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Tag Archives: NATO

The Saker Interviews Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov’s perspective on Russia and its environs is both provocative and probably far closer to the truth than anything promulgated within the US government. This interview is long but well worth the read. From the Saker at unz.com:

“I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case”

If I had to characterize the current international situation using only one word, the word “chaos” would be a pretty decent choice (albeit not the only one). Chaos in the Ukraine, chaos in Venezuela, chaos everywhere the Empire is involved in any capacity and, of course, chaos inside the US. But you wouldn’t know that listening to the talking heads and other “experts” who serve roughly the same function for the Empire as the orchestra did on the Titanic: to distract from the developing disaster(s) for a long as possible.

I decided to turn to the undisputed expert on social and political collapse, Dmitry Orlov whom I have always admired for his very logical, non-ideological, comparative analyses of the collapse of the USSR and the US. The fact that his detractors have to resort to crude and, frankly, stupid ad hominems further convinces me that Dmitry’s views need to be widely shared. Dmitry very kindly agreed to reply to my questions in some detail, for which I am most grateful. I hope that you will find this interview as interesting as I did.

The Saker

* * *

The Saker: How would you assess the current situation in the Ukraine in terms of social, economic and political collapse?

Dmitry Orlov: The Ukraine has never been viable as an independent, sovereign state and so its ongoing disintegration is to be expected. The applicability of the concept of collapse is predicated on the existence of an intact, stand-alone entity capable of collapse, and with the Ukraine this is definitely not the case. Never in its history has it been able to stand alone as a stable, self-sufficient, sovereign entity. As soon as it gained independence, it just fell over. Just as the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), it had reached its peak of economic and social development just as the USSR was about to collapse, and it has been degenerating and losing population ever since. Thus, the right model for discussing it is not one of sudden collapse but of steady degeneration and decay.

The Ukraine’s territory was stuck together by the Bolsheviks—first by Lenin, then by Stalin, then by Khrushchev. It was Lenin who lumped in its eastern regions (Donetsk and Lugansk specifically) who previously were part of Russia proper. Stalin then added eastern lands, which were at various times Polish, Austro-Hungarian or Romanian. Finally, Khrushchev tossed in Russian Crimea in a move that was unconstitutional at the time, since no public referendum had been held in Crimea to decide this question as was required by the Soviet constitution.

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At Its 70th Birthday, NATO Is Militarily America’s Fifth Wheel, by Gilbert Doctorow

America doesn’t really need NATO. Of course, neither does the rest of the world, including Europe. From Gilbert Doctorow at antiwar.com:

As the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization approaches on April 4th, Belgium’s Royal Higher Institute of Defense has published an article which will bring little cheer to staff at the luxurious NATO headquarters situated on the outskirts of Brussels, 15 kilometers away from my home office downtown.

The birthday present in question is entitled “NATO and American technological superiority: a risk for Euro-Atlantic solidarity,” e-Note 26, 18 March 2019. Coming from the pen of an associate of the Institute, Alain De Neve, this article in French has been researched and set out with high professionalism. It merits wide circulation in the English-speaking world which I alone cannot assure, but let us start the ball rolling here and now.

In this brief essay, I will summarize the reasoning of the author. Why this is worth your reading time comes down to the two main points which follow from what he is saying:

  1. That “America First” is not a policy that began with Donald Trump’s inauguration in office. It was long the underlying principle of US military and foreign policy, only it was generally concealed under the ideological coating of Liberalism within the political dimension of the Alliance that was puffed up in the 1990s to justify its role as provider of stability to the swathe of Central Europe of the former Warsaw Pact countries. NATO was first and foremost the platform for shared values of democracy and rule of law.

Trump, as we know, has no patience either with the values jargon, or with the soft power, political dimension of multilateral institutions like NATO, preferring to stick to the military and Realpolitik side of things. And so America’s naked and selfish pursuit of its interests, always present in the past, is now laid bare.

America First has been the guiding hand in the new military doctrine for the United States called the Third Offset Strategy which Barack Obama authorized in 2014. De facto it dispensed with the need for America to have allies, their being only encumbrances for reasons we shall see momentarily.

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Trump Should Close NATO Membership Rolls, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Thanks goodness they’ve ginned up the Russian threat, or NATO wouldn’t even have no figleaf at all to hide the fact that it was obsolete after the Soviet Union dissolved. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Among neocon and GOP interventionists, there has also long been a vocal constituency for bringing Ukraine into NATO…”

When Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today, the president should give him a direct message:

The roster of NATO membership is closed. For good. The United States will not hand out any more war guarantees to fight Russia to secure borders deep in Eastern Europe, when our own southern border is bleeding profusely.

And no one needs to hear this message more than Stoltenberg.

In Tblisi, Georgia, on March 25, Stoltenberg declared to the world: “The 29 allies have clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

As for Moscow’s objection to Georgia joining NATO, Stoltenberg gave Vladimir Putin the wet mitten across the face:

“We are not accepting that Russia, or any other power, can decide what (NATO) members can do.”

Yet what would it mean for Georgia to be brought into NATO?

The U.S. would immediately be ensnared in a conflict with Russia that calls to mind the 1938 and 1939 clashes over the Sudetenland and Danzig that led straight to World War II.

In 2008, thinking it had U.S. backing, Georgia rashly ordered its army into South Ossetia, a tiny province that had broken away years before.

In that Georgian invasion, Russian peacekeepers were killed and Putin responded by sending the Russian army into South Ossetia to throw the Georgians out. Then he invaded Georgia itself.

“We are all Georgians now!” roared uber-interventionist John McCain. But George W. Bush, by now a wiser man, did nothing.

