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NATO and the Two Central Conflicts of the Ukraine Crisis
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Where I live (the Netherlands), if you were to call NATO the world’s most dangerous institution, a consensus would quickly form to conclude that you must have lost your marbles. Yet, without NATO we would not have a Ukraine crisis, and no speculations about the possibility of war with Russia. Taking nuclear war seriously as a policy option should be listed in psychology handbooks as indicative of complete insanity or lethal ignorance. This has not stopped newspaper editors from speculating about it in their headlines, as they fill in the blanks of what a number top officials on both sides of the Atlantic have recently been half-saying or implying. With no NATO they would not have had occasion or reason to do so. Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko recently said: “Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore”. Political insanity can exist independently of NATO, but the least one can say is that it has become a facilitator of that insanity.

It would therefore be a momentous development for what is still called ‘the West’ if last week’s Der Spiegel signals a relevant German awakening. The weekly magazine published a hard hitting article in which the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, is accused of undermining Chancellor Merkel’s attempts to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis through diplomacy. The military head of NATO, with his exaggerations and untruths about Russian troop movements, spouts “dangerous propaganda” according to officials in Merkel’s Chancellery, as quoted by the magazine. In other words, he can no longer be trusted.

Lies coming out of Washington that portray Putin as the grand aggressor are nothing new; for about a year they have formed a constant stream, from the lips of the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and in a milder form from the President himself. As a result the idea of Russian aggression has become close to an article of faith in Northern Europe’s mainstream media. But by singling out Breedlove, the German fingerpointing is directed at NATO, and Obama and Co may draw their own conclusions from it.

An assortment of conflicts have gone into the Ukraine crisis, but the two that now appear to have become fundamental to it play themselves out far away from that tragic country. One is centered in Washington where an out-of-his-depth president must decide whether to become realistic or give in further to right-wing forces that want to give the Kiev regime the weapons needed to continue its war in Eastern Ukraine. The second conflict is an incipient one about NATO – meaning European subservience to the United States – begun by Angela Merkel’s and Francois Hollande’s recently formed Peace Party, of which their mission to the Kremlin, Merkel’s joint press conference with Obama and the abovementioned German reporting are early signs.

Until now Obama has given as good as free rein to the liberal hawks and neocons in his own government. The War Party. A prominent member of that group, Victoria Nuland, who played a central role in helping to organize the coup d’état in Kiev last year, is eager to give Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko the means to survive the onslaughts of supernationalists in his own environment and to subdue, finally, the anti-regime troops in South East Ukraine. Nuland works closely with Breedlove, and both have expressed themselves in denigrating terms about European recalcitrance in the face of what they want to accomplish.

Should Obama choose to become realistic, it would require measures to show the world his re-established political control over the State Department, and other institutions where neocons and “responsibility to protect” liberals have nestled. These have been writing America’s foreign policy basics since George W. Bush. It would also have to be accompanied by a genuine change of position vis-à-vis Putin. Obama must be aware that if, instead, he chooses to continue siding with the War Party, he runs the risk of demonstrating to all and sundry NATO’s impotence as military instrument of ‘The West’. The fighting forces of Donetsk and Lubansk wage an existential battle, and have all along been superior to the demoralized and apparently disorganized Kiev military. American intervention could only be effective if the proposed ‘lethal weapons’ have the capacity to turn the Ukraine war into a theatre of full military escalation, with tactical nuclear weapons an ultimate option.

The newly revealed split in transatlantic purposes may finally decide NATO’s future. As an institution that began living a life of its own with purposes and actions entirely different from, and at odds with, the original purposes for which it was created, NATO has had a much more fateful influence on political Europe than is routinely understood. Set up in 1949 to reassure a demoralized and war devastated Europe that it would help prevent a new war, the European member countries normally do not question the official reason that it exists to protect them. But there has not been a single instance since the demise of the Soviet Union to confirm such a function. It has, instead, forced governments to lie to their populations (we are threatened from behind the Hindu Kush and Saddam Hussein can make mushroom clouds), poisoning the air in which reasoned geopolitical discussion ought to have taken place. It has, moreover, created risks from blowback activity as member countries participated in wars that were none of NATO’s business.

