A LEMMING LEADING THE LEMMINGS: SLAVOJ ZIZEK AND THE TERMINAL COLLAPSE OF THE ANTI-WAR LEFT

JUNE 23RD, 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp?

It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers).

Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine.

NUCLEAR FACE-OFF

recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia.

Behind the scenes, he has been sounding out Western intelligence agencies in a bid to covertly deplatform and demonetize any independent journalists who still dare to wonder whether arming Ukraine to the hilt or recruiting it into NATO – even though it shares a border that Russia views as existentially important – might not be an entirely wise use of taxpayers’ money.

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It is not hard to imagine that Mason is representative of the wider thinking of establishment journalists, even those who claim to be on the left.

But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason. Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too.

The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment.

Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

COD PSYCHOLOGY

He starts, naturally enough, with a straw man: that those opposed to the West’s focus on arming Ukraine rather than using its considerable muscle to force Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table are in the wrong. Opposition to dragging out the war for as long as possible, however many Ukrainians and Russians die, with the aim of “weakening Russia”, as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants; and opposition to leaving millions of people in poorer parts of the world to be plunged deeper into poverty or to starve is equated by Zizek to “pacifism.”

“Those who cling to pacifism in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine remain caught in their own version of [John Lennon’s song] ‘Imagine’,” writes Zizek. But the only one dwelling in the world of the imaginary is Zizek and those who think like him.

The left’s mantra of “Stop the war!” can’t be reduced to kneejerk pacifism. It derives from a political and moral worldview. It opposes the militarism of competitive, resource-hungry nation-states. It opposes the war industries that not only destroy whole countries but risk global nuclear annihilation in advancing their interests. It opposes the profit motive for a war that has incentivised a global elite to continue investing in planet-wide rape and pillage rather than addressing a looming ecological catastrophe. All of that context is ignored in Zizek’s lengthy essay.

Instead, he prefers to take a detour into cod psychology, telling us that Russian president Vladimir Putin sees himself as Peter the Great. Putin will not be satisfied simply with regaining the parts of Ukraine that historically belonged to Russia and have always provided its navy with its only access to the Black Sea. No, the Russian president is hell-bent on global conquest. And Europe is next – or so Zizek argues.

Even if we naively take the rhetoric of embattled leaders at face value (remember those weapons of mass destruction Iraq’s Saddam Hussein supposedly had?), it is still a major stretch for Zizek to cite one speech by Putin as proof that the Russian leader wants his own version of the Third Reich.

Not least, we must address the glaring cognitive dissonance at the heart of the Western, NATO-inspired discourse on Ukraine, something Zizek refuses to do. How can Russia be so weak it has managed only to subdue small parts of Ukraine at great military cost, while it is at the same time a military superpower poised to take over the whole of Europe?

Zizek is horrified by Putin’s conceptual division of the world into those states that are sovereign and those that are colonized. Or as he quotes Putin observing: “Any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”

SOVEREIGN OR COLONIZED?

The famed philosopher reads this as proof that Russia wants as its colonies: “Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Finland, the Baltic states … and ultimately Europe itself”. But if he weren’t so blinded by NATO ideology, he might read Putin’s words in a quite different way. Isn’t Putin simply restating Washington realpolitik? The U.S., through NATO, is the real sovereign in Europe and is pushing its sovereignty ever closer to Russia’s borders.

Putin’s concern about Ukraine being colonized by the U.S. military-industrial complex is essentially the same as U.S. concerns in the 1960s about the Soviet Union filling Cuba with its nuclear missiles. Washington’s concern justified a confrontation that moved the world possibly the closest it has ever come to nuclear annihilation.

Both Russia and the U.S. are wedded to the idea of their own “spheres of influence”. It is just that the U.S. sphere now encircles the globe through many hundreds of overseas military bases. By contrast, the West cries to the heavens when Russia secures a single military base in Crimea.

We may not like the sentiments Putin is espousing, but they are not especially his. They are the reality of the framework of modern military power the West was intimately involved in creating. It was our centuries of colonialism – our greed and theft – that divided the world into the sovereign and the colonized. Putin is simply stating that Russia needs to act in ways that ensure it remains sovereign, rather than joining the colonized.

We may disagree with Putin’s perception of the threat posed by NATO, and the need to annex eastern Ukraine, but to pretend his speech means that he aims for world domination is nothing more than the regurgitation of a CIA talking point.

Zizek, of course, intersperses this silliness with more valid observations, like this one: “To insist on full sovereignty in the face of global warming is sheer madness since our very survival hinges on tight global cooperation.” Of course, it is madness. But why is this relevant to Putin and his supposed “imperial ambition”? Is there any major state on the planet – those in Europe, the United States, China, Brazil, Australia – that has avoided this madness, that is seeking genuine “tight global cooperation” to end the threat of climate breakdown.

No, our world is in the grip of terminal delusion, propelled ever closer to the precipice by capitalism’s requirement of endless economic growth on a finite planet. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing great ecological damage, but so are lots of other things – including NATO’s rationalization of ever-expanding military budgets.


UKRAINIAN HEROISM

But Zizek has the bit between his teeth. He now singles out Russia because it is maneuvering to exploit the consequences of global warming, such as new trade routes opened up by a thawing Arctic.

“Russia’s strategic plan is to profit from global warming: control the world’s main transport route, plus develop Siberia and control Ukraine,” he writes. “In this way, Russia will dominate so much food production that it will be able to blackmail the whole world.”

But what does he imagine? As we transform the world’s climate and its trade routes, as new parts of the world turn into deserts, as whole populations are forced to make migrations to different regions, does he think only Putin and Russia are jostling to avoid sinking below the rising sea waters. Does he presume the policy hawks in Washington, or their satraps in Europe, have missed all this and are simply putting their feet up? In reality, maneuvering on the international stage – what I have called elsewhere a brutal nation-state version of the children’s party game musical chairs – has been going on for decades.

Ukraine is the latest front in a long-running war for resource control on a dying planet. It is another battleground in the renewed great power game that the U.S. revived by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe in one pincer movement and then bolstered it with its wars and proxy wars across the Middle East. Where was the urge for “tight global cooperation” then? To perceive Ukraine as simply the victim of Putin’s “imperialism” requires turning a blind eye to everything that has occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

Zizek gets to the heart of what should matter in his next, throw-away line:

Those who advocate less support for Ukraine and more pressure on it to negotiate, inclusive of accepting painful territorial renunciations, like to repeat that Ukraine simply cannot win the war against Russia. True, but I see exactly in this the greatness of Ukrainian resistance.”

Zizek briefly recognises the reality of Ukraine’s situation – that it cannot win, that Russia has a bigger, better-equipped army – but then deflects to the “greatness” of Ukraine’s defiance. Yes, it is glorious that Ukrainians are ready to die to defend their country’s sovereignty. But that is not the issue we in the West need to consider when Kyiv demands we arm its resistance.

The question of whether Ukrainians can win, or whether they will be slaughtered, is highly pertinent to deciding whether we in the West should help drag out the war, using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, to no purpose other than our being able to marvel as spectators at their heroism. Whether Ukrainians can win is also pertinent to the matter of how urgent it is to draw the war to a close so that millions don’t starve in Africa because of the loss of crops, the fall in exports and rocketing fuel prices. And arming a futile, if valiant, Ukrainian struggle against Russia to weaken Moscow must be judged in the context that we risk backing Russia into a geostrategic corner – as we have been doing for more than two decades – from which, we may surmise, Moscow could ultimately decide to extricate itself by resorting to nuclear weapons.

INTELLECTUAL CUL DE SAC

Having propelled himself into an intellectual cul de sac, Zizek switches tack. He suddenly changes the terms of the debate entirely. Having completely ignored the U.S. role in bringing us to this point, he now observes:

Not just Ukraine, Europe itself is becoming the place of the proxy war between [the] U.S. and Russia, which may well end up by a compromise between the two at Europe’s expense. There are only two ways for Europe to step out of this place: to play the game of neutrality – a short-cut to catastrophe – or to become an autonomous agent.”

So, we are in a U.S. proxy war – one played out under the bogus auspices of NATO and its “defensive” expansion – but the solution to this problem for Europe is to gain its “autonomy” by …

Well, from everything Zizek has previously asserted in the piece, it seems such autonomy must be expressed by silently agreeing to the U.S. pumping Ukraine full of weapons to fight Russia in a proxy war that is really about weakening Russia rather than saving Ukraine. Only a world-renowned philosopher could bring us to such an intellectually and morally barren place.

The biggest problem for Zizek, it seems, isn’t the U.S. proxy war or Russian “imperialism”, it is the left’s disillusionment with the military industrial complex: “Their true message to Ukraine is: OK, you are victims of a brutal aggression, but do not rely on our arms because in this way you play into the hands of the industrial-military complex,” he writes.

But the concern here is not that Ukraine is playing into the arms of the war industries. It is that Western populations are being played by their leaders – and intellectuals like Zizek – so that they can be delivered, once again, into the arms of the military-industrial complex. The West’s war industries have precisely no interest in negotiations, which is why they are not taking place. It is also the reason why events over three decades have led us to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that most of Washington’s policy makers warned would happen if the U.S. continued to encroach on Russia’s “sphere of influence”.

The left’s message is that we are being conned yet again and that it is long past the time to start a debate. Those debates should have taken place when the U.S. broke its promise not to expand “one inch” beyond Germany. Or when NATO flirted with offering Ukraine membership 14 years ago. Or when the U.S. meddled in the ousting of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Or when Kyiv integrated neo-Nazi groups into the Ukrainian army and engaged in a civil war against the Russian parts of its own populace. Or when the U.S. and NATO allowed Kyiv – on the best interpretation – to ignore its obligations under the Minsk agreements with Russia.

None of those debates happened. Which is why a debate in the West is still needed now, at this terribly late stage. Only then might there be a hope that genuine negotiations can take place – before Ukraine is obliterated.

CANNON FODDER

Having exhausted all his hollow preliminary arguments, we get to Zizek’s main beef. With the world polarizing around a sole military superpower, the U.S., and a sole economic superpower, China, Europe and Russia may be forced into each other’s arms in a “Eurasian” block that would swamp European values. For Zizek, that would lead to “fascism”. He writes: “At that point, the European legacy will be lost, and Europe will be de facto divided between an American and a Russian sphere of influence. In short, Europe itself will become the place of a war that seems to have no end.”

Let us set aside whether Europe – all of it, parts of it? – is really a bulwark against fascism, as Zizek assumes. How exactly is Europe to find its power, its sovereignty, in this battle between superpowers? What vehicle is Zizek proposing to guarantee Europe’s autonomy, and how does it differ from the NATO one that is – even Zizek now seems to be conceding – actually just a vassal of the U.S., there to enforce Washington’s global-spanning “sphere of influence” against Russia and China.

Faced with this problem, Zizek quickly retreats into mindless sloganeering: “One cannot be a leftist if one does not unequivocally stand behind Ukraine.” This Bushism – “You are either with us or with the terrorists” – really is as foolish as it sounds.

What does “unequivocal” mean here? Must we “unequivocally stand behind” all of Ukraine’s actions – even should, say, neo-Nazi elements of the Ukrainian military like the Azov Brigade carry out pogroms against the ethnic Russian communities living in Ukraine?

But even more seriously, what does it mean for Europeans to stand “unequivocally” behind Ukraine? Must we approve the supply of U.S. weapons, even though, as Zizek also concedes, Ukraine cannot win the war and is serving primarily as a proxy battleground?

Would “unequivocal support” not require us to pretend that Europe, rather than the U.S., is in charge of NATO policy? Would it not require too that we pretend NATO’s actions are defensive rather intimately tied to advancing the U.S. “sphere of influence” designed to weaken Russia?

And how can our participation in the U.S. ambition to weaken Russia not provoke greater fear in Russia for its future, greater militarism in Moscow, and ensure Europe becomes more of a battleground rather than less of one?

