Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia’s genuine national interests, its “red lines,” and the risk that “tough-guy-ism” can lead to nuclear war, as Alastair Crooke explains.

By Alastair Crooke

We all know the narrative in which we (the West) are seized. It is the narrative of the Cold War: America versus the “Evil Empire.” And, as Professor Ira Chernus has written, since we are “human” and somehow they (the USSR or, now, ISIS) plainly are not, we must be their polar opposite in every way.

“If they are absolute evil, we must be the absolute opposite. It’s the old apocalyptic tale: God’s people versus Satan’s. It ensures that we never have to admit to any meaningful connection with the enemy.” It is the basis to America’s and Europe’s claim to exceptionalism and leadership.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

And “buried in the assumption that the enemy is not in any sense human like us, is [an] absolution for whatever hand we may have had in sparking or contributing to evil’s rise and spread. How could we have fertilized the soil of absolute evil or bear any responsibility for its successes? It’s a basic postulate of wars against evil: God’s people must be innocent,” (and that the evil cannot be mediated, for how can one mediate with evil).

Westerners may generally think ourselves to be rationalist and (mostly) secular, but Christian modes of conceptualizing the world still permeate contemporary foreign policy.

It is this Cold War narrative of the Reagan era, with its correlates that America simply stared down the Soviet Empire through military and as importantly – financial “pressures,” whilst making no concessions to the enemy.

What is sometimes forgotten, is how the Bush neo-cons gave their “spin” to this narrative for the Middle East by casting Arab national secularists and Ba’athists as the offspring of “Satan”:  David Wurmser was advocating in 1996, “expediting the chaotic collapse” of secular-Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular. He concurred with King Hussein of Jordan that “the phenomenon of Baathism” was, from the very beginning, “an agent of foreign, namely Soviet policy.”

Moreover, apart from being agents of socialism, these states opposed Israel, too. So, on the principle that if these were the enemy, then my enemy’s enemy (the kings, Emirs and monarchs of the Middle East) became the Bush neo-cons friends.  And they remain such today however much their interests now diverge from those of the U.S.

The problem, as Professor Steve Cohen, the foremost Russia scholar in the U.S., laments, is that it is this narrative which has precluded America from ever concluding any real ability to find a mutually acceptable modus vivendi with Russia which it sorely needs, if it is ever seriously to tackle the phenomenon of Wahhabist jihadism (or resolve the Syrian conflict).

What is more, the “Cold War narrative” simply does not reflect history, but rather the narrative effaces history: It looses for us the ability to really understand the demonized “calous tyrant” be it (Russian) President Vladimir Putin or (Ba’athist) President Bashar al-Assad – because we simply ignore the actual history of how that state came to be what it is, and, our part in it becoming what it is.

Indeed the state, or its leaders, often are not what we think they are – at all. Cohen explains: “The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89.

“And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn’t end in Moscow. It ended in Washington, it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia.

“Many people in politics and in the media don’t want to call it this, because if they admit, ‘Yes, we are in a Cold War,’ they would have to explain what they were doing during the past 20 years. So they instead say, ‘No, it is not a Cold War.’

“Here is my next point. This new Cold War has all of the potential to be even more dangerous than the preceding 40-year Cold War, for several reasons. First of all, think about it. The epicentre of the earlier Cold War was in Berlin, not close to Russia. There was a vast buffer zone between Russia and the West in Eastern Europe.

“Today, the epicentre is in Ukraine, literally on Russia’s borders. It was the Ukrainian conflict that set this off, and politically Ukraine remains a ticking time bomb. Today’s confrontation is not only on Russia’s borders, but it’s in the heart of Russian-Ukrainian ‘Slavic civilization.’ This is a civil war as profound in some ways as was America’s Civil War.”