But NATO’s worst consequence is what it has done to Europe’s prospects to pull itself out of its current muddledom and become a political entity recognizable as such by the rest of the world. It has prevented the European Union from developing a defense policy, and consequently a foreign policy worthy of the term. Since the demise of its original reason for existence, it has caused Europe to slip ever further into a relationship vis-à-vis the United States best compared to medieval vassalage. That sad fact could hardly have been more blatantly obvious when in 2014 it succumbed to Washington’s pressure to join punitive economic sanctions against Putin’s Russia, to its own significant economic detriment, and for reasons justified solely by American propaganda.

The ease with which European Union heads of government fell in line behind misguided American efforts in the demonization of Putin reveals an even deeper problem. Since the end of the Cold War NATO has kept European politicians in a kind of geopolitical kindergarten, encouraging a comic book style vision of world affairs scripted in Washington with bad guys threatening the West and its ‘values’.

Some of this is of course well-understood in parts of the highest ruling circles of the European Union. Hence the recent suggestion made by EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker in an interview with Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, that Europe requires its own army to amount to anything on the world stage, and also to impress Russia with what Europe stands for. Juncker is well-known as an enthusiast for a federal Europe.

One of the reasons to wake European Union up to the fact that is a political entity, and to encourage its development in the direction of a federal superstructure, is that by projecting its own power it could create a much needed counterbalance to the tragic American extremism in world affairs. It would force a militarist United States to stop legimizing its aggression with references and appeals to putative ‘Western values’.

The European Union missed a chance to establish itself squarely on the world stage when Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder did not clarify why they denied George W. Bush a UN Security Council resolution for his invasion of Iraq. They failed to explain to their own public and to the wider world that Europe continues to uphold the UN Charter as the basis of what we have in the way of fledgling international law. Instead, from that moment onward the world saw an open European display of utter subservience to a tragically out-of-control Washington in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The much bandied about ‘Western values’ do not now include earlier principles connected with international law, desirable world order, sovereignty or diplomacy. Those have been eclipsed by Atlanticism, which is a peculiar European secular faith. It holds that the United States, while perhaps flawed, is still an indispensable savior, and without its leadership there cannot be good world order. Hence we must all do what Washington demands.

Since Atlanticism is worshipped most intensely by NATO, we may think of this institution as the Church of this faith. Its texts are slogans about liberty, ‘shared values’, human rights and the need to spread democracy. It has of course derived strength from historical experience and also from deserved gratitude. A weak lingering fear that without American supervision European quarrels could turn nasty – an original additional reason for wanting to have it around – may still enter into it as well. But its resilience is probably most of all due to an utter dearth of imagination among the technocrats and ideologically crippled men and women that form majorities among Europe’s ruling elites.

“Like no other institution, NATO embodies Atlantic cohesion, something that remains essential for any Western effort to promote a degree of international order. NATO links Europe to the world’s most powerful country and uniquely ties the United States to a common procedure of consultation and cooperation. …European governments, therefore, are crazy not to support NATO. To watch it wither is at best frivolous, at worst dangerous”, so said the well-known NATO advocate Christoph Bertram when in 2004 misgivings about George W. Bush were creating European doubts about its value. The crucial point he and other true believers have missed is that already for some time now genuine consultation is no longer part of the deal and, more importantly, that at the center of their faith is a country addicted to enemies.

An enemy that others can agree on offers a simple, rudimentary, way of measuring the goodness, badness and seriousness of fellow citizens. Especially for American politicians being ‘tough’ on baddies has become an almost indispensable means to demonstrate their political bona fides. When obvious solutions for substantial political problems affecting everyday life are too controversial, politicians tend to take firm stands on matters that brook no disagreement, like crime or familiar enemies. For a long time one of the worst things that could befall an American candidate for high office was to be called “soft on communism”. President Lyndon Johnson against his own better judgment did not end the Vietnam War because he anticipated massive political attacks from Republican ranks for having caved in to it. Today Obama’s detractors in the Republican Party have the Ukraine crisis as a welcome opportunity to ‘prove’ their repeated claim that he is a weak president, who cannot stand up to the challenges supposedly thrown down by Vladimir Putin. As a result the ‘liberal hawks’ in Obama’s own administration have a field day in pushing anti-Russian hysteria.

