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CounterPunch: >> Obama’s „Catastrophic Defeat“ in Ukraine

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Weekend Edition August 29-31, 2014

Washington’s "Pivot" hits a Brick Wall

Obama’s “Catastrophic Defeat” in Ukraine

by MIKE WHITNEY

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“We are currently witnessing an epic and historic event. The Ukrainian regular army and the punitive battalions are suffering a catastrophic defeat to the south of Donetsk…..It still is not quite clear how the Junta intends to avoid a complete defeat here…. By squandering the most combat-capable brigades in systematic offensive operations, the Junta sustained enormous losses and at the same time suffered a crushing, purely military defeat. The southern front has collapsed.” – The Southern Front Catastrophe – August 27, 2014″, Colonel Cassad, Military Briefing, Novorossiya, Ukraine

“The reports out of Novorussia (New Russia) are nothing short of incredible… sources are reporting that Novorussian forces have bypassed Mariupol from the north and have entered the Zaporozhie region!” – News from the Front, Vineyard of the Saker

Barack Obama has pushed Ukraine to the brink of political, economic and social collapse. Now he wants to blame Russia for the damage he’s done. It’s absurd. Moscow is in no way responsible for Ukraine’s descent into anarchy. That’s all Washington’s doing, just as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria were Washington’s doing. If you want to blame someone, blame Obama.

Ukraine’s troubles began when the US State Department toppled the elected president in February and replaced him with a compliant stooge who agreed to follow Washington’s directives. The new “junta” government quickly launched a full-blown war against Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east which split the civilian population and drove the country to ruin. The plan “pacify” the East was concocted in Washington, not Kiev and certainly not Moscow.

Moscow has repeatedly called for an end to the violence and a resumption of negotiations, but each request has been rebuffed by Obama’s puppet in Kiev leading to another round of hostilities. Washington doesn’t want peace. Washington wants the same solution it imposed on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, that is, a chaotic failed state where ethnic and sectarian animosities are kept at a boiling point so forward-operating bases can be established without resistance, so resources can be extracted at will, and so a formally-independent nation can be reduced to a “permanent state of colonial dependency.” (Chomsky) That’s the basic gameplan wherever Washington goes. The same rule applies to Ukraine. The only choice the people have is to arm themselves and fight back. Which is what they’ve done.

Donetsk and Lugansk have formed militias and taken the war to the enemy. They’ve engaged Obama’s proxy-army on the battlefield and pounded it into mincemeat. That’s why Obama deployed his propagandists to lie about the fictitious “Russian invasion”. The administration needs a diversion because the Novorussia forces (aka-the “pro Russia separatists”) are kicking the holy crap out of Obama’s legions. That’s why Washington and Kiev are in full panic-mode, because none of this was supposed to happen. Obama figured the army would put down the insurrection, crush the resistance, and move him one step closer to his goal of establishing NATO bases and missile defense systems on Russia’s western flank.

Well, guess what? It’s not playing out that way and it probably never will. The Novorussia fighters are too tough, too smart and too motivated to be one-upped by Obama’s feckless troopers. (Check out this short video and you’ll see why the rebels are winning: Vineyard of the Saker)

Putin hasn’t sent tanks and artillery into Ukraine. He doesn’t need to. The militias are loaded with battle-hardened veterans who know how to fight and who are quite good at it. Just ask Poroshenko whose army has been taking it in the shorts for the last couple of weeks. Check out this blurb in Thursday’s Itar Tass:

“Over the week of August 16-23, the self-defense fighters of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics seized 14 T-64 tanks, 25 infantry fighting vehicles, 18 armored personnel carriers, one armored reconnaissance and patrol vehicle, one Uragan multiple launch rocket system, two Gvozdika self-propelled artillery guns, four D-30 howitzers, four mortars, one ZU-23-2 air defense system and 33 vehicles.” (East Ukraine militias seize large amount of Ukrainian armor, Itar Tass)

Get the picture? The Ukrainian army is getting beaten to a pulp, which means that Obama’s glorious “pivot strategy” just slammed into a brick wall.

