Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

2018 hotspots are in Eurasia and the Middle East

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 29, 2017

The leitmotif of the US foreign policy in 2018 is going to be a last-ditch attempt to “contain” Russia’s resurgence on the world stage. The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s “yearender” in the New York Times on Wednesday makes this abundantly clear. Tillerson singled out China, Russia and Iran but had the harshest words reserved for Russia. This is what he wrote:

  • On Russia, we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others’. The appointment of Kurt Volker, a former NATO ambassador, as special representative for Ukraine reflects our commitment to restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Absent a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine situation, which must begin with Russia’s adherence to the Minsk Agreements, there cannot be business as usual with Russia.

Tillerson was surprisingly laid-back regarding China. He mentioned the key issues – Beijing’s leverage on North Korea, trade, intellectual property rights, and “troubling military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere”. But he viewed China’s rise from a long-term perspective, “carefully” managing the relationship “for the next 50 years.” In Tillerson’s words,

  • A central component of our North Korea strategy is persuading China to exert its decisive economic leverage on Pyongyang. China has applied certain import bans and sanctions, but it could and should do more. We will also continue to pursue American interests in other areas of our relationship, including trade imbalances, intellectual property theft and China’s troubling military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere. China’s rise as an economic and military power requires Washington and Beijing to consider carefully how to manage our relationship for the next 50 years.

Of course, Beijing reacted nicely:

“China and the US share a wide range of common interests in spite of some differences. However, our common interests far outweigh our differences. China-US cooperation conforms to the fundamental interests of both countries and the world at large, and cooperation is the only right choice for us. When it comes to disagreements, we shall strive to resolve them in a constructive way on the basis of mutual respect so as to avoid disrupting the long-term development of bilateral relations. We hope that the US could work with China to focus on cooperation and manage differences on the basis of mutual respect so that bilateral relations can move forward in a sound and steady way.”

Ukraine will be the “hotspot” in US-Russia relations next year. 2017 is ending with the Trump administration removing restrictions on supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Rubicon has been crossed. Russia will be closely watching how the US military aid to Kiev develops. Russia will resist any US attempt to shift the military balance in Donbass.

Meanwhile, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the US might impose punitive sanctions against Russia next year. Herman Gref, the chief executive of Sberbank and an influential voice among Moscow elites, told Financial Times newspaper this week that if such stricter sanctions – against Russian oligarchs and/or state-owned corporations – are imposed, it will “make the Cold War look like child’s play.”

In an interview with Interfax on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow relies on “pragmatic approaches and realistic assessments” vis-à-vis the US. “We do not entertain any illusions… We will respond to any hostile actions against Russia and our citizens in the way that is best for us… In fact, the sooner certain American politicians get rid of the illusions that Russia can be cowed by restrictive measures or a show of force, the better it will be for everyone, including themselves.”

The point is, the US has no leverage over Russia – or China and Iran for that matter. Tillerson’s essay conveys the impression of a ineffectual superpower. Even the reference to Pakistan betrayed weariness:

  • “Pakistan must contribute by combating terrorist groups on its own soil. We are prepared to partner with Pakistan to defeat terrorist organizations seeking safe havens, but Pakistan must demonstrate its desire to partner with us.”

The US has no credible road map. Indeed, the cool war with China will continue, but Indian pundits shouldn’t get excited that 2018 will be a “kinetic” year. The Trump administration has no control over shaping that cool war. Basically, the US has 3 options: contain China’s rise as a military power; roll back China’s economic influence through a US-led regional alliance such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; or, accept China’s rise and share the liberal international order with it as participant. But Washington has no identifiable strategy.

Suffice to say, it will be in the Eurasian and Middle East theatres – the two are inter-related too – where the US will get bogged down. Make no mistake, Russia is determined to push through a settlement in Syria in 2018. And it will be a bitter pill for the Beltway establishment to swallow. Moscow announced this week that the Tartus naval base and the Hmeimim airbase in Syria are being expanded as permanent bases with the capacity to deploy nuclear ships and aircraft. It signals a power projection far beyond anything that the Soviet Union achieved in the Middle East.

With a renewed 6-year term as president after the 18th March election in Russia, Vladimir Putin will be an alpha male. By the way, the election date itself is hugely symbolic, dripping with strategic defiance of the US – 18th March is the date Crimea rejoined Russia four years ago!

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden told ex-Ukraine President Yanukovich to resign, former VP reveals in memoirs

RT | December 26, 2017

Joe Biden bluntly demanded that former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich resign back in 2014, the former US vice president revealed. He also confirmed the US was deeply involved in Kiev’s affairs during that year’s crisis.

From the very beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the US sought to direct Yanukovich in his handling of the riots on Maidan Square that eventually led to a coup in Ukraine, Biden says in his new book titled “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship And Purpose,” which was published in November, but has now been brought into the media spotlight in connection with the US’s role in the crisis. Biden reveals that he repeatedly called the then-Ukrainian president, telling him what he should or should not do.

At some point, Biden outright demanded that Yanukovich, a legitimately-elected leader of a sovereign nation, resign because he had “lost the confidence of the Ukrainian people” from Washington’s point of view. “I was telling him [Yanukovich] it was over; time for him to call off his gunmen and walk away,” Biden writes in his book, referring to “the last of [his] urgent calls to Yanukovich in late February of 2014.”

The former US vice president also claims that it was Yanukovich and his loyal law enforcement forces who were responsible for the Kiev massacre back in 2014. In fact, the events, in which unknown snipers gunned down dozens of protesters and several police officers in central Kiev, remain largely unsolved nearly four years on. The investigation of the tragedy was de facto put on the back burner by the new Ukrainian authorities.

The probe initially managed to produce several suspects, with all of them being Berkut riot police members, even though it was known from the very beginning that sniper fire initially came from protester-controlled positions. Later, the head of an MP committee probing the mass killings mentioned “unidentified public organizations” as possible culprits, but no charges were known to have been placed. These facts, however, never stopped Biden from accusing Yanukovich of “loosing his riot police on the streets of Kiev… to murder demonstrators” and declaring the ousted president the main culprit behind the crisis.

