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The Guns of August
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On the Pushkin square in central Moscow, McDonald’s, this symbol of Pax Americana, has been shut down this week. It was opened 23 years ago, as the USSR collapsed, and the unipolar world of One Superpower came into being. Soviet people queued for hours to get in and try this divine foreign food. They were so innocent, so inexperienced, the Russians of yesteryear! For 23 long years, the US has ruled the world alone, while McDonald’s served its burgers. Meanwhile Russia has changed. McDonalds is no longer an attraction for world-weary Muscovites. Across the Pushkin square, there is now another fashionable eatery, Café Pouchkine, serving the best Russian haute cuisine. In a tit-for-tat, the cheeky Russians had established a new Café Pouchkine in Paris, on Boulevard St Germain, teaching the French the joys of Russian cooking.

The Americans did not accept the challenge lightly. Kill Putin, called American pundits. They proposed to strike against Russian forces from the NATO bases in the Baltics. Pentagon extolled advantages of the first nuclear strike. The Russians gloomily prepared for the worst. In a quiet dacha summer-house to the west of Moscow, my Russian scientist friends discussed Andrey Sakharov’s plan codenamed The Wave to wash away the entire Eastern seaboard of the US by means of a giant tsunami (yes, it is the same Sakharov). They lauded the Perimeter, the Doomsday weapon system Russia inherited from the USSR ensuring total destruction of the US even if Russia were erased. New and secret weapon systems were mentioned. August 2014 increasingly reminded of August 1914 or August 1939, the countdown to a Great War. At that time, conciliatory tone of President Putin’s Crimea speech signalled that the danger of general conflagration abated somewhat. Russia stepped back from abyss.

Ostensibly this is a duel of nerves between Russia and the US; though many states, great and small, from China to Bolivia, are interested in dismantling the US hegemony, meanwhile Russia is the only one with political will, military clout and economical stamina to mess with the bully.

In order to preserve its place of the ultimate consumer at the top of food chain, the US wants to cut Russia down to size; publicly humiliate Putin and remove him; to assert its superiority; to harm European economies and strengthen their submission to Washington; to stop loose talk of its decline, to eliminate opposition; to turn treatment of Russia into a case study for all possible challengers.

Russia’s aims are not so grand: the country wants to live peacefully its own way and to be respected. This desire has been summed up by its opponents as “challenging the architecture of the post-cold-war order”, and it is probably true, for “the order” denies countries’ right for peace and independence.

Americans do not mind a war. They gained in every war: they had sustainable losses, they preserved their industrial base and they profited by their victories. Their world wars and their recent wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria were profitable. A war between Russia and Europe with some American support has attractive sides, for them.

Russians want to avoid war. They had hard and bad experience in world wars: Russia collapsed in the course of the First world war, and suffered a lot in the Second one. In both cases, their development was retarded, a lot of human misery and economical disaster befell them. They did not enjoy their smaller wars: none gave them an advantage or profit of any kind.

Paradoxically, Russian desire to avoid war brings war closer home. The US military and politicians do not mind to play chicken with Russia, as they are sure: Russians will chicken out. This false certainty makes them more daring and fearless with each round.

Russia is not alone. China usually supports its moves, India under Modi gets closer, Latin America builds its alliance with Russia, Iran looks for friendship in Moscow. Equally important, in every state there are people who are dissatisfied with the existing post-cold-war set-up of diminished sovereignty. They are not too far from power in France, where Marine Le Pen makes gains in elections. Americans who prefer to live their own way, just like the US did before the WWII, a normal country, not the world sheriff are potential Russian allies, as well.

The US is not alone. It has its faithful allies, England the devoted, Saudi Arabia the wealthy, Israel the cunning, – and a plethora of important politicians in all countries on the globe that were supported and promoted by various US agencies. There is probably no country without the US agents near power: Karl Bildt of Sweden, Tony Blair of the UK… In Russia they occupy many positions around pinnacle of power, as they were installed during Dark years of Yeltsin’s rule. Whoever wants his country to serve the Empire is an American ally.