What does “unequivocal” support for Ukraine mean given that Zizek has agreed that the U.S. and Russia are fighting a proxy war, and that Europe is caught in the middle of it? Zizek’s answer is no answer at all. It is nothing more than evasion. It is the rationalization of unprincipled European inaction, of acting as a spectator while the U.S. continues to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

MUDDYING THE WATERS

After thoroughly muddying the waters on Ukraine, Zizek briefly seeks safer territory as he winds down his argument. He points out, two decades on, that George W. Bush was similarly a war criminal in invading Iraq, and notes the irony that Julian Assange is being extradited to the U.S. because Wikileaks helped expose those war crimes. To even things up, he makes a counter-demand on “those who oppose Russian invasion” that they fight for Assange’s release – and in doing so implicitly accuses the anti-war movement of supporting Russia’s invasion.

He then plunges straight back into sloganeering in his concluding paragraph: “Ukraine fights for global freedom, inclusive of the freedom of Russians themselves. That’s why the heart of every true Russian patriot beats for Ukraine.” Maybe he should try telling that to the thousands of ethnic Russian families mourning their loved ones killed by the civil war that began raging in eastern Ukraine long before Putin launched his invasion and supposedly initiated his campaign for world domination. Those kinds of Ukrainians may beg to differ, as may Russians worried about the safety and future of their ethnic kin in Ukraine.

As with most things in life, there are no easy answers for Ukraine. But Zizek’s warmongering dressed up as European enlightenment and humanitarianism is a particularly wretched example of the current climate of intellectual and moral vacuity. What we need from public thinkers like Zizek is a clear-sighted roadmap for how we move back from the precipice we are rushing, lemming-like, towards. Instead he is urging us on. A lemming leading the lemmings.

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Have Europeans Been Profoundly Deceived?

17/06/2022

Written by Eric ZUESSE 

During the period from 28 April to 11 May of 2022, the European Council on Foreign Relations polled 8,172 respondents who were in ten European countries, on the question “Who is mainly responsible for the outbreak of the war in Ukraine?” and here were the options that were presented:

“Russia”

“Ukraine, the EU, or the US”

“None of these”

“Don’t know”

And these were the poll’s results, which the ECFR published on June 15th:

all surveyed countries

73% Russia

15% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Finland

90% Russia

5% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Great Britain

83% Russia

5% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Poland

83% Russia

10% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Sweden

83% Russia

10% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Portugal

81% Russia

9% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Spain

76% Russia

14% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Germany

66% Russia

20% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

France

62% Russia

18% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Romania

58% Russia

21% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Italy

56% Russia

27% Ukraine, the EU, or the US

Here is the actual historical evidence regarding the question that was polled:

coup occurred in Ukraine during February 2014 under the cover of pro-EU demonstrations that the U.S. Government had been organizing ever since at least June 2011, which U.S. coup even top officials in the EU didn’t know about until they found out about it on 26 February 2014, right after this illegal coup had been successfully completed, and which coup shocked them to discover, but they kept silent about it instead of exposing it to the world. (This coup was subsequently called “the most blatant coup in history”, by the head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor.)

The main evidence of the coup was a phone-conversation on 27 January 2014 between U.S. President Barack Obama’s appointee to plan and run the coup, Victoria Nuland, speaking to Obama’s appointed Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev, in which Nuland selected whom for Pyatt to get appointed to lead the post-coup Ukraine. Here is that phone-conversation, and here is its transcript along with explanations (to enable understanding of whom she was referring to in it, and why).

The second main evidence displayed that it was a specifically U.S. Government coup (and that the EU were merely America’s vassal-nations who didn’t know about it until it was already over) was a phone-conversation between the EU’s Foreign-Affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, and her investigator in Ukraine reporting to her from Kiev on 26 February 2014, to tell her what he had found had actually happened there, Urmas Paet. Here is that phone-conversation, and here is its transcript along with explanations (to enable understanding of what he was telling her, and of what her response to it indicated — that though it was a disappointment to her, she wouldn’t let the fact that it had been a coup affect EU policies).

And here is yet more evidence. It indicates that the main purpose of the coup was for the U.S. ultimately to place its nuclear missiles on Ukraine’s border a mere five-minute-missile-flight-distance away from being able to nuke Moscow in order to prevent Russia from being able to retaliate against a planned blitz-U.S. nuclear attack. And it also documents that a more immediate U.S. goal was to steal Russia’s major naval base, which is in Crimea, and to turn it into a U.S. naval base. But Russia was able to block that part of the plan. However, the main objective, to place U.S. missiles five minutes away from Moscow, remains unwavering.

On 17 December 2021, Russia delivered to both the U.S. Government and its NATO anti-Russian alliance Russia’s red-line demands to stop further aggressing against Russia; and, on 7 January 2022, both America and its NATO finally and clearly said no to those demands (which were basically for U.S./NATO finally to honor its verbal commitments on the basis of which Mikhail Gorbachev had ended the Soviet Union in 1991). On February 24th, Russia invaded Ukraine, in order to prevent U.S. nuclear missiles from ever being posted in Ukraine, just five minutes away, at the nearest place anywhere, to Moscow on Russia’s borders.

This was like the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but this time with America posing the unacceptable nuclear threat (not the Soviet Union) — and just five minutes away (instead of being 30 minutes away).

The U.S., and its “Special Relationship” partner UK, are now trying to replace NATO by an alliance of only rabidly anti-Russian countries that border on Russia, in order for the U.S. to become allowed to place its missiles in Ukraine, so as to checkmate Russia and make it, too, become a part of the U.S. empire.

Does all of this evidence prove that Europeans have been profoundly deceived? How can it not? Have not even the most stringent of standards for a criminal conviction been met in this particular case? In addition, there have been participants in the coup who have publicly admitted that it was a coup (even though they didn’t know what the top of it had been). What more evidence could possibly be needed in order to conclude that Europeans have been profoundly deceived?

So, please spread this article (with its linked-to evidences) to all of your European friends and acquaintances, so that they too will know.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.

BIDEN’S BOYCOTT OF CUBA IS “A FAILURE AT REGIONAL DIPLOMACY”

MAY 17TH, 2022

MEDEA BENJAMIN

On May 16, the Biden administration announced new measures to “increase support for the Cuban people.” They included easing travel restrictions and helping Cuban-Americans support and connect with their families. They mark a step forward but a baby step, given that most U.S. sanctions on Cuba remain in place. Also in place is a ridiculous Biden administration policy of trying to isolate Cuba, as well as Nicaragua and Venezuela, from the rest of the hemisphere by excluding them from the upcoming Summit of the Americas that will take place in June in Los Angeles.

This is the first time since its inaugural gathering in 1994 that the event, which is held every three years, will take place on U.S. soil. But rather than bringing the Western Hemisphere together, the Biden administration seems intent on pulling it apart by threatening to exclude three nations that are certainly part of the Americas.

For months, the Biden administration has been hinting that these governments would be excluded. So far, they have not been invited to any of the preparatory meetings and the Summit itself is now less than a month away. While former White House press secretary Jen Psaki and State Department spokesman Ned Price have repeated that “no decisions” have been made, Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols said in an interview on Colombian TV that countries that “do not respect democracy are not going to receive invitations.”

Biden’s plan to pick and choose which countries can attend the Summit has set off regional fireworks. Unlike in the past, when the U.S. had an easier time imposing its will on Latin America, nowadays there is a fierce sense of independence, especially with a resurgence of progressive governments. Another factor is China. While the U.S. still has a major economic presence, China has surpassed the U.S. as the number one trading partner, giving Latin American countries more freedom to defy the United States or at least stake out a middle ground between the two superpowers.

The hemispheric reaction to the exclusion of three regional states is a reflection of that independence, even among small Caribbean nations. In fact, the first words of defiance came from members of the 15-nation Caribbean Community, or Caricom, which threatened to boycott the Summit. Then came regional heavyweight, Mexican President Manuel López Obrador, who stunned and delighted people around the continent when he announced that, if all countries were not invited, he would not attend. The presidents of Bolivia and Honduras soon followed with similar statements.

The Biden administration has put itself in a bind. Either it backs down and issues the invitations, tossing red meat to right-wing U.S. politicians like Senator Marco Rubio for being “soft on communism,” or it stands firm and risks sinking the Summit and U.S. influence in the region.

Biden’s failure at regional diplomacy is all the more inexplicable given the lesson he should have learned as vice president when Barack Obama faced a similar dilemma.

That was 2015, when, after two decades of excluding Cuba from these Summits, the countries of the region put down their collective feet and demanded that Cuba be invited. Obama had to decide whether to skip the meeting and lose influence in Latin America, or go and contend with the domestic fallout. He decided to go.

Oabam a visit to CUba

Cristobal Marquez, owner of “Cristobal’s,” the restaurant where Michelle and Barak Obama had lunch during their visit to Cuba in 2016, shows the book made by White House photographer Pete Souza, in Havana, Cuba. Ramon Espinosa | AP

I remember that Summit vividly because I was among the bevy of journalists jostling to get a front seat when President Barack Obama would be forced to greet Cuba’s President Raúl Castro, who came into power after his brother Fidel Castro stepped down. The momentous handshake, the first contact between leaders of the two countries in decades, was the high point of the summit.

Obama was not only obligated to shake Castro’s hand, he also had to listen to a long history lesson. Raúl Castro’s speech was a no-holds-barred recounting of past U.S. attacks on Cuba—including the 1901 Platt Amendment that made Cuba a virtual U.S. protectorate, U.S. support for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s, the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and the scandalous U.S. prison in Guantanamo. But Castro was also gracious to President Obama, saying he was not to blame for this legacy and calling him an “honest man” of humble origins.

The meeting marked a new era between the U.S. and Cuba, as the two nations began to normalize relations. It was a win-win, with more trade, more cultural exchanges, more resources for the Cuban people, and fewer Cubans migrating to the United States. The handshake led to an actual visit by Obama to Havana, a trip so memorable that it still brings big smiles to the faces of Cubans on the island.

Then came Donald Trump, who skipped the next Summit of the Americas and imposed draconian new sanctions that left the Cuban economy in tatters, especially once COVID hit and dried up the tourist industry.

Until recently, Biden has been following Trump’s slash-and-burn policies that have led to tremendous shortages and a new migration crisis, instead of reverting to Obama’s win-win policy of engagement. The May 16 measures to expand flights to Cuba and resume family reunifications are helpful, but not enough to mark a real change in policy—especially if Biden insists on making the Summit a “limited-invite only.”

Biden needs to move quickly. He should invite all the nations of the Americas to the Summit. He should shake the hands of every head of state and, more importantly, engage in serious discussions on burning hemispheric issues such as the brutal economic recession caused by the pandemic, climate change that is affecting food supplies, and the terrifying gun violence–all of which are fueling the migration crisis. Otherwise, Biden’s #RoadtotheSummit, which is the Summit’s Twitter handle, will only lead to a dead end.

Feature photo | President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., May 17, 2022. Gemunu Amarasinghe | AP

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK. She is the author of ten books, including three books on Cuba—No Free Lunch: Food and Revolution in Cuba, The Greening of the Revolution, and Talking About Revolution. She is a member of the Steering Committee of ACERE (Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect).

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

International Criminal Lawyer on “The Legality of War”

March 17, 2022

Very apt & timely article by international criminal lawyer, Christopher Black.

Excerpts:

“In my opinion Russia acted in accordance with international law under Article 51 of the UN Charter for the following reasons;

First, the Kiev regime was mounting a major offensive with NATO’s help against the Donbass Republics with the intent of destroying them. Intensive shelling had already begun days before Russia acted, the shelling of civilian buildings and infrastructure, which resulted in scores of thousands of civilians fleeing into Russia. During that period the Kiev regime also attempted to assassinate a leader of the Republics with a car bomb. Russia had no choice but to protect the Donbass peoples and since the Security Council could do nothing, and the EU and NATO were supporting the Kiev offensive against the Donbass, Russia was the only nation that could act.

The request for military assistance from the Donbass Republics also compelled Russia to send in its forces to help push back the Kiev forces from the territories of the Republics.

Second, Russia itself had been attacked multiple times by Kiev regime forces. Saboteurs were sent into Crimea time and again to carry out raids, assassinate officials, to destroy infrastructure. They even cut Crimea’s water supply, a crime against humanity. Just a few days before Russia acted a Kiev reconnaissance unit invaded Russia but was detected and destroyed. Russia had every right under The Caroline Doctrine to go after the attackers and to prevent further attacks.