Even though the new Ukrainian government, which came to power after the coup, was far more agreeable to US officials, it garnered no particular praise from the former US vice president. Biden calls former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk “a young patriot” and repeatedly draws attention to his efforts to support the “emerging Ukrainian democracy,” but at the same time complains about “bickering” within the Ukrainian elites and their reluctance to put “loyalty to country” over their personal interests.

“I had spent months exchanging phone calls with both [President Petro] Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, trying to convince them each, separately, to put loyalty to country over loyalty to political party,” Biden writes, referring to Ukrainian President Poroshenko alongside Yatsenyuk, who was eventually dismissed from the government in 2016. He also repeatedly mentions the two politicians’ “stubborn unwillingness to work together.”

Widespread corruption in Ukraine seems to be another issue that constantly irritated Biden. The former official admits that he had to be “hard on Poroshenko since his election” and to constantly urge him to “continue to fight the elements of corruption that were embedded in the political culture of Ukraine’s Soviet and post-Soviet governance,” particularly in the president’s own party.

Biden claims he went as far as to direct almost each step of the Ukrainian authorities. “Now you’ve got to put people in jail,” Biden says he told Yatsenyuk when the Ukrainian official came to the US. He also admits that he “had been on phone with either Poroshenko or… Yatsenyuk, or both, almost every week” for months.

However, Biden believes the present Ukrainian government “had exhibited a penchant for corruption, self-dealing and self-destructive behavior.” He also points out that Europe was in fact reluctant to support the idea of anti-Russian sanctions and he had to repeatedly remind Poroshenko “not to give the Europeans any excuse for walking away from the sanctions regime against Russia.” Indeed, anti-Russian sanctions appear to have been of particular importance for Biden, as he seemed much more concerned about keeping them in place than about Washington’s European allies.

Biden also admits that he had a low opinion of the Minsk Accords aimed at bringing about peace in Ukraine. However, he seemingly fails to understand their purpose, describing the initial 2014 deal as something that “did little to hold [Russian President Vladimir Putin] back.”

Biden believes that Russia – which is not even a party to the treaty – is not fulfilling its commitments under the agreements. The OSCE-brokered Minsk Agreements between representatives of Kiev and the breakaway rebel regions of eastern Ukraine were hammered out by Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, and formed the basis for a lasting ceasefire. However, the deal’s implementation has been largely stalled by Kiev’s refusal to uphold its part, including amnesty for rebel fighters and special autonomous status for the regions they control.

December 26, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

“The US Has Crossed The Line”: Russia Warns Trump Decision To Arm Ukraine Will “Lead To Bloodshed”

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | December 23, 2017

Russia has reacted fiercely to the end of week breaking news that President Trump plans to approve the legal sale of US antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems to the Ukrainian government in a move that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border. ABC News described the “total defense package of $47 million includes the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers” which will be sure to harm Trump’s longtime stated goal of improving relations with Moscow.

Though Kiev has long had limited access to US lethal arms through private contracts with American and international arms producers, this represents a significant escalation involving the likelihood that advanced US systems would be used directly on Russian-aligned militias in the eastern Donbass region and potentially Russian forces along the border. Up until now, the White House has been reluctant to escalate the war so openly, as it did when it supplied anti-Assad fighters in Syria with sophisticated TOW anti-tank missiles.

While the US State Department claims the move is “defensive” in nature, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov charged the US with deliberately “crossing the line” and pushing the Ukrainian authorities “towards new bloodshed,” adding that “American weapons can lead to new victims”.

“Kiev revanchists are shooting at Donbass every day, they don’t want to conduct peace negotiations and dream of doing away with the disobedient population. And the United States has decided to give them weapons to do that,” Ryabkov said. He further slammed the US as an “accomplice in igniting a war” whose political leadership is “blinded by Russophobia and eagerly applaud the Ukrainian nationalist punitive battalions.”

Indeed a number of outspoken Russia hawks in Congress were enthusiastic over the possibility of heavier and direct arms flow to Ukraine, including John McCain, Bob Corker, and Tom Cotton – all supporters of the original Ukraine Freedom Support Act signed into law by President Obama in December 2014, though never fully enacted.

Cotton for example – recently rumored to be Trump’s pick for CIA Director – said of the new initiative for arms exports to Ukraine: “This is a break from failed Obama era policies to make Russia pay a cost for its aggression. With this decision, the Trump administration is reminding Vladimir Putin and his cronies that they lost the Cold War, and we won’t tolerate their bullying of our friend Ukraine.”

But Russian leaders have warned that through the decision the US may be dragged deeper into a quagmire which could result in direct confrontation with pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s east. Aleksey Pushkov, member of the Russian Senate security committee, told RT News that delivery of the more advanced systems like the Army’s M-148 Javelin Portable Anti-Tank Missile would require US military advisers on the ground, which could be targeted by separatist forces. 

Pushkov told RT, the US “has enough problems already to allow itself to be involved in adventures of the [Ukrainian] regime. And we know too well how adventurous Kiev may be.” This comes as authorities in Kiev are already requesting that Washington adds anti-aircraft missiles to its shopping list as well, according to multiple reports.

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement calling for “disengagement and the withdrawal of heavy weapons” in the Ukrainian conflict, a scenario now much further away from taking shape than ever. But after years of covert American involvement in the Ukrainian proxy and civil war which has raged since 2014 – and which a leaked recording confirmed was precipitated by the US State Department – it appears that hawks like McCain, Cotton, and Corker are finally getting their way.

