…

    2. timbers

      RBS U.K. just blocked RT bank accounts. I’d rather they’d done that to BBC and NPR, would cut out a lot of propaganda.

  2. voteforno6

    There’s quite a history here, and it’s not just Hillary. Wasn’t it during Bill’s administration that NATO began to aggressively expand eastward, after George Bush (the Elder) had promised not to?

    1. craazyboy

      So true. Maybe goes back even as far as 1946 – but that gets too mind boggling to consider here for a mere blog post.

      But seeing as our blog post author doesn’t seem to go back nearly far enough – from the looks of this quote, “And as I said we can track back over and over again all the way to Hillary Clinton’s call for the overthrow of the Assad regime soon after the first demonstrations back in 2011. That’’s unbelievable. Have they learned nothing after Libya, after Syria, after Iraq, after Afghanistan even?” – I’ll try and propose the Occam’s Razor version of this century.

      It’s got nothing to do with learning from bad experiences and bad choices.

      The Neocon philosophy was hatched and gained traction in the late 90s. Then the general public was treated to the official roll out with GWB-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz regime change in Iraq.

      Next we learned from General Wesley Clark there is a “regime change list” floating about in the Pentagon.

      Along the way, we have heard various rationalizations about why we so desparately need regime change in a rather large number of ME- North African nations. Just about all of these “reasons” have been pretty much discredited, are simply obsolete, or are quite possibly none of our business even if we could do a regime change that turned out well. [where is that one, by the way?]

      This leaves only one reason to continue with the Neocon Regime Change Plan.

      The One Commandment.


      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We do it because we can. Also, it’s possible Hillary believes the U.S. discovered Japan based on her comments revealed by WikiLeaks. Given her actual foreign policy, it’s fair to question whether she misspoke or simply doesn’t understand Perry’s actions. If Hillary, the most qualified person to ever run for office (those White House Christmas decorations were certainly something), is under the impression the U.S. discovered Japan, who knows what middling intellects (by Washington standards) believe.

        1. zapster

          With that one, I kinda got the impression she was joking. Serious about her belief in US hegemony, of course, but exaggerating for effect. I hope.

      2. Nelson Lowhim

        With regard to Syria, I do believe its a pipeline that has the regime change tune being sung. Someone’s getting rich or trying to, off of more than weapons sales

        1. craazyboy

          Yup. US-Saudi-Qatar wants a gas pipeline to Europe. Assad-Russia-Gazprom has been blocking it. Now I’ve never seen any reports of Gazprom price gouging in Europe, but if the US-NATO insists on war with Russia that could change, of course:)

          But the IMF already screwed Russia to the tune of $4B over Ukraine debt. Any sovereign debt is supposed to be senior to anyone else per IMF rules, but the IMF decided to declare Russian debt subordinate to Western bank and other financier entities. So the first financial shots have been fired already.

  3. ColdWarVet

    Wow! Lurch Kerry actually went there!

    JOHN KERRY: Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals, medical facilities, and children, and women. These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation in war crimes.

    The neolibs have learned their lessons well. Whenever you’re feeling vulnerable, accuse your opponents of the same thing and repeat your accusations – aka “the Big Lie” – louder and longer than they can refute them. Unfortunately for HRC and company, Putin’s played this game a time or two as well. I think we’re headed toward a constitutional crisis in the aftermath of this sham election. Hopefully before the ICBMs start flying. Time to “gird your loins,” as Kunstler is fond of saying.

  4. Noonan

    Remember Obama, Clinton, and Kerry all mocking Mitt Romney for saying that Russia was our number one geopolitical foe? Those were the good old days.

    1. susan the other

      When Mitt said he’d go after certain South American countries and Russia I commented that now we know what Obama is going to do: mess with South America and Russia. That Obama waited so long is a puzzle – maybe he is doing this to make it easier for President Hillary (or Donald) to continue with the aggression. I keep thinking it’s just too nutty to continue. The truth is, we don’t have the power to defeat Russia because it is such an enormous country and we don’t have the endless resources it would require. So question: why is this happening?

      1. BecauseTradition

        So question: why is this happening?

        Because maybe the US is getting the leaders it deserves? Because pride goeth before a fall and haughtiness before destruction?

        Because, because, because… because of the wonderful things we duz?

