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Avoiding Another Cold War

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Posted on Feb 17, 2009
Putin
AP pool photo / Alexei Druzhinin

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

But the most serious act carried out by the United States was to formalize the decision to deploy the missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited both nations and signed a formal agreement concerning the establishment of bases for the missile interceptors (in Poland) and associated target acquisition radars (the Czech Republic). Moscow responded by threatening to withdraw from not only the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which placed limits on the size of the military forces that NATO and Russia were allowed to deploy in a given geographical region, but also the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which had eliminated both intermediate- and short-range nuclear missiles from the arsenals of the U.S. and Russia. The structures that had promoted stability through the reduction of military forces, conventional and nuclear, in Europe were threatening to crumble. The prospects for a new Cold War were very real.

This is the situation that Barack Obama faces when it comes to Russia. Of all the foreign policy problems facing the new president, the Russia issue is by far the most important in terms of U.S. national security, in both the short and long term. Neither the situation in Iraq nor that in Afghanistan possesses the seriousness of a renewal of the Cold War. In the past, the idea of a viable Russian response to NATO expansion was ridiculed by many in the United States, given Russia’s weak economy. But the Russian economy has been bolstered by vast energy supplies. Simply put, the United States cannot afford to reconvene the Cold War, since there is a real chance that it would be the American economy that would fail first. Obama must recognize this simple fact as he struggles to craft an economic recovery plan: The United States cannot afford a new arms race with Russia.   

Prime Minister Putin’s insistence that American words needed to be translated into meaningful policy before Russia would act to alter its own policy direction was not just posturing. Even while President Medvedev played down the possibility of a new Cold War with the U.S., noting that Russia and the U.S. “share the same values ... we need only to ensure that these values are understood in the same way,” he ordered the deployment of advanced SS-21 missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, where they would be able to strike the U.S. missile interceptor base in Poland. That these instructions were given shortly after Obama won the election last November was not a coincidence. Clearly Russia is looking to the Obama administration for a break from the policies of the Bush administration, which Medvedev labeled selfish and unilateral.

President Obama appears to be leaning in the direction of promulgating meaningful policy when it comes to Russia. Recently, unnamed administration officials have hinted at a plan to enter into a new strategic arms reduction treaty that would slash the nuclear arsenal of each nation to 1,000. But this has yet to be announced in any official capacity. While Obama has promised to “review” the proposed U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, he has not canceled it. And the new president has not reversed his support for NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, which Obama had articulated in the fall of 2008. There are moves afoot, however, to reintegrate France into all NATO structures, including military, an action that would strengthen the Paris-Berlin hold over NATO. This is a good first step toward establishing NATO more as an instrument of European policy than an extension of American power.

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The time is right for bold action on the part of the Obama administration concerning Russia. The concept of a missile defense shield in Europe, and ballistic missile defense in general, should be scrapped. Missile defense is not the solution to the proliferation of ballistic missiles, especially when they threaten a nation like Russia, which can easily field missile systems capable of defeating the interceptors. The shield against ballistic missiles is what France’s Maginot line was against the German army—expensive and totally ineffective. Eliminating missile defense would make the talk of strategic nuclear reductions more realistic.

Obama should likewise scrap all talk about the continued expansion of NATO. NATO is not the solution for the problems that exist vis-à-vis Georgia and Ukraine. The United States must continue to demand the full return of all Georgian territory, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia, to the control of Tbilisi. However, the best way to make Moscow comfortable with such a move is not to threaten to make Georgia a member of NATO, but rather to de-emphasize NATO as a military organization. NATO is a relic of the Cold War whose time has long since passed. Europe collectively must develop its own mechanisms for political and military security based upon the reality of the present, and not the fiction of the past. NATO was designed to contain the Soviet Union, and in its current manifestation operates to contain Russia.

The real danger from Russia lies not in any genuine expansionistic tendency, but rather its reactions to perceived provocation on the part of the U.S. and NATO. Remove such provocations and Russian aggression against Georgia can be more effectively managed. Failure to do so would only transform the Caucasus region into a new flash point of East-West conflict, the consequences of which could manifest themselves in ways far more terrible than anything that might come out of Baghdad, Kabul or Tehran. For this reason alone, stabilizing and improving relations with Russia must be the No. 1 national security priority of the Obama administration.

Scott Ritter, a U.N.weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, is the author of “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2007).


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know.  If Iran is not actually a threat, then pretending they are a threat and setting up missiles against them is evil or stupid or both.  And joining in a partnership to do something bad is not really the best way to get along with someone else long-term.