Bottom line: Russia has not invaded Ukraine. The propagandists in the media are just trying to hide the fact that the Novorussia Army Forces (NAF; aka-the pro Russia separatists) are kicking ass and taking names. That’s what’s really going on. That’s why Obama and his gaggle of miscreant neocons are in a furor. It’s because they don’t know what to do next, so they’ve returned to their default position on every issue; lie like hell until they settle on a plan.

Naturally, they’re going to blame Putin for the mess they’re in. What else can they do? They’re getting their heads handed to them by a superior army. How do you explain that to the folks at home? Check out this excerpt from the New York Times Number One fiction writer, Michael “aluminum tubes” Gordon (who, not surprisingly, co-authored pieces with infamous Judy Miller in the lead up to the Iraq War):

“Determined to preserve the pro-Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine, Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday, sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory.

The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week, further blunting the momentum Ukrainian forces have made in weakening the insurgents in their redoubts of Donetsk and Luhansk farther north. Evidence of a possible turn was seen in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers on Tuesday from a force they said had come over the Russian border.” (Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front, New York Times)

“Stealth invasion”? In other words, Gordon has settled on a substitute for WMD. What a surprise.

This isn’t even good fiction; it’s more like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. And where are the photos? If you have evidence, Gordon, let’s see it. But, please, make sure it’s better than the last time, you know, those fake photos of Russian soldiers that were supposedly operating in Ukraine. That was another deceit, wasn’t it? (See: Another NYT-Michael Gordon Special?, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

This is like the Malaysia airlines crash, isn’t it? Remember how Kerry went on a five-TV-talk-show blitz the day after the crash, making all kinds of spurious accusations, about surface-to-air missiles and phantom Russian convoys, without a shred of evidence, and then— the very next day– Russian military experts calmly produced hard evidence, from radar and satellite data, that a Ukrainian fighter plane was seen closing in on MH17 just moments before it was downed. (BBC also interviewed eyewitnesses who saw the SU 25 approaching the passenger plane.)

So, who do you believe; Kerry or the facts? And who are you going to believe this time; “Aluminum tubes” Gordie or Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitor Andrey Kelin who said yesterday:

“We have said that no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”

“Accusations relating to convoys of armored personnel carriers have been heard during the past week and the week before that. All of them were proven false back then, and are being proven false again now.” (RT)

Repeat: “No Russian involvement”. All the accusations “were proven false.” “False” as in fake, phony, propaganda, bunkum, lies which, by the way, appears to be Gordon’s area of expertise.

Anyone who has been following the conflict knows that the Washington-backed junta in Kiev has waged a war against its own people in the East, and that they’ve been bombing hospitals, schools, libraries, apartments, public buildings, residential areas, etc, all in an effort to drag Putin into a war that will sabotage EU-Moscow economic integration and further US interests in the area. It’s all geopolitics, every bit of it. Remember the pivot to Asia? This is what it looks like in real time. A lot of people get butchered so the big money guys in Washington can maintain their grip on global power for another century or so.

Well, you can put that pipedream to rest now, mainly because a group of scrappy ex-military types in east Ukraine gathered themselves into an effective and lethal militia which has turned things around pronto. If you follow developments on blogs that chronicle the daily events, you’ll know that what I’m saying is true. The disorganized and demoralized rabble they call the Ukrainian Army has been routed in nearly every dust up they have with the Novorussia militia. Here’s how blogger Moon of Alabama summed it up on a post on Thursday:

“Their moral is bad, their equipment old, ammunition is low and the entire aim of their campaign is dubious. Now even a few weak counterattacks, the “counteroffensive”, have them on the run.”

The only thing he could’ve added to the litany is the fact that they are led by the biggest moron to ever hold high office, Petro Poroshenko, the overstuffed buffoon who thinks he’s Heinz Guderian deploying his Panzers through the Ardennes and on to Paris. What a joke!

