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Posts Tagged ‘Jens Stoltenberg’

Putin’s “Civilizational” Speech Frames Conflict Between East and West

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2023

Bets can be made that Patrushev explained in detail to Wang Yi how that is just wishful thinking. The “logic “of the current collective western “leadership” has been expressed, among others, by irredeemable mediocrity Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general: even nuclear war is preferable to a Russian victory in Ukraine.

PEPE ESCOBAR

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s much awaited address to the Russian Federal Assembly on Tuesday should be interpreted as a tour de force of sovereignty.

The address, significantly, marked the first anniversary of Russia’s official recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, only a few hours before 22 February, 2022. In myriad ways, what happened a year ago also marked the birth of the real, 21st century multipolar world.

Then two days later, Moscow launched the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine to defend said republics.

Cool, calm, collected, without a hint of aggression, Putin’s speech painted Russia as an ancient, independent, and quite distinct civilization – sometimes following a path in concert with other civilizations, sometimes in divergence.

Ukraine, part of Russian civilization, now happens to be occupied by western civilization, which Putin said “became hostile to us,” like in a few instances in the past. So the acute phase of what is essentially a war by proxy of the west against Russia takes place over the body of Russian civilization.

That explains Putin’s clarification that “Russia is an open country, but an independent civilization – we do not consider ourselves superior but we inherited our civilization from our ancestors and we must pass it on.”

A war dilacerating the body of Russian civilization is a serious existential business. Putin also made clear that “Ukraine is being used as a tool and testing ground by the west against Russia.” Thus the inevitable follow-up: “The more long-range weapons are sent to Ukraine, the longer we have to push the threat away from our borders.”

Translation: this war will be long – and painful. There will be no swift victory with minimal loss of blood. The next moves around the Dnieper may take years to solidify. Depending on whether US policy continues to cleave to neo-con and neoliberal objectives, the frontline may be displaced to Lviv. Then German politics may change. Normal trade with France and Germany may be recovered only by the end of the next decade.

Kremlin exasperation: START is finished

All that brings us to the games played by the Empire of Lies. Says Putin: “The promises…of western rulers turned into forgery and cruel lies. The west supplied weapons, trained nationalist battalions. Even before the start of the SMO, there were negotiations…on the supply of air defense systems… We remember Kyiv’s attempts to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Putin made it clear, once again, that the element of trust between Russia and the west, especially the US, is gone. So it’s a natural decision for Russia to “withdraw from the treaty on strategic offensive weapons, but we don’t do it officially. For now we are only halting our participation to the START treaty. No US inspections in our nuclear sites can be allowed.”

As an aside, of the three main US-Russian weapons treaties, Washington abandoned two of these: The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was dumped by the administration of former president George W. Bush in 2002, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was nixed by former president Donald Trump in 2019.

This shows the Kremlin’s degree of exasperation. Putin is even prepared to order the Ministry of Defense and Rosatom to get ready to test Russian nuclear weapons if the US goes first along the same road.

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NATO Chief Voices Fear Of War With Russia While US Greenlights Drone Strikes On Russian Territory

Posted by M. C. on December 12, 2022

https://open.substack.com/pub/caitlinjohnstone/p/nato-chief-voices-fear-of-war-with?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android

Caitlin Johnstone

In what Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp describes as “a rare acknowledgment of the dangers of backing Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged a fear of something going “horribly wrong” and leading to a hot war between the nuclear-armed alliance and Russia.

In an article titled “‘I fear a full-blown war between the West and Russia’, Nato chief warns,” The Telegraph writes the following:

“I fear that the war in Ukraine will get out of control, and spread into a major war between Nato and Russia,” said Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, responding to a question about his greatest fears for the winter in an interview.

He told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Friday that he was confident such a scenario could be avoided but that the threat was there.

“If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong,” he added.