December 24, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

War & No Peace: US Cuts Kiev Off From Preferential Trade, Gives Go-ahead on Arms

Sputnik – December 23, 2107

In a move that hardly seems coincidental, Washington made two announcements Friday which seem to outline its foreign policy priorities in Ukraine. Approving the supply of lethal weapons to the country, Washington threatened to partially suspend Kiev’s trade preferences with the US. Sputnik considers what may be behind the seemingly incoherent move.

Following months of internal debate, the State Department announced Friday that the US has “decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities” aimed at building up Kiev’s “defense capacity.” The move follows reports from earlier this week that the State Department had approved export licenses for the commercial sale of small parties of weapons to the instability-wracked country by US arms makers.

Also Friday, the US Trade Representative’s Office announced that President Trump would partially suspend Ukraine’s benefits under a US preferential trade program in 120 days unless the country makes major steps to better protect intellectual property rights. Kiev, according to the US trade office, has “failed” to adequately protect intellectual property, “despite years of encouragement and assistance from the US government.”

Trade officials did not clarify which part of the US Generalized System of Preferences agreement Ukraine would be nixed from, but the tendency seems clear: Washington is cutting out its economic support for Kiev, all the while upping its military assistance to the country, as tensions in the frozen Donbass conflict continue to smolder.

Economic Nationalism vs. Neoconservative Foreign Policy

President Trump’s economic nationalist approach to foreign policy hit Kiev particularly hard. Earlier this year, administration plans on US foreign aid for fiscal year 2018 leaked to US media outlined a whopping 68.8% cut in assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine’s Embassy in Washington quibbled over the scale of the cut, saying the proposal is really “around 30%.” At the same time, the Trump administration enthusiastically approved Kiev’s decision to buy US thermal coal, despite its price being almost double that which Ukraine would pay for the heating source from nearby Donbass or Russia.

At the same time, the US president has had considerably more difficulty challenging the neoconservative agenda on US Ukraine policy. Trump’s campaign promises of curbing US involvement overseas and trying to work together with Moscow on global issues, including the Ukraine conflict, haven’t panned out. Possibly under pressure from Congress and the US bureaucratic apparatus, Trump appointed John McCain ally Kurt Volker as the US’s special envoy to Ukraine. Making several trips to the country, Volker immediately began accusing Russia of engaging in ‘hybrid warfare’ in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region, and has pushed aggressively for a more active US policy vis-à-vis Kiev, including through the supply of lethal weapons to the country.

This past week, Volker warned that the situation in eastern Ukraine has significantly deteriorated, and even suggested that 2017 has become the “deadliest year” since the civil war began in 2014. Volker accused ‘Russian-backed forces’ of escalating the conflict.

Volker’s comments were echoed by the State Department on Tuesday, with spokesperson Heather Nauert openly accusing “Russia and its proxies” of being “the source of violence in eastern Ukraine,” and alleging that Moscow “continues to perpetuate an active conflict and humanitarian crisis” in the region. Nauert denied any possibility that the Donbass militia were “organic” entities which sprang up to resist Kiev in the months following the Maidan coup d’état in the Ukrainian capital in February 2014.Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met to discuss global hot spots, including Ukraine. Lavrov stuck firmly to the position Moscow has held since the signing of the Minsk accords in February 2015, stressing that the accords must be implemented, and arguing that Kiev has played the key role in stalling this process.

Cause for Dangerous Escalation

As far as US arms deliveries to Ukraine are concerned, Russia has vocally objected to the idea, and cautioned that the move would only threaten escalate the conflict. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin stressed that although the delivery of lethal weapons was a “sovereign decision of the United States” which Moscow could not stop, “the supply of weapons to the conflict zone is not beneficial to the peacekeeping process, and only exacerbates the situation. If this occurs, this action will not change the [strategic] situation… But the number of victims may certainly increase.”

With these issues in mind, the reaction from Moscow over Washington’s Friday announcement has been highly critical. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti that the arms deliveries threaten to disrupt the peace process and hamper the implementation of the Minsk accords. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov echoed his colleague, saying that in the present situation the US in Ukraine looks “less like an intermediary and more like an accomplice in fueling the war.” Finally, Senator Franz Klintsevich, a senior member of the Senate’s security committee, warned that US weapons will encourage Kiev to use force. “The Americans, in essence, are directly pushing Ukraine’s military toward war,” he said.

With Ukraine recently approving a whopping 14.8% increase in its defense spending for the 2018 fiscal year, Washington’s decision to provide the country with lethal weapons is a worrying development. However, facing growing political instability at home, including a slew of street protests in the capital and more and more calls for the country’s government to resign, it’s unclear whether Kiev will dare to try to fulfill its dream of pacifying the Donbass by force.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

India stands by Russia as US crosses ‘red line’ in Ukraine

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 21, 2017

In a highly significant diplomatic gesture, India showed solidarity with Russia in the UN General Assembly vote on Tuesday, which condemned the human rights situation in Crimea and Sevastopol. The resolution, which was proposed by Ukraine and backed by the western powers was passed by 70 votes, with 76 countries abstaining and 26 opposing.

Interestingly, India was the only country from South Asia to oppose the resolution – Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstained – and one of just three from Asia-Pacific to do so – the others being China and Myanmar. The line-up of voting had the ominous look of an epic ‘East-West’ battle of a bygone era. There is no issue that can be more important for Russian foreign policy today than Ukraine. And US pressure is building up on Russia lately. From the US perspective, there is no better way to whip up the enemy image of Russia and shepherd dispirited European allies behind its transatlantic leadership than by rekindling the embers in eastern Ukraine. (Read my earlier blog US-EU-Russia tensions spill over the Ukraine.)

