Editor’s Note: The U.S./NATO never see their actions as aggressive or confrontational. Actions are always taken in the name of “defence” because they’re the “good guys”. Either they’re so wrapped up in their own moral crusade to “bring democracy to the world” (which is quite clearly bullshit when you look at history), or they wilfully refuse to see how the other side might perceive their actions because it’s to their advantage not to.
- Russia at the gates? US State Dept, Pentagon grilled over NATO expansion
- EU-Kiev Integration Possible if Ukraine Remains NATO-Free
- US and Europe at odds over NATO expansion to Ukraine, Georgia
- John J. Mearsheimer: Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault
- NATO to create high-readiness force to counter Russian threat
- NATO Expansion Plan Raises Specter of Iron Curtain
- NATO Considers Missle Defense Shield Directed Against Russia
- Lavrov: NATO’s planned Balkan expansion a ‘provocation’
- US, Europe at odds over NATO expansion
- The Berlin Wall and Missed Opportunities
- Ukraine Crisis Reminds Americans Why NATO Should Not Expand
- NATO Official: Russia now an adversary, no longer a partner
- NATO chief to allies: Spend more on defence to deter Russia
- How America Lost Vladimir Putin: A Rupture 14 Years In The Making
- Map: NATO Expansion 1990 to 2009
- Putin says annexation of Crimea a reaction to NATO expansion, US missile defence plans
‘Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, has now formed his own political party, but whether or not he will control a majority of Parliament is now in doubt. As Stephen Cohen explained on The John Batchelor Show, “For Poroshenko everything, everything—the war, the political future of Ukraine, his own future, and the billions of dollars that the West is promising Ukraine to build and restructure—hinges to some degree on these parliamentary elections and whether he can build in Kiev a workable majority. He certainly doesn’t have it now.”’
‘As the U.S. expands its air bombardment of Iraq and Syria, Tuesday marks another milestone for a nation at war: the 13th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, the longest officially recognized war in U.S. history.
“One of the dangers around the ongoing war in Afghanistan is that people have wanted it to end for years, so it’s as though we wished it away some time ago,” Peter Lems, Program Officer at the American Friends Service Committee, told Common Dreams. “Yet it hasn’t gone away. I think the real challenge is to acknowledge the true cost of this war.”
[...] The anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion comes just a week after the U.S. and Afghanistan signed the Bilateral Security Agreement, which paves the way for at least another decade of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The provisions of the pact include: ongoing U.S. training, funding, and arming of the Afghan military; an extension of immunity to U.S. service members under Afghan law, and a green-light to keep thousands of U.S. troops beyond what President Obama calls the “end of the U.S. combat mission” at the conclusion of 2014. Furthermore, NATO’s status of forces agreement, also signed last month, grants similar privileges to thousands of foreign troops now slated to remain in Afghanistan past the end of this year.’
‘A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB.
Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway or at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, the star of the show today and tomorrow is the new Osama bin Laden: Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive, self-appointed beheading prophet of a new mini-state and movement that has provided an acronym feast—ISIS/ISIL/IS—for hysterics in Washington and elsewhere.
No matter how often Washington remixes its “Global War on Terror,” however, the tectonic plates of Eurasian geopolitics continue to shift, and they’re not going to stop just because American elites refuse to accept that their historically brief “unipolar moment” is on the wane. For them, the closing of the era of “full-spectrum dominance,” as the Pentagon likes to call it, is inconceivable. After all, the necessity for the indispensable nation to control all space—military, economic, cultural, cyber and outer—is little short of a religious doctrine. Exceptionalist missionaries don’t do equality. At best, they do “coalitions of the willing” like the one crammed with “over 40 countries” assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL/IS and either applauding (and plotting) from the sidelines or sending the odd plane or two toward Iraq or Syria.
NATO, which unlike some of its members won’t officially fight Jihadistan, remains a top-down outfit controlled by Washington. It’s never fully bothered to take in the European Union (EU) or considered allowing Russia to “feel” European. As for the Caliph, he’s just a minor diversion. A postmodern cynic might even contend that he was an emissary sent onto the global playing field by China and Russia to take the eye of the planet’s hyperpower off the ball.’