The Times even admits that the Ukrainian army is badly demoralized. Take a look at this:

“Some of the Ukrainian soldiers appeared unwilling to fight. The commander of their unit, part of the Ninth Brigade from Vinnytsia, in western Ukraine, barked at the men to turn around, to no effect. “All right,” the commander said. “Anybody who refuses to fight, sit apart from the others.” Eleven men did, while the others returned to the city.

Some troops were in full retreat: A city busload of them careened past on the highway headed west, and purple curtains flapped through windows shot out by gunfire.” (New York Times)

Have you ever heard of a commanding officer asking his men whether they want to fight or not? It’s ludicrous. This is a defeated army, that much is clear. And it’s easy to understand how the average grunt feels, too. The average working guy doesn’t have the stomach for killing his own people. That’s not something he’s going to feel good about. He just wants to see the war end and go home, which is why they’re getting whooped so bad. It’s because their hearts aren’t in it. In contrast, the farmers, shopkeepers and miners who make up the militia are highly-motivated, after all, this isn’t some geopolitical game for them. Most of these people have lived in these cities their entire lives. Now they’re watching neighbors get gunned down in the streets or pulling friends out of the wreckage of bombed out buildings. For these people, the war is real and it’s personal. They’re defending their towns, their families, and their way of life. That tends to build resolve and focus the mind. Here’s more from the NY Times:

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.

Advanced air defenses, including systems not known to be in the Ukrainian arsenal, have also been used to blunt the Ukrainian military’s air power, American officials say. In addition, they said, the Russian military routinely flies drones over Ukraine and shares the intelligence with the separatists.” (Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front, New York Times)

Photos? What photos? Gordon doesn’t have any photos. Ah, but he has heard about a New York Times reporter who saw a photo.

This is ridiculous, but, then again, isn’t that what you’d expect from a journalist who helped craft the pretext for invading Iraq?

Here’s how Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to the claims of a Russian invasion. He said:

“It’s not the first time we’ve heard wild guesses, though, so far, the facts have never been presented…

There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troop movements. They turned out to be images from videogames. The latest accusations happen to be much the same quality…

We’ll react by persisting in our effort to reduce the bloodshed and to support negotiations about the future of Ukraine, with participation of all Ukrainian regions and political forces, something that was agreed upon back in April in Geneva, but which is now being deliberately avoided by our Western partners.” (RT)

There you have it; there is no Russian invasion anymore than there were WMD, mobile weapons labs, aluminum tubes, Sarin gas etc, etc, etc. It’s all BS concocted by a servile media pursuing the agenda of a warmongering political establishment that wants to escalate the conflagration in east Ukraine at all cost. Even if it leads to a Third World War.

MIKE WHITNEYlives in Washington state. He is a contributor to fergiewhitney.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/29/obamas-catastrophic-defeat-in-ukraine/print

There you have it; there is no Russian invasion anymore than there were WMD, mobile weapons labs, aluminum tubes, Sarin gas etc, etc, etc. It’s all BS concocted by a servile media pursuing the agenda of a warmongering political establishment that wants to escalate the conflagration in east Ukraine at all cost. Even if it leads to a Third World War.

Written by Mika

30. avgusta 2014. at 09:02

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Washington Piles Lie Upon Lie — Paul Craig Roberts

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August 28, 2014

Written by Mika

29. avgusta 2014. at 11:06

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Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

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Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

By Ray McGovern

Global Research, August 24, 2014

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Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Before dawn broke in Washington on Saturday, “Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists” – more accurately described as federalists of southeast Ukraine who oppose last February’s coup in Kiev – unloaded desperately needed provisions from some 280 Russian trucks in Lugansk, Ukraine. The West accused those trucks of “invading” Ukraine on Friday, but it was a record short invasion; after delivering their loads of humanitarian supplies, many of the trucks promptly returned to Russia.

I happen to know what a Russian invasion looks like, and this isn’t it. Forty-six years ago, I was ten miles from the border of Czechoslovakia when Russian tanks stormed in to crush the “Prague Spring” experiment in democracy. The attack was brutal.

