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Thread: Politics: The New Cold War

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Politics: The New Cold War


    Paper by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser, at the Socialism Conference, Kuala Lumpur 22.11. 2014

    The Cold War in which we grew up had grave consequences for anti-imperialist patriotic Malayans. Besides the atrocities by Western imperialist forces such as at Batang Kali, more than 6,000 guerrillas and over 2,000 civilians were killed. Cold War thinking on Malaya can be gleaned from this declassified document by the Commissioner-General in Southeast Asia to London at the start of the Emergency in 1949:

    We should regard SE Asia as a whole and devise a coherent policy for dealing with it over the whole region... I feel that it is no exaggeration to say that this region has assumed a vast importance in the worldwide struggle between the democratic and communist causes, quite out of proportion to its industrial and political developments.... We think that a deliberate and planned effort must be made to hold the communist advance in Asia beyond the boundaries of Pakistan, India, Tibet, Burma, Indochina and the Philippines, and to keep it away from Siam, Malaya, Indonesia. We need Asian equivalents to the Marshall Plan and the Atlantic Pact that should offer the Asian Governments and peoples economic, political, and if necessary, military aid in their resistance to communism...”
    (Top Secret: Malcolm MacDonald, Commissioner-General in SE Asia to Rt. Hon. Ernest Bevin, FO Despatch No.16, 23 March 1949, FO 371/1073.)

    From the end of World War II in 1945, the Cold War was carried out in a bi-polar world between Western imperialism and anti-imperialist countries they demonized as the “red menace” not only in their media but also in Hollywood movies. But the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the break-up of the Soviet Union as well as China’s capitalist road have not seen the end of US imperialistic designs. As inter-capitalist competition heats up and independent voices have emerged through countries refusing to be vassal states of US, we are once again seeing a return to US/NATO Cold War rhetoric and aggression in Central Asia, Middle East and threatened conflict in Asia. Obviously, there are comparisons as well as contrasts between the old and the new cold war.

    Challenge to US hegemony
    The triumph of the Chinese revolution in 1949 was described as a “loss” to Western imperialist interests mainly because it had deprived Western imperialism of Chinese resources and investments to exploit. Likewise, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe did not fall under Western influence during the post-war years. The Cuban revolution in 1959 was an even closer affront to US imperialism and the revolutions in the Third World during the sixties and seventies were struggles for self-determination and national sovereignty. The most inspiring of all was the victory of the Vietnamese people in 1975 when they defeated world’s most powerful empire. They were assisted by peace-loving peoples in the anti-war movement throughout the world as well as in the US itself.

    Economic decline of the US
    The most significant difference between the old and new cold war is that the US today is no longer the most economically powerful country it was throughout the post-war period. Its growth rate of per capita GDP was 4.0% from 1950 to 1970 compared to Western Europe’s 2.0%. (Piketty, T, ‘Capital’, 2013: 96) We have seen the resurgence of inter-capitalist competition by Japan, Germany, France during the seventies, and the rise of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - in more recent years. China has just overtaken the US as the biggest economy in the world while US productivity, production and exports have declined. The estimate for the US’ potential rate of growth by the IMF is 2% and even lower by other economists; unemployment has sunk to 6.1%, while productivity is averaging at only 1%, half the average of 2.3% between 1947 and 2007. (The Economist, 19.7.2014)

    This can be attributed to many factors including increasing competition from emerging economies, the ascendancy of new technologies and that of financial capital over industrial capital. The US’ military-industrial complex & size of defence spending – with more than 800 military bases around the world – can be seen as a geo-political boon but an economic bane. The US now has a monumental national debt – at least $2 trillion owed to China and Japan and $8 trillion trade deficit from 2000-2012. (America’s Economic Report, 29 November 2013)

    This aspect of the new Cold War – with open economic ties between US, Russia and China - should be contrasted with the old Cold War when US tried its best to isolate the Soviet Union and China in all aspects including economic ties. The US and its NATO allies have started economic sanctions against Russia but sanctions are also hurting the European countries which rely on the Russian market and its gas supplies.