- Robert Kaplan: In Defense of Empire
- The Chinese Dream
- Chinese President Op-Ed: Towards an Asian century of prosperity
- PM Modi leads India to the Silk Road
- What draws Modi to China
- Putin breaks ground on Russia-China gas pipeline, world’s biggest
- 6 Pillars of the Chinese Russian Strategic Partnership
- Russia’s Gazprom Neft to Sell Oil for Rubles, Yuan
- SCO’s adding new members ‘need of the hour’
- Marching Westwards: The Rebalancing of China’s Geostrategy
- India and Japan must propel the Eurasian juggernaut
- Understanding German-Russian Trade Relations
- Germany’s most important trading partners 2013
- Merkel: Ukraine can go to Eurasian Union
- Angela Merkel in China
‘New NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the Western alliance could deploy its forces wherever it wants, apparently calling into question post-Cold War agreements that have been shaken by Russia’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
[...] “Next year, at the ministerial meeting, we will take decisions regarding the so-called spearhead but, even before it is established, NATO has a strong army after all. We can deploy it wherever we want to,” Stoltenberg told the state broadcaster TVP Info.
“These capabilities already exist. We have them, and we can deploy them in individual regions. And this is only an add-on to what the alliance already has.”‘
- New NATO Chief: We Can Put Troops Wherever We Want
- Time to reverse defence spending cuts, says NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg
- New NATO Chief Open to Russian Rapprochement
- New NATO chief says “Russia must change”
- Profile: Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
- NATO appoints anti-war protester as next secretary general
- Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg (another Bilderberger) appointed as new NATO chief
‘The new chief, former Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg, says he believes there is no reason that NATO should consider its own strength a contradiction to a positive relationship with Russia.
How accepting the NATO hawks will be to Stoltenberg, who in his youth was an anti-NATO protester, at a time when many of them, the US in particular, are looking to ratchet up their hostility toward Russia.’
‘The secret story of how the outgoing head of the most powerful military alliance landed his job “has everything,” according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“It has the Kurds. It has the destruction of an entire TV station. Corrupt deals between intelligence agencies and the judiciary. The corruption of a Scandinavian country, Denmark. And the head of that country, the prime minister, doing a corrupt deal to get his job,” Assange told teleSUR English in an exclusive interview.
Continuing, Assange lamented the “whole thing, signed off, explicitly by Barack Obama.”
The story with “everything” is now a pending case before the European Court of Human Rights, but it begins two years ago, with the prosecution of a Kurdish language television station in Denmark.’
‘In television interviews, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was time to repeat the “reset”, a word Washington used to describe an attempt to mend ties early in Obama’s presidency.
But he also lashed out at NATO’s “Cold War mentality”, criticised Washington for excluding Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad from its campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria, and said Washington “can no longer act as the prosecutor, the judge, and the executioner in every part of the world”.
“We are absolutely interested in bringing the ties to normal but it was not us who destroyed them. Now they require what the American would probably call a ‘reset’,” Lavrov said, according to a transcript of one interview on his ministry’s website.’
‘[...] The charade in Kabul goes by the name of “power-sharing agreement.” You got an election problem? Call John Kerry. That’s right; this “agreement” was brokered by none other than the US Secretary of State, who shoved the embarrassing issue of a tainted democratic election under an Afghan carpet.
It came to the point that a UN representative, Jan Kubish, virtually ordered the Afghan electoral commission not to release vote numbers. And this is while the UN itself had been monitoring an audit and a recount of approximately 8 million votes. The predictable “senior US officials” spun that the vote result was “transparent.” But still, no numbers.
So now we have – essentially appointed by Washington – former Finance Minister and World Bank official Ashraf Ghani as President, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as “Chief Executive”, a new post. And this after Abdullah insistently claimed the vote results were no less than a monster fraud. US“Think Tank-land,” unfazed, has called it a “temporary fix.”
Now for the all-important breakdown: NATO top honcho Gen. Philip Breedlove said Saturday in Lithuania that both “power-sharers” swore on their lives they will “quickly” sign a security agreement with Washington. This agreement was brokered, once again, by Kerry and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in late 2013 – and approved by Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga. Karzai though had refused to sign.
Short translation: at least 10,000 American troops – mostly Special Forces – will remain deployed in Afghanistan in Enduring Freedom Forever mode. This is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by any other name. So the occupation continues. Not only with US troops, but also with NATO starting a “training mission”in January 2015 called Resolute Support.
Watch out for major, certified blowback. It’s a no-brainer the Taliban will keep showing Resolute Support to kick NATO and the US’s collective behind. But that’s great. That’s exactly what the never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terror) is all about.’
Editor’s Note: Stephen Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of ‘Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War‘. You can find more interviews and articles by Professor Cohen here.