NATO Chief Says Full-Blown War With Russia Is a ‘Real Possibility’ Jens Stoltenberg warns things can go ‘horribly wrong’ by Dave DeCamp @DecampDave #NATO #RussiaUkraineWar #UkraineRussiaWar #Russia #Ukraine news.antiwar.com/2022/12/11/nat…

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9:06 PM ∙ Dec 11, 2022


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And things absolutely can go horribly wrong when dealing with an increasingly aggressive standoff between nuclear superpowers, as we have seen from history. The last cold war saw many nuclear close calls as a result of technical malfunctions and misunderstandings, including an incident during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the only thing which prevented a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine from deploying its weapon on the US military was one officer refusing to go along with two others who were giving the orders to fire.

We got a taste of this horror once again last month in the long minutes following erroneous reports that Russia had launched missiles at NATO member Poland. The fact that cooler heads have prevailed up until this point does not mean that nuclear brinkmanship is safe, anymore than a game of Russian roulette not ending after the first couple of trigger pulls would mean that Russian roulette is safe to play.

So Stoltenberg is correct to be afraid. There absolutely are too many things that can go horribly wrong in such a standoff, and there are simply too many unpredictable moving parts for anyone to feel confident that this will not happen.

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NATO Exists To Solve The Problems Created By NATO’s Existence

Posted by M. C. on December 3, 2022

We’re at the most dangerous point in humanity’s abusive relationship with US unipolar domination, for the same reason the most dangerous point in a battered wife’s life is right when she’s trying to escape. The empire is willing to do terrible and risky things to retain control. “If I can’t have you no one can” is a line that can be said to a wife, or to the world.

Tell me again, what does the NA in NATO stand for?

Caitlin Johnstone

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/nato-exists-to-solve-the-problems?r=iw8dv&utm_medium=android

NATO has doubled down on its determination to eventually add Ukraine to its membership, renewing its 2008 commitment to that goal in a meeting between the foreign ministers of the alliance in Bucharest, Romania this past Tuesday.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes:

The Romanian city was where NATO initially made the promise to Ukraine back in 2008, and at the time, US officials acknowledged that attempting to bring the country into the alliance could spark a war in the region.

“We made the decision in Bucharest in 2008 at the summit,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. “I was there … representing Norway as Prime Minister. I remember very well the decisions. We stand by those decisions. NATO’s door is open.”

In a joint statement, the NATO foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said that they “reaffirm” the decisions that were made at the 2008 Bucharest summit.

Antiwar.com @Antiwarcom

NATO Doubles Down on Pledge to Eventually Admit Ukraine NATO foreign ministers are holding a summit in Bucharest, where the alliance first made the promise in 2008 by Dave DeCamp @DecampDave #NATO #Ukraine #Russia news.antiwar.com/2022/11/29/nat…

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7:39 PM ∙ Nov 29, 2022


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It has become fashionable among the mainstream western commentariat to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had nothing to do with NATO expansion, but as recently explained by Philippe Lemoine for the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, that’s a completely false narrative that requires snipping past comments made by Putin out of the context in which they were made. Many western experts warned for years in advance that NATO expansion would lead to a conflict like the one we’re seeing today, and they were of course correct.

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Biden Doubles Down On Forcing Americans To Fund Europe’s Security

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2022

While the United States declines, President Joe Biden is sending troops and materiel to defend a continent that can defend itself.

The idea that German foreign policy is derived from pacifism and war guilt, not one of the cleverest instances of strategic “buck passing,” is perhaps the most debilitating assumption of Anglo-American grand strategies. It’s a misjudgment that German strategists are more than happy to see continue, because they are smart.

BY: SUMANTRA MAITRA

https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/06/biden-doubles-down-on-forcing-americans-to-fund-europes-security/

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary general confirmed NATO is boosting its forces in Europe to “well over 300,000” from the current 40,000, a 650 percent increase. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims it’s to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Setting aside the obvious ridiculousness of NATO boosting a deterrence force, however, at the very same time Russia is failing to conquer even Ukraine and is increasingly bogged down, such euphemisms from NATO are jarring. Everyone understands this means U.S. taxpayers will carry an additional burden for European security.