Cohen continued: “My next point: and still worse – You will remember that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Washington and Moscow developed certain rules-of-mutual conduct. They saw how dangerously close they had come to a nuclear war, so they adopted “No-Nos,’ whether they were encoded in treaties or in unofficial understandings. Each side knew where the other’s red line was. Both sides tripped over them on occasion but immediately pulled back because there was a mutual understanding that there were red lines.

“TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, ‘You don’t have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can’t have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don’t exist.’  This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct.

“Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. None of this exists today.

“My next point is a question: Who is responsible for this new Cold War? I don’t ask this question because I want to point a finger at anyone. The position of the current American political media establishment is that this new Cold War is all Putin’s fault all of it, everything. We in America didn’t do anything wrong. At every stage, we were virtuous and wise and Putin was aggressive and a bad man. And therefore, what’s to rethink? Putin has to do all of the rethinking, not us.”

These two narratives, the Cold War narrative, and the neocons’ subsequent “spin” on it: i.e. Bill Kristol’s formulation (in 2002) that precisely because of its Cold War “victory,” America could, and must, become the “benevolent global hegemon,” guaranteeing and sustaining the new American-authored global order an “omelette that cannot be made without breaking eggs” – converge and conflate in Syria, in the persons of President Assad and President Putin.

President Obama is no neocon, but he is constrained by the global hegemon legacy, which he must either sustain, or be labeled as the arch facilitator of America’s decline. And the President is also surrounded by R2P (“responsibility-to-protect”) proselytizers, such as Samantha Power, who seem to have convinced the President that “the tyrant” Assad’s ouster would puncture and collapse the Wahhabist jihadist balloon, allowing “moderate” jihadists such as Ahrar al-Sham to finish off the deflated fragments of the punctured ISIS balloon.

In practice, President Assad’s imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East and beyond. President Obama privately may understand the nature and dangers of the Wahhabist cultural revolution, but seems to adhere to the conviction that everything will change if only President Assad steps down. The Gulf States said the same about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. He has gone (for now), but what changed? ISIS got stronger.

Of course if we think of ISIS as evil, for evil’s sake, bent on mindless, whimsical slaughter, “what a foolish task it obviously [would be] to think about the enemy’s actual motives. After all, to do so would be to treat them as humans, with human purposes arising out of history. It would smack of sympathy for the devil. Of course,” Professor Chernus continues, “this means that, whatever we might think of their actions, we generally ignore a wealth of evidence that the Islamic State’s fighters couldn’t be more human or have more comprehensible motivations.”

Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically.

America lies far away from Syria and the Middle East, and as Professor Stephen Cohen notes, “unfortunately, today’s reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia’s actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America’s leadership in the world.”

It is a meme of perpetual national insecurity, of perpetual fears about America’s standing and of challenges to its standing, Professor Chernus suggests.

But Europe is not “far away”; it lies on Syria’s doorstep.  It is also neighbor to Russia. And in this connection, it is worth pondering Professor Cohen’s last point: Washington’s disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless.

Cohen again: “The false idea [has taken root] that the nuclear threat ended with the Soviet Union: In fact, the threat became more diverse and difficult. This is something the political elite forgot. It was another disservice of the Clinton Administration (and to a certain extent the first President Bush in his re-election campaign) saying that the nuclear dangers of the preceding Cold War era no longer existed after 1991. The reality is that the threat grew, whether by inattention or accident, and is now more dangerous than ever.”

As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures, in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia’s determination to try to avoid war is leading to war.

Russia’s call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin’s calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a “paper tiger,” whom no one needs fear.

In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the “benevolent” hegemon, or to prepare for war.

Alastair Crooke is a British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. [This article also appeared at the Conflicts Forum’s Web site and is republished with permission.]

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21 comments for “Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

  1. Abe
    December 11, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    In an under-reported incident in which Russian Crimea’s power lines were severed from Ukraine, leaving the peninsula and over 2 million residents in darkness for over a week, it has become clear to the world the tenuous grip Kiev and its NATO backers actually have over the “Ukraine” they claim they preside over […]

    While Crimea’s dependency on Ukraine for power and other necessities could have been used as a means of proving that the peninsula exists as an integral part of Ukrainian territory, by cutting power and being unable to rein in the terrorists who for over a week blocked repairs from the Ukrainian side, Kiev has all but proved it has no interest or ability to administer the region.

