Tag Archives: Russia

The Whole World Is Sick and Tired of US Foreign Policy, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Strange as it may seem, people get tired of being bossed around, even when the boss is supposedly doing it for their own good. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

According to four-star General Wesley Clark, in a 1991 meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, then-under-secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz seemed a little dismayed because he believed the U.S. should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm but failed to do so. Clark summarized what he says Wolfowitz said:

“‘But one thing we did learn. We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won’t stop us. We’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.’” [emphasis added]

This was certainly the case in the years that followed, as the United States used the pretext of 9/11 to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq with little to no substantive resistance from the international community. This trend continued as the Obama administration heavily expanded its operations into Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and even the Philippines, to name a few, right up until the U.S. led a cohort of NATO countries to impose regime change in Libya in 2011.

At the time, Russia withheld its veto power at the U.N. Security Council because it had received assurances that the coalition would not pursue regime change. After NATO forces began bombing Muammar Gaddafi’s palaces directly, a furious Vladimir Putin questioned: “Who gave NATO the right to kill Gaddafi?

Following Gaddafi’s public execution on the streets of Sirte, Putin’s criticism of NATO’s betrayal went even further. He stated:

“The whole world saw him being killed; all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos – who were not supposed to be there – brought in so-called opposition and militants and killed him without trial. I’m not saying that Gaddafi didn’t have to quit, but that should have been left up to the people of Libya to decide through the democratic process.”

To continue reading: The Whole World Is Sick and Tired of US Foreign Policy

 

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US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Peter Korzun

President Trump is “squeezing” Europe on the Iranian nuclear deal, but he can’t really squeeze Iran, Russia, or China. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

President Trump said it was the final waiver extending Iran nuclear deal. He did it with strings attached. The president’s demands include: immediate inspections at sites by international inspectors and “denying Iran paths to nuclear weapons forever” (instead of 10 years as stipulated under current law). New sanctions were issued against 14 people and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on government protesters. The president wants the deal to cover Iran’s ballistic missile programs.

Restrictive measures were extended three times last year. And Donald Trump never certified the agreement. Senator Bob Corker, the current chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, said “significant progress” had been made on bipartisan congressional legislation to address “flaws in the agreement without violating US commitments.”

According to President Trump, there are only two options: either the deal is fixed or the US pulls out. This time he wants to pass the buck, emphasizing that the decision to do it the last time is explained by his desire to secure the agreement of US European allies to fix what he calls “the terrible flaws” of the Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal. Europeans have 120 days to define their position. From now on, Europe is facing a real hard choice: it’s either dancing to the US tune or being adamant in its support for the deal. The latter will bring it closer to Russia.

Germany said on Jan.12 that it remained committed to the deal and that it would consult with “European partners to find a common way forward”. The European Union remains committed to support the implementation of the JCPOA.

The US plan hardly has a chance of success. Even if Europe joins the US, which is not the case, at least for now, the introduction of any changes to the deal requires the consent of other participants: Russia, China and Iran. Tehran has taken a tough stance, flatly refusing any talks on changes.

To continue reading: US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Another Step Toward Armageddon, by Paul Craig Roberts

Because the US military only has enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the earth three or four times, it is developing smaller nuclear weapons. Those bombed will hardly even notice the blasts. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

The US military/security complex has taken another step toward Armageddon. The Pentagon has prepared a nuclear posture review (NPR) that gives the OK to development of smaller “usable” nuclear weapons and permits their use in response to a non-nuclear attack.

As Reagan and Gorbachev understood, but the warmongers who have taken over America do not, there are far too many nuclear weapons already. Some scientists have concluded that even the use of 10 percent of either the US or Russian arsenal would suffice to destroy life on earth.