The mandatory enemy has determined much geopolitical reality since the end of the Cold War. Living with one prompts standard behaviour that, in the way of all regular behaviour, itself becomes an institution, which does not simply go away when the enemy vanishes. So after the demise of the Soviet Union there was a sudden desperate need to promote countries to enemy position. Since 2001 the “soft on terrorism” accusation has partially substituted for the political use of the putative communist threat; and before the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center Towers in Manhattan a fabrication of ‘rogue states’ or ‘failed states’ was introduced to keep all manner of Cold War institutions going.

When leading Vietnam War official Robert McNamara testified before Congress that with the Soviet Union gone America’s defense budget could be cut in half, the Pentagon and assorted military-related institutions suffered from a collective panic attack. Their answer was a report compiled by Colin Powell, then head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who obligingly created new threats, dictating that in future the United States must be able to fight two wars simultaneously against new enemies. China is held in reserve, radical Islamists are currently serving, and Putin’s Russia has now been added as a huge new but still familiar fake monster to join the list. With NATO membership the Europeans get America’s enemies as a bonus.

The one genuine threat to NATO, the fact that it is obsolete, has remained mostly hidden. It has been searching for causes that would keep it relevant, hence the involvement of member states in Afghanistan and Iraq and Mali and Libya. Hence its expansion, through absorbing the former Warsaw pact countries; a bureaucracy that increases in size gains new relevance. Ten years after the Berlin Wall came down it sought relevance by changing from a defensive into an offensive alliance, promptly violating the UN Charter, through its war in Kosovo.

To do away with NATO in one fell swoop, desirable as it may be, is obviously not going to work in the immediate future. But it could be allowed gradually to wither away, as it was doing before the Pentagon dragged it into Afghanistan.

A bureaucracy is not easily killed once it becomes redundant. Complicating matters in this case is that behind its appeals to ‘common values’, the alliance is an outgrowth of the U.S. military-industrial complex, adding to its military procurements, jobs, astronomical profits, and highly remunerated official positions.

But there is something more to NATO than this and all the already mentioned other reasons, something less tangible and hence easily overlooked. Its withering will not make the Atlanticist faith go away. That faith, together with NATO are links to political certainty of a kind. They are an extension of a spiritual handrail that existed throughout the Cold War, one helping to counter radical doubt. The post-World-War-II international order that developed in the shadow of United States-Soviet rivalry came, for all its defects, closer to a relatively stable society of states than anything seen in global relations since the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, and with it we could be certain that we knew what was politically good and bad.

Suddenly that was gone, and we had a post-Cold-War world throwing up massive uncertainties that, as imagined by a generation of concerned Europeans, have eaten into the fabric of moral and political life of the West. One could hardly expect the Cold War generation right away to throw overboard an Atlanticism that had been a political life sustaining faith. Decades later, clinging to that faith and as members of NATO, you get a modicum of certainty along with the American enemies that accompany it.

Listen to why retired French, German, Dutch, British and American top defense officials, in a book prepared for a 2008 NATO conference, advocated a military response not to physical threats but to foreign ideas that question Western supremacy and power. These NATO thinkers spoke explicitly in terms of a “restoration of its certainties” as a condition for the security of the West. China has the temerity to compete with Western interests in Africa, and Iran wants to wipe out Israel. The foreign ideas to be fought are irrational and aimed at defeating Western values. Implicitly claiming a moral monopoly of the use of violence for the United States and NATO, those former NATO generals came out in favor of using nuclear weapons, if need be, to stop other countries from developing weapons of mass destruction. In the words of Germany’s former chief of Defense, “we cannot survive … confronted with people who do not share our values, who unfortunately are in the majority in terms of numbers, and who are extremely hungry for success”. The massive Western propaganda of last year, demonizing Putin, from the putsch in Kiev onward, breathes the same spirit.

Neocons and liberal hawks deal in certainties. They have uncovered existential threats to Western values coming from terrorists and islamists. The anomalous fantasy of the ‘war on terrorism’, which cannot exist and is the biggest lie of the twentyfirst century, nevertheless brings the certainty of valiant defenders of Western values.

But Chancellor Merkel received her political education on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It would appear that her view of the situation has come rather close to that of Putin as expressed in his 2007 Munich Security Conference speech:

“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue … The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way … And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.”

Germany’s foreign minister, the formidable Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits the United States this week to talk with high officials. Writing in the New York Times of 11 March, he came with what can be read as an appeal to realism and formerly held principles – albeit with a sop to prevailing opinion about Russian aggression.