    Eastward expansion of NATO
    We are seeing a new Cold War between the US/NATO and the Russian Federation mainly because of the attempt by Russia to stem NATO incursions into Central Asia since the end of the old Cold War. Who is the aggressor in this case?

    After the Cold War ended in 1989, the Warsaw Pact was disbanded but NATO has continued its eastward expansion in defiance of agreement by NATO and Russia. NATO’s anti-missile system near Russian border in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland is equivalent to a first-strike weapon. When we recall the acute sensitivity of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis with Soviet missiles positioned at just one base in Cuba so close to the US, we realize the extent of US provocation today. Even Gorbachev, the architect of perestroika has criticized the US/NATO’s encroachments east of Germany.

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was formed in 2001, just prior to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, to counter the growing American intervention in Central Asia. It includes Russia, China and four Central Asian republics—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia have observer status. The latest SCO summit has accepted Afghanistan as a new observer.

    Demonising Russia over MH17
    The MH17 tragedy has given the US/NATO an excuse to demonise Russia by claiming that it was a Russian supplied BUK missile that Russian-backed separatists used to shoot down the airliner. But where is the international report after so many months of investigations? Why was the agreement signed on 8 Aug 2014 between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia to keep the results of the investigation of MH17 private?

    Why isn’t Malaysia in the investigation team when MH17 is a Malaysian plane and so many victims were Malaysian? Don’t they owe it to the families of the deceased to make the investigation transparent and to reveal the results as soon as possible?

    For a start, what do the impact holes on the fuselage of MH17 show? Do the experts conclude that these impact holes were made by a surface-to-air missile or bullets fired from a fighter jet? Why is it taking so long for such a conclusion to be reached and why should the results of the investigation be shrouded in secrecy?

    In order to destabilize Russia, the US has forced Europe to tighten sanctions against Russia. NATO’s new mission seems to be to control global energy system. The West also wants new sources of investments in Central Asia and the Russia Federation. Among other interests, Ukraine and Royal Dutch Shell want to gain access to shale gas and other resources in the separatist area.

    US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have unveiled secret NATO plans for a US-led war against Russia over the Baltic States. The cables underscore the growing geo-strategic tensions between the US and Russia. The secret plans spell out preparations for a full-scale war with Russia that would see the immediate deployment of US, British, German and Polish troops in the event of any Russian incursion into the former Soviet Baltic republics. (Guardian, 9.12. 2010)

    US forces in the Middle East
    There are NATO naval deployments in Persian Gulf and the flow of arms to “forces of moderation”, ie. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel. But the ISIS beheadings have given Obama the excuse to once again send US forces to Iraq and Syria just as Bush had used the 9/11 bombings to invade Iraq. Graham Fuller, the former CIA officer and author of "Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East" has said that ISIS is the result of US action in Iraq:

    I think the United States is one of the key creators of this organization. The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS, but its destructive interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq were the basic causes of the birth of ISIS. You will remember that the starting point of this organization was to protest the US invasion of Iraq… I think even today ISIS is supported by many Sunnis who feel isolated by the Shiite government in Baghdad. ISIS was benefiting from the Shiite agenda of the former Maliki government.” (Interview with Al Monitor)

    Both Russia and China have a great deal at stake in opposing US machinations in the Middle East. Russia has longstanding ties with Syria. The drive for regime change is also directly against Syria’s main ally, Iran, that is confronting threats of war from the US and its allies. Iran has been an enemy of US imperialism because of its independent stance ever since the overthrow of the Shah. China and Russia have significant economic interests in Iran.

    Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ aimed at China
    In 2011, in the wake of the US military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama Administration announced that the US would make “a strategic pivot” in its foreign policy to focus its military and political attention on the Asia-Pacific, particularly Southeast Asia, that is, China. The Obama administration’s so-called “pivot to Asia” involves strengthening US military alliances and strategic partnerships, as well as restructuring and repositioning American military forces, throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

    This involves a shift of 60 percent of US warships and air force assets to the Indo-Pacific region by 2020. This is not counting the missile systems that are already in Japan, S.Korea, Australia and Taiwan. At least 2,500 elite US Marines will be stationed in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, while long-range American surveillance drones will operate from the remote Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. US will gain greater use of Australian Air Force bases for American aircraft and increased ship and submarine visits to the Indian Ocean through a naval base near Perth. There is also Diego Garcia, the former British colony given to the US in 1966 in exchange for the cancellation of an arms debt. Together with Guam, the U.S. can project its power in this pivot to Asia.

    More US forces in South Korea and Japan
    The US military base at Okinawa, Japan is being rebuilt as a major center to project US military power towards China. As of 2010 there were over 35,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan and another 5,500 American civilians employed there by the United States Department of Defense. The United States Seventh Fleet is based in Yokosuka. The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force is in Okinawa, while 130 USAF fighters are stationed in the Misawa Air Base and Kadena Air Base. The Japanese government in 2011 began an armament program designed to counter the perceived Chinese threat. The Japanese command has urged their leaders to petition the United States to allow the sale of F-22A Raptor fighter jets, currently illegal under U.S law. (Global Research, 2 Feb 2013)

    South Korean and American military have deepened their strategic alliance and over 45,000 American soldiers are now stationed in South Korea. The South Koreans and Americans claim this is due to the North Korean military’s modernization. Thus, while the American media and political establishment seek to portray China as a threat to peace, the US military build-up and forging of alliances in Asia is destabilizing the entire region. While China is in no position to challenge the US militarily, its huge and growing requirements for energy and raw materials are bringing it into conflict with the domination of the major powers over Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    Strategic Indian Ocean
    The Indian Ocean is the vital waterway passage for energy and trade flows between the Middle East and China, the heart of a developing south-south economic axis between China and Africa and Latin America. It is interesting to note that despite the US attempt to control Middle East oil, 40% of Mid-East oil has been heading east, not west. (Noam Chomsky, ZNet, August 27, 2007) A major objective of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was to prevent oil and other resources reaching China but these have turned into a fiasco. The US failed to set up docile governments there and the new Iraqi and Afghan government now trade with China! Chinese companies simply bought up oil concessions at auctions after the Afghan fiasco.

    Since 1997, trade between China and Africa has risen more than twenty-fold and trade with Latin America, including Brazil, has increased fourteen fold. (Global Research, 2 Feb 2013) This is a trend the US and its NATO allies do not want to see and are determined to prevent at all costs. It is also interesting to note that while the US has been at pains to exclude China from the TPP agreements, China is now offering attractive trade deals to ASEAN countries as well as Australia and setting up more and more yuan hubs to save on dollar conversions.

    US back in Southeast Asia
    US forces are returning to bases abandoned after the Vietnam War, eg. Royal Thai Navy Air Field at U-Tapao, 90 miles south of Bangkok. The US Navy will soon base four of its newest Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore and would rotate them periodically to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. The recently signed “Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement” effectively converts Phillipines into US military base. From South Korea to Philippines to Vietnam, the Pentagon and US State Department is fanning the clash over rights to the South China Sea to stealthily insert US military presence there to “defend” Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean or Philippine interests. (ibid)

    US forces in Malaysia
    Malaysia and the US have been holding joint military exercises since the early 1970s. Then, when Mahathir visited Washington in 1984, this relationship was formalized in an agreement signed by the Malaysian Prime Minister and the then US Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger. At Malaysia’s request, the agreement on Bilateral Training and Educational Cooperation has been kept secret. One reason for the secrecy is that Malaysia has championed nonalignment and has strongly argued for the creation of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia.