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Once back in Munich, West Germany, where my duties included substantive liaison with Radio Free Europe, I experienced some of the saddest moments of my life listening to radio station after radio station on the Czech side of the border playing Smetana’s patriotic “Ma vlast” (My Homeland) before going silent for more than two decades.

I was not near the frontier between Russia and southeastern Ukraine on Friday as the convoy of some 280 Russian supply trucks started rolling across the border heading toward the federalist-held city of Luhansk, but that “invasion” struck me as more like an attempt to break a siege, a brutal method of warfare that indiscriminately targets all, including civilians, violating the principle of non-combatant immunity.

Michael Walzer, in his War Against Civilians, notes that “more people died in the 900-day siege of Leningrad during WWII than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.” So the Russians have some strong feelings about sieges.

There’s also a personal side for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was born in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, eight years after the long siege by the German army ended. It is no doubt a potent part of his consciousness. One elder brother, Viktor, died of diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad.

The Siege of Luhansk

Despite the fury expressed by U.S. and NATO officials about Russia’s unilateral delivery of the supplies after weeks of frustrating negotiations with Ukrainian authorities, there was clearly a humanitarian need. An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team that visited Luhansk on Aug. 21 to make arrangements for the delivery of aid found water and electricity supplies cut off because of damage to essential infrastructure.

The Ukrainian army has been directing artillery fire into the city in an effort to dislodge the ethnic Russian federalists, many of whom had supported elected President Viktor Yanukovych who was ousted in the Feb. 22 coup.

The Red Cross team reported that people in Luhansk do not leave their homes for fear of being caught in the middle of ongoing fighting, with intermittent shelling into residential areas placing civilians at risk. Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia, reported “an urgent need for essentials like food and medical supplies.”

The ICRC stated that it had “taken all necessary administrative and preparatory steps for the passage of the Russian convoy,” and that, “pending customs checks,” the organization was “therefore ready to deliver the aid to Luhansk … provided assurances of safe passage are respected.”

The “safe passage” requirement, however, was the Catch-22. The Kiev regime and its Western supporters have resisted a ceasefire or a political settlement until the federalists – deemed “terrorists” by Kiev – lay down their arms and surrender.

Accusing the West of repeatedly blocking a “humanitarian armistice,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement cited both Kiev’s obstructionist diplomacy and “much more intensive bombardment of Luhansk” on Aug. 21, the day after some progress had been made on the ground regarding customs clearance and border control procedures: “In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination [Luhansk] and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.”

‘Decision to Act’

Referring to these “intolerable” delays and “endless artificial demands and pretexts,” the Foreign Ministry said, “The Russian side has decided to act.” And there the statement’s abused, plaintive tone ended sharply – with this implied military threat:

“We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission. … Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.”

Despite all the agreements and understandings that Moscow claims were reached earlier with Ukrainian authorities, Kiev insists it did not give permission for the Russian convoy to cross its border and that the Russians simply violated Ukrainian sovereignty – no matter the exigent circumstances they adduce.

More alarming still, Russia’s “warning” could be construed as the Kremlin claiming the right to use military force within Ukraine itself, in order to protect such humanitarian supply efforts – and perhaps down the road, to protect the anti-coup federalists, as well.

The risk of escalation, accordingly, will grow in direct proportion to the aggressiveness of not only the Ukrainian armed forces but also their militias of neo-fascists who have been dispatched by Kiev as frontline shock troops in eastern Ukraine.

Though many Russian citizens have crossed the border in support of their brethren in eastern Ukraine, Moscow has denied dispatching or controlling these individuals. But now there are Russians openly acknowledged to have been sent by Moscow into Ukraine – even if only “pilots” of “Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks,” as the White House depicted the humanitarian mission.

Moscow’s move is a difficult one to parry, except for those – and there are many, both in Kiev and in Washington – who would like to see the situation escalate to a wider East-West armed confrontation. One can only hope that, by this stage, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union realize they have a tiger by the tail.