…In this case the threat was more than imminent. It was on-going and increasing. The only effective and proportional defensive response was to destroy the offensive forces being deployed. These forces include not only Kiev regime government forces but also the nationalist, Nazi brigades supporting and spearheading the Kiev offensive and all the NATO equipment being supplied to them to conduct the Kiev offensive.

Thirdly, the deeper issue was the imminent threat to Russia from NATO posed by its continuous expansion to the east, its continuous build up of forces and offensive structure pointed at Russia and the completion this September of the American missile systems in Poland, Romania and Ukraine which could then be used to launch a nuclear attack against Russia.

We remember that in the past few months the NATO nations have conducted military exercises that included practicing launching nuclear attacks on Russia. We also remember that the USA has a first strike nuclear war policy, claiming the right to use nuclear weapons wherever and whenever they deem fit. It was evident that they were practising attacks because that was and is their intention.

Russia demanded the Americans withdraw those systems, and to withdraw NATO from Eastern Europe. They flatly refused. Ukraine talked of acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening Russia with them. It would take time for them to manufacture but there was nothing to stop the Americans from giving them nuclear weapons, under their control, as the Americans have done with Germany, for instance.

Russia could do nothing, keep the peace, and watch, as the weapons for its destruction were installed and made ready to fire; to commit suicide in other words, or it could defend itself. It warned the US that it would do so, and had the right to do so, the same right the Americans always claim to have, but again Russia was ignored. It had to act or face destruction and subjugation.

We remember that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, the Americans threatened to invade Cuba and to attack the USSR because nuclear missiles had been placed in Cuba to protect it against American aggression. President Kennedy established the precedent principle that when a nation feels its existence is at stake from nuclear weapons it has the right to use force to protect itself pre-emptively. Russia is acting on the same principle.

Lastly, the NATO powers have lately relied on their bogus legal doctrine of “responsibility to protect” that they invented after the fact to try to justify their aggression against Yugoslavia. No such doctrine exists in international law but they claim the right to use it nevertheless. It applies, according to them, when a military action is justified, though illegal, “for legitimate humanitarian reasons.’ They were warned that this false doctrine could be turned against them. Russia has not referred to it at all, but if NATO can rely on it for their wars of aggression, then surely Russia can rely on it to justify their military action to defend the Donbass, and themselves.

When one takes account of all the factors that governed the Russian decision to send its forces into Ukraine it is clear that in law they had the legal right to do so whereas the United States continues its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Syria to this day and the NATO media powers and governments say nothing, because they are all complicit in those invasions.
If the United States and the NATO alliance had complied with international law in the first place as set out in the UN Charter, the world would not be in this mess. They caused this, not Russia. The responsibility is entirely theirs and they will be judged for it.”
https://christopher-black.com/the-legality-of-war/

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Snapshot

March 10, 2022

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By Fred Reed

Everybody and his goat are talking about the Ukraine. Why not me? You might ask, But Fred, what do you know about it? To which I would respond, Look, this is journalism. You don’t need to know anything, just wing it, preferably using words you can spell. Admittedly this is more of a limitation than it used to be. Anyway, here goes:

Why did Russia invade the Ukraine? Contrary to American media, the invasion was not unprovoked. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America has been pushing NATO, which is a US sepoy operation, ever closer to Russian borders in what, to anyone who took fifth-grade geography, is an obvious program of military encirclement. Of the five countries other than Russia littoral to the Black Sea, three, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria, are now in NATO. America has been moving toward bringing in the Ukraine and Georgia. After Georgia would have come Azerbaijan, putting American forces on the Caspian with access to Iran and Kazakhstan. This is calculated aggression over the long term, obvious to the—what? Ten percent? Fifteen percent?—of Americans who know what the Caucasus is.

Putin has said, over and over, that Russia could not allow hostile military forces on its border any more than the US would allow Chinese military bases in Mexico and China or missile forces in Cuba. Washington kept pushing. Russia said, no more. In short, America brought on the war.

Among people who follow such things, there are two ways of looking at the invasion. First, that Washington thought Putin was bluffing, and he wasn’t. Second, that America intentionally forced Russia to choose between allowing NATO into the Ukraine, a major success for Washington’s world empire; or fighting, also a success for Washington as it would cause the results it has caused.

From the latter understanding, America pulled off, at least at first glance, an astonishing geopolitical victory over Russia. Nordstream II blocked, crippling sanctions placed on Russia, many of its banks kicked out of SWIFT, economic integration of Europe and Asia slowed or reversed, Germany to spend 113 billion on rearming (largely meaning buying American costume-jewelry weaponry), Europe forced to buy expensive American LNG, and Europe made dependent on America for energy. All this in a few days without loss of a single American soldier. This presumably at least in part engineered by Virginia Newland who, though she looks like a fireplug with leprosy, seems effectively Machiavellian.

Next victim, China. Divide and conquer. Or at least that’s the theory. At the same time reinstate the JCPOA and use economic baubles to try to pry Iran away from Beijing.

Here we need some context. Everything Washington does internationally aims at maintaining America’s largely military near-hegemony over the world. This involves several elements:

First, military dominance. This includes the many hundreds of bases around the world, naval supremacy, and the huge military expenditure. Thy latter will be maintained at any cost to domestic needs, and apparently it is going to be increased.

Second, control of the world’s supply of energy. Washington is trying to starve Venezuela, with its vast reserves of petroleum, into submission. Submission means letting American-dominated oil majors exploit the country’s oil. Washington is doing the same with Iran and its enormous reserves. It has troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has confiscated Syria’s oil lands, crushed Libya, and so on. Keeping the European vassals from buying more Russian gas through Nordstream II is part of this energy control and an important part.

Third, and crucial, keep Eurasia—note the “EU”—from coalescing into a vast continent-spanning trade zone, which is exactly what China contemplates in its BRI, Belt and Road initiative. This is too much subject for a few paragraphs, but some thoughts: China is a manufacturing juggernaut in explosive growth. Economic power is the basis of all power. China has the advantage of inner lines of communication: it can build rail, fiber optics, highway,s and pipelines in Asia, where America has little access. China has money because it has a for-profit economy, and America doesn’t. The pull of China’s gigantic market and manufactures was beginning to loosen America’s control of Europe. Eurasian integration had to be stopped.

Fourth, the dollar. Washington controls the dollar, the IMF, SWIFT, and in general the international financial system. It uses this control brutally as a weapon to impose sanctions, crippling the economies of such countries as Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and now Russia. Seeing this intimidates other countries. Washington may have gone too often to this well. Having made England, its chief bootlicker, confiscate Venezuela’s gold reserves, and now freezing Russia’s reserves, Washington has served notice that no country is secure from this treatment. Here I speculate freely, but this may prove America’s worst mistake since 1619 as it may greatly accelerate the search for other payment systems—CIPS from China, SPFS from Russia, and the upcoming digital yuan. Washington, methinks, is betting the farm.

So much for the world. Meanwhile, America seems to be sinking into irreversible decadence that muss eventually—I would say soon—affect its international position. As the world’s economic and, laggingly, technological center of gravity moves east to Asia, an internally collapsing America will be less able to maintain the empire. Consider:

Washington’s printing of money, equivalent to the debasing of the coinage characteristic of failing societies, has resulted in high inflation and a potentially catastrophic national debt. This will cause political perturbation as voters seek to find which of the two essentially identical parties will not behave like the other one. Unrest will grow. Trust abroad in the dollar will decrease.

America suffers from a massive and growing trade deficit, largely with China, about which nothing can be done, certainly not soon, because America no longer makes things it needs. Manufacturing cannot be brought back, excep perhaps in niche markets like semiconductors, because the US no longer has the necessary engineers and trained work force, and American labor costs more than Chinese, so reshoring would increase inflation. The importation of cheap Chinese products keeps inflation down,.

The heavy flow of national wealth into Wall Street and the military in addition to offshoring has led to real poverty in Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and the rural Deep South. This has produced some 100,000 opioid deaths annually in despairing populations. Simultaneously large and growing homeless aggregations appear in LA, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, St. Louis, on and on, estimated at 60,000 in LA and 50,000 in New York, making the subways dangerous. Bush world conditions presumably do not make for political stability, as neither does the governmental inattention to them.

Crime is out of control, not a sign of a healthy polity. Some 700 homicides annually in Chicago, 300 in Baltimore, and similar numbers elsewhere are now routine, almost all of the killers and killed being black. To countries like Japan and South Korea this must seem barbaric. The situation is not First World.

America’s racial problem is grave. The southern border is open, the southwestern states either majority Latino or soon to be. This is not as bad as it could be as the races seem to get along, but it imposes heavy economic and other costs. At the same time across the country cities have huge black ghettos with appalling semiliteracy, no prospects for the young, all of this apparently irremediable. Racial attacks on whites and Asians grow in number and so, almost everywhere, do racial killings, mostly by blacks. Governments at all levels fear blacks who they know will burn cities if provoked, which leads tax bases to flee from cities, making things worse.

This adds to potentially explosive resentment. There is a substantial White Nationalist movement, that wants no non-whites in America (a bit late for this), Republican Chambers of Commerce, that want more illegal Latinos for the cheap labor but won’t say so, and the high-tech sector, which wants more East Asian and Indian immigrants on which America, with a failing educational system, increasingly depends.

Overall, government is weak, unable to prevent crime, riots, and looting. Washington does not control, but is controlled, being a storefront operation for special interests. Elections do not change policy but only the division of the spoils. Presidents perform their three essential duties, protecting Wall Street, Israel, and the military budget, but not much else.

Schooling is being dumbed down in stark contrast with China. Excellence everywhere is discouraged in the name of equity. Native white talent dwindles in the elite schools, from high-end high schools through CalTech, as Asian majorities predominate. Measures of talent, such as SATs and Medcats, are dropped or downplayed. English grammar and arithmetic are dropped as racist. None of this seems likely to improve America’s future competitiveness.

Finally, the media are controlled. This allows Washington freedom of action abroad as enough of the public will believe anything they are told by television (The Russians are coming, the Chinese are coming, the Iranians are coming, the Guatemalans….) Internally censorship may keep the lid on, for now anyway, by keeping enough of the population from knowing what is going on. By preventing discussion of problems, or their mention, it assures that nothing will be done. I suspect this is having the effect of winding a spring.

Where is all of this leading?

Biden is playing as if this were 1960 and the US enjoyed rock solid military and economic superiority and the population were firmly behind him. This is the world he remembers, being an aging cold warrior. He seems to believe that he consequently can do what he pleases with no repercussions for America. This may be true, or true enough. Perhaps he believes that Russia will collapse in domestic rebellion or simply surrender to the US. It is not how I would bet.

But—and this is sheer speculation—it is not clear what would happen if Russia cut off gas and petroleum and wheat and such things as neon gas from Europe. The West is accustomed to bombing remote countries, not to going without. Would Russia collapse under privation before Europe decided it wanted to trade with Moscow after all?

If Biden and the hawks decide to play hardball with China, they may realize that America is an economic dependency of Beijing. If—again, very hypothetically—China cut off all trade with America, the US economy would die instantly. Almost everything on American shelves is made in China. An American public already very unhappy would explode, which it is on the point of doing for various reasons. Reflect on the Floyd riots. China would be hurt, but it has other markets and a nationalistic population more united than the American.

Them’s my thoughts, probably worth what you pay for them.

The Face of Western Civilization

March 09, 2022

Source

By Francis Lee

It is interesting to note how the collective west has reacted to the present and ongoing events in Eastern Europe – namely, in Russia and Ukraine. As I understand it Russia has concerns about its own security and NATO’s inexorable push toward the Russian frontier. Moreover, there has been a positioning of missile systems, nuclear and otherwise, right smack on the borders of Romania and Poland. How did this situation arise, to the extent which it has?

Back in 1990 but not wishing to alarm the Russians the American Secretary of State, James Baker, proposed a hypothetical bargain to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall: if you give up your part of Germany, NATO will “not shift one inch eastward.” (Famous Words).