Consider the details: President Biden will deploy additional troops to Romania and the Baltic states, establish and maintain the permanent Fifth Army Corps in Poland, send two F-35 squadrons to the United Kingdom and air defenses to Germany and Italy, and increase the number of destroyers stationed in Spain from four to six.

The new additions are so bizarrely out of proportion to the threat that it provoked one of the most hawkish Republicans, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, to question why Biden is reinforcing Europe at the cost of the Pacific: “Russia’s military is in no condition to invade anyone else right now and its China & North Korea who are threatening military aggression,” Rubio tweeted.

In a time of inflation and with a rapid Chinese military build-up in the Indo-Pacific, Biden is doubling down on providing security for Europe when the United States should be “burden-shifting,” especially with relatively finite naval assets and as rich European economic powerhouses like Germany already free-ride on American taxpayers.

The question of Germany is crucial in this regard. As former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby recently tweeted, “It’s a commonplace in American discussion that German foreign policy has been ‘naive.’ Well, Germany spends almost nothing on defense and has peacefully become the economic hegemon of Europe. Meantime we’ve had failed Middle East wars and enabled China’s rise. Who’s naive?”

Colby is, of course, correct. The idea that German foreign policy is derived from pacifism and war guilt, not one of the cleverest instances of strategic “buck passing,” is perhaps the most debilitating assumption of Anglo-American grand strategies. It’s a misjudgment that German strategists are more than happy to see continue, because they are smart.

Only nine countries reach the required defense spending within NATO, even after four years of President Trump pushing and an invasion of Ukraine.

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The US Government’s Plan to Partition Russia Into Small States

Posted by M. C. on June 27, 2022

The West is so deluded that Russia is not taken seriously. Even tiny, insignificant, Lithuania is not afraid of Russia. Even countries heavily dependent on Russian energy repeatedly stick their fingers into Russia’s eyes. How much more can Russia take? This is a situation very ripe for a big war.

Paul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers: Thank you for your response to last Friday’s appeal for your financial support of this website. It is reassuring. One more similar response would keep the website in comfortable compliance for now with its 501c3 requirements. So I repeat the appeal:

This website, the Institute for Political Economy, is a 501c3 tax-exempt public foundation. For it to continue to exist, public support must comprise one-third of its operating costs. Currently, this is the case. However, public support has been falling. The backbone of the website are the monthly donors. But the response to the quarterly requests are weakening. The response in September is always weak, but this June the response is weak as well.

Is this the situation — when truth is most needed, support for it is running out? Once the ruling elites control the narratives, liberty, freedom, life as Americans knew it is dead. Indeed, life itself could disappear in nuclear Armageddon.

It is increasingly difficult to tell the truth as Americans are punished for doing so. Doctors who cured Covid patients with HCQ and Ivermectin are losing their licenses for spreading “misinformation.” If you do not support those few of us who are addicted to truth, truth will die. The elite have an agenda, and your welfare is not part of it.

The US Government’s Plan to Partition Russia Into Small States

Paul Craig Roberts

Jens Stoltenberg, Washington’s NATO puppet, says “peace negotiations,” not Russian victory, will end the conflict in Ukraine. So, Stoltenberg is counting on the Kremlin, whose leaders have said they will never again trust the West, to sit down again with the West and again agree to another worthless agreement. Considering the difficulty the Kremlin has in accepting reality, I suppose it is possible.

On the other hand, perhaps someone in the Kremlin has finally read the Wolfowitz Doctrine. If not, maybe someone in the Kremlin has seen the US Government’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s plan to break Russia up into a collection of independent small states. https://niccolo.substack.com/p/delusion

How is this to be done? Military conquest? A color revolution based on years of US financed NGOs permissively operating in Russia? Discrediting of Putin and his government?

The CSCE doesn’t say, but it has to be done as there is the need to break up Russia into smaller states for “moral and strategic” reasons.