Editor’s Note: Katrina Vanden Heuvel has been editor of The Nation since 1995, she also partly owns the magazine. Her latest article for the Washington Post is linked below the interview. She is also married to Professor Stephen Cohen, whose articles and interviews have been regularly posted here during the Ukraine crisis as it has unfolded.
‘NATO is only obliged to collectively defend its own member states against attack from outside. Many European politicians must currently be secretly relieved by the existence of the principle. If Ukraine were a member of NATO, the annexation of Crimea in March would have plunged the Western alliance into an immediate military confrontation with Russia.
Yet only a few years ago, there was serious discussion about inviting Ukraine and Georgia to join the alliance. At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, the United States, under President George W. Bush, campaigned vehemently in favor. However, several European states – including Germany – had misgivings, because even then they were concerned about the possibility of serious tensions with Russia.
Today, Berlin is more convinced of this than ever.’
- Hagel Vows Increased Military Aid to Georgia
- Gorbachev: West should stop dragging Ukraine into NATO
- NATO Plans ‘Joint Military Exercises’ in War-Torn Ukraine
- Former US Ambassador to Moscow: To Resolve Ukraine Crisis, Address Internal Divisions & Russian Fears of NATO
- A third of Germans fear NATO-Russia war over Ukraine, poll finds
- NATO chief Rasmussen: Ukraine free to seek membership
- NATO will not offer Georgia membership step, avoiding Russia clash
- In February US Urged Georgia to Align With EU, NATO
- Will Twisted History of Georgian War Facilitate a Repetition?
- Rasmussen in 2013: NATO won’t extend membership to Ukraine, Georgia
‘George Osborne has refused to commit to an increase in defence spending after the general election and challenged claims that next year it will fall below 2% of GDP, the guideline figure agreed at the Nato summit on Friday.
The independent thinktank Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) has claimed spending will fall to 1.8%, but on Sunday Osborne said he did not accept that assessment, saying: “I think we need to continue to meet the 2% commitment,” adding that as chancellor he will always put Britain’s security needs first. Osborne was speaking after promising he will do whatever it takes to defeat Islamic State (Isis).’
‘[Ex-Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachev writes that in his view the Ukrainian conflict can only be settled through dialogue, both inside the country and at an international level. He points out that leading nations were largely to blame for the current dire situation, as from the very beginning they were testing Ukraine’s integrity. EU countries, and first of all Germany and France, have already understood this and are taking steps to de-escalate the crisis, which is a good thing, the ex-president says.
Gorbachev also emphasized that good relations with Russia must become a priority in Ukraine’s foreign policy and this should also be understood and accepted by Western nations. Leaders of these nations should stop dragging Ukraine into NATO because these attempts would result in nothing but strife between Ukraine and Russia.’
‘Whenever NATO gets together, as they did at last week’s summit, you can count on a push for military spending increases. NATO’s official targets is 2% of every member nation’s GDP in military spending, and almost no nation is spending that much.
And there’s no need, according to German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who instead of letting the NATO push go in one ear and out the other insisted publicly that there was no reason for her nation to so dramatically increase its military budget.’
‘Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel today promised more US military aid to Georgia, during a visit to the Caucasus republic, insisting the aid was part of a response to Russia’s “long-term challenge” to the US.
Georgia has been keen to cash in on the ongoing eastern Ukrainian war, which the US is blaming Russia for, and trying to present it as somehow related to the brief 2008 Russo-Georgian War.’
Editor’s Note: Of all the fearmongering coming from the ‘no’ campaign, this has to be my favourite piece. THE RUSSIAN’S ARE COMING! Desperate.
‘If Scotland votes “Yes” on independence, it will begin a long process of creating its own naval defence force, a process that could leave its coastline at risk. The Royal United Services Institute, a British military think tank, said last week that Scottish independence would trigger a national debate over the U.K.’s nuclear weapons if the submarines carrying the Trident missile system were relocated to the south coast of Britain, away from the fleet’s current base in Scotland. The relocation could add £3.5 billion to the cost of maintaining the U.K.’s armed forces.
But there are larger concerns over the future of Scotland’s naval defenses. While Scottish independence would indeed spark a debate on Britain’s nuclear future, as well as kickstarting a costly process to relocate the submarine fleet, some experts caution that Scottish independence could leave it vulnerable to naval threats.
Put simply, the Russians sail their submarines into Scottish waters on a regular basis. Russian vessels approach Scottish waters about once or twice a year, close enough to require the Royal Navy to perform counter-maneuvers.