The coup regime in Kiev knows which side its bread is buttered on, so to speak, and can be expected to heed the advice from the U.S. and the EU if it is expressed forcefully and clearly. Not so the fanatics of the extreme right party Svoboda and the armed “militia” comprised of the Right Sector. Moreover, there are influential neo-fascist officials in key Kiev ministries who dream of cleansing eastern Ukraine of as many ethnic Russians as possible.

Thus, the potential for serious mischief and escalation has grown considerably. Even if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wants to restrain his hardliners, he may be hard-pressed to do so. Thus, the U.S. government could be put in the unenviable position of being blamed for provocations – even military attacks on unarmed Russian truck drivers – over which it has little or no control.

Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name

The White House second-string P.R. team came off the bench on Friday, with the starters on vacation, and it was not a pretty scene. Even if one overlooks the grammatical mistakes, the statement they cobbled together left a lot to be desired.

It began: “Today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine. …

“The Ukrainian government and the international community have repeatedly made clear that this convoy would constitute a humanitarian mission only if expressly agreed to by the Ukrainian government and only if the aid was inspected, escorted and distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). We can confirm that the ICRC is not escorting the vehicles and has no role in managing the mission. …

“Russian military vehicles piloted by Russian drivers have unilaterally entered the territory controlled by the separatist forces.”

The White House protested that Kiev had not “expressly agreed” to allow the convoy in without being escorted by the ICRC. Again, the Catch 22 is obvious. Washington has been calling the shots, abetting Kiev’s dawdling as the supply trucks sat at the border for a week while Kiev prevented the kind of ceasefire that the ICRC insists upon before it will escort such a shipment.

The other issue emphasized in the White House statement was inspection of the trucks: “While a small number of these vehicles were inspected by Ukrainian customs officials, most of the vehicles have not been inspected by anyone but Russia.” During a press conference at the UN on Friday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin took strong exception to that charge, claiming not only that 59 Ukrainian inspectors had been looking through the trucks on the Russian side of the border, but that media representatives had been able to choose for themselves which trucks to examine.

Regardless of this latest geopolitical back-and-forth, it’s clear that Moscow’s decision to send the trucks across the border marked a new stage of the civil war in Ukraine. As Putin prepares to meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko next week in Minsk – and as NATO leaders prepare for their summit on Sept. 4 to 5 in Wales – the Kremlin has put down a marker: there are limits to the amount of suffering that Russia will let Kiev inflict on the anti-coup federalists and ethnic Russian civilians right across the border.

The Russians’ attitude seems to be that if the relief convoys can be described as an invasion of sovereign territory, so be it. Nor are they alone in the court of public opinion.

On Friday at the UN, Russian Ambassador Churkin strongly objected to comments that, by its behavior, Russia found itself isolated. Churkin claimed that some of the Security Council members were “sensitive to the Russian position – among them China and the countries of Latin America.” (Argentina and Chile are currently serving as non-permanent members of the Security Council.)

The Polemic and Faux Fogh

Charter members of the Fawning Corporate Media are already busily at work, including the current FCM dean, the New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon, who was at it again with a story titled “Russia Moves Artillery Units Into Ukraine, NATO Says.” Gordon’s “scoop” was all over the radio and TV news; it was picked up by NPR and other usual suspects who disseminate these indiscriminate alarums.

Gordon, who never did find those Weapons of Mass Destruction that he assured us were in Iraq, now writes: “The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday.”

His main source seems to be NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who famously declared in 2003, “Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think; it is something we know.” Cables released by WikiLeaks have further shown the former Danish prime minister to be a tool of Washington.

However, Gordon provided no warning to Times’ readers about Rasmussen’s sorry track record for accuracy. Nor did the Times remind its readers about Gordon’s sorry history of getting sensitive national security stories wrong.