The potential of a heightened conflict between Washington and a Chancellor Merkel, if she has the courage, the intelligence, and the inclination fully to open her eyes to Europe’s interests, lays bare the all-important question whether the United States is still capable of re-engaging in diplomacy. This is something it abandoned after the end of the Cold War, along with the very principle of respecting the sovereignty of countries that do not do its bidding. As of now, the United States simply will not accept sharing the globe with any other power that has significant political influence in its own part of the world.

This particular superpower psychosis is a first in history.

Merkel, and some other top European officials must by now have concluded that there is urgency in the matter, quite aside from avoiding the further provocation of Moscow by arming Poroshenko. Waiting in the wings is Hillary Clinton who, by all relevant commentary and impressions of her past actions and opinions will be an even worse war president than Obama has been, if she makes it to the White House.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: European Union, NATO, Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. This is the centre of the issue
    “The European Union missed a chance to establish itself squarely on the world stage when Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder did not clarify why they denied George W. Bush a UN Security Council resolution for his invasion of Iraq. They failed to explain to their own public and to the wider world that Europe continues to uphold the UN Charter as the basis of what we have in the way of fledgling international law. Instead, from that moment onward the world saw an open European display of utter subservience to a tragically out-of-control Washington in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

  2. Don Nash says:

    Europeans would do well to consider how the US truly views Europe. Remember Victoria Nuland’s “f*#k the EU” remark? That is exactly how ‘official’ Washington ranks Europe and the EU. All of Europe is occupied by the US since the end of WWII the really big war. Ergo, NATO commands and Europe/EU obeys.
    Maybe, someday, Europeans can throw off the yoke of denigration and humiliation which is the price for being the US lapdog. However, coup d’état Ukraine could very well ignite another land war in Europe. Europe would be devastated once again. But it’s Europe’s neighborhood and possibly the political leaders of the EU aren’t too concerned about oblivion.

  3. wren says:

    There are too many scandals and conspiracies for the average American to keep up with nowadays let alone the beginnings of WWIII.

    Victoria Nuland’s (and spouse Robert Kagan’s) role in Ukraine is just one more thing to add to the list of required reading that will never get done.

    Nice to see you here at Unz.


  4. @Don Nash

    “I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue … The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way … And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.”

    Op-ed calls on Israel to nuke Germany, Iran ’20-30 nuclear bombs will assure the job gets done,’ opinion piece on right-wing Israel National News site says

    “The author claims that only through nuclear annihilation of Iran and Germany, with 20 or 30 nuclear bombs each, can Israelis prevent the state’s destruction.

    “If Israel does not walk in the ways of God’s Bible,” author Chen Ben-Eliyahu wrote in Hebrew, “it will receive a heavy punishment of near complete destruction and doom and only a few will be saved.”

    One of Israel’s missions is to remember the crimes of Amalek, a tribe representative of pure evil in the Bible, whom Jews are commanded to obliterate. Among those descended from the band, the author writes, are Iranian leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and current President Hassan Rouhani. . . .
    To combat this Israel must respond in kind, Ben-Eliyahu declared. “To an existential threat we must respond with an existential threat,” he wrote, “not with speeches in Congress. We must make it clear to the Iranians that Israel will wipe out their nuclear program and Tehran and Isfahan as well.

    “If [an enemy] rises up to destroy you, rise earlier to destroy him: twenty, thirty nuclear bombs will do to assure the job gets done,” he continued.

    He also called on Israel to remember its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis and exact revenge on Germany, now a staunch ally of Israel.

    When the Messiah comes, Ben-Eliyahu wrote, Israel will reverse the Final Solution. “Twenty, thirty atomic bombs on
    and so on to assure the job gets done. And the land will be quiet for a thousand years,” he wrote.”

    Ben-Eliyahu’s words were eerily reminiscent of Ronen Bergman’s comments to Brian Williams shortly after the assassination of the young Iranian nuclear scientist Mohammad Roshan. Bergman said, “Israel has used assassination more than any other state . . . to change history. . . . When you perceive that your people are under an existential threat, you have the legal and moral right to use assassination to prevent it.”

