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CIA control of MSM bulletin, 2015

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[Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality

"... Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come! ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Sy Hersh's latest via M of A:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm
Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad's cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.
Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm
I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

It's an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

My suggestion: don't get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

It's worth remembering that Hersh's articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

Given that it's axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

I especially like the sign off:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

* Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone "right round the horn" – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come!

[Sep 28, 2015] Violence instead of democracy: Putin slams policies of exceptionalism and impunity in UN speech

"Do you realize what you've done?" -- Putin about recent US sponsored color revolutions.
Notable quotes:
"... instead of reforms and the triumph of democracy and progress "we've got violence, poverty and social disaster, and human rights, including the right to life, to which no weight is given." ..."
"... "Rather than bringing about reforms, aggressive foreign interference has resulted in the brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself," ..."
"... "Therefore they do not have to reckon with the UN, which instead of automatically authorizing, legitimizing the necessary decisions often creates obstacles or in other words 'stands in the way'." ..."
Sep 28, 2015 | RT News

The export of so-called 'democratic' revolutions has continued, but has unleashed poverty and violence instead of the triumph of democracy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing the UN General Assembly.

Attempts to push for changes in other countries based on ideological preferences have led to "tragic consequences and degradation rather than progress," said Putin in his speech to world leaders and policy makers gathered at the UN General Assembly's anniversary 70th session in New York on Monday.

"We should all remember what our past has taught us," Putin said. "We, for instance, remember examples from the history of the Soviet Union."

It seems however that some are not learning from others' mistakes, but keep repeating them, he said, adding that "the export of so-called 'democratic' revolutions continues."

"I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done?" he asked. "But I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned."

He cited the example of revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where people have wished for change. However, instead of reforms and the triumph of democracy and progress "we've got violence, poverty and social disaster, and human rights, including the right to life, to which no weight is given."

"Rather than bringing about reforms, aggressive foreign interference has resulted in the brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself," he said.

... ... ...

A single center of domination emerged in the world after the Cold War era ended, Putin stated. Those who were at the "top of this pyramid" were tempted to think that "if they were so strong and exceptional, they knew what to do better than others."

"Therefore they do not have to reckon with the UN, which instead of automatically authorizing, legitimizing the necessary decisions often creates obstacles or in other words 'stands in the way'."

[May 22, 2015] Is It Too Early To Just Call The Game For Putin?

May 22, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, May 21, 2015 at 10:22 pm
Oh, dear; violent clashes in Odessa and Kharkov, as The Grauniad admits that those two cities "are deeply divided along political lines, with large numbers opposed to the government in Kiev and in favour of closer ties with Moscow."

Hostility grows toward Kiev; you don't say. They're coming for your fat ass, Porky. Maybe not tonight – just as well, since you're not there – but soon.

Of course The Grauniad loyally announces that all the destabilization efforts originate in Russia, and that bombers and partisans who were captured confess that they were paid. The only true patriots, who don't do it for the money, are honest pro-Kiev Ukrainians. I guess you better crank on some more sanctions against Russia, because they obviously still have too much money.

Meanwhile, in central Kiev, the air is once again perfumed with burning rubber – one of Ukraine's few growth industries – as activists of the "Financial Maidan" protest the plummeting currency and skyrocketing utility costs and lay siege to the Parliament again. The crowd demands Parliament "approves the law on restructuring private loans in foreign currency, which would convert people's debts into national currency at pre-crisis levels." Good luck with that, it sounds like you have a great chance.

The country is coming apart; it's just a matter of time. And not very much time, by the look of things.

yalensis, May 22, 2015 at 2:47 am
The reaction to this Grauniad propaganda was swift and merciless:

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1432279960.html

Commenters also pointed out that Grauniad knowingly lied just by posting that starting photo (showing allegedly a nasty and violent looking masked "pro-Russian activist" swinging his pistol in front of Odessa Trade Union building). Commenters quickly pointed out the Odessan Chief of Police, whose face can just be discerned peering over the shoulder of the "pro-Russian activist". In other words, the photo shows the opposite of what it purports, and the Grauniad editor knows this perfectly well, but decided to lie, hoping there are some newbies on their forum, who don't know the story.

PaulR, May 22, 2015 at 5:38 am
Except that there is some reasonable evidence that the then Chief of Police was in cahoots with the anti-government forces, and the people in the photo are wearing St George ribbons, so one cannot say that the Guardian 'knowingly lied' by posting the photo and caption.
yalensis, May 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm
Are you talking about Dmitry Fuchedzi ?
The patsy whom Anton Herashchenko helped to escape?

Please don't make me laugh too much.
The Grauniad author, Howard Amos knows the whole story better than anyone else.
If he thinks those guys standing around Fuchedzi are "pro-Russians", then let him make that claim. He also has to explain his theory of why Fuchedzi was there, and what he was up to.

Jen, May 22, 2015 at 5:39 am
You have to wonder why The Giardia keeps printing propaganda long after commenters have either exposed the lies or migrated to other websites and blogs. The Giardia would be better off turning itself into a British version of the Australian Women's Weekly or UFO Chronicles than continuing to be a front for neofascists while pretending to be something else. New readers probably won't notice much difference.

[May 14, 2015] War-Crazed Western Propaganda Machine Rages at Its Growing Insignificance

russia-insider.com

Atlantic Alliance media apparatus lashing out like a dying demon at the reality of being successfully confronted by the truth

This article originally appeared at CounterPunch

... ... ...

Ironically, however, it's likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.

Udo Ulfkotte's bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany's largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance.

"We're talking about puppets on a string," he says, "journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what's really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets." [8]

In another interview, Ulfkotte said:

"The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe." [9]

... ... ...

Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush's aides (probably Karl Rove): "The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'." [12]

It's a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.

That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer, "I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don't like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too…We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don't want this anymore, I'm fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…" [13]

Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany's newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO's top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading "dangerous propaganda" that is misleading the public about Russian "troop advances" and making "flat-out inaccurate statements" about Russian aggression.

Whitney asks, "Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It's because they no longer support Washington's policy, that's why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It's that simple." [14] Whitney argued that "the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow."

So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, "Confronting Russia's Weaponization of Information." Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.

[May 03, 2015] How U.S. Journalists Inflame Middle East Sectarianism - e.g. Liz Sly

May 03, 2015 | moonofalabama.org

Sectarianism in the Middle East is regularly inflamed by the Sunni Salafi/Wahhabi groups and countries in the Middle East. It is directed against all other strains of Islam as well as against all other religions.

But as the "western" governments and media favor the Saudi Arabian side and often denigrate the "resistance" side, be it Shia, Sunni or whatever else, they insist that it is the Shia side that is preaching sectarianism. One can often experience this with reports on speeches of Hizbullah leader Nasrallah who is always very careful to not ever use sectarian language. When Nasrallah condemns Takfiri terrorists like AlQaeda and the Islamic State as non-Muslim and calls them the greatest danger to Sunnis, Shia and Christians alike the "western" media like to report that he warns of Sunnis in general and is thus spreading sectarianism.

Many such reports come from "western" reporters who are stationed in Beirut, speak no Arabic and depend on the spokespersons and translators in the offices of the Saudi-Lebanese Sunni leader Hariri. For an ever growing collection of typical examples see the Angry Arab here and here.

The finding of non-existent sectarian language in "resistance" leaders' communications and the emphasizing of it has been internalized by "western" reporters. You can clearly see the process in the exemplary Twitter exchange copied below.

Liz Sly is the Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post in Beirut and does not speak Arabic. Elijah J. Magnier is Chief International Correspondent for the Kuwaiti TV station AL RAI. He speaks Arabic and has covered the war on Iraq and other wars on the ground for decades.

The issue at hand is a defense bill in front of the U.S. Congress which refers to Sunni militia, Kurds and other groups in Iraq as distinguished "countries" which are to be armed separately from the state of Iraq. "Divide and rule" writ large. Many Iraqi politicians including the Prime Minister have spoken out against it. The Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr warned of the consequences should the bill go through which he says would include an unleashing of his troops against U.S. interests.

Notice how Liz Sly insist on a sectarian aspect/intent in Sadr's proclamation even when there clearly is none. She keeps in insisting on it even after she gets pointed to an official denial of any sectarian intent by a Sadr spokesperson. The exchange:

Liz Sly 17h17 hours ago
Moqtada Sadr to the US: if you arm Iraq's Sunnis, we will fight Americans in Iraq. https://twitter.com/jihadicas/status/593512749235249152 …

Elijah J. Magnier 8h8 hours ago
@LizSly Moqtada didn't say that https://twitter.com/EjmAlrai/status/593324552437903360 …

Liz Sly ‏ 6h6 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Didn't mean literally fighting US troops, but to fight against US presence in Iraq. Presumably would hit embassy, personnel etc?

Elijah J. Magnier 6h6 hours ago
@LizSly U r right as Moqtada said he will fight USA in Iraq and abroad but didn't say if Sunni are armed.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly "We shall hit US interest in Iraq & abroad, as possible, ', if US approves supporting each religion independently",

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Right, he means if Sunnis are armed directly by the US under that weird bill

Elijah J. Magnier 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly I spoke to S. Ali Seism who said it is not directed to Sunni but 2 all religions (incl Kurds) as there are more than Sunnis in Iraq.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly In fact the communique' doesn't say in any line the word "Sunni" but "all religions".

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai The bill is aimed at arming Sunnis and my tweet makes it clear Muqtada is against the US arming Sunnis, not against arming them

Elijah J. Magnier 5h5 hours ago
@LizSly Moqtada communique' clearly didn't mention Sunni: "Not arming religions": Fayli, Turkman, Sunni, Shia, Yazidi... Feel free.

Liz Sly ‏ 5h5 hours ago
@EjmAlrai Ok, but it's clear he's against a bill whose goal is to permit the US to directly arm Sunnis, not eg Fayli. As are many Iraqis.

The last paragraph of Sadr's statement says:

American should know that if it wants to exacerbate sectarian sentiment, we would continue to tread on the path of national unity. Let sectarianism fall out of existence! This is the very sectarianism that seeks to create [artificial] borders.

The U.S. Congress introduces a law that would exacerbate sectarianism in Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr responses with a statement explicitly speaking out against sectarianism. Liz Sly insist that it is therefore Sadr who is playing a sectarian card.

Is this insistence by Liz Sly on sectarian "Shia leader Sadr is against Sunnis" justified by anything but sly, willful exaggeration, and even falsification, of what Sadr wrote? Who is the sectarian here?

Posted by b at 11:24 AM | Comments (54)


Mike Maloney | Apr 30, 2015 11:56:41 AM | 1

Another good example of this is the NYT story from yesterday, An Eroding Syrian Army Points to Strain, about various religious sects and ethnic groups in Syria losing confidence in the SAA. Penned by Anne Barnard and Eric Schmitt, it is clearly a CIA-sponsored tale, built mostly out of quotes from an anonymous "Syrian with security ties."

The chief target of the anonymous source's ire is of course Hezbollah.

Amer | Apr 30, 2015 3:03:25 PM | 2

Non-sectarian nature of the resistance...This point needs to be made over and over again.

Funny that this Scott Horton interview from 2 days ago focuses exact same point about Syrian government as in reality non-sectarian and pluralistic: http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2015/04/28/42815-brad-hoff/

Based on bizarre story of military vet moving to live in Syria: https://medium.com/@BradRHoff/a-marine-in-syria-d06ff67c203c

james | Apr 30, 2015 3:39:11 PM | 4

thanks b. given the background on this, i'm inclined to believe it's intentional. or is it that it fits with the constant mantra on the problem in the middle being one of sectarian conflict that the usa and the west want to always present?

@2 mike. thanks more of the same bs from the same sources, in this case cia, although i they aren't referenced in the article.. nyt - cia/blackhouse mouthpiece..

KerKaraje | Apr 30, 2015 4:04:42 PM | 5

The "Hooligan theory"...
http://radioyaran.com/2015/04/30/the-hooligan-theory-and-syria/

"It is extremely delusional and childish to assume that tens of thousands of well-armed and battle-hardened Jihadists who have gotten accustomed to roaming their (and other people´s) country to kill "infidels", "apostates", "traitors" (e.g. fellow Sunnis who fight in the Syrian army) or simply "Shabiha" (a derogatory expression used to defame and dehumanize all kind of Sunni and non-Sunni militias and civilians who reject the rebels) would lay down their weapons and re-enter their ordinary civilian life on the day the Syrian government falls and Assad is killed..."

Wayoutwest | Apr 30, 2015 5:03:43 PM | 7

Al Sadr and his Iranian allies don't want any US involvement in Iraq. He certainly doesn't want the Kurds armed by anyone for obvious reasons and the Sunni tribes are considered a possible threat especially because they remember how Sadr's Mahdi Army carefully planned and viciously executed the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad's Sunni civilian population. Actions speak much louder than words.

Nasrallah has to carefully chose his words because the Shia are a minority in Lebanon but again actions are more telling than words. Hezbollah attempted to overthrow the government of Lebanon to create a Shia led Islamic Republic which I think is still their goal.

Deebo | Apr 30, 2015 5:20:57 PM | 8

I wonder what would happen if the media started talking about US support for Jewish terror groups ???

@ WOW as per usual your talking shit. Maybe you should ask sadr about his father and unclear death, while their killers were at the time roaming around free under US protection, kinda the same as KSA now

I really do admire your methods of being a paid propagandist -- Whether your in India or Tel Aviv or receive your pay checks from them, you really do have a way of talking doo doo

Yes maybe you should ask the nuns of maloola that your friends Way Out West seemed to have forgotten about if Hezbollah wants a Islamic Republic

You clearly are a Zionist because you seem to know enough about the Middle East, yet those who know as "much" as you so would not generally distort the truth unless they had an agenda, and most people who tread your path and masturbate heavily Iran Syria Hezbollah are generally yids

Sorry dude u have been exposed

I also wonder if Israel will comply with UNIFIL new resolution demanding they withdraw from all Lebanese territory and stop violating its air space

Israel sure is a funny country shame they cant beat a "rag tag" militia lol

jfl | Apr 30, 2015 6:34:50 PM | 10

' sly, willful exaggeration, and even falsification ' is the basis for the US aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine ... the issue is not so much the sly exaggerators and falsifiers in the government ... all 546 of those at the top are owned lock, stock and barrel by the aggressors, and so, of course, are their mouthpieces and hired hands ... but us, zombified cogs on the wheels of imperial slaughter, sitting on our thumbs and switching from cnn, to foxx, to msnbc eating popcorn and the 'news' along with. At what point do you call our self-delusion willful, and how long ago was that point passed?

The only people among us asserting ourselves are Americans of color, who've been pinched, lynched, and gunned down in the streets long enough. For far too long, of course, but now, with a black president and successive attorneys general leading the charge against them, black Americans have given up all hope of help from above/outside their own ranks.

White/Black - Sunni/Shia - Xtian/Muslim ... divide, devastate and destroy worldwide. The US is as monstrous in 2015 as Germany was in 1935, but no one seems to notice. And the EUnuchs, Israel and the KSA are filling in for Italy and Japan.

Jen | Apr 30, 2015 7:19:59 PM | 11

I see this tweet exchange between Sly and Magnier as an example of Sly having been told by her employer (and probably the US govt through its embassy) to ratchet up the Sunni / Shia sectarian divide whenever and wherever possible. In addition Sly seems quite brainwashed and primed to see sectarianism even where it doesn't exist. This would explain her idiotic responses to Magnier's tweets.

The US govt is using identity politics as part of its "divide and rule" strategy to set different religious and ethnic groups at one another's throats. To their credit, people like Moqtada al Sadr and Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah among others recognize that this strategy encourages tensions between and among various groups leading to continuous instability, turbulence and chaos that the US and other foreigners can use to their advantage.

The Western media is also at fault for deploying to the Middle East and other areas around the world as foreign correspondents people who have no background knowledge or understanding of the peoples, languages and cultures in the areas they have to report on.

Virgile | Apr 30, 2015 8:44:33 PM | 12

Liz Sly and Ann Barnard are the mini-version of the notorious Judith Miller, the NYT journalist that has been the promoter of lies that lead to the Iraq war.

Judith Miller was on Israel payroll. Whose payroll Liz Sly and Ann Barnard are on?

Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 10:59:21 PM | 15

@b

Thanks for yet another enlightening post about the inner workings of the so-called MSM. Their efforts to reproduce a narrative that combines official government views with those of the WaPo's editorial board are truly pathetic.

@mcohen@3

why do we not hear from liz sly herself... hey liz what do you think of these allegators made against you in this article by the blogger

i await your reply

Good try, but no cigar. You will wait until hell freezes over. She cannot step down from her clay feet pedestal to answer a commoner's question. No sir. She would be fired if she does for violation of...submission.

@Wayoutwest@7

Hezbollah attempted to overthrow the government of Lebanon to create a Shia led Islamic Republic which I think is still their goal.

This time, Way-out-there outdid himself, his ignorance about Hezbollah, Lebanon and the Shia, of galactic proportions.