And Russia has a recent history of military adventurism, in the Ukraine. Although there is absolutely no reason for Russia to invade Scotland, the departure of Trident from Northern waters could — in theory — let the Russians do whatever they like up there.’
- Scottish independence: £500m needed to join Nato
- Joseph Stiglitz: I’ve been shocked by indy No camp’s use of fear and bluffs
- Britain’s Trident nuclear program at stake in Scottish independence vote
- Scottish independence could leave UK nuclear weapons homeless
- Obama Tells Scotland Not to Secede From Britain
- Huge North Sea oil find enough to produce for over thirty five years
- If Scotland Secedes, Who Gets Its Oil?
‘Previously planned annual NATO military exercises inside Ukraine were understandably delayed by a massive civil war breaking out in eastern Ukraine. NATO, apparently seeing it as a chance to stick it to Russia, is now saying they plan to hold the exercises later this month, even though the war is still going on [Ed: a ceasefire has now been enacted, whether it holds is another matter entirely].
Fortunately, the 10-day exercises will be taking place in western Ukraine, far from the actual warzone, and close to the border with Poland. 1,300 NATO troops, including 200 US combat troops,will be taking part.’
- Estonian Spy the Latest Flashpoint for a Potential NATO-Russia War
- NATO Approves 4,000-Man ‘Spearhead’ Force for Eastern Europe
- US, Russia announce war games in escalation of standoff
- Russian embassy trolls NATO with toy tanks
- Finns on Russian border wary of Nato ties
- US destroyer Ross enters Black Sea amid tensions
- France halts delivery of warship to Russia in protest at role in Ukraine
- Obama says all NATO members need to do fair share of defense spending
- Ex-British ambassador to Russia says West must learn lessons over Ukraine
- Former British Ambassador: NATO – An Idea Whose Time Has Gone
- NATO: The alliance that should have been dissolved
- Far from keeping the peace, NATO is a threat to it
- Poland Questions German No to More NATO Troops
- Russia ‘to alter military strategy towards Nato’
- Obama says NATO must help strengthen Ukraine’s military
- Breedlove: Size of NATO Response Force still up for debate
- Estonian foreign minister: ‘Permanent presence of NATO allies’
- Ukraine crisis: US senators urge arms ‘to fight Russia’
- Ukraine Seeks NATO Membership in Reply to Russian ‘Invasion’
- Russia in a ‘state of war’ with our continent, European leaders warn
- Finland Says Russian Airspace Breaches Are Intentional
Former US Ambassador to Moscow: To Resolve Ukraine Crisis, Address Internal Divisions & Russian Fears of NATO
‘Ukraine has retracted an earlier claim to have reached a ceasefire with Russia. The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko initially said he agreed with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on steps toward a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. But the Kremlin then denied a ceasefire agreement, saying it is in no position to make a deal because it is not a party to the fighting. Ukraine has accused Russia of direct involvement in the violence amidst a recent escalation. The confusion comes as President Obama visits the former Soviet republic of Estonia ahead of a major NATO summit in Wales. On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest outlined NATO’s plans to expand its presence in eastern Europe. Ukraine and NATO have accused Russia of sending armored columns of troops into Ukraine, but Russia has denied its troops are involved in fighting on the ground. We are joined by Jack Matlock, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.’ (Democracy Now!)
Ukraine Ceasefire Takes Hold, but an Expanding NATO Raises Threat of Nuclear War: Interview with Stephen Cohen
‘The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels are reportedly set to sign a ceasefire today aimed at ending over six months of fighting that has killed at least 2,600 people and displaced over a million. The deal is expected this morning in the Belarusian capital of Minsk as President Obama and European leaders meet in Wales for a major NATO summit. The ceasefire comes at a time when the Ukrainian military has suffered a number of defeats at the hands of the Russian-backed rebels. In the hours leading up to the reported ceasefire, pro-Russian rebels launched another offensive to take the port city of Mariupol, which stands about halfway between Russia and the Crimea region. The Ukrainian government and NATO have accused Russia of sending forces into Ukraine, a claim Moscow denies. The new developments in Ukraine come as NATO has announced plans to create a new rapid reaction force in response to the Ukraine crisis. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, and the author of numerous books on Russia and the Soviet Union.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Ukraine Ceasefire Signed, Calm Returns to East
- Status of rebel-held regions in Ukraine not discussed at Minsk talks
- Ukraine president says prisoners to be freed under ceasefire
- Rebel leader demands ‘proper guarantees’ in Ukraine ceasefire
- Many Ukrainians remain pessimistic even as peace talks loom
- Putin’s 7-step Ukraine peace roadmap
‘The Obama administration said Friday that it had formed a coalition of countries to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, unveiling a military and political campaign that officials said could eventually serve as a model for fighting extremist groups around the world.
