TFF PressInfo #381: Much stronger than during the First Cold War. Why is NATO so irrational?

By Jan Oberg

The third article in the TFF series on The New Cold War

We are witnessing a remarkable increase in tension between the US/NATO and Russia these years – and it can not only be explained by whatever we choose to think happened in Ukraine and Crimea. We find a totally new effort on both sides to use social and other media to tell how dangerous “they” are to “us”. There is a clear tendency to “fearology” – to instill fear in the citizens on both sides about the capabilities and intentions of the other side.

We find deeply concerned articles about the possibility of war between the two parties – a quarter of a century after the Berlin Wall tumbled.

Why is the new tension rising in Europe between US/NATO and Russia so manifestly dangerous and – with the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis worse than during the First Cold War?

On a series of indicators, the political Western world – US/NATO/EU and Christian (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic with sects) – is becoming weak relative to other players in the global society.

The West has engaged in a series of wars that turned into very costly fiascos – from what followed from Sykes-Picot which turned 100 in May 2016 over Vietnam to the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The West is still the largest economic bloc and the 28 NATO members cover about 70% of the world’s mind-boggling US $ 1700 billion military expenditures. Africa as a continent, BRICS countries – China in particular – are making progress, also in fields where the West has failed; for instance, China has lifted 400 million Chinese out of poverty in a couple of decades. The wealthy West has done nothing of the sort over centuries but produced a grotesquely, perversely unequal income distribution.

Take a look at the graphs linked to this summary page from SIPRI. They will tell you how world military expenditures in constant prices have risen since 1996 even though the Warsaw Pact had been dissolved. In 2015, the US alone stands for 36% of the world’s military expenditures, China for 13% and Russia for4%.

President Obama stated recently that the US military is stronger than the next 8 – here is what he said in his State of the Union Address on January 12th, 2016:

“I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker,” Obama said in his last annual State of the Union address Jan. 12, 2016. “Let me tell you something: The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.”

In spite of these fact that prove the overwhelming and increasing superiority of today’s NATO, we see a constantly increasing propaganda coming out of NATO circles to the effect that NATO is getting weaker and that Russia a formidable, unreliable power just waiting for the next opportunity to invade some country in the West.

Let’s take a look back in time.Read More »

Putin’s Media?

By Jonathan Power

Moscow, November 18th 2014.

The English language “Moscow News” newspaper doesn’t worry much about censorship. It goes for the jugular on a regular basis. But it is doubtful if President Vladimir Putin gives it a thought. Its audience is almost entirely expatriate businessmen, diplomats and journalists.

For the Russian-language papers and broadcasting channels it is a different story. Over recent years the state has taken over more and more. Still there are chinks of light- sizeable ones, although admittedly Putin could shut these off if he wanted to. One of these is the internet, which suffers only from the censorship of a handful of personal sites and would be impossible to stifle completely given the way “close-downs” can be circumvented.

A contributor to The Moscow News made a good point: Read More »

TFF PressInfo # 292: Brisbane – A show of Western weakness

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

No matter what you may think of Putin and Russia this is simply not the way international politics should be conducted, particularly not at the personal level. If it wasn’t an offence to children, one would aptly characterise it as childish behaviour.

Western leaders ignored a brilliant opportunity to meet face-to-face with Vladimir Putin and move forward towards mutual understanding instead of signalling that they want a new Cold War.

Western leaders tell us that Russia is a ”threat to the world”. That obviously serves other purposes because you don’t bully someone you genuinely fear.

The G20 Brisbane should be remembered for its show of Western leaders’ personal display of weakness and conflict illiteracy.

Pummelled Putin punching bag

CNN reports that, during the meeting, Putin took ”pummelling” and was treated as a ”punching bag” by Western leaders from he set foot on Australian soil where his Australian host had sent a deputy minister of defence to receive him.

The Guardian reports that the Russian president approached Canadian Prime Minister Harper with his hand outstretched. Harper reluctantly shook it, then said “Well I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.” ”Bold words” – media called it.

Footage shows Putin sitting alone at a lunch table – like a naughty school boy put in the corner as by his teachers.

President Obama said that we are ”opposing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine which is a threat to the world as we saw in the appalling shoot down in the MH-17”.Read More »

TFF PressInfo: Cold War warnings 1998 – 2014

By Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden August 11, 2014

Quality research leads to better predictions

One criteria of quality research is that it predicts the future better than incompetent research.

Because TFF is independent of governments and coroporations it doesn’t have to take political considerations or exclude certain theories, concepts or values. This free research enabled it over the years to make fairly precise predictions about for instance former Yugoslavia, the Iraq war and East-West relations.

In 1998 – 16 years ago – we warned that NATO’s expansion would lead to future problems with Russia. Read it here.

NATO should never have been expanded

We backed this prediction up with 46 arguments and argued that so many other things would be wiser than containing Russia from the Baltic republics to Georgia – a strategy pursued by Bill Clinton in contravention of all promises given to the Soviet Union/Russia at the end of the Cold War about ten years earlier.

That counterproductive and insensitive expansion has now hit Ukraine. A new Cold War is gathering over Europe. It should have been predicted by advisers, intelligence agencies, big research institutes and columnists.

But it wasn’t.

At the end of the Cold War, NATO/the West got everything it could ever wish – and without war. But it wanted more: keeping Russia down, making NATO bigger and “peace-making” as well as finding new enemies to keeping its Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC) alive and well: Saddam, Milosevic, the Muslim world, terrorism and – now re-cycling – Russia.Read More »