The build-up to war on Russia

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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby SonicG » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:12 am

Nordic » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:26 pm wrote:Paul Craig Roberts via Martin Love.

Paul Craig Roberts
The charges of Chinese and Russian aggression are fantastic lies. China has not declared the Gulf of Mexico or the seas off the California coasts to be “areas of Chinese national interest,” but the killer bitch Hillary in the regime of the Nobel Peace Laureate declared the South China Sea to be “an area of US national interest.” This is provocation beyond provocation. No intelligent diplomat would ever make such a ridiculous and provocative claim.


Christopher Knowles seems to think that whatever conflict is coming will be with China...How is Tillerson's thinking any different from the Obama admin?
Mr. Tillerson told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that China’s multibillion-dollar island-building campaign in the oil-and-gas rich sea was illegal and “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea.”

“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” Mr. Tillerson told the senators. “And second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

Should those words be translated into action after Donald J. Trump assumes the presidency on Jan. 20, it would be a remarkable change in the American approach to Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea, which is transforming the area into what one Washington think tank said would by 2030 become “virtually a Chinese lake.” China asserts sovereignty over most of the South China Sea despite competing claims by countries including Vietnam and the Philippines and an international ruling rejecting most of Beijing’s assertions.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/worl ... ea-us.html


Of course, with all the contradictions from Trump's picks, it is hard to say what their policies will actually be...
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:18 am

We have always been at war with
a. Eurasia
b. Eastasia
c. Every Mother Fucker On the Planet
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I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Morty » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:38 am

Saw a former (Obama) US ambassador to Russia questioned on PBS about the wisdom of Trump's intention to make friends with Russia. His response was that the US shouldn't set out to have a friendly relationship with any country, it should always be about getting what the US wants from the dealings with the other country. Not quite "at war with everyone" but close to it.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby stefano » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:07 am

World News | Mon Jan 16, 2017 | 6:55am EST
Hundreds of U.S. Marines land in Norway, irking Russia

Some 300 U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment which has irked Norway's Arctic neighbor Russia.

Officials played down any link between the operation and NATO concerns over Russia, but the deployment coincides with the U.S. sending several thousand troops to Poland to beef up its Eastern European allies worried about Moscow's assertiveness.

Soldiers from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina landed a little after 10 am CET at a snow-covered Vaernes airport near Trondheim, Norway's third-largest city, where temperatures were reaching -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit).

U.S. troops are to stay in Norway for a year, with the current batch of Marines being replaced after their six-month tour is complete.

A spokesman for the Norwegian Home Guards, who will host the Marines at the Vaernes military base, about 1,500 km (900 miles) from the Russian border, said the U.S. troops will learn about winter warfare.

"For the first four weeks they will have basic winter training, learn how to cope with skis and to survive in the Arctic environment," said Rune Haarstad, a Home Guard spokesman. "It has nothing to do with Russia or the current situation."

In March the Marines will take part in the Joint Viking exercises, which will also include British troops, he added.

The Russian Embassy in Oslo did not immediately reply to a request for comment by Reuters on Monday. It questioned the need for such a move when it was announced in October.

"Taking into account multiple statements of Norwegian officials about the absence of threat from Russia to Norway we would like to understand for what purposes is Norway so ... willing to increase its military potential, in particular through stationing of American forces in Vaernes?" it told Reuters at the time.

A spokeswoman for Norwegian Ministry of Defence also said the arrival of U.S. Marines had nothing to do with concerns about Russia.

However, in a 2014 interview with Reuters, Norway's Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said Russia's annexation of Crimea showed that it had the ability and will to use military means to achieve political goals.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik, Gwladys Fouche and Dominic Evans)
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby SonicG » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:39 am

Now he wants to reduce nuclear arms? Or is he really going to get Putin to agree to a unilateral reduction? :shrug:
NEWSRUSSIA6 HOURS AGO
Trump: Cut sanctions on Russia for nuclear arms deal
Incoming US president says weapons should be reduced, weeks after joining Putin in call for nuclear expansion.
Trump has repeatedly called for a better relationship between the US and Russia [Reuters]
Donald Trump, the US president-elect, has told a British newspaper that he will offer to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with the Kremlin.

In an interview with The Times of London published late on Monday, Trump said he wanted nuclear weapons arsenals of the world's two biggest nuclear powers - the United States and Russia - to be "reduced very substantially".

"They have sanctions on Russia - let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it," Trump was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

However, on December 22 Trump tweeted that the US must "greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until the world comes to its senses regarding nukes". Around the same time, Russian leader Vladimir Putin also called for the strengthening of "strategic nuclear forces".

READ MORE: Dear Donald Trump - A letter from Russia

In Monday's interview, Trump said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance formed to counter the military power of the former USSR, has become obsolete.

NATO has not been "taking care of terror", he said.

Trump also criticised Russia for its intervention in the Syrian war, describing it as "a very bad thing" that had led to a "terrible humanitarian situation".

The interview was conducted by Michael Gove, a Conservative Party member and prominent Brexit campaigner who is known to be close to Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News.

