Tag Archives: NATO

Psychoanalysing NATO: Gaslighting, by Patrick Armstrong

How NATO tries to “control the narrative.” From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:

NOTE: Because “NATO” these days is little more than a box of spare parts out of which Washington assembles “coalitions of the willing”, it’s easier for me to write “NATO” than “Washington plus/minus these or those minions”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called on Russia to explain “exactly what has gone on” after two people were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent in Wiltshire. (BBC)

The Russian state could put this wrong right. They could tell us what happened. What they did. And fill in some of the significant gaps that we are trying to pursue. We have said they can come and tell us what happened. I’m waiting for the phone call from the Russian state. The offer is there. They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe. (UK security minister Ben Wallace)

Leaving aside their egregious flouting of the elemental principle of English justice, note that they’re uttering this logical idiocy: Russia must have done it because it hasn’t proved it didn’t. Note also, in Javid’s speech, the amusing suggestion that Russia keeps changing its story; but to fit into the official British story “novichok” must be an instantly lethal slow acting poison which dissipates quickly but lasts for months.

This is an attempt to manipulate our perception of reality. In a previous essay I discussed NATO’s projection of its own actions onto Russia. In this piece I want to discuss another psychological manipulation – gaslighting.

The expression comes from the movie Gaslight in which the villain manipulates her reality to convince his wife that she is insane. Doubt the official Skripal story and it is you – you “Russian troll” – who is imagining things. Only Russian trolls would question Litvinenko’s deathbed accusation written in perfect English handed to us by a Berezovskiy flunky; or the shootdown of MH17; or the invasion of Ukraine; or the cyber attack on Estonia. Only a Russian troll would observe that the fabulously expensive NATO intelligence agencies apparently get their information from Bellingcat. Argumentum ad trollem is everywhere: count the troll accusations here or admire the clever anticipatory use of the technique there.

This is classic gaslighting – I’m telling the truth, you’re the crazy one.

We may illustrate the eleven signs of “gaslighting” given in Psychiatry Today by Stephanie A. Sarkis with recent events.

To continue reading: Psychoanalysing NATO: Gaslighting

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Bad NATO! Bad NATO! Stay After School, by Eric Margolis

The contradictions in Trump’s policies towards Europe and NATO were on full display at that organization’s summit. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump says most summit meetings are a waste of time.  He’s so right.  Most meetings of every kind are a waste of time and energy.

The president was certainly right about last week’s NATO summit in Brussels.  At least, he livened it up by openly blasting his NATO allies once again for not spending enough on their military forces.  But Trump’s real purpose was to show the world that he was boss of all he surveyed.

Doing his best bull in a china shop routine, Trump lectured and scolded the heads of NATO on live TV.  They took the verbal thrashing like truant schoolboys.  NATO’s secretary general, former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was put into office by the US, muttered a few lame excuses.  Trump supporters in the US were delighted to see the snotty, godless Europeans given a good dressing down.

It did not help when it was revealed that Germany, the bulwark of NATO, had only a handful of front-line fighters in service.  Another report claimed most of its main battle tanks were out of service due to budget cuts.

The president made the very important statement that he regarded Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a ‘competitor’ and not an ‘enemy.’  This view is widely held in Europe and the rest of the world.

But then Trump negated this sensible view by claiming Germany is ‘totally controlled’ by and ‘captive to’ nearby Russia because Germany now buys up to 70% of its oil and gas from them.

In fact, many Germans believe precisely the contrary: that Germany is Washington’s vassal state and still under American domination seven decades after World War II.

They cite US control of Germany’s intelligence agencies, foreign and defense policies, relations with Israel, and sending troops to support the ongoing US occupation of Afghanistan.

Over 37 active US bases and installations are spread across northern Germany and Bavaria.  Some 35,000 US troops remain in Germany, down from the Cold War total of over 300,000.  Important German air bases form the core of the US ability to project power into Eastern Europe and the Mideast.  The US quietly stores nuclear weapons in Germany.