It is reckless and irresponsible for Washington to make such a decision in the wake of years of aggressive actions taken against Russia. The Clinton criminal regime broke Washington’s promise that NATO would not move one inch to the East. The George W. Bush criminal regime pulled out of the ABM Treaty and changed US war doctrine to elevate the use of nuclear weapons from retaliation to first strike. The Obama criminal regime launched a frontal propaganda attack on Russia with crazed Hillary’s denunciation of President Putin as “the new Hitler.” In an effort to evict Russia from its naval base in Crimea, the criminal Obama regime overthrew the Ukrainian government during the Sochi Olympics and installed a Washington puppet. US missile bases have been established on Russia’s border, and NATO conducts war games against Russia on Russian borders.

This is insanity. These and other gratuitous provocations have convinced the Russian military’s Operation Command that Washington is planning a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. The Russian government has replied to these provocations with the statement that Russia will never again fight a war on its own territory.

To continue reading: Another Step Toward Armageddon

It Is Time for Progressives to Support the Trump-Putin Efforts at Rapprochement, by John V. Walsh

Once upon a time so-called progressives were for peace with just about anybody. John V. Walsh argues that its time for them to be for peace with Russia. From Walsh at antiwar.com:

Should progressives support the efforts of Trump and Putin to bring about rapprochement between Russia and the U.S.? Or to use Trump’s terminology, should progressives support the effort to “get along with Russia”?

This might seem like a no-brainer. After all Russia and the US are the world’s major nuclear powers. A war or a mistake resulting in a nuclear exchange would reduce much of the planet to radioactive rubble, ending civilization as we know it, and perhaps even putting the continued existence of the human race at risk. And yet there are virtually no voices in the progressive community calling for support of Trump’s call to “get along with Russia.” Almost no voices speaking in favor of his contacts with Putin, for example after their meeting in Hamburg last July with its considerable achievements. What is going on? Have the progressives gone mad?

Let us be very clear. Support for the Trumpian rapprochement with Russia does not mean support for all Trump’s policies or even one other policy of his. The election of 2016 is long behind us now. In that election as in all elections, it was necessary to weigh the policies of the opposing candidates and then to make a choice. One cannot vote for only one policy of a given candidate and against other policies. It is an all or nothing matter.

But the situation post-election is another story. Trump is now President, and it is possible and quite normal to oppose some policies and support others. In the case of Obama, many progressives opposed his continuation and expansion of Bush’s wars but supported ObamaCare. (As a Single Payer advocate and antiwar campaigner, this author supported neither.) Similarly, in the case of Trump, one may oppose his tax legislation and his health care policies – I certainly do – and yet support the policy of rapprochement with Russia. Is this not the grown-up thing to do? Should one not seize on an opportunity to get something worthwhile out of a situation that did not go one’s way – if that is the way one views the election of 2016? In point of fact, given the danger of nuclear holocaust, it is not only infantile but potentially suicidal to do otherwise.

To continue reading: It Is Time for Progressives to Support the Trump-Putin Efforts at Rapprochement

Shadow Armies: The Unseen, but Real US War in Africa, by Ramzy Baroud

There’s not 1 in 100,000 Americans who have any idea what the US military is doing in Africa. From Ramzy Baroud at antiwar.com:

There is a real – but largely concealed – war which is taking place throughout the African continent. It involves the United States, an invigorated Russia and a rising China. The outcome of the war is likely to define the future of the continent and its global outlook.

It is easy to pin the blame on US President Donald Trump, his erratic agenda and impulsive statements. But the truth is, the current US military expansion in Africa is just another step in the wrong direction. It is part of a strategy that had been implemented a decade ago, during the administration of President George W. Bush, and actively pursued by President Barack Obama.

In 2007, under the pretext of the ‘war on terror’, the US consolidated its various military operations in Africa to establish the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). With a starting budget of half a billion dollars, AFRICOM was supposedly launched to engage with African countries in terms of diplomacy and aid. But, over the course of the last 10 years, AFRICOM has been transformed into a central command for military incursions and interventions.

However, that violent role has rapidly worsened during the first year of Trump’s term in office. Indeed, there is a hidden US war in Africa, and it is fought in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’.

According to a VICE News special investigation, US troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises and military engagements throughout Africa per year, an average of 10 per day. US mainstream media rarely discusses this ongoing war, thus giving the military ample space to destabilize any of the continent’s 54 countries as it pleases.