When people whistling past the graveyard assure themselves that the Ukraine conflict won’t widen and that nuclear war is impossible because countries don’t commit suicide, they ignore the massive role of delusion that operates throughout the West that provides assurance of American hegemony. Not only is the US going to bust up Russia into small states, but also, according to the US National Security Council, “Zelensky is going to get to determine what victory looks like” and to determine “when the conditions are met to build peace.” https://www.rt.com/news/557821-kirby-us-zelensky-victory/

The war has already widened with the US and NATO countries falling under the Kremlin’s designation of combatants for supplying Ukraine with weapons and military intelligence. The war has been widened to the extent that Lithuania now prevents Russia from supplying Kaliningrad, a part of Russia, and by NATO’s intended expansion into Finland, thus greatly lengthening NATO’s presence on Russia’s borders. People can fool themselves that this is not widening the conflict, but they forget that the conflict originated in the West’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security concerns. Now the West has greatly expanded the area of Russian concern.

My own view, to again state it, is that the combination of Western delusion with Kremlin toleration of provocations and belief in the value of negotiations, such as the 8 years the Kremlin wasted on the Minsk Agreement, the primary cause of Russian casualties today in Ukraine, guarantees war. There can be no other outcome.

If Russia succumbs yet again to trust in negotiation and makes a deal with Ukraine, the deal will not be kept any more than was the Minsk Agreement, the US pledge not to expand NATO to Russia’s borders, and the arms limitation agreements worked out over the decades, all abandoned by Washington.

The only result of a negotiated settlement will be that once again Russia will have given its enemies more time to demonize Russia, prepare more provocations, and beef up their military capability.

As I have said, the only thing that can prevent a wide war is a strong Russian foot that gives the lie to the US Government’s belief, as recently stated by the Department of State, that Russian red lines are merely “bluster.”

The West is so deluded that Russia is not taken seriously. Even tiny, insignificant, Lithuania is not afraid of Russia. Even countries heavily dependent on Russian energy repeatedly stick their fingers into Russia’s eyes. How much more can Russia take? This is a situation very ripe for a big war.

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What Putin Wants

Posted by M. C. on February 7, 2022

The answer is “Yes”, it does. In fact, Russia has become the biggest obstacle to Washington’s ambitious plan to project power across Central Asia in order to capitalize off the region’s explosive growth. Putin has foiled that strategy by strengthening the Russian economy and rebuilding the nations defenses. Keep in mind, the globalist plan for Russia was to create a fragmented, federalized system that opened its vast resources to foreign exploitation while weakening the center of political power in Moscow. Here’s how foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski summed it up in an article titled “A Geostrategy for Eurasia”:

By Mike Whitney
The Unz Review

“I’m convinced that we have reached the decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, Munich Security Conference, 2007

How much do you know about the crisis in Ukraine? See if you can answer these 7 questions.

Question 1– Does the Biden administration’s push to bring Ukraine into NATO violate agreements the US has signed previously?

1–Yes

2–No

The answer is “Yes”. In Istanbul (1999) and in Astana (2010), the US and the other 56 countries in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) signed documents “that contained interrelated principles to ensure the indivisibility of security.”

What does that mean?

It means that parties to the agreement must refrain from any action that could affect the security interests of the other members. It means that parties cannot put military bases and missile sites in locations that pose a threat to other members. It means that parties must refrain from using their respective territories to carry out or assist armed aggression against other members. It means that parties are prohibited from acting in a manner that runs counter to the principles laid out in the treaty. It means that Ukraine cannot become a member of NATO if its membership poses a threat to Russian security.

Is any of this hard to understand?

No, it is perfectly clear.

So, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that “every nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements”, he is being deliberately misleading. Stoltenberg knows that both NATO and the United States agreed that they “would NOT strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others.” He also knows that NATO and the US are legally obligated to act in accordance with the agreements they signed in the past.

Naturally, Russia is challenging Washington on this matter. Here’s what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a press conference last week:

“Today, we are sending an official request to our colleagues in the countries of the Alliance and the OSCE via the Foreign Ministry with a pressing request to explain how they intend to fulfill the commitment not to strengthen their security at the expense of security of the others… This will really undermine relations with the Russian Federation as it will be a gross violation of obligations taken by the presidents of the US and other member states of the alliance.”