In Moscow, members of parliament gave a mixed reaction to Trump's statement on the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the upper house of parliament's international affairs committee, was cited by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying getting the sanctions annulled was not a goal in itself and not worth making security concessions.

But another Russian senator, Oleg Morozov, was quoted by the same agency as saying that Moscow would be ready to discuss the issue of nuclear cuts, something he said Russia itself favoured.

Russian connection

News of Trump's plan came as the outgoing US intelligence chief said that Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the US.

Director of Central Intelligence, John Brennan's message on national television came five days before Trump becomes the nation's 45th president, amid lingering questions about Russia's role in the 2016 election.

"Now that he's going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he's going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that US and national security interests are protected," Brennan said on Fox News, warning that the president-elect's impulsiveness could be dangerous.

"Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests," Brennan said.

Questions about Trump's relationship with Russia have dominated the days leading up to his inauguration.


Retired General Michael Flynn, who is set to become Trump's national security adviser, has been in frequent contact with Russia's ambassador to the US in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for the alleged election hacking, a senior US official said.

After initially denying the contact took place, Trump's team publicly acknowledged the conversations on Sunday.

"The conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to the new US sanctions against Russia or the expulsion of diplomats," said Mike Pence, the incoming vice president, also in an appearance on Fox News.

The contact, as Obama imposed sanctions, raised questions about whether Trump's team discussed - or even helped shape - Russia's response.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, unexpectedly did not retaliate against the US for the sanctions or the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, a decision Trump quickly praised.

"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" Trump tweeted.

Trump has repeatedly called for a better relationship between the US and Putin's government.

"I think he has to be mindful that he does not have a full appreciation and understanding of what the implications are of going down that road," Brennan said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/t ... 07521.html
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Elvis » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:38 pm

Last night I heard this interview with Stephen Cohen on the program "Alternative Radio" carried by a local NPR affiliate—it's excellent:


https://www.alternativeradio.org/collections/spk_stephen-cohen/products/cohs001

Reheating the Cold War

Program #COHS001. Recorded in New York, NY on December 03, 2016.


Winston Churchill once observed, the further back you go, the farther forward you can see. We know little of Russia and its history beyond bears, Siberian winters, the Kremlin and Doctor Zhivago. The United States emerged victorious at end of the Cold War. An era of cooperation was to be ushered in. What should have been an opportunity to create a structure for peace and stability did not happen. Instead of an inclusive security system the U.S.-led NATO military alliance expanded to the east. Hardliners in Washington goaded by the military-industrial complex, seeking more profits from weapons sales, have vilified and demonized Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The media followed in lock step. A reheated Cold War with a new arms race and the catastrophic dangers of hot war are the last things that humanity and the planet need. Interviewed by David Barsamian.

Speaker(s): Stephen Cohen

Stephen Cohen, regarded as one of the foremost experts on Russia, is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NYU and Princeton. He is a Nation contributing editor and author of many books including Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.



"Alternative Radio" is one of the better programs offered on the local NRP affiliates here. It's funny how often it directly contradicts the prattle of most of the usual NPR hosts & correspondents. (I even recently heard "banned on NPR" Noam Chomsky on AR!)

This particular interview cuts through the BS. It's not available online for free, but maybe I'll buy the PDF and share some of it here.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:49 pm

wow Quoting Mr. Churchill... :roll:

when he looked back did he see the death 6-7 million Indians?

Image

Winston Churchill completely omitted from the text of his Nobel Prize-winning, 6-volume treatise The Second World War any mention the 1942-1945 Bengali Holocaust in which he deliberately starved to death 6-7 million Indians.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Elvis » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:19 pm

:?:
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:42 am

Damn. Those Russian hackers have really gone too far this time.

Not funny, Russia. Not funny at all.

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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Elvis » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:26 pm

I bought the PDF of the Stephen Cohen interview on Alternative Radio and will share some pertinent passages here. Cohen lived in Russia and seems to have a pretty good understanding of the country. The background on events in Ukraine is what's been missing from Western MSM, as Cohen also makes clear.

https://www.alternativeradio.org/collec ... ts/cohs001
STEPHEN COHEN
Reheating the Cold War
Interviewed by David Barsamian

New York, NY 3 December 2016

Stephen Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NYU and Princeton. He is a Nation contributing editor and author of many books including Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.


DB: December marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the
Soviet Union in 1991 and just 74 years before that, the old
Czarist state collapsed. Those are cataclysmic events for a
people and a nation to endure.