    In 1992, then Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak said that Malaysia supported the continuing American military presence in the region. Malaysia signed an acquisitions and cross-servicing agreement in 1994 that allowed US Navy ships to visit Malaysian ports for repair and replenishment. The contract was renewed during Abdullah's tenure in 2005; each year, US Special Forces train at Malaysia's jungle-warfare school and bilateral military-to-military cooperation is growing rather than diminishing. This speech by Najib on "Malaysia-U.S. Defence Cooperation: the Untold Story" at the U.S. Heritage Foundation on 3 May 2002 says it all:

    For many years U.S. and Malaysian forces have cooperated on a wide range of missions with virtually no fanfare or public acknowledgement. And in spite of its success, our bilateral defence relationship seems to be an all too well-kept secret…Historically Malaysia has been a steady, reliable friend of the United States. Our multitude of common interests includes trade and investment on a sizeable scale and security cooperation across a range of fronts… For example: The United States averages more than 1,000 over flights per year. Since September 11, this number has increased dramatically, and all requests have been approved...The United States has excellent access to Malaysian intelligence… Since September 11, Malaysian forces have been protecting U.S. ships in the Straits.
    “Over the years, some in the United States have misinterpreted some of (Dr. Mahathir’s) straight talk. Let me be clear: Strong friendships can withstand strong words. Malaysia and the United States have been close for decades. Our multi-faceted relationship will have its high and low points, but the core values our nations share endure…”
    (Kua Kia Soong, ‘Questioning Arms Spending in Malaysia: From Altantuya to Zikorsky’, 2010:10)

    Latin American countries stand up to US imperialism
    US domination of Latin America in the past century has often relied on military intervention, both overt and covert, or through military support to reactionary local allies. The most well-known is of course the overthrow of the progressive Chilean government of Salvador Allende in 1973 and support for the murderous regimes in Argentina and El Salvador; organising Contra mercenary forces in Nicaragua to defeat its revolution; invading Grenada in 1983; the 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and the coup attempts in Venezuela, Ecuador and Honduras over the past decade.

    Latin America that had been dominated by the US for over a hundred years is showing the way in standing up to US imperialism. Venezuela and Bolivia have joined Cuba in saying No to US imperialism and trying an independent road to improve their population’s living standards. There have also been advances made on this front by Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, Peru and other Latin American countries and even an attempt at creating greater regional integration in order to withstand US domination. Breaking with US imperialism is a necessary requirement for advancing the living conditions in Latin America.

    No foreign military bases
    Foreign military bases are an infringement of national sovereignty and the principle of self-determination. Servicemen at these military bases often get away with violations against local women with impunity. An International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases has been set up. The Second International Conference against Foreign Military Bases was held in Havana in November 2005 and was endorsed by delegates from 22 countries. The declaration of the conference constitutes a major peace initiative and establishes international solidarity in the process of disarmament. The new mayor of Okinawa is calling for the end of US military installations in Okinawa (New York Times, 16 November 2014) and the anti-imperialist forces in the Philippines have called for the same in their country. In South Korea, protesters against the Jeju Naval Base are against this US-driven project aimed at China, rather than enhancing South Korean defense.

    Global day of action on military spending (GDAMS)
    An initiative by the Geneva-based Institute for Peace Bureau and supported by SUARAM, GDAMS takes place every year in mid-April (when SIPRI announces the statistics on global arms spending) with the aim of promoting a common awareness of the amounts of money spent on military procurements. Global military expenditure reaches about $1.700 billion each year, profiting mainly the military-industrial complex and crony capitalists. GDAMS advocates a shift of budget priorities and promotes spending this amount of money on human development instead. Individual ASEAN countries should only commit to defensive equipment rather than offensive equipment in order to cut military spending.

    Nuclear-free zone, ZOPFAN, NAM
    We should learn from New Zealand and say No to any nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using Malaysian ports or entering our waters. Malaysia as the next ASEAN chair should push for this to be an ASEAN policy together with the commitment to ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Friendship and Neutrality). Malaysia should also call for a new commitment to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that was launched at Bandung and hosted by Indonesia’s first president Sukarno in 1955 to counter the designs by imperialist powers. To save on defence spending, ASEAN should work toward joint defence commitment instead of pursuing an arms race within ASEAN countries.