And here’s a similar quote from Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov on Tuesday:

“The United States concentrates on the right of states to choose alliances, enshrined in the declarations of the Istanbul (1999) and Astana (2010) OSCE Summits. At the same time, it ignores the fact that these particular documents condition this right on the obligation not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. The main problem is that NATO countries are strengthening their security by weakening Russia. We do not agree with such an approach.” (Tass)

Bottom line: The US and NATO are shrugging off their obligations to achieve their geopolitical objectives. Not surprisingly,
no one in the western media has reported on this issue even though there is incontrovertible evidence supporting the Russian position.

Question 2– The Biden administration has been pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to exaggerate the likelihood of a Russian invasion in order to fuel public hysteria and intensify Russia hatred?

1– True

2– False

This is “True”. On Thursday, senior Ukrainian officials told CNN that a call between Zelensky and Biden “did not go well.” They said Biden claimed “that a Russian attack may be imminent, saying that an invasion was now virtually certain.” Zelensky, however refuted the claim saying that the threat from Russia remains ‘dangerous but ambiguous,’ and “it is not certain that an attack will take place.”

“Do we have tanks on the streets?” Zelensky asked. “No. When you read media, you get the image that we have troops in the city, people fleeing … That’s not the case.”

The Ukrainian president also urged Biden to “calm down the messaging…. We do not see an escalation greater than” last year. He later added that “he was taking the danger in stride.”

Zelensky’s attempts to downplay the hyperbolic reports in the media, confirm that the current “crisis atmosphere” is largely an invention of the western media. In this way, the coverage is very similar to the fabricated “Russiagate” hoax.

Question 3– Ukraine has been in a state of crisis since the US-backed coup in 2014. Have the warring parties settled on a way to end the conflict?

1– Yes

2– No

The answer is “Yes”, they have. The Minsk Agreement was signed in February, 2015. Regrettably, the Ukrainian government has made no attempt to comply with the treaty’s terms.

“The signing was preceded by the summit of leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany who agreed to a package of measures to alleviate the war in the Donbas.” In other words, everyone agreed that these measures would end the fighting and bring the conflict to a close.

Both sides agreed to a ceasefire, a withdraw of troops and military equipment from the war-zone, and to recognize the de-facto autonomy (aka- “special status”) of the Donbass region. This would be followed by general disarmament and a reestablishing of Ukrainian control over its Russian border.

Over the years, Putin has called repeatedly for Minsk to be fully implemented, but Kiev has stubbornly refused. Even though the Ukrainian government has signed the agreement, they are determined to intensify hostilities and prolong the war.

On Wednesday, February 2, Ukrainian authorities once again demonstrated their opposition to the agreed settlement. According to reports in the Russian media:

“Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba …ruled out providing special status and veto power to Donbass…

“No Ukrainian region will have a right power for national state decisions. This is set in stone! There will be no special status, as Russia imagines it, no voting power,” he said.” (Tass News Service)

Keep in mind, there is no Minsk Agreement without the “special status” provision which amounts to de facto autonomy conferred on the Russian-speaking people of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Special status is the glue that holds the agreement together as it assures the people of those provinces that they won’t be arbitrarily and viciously persecuted by hostile elements in the government. So, when the Foreign Minister rules out special status, he is, in effect, removing the cornerstone upon which the entire treaty rests.

Was the Ukranian FM’s statement crafted by officials in the US State Department?

Probably. After all, a unified, prosperous Ukraine at peace with its neighbors does not jibe with Washington’s imperial ambitions. What the Biden​ administration wants is a splintered, bankrupt failed state riven by ethnic animosities that can be easily manipulated by political outsiders who see Ukraine as an essential part of their geopolitical strategy.

Washington does not seek an end to the hostilities. Washington wants to perpetuate the status quo.

Question 4– Did Putin expect the US and NATO to seriously address Russia’s security concerns?