SC: So far as I can think, unprecedented for a major historical
state such as Russia is. It’s never noted in this country,
though it is in Russia, that if you had to ask what
historical, political factor, has most influenced Putin’s
leadership in Russia since he became president in 2000 I
think it would be becoming the head of a state that
collapsed twice in the lifetime of a person, in 74 years.
The collapse of the Russian state has a long and
ominous history. People who know Pushkin and Boris
Godunov know that that was the backdrop, the collapse of
the state, of the wars among the boyars, the princes, to put
a new czar on the throne. That became known in Russia as
smuta. It’s translated in English history books, weakly, as
“time of troubles.” There is always a chapter in an
elementary textbook, “The Time of Troubles.” But I
would have translated it something like “the time of great
misery,” because typically, in the Russian mind and
historically, what happens is when the Russian state
collapses, the people fall into misery, they lose whatever
lifestyle they had, foreign invaders encroach on Russian
territory, something approximating a political or military
civil war unfolds in Russia. So it’s the dread of all dread.
This happened in Russia, of course, with the
Revolution in 1917. And when you talk about the Russian
Revolution, as people will in 2017—it’s the centenary—
Russia will be full of discussions of the Revolution. In
fact, just the other day Putin encouraged the country to
discuss the Revolution as a way of healing class and
historical wounds, and in the West there will be a lot of
conferences. So it’s one of these anniversaries that will
generate lot of discussion.

One mistake that’s made is that when we talk about the
Russian Revolution, we talk about 1917, but in fact the
Russian Revolution included the civil war. So the
Revolution is from February 1917 until the Bolsheviks,
the Communists, finally won the civil war about late 1920,
1921. Actually, it’s interesting that one of the best
histories of the Russian Revolution, though there are far
more scholarly ones because the archives have opened, is
an old one—it was published in the 1930s—by an
American journalist, William Henry Chamberlin. It was
two volumes: Volume 1 is 1917, Volume II is the civil
war. He was one of the first to say, no, the revolution is a
four-year period. So when you put the civil war in and the
millions who died and all the foreign armies running
across Russia, that’s the image Russians have of smuta,
“time of troubles,” the collapse of the state.

So Putin, a relatively inexperienced man, in some ways
an accidental president, becomes the head of a state that’s
collapsed twice in, say, his father’s lifetime. I think that
any biographer or interpreter of Putin has to begin with
that circumstance, that historical mandate or backdrop that
he inherited, and that much that he’s done inside Russia
has been influenced by that. In a sense it’s a never again.

His mission is to make sure that the Russian state endures,
and not so it can conquer the world but so it can protect its
people at home. Because in the aftermath of the collapse,
during the 1990s, people lost their social benefits, 75%
plunged into poverty, longevity for men dropped to about
57 years, eradicated epidemics revived in Russia. It was
horrible decade, the 1990s, though they’re still glorified
here as the time of Yeltsin. So I think, yes, a state that
collapsed twice in one person’s lifetime has to be where
we begin to think about how Putin has ruled or tried to
rule at home.



DB: One of the fascinating aspects of what happened when the
Soviet Union dissolved was the negotiations between
Gorbachev and the U.S. in terms of not just the
reunification of Germany, which Russia acceded to, which
was quite a concession given the history of Germany and
Russia, but also that there were assurances apparently
given, not in writing, that NATO would not expand to the
east. What is the veracity of those reports? And is there
any documentation or scholarship to back it up?


SC: Assurances were given to Gorbachev that NATO would
not expand eastward. But you have to remember the
context. German reunification was very much wanted by
President Bush and the Chancellor of Germany, Kohl, but
it was semi-opposed by Mitterrand, the president of
France, and Thatcher of England. They still feared a
resurgent, reunited Germany. It wasn’t so much that they
opposed it, but they weren’t keen on it, they weren’t
pushing it, and they dragged their feet. So Gorbachev
became—because these were the parties of the occupying
powers after World War II, they still had the legal right to
decide the fate of Germany—the decisive vote. It was hard
on him, you’re right, because so many Soviets had died.
But he favored German reunification.

The issue then became, you reunite Germany, but
where do you place it? Is it sort of alone? Remember, the
Warsaw Pact hadn’t dissolved then yet. So where is it
between NATO and the Warsaw Pact? The Berlin Wall
had come down, but events were unfolding. Bush
proposed that it be in NATO. This was really a hard sell
for Russia, because NATO was a military enemy and now
this reunited Germany was going to be in NATO. I think
for Mitterrand and Thatcher, who did not like this idea of
reunification, it was a way of keeping Germany under
control by putting it in NATO, not letting it go off on its
own. But for Russia it was very difficult. So Gorbachev
and the Soviet foreign minister then, Shevardnadze, were
told that if they agreed to this, both the reunification of
Germany and Germany as a member of NATO, comma,
NATO would not, as James Baker, then Secretary of State,
said, “expand one inch to the east.”

That report appeared in a book by Condi Rice, who
was part of the negotiating team. Later, people denied it
had happened, and it had not been codified in a treaty. But
it was in writing. There are a lot of documents. And a
party to this negotiation were the Germans themselves.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the Social Democratic foreign
minister of Germany, was eager to reassure the Russians,
so he made commitments on behalf of Germany. But so
did the Americans.

Later, people said it didn’t happen, that they never
made this commitment. They either misunderstood or they
lied to protect their own reputations, because these were
people who later favored NATO expansion under Clinton.
In order to reconcile being down with the new program,
people began to fudge, like Baker said, The Russians
misunderstood. This wasn’t about the east; but it was
about East Germany. It made no sense. He’s told that to
various people.