    As the chair of ASEAN, Malaysia should also initiate the realization of an ASEAN Human Rights Commission, an ASEAN Court of Justice and ensure that there is equal justice for workers and migrants throughout the region in an ASEAN Human Rights Charter.

    Stop the war movement
    It is in the interest of all peace-loving peoples to stop the war mongering currently being stoked by the United States and its NATO allies in the Middle East, Central Asia, and now Asia. On this 100th anniversary of WWI and our own painful experience of WWII and the Emergency, let us be reminded that wars cause untold suffering to ordinary working peoples, political and economic instability on a global scale, heighten racism and result in attacks on civil liberties. We have a duty to mobilise peace activists and peace-loving peoples to join with us in building a mass movement that can stop any war started or instigated by the imperialist powers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Politics: The New Cold War

    Text: Remarks by Stephen F. Cohen Professor Emeritus Princeton University and New York University At San Francisco Commonwealth Club

    (Commonwealth Club)December 3, 2015

    Below are Prof. Stephen F. Cohen’s remarks to the the Commonwealth Club of California given on November 18, 2015:

    I am delighted to be here in San Francisco with you. The farther you go from Washington and the mainstream media, the better introductions you get!

    Some of you may know that the small group of us who have been protesting against the American policy since the Ukraine crisis began two years ago have been described in harsh and derogatory language as “Putin’s apologists, Putin’s useful idiots and Putin’s best friends in America.”

    Paris should have changed everything but for these people it hasn’t. I clicked on the Internet this morning and there it was again. So let me begin with a word about myself.

    My answer to these charges is that, “No, I …. not you, am a patriot of American national security,” And I actually have been since I started studying Russia about 50 years ago.

    I started out in Kentucky and then went to Indiana University, and old friends here today can testify that I was doing this many years ago. Along the way I came to a conviction, exactly how and why doesn’t matter that American national security runs through Moscow. It means that an American President must have a partner in the Kremlin— not a friend, but a partner. This was true when the Soviet Union existed, and this is true today.

    And it is true whichever existential or grave world threat you may emphasize. For some people it is climate change, for others it is human rights, for some it is the spread of democracy. For me, for quite a while, it has been the new kind of terrorism that afflicts the world today. These terrorists are no longer “non-state actors.” These guys are organized, they have an army, they have a self-professed state, they have ample funds and they have the ability to hurt us gravely in many parts of the world. Everyone seems to have forgotten 9-11 and Boston, but Paris should have reminded us of what’s at stake.

    So for me, international terrorism is the threat in the world today that should be America’s national security priority. And I mean it should be the top priority for the President of the United States whether he or she is a Republican or Democrat. It is the existential threat represented by a combination of this new kind of terrorism, religious, ethnic, zealous civil wars––and, still worse, these guys desperately want the raw materials for making weapons of mass destruction. A cup of radioactive material in those planes on 9-11 would have made lower Manhattan uninhabitable even today.

    Terrorists today are using conventional weapons, bombs, mortars and guns. But if they had cup of this radioactive material in Paris, Paris would have needed to be evacuated. This is the real threat today. This kind of threat cannot be diminished, contained, still less eradicated unless we have a partner in the Kremlin. That is the long and short of it; note again I didn’t say a “friend,” but a partner. Nixon and Clinton went on about their dear friend Brezhnev and their friend Yeltsin; it was all for show. I don’t care whether we like the Kremlin leader or not; what we need is recognition of our common interests for a partnership––the way two people in business make a contract. They have the same interests and they have to trust each other–-because if one person violates the agreement, then the other person’s interests are harmed.

    We don’t have this with Russia, even after Paris, and this is essentially what I’ve been saying we need for the past several years. In return people say that my view is “pro-Putin” and unpatriotic, to which I say, “No, this is the very highest form of patriotism in regard to American national security.”

    So I will make a few points today, very briefly and rather starkly, rather than give a lecture. I’m less interested in lecturing than in finding out what others here have to say.