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Russia-U.S. Negotiations Continue on Shaky Grounds | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2022

Russia wants the US and NATO to rescind a promise that was first made in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member of NATO. When Viktor Yanukovych was president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014, Kyiv joining NATO was not a concern. But Yanukovych was ousted in a US-backed coup in 2014, and ever since, NATO has significantly increased its cooperation with Ukraine.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/russia-u-s-negotiations-continue-on-shaky-grounds/

by Dave DeCamp

No progress was made during a meeting between NATO and Russia in Brussels on Wednesday as the US and NATO are rejecting a key Russian demand to halt the military alliance’s eastward expansion. But according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, both sides are open to further talks.

Stoltenberg said during the meeting, NATO members and Russia “expressed the need to resume dialogue and to explore a schedule of future meetings.”

The NATO chief said there are “significant differences” between the military alliance concerning Ukraine. “Our differences will not be easy to bridge, but it is a positive sign that all NATO allies and Russia sat down around the same table and engaged on substantive topics,” he said.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman represented the US at the meeting and echoed Stoltenberg’s comments. She said some of Russia’s security proposals were “non-starters” but maintained that there are still issues the two sides can negotiate on, including arms control.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, who led the Russian delegation in Brussels, had some positive things to say about the talks despite the US and NATO’s stance.

“I think that [this meeting] was absolutely essential. Firstly, it was some sort of a shake-up. If the meeting had not taken place, it would have been impossible to bring up these issues in full action,” Grushko said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

Russia wants the US and NATO to rescind a promise that was first made in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member of NATO. When Viktor Yanukovych was president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014, Kyiv joining NATO was not a concern. But Yanukovych was ousted in a US-backed coup in 2014, and ever since, NATO has significantly increased its cooperation with Ukraine.

On Thursday, the diplomacy between Russia and the West will continue at a meeting of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. While no breakthroughs have been made, the flurry of diplomacy and willingness to continue dialogue is a sign that the tensions around Ukraine and elsewhere in the region likely won’t lead to further conflict.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com

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NATO’s Jan Stoltenberg needs to calm it down – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on December 4, 2021

NATO: CIA and Pentagram sock puppet public relations department

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/12/03/natos-jan-stoltenberg-needs-to-calm-it-down/

Written by
Daniel Larison

Twice in the last two weeks, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has made public comments that threaten to worsen already strained relations between Russia and the alliance.

Instead of calming things down, Stoltenberg has been carelessly ratcheting up tensions over nuclear weapons in Europe and the conflict in Ukraine. At exactly the moment when the U.S. and NATO need to be working to deescalate the situation with Russia over Ukraine, the top official in NATO has been throwing kerosene on the flames. 

While he was urging the new German coalition government to continue hosting U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, Stoltenberg made the dangerous suggestion that the weapons could end up with NATO members to the east of Germany: “So, of course, Germany can, of course, decide whether there will be nuclear weapons in your country, but the alternative is that we easily end up with nuclear weapons in other countries in Europe, also to the east of Germany.” Raising the possibility of moving these weapons closer to Russia was bound to elicit a sharply negative reaction, and that is what happened. 

Stoltenberg’s remarks prompted immediate outrage in Moscow, and it led the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko to announce this week that Belarus would welcome Russian nuclear weapons to its territory in response to any NATO redeployment to the east. Stoltenberg’s warning may have been intended for Berlin, but it had its greatest and most destabilizing impact in Moscow and Minsk. At a time when the Russian government already perceives a growing threat coming from the West, talking about moving nuclear weapons into eastern Europe was a serious mistake. 

It is worth noting that the continued presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe serves no real purpose. As Global Zero’s Derek Johnson has pointed out, these weapons are a relic of the Cold War and they were originally deployed to be used against countries that are now members of NATO. In any event, the new German government still supports nuclear sharing, so the weapons stored in Germany won’t be going anywhere in the near future. Nonetheless, conjuring up the specter of American nuclear weapons moving closer to Russia was enough to further sour relations. Coming on the heels of the breakdown in NATO-Russian relations that began with the expulsion of Russian diplomats in October, this could only serve to deepen mistrust between Russia and the alliance. 

