For more than 15 years Russia discontinued Cold War activities; however, the US and NATO continued to encroach towards Russia despite treaties and promises.
Before the jingoistic cheerleading and Russia-hating catcalls start pouring from the poorly informed but enthusiastically irrational peanut gallery, let’s take a moment to review a few important facts. Maybe facts are not quite as spectacular or emotionally satisfying as burping up bilious gas balls of MSM propaganda, but they can provide perspective.
During the 90s, following the dissolution of the USSR, the military flights and air-space patrols and probing by Russia as part of their stand-off with the West - mirrored 24/7 by the U.S. and NATO with similar fleets of fighters, bombers, reconnaissance planes, refueling tankers - stopped completely. The reconnaissance and war readiness exercises by the Western powers, however, continued uninterrupted.
Reacting to this unbroken protraction of war readiness by the West, Russia started up their long range bomber patrols again in July and August of 2007, and returned to guarding its air space and borders, keeping a sufficient number of planes in the air to let the West know that they were not to be permitted carte blanche superiority in the skies near Russian air space.
This means, for over 15 years, Russia suspended a major component of the Cold War years confrontation, taking itself completely off of a war footing. Rather than take advantage of this historic opportunity, the West continued, and if anything increased, its intimidation of Russia, which by both choice and circumstance - its empire had disintegrated and the country itself was in dire economic straits - tried to pursue peaceful relations.
During the 90s, Russia was understandably preoccupied with putting its house back in order and trying to rebuild the functional framework of a nation. With calculating deftness, but in direct violation of recorded assurances made to Russia that NATO would not move “one inch east” of Germany - a trade-off for Russia’s quickly withdrawing its troops from East Germany to permit an orderly, uncontested reunification of the German nation - NATO, at the prompting of the U.S., proceeded to rapidly expand its geographical orbit. Today it includes Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia. All of these countries are considerably more than an inch east of Germany.
Then in December, 2001, the U.S. announced that it was unilaterally pulling out of the ABM Treaty, signaling that it claimed the right to now put anti-ballistic missiles in any country in the NATO alliance. This move was unprovoked, meaning there was no specific incident or level of tension between Russia and the U.S. prompting such a sudden breach of the agreement, one that had been in force since 1972. Ominously, this was the first time in U.S. history that America had walked away from such a major agreement.
Since the U.S. at the time and for many years afterwards, claimed that the anti-ballistic missiles were purely to prevent rogue nations like Iran and North Korea from attacking Europe, Russia offered to become part of a unified system of missile defense of Europe, offering its own sophisticated missile tracking radar to the mix.
America turned down this offer from the Russians.
While there is much more, sometimes less is more.
Here less is enough.
Encapsulating . . .
NATO moves its military alliance and bases to Russia’s borders. The U.S. starts deploying ABMs near Russia’s borders. The U.S. wants no part of Russian cooperation in optimizing those systems against the “enemies”.
Who is Russia to conclude is the real enemy being targeted by these ABMs?
What is Russia to conclude from the relentless move east, right up to its borders, of the military forces of NATO?
What is Russia to conclude from what appears to be a “containment” policy directed at them, currently implemented by twenty-seven major military installations, with possibly more yet to come?
Then to pour gasoline on the embers of suspicion, last year the U.S. assisted the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine, a nation with long historical ties going back centuries to Russia, located right on Russia’s “underbelly”.
Concurrently, a venomous anti-Russia propaganda blitz began in the West.
Everything became Russia’s fault: The whole Ukraine crisis, the downing of Malaysian Flight 17, the deaths in eastern Ukraine, the “invasion” and annexation of Crimea.
About the same time, a massive campaign to demonize Putin went into high gear, initiated and aggressively promoted by the U.S. via its presstitute media - direct personal attacks even made by Obama, Biden, and Samantha Power at the U.N. - and spread across the globe, the truculence championed by England, Germany and France.
What is going on here? What does this look like to you?
I know what it looks like to me. There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that hubris and arrogance, that delusional imperial ambitions and diplomatic megalomania, coupled with just plain horrible judgment, has again replaced thoughtful analysis, basic respect for the interests of other nations, and responsible leadership.
It doesn’t help that some clueless imbeciles escaped their short bus ride for a day at the Leggo Park and infiltrated our policy-making institutions, preaching the suicidal gospel that we can win a nuclear war with Russia. They are joined by self-proclaimed political geniuses - masters of the universe who think history is a 90s Michael Jackson album - proposing after consulting their Magic 8-Ball that with a few slick moves America can just topple the current government of Russia and render the entire nation with its vast natural resources a vassal state, ready for easy picking by America’s corporate predators. I’m sure these same Pollyannas also believe that the Russian people will welcome America, weeping for joy, throwing bouquets before our Humvees as they roll through Moscow Square.
America thinks it can bluster and bluff, use color revolutions to nudge Putin out of office and install some bloated puppet in his place like they did with Poroshenko in Ukraine - though even that’s far from a done deal itself.
America thinks what it says is divine truth and to hell with anyone who disagrees.
America thinks its military might and economic power confers it a special, unassailable place in the world, a position of supreme and unquestionable leadership and iron rule.
