Tag Archives: NATO

Dialogue of the Deaf in Geneva, by Alastair Crooke

We’ll do as we want and you’ll do as we say isn’t much of a negotiating position. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Western politics today are no more about considered strategy: It is pretty evident that the U.S. team arrived at Geneva strategy-less.

A curious event occurred on Monday in Geneva. It seems that the only substantive outcome from the U.S.–Russia talks is that the U.S. has promised to provide a formal response to the earlier Russian demand for security guarantees within a week. The Russian counterparts outlined their own position unambiguously, and in full detail. This, however, was wholly disdained by the Biden Team, who, according to the Russians, were “diehard/stubborn”. The Russian delegation was told that its key request of ‘no more NATO eastward expansion’ was simply “a non-starter”.

It plainly was not then ‘a negotiation’. The U.S. is discussing only missile deployment issues and mutual limitations on military exercises, but avoiding the crux of Russian demands (the roll-back of NATO from its near abroad, to be achieved either through diplomacy or a by ‘a strategy of tension’, i.e. escalating pain). And the U.S. has neither a negotiating strategy tied to realisable objectives, nor real options, beyond the symbolical assertion of NATO ‘openness’.

NATO’s door must remain ‘open’ is the U.S.’ meme-narrative – yet it is an assertion that lacks substance. Washington has already conceded that neither it, nor NATO, will fight (at least overtly), over Ukraine – whereas Russia has said that it will so do, were Ukraine to be subsumed into NATO.

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Biden Should Declare NATO Membership Closed, by Patrick Buchanan

In other words, Biden should forthrightly state American blood and treasure won’t be sacrificed to protect countries the U.S. government and most of its citizens have never thought worth defending. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a U.S.-backed coup that ousted a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv by occupying Crimea, President Barack Obama did nothing.

When Putin aided secessionists in the Donbass in seizing Luhansk and Donetsk, once again, Obama did nothing.

Why did we not come to the military assistance of Ukraine?

Because Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We had no obligation to come to its aid. And to have intervened militarily on the side of Ukraine would have risked a war with Russia we had no desire to fight.

Last year, when Putin marshaled 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, President Joe Biden declared that any U.S. response to a Russian invasion would be restricted to severe sanctions.

The U.S. would take no military action in support of Ukraine.

Why not? Because, again, Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

Clearly, by its inaction, America is revealing its refusal to risk its own security in a war with Russia over a Ukraine whose sovereignty and territorial integrity are not vital U.S. interests sufficient to justify war with the largest country on earth with its huge arsenal of nuclear weapons.

This is the real world.

And as Ukraine is not a NATO ally, and we are not going to invite it to become a NATO ally, Biden should declare so publicly, urbi et orbi, to remove Putin’s pretext for any invasion.

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Vladimir Putin Is Not the Neville Chamberlain the US/NATO Is Looking For, by Thomas Knapp

Don’t expect Vladimir Putin to back off Russia’s demands concerning NATO membership or where the U.S. and NATO put their weapons. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

“I think one lesson in recent history,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on January 7, referring to the entry of Russian troops into Kazakhstan to save that country’s allied regime from an uprising of dissatisfied serfs, “is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave.”

That’s the pot calling the kettle black. More than 30 years after the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution, 77 years after the end of World War Two, the US still keeps 40,000 troops in Germany.

For 45 years, the justification was to defend Germany from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. As Germany moved toward reunification, US Secretary of State James Baker assured Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wouldn’t expand so much as “one inch eastward” into the former Soviet sphere of influence it was created to contain.

That assurance, codified in various negotiations and subsequently declassified documents, was far from “informal” as supporters of an expanding NATO pretend. It may well have kept eastern Europe’s transition toward independence from devolving into the third general European war in a century.

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If Austria and Switzerland Are Exempt From NATO Then Why Not Ukraine? By Finian Cunningham

Good question. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Moscow insists that its demand for halting NATO expansionism is inviolable. Washington insists on rejecting that. The gap in diplomacy is becoming a dangerous abyss.

American and NATO officials contend that Russia has no right to demand that Ukraine be excluded from membership of the military alliance. Such a demand is a non-starter, they say.

Meanwhile, Russia insists that it is an “absolute imperative” that Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics such as Georgia are not admitted to NATO. And Moscow wants a legal treaty stating this exclusion.

A quick reality-check amusingly reminds us that Moscow has precedent on its side of the argument. The talks between U.S., NATO and Russian officials this week are being conducted in Geneva and Vienna, the cities of two European countries, Switzerland and Austria, that are obliged to remain neutral from any military alliance.