This is not only the US vs Russia, but Machine vs Man, as well. In plotting its foreign policy, the US increasingly relies upon the computer-driven game theory using its formidable data resources, while Russians prefer manual human control. Modern super-computers and surveillance techniques give the US an edge over Russia’s decision-making. Increasingly, President Obama appears to be a perfect cyborg of right appearance who says the right things in the right time and right place, but whose actions bear no relation to the words. I wouldn’t be amazed if in a length of time we shall learn that Obama has been the first humanoid robot in the helm of power. And if he is human, he is truly wonderful actor at pretending he is a robot. Even his wife Michelle and girls seem to be well-chosen movie props rather than live partner and children.

Putin is undoubtedly human and manly. One may dislike him, and a lot of people do, but there is no doubt about his belonging to human race. This makes the chicken game less predictable than the US leadership considers. After Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi’s horrible executions, much can be said in favour of an all-out nuclear war in comparison with defeat and surrender. And the young Russian generation does not share their fathers’ fear of war, and they do not mind to try some of better toys their country has. Satan, anyone?

Moreover, the game theory (partly declassified in the last decade) is not perfect yet in cross-cultural conflicts, where antagonists may play different games. For instance, you play chess, but your opponent is kickboxing. This seems to be the case here. The US plays chicken with Russia, while Russia skilfully evades the horns of charging American bull.

The US considers itself the exceptional city on the hill, the God’s Chosen, predestined to rule the world now and forever. History is over. They want to lecture and impose their rules upon the world. Amusingly, the Soviets had similar ideas of Communism being predestined to complete History, so the Cold War between two predestined states was a natural thing. Nowadays Russians do not believe in predestination. Countries rise, and go down, and form alliances, and there is no End of History in sight. The unipolar world is a fluke, now reverting to its normal multipolar state. The best and most comfortable arrangement is each country lives the way it likes. Leben und leben lassen.

For a long while the US was itching to teach Russia a lesson. Russia was not in full rebellion: it sold its oil and gas for US greenbacks, it kept profits in the US Treasury papers, it observed the sanctions on Iran, it did not interfere with despoiling of Libya. Still it was not sufficiently obedient. Russia blocked destruction of Syria; it toyed with de-dollarisation of oil trade; it was for Christ and against gay marriages; cunningly it tried to undermine the Western unity by building pipelines and bridges and bribing Europeans. In short, Russia forgot its collapse of 1991.

The Ukraine was chosen by the US as a suitable place to ignite a war, or at least to put Russia a couple of notches down and to get rid of Putin who became by far too independent.

The Ukraine

The US is winning ground while Russia loses ground in the Ukraine. Putin stubbornly refuses to send his troops in; he strains to come to terms with the US and the West over future of Ukraine. Russia has been humiliated while proposing humanitarian aid to the besieged cities of Donbass: its loaded lorries are still delayed at the border, waiting for Kiev regime permission to move forward. Half a million Ukrainian refugees crossed the Russian border, a few thousand civilians, militia and army personnel were killed in the confrontation.

The war for Donbass was not especially successful for the Russians. Though the military reports are exceedingly obscure and conflicting, it seems the rebels are losing the battle against the Ukrainian army, as they have no external support. While the US claimed that the conflict is caused by Russian intervention, Russia tried to stay out of this conflict. Russia did not interfere in Kiev, when all Western ambassadors and ministers encouraged the revolt against the legitimate president. When Donbass flared up, Russia did not support it.

Putin did not want to take Donbass, in the first place, he did not want to take the Ukraine, secondly, and he did not want to resurrect the USSR, thirdly. He was forced to take the Crimea, the home base of Russian fleet, an old part of Russia, populated by Russians, willing to join Russia, as otherwise Crimea would become a NATO navy base, but he did not want to proceed anywhere else. It did not help him: Putin is blamed internationally for the conflict and internally, for non-involvement and the subsequent defeat.