    My first point is this: The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was Reagan and Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89. And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn’t end in Moscow. It ended in Washington — it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 200, we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia. Many people in politics and in the media don’t want to call it this, because if they admit, “Yes, we are in a Cold War,” they would have to explain what they were doing during the past 20 years. So they instead say, “No, it is not a Cold War.”

    Here is my next point. This new Cold War has all of the potential to be even more dangerous than the preceding forty-year Cold War, for several reasons. First of all, think about it. The epicenter of the earlier Cold War was in Berlin, not close to Russia. There was a vast buffer zone between Russia and the West in Eastern Europe. Today, the epicenter is in Ukraine, literally on Russia’s borders. It was the Ukrainian conflict that set this off, and politically Ukraine remains a ticking time bomb. Today’s confrontation is not only on Russia’s borders, but it’s in the heart of Russian-Ukrainian “Slavic civilization.” This is a civil war as profound in some ways as was America’s Civil War.

    Many Ukrainian antagonists were raised in the same faith, speak the same language and are intermarried. Does anyone know how many Russian and Ukrainian intermarriages there are today? Millions. Nearly all of their families are intermixed. This continues to be a ticking time bomb that can cause a lot more damage and even greater dangers. The fact that it is right on Russia’s border, and in effect right in the middle of the Russian/Ukrainian soul … or at least half of Ukraine’s soul …. since the half of Ukraine yearns to be in Western Europe, this makes it even more dangerous.

    My next point and still worse: You will remember that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Washington and Moscow developed certain rules-of -mutual conduct. They saw how dangerously close they had come to a nuclear war, so they adopted “No-Nos,’ whether they were encoded in treaties or in unofficial understandings. Each side knew where the other’s red line was. Both sides tripped over them on occasion but immediately pulled back because there was a mutual understanding that there were red lines. TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev, keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said and continues to say, “You don’t have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can’t have bases in Canada or Mexico.” Your red lines don’t exist.” This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct.

    In recent years, for example there have already been three proxy wars between the United States and Russia; Georgia in 2008, Ukraine beginning in 2014, and prior to Paris …. it appeared Syria would be the third. We don’t know yet what position Washington is going to take on Syria. Hollande made his decision; he declared a coalition with Russia. Washington as they understand in Russia, “is silent or opposed to a coalition with Moscow.”

    Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all––not in our political parties, not in the White house, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the “think tanks.” I see a colleague here, nodding her head, because we remember when, in the 1970s through the 1980s, we had allies even in the White House, among aides of the President. We had allies in the State Department, and we had Senators and Members of the House who were pro-detente and who supported us, who spoke out themselves and listened carefully to our points of view. None of this exists today. Without this kind of openness and advocacy in a democracy, what can we do? We can’t throw bombs to get attention; we can’t get printed in mainstream media, we can’t be heard across the country. This lack of debate in our society is exceedingly dangerous.

    My next point is a question: Who is responsible for this new Cold War? I don’t ask this question because I want to point a finger at anyone. I am interested in a change in U.S. policy that can only come from the White House, although Congress could help. But we need to know what went wrong with the U.S.-Russia relationship after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, and why…. or there won’t be any new thinking. And there will be no new policy. At this point, there is no new thinking in the American political-media establishment. There is a lot of new thinking in the European Parliament. There is a lot of angst in the French media and in Germany and in the Netherlands and even Cameron in London is rethinking.

    The position of the current American political media establishment is that this new Cold War is all Putin’s fault––all of it, everything. We in America didn’t do anything wrong. At every stage, we were virtuous and wise and Putin was aggressive and a bad man. And therefore, what’s to rethink? Putin has to do all of the rethinking, not us.

    I disagree. And this is what has brought the outrageous attacks down on me and my colleagues. I was raised in Kentucky on the adage, “There are two sides to every story.” And these people are saying, “No to this story, the history of Russian and American relations, there is only one side. There is no need to see any of it through the other side’s eyes. Just get out there and repeat the “conventional mainstream establishment narrative.” If we continue doing this, and don’t address the existing situation, we are going to have another “Paris” and not only in the United States.

