TFF PressInfo # 389: Ukraine as the border of NATO expansion

And why Russia doesn’t have to be a threat to the West

By Jan Oberg

TFF Series ”The New Cold War” # 7

If the Ukraine conflict is the centerpiece of the new 2nd Cold War, it is essential to ask: What really happened? What did NATO countries do to cause it? What did Russia do to cause it?
And – if you live in the West, in particular: Did we really have to end in this situation given Russia’s significant weakness over 25 years?
This article argues that the superior West could have played its cards differently and it’s time for self-critical soul-searching and just a little living yourself into the shoes of the other.
If peace rather than war is your true aim.

There was a beginning and a framework

The Ukraine conflict has a 25-years history. Instead of dissolving NATO, the alliance was expanded. Relieved from there being a Soviet Union and a Warsaw Pact, the alliance went as fast it could to do all it wanted. Remember, a series of WW III scenarios has been written in which that war would start with some uncontrollable event in Yugoslavia. Now it could be chopped up – freely and without risk. Serbia was bombed and Kosovo carved out without a UN mandate whatsoever (1999).

How did they think about that in the Kremlin at the time, one must wonder?

Clinton literally did not give a damn about all the promises made to Soviet leader Gorbachev by US leaders such as Bush, James Baker and German leaders including Hans-Dietrich Genscher. (Yes, they were not written down but confirmed by those involved and present).

He began the expansion of NATO in 1994 – in Georgia (see what I refer to elsewhere in this series). All around a Russia on its knees Americans were placed in the offices of prime ministers, defence and foreign ministers – I saw it myself in former Yugoslavia – and met CIA people in Croatia disguised as humanitarian workers. And had a long conversation with the representative of the US in Tblisi in 1994. Historical moment!

The bad Christians, the Orthodox, were the Serbs and Russians and Greeks – all should be antagonized and the good guys in Yugoslavia were those who had been on the fascist side in WWII – the leaderships in Croatia, Muslims in Bosnia and the Kosovo Albanians. The Serb minority that had lived 400 years as a minority in the Croatian republic were, in the common Western discourse, invaders masterminded by strongman Slobodan Milosevic – whom Clinton without hesitation called the new ’Hitler of Europe’.

Ukraine was – and remains – what its name says: the border areas (like Krajina in Croatia). This is where NATO can establish itself as little as Chruschev could get away with deploying nukes in Cuba – considerably further away from the US, but anyhow.

Imagine – with a little bit of empathy (not necessarily sympathy) how Washington would react if today Putin’s Russia was 12 times stronger militarily than the alliance-free US (NATO dissolved 25 years ago) and tried with his alliance of 27 other members to make Canada or Mexico the 29th member. Perhaps most people in the US and Europe would have some sympathy for the negative reaction of Washington. Rand remember, Trump wants to build a wall to Mexico…

The main reason, it is stated again and again, in the Western press, NATO and other political circles is: Ukraine and Crimea. The lie about Putin’s aggression on Ukraine is told so many times that it is becoming the truth. Just see these two recent articles by Newsweek as two of hundreds of articles.

Here’s the chosen story in politics and media alike

The narrative is simplified beyond recognition and goes like this:

Putin (there is always just one top guy in Western eyes and it is one leader at the top like Milosevic, Mohamed Farah Aideed, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Khaddafi, al-Assad) is a bad guy and you know that because out of the blue his suddenly annexed Crimea. By that he changes the borders of Europe and then he gets his disguised soldiers into Eastern Ukraine – a Ukraine that we, in contrast to Bush Senior, care very very much about today.

We care so much about it that Read More »

Peace without war in Colombia

By Jonathan Power

August 30th 2016

After 52 years of fighting between the Colombian government and Farc, the left wing, drug-dealing, Marxist, guerrilla grouping, there is a peace agreement.

I’ve always wondered why the US and Nato never intervened militarily. They should have if they were to be consistent. Colombia has long been exhibit A for those who say, “Look what happens when the outside world doesn’t intervene- the local fires just burn brighter and fiercer”. (And it has been said likewise for Sri Lanka during its civil war.)

The facts say the opposite: fires burn brighter and fiercer when there are invasions by the US and Nato. In Kosovo Nato jets, at President Bill Clinton’s command, tore into Serbia to bring “peace” to an unthreatening backwater of Europe and left behind a mafia that de facto had unseated and replaced the government.

Similarly, they blasted into Afghanistan even though the original purpose was not a war across a whole country but merely an attempt to kill off Al Qaeda. Likewise, into Iraq and Libya. As in Afghanistan, all these interventions made the fires burn fiercer.

So why not Colombia? I don’t know the reason that made Clinton decide not to intervene but although this peace agreement has taken a heck of a long time to negotiate is it not better than stoking up from outside a terrible war with hundreds of thousands of casualties?

Clinton said in 1999 thatRead More »

The – sad – US nominations

By Johan Galtung

The US mountain, so rich in human talent, labored and produced the two dwarfs for the huge job. A radical Republican strongman[i] and a conventional Democrat, disliked by 62% and 67%–bad for electing the president of a country that still puts some stamp on the world.

Trump challenged, successfully, the Republican machine. The Democratic machine got a Hillary who challenged absolutely nothing. In both parties, in the name of unity, a veil was drawn over these basic US conflicts today, not between the parties, but within. Cruz did not give in, Sanders did–maybe bribed by some verbal rephrasing.

Take the issue-complex “foreign policy-war”.

An isolationist Trump could save American lives” (and many more non-American lives). But doing so to save money is not good enough; take the issues head on. “Clinton and Trump jostle for a position over North Korea” is more to the point: Trump is open to negotiate directly with Kim Jung-un, Hillary sticks to conventional isolation-sanctions-multilateralism. Trump might become the first US president to take North Korea on the word: “peace treaty-normalization-a nuclear-free Korean peninsula”. Hillary’s line leads nowhere.

What is missing is an open debate on the two untouchables: US foreign policy and the US right and duty to war.

So there they are… Continue reading here.

Comment from Birgitta Hambraeus:

”To the point as usual, Johan! I appreciate your analysis!
What do you think will happen to Nato if Trump is elected president?”
Varma hälsningar!
Birgitta

Three unshakeable pillars of American foreign policy

By Richard Falk

April 4, 2016

It deserves to be noticed that it is only the two anti-establishment candidates who have challenged the foreign policy consensus that has guided American politicians ever since the end of World War II: 1) consistently express unconditional support for the Pentagon, 2) Wall Street, and 3) Israel (especially since the 1967 War).

Bernie Sanders has been the first serious presidential aspirant for several decades to challenge directly and unabashedly at least one of these pillars by way of his principled and concerted attacks on Wall Street, on the billionaire class, on the exploitative 1%.

Although moderate overall, Sanders has been respectfully deferential to the other two pillars, Pentagon and Israel. Because he has mobilized an intense following among all categories of American youth there has been a media reluctance to assault his substantive views frontally, except to offer a variety of snide remarks that cast doubt on his ‘electability.’

Such a dismissal pretends to be pragmatic, but the polls indicate that Sanders would do better against likely Republicans than Clinton. This leads me to interpret the refusal of the corporatized mainstream to take Sanders seriously, at least so far, as a coded ideological attack, basically a reaction to his anti-Wall Street stand that can be viewed as the opening salvo of class warfare.

Donald Trump has encountered a somewhat different firestorm but with a similar intent.

At first, when the cognoscenti dismissed him as a serious candidate, he was welcomed as a source of entertainment. Read More »