    Author Ben-Eliyahu is clearly a nut-case, but, according to Israeli-born and educated psychologist Avigail Abarbanel, his opinion is not an anomaly; all of Israeli society is psychotic, exemplified by Benzion Netanyahu, father of Israel’s current prime minister. In 2009 Abarbanel related that, in a TV interview to support his son’s election campaign, Benzion said:

    “Today we are facing plain and simple, a danger of annihilation. This is not only the ongoing existential danger to Israel, but a real danger of complete annihilation. People think that the Shoah (Holocaust) is over — but it is not, it is continuing all the time” (My translation from the Hebrew).

    [Abarbanel explained:] The views of Netanyahu Senior do not represent a lunatic fringe, but the Israeli mainstream. When I was growing up in Israel, things were much the same. I and everyone I knew believed in earnest that we were always at risk of annihilation. Fear of annihilation is at the heart of Jewish, not just Israeli culture and it pre-dates the Holocaust. But the climate in Israel today is far more extreme than it was in my time, as Israel on the whole moves further and further to an irrational fanatic position.
    When a person’s perception of reality is completely out of touch with reality itself, we begin to get an uneasy feeling that something might be wrong with his or her mind.

    Earlier in 2009, in the context of Israel’s savage pounding of the people of Gaza, Abarbanel wrote:

    “One of the things that is not being discussed much in the media is how much talk there is in Israel about attacking Iran. Word on the (Israeli) street is that an air attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors is imminent.

    Israel has been itching for a ‘good war’ for a while now. The botched attack on Lebanon in 2006 was a psychological disappointment that did not fulfil its purpose, and only led to a deepening chasm between the political and military arms in Israel. An Israeli friend told me in disgust the other day, that there is an atmosphere of ‘national orgasm’ in Israel about the prospect of attacking Iran. While people are being bombed in Gaza, all Israelis can talk about is the coming attack on Iran. But there is a link between the two. . . .

    Israelis have never been particularly kind to each other. . . . It was a tough place to live in not because of our ‘enemies’ but because of how people treated one another. . . . The only thing that could unite people and temporarily brought out more kindness and a sense of cooperation was a feeling of being under collective threat, and in particular a ‘good wholesome war’. . . .

    I remember well the atmosphere before, during and after wars. These were the best times. You could feel a change in the air. People seemed to have a renewed sense of purpose. . . .

    Trauma always follows a cyclical dynamic. It’s hard to live with it, with the constant fear and mistrust. It’s exhausting and demoralising and it can take up every bit of energy you have to just get up in the morning and get on with your daily tasks. People can go on for a while like this, somehow coping from day to day. But things inevitably come to a head and life becomes unmanageable. This is usually a familiar enough point in the cycle and the sufferer would often think ‘Oh, no, not again…’ At those times people desperately search for something, some kind of temporary solution to relieve the suffering, a new diet perhaps, a new job, . . . or a war.”

    Israel’s Trauma Psychology

    – – –

    In 1995, in the course of negotiations for the extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East, including Iran and Egypt, were persuaded to agree to the extension in exchange for the promise that a conference would be held to consider making the region a Nuclear Free Zone. Nuclear weaponized Israel was to very much on the table.

    That conference was never held.

    Dan Joyner is a legal scholar who specializes in international law and the law of nonproliferation. Upon learning that Egyptian Delegation Walks Out of NPT PrepCom Meeting Over Failure to Convene Middle East WMD Summit Joyner wrote:

    Readers will recall I’ve written on the ME WMD FZ [Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone] issue several times, most recently here. I think that Egypt and the rest of the Arab league are perfectly justified in feeling that an important deal they made in 1995 has been broken by the West, and as Ambassador Badr was quoted as saying in the GSN piece: “We cannot continue to attend meetings and agree on outcomes that do not get implemented, yet be expected to abide by the concessions we gave for this outcome.”

    I’ll just put in a couple of cents worth of thoughts on the underlying issues. As we all know, the whole ME WMD FZ issue is about Israel. The fact that Israel has nuclear weapons, and hasnt signed the NPT, nor will they even admit to having nuclear weapons. The Arab League is tired of the double standard of treatment that they receive from the West in the nuclear area, as compared to how Israel’s nuclear program is treated by the West. The ME WMD FZ project is a way to put the spotlight of the international community squarely on Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile, and put Israel and its backer, the US, in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why Israel won’t come to the meeting and won’t meaningfully engage with the program.

