Monday, September 19, 2016

"Do We Really Want War with Russia?"

"Do We Really Want War with Russia?"
By Eric S. Margolis

"War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow. As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue. Prof. Clark carefully details how small cabals of anti-German senior officials in France, Britain and Russia engineered World War I, a dire conflict that was unnecessary, idiotic, and illogical. Germany and Austria-Hungary of course share some the blame, but to a much lesser degree than the bellicose French, Serbs, Russians and British.

We are seeing the same process at work today. The war party in Washington, backed by the military-industrial complex, the tame media, and the neocons, are agitating hard for war. US and NATO combat forces are being sent to Russia’s western borders in Ukraine, the Baltic and Black Sea. NATO is arming, financing ($40 billion so far) and supplying Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. Prominent Americans are calling for the US to attack Russian forces in Syria. US warships are off Russia’s coasts in the Black Sea, Baltic and Pacific. NATO air forces are probing Russia’s western air borders.

Some of this is great power shadow boxing, trying to cow insubordinate Russia into accepting Washington’s orders. But much appears to be the work of the hard right and neocons in the US and Europe in spite of the desire of most Americans and Europeans to avoid armed conflict with Russia. Hence the daily barrage of anti-Russian, anti-Putin invective in the US media and the European media controlled by the US. Germany’s lapdog media behaves as if the US postwar occupation is still in force – and perhaps it is. Germany has not had a truly independent foreign policy since the war.

In an amazing break with Berlin’s normally obsequious behavior, German’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, demanded that Washington and NATO stop their ‘sabre-rattling’ against Russia. He speaks for many Germans and other Europeans who are deeply alarmed by the alliance’s provocations of Russia. In fact, many Europeans want to see the end of NATO-imposed sanctions against Russia that were ordered by the US. No one in Europe cares about Russia’s re-occupation of Crimea. The sanctions have been a big backfire, seriously hurting EU exports to Russia at a time of marked economic weakness. Nor are any Europeans ready to fight a war, or worse, even court nuclear war, for such dark-side-of-the-moon places as eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk or Mariupol.

America’s numb-brained members of Congress, who could not find Crimea on a map if their lives depended on it, may be counted on to beat the war drums to please their big donors and hard right religious donors. The only Republican to buck this trend is Donald Trump who, for all his other foolish positions, has the clear sense to see no benefit for the US in antagonizing Russia and seeking war in Europe or the Mideast.

What the US and its sidekick NATO has done so far is to antagonize Russia and affirm its deeply held fears that the west is always an implacable enemy. But it seems very unlikely that the tough Vlad Putin and his battle-hardened nation is going to be cowed into submission by a few thousand US and NATO troops, a few frigates and some flyovers. Ever since Frederick the Great, wise European leaders have learned not to fight with Russia.

Not so President Obama’s strategic Walkures, Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton. They proved the most bungling military-strategic leadership since Madame de Pompadour was briefly given command of France’s armies by King Louis XV and proved an epic disaster.

One shudders watching Hillary Clinton aspire to be a commander-in-chief.

It’s also inevitable that land, sea and air provocations against Russia will eventually result in accidental clashes and a stern Russian response. All one needs is a Sarajevo II terror incident to spark a big shooting war between nuclear powers."
"Will Russia Surrender?"
by Paul Craig Roberts

"The Russian government’s sincere and diligent effort to prevent chaos in Syria and additional massive refugee flow into Europe, all the while avoiding conflict with Washington and its vassals, has been brought to an end by Washington’s intentional attack on a known Syrian army position, thus wrecking the cease fire agreement that Russia sacrificed so much to achieve.

The response to this fact by the Obama regime’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, reveals that Washington will lie to the hilt in order to achieve its agenda of reducing Syria to the same chaos as Washington has reduced Iraq and Libya. Washington, and Washington alone, is responsible for the war in Syria. When the British Parliament and the Russian government blocked Obama’s intended US invasion of Syria, the Obama regime armed and financed jihadist mercenaries to invade Syria, pretending that the jihadists were Syrian rebels fighting for democracy in Syria. Samantha Power turned history upside down and blames the war on Russia’s intervention at the request of the Syrian government against the ISIL jihadists that Washington sent to destabilize Syria. What Samantha means is that if Russia had not come to the aid of Syria, Washington and ISIL would already have destroyed Syria, and there would be no war. 

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said that in his 40 years of diplomacy he had never seen such a high-handed and demagogic performance as Samantha’s. Churkin seemed to imply that such an unrealistic and twisted response to known facts as Samantha delivered leaves him without hope of any successful diplomatic outcome. 

If the Russian government has finally arrived at the conclusion that Washington is determined to destroy political stability in Syria and to replace it with chaos, it has taken a long time. The Russian government has studiously avoided this conclusion, because once diplomacy is acknowledged as useless, force confronts force. In today’s context that means thermo-nuclear war and the end of life on Earth.

This is the reason that the Russian government has replied diplomatically to Washington’s coercive provocations, offering Washington cooperation in place of conflict. However, Washington wants conflict. The Russians have pretended that Washington has a common interest with Russia in combating terrorism, but terrorism is Washington’s tool for destabilizing Syria, then Iran, and then the Muslim provinces of the Russian Federation and China.

Washington wants hegemony not cooperation. Now that Samantha Power has made this so clear that the Russian government can no longer pretend otherwise, what will Russia (and China) do?

If Russia and China are not ready for the war that Washington is bringing to them, will they retreat in the face of the aggression, sacrificing Syria, the break-away Russian provinces from Ukraine, and the various disputed island issues in the Pacific Ocean while they gather their strength? Or will they decide to break-up the NATO alliance by making the cost of conflict very clear to Washington’s European vassals? Clearly, Europe has nothing to gain from Washington’s aggression against Russia and China.

Or is Russia unable to do anything now that diplomacy is a proven dead-end? Perhaps this is the over-riding question. As far as someone who is not a member of the Russian government can tell, Russia is not completely in control of its destiny. Elements in the Russian government known as “Atlanticist Integrationists” believe that it is more important for Russia to be part of the West and to be integrated into the Western system than to be a sovereign country. They argue that if formerly great powers, such as Great Britain, Germany, and France, can profit from being American vassals, so can Russia.

Atlanticist Integrationists claim that Russia’s strategic nuclear capability and land mass means that Russia can maintain some sovereignty and only partially submit as a vassal. One problem with this position is that it assumes the neoconservatives are content with less than complete hegemony and would not capitalize on Russia’s weakened position to achieve full hegemony.

The Russian government probably still has hopes that at least some European governments will recognize their responsibility to avoid war and exit NATO, thus removing political cover for Washington’s aggression. Possibly there is some such hope, but the main European political figures are bought-and-paid-for by Washington. As a high US government official told me as long ago as the 1970s, “we own them; they belong to us.”

Not much hope can be found in the European media. Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor of Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, published a book in which he said that every significant European journalist was on the CIA’s payroll.  With politicians and media bought off, where can European leadership come from?

Europeans have become accustomed to their role as hired vassals. As no European politician or newspaper editor can assume that an act of rebellion would succeed, they are more likely to enjoy their life enriched by American gratuities than to take a risk for humanity.

The wider question is whether the extant socio-politico-economic systems can act in behalf of humanity. It is not clear that capitalist civilizations are capable of being humane, because worth is based on money, which makes greed and power the overpowering factors. It is possible that human evil and incompetence have destroyed not only the planet’s environment but also humane social systems. Globalism is not a scheme for cooperation. It is Washington’s scheme for American domination.”

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