    This is why I say we must be patriots of America’s national security and rethink everything. For whatever reason, the Clinton Administration declared a “winner-takes-all policy” toward Post-Soviet Russia. It said, “We won the Cold War.” This isn’t true. Former Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, explains in his books what happened as he stood by Reagan’s side at every step of the negotiations with Gorbachev. The reality is that the Clinton administration adopted unwise policies in its winner-take-all approach. What were the consequences of these policies? There were a lot of consequences. The worst was, it blew the chance for a strategic partnership with Russia at a turning point moment in history.

    The four U.S. policies that have most offended Russia and still offend them today are obviously the following:

    1) The decision to expand NATO right to Russia’s borders: It’s nonsense when we say Putin has violated the Post-Cold War order of Europe. Russia was excluded from the post-Cold War order of Europe by NATO’s expansion. Russia was pushed “somewhere out there” (beyond a zone of security). Russia kept saying, “Let’s do a Pan European Security Arrangement like Gorbachev and Reagan proposed.” The NATO-expanders said, “This is not military, this is about democracy and free trade, it’s going to be good for Russia, swallow your poison with a smile.” And when the Russians had no choice in the 1990s, they did; but when they grew stronger and had a choice, they no longer stood by silently.

    Russia started pushing back, as any Russian leader would have done who was sober and had the support his own country. I don’t say this as a joke. By the end, Yeltsin could barely walk. He was pushed out of the presidency, he didn’t resign voluntarily. But the point is, anyone could have predicted this situation back in the 1990s––and some of us did so, often and as loudly as we were permitted.

    2) The refusal on the part of the United States to negotiate on missile defense: Missile defense is now a NATO project. That means missile defense installations, whether on land or sea (sea is more dangerous) are now part of NATO expansion and its encirclement of Russia. Missile defense is part of the same military system. Russians are absolutely convinced that it is targeted at their nuclear retaliatory capabilities. We say, “Oh no, it’s about Iran, it’s not about you.” But go talk to Ted Postel at MIT. He explains that latter-stage missile defense is an offensive weapon that can hit Russia’s installations. It also violates the IMF Agreement because it can fire cruise missiles. Meanwhile we are accusing Russia of developing cruise missiles again; and they have begun doing so again because we are back in an unnecessary tit-for-tat arms race for the first time in many years.

    3) Meddling in Russia’s internal affairs in the name of democracy promotion: In addition to funding the National Endowment for Democracy’s “opposition politics” programs across Russia and Ukraine––are you aware that when Medvedev was President of Russia and Ms. Clinton and Michael McFaul had their wondrous “reset” (which was a rigged diplomatic game if you looked at the terms of it), that Vice President Biden went to Moscow State University and said that Putin should not return to the presidency. He then said it directly to Putin’s face. Imagine, Putin comes here in the next few weeks and tells Rubio or Clinton they should drop out of the U.S. presidential race!

    Are there any red lines left anymore when it comes to our behavior toward Russia. Do we have the right to say or do anything we wish? This extends to everything, and it certainly extends to politics. The White House simply can’t keep its mouth shut, being egged on by vested anti-Russian lobbies and mainstream media. We all believe in democracy, but like it or not, we will not be able to impose democracy on Russia; and if we could, we might not like the democratic outcomes that might result.

    So ask yourself, is there a Russian position that needs to be carefully thought through in the aftermath of Paris? And does Russia have any legitimate interests in the world at all? And if so, what are they? What about their borders? Do they have legitimate interests in Syria?

    4) My last point is a prescriptive hope (until Paris, I didn’t think there was much hope at all). Now there is still a chance to achieve the lost partnership with Russia, at least in three realms.

    • Ukraine: You know what the Minsk Accords are. They were formulated by Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko and President Putin. They call for a negotiated end to the civil war in Ukraine. They recognize that the conflict has been primarily a civil war and only secondarily a matter of Russian aggression. I don’t care what American mainstream media says––this has been basically a Ukrainian civil war. To put an end to that civil war would be exceedingly security-building today.