However, the whole business, including the missiles in the first place, may be mostly posturing, so I’m not going to get too excited about it.  You know, we twist your nose with our right hand and pat your ass with our left.  Standard-issue Realpolitik.  I’m sure Putin is familiar with the game.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 3, 2009 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, March 4 at 12:07 am #

Is there an Iranian threat, though?  It’s not Iran who has armies in other people’s countries, nuclear weapons, and long-range missiles.
***************************************

Probably not—but working jointly with the Russians to establish whether or not it’s true AND a joint defense is a heluva lot smarter than alienating them.

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By Anarcissie, March 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

Is there an Iranian threat, though?  It’s not Iran who has armies in other people’s countries, nuclear weapons, and long-range missiles.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

To bring an old, dead thread back to life:

Looks like Obama’s reversing yet ANOTHER idiot Bush policy and has sent a letter to Medvedev regarding Iran and saying: “Let’s talk—nothing is fixed in stone and we have common interests”. Medvedev’s response was cautious but positive.

Seems the Russians had proposed what I proposed: that the missiles to defend against an Iranian threat would be JOINTLY controlled/manned/whatever by the US and the Russian Federation.  Naturally, “My Way Or The Highway” B#tthead rejected it….

The amount of criminal and flat-out stupid acts by the Bush regime never seems to end.

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By Folktruther, February 22, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Very illuminating, Anarcissie.  this drive for social cohesion must be stronger in conservatives, since their poisitions are more based on inherited, irrational beliefs than progressives, who put a greater permium on holistic reason.  This would be a reason why power systems endure so long hisstorically without fundamental change, social cohesion trumping not only deviance, but deviant rationality.

Speaking of deviant rationality, I woke up with a new idea about why acceptance of 9/11 as a false flag operation is low among the rational. ( I get my best ideas when I’m sleeping.)  The presupposition underlying non-acceptance is that American leaders would have to be crazy to something like that. 

This is quite true, and they are.  They were politically insane to indulge in such a venture, possessing that megalomania that Hobsbawm says is common in imperialisms.  The delusion of being all powerful, being able to do anything and get away with it.

But this would affect only the very top leaders, like Cheney.  Intelligence operations are conducted on a need-to-know basis with the operatives given only that information ncessary to do their jobs.  The overall plan is held only in the heads of a few leaders.  But the rest of implementers, and their ideological associates, are implicated in the over all plan after it is effected, binding them together in a cohesive faction that is fearful of sanctions if their part is made public.

Just as the mafia makes their rising leaders murder, ‘make their bones’ to bind them to the leadership.  When this happens, one is an integral part of the criminal conspiracy, with the appropriate rewards and punishments.  As the drug lords say, we make you rich or we make you dead.  The natural cohesion of ideological groups is reinformced by delightful or deadly consequences, depending on loyalty or disloyalty to criminal conspiracies.

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By Anarcissie, February 22, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—one of the hip sociologists, Goffman, I believe, conducted a series of experiments in which “dissidents” were introduced into small social groups.  The dissidents were actors, and what they did was present ideas which were at variance with the group’s general consensus on everything.  In response, the groups were observed to automatically use a variety of strategies to restore the consensus, such as ignoring the dissident, marginalizing him, attempting some sort of compromised consensus, or expelling the violator.  Toleration of dissidence, however, seemed to be contrary to people’s instincts.  Now, these experiments were long ago and far away; it is hard to imagine people from the streets of New York City (for instance) not tolerating dissidence.  But I think the experiments did reveal a certain kind of instinct or drive for social cohesion that includes entrainment toward common perceptions and conceptualizations.  And that would especially affect people involved in power games because social power depends on teaming practices.

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By Folktruther, February 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

That sounds right, Anarcissie.  The historical tendency of the traditional positions of power tends to dominate the current group, and historical change is very diffiuclt, especially in old power systems.  That imay be largely why Obama is continuing Bushite policy.  It took a false flag operation for the Bushites to change Clinton policy.

John Kenneth Galibraith said in his memoirs that when he took a miority position in political counsels, and kept at it, he was marginalized, because the other members knew what he was going to say was outside the political consensus and they were bent on elaborting it in specific ways, not in challenging it.

So the price of deviating from the mainstream truth cosnensus is marginalization.  Or worse.  It may requires shocks to change the traditional consensus in a progressive direction as well as in a reactionary direction.

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By Anarcissie, February 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—Where groups of powerful leaders jostle each other, I think something goes on of which we might say, “Smells like team spirit.”  Loyalty is demanded by the established order to the established plan.  Everyone is expected to be able to rise above his principles for the sake of the group (party, team, company).  Projects and policies become quasi-persons who demand fealty.  As an example, take a look at The Pentagon Papers, or consider the Drug War, now approaching its hundredth birthday.

A debate of serious issues is almost impossible because such an event would suggest that the leadership’s position on the issues might be wrong.