@Jen@11

I see this tweet exchange between Sly and Magnier as an example of Sly having been told by her employer (and probably the US govt through its embassy) to ratchet up the Sunni / Shia sectarian divide whenever and wherever possible. In addition Sly seems quite brainwashed and primed to see sectarianism even where it doesn't exist. This would explain her idiotic responses to Magnier's tweets.

Bingo. Great summary of the whole guacamole. Thanks.

mcohen | May 1, 2015 7:33:08 AM | 20

Re: lone wolf.15

.....this chick has got the goods....British intellectuality and all

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/authors/emma-sky

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/03/20/petraeus-the-islamic-state-isnt-our-biggest-problem-in-iraq/

liz sly and emma sky........

..wondered what happened to the biographer....maybe she got the cigar

lol?.......league of liars

mcohen | May 1, 2015 7:57:01 AM | 21

emma sky wrote this in 2014.....now petraeus is back in iraq looking almost a year later and .....and .......and liz on the sly is tweeting about ........not sure what .....anyone understand this stuff,

there is so many billions up for grabs the whole thing looks like one big criminal exercise.....

one thing is for sure ....sectarianism is just a cover, surely a religion would not stoop this low

In his June 19 statement, U.S. President Barack Obama said,

"Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq's future. Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis -- must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence."

Obama is right to pressure Iraqi politicians to form a new government, rather than insisting that they support Maliki. He correctly recognized that any military options would be effective only if they were in support of an overall political strategy that a new broad-based government agreed to.

The United States has a key role to play in helping broker a new deal among the elites that creates a better balance among Iraq's communities. A new broad-based Iraqi government will need to win back the support of Sunnis against ISIS -- and the Obama administration should be prepared to respond positively to requests for assistance to do so.

farflungstar | May 1, 2015 12:26:13 PM | 25

From Feb 22 - old news, I know:

General Clark reveals that Daesh is an Israeli project
http://www.voltairenet.org/article186827.html

"General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO, told CNN that the Islamic Emirate ("Daesh") had been "created by our friends and allies to defeat Hezbollah."

General Clark thus clearly put into question the responsibility of Israel.

Since 2001, General Clark has been the spokesman for a group of senior officers opposed to Israeli influence on the foreign policy of the United States, its aggressive imperialist developments and the remodeling of the "Greater Middle East". He had opposed the deployment of troops in Iraq, and wars against Libya and against Syria." (With accompanying video).

Some reminder regarding pretend-journalists/model-type cupcakes you may wanna put the boots to (well not Emma Sky) slanting stories to influence people to believe that USSA, Israel and KSA ONLY are fighting ISIS, Daesh, ISIL, Al-Qaeda, whatever name their bosses want to give them this week.
Selling lies thru their fascist party dolls taking pouty selfies on the side.

Lone Wolf | May 1, 2015 7:34:26 PM | 38

@Wayoutwest@7

Addendum

Even Wikipedia had to give in and publish a marginal note about "Israeli censorship" (sure, they don't call it lies.) FYI.

2006 Lebanon War

"...Hezbollah rocket attacks also targeted and succeeded in hitting military targets in Israel. The Israeli military censorship was, however, very strict and explicitly forbade Israel-based media from reporting such incidents. The war time instruction to media stated that "The Military Censor will not approve reports on missile hits at IDF bases and/or strategic facilities."[131] A notable exception was the rocket attack 6 August, on a company of IDF reservists assembling in the border community of Kfar Giladi, which killed 12 soldiers and wounded several others. Initially Israel did not confirm that the victims were military but eventually relented..."

So? Figures lie and liars figure...

guest77 | May 1, 2015 8:43:15 PM | 40

In fact the subject of this post and that of the last Ukraine famine post are very similar. It is the same game being played, with many of the same methods. Make no mistake: given its position so far from.the consequences of sparking these deep-seated ethnic conflicts, the sheer fact of any fighting, no matter what the outcome, is a "victory" for.our cynical masters. Nothing new - similar games were.played in Nicaragua w the Miskito (sorry for spelling). Its quite remarkable display the.power.to split people and turn them against one another. People w/ hundreds of years of peaceful coexistence.

Lone Wolf | May 1, 2015 11:28:10 PM | 44

@Laguerre@36

...It's been evident for some months that Israel was trying to turn Hizbullah's flank.

Good point. No better proof can be found of the proxy links between ISIS and Israel than ISIS drive into the Qalamoun Mountains. mcohen@30, 34 is way off line with his opinions about Hezbollah's "miscalculations." Just recently, Syria's Defense Minister visited Iran and got all the support Syria needs, and more to continue its existential fight against the Axis of Terror, US/Israel/KSA et al.

The war on Syria has geopolitical repercussions beyond the region, and neither Iran, nor Iraq, or Russia will allow the fall of Assad. Hezbollah will not allow the taqfiris control of the Qalamoun and surroundings, for obvious strategic reasons; ISIS would have direct access to the Bekaa Valley. Iran will not permit the taqfiris to succeed in their efforts to drive a strategic wedge against Hezbollah, which will expose Syria's northern front and Lebanon; Iraq cannot afford losing Syria to the taqfiris and get surrounded by a hostile sea of Sunnis, and Russia will support Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah efforts to avoid cutting Syria in two on a SW/NE axis, that will effectively isolate the port of Tartus, Russia's naval base on the Mare Nostrum.

Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah is not a man prone to miscalculations, whether political or military and he learns from his mistakes. For example, he admitted the Israeli response to the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers that ignited the 2006 Summer War, was a surprise for Hezbollah, which didn't expect such a reaction, even though Israel had concrete plans after getting kicked out of southern Lebanon in 2000, to bomb Lebanon as a punishment for not disarming Hezbollah. Hezbollah intervention in Syria, after Nasrallah deemed the taqfiris an "existential threat" for the Shiites and Lebanon has been confirmed correct by later developments.

Martin | May 2, 2015 8:18:24 AM | 49

Washington Post is making laugh of itself:

"If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country's Eastern Seaboard, where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last several months. The country's foreign ministry released a statement: "We call on the American regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America's ethnic minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy." Britain has always maintained a keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, "We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for excessive police violence." The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system.

International analysts predict the seeds of a so-called "American Spring," fomented by technology. "It's amazing what social media is doing for the cause of justice in America," said a political rights analyst based in Geneva. "The black youth of America are showing what 21st-century civil rights activism looks like, using technology, social media and a decentralized organizing strategy to hold authorities accountable and agitate for change. These kids represent what modern-day freedom fighting looks like. The revolution will be tweeted, Periscope-d and Snapchatted."

Local leaders in the American township of Baltimore imposed a state of martial law this week after peaceful protests turned violent. In response, countries around the world have advised darker-skinned nationals against non-essential travel to areas noted for state violence against unarmed people of color, especially in recent hot spots such as New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ohio, California, Michigan, Virginia and now Maryland.

International human rights groups have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for America's ethnic black minorities. When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights spokesman said: "More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now is not really a good time for that for us. Furthermore, we believe in American solutions to American problems." The African Union has not responded to requests for comment.

American government officials took to state media, characterizing the protesters as "thugs," a racially coded word increasingly used to describe black males in America. Commentators in national media have frequently compared the protesters and riots to various characters and events from the popular television series "The Wire," set in early-2000s Baltimore.

America's ethnic blacks have been displaced from many of their communities due to a phenomenon experts on the region call "gentrification," when wealthier residents move into a lower-income area. Baltimore is no exception to this trend, with some areas seeing home values rise as much as 137 percent after corporate dollars move in on opportunities in poverty-stricken areas.

Resident Joe Smith, a member of the white majority ethnic group, said outside of a brand-new Starbucks near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, "I don't know why these blacks are destroying their own communities. Why don't these people follow Martin Luther King's example? Those guys got it good from the police back then too, but they didn't try to rise up and fight back and make everyone uncomfortable, you know?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/04/30/how-western-media-would-cover-baltimore-if-it-happened-elsewhere/

Jesrad | May 2, 2015 8:02:41 PM | 51

The media in Mordor has been all "sectarianism" all the time, since late 2003. They needed an explanation for the ongoing violence in Iraq, besides "guerilla war", which was completely unacceptable with an election approaching.

So they invented the nonsense that the Iraqis were attacking themselves and the noble Orcs were desperately trying to prevent it. I think the nonsense was that al-Ciada was targeting the anti-occupation Arabs to provoke a civil war thereby forcing the occupation to continue since they were 'winning' and about to leave. Apparently al-ciada hadn't heard about the permanent bases. This protection conveniently involved treating the Arab population like the Palestinians and putting them under guard behind concrete and barbed wire wherever possible.

Why the pro-occupation Kurds didn't need to be forced into dozens of bantustans, was something I've never seen asked by anyone. That the Iraqi population was heavily intermarried and had never had a 'civil war' or any history of 'sectarian violence' was also deemed not newsworthy.

After 10+ years of even the 'alternative' media repeating this garbage it has become accepted as fact among the limited portion of the population who are even vaguely aware of the endless colonial wars.

[May 03, 2015] The "Russian aggression" meme really follows in the footsteps of the "WMD" meme.

marknesop.wordpress.com

Drutten May 1, 2015 at 2:14 pm

The "Russian aggression" meme really follows in the footsteps of the "WMD" meme.

You can easily see how it works, from the invention of a few buzzwords and/or phrases that are then repeated in nauseam, to the obedient media quickly following suit.

It strikes me as the highest level of irony that all the silly propaganda tactics they continuously and loudly accuse Russia of (and Russia is surely guilty of some of them), they employ themselves – ten fold.

It's like that ongoing BS about RT, its funding and penetration. All the data's there, and RT is simply dwarfed by its Western analogues, both in terms of finances and scale. Yet they keep raving about it, using bald-faced lies to support their tirades. Likewise, whatever bad journalism RT is guilty of (e.g. distorting events by omission to fit the agenda etc) they're again ten times worse.

And the big elephant in the room is Ukraine, a country highly relevant in this context as most of these things pertain to that particular crisis. Ukraine where things are so aggressive, oppressive and generally rotten that had it been any other country there'd be talk about some sorely needed B-52's raining democracy bombs over Kiev by now.

This kind of mindblowing hypocrisy, selective (deceptive) reporting and cynical agitation against whatever the "preferred target" happens to be today is nothing new, of course, but it never ceases to amaze me.

[Apr 18, 2015] The New York Times "basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say" Stephen F. Cohen on the U.S.-Russia-Ukraine history

Quote: "The [crisis now] grew out of Clinton's policies, what I call a "winner take all" American policy toward what was thought to be-but this isn't true-a defeated post-Cold War Russia, leading people in the '90s to think of Russia as in some ways analogous to Germany and Japan after World War II: Russia would decide its internal policies to some extent, and it would be allowed to resume its role as a state in international affairs-but as a junior partner pursuing new American national interests."
From comments: When one looks at the American empire one must think of it in terms of economics, like the British empire before it. This empire isn't run primarily for military purposes, or for other purposes, but to make money. It is run as a huge project to export money from places with less power to the US. At the end of the cold war the former Soviet Union found itself in the position of having natural resources and being in a subservient position.

The New York Times "basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say": Stephen F. Cohen on the U.S./Russia/Ukraine history the media won't tell you

There's an alternative story of Russian relations we're not hearing. Historian Stephen Cohen tells it here

It is one thing to comment in a column as the Ukrainian crisis grinds on and Washington-senselessly, with no idea of what will come next - destroys relations with Moscow. It is quite another, as a long exchange with Stephen F. Cohen makes clear, to watch as an honorable career's worth of scholarly truths are set aside in favor of unlawful subterfuge, a war fever not much short of Hearst's and what Cohen ranks among the most extravagant expansion of a sphere of influence-NATO's-in history.

Cohen is a distinguished Russianist by any measure. While professing at Princeton and New York University, he has written of the revolutionary years ("Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution," 1973), the Soviet era ("Rethinking the Soviet Experience," 1985) and, contentiously but movingly and always with a steady eye, the post-Soviet decades ("Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia, 2000; "Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives," 2009). "The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin" (2010) is a singularly humane work, using scholarly method to relate the stories of the former prisoners who walk as ghosts in post-Soviet Russia. "I never actually lost the uneasy feeling of having left work unfinished and obligations unfulfilled," Cohen explains in the opening chapter, "even though fewer and fewer of the victims I knew were still alive."

If I had to describe the force and value of Cohen's work in a single sentence, it would be this: It is a relentless insistence that we must bring history to bear upon what we see. One would think this an admirable project, but it has landed Cohen in the mother of all intellectual disputes since the U.S.-supported coup in Kiev last year. To say he is now "blackballed" or "blacklisted"-terms Cohen does not like-is too much. Let us leave it that a place may await him among America's many prophets without honor among their own.

It is hardly surprising that the Ministry of Forgetting, otherwise known as the State Department, would eschew Cohen's perspective on Ukraine and the relationship with Russia: He brings far too much by way of causality and responsibility to the case. But when scholarly colleagues attack him as "Putin's apologist" one grows queasy at the prospect of a return to the McCarthyist period. By now, obedient ideologues in the academy have turned debate into freak show.

Cohen, who is 76, altogether game and remembers it all, does not think we are back in the 1950s just yet. But he is now enmeshed in a fight with the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which last autumn rejected a $400,000 grant Cohen proposed with his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, because the fellowships to be funded would bear Cohen's name. Believe it, readers, this is us in the early 21st century.

The interview that follows took place in Cohen's Manhattan apartment some weeks after the cease-fire agreement known as Minsk II was signed in mid-February. It sprawled over several absorbing hours. As I worked with the transcript it became clear that Cohen had given me a valuable document, one making available to readers a concise, accessible, historically informed accounting of "where we are today," as Cohen put it, in Ukraine and in the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Salon will run it in two parts. This is an edited transcript of the first. Part two follows next week.

What is your judgment of Russia's involvement in Ukraine? In the current situation, the need is for good history and clear language. In a historical perspective, do you consider Russia justified?

Well, I can't think otherwise. I began warning of such a crisis more than 20 years ago, back in the '90s. I've been saying since February of last year [when Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in Kiev] that the 1990s is when everything went wrong between Russia and the United States and Europe. So you need at least that much history, 25 years. But, of course, it begins even earlier.

As I've said for more than a year, we're in a new Cold War. We've been in one, indeed, for more than a decade. My view [for some time] was that the United States either had not ended the previous Cold War, though Moscow had, or had renewed it in Washington. The Russians simply hadn't engaged it until recently because it wasn't affecting them so directly.

What's happened in Ukraine clearly has plunged us not only into a new or renewed-let historians decide that-Cold War, but one that is probably going to be more dangerous than the preceding one for two or three reasons. The epicenter is not in Berlin this time but in Ukraine, on Russia's borders, within its own civilization: That's dangerous. Over the 40-year history of the old Cold War, rules of behavior and recognition of red lines, in addition to the red hotline, were worked out. Now there are no rules. We see this every day-no rules on either side.

What galls me the most, there's no significant opposition in the United States to this new Cold War, whereas in the past there was always an opposition. Even in the White House you could find a presidential aide who had a different opinion, certainly in the State Department, certainly in the Congress. The media were open-the New York Times, the Washington Post-to debate. They no longer are. It's one hand clapping in our major newspapers and in our broadcast networks. So that's where we are.

The Ukraine crisis in historical perspective. Very dangerous ground. You know this better than anyone, I'd've thought.

This is where I get attacked and assailed. It's an historical judgment. The [crisis now] grew out of Clinton's policies, what I call a "winner take all" American policy toward what was thought to be-but this isn't true-a defeated post-Cold War Russia, leading people in the '90s to think of Russia as in some ways analogous to Germany and Japan after World War II: Russia would decide its internal policies to some extent, and it would be allowed to resume its role as a state in international affairs-but as a junior partner pursuing new American national interests.

That was the pursuit that Clinton and Strobe Talbott, who's now very upset about the failure of his policy, in the Yeltsin era. That's what they wanted, and thought they were getting, from Boris Yeltsin. You can read Talbott's memoir, "The Russia Hand," and know that all the official talk about eternal friendship and partnership was malarkey. Now it's all gone sour, predictably and for various reasons, and has led us to this situation.

The problem is that by taking the view, as the American media and political establishment do, that this crisis is entirely the fault of "Putin's aggression," there's no rethinking of American policy over the last 20 years. I have yet to see a single influential person say, "Hey, maybe we did something wrong, maybe we ought to rethink something." That's a recipe for more of the same, of course, and more of the same could mean war with Russia….

Let me give you one example. It's the hardest thing for the American foreign policy elite and the media elite to cope with.

Our position is that nobody is entitled to a sphere of influence in the 21st century. Russia wants a sphere of influence in the sense that it doesn't want American military bases in Ukraine or in the Baltics or in Georgia. But what is the expansion of NATO other than the expansion of the American zone or sphere of influence? It's not just military. It's financial, it's economic, it's cultural, it's intermarriage-soldiers, infrastructure. It's probably the most dramatic expansion of a great sphere of influence in such a short time and in peacetime in the history of the world.