The revolt in Novorossia (the Russian-speaking half of the Ukraine) was a popular response to the West-inspired coup in Kiev, as this coup had a strong nationalist anti-Russian flavour. People of Novorossia would not try to secede if their language and culture weren’t persecuted, and if their ties to neighbouring Russia weren’t endangered. But they would not be able to proceed far, unless their revolt attracted some rebels looking for a cause, first of all – the military genius and a great romantic figure, Colonel Igor Strelkov, a “Russian Lawrence”.

Igor Strelkov read history in Moscow U, but he decided (like T.E. Lawrence) that it is more fun to make history. He fought in Transnistria, a small sliver of land between Moldova and Ukraine, defending local people from the onslaught of Moldavian nationalists. He volunteered to a Serb militia in Yugoslavia; he forced the indifferent Russian Army command to take him as an officer to the First Chechen war; he served in the Second Chechen war, and as a volunteer, he served in Syria and Dagestan. He writes beautifully, he is a superb tactician, able to lead soldiers by the strength of his charisma. His acquaintances describe him as a daredevil who does not care about money, comfort, family life or pleasures.

For Strelkov, the campaign in Novorossia had a taste of destiny. Like many Russians of his generation, he dreamed of resurrecting Russia as it was, whether the Soviet Union or pre-revolutionary Russian Empire (his preference). Like many Russians of his generation, he considered the Ukraine – a natural part of Russia, and an independent Ukrainian state – a misnomer. Despite his military rank, Strelkov was a free agent; he came to Novorossia without Putin’s blessing and he would come and stay against Putin’s will, too. We shall probably hear more about this remarkable man.

Strelkov was not alone: quite a few brave fighters from Ukraine and Russia came to join the rebels. Their initial success was a surprise for Putin’s administration. But the rebellion failed to take over other provinces. In Odessa, the private army of Kolomoysky the ruthless oligarch burned some fifty unarmed rebel sympathisers alive in a grisly autodafe, and this cruel act scared the timid and jovial Odessites. In Kharkov, the governor made a deal with Kiev regime and the rising miscarried. It seems that Strelkov, though a military prodigy, was less than a wonderful demagogue. His dream of Great Russia did not make sense to the people of Novorossia. Yes, they spoke Russian, yes, they hated Kiev and Lvov neo-nazi gangs, but they did not understand Strelkov’s Russian nationalism.

Without direct Russian involvement, a separatist movement in Novorossia was doomed to fail. There was a way to win: to conquer the whole of Ukraine, perhaps barring its far-west, and afterwards to make arrangements for federalisation or even for break-up. It could be done by using an inclusive ideology, acceptable for Donetsk, Odessa, Kiev, Poltava. Perhaps some neo-Soviet ideas could be employed; dissatisfaction with the oligarchs could be used. But Strelkov and other rebels with their firm rejection of Ukraine per se could not sweep the masses, and they did not even try to move towards Kiev or Kharkov.

Putin minimised Russia’s involvement in the Donbass war. He supported it much less than the United States supported the Texas revolution of 1835. His government tried to patch up with Kiev regime, but its ‘president’ steadfastly refused, under American orders. In Kiev, far-right radicals attacked the Russian embassy; and the regime’s armed forces began indiscriminate shelling and bombing of rebel cities. This was a great humiliation for Putin who promised to defend the Russians in failing Ukraine. His advisers, notably Sergey Glazyev, an expert on Ukraine, called to take a leaf from the Western book on Libya and impose a no-fly zone over Donbass. (In March 2011, as a rebellion flared up in Benghazi, the US and its allies imposed no-fly zone over parts of Libya professing horror of Qaddafi’s ruthless shelling of the rebels. Russia and China abstained, and the French-British draft became the Security Council resolution authorising not only no-fly zone but “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from harm.) Kiev regime certainly killed more civilians than Qaddafi did; but Putin did not declare a no-fly zone, he did not use his firepower to suppress Kiev artillery shelling civilians.

Russia did very little for Donbass. Now, the Russians try to negotiate a conclusion to the Donbass war. The reports predict some autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine.

Many Russians are likely to be greatly disappointed. But some enterprises – worthy and unworthy – fail. Life is full of disappointments. I remember Ibo separatists of Biafra, who were eventually defeated by the central government. Separatists of Iranian Azerbaijan were defeated, though Josef Stalin supported them. The US failed to re-conquer Cuba. Argentines failed to liberate Malvinas. This list is endless. Perhaps Russians have to wait for a better opportunity.