But there is something called archives. And in the last,
say, 10 years, a number of American scholars have gone
into the archives. There’s a very detailed article in the
latest issue of International Security by Joshua Shifrinson.
He’s about the third guy to go into these archives. And he
has confirmed that the Russians were given assurances.
He asks an interesting question. Are assurances short of
treaties binding on a great nation?

The Russians have ever since then accused the U.S. of
repeatedly breaking its promises to post-Soviet Russia,
beginning with NATO expansion but in many other cases
as well. But that’s the kind of original sin, in their mind.
And since then, as Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister,
said in December, Washington has behaved treacherously
toward Russia. If you have this mindset among the
political establishment in Russia that we, the U.S., are
treacherous, we don’t keep our word, this is bad. But on
this case it’s case closed. The documents make it clear that
assurances were given to Gorbachev and to Shevardnadze.

The argument is by the people who practice realpolitik,
Gorbachev should have gotten it in a treaty, so he’s to
blame. Which is blaming the victim, right? But even had
there been a treaty, it wouldn’t have mattered. Clinton was
determined to expand NATO. They would have broken
the treaty, just the way Bush, what was it, in 2002
withdrew unilaterally from the very codified anti-ballistic
missile treaty, thereby opening up a catastrophe we have
today with missile defense. He just said, We’re outta here,
we quit. Clinton could have done that, too. But
historically, as a matter of record, these commitments
were given to Russia, that NATO would not expand.


DB: The veteran diplomat George Kennan, whom you knew at
Princeton, warned against NATO expansion to the east.
What was his thinking?


SC: He put it very succinctly. He said, If you do this, there will
be a new Cold War. He said that, I think, in 1997 in a kind
of interview column that Thomas Friedman published in
the Times. George was a very conservative man socially
and culturally; his attitudes about these things were
sometimes horrifying. But as a thinker, that is, a man who
knew Russia, and as a man who operated within history,
he knew what this would mean. A young kid would know
what it would mean. If you’re going to move the full
might of your Cold War military alliance all across
Europe, from Berlin to the Baltics, which we’ve now
done, obviously, it’s going to have a very negative result
on relations with Russia. This was a no-brainer.

The question that needs to be researched is why they
did it. Some people say Clinton did it because that guy
Richard Morris who was then working for Clinton, told
him that Clinton wouldn’t win unless he carried ethnic
votes in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and they were all from
the Baltics and Poland and they wanted to be in there.
Who knows why he did it? Don’t ever forget that when a
country joins NATO, it has to standardize its military
equipment by buying from American weapons
manufacturers. So it’s good business.



So now you have this very substantial NATO buildup
on Russia’s Western borders. You mentioned World War
II. It is said in Russia among—I don’t like to call anybody
an ordinary person but among non-elite people and within
the elite, as they look at what NATO has been doing since
mid-2016, bringing troops and equipment, missiles, into
the Baltic regions, Poland, Romania—and this is a very
important thing, Russians say, because it’s the memory of
World War II—that never since June 1941, when Hitler’s
armies crossed the border, has Western military power
been amassed on Russia’s western borders until now. And
it’s true.

Stop and think what that means for Russians when they
see all this Western power amassing. Ordinary artillery
can now hit St. Petersburg. You don’t even need missiles.
It’s a few hundred kilometers away. So if you worry about
kicking over tombstones and loosing ancient demons on
the land again—and it’s not NATO. After all, Washington
runs NATO; Washington is the boss of NATO. We go
through the pretense that all the other countries have a
vote, but it’s an American-controlled organization, the
commander of NATO is always an American general. So
this has been Washington’s bipartisan policy. Nothing
could be more unwise.



DB: In a recent speech, kind of a state of the union address,
Putin said, “Russia is not seeking conflict with anyone.
Unlike some foreign colleagues who see Russia as the
enemy, we do not seek and never sought enemies. We need
friends.” And then he added, “But we will not permit
harm to our interests.” How much of that is political
boilerplate and how much of it is core belief?


SC: The New York Times and the Washington Post, which
have misreported Russia, along with the cable networks,
for years now, expressed astonishment that he said that.
Which tells us something very important: They never read
or listen to what Putin says. You can tell by the coverage.
And Putin talks a lot, and everything he says is in English
at kremlin.ru, in pretty good English, within hours—
everything he says, full speeches, short interviews. Unlike
the correspondents in the Cold War period, who were
desperate for information and parsed every word the
Soviet leaders said, these people don’t read Putin at all.

The evidence is, he’s been saying exactly that, that we
want to partner with the West but we want to be treated as
an equal and we’re going to defend our national interests,
since the day he became president of Russia 17 years ago.

But this demonization of Putin, which is an entirely new
institution, has created a mindset, from John McCain to
the editorial pages of the Washington Post and The New
York Times, that they know what Putin must have said
because they know he says only bad and evil things about
the West.

In fact, the axiom now is that Putin has pursued an
anti-American, anti-Western foreign policy. This simply
isn’t factually true. From day one Putin sought to achieve
with Washington the real partnership that Yeltsin wanted
but got from Clinton a pretend partnership, that is, the
partnership of a supplicant nation. Putin has been very
consistent. His favorite speeches are collected in a book,
and it’s all there. It’s one of the major themes. To this day
Putin has a habit that aggravates hardliners in Moscow. He
continues to refer to “our American partners” and “our
British partners.” They say, “Why do you call them
partners? They’re our enemies. They’re trying to
undermine us everywhere.” Because that’s his mindset,
that partnership is the basis.