        But more intellectually, Tom Hickey over at Mike Norman’s suggests this is a centuries old conflict (the Great Schism) between Eastern and Western Christianity, such as it is, with the irony that Russia is returning to its Christian roots while the West is abandoning its.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think there is any great mystery. As the saying goes ‘its hard to make a man understand something when his job depends on not understanding it’. The US has created a giant military/industrial/geopolitical/espionage/policy complex which is a giant self licking ice cream. Not one of the thousands of people employed in the system will get anywhere by saying ‘well, maybe we’d be better off if we withdrew most of our forces and spend it on health care instead’. They exist to identify threats and then they feed off those self identified threats. I’m sure quite a few people within the system are fully aware of the stupidity of what they are doing. But everyone has a mortgage and a family to feed, so who needs to rock the boat?

        What I find most disturbing though is the increasing evidence that the Blob is now independent of any sense of political control. I don’t really believe Obama or Kerry or any other senior administrator actually has any real say over Middle Eastern policy any more. Its all driven by internal political dynamics. Anyone who has read a bit of the political history of the run up to WWI in Europe or the militarization of Japan in the first half of the 20th Century will find this all disturbingly familiar.

        1. BecauseTradition

          Shorter: Because jawbs and I agree.

          The solution then is a UBI and/or asset redistribution so people don’t feel the need for an income so badly that they’ll risk helping bring on WWIII to “earn” one.

          This too is the fault of our money system. Whocouldanode?

  5. Steven

    What is the average citizen to do about all this?? If it wasn’t clear before this year’s sham Democratic primary, it should be by now – ‘the system’ is rigged. It isn’t just the Democratic party; it is the Main Stream media with all its ‘manufactured consent’. Otherwise intelligent people don’t seem to have a clue what is going on. Ask them about ‘neoconservatives’ and they think it is just a faction of the Republican Party.

    I am again reminded of the lyrics from Joan Baez’s “Blessed Are”: (something like) “Blessed are the stay at home millions who want leaders but get gamblers instead.” That said (or sung) political activity seems all but pointless. It is way past time for the adults in Washington (and London and Paris) to take charge – to rid the country and the world of the neoconservative disease threatening the survival of this country and the world.

    How does the US become a country that exports things the world needs again, that exports something other than chaos, war and death??

    1. Bev

      Are you a lawyer or do you know any lawyers who think like you do, that we need our Democracy back in order to have the power to produce a safer, saner future.

      Iraq, Libya, Kissinger, Kagan, Boot, Armitage, and Negroponte agree: @HillaryClinton is the candidate of choice for neocon warhawks.


      The Final Act will be World War

      …we are on the brink of war because apparently we have lunatics in Washington (and elsewhere) far more insane than the inmates they oversee.

      This past week has seen the lunacy shift several gears in only days. We see the U.S. pushing Russia for war everywhere. We recently stationed and commissioned live nuclear missiles in both Poland and Romania …along Russia border. snip

      Russia has taken this (and other moves) very seriously as their population of 40 million drilled last week for a nuclear attack. snip

      This is not “gut feel” or hunch, my conclusions are a result of actions. Yesterday we learned the RAF (British air force) instructed their pilots to shoot down Russian planes over Syria. We also know the U.S. recently painted several planes in Russian colors. Do you really believe this is for a drill? Or more likely some sort of false flag where eyewitnesses swear they saw MIGs with their own eyes attack some target?

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  6. Robert NYC

    Agree about the dangerous escalation in tensions. I wonder what the U.S. motivation is for all this. It is perfectly clear that we are determined to bully, badger and antagonize Russia, but for what end and what goal. We have expanded and pushed NATO to Russia’s borders, formented a coup in Ukraine and who knows what else all in effort to provoke them.

    Does anyone have ideas on what is behind this? Is it because we need a perpetual enemy to keep the public distracted from real problems and in a constant state of fear? Is is to perpetuate the surveillance state and military industrial complex?

    I find HRC far scarier than DT with regard to this particular issue. Why can’t we have good relations with Russia? What is the real basis for conflict?

    1. Alison

      That should be obvious, war affects the economy. The U.S. has been involved in war efforts since the founding of the nation. The target has historical significance, it’s easy to get it cosigned. It doesn’t matter much that in more recent years our relations have been allied with Russia on specific points but on the offensive in others as a strategy.