So you have Vice President Biden constantly saying, "Russia wants a sphere of influence and we won't allow it." Well, we are shoving our sphere of influence down Russia's throat, on the assumption that it won't push back. Obviously, the discussion might well begin: "Is Russia entitled to a zone or sphere in its neighborhood free of foreign military bases?" Just that, nothing more. If the answer is yes, NATO expansion should've ended in Eastern Germany, as the Russians were promised. But we've crept closer and closer. Ukraine is about NATO-expansion-no-matter-what. Washington can go on about democracy and sovereignty and all the rest, but it's about that. And we can't re-open this question…. The hypocrisy, or the inability to connect the dots in America, is astonishing.

The nature of the Kiev regime. Again, there's a lot of fog. So there're two parts to this question. The coup matter and the relationship of the Yatsenyuk government to the State Department-we now have a finance minister in Kiev who's an American citizen, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations here as we speak-and then the relationship of the Kiev regime with the ultra-right.

It's a central question. I addressed it in a Nation piece last year called "Distorting Russia." One point was that the apologists in the media for the Kiev government as it came to power after Feb. 21, and for the Maidan demonstrations as they turned violent, ignored the role of a small but significant contingent of ultra-nationalists who looked, smelled and sounded like neo-fascists. And for this I was seriously attacked, including by Timothy Snyder at Yale, who is a great fan of Kiev, in the New Republic. I have no idea where he is coming from, or how any professor could make the allegations he did. But the argument was that this neo-fascist theme was Putin's, that what I was saying was an apology for Putin and that the real fascists were in Russia, not in Ukraine.

Maybe there are fascists in Russia, but we're not backing the Russian government or Russian fascists. The question is, and it's extremely important, "Is there a neo-fascist movement in Ukraine that, regardless of its electoral success, which has not been great, is influencing affairs politically or militarily, and is this something we should be worried about?"

The answer is 100 percent yes. But admitting this in the United States has gotten a 100 percent no until recently, when, finally, a few newspapers began to cite Kiev's battalions with swastikas on their helmets and tanks. So you've gotten a little more coverage. Foreign journalists, leaving aside Russians, have covered this neo-fascist phenomenon, which is not surprising. It grows out of Ukraine's history. It should be a really important political question for Western policy makers, and I think it is now for the Germans. German intelligence is probably better than American intelligence when it comes to Ukraine-more candid in what it tells the top leadership. Merkel's clearly worried about this.

It's another example of something you can't discuss in the mainstream media or elsewhere in the American establishment. When you read the testimony of [Assistant Secretary of State] Nuland, this is never mentioned. But what could be more important than the resurgence of a fascist movement on the European continent? I'm not talking about these sappy fascists who run around the streets in Western Europe. I'm talking about guys with a lot of weapons, guys who have done dastardly things and who have killed people. Does that warrant discussion? Well, people said, if they exist they're a tiny minority. My clichéd answer is, "Of course, so was Hitler and so was Lenin at one time." You pay attention and you think about it if you learn anything from history….

We say we're doing everything we're doing in Ukraine and against Russia, including running the risk of war, for a democratic Ukraine, by which we mean Ukraine under the rule of Kiev. Reasonably, we would ask to what extent Kiev is actually democratic. But correspondents of the Times and the Washington Post regularly file from Kiev and basically re-write whatever the Kiev authorities say while rarely, if ever, asking about democracy in Kiev-governed Ukraine.

Rewriting handouts. Is that actually so?

Until recently it was so…. I haven't made this a study, and one could be done in a week by a sophisticated journalist or scholar who knew how to ask questions and had access to information. And I would be willing to wager that it would show that there's less democracy, as reasonably understood, in those areas of Ukraine governed by Kiev today than there was before Yanukovych was overthrown. Now that's a hypothesis, but I think it's a hypothesis the Times and the Post should be exploring.

I take Kiev's characterization of its war in the eastern sections as an "anti-terrorist campaign" to be one of the most preposterous labels out there right now.

But, then, why did Washington say OK to it? Washington has a say in this. Without Washington, Kiev would be in bankruptcy court and have no military at all. Why didn't Washington say, "Don't call it anti-terrorist?" Because if you call it "anti-terrorism" you can never have negotiations because you don't negotiate with terrorists, you just kill them, a murderous organization with murderous intent.

By saying that this is not a civil war, it's just Russian aggression-this omits the human dimension of the entire war, and also the agency of the people who are actually fighting in the east-the hairdressers, the taxi drivers, the former newspaper reporters, the school teachers, the garbage men, the electricians, who are probably 90 percent of those fighting. There are Russians there, from Russia. But Ukraine's army has proved incapable of defeating or even holding off what began as a fairly ragtag, quasi-partisan, ill-equipped, untrained force.

The horror of this has been Kiev's use of its artillery, mortars and even its airplanes, until recently, to bombard large residential cities, not only Donetsk and Luhansk, but other cities. These are cities of 500,000, I imagine, or 2 million to 3 million. This is against the law. These are war crimes, unless we assume the rebels were bombing their mothers and grandmothers and fathers and sisters. This was Kiev, backed by the United States. So the United States has been deeply complicit in the destruction of these eastern cities and peoples. When Nuland tells Congress there are 5,000 to 6,000 dead, that's the U.N. number. That's just a count of bodies they found in the morgues. Lots of bodies are never found. German intelligence says 50,000.

Ever since the Clinton administration, we've bleated on about the right to protect people who are victims of humanitarian crises. You've got a massive humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. You've got 1 million people or more who have fled to Russia-this is according to the U.N.-another half a million having fled elsewhere in Ukraine. I don't notice the United States organizing any big humanitarian effort. Where is Samantha Power, the architect of "right to protect?" We have shut our eyes to a humanitarian crisis in which we are deeply complicit. This is what's shameful, whether you like or don't like Putin. It's got nothing to do with Putin. It has to do with the nature of American policy and the nature of Washington-and the nature of the American people, if they tolerate this.

You've written about the second Minsk accord as the only hope we've got left. Tell me briefly your take on Minsk II and whether there's a chance it will hold.

The second Minsk Accord has a lot of moving parts. The primary part is the cease-fire and the withdrawal by both sides of heavy artillery. It would appear that this has been significantly accomplished, but the cease-fire is very unstable. The political parts are supposed to come now. Kiev is supposed to pass certain constitutional reforms, giving a certain autonomy to the eastern regions. The eastern regions are supposed to hold new elections that in some way comply with Ukrainian law. If all that happens by December, then the Ukrainian-Russian border will be turned over to the Kiev authorities along with some European monitors. The political parts are going to be the hardest because there is no political support for this in Kiev.

[President] Poroshenko went to Minsk because he had no choice: Merkel told him he had to sign Minsk II. But Kiev is ultra-nationalist. They want no concessions to the east or to Russia. Getting Minsk II through parliament in Kiev will be very difficult. But the main fact for now is that Minsk II is the last, best choice to avoid a wider war that might well cause a direct war with Russia. [Since this interview the Kiev parliament has passed legislation either contradicting or negating the Minsk II terms.]

Minsk II was Merkel's initiative with President Hollande of France, and why, at the last minute, she suddenly realized that the situation was different than she thought-desperate-I don't know. And remember, this is a woman with enormous executive responsibilities for the economic crisis of the European Union and Greece. The enemies of Minsk II…

I think the main enemy is Washington.

That's right. I wouldn't call them the enemy, but we can't be children about this. Washington controls the IMF. Washington controls NATO. NATO and the IMF are the two agencies that can make war happen on a broader basis in Ukraine and in regard to Russia, or stop it. Whoever is the decider in Washington, if it's Obama, if it's somebody else, now has to make the decision.

All the enemies of Minsk II speak freely and are quoted in the papers and on the networks as rational people. And yet there's not one dissenting voice from the establishment. Outwardly, it appears to be a very uneven struggle. One hopes that somewhere in dark corridors and dimly-lit rooms in Washington, serious conversations are taking place, but I don't think so. [One March 23, 48 members of Congress did vote against sending weapons to Kiev, a point Cohen commended in an email note.]

Our post-Soviet politics after 1991, it turns out to be war by other means. The Cold War never ended, in my view. The tactics changed, perhaps the strategy did, too, but there was very little by way of even a pause.

It's complicated. The main problem today of getting the American political class to think freshly is Putin. They use Putin as the excuse to do whatever they want and not rethink anything. But Putin came much later.

The historical facts are not convenient to the triumphalist narrative, which says that we defeated the Soviet Union and thereby ended the Cold War, and therefore and therefore. According to Gorbachev, Reagan and Bush, the Cold War ended either in 1988 or 1990. When Reagan left the White House-I think he wrote in his diary in January 1989, "We have ended the Cold War"-so he thought he had ended it with Gorbachev. I was in Moscow when he walked across Red Square in that heat, I think it was July 1988, and somebody shouted to him "President Reagan, is this still the Evil Empire?" And he, in that affable way, said "Oh, no, that was then… everything's changed."

The Cold War was a structural phenomenon. Just because the president says its over doesn't mean it's over, but then there was Malta in December 1989, when [George H.W.] Bush and Gorbachev said the Cold War was over, and that continued all through the reunification of Germany. Between '88 and '90 we were told repeatedly by the world's leaders that it was over. Jack Matlock, Reagan's ambassador to Russia, has written very well about this, and because he was there as a personal testimony, of how this truly was. So the conflation of the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War is an historical mistake.

Bush then continued to maintain the official line that he had pursued with Gorbachev that there were no losers at the end of the Cold War, everybody had won. Bush maintained that position until the polls showed he was running behind Clinton in his reelection campaign. And then he declared in 1992 that we, and he in particular, had won the Cold War. I saw Gorbachev shortly thereafter. My wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and I had been friends with him for several years. He was deeply, deeply hurt, with a sense of betrayal. He's forgiven Bush, being a forgiving man.

But at that moment, '91 and '92… well, words are words, but as Russians say, words are also deeds. By announcing that we had won the Cold War, Bush set the stage for the Clinton administration's decision to act on an American victory, including the expansion of NATO.

This history brings us to where we are today.

What has changed in U.S. policy toward Russia between 1991 and now, and what hasn't?

I think the history that we know is what I just told you. Behind the scenes, there were clearly discussions going on throughout the '90s, and there were different groups. Big historical decisions, whether we talk about the war in Vietnam, or, a subject that interests me, why slavery and segregation lasted so long in the American South, where I grew up, can never be explained by one factor. Almost always they're multi-factored. But you got, in the 1990s, some people who genuinely believed that this was the moment for an enduring post-Cold War, American-Russian, full-scale strategic partnership and friendship between equals. There were these Romantics, so to speak.

On this side of the ocean?

I think there were people who believed in this. Just like there're people who really believe in democracy promotion as a virtuous profession-some of my students have gone into it. They believe in it: It's a good thing. Why not help good countries achieve democracy? The dark side of democracy promotion for them is either not visible or not in their calculation. People are diverse. I don't judge them harshly for their beliefs.

There were others who were saying Russia will rise again, and we have to make sure that never happens. To do that, we need to strip Russia of Ukraine, in particular. Brzezinski was writing that. At some point during this time he wrote that Russia with Ukraine is a great imperial power, without Ukraine it's a normal country. But there were people in Washington, the same people I heard in private discussions, saying that Russia's down and we're going to keep it down. They were feeding opinion into the Clinton administration, and that clearly helped lead to the NATO expansion.

They use the excuse that everybody wants to join NATO. How can we deny them the right? It's very simple. People say every country that qualifies has a right to join NATO. No, they do not. NATO is not a junior Chamber of Commerce. It's not a non-selective fraternity or sorority. It's a security organization, and the only criterion for membership should be, "Does a nation enhance the security of the other member countries?" The Ukrainian crisis proves beyond any doubt, being the worst international crisis of our time, that the indiscriminate expansion of NATO has worsened our international security. That's the end of that story. I don't know what they think NATO is. Is it like AARP membership and you get discounts in the form of U.S. defense funds? It's crazy, this argument.

But then you got these guys who are either Russophobes or eternal Cold Warriors or deep strategic thinkers. You remember when [Paul] Wolfowitz wrote this article saying Russia had to be stripped of any possibility ever to be a great power again? These people were all talking like…

It goes back to your comparison with Japan in '45.

The question is why Clinton bought into this. That would then take you to Strobe Talbott. Strobe was a disciple of Isaiah Berlin, who taught that if you want to understand Russia, you have to understand the history, the culture and the civilization. And certainly if you took that view, you never would have done, as George Kennan said in 1996 or 1997, you never would have expanded NATO. I knew George during my 30 years at Princeton. George's social attitudes were deeply alarming, but about Russia he had a very important idea. Russia marches to its own drummer, let it, don't try to intervene or you'll make things worse. Be patient, understand Russian history, the forces in Russia. That was Isaiah Berlin's position. Once, that was Strobe's position. Look at Strobe Talbott today: We have to send in weapons and overthrow Putin and turn Russia around. Now it's all outside agency.

How did this guy go from A to B?

Well, they say power corrupts, or at least changes people. He had been Clinton's roommate at Oxford, and he ended up in the White House as a Russia aide, very smart guy. I think Russia disappointed him. One phenomenon among Russia-watchers is that you create an artifice, and that's your Russia. And when it disappoints you, you never forgive Russia. Check out Fred Hiatt at the Washington Post. Fred was writing from Moscow during the '90s that democracy was going to be great. So did most the guys who are now were still in editorial positions. Russia let them down. They can't forgive Russia anymore than they can the ex-wife who cheated on them. They can't think anew. It's a phenomenon, probably not only American, but it's particularly American. You cannot reopen any discussion with these people who bought into Yeltsin's Russia in the 1990s and were certain that though the road was rocky, as they liked to say… "Failed Crusade" is about this. They can't get over it.

Part of it also had to do with Yeltsin. He was so desperate, not only for American affirmation but for American affection. He was so insecure, as his health declined and he became more and more the captive of the oligarchs, that he wanted to mean as much to Washington as Gorbachev had. He was getting close to virtually giving Washington anything, saying anything, until the Serbian war. Then it dawned on him that Washington had a certain agenda, and the expansion of NATO [was part of it], but by then it was too late, he was a spent force.

Later, when Dmitri Medvedev was president [2008-12], I think, he told a group of people that Yeltsin hadn't actually won the election, that Gennadi Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party, had. So assuming that Medvedev wasn't lying and assuming he was in a position to know, all this talk of American support for democracy, when it comes to Russia, at least, is, shall we say, complex.

Let's go to Putin. What is your view here? What is he trying to accomplish?

It's impossible to answer briefly or simply. This is a separate university course, this is a book, this is for somebody with a much bigger brain that I have. This really is for historians to judge.

I wrote an article in, I think, 2012 called the "The Demonization of Putin," arguing that there is very little basis for many of the allegations made against Putin, and that the net result was to make rational analysis in Washington on Russian affairs at home and abroad impossible, because it was all filtered through this demonization. If we didn't stop, I argued, it was only going to get worse to the point where we would become like heroin addicts at fix time, unable to think about anything except our obsession with Putin. We couldn't think about other issues. This has now happened fully. The article was turned down by the New York Times, and an editor I knew at Reuters published it on Reuters.com.

The history of how this came about [begins] when Putin came to power, promoted by Yeltsin and the people around Yeltsin, who were all connected in Washington. These people in Moscow included Anatoly Chubais, who had overseen the privatizations, had relations with the IMF and had fostered a lot of the corruption. He came to United States to assure us that Putin was a democrat, even though he had been at the KGB.

When he came to power, both the Times and the Post wrote that Putin was a democrat and, better yet, he was sober, unlike Yeltsin. How we got from 2000 to now, when he's Hitler, Saddam, Stalin, Gaddafi, everybody that we have to get rid of, whom we know killed Boris Nemtsov because from the bridge where Nemtsov was killed [on February 27] you can see the Kremlin…. Well, remember, Sarah Palin could see Russia from Alaska! It's preposterous. But the demonization of Putin has become an institution in America. It is literally a political institution that prevents the kind of discussion that you and I are having.

Kissinger had the same thought. He wrote, last year, I think, "The demonization of Putin is not a policy. It's an alibi for not having a policy." That's half correct. It's much worse now, because they did have a policy. I think the "policy" growing in some minds was how to get rid of Putin. The question is, "Do they have the capacity to make decisions?" I didn't think so, but now I'm not so sure, because in a lot of what comes out of Washington, including the State Department, the implication is that Putin has to go.

I asked a question rhetorically several years ago of these regime changers: Have you thought about what would happen in Russia in the event of regime change? If what you say is true, if Putin is the pivot of the whole system, you remove Putin the whole system collapses. Russia has every known weapon of mass destruction in vast quantities. What would be the consequence of that conceit on your part-that we're going to get rid of Putin-for the rest of the world?

So this Putin phenomenon has to be explained. How did he go from a democrat for sure, now to maybe the worst Russian leader since Ivan the Terrible. How do you explain it? Does that tell us more about Putin or more about us?

I think his sin is an unacceptable take on, broad-brush terms, Eastern ethos vs. Western ethos, and on narrower terms a rejection of a neoliberal economic regime in the Washington consensus style. Although he's got a lot to answer for, I think, in this respect, he's not an evangelist for what he's doing. What does he face domestically? What's he trying to do?