In a hastily organized meeting on the outskirts of the NATO summit meeting, diplomats and military officials from the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark huddled on what they called a two-pronged strategy: working to bolster allies fighting on the ground in Iraq and Syria, while the United States, alone so far, bombs Sunni militants from the air, so long as they are in Iraq.’
- US Assembles ‘Coalition’ Against ISIS
- Tory MPs canvassed over support for air strikes in Iraq and Syria
- Britain likely to join in US airstrikes against Isil, says ex-Nato commander
- UK says not ruling out airstrikes against Islamic State
- France raises possibility of military action on Islamic State
- Australia considering ‘general request’ on military action in Iraq
- Obama’s leadership under scrutiny as world looks to US for response to ISIS
- Iraqi pilots train in USA to fly F-16s fighter jets and Apache helicopters
- Majority of Britons opposed to bombing Isis in Iraq and Syria
- Australia to fly guns and ammunition into Iraq
- Berlin won’t join any military action in Syria
‘NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that Ukraine’s political leaders expect a new parliament to abandon the country’s non-aligned status after an election next month in a possible prelude to an application to join NATO. Ukraine said on Friday it would seek the protection of NATO membership after what Kiev and its Western allies say is the open participation of the Russian military in the war in Ukraine’s eastern provinces.
Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich, who was toppled in a revolution this year, had pursued non-aligned status since he took power 2010 – a route taken by many developing countries not wishing to be linked with NATO or any major power bloc. If Ukraine scrapped its non-alliance status after the Oct. 26 vote, NATO would discuss with Kiev “how to move forward”, Rasmussen said, but he said it was too early to say how long it might take for Ukraine to join the U.S.-led alliance.’
‘A series of training flights by military helicopters and other aircraft ahead of the NATO summit startled residents in Newport and Cardiff on Monday. The elite US Marine Corps HMX-1 squadron, which provides air support to US Presidents, thundered over the cities, along with RAF Military helicopters and police air support.
Perhaps the most dramatic sight were the Osprey MV-22 aircraft, which can land and take off like a helicopter but then tilt their rotors to become conventional planes. The Ospreys, which visited both the Celtic Manor summit venue and Cardiff city centre, were accompanied by Sikorsky VH-60N helicopters, a VIP version of the US Blackhawk.’
‘Nato is to create a 4,000-strong “spearhead” high-readiness force that can be deployed rapidly in eastern Europe and the Baltic states to help protect member nations against potential Russian aggression, according to Nato officials. Leaders from the 28 Nato countries are expected to approve the plan at the alliance’s summit in Wales when the Ukraine crisis tops the agenda on Friday.
The Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the force, drawn on rotational basis from Nato allies, could be in action at “very, very short notice”. Rasmussen described it as a mixture of regular troops and special forces that could “travel light but strike hard”. It would be supported by air and naval forces as needed.’
- NATO Rapid-Reaction Force ‘Would Strike Hard if Needed’
- Britain to spearhead 10,000-strong Nato rapid reaction force
- Nato allies at odds over response to Russian aggression
- Summit will test NATO’s vision in wake of new threats
- NATO Set To Ratify Cyber-Defence Declaration
- Finland and Sweden to strengthen ties with Nato
‘According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
Putin’s pushback should have come as no surprise. After all, the West had been moving into Russia’s backyard and threatening its core strategic interests, a point Putin made emphatically and repeatedly. Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy.
But this grand scheme went awry in Ukraine. The crisis there shows that realpolitik remains relevant — and states that ignore it do so at their own peril. U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.’
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) recently published a memorandum for the attention of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, on the subject of Ukraine ahead of the NATO Summit this week:
‘We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.
You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.’
‘Most of us woke up this morning to news that the UK had raised its terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe.” Considering the competence and trustworthiness of the nation’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, there must be some specific threat they’re concerned about to justify instilling fear in a population of 65 million. Nope.
Although the new threat level rates the risk of an attack on the UK to “highly likely,” Home Secretary Theresa May stated that “there was no evidence to suggest one was imminent.” Well then.