This has been, therefore, a brilliant assertion of India’s independent foreign policies. Simply put, the Modi government took a deliberate decision to stand up and be counted as Russia’s friend – although President Trump had just the previous day issued a birth certificate to India as ‘global power’. This would have been a decision taken at a political level – probably even at the highest level — because these are extraordinary times when Nikki Haley keeps a note pad to jot down where individual countries stood on issues of vital interest to the American foreign policy and, presumably, she is under instruction to  report directly to the boss. (BBC)

India has traditionally taken a dim view of the intrusive western attempts to use the pretext of human rights to politicize regional issues. But then, this is not like any other issue. Nothing brings it home [more] than the curious coincidence that even as the UN General Assembly vote on Crimea got under way, the US state department disclosed in Washington that the Trump administration has decided to cross the ‘red line’ in Ukraine. (Canada, which usually does the foreplay for the US, took a similar decision last week.) Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington against precipitating a flare-up in Ukraine by arming the forces of ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis who double as the ‘army’ in Kiev.

But Russia apparently anticipated the US move. In fact, there were far too many tell-tale signs that couldn’t be overlooked. Reports have been appearing of Ukrainian troop movements on the Donbas front. The Russian monitors within the OSCE group were being prevented from physically accessing the frontline. At a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on December 14, the Russian ambassador detailed the violations of the Minsk agreement protocol by the Ukrainian forces. (Transcript) On December 19, Moscow announced that it was withdrawing the Russian officers in the monitoring group, since “further work of the Russian Armed Forces’ mission at the Centre has become impossible.” (MFA)

A concerted attempt seems to have begun to ‘activate’ the front in Eastern Ukraine. Smarting under the humiliating defeat in the project to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, Washington is blackmailing Moscow.

The US National Security Advisor HR McMaster recently hinted at a new doctrine of ‘competitive engagement’ of Russia. Possibly, the generals in the Trump administration see the situation in Ukraine through the Cold War prism with a zero sum mindset. That will be a catastrophic mistake. Putin recently warned of massacres worse than Srebrenica if violence flares up again in Ukraine. But then, if there is another refugee problem, it will be after all Germany’s headache – not Trump’s.

Now, what could be the Russian counter-move? For sure, President Vladimir Putin would have thought through a long time ago already what should be the next step and the step thereafter and the step even thereafter if Trump refuels the conflict in Ukraine.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s approval of lethal arms to Ukraine is a sideways move to nowhere

By Jim Jatras | RT | December 21, 2017

The Washington Post reports President Donald Trump has approved providing lethal weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces.

Specifically, according to the report, the decision opens the door for delivery of items like Model M107A1 sniper systems and ammunition, plus associated parts and equipment, with a value of $41.5 million. At the same time, presidential approval is reportedly still being withheld from providing Javelin man-held anti-tank missiles, which Kiev also wants.

The decision to provide lethal “defensive” weapons comports with repeated Congressional authorizations, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support since 2014. While former President Barack Obama declined to act on those authorities, President Trump evidently has now done so.

With regard to the domestic political purposes of the decision, it seems to be another Trump effort to appear wisely Solomonic by “splitting the baby”: look “strong” by making a muscular judgment but don’t go all the way. It’s the same ploy he used in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (but not yet moving the US embassy, which he could easily do by switching the plaques of the US Consulate General in West Jerusalem with the current embassy in Tel Aviv) and by “de-certifying” the Iran deal (but not pulling the US out of it, yet).

For arming Ukraine, we can be sure Trump will be heaped with praise from the same domestic sectors that for more than a year have been denouncing him as “Putin’s puppet.” While there will be objections from antiwar dissidents – whose opinions don’t count – the only point of criticism from the establishment will be that he hasn’t yet gone far enough (the Javelins).

This has already begun, with Michael Carpenter, Barack Obama’s former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and conventional arms control, tweeting his approval of Secretary of Defense James Mattis for his role in the decision.

It’s reminiscent of the plaudits Trump received in April following his order to hit a Syrian airbase with cruise missiles in retaliation for a chemical attack that almost certainly was not committed by Syrian government forces. For example, at that time, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, up to then uniformly a harsh critic who had derided Mr. Trump’s “rocking horse presidency” as a “circus,” intoned the next day: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night.” Expect more of such hosannas in the coming days.

Carpenter’s mention of Mattis is significant. According to the Post report, Trump approved sending the arms to Ukraine by signing off on a decision memorandum presented by Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (It is certain that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also concurred, or the memo would not have been given to the President.) As Carpenter would know (and as I would know, having had a hand in drafting State Department decision memoranda), the principal almost always signs off on the decision option preferred by the subordinates who drafted the memo. While Trump no doubt understands the gravity of the decision, his grasp of the details would be no more than what his underlings wanted him to know to point him to their favored outcome.

The Ukraine decision comes two days after the release of a US National Security Strategy (NSS) that could be best called confused. Pillar I (defense of American borders and tightening immigration controls to keep dangerous people out) and Pillar II (ending unfair trade practices and restoring America’s industrial base) are solid “America First” principles from Trump’s campaign and a repudiation of the Democratic and Republican establishments.

But Pillar III could have been drafted by any group of George W. Bush retreads – and no doubt was – or for that matter by Obama holdovers. It is little more than a rehash of the usual litany of “threats” from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc. Still, in his speech unveiling the NSS Trump made a point of acknowledging Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thank you call for reportedly providing intelligence information from the CIA to thwart a terrorist attack on St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral. (One can’t help but wonder if the whole story was intended as a cover for some backroom effort to improve Washington-Moscow ties. After all, since the American side would never abide “thanking the Russians” for anything, having the Russians thank the US for something would be a sensible approach.)

In short, as with his Jerusalem and Iran nuclear moves, Trump’s Ukraine decision was mainly calculated for domestic political effect in the United States. Read most optimistically, it could be intended as political “protection” for some kind of positive move concerning Russia. But in the meantime, it could have consequences. How serious they might be remains to be seen.

First, the very notion of “defensive” weapons is a myth. Weapons kill. The units approved for sale to Ukraine are designed for use as anti-materiel rifles, but they can also be used as anti-personnel weapons. Their very nature is offensive, though their tactical use can be either offensive or defensive. Trump’s decision to supply the sniper systems to Kiev will not have any impact on the strategic situation on the ground in eastern Ukraine. Its only likely consequence is that more people will die, as Ukrainian forces use their new equipment to probe for vulnerabilities on the line of control. Forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics will respond in kind.

