Western Propaganda for a New Cold War

Western propaganda portrays Russia as the aggressor and NATO as the victim, but the reality looks almost opposite from the ground level, Rick Sterling found on a recent fact-finding trip.

By Rick Sterling

Recently I went on a 15-day visit to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives. The group visited Moscow, the Crimean peninsula, Krasnodar (southern Russia) and St. Petersburg. In each location we met many locals and heard diverse viewpoints.

CCI has a long history promoting friendship and trying to overcome false assumptions between citizens of the USA and Russia. The founder Sharon Tennison has focused on making people-to-people connections including the business community, Rotary clubs, etc. This delegation was organized because of concern about escalating international tensions and the danger of a drift toward world threatening military conflict.

Russian marchers honoring family members who fought in World War II. (Photo from RT)

Russian marchers honoring family members who fought in World War II. (Photo from RT)

We were in Russia in late June as Russians were commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. They call it the Great Patriotic War where 27 million Soviet citizens died. In Russia it’s a very sober occasion in which they pay tribute to the fallen, acknowledge the heroes and underscore the horrors of war. Virtually everyone in Russia lost family members in World War Two and there seems to be a deep understanding of what war and invasion mean.

It is alarming to see the constant drumbeat in Western media that Russia is “aggressive,” that Russia “invaded” Crimea, Russia is “a threat.” Hardly a day goes by that The New York Times does not have an editorial or news story with the assertion or insinuation that Russia is “aggressive”.

Thursday’s op-ed by Andrew Foxall is an example. A director of the neocon Henry Jackson Society think tank, Foxall bemoans the British departure from the European Union and suggests, without evidence, that Russian President Putin may be behind it:

“Mr. Putin has spent the past 16 years trying to destabilize the West. … After Brexit, the union has lost not only one of its most capable members, but also one of its two nuclear powers and one of its two seats at the United Nations Security Council. … Mr. Putin checked the European Union’s expansion when he invaded Ukraine in 2014. The Continent’s security order is now in a perilous plight: If Mr. Putin senses weakness, he will be tempted into further aggression.”

It is now common to hear the claim that Russia “invaded” Ukraine and is “occupying” Crimea. The U.S. and its European allies have imposed sanctions on Russia because of Crimea’s decision – supported by a referendum with nearly 90 percent participation and a 96 percent favorable vote – to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

Because of the sanctions, tourist cruise ships no longer stop at Crimean ports and international airlines are prohibited from flying directly to the international airport at the Crimean capital, Simferopol. Students from Crimean universities cannot transfer their academic credits to universities internationally.

Despite the sanctions and problems, Crimea appears to be doing reasonably well. In the past two years, the airport has been rebuilt and modernized. The streets of Balaclava, Sevastopol, Simferopol and Yalta are busy and bright. No doubt things could be much better and residents want the sanctions lifted, but there were no evident signs of shortages or poverty.

On the contrary, kids were enjoying ice cream, parks were full and streets busy late into the night. The famous Artek Youth Camp near Yalta is being refurbished with new dormitories, state of the art swimming pool and gymnasium. Right now they are handling 3,000 youth in the camp at one time with 30,000 kids from all over Russia this year.

A 12-mile bridge connecting Crimea to southern Russia is now half complete. A impressive video showing the design is here.

What Provoked Crimea?

After 22 years as part of independent Ukraine following the breakup of the Soviet Union, what drove the people of Crimea to overwhelmingly support a referendum calling for “re-unification” with Russia? Was this the result of intimidation or an “occupation” by Russia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of  Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

We received a very strong sense from talking with many different people in Crimea that they are happy with their decision. The impetus was not aggression from Russia; the impetus came from the violence and ultra-nationalism of the foreign-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who was strongly supported by Crimea’s voters.

U.S.-supported protests against Ukraine’s Yanukovych government began in November 2013 in the “Maidan” (central square) in Kiev. Protesters included right-wing nationalist and Nazi sympathizers hostile to the Yanukovych government. A significant faction in the Maidan glorified the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

The U.S. was deeply involved in promoting the “Maidan” protests and strategizing how to bring a new government to power. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland demanded the Yanukovych government do nothing to stop or prevent the increasing vandalism, attacks and intimidation. With thugs in the street increasingly clashing with police, U.S. officials pressed the Ukrainian government to break economic ties with Russia as a condition for closer relations with Europe and loans from the International Monetary Fund.