Let me tell you just briefly. When I ask Russians, they think the answer is American presidential envy. We've had a lot of unsuccessful presidents lately. Clinton left basically in disgrace, Bush left not beloved for the war that he had got us into and lied about, Obama is before our eyes a shrinking, failing president. And here's Putin, now in his 15th year of growing stature inside Russia.

And by the way, until recently the preeminent European statesman of his time, no doubt of this. In the 21st century, only Merkel can stand anywhere near him as a European statesman, whether you like what a statesman does or not. This, of course, changes everything. Not to take the famous cop-out, but let history judge. X number of years from now, when we've joined the majority, as Lenin used to say, historians will undoubtedly look back and do the pluses and minuses, and it's going to be a very close call.

For my short-term take on Putin, he was put in power to save the Yeltsin family from corruption charges, and the first decree he signed upon becoming acting president was to exempt the Yeltsin family from future prosecution. He has honored that, by the way. One of the beefs against Putin in Russia is that he's honorable to his friends and appointees to an extreme; he can't bring himself to fire anybody. He's got this KGB code of honor. I kind of like it. I'd rather that than people stab you in your back….

I operate under the assumption that no matter how or why people come to power, when in power they begin to ponder what their mission is, what history asks of them. For Putin it was quite clear: The Russian state had collapsed twice in the 20th century. Stop and think what that means. It had collapsed in the 1917 Revolution and the Soviet Union didn't collapse in 1991- it was plucked apart- but then the state collapsed and the result was what Russians call smuta, a time of troubles. It means misery; it means foreign invasion; it means civil war; it means that people fall into poverty. This is the Russia that Putin inherited. Remember, when he came to power in 2000, Russia was on the verge of collapsing for a third time as a result of Yeltsin's policies. The governors were corrupt, were not obeying the law, were not paying taxes, were running criminal fiefdoms in scores of regions. Russia was highly vulnerable, NATO was expanding, Russia had no influence in world affairs.

Putin comes to power and perceives that his first mission has to be to stop the collapse of the Russian state- which he calls the vertical, because Russia has always been governed from the top down, which has made it ungovernable because it's so big- and, most of all, to make sure it never, ever, ever happens again. In Russian history, the worst thing that can happen to Russia is smuta, when the state collapses. Stop and think: Between 1917 and 1991, it happened twice in the largest territorial country in the world. Is there any precedent for that in history? How a leader could come to power and not see that….

The second piece of this conversation will run next week.

Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

More Patrick L. Smith.

Americans are like Legos, designed to be manipulated, used, to build structures whose existence is unknown to them. Part of the design is their incapacity to deal with an idea that would threaten the structure of which they are the fundamental element. And so we see in these comments the ingredients of the very plastic from which they are made: deflection, ad hominemism, demonization, etc. By the time they are finished the discussion will be about someone's character, or the exchange of speculative analyses of some historical event that didn't happen. The comments are a reduction in scale of what happens at the level of diplomacy and policy.

Smith an Cohen know this, and yet they carry on trying to educate and inform against great resistance. They have my respect.

fizzed

Since 1990, the US is the only nation that's faught wars against nations not on its border. Only the US has military bases nearly everywhere on earth. Only the US routinely violates nations' sovereignty, and we do so seemingly every week. We've even classified the number of nations we're bombing. And still, our hawks yearn for more. A recent world Gallup poll found that the world views us as the greatest threat to workd peace by a huge margin, Russia was 2nd by over 20 points. If, by some miracle, we've not become insane, it's impossible fo know because we've classified the evidence. Which may be itself evidence for insanity.

bandeapart

It's funny how people can't even say "I think Cohen is wrong about this." They have to say he's a "Putin apologist" or "on the Kremlin payroll." They're so offended that anyone could even suggest that Putin in 2015 isn't the contemporary equivalent of Hitler in 1938 that they have to resort to obvious falsehoods. That alone should tell you something: This demonization of Putin isn't about the facts.

It's also striking how many of the ideologues attacking Cohen, from Cathy Young to Anne Applebaum, are apologists for George W. Bush's illegal war of unprovoked aggression in Iraq.

(Sorry, posted the fragment below by accident and ran out of time to edit it.)

Jane Cullen

@bandeapart

It's also striking how many of the ideologues attacking Cohen, from Cathy Young to Anne Applebaum, are apologists for George W. Bush's illegal war of unprovoked aggression in Iraq.

Those warmongers are incapable of learning, even from recent disaster.

And this is what happens when Obama refused to prosecute Cheney, Wolfowitz, and the other monsters responsible for all of that destruction and death. Had we had the war crimes trials America desperately needed, even the tools on this very thread would have gotten a thorough education, and perhaps even a clue.

Lora

@PGrajnert @markwriter @Bitter Scribe It is naive , borderline stupid to think that Washington's aim is to defend the Baltics or former subservient Slavs from a Russian boot. Washington uses fear at home and abroad to reach one ultimate goal: economic gain (a.k.a. profit). Simplification some say, well Washington is not that complex just look who has been in charge in the past 40 years. US policies of late are obnoxiously primitive and transparent, but not to American audience.

mykry

Isn't it funny how Cohen thinks 'The New York Times basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say' when he himself seems to shadow and echo the Kremlin narrative ad verbatim. Is Cohen not aware of the lack of independent Russian media portals and echo chambers (domestic and international) that are bought and paid for by the Kremlin? Does Mr. Cohen not see the distortion and disinformation he helps spread? If he does not, then his lack of objectivity makes him simply a Stalinist (or in this case Putinist) apologist. However, if he does, then he is certainly on the Russian payroll---in some form or another---and is no better than the Russian trolls residing in St. Petersburg.

stuinmich

@mykry baseless libel.

jsmith499

It's really amazing with people like Noam Chomsky become imperialists. Russia invades Chechnya, Georgia, now Ukraine, and it's all OK. So we should have invaded Cuba, or any other country nearby that decides to make a treaty with Russia or China. There are people who think that, but you have to go to some really extreme right wing xenophobic imperialistic new sites to find them. Who would have thought that the likes of Noam Chomsky (and someone like Patrick Smith) would become imperialists? I guess you think NATO is an empire ruled by the Pope or someone? Yeah, NATO is the Holly Roman Empire of neocons, right? Is that really what you think Patrick? It is one thing to be against neoconservatism, it is another to take your dislike of it so far that you become an imperialist, it's like something out of the 17th century.

jab670

@jsmith499

I agree with you.

Chomsky and Smith strike me as people who if they were Russians, living in Russia, they would be supporting the United States. They are natural dissenters to public opinion. That's a great thing to have, especially when it's well-researched and articulated.

The problem is that they cannot get past their American-centric views. It's always about what America is doing, to whom, and why. They excuse the actions of other countries as purely reactionary.

The truth is likely somewhere in between and overlapping with good, bad and survivalist intentions from both sides. And the truth is that with a globalized economy, this fading superpower (United States) and former superpower (Russia) are trying to maintain their polarity in this multipolarized world that no longer needs either of them, and their ideologies, to survive.

Lora

@jsmith499 Invading Cuba? You have tried and failed, killing Castro? You have tried and failed. You got your fav. pres. shot for failing so many times to return investments to US mafia. NATO is a tool and it is used by IMF and Washington for one ultimate goal: economic advantage. Your childish arguments reveal how incapable you are at analysis. Read what informed people are writing and grow intellectually by accepting the shades of gray in RL. This is not discussion about baseball.

Pacific Blue

What is it about the threat of putting an op-positional military alliance at the doorstep of a potential adversary that the America does not get? Would we tolerate a federation of Soviet alliances to put troops, missiles, armaments, missile defense systems, and nukes in Canada and Mexico aimed primarily at all of the US major cities.

Please people. Get some sense. Drunken Yeltsin let Bill Clinton humiliate Russia by expanding NATO into countries like Poland and Hungary after the US previously promised Gorbachev that they would not do so. Putin is a different animal.

He knows that what happened in the Ukraine was engineered by neo-cons. He knows we can't be trusted (thank you Bill Clinton). He saw our attempt to get our fingers into Georgia. Remember John McCain's "We're all Georgians now." He knows that the NATO alliance is waiting to bring the Ukraine into their fold both economically and militarily. He's drawn a red line and said, "No more."

We'd be wise to heed it and back off. Russia has her back against the wall and it's dangerous for us to keep playing this game of empire with such a country.

markwriter

@Pacific Blue I don't think making an argument that the US should back away out of fear of an unstable Russia is the best one to make for the pacifist viewpoint. If that's what this is.

fizzed

The argument is not that anyone is unstoppable. Rather, it's that we seem to have forgotten MAD. Russia and the US are the world's only nations capable of destroying the planet in s few hours, We used to know the dangers and the necessary protocals, things we must have forgot to teach our current generation in gradeschool history.

Even in conventional wars the US hasn't won anything since WW2, but we leave unimaginable misery in our wake and excell at creating enemies with our continuous wars. Can anyone give a rational explanation to US foreign policy since 1995?

brucewhain

Are they talking about William Randolph Hearst? Hearst was a pacifist, certainly vis-a-vis Roosevelt's military assistance to Russia starting back in the 30's, and all the subversive influence behind him - and Churchill.

The point is our State Department - anyone with half a brain - knew from the beginning what Russia's reaction would be if we installed this new (sleazebag) government in Ukraine. It's our inheritance from England's Lower Danube Policy, and it's stupid, criminal, suicidal for both the named combatants.

Any action to bring about the Ukraine "regime change" of 2014, as with practically all our regime-change-actions over the long haul, including that dispatching Hitler, have been criminally motivated.

bandeapart

@brucewhain I think they're referring to Hearst's role in whipping up war fever prior to the Spanish-American War.

Jane Cullen

US forces are now operating in Ukraine, not that the MSM cares. The troops real function is to act as a tripwire for war.

Led by blind Neocons, we are that aggressive, that stupid, that suicidal.

http://www.stripes.com/news/us-paratroops-convoy-to-western-ukraine-for-training-mission-1.339858

jab670

@Jane Cullen

They are about 800 miles from the eastern front. American troops in Ukraine is a small step of provocation, but you're carelessly misrepresenting the truth.

Jane Cullen

@jab670

So Russian paratroops, in an unstable, civil-warring Mexico, would be "a small step of provocation", eh?

Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

jab670

@Jane Cullen @jab670

Did I say nothing to worry about? Again, you distort the truth. If we are looking to equate things, then the truthful claim is that the are Russian paratroopers on the border of Guatemala, across the entire country from our southern border, who are training Mexicans.

It's a concern, but I would not be so careless to imply they are near the battlefields, nor would I (unlike you) deny that there are covert American soldiers fighting in Mexico to destabilize, let's say Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.

Jack Hughes

The problem with US foreign relations -- especially with countries perceived as "adversaries" such as Russia and Iran -- is that we neglect to consider their point-of-view.

Worse, we neglect to consider that they might even have a point-of-view that differs from our own.

This is usually the result of the idiotic concept of "American exceptionalism" that presupposes that we are always good and that therefore our opponents are, by definition, bad -- instead of simply pursuing what they perceive as rational self-interest.

This is a childish worldview that guarantees conflict.

How would we react if the Russians were establishing military ties with Canada and Mexico? Would we react differently than the Iranians if other countries demanded that we eliminate our nuclear industries or be subject to trade embargoes or military action?
Jane Cullen 2 days ago

@spriddler

US and NATO military forces do not belong on Russia's borders, any more than Russian forces belongs on ours.

Neocon apologists want the US sphere of influence to span the globe, while Russia's sphere has been shrunk to nothing. That's not paranoia, that's recent history.

Jane Cullen

@spriddler

The alleged "wants" of a subset of Ukranians do not come close to justifying the risk of global thermonuclear war.

But get back to the root of the problem - the US sponsored coup of Feb, 2014, and ongoing US support of Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Because, you cannot explain those things away on the basis of nebulous Ukrainian "wants".

What explains those things is the Neocons' PNAC agenda (look it up). Jane Cullen

@markwriter

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/23/neocons-and-the-ukraine-coup/

markwriter

@Jane Cullen @markwriter Aha. This is all based on that secretly taped and released (by Russia) conversation between US diplomats. The conversation was about trying to prevent a hero boxer with no expertise from becoming a senior political leader of the uprising, amidst a general tone of trying to catch up to events on the ground, including the UN wanting to step in to mediate as well.

The US certainly was in favor of what was happening, we can agree upon that. But the uprising and eventual coup was organic and a direct result of the government's violent action and killing of its own citizens.

To call it US (or UN, for that matter) 'sponsored' is inaccurate and is a deliberate word chosen on purpose to evoke comparisons to other US blunders and the 'neo-cons running amok' narrative, some of which you might be surprised to learn I would agree with.

I would close with this: although I completely disagree with the "sponsored" designation, bringing up that taped call is relevant for this discussion, kudos.


ComradeRoger

@Jane Cullen @spriddler Jane, you lose all credibility when you blather on about a 'coup' inKiev while totally ignoring the actual coups that happened in Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk and Slavyansk at the hands of Russian forces.


You are just a typical Kremlin propagandist, perhaps even one of the paid ones judging from your posts.

Jane Cullen

@ComradeRoger

Ah hah. I'm a Kremlin propagandist.

In decades past, the likes of you called antiwar activists pinkos, Reds, commies. A decade ago, anyone opposing the Neocons was called a Saddam apologist.

I wear your absurd personal attack as a badge of honor.

Jane Cullen

@macnic1

A random Rocky & His Friends ep has more intelligence and insight than Obama's State Dept plus both houses of Congress.

Lora

@ComradeRoger How many coups one country can have? Lol.

Jane Cullen

@spriddler

No, the issue is whether we risk GTW in fealty to the PNAC agenda.

Pacific Blue

@spriddler @Jane Cullen Well the problem is the Ukrainians want different things. Isn't that what the conflict is all about. First they had an election and then they had a coup. Then they had an election in which the opposition opted out.

Some Ukrainians want to break away from Ukraine. Besides, you're underestimating the amount of manipulation occurring on both sides of the conflict.

We have outside forces on both sides meddling in the Ukraine but I'll tell you this. Russia has much more at stake than we do.

jab670

@Pacific Blue @spriddler @Jane Cullen

I need to celebrate your knowledge! You're the first person who understands this break in Ukraine (something Smith and Cohen forget, since neither are Ukrainian scholars).

However, I will argue they do not want to separate Ukraine, even though the west has historical ties to Poland and Austria-Hungary, and the east and south has ties to Russia (and Turkey).

90% of Ukrainians, including those in the east, want to stay Ukrainians. If they wanted to be Russians, they could have easily immigrated there long ago (as the second-largest nationality in Russia is Ukrainian).

In many ways, it's like the old North and South or liberal and conservative views of America. They have their own views of what America is and the will of its people. Perhaps it would have been beneficial to allow the ideological break in America to occur. Similar to the old American North, Russia is far more willing to see the country split than we are.

It's a difficult question where both sides have some merit. But Russia has shown with its breakaway regions in Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and now Crimea, they do not take care of them. Maybe it's a complete disregard, maybe its corruption in the government, and maybe it's a poor economy that cannot afford to finance the size of its territory. A problem America has with its own infrastructure across the country.

Lora

@spriddler @Jane Cullen Wait a second are we living in the same World? How did you deduced from a small radical Maidan protest helped by US what all Ukranians want? Ukrainians have expressed their will through elections, no not the traveling circus that put Poroshenko in charge the real elections before. Amazing isn't it that a bunch of American ignoramuses proclaim they know what Ukrainians want. (shakes it's head)

Share Jane Cullen

@ComradeRoger

The Neocon aggression in Ukraine is absolutely unprecedented, and Norway is in no way equivalent to Ukraine, sitting as it is next to the heart of Russia, and containing Russia's main port to the Atlantic.

But I'm sure that you'll be proud of your lobbying for war, those few minutes between the WEA alert on your cell phone, and the end of all you know.

markwriter

As best as I can tell, Cohen's arguments are:

Russia has collapsed twice and almost 3 times in the last 100 years, and is ungovernable except by ruthless central control since any other governing system leads to an immediate threat of the internal disintegration of the country.

Therefore, the US should have realized it was forbidden from engaging with countries that have suffered due to Russia and are terrified by it, because of Russia's secret feelings that it's falling apart.

Furthermore, intervening in the Balkans against genocide was a terrible mistake because Serbians share the same church or something with Russia, and it threatened Russia.

And, according to Cohen, Ukraine was the final straw in this disastrous US policy of trying to pay attention in Europe. The Maidan protests against overwhelming corruption should be completely discredited because it responded in kind when some protesters were killed, and... fascism.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine is being fought by hero hairdressers and taxi drivers. The efforts by the Ukrainian government to respond are war crimes.

Merkel, the German leader, is responsible for Greece, and therefore is another misguided leader who dangerously threatens Russia by refusing to push her "Kiev agrees to Minsk II" button that's on her desk. The fact that the agreement has a "II" in its title because the first one a few months ago was untenable within the first day is immaterial.