Second, the decision will have no positive influence on the political stalemate over the Donbas. With no effort from Kiev to implement the political aspects of the Minsk 2 agreement and with sporadic killing continuing – and now possibly being stepped up – along the front line, a political solution will be farther away as ever. Instability in Kiev, fed by the antics of the clownish former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in his effort to topple the unpopular President Petro Poroshenko, makes serious political engagement all but impossible. Inside Ukraine, the only direct political consequence of Trump’s action will be to convince the Donbas even more – if that is possible – that no rapprochement with Kiev is possible.

Jim Jatras is a former US diplomat (with service in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs during the Reagan administration) and was for many years a senior foreign policy adviser to the US Senate Republican leadership.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

76 UN members abstain & 26 vote against as Crimea human rights resolution passes

RT | December 20, 2017

A Kiev-sponsored UN resolution condemning the human-rights situation in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol failed to convince much of the UN General Assembly, as 76 countries abstained, 26 opposed, and 70 supported the motion.

Among those who voted against the resolution were Russia, China, India, Iran, Serbia, and Belarus; while the US and its allies approved. In all, countries representing nearly half the world’s population rejected the document.

The resolution called on Russia, described as an “occupying power,” to “take all necessary measures to immediately put an end to all violations and infringements of human rights against the inhabitants of the Crimea.” It also called on the country to rescind the “illegal establishment of laws, jurisdiction and management by the Russian Federation” in Crimea, and to provide “accessibility of education in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages.” In addition, it requires Russia to annul its recognition of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People as an extremist organization.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Yevgeny Zagainov said before the vote that the resolution was meant to divert attention from Ukraine’s violations of human rights with “torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, discrimination, political persecution, violations of freedom of expression,” and the impunity for those responsible for burning dozens of anti-government activists in Odessa in May 2014.

Zagainov said that the Ukrainian delegation and its patrons do not care about human rights in the Russian region or its inhabitants wishes, but rather aims to challenge the status of Crimea and distort realities on the ground through human rights rhetoric. He noted past actions by the Mejlis in Crimea in relation to organized provocations, blockages and attempts to increase inter-ethnic tensions.

With this resolution, they “encourage these very dangerous fantasies, creating the ground for Kiev’s provocations and enterprises and thus sharing responsibility for them,” warned Zagainov.

He said that Kiev had passed a controversial new law in September that “deprives hundreds of thousands of children of the opportunity to receive education in their native language.” Various European countries, such as Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland had complained in the OSCE about this language law and the rights of minorities in Ukraine. Zagainov’s concerns about Ukraine’s human rights problems have been confirmed in the reports of the UN mission deployed in Ukraine to monitor the human rights situation.

Following the coup in Ukraine, the rise of radical nationalist groups, and the worsening situation in Donbass, the population and authorities of Crimea feared a crackdown on the Russian people and language. They expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a referendum that took place on March 18, 2014, when more than 80 percent of eligible voters participated. Some 96.7 percent voted for reunification in Crimea, including 95.6 percent in the city of Sevastopol. The same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to join the Russian Federation.

Russian lawmaker blasts fresh UN resolution on Crimea as political provocation

RT | December 20, 2017

A senior representative of the Russian parliamentary majority party has called the UN resolution on human rights in Crimea a provocation aimed at justifying the growing expenses of supporting Ukraine and countering Russia.

MP Sergey Zheleznyak (United Russia) said on Wednesday that the resolution was prepared by anti-Russia politicians from Ukraine, the EU, and the US, adding that he personally was outraged by the fact that the Human Rights Monitoring Mission had prepared the document on the basis of statements made by Ukrainian politicians, without actually visiting the peninsula and looking into these claims.

“Respectable international organizations, such as the United Nations, must thoroughly study the true state of affairs, have a weighted approach to any political provocation and give their own assessment of the events that take place in the world,” Zheleznyak said.

He added that many Western politicians visited Crimea after its reunification with Russia and realized that “the true goal of Ukrainian ‘human rights advocates’ is only the creation of lies about our country.”

“Just as the previous Kiev initiatives, this one has nothing in common with the real situation concerning human rights, freedom of conscience, and school lessons in native languages… The real objective behind this resolution is heating up the anti-Russian tensions in order to justify the funds spent on containment of our country and on support of the Kiev regime,” he said.

On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution on human rights in Crimea. 70 nations, including most European countries and the US, voted in support of the resolution, with 26 voting against and 76 nations abstaining from voting. The document describes Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation as “occupation” and gives 20 recommendations on how Moscow should stop the alleged rights abuses in the republic.

Soon after the resolution was passed, Sergey Aksyonov, the head of the Crimean Republic, wrote on his Facebook page that the document was just another collection of “propaganda myths from Kiev,” adding that the 2014 reunification with Russia was a free choice of the republic’s citizens.

READ MORE: Overwhelming majority in Crimea today would still vote to join Russia – German survey

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

US-EU-Russia tensions spill over to Ukraine

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 17, 2017

The decision by the European Union countries at their summit in Brussels on Thursday to extend the sanctions against Russia was not a surprise. But the ease with which the decision was made is notable – with no discussions or arguments. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron presented a report on the status of implementation of the Minsk agreement, highlighting the lack of progress in Ukraine and the EU took a unified stance to extend the sanctions. The sanctions will now extend automatically up to July 31 next year.

Moscow has reacted calmly, but the fact remains that relations between Russia and EU countries will remain in limbo. The sanctions comprise different packages such as financial restrictions on Russia’s leading defense and energy companies, on Russian companies’ access to large European banks to raise loans for projects, embargo on Russia’s imports of military and energy technology and high-tech equipment from Europe, blacklisting of Russian individuals and legal entities, and a set of targeted sanctions in relation to Crimea such as ban of any dealings with that region by European businesses.