Controversy erupted almost immediately over this 1990 exchange—but more important was the decade to come, when the words took on a new meaning. Gorbachev let his East Germany (DDR) go, but Washington rethought the bargain, not least after the Soviet Union’s own collapse in December 1991. Russia was initially assured that NATO forces and hardware would not move one inch further to the Western borders of Russia. Washington realized, however, that it could not just win big but win bigger. The new approach completely reversed the original pact: Not one inch of territory need be off limits to NATO.  The Russians had not done their paperwork and had not signed up to the original written agreement. A silly oversight perhaps, but a costly, legal, and enforceable one.

Jens Stoltenberg NATO Fuhrer.

Well, we all know how this worked out. Just to rub salt in the wound NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg, has made it clear that there is more to come. Apparently, anyone can join NATO and have its own missile system installed and pointing at Russia with a 3-to-5-minute flight time to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Well, and who could possibly object to this! (Sarcasm). Sooner or later, however, Russia was going to alter facts on the ground starting with Ukraine. No state worth its salt, viz., a sovereign state, could possibly allow itself to be surrounded with a view to war, invasion, and total obliteration. The Cuba crisis of 1962 was a prototype of this face-off. At that time both the US and USSR adhered to a Westphalian posture, to wit, non-interference in each other’s sphere of influence, security imperatives and recognition of each other’s sovereignty. But it would appear things had changed since the US Anglo-Zionist empire came into being by NATO’s incremental expansion and push to Russia’s western frontiers. It would appear things had changed in terms of the West’s foreign policy which had become belligerent and expansionist. If Russia didn’t like the new ‘Rules-Based’ Policy of the western hegemon in tow with its Western allies, well, too bad!

Russia’s initial inertia in 2014 allowed the NATO backed Ukrainian army to push up to the eastern republics in the Donbass, Lugansk and Donetsk. But the stout resistance of these two republics halted the advance of the Ukie army and inflicted two heavy defeats at Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo in 2014/15. At that time Russia did not allow the incorporation for the two republics into the Russian Federation. (It should be understood, however, that the two republics were in fact receiving aid, both in war materiel and ‘volunteers’ from Russia, although this was never openly admitted by the Russian government.) Be that as it may, Crimea, was a different matter; it was the home base of the Russian navy and a permanent military presence for Russia. Russia also held the freehold for its base in Sevastopol until 2045 and paid an annual rental for this to the Ukrainian government. This being the case there was a referendum which overwhelmingly endorsed the outcome: Crimea, whose population was dominantly Russian, and Russian speaking, became Russian again after the temporary period of Ukrainian stewardship which had lasted since 1954.

This much is history.

The West. God’s own creation. Where to start!

The United States.

­The United States is – unlike western central and eastern Europe – a sovereign state. Since its inception the US has pursued wars just about everywhere around the globe but started at its home base. After the anti-British revolution, the US started to play the imperialist game. First there were the wars against Mexico. From 1846 to 1848, the United States of America and Mexico fought the Mexican American War. There were many causes of the war, but the biggest reasons were Mexico’s lingering resentment over the loss of Texas and the Americans’ desire and acquisition of Mexico’s western lands, such as Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico. The Americans believed their nation should extend to the Pacific: this belief was called “Manifest Destiny.” This was a quasi-religious doctrine, which if anything has actually grown stronger as the centuries pass.

Additions to the US empire came in the form of Cuba, Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines – pretty run of the mill stuff, as imperialism goes. The US did not have a hinterland beyond the Americas but got global after the first and more importantly the second world war. The United States was to become a full-blown imperialist power, particularly in Western Europe, and Japan which had become a patchwork of non-sovereign states under US hegemony. This is still the case today. Now even Eastern European non-sovereign states became part of the US-NATO bloc.

But the US war machine ran into trouble in Southeast Asia, first with the Korean and then Indo-China wars. The carnage and general fall-out of these wars was unparalleled. See the bombing of Laos, Vietnam and particularly North Korea. These were outright defeats for the American war machine, though the Americans were loath to admit it.

US B52 dropping its load of bombs somewhere in South East Asia.

Then of course there has been the US involvement in the middle east which has included, ongoing wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. More to come to be sure. But It seems ominous to conclude that the US is trapped in unwinnable wars in the middle-east but in fact leaves much of the heavy lifting to its Zionist Rottweiler, not only in the middle-east, but crucially in the US itself where the Anti-Deformation League (ADL) American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA); in terms of international relations and foreign policy I suppose you could call this the tail wagging the dog. The British had the common sense to remove themselves from the Zionist entity in 1948. The American-Israel lobby have, however, have been loath to part with this geopolitical entity which has been a liability ever since.

The United Kingdom

When Britain was a sovereign state its Empire covered a vast patchwork of subaltern states – most importantly India, which also included modern Pakistan, Burma, Malaya, Singapore – and various states in Africa: from Capetown to Cairo. There were many wars fought in Southern Africa, for example the Boers vs the Zulus, the Boers vs the English known as the Boer Wars, and the Zimbabwean (at that time Rhodesia) bush war.

These wars were also bloody affairs but particularly brutal in India – during the so-called Indian Mutiny 1857-58. This was an uprising of the – Sepoys – Native Indian soldiers against their British masters. The violence with which the British put down the rebellion has only been approached in the history of the empire by the repression of the Irish rebellion in the 1790’s and of the native Mau Mau rebellion in East Africa in the 1950s. Karl Marx wrote in 1853 ‘’the British had a double mission in India, one destructive the other regenerating … they had accomplished in a way that unbound before all our eyes all the profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization, turning from its home where it assumes respectable forms to the colonies where it goes naked.’’

(In this respect see India and George Orwell’s personal experiences in this jewel in the crown of the British Empire. In two particular factual pieces where he was personally involved, he recounted the following two essays which are well worth reading: ‘’A Hanging’’ and ‘’Shooting An Elephant’’ 1936)

The British long retreat from empire was given an additional shove by the US in 1946 with the American loan – Michael Hudson explains:

‘’The first loan on the post-war agenda was the British Loan which, as President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress, would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. He was right, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great (imperial) Power. (Super-Imperialism – pp.268/269). So the UK was, to use an American expression, forced to eat crow.

This pattern of imperialism, its rise and fall, has been generally on the same trajectory, with the various states involved having had only a limited tenure. The UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austro-Hungary, and even little Belgium have had their own involvement with their imperial fate. These are now all subaltern regimes in the present American Empire.

(See The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival. First published in 1913, Sir John Glubb British-soldier and diplomat examined the human race over a period of 4,000 years and found the same patterns of rise and fall of national greatness and all in the same timescale.)

All of which brings us to the present impasse.

The present geopolitical situation involving the great powers seems to be reaching a critical moment. To recount the history and present situation. The Ukrainian government sent its army into the Eastern Ukraine – some 100,000 men – earlier in the year, with the intent of invading and subduing the two breakaway republics – the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, which had defied the bombing and shelling campaign which had been going on since 2014. This had cost the lives of some 14000 inhabitants of these two republics. But the Kiev forces were thrown back after their initial first push by a counterattack in 2014-15, where they were comprehensively defeated at the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo. But the shelling still continued. However, this second Ukrainian offensive has had unforeseen outcomes.

When Putin heard of the new invasion from the western Ukraine attacking the breakaway republics, he had had enough, as had the Russian people and the Russian Parliament a fortiori. He firstly extended full citizenship to the populations of the two republics which automatically became part of the Russian Federation. Next came the part which changed everything. It was expected that having absorbed the two breakaway republics he decided in his own words to demilitarise and clear out the neo-nazi forces – for good – in the rest of the Ukraine. And then to the alarm of the western elites the Russian forces rolled west.

Of course, this has caused consternation if not abject panic, in western capitals with what amounted in military terms to a complete paralysis of the West. But then the information war took off. This is the formidable weapon of the western states and is used to potent effect. But there were also economic effects which are just beginning to come on stream.

These included shortages for various components and food stuffs and raw materials which will negatively affect western economies as well as the all-pervasive death wish of financialization. Russia has not yet rolled out its own sanctions to see how they go down in western capitals, but it will be interesting to see their effect.

So, this is where we are. At the dawn of a bi-polar world. As Robert Kennedy once said. ‘’Like it or not, we live in interesting times.’’

How Propaganda Shapes the Past, Present and Future

3 March 2022)

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—George Orwell’s Insight

There is a famous quote from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, that goes, “those who control the present control the past and those who control the past control the future.” This process is achieved by substituting propaganda for reality. In so doing, thinking is bound to present culturally acceptable storylines that support official views of the past and are designed to carry on into the future.

At the present moment in the United States, this is exemplified by popular responses to two crises. The first involves a majority of U.S. states that are seeking to use political power to control how their past is officially taught and interpreted. This is being done with the hope of forging a unified view among future citizenry—one that returns to perceptions of U.S history, race and gender characteristic of a time before the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. This mindset accepts segregation and discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and the like as reflections of acceptable traditional values.

The second crisis involves the revival of Cold War perceptions to shape the present and future U.S. public views concerning Russia and Ukraine. Here, the proffered story is of a bipolar world—one side, led by the United States, is allegedly a “free world” and the other side, led by Russia, is a hostile, dictatorial and expansionist world. These perceptions are characteristic of the time prior to 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It would seem this past point of view, like the domestic mindset mentioned above, never went away but only retreated. In this way, past manipulated mindsets reemerge into the present when circumstances are right, and threaten to ideologically skew the future.

Let’s examine these two crises beginning with the efforts of the American states.

Part II—On the Domestic Scene

A revealing Portside article of 14 February 2022 describes how 36 American states either have or are seeking to pass laws that censor the teaching of both local and national history so as to tell a traditional, Eurocentric story. This effort seeks to deny the demonstrable facts about the role racism has played in shaping social and economic development since the nation’s inception. Against this trend, 17 U.S. states have moved to officially expand their history and social studies curriculum to make it more racially and class inclusive.

We should state clearly that the teaching of such a culturally approved official history has always been pursued in the United States, and is indeed not just an American tactic. It is a ubiquitous practice in much of the world. As public education evolved in the American colonies during the 19th century, it had specific goals: (1) to make the young as literate and skilled as necessary for an evolving capitalist economy and (2) to teach political loyalty. If in this effort there was any reference to or concern for “the truth,” it was allegedly to be represented by the daily repetition of the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the case of the United States, this two-pronged purpose for public schools came to be safeguarded by indoctrinated citizens themselves sitting on state and local boards of education. It is they who began the censorship of school textbooks and libraries, minimizing uncomfortable and “divisive” topics such as slavery, lynching, systematic discrimination against non-white peoples, the genocidal attack on native peoples, and the history of labor struggles and unionization. The success of this censored teaching is the reason the history of non-white Americans is so often left out of the curriculum.

It has only been in the last fifty or so years, beginning with the civil rights movement, that this treatment of U.S. history has been challenged. If the 17 U.S. states expanding their curriculum to make it more racially and class inclusive are an expression of that challenge, the 36 states seeking to increase censorship are part of the reactionary response to progressive actions ranging from Affirmative Action to Black Lives Matter. Most recently there is the exaggerated response to Critical Race Theory—a largely academic investigation of the role of institutionalized white racism in American history. It should be noted that these efforts at censorship now go hand in hand with “the wave of voter suppression laws promoted by the same rightwing political forces.”

As of now, the national organizations that represent U.S. teachers, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), both shaped by the past few decades of progressive change, stand against the conservative, reactionary effort to turn the clock back. As AFT President Randi Weingarten put it, the organization stands against the “culture warriors” who “are bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching students accurate history.” However, reactionary state legislatures and fanatical parents have the ability to intimidate more than just teachers. They can scare and manipulate school administrators who hire and fire teachers. If the legislators of those 36 states noted above hold their positions through multiple elections and stay their reactionary course, they can repopulate public schools with teachers of their own persuasion.

In other words, assuming the present politicians can keep their elected positions, rightwing propaganda will be used to control present education long enough to shape how the past is taught and interpreted. This will impact the future in a sort of circular process that will go on until the thought police are removed from positions of authority.

Part III—The Foreign Policy Scene

The same process of resurrecting a traditional mindset is now taking place in the area of foreign policy. Here the traditional worldview is represented by Cold War tropes resurrecting Russia as Europe’s perennial bad guy. In this case it is not rightwing reactionaries who are the driving force. Rather it is the centrist Democrats, heirs of Cold War thinking, who interpret present-day events in Eastern Europe in terms of an ideologically colored pre-1989 past.