Did Putin chicken out?

Why did Putin gave up on Novorossia? There is no doubt, Novorossia is extremely important for Russia. NATO troops and US missiles in Donetsk and Lugansk would endanger Russia. Its loss would threaten Russian defence industry as this part of Ukraine was fully integrated with Russia since Tsar’s days. Was it fear of an all-out war? Did President Putin consider intervention of R2P mode a too dangerous step for his country?

In Putin’s view, Europe is more important than Ukraine. He is willing to sacrifice Donbass in hope to gain Berlin. For years, he courted old Europe. Even his Olympic games with its expensive show aimed at Europe: he wanted to tell the Europeans that Russia is part and parcel of Europe. Putin speaks German, he served in Germany as KGB operative in the last years of the USSR, and he has a soft spot for Germany.

The US propaganda machine called upon Europeans to defend Ukraine from the Russian bear, claiming the Russians will not stop in the Ukraine but continue to the Atlantic. This claim was quite successful; especially as it came after the very long anti-Russian media campaign (gays, orphans, toilets in Sochi etc.). Putin was afraid that by taking Ukraine he will alienate European public opinion. So he procrastinated, until the Malaysian liner disaster struck.

The liner

The Malaysian liner crash was a terrible disaster in many ways. Not so much per se: three hundred people are being killed each day in Gaza, Iraq, Donbass. Europeans and Americans forgot the Cuban air liner flight 455, or Iranian liner flight 655, or Libyan liner flight 114, as these liners were downed by “our side”. But this was a chance for the Western media machine to unleash its dreadful might. This machine is as powerful as nuclear weapons; when in full blast, it incapacitates leaders and countries. Thousands of TV channels, newspapers, radio programs, bloggers, internet sites, experts, ministers, presidents united in one single message, terrifying as vox Dei, though it’s not even a vox populi, just a device of Masters of Discourse, akin to big trumpets used by Romans to scare the barbarians.

All British newspapers ran photos of dead children with captions like “He was murdered by Putin”. Russians were overwhelmed by the furious blast of propaganda. People wept; some weak and emotional personalities admitted their guilt and lit candles in front of Netherlands embassy in Moscow. Why Netherlands, if the liner was Malaysian? (Because Netherlands is a European “white” country, while Malays are not?) Why guilt, if nothing was known yet? Why did not we see pictures of slaughtered Gaza kids with caption “murdered by Netanyahu”, killed Iraqi kids “murdered by Blair”, murdered Afghani babies “murdered by Obama”? This is the incredible power of the Masters of Discourse: when they go full blast, people lose mind and panic.

I welcomed every conspiratorial scheme in this case, as well as in 9/11 case. Not because I believe or even prefer this or other scheme. I see it as a useful device to release minds from the holding power of mass hysteria induced by mass media. It is necessary to sow doubt in order to release minds and regain sanity.

A successful 9/11 conspiracy theory could have saved lives of thousands of Muslims killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Recently Israeli Jews were induced with mass hysteria as three young settlers disappeared. This mass hysteria resulted in half a million refugees and two thousand dead of Gaza. An attempt to sow doubt regarding the official story (claiming they were stolen by Mossad etc.) was an attempt to save lives. Likewise, every way to sow doubt regarding the Malaysian plane was a way to save lives.

Now, one month later, we know that there was no evidence of Russian involvement in the tragedy. There are strong pieces of evidence suggesting Kiev and US involvement, the best of them is a negative one: if Kiev and Washington would have a proof of Russian and/or rebels’ guilt we would hear of it day and night. If you are interested in detailed analysis of the disaster, you can read this one, recommended by our friends. I must admit I am not interested in details, for the reasons similar to those of Noam Chomsky regarding 9/11. While every explanation that differs from one promoted by Masters of Discourse is good because it breaks their hold on minds, importance of such an event is greatly overblown by media. Anyway, the air liner is out of news and out of mind by now, and this means it was an accident or a failed provocation by Kiev or Washington, for otherwise we would hear about it.