Strategically, Russia’s dependence on China will only increase. The prospects of Merkel remaining in power in the near term look good with the U-turn by the Social Democratic Party on forming another grand coalition with her Christian Democratic Union. This will not be good for Russia. Equally, whatever hopes might have been there in Moscow for a new beginning with France under Macron have fizzled out. A German-French axis is being forged with renewed vigor to accelerate the EU integration processes and transform the grouping as a heavyweight in Eurasian politics. Russia would have preferred a weakened, dispirited European Union that created space for it to deal with individual European countries on bilateral basis.

On the other hand, the drift in transatlantic relations is also a compelling reality. The European stance on East Jerusalem highlights it. The five-day 3-nation European trip to Brussels, Vienna and Paris by the US state secretary Rex Tillerson could not rollback the rising tensions. The EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini noted after talks with Tillerson that the bloc believes that any action that would undermine the peace-making efforts between Palestine and Israel “must absolutely be avoided.” On the Iran nuclear deal, she underscored that the continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal is a key strategic priority for European, regional and global security.

Then, there is also a divergence on values that cannot be papered over. Europe remains a strong supporter of multilateralism, the UN system, and a rules-based global order. Europe views with distaste and horror Trump’s embrace of ultra-nationalism and his barely concealed Islamophobia. After Tillerson left, Mogherini took her gloves off, saying, Trump’s decision on Jerusalem “has a very worrying potential impact in this very fragile context. Now what the worst possible development could be that a bad situation turns into a worse one and that tensions inflame the region even further.” Suffice to say, Trump is a lump in the European throat – it can’t swallow it or spit it out. Any uplift in transatlantic relations under these circumstances is unlikely.

Russia may take vicarious satisfaction that Brussels is no longer willing to positively commit itself to the US regional and global agendas. However, there is a flip side to it. The US would have greater need today to stoke up Russophobia to rally the European countries under its leadership. Tillerson used strong language to highlight that Russia poses a threat to the West. At the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels last week Tillerson warned all European nations of Moscow’s “intrusion”. He said, “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine remains the biggest threat to European security.” Tillerson accused “Russia and its proxies” of “harassment, intimidation, and its attacks on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (in Ukraine.)”

Interestingly, he went out of the way to flag that Trump is really not enamored of Russia as Europeans might think. “Trump does not talk with President Putin as often as with other world leaders, and I think, again, that’s simply a reflection of the strained relationship that exists between the United States and Russia,” Tillerson noted.

“We join our European partners in maintaining sanctions until Russia withdraws its forces from the Donbass and meets its Minsk commitments,” Tillerson added. He said the West should not regularize or renormalize the relationship with Russia “until Russia begins to address those actions which we find not just unacceptable but intolerable.” But Brussels keeps an ambivalent attitude toward Russia. It feels uneasy that Trump may one day wade into a Washington-Moscow rapprochement too soon, even before the Ukraine question is solved. On the other hand, Europe also is nervous about getting caught between a nasty showdown between Washington and Moscow.

Washington may leverage the situation in Ukraine to stoke up tensions there with the aim to keep the US’ European allies in line. Most certainly, US and Canada’s decision last Wednesday to lift the ban on supply of arms to Ukraine looks ominous. Russia repeatedly warned that such moves could have dangerous consequences. On Thursday in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin warned of a massacre in eastern Ukraine “worse than in Srebrenica” (horrific massacre of Serbs in the former Yugoslavia in 1995) if the West strengthened the Ukrainian nationalist forces.

December 17, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Canada Becomes Party to Ukraine’s Conflict

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.12.2017

The Canadian government has given the green light for national defence contractors to sell weapons to Ukraine. This makes Canada a party to the conflict with all ensuing consequences. The decision sets no preconditions for selling the armaments to Ukraine. It has been taken despite the fact that Project Ploughshare and Amnesty International Canada opposed the plan, saying Kiev has so far failed to improve the human rights situation. Canada’s Standing Committee on National Defense has published a report entitled “Canada’s Support to Ukraine in Crisis and Armed Conflict,” which recommends that the government provide lethal weapons to Ukraine if it demonstrates active work on fighting corruption in the country. The recommendations include providing lethal weapons, intelligence exchange, cooperation in defense industry, support in countering cyberattacks, and in resisting to the dissemination of foreign propaganda and disinformation through the media. Granting visa-free travel to Canada for Ukrainians and promotion of Ukrainian interests at the G7 is also on the recommendations’ list.

The Canadian Cabinet hopes its decision will influence the US Administration to follow suit. The move puts Canada out ahead of the United States, which is considering its own arms sales. Kurt Volker, the US Special Representative to Ukraine, believes there’s no reason to continue the prohibition on delivering lethal weapons.

Ukraine is particularly interested in anti-tank weapons, counter-battery artillery radar, and armoured patrol vehicles like the US-made Humvees.

On December 12, US President Donald Trump signed a defense budget for 2018 providing for the possibility of offering Ukraine lethal weapons of a “defensive nature”. Congress has approved $500 million in “defensive lethal assistance” to Ukraine. Congress authorized $350 million more than the $150 million originally proposed by the administration. Now, the president can start arms supplies any time he chooses. Former President Barack Obama was unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision in view of corruption widespread in Ukraine.

The two events – Canada’s decision and signing the US defense budget bill into law – come in the context of the failed US-Russia talks on the recently proposed UN peacekeeping mission in Donbass. Now the US weapons could be exported to Ukraine through Canada, including the much-desired Javelin anti-tank systems. “After this government decree, Canada can sell or transfer Javelin to Ukraine,” said James Bezan, Canadian MP from the Conservative Party. The US has been sending to Ukraine a variety of non-lethal military help, including equipment like Humvees, medical supplies, bulletproof vests, and radars to track the hundreds of artillery shells.