The current trouble centers on Ukraine and its ambition to join North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). If Ukraine had done so, Russia’s southwestern border would have been in the hands of a hostile Western alliance. The Russians initially approached this dilemma in a peaceful manner. Moscow approached the West and demanded a security treaty that would have halted the eastward expansion of NATO and ended any speculation about Ukraine joining that alliance. However, the U.S. and NATO refused to consider such a treaty and thus considerably narrowed Russian options.

Russia’s bid for a security treaty had solid historical reasons behind it. I laid these reasons out in my analysis Russia Reacts to NATO and History (20 January 2022). These historical facts had long ago been deleted from the Western Cold War storyline that depicted the Soviet Union as ideologically driven to imperial expansion. This traditional interpretation of Russian motives, only partially papered over since 1989, has now been resurrected. For instance, President Biden has accused President Putin of wanting to “re-establish the Soviet Union.” A more realistic interpretation of the present would suggest that by refusing to negotiate a limit on NATO expansion eastward and declaring that NATO would remain open to the possibility of Ukrainian membership, Western leaders forced Russia to take action against Ukraine.

In other words, the past in the form of years of post-World War II anti-Soviet propaganda now shapes present perceptions and has assured a violent future for Ukraine. These same propaganda has been censored to hide the hypocritical nature of the U.S. position on the present crisis.

Consider the following facts so often censored out of popular perceptions: MSNBC host Medhi Hasan noted in an on the air monologue, “the United States would have ‘more credibility’ to condemn the recent actions of Russia in Ukraine if it wasn’t currently supporting illegal occupations by its allies around the world—and if it didn’t have its own long record of carrying out brazenly unlawful invasions of sovereign countries.” He recognized this hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. while still being critical of the Russian treatment of Ukraine.

In contrast, consider the following attempt to resurrect an idealized yet official perception of the past. The New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens has complained that the Ukraine crisis shows us that “at some point in the last 30 years, the concept of the ‘free world’ fell out of favor. … The free world is the larger idea that the world’s democracies are bound by shared and foundational commitments to human freedom and dignity; that those commitments transcend politics and national boundaries; and that no free people can be indifferent to the fate of any other free people, because the enemy of any one democracy is ultimately the enemy to all the others.” Though Mr. Stephens no doubt believes this, it is a hollow idealization of a world that never was.

The inability of Americans—even those who profess expertise—to consider U.S. hypocrisy while welcoming Bret Stephens fantasy is a measure of popular loyalty to a traditional storyline about the past. This story precludes the possibility that today’s Russian Republic might have the same security needs as any other country. Indeed, Russia is actually acting much as the United States would have acted during the Cuban Missile crisis if the Russians had not reversed course and removed their missiles. I think we can safely say that if the U.S. and NATO had reversed course and given Russia the reasonable security guarantees it sought, things would have turned out differently for the Ukrainians.

Part IV—Conclusion

We all live in multilayered states of perception shaped by culture and open to interpretative manipulation in areas, among others, of history and politics. That means that culture can be the seedbed for much propaganda. In some cultural milieus traditional ideas about race and gender have become official guides to history despite the harm done by generations of discrimination. In some cultural milieus traditional Cold War ideas make Russia an object of fear and enmity undeserving of secure boundaries.

This being the case, it should come as no surprise that there are millions of white people mostly, though not exclusively, in the American South and Midwest who are quite willing to throw the idea of egalitarian democracy out the window. It should also come as no surprise that the American people never hear about the many thousands of Ukrainians who were critical of their country’s alleged “sovereign right” to join NATO.

It is interesting that, within the American milieu, it is the presence or absence of competitive ideas that make these two cases different. In the case of the U.S. domestic scene, the power of white racists is localized and confronted by a larger cultural bubble that is critical of their efforts to censor history. In the case of U.S. foreign policy there are very few who are critical of the traditional Cold War propaganda. Thus, there is no larger context to support perceptions that might accept Russia’s security needs. Thus, debate rages on one front but is largely absent on the other.

المواجهة الروسيّة لتهديدات الأمن القوميّ في أوكرانيا…

2022 الثلاثاء 1 آذار

 د. جمال زهران*

ستون عاماً (1962 – 2022)، بين واقعتين تكشفان عن محطات تاريخية لتغيير النظام العالمي، بالتفاصيل نفسها والبيئة المحيطة، واستهداف الأمن القومي للدول العظمى. ففي الأولى الشهيرة بأزمة خليج الخنازير وهي في الأصل الأزمة الكوبية، حيث تقع دولة كوبا في المربع الشرقي الجنوبي للولايات المتحدة، أيّ على بُعد أميال من الحدود الأميركية، قام الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي أكد وجوده كقطب دولي منافس للولايات المتحدة بعد تزعّمها لهذا النظام بعد زوال النظام القديم ورموزه العديدة. إلا أنّ أميركا رفضت الاعتراف بذلك، وأصرّت على انفرادها بالعالم والهيمنة عليه. في الوقت ذاته الذي سعى الاتحاد السوفياتي لكي يثبت لأميركا وجوده وتنافسه، وفي وقائع مثل الحرب الكورية، وفي دعم توليد الصين الشعبية، أو في تكوين حلف وارسو (الذراع العسكري)، أو تكوين منظمة الكوميكون (الذراع الاقتصادي) للكتلة الشرقية بزعامته. ثم جاءت حرب 1956 بالعدوان الثلاثي على مصر، لتخرج القوى الدولية القديمة (إنجلترا – فرنسا) من ساحة النظام الدولي، وبتأكيد الإنذار السوفياتي الشهير، حاول الاتحاد السوفياتي تأكيد وجوده منافساً للولايات المتحدة في إعادة تشكيل النظام الدولي. ومع ذلك أرادت الولايات المتحدة تقزيمه، والتعامل معه كقوة درجة ثانية/ تليه في الترتيب! فماذا فعل الاتحاد السوفياتي في هذا الشأن؟! وهو الذي أنتج الصاروخ العابر للقارات في منتصف الخمسينيات؟! لذلك كانت حصيلة التفكير السوفياتي، هي الذهاب إلى حزام الأمن القومي الأميركي وإعلان تهديدهم للأميركيين. فاستغلّ الاتحاد السوفياتي اندلاع الثورة الكوبية بزعامة كاسترو وإعلانه تبني الأيديولوجية الشيوعية، فسارع الاتحاد بدعمه وتأييده، بل وصل الأمر إلى نصب قواعد صواريخ تجاه الولايات المتحدة على الأراضي الكوبية. هنا شعرت الولايات المتحدة بالخطر المحدق بأمنها القومي وشعبها، وهدّدت وتوعّدت وطالبت بفكّ الصواريخ ورحيلها. وقامت الولايات المتحدة بمحاصرة كوبا التي تبدو كجزيرة في المحيط الأطلنطي، ومن كلّ جانب، عرف بحصار أميركا لخليج الخنازير الفاصل بين أميركا وكوبا، وهدّدت باستخدام القنبلة النووية، إن لم تتمّ إزالة الصواريخ السوفياتية!

فماذا كانت النتيجة؟! تركّزت في الحوار والتفاوض، حتى تمّ التوصل إلى اتفاق، بمقتضاه، تظلّ كوبا تحت الرعاية السوفياتية دون محاولة أميركا تغيير نظامها الاشتراكيّ، ويتم تفكيك الصواريخ وإعادة توجيهها في الجهة الأخرى بدلاً من توجيهها قبالة القلب الأميركي، مع تخفيض عددها. ولكن النتيجة الكبرى هي القبول الأميركي لتنافس دولي مع الاتحاد السوفياتي، أيّ رضوخاً أميركياً بالاعتراف الرسمي بالاتحاد السوفياتي، كقطب دولي منافس للولايات المتحدة، وأصبح النظام الدولي ثنائيّ القطبيّة رسمياً. وأصبحت سمة هذا النظام الجديد هو المنافسة والحرب الباردة والقبول بعدم المواجهة المباشرة وتفاديها، والقبول بفكرة «الوكلاء» في إدارة الأزمات الدولية، أو الإقليمية المعروفة بـ «By Proxy».

أما «أزمة أوكرانيا»، الحالية التي بدأت صامتة، حتى تفجّرت مع بدايات العام الحالي (2022)، فهي تتلخص في إعلان رئيس أوكرانيا (فولوديمير زيلينسكي)، عن إنتاج القنبلة النووية، وفقاً لإعلان مع الغرب يُعرف بـ «زيلينسكي»، يقضي بإعادة الوضعية النووية لأوكرانيا، والانضمام إلى حلف الناتو! وهي أزمة في الأصل، فجّرتها أميركا وبدعم أوروبا، بمساندة انقلاب الرئيس الحالي (الممثل المغمور) والذي قبل ممارسة الدور العميل للغرب، وألعوبة في أيديهم. وعلى الرغم من أنّ قرارات روسيا العظمى كانت حاسمة بضمّ جزيرة القرم فوراً إليها، ورفض تحدي الغرب وذلك عام 2014. واستمرت الأوضاع صامتة حتى تفجّرت مؤخراً بتصريحات الرئيس الأوكراني، وإعلان أميركا وأوروبا الدعم والمساندة له، وإصرارهم على تنفيذ الإعلان (باستعادة الوضعية النووية لأوكرانيا)، وضمّها إلى حلف الناتو، الأمر الذي يهدّد الأمن القومي الروسي مباشرة، مثلما حدث عندما نُصبت الصواريخ السوفياتية مباشرة وعلى مقربة من قلب أميركا في (61/1962).

فطالبت روسيا، بإلغاء إعلان (زيلينسكي)، ورفض استعادة إنتاج أوكرانيا للسلاح النووي، ورفض الانضمام إلى حلف الناتو، وبالتالي رفض الوجود العسكري الأوروبي في أوكرانيا، وعلى الحدود الروسية. وعندما شعرت وأدركت روسيا، استحالة التفاوض والوصول إلى حلّ سلمي، فكانت الخطوات المتسارعة بفصل إقليمي (لوغانسك – دونيتسك) عن أوكرانيا والاعتراف الروسي بهما، ثم التدخل العسكري لحمايتهما من العدوان الأوكراني مدعوماً من الغرب الأوروبي، والأميركي، وامتدّ التدخل حتى السيطرة الكاملة على جميع أراضي أوكرانيا وإسقاط العاصمة «كييف»، والأيام المقبلة ستكشف تفاصيل ما جرى ويجري.

إلا أنّ ما يجب الوقوف عنده هو: سعي أوروبا وأميركا لتقزيم روسيا وقبولها دولة عادية، إلا أنّ روسيا رفضت ذلك، وأكدت تشاركها ومنافستها بذاتها وبالتعاون مع الصين، في إدارة العالم ونظامه الدولي، مثلما حدث في أزمة خليج الخنازير في عام 1962. فالواضح أنّ روسيا كانت ولا تزال تدافع عن أمنها القومي، وعدم الاستهانة بها، وسعياً نحو استعادة المجد.

إنّ استهانة الغرب (أميركا وأوروبا) بالمنافسين الدوليين، والاستمرار في تهديد الأمن القومي لدول عظمى كروسيا والصين، مآله الفشل كما رأينا، وما يحدث في أوكرانيا هو فتح لفصل جديد في كتاب «نظام دولي جديد» متعدّد الأقطاب (أميركا وأوروبا + روسيا العظمى + الصين الكبرى).

ولنتابع ما يجري باهتمام، لانعكاساته الخطيرة على العالم، وعلى إقليمنا العربي على وجه الخصوص.

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*أستاذ العلوم السياسية والعلاقات الدولية، والأمين العام المساعد للتجمع العالمي لدعم خيار المقاومة، ورئيس الجمعية العربية للعلوم السياسية.

Tuesday morning headlines (a little change of tone or not?)

January 25, 2022

A few more links here, and amongst the many similar to yesterday’s, I decided to single out some possibly different ones:

NATO member will withdraw troops in event of war with Russia – president

Russia may not be poised to invade Ukraine – Pentagon

Germany has ‘betrayed’ Ukraine – Kiev mayor

No threat of immediate Russian attack on Ukraine – EU

Oleksiy Danilov informed about the results of the NSDC meeting

Zelensky to Ukrainians: Everything under control, no reason to panic

Ukraine urges calm, saying Russian invasion not imminent

Of course, this selection is very one-sided, there are many more headlines every bit as bad the ones yesterday, so let’s not make too much of this.