However, in real time the air liner disaster made a huge impact on Russian minds. For a while, I feared Putin would retire or be retired or removed from power, and Russia would fall apart. The US wanted to get rid of Putin and place a more pliable figure on the Russian throne, preferably an oligarch like Poroshenko.

Their thinking was summed up by Herbert E. Meyer, a spook (“an ex- Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council”). He wrote: “Since subtlety doesn’t work with Russians, the president and his European counterparts should also make absolutely clear that we have no interest whatever in how these people solve their Putin problem. If [the oligarchs] can talk good old Vladimir into leaving the Kremlin with full military honors and a 21-gun salute — that would be fine with us. If Putin is too stubborn to acknowledge that his career is over, and the only way to get him out of the Kremlin is feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head — that would also be okay with us.”

Tension peaked at the most dramatic night between Sunday, July 20 and Monday, July 21, when Putin delivered a short message to the nation – at 01.40 am. For such an unusual time, it was quite a tame message. Putin said nothing of importance. Next day, he was supposed to make a major speech at his own security cabinet. Again, he said nothing of importance. In my view, President Putin wanted to show he is still alive and well and still in command. Apparently this was not obvious for some persons, in Russia or abroad, at that fateful night.

(to be continued)

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Ukraine 
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22 Comments to "The Guns of August"

  1. Don Nash says:Website

    President Vladimir Putin plays global chess like the consummate master he is. Obama isn’t up to playing checkers. Game, set, and match goes to…

  2. Anon says:

    Most Americans don’t care about Russia and didn’t even know where Ukraine is.

    This is a Jewish War on Russia. Jews run Wall Street, US government, think tanks, and the media. Jewish oligarchs nearly took Russia in the 90s with the help of American Jews, but Putin regained his country.

    The recent war in Ukraine is Jewish supremacism in action by other means.

  3. I expect that America will “win” this game of chicken — despite Obama’s chess or checker skills. (Look, Obama isn’t even running this show.) But the whole world is going to wake up one morning and find that American corporate / military / security hegemony over almost everything is not any fun at all. And they’ll want OUT. Whether or not they’ll be able to get out, though, is the question.

  4. Kiza says:

    This is really, really, really sick:
    Their thinking was summed up by Herbert E. Meyer, a spook (“an ex- Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council”). He wrote: “Since subtlety doesn’t work with Russians, the president and his European counterparts should also make absolutely clear that we have no interest whatever in how these people solve their Putin problem. If [the oligarchs] can talk good old Vladimir into leaving the Kremlin with full military honors and a 21-gun salute — that would be fine with us. If Putin is too stubborn to acknowledge that his career is over, and the only way to get him out of the Kremlin is feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head — that would also be okay with us.”

    You definitely could have not found any better illustration for this wonderful article! Good that Russians have a Satan for this US Satan.

  5. Kievsky says:Website

    It’s very simple to me — Putin is not eager to send Russian lads to die. The US administration, of which Mr. Obama is a mere figurehead, doesn’t mind at all.

    Shamir has it right. Russia is ruled by a flesh and blood man who feels responsibility. The USA is ruled by faceless string-pullers who might as well be machines.

    Who is this Herbert Meyer calling for a man, any man, to be killed? What hubris! The neocons really are like machines. They think they can advocate for remote control killing with impunity!

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

  6. Macilrae says:

    I really love this man’s writing – he digs deep into the heart of the matter like the old embittered East European refugees of my childhood – playing a mean game of chess into the bargain I am sure. Also, do you notice the wit of the man? And did you notice how little true wit we encounter today – for all the copious media opportunities?

  7. Matra says:

    People wept; some weak and emotional personalities admitted their guilt and lit candles in front of Netherlands embassy in Moscow.

    So honest people with a conscience are weak and emotional. I guess those who wear knee pads for Putin have strong personalities and are brave speakers of truth to power! lol

    This is a Jewish War on Russia. Jews run Wall Street, US government, think tanks, and the media. Jewish oligarchs nearly took Russia in the 90s with the help of American Jews, but Putin regained his country.