...

But people here who are supposed to study Russia—
and I’m not so sure even about some of my scholarly
colleagues, how much they read him—don’t read him.
They seem not to. Because you will hear a report on a
speech he gave and you will go to yourself, Oh, my God,
did he really say that? Is he that aggressive? Then you
read it, and he said nothing of the sort. All he said was,
We really want to be equal partners, but if you mess
around with us, we’ll push back. And the only thing that
makes the newspapers is, We’re pushing back.



DB: Part of that demonization you mentioned, some of the
media, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the
cable networks—The Economist has a cover story,
“Putinism,” with a very scary photograph of Putin with
MiG-25 jets in his eyes in blazing red, and then describes
Russia as a “rotten state” and asks the question, “How to
contain Vladimir Putin’s deadly dysfunctional empire?”

SC: We’ve got a problem here, which we ought to talk about a
little bit. What happens if a person of any public
prominence or with a public record of commentary and
any credentials says that what you just read from The
Economist simply is not true, it’s a falsification of reality,
what does it mean, “rotten”? Russia has rebounded, even
under the sanctions. Inflation is down under 7%. I think
they made a mistake making inflation the primary target.

I’m more of a Keynesian, FDR fight-depression man. But
the World Bank, the IMF say Russia will begin to grow
again probably at about 1.5% in 2017. So they’ve
rebounded even as the sanctions remain in place. So I
don’t know what the word “rotten” means. It just means
they don’t like him. But if you say that and it’s heard in
the mainstream, in this neo-McCarthyism that’s been
unfolding in this country for two or three years and
peaking now in the aftermath of the presidential election,
you will immediately be labelled a Putin puppet, a Putin
apologist. It’s very hard to get the counternarrative into
the mainstream.

Richard Sakwa, who is a very eminent British scholar,
and not pro-Russian by any means, summed it up. All the
problems we have with Russia today we created ourselves.




It's about 35 pages of interview; making selections...more on Ukraine in subsequent post(s)...


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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Elvis » Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:38 am

Continuing with excerpts from:

STEPHEN COHEN
Reheating the Cold War
Interviewed by David Barsamian

New York, NY 3 December 2016

Stephen Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NYU and Princeton. He is a Nation contributing editor and author of many books including Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.


SC: The standard description of Putin in the mass media—and
it’s not just the Times and the Post, it’s particularly
entrenched in the so-called progressive-left broadcast
outlets, like MSNBC, which is just flamingly a Cold War,
Putin-demonizing operation—is that Putin is an aggressor
,
he’s pursued an aggressive foreign policy. So the word
“aggressive” is standardized. Though it’s meant to be
descriptive, it’s also analytical and prescriptive, because if
you’re an aggressor, I’ve got to do something about you.

That’s where you get the analogies with Hitler and all the
rest.

In reality, if you were to sit down and in either a
scholarly or an attentive way the study Putin’s foreign
policy since he came to power, it is fairly clear that he has
been primarily reactive, not proactive, that is, not an
aggressor but a reactor. In fact, the main complaint about
him among hardliners in Moscow is that, to adapt an
expression your listeners will know, Putin leads from
behind. He’s not out front on the dangers that lurk. I don’t
know if “hardline” is the right word, but the more hardline
Russian analysts and elite say to him, Look, the
Americans are doing this and doing that, they’re going to
screw you, and you run around calling them partners and
making nice with anybody who will talk to you. And then
the next thing you know, they’re at our doorstep. Look
what happened in Ukraine. They provoked that, and now
they say you provoked that. They want Putin to be more
aggressive, this lobby in Moscow, just like McCain wants
Obama or Trump to be more aggressive. But Putin, if you
look at him, has been a reactor.


Remember what was going on just before the
Ukrainian crisis. The Ukrainian crisis had been cooking
for a decade. We, the U.S., and our agents—the Soros
Foundation is
[and?] the National Endowment on Democracy—
have been very, very busy in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland
told Congress we had spent $5 billion building democracy
there before the crisis. Probably it was more like $50
billion
, because not all that money flows through budgets.

What does it mean, “build democracy”? It means to create
a country aligned with us, because there’s probably less
democracy in Ukraine today, in 2017, than there was
when they overthrew Yanukovych in February 2014.

So remember how it happened. In the months and days
leading up to the Ukrainian crisis, what was Putin doing?
He was presiding over an enormously successful Sochi
Olympics, which the U.S. did everything short of outright
sabotage to make turn out badly. We boycotted it. We
warned that Chechen or Dagestani terrorists were not far
from Sochi, it wouldn’t be safe. There was some attempt
to keep families from going, that they wouldn’t be safe.