Also, please remember that in 08.08.08 Saakashvili made a speech promising peace to South Ossetia just HOURS before the Georgian forces attacked!

But what this does show, is that there is a “narrative chaos“.

Actually, this is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  The fact is that Russia’s ultimatum has created chaos in the so-called “united West” pitting some part of the deep state elites against others.  That, by itself, is already a very good outcome.

Another good outcome is the laughable idea to send a few thousands US troops to “defend Europe” within five days.  Why is is laughable:

  • a few thousand troops make no difference
  • bringing them to the EU is not enough, you then have to prepare them and deploy them for combat; that would take much longer.
  • If a Ukie attack is limited to the LDNR, it will take about 24 hours to stop it.  It would take Russia less than a week to destroy the Ukie military.  By the time the first US jarheads land in Germany or Poland, it will all be over.
  • Finally, what does adding several thousands solider from a military which has never fought in defense of its homeland and never won a war since WWII do to “deter Russia” anyway?

Next, I strictly personal opinion about Russian forces in Cuba/Nicarague/Venezuela/etc.

As Andrei Martyanov recently commented, western military moves are all about PR.  Russian military moves are all about war.  From a PR prospective, deploying Russian missiles in Cuba or Venezuela might look like a good idea, but from a military point of view?

Does anybody remember that the USSR had several brigades defending the Soviet missiles in Cuba?  Why, because Cuba is as close to the USA as Estonia is to Russia, and that means that deploying forces right across the US border puts that force at a huge risk of US preemptive attack.

Next, while Cuba is the most stable of them all, it is a fact that thanks to decades of subversion, attacks, sabotage, coup attempts and the like, countries like Nicaragua or Venezuela are inherently unstable (again, by no fault of their own).  Placing weapons like, say, the Iskander complexes there would not only expose them to attack, but even possibly to capture.  Some will say that Russia can send forces there to defend them.  In theory – yes.  But in practice?

Such a deployment would be both risky and very very expensive.  Also, what if the US decides not to invade Cuba/Venezuela/Nicaragua but to blockade it.  Does the Russian military have the means to breach a blockade many thousands of miles away from Russia?  Nope, she does not.  Neither her Navy nor her Aerospace forces have the means to engage in a struggle for naval/air superiority against the USA in the Caribbean.

It would be much safer, quicker and cheaper to use her submarines and long range aviation to threaten both US coasts, the one in the Atlantic and the one in the Pacific with cruise and ballistic missiles, including hypersonic ones.  I won’t even mention the Poseidon underwater drones which could completely wipe out both US coasts.

Interestingly, the RAND corporation is posting articles which strongly suggest that the US and the West are deluding themselves about how war between Banderastan and Russia would look.  Check these out:

U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine: A Silver Bullet?

Ukraine Needs Help Surviving Airstrikes, Not Just Killing Tanks

Okay, RAND is RAND, so they will never challenge the official narrative about Russia as the evil aggressor, but this shows, yet again, that there is some very serious disagreements inside the US ruling elites.

I will conclude today with 4 photos under the heading “one image is worth 1000 words”:

This is the Russian minister of defense:

These are Russian soliders

This is the Ukie minister of defense:

This is, according the The Times, the soldiers civilians which will deter/defeat the Russians

Reach your own conclusions 🙂

Andrei

PS: if you understand Russian, here is some good info on the woman created above.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s interview with Interfax News Agency, December 18, 2021

December 21, 2021

20 December 2021 16:56

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s interview with Interfax News Agency, December 18, 2021

Question: Are our proposals to the United States and NATO regarding security guarantees an ultimatum to the West, the last attempt to reach out to them or a final warning to make them stop?

Sergey Ryabkov: We do not speak in the language of ultimatums with anyone. We have a responsible attitude towards our own security and the security of others. The point is not that we have issued an ultimatum, not at all, but that the seriousness of our warning must not be underestimated.

The security situation in Europe, the Euro-Atlantic region and Eurasia has indeed greatly deteriorated recently. This has happened because of a series of concerted actions by the United States and its NATO allies, which, generally speaking, can be described as an attempt to undermine Russia’s security and to create a hostile environment around us. We cannot accept this.

Ukraine is in the focus of this policy. Ukraine’s decisions are not independent but are subject to change in the situation. When the West provides unconditional and unqualified support to Ukraine, certain quarters in Kiev play up to the worst Western objectives and formulas. And the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining NATO, which some Ukrainian officials keep talking about, is categorically unacceptable to us. We will do our best to prevent this.

We reject the very presentation of the issue. We can discuss all the pros and cons, but we unequivocally demand that NATO withdraw the decision adopted at its Bucharest summit in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia become NATO members. That decision should be called off and revised, which will be seen as a small, not comprehensive, but small step in the right direction. The West does not appear ready to do this. This is why our comprehensive, all-encompassing proposals raise a number of outstanding issues, primarily for the United States but also for its allies, which should be settled urgently. We are monitoring their reaction, which is not encouraging so far. We are ready for talks on this basis, but so far we can only see that our proposals have been rejected under far-fetched pretexts.

The statement adopted by the North Atlantic Council on December 16 is vivid proof of this. Ninety percent of the text consists of time-worn ultimatums to Russia. We are not issuing any ultimatums to anyone, and we will not allow others to do this towards us. The statement goes on to say that what Russia demands, what it is demanding, is not an outstretched hand but a harsh demand, which allegedly has nothing to do with NATO. The alliance is free to decide which countries can join it, and NATO’s relationship with Ukraine is a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies.

No, this is much more a matter concerning Russia, as I am stating clearly now. The time of diplomatic parlance is over. We have to explain things at the elementary level, to spell them out. The potential NATO membership of Ukraine is above all a matter of concern for the Russian Federation.

Question: Have we set any deadlines for an answer? Do we have a Plan B, shall we say, in case the answer is no?

Sergey Ryabkov: We have not set any deadlines. We proposed meeting and talking right now without dragging things out, without delay. Instead of talking to you here, I was actually ready to be in Geneva today for talks with Ms Karen Donfried, US Assistant Secretary of State, or with any negotiators Washington would assign for this purpose. The Americans were told that our interdepartmental delegation at these negotiations would be headed by a supervising deputy minister; they are aware of this. We are waiting for their response. We can be any place they name, at any time, starting tomorrow. Just a few hours to pack and we have it all ready. We have a clear approach, which we have worked on for quite some time, so there are no technical, political or organisational obstacles for starting such negotiations as soon as possible.

As for Plan B, we continue to expect the other side to show a serious approach. We understand they need time to read all this, discuss it and wrap their minds around it. As I understand it, certain discussions on this took place on December 16, at NATO and in the European Union. This is all clear. But by and large, if they confirmed their readiness to meet urgently and negotiate on the basis of our documents – our documents provide a framework for a certain negotiation process – this would be a good answer. True, we cannot be sure – we know this from the experience of many negotiations – that we will immediately reach an agreement in just a few days. Not at all; these are serious matters, but the process needs to start now. It cannot be delayed, given the situation in all its complexity and the totality of problematic aspects.

Question: You said that understandably it would be impossible to come to an agreement right away. Does this mean that we are ready to compromise to reach an agreement?

Sergey Ryabkov: This matter has been repeatedly discussed, including over the last few days, in contacts with US representatives and via other channels. We cannot understand the basics of the US position, when they say that we should, for example, with regard to the Minsk Package of Measures, do this or that. We have been urging them to put down on paper what they mean, for several months now. But they are not doing this. I don’t know whether they are unable or unwilling. They publish the same statements, sufficiently straightforward and tough statements, over and over again. If we go by what is written in these statements, it would certainly be impossible to come to terms. But any talks imply a search for compromise. The problem is not that there is no will to reach an agreement on our part but that we do not see this kind of will on the other side.

We are saying that there are no far-fetched things in the draft agreement with the United States or in the draft agreement on security guarantees with NATO, and, of course, we are saying this absolutely sincerely, firmly and confidently. This is the Russian Federation’s position on issues affecting our fundamental security interests, a position that is free of rhetoric and expressed in the language of a treaty. No more, no less, and it should be treated as such.

Therefore, when we say we need security guarantees, we naturally are proceeding from the assumption that the reply will be such as will make it possible to say: we have made headway in dealing with this package of key issues in such a manner as to see a substantial improvement in the security situation for us, to see a dramatic change for the better; we are no longer concerned about what may take place in the future in connection with the uninterrupted activities involving the buildup of military exercises, creation of infrastructure, redeployment of forces, reconnaissance flights, development of territories, and so on, practically in the entire Western sector, particularly in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea in recent time.

The situation here could be stabilised through documents of this kind and their conclusion. It could be made better. Without them, however, the situation will remain extremely difficult and tense. No one should underestimate Moscow’s resolve to defend its national security interests. No one should treat lightly our statements regarding the dangerous nature of current developments.

Question: Is this about mutual guarantees? Are we also ready to give them these guarantees?

Sergey Ryabkov: Are you suggesting we draft them for NATO? I am not sure at all that they need them. In terms of its approach to security, NATO has long settled on declaring the indivisibility of security for its own members. NATO officials have been saying for quite a while now that they are doing what is necessary to protect themselves against external challenges and threats – real or imagined. That said, they claim they are dealing with their security themselves.

We also plan our security ourselves. But the problem and the difference is that we are suggesting coming to terms on this issue. We would certainly not draft NATO’s position, trying to guess what its members would like to receive in return for meeting us halfway. That’s funny. We will not do this, it would be methodologically wrong. So far, the other side is not even indicating a willingness to start talks. We will have to wait and see. If they come up with a real position, it would lead to a real negotiating process that, I hope will start soon and take place behind closed doors.

Question: What about guarantees of non-aggression against Ukraine or other actions regarding this country?

Sergey Ryabkov: They want us to take actions in our own territory. Naturally, we are rejecting this demand in both its essence and form. This demand is unacceptable and inappropriate. They are not asking for additional security guarantees in this context. We provided guarantees when the Budapest memorandum was signed in 1994.

I would like to emphasise that, with complicity from their Western patrons, our Ukrainian colleagues are turning this memorandum upside down. The Budapest Memorandum guarantees the security of Ukraine as a non-nuclear state in the context of the NPT. Guarantees have been ensured and provided from this viewpoint. However, the Budapest Memorandum document does not mention a word about government coups in Ukraine or subsequent actions. To be clear, we must note that this memorandum does not say anything about the possibility that part of the Ukrainian population living in Ukraine at that time decides whether they should continue living there or return to the Russian Federation.

The Budapest Memorandum is not about that. It sets out security guarantees for Ukraine as a non-nuclear state, and nothing more. The Foreign Ministry has said this many times, and this situation provides us yet another opportunity to emphasise this point.

Question: But if we consider a worst case scenario, which apparently is still on the table, if the Americans refuse to provide security guarantees, that would give us a free hand, among other things, regarding President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko’s proposal on deploying our nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus. Is this so?

Sergey Ryabkov: We take all our obligations very seriously, under all the treaties to which Russia is a party. We have obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. However, please note that for many years we have been raising the issue with NATO members that the practice of deploying US nuclear weapons on the territory of NATO member states that the NPT deems as non-nuclear – not just deploying, but also holding training sessions involving those countries’ crews and equipment on how to use nuclear weapons – that that practice, in our opinion, grossly contravenes the treaty. They tell us no, it does not run counter to the treaty. They tell us, years ago, back when the NPT was under discussion, the Soviet delegation agreed with the Western interpretation. Well, they did not. We have searched the archives, and our approach was there. Back then, we – Moscow, the Soviet Union – expressed our approach, and it was reflected in the records of the talks. Still, for the sake of signing the Treaty, the matter was just left as it was, each with their own opinion. Well, here we are now – just like 50 years ago, each sticking to their position. I am not drawing any parallels with Belarus, just reminding you of the various attitudes to the other side’s claims in such matters.

Question: You mentioned the Cuban Missile Crisis. That involved nuclear weapons as well, didn’t it?