    Strange then that Putin is surrounded by Jewish oligarchs. His biggest cheerleaders in the media are Jews like Vladimir Solovyov, who surprise, surprise, wants to attack Ukraine because its “Nazi” government is anti-Semitic. Israel even refused to vote against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    Kievsky: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

    Is that what happened to you? I read your blog entry supposedly proving that MH17 was downed by an air to air missile. If you know nothing about a topic you really ought to leave it alone. Stick to gardening.

  8. Brilliant article !!! This is without a doubt the most incisive and illuminating discussion about the situation in Kiev so far.

    Paul Craig Roberts was very prescient when he wrote about the potential, negative results of Russia not countering the moves of the Kiev government eastward very early on. What he foretold would happen has come about. Now any attempt by Russian to rescue the east will be much more costly and maybe impossible. Once the rebellion in the east is totally extinguished the US will then make the Ukraine a heavily armed garrison state and flood it with missile equipped NATO troops or paid mercenaries.

    Then the western onslaught against the Crimea will begin.

    Putin blinked. He actually believed, at least until before the downing of the airliner, that the US was capable of good intentions. He didn’t seem to realize that the all powerful “Israel first” NeoCons of the Bush administration had simply morphed into the NeoLibs of the Obama administrations and were still in control. Putidn’t realize that both presidents were/are merely figureheads. The Neo’s of any stripe absolutely hate Putin because only he stands in the way of a (much) “Greater Israel”. (AKA “Eretz Israel”) which, if the design of the Israeli flag is any indication, apparently includes control of all the lands between the water rich Tigris Euphrates Rivers and the Nile.

    But by far Putin’s biggest mistake however was trying to appease Angela Merkel, not realizing that she and Germany were as much under the thumb of the US as every other NATO country. By attempting to cajole her and letting her lead him on, he allowed her to very effectively stall him and simply run out the clock.

    Shamir mentions the rather bizarre 1:40AM message from Putin to the nation. I wonder if it was made to show that he was still in control and that a coup/assassination attempt against him had been averted.

  9. KA says:

    “This machine is as powerful as nuclear weapons; when in full blast, it incapacitates leaders and countries. Thousands of TV channels, newspapers, radio programs…”

    Yes it does.When it fails,it reinvents self.It creates or grabs new (feelbe causes that been ignored in the past) causes. It wnats to stop Congress ,It wants to stop public, from thinking of stopping secondtimes .So it craetes new sham pitiful vulgur and horrible context to make people feel guilty of any opposing war. “How could you?” .” How could they”?

    The sick,the psychopath never run out of excuses ,reasons, time and resources !
    Some suckers are reday waiting to be told the right sounding lies .Some suckers want to swim with the dead fish.Some are dead fishes.
    They come, they see and people die!

  10. @Tom Not Terrific

    Obama may not be running things, I’ll grant. He’s not all that bright, when it comes down to it. Then again, neither are his puppeteers, all the bull about the inhabitants of “think tanks” notwithstanding. Apparently, based on the Clintons, the Bushes, and him, Ivy League Schools aren’t all that great. But, Obama goes along with those holding real power, and he always has, which is why he was elected to the cesspool of the senate, and then as chief executive. There are no winners or losers in this instance. We’ll all be dead, the lucky ones will go quickly, the rest will die slowly from radiation. The only bright side is that, maybe for an instant, anyway, just before their existences cease for eternity, the Christofascists and other religious extremists will discover that their beliefs were garbage.

  11. Pat says:

    I like the idea of conspiracy theories as a way to break free of mass media’s grip.
    Of course once you break free you come face to face with the question. What next?
    It does seem that quite a few of the freed just opt for a different set of chains. Chains, by the way, owned or coopted by the Master’s of Universe, and used just to tighten their grip.

  12. HA says:

    @Matra

    His biggest cheerleaders in the media are Jews like Vladimir Solovyov,…

    In the US, his biggest apologist is Stephen Cohen, though it seems Israel Shamir might try to outdo him.