Russia is always allowed to disappoint, because Russia. Smart scholars like myself, Stephen Cohen, know this is so, and know how to move on. By the way, I have no idea about Putin except that he's somehow holding his country together, one day at a time, just doing what he has to do.

Man, that Putin, he's so unknowable and loving to his friends. My god, compare him to Obama who doesn't even know how to circumvent term limit protections! I think he's one of the best, and all my future imaginary historian friends agree with me. You'll see when you can listen to them too.


Stuart Forrest

The core problem with this interview, and the many articles making similar points, is that they start from an assumption that the perspectives and feelings of Russians matter more than those of the people living in the nations that used to be in the Warsaw Pact but now are in NATO or would like to be in NATO.

The people of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, etc. have resisted Russian influence for centuries. For most of that time, they have ruled themselves and associated with western Europe or, in the case of Poland, tried to do so. These ties run deep; for example, their dominant churches have been Roman Catholic; not Eastern Orthodox.

The same is true for the western half of Ukraine. It is culturally part of western Europe and has been for a very long time.

Given centuries of conflict with Russia and their natural affinity with the nations of NATO, it is not wrong for western European people to want to belong to NATO. Nor was it wrong for NATO to expand to include these nations after the end of the Warsaw Pact.

Russia's hurt feelings here, for the most part, are grounded in the loss of its expanded sphere of influence after WWII. There are two ways of viewing this: maybe Russia fears another invasion from the West; or perhaps Russia is upset that it's former client states prefer to associate with their historical allies and patrons. If it is the former, then the USA and NATO need to do more to make it clear that they will not attack Russia. If it is the latter, however, then it is right for the West to disregard Russia's hurt feelings.

Although there may be a good deal of truth in what Stephen Cohen and Patrick L Smith write regarding the treatment of Russia by the West, and by the USA in particular, their argument largely fails because it does not explain why Russia legitimately fears an invasion from the West. If, indeed, Russia does have such a fear instead of just bemoaning the loss of influence it never legitimately had.

jab670

@Stuart Forrest

A voice of moderate reason! Rather than viewing this as either/or, I'd assume that all the claims about Russia and United States are correct. Russia does feel a loss of influence, Russia does fear a military threat, and Russia does dislike Ukraine's interest in affiliating with the West. United States does want to expand influence, United States does want to remove corruption from Ukraine, and United States does want a strategic location against both Russia and the Middle East. There's also probably a corporate element too, where corporations want to open markets in Ukraine and find the corruption too infringing on this ability to expand, so they lobby western governments to intervene.

There's also something revealing about Putin's past claim that "Ukraine is not a real country." It's borders and its peoples have been re-drawn and forced to migrate dramatically over the last 100 years. So, it's easy to see how Russia feels claim over Ukraine, especially when one is raised under the Soviet Union as a brotherhood. But, the fact is that Ukraine is now a country in its own right.

To me, Russia and United States' biggest failings over Ukraine was not foreseeing (or for political reasons, willing choose) potential conflict. Ukraine should have immediately, after banishing Yanukovych, moved to model itself after Canada (who balances French and English backgrounds) and militarily & diplomatically commit to neutrality like Switzerland.

author0072002

I am the person with Russian background , who came to the uSA for good in spring of 1990. I am american citizen, I have no Russian citizenship, as, when I immigrated it was required to denounce Soviet citizenship. I am intelligent (two Ph.Ds.) and I am unbiased. So, the truth and, the very obvious one, is that Clinton's policies and what happened further, brought to the world the much heavier than before shape of cold war between two most powerful nuclear country of the world.

I like Putin, like his understanding of his duties, his role in world's history, and his code of behavior. More important that the overwhelming majority of Russians like him also, as all polls show. I can write a lot of how idiotically I have been treated here, in the USA. But i've been here for 25 years, the treatment has been fully idiotic and very damageable for those, who were treating me this way, and I do not have here enough space to describe even a little bit of this despicable stupidity.

What I want, nevertheless, to emphasize, is that I completely can't understand how democrats could, currently even think, not even advertise, that Mrs. Clinton, one of main architect of Clinton's time international policies, if not the leading person of them, should become their nominee for 2016 presidential run. This person is heavily responsible for the obvious return and the heavy escalation of the cold war, not mentioning her numerous internal achievements. How is it possible AT ALL to present her as the future nominee, ah?

nyabingi

@author0072002 My sentiments exactly. There are American officials and other well-connected people who are obsessed with making Russia another client state in much the same way the Baltic states are now: An outlet for American goods and a source of cheap labor, lax environmental laws and other sorts of exploitation, and outposts for the expansion of American military power (via NATO).

Putin has always acted to American provocations in a calm, measured manner and I think it drives the American powers-that-be insane. Hillary Clinton was a very hawkish secretary of state and all indications are that she will act similarly if we are unfortunate enough to see her elected president.

Jane Cullen


@nyabingi

The Megathatcher has compared Putin to Hitler, and to Saddam. The woman is a dangerous fool.
She will push, hard, for war with Russia, if the world hasn't already burned by the time she's elected.

jab670

@Jane Cullen @nyabingi

Finally something we agree on.

Aranfell

@Jane Cullen @nyabingi Now, who was it who said "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"? Who STILL wants to bomb Iran? Who opposes diplomatic solutions. Republicans. It's really crazed to think voting for a Republican President is the path to peace with ANYONE.

jab670

@Aranfell @Jane Cullen @nyabingi

Neither mainstream party has offered an acceptable candidate. Maybe I could conceivably take some of the tolerable positions from each of the candidates and create a Frankenstein Republocrat to vote for, but our choices in 2016 make me want to write in Nader.

Aranfell

@author0072002 I'm sorry to hear that you've been treated badly in the USA. Even someone who likes the way Putin governs shouldn't be treated badly. But my question for YOU is: why would you vote for someone whose response to other countries not doing what they want is to bomb or invade them?

Those are your ONLY choices on the Republican side. Don't confuse their admiration for "tough guys" like Putin as any sort of support for Russia. And if you are still being treated badly, why would you vote for a party that brags about being hostile to immigrants?

RaisingMac

@Aranfell @author0072002 Where in his post did he endorse any Republicans? He didn't even mention them.

Aranfell

@RaisingMac @Aranfell @author0072002 He can't believe the Democrats would nominate Hilary Clinton. But so far as I can tell, EVERY Republican who might be nominated is much more of a war-monger than Hilary, even assuming that his claims about her are correct. That's my point. Does he really think that US policy toward Russia would have been or will be friendlier with a Republican as President? If so, I'd sure be interested in his reasoning.

RaisingMac

@author0072002 I am sorry to hear about how you have been treated in the US. You've probably been here long enough by now to realize that Democrats and Republicans really aren't all that different on foreign policy (among other things). The main differences have to do with culture-war.

Your old USSR was a one-party state; our USSA is a one-and-half-party state. Sad, but that's how it is.

susan sunflower

Would that more people felt this way: "" People are diverse. I don't judge them harshly for their beliefs.""

The elephant in the living room seems to be that we are hell-bent for regime change -- via the usual method that fails time and time again -- economic sanctions, destroying the economy in the belief that "the people" will force him out.

Didn't work in Iraq, didn't work with Iran, probably won't work in Russian if only because the BRICS will not let it succeed. No one knows who's next. The poorly-thought-through demonization of Putin is reminiscent of our character assassinations of Assad, Hussain, Karzai, Maliki, Kim Jong II, etc. - all "bad men" who we discovered were not actually easy to replace. Too many fingers in too many pies.

Kyeshinka

The Times has never gotten it right about Russia. Not once. I can still hear Thomas Friedman telling us that Yeltsin giving trillions in state assets the oligarchs is good for capitalism. Those old Stalin ladies on the street selling packs of Prima cigarettes for a ruble apiece to pay skyrocketing electric bills should just deal with it. They would never, ever vote for someone who promised to put a stop to the whole thing and take on the West.

Philadelphia Steve

I do not doubt the lies from Kiev. But using War Criminal Henry Kissinger as a source is about as reliable as using Bill Kristol.

susan sunflower

@Philadelphia Steve I think the original quote -- which I cannot find -- was that the problem was that Obama has a "stance" wrt Russia and Putin, but lacked a policy ... which at the time seemed a very good way to describe various gesture-like reactions by Obama to Putin and escalating sanctions on Putin's "inner circle"... very whack-a-mole ...

Possibly because Obama was cowardly avoiding having a stated policy (see other F.P. situations) or because (my personal guess) serious lack of consensus among his various advisors and advising agencies (see also Syria). It has seemed as if Nuland has prevailed simply by ad hoc actions taken (See Cohen on the Obama/Putin deal struck on the eve of the ouster). Both Susan Rice and Samantha Power are at the top of the best reasons not consider voting for Clinton ... and their silence (and apparent recent low profile generally) on the Ukranian humanitarian crisis (and god knows the Syrian/Iraqi humanitarian crisis.... etc.) is stunning as Cohen brought up. Obama also apparently has a stance on R2P, but not a policy that might force his hand or limit his "flexibility" -- end whack-a-mole -- for something with a goal or end-point, y'know coherent or decisive.

(see Seumas Milne's recent report on our remote control continuing wars).

nyabingi

@PGrajnert He quoted Kissinger in one instance, and you're assuming he's basing his "analysis of history" on that? Quoting someone isn't the same as saying you agree with that person or their actions 100%. Calm down man.

Adams

@jab670 @Jane Cullen @battleaxe "Russia is likely encouraging a destabilized/breakaway territory..." Yes, as the US of A encouraged the destabilization and overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine, no?

"Russian military are operating in eastern Ukraine." Yes, as the US of A is operating overtly and covertly in Ukraine, no?

ComradeRoger

@Adams The US military is there at the invitation of the Ukrainian government.

That would hardly be covert, now would it?

jab670

@Adams @jab670 @Jane Cullen @battleaxe

Why is it with you folks who have to always make it a "Yes, but you..." argument.

The United States doesn't benefit from destabilization as Russia does. The reason? We don't share a border with Ukraine. We actually need the opposite, which has benefited from the destabilization Russia and separatists have caused in the east.

Look at political, historical, religious, linguistic, etc. maps of Ukraine and you'll see that with Donetsk and Lugansk's regions' voices being diminished due to violence, and now the exclusion of Crimea, the Ukrainian government is actually more stabile and more pro-western aligned.

Of course, there are many fractured between pro-western and pro-Ukrainian nationalist factions, but the notion America would want destabilization is no represented by the facts. It IS troubling though. It is America post-Civil War where the South's electoral power was greatly diminished. It is undemocratic. It's a "chicken or the egg" situation until violence stops, which can only happen with granting the east more autonomy, but the Ukrainian government cannot do that at gun point.

Jane Cullen

@Adams

I'm not laughing, I'm mocking.

Sadly, the reference will be lost on most of the authoritarians who applaud the latest, suicidal Cold War with Russia, because a Democratic State Dept is leading the charge.

Nicholai

As a Russian, I should say that Mr. Cohen's understanding of "cause - effect" dependency, in application to present U.S.-RF tensions, is clear and logical.

Mr.Cohen tries to stay focused on the main confrontation line. Obviously, there are dozens and dozens of issues directly or indirectly related.

Like "what is the present U.S. representative system and why is it called "democracy?"

In my view, we have a conflict between the U.S. plutocracy and the Russian national state.

However. Expanding the discussion to the level of institutions would be too much for this format. So Mr. Cohen is trying to avoid such issues.

The same way the author doesn't mention the world outside Russia and U.S + 32 U.S.-aligned national states.

I liked this aspect - staying focused.

And I will be waiting for Part Two.

I am truly intrigued how Mr. Cohen is going to assess president Putin.

Brian Burman

In the past three days, three opposition figures have been murdered in Kiev, two journalists and one ex-MP. Comparing the total lack of media coverage of these (and a whole wave of "suicides" of opposition figures in the past months) to the front page headline coverage of the Nemtsov murder in Moscow shows the complete double standard of the Western media. The NY Times isn't writing that even if he didn't give the orders, Poreshenko is personally responsible for creating an "atmosphere" in which journalists can be gunned down in the streets. It's much easier to ignore it, because it doesn't fit the media narrative of a democratic, Western-striving Ukraine. It's like only Russia is allowed to be bad in that part of the world. And as Cohen says, that's OUR problem, because the corrupt, oligarch-run Kiev regime is propped up with US tax dollars and EU money in the name of democracy. Meanwhile, Ukraine's parliament passed a law proclaiming the Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators in WWII (who murdered hundreds of thousands of people) to be "freedom-fighters", as Kiev (and the US) continues arming neo-Nazi battalions and sending them to kill Ukrainians. By turning a blind eye, the West is helping foster and nurture, as well as funding these fascist tendencies in Europe, all in the name of Western values. If that's what they lead to, those Western values aren't worth much.

PGrajnert

@C_COOK @Frank Knarf You are correct that our US-led system suck. But that does not take away the fact that living under Muscovite rule sucks more. It'd be great for the EU to get our sh-t together and create an alternative... But until that's the case, we have to chose sides. And Patrick and Stephen, cowards who have never lived under the Muscovite boot, are simpleton scumbags for thinking that people should be forced to.

Jane Cullen


@PGrajnert

So those few speaking up against more Neocon war are cowards, and simpleton scumbags.Sounds exactly like the filthy slurs used against those few who stood up to Neocon war against Iraq.

The immorality of the Neocon warpigs who brought death and dismemberment to Iraq is the same now as then, as is the immorality of their chickenhawk enablers.

jab670

@Aranfell @Proteusar

There's a tremendous abuse of the facts by all media on Ukraine, including Russian, Ukrainian and American media. Cohen offers a good perspective, but it's only a Russian perspective. But the media is failing us because they keep turning to Russian scholars. Would Russia report on the United States by talking to a Mexican scholar? It can tell part of the story, but you never hear Smith or Cohen mention the historic divide in Ukraine between East and West.

usxpat

Puleeeze. Enough of the Bull$hit already.

I know I am probably a conspiracy theorist, but here goes.

When one looks at the American empire one must think of it in terms of economics, like the British empire before it. This empire isn't run primarily for military purposes, or for other purposes, but to make money. It is run as a huge project to export money from places with less power to the US. At the end of the cold war the former Soviet Union found itself in the position of having natural resources and being in a subservient position.

Remember Marc Rich http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Rich ? I remember he had many dealing with the Russians. This allowed the US to diminish its dependence on South Africa resources and probably contributed to South Africa's collapse. I suspect that this could happen because Russian governmental leadership supported the Russian oligarchy and gave western businessmen a small cadre of Russian businessmen to negotiate with. I suspect Yeltsen supplied these relatively easy connections and they had the same deal with Putin. And now those Western businessmen would like access to Russian oil. Especially now that the Middle East is going pear shaped thanks to Bush the Junior.

The American reaction to that time period is best summed up by Jeffery Sachs book which has a chapter on the American intervention in the Russian economy after his success in the Polish economy. That chapter is unsatisfyingly short and goes something like, the Russian economy was way too complex and I failed because it is impossible to understand.

I think he ran into American/Russian forces that were way more powerful than he, and that they were rushing to the money and ran he and his team over.

I would be very interested in someone writing more about this time period in Salon. I suspect that these writings would help people understand many of today's attitudes driving politics in the the region, and specifically attitudes driving Putin.

I also remember vaguely a story about a Russian female banker working for one of the major US banks who was in effect laundering money and how she was caught. I bet she was getting money out for the oligarchs. Her story would also be interesting.

susan sunflower

""The history of how this came about [begins] when Putin came to power, promoted by Yeltsin and the people around Yeltsin, who were all connected in Washington. These people in Moscow included Anatoly Chubais, who had overseen the privatizations, had relations with the IMF and had fostered a lot of the corruption. He came to United States to assure us that Putin was a democrat, even though he had been at the KGB.""

I was utterly shocked by the PBS/Frontline report stating baldly that "the Kremlin" -- the FSB from Wiki:

"" The blasts hit Buynaksk on 4 September, Moscow on 9 September and 13 September and Volgodonsk on 16 September. A similar explosive device was found and defused in an apartment block in the Russian city of Ryazan on September 22.[1] The next day then-Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin praised the vigilance of the inhabitants of Ryazan and ordered the air bombing of Grozny, which marked the beginning of the Second Chechen War.[2] A few hours later, three FSB agents who had planted this device were arrested by the local police. The incident was declared to be a training exercise. These events led to allegations that the bombings were a "false flag" attack perpetrated by the FSB in order to legitimize the resumption of military activities in Chechnya and bring Vladimir Putin to power.[4]

The Russian investigation concluded on the other hand:

"" The official Russian investigation of the bombings was completed in 2002 and concluded that all the bombings were organized and led by Achemez Gochiyaev, who remains at large, and ordered by Islamist warlords Ibn Al-Khattab and Abu Omar al-Saif, who have been killed. Five other suspects have been killed and six have been convicted by Russian courts on terrorism-related charges.

Yury Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, and the secessionist Chechen authorities claimed that the 1999 bombings were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya, which boosted Prime Minister and former FSB Director Vladimir Putin's popularity, and brought the pro-war Unity Party to the State Duma and Putin to the presidency within a few months. This theory has been criticized byRobert Bruce Ware, Henry Plater-Zyberk, and Simon Saradzhyan.""