With these recent dealings with Russia, we’re another 25 years into the tragicomedy of our infantile machinations, self-absorbed exceptionalism, diplomatic myopia, and sociopathic delusions of imperial grandeur. We have engaged some of the best minds and produced some of the worst ideas.
Where do we now stand?
What do we have to show for all of this American ingenuity?
First and foremost, Cold War 2.0 is up and running full-tilt because Russia finally arrived at the inescapable conclusion that NATO is a profound military threat.
The meticulously and arduously fashioned trust and spirit of cooperation gradually built over decades is trashed, relations between the U.S. and Russia severely damaged for many years to come. Russia now believes all of the talk of integration and cooperation was just lip-service, a cheap smokescreen for America’s real agenda: destroying their country.
As accusations and hysteria prompted by old habits and grudges now take center stage, hopeful and constructive dialogue have become drown out by the drums of war.
War fever and sabotage of peace initiatives - mostly emanating from Washington DC - are becoming pandemic.
The escalation of paranoia and preparation for major conflict keeps ratcheting up and up.
Trying to stop this madness is like trying to stop an avalanche with a pair of wool mittens.
We are way beyond the finger-pointing and blame-game phase. Now it’s tit-for-tat as both sides ramp up their respective militaries, each new step bringing the situation closer to spinning completely out of control.
The Pentagon pushes for a military build-up along Russia’s border. The world gets to hear General Frederick Hodges explain his no-mercy policy and lecture Europe and NATO about preparedness. Friction develops and Russia objects as NATO continues a massive military build-up of troops in the Baltic States and other Eastern Europe NATO countries. There are U.S. paratroopers headed for Ukraine to train their army. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko claims to have struck a deal will eleven EU countries to provide military weapons, including lethal ones. Great Britain deploys 30 Royal Air Force planes for Rising Panther, its largest war aerial exercises in a decade, in response to the “Russian threat”. U.S. tanks, Humvees and armored personnel carriers roll through Latvia. We have JOINT WARRIOR, a huge deployment of naval ships out of Scotland, for war game exercises. Poland is purchasing the Patriot ABM system to defend against the anticipated Russian invasion. Even the U.S. National Guard has sent twelve F-15 interceptor jets to Europe guarding against Russia.
None of this has escaped Russia’s attention, so understandably they have responded with their own build-up and heightened alert status. They conducted huge rapid deployment drills in Kaliningrad, and have deployed a new missile defense radar system there which covers the entire Atlantic. Russia is sending advanced supersonic strategic bombers to Crimea for global training exercises, as well as re-equipping early warning radar sites in the recently annexed territory. They have also announced the launch of a new advanced missile-attack warning satellite. There have been reports of an escalating presence of Russian strategic bombers near U.S. airspace, and concern expressed by NATO at the apparently growing number of “incidents” involving Russian planes and seagoing vessels, with of course no mention of the provocations emanating from NATO itself and its allies. Recognizing that Russia will stand toe-to-toe with the West in the face of aggression by NATO, U.S. troops at the front now feel “vulnerable” and want bigger, better weapons.
Through all of this, a stream of propaganda, outright condemnation, shoddy fabrication, angry provocation, and malicious innuendo continued to spew from President Obama, Vice-President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, aided and abetted naturally by the mainstream media.
Then yesterday, as I was finishing this article, Geoffrey Pyatt, a man with a long sleazy record of diplomatic disservice, who is currently U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, was reported to have tweeted an image of Russian air defense systems, claiming they were there in the country, when in fact the photo was actually taken outside of Moscow two years ago at an International Aviation and Space Show. Mr. Pyatt has thus expanded the range of his incompetence to even being pathetic at lying - making him even more dangerous.
So we now have the perfect storm: hubris, idiocy, and paranoia.
The military one upsmanship, coupled with diplomatic dysfunction, is sheer madness.
I keep listening for a voice of sanity, appeals for restraint, some thoughtful analysis - occasionally there have been a few faint whispers - but mostly I’m hearing adolescent boys shouting at one another, as they rev up for a serious scrap in the schoolyard.
At the same time, as with most fights, someone had to start it. Usually that gives us some clue who needs to stop it.
No matter what spin you put on everything I’ve laid out in this article, no matter how you rationalize it, hide it behind the thin vapor of noble intentions, without any equivocation, doubt, or splitting of hairs, it is the U.S. that has been provoking and perpetuating this extremely dangerous and counter-productive confrontation.
It’s not even in America’s long term interests to keep this war of nerves going.
Russia is not Zimbabwe, Iraq, or Yemen. It’s not Grenada or Haiti.
Russia is not going to be intimidated by a chest-beating schoolyard bully.
This can only end badly for the U.S., its allies, and the rest of the world.
Obama, Kerry, Biden . . . COME ON! . . . man up a little!
Admit your mistakes. Show some self-respect. Let’s see real leadership.
Stand up to the neocon crazies and psychopathic empire builders.
Thoughtful judgment and common sense go a long way.
Drop the arrogant posturing and cut your losses.
History will judge you more kindly.
Give peace a chance.