Stoltenberg also repeated the standard NATO line that Russia has no part in decisions about alliance expansion: “Russia has no veto, Russia has no say, and Russia has no right to establish a sphere of influence trying to control their neighbors.” Since Russia has already demonstrated its ability to thwart at least one aspirant state’s ambitions to join the alliance, the Secretary-General’s platitudes seemed almost as if he were trying to dare Moscow into taking more aggressive action. The U.S. and NATO may not like it, and it may not be the way that we want things to be, but the fact is that Russia absolutely does have a veto in practice over which of its neighbors become members of an anti-Russian military alliance. We already know that the Russian government will exercise that veto. The Secretary-General’s saying that Russia has no say is practically an invitation to Putin to prove him wrong.

Whether NATO officials agree with the assessment or not, the Russian government views NATO as the principal military threat to their country. Given the Russian experience of suffering devastating attacks from the west several times over the last two hundred years, their leaders have naturally been wary of the eastward expansion of the alliance, and they have made it very clear that they consider further advances to be intolerable. NATO’s “open door” to Ukraine and Georgia may seem like so much boilerplate rhetoric to Western officials, but it needlessly antagonizes Russia while offering these countries false hope of alliance membership that will likely never materialize. Stoltenberg’s latest remarks will likely have the same effect of angering Russia while giving the Ukrainian government the mistaken impression that their future entry into the alliance is guaranteed. One could hardly ask for a message more likely to promote misunderstanding and miscalculation.

It is not a coincidence that heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been preceded by Kyiv’s frequent agitation for a Membership Action Plan over the last year and the Biden administration’s endorsement of Ukraine and Georgia’s future alliance membership in recent months.

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The Tightening of the NATO Noose — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2021

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/18/the-tightening-of-the-nato-noose/

Brian Cloughley

NATO’s military noose round Russia’s borders is being tightened in order to force Moscow to react to surging provocation, Brian Cloughley writes.

One of the most recent developments on the NATO front line was a meeting of the so-called ‘Bucharest Nine’ which the analytical agency Stratfor states “is a group of NATO’s easternmost members, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of these countries share strategic interests on issues such as deterring potential Russian aggression, keeping close cooperation with the United States, diversifying their sources of energy, and developing joint infrastructure projects.” The purpose of the video get-together, attended by President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, was, according to the US-NATO military alliance “to take the agenda forward” in its mission “to consolidate views on issues of interest in the Alliance for the participating nations, and to support joint security projects.”

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery. The Taliban have no intention of permitting democracy in Afghanistan, when they eventually take over, after NATO’s retreat, and the country will be plunged into a maelstrom of theocratic bigotry and barbarity.

NATO followed the US into Afghanistan in August 2003 with the mission “to enable the Afghan authorities and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces to provide effective security, so as to ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists.” It declares that the war and the transition to a training role in 2015, have represented “NATO’s longest and most challenging mission to date: at its height, the force was more than 130,000 strong with troops from 50 NATO and partner nations.” And they still got whipped by a few thousand militants who objected to the presence of foreign forces in their country.

So it’s back to Europe for US-NATO, having had a fun-war on Libya in 2011 when it blasted the country in the name of peace. This fandango of savagery was named “Unified Protector” but all it protected was the profits of Western arms manufacturers. After seven months of bombing and rocketing the country, involving 9,600 airstrikes, the then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen went to Tripoli and declared he was “proud of the part the Organization and its partners played in helping the country and the region.” But as we know only too well, the country is in chaos.

As I wrote six years ago, two prominent figures involved in the US-NATO war on Libya were Ivo Daalder, the US Representative on the NATO Council from 2009 to 2013, and Admiral James G (‘Zorba’) Stavridis, the US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of NATO) in the same period. As they ended their war, on October 31, 2011, these two ninnies had a piece published in the New York Times in which they made the absurd claim that “As Operation Unified Protector comes to a close, the alliance and its partners can look back at an extraordinary job, well done. Most of all, they can see in the gratitude of the Libyan people that the use of limited force — precisely applied — can affect real, positive political change.”

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Trump Should Close – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 2, 2019

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?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/04/patrick-j-buchanan/trump-should-close-nato-membership-rolls/

By

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…

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