It's pretty shocking to me -- myself having mixed feelings about Chechnya until Beslan (2004) and as I recall at that time there was no suggestion that the apartment bombing and Chechen suppression had been a "false flag" to put Putin into power -- rather that he had shown impressive leadership. ... Wikipedia has even more conspiracies within conspiracies that make 09/11 Truther Movement's main tenets appear boy-scout simple

Am I remembering wrong? As far as I can tell, there was a drastic sea change -- likely spurred by the death/assassination of

Alexander Litvinenko, but involving allegations from that camp apparently dating back to 1998.

{wiki Litinenko: "In 2007, Sergey Dorenko provided The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal with a complete copy of an interview he conducted in April 1998 for ORT, a television station, with Litvinenko and his fellow employees."" }

I am at a loss to understand that "honeymoon" period Cohen speaks of in light of what I what I would guess was freely shared intelliegence by Putin's rivals (including the late Mr. Nemtsov --- widely interview in the Frontline prior to his death -- who as I recall lost-out-to Putin -- also back in 1998). It feels like the Russian people don't buy into this false flag conspiracy somehow only gained currency 5-6 years after the event, despite claimed "evidence" almost immediately.

Putin is getting the Saddam Hussain treatment in which the past cooperation and applause is erased in favor of a damning portrait of a ruthless murderer to rival the Borgias, etc. -- or as Cohen references Ivan the Terrible. As I felt wrt to the Truther movement, It's really "something" to accuse a sitting administration of the deliberate murder of hundreds or thousands of citizens for political gain ... I'm fascinated by the repetition of "Putin's alleged crimes" -- seems so reckless.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_apartment_bombings

susan sunflower

Oh, and the martyred Litvinenko also claimed Beslan was another false flag ... making him sound like Thierry Meyssan or something ... Unified theory of everything

wiki Beslan

"Several hostage-takers, including one of the leaders, Vladimir Khodov had been previously involved in terrorist activities, but released from government custody prior to the attack despite their high profiles. According to a publication in Novaya Gazeta, "the so-called Beslan terrorists were agents of our own special forces – UBOP [Center for Countering Extremism] and FSB."[236] According to FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian secret services must have been aware of the plot beforehand, and therefore they themselves must have organised the attack as a false flag operation. He said that the previously arrested terrorists only would have been freed if they were of use to the FSB, and that even in the case that they were freed without being turned into FSB assets, they would be under a strict surveillance regime that would not have allowed them to carry out the Beslan attack unnoticed"

In for a penny, in for a pound. Looking forward to next week -- Thank you Patrick ...

The BBC has been ramping up the alarm for the last few days wrt to the imminent entire breakdown of that oh-so-imperfect cease fire which has already exceeded everyone's dire predictions at its inception.

Hifisnock

If you've read Cohen before, there won't be any surprises here. He obviously has a valid point in reference to the US overplaying it's hand in the Ukraine and generally with the expansion of NATO. It was clumsy and shortsighted thinking to believe a former (now-semi) superpower wouldn't respond to our attempt at militarizing its borders.

On the flip side, the author complains about Cohen being branded 'Putin's apologist', but Cohen rarely delves into Putin's failures as a leader. And Cohen's bugle call that were on the edge of a 'more dangerous Cold War' is pure talking-head hyperbole. The world has changed a bit since the last Cold War and most of that change has diminished Russia's ability to project power. Unfortunately, with Putin in charge for the foreseeable future, we are left with tried and true 'containment' as our best policy going forward. Pushing beyond containment just plays into Putin's hands and makes him appear a 'strong' leader at home (and to Fox News).

susan sunflower

@Hifisnock Have you factored TPP in your calculations? Between TPP and TIPP, we're doing our damnedest to lock Russia in and out ... and we're actively courting China and India -- Pretty chilly

wp: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/06/trade-partnerships-are-an-opportunity-not-to-be-missed/

obviously this article thinks both are Tony Tiger grrrreaaaat ... but there's no subtlety

""First, Russian aggression is an unpleasant balance of power problem that is unlikely to go away any time soon. TTIP isn't a panacea, but it would strengthen the West's balance of power position. It would help European economies grow, provide more opportunities for European companies to turn from Russia to the United States and enhance the prospects for further trans-Atlantic economic policy coordination. The United States and its European allies need to prepare for more rounds of economic sanctions against Russia in the near term, and they have to build a stronger, more united economic front for the long haul.

Second, turning to the Pacific, the rise of China is the great balance of power challenge of our time. The TPP isn't a Pacific panacea, but it is an important part of the equation. It would reinforce the United States' position in the region and provide strategic reassurance to the many Asia-Pacific countries that worry about China's rise – that is, everyone except North Korea. It would be a new, strong multilateral accord in a region that very much needs more multilateral frameworks. These would be stability-enhancing developments.""

RaisingMac

@susan sunflower @Hifisnock Yes, TPP and TTIP are more or less transparent schemes to lock down Europe and East Asia before they drift into the Russo-Chinese orbit. That's why they both exclude Russia and China.

[Apr 18, 2015] Vladimir Putin's phone-in with Russia – as it happened

Difficult time for Hillary bots. Botswana61 even complained: "How come that posters who clearly hate The Guardian and its editorial policy keep coming back to its portal day after day".
Apr 18, 2015 | The Guardian

Colin Robinson -> tigi , 18 Apr 2015 17:13

"He is an evil monster" Calling any human being a "monster" is demonisation.

popsiq , 18 Apr 2015 17:12

EUkrainians need to spend less time making fun and more time trying not to destroy their country.

F*cking yourself is neither productive or fun. If you can get it on video it will sell on the US market.

John Smith -> Mike_UK , 18 Apr 2015 16:38

You can continue with you crap but no one with a brain and a little effort to inform himself/herself wouldn't buy it.

fairandreasonabletoo -> MoonbaseAlpha, 18 Apr 2015 16:23

What will be funny is when your "military advisers" start coming home in pieces because the Kiev hill billies they are training can't cut it in the field….

fairandreasonabletoo , 18 Apr 2015 16:18

Just for some balance you understand…….theres waaaay too much pro (and distorted ) nonsense coming from pro Kiev elements within the Guardian.

http://slavyangrad.org

fairandreasonabletoo -> AlfredHerring , 18 Apr 2015 16:14

These kind of owls perhaps?

http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/f032_Owl.htm

Keep smoking the bowl/pipe guy…..my money is on the Kremlin for this gig….

Enjoy your moon howling……..

AmounRah -> tigi , 18 Apr 2015 16:02

Accorddiinnggg tooooooo....??? Oh, that's right. The headlines.

I love how Putin morphed within the past 2 years.

I mean there he was...no one knew about him....he didn't bother anyone, he was never a terrorist and there was never Russian aggression....

Now, all of a sudden, when he is talking about dropping US$ and pushing BRICS, he is a terrorizing nazi Kremlin KGB monster.

Give me a break.

Rainmaker21 -> MoonbaseAlpha , 18 Apr 2015 15:49

Katrina Vanden Heuvel: It's far simplier to demonise Putin than to come up with informed analysis

Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=44f_1428812523#ftIF0ftW4Wf8bR1w.99

Rainmaker21 , 18 Apr 2015 15:48

This video should tell you all you need to know about the lies of the Kiev regime- Video Shows the Beautiful Terrorists the US Financed the Ukrainian Nazi National Guard Battalions To Kill. When you see them you will realize that you have been lied to all along.

Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c64_1427739018#CbBUfqSPfkXjaibZ.99

retsdon -> MaoChengJi , 18 Apr 2015 15:22

...incidentally, is it normal for the guardian now to cooperate openly with RFE/RL, cold-war propaganda tool of the US government? ..... How long has this been going on?

Good question. The really big change occurred after MI5 smashed the Guardian's computer hard drives with sledge hammers.

Nobody from the Guardian was ever charged under Official Secrets legislation, and the Guardian never sought any redress or compensation for the damage.

It's not rocket science.

Sarah7 -> MentalToo , 18 Apr 2015 14:56

Kremlin Troll Army Myth Deconstructed
http://russia-insider.com/en/whos-trip-trapping-my-bridge-fable-putins-troll-army/5565

Anyone arguing against stereotyping of Russia, its leader and its policies, who substantiates his or her argument with solid reasoning and historical or contemporary fact, must be paid by the Russian government:

A few days ago, I was thinking that I might do a post on the bellyaching and caterwauling from the Russophobes about Moscow's supposed army of "paid trolls," who are reimbursed by the Russian government for clogging western comment threads with fallacious arguments and childish insults which detract from – or derail entirely – thoughtful and informative commentary, often ridiculing the post itself in the bargain.

Read on and follow the links to the related pieces quoted therein for a fuller discussion.

Kremlin trolls? Actually, there is much less there than meets the eye -- that is, for those still capable of seeing with some degree of clarity.

nnedjo -> Botswana61 , 18 Apr 2015 14:32

How come that posters who cleary hate The Guardian and its editorial policy keep coming back to its portal day after day

Listen, Botswana, who authorized you to be attorney for The Guardian editorial policy. You have enough of your Swahili media in Botswana, so go there to play the role of an attorney.:-)

Mike_UK -> todaywefight , 18 Apr 2015 14:08

Odessa = Was that after Russian's invaded Crimea and Luhansk?
Was that more Russian's chancing their arm at starting civil war in Odessa?
Who left theie Molotov cocktails on the stairwells of the buiding they were in?

HollyOldDog -> MichaelMorin , 18 Apr 2015 13:03

While trying to peer into the mists on misinformation from Kiev, I use this test to verify the truth.

If it looks like a Duck,swims like a duck and Quacks like a duck then in all probability its a duck

Or you might prefer the Elephant test but this reserved for legal cases.

MaoChengJi -> Botswana61, 18 Apr 2015 12:47

Botswana, dear, you sound agitated and disoriented. Relax, take it easy. There's nothing more important than your health, believe me.

HollyOldDog -> Botswana61, 18 Apr 2015 12:41

German and Poland brown coal open cast sites. The Brussels is going to take them to the cleaners over the huge pollution this will cause. Polish farmers are already Upset as the will lose 1000 hectares of their farm land - this is probably why they are going to Brussels to protest. EU countries are no longer free to make their own decisions that have the potential to harm the environment and increase the threat of Global Warming - on this point ' are we not all in it together'.

nykstys -> uracan , 18 Apr 2015 12:40

It's not going to happen- Lithuania has no money for that, just about have enough wherewithal to ran charitable APC from 60 and 70.... but from what I hear munitions production ramped up to resupply koshermafia entrenched in Ukraine. Bizarre as French keep saying.:)

HollyOldDog -> Botswana61, 18 Apr 2015 12:27

I noticed that 2 bits of your info was incorrect Cuba has been released from the debt it owes to Russia and that Russia is welcome to invest in Cyprus (South), Cyprus (North ) is awaiting confirmation from Turkey.

[Apr 10, 2015] The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Silences Valentina Lisitsa's Music by Olga Luzanova

Apr 06, 2015 | SLAVYANGRAD.org
Filed Under Canada, Censorship, Freedom of Speech, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, TSO, Ukrainian Conflict, Velentina Lisitsa

It is no secret that nowadays many alternative media activists face appalling state-sponsored censorship in many nominally free and democratic Western countries. Now it seems that such censorship has penetrated much deeper than we have come to expect. Art itself, the truest form of free expression, is being silenced.

Screenshot 2015-04-06 18.30.47


Valentina Lisitsa is a brilliant musician, a famous virtuoso pianist, also known for publicly expressing her opinion on the Ukrainian conflict through her Twitter account. She is a good friend of the Slavyangrad Team and has kindly translated a number of articles for our publication. Her views are always insightful and she has never made them a secret. We are lucky to have Valentina's first-hand account about dealings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra ("TSO"), which has decided to cancel her concert because of her political opinions. The TSO's decision to silence Valentina's music because she has exercised her inviolable right to express her beliefs is a message to all artists that the next time it could be them.

Valentina is Ukrainian. She was born on March 25, 1970, in Kiev. Her family comes from Odessa-her mother is a Russian citizen, and her father was Ukrainian. Valentina graduated from the Lysenko music school and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (the Kiev Conservatory). She married Alexey Kuznetsov from Taganrog. In 1991, they represented Ukraine in the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida, and won the first prize. In 1992 they moved to the USA to study and subsequently decided to remain there. In 2001 they became American citizens. Since last year, Valentina has been living in Paris.

Valentina is one of the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube, with over 177,000 subscribers, and she performs all over the world. Now Valentina's concert in Toronto, which was scheduled for April 8 and 9 at the Roy Thomson Hall, has been cancelled for an outrageous reason-her political views. In an email sent to Valentina's agent, the TSO stated: "the Toronto Symphony Orchestra received some messages from ticket buyers and others expressing concern over pianist Valentina Lisitsa's public political statements."

In its correspondence, the TSO also accused Valentina of nothing less than public incitement of hatred contrary to section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada and went as far as to insinuate that Valentina, a citizen of the United States, could be barred from entering Canada by the immigration authorities. The TSO attempted to base its charges on Lisitsa's public social media posts, attaching a copy of some of her tweets, along with a brief and exceedingly shallow legal opinion by the TSO's counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Despite being provided with a substantive legal response on the merits of these allegations, the TSO has since mustered neither a single sentence in support of its accusations, nor a single word of apology. It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO's counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid. To all appearances, the TSO seemed to believe that it could not only silence Valentina's music, but also renege on its contractual obligations and thus walk away from their commitments.

With the TSO finally making a decision to cancel Valentina's concert at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Valentina has appealed to her fans and friends on her public Facebook page, today, on April 6. With full support for Valentina's courage and strength, we have excerpted the full text of her appeal below. Valentina Lisitsa has never been one to hide her political views. It is time for the TSO to acknowledge that they can no longer hide their own biases and to stop kowtowing to ferociously reactionary political lobbies.

– by Olga Luzanova & Gleb Bazov

Val"Dear fans, DEAR FRIENDS!

I have a confession to make and a huge favor to ask all of you. I really REALLY need your help now.

But first, my confession.

Over the last year I have been leading a double life. There was me-a "celebrity" pianist hopping from concert to concert, all over the world; learning new pieces, meeting fans, recording, chirping about my happiness in upbeat interviews.

But there was another me: not a musician but a regular human being-a daughter, a mother, a wife. And this human being was watching helplessly how the country of my birth, of my childhood, of my first falling in love-this country was sliding ever faster into the abyss. Children die under bombs, old ladies die of starvation, people burned alive…

The worst thing that can happen to any country is fratricidal war, people seeing each other, their neighbours as enemies to be eliminated. This is what has befallen my beautiful Ukraine. My heart was bleeding. You all saw on TV screens all over the world a magnificent revolution, the people of Ukraine raising in fury against their corrupt rulers, for a better life. I was so proud of my people! But the ruling class doesn't let go easily. They managed to cunningly channel away the anger, to direct it to other, often imaginary, enemies-and worse, to turn people upon themselves. A year later, we have the same rich people remaining in power, misery and poverty everywhere, dozens of thousands killed, over a million of refugees.

So, I took to Twitter (how many of you know I have a Twitter account?) under a name "NedoUkraïnka"-a word roughly meaning "Sub-Ukrainian", a stab at Ukrainian Prime Minister who called Russian-speaking southern and eastern Ukrainians "SUBHUMANS"! Yes, I kid you not. In an official written document. I am a subhuman, my husband, my mum…. I mastered Ukrainian language perfectly, far better than a so-called "president" of Ukraine. But I don't speak it to my family, I didn't sing lullabies to my son in Ukrainian, when I sleep I never see the dreams in Ukrainian, when I will be dying my last words will NOT be in Ukrainian…

Sorry, I got carried away telling you those things… To get back to my story-I took to Twitter in order to get the other side of the story heard, the one you never see in the mainstream media-the plight of my people, the good and bad things that were happening in Ukraine. I translated news stories from Ukrainian language websites, I translated eyewitness accounts of atrocities…. I became really good in unmasking fakes published by Western media in order to make one side of the civil war look whiter and softer than the Easter bunny, and the other-like sub-humans, not worthy of mercy, the "collateral damage".

To give you just one example: one of my feats was to confront French fashion magazine "Elle" who published a glowing cover story about women in Ukrainian army. After the research I have shown to the magazine in my Twitter posts that the "cover girl" they have chosen to show was in fact a horrible person, open Neo-Nazi, racist, anti-Semite who boasted of murdering civilians for fun! The magazine issued a written public apology.

I was very proud! But with time my activities attracted a lot of vicious haters. I was a particularly important "target" because of being Ukrainian, thus-a traitor. I thought I knew hate-my playing on YouTube certainly "attracted" a fair share of hate mail. But I was mistaken. Death threats, wishes for my family to die, calling me "paid Kremlin wh*re"… the list goes on and on.