To continue reading: Bad NATO! Bad NATO! Stay After School

Donald Trump is right. Nato is a costly white elephant, by Simon Jenkins

NATO was created to counter the threat of a Soviet invasion. The Soviet Union is no more, and the threat from a Russian invasion is scant. So why do we still have NATO? From Simon Jenkins at theguardian.com:

Donald Trump is a pig, a liar, a woman-hater, a racist, a monster of bombast – and did I mention a disrupter and total bastard as well? Does that feel better? Comment on the current US president seems to require a wallow in the pit of competitive contempt. But it just plays his game.

I regard Trump as an aberration, a temporary trauma afflicting US politics. He honours the thesis of the historian Arthur Schlesinger, that America’s constitution often drives the republic to the abyss, only to drag it back again. But even monsters can ask the occasional good question. Thus Trump this week on Nato, a body so mired in platitude and waffle it has lost sight of its true purpose. Trump wants to know what Europe really regards as its defence policy, for he thinks it takes America for a ride. Nato was founded in 1949 in response to Stalin’s blockade of Berlin. It was meant to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. Since then, it has welcomed the American nuclear shield, at vast cost to America. Otherwise, its only military achievements have been the breakup of Yugoslavia and the loss of a squalid 17-year war in Afghanistan. Neither has anything to do with the North Atlantic. Nothing better symbolised this than Theresa May’s bizarre gift to Trump this week of 450 British troops for Kabul.

Nato was about deterring an attack on Europe from Russia. In 1945, the west agreed the Potsdam settlement, accepting the Soviets’ “sphere of influence” over eastern Europe. Thus when Russia invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, there was no question of Nato, or Europe, retaliating. The iron curtain was iron.

Come 1989 and the collapse of Potsdam Europe, Nato did not approach a broken Russia to agree some new settlement. It did the opposite. To protests from Russia’s weakened leader, Boris Yeltsin, it gathered former Warsaw Pact states under its wing and advanced its border east towards Russia. It embraced Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, then the Baltic states, Romania and Bulgaria. It was like Khrushchev stationing missiles in Cuba. Only Germany counselled caution.

To continue reading: Donald Trump is right. Nato is a costly white elephant

Is a Coming NATO Crisis Inevitable? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The US is spending a lot of money to defend its European allies against a very low probability threat. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Of President Donald Trump’s explosion at Angela Merkel’s Germany during the NATO summit, it needs to be said: It is long past time we raised our voices.

America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year.

To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense.

At Brussels, Trump had a new beef with the Germans, though similar problems date back to the Reagan era. Now we see the Germans, Trump raged, whom we are protecting from Russia, collaborating with Russia and deepening their dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

When completed, this pipeline will leave Germany and Europe even more deeply reliant on Russia for their energy needs.

To Trump, this makes no sense. While we pay the lion’s share of the cost of Germany’s defense, Germany, he said in Brussels, is becoming “a captive of Russia.”

Impolitic? Perhaps. But is Trump wrong? While much of what he says enrages Western elites, does not much of it need saying?

Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why?

Why — nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow — are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

Before departing Brussels, Trump upped the ante on the allies, urging that all NATO nations raise the share of their GDPs that they devote to defense to 4 percent.

Brussels may dismiss this as typical Trumpian bluster, but my sense is that Trump is not bluffing. He is visibly losing patience.

Though American leaders since John Foster Dulles in the 1950s have called for a greater defense effort from our allies, if the Europeans do not get serious this time, it could be the beginning of the end for NATO.

To continue reading; Is a Coming NATO Crisis Inevitable?

Time for a Mercy Killing at NATO, by David Stockman

Put NATO out of its gloriously lucrative (for militaries and their defense contractors) but completely unnecessary (for the rest of us) irrelevance. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

The Great Disrupter was in fine fettle Wednesday. First he scolded Germany for investing in a natural gas pipeline from Russia that makes all the sense in the world and then blasted it for not spending money on defense it doesn’t need.

Well, I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia……On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also. You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect.

But not to worry. The talking heads of bubblevision say today’s market dip is the pause which refreshes. It’s still “risk-on” because by their lights when push comes to shove no mere politician – including the Donald – is going to do anything that the boys and girls on Wall Street might find troubling.