    I’m tired of the double standard too.

    I’m tired of Jewish psychopathology threatening my future and the future of my children.

    I’m sick of Jewish whinging.

    I’m fed up with Jews who claim the right to kill other people — Jewish leaders such as Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and “the Jewish architect” Erich Mendelsohn played major roles in creating and implementing the “kill civilians” strategy and the firestorm tactic that caused the death by incineration or asphyxiation of 600,000 German civilians in these cities — (see Jorg Friedrich, “The Fire: The Bombing of Germany 1940 – 1945”)


    and 122 other German cities were firebombed to rubble and ash.

    Shoa be damned.

    The holocaust narrative that has been jammed down the throats of the world’s survivors is a LIE. It emerged from the same psychopathic source as Rabbi Stephen Wise’s claim that “Nazis were making soap and lampshades out of Jewish flesh.”

    With respect to Ms. Abarbanel, perhaps the “trauma psychology” diagnosis is a bit too generous. Maybe, if they have a sense of humanity still alive, maybe Jews like Ben-Eliyahu are dealing with guilt, maybe even shame; maybe they live in mortal fear of being found out; of the facts become known that it was Jewish leaders who planned and carried out the “holocaust” of German and Japanese people, aided and abetted by their willing executioners, the US, Russian, and British militaries, those men of the “greatest generation.”

    This has got to stop and it has to stop now.

    The American people have a right, responsibility and obligation to demand of their leaders security and protection from psychopaths armed with nuclear weapons who threaten nuclear annihilation and who have the means to carry it out; who have done so in the past; and who have signaled, repeatedly, the intention of doing so in the future.
    Iran does not fit any of those characteristics.
    Israel does.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
    • Replies: @joe webb
  5. @Don Nash

    Europe’s Trojan Horse is Britain. They will never be a part of continental Europe. Even George Orwell had figured this out back in the late forties. Whatever independent “future” Europeans work out, they will have to forge it without that pesky American lapdog.

  6. Realist says:
    @Don Nash

    “Europeans would do well to consider how the US truly views Europe. Remember Victoria Nuland’s “f*#k the EU” remark? That is exactly how ‘official’ Washington ranks Europe and the EU..”

    That is how Washington ranks the world.

  7. An appeal to the crowd, in defense of western “values”? What might those now be? Mass surveillance? The Emperor wears no clothes.

  8. Escher says:

    The NSA probably has dirt on all major politicians in Europe, and uses it to keep them in lock step with the American neoconservative agenda.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  9. FWIW says:

    I think the author is giving the US a bit too much credit for this catastrophe. First, Russia was also looking for an enemy, a justification for the build up of Russia’s military, suppress civil liberties, &c. And the West was all to willing to provide that justification.

    The current role of NATO is to keep Europe disarmed. The pathetically small military expenditures of Europe are part of the implicit deal to let the US remain an occupying force (through the fiction that NATO is not a creation of the US) in Europe. Russia’s armed forces are much weaker than anyone seems to want to admit (on both sides). How many battle ready troops could it really afford to deploy in an aggressive war? Other than the buildup on Ukraine’s Eastern border, not many. Russian ground forces consist of a relatively small number of professional, contract troops and a large number of poorly trained conscripts, who serve 12 months.

    If NATO disbanded, within 20 years, Germany would have a highly trained, effective military force, and either nukes, or the ability to produce them in a very short time. And the Russians would attempt to keep up, leaving the former Warsaw Pact Countries desperately trying to come up with a plan to prevent their countries from becoming the next battlefield for the clash between Russia and Germany.

    As insane as all this sounds, the economics of the latest ‘conflict’ are unworkable. The ‘winner’ of Ukraine will be faced with the need for billions of dollars of aid to restructure Ukraine’s economy. Neither Europe nor the US has any interest in the mega bailout of Ukraine that would be necessary to have a chance of succeeding. Russia at least cares, whether it has the resources or not.

    The real folly was the senseless folly of expanding the EU, and then NATO further and further East. It appears to me that it was done without any serious thought regarding consequences. What country with a border with Russia wouldn’t want to belong to NATO? The fact that NATO has committed to countries that it clearly wouldn’t fight for makes the deterrent much less credible.