“Today’s figure of 3,500 marks an astounding 1,900 percent increase since the command was activated less than a decade ago, and suggests a major expansion of US military activities on the African continent,” VICE reported.

 

To continue reading: Shadow Armies: The Unseen, but Real US War in Africa

Russia’s Grip on European Natural Gas Markets Tightens, by Nick Cunningham

Europe remains dependent on Russia for much of its natural gas. From Nick Cunningham at oilprice.com via wolfstreet.com:

US LNG has been billed as a game changer, threatening to end Russia’s control of the European market.

Despite years of effort from the EU, Russia’s grip over natural gas supplies in Europe is tightening, not waning.

Gazprom shipped 190 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe in 2017—a record high, according to Bloomberg. In 2018, that figure is expected to dip slightly to 180 billion cubic meters, which will still be the second most on record.

The higher reliance on Russian gas may come as a surprise, not least because of the ongoing tension between Russia and some European countries on a variety of issues. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to a standoff between Russia and the West—but Europe’s imports of Russian gas are up more than 25 percent since then, despite a lot of rhetoric in Brussels about diversification.

There has been some progress. U.S. LNG has begun arriving on European shores for the first time, promising to compete with Russian gas. Importing LNG has been a lifeline particularly in some areas that are acutely exposed to Russia’s gas grip. Lithuania began importing LNG, offering an alternative to Russian gas and forcing price concessions from Gazprom.

For years, U.S. LNG has been billed as somewhat of a game changer, threatening to end Russia’s control of the European market. There have been some notable concessions from Gazprom—more flexible pricing, for example, and an erosion of oil-indexed pricing—but the Russian gas giant has not lost market share. A lot of U.S. LNG has been shipped to Latin America, not Europe.

Part of the reason is that European natural gas production continues to fall, leaving a void that Russia has been eager to fill. At the same time, Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev told Bloomberg that coal prices are expected to rise a bit in 2018, making Russian gas more competitive.

To continue reading: Russia’s Grip on European Natural Gas Markets Tightens

 

Behind Korea, Iran and Russia Tensions: The Lurking Financial War, by Alastair Crooke

Several countries who do not consider themselves friends of the US are moving away from US economic and financial dominance. That’s fueling tensions. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

What have the tensions between the US and North Korea, Iran and Russia in common? Answer: It is that they are components to a wider financial war. Russia and Iran (together with China) happen to be the three key players shaping a huge (almost half the global population) alternative currency zone. The North Korean issue is important as it potentially may precipitate the US – depending on events – towards a more aggressive policy toward China (whether out of anger at Chinese hesitations over Korea, or as part and parcel of the US Administration’s desire to clip China’s trading wings).

The US has embarked on a project to restore America’s economic primacy through suppressing its main trade competitors (through quasi-protectionism), and in the military context to ensure America’s continued political dominance. The US ‘America First’National Security Strategy made it plain: China and Russia are America’s ‘revisionist’ adversaries, and the US must and intends to win in this competition. The sub-text is that potential main rivals must be reminded of their ‘place’ in the global order. This part is clear and quite explicit, but what is left unsaid is that America is staking all on the dollar’s global, reserve currency status being maintained, for without it, President Trump’s aims are unlikely to be delivered. The dollar status is crucial – precisely because of what has occurred in the wake of the Great Financial crisis – the explosion of further debt.

But here is a paradox: how is it that a Presidential Candidate who promised less military belligerence, less foreign intervention, and no western cultural-identity imposition, has, in the space of one year, become, as President, a hawk in respect to Korea and Iran.  What changed in his thinking?  The course being pursued by both states was well-known, and has offered no sudden surprise (though North Korea’s progress may have proved quantitatively more rapid than, perhaps, US Intelligence was expecting: i.e. instead of 2020 – 2021, North Korea may have achieved its weapons objective in 2018 – some two years or so earlier that estimated)?  But essentially Korea’s desire to be accepted as a nuclear weapon state is nothing new.

To continue reading: Behind Korea, Iran and Russia Tensions: The Lurking Financial War