Surely, the propaganda war will be stoked by what happened on Friday. Caveat emptor.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. As an Army officer and CIA analyst, he worked in intelligence for 30 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

http://www.globalresearch.ca/russias-humanitarian-invasion/5397391

Written by Mika

25. avgusta 2014. at 16:21

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The U.S. Needs Russia – the Baltimore Sun

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Baltimore Sun

August 19, 2014

The U.S. needs Russia

Instead of alienating Russians, we should be pulling them in

By Jerome Israel

Jerome Israel is a former senior executive at NSA and the FBI. His email is vseznayushe.

The U.S. needs Russia. This may sound peculiar coming from a person who spent 25 years at the NSA, almost half of those fighting communism. But our approach to Russia since the end of the Cold War has been unimaginative and aggressive. Politicians in Washington put on their Cold-War glasses any time Russia makes noise. It’s time to archive those in the Smithsonian.

Many notable academics agree that our policies toward Russia are flawed, but my conclusion – that we need Russia – is derived from the kind of work we mastered at NSA: carefully listening to and analyzing communications, in this case what Russians have said openly on social networks and in private conversations with me during a recent trip to Russia.

Unfortunately, for Americans schooled in "exceptionalism," what they say is hard to accept. Many don’t like us. They despise our government, our swagger and how we have bullied our way across the globe since the end of the Cold War. Russians were humiliated then; it’s no wonder that I saw a Russian youth with his fist held high under a gargantuan Soviet-era monument: the Worker and Collective Farm Girl. Russians opine about the respect, power and authority they once enjoyed.

Russians resent how NATO has brought Poland, the Baltics and other Eastern European countries under its wing. Rightly or wrongly, they continue to believe that at the end of the Cold War, then-Secretary of State James Baker promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that the U.S. would not expand NATO "one inch to the east." To put this in more comprehensible terms, recall that less than 20 years ago this country was outraged by the prospect of China potentially operating the Panama Canal. Imagine China having a military toe-hold in Mexico.

So, it’s no surprise that roughly a quarter century after the end of the Cold War, Russians began to feel boxed in. Our on-again, off-again policy of deploying anti-ballistic missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic only heightened tensions. With NATO’s expansion, the U.S. lost an opportunity to grow closer to Russia. The sad part about our feckless policy is that the chances of the American public supporting a war with Russia over Romania, Poland or the Baltics are slim to none.

Ordinary Russians worry about Vladimir Putin, but will stand up for him when he is constantly labeled a "KGB thug." They detest State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, but since she has become a favorite topic of humor, they were relieved when she returned from a recent week-long absence. What Russians seek from the U.S. is respect and problem-solving on a peer-to-peer level.

The situation in Ukraine is a brutal regional conflict, which Russians and Ukrainians must work out for themselves. Eventually they will tire of civil war, given their deep cultural ties. Antagonizing Russia by trying to peel off Ukraine for the West is foolish given the larger strategic problems confronting the U.S. We need to reverse NATO expansion and put a new governing framework in place. We need Russia’s expertise and influence in the Middle East. Mr. Putin helped us avoid a military commitment in Syria. And, have we forgotten that his government tried to warn us about the Boston bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers?

Short of a policy change, Russia will continue to thwart us, undermine our currency and heighten tensions, creating a new Cold War that neither can afford. Oddly, the Russian people adore our music, movies, and even our fast food restaurants, and a large number speak English to varying degrees. One Russian friend cynically commented that all large empires need enemies. But is this the kind of enemy we want – especially now?

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-08-19/news/bs-ed-us-needs-russia-20140819_1_russians-baltics-cold-war

Written by Mika

23. avgusta 2014. at 12:13

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EU Tells Serbia Not to Exploit Russian Embargo

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http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/eu-expects-from-serbia-not-to-missuse-russian-embargo

EU Tells Serbia Not to Exploit Russian Embargo

A meeting of EU foreign ministers on Friday said it expected candidate countries – of which Serbia is one – to “refrain from measures aimed at exploiting new trading opportunities arising from the introduction of these [Russian] measures”.