    • Syria: before Paris I thought there was almost no chance for an American coalition with Russia. Part of it …. and I’m not big on psychological analyses, but at least in part it was due to Obama’s mind-fix about Putin. He resents him and speaks out about him in ways that are not helpful. But with Paris and Hollande announcing that there is now a French-Russian coalition, with Germany agreeing, and I would say almost all of Western Europe is on board, there is a chance, but only if the White House seizes the opportunity. We will see very soon.

    • The false idea that the nuclear threat ended with the Soviet Union: In fact, the threat became more diverse and difficult. This is something the political elite forgot. It was another disservice of the Clinton Administration (and to a certain extent the first President Bush in his re-election campaign) saying that the nuclear dangers of the preceding Cold War era no longer existed after 1991. The reality is that the threat grew, whether by inattention or accident, and is now more dangerous than ever.

    Last year, in an unwise pique of anger, Russia withdrew from the Nunn-Lugar Initiative which you may remember was one of the wisest pieces of legislation that Congress ever passed. In the 1990s, we gave Russia money to lock down and secure their materials for making weapons of mass destruction. In addition we paid salaries to their scientists who knew how to make and use these materials and who might otherwise have gone to Syria, Yemen or the Caucasus to sell their knowledge in order to employ themselves. Russia did withdraw but said it wants to renegotiate Nunn-Lugar on different terms. The White House has refused. After Paris, one hopes that Obama picked up the phone and said, “I’m sending someone over, let’s get this done.”

    Unfortunately, today’s reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia’s actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America’s leadership in the world.

    HERE IS THE BOTTOM LINE: We in the United States cannot lead the world alone any longer, if we ever could. Long before Paris, globalization and other developments have occurred that ended the mono-polar, US-dominated world. That world is over. A multi-polar world has emerged before our eyes, not just in Russia but in five or six capitals around the world. Washington’s stubborn refusal to embrace this new reality has become part of the problem and not part of the solution. This is where we are today …. even after Paris.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Washington violates treaty on prohibition of intermediate-range missiles: Moscow

    Thu Dec 3, 2015 3:7AM

    US Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald inspect the MK 41 Vertical Launching System for water to prevent electrical failure. (Wikimedia)Russia says installing the Mk 41 vertical launching systems in Eastern Europe by the United States is a violation of their bilateral deal on prohibition of using intermediate-range cruise missiles.

    “We have grounds to regard land-based Mk 41s as cruise missile launching systems and their deployment on the ground as a direct INF violation by the US side,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, Sputnik news agency reported.

    The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed by then the US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, maintains that the two countries cannot possess, produce, or test-fly nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles).

    The treaty was formally titled “The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles,” and came into force on June 1, 1988.
    The Mark 41 Vertical Launching Systems (Mk 41 VLS), which are originally ship-borne missile canister launching systems, provide a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. Several of them are now stationed in Romania by the US military and will be later redeployed to Poland.

    US President Ronald Reagan (R) and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev are signing the INF Treaty in the East Room at the White House December 8, 1987. (Wikipedia)
    In July 2014, the US accused Russia of breaching the deal when Moscow allegedly developed and tested a banned ground-launched cruise missile.

    On Tuesday, Brian McKeon, the US principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy repeated Washington’s claim about Russia violating the treaty, saying, "The evidence is conclusive. Russia has tested this ground-based system well into the ranges covered by the INF treaty.”

    However, the Wednesday statement rejected the accusations as “baseless,” and underlined that such remarks are Washington’s attempts to justify its activities.

    “The aim of this deceptive move is obvious – it is to cast a shadow on our arms controls and to deflect attention from US actions. The situation with the treaty is shamelessly used to escalate the atmosphere of chronic military tension across the Euro-Atlantic space,” the statement further read.

    The United States is boosting its rotational forces and military exercises in NATO's eastern flank, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria, and deploying military hardware in Europe.

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