    That the terrorists in fact are backed by not only special interests now occupying Kiev, but by NATO and the United States in particular, illustrates the punitive measures Ukrainians and their neighbors face for falling on the wrong side of NATO and its proxies in Kiev. It also illustrates once again the impetus that drove the people of Crimea to wisely choose ascension into the Russian Federation rather than to remain a part of Ukraine in the first place […]

    The illegitimacy of not only the regime in Kiev, but of NATO who created it and to this day perpetuates its existence, has helped erode the very principles both are now trying to appeal to in order to maintain the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Beyond Ukraine, similar scenarios are developing across all of Eastern Europe, where as NATO attempts to expand closer and closer to Russia’s borders, it is finding it increasingly difficult to find allies who are not extremists with ties to fascism and/or Nazism.

    By allying itself with these radical elements, those populations subjected to their NATO-backed domination of politics, economics, and security are more likely to turn toward Russia either as Crimea did, or as the break-away republics of Donetsk and Lugansk have.

    Beyond Eastern Europe, the continual violation of Syria and Iraq’s sovereignty by NATO is making it exponentially more difficult to appeal to sovereignty and territorial integrity in regards to Ukraine. The West has repeatedly called for the “Balkanization” of Syria into several weaker regions. As the balance of power turns in the region, and even globally, the West may find this contempt it has shown toward national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of existing nations backfire on it when its own allies face the same prospect of being carved up.

    Some may argue that Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation itself was only possible because the NATO-driven lawlessness that it occurred in the midst of. As this lawlessness continues, it is all but guaranteed that Crimea will only be driven deeper within the Russian Federation.

    Crimea Loses Power Temporarily, Ukraine Loses Crimea Forever
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/12/crimea-loses-power-temporarily-ukraine.html

    • Kiza
      December 12, 2015 at 2:51 am

      Abe, one similar action by coup authorities of Ukraine was to cut off social assistance and pensions for the Donbass in Eastern Ukraine. This was an amazingly unlawful and stupid act, because cutting the social system in these parts means that they do not officially belong to the state of Ukraine any more. Perhaps, the coup practitioners consider that military force is the way to have things their way no matter the laws and established principles.

      From what I read, Donbass is slowly recovering from the war, whilst the state of Ukraine is sinking deeper into dependence on IMF.

  2. Abe
    December 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Ankara (including the pressure of Turkish business circles) is interested in establishing bilateral relations with Russia and will try to achieve it by any means, including informal diplomatic channels.

    However this does not prevent Turkey from intensifying its military efforts in Syria. Back, since 2011, in addition to the land border area it has been using the city port of İskenderun (Hatay Province) for the clandestine transfer of arms and military equipment to Syria from the ravaged depots of the Libyan Armed Forces. On the military bases in the city’s vicinity, British and French military instructors trained future anti-governmental Syrian militants; and the CIA and the United States Special Operations Command equipped them with communications systems and supplied the future militants with intelligence information. Training of the Syrian anti-governmental groups and of the active units of the Turkish Armed Forces were carried out simultaneously, thus ensuring the required level of understanding between the warlords in Syria and the Turkish military.

    In addition, the official Ankara has established a training center near the Turkish city of Adana (the military base ‘Adana’ is also used to move armaments to Turkey) which is located 130 km from the border with Syria. And there is a center for distribution of illegal deliveries of armaments, communication systems and other military equipment for the militants of the ‘Islamic State’ (IS), located in Istanbul. The peak of the ‘active defense’ of Turkish interests in the Syrian conflict became the destruction of the Russian bomber by the Turkish fighter plane. Probably, the Turkish special services in coordination with their counterparts from NATO were planning to seize the Russian pilots, but the Islamists, supported by official Ankara, failed to complete the ground part of the operation.