    Why was it done? I think the impact of stupidity is underestimated in policies like this. Not that there weren’t interests that favored it, but it was more a matter of no one paying attention to the inevitable consequences.

    In the current situation, no sane person would send weapons into Western Ukraine. No one in the West has the stomach for a serious commitment. The Russians could easily match Western weapons sent in plausible quantities, with only untrained Ukrainian forces to use them. Regardless of Russia’s weakness as a serious offensive military threat (assuming that nukes come into play only as a defensive deterrent). But they can easily keep feeding force into a small civil war against a weak adversary. They don’t need to take ground or hold ground, but just provide enough men and materials to tip the scales in favor of the rebels. And, it is exactly the kind of conflict that would be useful as a training exercise for the ‘reformed’ Russian military.

  10. Maj. Kong says:

    Were Ukraine to get much bloodier for Russia (akin to Afghanistan in the 1980s), along with more sanctions (SWIFT), the change of “regime change” in Russia increases.

    The number one goal of US-EU foreign policy towards Russia is to have a second Yelstin in charge to loot the economy and bastardize the culture.

    This type of behavior creates odd bedfellows (whither Svoboda), but the Western elites aren’t going to give this up easily. They’d rather see their own countries Islamized.

  11. @Maj. Kong

    Maj. Kong wrote:
    “The number one goal of US-EU foreign policy towards Russia is to have a second Yelstin in charge to loot the economy and bastardize the culture.”
    That is exactly the opinion of Russian blogger, expert in Middle East
    Anatoliy Evgenievich Nesmiyan, a.k.a. “El-Murid”:
    He writes in Russian, but reads himself in many languages, including Arabic.

  12. @Escher

    Yup, Merkel’s bout of (faux?) outrage over NSA surveillance of her phones vanished PDQ when the appropriate minder had a word with her.

    The real outrage, and it’s something that should be rubbed in the faces of all thee political filth in the US on a daily basis, is that NSA gives Israel everything it collects on all Americans included politicians and Judges.

  13. @Maj. Kong

    “Were Ukraine to get much bloodier for Russia (akin to Afghanistan in the 1980s), along with more sanctions (SWIFT), the change of “regime change” in Russia increases. ”

    It looks like the US has shot itself squarely in the bollocks on the Swift issue

    The threat of a Chinese alternative to Swift must look like a real threat.

  14. MarkinLA says:

    I think the impact of stupidity is underestimated in policies like this.

    I don’t think this level of stupidity is humanly possible. You had to know that the US won’t fully back Poland or Lithuania. Clinton had to have discussed it with the military. No, they have a plan. The plan might be stupid but they didn’t just blindly stumble into it.

  15. Dave says:

    You had me until the EU needs a counter balance.. The world needs less soldiers

  16. @Epaminondas

    “Europe’s Trojan Horse is Britain. They will never be a part of continental Europe. Even George Orwell had figured this out back in the late forties. Whatever independent “future” Europeans work out, they will have to forge it without that pesky American lapdog.”

    I’m a life-long Anglophile but I have to agree with you. Their leaders, since Thatcher (and even including her sometimes) have attempted to bask in the warm glow of American approval. And, mind you, the Neocons aren’t restricted to the USA either – UK has a fair few of its own and, to quote an earlier commentator here, they don’t mind having a democracy so long as they get to choose the candidates. Blair of course is the epitome of the lapdog you mention and Brits have been waiting three years to hear from the Chilcot Inquiry (on Iraq and why) just what he was up to with GWB before they went into Iraq together – somebody is holding things up! Like Americans, the Brits have become so apathetic that they deserve the politicians they get to vote for.

  17. joe webb says:


    don’t worry, be happy. I am all but certain that the US Navy has attack submarines tailing the Israeli nuke subs. Just in Case.

    The Samson Option as I recall the Seymour Hersh wrote about, is a contingency for which the Pentagon must have a plan on the shelf somewhere.
    A note on Jewish paranoia, which ,never forget, accompanies its attitude toward the goyim.