BIRN has learned that the wording of the formulation especially related to Serbia, because of its close ties to Russia and special trading agreement.

Serbian officials have made no secret of their wish to boost exports to Russia, now that the Kremlin has banned imports of food from the EU.

Serbia has resisted Western pressure to impose sanctions on Russia on account of the Kemlin’s perceived role in separatist fighting in Ukraine. It has adopted a neutral stance on the crisis in Ukraine.

Under a free-trade deal between Serbia and Russia signed in August 2000, goods produced in Serbia are subject only to a 1-per-cent tarriff.

A senior EU high official told BIRN it expected compliance from Belgrade. “We expect Serbia to comply with our decisions as the country seek membership of the Union," he said.

"We expect compliance with our foreign policy, which at the moment includes sanctions on Russia, and at the same time we expect solidarity,” he added.

“We will certainly address this in our upcoming progress report [on Serbia], where we will once more underline that we expect Serbia to fully adopt EU foreign policy,” the same source continued.

President Vladimir Putin announced a "full embargo" on food imports from the EU, the US and other Western countries in response to sanctions imposed over Ukraine on August 7.

Serbian Chamber of Commerce data show that Serbian food exports to Russia in 2014 rose by 68 per cent compared to the previous year.

They were worth $117 million in the first six months of 2014, well up on the figures for 2013, when food exports to Russia were worth $185 million for the entire year.

Serbian exports made up only a small fraction of Russia’s total foreign food needs, however. In 2013, Russia imported about $42 billion worth food and agricultural products.

Experts believe that Serbia has a chance to increase its exports to Russia of fruit, vegetables, meat products, dairy products and alcoholic beverages.

The embargo already increased the demands for Serbia’s fruit and dairy from Russian companies.

“We are receiving calls from new buyers from Russia all the time,” Vilmos Fogas, a farmer from the province of Vojvodina, told the media.

“If we could produce three times more apples, we could sell them all,” Fogas said, adding that at this moment larger production of fruit is not possible.

The owners of the Kuc dairy factory in central Serbia said they had received requests for products from 50 Russian companies in the last five days alone.

“Demand compared to last year has increased by more than 100 percent,” Mirjana Dudic, from Kuc, told Serbia’s Tanjug news agency.

Serbia’s Chamber of Commerce on Friday sent Russian counterparts a list of factories and producers that are ready to increase production in order to meet the demands of Russian market.

In 2013, Russia was Serbia’s fourth-largest importer of goods from Serbia, behind Italy, Germany and Bosnia.

Written by Mika

19. avgusta 2014. at 20:04

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Who Owns the Future?

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Who Owns the Future?

Patrick J. Buchanan

http://www.creators.com/conservative/pat-buchanan/who-owns-the-future-565cb49faa.html

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government." A quarter century on, such optimism seems naive. Consider the United States, the paragon of liberal democracy … Seventy-one percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction. Nor is this the exceptional crisis of a particular presidency … The day of the democratist and transnational elite appears to be passing … And from those recent polls, Americans seem to look on the prospect of an even more racially and culturally diverse America of tomorrow, not with anticipation, but with a measure of dread.

Written by Mika

16. avgusta 2014. at 19:41

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Can a Peaceful Outcome Be Salvaged in Ukraine?

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http://orientalreview.org/2014/08/12/can-a-peaceful-outcome-be-salvaged-in-ukraine/

Can a Peaceful Outcome Be Salvaged in Ukraine?

On 4th August, the world marked 100 years since World War I, a conflict that resulted in 16 million deaths and was in many ways a prerequisite for Word War II.

A century later, a new conflict is brewing, this time between Russia and Western countries, with Ukraine being the hotspot of military activity. Ever since a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest broke out in Kiev on 21 November 2013, Western leaders have blamed Russia for the escalation of conflict, imposing economic sanctions on the country. However one of the primary reasons for the intensification and continuation of this crisis is a complete lack of an attempt to understand Russia’s position. Instead of looking to communicate and engage with Russia to find a mutually beneficial solution, Western policy seems to be based on threatening Russia to do as the West tells them, or else bear the brunt of further sanctions. There has been a complete disregard towards Russia’s side of the story.