    The Turkish authorities supported the IS for two main reasons: the desire to destroy Syria and its legitimately elected authorities and to cash in on the oil smuggling. Just from two oil field sites, “al-Tank” and “Al-Omar” (and the IS has about 10 oil fields at their disposal), IS extracts from 20 to 40 thousand barrels per day, i.e. at a cost of $ 10 USD per barrel the terrorists earn between 200 and 400 thousand USD; and the Turkish businessmen get a real ‘margin’, which is two to three times more than the said amount, as the average world price of oil reaches $ 39 USD per barrel. The salary of the average IS militant is 300 USD, and to support 30,000 soldiers (the minimum effective number) it is enough to have only two oil fields operating continuously just one week per month. It is obvious that the Turkish side, even at the lowest volumes of Syrian oil deliveries earns hundreds of millions of US dollars annually […]

    In this situation, Ankara has begun an active search for new partners in the fight against Russia. It is notable, that Turkish and Ukrainian defense-industrial companies have engaged in the combined effort of developing armored vehicles. Thus, Turkish design engineers invited Ukrainian experts to cooperate in developing an active protection system AKKOR for the new Turkish tank “Altay”. The main problem of this system is the low efficiency of its radar detection of rockets. Recently it became known, that for the Qatari money, the Turks have bought “Igla” MANPADs in Ukraine (around 170 units), some of which were transferred to the Syrian Turkomen. One of them, by the way, was used to destroy the Russian helicopter that flew in the search and rescue mission of the SU-24 air navigator. So, Kiev and Ankara could be prosecuted for the supply of MANPADs to terrorist organizations that is strictly forbidden by the corresponding international convention.

    So far, it might be concluded that the Turkish political elite will continue the policy of exacerbation of relations with Russia, and thus eventually force itself into a corner, as NATO understands the real level of Russia’s military potential, and would most probably reject the idea of military confrontation with Moscow, although it may continue to push Ankara to do this. In the West, they are dreaming of how by just one shot to get rid of the two main competitors in the Middle East: Russia, headed by V. V. Putin, and Turkey, headed by R. T. Erdogan. However, Moscow understands this. It’s a pity that this is not yet understood by Ankara.

    Damascus and Moscow in a Fight Against Terrorism in Syria
    By Viktor Titov
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/11/damascus-and-moscow-in-a-fight-against-terrorism-in-syria/

    • Raggedy Andy
      December 14, 2015 at 3:34 am

      Abe, Russia still has yet to realize the overwhelming military might of NATO – OTAN and the UK. Simply stated, Ol’ Girl (QEII)is Russia’s forever master, like it or not. Get your head wrapped around that. Besides, the USA 130 ton beam weapon equipped satellite with nuclear warhead rockets is still orbiting 75 miles directly over Moscow, precisely over the kremlin and it is not the only one assigned to Russia. We will not have WW3 until we are ready to administer to Russia as a Constabulary Force due to the fact that occupation of Russia is not desirable at this point in time. Should that change, Russia will be subdued and administered.

    • Abe
      December 14, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Gee, Andy, is that the same Tesla Death Ray that vaporized the World Trade Center?

      So now we’ve got all these badass “planetary defense system” ray guns pointed at the Kremlin
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g77WN6obk4

      Cool.

      What’s hard to get my head wrapped around is why the USA equipped its 130 ton beam weapon satellite with “nucular” warhead rockets. They’re like so 1980s.

      With all that redundancy, the Black Budget desperately needs oversight. Oh well. “National Security”. Mums the word.

  3. Abe
    December 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Should the Russian intervention in Syria turn the tables on the ‘regime change’ intentions of the imperialist powers, the desperation in Kyiv and also in NATO can be expected to grow. There are early signs that thwarting of regime change could be in the offing […]

    A lessening or cessation of war in Syria would not put eastern Ukraine and eastern Europe out of the danger zone of NATO war threats and planning. But it would make the sales job for that more difficult for Western capitals.