    In year 2000 I led the opposition to an eruv proposed for Palo Alto, CA, by the Jewish Orthodox and supported by the whole Jewish community of Palo Alto and beyond. (Palo Alto is reported to be about 25% Jewish, and now the Chinese are supposed to be overtaking that figure. The Orthodox at the time were estimated at about 500, including kids. Palo Alto’s population is about 90,000 I think)

    We stopped the eruv, probably the only time an eruv, has been stopped in the US. I also harassed the Jewish community for its sweet cheap rent deal of a disused Palo Alto school for its Jewish Community Center. Somehow that sweetheart deal between the local school board and the JCC then went south and a new JCC was constructed on its own site in south Palo Alto.

    Many locals felt and feel that it is very ugly. It resembles a factory or a fortress, with solid walls for its first story. I like to think that they should have named it the Joe Webb Jewish Community Center. So, besides the satisfaction of having made the Jews pay their own way with regard to a community center, and having stopped (temporarily as it turned out for I got a call from The Forward a couple years ago informing that an eruv had just been passed in Palo Alto, albeit one without the official blessing of the town fathers and mothers…just the utilities department–how low rent!–, which is a break with the SOP of the rabbis… the Formal Eruv what with pomp and circumstance of the city fathers Declaring their Blessings on the attack on free , civic, and 21st century neutral and non-religious public space represented by the eruv,…Denied.

    The crazies had to go in the side door to the Utilities dept. Heh, heh.

    I have jammed them up on a couple other things wherein they were cashing in on public monies.

    So, yes they are paranoid, but also drenched in self-deception. Hebraizing: it is you , never me.

    Joe Webb

  18. Renoman says:

    I wish all the articles at the Unz included a 300 word “overview” by the author. Most of these guys appear to be academics who take great joy in dragging things out to the enth degree which is fine if that’s what one is looking for but in the real World this just doesn’t wash. Please, “brevity ” folks, it will make you famous.

  19. @joe webb

    What is eruv?
    I tried to read Wikipedia on the subject, and could not get heads or tails
    (my feeble attempt to use idiomatic English.)

    • Replies: @Big Bill
  20. Big Bill says:
    @Immigrant from former USSR

    It is a ceremonial fence (most typically a thick wire) that is extended around entire neighborhoods or portions of a city. The wire is commonly suspended up in the air on utility poles and trees, from building to building, out of reach.

    Why is it necessary? According to Jewish law [“Halacha”] God says that Jews cannot travel beyond their homes carrying certain things and doing certain activities on the sabbath.

    But God is not so smart. He didn’t write his laws carefully enough. There is a loophole. By extending the wire around an entire neighborhood, the Jewish community magically converts the entire neighborhood to one giant Jewish home. Within this wire loop–this”eruv”– Jews can wander around and do what they choose without violating God’s laws.

    Of course, the Jewish community needs to “own” the land within the eruv, so they also need a ceremonial contract with the local gentile authorities (e.g. the local mayor) that “gives” the Jewish community all the land within the giant wire loop.

    Every week, just before Sabbath, Jewish representatives must walk around the entire eruv, checking the wire and making sure it is not broken. If any portion of the wire loop is broken, the ceremonial magic doesn’t work and Jews must restrict their activities (until it can be fixed).

  21. @Big Bill

    Thank you, Big Bill. Your description is much more clear than the one in Wikipedia.
    I especially like your “But God is not so smart.”

  22. Lode says:

    See the same red capuchoned agents provocateurs on Crimea beginning at 9:30 here:

    And on the photograph shown right after 6:05 in the video shown above on this website.

  23. Lode says:

    Ex-Ronald Reagan administration member:

    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: “Belief U.S. Can Win Nuclear War Makes it Likely (to Happen)”

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I believe that Russia attacked Ukraine not the other way around. What everyone seems to forget is that Ukraine is a sovereign country. What everyone is saying is that Ukraine should sit back and allow Russia to take the country over. The bad guy in this article is the USA. Poor helpless Russia…it’s been trying to recreate the old Soviet empire and all of eastern europe should go along to get along. This article blames NATO for speaking too aggressively. I believe if one looks back to Putin’s comments against USA they go back some 6-10 years. USA has done nothing against Russia or Europe. This article and commentators are simply paid Russian hacks. And europeans that care so little for Ukraine where is their humanity? Putin and Russia are evil. Their anti-Ukrainian and anti-american propaganda has been vicious. Neither Ukraine nor the USA started this war. Putin did. NATO did not threaten Putin until Putin threaten Ukraine and surrounding countries with nukes. Stop your outright lying it’s shameful.

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