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By FiftyGigs, February 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

Granted, the US is just as reactionary about Soviet military moves as they are about ours.

I would point out that one of “Bush’s policies” that Obama is also “going along with” is the agreement between Russia and the US to reduce they arsenals by 2012. Obviously, just another devious ploy by Obama to grab power.

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

FiftyGigs—Yes, and when Russia makes any type of deal with Venezuela or Iran, the US govt gets its panties in a wad.

So we build more “missile shields” and so does Russia and people die in the streets. The contractors that Pres. Obamas says that we “cant do without” (which is probably true now) get richer and richer and richer.

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By Folktruther, February 20, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

It appears to be, Anarcissie, that when power systems become old and obsolete, like the American power system, it is increasingly difficult to change estabalished policy, even after the orginal need has disappeared.  And even if the power leaders see that the policies are historically self defeating, as Olmert saw that Israeli policies are self defeating.

Power leaders have to function in the here and now with power prussures, and changing policy is against their immediate interests.  This may be why Obama is going along with entrenched Bushite policies; they are bad for the long range interests of the population but the short range interests of power make them the Smart thing to do.  In which case we are in a lot of trouble.

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By Anarcissie, February 20, 2009 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Probably, ruling classes tend to institutionalize policies and programs so that they keep going long after the problem or opportunity which they were supposed to deal with has disappeared.  In any case, the U.S. leadership needs enemies, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there seemed to be a lack of them, so attempts were made to provoke both Russia and China, without much success.  Then the Muslims popped up.  Who would have thought?  But even with the Muslims, you have people whose careers have been built around fighting the Russians, and they’re not ready to retire yet.  I assume something similar goes on in Russia and elsewhere, but as they are much weaker than the U.S. it’s less significant.  No doubt there’s a cabal in the Kremlin plotting against the Ottoman Empire….

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

We did promise no expansion of NATO—now look at us.

The Missile Shield is strictly offensive.

The old Cold War hawks have been trying to provoke Russia ever since. It was so much easier to have such an obvious “bad guy”. Now, they have to try to hide their escalations from us…

Russia and the US SHOULD be natural allies. But, we still keep trying to “lead”. Why dont we let someone else try it for a change. It isnt working out so well..

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

I doubt if it makes much difference to the Russian leadership whether NATO’s new members are theoretically voluntary recruits; the point is that they’re hostile.  Moreover, U.S. officials explicitly promised the Russians, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, that NATO would not be expanded.  Not that anyone trusts the governments of major powers, but it does emphasize the ongoing expansionism of American imperialism, as, of course, do the various ventures into Ukraine, Georgia, and central Asia.  You just have to ask yourself what urgent business necessitating military alliances and interventions the United States could possibly have in these areas halfway around the world.  The answer should be obvious.

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By FiftyGigs, February 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

You all are making some very powerful points, but I still contend you’re glossing over quite a bit of Soviet behavior, and coming down pretty hard on American behavior.

Russia *did* expand as part of the Soviet Union. That broke up, but how many of those countries chose to go back to the wonderful Russian way?

Yes, the advance of NATO clearly has Russia’s panties in a bind, but we’re talking about ALLIANCES. Freely entered into by free and independent nations. Why shouldn’t nations be allowed to join NATO if they want to?

Why is that more threatening to peace that the militaristic Soviet expansion into countries that did not want to be satellites?

It’s not like the 1st Armor Division is rolling into the Urals. Whereas Russian military presence in South America, especially Venezuela, is increasing.

I suggest putting surface-to-air missiles in Poland in no way compares to putting surface-to-surface NUKES in Havana.

“As long as Obama behaves rationally right back, the overall situation should be fine in terms of avoiding any war, hot or cold.” I would like to believe that Sepharad, and to a degree I sort of do.

Russia may be acting rationally, but I do not believe it intends to spread Jeffersonian liberalism and democracy throughout the world.

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By Paul_GA, February 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

America’s Elites must be as mad as hatters, Anarcissie; that’s the only explanation for their behavior as this country declines.

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. ruling class does not seem to desist from even disastrous policies and programs very readily.  Consider its various wars in Indochina and their aftermath, or the hostilities with Cuba.  The drive into central Asia, which is of course very problematical for every state in the area, seems to have been inherited from the British Empire and has apparently achieved a kind of sacred quality which must be obeyed.  No other explanation occurs to me for the adventures in Georgia; one does not extend such a salient without intending to use it for some kind of aggression.

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By Sepharad, February 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I may have missed something, but Scott Ridder’s article doesn’t seem to point to any real problems with the Russians. They’re being rational. As long as Obama behaves rationally right back, the overall situation should be fine in terms of avoiding any war, hot or cold. Their deals with China and the ‘stans aren’t threatening to us. If we don’t expand NATO east I doubt they would consider expanding west. What would be the point, especially given the dire economic straits in which they as well as we are are thrashing around? You’d have to be pretty paranoid to think the Russians are out to get us at any cost to themselves. If we manage to avoid attacking Iran, Putin might even look into Obama’s eyes and begin to trust in OUR sanity again.

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By Folktruther, February 19, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

I agree with Anarcissie.  The Soviets, however, were manuvered into Afganistan by Zbig policy which assembled world wide Muslim terrorists to overthrow the regime they supported. The US attacked this Afghan regime six months before the Soviets intervened, at the request of the Afghan regime.  Zbib, a fierce anti-Russian Pole, supports expanding Nato to Russia’s border and threatening them with a first strike missile emplaement in Poland.

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

20th-century Russia does not appear very expansionistic to me, unless you count some of the pushing and shoving in the Balkans and the Caucasus very early in the century.  Other than that, Russian expansion generally occurred in response to invasion, especially the invasions by Germany in World War 1 and 2, which coincidentally destroyed the civil society and autonomy of eastern Europe, leaving a sort of power vacuum for the Russians to occupy.  After World War 2, the Russian empire / Soviet Union had to confront the aggressive expansion of American power.  Conceivably you could construe the invasion of Afghanistan as expansion, but the usual theory is that the government feared the spread of its militant radical Islam into their own territories, something the U.S. ruling class also asserts is a significant threat to their interests even though they are much further away.  Ironically the U.S. has had to take over the Russian project there.

The American response to the Russians’ attempt to get out of the world domination game in the 1990s was to push NATO up to their borders—yet another Drang nach Osten.  Putin seems to be highly regarded in Russia as the great leader who has finally thrown back this latest edition of the Teutonic Knights.  In a sense, the U.S. ruling class created him.

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By FiftyGigs, February 19, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

I respect Scott Ritter, but—“The real danger from Russia lies not in any genuine expansionistic tendency.”—wow, that’s quite an assertion. A remarkable turnaround for an empire that WAS expansionistic just a few years ago and is currently run by an authoritarian thug.

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By Sepharad, February 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit, the Johnny-one-note does get tedious. I don’t understand it: there are other issues in the world that have nothing to do with Israel or Jews. Anyway, amen to your yes-to-2-state-solution, no-to-settlers, yes to growing the Palestinian economy and, by the way, how about that Bard College Leon Botstein—a zionist by the way—who just entered into a joint-DEGREE program with Al Quds University (as opposed to the many joint-program deals that have done nada to get Israel to recognize Al Quds grad’s degrees but a joint Bard-Al Quds joint degree they will definitely recognize. Small progress every day yet no one notices and still wants to blockade Israel. Insanity. And yes, blockades and isolation could lead to a massacre but of the Jews by the Arabs. They are far more outnumbered in Israel by Arabs than Native Americans were by endless streams of whites.

So. Tomorrow can we please talk about Russia and how to not have another Cold (and no way a Hot) War?

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By Paul_GA, February 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Moses737—“For only God can deliver us and save us from these horrible luciferic antichrist who see themselves as the rulers of the whole world!! But it will be a worse than `1984’ Orwellian nightmare!!”

Exactly what I’m afraid of, Moses737.

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By RAE, February 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

I’m SOOOOOO tired of this infantile pissing contest between the USA and just about everyone else on the planet.

Long ago I learned that to find the source of the problem, follow the money.

There is NO MONEY IN PEACE. Therefore we must have WAR… almost any temperature will do.

So tiresome. So transparent. So predictable. So adolescent.

The only ones involved that I feel sorry for are the poor saps who are brainwashed and suckered into suiting up and performing their “duty” as cannon fodder for the fools who lead us.

PLEASE… will some country come up with an intelligent LEADER who’s actually grown into ADULTHOOD!

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By Inherit The Wind, February 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, February 18 at 5:39 am #

  Inherit The Wind: ’... There you go again, with your ridiculous acid tests of what “must be” based on absurd assumptions that you infer from your fanatical religious belief in neo-Marxism. ...’

Fanatical religious belief in Marxism aside, Ft’s basic point seems irrefutable: if you support a two-state solution, then you must be opposed to the Settlements; if you oppose the Settlements, then you must oppose all of the leading parties in Israel, and current U.S. support for Israel.  That is just inescapable common sense.  Israel can’t possibly make peace with the Arabs while continuing a program of aggression and ethnic cleansing against them.  If Israel doesn’t make peace with the Arabs, it will probably continue to be dependent on the U.S.  But the desires, policies and capacities of the U.S. ruling class could change at any time.
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See? Back we go to the only issue anyone at TD seems to care about.

Your logic is flawed.

Yes, I’m for a 2 state solution
Yes, I want the settlements removed
No, I’m NOT against all the leading Israeli parties, just the jingoist ones—like Likud and Lieberman’s whatever you call it.
No, I’m not against the US supporting Israel, as long as that support is conditional and includes pressuring them toward peace.

No, I don’t accept your logic or FT’s that the only way to support a 2-state solution is basically blockade Israel.  That is absurd.

But NONE of this has to do with Putin and the relations with the US. It’s yet again the Johnny-one-notes destroying every thread by always focusing on the idea of Israel as Satan Personified (much to Iran’s and Al Qaeda’s satisfaction).

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By moses737, February 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Putin still doesn’t trust the United States after that incident in George about 8 months ago. He has a very contemptible feeling about the United States now and he knew that we were responsible for what happened then. As we supplied the Georgians with arms and money and weapons to cause a near revolution in his nation. And I believe that he now wants revenge!! For one of the Russian Generals said that they wouldn’t forget what happened!! And it was a very serious threat !!

And now we must really trust God to keep Russia from attacking us if we should have a civil war or our own revolution once they shut the banks down and there is a world wide economic collaspe; which the antichrist globalist wants really bad so they can offer solutions that will greatly benefit them and enslave us all !!

For only God can deliver us and save us from these horrible luciferic antichrist who see themselves as the rulers of the whole world!! But it will be a worse than “1984” Orwellian nightmare!!

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By Folktruther, February 18, 2009 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

And the worst of it is, the ethnic cleansing of Zionism has implications far beyond Israel.  The Zionist lobby has hijacked US policy, making a nuclear war much more likely as both Israeli and US power strutures become increasingly irrational, violent and oppressive.

In a front page article of the Zionist NY Times today, there is a frank admission that Obama is continuing the War on Terrorism of Bush, including torture and imprisonment without trial.  the War on Terrorisn is a Zionist war, a war against Muslims begun in a Jerusulem conference of high level Israeli and American leaders, including Begin and Bush 1.

The War on Terrorism is strongly against the interests of the American people; it is even against the interests of the American power structure.  A dominant faction of the American ruling class identifies with Israeli power interests to the determent of American power interests, as Walt and Mearsheimer, James Petras, and other scholars have documented.

The Israeli tail is wagging the American dog.  And this is supported by the irrational and confused arguments of Inherit, where truth is intermixed with Aipac deceit and delusion.  And this War is fueled by American racism and anti-Foreigner ideology which has been a historical part of American ideology.

The American ruling class has induced to American population to support them by class collaberation by identifying with the White Man.  This fuels Muslim bigotry, as exemplified by Sheronymous posts.  Inherit appears racist largely against Palestinians, in support of what he calls The Homeland (Israel).

Progressives have identified with Obama, who promised Hope n Change, as Anarcissie called it, but is breaking promise after promise, being largely against change to begin with in the fine print of his pronouncements.  It is necessary to disingage the emotions of rank and file progressives from Obama to oppose his Bushite policies.  this meass fighting the Democrats Under Presidential Enchantment (DUPEs).

NOW!  Not next year, not ten years from now or ten minuites from now. Because Obama is continuing to install a militarized police state, largely in the interests of Zionism, and the longer we wait, the more suffering that will be necessary and the more difficult it will be to fight it.  That is why the Dem leaders want to delay the revolt against Obama as long as possible.

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By bogi666, February 18, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Th e fact that the the Military-Industrial-Congress-churchianity-religionist complex WANT TO CONTINUE A COLD WAR all based on the imagined fears perpetuated and facilitated, especially by Ronald Reagan.The truth of the matter and the fact that a cold war is insanity created by imagined fears of the “evil empire” and actually play into the Russian and Chinese hands to bankrupt an already bankrupt country, the USA. An obvious example of insanity is the “Star Wars” missile defense system which is engineered to pass the Industrial Complex soft ball tests and this even took more than a decade.

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind: ’... There you go again, with your ridiculous acid tests of what “must be” based on absurd assumptions that you infer from your fanatical religious belief in neo-Marxism. ...’

Fanatical religious belief in Marxism aside, Ft’s basic point seems irrefutable: if you support a two-state solution, then you must be opposed to the Settlements; if you oppose the Settlements, then you must oppose all of the leading parties in Israel, and current U.S. support for Israel.  That is just inescapable common sense.  Israel can’t possibly make peace with the Arabs while continuing a program of aggression and ethnic cleansing against them.  If Israel doesn’t make peace with the Arabs, it will probably continue to be dependent on the U.S.  But the desires, policies and capacities of the U.S. ruling class could change at any time.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 18, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, February 17 at 8:22 pm #

A two state solution with a common market, Inherit, was a possible historical solution at one time, but even if it were still such a solution, you are not really in favor of it.  What you support in practice is what Aipac and the Israeli power structures supports, expansion by ethnic cleansing instead of security.
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I am not, huh? 

Thank God I have FolkTruther to tell me what I’m REALLY thinking, because I can’t possibly know, but some self-proclaimed pundit on the Internet who has never even met me can read my mind over the aether!

There you go again, with your ridiculous acid tests of what “must be” based on absurd assumptions that you infer from your fanatical religious belief in neo-Marxism.

Oh, No!  I just remembered: Neither FT nor I believe in God….Uh-Oh….......

I think Cole Brothers may be looking for a mentalist, just in case you lose your day job in this economy.

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By Shingo, February 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Interesting argument Folktruther,

I tend to agree that it has been the liberal Zionists that have conflated the issues, because they have adorned themselves with the veneer of moderation and given a happy face to an otherwise racist, theocratic and segregationist phylosphy.

People like Allan Dershowitz are a perfect example of this. They give empty rhetoric to the notion of a 2 state solution but support and defend everything Israel does, right or wrong.

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By Folktruther, February 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

A two state solution with a common market, Inherit, was a possible historical solution at one time, but even if it were still such a solution, you are not really in favor of it.  What you support in practice is what Aipac and the Israeli power structures supports, expansion by ethnic cleansing instead of security.

If you were really for a two state solution you would be for the US suspending aid to Isreal to force them to undertake it, and for world wide condemnation of Israeli ethnic cleansing.  But what you oppose instead are those who oppose Israeli ethnic cleansing, stating they hate all Jews, they want to massacre Israelis, etc: the Aipac line.

All the major parties are in favor of increasing settlements, which incrreased 67% last year.  While most of them have said, as you do,  for the past forty years that they are in favor of a two state solution. 

What you and Sepharad and other Zionists don’t like about Natanyahu and Lieberman is that they discard the hypocracy, making it more difficult for Zionists to disguise and justify the ethnic cleansing of Israel.

When the massacres occur, as they may well, you can then pretend that you were against them, having fought every attempt by anti-Zionists to prevent them.  I don’t think this is fully conscious, but it is a tendency in thinking in the Jewish population that does not WANT to thinking clearly about historical alternatives.  so you will continue to promote a two state solution while opposing every political means for bringing it about.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, February 17 at 4:43 pm #

Inherit The Wind,

In all matters not relating to Israel, your reason and logic is sublime.

I mean that as a compliment BTW.
**********************************************

Thank you. I very much appreciate that and understand where you are coming from.

Ayn Rand used to say contradictions cannot occur. If you find a contradiction, check your premises.

I am forced into appearing in a position I don’t want to be in or believe in—unquestioning support of Israel and all of her actions.  I detest Likud and the Likud-niks. 

My vision is FIRST a 2-state solution so they stop killing each other.  THEN an economic free zone so they can utilize comparative advantages. Third, an Economic Union similar to Europe’s that includes Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and maybe Jordan, and possibly Turkey (since the EU won’t take her).

Democracies can’t be forced—they must be home-grown and prosperity is the best manure for it.

Extremist jingoist Israelis like Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman (and the late Begin) make me want to retch.

I want peace there—who doesn’t?  But I don’t accept that idea, like the old Mad Magazine joke “Sure, I like peace, and ain’t nuthin’ as peaceful as a dead man!”

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By Shingo, February 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

In all matters not relating to Israel, your reason and logic is sublime.

I mean that as a compliment BTW.

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By Anarcissie, February 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage:
‘Well, it wasn’t just G.W. who blew it.  Clinton blew it just as bad (many of the things that anger Putin the most were Clinton policies). ...’

Agreed.  The Soviet Union dissolved itself at around the time Clinton’s regime was beginning.  The government, perhaps the ruling class as a whole, might have taken this moment as an opportunity to set the relationships between the world’s states on a new footing, one more stable, pacific, and constructive.  Instead, they decided to push NATO further east, an obvious continuation of not only the imperium devised by Truman, Marshall and Acheson, but a new Drang nach Osten which could only antagonize the Russians.  Bush seems to have followed the plan out of inertia; obviously, no thought was given by either the Clintonoids (now returned to power) or the Bushites as to the fact that conditions had changed and the decision to invade the Middle East and set it in an order favorable to the West would require (and be unlikely to get) Russian cooperation.

In short, you can’t blame this one on Bush.

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By Steve E, February 17, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can not wait for Putin and Hillary to meet. She will probably bring Bill for support. No, there will not be any talk of obliterating anyone unless the Russian reminds the U.S. Sect. of State of her campaign threats. What a joke.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges, February 17 at 9:31 am #

re: By Inherit The Wind, February 17 at 4:09 am:

ITW writes:

“All he had to do was consult with Russia as to what would be an acceptable way to deploy defenses against a potential Iranian threat to Europe…”

The problem here is that the “Iranian threat to Europe” is non-existent. Anyone with any objectivity can see that this scare campaign is contrived with the object of justifying US and Israeli arrogance and aggression. Since Putin isn’t stupid, there was never any way to go about this without incurring Russia’s hostility.
************************************************

How does that contradict my statement? It doesn’t.

“Hey Vlad, we are thinking of placing missiles in Poland to offset the Iranian missiles.”

“George, you idiot! We cannot tolerate your missiles next door because they are too easy to turn on us—and Iran doesn’t HAVE any missiles.  How about WE take care of manning missiles facing Iran from the North and you take care of them from the South?”

Problem solved—assuming the Idiot didn’t a) take offense or b) turn out to be stupider than Putin expected.

Unfortunately, b) turned out the be the reality, which left us with this mess.

Sherlock Folktruther: “Elementary, my dear Watson.  The Zionist pigs and their lackeys the United States did it!”

(that’s the problem—when you are a small boy with a hammer, everything you see looks like a nail.)

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By Purple Girl, February 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

What else can the Russians or the ‘Terrorist’ groups do to US that the corps and their financiers haven’t already?
Frankly Flint MI looks like it’s been hit by a Nuke for the last 2 decades- let’s not even venture to discuss Detroit.
Ruin Our economy? Please that’s been under way for decades too.
Leave US Homeless, well between Foreclosures and mismanaged natural disasters, that’s taken care of too.
Starve US- well Big Ag has made sure our food costs have skyrocketed since they took over food Production during the ‘80’s hostile take over of family farms.
Environmental and biological warfare, lets pin a medal on the Energy corps for those victories over US.
Blood Shed…Two Wars, poverty which leaves Gangs the only employers left in our urban areas, Pharm Drugs which give you a hard on and a heart attack at the same time, larger and more wide spread toxic contaminated food and products…Oh the list goes on.
Take away Our Rights and Freedoms- Well the ‘Patriot Act’ and the Religious right have that all sewn up
Pray Tell what can these Foreigners do to US our corps and legislators have failed to accomplish thus far?!? In fact what is left to take over, what could they possibly consider of value now? We don’t even own the land we live on, that was bought by the corps and their investors long ago. We can’t even offer the ‘Brooklyn Bridge’, it’s already been ‘bundled’ and is falling apart anyway! Swamp land in FL, who’d want to run the risk of another hurricane, buying land in that global warming corridor.Swampiness would be the least deterent.
Take Over America, seems like just asking for another Mouth to feed for an already cash straped Global Economy. Please I’m sooo Not afraid of Russians, when we have bankers and ‘Public Servants’ trying to destroy US.

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By Folktruther, February 17, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

The truthdigger comments on foreign affairs are at a much lower level than on domestic affairs.  And unfortunately the major problems facing the American people are world problems.  American ideology is apparently incompatible with reasonable analysis of internationalr relations.  Pfaff and Ritter anlyze well but unfortuantely talk in mainstreamspeak which makes it diffiucult for them to pass on the presuppositions to the gnneral person necessary to think from a world historical perspective.

That said, Ritter is quite right, the tension between the US and Russia is the most dangerous facing the American people and people of the world, since it threatens nueclear war.  The threat to the US power system, more now than during the Cold War, is that Europe will ally with Russia, freezing out the US, and become an even more serious world competitor with it.  They are economically complementary and have similar cultures if viewed from a world perspective.

Therefore the US, and Israel, want to maintain tension between the EU and Russia, and prevent or erode the natural energy supplies that Russia can provide the EU. Thus the threat to expand Nato to Russian ‘nearaboard’ of Geogia and Ukraine, and threaten Russia with a first strike capacity. 

That the missile base is there to prevent neclear missiles that Iran deosn’t have is a bad joke, too rediculous to take seriously.  It is the equivelent of the US claiming in the UN that Taiwan represented China for the two decades after the Chinese revolution.

Obama, so far, is continuing Bush policies here, as he is everywhere else. Zionist interests are directly threatened, since they wanted to use the oil from the Caspian to sell to Europe to wean Europe away from Russia.  Since Obama is more or less a pawn of Zionist neoliberal and imperialist interests, he appears to be continuing the Bushite polices that increase the danger of nuclear war, nuclear weapons being where the US and Israel have a big advantage.  And the American death culture would permit their use.