But Putin—and when I say Putin, it’s not Vladimir Putin
alone, it’s the leadership team he created—one way or
another created an enormous successful Sochi Olympics,
now called into question by these doping charges, which
are themselves a kind of—what’s the old expression?—
the kettle calling the pot black or whatever it is. We’re the
leading dopers in the world, only we get a letter from our
doctor saying it’s okay. We’ve learned that recently, by
the way.

But why would a guy who had gone to all this effort,
$50 billion worth, to put on a Olympics in a climate where
it shouldn’t have really been and built all that
infrastructure—roads and railways and arenas and
hotels—and demonstrated that Russia was a worthy
member of Western civilization, the next day wake up and
say, I think I’ll invade Ukraine? This is the story: That he
went off and invaded Ukraine. He didn’t.
He reacted to
what was going on in Ukraine, which was very much a
Western encroachment. And it wasn’t just a benign
economic partnership. It was part of the whole long-term
effort to bring Ukraine into NATO. The documents are
there to be read. And he reacted.

We could argue that he reacted unwisely. You might
say he overreacted. For example, Crimea. Was it
necessary to annex Crimea or, as Russians say, reunite
with Crimea so quickly? What was wrong with waiting?
Crimea’s status would have been a terrific diplomatic chip
to play with the U.S. and the new regime in Kiev. Look, if
you want X, Y, and Z, including Crimea in Ukraine,
you’re going to have to make concessions and guarantees
to us. Undoubtedly we know that was debated in the
Kremlin. There was a debate about Crimea. But we also
know that Putin was given intelligence information that
gravely worried him, that there was going to be a march
on the Russian historical and strategic naval base on the
Crimean peninsula. So he was presented with a scenario
by his intelligence people that there was grave danger.

People say, Putin is a former KGB guy. I say, good,
good. Because he knows how to evaluate intelligence. He
knows when he’s hearing bullshit from his people. You
remember what Eisenhower told Khrushchev when they
first met? Khrushchev said to him, My generals always
come to me and say we’ve got to build weapons because
you’re building weapons. And Eisenhower said, You
know, I’m going to tell you. I’m a general, and I tell them
to screw themselves because I know exactly what’s going
on. But you’re at a disadvantage, and I suggest you do
what I do, push back. But Putin, the fact that he’s
intelligent and he can read intelligence, he knows false
information from authentic information is a good thing in
this era, I think. But there was a debate. We could argue
that he overreacted; you can make a case. But he was
reacting.

How can you say, after the stunt we pulled in Kiev,
overthrowing a government or abetting the overthrow of a
legally elected leader—and it was recognized that the
Ukrainian election of Yanukovych had been fair—and
bringing an unelected regime to power, that they wouldn’t
react?
They didn’t even impeach Yanukovych. They just
frightened him to death. He thought he was going to suffer
Allende’s fate and he ran. Taking Ukraine over,
recognizing the new government immediately, bringing
these guys to Washington, with McCain and the others in
the streets egging them on, did we think Russia wouldn’t
react? Why is that Russian aggression?

Politics is probably 85% perception. If you were sitting
in Moscow, how would you see this, right on your
borders, as anything other than an aggressive act? So you
react. So the whole theme that Putin has been an
aggressor, if you say, “No, if you study it like a scholar,
he’s a reactor, he reacted to this, he reacted to that,” then
they say to you, “You’re a Putin apologist.”


It’s not about apologizing for anybody. It’s trying to
interpret history, in this case, for the sake of American
national security. Because if we keep getting it wrong,
there is going to be war for the first time with nuclear
Russia. We are closer to war with Russia than at any time
since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Just how dangerous
this is, there is something unprecedented. In the new Cold
War, by whatever name, there are now three fronts that are
fraught with war with Russia: the Baltic region where
we’re building up, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland,
Romania, right on his Russia’s borders a build up;
Ukraine, which remains the political epicenter of the new
Cold War; and Syria, where American and Russian planes
are flying. I don’t recall during the 40-year Cold War
there ever being a case where there were so many fronts
where hot war was truly possible. This is exceedingly
dangerous, and therefore we’ve got to get the story of how
we got here right.

We now are living through a moment when
absolutely—I wouldn’t say from the right, but from the
center and liberals and all the media they control,
including The New York Times, the Washington Post, the
cable stations, except Fox, which is so confused about
Trump that it doesn’t know what it thinks about anything,
but CNN and MSNBC and NPR and PBS, the answer is,
All this came about because Putin is an aggressor. We
played no role in this. So if we did nothing wrong in the
last 25 years, there’s no reason for us to rethink anything
or change our policy. That is the bipartisan position.


Analytically and historically, it’s not only incorrect,
it’s very dangerous.
By the way, that’s one reason why
Trump so agitated these people, because he basically said,
I don’t believe anything these people have said for 25
years and I know more than the generals and I know more
than the foreign policy types, which he might. Since
they’ve gotten everything wrong, maybe he does know
something. I don’t know. They are clinging to this
orthodoxy of 25 years, particularly of the last 16 years,
and especially of the last three or four years, that it’s all
Putin’s fault. And if it’s all Putin’s fault, there is no need
to discuss anything, no need for diplomacy. That is, by the
way, the position that Obama, who will leave office as one
of the worst Cold War presidents we’ve had, took. Why,
I’m not sure, but he took it.