Sergey Ryabkov: The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most difficult moment in the entire history of the Cold War, when the world was really teetering on the brink of a nuclear conflict. With so much done since that time with regard to arms control and not only that, with the progress made in comprehending the concepts and doctrines of the use of nuclear weapons, it is simply impossible to discard this experience and rewind back to 1962.

But we are concerned about the ease with which our NATO opponents treat matters like deploying nuclear weapons, using nuclear weapons in different situations, where things become increasingly uncertain and blurred, where the threshold is lower, including due to capacity – that is, thinking logically, what they are doing makes it easier to go about using nuclear weapons, including on the battlefield. This is noticeable, and it raises our concerns, not just objections. We urge them to choose a different path. For example, one that we tried with the Biden administration, issuing a joint statement on the unacceptability of a nuclear war.

But there are escalation risks; there is the risk of an incident, which cannot be ignored. These risks cannot be taken lightly, they need to be addressed, and we call for this, too. Instead, we have to read a lot of moralising statements by our opponents. These lectures cannot change our position, I would say; if anything, they are strengthening it. On the other hand, they reveal the other side’s unwillingness, primarily that of the United States, to address real security threats in a serious manner.

Question: Reportedly, the United States is trying to persuade the EU to synchronise tough financial and economic measures against Russia. Do we have the tools to respond to these measures, and will the sanctions affect our position during the talks on security guarantees?

Sergey Ryabkov: We run into this all the time. Clearly, we are used to it and have adapted to it. I don’t want to make fun of what’s happening, because these are all not very good developments. The Western community’s programmed and differently formatted policy actions on Russia simply strike the eye. One gets the impression that the people who participate in these discussions are overwhelmed by the idea of ​​collective responsibility for what is going on. That is, no one can or is willing to offer an alternative, and things are unfolding arbitrarily. We have to reckon with this and, in all appearance, this will continue into the future, because those who hope for a possibility for Russia to review the demands that the West puts forward as a condition for taking steps on the sanctions track are naive. I am not even saying there is almost no such thing as lifting the sanctions that were imposed earlier. But that’s okay; this is a separate major topic, which is also revealing. But I am on to something else here. Routine statements coming from the West about its willingness to develop constructive relations with Russia and maintain a constructive dialogue with us if Russia does what the West insists on are worthless. This is expressed in different ways; in the most terse and concise form it is expressed like it’s up to Russia, while we, the West, stand ready; it’s Russia’s choice.

Yes, all right, we re-read it, which made our eyes even sorer, and that’s all there is to it. That is all we got from it.

Question: Still, will the sanctions affect the talks on security guarantees?

Sergey Ryabkov: We suggest reaching an agreement on the aspects of the situation in the sphere of tough security that are currently causing the greatest concern. But this is all a product of NATO’s constant and steady eastward expansion, which has recently been accompanied and supplemented by the military and the military-technical development of the neighbouring countries that are not formal NATO members. In addition, this goes hand-in-hand with intensified and openly provocative actions designed to see our reaction, whether it will be tough, or whether we will be willing to adjust our approach to a certain extent. That is, if I did not engage in diplomacy, I would refer to it as teetering on the brink of war. I would not want to touch on this in my assessments and reasoning. We do not want this, and we do not need a conflict. We want to reach an agreement on a sound basis. We want to move these multi-pronged activities which are, to a large extent if not entirely, anti-Russia, harmful and pre-planned, where all the roles have been assigned, to move them away from ourselves in order to get certain guarantees for normal coexistence in this space and in this area.

So, sanctions or other tracks in our activities do not fit into this logic in any way. This is an independent, separate group of questions that we have created in a form that is fairly direct and clear for our opponents, thus showing, among other things, that this is no joking matter, but, instead, needs to be dealt with right now, starting tomorrow.

Question: What about the “sanctions from hell” which the Western countries are threatening to impose against us? Aren’t they a threat to our security?

Sergey Ryabkov: I would like to share one observation with you in this connection. Not long ago – a year or two ago, it seemed to us that some issues like the one you mentioned now were discussed in the West if not with some trepidation but at least with the understanding that they concern fundamental, serious things. Now the Bucharest Nine comes into play. This is the most anti-Russia wing in NATO and the EU, with which the White House conducted special consultations, apparently explaining its own interpretations of our proposals – I don’t know, this is just my supposition. Now the situation has changed. They are imposing on others its internal NATO and internal EU narrative that Dostoyevsky, whose 200th birthday we just observed, would have described as “anything goes,” absolutely anything. These people are simply removing the limits of what is possible and acceptable in discussing various issues. But they ignore the fact that following the same logic as NATO, we will take care of our security ourselves and will sooner or later start pushing the limits of what is acceptable for us. We have already expressed our opinion in a slightly different way and will continue speaking out. So, this is a serious issue.

Question: But if, say, they reject our proposal, will that untie our hands?

Sergey Ryabkov: We will use the appropriate methods and approaches we need to ensure our security. We do not want a conflict and we would like to come to terms on a reasonable foundation. Any diplomatic action, any initiative or any proposal is a test of negotiability for those who are being addressed. Before we come to any conclusion on what to do next we must make certain the answer is negative. It could be a flat “no,” or emotional to some extent, or neutral. It could be anything. I do not want to anticipate it but I hope the answer will be at least relatively constructive so we can start our dialogue and talks. It is unclear what will happen, but let’s wait and see. Later there will be many options in different areas. However, talking about them now is counterproductive because we are trying to focus on our own proposals.

Question: So, there will be separate talks on security guarantees, not as part of the dialogue on strategic stability?

Sergey Ryabkov: We suggest a separate negotiating track on security guarantees – bilaterally with the US – that would include interdepartmental delegations.

As for a strategic stability dialogue, two rounds are over and we are preparing for a third one. We are working on our position, hoping the other side will specify potential decisions. That said, it is clear we will have to talk and discuss security guarantees, all the more so since one of the two working groups is called “potential and actions that could have a strategic effect.” NATO’s actions are having a strategic effect and it’s negative for us. Something needs to be done in this respect. They should stop or we need to stop them. I hope we will discuss this through a separate channel but we will also work on this in the format of strategic stability dialogue. I mean with the United States, I don’t mean NATO.

Question: Do the Americans continue to insist on China’s involvement in our dialogue on strategic stability or do they want to discuss these issues via a separate US-China channel?

Sergey Ryabkov: I have read reports that influential experts, including retirees and analysts, have published several articles on the Chinese factor, and this certainly creates a certain background and context. However, this question did not come up during our meetings, discussions or in conversations with the Americans this year after the June meeting between the presidents. As I see it, the United States has certain channels for discussing arms control with Beijing, and there is a five-sided format as well – the nuclear Five that holds useful meetings. This work is intensive now, on the eve of the NPT review conference. I hope there will be results that we can announce at the conference or in that context. China is very active there. In other words, there is no lack of venues. As for our dialogue on strategic stability with the US, the China factor only appears at US initiative. However, our position remains the same: we respect China’s position and consider it its sovereign choice, as is the case with Britain and France. We are very interested in their participation in this process. A sovereign choice is based on the national interests of these states and these interests may coincide with different arms control formats. We will not coerce anyone to do anything. We urge Britain and France to show a responsible attitude towards the situation. Just as with NATO, we cannot ignore the opportunities that the US allies have in different areas, and we will deal with this, too.

Question: Should we expect consultations on visa issues be held before the year is out?

Sergey Ryabkov: We do not have any consultations scheduled for what remains of this year. These matters continue to be discussed by the embassies. I want to confirm what has been said on several occasions, our Ambassador Anatoly Antonov mentioned this, and we mentioned this here as well: there is some progress on matters of secondary importance. Some categories of travelers, such as guests of embassy employees, can obtain visas more easily. Making travel arrangements for the specialists who are temporarily posted for various assignments, including building maintenance, has somewhat improved. Even though the room for improvement is vast and a good deal of work remains to be done, we managed to fix certain things of secondary importance, but there are no signs of us getting any closer on issues that matter most.

If the Americans don’t stop and continue to demand that our employees leave the country before January 30, we will respond in kind, and later the same number of their diplomatic mission employees will have to leave our country as well. The most severe personnel shortages, both here and there, will ensue. I’m not sure why the United States would want this. From time immemorial, embassies and consulates have worked to maintain normal bilateral relations and to facilitate dialogue. Unfortunately, visas have become a problem in our relations.

We never relent in urging the Americans to try to get this off the ground, but so far to no avail. It is not very clear how to interpret their approach, and why it is so uncompromising and does not take into account obvious needs, including those of the United States. Do they really think that we will be willing to unilaterally meet them halfway when our people are not able to rotate or simply travel to the United States, and have to apply for visas in third countries, while Washington gets what it needs? This runs counter to the logic behind diplomatic relations, not to mention the state of relations between Moscow and Washington. They cannot count on anything like this. This is one aspect of the matter.

The other aspect is that sometimes it appears that our colleagues have at some point underestimated our resolve to respond asymmetrically to their endless anti-Russia moves. When, in April, Russia was on the receiving end, again, of a whole series of completely groundless illegal sanctions, it was, in my opinion, a balanced and reasonable decision to respond by introducing a ban on hiring local personnel. Since then, they have been tying their destructive moves, such as failure to make available the required number of consular officers, which lead to non-issuance of visas or other enormous difficulties, and much more, to this decision. And they have also ratcheted up the pressure on our embassy.

But we do not even propose figuring out who started it and who is responsible for what, even though the situation here is absolutely indisputable, when back under the Obama administration we waited for many months, without responding even to the initial expulsion of a large number of our employees. But now, right now, let’s not waste the time figuring out who did what, why and when. We just need to put the most problematic demands on hold and say: while this is not happening, let’s try to use the time to find solutions. Had this happened, I don’t think any Foreign Ministry employees who engage in relations with the United States would be here, because I would have been sitting in Geneva for the security guarantee talks, while my colleagues would have left, the next day, for Helsinki or Vienna in order to work on removing these visa irritants. Our wives would have forgiven us even if we hadn’t been able to make it back in time for the New Year.

Question: That is, there will be no consultations on visas before the year is out?

Sergey Ryabkov: No.

Question: We are saying that we are demanding or will demand that the United States compensate us for seizing our diplomatic property and denying us access there. Is a legal claim for compensation already being drafted? Has it been presented to the Americans? And if so, what is the approximate amount of damages?

Sergey Ryabkov: The issue of diplomatic property is not being addressed. No progress has been made due to the US stance. We put a very fine point on this with the Americans at all levels, to reiterate, literally at all levels, including the highest level with no effect, at least, not the effect that we need. At this point, we would like to especially emphasise the need for our maintenance teams to at least tour the grounds in order to inspect the premises, to take stock and assess damage and see what is still there and what is gone. We are in the dark about this, we are not allowed there. And then we will see what we can do with regard to the steps that you mentioned.

Question: Towards the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, we were saying that our relations had hit the bottom. Now, almost a year after Joe Biden has been in office, have we pushed off the bottom? Second, you told us in your interview last year that you were not expecting anything good in our relations with America, and that we should move to a two-track approach in our relations with the United States consisting of total deterrence, including military deterrence, and selective dialogue. Are we carrying out this policy now?

Sergey Ryabkov: With regard to whether we have reached the bottom, I think that thankfully we didn’t break through the bottom and, in some respects, we are still moving forward and everything is not hopeless. However, in some areas the potential for deterioration is clear. We must deal with it before things collapse even more.  Our proposals regarding security guarantees are a signal that there are many reasons for alarm in the western direction in general, from the point of view of military-political aspects of security. This needs to be addressed. Another area where we do not see much reason for being particularly optimistic are things related to bilateral irritants, such as visas, etc. The path forward here is obvious, though. There’s not even need for any talks. All you need to do is just make a political decision and have people get together and write down on paper a sequence of steps on either side which shouldn’t take more than several days. It is a very simple thing to do. The reluctance on the American side to do this clearly shows their lack of political will to improve relations. So, we have made some progress on some tracks and we will keep moving down that positive path, as best we can, being mindful of the risks.

I believe that the two-track approach is the only possible way to deal with the Americans at this point. But this is my subjective opinion. Our policy does not reproduce in the least what, for many decades, has been practiced and, moreover, officially declared by the West with regard to Moscow as the capital of the Soviet Union and then the capital of the Russian Federation.