    2. Steven

      My theory: what we have here is the marriage of military Keynesianism and 1% greed running rampant, spawning chaos, war and death. My guru for understanding the modern world is Frederick Soddy. Somewhere he wrote something to the effect of ‘if the forces unleashed by advances in science and technology can not be harnessed to improve the material and cultural level of human civilization, they will be channeled to destruction and tear that civilization apart’. Military Keynesianism is the mechanism. Rather than share the wealth those advances creates with the population at large, the ruling classes – the 1%, their bankers and politicians, etc – in the West are using ‘their money’ to, as candidate Trump describes it, “keep score”.

      It isn’t ‘their money’ of course. What wasn’t ‘borrowed’ from resource-rich nations and the “laboring cattle” in third world countries, was simply created ex nihilo (out of nothing). The deepest, darkest fear of the 1% and their political hirelings is that their wealth, their money, their claim on society and the rest of us will be revealed for what it is – (as Michael Hudson puts it) “Debt that can’t be repaid (and) won’t be.”

      If that happens, of course, the (Congressional) military industrial complex’s claim on society’s wealth also goes out the door.

      P.S. Anyone else sick of living like this?

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I’m with you! What is the reason for initiating a conflict with Russia?

      We have plenty of other potential perpetual enemies without kicking the Russian Bear — so I don’t think creating a perpetual enemy is the answer.

    4. animalogic

      There are a number of reasons for the US’s current behaviour towards Russia, but ultimately they can be boiled down to one motivation: “regime change”.
      The US can’t, won’t, tolerate equals. The idea of a power superior to the US is incomprehensible. ALL nations are expected to obey US orders — or suffer the consequences. In short, “the world” is shorthand for “US empire”.
      Oddly enough, there are still a few national governments
      which believe they should govern in their own (not the US’s) national interests: Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela are a few.
      Essentially, China is too big, the rest too insignificant (at the moment) to assault.
      Russia is the prime object of punitive regime change for many reasons not least of which is it’s very public, quite successful resistance to the US’s hard work to destroy Syria.
      The US doesn’t want war with Russia, it wants a return to the glory days of Yeltsin: a Russia completely subservient, and open to Western exploitation.
      Also, destroy nationalism in Russia, two birds–one stone: China loses its critical allie. Thus, “new silk road”, Eurasian integration, all China’s future plans become difficult, if not impossible.
      To the vicious lunatics of the US deep state, Russian regime change is a gamble well worth taking…nuclear war will be a sign that the gamble didn’t pay-off….

  7. Roquentin

    The Russia stuff in this election has been almost too stupid for words. It’s the same thing it’s always been, Cold War to the present. Most people in the US couldn’t find Russia on map and will believe the most ridiculous bullshit without question, and strangely have an almost religious faith in the idea our media would never mislead them about a foreign power. The whole thing is a PR campaign to distract people from what Wikileaks revealed about HRC as well as to get the population here ginned up for the upcoming war they want in Syria.

    Smart money says that’ll be the first item on Hillary’s agenda come January. I’d bet money they’ll make some kind of move before the summer of 2017 hits. And it’s not going to be good.

  8. Antifa

    The Cold War was ideological — the Communists were going to create Communist regimes wherever they could around the globe as mankind progressed toward its inevitable ultimate state of a Worker’s Paradise. Meanwhile, the West was going to stop all this, and instead create Capitalist regimes wherever they could around the world. So we had countless proxy wars and back alley espionage all over the world for decades. And it was existential — only one side could win.

    Later, we learned that there never was an actual Communist government in Russia — just the Party elites lording it over the poor slobs who did whatever factory or farm job they were assigned to. The only real social safety net was that you could always get food and shelter from the State.

    Not much later, we learned there never was an actual Capitalist government in America — just the wealthy elites lording it over the poor slobs who didn’t have a billion to their name. For the rubes, the whole system was rigged to siphon away their wealth by the day. Still works that way.

    Our elites are ruthless about their aims to establish a planet ruled by and for corporations, and their “expected profits” will come out of the environment no matter what the local people want, vote for, or protest. Hillary will see the TPP passed if Obama doesn’t.

    The one thing that can muck up this TPP plan is if another nuclear power stands against it, and wishes instead to see international law and diplomacy rule the 200 or so nations spread around the globe. Let everyone be treated with respect and sovereign rule over their own affairs.

    Can you imagine anything that would make a gang of pirates angrier?