North America’s assistance to Ukraine is not limited to weapons only; it encompasses other domains as well. The Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act [H.R. 1997], the bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8) and Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Dec. 14. The bill encourages cooperation between the United States and Ukraine on matters of cybersecurity and requires State Department reporting to Congress on best practices to protect against future cyber-attacks. “Helping Ukraine buttress its cyber defenses will also help the United States in developing new and more effective technologies and strategies in dealing with cyber security on the modern battlefield,” said Boyle, explaining the goal to be achieved, if the legislation becomes law. It will make Ukraine a part of NATO cyber warfare effort being implemented according to its Cyber Defense Pledge.

The bloc is implementing the Capability Package 120 which aims by 2024 to fund everything from encryption for tactical radios to cloud-integrated storage for the millions of cyber events. Eventually, NATO will move to the public cloud for virtually everything that it does as an alliance. The “centralized patch management” will control all the cyber activities.

For more than two years, the US military’s contingent of roughly 300 military instructors have been quietly training Ukrainian military in the western part of the country to prepare them for fighting in the east. Every 55 days a new Ukrainian battalion comes in to go through a training course at Yavoriv Combat Training Center in western Ukraine. Since 2014, the US and partner militaries have helped grow Ukraine’s forces from just over 100,000 troops to nearly 250,000 today. The US-run maritime operations center at Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, became operational in July to serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. A US military facility near Russia’s borders is a very serious threat to regional security. Its presence turns the Black Sea into a hot spot. US warships visit the sea regularly to provide NATO with long-range first strike capability. The Romania-based Aegis Ashore BMD system uses the Mk-41 launcher capable of firing Tomahawk long-range precision-guided missiles against land targets.

Also in July, two US Navy warships, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 joint NATO naval exercise off Ukraine. The multinational war games took place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event. The preparations are on the way to hold another Sea Breeze exercise in 2018. Step by step, Ukraine is becoming an element of NATO’s military infrastructure, which could be used as a springboard for a cross-border attack against Russia.

December 17, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Yemen, Afghanistan in focus as landmine casualties spike

Press TV – December 14, 2017

Landmines killed 8,605 people in several countries in 2016, despite an international ban on the deadly device, a monitoring group says.

According to the annual report released Thursday by Landmine Monitor, about three-quarters of the known casualties were civilians, including more than 1,000 children who were injured and nearly 500 who were killed.

The number of the casualties — which were mostly recorded in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen — showed a 30% surge compared to 2015.

“A few intense conflicts, where utter disregard for civilian safety persists, have resulted in very high numbers of mine casualties for the second year in a row,” Loren Persi, an editor of the Landmine Monitor said.

Persi described the spike as “alarming”, adding that the true number of the victims would be significantly higher if the data gathering were complete.

The surge comes after a 18-year decline in landmine casualties since the Mine Ban Treaty first came into force in 1999.

The treaty bans the use of landmines and other explosive devices placed on or under the ground, designed to blow up when somebody unintentionally steps on them.

These weapons can be continuously deadly weapons for many years, long after the war has ended. About 80% of landmine victims are civilians.

The Mine Ban Treaty, which has been signed by 163 countries, also bans production, stockpiling and transfer of the deadly landmines.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Kiev hails US & Canada for greenlighting lethal arms supplies that could kill Ukraine peace process

RT | December 14, 2017

By including Ukraine on the list of countries approved for lethal weapons sales, Canada has become a side in a bloody civil war, undermining a shaky peace process, a senior Russian senator said, as Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko applauded the move.

Poroshenko praised the US and Canadian governments for stepping up military cooperation with Ukraine, which could lead to lethal weapons from both countries being supplied to the Ukrainian army, embroiled in a long-running civil conflict with rebel militias from breakaway eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk Republics.

“As it was agreed, the United States authorized security assistance for our country and Canada included Ukraine into the Automatic Firearms Country Control List. The door to enhanced defense assistance for Ukraine has been opened,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook, as US President Donald Trump signed a new Pentagon funding bill and the government in Ottawa revealed its decision to greenlight the export of “certain prohibited firearms, weapons and devices” to Ukraine by including it into its list.

Unlike the Pentagon bill, Canada’s decision sets no preconditions for selling the armaments to Ukraine. The Canadian government’s only precaution is to examine the export applications on a case-by-case basis, to establish who will be using the weapons and how.

This makes Canada a party to the conflict, says Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security.

“A very dangerous precedent has been created: Effectively, Canada has become a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict with all ensuing consequences. And this, above all, means that it assumes responsibility for the actions of the Ukrainian forces, trained by Canadian instructors and equipped with Canadian weapons,” Klintsevich said.

Be arming one side, Canada could tip the relative balance of power, fueling the stalled hostilities and shattering the hopes of peace. “To call a spade a spade, Canada has directly opposed the Minsk Accords,” Klintsevich said.

The US approved $500 million in “defensive lethal assistance” to Ukraine on Wednesday as Trump signed into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) drafted by Congress in late November.

The act claims that the US should beef up its military presence in Eastern Europe in face of the perceived “Russian aggression,” as well as to help Ukraine to tackle it. However, the allocation of the funds is conditional on the Ukrainian military undergoing “substantial” reforms. It is ultimately up to the US Secretary of State to decide if Ukraine has met the prerequisites.

Russia may take the issue of weapon sales and lethal aid to Ukraine to the UN Security Council, Yuri Schvytkin, deputy chairman of State Duma’s Defense Committee, told RIA Novosti.

A recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that US arms sales overseas as well as its ongoing military operations were two main factors that drive global weapons trade, that rose for the first time in five years. With 38 firms that account for combined $217.2 billion in weapon sales, the US ranked first on the list of arms manufacturing countries.

In line with its strategy of encircling Russia with NATO contingents and “purely” defensive military equipment, Washington has recently authorized a shipment of 410 Javelin Missiles as well as 72 Javelin Command Launch Units to Georgia.