My haters didn't stop there. Trying, in their own words, to teach me a lesson, they have now attempted to silence me as a musician.
I am scheduled to play Rachmaninoff Concerto #2 with Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week. Back in December someone in the orchestra top management, likely after pressure from a small but aggressive lobby claiming to represent the Ukrainian community, has made a decision that I should not be allowed to play. I don't even know who my accusers are, I am kept in the dark about it. I was accused of "inciting hatred" on Twitter. As the "proof", ironically enough, they presented to the orchestra my tweets containing, of all things, Charlie Hebdo caricatures depicting lying media!!! We all know what those who can't tolerate free speech did to Charlie Hebdo journalists.

Now, the orchestra based in one of the freest democratic countries is bending over to the same kind of people, helping them to assassinate me-not as a living person yet , but as a MUSICIAN for sure.

Yes, Toronto Symphony is going TO PAY ME NOT TO PLAY because I exercised the right to free speech. Yes, they will pay my fee but they are going to announce that I will be unable to play and they already found a substitute. And they even threatened me against saying anything about the cause of the cancellation. Seriously. And I thought things like this only happen in Turkey to Fazil Say?

Now, the plea.

Before you decide to help me-If you wish, please take time and read my tweets. You might find some of them offensive-perhaps. Satire and hyperbole are the best literature tools to combat lies. Bear that in mind when reading.

Here is what I ask you to do for me and in defense of freedom, even if you disagree with me on politics.

I ask you to raise your voice and tell Toronto Symphony that music can't be silenced. Ask them to let me play. If you want to write something-great! Or just share a photo I made ( sorry, I made it on my phone, nothing fancy). Ask your friends to join in.

If they do it once, they will do it again and again, until the musicians, artists are intimidated into voluntary censorship. Our future will be bleak if we allow this to happen.

Please stand with me.

Here are the links :

https://www.facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra Twitter @TorontoSymphony"

© Valentina Lisitsa.

17 thoughts on "The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Silences Valentina Lisitsa's Music"

  1. Bhimself | April 7, 2015, 19:24

    What utter, bloody nonsense. I hope the citizens of Toronto will boycott the TSO in droves. The TSO is supposed to promote art, not politics. I am fully expecting the TSo to now schedule pianist Harper singing – Hey Jude. What crap!

  2. gardenplot | April 7, 2015, 00:37

    Greetings ~

    The decision by the management of the TSO to cancel Valentina Lisitsa's Rachmaninoff concert on political grounds is a ghastly blunder. Surely it will be reflected in declining ticket sales. Following that will come lay-offs and labour struggles.

    I for one will not cock an ear in the direction of this orchestra until the situation is rectified in the interests of fairness and justice.

  3. John Gilberts | April 7, 2015, 04:19

    Bravo Lisitsa! All of Canada's political parties actively support the US-installed regime in Kiev and the powerful ultranationalist lobby the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Like the pro-Israel lobby which also dominates our politicians in Ottawa, institutions like the TSO, which receive government and corporate funding, are wary of displeasing them.

    Thanks for standing up for truth and justice!

  4. OggJason | April 7, 2015, 06:05

    In German history we had something like "degenerated art" and "degenerated music" during 3rd Reich. Artists had been oppressed because the kind of music did not fit into the NAZI view of culture or they were simply of Jewish descent. Some were killed, others could emigrate. Looking at the names you find composers like Bela Bartok, Hans Eisler, Paul Hindemith, Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky and more who left Europe to survive.

    Nowadays it is not as easy anymore, oppression is more subtle. But having a kind of employment ban on artists because of their political opinion is the first step into that direction. What will be next? Having the wrong cultural bloodline?

    This cannot be stopped early enough!

[Feb 05, 2015] How Kremlin TV Covers America and Why It Matters by Lincoln Mitchell

Another signal from 2015 about forthcoming clump down on RT. RT is Russian propaganda site, but that does not exclude them providing high quality critical coverage of US and European events. In any case RT is preferable to BBC, although comparing two can get you at higher level of understanding, than watching just one
Notable quotes:
"... simply to portray an image of the US as a deeply flawed country with a corrupt and ineffective political system, ..."
"... at least as legitimate a representation of the realities of the U.S. and of American politics than, for example, Fox News, and generally offers considerably more depth than what is offered by how ABC, CBS or NBC present the news. ..."
"... Lincoln Mitchell is national political correspondent at the Observer. Follow him on Twitter ..."
Feb 03, 2015 | Observer

At first glance, Lee Camp, Thom Hartmann and Larry King don't seem to have a lot in common. Mr. Camp is a comedian who seeks to fuse progressive politics with humor. He is perhaps best known for his "Moment of Clarity" rants, where he colorfully, and occasionally profanely, analyzes an issue from the news. Mr. Hartmann is a progressive radio host, author and pundit who has written numerous books, articles and blogs. Larry King is legendary talk show host and erstwhile Little League coach. He has interviewed presidents, actors, musicians and even Oprah.

All three of these media personalities, however, share a link to RT (formerly Russia Today), the English-language arm of the Russian government's media operation. In less diplomatic terms, it is a Kremlin propaganda machine. RT's coverage of Russia, the conflict in Ukraine and other issues having direct bearing on Moscow's role in the world, include headlines that sound like they could have been written by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. Mother Russia is portrayed as a force for only good and peace in the world. It's anchors and "reporters" have enthusiasm for euphemisms such as "stabilizing force" ("invading army") and "humanitarian aid" ("military intervention"). RT's coverage of Russian politics is heavy-handed, unsubtle and, in the U.S., not particularly effective. Despite RT's best efforts to gin up sympathy for Russia in the current Ukraine conflict, most mainstream politicians and media outlets continue to compete with each other to see who can demonize Putin most.

RT's coverage of the U.S., however, is different. While it certainly has an political agenda, one that is not of the left or the right, but simply to portray an image of the US as a deeply flawed country with a corrupt and ineffective political system, RT covers news, and offers perspectives that are not often seen American broadcast television. RT touts itself as offering a "second opinion," through its American media campaign, described by Ronn Torossian recently here at the Observer. RT is certainly neither objective or balanced, but it is at least as legitimate a representation of the realities of the U.S. and of American politics than, for example, Fox News, and generally offers considerably more depth than what is offered by how ABC, CBS or NBC present the news.

Recent RT headlines such as "Police Brutality Activists Angry Obama Glossed Over Ferguson 'Events' in SOTU" and "Majority of America's Public School Children are Living in Poverty," span a reasonably broad ideological range, but seek to consistently to portray the U.S. in a negative light. These are also stories that much of the media overlooks. This approach, and similar language can also be found in RT America's busy Twitter feed. If RT were funded through advertising or the largesse of a quirky American billionaire and only covered domestic politics here in the U.S., it would be viewed by many as a useful component of a diverse media environment. For these reasons, RT is now the most watched foreign news outlet in the U.S., with an audience that is estimated to be 6.5 times as large as its closest rival, Al Jazeera America.

In addition to its news coverage, RT has also become a clearinghouse for the opinions of American dissidents, including those on the far left like Noam Chomsky, the far, if twisted, right like Pat Buchanan, and increasingly fringe Libertarians like Ron Paul. While opinions like these are provocative, unpopular and often a little wacky, RT gives American audiences access to ideas and opinions that are considerably beyond the narrow bandwidth in which most debate in the media usually occurs. Clearly, these opinions are more extreme than the more genial progressive politics of Mr. Camp or Mr. Hartmann or of the generally politically neutral work of Mr. King, but taken as a whole, RT provides a very broad range of political outlooks.

Somebody who only watched RT would have an image of the U.S. as a place of radical economic inequality, widespread civil unrest, corrupt politicians, racial animus and a collapsing economy, committed to expanding its global influence through military might. Of course, somebody who watched only Fox News, would understand the U.S. to be a country that is in the throws of a socialist takeover where an oppressed minority of white, heavily Christian citizens, are now losing the country that was given to them by the almighty, to hordes of illegal immigrants, non-whites, homosexuals and atheists. Both Fox and RT are propaganda organs espousing very biased views of American politics. The major difference may be that Fox represents one extreme of the domestic political spectrum while RT is the propaganda arm of a foreign government. While RT draws more viewers than other foreign news networks like CCTV from China, Al Jazeera America or even the BBC, its viewership is dwarfed by major American news stations like Fox; RT America has 194,000 Twitter followers compared with Fox News has 4.83 million Twitter followers.

But dismissing RT's coverage as simply a Russian propaganda, however, is a mistake. The insights of people like Mr. Camp and Mr. Hartmann, while not universally agreed upon, certainly resonate with many Americans. It is significant that it is only on a Moscow-funded station that voices like those can be heard, reflecting how the major media outlets still only present a relatively narrow range of views on most topics. Second, providing a critical and resonant portrayal of American politics to American viewers will eventually make those viewers more open to RT's dubious presentation of foreign affairs and Russian politics. The Kremlin hopes that the same people who watch RT's US programming and wonder why stories about, for example, why the US is classifying information about aid to Afghanistan, will soon begin to question why so few voices on American media are critical of the Ukrainian government.

Consider RT's coverage of American politics as a bait and switch, from critical insight about the US to dishonest propaganda regarding Russia.

Lincoln Mitchell is national political correspondent at the Observer. Follow him on Twitter

Alfred Cossi Chodaton

RT does nothing different from what major media outlets do.

Ilya Nesterovich

Lie, lie and lie. That's all. RT show different opinion from official, and, of course, USA doesn't like it.

Mstislav Pavlov

In Russia there is no need for propaganda. Your media better than any propaganda. Kremlin even do not need anything :)

[Jan 09, 2015] Latvia proposes 'alternative' to Russian TV propaganda

Jan 07, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , January 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

euractiv: Latvia proposes 'alternative' to Russian TV propaganda

http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/latvia-proposes-alternative-russian-tv-propaganda-311109

Latvia, which took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January, intends to launch a Russian-language TV channel to counter Kremlin propaganda, with EU support, a high ranking government official told journalists in Riga

Some 40% of Latvians are native Russian speakers and regularly watch several Russian TV channels, including RBK Ren TV, RTR Planeta, NTV Mir .

Makarovs regretted that the majority of Russian channels broadcasting for Latvia were registered in the UK and in Sweden, and that the regulators of those countries paid no attention to the content and put no pressure whatsoever on the broadcaster. He also argued that the procedure should be that if a media is targeted toward a specific country, it should be registered in that particular country .
###

Firstly, the Balt states announced at various times over the last year or so that they would ban or block Russian channels. But they can't. They are EU member states, so this whole alternative programs is an actually an admission of defeat.

Secondly, if Russian propaganda is so absurd and unbelievable, then why would alternative programing be necessary? It is cognitive dissonance par excellence!

What is fairly clear is that the Pork Pie News Networks of 'Europe' and the US are facing much more skepticism than ever before, mostly through incompetence and simply repeating the same old tropes and propganda tactics they have been using for over twenty years now. It doesn't fool anyone any more.

As for Latvia's presidency of the EU, it is little more than spokesstate since the rotating Presidency was gutted a few years ago to make it much more efficient (i.e cheaper). With small countries, yes they choose certain aspects that they wish to promote for their six months of fame, but the logistics and heavy lifting is usually done (sponsored) by a larger EU state like UK, Nl, DE, Fr etc..). It's not that much different to Mogherini's job as spokeshole for the European External Action Service, aka the EU's foreign minister (and Katherine 'Gosh!' Ashton before her). They don't make policy, just vocalized the lowest common denominator position of 28 EU member states.

[Jan 05, 2015] US and Russia in danger of returning to era of nuclear rivalry by Julian Borger

Sign of emergence of this anti-Russian witch hunt from 2015...
Notable quotes:
"... This is just US propaganda to get the increased military spending through congress. ..."
Jan 01, 2015 | The Guardian
A widening rift between Moscow and Washington over cruise missiles and increasingly daring patrols by nuclear-capable Russian submarines threatens to end an era of arms control and bring back a dangerous rivalry between the world's two dominant nuclear arsenals.

Tensions have been taken to a new level by US threats of retaliatory action for Russian development of a new cruise missile. Washington alleges it violates one of the key arms control treaties of the cold war, and has raised the prospect of redeploying its own cruise missiles in Europe after a 23-year absence.

On Boxing Day, in one of the more visible signs of the unease, the US military launched the first of two experimental "blimps" over Washington. The system, known as JLENS, is designed to detect incoming cruise missiles. The North American Aerospace Command (Norad) did not specify the nature of the threat, but the deployment comes nine months after the Norad commander, General Charles Jacoby, admitted the Pentagon faced "some significant challenges" in countering cruise missiles, referring in particular to the threat of Russian attack submarines.

Those submarines, which have been making forays across the Atlantic, routinely carry nuclear-capable cruise missiles. In the light of aggressive rhetoric from Moscow and the expiry of treaty-based restrictions, there is uncertainty over whether those missiles are now carrying nuclear warheads.

The rise in tension comes at a time when the arms control efforts of the post-cold-war era are losing momentum. The number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the US and Russia actually increased last year, and both countries are spending many billions of dollars a year modernising their arsenals. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and a failing economy, Vladimir Putin is putting increasing emphasis on nuclear weapons as guarantors and symbols of Russian influence. In a speech primarily about the Ukrainian conflict last summer, Putin pointedly referred to his country's nuclear arsenal and declared other countries "should understand it's best not to mess with us".

The Russian press has taken up the gung-ho tone. Pravda, the former mouthpiece of the Soviet regime, published an article in November titled "Russian prepares a nuclear surprise for Nato", which boasted of Russian superiority over the west, particularly in tactical nuclear weapons.

"The Americans are well aware of this," the commentary said. "They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it's too late."

Some of the heightened rhetoric appears to be bluster. The new version of the Russian military doctrine, published on 25 December, left its policy on nuclear weapons unchanged from four years earlier. They are to be used only in the event of an attack using weapons of mass destruction or a conventional weapon onslaught which "would put in danger the very existence of the state". It did not envisage a pre-emptive strike, as some in the military had proposed.

However, the new aggressive tone coincides with an extensive upgrading of Russia's nuclear weapons, reflecting Moscow's renewed determination to keep pace with the US arsenal. It will involve a substantial increase in the number of warheads loaded on submarines, as a result of the development of the multi-warhead Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile.

The modernisation also involves new or revived delivery systems. Last month Russia announced it would re-introduce nuclear missile trains, allowing intercontinental ballistic missiles to be moved about the country by rail so they would be harder to target.

There is also mounting western anxiety over Russian marketing abroad of a cruise missile called the Club-K, which can be concealed, complete with launcher, inside an innocuous-looking shipping container until the moment it is fired.

However, the development that has most alarmed Washington is Russian testing of a medium-range cruise missile which the Obama administration claims is a clear violation of the 1987 intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty, the agreement that brought to an end the dangerous standoff between US and Russian cruise missiles in Europe. By hugging the contours of the Earth, cruise missiles can evade radar defences and hit strategic targets with little or no notice, raising fears on both sides of surprise pre-emptive attacks.

At a contentious congressional hearing on 10 December, Republicans criticised two of the administration's leading arms control negotiators, Rose Gottemoeller of the State Department and Brian McKeon of the Pentagon, for not responding earlier to the alleged Russian violation and for continuing to observe the INF treaty.

Gottemoeller said she had raised US concerns over the new missile "about a dozen times" with her counterparts in Moscow and Obama had written to Putin on the matter. She said the new Russian cruise missile – which she did not identify but is reported to be the Iskander-K with a reach in the banned 500-5,500km range – appeared to be ready for deployment.

The Russians have denied the existence of the missile and have responded with counter-allegations about American infringements of the INF treaty that Washington rejects.

McKeon said the Pentagon was looking at a variety of military responses to the Russian missile, including the deployment of an American equivalent weapon.

"We have a broad range of options, some of which would be compliant with the INF treaty, some of which would not be, that we would be able to recommend to our leadership if it decided to go down that path," McKeon said. He later added: "We don't have ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe now, obviously, because they are prohibited by the treaty but that would obviously be one option to explore."

Reintroducing cruise missiles into Europe would be politically fraught and divisive, but the Republican majority in Congress is pushing for a much more robust American response to the Russian missile.

The US military has also been rattled by the resurgence of the Russian submarine fleet. Moscow is building new generations of giant ballistic missile submarines, known as "boomers", and attack submarines that are equal or superior to their US counterparts in performance and stealth. From a low point in 2002, when the Russian navy managed to send out no underwater patrols at all, it is steadily rebounding and reasserting its global reach.

There have been sporadic reports in the US press about Russian submarines reaching the American east coast, which have been denied by the US military. But last year Jacoby, the head of Norad and the US northern command at the time, admitted concerns about being able to counter new Russian investment in cruise missile technology and advanced submarines.

"They have just begun production of a new class of quiet nuclear submarines specifically designed to deliver cruise missiles," Jacoby told Congress.

Peter Roberts, who retired from the Royal Navy a year ago after serving as a commanding officer and senior UK liaison officer with the US navy and intelligence services, said the transatlantic forays by Akula-class Russian attack submarines had become a routine event, at least once or twice a year.

"The Russians usually put out a sortie with an Akula or an Akula II around Christmas It normally stops off Scotland, and then through the Bay of Biscay and out over the Atlantic. It will have nuclear-capable missiles on it," he said.

