Thursday 25th of April 2019

US diplomacy two speeds... bombs and psychopathic bluster designed to steal cash...

two speeds...


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented the adversarial style of the current US policy towards Moscow, saying Washington shows no intent of seeking compromise contrary to what diplomacy is supposed to be about.

“I don’t see anything coming from the US diplomatic corps except ultimatums and threats to impose sanctions unless the demands are met. All other tools have vanished from the arsenal of American diplomacy, and that is sad, the Russian minister said in an interview for an upcoming documentary, which was partially published by the ministry.

The sentiment came in response to the latest threats coming from Washington over Russian policies in Ukraine and Venezuela. Lavrov said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tones down his rhetoric when speaking directly to him, compared to his public statements on Russia, but the essence remains the same.

“When we talk on the phone… he speaks in a correct manner. Understandably, we disagree on virtually everything. And the threats are voiced all the time,” he said. “If you head a diplomatic agency, you are supposed to seek diplomatic solutions for various problems.”

When asked about US President Donald Trump recently ordering Russia to get out of Venezuela and whether he found such language acceptable, Lavrov said he didn’t discuss manners. Trump’s words were said in reaction to Russia sending some military personnel to the Latin American country under a long-standing agreement on defense cooperation.

The Russian minister suggested that the US should search for new approaches in its foreign policy.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/455195-us-diplomacy-threats-lavrov/

 

diplomacy


 

and congress too...

congress


murdoch 's WSJ places its noses where it shouldn't...

 

The US is fueling “the most open coup in history” in Venezuela, an American pundit told RT in response to a WSJ op-ed that beat the drum of interventionism by discussing how to get Russia out of Caracas and Maduro out of power.

A short but emotive editorial piece by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said President Donald Trump should not let himself be humiliated in our own hemisphere  by Vladimir Putin. The neocon paper was at their finest when they claimed Putin has built “a career of intervening abroad and seeing if the world lets him get away with it,” including in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.

READ MORE: Venezuela regime-change champion John Bolton says US won’t tolerate foreign meddling in the country

This didn’t play well with some American pundits who offered a dissenting opinion. Georgia, where the US was encouraging the pro-Western government to start a war, and Ukraine, which saw the American-backed coup, were “Russian reaction to US action,” Daniel McAdams, Executive Director at Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

Moscow has reacted “when a US action has caused a Russian ally to come under some stress,” McAdams offered, adding, “the same is true in Syria.”

The US wants to overthrow Maduro, this is the most open coup in history, probably.

And on his part, the beleaguered Venezuelan president has asked for outside support which is natural with any government ally.

Why can’t a sovereign Venezuela ask assistance from its ally, why is sovereignty a one-way street when it comes to Washington?

Like many US mainstream media, the WSJ quoted Trump’s outburst in which he said that Russia must get out of Venezuela. In their view, the diatribe sounded “like an invocation of the Monroe Doctrine.”The doctrine allowed Washington to treat Latin America and the Caribbean as its “backyard,” invading an array of countries and supporting coups against unfriendly governments across the region.

Under the doctrine, the European powers should not seek new colonies in the Western hemisphere, but in exchange for that, “the United States pledged to not get involved in internal affairs of European countries,” McAdams explained.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/455246-wsj-venezuela-coup-russia/

 

 

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mr. president: close NATO for good...

 

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today, the president should give him a direct message:

The roster of NATO membership is closed. For good. The United States will not hand out any more war guarantees to fight Russia to secure borders deep in Eastern Europe, when our own southern border is bleeding profusely.

And no one needs to hear this message more than Stoltenberg.

In Tblisi, Georgia, on March 25, Stoltenberg declared to the world: “The 29 allies have clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

As for Moscow’s objection to Georgia joining NATO, Stoltenberg gave Vladimir Putin the wet mitten across the face:

“We are not accepting that Russia, or any other power, can decide what (NATO) members can do.”

Yet what would it mean for Georgia to be brought into NATO?

The U.S. would immediately be ensnared in a conflict with Russia that calls to mind the 1938 and 1939 clashes over the Sudetenland and Danzig that led straight to World War II.

In 2008, thinking it had U.S. backing, Georgia rashly ordered its army into South Ossetia, a tiny province that had broken away years before.

In that Georgian invasion, Russian peacekeepers were killed and Putin responded by sending the Russian army into South Ossetia to throw the Georgians out. Then he invaded Georgia itself.

“We are all Georgians now!” roared uber-interventionist John McCain. But George W. Bush, by now a wiser man, did nothing.

Had Georgia been a NATO nation in 2008, the U.S. could have been on the brink of war with Russia over the disputed and minuscule enclave of South Ossetia, which few Americans had ever heard of.

Why would we bring Georgia into NATO now, when Tblisi still claims the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which Moscow controls and defends?

Are we not in enough quarrels already that could lead to new wars—with Iran in the Gulf, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Baltic and Black Sea, Venezuela in our own hemisphere—in addition to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia where we are already fighting?

Among neocon and GOP interventionists, there has also long been a vocal constituency for bringing Ukraine into NATO.

Indeed, changes in the GOP platform in Cleveland on U.S. policy toward Ukraine, it was said, were evidence of Trumpian collusion with the Kremlin.

But bringing Ukraine into NATO would be an even greater manifestation of madness than bringing in Georgia.

Russia has annexed Crimea. She has supported pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass who seceded when the elected president they backed was ousted in the Kiev coup five years ago.

Kiev’s recent attempt to enter the Sea of Azov by sailing without formal notification under the Putin-built Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and Crimea, proved a debacle. Ukrainian sailors are still being held.

No matter how supportive we are of Ukraine, we cannot commit this country to go to war with Russia over its territorial integrity. No Cold War president from Truman to George H. W. Bush would have dreamed of doing such a thing. Bush I thought Ukraine should remain tied to Russia and the Ukrainian independence movement was born of “suicidal nationalism.”

Trump has rightly demanded that Europeans start paying their fair share of the cost of NATO. But a graver question than the money involved are the risks involved.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has added 13 nations: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and six Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.

Also attending the NATO gathering in Tblisi a week ago were Sweden, Finland and Azerbaijan. Are these three also candidates for U.S. war guarantees?

The larger NATO becomes, the further east it moves, the greater the probability of a military clash that could lead to World War III.

Yet none of the nations admitted to NATO in two decades was ever regarded as worth a war with Russia by any Cold War U.S. president.

When did insuring the sovereignty and borders of these nations suddenly become vital interests of the United States?

And if they are not vital interests, why are we committed to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over them, when avoidance of such a war was the highest priority of our eight Cold War presidents?

Putin’s Russia, once hopeful about a new relationship under Trump, appears to be giving up on the Americans and shifting toward China.

Last week, 100 Russian troops arrived in Caracas. Whereupon, The Wall Street Journal lost it: Get them out of our “backyard.” The Monroe Doctrine demands it.

Yet, who has been moving into Russia’s front yard for 20 years?

As the Scotsman wrote, the greatest gift the gods can give us is to see ourselves as others see us.

------------------

Patrick Joseph Buchanan (November 2, 1938) is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician, and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior advisor to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire.

Pat sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996. He ran on the Reform Party ticket in the 2000 presidential election.

He co-founded The American Conservative magazine and launched a foundation named The American Cause. He has been published in Human Events, National Review, The Nation, and Rolling Stone. He was a political commentator on the MSNBC cable network, including the show Morning Joe until February 2012, and now appears on Fox News. Buchanan has been a regular on The McLaughlin Group since the 1980s. His political positions can generally be described as paleoconservative, and many of his views, particularly his opposition to American imperialism and the managerial state, echo those of the Old Right Republicans of the first half of the 20th century.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

 

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the voodoo zombie majik of NATO...


How do you know when a person is positively dead? Well, check for a pulse.

Walter Russell Mead checked the pulse of the Atlantic Alliance in a recent op-ed and concluded that NATO is dying. But Mead is wrong. NATO is simply a zombie periodically reanimated through various methods, usually voodoo magic.

Yet, reanimation has its limits. Even Zombies eventually die. With Georgia, a small state in the Caucasus Mountains that is wedged in between Russia, Turkey and Iran, lobbying hard to become NATO’s newest member, it’s useful to understand why.

When the life ran out of NATO with the demise of the Soviet threat, Sen. Richard Lugar was among the first to conclude in 1993 that NATO must go “out of area or out of business.” This proved to be a powerful infusion of voodoo magic that eventually took the form of  a U.S.-led NATO military intervention into the Balkans, which is where NATO sought to extend democracy at gunpoint to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo between 1994 and 1999.

Reanimation received a big boost with NATO’s 1994 “partnership for peace program.” Predictably, the Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and virtually everyone in Eastern Europe compelled to live under Soviet occupation after World War II lined up to become NATO partners. Why not? What East European State would not want a direct line to Washington, DC that promised military assistance against the Russian menace that all believed would inevitably return?

Domestic American politics also played its part. President Bill Clinton came out for NATO expansion during his campaign for re-election in October 1996. There was nothing sinister in it. Clinton was just cultivating the Polish and East European vote in the Midwest, stealing the issue from Senator Bob Dole who also ran on a NATO expansion platform.

Mysteriously, the promises given to President Mikhail Gorbachev by President George H. W. Bush, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Francois Mitterand, Chancellor Helmuth Kohl and their foreign ministers in 1990—not to expand NATO eastward; not to extend membership in the NATO alliance to former member states of the Warsaw Pact—were ignored.  Why was this important strategic commitment made by NATO’s key leaders to President Gorbachev ignored?

Well, in the 1990s, the Russian threat was nonexistent and there was no reason to suppose it would return. In addition, President Clinton and the Senators who were nominally in charge of overseeing the conduct of U.S. Foreign and Security Policy were mesmerized by the prospects of being on the right side of history and campaign donations.

Given the voracious appetite for cash in Congress the defense industries were clearly interested in NATO expansion and found ways to advocate for it. Weapons sales to East European nations invited to join NATO promised huge profits. Bruce Jackson, a Lockheed vice president from 1993–2002, rushed to set up the Committee to Expand NATO and reportedly used contributions from defense companies to lobby Congress for NATO expansion.

 

After 2001, just about anything could be and was characterized as an existential threat to the American People: Islamist Terrorism or the Global Caliphate, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and, by 2012, a resurgent Russia. Defense budgets rose and U.S. Forces were now in Africa, the Mideast, Asia and Eastern Europe. By the time President Obama completed his first term Moscow concluded that Washington’s expansion of the NATO Alliance combined with its open-ended presence in Afghanistan and the Near East was really a coordinated plan to make Russia's strategic situation untenable.

As George Kennan pointed out decades ago, the Russian sense of insecurity is profound. The Russian national temperament inclines to a siege mentality with a permanent enemy lowering beyond the walls. Right or wrong, President Vladimir Putin personifies this outlook.

 

President Putin tightened his grip on Russia’s 140 million citizens with laws and governance that offended Western sensibilities, but Putin’s policies arguably helped Russia to withstand the impact of damaging sanctions after its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula—a region that was under Russian control longer than Texas has been in the Union. Despite an economy that lags behind the Republic of Korea, a nation of forty-nine million, President Putin restored Russia’s military power and its national self-image to a formidable position.

Putin’s paranoia has led some observers to suggest that Putin is preparing Russia for a military showdown with the West. That’s an exaggeration, but it would be a mistake to doubt Putin’s resolve to protect Russia’s rights in its own hemisphere.

Now, Georgia is stepping up to join NATO. Georgia like Montenegro (and most NATO members) is in line to become another military protectorate of the United States, not an ally. Unless President Trump wants Moscow to conclude that Georgia will be a future platform for attack against Russia, Iran or another regional power, President Trump should just say “No!”

It’s time for the NATO zombie to expire. Charles De Gaulle was right, “England is an island and the United States is not in Europe.”

 

 

Read more:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nato-not-dying-it’s-zombie-497...

 

 

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Gus:

Methinks that a major breath of life was given to the NATO (OTAN) zombie by that little con-artist Sarkozy. He was a besotted USphile and when the "faultless god Obama" became "leader of the world", the French mood of the populace was conned to believe the USA had become a beneficial gut pill instead of a deadly disease under Bush. 

The French even became a major partner in bombing Libya to get rid of Gaddafi, who, as a nice guy, had financed some of Sarkozy's election coffers... Good reason to repay the guy with bombs, no?

 

 

 

a yankee zombie...

 

Sometimes they miss him, the old warrior. Jim Mattis was always a calming presence. A paternal glance, soothing gesture or brief remark from the former general and Pentagon chief, and Gavin Williamson, the British defense minister, would cool his jets. But, having resigned after a dispute with his president, Mattis wasn't present when NATO defense ministers met in Brussels in mid-February.

So there was no one to put the brakes on the young Briton as he spoke at a dinner at the alliance's headquarters. Williamson was demanding the partners actually spend more than the promised 2 percent of their gross domestic products (GDP) on defense. His tone was fierce. Two percent was the minimum, he said. "How can it be that other countries simply sit back and relax?" Williamson asked.

At the tables in the second row, where staffers are served a different meal than their bosses, pens frantically scratched across notepads. Williamson's tone was unusual for this circle; indeed, it was scandalous. The British defense minister was accusing allies of not making an effort. Everyone knew who he was referring to.

The official procedure of the evening demanded that the list of speakers be rigidly worked through. It took awhile for the German defense minister's turn to come. Unlike her colleagues, Ursula von der Leyen did not read from prepared remarks. "We're not sitting back and relaxing," she said. "We're working very hard to meet the targets, even though it's difficult politically." The others kept quiet. No one jumped to her defense like they usually would, people who attended the dinner would later report.

A Massive American Problem

That evening in February, von der Leyen got a small preview of what her counterpart at the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas, could expect this week in Washington. The alliance will be celebrating its 70th anniversary, but at the moment, Berlin seems intent on spoiling the party.

"Is NATO dying?" Walter Russell Mead, a Wall Street Journal columnist recently wrote, before answering his own question: "The idea was once unthinkable, but after the German cabinet decided to keep defense spending as low as 1.25 percent of gross domestic product for the next five years, it has become unavoidable." Mead may be exaggerating, but he's got a point.

 

Read more:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/patience-wears-thin-among-ge...

 

 

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Critics of Gavin Williamson's approach to his Defence Secretary role have compared him to Private Pike, a hapless and immature character in the popular sitcom Dad's Army.

 

Although naive, Pike is aware something is going on with his mother and Wilson:

 

Pike: "By the time we finish supper, it's always so late, you never leave our house until after I've gone to bed and then you're back early for breakfast before I'm awake. But what I can't understand is that I never hear you leave at night and I never hear you come back in." 
Wilson: "Well I let myself in and out very quietly"
Pike: "You don't do anything else very quietly!"

bunching them together to declare war on the lot...

The American foreign policy Blob’s latest worry is that Venezuela’s radical leftist government is reaching out to the Middle East for support against growing pressure from Washington. 

Specifically, President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly trying to establish extensive political and financial links with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter has repeatedly condemned U.S. policy towards Maduro, and already appears to have shadowy economic ties to Caracas. There are indications that Maduro’s regime may be utilizing Hezbollah to launder funds from the illegal drug trade.

Washington’s fear is that lurking behind an Assad-Hezbollah-Maduro alliance is America’s arch-nemesis, Iran, which has close relations with both Assad and Hezbollah. Tehran’s apparent objective would be to strengthen the Venezuelan regime, boost anti-U.S. sentiment in the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps acquire some laundered money from a joint Maduro-Hezbollah operation to ease the pain of U.S. economic sanctions re-imposed following the Trump administration’s repudiation of the nuclear deal.

Although Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah remain primarily concerned with developments in their own region, the fear that they want to undermine Washington’s power in its own backyard is not unfounded. But U.S. leaders should ask themselves why such diverse factions would coalesce behind that objective.

t is hardly the only example of this to emerge in recent years, and the principal cause appears to be Washington’s own excessively belligerent policies. That approach is driving together regimes that have little in common except the need to resist U.S. pressure. Washington’s menacing posture undermines rather than enhances American security, and especially in one case—provoking an expanding entente between Russia and China—it poses a grave danger.

The current flirtation between Caracas and anti-American factions in the Middle East is not the first time that American leaders have worried about collaboration among heterogeneous adversaries. U.S. intelligence agencies and much of the foreign policy community warned for years about cooperation between Iran and North Korea over both nuclear and ballistic missile technology. During the Cold War, a succession of U.S. administrations expressed frustration and anger at the de facto alliance between the totalitarian Soviet Union and democratic India. Yet the underlying cause for that association was not hard to fathom. Both countries opposed U.S. global primacy. India was especially uneasy about Washington’s knee-jerk diplomatic and military support for Pakistan, despite that country’s history of dictatorial rule and aggression. 

Alienating India was a profoundly unwise policy. So, too, has been Washington’s longstanding obsession with weakening and isolating Iran and North Korea. Those two countries have almost nothing in common, ideologically, politically, geographically, or economically. One is a weird East Asian regime based on dynastic Stalinism, while the other is a reactionary Middle East Muslim theocracy. Without the incentive that unrelenting U.S. hostility provides, there is little reason to believe that Tehran and Pyongyang would be allies. But Washington’s vehemently anti-nuclear policy towards both regimes, and the brutal economic sanctions that followed, have helped cement a de facto alliance between two very strange bedfellows. 

Iranian and North Korean leaders have apparently reached the logical conclusion that the best way to discourage U.S. leaders from considering forcible regime change towards either of their countries was to cooperate in strengthening their respective nuclear and missile programs. Washington’s regime change wars, which ousted Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi—and the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Syria’s Assad—reinforced such fears.

The most worrisome and potentially deadly case in which abrasive U.S. behavior has driven together two unlikely allies is the deepening relationship between Russia and China. Washington’s “freedom of navigation” patrolsin the South China Sea have antagonized Beijing, which has extensive territorial claims in and around that body of water. Chinese protests have grown in both number and intensity. Bilateral relations have also deteriorated because of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan and Washington’s growing support for the island’s de facto independence. The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has only added to the animosity. Chinese leaders see American policy as evidence of Washington’s determination to continue its status of primacy in East Asia, and they seek ways to undermine it.

Russia’s grievances against the United States are even more pronounced. The expansion of NATO to the borders of the Russian Federation, Washington’s repeated trampling of Russian interests in the Balkans and the Middle East, the imposition of economic sanctions in response to the Crimea incident, the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, U.S. arms sales to Ukraine, and other provocations have led to a new cold war. Russia has moved to increase diplomatic, economic, and even military cooperation with China. Beijing and Moscow appear to be coordinating policies on an array of issues, complicating Washington’s options

Close cooperation between Russia and China is all the more remarkable given the extent of their bitterly competing interests in Central Asia and elsewhere. A mutual fear of and anger toward the United States, however, seems to have overshadowed such potential quarrels—at least for now.

There even appears to be a “grand collusion” of multiple U.S. adversaries forming. Both Russia and China are increasing their economic links with Venezuela, and Russia’s military involvement with the Maduro regime is also on the rise. Last month, Moscow dispatched two nuclear-capable bombers to Caracas along withapproximately 100 military personnel. The latter contingent’s mission was to repair and refurbish Venezuela’s air defense system in light of Washington’s menacing rhetoric. That move drew a sharp response from President Trump.

Moscow’s policy toward the Assad government, Tehran, and Hezbollah has also become more active and supportive. Indeed, Russia’s military intervention in Syria, beginning in 2015, was a crucial factor in tilting the war in favor of Assad’s forces, which have now regained control over most of Syria. Washington is thus witnessing Russia getting behind two of its major adversaries: Venezuela and an Iran-led coalition in the Middle East.

This is a classic example of balancing behavior on the part of countries worried about a stronger power that pursues aggression. Historically, weaker competitors face a choice when confronting such a power: bandwagon or attempt to balanceagainst that would-be hegemon. Some very weak nations may have little choice but to cower and accept dependent status, but most midsize powers (and even some small ones) will choose the path of defiance. As part of that balancing strategy, they tend to seek any allies that might prove useful, regardless of differences. When the perceived threat is great enough, such factors are ignored or submerged. The United States and Britain did so when they formed the Grand Alliance with the totalitarian Soviet Union in World War II to defeat Nazi Germany. Indeed, the American revolutionaries made common cause with two reactionary autocracies, France and Spain, to win independence from Britain.

The current U.S. policy has produced an array of unpleasant results, and cries out for reassessment. Washington has created needless grief for itself. It entails considerable ineptitude to foster collaboration between Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of adding Assad’s secular government and Maduro’s quasi-communist regime to the mix. Even worse are the policy blunders that have driven Russia to support such motley clients and forge ever-closer economic and military links with a natural rival like China. It is extremely unwise for any country, even a superpower, to multiply the number of its adversaries needlessly and drive them together into a common front. Yet that is the blunder the United States is busily committing.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, is the author of 12 books and more than 800 articles. His latest book is Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (2019).

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/putin-xi-assad-maduro-v...

 

 

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