    Ukraine and NATO Threats Against Russia Continue
    By Roger Annis
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/11/ukraine-and-nato-threats-against-russia-continue/

    • What's good for the goose...
      December 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      Poroshenko must go. (“Yats” too.)

  4. Bart
    December 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Concerning the Mexico – Canada scenario mentioned above, does Ms Power or anyone else on his staff ever ask the President to imagine putting the shoe on the other foot?

    Today the NYT has a three person debate on Russian sanctions: Two pro, one con.

  5. Boompi
    December 11, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    I fear as the “need” for more aggressive military action is seen as necessary by the Western coalition, the populations of these countries will be subjected to an increasing number or terrorist false flag events.

  6. December 12, 2015 at 1:54 am

    I hope russia china or brics nations start thier own nato type accord to tackle nato. its sad how people have such an evil eye on kiev..

  7. Abe
    December 12, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Since Russia began military operations in Syria against the terrorist proxy forces of NATO and the Gulf states, ubiquitous reports in the Western media have emerged which claim that Russia has killed and targeted civilians. Yet a large proportion of these news organisations that apparently are at the pinnacle of journalism in the West, are publishing reports that are often based on one or two very dubious (to say the least) sources.

    No photographs, videos or any actual evidence is provided in a lot of these articles. The presstitutes are so lazy these days they can’t even be bothered manufacturing fake evidence most of the time, they just cite a blog post from what may as well be some random guy on Twitter, and then quote a few Western politicians who want to oust Assad from power in Damascus; and they try and pass that off as professional news gathering. It’s truly a new low for Western mainstream journalism.

    One of the most widely cited ‘organizations’ in the Western media pertaining to the Syrian conflict is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) […]

    Many of the allegations in the Western press that accuse the Russian government of killing civilians are solely based on this one unprofessional and biased source. The International Business Times (IBT) published an article on the 21st of October, titled: Russia in Syria: 370, including civilians killed in Russian airstrikes, says SOHR. The IBT article provides no second source, and merely says “according” to the SOHR.

    On the 20th of November 2015, the SOHR released a report which claimed that the Russian air force had killed 403 civilians in Syria, including 166 women and children. In the report, there is absolutely zero evidence to support these claims – literally not a shred of evidence. But that doesn’t stop Western media quoting the SOHR report as proof of civilian casualties however.

    The Independent published an article on the 23rd of November with the sensationalist headline: Russian air strikes in Syria ‘have killed 97 children’, monitoring group says. The Independent only cites the SOHR report which has zero evidence in it, and provides no additional evidence to support this accusation, but somehow that passes for journalism in the West – what a joke. The Independent isn’t even a tabloid paper, it’s meant to be a little more respectable than say The Sun.

    Other mainstream news outlets such as Reuters, Yahoo News and the New York Times, publish stories which quote this figure of 403 civilians from the SOHR report.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, denounced the SOHR in October of this year, when she was responding to allegations widely circulated in the Western media that Russia had bombed a hospital in Northern Syria, killing 13 people. Zakharova stated:

    “This information appears with reference to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in London. As we all understand, it is very ‘convenient’ to cover and observe what is happening in Syria without leaving London and without the ability to collect information in the field.”

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a Tool of Western Propaganda
    By Steven MacMillan
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/12/the-syrian-observatory-for-human-rights-is-a-tool-of-western-propaganda/

  8. Abe
    December 12, 2015 at 3:45 am

    In reality, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in England’s countryside. According to a December 2011 Reuters article titled, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called “Syrian opposition” and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad […]

    Abdul Rahman is not a “human rights activist.” He is a paid propagandist. He is no different than the troupe of unsavory, willful liars and traitors provided refuge in Washington and London during the Iraq war and the West’s more recent debauchery in Libya, for the sole purpose of supplying Western governments with a constant din of propaganda and intentionally falsified intelligence reports designed specifically to justify the West’s hegemonic designs.