So what set off this civil war? The NATO Eastern
countries—Poland and others—came up with this idea—
first of all, they tried to get Ukraine and Georgia into
NATO in 2008, and it was vetoed by Germany and
France. But the idea of bringing Ukraine into NATO was
never given up, including in Washington. So they devised
this thing called the Eastern Partnership
, where they
would offer these benign civilizational, economic
partnerships to these former republics of the Soviet Union.
But it wasn’t really membership but it really was a road to
membership but it was just the hand of friendship.

If you look carefully at the Economic Partnership
agreement, 1,000 pages, offered to Kiev by the European
Union in 2013, which the president rejected because he
figured out it would cost the country $80 billion—the EU
wasn’t giving anything except austerity
, and if you’re up
for reelection in a year, that’s not exactly the gambit
you’re going to pursue—there was a section called
Military and Security Issues in there. It said that anybody
who signed the Eastern Partnership agreement had to
abide by the EU’s military and security principles, and
that was NATO. So it was lawyers’ small language, but
the Russians have lawyers, too, and they saw it.
It meant
that if Ukraine signed this, Ukraine would be obliged to
side with or conform to NATO.

When Yanukovych didn’t refuse to sign it but just said
he wanted some more time to think about it, these protests
broke out, and by February he was gone. His electoral
base had been in eastern Ukraine, not only Donbass but
eastern Ukraine, all the way to Odessa and Crimea. So
they thought he was their president. We say he was a
corrupt bad guy. They’re all corrupt in Ukraine. You want
to argue whether Poroshenko is more corrupt than
Yanukovych? It’s how many angels on the head of a pin?

These people felt that their president, their representation,
had been illegally overthrown.
When the government said
they were going to abolish the status of Russian as a
language—they backed off from that but it was already
too much even to pass it briefly—it precipitated resistance
there. Since then we’ve said that the Donbass rebels were
Putin’s puppets; in other words, they have no agency, no
autonomy. But this is a slur on a people who felt
aggrieved by events that we had helped to provoke.



We’ve been through this before, in Ireland, in many
other countries. In the end, it’s the only way to end a civil
war—decentralization or federalization or degrees of
home rule. But Kiev has never taken these first steps.
In
fact, according to Minsk, Kiev had to establish formal,
direct diplomatic negotiations with the leaders of the rebel
provinces. Kiev has refused to do that. They may meet
somewhere behind closed doors. Why has Kiev refused to
do that? Because Poroshenko is a candy maker, not a war
maker. He’s a looting oligarch. He’s not interested in war.
But the ultra-right, a significant part of it, flagrantly neo-
Nazi, has armed battalions. We’ve given them weapons.

Representative Conyers tried to push through a resolution
banning any American military aid to neo-Nazi battalions
such as the Azov battalion. It was defeated. I don’t know
how all the Jews in Congress can happily go along with
this or how the traditionally Jewish New York Times sees
fit not to report on the neo-Nazi factor in Ukraine, but
they’ve just deleted it. But Poroshenko has been told by
the ultra-right that if he gives Donbass any home rule,
they will hang him. They aren’t kidding. They’ve showed
up with 3,000 people occasionally outside the presidential
palace to wave their fists, and they commit violence
around the country. And he’s not enough of a leader to
figure out how to deal with this. So they’re frozen.
People say it’s Putin. In fact, it’s now said that we’ll
end the sanctions on Russia when Putin implements the
Minsk Accords. But Putin is not blocking the Minsk
Accords. It’s Ukraine.



Another thing that Russia has gotten no credit for,
because they’re blamed for it, is we’re now fixed on the
terrible refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East, not
only Syria but Libya and the rest. Refugees have become
the great victims of our age. But what about the refugees
from the Ukrainian civil war, which we abetted? Millions
went to Russia
, naturally. It was close by, they had family
there, they spoke the language. But it was a terrible burden
on Russia, which was under budgetary strains because of
the sanctions and the halving of oil prices anyway. I don’t
see a single story in The New York Times or the
Washington Post about this
, though they’ve got about the
eight correspondents there and it would be a very good
story, to go and spend a couple of weeks seeking how
Russia has helped. But most of the refugees have been
humanely, I can’t say happily for individuals, but
humanely resettled. Russia does do one thing: They try to
encourage them to go underpopulated cities, where
working-age people are needed, but they don’t force them.



There's a section on "What prompted the Russian intervention in Syria" I'll skip for now.

On Putin's popularity:
[...] no matter how much you mock
it, Putin is enormously popular among the people. He’s
popular for a very simple reason; it’s not complicated.
When he came to power, people were dying and Russia
was disintegrating. And then it wasn’t. I have heard Putin
repeatedly referred to by rank-and-file Russians but also
by members of the elite as Vladimir Spasito, Vladimir the
Savior, for the fact that he wasn’t Yeltsin and he stopped
the disintegration that occurred under Yeltsin.



On the anti-Putin hysteria, a dangerous trend feeding war fever even among liberal/progressive Americans (pertinent in another thread I can't find just now):


DB: You’ve had your own issues with the media.