  13. conatus says:

    Vladimir Putin rocks. He has a dog, a Labrador Retriever, I think her name was Koni.
    Wow, according to Wikipedia she is still around.
    I think Putin is the only world leader who cares about his people, he is trying to do the best for old Mom Russia.

    I also think we in the West are led by people who do not care about us, or our future. Also these people are skilled and adept liars. Janus faced tricksters, they were too slick for the Russians when it came to German reunification. I think the Russians had 350,000 troops in Europe when they agreed to German reunification and what they MIS-understood, namely that NATO would not expand.
    They were lied to by a slick two faced group of Westerners who know no honor.
    It was just a gentleman’s agreement you see, so NATO has expanded by 10 more countries I believe, and we would like Ukraine to join also.
    Here is the NYTimes concerning our Janus faced lack of honor.

    From a 2009 NYT article, by Mary Elise Sarotte, Enlarging Nato, Expanding Confusion, discussing the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that Gorbachev understood as meaning no NATO expansion, applying to his agreeing to German reunification.

    NYT says “Did the United States betray Russia at the dawn of the post-cold war era? The short answer is no. Nothing legally binding emerged from the negotiations over German unification. In fact, in September 1990, an embattled Mr. Gorbachev signed the accords that allowed NATO to extend itself over the former East Germany in exchange for financial assistance from Bonn to Moscow. A longer answer, however, shows that there were mixed messages and diplomatic ambiguities.

    By acknowledging that there might be some substance to Russian grievances, the Obama administration would strengthen our relations with Moscow. Given that NATO enlargement has already taken place and efforts for further expansion are stalled, little would be lost with such an acknowledgment but much could be gained.” Unquote

    Obama had nothing to do with this but this is too big even for him. It was Clinton who was two faced(what else is new?) who read the fine print and knew he was not obliged to be honorable.

  14. KA says:

    Different branches of government engage in creating and spreading false informations ,in making things look more critical than the reality is ,in endowing condition with urgency and immediacy ,in designating situation of having petential of immense negative significance with dire Consequences or results to the ideas,values,or visible things living and non living that the citizen hold dear to hearts.
    America can fit the bill easily starting from 1 st WW 1 to the recent states of planning for invasion or intervention in ME ,Ukraine,Asia,Africa,Carribeans and Central America .
    Conspiracy theory out of government offices guide citizen to choose the path to prevent horrible assaults on life,on ideas ,on values and protect the present so that current lifestyle can continue to future . Bot present never has survived . America has always transformed after every war save Garanada . Governmental reasons or the course of actions after the reason offered have always been openly and successfully refuted and challenged with better explanation,reasons,and alternative course of actions .

  15. HA says:

    “President Vladimir Putin plays global chess like the consummate master he is. “

    I was going to point out that if Putin was anywhere close to being as competent as you claim, he wouldn’t have used such ham-fisted tactics in getting Ukraine to back out of their EU agreement. Someone at the top of their KGB-trained game would have used the usual assortment of spycraft, extortion and bribery to successfully get what he wanted without the rest of the world knowing. He apparently couldn’t be bothered. He had Yanukovich on a string, but he yanked that string too hard, so that the rabble in the street realized who really had the power in Ukraine, and then they threw the puppet out. Putin may well get to keep Crimea and Donetsk, but if he had played the game with a little more subtlety he could have had the whole country.

    Anyway, I made the mistake of clicking on your 9/11 truther-site and there’s not much point in arguing with someone that far off the deep end, so I’ll leave it that.

  16. rod1963 says:

    @Anon

    Our obsession over Putin’s actions make no sense. He’s not threatening us or Europe in any way. He’s just taking care of some nasty business in his back yard.

    This obsession only makes sense when you see who wants Putin dead or gone – that’s the dual passport holding Neo-Cons and their puppets. The PNAC crowd openly laid out it’s grand strategy awhile ago but they still following it. Ukraine and Russia were certainly on their to do list or at least Brezinski’s.