That non-aligned status is part of the Swiss and Austrian constitutions. But part of the neutrality also stems from international consensus based on the sensitive geopolitical position of both countries in the aftermath of wars in Europe.

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The Not-Ultimatum, by Observer R

The U.S. no longer has the economic or military power to maintain itself as the dominant global power, but the U.S. power structure is not ready to accept that truth. From Observer R at thesaker.is:

The documents issued by Russia in December 2021 (the so-called “Not-Ultimatum), concerning modifications to the security architecture in Europe, have created a considerable sensation in the diplomatic and military worlds. Russia politely requested that NATO confine its activities to its location as of 1997, and keep out of the former Warsaw Pact territory. This was to abide by the promises that the United States made to the Soviet Union at the time that the Soviets agreed to disband the Warsaw Pact. Both the United States and NATO responded negatively to the initiative, but agreed to hold negotiations with Russia during the week of January 11-14, 2022.

During the negotiation period many commentators have opined that the intellectual quality of the US official statements and the US think-tank products could be improved. Perhaps all is not lost, however, as at least some US officials have grasped the changes in Russian weapons and the Russian economy that make it necessary to sit down and do serious talking. For example, the top US general has announced that the world has moved from a unipolar setup to a multipolar one, and that the US is now only one of the poles, the others being China and Russia. The US general has engaged in “deconfliction” talks with the top generals of China and Russia—presumably to try and ward off any mistakes that could wind up frying the world to a crisp. In addition, the head of the CIA has allowed the CIA Fact Book to be published publicly showing that China and Russia are much higher-ranked in GDP than most politicians and pundits in the US give them credit for. China is significantly out in front, and Russia is sixth and closing in on fifth place. Finally, a former First Lady and Secretary of State has written that the massive US aircraft carriers are to a large extent obsolete and that the F-35 fighter jet does not live up to expectations. There is a widespread feeling that the US is behind the Russians in hypersonic weapons, air defense, and probably electronic warfare also.

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This Is How the U.S. Does ‘Dialogue’, by Pablo Escobar

Are Vladimir Putin’s proposals being rejected out of hand? From Pablo Escobar at unz.com:

Washington will not consider Russian proposals on no expansion of NATO, and has no intention of even discussing the idea. So much for “dialogue”.

It was the first high-level Russia-NATO meeting since 2019 – coming immediately after the non sequitur of the U.S.-Russia “security guarantee” non-dialogue dialogue earlier in the week in Geneva.

So what happened in Brussels? Essentially yet another non-dialogue dialogue – complete with a Kafkaesque NATO preface: we’re prepared for dialogue, but the Kremlin’s proposals are unacceptable.

This was a double down on the American envoy to NATO, Julianne Smith, preemptively blaming Russia for the actions that “accelerated this disaster”.

By now every sentient being across Eurasia and its European peninsula should be familiar with Russia’s top two, rational demands: no further NATO expansion, and no missile systems stationed near its borders.

Now let’s switch to the spin machine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s platitudes were predictably faithful to his spectacular mediocrity. On the already pre-empted dialogue, he said it was “important to start a dialogue”.

Russia, he said, “urged NATO to refuse to admit Ukraine; the alliance responded by refusing to compromise on enlargement”. Yet NATO “welcomed bilateral consultations” on security guarantees.

NATO also proposed a series of broad security consultations, and “Russia has not yet agreed, but has not ruled out them either.”

No wonder: the Russians had already noted, even before it happened, that this is noting but stalling tactics.

The Global South will be relieved to know that Stoltenberg defended NATO’s military blitzkriegs in both Kosovo and Libya: after all “they fell under UN mandates”. So they were benign. Not a word on NATO’s stellar performance in Afghanistan.

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US-Russia Talk About Where Not To Place Missiles, by Ray McGovern

Underneath the media radar, the U.S. and Russia may be moving toward agreement concerning Russia’s recent ultimatums. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

“Impasse, Deadlock” says The Washington Post describing the outcome of the high-level U.S.-Russia talks Monday, with a tone of self-congratulation (we told you so), tinged with wishful thinking.

Yes, wishful thinking. Given the very high stakes, the media is a huge part of the problem, since they keep millions in the dark about the real world and hinder progress toward reducing U.S.-Russian tensions. This should come as no surprise, since the corporate media are part – indeed the linchpin of – the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex that profiteers on war. The Post and other Establishment media are doing their level best – against growing odds – to be consistent.

Consistent: A more ‘charitable’ explanation for media misfeasance can be seen in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s dictum: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Emerson was writing about people who allow their ideas and opinions to be dictated by what they used to think. He noted that little minds are too afraid of change – even when contradictory data suggests a better, more accurate idea.

So, after Monday’s talks in Geneva, little minds at The Washington Post, for example, were happy to run this headline: Russia-U.S. talks hit impasse over NATO expansion, but Moscow says the situation is not ‘hopeless’. In my view, those little (and/or warmongering) minds miss the the significance of what just happened in Geneva. Here’s how the headline should have read: Geneva: Agreement to Discuss Where Missiles Can Be Emplaced.

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Russia is Done Playing Politics Over Ukraine, by Tom Luongo

Vladimir Putin is telling Europe as much as the U.S. that it’s time to fish or cut bait. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – DECEMBER 1, 2021: Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova gives a weekly press briefing. Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS

As we approach next week’s big summit between the U.S./NATO and Russia over tensions in Ukraine it’s important to understand just where things between everyone stands. Russia’s Foreign Ministry, normally the soul of understatement and infuriating politeness, has been ratcheting up the blunt over the past couple of months.

Nothing else seems to get the attention of U.S. and European so-called diplomats and decision-makers.

These are people who arrogantly believe it is their right and privilege to demean everyone else they don’t respect or agree with. They sincerely don’t like it when it comes back at them.

To that point, the recent dustup between Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova and the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell was outstanding. Zakharova is thorough, eloquent, and nearly always correct.  She accomplishes these things because she has the truth on her side.

Borrell published an interview with the German propaganda rag, Die Welt, which read like an application for his long-term commitment to Arkham Asylum for solipsism bordering on insanity in which he complained Russia had no right to make demands of the EU or NATO.

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2022, by Paul Craig Roberts

The Russia issue could well be the one in which we most wish our president wasn’t an idiot. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

I remember when 1984 was in the distant future. We wondered if our destiny was going to be Big Brother’s police state. But 1984 turned out to be the middle of the Reagan years. Liberals didn’t like Reagan’s rhetoric, but his policies worked. Supply-side economics cured stagflation, and we were working to end the cold war. It was difficult not to like a president who could quip in response to an assassination attempt on his life, “I forgot to duck.”

New ideas reinvigorated US economic and foreign policy. Our future had brightened.

Soviet President Gorbachev agreed to the reunification of Germany on the assurance from the George H.W. Bush administration that in exchange NATO would not move one inch to the East.

But the Clinton regime, with Republican Bob Dole egging them on, dishonored the word of the United States government and moved NATO to Russia’s borders, thus restarting the Cold War that Reagan and Gorbachev had ended.

In a series of lawless actions–the bombing of Yugoslavia, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombings of Pakistan territory–together with dismissive treatment of Russia, Washington, lost in its arrogant hubris as “the world’s only superpower,” awoke and aroused Russia and brought her out of her docility.

At the Munich Security Conference in 2007 Putin said that the lawless behavior of the US was undermining peaceful relations based in international law. He said Washington’s monopolistic dominance in global relations left no room for the interests and concerns of other countries and he criticized Washington for unbridled hyper use of force in international relations.

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January 2022: A Game Changing Moment Between Russia, America and the World, by Tim Kirby

Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum concerning NATO’s encroachment dispels the illusion of the American empire. From Tim Kirby at strategic-culture.org:

What Moscow is really asking for is to redraw the borders of influence between Russia and the West.

One of the most frequently asked questions about U.S.-Russian relations over the last few years has been “have we hit rock bottom?”. No matter how bad things seem, about every six months a few Congressmen with questionable motivations come up with a new pack of sanctions or other threats to make the situation get just a bit worse. After many years of this it seems as though there is always room for relations to somehow plummet even further down the dank shaft they are in. However, Washington may have run out of ideas and threats as both sides of Cold War 2.0 are set to meet around January 10th right after the holiday season in Russia officially ends to build a solid mutually approved deal so that hopefully U.S.-Russian relations can finally be exposed to daylight again.

Image: Comically bad relations between nuclear powers are still a great danger even after the Cold War.

From a Russian standpoint there is finally some cause for optimism due to the fact that they have chosen a logical hardline position and yet Washington, understanding it, has still agreed to discuss it. Although American diplomats and politicians (like those in many countries) are very skilled at nodding their heads for a couple hours then just doing whatever the hell the want to give the illusion of sticking out an olive branch, this time the Russian position is so clear cut that if it were completely off the table Washington wouldn’t even bother participating. They would be more likely to throw a PR hissyfit via the Mainstream Media accusing the Russians of X,Y, and Z, than listen to a position they find revolting for hours of negotiations. Essentially, the American side at least humoring Russia’s demands is a positive step for sure.

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