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Killing for Credibility: A Look Back at the 1999 NATO Air War on Serbia, by Brett Wilkins

The US and NATO air bombing campaign against Yugoslavia had everything we’ve come to expect from such interventions: lies, civilian casualties, terrorist allies, a muddled strategy, and a US population that didn’t care. From Brett Wilkins at antiwar.com:

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Operation Allied Force, NATO’s 78-day air war against Yugoslavia. It was a war waged as much against Serbian civilians – hundreds of whom perished – as it was against Slobodan Milošević’s forces, and it was a campaign of breathtaking hypocrisy and selective outrage. More than anything, it was a war that by President Bill Clinton’s own admission was fought for the sake of NATO’s credibility.

One Man’s Terrorist…

Our story begins not in the war-torn Balkans of the 1990s but rather in the howling wilderness of Afghanistan at the end of the 1980s as defeated Soviet invaders withdrew from a decade of guerrilla warfare into the twilight of a once-mighty empire. The United States, which had provided arms, funding and training for the mujahideen fighters who had so bravely resisted the Soviet occupation, stopped supporting the jihadis as soon as the last Red Army units rolled across the Hairatan Bridge and back into the USSR. Afghanistan descended deeper into civil war.

The popular narrative posits that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network, Washington’s former mujahideen allies, turned on the West after the US stationed hundreds of thousands of infidel troops in Saudi Arabia – home to two out of three of Sunni Islam’s holiest sites – during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. Since then, the story goes, the relationship between the jihadists and their former benefactors has been one of enmity, characterized by sporadic terror attacks and fierce US retribution. The real story, however, is something altogether different.

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Warsaw and Munich: Whistling Past NATO’s Graveyard, by Tom Luongo

More and more countries are not getting with US program of unipolar domination. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

If the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw was the opening act, the annual Munich Security Conference was the main event. Both produced a lot of speeches, grandstanding and virtue-signaling, as well as a lot of shuffling of feet and looking at the ground.

The message from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia was clear, “We are still committed to the destruction of Syria as a functional state to end the growing influence of Iran.”

Europe, for the most part, doesn’t buy that argument anymore. Germany certainly doesn’t. France is only interested in how they can curry favor with the U.S. to wrest control of the EU from Germany. The U.K. is a hopeless has-been, living on Deep State inertia and money laundered through City of London.

The Poles just want to stick it to the Russians.

Everyone else has a bad case of, “been there, done that, ain’t doin’ it again.”

They know supporting the fiction that the War in Syria was a war against the evil President Bashar al-Assad is counter-productive.

The geopolitical landscape is changing quickly. And these countries, like Hungary, Italy, and the Czech Republic, know that the current policy trajectory of the Trump administration vis a vis Russia, Iran and China is a suicide pact for them.

So they show up when called, receive our ‘diplomats’ and then pretty much ignore everything they said. This is what happened, ultimately, in Munich.

Even the EU leadership has no illusions about the goals of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy on Syria. And that’s why they refused to shut Russia and Iran out of the Munich Security Conference despite the hyperventilating of Pompeo’s amateur-hour State Dept.

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Trump Derangement Syndrome and the NATO Fetish of the Progressive Left, by David Stockman

It’s unthinkable that NATO would dissolve, but nobody can say why. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

We’ve got NATO on our mind today because we learned this morning that the mere suggestion this obsolete relic of the Cold War should be abandoned tends to trigger an absolutely virulent outburst of Trump Derangement Syndrome in the mainstream media.

As it happened we were appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to promote our new book called, PEAK TRUMP: The Undrainable Swamp and the Fantasy of MAGA.

So long as we were talking about the folly of Trump-O-Nomics and the Donald’s rookie mistake in embracing an egregious stock market bubble that is destined to crash and a failing, geriatric business cycle that at age 115 months has “recession ahead” written all over its forehead, our host, Mika Brzezinski, was happy to nod approvingly.

But when we veered off into approval of the Donald’s efforts to rein in the Empire and make peace with the Russkies, it was an altogether different matter. We no more than launched the thought of it than Mika was sputtering in disbelief – as if we had committed a grotesque sacrilege in public:

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NATO is a Danger, Not a Guarantor of Peace, by Robert W. Merry

NATO lost its reason to exist when the Soviet Union folded. In searching for new missions, it’s making the world a more dangerous place. From Robert W. Merry at theamericanconservative.com:

Status quo supporters like the New York Times poke fun at Trump for questioning the alliance. But who’s the fool?

Donald Trump at NATO Summit, Brussels, in 2018 Gints Ivuskans/Shutterstock

The New York Times scored a serious scoop when it revealed on Monday that President Trump had questioned in governmental conversations—on more than one occasion, apparently—America’s membership in NATO. Unfortunately the paper then slipped into its typical mode of nostrum journalism. My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “nostrum” as “quack medicine” entailing “exaggerated claims.” Here we had quack journalism executed in behalf of quack diplomacy.

The central exaggerated claim is contained in the first sentence, in which it is averred that NATO had “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is wrong, as can be seen through just a spare amount of history.

True, NATO saved Europe from the menace of Russian Bolshevism. But it did so not over 70 years but over 40 years—from 1949 to 1989. That’s when the Soviet Union had 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops poised on Western Europe’s doorstep, positioned for an invasion of Europe through the lowlands of Germany’s Fulda Gap.

How was this possible? It was possible because Joseph Stalin had pushed his armies farther and farther into the West as the German Wehrmacht collapsed at the end of World War II. In doing so, and in the process capturing nearly all of Eastern Europe, he ensured that the Soviets had no Western enemies within a thousand miles of Leningrad or within 1,200 miles of Moscow. This vast territory represented not only security for the Russian motherland (which enjoys no natural geographical barriers to deter invasion from the West) but also a potent staging area for an invasion of Western Europe.

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