They apparently don’t dare – as was well and truly proven in late September 2008. When the remnants of principled Republicans voted down the TARP bailout of Wall Street, the Dow instantly plunged by 7% or $1.2 trillion, which would be equivalent to a 1700 point meltdown at today’s index level.

Of course, that particular hissy fit brought the GOP pols scampering back to the House floor. Having gotten their heads right in the interim, they marched back up the hill to approve George Bush’s $700 billion package of crony capitalist loot.

There hasn’t been even a close call since then. The only thing the gamblers really fear, apparently, is that a central banker might look at them cross-eyed. But as we told CNBC viewers yesterday, no central banker has the backbone to even wrinkle his brow in the direction of Wall Street.

To continue reading: Time for a Mercy Killing at NATO

NATO is a Con Game, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

NATO is a con game, and many Americans don’t realize we’re the marks. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Okay, well, Trump did it again. Antagonizing allies. This time it was Germany that took the main hit, over the fact that it pays Russia billions of dollars for oil and gas while relying on the US for its defense … against Russia. And yes, that is a strange situation. But it’s by no means the only angle to the story. There are many more.

For one thing, The US has by far the largest military industry. So it makes a lot of money off the billions already spent by NATO partners on weaponry. Of course Raytheon, Boeing et al would like to see them spend more. But once they would have done that, they would clamor for even more after.

At some point one must ask how much should really be spent. How much is enough, how much is necessary. The military-industrial complex (MIC) has every reason to make the threat posed by ‘enemies’ as big as they possibly can. So knowing that, we must take media reports on this threat with tons of salt.

And that is not easy. Because the MIC has great influence in politics and the media. But we can turn to some numbers. According to GlobalFirePower, the US in 2018 will spend $647 billion on its military, while Russia is to spend a full $600 billion less, at $47 billion. And the US Senate has already voted in a $82 billion boost recently.

There are other numbers out there that suggest Russia spends $60 billion, but even then. If Moscow spends just 10% of the US, and much less than that once all NATO members’ expenditure is included, how much of a threat can Russia realistically be to NATO?

Sure, I’ve said it before, Russia makes weapons to defend itself, while America makes them to make money, which makes the latter much less efficient, but it should be glaringly obvious that the Russia threat is being blown out of all proportions.

Problem with that is that European nations for some reason love playing the threat card as much as America does. After all, Britain, France and Germany have major weapons manufacturers, too. So they’re all stuck. The Baltic nations clamor for more US protection, so does Sweden, Merkel re-focused on Putin just days ago, the game must go on.

To continue reading: NATO is a Con Game

Psychoanalysing NATO: Projection, by Patrick Armstrong

Everything NATO accuses its adversaries of doing, especially Russia, is just a projection of things NATO has done. From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:

“NATO” can be a rather elusive concept: Libya was a NATO operation, even though Germany kept out of itSomalia was not a NATO operation even though Germany was in it. Canada, a founding NATO member, was in Afghanistan but not in Iraq. Some interventions are NATO, others aren’t. But it doesn’t really mean much because NATO is only a box of spare parts out of which Washington assembles “coalitions of the willing”. So it’s easier for me to write “NATO” than “Washington plus/minus these or those minions”.

We are told – incessantly – that Putin is “Winning the Information War“, “We have no counterattack to Russia’s information warfare“. Nonsense. The real information war is being conducted by the British Army’s “77th Brigade“, the soldiers of Fort Bragg, NATO’s Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. Or by the BBC, RFE/RL, Deutsch Welle, AFP et al; each of whose budgets is many multiples of RT’s. They manipulate; they dominate; they predate; Moscow is a minor newcomer.

I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or any other kind of psychist, but I cannot fail to notice the projection and gaslighting practised by Washington and its minions. They accuse Russia of doing things that they actually do – projection – and they manipulate our perception of reality – gaslighting. I will discuss gaslighting in the next essay.

Wikipedia defines projection as

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually intolerant may constantly accuse other people of being intolerant. It incorporates blame shifting.

Another source calls it a “defence mechanism”:

Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.

To continue reading: Psychoanalysing NATO: Projection