The promised delivery was slammed by Moscow, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin arguing in November that it “directly encourages Tbilisi to new dangerous adventures in the region.”

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

State Department’s New Victoria Nuland… is Just Like the Old Victoria Nuland!

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | November 3, 2017

Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swore into office a new Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Dr. A. Wess Mitchell became the Trump Administration’s top diplomat for Europe, “responsible for diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, and with NATO, the EU and the OSCE.”

Readers will recall that the position was most recently held during the Obama Administration by Kagan family neocon, Victoria Nuland, who was key catalyst and cookie provider for the US-backed coup overthrowing the elected government in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland’s virulently anti-Russia position was a trademark of the neocon persuasion and she put ideology into action by “midwifing,” in her own words, an illegal change of government in Ukraine.

It was Nuland’s coup that laid the groundwork for a precipitous decay in US/Russia relations, as Washington’s neocons peddled the false line that “Russia invaded Ukraine” to cover up for the fact that it was the US government that had meddled in Ukrainian affairs. The coup was bloody and divisive, resulting in a de-facto split in the country that continues to the day. Ukraine did not flourish as a result of this neocon scheme, but has in fact been in economic free-fall since the US government installed its preferred politicians into positions of power.

You don’t hear much about Ukraine these days because the neocons hate to talk about their failures. But the corruption of the US-installed government has crippled the country, extreme nationalist elements that make up the core of the post-coup elites have imposed a new education law so vicious toward an age-old Hungarian population stuck inside arbitrarily re-drawn post-WWI borders that the Hungarian government has blocked Ukraine’s further integration into NATO, and a new “Maidan” protest has steadily gathered steam in Kiev despite Western cameras being uninterested this time.

Fortunately Donald Trump campaigned on and was elected to improve relations with Russia and end the Obama Administration’s neocon-fueled launch of a new Cold War. He raised eyebrows when he directly challenged the neocon shibboleth — amplified by the mainstream media — that Russia was invading Ukraine. But candidate Trump really blew neocon minds — and delighted voters — when he said he was looking into ending US sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama and may recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Which brings us back to Wess Mitchell. Certainly President Trump, seeing the destruction of Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland’s anti-Russia interventionism, would finally restore a sane diplomat to the position vacated by the unmourned former Assistant Secretary. Would appoint someone in line with the rhetoric that landed him the Oval Office. Right?

Wrong!

If anything, Wess Mitchell may well prove to be Victoria Nuland on steroids. He was co-founder and CEO of the neocon-dominated Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Mitchell’s CEPA is funded largely by the US government, NATO, neocon grant-making mega-foundations, and the military-industrial complex. The “think tank” does the bidding of its funders, finding a Russian threat under every rock that requires a NATO and defense industry response — or we’re doomed!

Mitchell’s CEPA’s recent greatest hits? “The Kremlin’s 20 toxic tactics,” “Russian disinformation and anti-Western narratives in Romania: How to fight back?,” “Winning the Information War,” “Alliances and American greatness,” “Russia’s historical distortions,” “What the Kremlin Fears Most,” and so on. You get the idea. The raison d’etre of the organization founded by the new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia is to foment a new (and very profitable) Cold War (and more?) with Russia.

Last month, CEPA put on its big conference, the “CEPA Forum 2017.” Speakers included central European heavy hitter politicos like the president of Latvia and also Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, who gave a talk on how “the unity of the NATO Alliance” is “what Russia fears the most.” The grand event was funded, as might be expected, by war contractors Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. But also, surprisingly, significant funding came from the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban, who is seen as somewhat of a maverick in central Europe for refusing to sign on to the intense Russia-hate seen in the Baltics and in Poland.

The no-doubt extraordinarily expensive conference was funded by no less than three Hungarian government entities: the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC, the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group. Again, given Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s reputation for bucking neocon positions vis-a-vis Russia it is surprising to see the virulently anti-Russia CEPA conference so awash in Hungarian taxpayer money. Perhaps there is something to explore in the fact that the recently-fired Hungarian Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi, was recently named executive vice president of CEPA. Hmmm. Makes you wonder.

But back to Mitchell. So he founded a neocon think tank funded by a NATO desperate for new missions and a military-industrial complex desperate for new wars. What about his own views? Surely he can’t be as bad as Nuland. Right? Wrong! Fortunately Assistant Secretary Mitchell is a prolific writer, so it’s easy to track his thinking. In a recent piece for neocon Francis Fukuyama’s American Interest, titled “Predators on the Frontiers,” Mitchell warns that, “From eastern Ukraine and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, large rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable US allies.”

Mitchell continues, in a voice right out of the neocon canon, that:

By degrees, the world is entering the path to war. Not since the 1980s have the conditions been riper for a major international military crisis. Not since the 1930s has the world witnessed the emergence of multiple large, predatory states determined to revise the global order to their advantage—if necessary by force.

We are on a path to war not seen since the 1930s! And why are our “enemies” so hell-bent on destroying us? Because we are just so isolationist!

Writes Mitchell: “Over the past few years, Russia, China, and, to a degree, Iran have sensed that the United States is retreating in their respective regions…”

We are “retreating”?

So what can we do? Mitchell again does the bidding of his paymasters in advising that the only thing we can do to save ourselves is… spend more on militarism:

The United States should therefore enhance its nuclear arsenal by maintaining and modernizing it. It needs to sustain a credible nuclear extended deterrent at a time when revisionist states are gradually pushing their spheres of influence and control closer to, if not against, U.S. allies. Moreover, it should use the limited tactical nuclear weapons at its disposal and seed them in a few of the most vulnerable and capable frontline states (Poland and Japan, for instance) under “nuclear sharing” agreements.

There is our new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Our top diplomat for Europe. The only solution is a military solution. President Trump. Elected to end the endless wars, to forge better relations with Russia, to roll-back an “outdated” NATO. President Trump has replaced Victoria Nuland with something far more dangerous and frightening. Heckuva job, there, Mr. President!

November 4, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment