Friday 19th of July 2019

the new world order .....

the new world order .....

Five months ago, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia,long a darling of this city’s diplomatic dinner party circuit, came to town to push for America to muscle his tiny country of four million into NATO.

On Capitol Hill, at the State Department and at the Pentagon, Mr. Saakashvili, brash and hyperkinetic, urged the West not to appease Russia by rejecting his country’s NATO ambitions.  

At the White House, President Bush bantered with the Georgian president about his prowess as a dancer. Laura Bush, the first lady, took Mr. Saakashvili’s wife to lunch. Mr. Bush promised him to push hard for Georgia’s acceptance into NATO. After the meeting, Mr. Saakashvili pronounced his visit “one of the most successful visits during my presidency,” and said he did not know of any other leader of a small country with the access to the administration that he had.

Three weeks later, Mr. Bush went to the Black Sea resort of Sochi, at the invitation of President Vladimir V. Putinof Russia. There, he received a message from the Russian: the push to offer Ukraine and Georgia NATO membership was crossing Russia’s “redlines,” according to an administration official close to the talks. Afterward, Mr. Bush said of Mr. Putin: “He’s been very truthful and to me, that’s the only way you can find common ground.”  

It was one of many moments when the United States seemed to have missed — or gambled it could manage — the depth of Russia’s anger and the resolve of the Georgian president to provoke the Russians. 

As Georgia & Russia Headed For A Clash, The US Missed The Signals

Texas' borders with Canada...

from George Monbiot at The Guardian

It's a novel way to take your own life. Just as Russia demonstrates what happens to former minions that annoy it, Poland agrees to host a US missile defence base. The Russians, as Poland expected, respond to this proposal by offering to turn the country into a parking lot. This proves that the missile defence system is necessary after all: it will stop the missiles Russia will now aim at Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK in response to, er, their involvement in the missile defence system.

The American government insists that the interceptors, which will be stationed on the Baltic coast, have nothing to do with Russia: their purpose is to defend Europe and the US against the intercontinental ballistic missiles Iran and North Korea don't possess. This is why they are being placed in Poland, which, as every geography student in Texas knows, shares a border with both rogue states.

tie on toast

As he waited for a BBC interview to begin, Mikheil Saakashvili took a call on his cell phone, absentmindedly stuffed the end of his red silk tie in his mouth and began to chew it in an apparent attack of nerves.


Vinogradov, who specializes in serial killers, told the Vesti news channel on Saturday that Saakashvili "shows the highest degree of anxiety" and that he is "psychologically inadequate."

It was not the first time that the psychiatrist had volunteered an expert opinion on Saakashvili. In the Tvoi Den tabloid last week, he called the Georgian president a "sociopath."

On its Saturday news show, Channel One quoted unidentified psychiatrists as saying that Saakashvili had "clear signs of a mental disorder."

The web site went further, writing that "such mental unbalance leads to irresponsible political decisions, which lead to chaos, human deaths and humanitarian catastrophes."

The tabloids also seized on the incident to criticize Saakashvili. "Doctor, Saakashvili Can't Control Himself," ran a headline in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Tvoi Den used the incident to make a satirical point about international aid to Georgia. Saakashvili seemed very hungry, it wrote on its web site. "Obviously Georgia really is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and needs the help it gets from the United States."

The popularity of the tie-munching clip in the Russian media follows accusations of Western censorship and anti-Russian bias last week after Fox News cut short an interviewee who criticized Georgia.

Rusky Texas...

Nato holds Georgia crisis summit

Nato foreign ministers are gathering in Brussels for an emergency summit to discuss how the alliance should respond to Russia's military action in Georgia.

On the eve of the meeting, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the West must deprive Russia of any strategic victory from its assault on Georgia.

Tbilisi says Russia is not pulling out, as pledged, but Moscow denies it.

Russian and Georgian troops have begun exchanging prisoners at a checkpoint near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The exchange is taking place at a Russian checkpoint in Igoeti, about 30km (18 miles) away from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The BBC's Helen Fawkes at the scene saw two injured men were being carried on stretchers by Russian soldiers towards two Russian helicopters.


Imagine for five seconds the USA at war with Mexico... with the USA pinching from that country a piece the size of Texas... Actually it was Texas. 1846-1848...


Georgia's Nato membership on track, says David Miliband
Foreign secretary believes keeping alliance's pledge to grant Georgia membership is 'important signal'

The foreign secretary, David Miliband, joins the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, at a press conference in Tbilisi

The foreign secretary, David Miliband, and the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, at a press conference in Tbilisi. Photograph: Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters

The formal process leading to Georgia's membership of Nato has begun, partly because of Russia's occupation, David Miliband said today.

In an interview with the Guardian in Tbilisi, the foreign secretary said Georgia had been given a "route map to membership" after the formation on Tuesday of a joint commission aimed at forging closer ties.

He said this was an important step towards implementing a pledge made by Nato leaders at a summit in April.

bipolar world

From Paul Keating in the SMH


Instead Clinton and Bush left us with the template of 1947; the template cut by the victorious powers of World War II, the one where Germany and Japan were left on the outside, and still are 60 years later, and in which China and India are tolerated and palely humoured.

Sixteen critical years have already been lost. And it is not as if we are dealing with a world where things are the same now as they were 16 years ago. The world is dynamic: 16 years ago China was not a world power; today it is. Sixteen years ago, Russia was collapsing; today it is growing and strongly.


It is more the pity then, that following that unexpected epiphany in 1989, the Clinton administration rashly decided to ring-fence Russia by inviting the former Warsaw Treaty states of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join NATO.

By doing so, the US failed to learn one of the lessons of history: that the victor should be magnanimous with the vanquished.

At some time the US will be obliged to treat Russia as a great sovereign power replete with a range of national interests of the kind that other major powers possess.

In the meantime, the great risk of this sort of adventurism is that with NATO's border now right up to western Ukraine, the Russians will take the less costly military option of counter-weighing NATO's power by keeping their nuclear arsenal on full operational alert.

This posture automatically carries with it the possibility of a Russian nuclear attack by mistake. The years of Russia's economic poverty, certainly since the collapse of its economy in the first half of the 1990s, has meant the Russians have allowed their surveillance and early warning systems to ossify. To compensate, they are keeping their nuclear arsenal on full operational alert.


Just as world community concern has been ahead of the political system on issues such as global warming so, too, world community concern needs to galvanise international action to find a new template for a lasting peace, one embracing all the major powers and regions.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said some day there will be a universal peace; the only question, he said, is will this come about by human insight or by catastrophe, leaving no other outcome possible.

Humankind demands that that proposition be settled in the former and not the latter.


see toon at top. 


Putin blames US for Georgia role

Mr Putin believes US citizens were in the area of conflict

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the US of provoking the conflict in Georgia, possibly for domestic election purposes.

Mr Putin told CNN US citizens were "in the area" during the conflict over South Ossetia and were "taking direct orders from their leaders".

He said his defence officials had told him the provocation was to benefit one of the US presidential candidates.

The White House dismissed the allegations as "not rational".


Not rational or not, Putin is smarter than the average bear... His intelligence network would tell him of US meddling in the Georgia affair and his "guess" that it was to benefit one presidential candidate could be on the mark, as well as touching on a few other side issues, including the expansion of NATO. That Georgia did attack South Ossetia at that particular time when it had all the opportunity to do so before, or later, after the US elections, reeks of US opportunity... Putin would know.


Georgia War Shows 'Weak' Russia, U.S. Official Says

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008; A14

Russia's conflict with Georgia is the sign of a "weak" Russian nation, not a newly assertive one, and Moscow now has put its place in the world order at risk, the top U.S. diplomat for relations with the country said in an interview yesterday.

"There is a Russia narrative that 'we were weak in the '90s, but now we are back and we are not going to take it anymore.' But being angry and seeking revanchist victory is not the sign of a strong nation. It is the sign of a weak one," said Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

"Russia is going to have to come to terms with the reality it can either integrate with the world or it can be a self-isolated bully. But it can't be both. And that's a choice Russia has to have," Fried said.


Gus: so the US War with Iraq that would have done 100,000 times more damage than the Russian incursion into "Georgia",  tells us that the US is a very very very very very angry weak pissy bully country: 'But being angry and seeking revanchist victory is not the sign of a strong nation. It is the sign of a weak one...'.

What was the Iraq war apart from being revanchist against a deed, 9/11, that Saddam did not do? Bush himself said: "we will prove Saddam's guilt" in front of the ruins of the World Trade Centre towers... Bush' manipulated revanchism weakened the US credibility beyond repair.

General De Gaulle never trusted the Americans. He knew they cheated and manipulated situations to get what they wanted. In order to kick them out of France in 1964, he had to know how far the bottom line of their deviousness was. Sure he sincerely thanked them for their valiant and bloody effort in helping win the war, but one has to realise that many more French cities were destroyed by US fire than by the Germans... Everything has a price and he bought their exit out of France by paying cash, in gold. France left NATO and for many years went on its own way — while making a brave constructive peace with the German.

The Yanks never forgave him for that.

Why would Putin and Medvedev trust the Americans?  They have the will, the cash and the resources to rebuild Russia into a modern credible world power independently of US interference. And of all things they have an unsung quiet ally, on which the West economic supplies depends upon: China. All the Russians lack, for us, is the entertaining Hollywoodian propaganda machine.

See toon at top.


Rice criticises 'isolated' Russia

Russia is becoming increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said.

In a strongly-worded speech, Ms Rice said Moscow was on a "one-way path to isolation and irrelevance".

Diplomatic relations between the US and Russia have been strained by the recent conflict in Georgia.

Earlier, Russia's president said the two nations should not risk established ties over "trivial matters."

Dmitry Medvedev said it would be "politically short-sighted" if Washington and Moscow were to endanger their political and economic ties.


Behind them, some Ossetian pensioners pull handcarts loaded with wood and metal looted from Georgian homes.

There is no embarrassment in this village about what is being done.

Georgians are cruel and evil people. They want our land. They want to take this place away from us, to destroy our entire nation

"God forbid that the Georgians ever return," one old pensioner says.

"They're beasts. They killed my neighbour and her little baby. They are too dangerous to have living here next to us."



Washington has repeatedly lambasted Russia's occupation of Georgian territory in the conflict and its decision to recognise as independent the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Speaking during a closely watched trip to this U.S.-allied South Caucasus nation, Cheney also assured Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that the United States was "fully committed“ to his country’s efforts to join NATO.

The world community has almost unanimously condemned Russia for its actions and statements.

"Georgia will be in our alliance,“ Cheney said.


The top news story of the morning is an ominous one. Hugo Chavez, the Communist dictator of Venezuela, has invited the Russian Navy to undertake a series of military exercises in the Caribbean within the next few months.

According to a report filed by Reuters News Service, several Russian naval ships and up to 1000 Russian soldiers will participate in a joint exercise with Venezuela in the Caribbean from November 10-14.

The move is expected to greatly increase tensions between Russia and the West, particularly in light of the nation's invasion of neighboring country, Georgia.

Since the invasion, several U.S. allies in Europe have expressed grave concerns about their security and have requested the U.S. nuclear defensive missile shield, as well as American warheads.

Russia's response to the request was threatening. At least twice the nation threatened to attack Poland with nuclear warheads should it proceed with plans for the missile shield.
Russia plans to support Iran on its nuclear programme

RUSSIA PLANS to help Iran in its nuclear enrichment programme in response to the US assistance for re-arming Georgia under the veil of their so-called ’humanitarian aid’. Such an action from Moscow’s side will heighten the ongoing political crisis in the Caucasus and Central Asian region as well.

According to a reliable source close to the Russian military, Moscow did not tolerate the American influence in the Central Asian region. The arrival of US naval ships with humanitarian aid to the Georgian port, ’Poti’ in the last week, which is also partly held by the Russian armed forces, has irked Kremlin. Apart from that, the US also tried to increase its influence over Ukraine and Azerbaijan, thereby creating extra pressure over Kremlin.

The hostilities between Russia and Georgia ended at least two weeks ago. Since then, the United States has been trying to place the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces in the region and sending naval ships to the area with some ’emergency supplies’. Even, the Bush administration also promised lumpsum amounts in order to rebuild Georgian military forces. The same was expressed by Dick Chenney, the US vice president during his tour to Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the last week.

Kremlin strongly voiced protest against the presence of the American warships in the Black Sea region. The Kremlin also asked if the Russian ships had been at the American coast, what would be America’s action then? Cheney mentioned Russia’s recent action as “illegitimate, unilateral attempt” for declaring the two disputed provinces – South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Even, Cheney fully assured Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili regarding their inclusion in the NATO very soon. The White House also declared a amount of $1 billion commitment to help Georgia, the small, but strategically located nation as an emergency aid.


MEXICO, September 17 (RIA Novosti)

- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he will visit Russia next week.

"Next week I will travel to China, Portugal and then Russia," he told a news conference in Caracas, without giving any details on the date of his Russian trip.

Chavez is due to hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders during a two-day visit to the country on September 23-25.

Chavez met with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who is on the second leg of a tour of the region, on Tuesday. Sechin arrived in Caracas from Havana, where he had carried out a damage assessment of Cuba following two recent hurricanes.

The talks, which were also attended by Sergei Shmatko, the energy minister and the state technology corporation CEO, Sergei Chemezov lasted two hours and focused on energy, manufacturing, shipbuilding, education, science, car production and culture.

The deputy premier told journalists after the meeting, "we reviewed projects, currently under development as part of a high-level inter-governmental commission and agreed that the next meeting would be held in October in Caracas."

Sechin called Venezuela "one of Russia's most reliable partners" in the military sphere and said that both sides were developing military-technical cooperation.

The visit by the Russian delegation coincided with a six-hour patrol flight by Russian strategic bombers along the South American coast on Tuesday. The two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers arrived in Venezuela last week and are due to return to Russia on Thursday. (VIDEO)

The controversial flights, close to U.S. borders, have been criticized by the Bush administration with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accusing Russia of playing a "dangerous game."

China, Russia sign nuclear deal, condemn US missile defense plans

BEIJING: China and Russia sharply condemned U.S. missile defense plans Friday, taking a harder common line that reinforces an already strong strategic partnership during Dmitry Medvedev's first foreign trip as Russian president.

Pushing forward their robust energy cooperation, Russia also signed a US$1 billion (€670 million) deal to build a uranium enrichment facility in China and supply low-enriched uranium for use in China's fast-growing nuclear power industry over the next decade.

Rivals throughout much of the Cold War, Moscow and Beijing have forged close political and military ties after the Soviet collapse, seeking to counter the perceived U.S. global domination. They have spoken against the U.S. missile defense plans in the past, but Friday's declaration by Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao sounded tougher than before.

Without naming the United States, the two leaders said that "the creation of global missile defense systems and their deployment in some regions of the world ... does not help to maintain strategic balance and stability and hampers international efforts in arms control and nuclear nonproliferation."

They also warned against the deployment of arms in space in another clear reference to the United States. "The parties stand for the peaceful use of space and against the deployment of weapons in space and arms race in space," Medvedev and Hu said in the statement released after an afternoon of talks.
Russia tests shield-busting missile

Russia has test fired a new-generation strategic missile from a submarine, in its latest launch of multiple-warhead weapons designed to breach anti-missile shields.

The ballistic missile was successfully fired from the White Sea to the Kura testing site in Russia's far east.

The missile can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads.

The test comes amid Russian anger at US plans to locate a powerful missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic as well interceptor missiles in Poland to combat what it says are threats to global security.
Rudd undecided on Russian uranium deal

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will consider a report that has advised against the sale of uranium to Russia before the Federal Government makes a final decision on the matter.

Federal Parliament's Treaties Committee today recommended the Government delay ratifying a treaty to sell uranium to Russia because of fears about the country's nuclear weapons program.

The treaty was signed last year by the Howard government, and the deal is reportedly worth $1 billion a year.

Mr Rudd says he fears the West is approaching a turning point in its dealings with Russia.

In respect of Russia, isolation has been tried in the past and didn't work. I favour hard-headed engagement that leverages the benefits that Russia needs from the international system - economically and politically - into a force for responsible behaviour from Russia. 

We have significant shared interests with Russia, whether on energy, trade, or stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. And with a declining population and an economy not much bigger than Spain's, Russia needs positive international partnerships.

Our response should be to welcome them into rules based systems like the WTO - if they are willing to abide by the rules.  We should forge greater European unity on issues like energy, and then engage with Russia: together we are Russia's energy market, and while it is a dominant supplier negotiating with 27 separate countries, it is far less powerful in the face of a concerted European negotiating position.

On the international stage, the UK favours reform of the G8 - notably expanding its membership to reflect the modern realities of the economic balance of power, and the position of countries like India and China.  I do not support Russia's expulsion from the G8: that would encourage Russian sense of victimhood, fuel Russian revanchism, and allow the Russians to position themselves as the champion of reform for those currently outside the G8.  Instead we should use the G8 to work on issues where Russia can be a partner - whether climate change or nuclear decommissioning. But we should also be prepared to act as a G7 when Russia acts in flagrant breach of international law and flouts our values.

Russian wedge-driving, across the Atlantic or within Europe, will not work if we stick to these principles and apply them properly.

The Russian Foreign Minister said last week that there were no winners from the conflict.  That must indeed be the outcome.
The Washington Times: Saakashvili and his government were the aggressors

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his government were the aggressors during the recent armed conflict in South Ossetia. In an article carried by The Washington Times newspaper, the head of the Washington-based Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, Dimitri Simes says that there is no doubt that is was President Saakashvili who ordered the August 7 storming of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, and that the Georgian side used heavy artillery, tanks and missiles against the Russian peacekeepers defending the city. Mr. Simes also says that the Georgian president ignored US calls to refrain from the use of force against South Ossetia.
Georgia’s former defence minister blames US for war in South Ossetia

Okruashvili/photo EPAIt was long ago that Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakishvili put a military operation to seize South Ossetia on his plans, his former supporter Irakly Okruashvili, who was granted political shelter in France, says. In the interview for Reuters Georgia’s former defence minister made, partly, the U.S. government responsible for unleashing a bloody war in South Ossetia. He says that it failed to rein in Saakishvili’s ambitions. Okruashvili confessed that holding the post of defence minister in Georgia in the period from 2004 to 2006, he together with Saakishvili had worked out plans for military operations against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
New Russian ambassador to US visits White House

There’re not only problems in relations between Washington and Moscow but also a visible potential for serious cooperation between the two countries – this is what Russia’s new ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak and President Bush said, meeting in the White House on Wednesday. The talk took place, when Kislyak delivered his credentials to President Bush. The two sides voiced their hope that an attempt to overcome the difficulties the Russia-USA ties are facing at the moment would be successful. Kislyak stressed that the general atmosphere on the world arena, to a considerable extent, is dependent on the Russia-USA relations.
UK ambassador to Russia: Possibility of Cold War is exaggerated

British ambassador to Russia Anthony Breton believes that a possibility of a cold war between Russia and the West is an exaggeration. In an interview with the Kommersant newspaper in the run up to his resignation from the post he said that Russia’s present-day situation differed from that of the Soviet Union. He is convinced that Russia is better integrated with the West economically and has closer human ties, and neither side wants to severe ties.
The luxury goods market in Russia — only set to grow

High oil prices are making the Russian economy look healthier and are also filling the pockets of some Russians. The number of ealthy people has increased of late and some members of this group can easily afford to buy themselves a yacht or a private plane. According o the RIA Novosti news agency, the number of multi-millionaires in Russia now stands at around 15,000 people, though it is very difficult to prove the accuracy of these figures in Russian conditions. Analysts say, however, that the number of multimillionaires in Russia will reach 20,000 by the end of the year. Demand for luxury goods, meanwhile has risen by more than 200 percent over the last three years.

The tastes of Russia's wealthy are changing all the time and have come a very long way from the days when Russia's rich were distinguished by their love of raspberry or greencoloured cashmere jackets and fat gold chains to go with their Mercedes and Bentleys. The current fashion is for exoticism. The 'in-thing' at the moment is to have a vintage car in one's garage or to buy, say, an island. Incidentally, Robbie Williams is selling one right now, so if there is any interest…

With incomes swiftly on the rise, at least for a few, the market for luxury goods - prestigious yachts, planes, cars, houses, jewellery, furs and other attributes of the high life - is developing rapidly and attracting increasing attention from businesspeople. This is a small but profitable market - the luxury goods market in Europe alone is more than 100 billion euros.
Current luxury yacht market scenario in Russia!! — Russians have taken to yachting in a big way by contributing to almost 30% of the luxury yachts produced worldwide which means that 1 out of 3 megayachts are bought by a Russian. The 30% mark did not take long to reach and was achieved within 3 yrs flat wherein in 2005 Russians contributed to only 6% of all the luxury yachts worldwide



that lady can see Russia from her house....

See toon at top...

more meanwhile

Nunn, Lugar Fear WMD Pact Collapse

19 September 2008
WASHINGTON -- The founders of a U.S. program to secure weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union say they worry that deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia could undermine efforts to keep such weapons from terrorists.

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn say the two countries have continued working together to secure nuclear, chemical and biological weapons despite growing hostility after Russia's invasion of Georgia last month.

They said in separate interviews, however, that the spike in tensions heightens the risks of a breakdown in the arrangement under which the United States pays for the program.

"The Nunn-Lugar program has survived the very bad feelings between the U.S. and Russia before," said Nunn. He added, "History is full of examples where pride and dignity basically overruled self-interest."

The Nunn-Lugar Comprehensive Threat Reduction Act is credited with funding efforts helping Russia and other former Soviet republics to destroy, dismantle and secure thousands of nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction.

meanwhile the meanwhile

October 12, 2008

North Korea Is Off Terror List After a Deal With the U.S.


WASHINGTON — The Bush administration announced on Saturday that it was removing North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, in a bid to salvage a fragile nuclear deal that seemed on the verge of collapse.

Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said that the United States made the decision after North Korea agreed to resume disabling a plutonium plant and to allow some inspections to verify that it had halted its nuclear program as promised months earlier.

The deal, which the Bush administration had portrayed as a major foreign policy achievement, was slipping away in recent weeks in a dispute over the verification program.

The decision to remove North Korea from the terror list was a dramatic moment for President Bush, who had called the country part of an “axis of evil” and complained that the United States had made deals before without winning enough concessions from the North.

That calculus changed in 2006, when North Korea exploded a nuclear device.

But Mr. Bush is already having trouble selling the new agreement to his own party. Republican lawmakers, including the presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, quickly expressed concern, complaining that North Korea had yet to demonstrate that it was serious about adhering to its commitment to de-nuclearize.

Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, called the deal “a modest step forward,” in dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Other Democrats said they welcomed the agreement but noted that it did not go much beyond an agreement President Clinton reached with North Korea in 1994, which the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, criticized as inadequate.

extremely regrettable meanwhile...

Japan objects to US N Korea move

Japan has criticised as "extremely regrettable" Washington's decision to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Japan opposed the move because it first wanted North Korea to provide more information about Japanese citizens it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.

beating the protesters in glasshouses...


Earlier this week, Washington criticised the Russian police response to anti-Putin rallies in Moscow.

A State Department spokesman said the US was "disturbed" by the "mistreatment" of peaceful protesters.

Organisers said 20,000 people took part in a protest on Sunday against Mr Putin's inauguration, though police put the figure at 8,000.

'Reset of relations'

In a statement, the White House said President Putin "expressed his regret" to President Obama by phone.

But when it comes to glasshouses:

At one point though, she said, she did tell them her glasses had fallen to the sidewalk next to her, and announced she was going to reach over to retrieve them. That apparently gave them all the excuse they needed. One seized her right arm and bent her wrist backwards in what she said appeared to be some kind of martial arts move, leaving it not broken, but seriously damaged.

'I don't know exactly what they did to my left wrist - at that point I was too busy screaming at the top of my lungs in pain. But they broke it.'"

This happened on 17 March, when several hundred members of Occupy Wall Street celebrated the six-month anniversary of their first camp at Zuccotti Park by a peaceful reoccupation of the park - a reoccupation broken up within hours by police with 32 arrests. Many of these arrests are carried out in such a way as to guarantee physical injury. Graeber's friend Eileen's wrist was broken; others suffered broken fingers, concussions and broken ribs.

Graeber says "the apparently systematic use of sexual assault against women protestors is new". On 17 March there were numerous reported cases, and in later nightly evictions from Union Square, the practice became so systematic that at least one woman told Graeber her breasts were grabbed by five different police officers on a single night (in one case, while another one was blowing kisses). The tactic appeared so abruptly, is so obviously a violation of any sort of police protocol or standard of legality, that it is hard to imagine it is anything but an intentional policy.

"Why is all this not a national story?" Graeber asks.

Back in September, when the infamous NY cop Tony Bologna arbitrarily maced several young women engaged in peaceful protest, the event became a national news story. Now there's nothing. Graeber says: "I suspect one reason so many shy away from confronting the obvious is because it raises extremely troubling questions about the role of police in American society."

Read more:


alliance went too far...

NATO was founded more than 60 years ago to counter the Soviet bloc. But the alliance's mutual defence clause had never been used until the September 11 attacks. The war in Afghanistan has been the only instance in which NATO has done so.

Last year, NATO forces intervened in Libya under a UN mandate to protect the people. But some countries later accused it of going far beyond that mandate by actively assisting in the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi.

NATO also has its internal woes. European governments are slashing defence budgets to cope with economic turmoil. And with the US already paying a disproportionate part of NATO's budget, there is concern in Washington over shouldering this financial burden.

So can, and should, the NATO alliance survive?


see toon at top...

and brazil...

Trump misunderstands NATO so badly, he thinks Brazil could be part of it...

1 day ago - To add Brazil, Trump wouldn't just have to “talk to a lot of people,” but he also would need to get all NATO member states to agree to change ...

See toon at top...