The US-Israel is consequently a danger to the entire world as the US and the West continue to lose power.  Fortunately Obama, like the Bushites, does not appear willing to increase tensions with China, who is replacing the US historically as the world’s leading power.  China also doesn’t want to see Russia allied with the EU, China also being a natural recipient of Russia’s oil and gas.

Since US foreign policy is largely in the heads and hands of Biden and Clinton, both Zionist war mongers, it is likely that this Russia vs US-Israel conflict will be the most dangerous of the Obiden administration.

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By Ed Harges, February 17, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

re: By Inherit The Wind, February 17 at 4:09 am:

ITW writes:

“All he had to do was consult with Russia as to what would be an acceptable way to deploy defenses against a potential Iranian threat to Europe…”

The problem here is that the “Iranian threat to Europe” is non-existent. Anyone with any objectivity can see that this scare campaign is contrived with the object of justifying US and Israeli arrogance and aggression. Since Putin isn’t stupid, there was never any way to go about this without incurring Russia’s hostility.

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By AT, February 17, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

North Korea is going on a rampage again, this time it intends to start a war to hide food riots and other uprisings. All it needs is for the US to get involved.Then Mr Kim could resolve a lot of problems he will face on the home front.

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By Paul_GA, February 17, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

The Elites who run the USA need to understand that we are in decline and we need fewer enemies, not more. Otherwise, our decline is just going to get worse. Can you say, “Götterdämmerung”?

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By SteveK9, February 17, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Agree.  We can easily have good relations with Russia.  Time to scrap everything from the Bush era.  All we have to do is stop running around picking gratuitous fights with everyone.  I don’t give a rat’s a** about Georgia and why should I want to protect Europe from Iranian missiles??  If Europe REALLY thinks that is a possibility, let them take care of it.

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By elianita55, February 17, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Ritter fails to point out another interesting element in this geopolitical powerplay: the Kyrgyz government’s announcement of the closing of the Manas Air Base, which is crucial to the United States and NATO’s war effort in Afghanistan.

The Kyrgyz move flies in the face of the Obama administration’s strategy of concentrating American military resources in Afghanistan and, much like the Uzbek decision to close Karshi-Kanabad to US troops in 2005, was most probably taken under heavy pressure from Russia. If the closure impacts American military action in Afghanistan - as it most certainly will - this could be in Russia’s interest, as an American failure in Afghanistan would make Washington more pliable on a number of issues on the Asian continent, among which Iran ranks highly.

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By jackpine savage, February 17, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Well, it wasn’t just G.W. who blew it.  Clinton blew it just as bad (many of the things that anger Putin the most were Clinton policies).

Russia is not interested in expansion in any way that’s a threat to our beloved empire.  We need to stop assuming that the world has a thought process as deranged as our own.

What Putin is doing is trying to position the board for the weakening and fall of the US.  His revenge for the 90’s may be just vicarious…but if given the opportunity, he will do whatever is in his power to give back what US policy so richly gave Russia in the post-communist world.

Russians neither forgive nor forget, and it’s a long assumption in Russian foreign policy thought that the US will follow the same path to downfall that the USSR took.  Hey, whaddya know it’s already happening.

The only difference is that American society probably won’t make it through as a society.  We’re soft, fat, and self-entitled…and have none of the things that helped Russia make it through that horrid decade.

Read Dimtry Orlov (somewhere on blogspot)

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By Inherit The Wind, February 17, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

33 years ago, as an undergrad at the College of Europe, I listened as a far-sighted professor noted that the future was NOT an East/West struggle, but a North/South one.

This is buttressed by Scott Ritter’s excellent and thoughtful analysis of, yet again, how Dumbya managed to f*** something up that didn’t need f***ing with!  It would have taken SO little to have avoided the confrontation with Russia…

All he had to do was consult with Russia as to what would be an acceptable way to deploy defenses against a potential Iranian threat to Europe—and LISTEN to what the Russians said.  You don’t need to be a Tallyrand or a Bismarck to figure that out!

If you are going to do something near somebody who isn’t an enemy and they are gonna know—ASK THEM FIRST!  It’s simply courtesy to your neighbors, whether it’s doing construction on your house or installing a missile base.

The TOP message of Ritter’s article is simple: Dumbya f***ed up again, and now Obama’s got to clean up the mess, yet again.  Plus, that Russia has clearly given him the opening.

Yeah, they are tricky, yeah, Putin’s a master chess player. So? All that means is be careful and DON’T SAY STUPID S#**! (see, Dumbya, above)

The second message is that, with some careful thinking and planning, the central Asian alliance between Russia, China and the 4 ‘stans can be VERY much in our interest as they are as threatened by Islamic extremism as we are.

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