Russia is understandably aggravated about the events that took place in Ukraine, and for being blamed for the crisis. From their that the US is pulling the strings in Kiev right now. It has good reasons to believe this.

Firstly, there are the billions of dollars and euros that the West has been providing to Ukraine for the past decade to promote Western ideology. This has been done through funding “pro-European” organisations and individuals. European Commission’s “Financial Transparency” website indicates that €496 million has been given to these groups between 2004 and 2013. During the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, scores of American and EU politicians visited Ukraine for “talks” with the opposition and openly encouraged protesters to keep going until they achieve their aims. Since the coup, the US administration has been open about providing financial and military aid to the new government in Kiev. To comprehend how Russia must have felt about these developments, one simply has to ask themselves how would the West react if Russia were to provide €496 million to the Euro-sceptic parties in Europe and have Russian politicians openly visit the EU during the recent European elections and call on the public to vote against the establishment. How would the EU and American leaders react if after the European elections, Russia provided financial support to parties like UKIP in the UK and Front National in France? The West would have been enraged if these events took place, yet they expect Russia to not react when the West did it in Ukraine. Add in the fact that the US has been carrying out regime changes all over the world ever since it became a hegemon in 1945, coupled with suggestions that the primary objective of the US is to overthrow Putin’s government, it becomes clear why the Kremlin feels indignant and unfairly treated, and is unlikely to alter its stance because of Western sanctions. For the Kremlin, this is a matter of Russia’s survival as an independent state, free from Western influence.

If a diplomatic solution is to be found, then three parties – Russia, Ukraine and the EU – need to have a discussion on how to come up with a solution that is favourable to all sides. The United States should not partake in these discussions, as this is a matter for the European continent.

For now, rather than talking to the Kremlin, the West’s policy is based primarily on the hope that Mr. Putin will eventually change course or that elite and public support for him will fracture. This policy is not in Europe’s interests. Already the EU has been feeling the negative effects of fractured relations with Russia. Germany reported a hefty drop in industrial orders. Meanwhile, Italy reported that it had fallen back into recession after two quarters of falling output. In London, the FTSE 100 index was down by more than 90 points – a drop of 1.4%. Shares were down by more than 1% in Paris and Frankfurt, and by more than 2% in Milan. Now that Russia has also imposed sanctions on Western agricultural produce, Europe’s fragile economy will be shaken even more.

Rather than continuing on the path that spirals towards complete breakdown of cooperation, the EU should be working towards re-establishing real channels of communication with Mr. Putin. From Kremlin’s point of view, Russia wants to see a cease-fire in Ukraine and Kiev honouring its commitments to transfer power to regional governments in the east. Long-term, a conversation about the future of Ukraine should be held between Russia and the West. A neutral Ukraine that cooperates with both the EU and Russia would be favourable. From Europe’s point of view, these proposals would not undermine their position and aims (unless their real objectives are an anti-Russia Ukraine and NATO presence on the Ukrainian territory). Kiev’s government would still be run by a pro-Western President and Ukraine would remain intact, with more autonomy for the eastern regions.

Refusal to even consider discussing these proposals with Russia would confirm Kremlin’s fears that the West is not interested in a diplomatic solution, and simply wants to undermine and weaken Russia. Such a confirmation would result in a point of no return – a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine and unfixable relations between Russia and the West.

As the world remembers the tragic consequences of WW1 a century ago, understanding how to avoid similar conflicts in the future is imperative. A diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis is still alive but is slowly fizzling out as the weeks go by. Discussions need to take place urgently. A failure to do so will result in no other option but to use military means to solve the conflict. This would not be beneficial to anyone.

Alexander Clackson is the founder of Global Political Insight, a London-based think tank and a political media organisation.

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Written by Mika

12. avgusta 2014. at 11:13

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