SC: What happened to me is not important, but there was a
time when I had fairly easy access to the mainstream
media. I contributed fairly regularly to The New York
Times op-ed page, I was actually the paid consultant for, I
think, 18 years to CBS News. I was not supposed to go on
other networks, but they let me go on PBS. Somebody told
me I was once one of the most frequent guests on Charlie
Rose. I was on The News Hour occasionally. I was able to
speak on these forums, and reached a lot of people.

Beginning a little earlier—I think it goes back to the
1990s—I opposed the media and Washington embrace of
Yeltsin and what was going on in Russia. In 2014 I,
almost alone among people with some mainstream
credentials, Princeton and all the rest, began to say our
version of the Ukrainian crisis was only half the story, that
the Russians had a story that we had to hear. And a torrent
of abuse came and lasted for about two years from a lot of
mainstream places, including The New Republic, that I
was Putin’s best American friend, I think one article called
me “Putin’s toady,” Putin’s apologist, Putin’s client,
Putin’s agent.
It greatly upset my family, but I kind of just
grimaced and went on. But it really was intense. I have a
carton full of these clips.

What happened was that they sort of lost interest in me
along the way, began to identify other threats to their
hegemony, and then unleashed it on Trump. A Nobel
Prize winner and former Princeton professor, Paul
Krugman, calls Trump something like the “Manchurian
Candidate.” You expect this from Anne Applebaum in the
Washington Post. That’s where she operates. But Paul
Krugman? Where is the dignity of your position, of your
reputation? He’s kept churning it out. And it’s not only
him. And it’s all coming from liberals. It interests me that
the language they unrolled against Trump was almost
identical to the language they used against me. But it
wasn’t just me alone. There was a group of us. They even
charged Kissinger with being a Putin apologist at one
time. They were in a complete panic in 2014, and it was
coming almost exclusively from the so-called progressive liberal
wing of the spectrum.



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transcripts of this or other programs, please contact:

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Hillary Clinton is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:48 am

:)

Henry Kissinger Says Donald Trump Is Right about Russia
Stephen Gandel
Updated: 11:50 AM CST
Henry Kissinger is OK with Donald Trump's bromance with Valdmir Putin. In fact, he said he hopes the two leaders get even closer.
Speaking via live stream at the World Economic Form in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, shortly before Trump's Inauguration, Kissinger said that he agrees with Trump's "general attitude" toward Russia. The former Secretary of State said America needed to be less confrontational with Russia, and that that should be a major priority for Trump.
"I hope that an effort will be made for a serious dialogue which tries to avoid the drift towards confrontation and in which Europe, America and Russia come to some agreement about the limits within which military pressure is carried out," Kissinger outlined.
Kissinger also took a jab at outgoing President Obama, saying that the he had withdrawn from areas of the world that he shouldn't have.
At one point, Kissinger said that Russia's leader Putin has "secured equilibrium in the world."
Cambridge Analytica gained access to some 30 million Facebook accounts without users’ consent, along with private voting records
FSBook/Twitter + hacked voter registries + SVB/Alfa/Trump servers = conspiracy

a data point for the record
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Nordic » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:25 am

https://www.rt.com/news/371152-trump-el ... kusturica/


Trump’s election saved world from great war –

Published time: 21 Dec, 2016 15:49
Edited time: 22 Dec, 2016 15:59

Donald Trump’s win in the US election allowed the world to avoid a massive conflict, which would have erupted if Hillary Clinton had become president, renowned Serbian movie director Emir Kusturica said.
“If Madame Clinton had been elected, there would’ve been a great war, but now, with Trump, I think that it won’t happen,” Kusturica told journalists in Moscow on Wednesday, as cited by TASS.


Smart guy.
"He who wounds the ecosphere literally wounds God" -- Philip K. Dick
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Sounder » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:55 am

Thanks Elvis for this extended cut and paste. Finally, something with content, context and substance.

It is refreshing to read material from an academic scholar that one can get behind 100%. It almost restores faith in brain power. Unfortunately it seem easy to ignore given the far greater volume of 'Putin is aggressive' narrative. As Steven Cohen wrote, aggression requires a response. Yet another opportunity to impose western exceptionalism on those 'regressive' expressions of nationalism.

Hard leftists may never see that the build a better world bleating about the shortcomings of 'leadership' in certain countries is western exceptionalism, racism, plain and simple.

Go ahead Luther, tilt your head a bit and look at this thing with your jaundiced eye.

Remember what was going on just before the
Ukrainian crisis. The Ukrainian crisis had been cooking
for a decade. We, the U.S., and our agents—the Soros
Foundation is [and?] the National Endowment on Democracy—
have been very, very busy in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland
told Congress we had spent $5 billion building democracy
there before the crisis. Probably it was more like $50
billion, because not all that money flows through budgets.
All these things will continue as long as coercion remains a central element of our mentality.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:15 pm

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/19/so-much ... e-buildup/

Noting for the record the vastly different approach to defence maintenence and procurement and the relative ROI differential between the two systems. Suggests one is on the way up and the other is at least not moving up as rapidly a before
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