It makes you wonder if the the change in threat level is being used in part to justify the extraordinary $80 million [£50 million] sum spent on building a fortress around the Newport and Cardiff city centers in Wales, which many are describing as “similar to the Berlin Wall,” or a “zoo,” in an unprecedented display of protection for many of the world’s most corrupt politicians.’
- ‘Open-air prison': Cardiff residents angered by NATO summit security fence
- Protestors mobilise for week-long protest against NATO summit in Wales
- Anti-NATO protesters flood the streets of Newport
- 9,500 police drafted in for Nato summit in Wales
- Seven warships will be anchored in Cardiff Bay
- Nato policing ‘uncharted territory’, head of operations says
- 38 schools to shut for Newport Nato summit in September
- Chic and awe: Nato invades luxury Newport hotel complex
- Royal Mint strikes ‘commemorative piece’ for NATO gathering in Wales
‘Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev believes Russia has not intervened in the events in southeastern Ukraine and is right in doing so. “If our country intervenes, there could be a fire that the whole world would be unable to put out. And it’s right that the politicians are holding to their position,” Gorbachev said on Rossiyskaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) on Saturday.
“Our proposal was to open passages and let people get out of all those entrapments. But no, someone is sitting in warm offices and intellectualizing. And at the same time – look what is happening to the people, to children and women. Maternity homes and schools are being shelled, hospitals are being destroyed. Two thousand people have been killed even according to official reports, and how many have been injured?” Gorbachev said.
He insisted that everything possible should be done to de-escalate the conflict. “Everything should be done so that the people stop killing each other. After all, this is one people. If states get involved, the scope grows, and everyone meddles there, we might see a horrible slaughter in Europe. But this can’t be allowed,” he said.’
‘The road to the Minsk summit this past Tuesday began to be paved when German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to ARD public TV after her brief visit to Kiev on Saturday. Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.” She added that “There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won’t be a military solution to this conflict.”
Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the EU would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals. She could not have been more explicit; “We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress”.
The short translation for all this is there won’t be a Nulandistan (after neo-con Victoria ‘F**k the EU’Nuland), remote-controlled by Washington, and fully financed by the EU. In the real world, what Germany says, the EU follows. Geopolitically, this also means a huge setback for Washington’s obsessive containment and encirclement of Russia, proceeding in parallel to the ‘pivot to Asia’ (containment and encirclement of China).’
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel: A Federal Solution for Ukraine
- Merkel: Ukraine can go to Eurasian Union
- Germany’s vice-chancellor backs ‘federalization’ in Ukraine
- Kremlin: Putin, Merkel discuss possible paths to Ukraine ceasefire
- Merkel Ukraine Role Mirrors Rising German Ambition
- Choose federalism to keep Ukraine together
‘A week before the September 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, a number of allies started to fear that the readiness action plan to increase the alliance’s military presence along Russia’s border would be provocative, a Center for Strategic and International Studies representative told RIA Novosti.
“The allies have already fully anticipated a very strong Russian reaction,” Director of the Europe Program at CSIS Heather Conley said Wednesday during an event on the upcoming NATO summit.
“I’m sure this is what has caused some hesitancy in our allies to put forward a more robust presence, because they are very fearful about provoking Russia,” she added.
France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have all expressed reluctance to back NATO’s new readiness strategy.’
- NATO Summit to Focus on Escalations Against Russia
- Rasmussen and Breedlove: A NATO for a Dangerous World
- General Shirreff: NATO is at a crossroads. Where does it go from here?
- The Economist: NATO’s summit Mr Putin’s wake-up call
- Hundreds join Nato protest march in Newport on Saturday
- Ukraine to seek NATO membership, says PM Yatsenyuk
- Seven NATO allies to create new rapid reaction force
- NATO Plans More Visible Presence in Eastern Europe
- Rasmussen urges Canada to boost defence spending
- Russia vows to strengthen navy to ward off NATO
- James Corbett: NATO is the Greatest Threat to Peace on the Planet
- WSJ Editors: The Russian Threat to NATO
- The Russia Aggression Act: Senate Bill Preps for War with Russia
- UK PM Calls for Allies to ‘Overcome the Remaining Stumbling Blocks’ Before NATO Summit
- German fighter jets unable to fly and mechanics forced to borrow spare parts, claims magazine
- Ex-German Defense Secretary: ‘Germans fed up with NATO allies & US wars’
- A third of Germans fear NATO-Russia war over Ukraine, poll finds
- German officer to serve as U.S. Army Europe’s chief of staff
- Poland Wants 10,000 NATO Troops to ‘Defend From Russia’