    Abdul Rahman’s contemporaries include the notorious Iraqi defector Rafid al-Janabi, codename “Curveball,” who now gloats publicly that he invented accusations of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the West’s casus belli for a 10 year war that ultimately cost over a million lives, including thousands of Western troops, and has left Iraq still to this day in shambles. There’s also the lesser known Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir of Libya, who formed the foundation of the pro-West human rights racket in Benghazi and now openly brags in retrospect that tales of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s atrocities against the Libyan people were likewise invented to give NATO its sought-after impetus to intervene militarily.

    Unlike in Iraq and Libya, the West has failed categorically to sell military intervention in Syria, and even its covert war has begun to unravel as the public becomes increasingly aware that the so-called “pro-democracy rebels” the West has been arming for years are in fact sectarian extremists fighting under the banner of Al Qaeda. The charade that is the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” is also unraveling. It is unlikely that the New York Times’ limited hangout will convince readers that Rami Abdul Rahman is anything other than another “Curveball” helping the corporate-financier elite of Wall Street and London sell another unnecessary war to the public.

    EXPOSED: Syrian Human Rights Front is EU-Funded Fraud
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2013/04/exposed-syrian-human-rights-front-is-eu.html

  9. Gopalan
    December 12, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Nuclear bombs are the weapons of the weak. This was clearly understood in the fifties. USA developed nuclear weapons during the Cold War to neutralize the advantages of USSR over US in Europe – multitudes of conventional armies and proximity. China developed nuclear weapons to neutralize the advantages USSR had; India developed its weapons to counter China; And Pakistan developed its weapons to counter India’s advantages of size and economy.

    Now, in the new Cold War, obviously Russia is the weaker side. Therefore it will be more compelled or more tempted to use them first. We hope and pray that any country that has these terrible weapons would use them only as a last resort – when their very existence is at stake, but you never know.

    The only way, as i see, to reduce this possibility is for China to decisively come out on the Russian side. That may force NATO to reconsider its course.

    But then, those who gods want to destroy, go mad first.

    Excellent article, though. As good as Edmund Burke’s prediction of the rise of a dictator right at the beginning of the French Revolution, almost a decade before Napoleon came. I hope someone will archive this article and it will survive the World War 3.

  10. Bob Van Noy
    December 12, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Many thanks to Alastair Crooke and to the Consortium News team for this article. I have followed Professor Cohen for a while now and I find his narrative on Russian relations to be consistent with my personal reading. President Kennedy, consulting with John Kenneth Galbraith, had a more nuanced view of the Soviet Union than many if not most of his contemporaries and was able to conduct meaningful back channel relations with
    Nikita Khrushchev. In retrospect it was a unique opportunity to explore much common interest between the US and Russia. President Kennedy’s assassination ended the opportunity for accord, and another opportunity would not present itself until the Reagan and Gorbachev summit in Reykjavík. I agree with Professor Cohen when he points out that our current Russian relations may be even more dangerous than in the Nineteen Sixties, especially with opinion being dominated by Willian Krystal and the neoconservatives. Unfortunately it is also true that, “Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. …,” as professor Cohen has stated.
    There is however, a vibrant dialogue on this site, and that is at least, encouraging…

  11. Abe
    December 12, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation, poses the question:

    Is Washington again squandering a historic opportunity for a partnership with post-Soviet Russia, again to the detriment of US national security?

    Professor Cohen frames recent developments http://www.thenation.com/article/us-and-nato-double-down-on-cold-war-versus-russia/ in the context of the now nearly month-long proposal by French President Hollande and Russian President Putin for a US-European-Russian military and political coalition against the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, and possibly Libya.

    Even though such an alliance is necessary and might serve also to resolve the Cold War confrontation in Ukraine, Cohen argues, recent US-led or -influenced events suggest that the Obama administration has rejected any such “grand coalition” with Moscow.