Roberts, who is now senior research fellow for sea power and maritime studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said the appearance of a periscope off the western coast of Scotland, which triggered a Nato submarine hunt last month, was a sign of the latest such Russian foray.

He said the Russian attack submarine was most likely heading for the US coast. "They go across to eastern seaboard, usually to watch the carrier battle groups work up [go on exercises].

"It's something the Americans have been trying to brush off but there is increasing concern about the American ability to track these subs. Their own anti-sub skills have declined, while we have all been focused on landlocked operations, in Afghanistan and so on."

The Akula is being superseded by an even stealthier submarine, the Yasen. Both are multipurpose: hunter-killers designed to track and destroy enemy submarine and carrier battle groups. Both are also armed with land-attack cruise missiles, currently the Granat, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

On any given sortie, Roberts said, "it is completely unknown whether they are nuclear-tipped".

A Russian media report described the Akula as carrying Granat missiles with 200-kilotonne warheads, but the reliability of the report is hard to gauge.

The US and Russia removed cruise missiles from their submarines after the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction treaty (Start), but that expired at the end of 2009. Its successor, New Start, signed by Obama and the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, in 2010 does not include any such limitation, nor does it even allow for continued exchange of information about cruise missile numbers.

Pavel Podvig, a senior research fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and the leading independent analyst of Russian nuclear forces, said: "The bottom line is that we don't know, but it's safe to say that it's quite possible that Russian subs carry nuclear SLCMs [submarine-launched cruise missiles].

Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and founding publisher of ArmsControlWonk.com, believes the JLENS blimps are primarily a response to a Russian move to start rearming attack submarines with nuclear weapons.

"For a long time, the Russians have been saying they would do this and now it looks like they have," Lewis said. He added that the fact that data exchange on cruise missiles was allowed to expire under the New Start treaty is a major failing that has increased uncertainty.

The Russian emphasis on cruise missiles is in line with Putin's strategy of "de-escalation", which involves countering Nato's overwhelming conventional superiority with the threat of a limited nuclear strike that would inflict "tailored damage" on an adversary.

Lewis argues that Putin's accentuation of Russia's nuclear capabilities is aimed at giving him room for manoeuvre in Ukraine and possibly other neighbouring states.

"The real reason he talks about how great they are is he saying: 'I'm going to go ahead and invade Ukraine and you're going to look the other way. As long as I don't call it an invasion, you're going to look at my nuclear weapons and say I don't want to push this,'" he said.

With both the US and Russia modernising their arsenals and Russia investing increasing importance its nuclear deterrent, Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said we are facing a period of "deepening military competition".

He added: "It will bring very little added security, but a lot more nervous people on both sides."

InvisibleOISA -> Ethelunready 4 Jan 2015 23:53

Just how many warheads have the Iranians lofted towards Europe in the past quarter century? Anyhow, the Yanqui ABM system is a pathetic blunderbuss. But extremely profitable for Boeing.

For instance:

US ABM test failure mars $1bn N. Korea defense plan
06.07.2013 10:03

A $214-million test launch of the only US defense against long-range ballistic missile attacks failed to hit its target over the Pacific Ocean, according to the Missile Defense Agency. There have been no successful interceptor tests since 2008.

InvisibleOISA 4 Jan 2015 23:41

Hey Julian. What a wussy propaganda piece. How about a few facts to put things in perspective.

"All told, over the next decade, according to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the United States plans to spend $355 billion on the maintenance and modernization of its nuclear enterprise,[3] an increase of $142 billion from the $213 billion the Obama administration projected in 2011.[4] According to available information, it appears that the nuclear enterprise will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 30 years.[5]

Beyond these upgrades of existing weapons, work is under way to design new weapons to replace the current ones. The Navy is designing a new class of 12 SSBNs, the Air Force is examining whether to build a mobile ICBM or extend the service life of the existing Minuteman III, and the Air Force has begun development of a new, stealthy long-range bomber and a new nuclear-capable tactical fighter-bomber. Production of a new guided "standoff" nuclear bomb, which would be able to glide toward a target over a distance, is under way, and the Air Force is developing a new long-range nuclear cruise missile to replace the current one."

And what about NATO, the u$a poodle.

NATO

"The new B61-12 is scheduled for deployment in Europe around 2020. At first, the guided bomb, which has a modest standoff capability, will be backfitted onto existing F-15E, F-16, and Tornado NATO aircraft. From around 2024, nuclear-capable F-35A stealthy fighter-bombers are to be deployed in Europe and gradually take over the nuclear strike role from the F-16 and Tornado aircraft."

Source: Arms Control Association

VikingHiking -> Rudeboy1 4 Jan 2015 23:25

To sum up the results of the lend-lease program as a whole, the Soviet Union received, over the war years, 21,795 planes, 12,056 tanks, 4,158 armored personnel carriers, 7,570 tractor trucks, 8,000 antiaircraft and 5,000 antitank guns, 132,000 machine-guns, 472 million artillery shells, 9,351 transceivers customized to Soviet-made fighter planes, 2.8 million tons of petroleum products, 102 ocean-going dry cargo vessels, 29 tankers, 23 sea tugboats and icebreakers, 433 combat ships and gunboats, as well as mobile bridges, railroad equipment, aircraft radar equipment, and many other items."

"Imperialist Powers paid for the blood of Soviet soldiers with limited supplies of obsolete weapons, canned food and other war materiel which amounted to about 4% of total Soviet production during WarII".

During Cold War all traces of Lend Lease and after UNRRA help were meticulously sanitized and removed; photos of soviet soldiers riding Shermans, Universal Carriers or manning AAA guns were excluded from books and never appeared in magazines.

Five eights of the total German War effort was expended on the Russian front.

So it was a combination of allied arms and resources which kaputed the Nazi's, namely
1) The Russian Army
2) THE American Air Force
3) The British Navy and Merchant Marine
4) Hitler's Stupidity

Beckow -> StrategicVoice213 4 Jan 2015 23:03

Are you done with your boasting? By the way, you forgot Hollywood and GMO foods.

Leaving aside the one-side nature of your list (internet or web were also invented in CERN by a European team), technology or business are not the same as intelligence.

Most Americans simply don't understand the world, its history, other cultures, don't see others as having independent existence with other choices. They don't get it because they are isolated and frankly quite lazy intellectually. Thus the infamous "we won WW2 in Normandy" boast and similar bizarre claims.

Are other often similar? Yes, absolutely. But most of the others have no ability to provoke a nuclear Armageddon, so their ignorance is annoying, but not fatal. The article was about the worsening US-Russia confrontation and how it may end (or end everything). The fact that US has actively started and provoked this confrontation in the last few years, mostly out of blissful ignorance and endless selfishness. Thus we get "defensive missiles against Iran on Russia's border", coups in Ukraine, endless demonizations...well, I think you get the picture. If you don't, see the original post

irgun777 4 Jan 2015 22:59

" increasingly daring patrols by nuclear-capable Russian submarines "

What motivates the Cry Wolf tune of this article ?
Don't we also conduct nuclear and nuclear capable submarine patrols ? Even our allies
and friends operate routinely " nuclear capable submarines "

Our military budget alone is 10 times the Russian , we have over 600 military bases around
the world , some around Russia. We still continue to use heavy , nuclear capable bombers
for patrol , something Russia stopped doing after the Cold War. Russia did not
support and financed a coup in our neighbors . Something Ron Paul and Kissinger warned us
not to do.


Georgeaussie 4 Jan 2015 22:55

This is just US propaganda to get the increased military spending through congress. I think its interesting that Americans believe their military personal are defending there country when the United States is usually the aggressor. And that is my view,. And as for people saying Russian bots and Korean bots(which i don't know if they exist) you are sounding just as bad as them, every country has propaganda and everyone has a right to believe what they want, wether its western media or eastern media. People on here don't need people like you with you extreme biases, yes have an opinion, but don't put other peoples opinion down because you think your right, collectively there is no right or wrong, do you know whats going on around closed doors in your govt? Well sorry you probably know less then you think, i like to read different media reports and its interesting, do you "obama bots" know that Russia is helping look for the black box of the air asia flight? I just thought it was interesting not reading that in my "western media" reports over the weeks. So comment and tell me if you honestly think "western bot" are correct and "eastern bots" aren't b/c i would like too know how there i a right and and wrong. In my OPINION there isn't if anything you are both wrong.


Veritas Vicnit 5 Jan 2015 00:05

p1. 'Russian General: We Are At War'

"Gen. Leonid Ivashov... issued a sharp warning about the nature of the strategic crisis unfolding in Ukraine: "Apparently they [US and EU officials] have dedicated themselves, and continue to do so, to deeply and thoroughly studying the doctrine of Dr. Goebbels. . . They present everything backwards from reality. It is one of the formulas which Nazi propaganda employed most successfully: . . . They accuse the party that is defending itself, of aggression. What is happening in Ukraine and Syria is a project of the West, a new type of war: ... wars today begin with psychological and information warfare operations. . . under the cover of information commotion, U.S. ships are entering the Black Sea, that is, near Ukraine. They are sending marines, and they have also begun to deploy more tanks in Europe. . . We see that on the heels of the disinformation operation a land-sea, and possibly air operation is being prepared." (Russian General: 'We Are At War', February 22, 2014)

"what David Petraeus has done for counter-insurgency warfare, Stuart Levey [later David Cohen] has done for economic warfare" [Sen. Joe Lieberman]

Russian military sources have disclosed their recognition that offensive operations (economic warfare, proxy warfare, regime change operations, etc.) are active as is the mobilisation of military architecture.

MattTruth 5 Jan 2015 00:05

Russia is not a threat to USA. The elite of USA just need a war and need it soon.

afewpiecesofsilver -> Continent 5 Jan 2015 00:00

That's exactly why the US/NATO is trying to 'wedge' Ukraine into their EU. Then they can develop military bases in traditionally, socially, culturally, verbally Russian Ukraine, right on Russia's border....After the well known, publicized and continuous international bullying and abuse of Russia and Putin over the last couple of years, and now the recent undermining of it's oil economy by US and NATO, anyone who is condemning Putin and Russia obviously can't read.

moosejaw12999 5 Jan 2015 00:00

Might give a few minute warning on cruise missiles but will do nothing against drones will it Barry ? When you start a game , you should think for a minute where it might end . Americas worst enemy is always her own disgruntled people . Drones will be the new weapon of choice in Americas upcoming civil war .

Ross Kramer 4 Jan 2015 23:58

"Russia is a regional power" - Obama said last year. Yeah, sure. Just by looking at the map I can see it is twice bigger than the US in territory. Its tails touches Alaska and its head lays on the border with Germany. How on Earth the biggest country in the world with the nuclear arsenal equal to that of the US can be "just a regional power"?

[Nov 16, 2004] Spy vs. Spy - The spooks play the press by Jack Shafer

Notable quotes:
"... The spooks play the press. ..."
"... But after Bush won the election, the two sides seemed ready for the showdown. On Saturday, Nov. 13, the New York Times and Washington Post reported the departure of the CIA's No. 2 man, agency veteran John E. McLaughlin, citing anonymous CIA sources who blamed tensions wrought by Goss and his team. ..."
"... The rebels had several advantages in this war of words: They were already intimate with reporters from the national security beat; many of them understood the art of the leak; and none were above portraying themselves as victims of Bush's political witch-hunt. If they were regular sources for Washington reporters, the rebels had every right to believe they would get a sympathetic hearing ..."
"... When reading press accounts of bureaucratic battles, it pays to remember that most reporters tend to dance with the source that brung 'em. All other things being equal, if the Daily Bugle scores a scoop one day about how the FBI undermined the CIA in some interagency misadventure, then the next day's Morning Gazette will probably detail how it was actually the CIA that screwed over the FBI. If the coverage continues in this predictably partisan fashion, it's a safe bet that the CIA is feeding the Bugle and the FBI is feeding the Gazette- and that both papers have become captives of their sources. ..."
Nov 16, 2004 | slate.com

The spooks play the press.

When Washington bureaucrats collide, the best seat in the house is often wherever you sit to read your daily newspaper. Bureaucrats tend to battle one another in the press, leaking and counter-leaking and counter-counter-leaking damaging information about one another.

The latest such rumble pits the CIA's old guard against its new director, Porter J. Goss, appointed by President George W. Bush two months ago with orders to revamp the agency. Which side is wearing the white hats and which the black depends on which newspaper you read-or how you read it. If you're a Bush supporter, you think Goss is the hero. You agree with him that the CIA is "dysfunctional," incompetent, responsible for intelligence failures, and needs a shake-up. If you're a Democrat, you believe the stories wafting out of the agency about Bush's dark plans to further politicize it, to punish and purge its dissenting voices.

Such vehement claims and counter-claims are par for the Washington course. What makes the current drama so compelling, though, is that 1) it's being fought on Page One; 2) spies are flinging their accusations from the safety of anonymity; and 3) the press has a stake in the outcome.

Coverage of the contest for the CIA's soul has generally favored the CIA's old guard over interloper Goss since he arrived at Langley. Why? Because the Rebel Alliance was talking to the press and the Empire wasn't. Obviously, some rebels figured that Kerry was going to win, which meant they had nothing to lose by dissing Goss, who would be ousted by the new president in January. Goss probably calculated along the same lines: Why start a death match with the CIA bureaucracy until you know you know you've got enough time on the clock to finish it?

But after Bush won the election, the two sides seemed ready for the showdown. On Saturday, Nov. 13, the New York Times and Washington Post reported the departure of the CIA's No. 2 man, agency veteran John E. McLaughlin, citing anonymous CIA sources who blamed tensions wrought by Goss and his team. The next day, both the Post ("Goss Reportedly Rebuffed Senior Officials at CIA") and the Times ("New Chief Sets Off Turmoil Within the C.I.A.") ran stories in which several anonymous CIA officials crabbed at length about the professional rudeness of Goss and the four staffers he brought with him from Capitol Hill. The only defense of Goss I spotted in a major daily came in a column by David Brooks, a conservative, whose Nov. 13 Times column decried Bush's "enemies" who occupy "certain offices of the Central Intelligence Agency" ("The C.I.A. Versus Bush").

The rebels had several advantages in this war of words: They were already intimate with reporters from the national security beat; many of them understood the art of the leak; and none were above portraying themselves as victims of Bush's political witch-hunt. If they were regular sources for Washington reporters, the rebels had every right to believe they would get a sympathetic hearing.

Emperor Goss, on the other hand, entered this game with a handicap. He disdains the press, as all Bushies do, and part of what he hates about the old guard is that they leak to the press. So, he's not one to battle his bureaucratic foes by counter-leaking in the newspapers.

But that doesn't mean Goss is above dispatching a proxy to fight for him. Press darling Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., changed the shape of the coverage by arguing the Empire's point of view on the Sunday, Nov. 14, edition of ABC News' This Week. "This agency needs to be reformed," McCain said. "[Goss] is being savaged by these people that want the status quo. And the status quo is not satisfactory." The senator's comments were picked up by the Los Angles Times on Monday, Nov. 15 ("C.I.A. Tumult Causes Worry in Congress"). Two more old-guard CIA officials resigned on Monday to protest Goss' uncouth manner, and this time the news accounts in the Nov. 16 Post and New York Times included McCain's head-cracking comments.

From the Post:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday that Goss and some White House officials were concerned that unauthorized disclosures of information by the CIA during the election campaign "were intended to damage the president," and he accused a "rogue" element within the agency of carrying them out.

From the New York Times:

In an interview, Mr. McCain said he told President Bush last week that "the C.I.A. was dysfunctional and unaccountable and that they refused to change." The senator said he believed the C.I.A. had acted as a "rogue agency" in recent months by leaking information about the war in Iraq that was seen as detrimental to Mr. Bush and his re-election campaign.

Thanks to McCain's entry into the game, the major dailies are now playing the chaos pretty much down the "he said/she said" middle, as the even-handed lede of Greg Miller's story in the Nov. 16 Los Angeles Times illustrates:

The resignations of two more senior CIA officials Monday fueled debate in the intelligence community over whether the agency was tumbling into turmoil under new Director Porter J. Goss, or was taking painful but necessary steps toward fixing serious problems.

When reading press accounts of bureaucratic battles, it pays to remember that most reporters tend to dance with the source that brung 'em. All other things being equal, if the Daily Bugle scores a scoop one day about how the FBI undermined the CIA in some interagency misadventure, then the next day's Morning Gazette will probably detail how it was actually the CIA that screwed over the FBI. If the coverage continues in this predictably partisan fashion, it's a safe bet that the CIA is feeding the Bugle and the FBI is feeding the Gazette-and that both papers have become captives of their sources.

I don't think any paper has become a tool of the rebels or the Empire quite yet, but as the Langley knife-fight escalates to hand grenades, beware of any reporter who over-flatters agency veterans or insists on drawing horns on Goss. The truth this time, I suspect, is not in the compromise space halfway between the bureaucrats but a point above them on the y axis where every disparaging thing you've read about the agency and every wicked thing written about Goss is accurate.

Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.

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Last modified: March, 29, 2020