    Hence the calumny against Russia. They really are getting in the way, and with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization coming along, many other nations are signing on to their program. America is not admired by the world any longer; they are feared and despised. The West (America) is facing the prospect of failing at their goal of global dominance by wealthy shareholders, free to dispense with sovereign government at will through corporate arbitration.

    It’s existential to them that they succeed. And it’s slipping through their fingers.

    Of course they’re hopping mad.

    1. Steven

      Excellent summary of 20th century history! Now what do we do about it?

      What about a global boycott of the US dollar? Until the US learns to live as a productive member in the family of nations, no more anything (particularly money from its bankers and financiers) from the US?

    2. Jen

      “Can you imagine anything that would make a gang of pirates angrier?”

      Yes, I can. What if that gang of pirates has worked so industriously for 8 years to ensure the victory of their candidate in the coming presidential election, and they have valid reasons to believe that outcome might be in doubt.

      It’s not like the AP can declare Hillary the winner the night before the general election.

      What to do? What to do?

      My 2 nightmare scenarios for this election cycle are Clinton winning, and a large portion of the public not accepting the outcome…or Trump winning, and the oligarchy not accepting the outcome.

    1. Vatch

      It’s possible that everything in that article is true. Then again, maybe it’s wishful thinking on the part of the author. I got a hint of his point of view from this text following the article. End times, anyone?

      Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

  9. Olaf Lukk

    A couple of posters have trotted out the red herring of “NATO expansion”- something Bush the Elder supposedly promised Gorbachev that would never happen- as an unnecessary provocation of Russia.

    NATO was formed in 1948, specifically in response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from those nations in Eastern Europe it refused to withdraw from after WWll: (East) Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. In response, the Soviets cynically used these nations to form the Warsaw Pact- ostensibly as a defense against NATO. The only time Warsaw Pact troops were used militarily was against its own members- Hungary in 1956, Czechoslavakia in 1968.

    Fast forward to 1989, when the fall of the Berlin Wall began the dominos falling in Eastern Europe, culminating in the collapse of the Soviet “union” in 1991. In the following years, all of the Warsaw Pact nations, plus the illegally occupied and annexed Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, made a point of joining NATO- to make sure that a re-awakened Russian bear did not return to do yet more damage.

    GHW Bush had no standing to negotiate the future foreign policy of any nation in Eastern Europe. Recall that when the USSR was imploding in 1991, he was too busy saving that paragon of democracy- Kuwait. In any case, how do you keep a “promise” to a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists? Or does Russia have some sort of divine right to dictate to its neighbors which alliances they may join? The last “gentleman’s agreement” regarding Eastern Europe was called Molotov-Ribbentrop, and look how well that turned out.

    NATO membership is voluntary. In Eastern Europe, it is also regarded as pragmatic self-preservation. If Russia is unhappy with NATO at its borders, it need only to check its recent history with its neighbors to understand why.

    1. BecauseTradition

      Or does Russia have some sort of divine right to dictate to its neighbors which alliances they may join?

      Having been continually invaded from the West, I’d say the Russian DO have a right to at least non-aligned nations on its borders.

      Now if the West was truly peace loving, you might have a point. But currently, it appears to me, the US is NOT but is determined to spread what many of its own citizens consider a diseased culture, one way or another, to the rest of the world as if TINA.

      1. BecauseTradition

        Pardon the typos, please; I’m pissed the peace dividend was squandered by the voracious West.

  10. pretzelattack

    got a link supporting that assertion about the way eastern europeans in general feel about nato? at any rate, nato definitely expanded its original mission, and not because of russian actions.

    1. Vatch

      I think it’s important to distinguish between the northern Eastern European nations and the southern ones. Many of the southern ones have a longer history of problems with the old Turkish empire, so they are less likely to view Russia as a threat. Some people in those nations consider Russia to be a protector against the Turks and/or Muslims.

      Here’s a link showing public opinion about NATO. Not all NATO nations are included, and Poland and Hungary are the only Eastern European ones, and in those two countries NATO is generally perceived favorably. The unpopularity of NATO in Greece supports what I said about the southern nations.


  11. /lasse

    As I understand it Bush and the Neocons abandoned MAD doctrine and ABM treaty and did go for Preemptive First Strike doctrine and declared American exceptionalism.
    What could possibly go wrong with such a doctrine.

  12. Dimitri

    Regarding Russians hacking whatever… Does anyone remember that US was hacking Angela Merkel’s personal phone?

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