    Each of those events is discussed, including escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and Vice President Biden’s visit to Kiev; the Turkish shooting down of a Russian warplane; NATO’s sudden announcement that it is adding tiny Montenegro to its expansion toward Russia; the IMF’s violation of its own rules in order to give Kiev more billions of dollars; and the establishment media’s continuing vilification of Putin’s leadership, even his six-week air war against ISIS.

    • You Know
      December 14, 2015 at 3:47 am

      Yes, the stupid Muslim-in-Chief Traitor is doing exactly that and it is very frustrating to all involved. The NWO fools in the UN are propping him up, but that cannot last against rising pressures. He will be arrested soon Rest assured, this situation is only temporary and will end within a year. Hopefully when that sad situation resolves, Russia and USA along with UK can sign an agreement that brings the Allies back together once again, giving both much more strength when negotiating with the jihadist fools and the slippery Asian financial snakes. This impasse is only temporary so do not despair. Russian action in the UN could lead to his demise sooner rather than later…Our peoples and our Nations must rise up to resist and dissolve the IMF together!

  12. You Know
    December 14, 2015 at 3:57 am

    A diverse world of sovereign Nations that truly seek peace and cooperation is a far better solution than the IMF concept of a NWO one world government. The IMF NWO government will be doomed as soon as it is put forth by the entire world rising up against them, resulting in their total demise. The UN was formed to support the former rather than the IMF NWO agenda, so, let us not fall prey to the IMF machinations. Patience and Persistance will carry the day. Let us join forces against the IMF and their NWO!

  13. You Know
    December 14, 2015 at 4:14 am

    It is not a “binary choice” of acquiescence or war, it is actually a multiple choice of: War, Wait and See, Participate at a lower level of aggression, Make a new and brilliant move, Jump on board with NATO, or Simply drive on the same path. Nobody is actually forcing the game yet.
    War is the poorest choice by far.

  14. Ann
    December 14, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Joe Sixpack:
    a) an anti-Jewish bigoted moron, or
    b) a Hasbara propagandist troll

    My guess is b.

    As mentioned previously, Consortium News is frequently targeted by Hasbara (Hebrew: הַסְבָּרָה‎ hasbará, “explaining”) trolls who attempt to derail any discussion that mentions Israel’s collusion with the United States in “regime change” projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.

    Hasbara tactics of deception include:

    1) accusing anyone who offers legitimate criticism of Israel or Zionism of being “anti-Semitic”, and

    2) deliberately posting incendiary comments, such as links to “anti-Semitic” and “Holocaust denial” material, or remarks containing racist and religiously bigoted language.

    The incendiary remarks by Joe Sixpack fall into this category — an attempt to falsely depict the readership of Consortium News as hostile to Jewish people, which we are not.

    Criticism of Zionism and Israel is not anti-Semitism.

    Fortunately, Consortium News readers are alert to these Hasbara propagandist smear tactics., which have visibly intensified across multiple media in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal.

  15. Ambassador K P Fabian
    December 15, 2015 at 8:14 am

    That US with the imprudent intention of creating and maintaining a unipolar world failed to draw Russia into the Great Power system is generally accepted. But, President Obama, born around the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, was expected to be free from the group-thinking of the Cold War. He has disappointed us.

    Sooner or later, US will have to do course correction. But ,such correction by Obama’s successor appears unlikely.

    With what little wisdom is the world governed!

  16. Ambassador K P Fabian
    December 15, 2015 at 8:17 am

    That US with the imprudent intention of creating and maintaining a unipolar world failed to draw Russia into the Great Power system is generally accepted. But, President Obama, born around the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis was expected to be free from the group-thinking of the Cold War. He has disappointed us.

    Sooner or later, US will have to do course correction. But ,such correction by Obama’s successor appears unlikely.

    With what little wisdom is the world governed!

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