    So far they’ve held to their goals and reshaped the ME – arguably wrecked and destabilized it almost as bad Tamerlane did 600 years ago. Libya, Syria and Iraq are total disasters. Turkey is morphing into a Sunni fundamentalist state with dire portents for Europe and the U.S, Egypt hates our guts for trying to turn the country into a watering hole for the MB.

    Now they are certainly enraged at our reticence to attack Iran. It drives Bibi insane with rage that Obama won’t take care of that issue for him, even if leaves the U.S. and Europe a economic wreck.

    I think though Iran has and Russia will show the limits of how far Jews can push the U.S. into wars it doesn’t want. Just maybe the local yokels realize that engaging either state in conflict will end badly for us politically, economically and militarily and have set no-go limits.

    Sure we’ll make noise and huff and puff with useless sanctions. But that’s it.

    The thing is our military has paid a horrible price in Iraq and Afghanistan and all for nothing. They don’t want nothing to do with another useless and bloody conflict, despite what attack poodles like Ralph Peters and some geezerly retired generals say.

  17. KA says:

    Russia and China have a profound and sacred responsibility . By virtue of being permanent member of the UN ,they have the duty to protect the mission of the UN . They should have come out strongly against any intervention in Libys and years earlier against Somalia( Bush 2 destroyed Somalia’s timid progressive non violent experiment in 2006)

    It seems as ig the Supreme Court justices had forgotten what the Supreme Court was all about or what the original ideas were in establishing the court.
    UN has a responsibility to the members . This is supposed to be protected by the security council and by the veto wielding countries . May be be the right to abstain should be removed and any veto could be declared null and void by the 2/3 majority of the Gen Assembly or security council.
    As the western nations are increasingly interfering with the freedom,choices,and preferences ,and life style of the individual and becoming more centralized in projecting the powers to enforce them at local level within the borders so are they in assuming the responsibility to protect the individuals of the countries rather than the countries itself . This trend has been allowed within last 14 yrs without fundamental changes of UN or any relevant discussion at UN .

    There might be a silver lining behind the darkening of the sky . The institutions (UN. , ICC, IMF ) are failing or being threatened from within and outside . A new system might herald or slowly emerge out of informal consensus . Chances are that Russia and China will be forced to take the lead .

  18. One question that needs to be asked is why Democratic Obama allowed neocon Nuland(among others) to work on Ukraine? Aren’t neocons supposed to be part of the GOP? So, why would they work for Obama, and why would Obama allow them to take control of Slavic policy?

    In the end, is it all about Jewish power? Democrat Jews and Republican Jews working to expand Jewish domination into the East, and guys like George W. Bush, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, and Obama are just goytoy puppets.

    Because no matter which party is in power, one constant is appeasing Jewish power.

  19. gdpbull says:

    What the US and especially the neocons fear most is a Russia fully integrated with Europe. The western center of power will shift back to Europe. That’s why they believe it’s so important to keep Russia demonized, their economy down, and as an enemy of the west. Ok, I admit its a conspiracy theory of mine, but our government’s actions keep re-enforcing it.

  20. Sam says:

    @HA

    HA says,”…I made the mistake of clicking on your 9/11 truther-site and there’s not much point in arguing with someone that far off the deep end, so I’ll leave it that…”

    I’m fairly sick of people pretending that they have some kind of moral authority to call people nuts who don’t believe a bunch of Arabs brought down the buildings. So what I do now is point out usually not covered facts. On 9/11 world trade center building #7, which was NOT hit by a plane, fell at the same speed as a bowling ball dropped in the air beside it for 108 feet. This is not improbable or unlikely it’s impossible. If you had somehow magically suspended the buildings floors and placed marshmallows in between the floors and then dropped them it would have fallen slower than it did. If you want to know more the information is here.
    http://www.ae911truth.org/

  21. I know this is a bit late. Great read and I think you are on the button with most things.

    Not so with how the Novorosia are doing. Go to Vineyard of the Saker for up-to-date details
    of what is happening now in E. Ukr.

    They are doing much better than Western media are reporting. The Ukies at this time appear to be getting a thrashing by a more under resourced unit but who have a better fighting spirit.

  22. Current Commenter says:

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