The two-track approach was first stated in the report by Pierre Harmel, former Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister of Belgium, in the 1967 NATO report. And they have been sticking to it since then. You can call something by different names, but that doesn’t change what it is. Is the Higgs boson a particle or a field? Both.

I am not getting caught up in my own words about the two-track approach. I know one thing. We need to achieve, what the Biden administration’s top officials famously refer to as “stable and predictable relationship” with Moscow. What we need is a stable and predictable relationship with Washington. We can get there by demonstrating our serious approaches and intentions in a variety of areas, while remaining open to dialogue.  The other side often has a problem, and it appears that it will arise again following our proposals, which is that they are good at showing firmness bordering on rudeness, but they are rather unprepared for dialogue. So, just like the communicating vessels, we will also be balancing. You can call it a two-track approach or whatever you like. Our foreign policy is presidential policy, and we carry out the decisions that are made by the leader of our state.

Russia’s ultimatum to the West (IMPORTANT UPDATE)

December 19, 2021

To understand what just happened, we need to look at two things: how Russia chose to communicate her demands and then the contents of the demands themselves.  However, before I do that, I want to recommend two other points of view, both of which are, in my opinion, very helpful:

I recommend you read them before we continue.  This being said, let’s look in more detail at just what happened.

First, this was clearly an ultimatum.  Second, it was a public ultimatum.

This is absolutely crucial, as it marks, at the very least, a total break with normal Russian (and Soviet) diplomatic practice.

It is also pretty obvious that both the form and the substance of that ultimatum would be unacceptable to the USA and the US colonies in Europe.

Which begs the question: what are the Russians trying to achieve here?

Some will say that the Russians (or Putin personally) are simply stupid and that they are too arrogant to realize that their ultimatum would never be accepted.  Well, if the USA (the only part of the “West” which matters because it has actual agency) ignores that ultimatum and then merrily continues on the path it has been on since at least Bill Clinton, and if the Russians (or Putin personally) do nothing, then those who believe that the Russians are stupid will be proven right.

Now let’s look at what else might happen.

The first thing we need to understand is that Russia holds all the military cards (read Martyanov for details I won’t bother repeating it all here).  So let’s quickly worst case: “Biden” ignores Russia and Russia replies by deploying weapon systems, including hypersonic weapons, which will threaten the US not only in Russia, but in Belarus, the Arctic, and the mid-Atlantic.  Then the US will feel the same way Moscow does: 5 minutes away from annihilation.  Will that be good for “Biden”?

Let’s imagine that “Biden” decides to play tough and creates some kind of incident that will force the Russians to either sink a USN ship or shoot down a USAF aircraft.  That would mean war.  Here “Biden” would have two options: keep the war below the nuclear threshold and lose that war (the NATO military infrastructure would be gone) or go nuclear and risk a nuclear holocaust.  Will either one of these be good for “Biden”?

Now let’s say that “Biden” agrees to negotiate with Russia (while, of course, keeping up with all the pretenses about “consulting with partners and allies”) and the two sides come to some kind of deal.  How would that deal manifest itself?  Well, that is quite obvious – NATO would have to give up its expansion while Russia would have to provide verifiable guarantees that she will not attack any NATO country.  I know, I am skipping over a gazillion of details in which, as the expression goes, the devil lies, but for our purposes this is sufficient.  Then, again, I would ask the same question as above: would that be a good outcome for “Biden”?

We need to look at this possibility even further:

First, some of the US EU vassals would be incensed and they would do two things: verbally protest as loudly as possible and engage in whatever action they could come up with to force the situation and create a crisis.  And no, that would not be good for “Biden” at all.  But, consider this: first, “Biden” can tell the EU vassals to shut up and behave.  But even more importantly, that “bad option” will look “less bad” to “Biden” than either one of the two options mentioned above (place the entire USA 5min away from destruction or face a full-scale war).

Remember how I said that Russia holds all the military cards?

Russia also holds much stronger political and economic cards than the USA which has close to nothing.  Politically, Russia is now “more than an ally” to China, she is a close partner to India (to the fury of the White House) and politically, she is much less isolated than the USA!  Even the map on the right does not give the full measure of the situation.  Why?

Because most of the “international community” which “supports” (well, obeys) the USA is the EU, which itself is in a terminal crisis on too many levels to count here!

Compare the red and the grey zones on the map, and ask yourself these questions: which zone has the most powerful military? which zone has the most natural and human resources? which zone has the most promising trading routes? which zone has a real GDP, as opposed to a purely FIRE one?  Which one is literally dying spiritually under the trans-national “Woke” ideology and which one has retained the willingness and ability to fight for its spiritual, cultural, and civilizational values?  Finally, which zone has a viable vision of the future?

I could go on and on with many more such questions, but I think that you see my point: the USA is not only losing militarily, but it is also losing on all fronts!

Next question: what does the USA need most?

Well, there are plenty of things the USA need, but I would single out one: time.  Why? Because the truth is that the USA has only two options left: a “Kabul style” retreat from Europe or an orderly, negotiated “rearrangement” of the European collective security system (which, let’s not forget, the USA screwed up all by itself, a true disaster for which the USA is now totally responsible for).

[Sidebar: there is not such thing as unilateral security.  All real security is always collective.  That truism is now a dangerous political heresy in the West for which folks get (figuratively) burned at the stake for.  Unilateralism is just a trigger for insecurity and, eventually, war.]

If there is no war, then NATO will survive, at least politically. If there is no war, “Biden” will be able to say that the West’s “firm and united” stance forced Russia to make concessions: remember how the Cuban missile crisis was presented by the USA as a US victory when, in fact, it forced the USA to withdraw missiles from Turkey?  It has been many decades since the Cuban missile crisis, yet something like 99% of the people in the US and EU sincerely believes that the US “won”!  The AngloZionist propaganda machine can easily repeat that once more.  Except for a “small” problem: this time around, Russia presented her ultimatum first and made so very publicly.

Why did the Russians choose this method?

Well, I don’t know, I cannot read the Kremlin’s mind, but my guess is that Russia wants way more than just a “draw” (which is what the Cuban missile crisis was).  Russia wants a full victory which she would define as “defanging NATO“, at least in Europe.  Why?

Now let’s look at Russia’s options:

Do nothing aka “more of the same”: that means full surrender to the West, followed by a partition of Russia and a US attack on China.  To say that this is unacceptable to Russia would be an understatement.

Gradually step down from the demands of the ultimatum: that is a more interesting one and it is again a case of “the devil is in the details”.  For example, the existence of NATO by itself means nothing to Russia.  Ditto for the EU, by the way.  All these are in reality are irrelevant Kaffeeklatsch pretexts for politicians with no future, and countries with no agency.  The biggest mistake made by both the EU and NATO was its “glorious” expansion to the East only to find out that all this achieved was irreparably weaken both the EU NATO as the newcomers were, how shall I put it politely, quite terminally stupid, corrupt and infantile.  When I listen to EU and NATO politicians, I think of a Kindergarten on crack cocaine or something equally insane (see here for a perfect example).

So one option for Russia would be to “creatively revisit” the terms of her ultimatum and then keep the substance while jettisoning the hostile tone and giving the West some symbolic “concessions”.  Would that be a good option for Putin?  Well, it all will depend on the mentioned “devil in details”.  If at the end of the process NATO is defanged, then yes.  If NATO remains as aggressively hostile as it is today, then no.

Which begs the question: what will Russia do in such a case?

Here we need to at least consider one option: a Russian recognition of the LDNR justified by Kiev’s total rejection (de facto and de jure) of the Minsk Agreements and the constant Ukronazi provocations and attacks on the LDNR: remember two things Putin said recently.  He spoke of “not yet recognized republics” and he spoke of “genocide“.

Responsibility to protect” anyone?

Of course, the Ukronazis would have to attack (even at least symbolically), which would allow Russia to make a military move against the Ukraine, free the LDNR and deploy Russian forces inside these republics, fully backed by Belarus, of course, and, possibly, even China (politically).  Notice I did not say “invasion”.  Let’s imagine that Russia will use her standoff weapon systems to defang the Ukies, liberate the LDNR, and then will turn to the rest of Europe with a “smile” strongly suggesting the following “which of you guys wants to be next?”  This would result in a total panic in Europe, especially in Mons, Brussels, and Warsaw.

And here is the beauty of that option: Russia can easily strike Mons and Brussels (or Warsaw) with conventional weapons and leave most of these cities in mint shape.  And if the EU/NATO decides to strike back, then Russia will wage a full-scale war against the EU/NATO and she will win it.

What about the “Biden” administration in such a scenario?  The Pentagon knows what Russian missiles can do to it and any other military objective in the continental USA.  I very much doubt that the US deep state will be willing to commit mass suicide just to try (and fail!) to protect the EU.  Besides, the Russians have no intentions or capabilities, to invade the EU anyway, so why destroy the USA for a threat which does not even exist?!

Does “Biden” want to go down in history as “the President who lost Europe”?

Would “the President who triggered a nuclear holocaust” sound any better?

So by making her demands public, Russia has (for the first time and finally!!) also sent a message to the people of the West.  This message can be summarized like this: we don’t want war, but if you insist, we will oblige.

And, for the first time since 1991, Russia does have the objective means to achieve these goals.

So there, we have it, I think.

Now we also need to address the elephant in the room: the US War Party and, even more so, the EU infantiles on crack cocaine.  For them, defanging NATO would be utterly unacceptable…

… or would it?

The US War Party is just that, US-based.  And while some of the talking heads on the idiot tube do sound like real “hawks”, the military professionals in the US armed forces know the real score.  Not only that, but the “smart wing” of the War Party understands that the USA desperately needs time and an orderly draw-down, even if just a temporary one!  Their game is, as I said many times, a game of what I call “nuclear chicken” but, crucially, a game short of actual nuclear war which they don’t need at all (if only because they would likely die themselves).

Which leaves the EU infantiles on crack cocaine.  Here I am going to say something terrible, and I feel really bad for writing this, but I only see one method to get the Europeans back from la-la-land to the real world: Russia has to defeat them militarily, yet again, as she did over and over in her history.  Somehow, the narcissistic megalomaniacs who currently administer the European continent on behalf of the USA won’t read history and won’t rein in their deep sense of racial superiority over the subhuman Russian Asiatic hordes.  These modern wannabe Kulturtraegers and assorted Herrenvolk still hate Russia for defeating Hitler, Napoleon, and the rest of them, and for them, their phobia (in the sense of both hate and fear) of everything Russian is now part of their identity, something quite sacred to them and to hell with those who think otherwise!

This is what it took the last time around

The only effective way to bring the European Master Races back to reality is well-known (see picture).

I would argue that such an outcome goes directly against the interests of BOTH the USA and Russia.  And, most obviously, it goes totally against the interests of the people of Europe.

But if the latter does nothing to prevent such an outcome, then it is for the USA and Russia to prevent it.

And if the USA won’t prevent it, then Russia will deliver.

As for the notion that boycotts, sanctions (even from hell!), or the cancellation of NS2 will stop the Russians -it is truly beyond ridiculous.  Last time around, Russia lost 27 million people and then rebuilt her economy in a decade.

Conclusion:

This is no Russian bluff but a real ultimatum.  In fact, it is so real that it was made public for two reasons I believe: first, of course, to try to appeal to the people of the West and, second, to morally “untie the hands” of Russia should it come to full-scale war.

Analysts in the West always assume that public gestures are somehow exclusively aimed at them.  They are wrong.  This ultimatum is also addressed to the Russian people and Russian armed forces and says this to them: “people of Russia, we tried all we could to avoid this, we pleaded and begged for decades, and we retreated on many fronts, yet in spite of that, the West keeps pressing on.  We will never allow a June 22nd to happen again.  Prepare for war“.

I will end with three quotes by Putin himself:

“As a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”

Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight’s inevitable, you must strike first

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,”

UPDATE: according to the Russian media citing “diplomatic sources”, China has given her full support to the Russian demands.  What that actually means or implies is unclear, but this is the first indication that the Russian ultimatum was coordinated with the Chinese and that China will have some kind of role to play in the next move of the Russians if the US rejects the Russian demands.

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