On the surface, the U.S. was encouraging Ukraine to strengthen ties with the European Union but in reality Nuland’s goals were about expanding NATO and undermining Russia. This was dramatically revealed in a secretly recorded phone call between Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should and should not be in the coup government two weeks before the coup happened. As they conspired over the phone, Nuland expressed her displeasure with the European Union’s reluctance to push the coup. “Fuck the E.U.,” Nuland said.

When the audio recording of Nuland and Pyatt discussing how to “midwife” the Kiev coup was revealed, the State Department’s spokesperson was grilled about it. She responded “That’s what diplomats do.”

Six weeks before the phone call – at a conference of U.S.-Ukrainian business leaders sponsored by Chevron – Nuland spoke glowingly of Ukraine’s “European aspirations” and the U.S. investment in promoting “democracy” in Ukraine.

In that Dec. 13, 2013 speech, Nuland said “Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals.” (approximately 7:30 into the recording of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation conference).

In mid-December 2013, hundreds of Crimeans traveled to Kiev in buses to join peaceful protests in opposition to the Maidan protests seen on television. They stayed in Kiev through January and into February until the violence exploded on Feb. 18, 2014. Altogether, 82 persons were killed including 13 police and 1,100 injured.

At that point, the Crimeans decided peaceful protest was useless and to return home. The bus caravan departed Kiev on Feb 20 but was stopped at night near the town of Korsun. The buses were torched and the Crimean travelers brutalized, beaten and seven killed. When news of this reached Crimea, it was yet another cause for alarm.

A video titled “The Crimes of Euromaidan Nazis” documents the events and includes interviews with numerous passengers. These atrocities against unarmed Crimeans were committed on a public highway with no intervention from local Ukrainian police.

Rejecting Compromise

On Feb 21, the Yanukovych reached a compromise brokered by three European governments, calling for reduced presidential powers and early elections so Ukrainians would have the opportunity to elect a new leader. But those concessions did not appease the most violent Maidan protesters or their supporters. A parliamentarian was beaten in broad daylight and threats issued.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

President Yanukovych fled for his life and a new government, led by Victoria Nuland’s choice Arseniy Yatsenyuk, took charge. The U.S. and its Western allies quickly recognized the new government as “legitimate” while Russia objected to it as an illegal coup. In the first days of the new government, a bill was passed to make Ukrainian the sole official language of the country despite the fact that many Ukrainians speak Russian.

Indeed, there was aggression and violence in Ukraine but it was not from Russia. Rather, the evidence shows that the violence was instigated by the forces that led the coup. This was revealed in an intercepted phone conversation between British representative to the European Union, Catherine Ashton, and the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet.

Paet reported that he had been to Kiev and “there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.” Ashton responded, “Oh gosh …. We will need to look into that” and quickly moved on. Nearly 2½ years later, the post-coup regime in Kiev has failed to conduct a serious investigation into the sniper attacks.

While this history is largely ignored by the U.S. and Western media – The New York Times won’t even admit that there was a “coup” – the reality is well known in Crimea and other ethnic Russian areas of Ukraine. Crimeans whom we spoke with described their shock and outrage at the events that unfolded in the winter of 2013-14.

In just four months they witnessed violent Maidan protests, the overthrow of the elected government, beatings and killings of citizens returning from Kiev, and then a parliamentary vote to remove Russian as an official language.

In response, local leaders recommended a Crimea wide referendum with the option to officially re-unite with the country that Crimea had been part of for over two centuries. A referendum was held on March 16. Turnout was 89 percent with 96 percent voting in favor of the “reunification of Crimea with Russia.”

With the violent overthrow of the Kiev government and clear proof of U.S. involvement in the coup, it seems highly inaccurate to say that Russia “invaded” or is “occupying” Crimea. (Russian troops were already stationed in Crimea as part of the lease agreement for the Sevastopol naval base.) On the contrary, it seems to be the U.S. and its allies were the “aggressive” ones.

The same reversal of reality is going on with the expansion of NATO. In recent weeks, NATO has placed armed forces in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania while complaining about Russia engaging in threatening military deployments inside Russia.

NATO military expenses are already 13 times greater than that of Russia yet NATO plans to increase military spending even more. Meanwhile the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002 and is busy building and installing ABM sites in Alaska and now Eastern Europe. With a serious face, U.S. officials have previously claimed these sites are being installed because of the danger of “Iranian missiles” but only a fool could take that seriously.

There is the additional risk that the same sites could be converted from anti-ballistic missiles to contain nuclear warheads.

Are NATO and the U.S. preparing for war? The public should be asking hard questions to our political and military leaders as they waste our tax dollars and risk global conflagration. And, enough of the nonsense about Russian “aggression” when the evidence indicates it’s the U.S. and its allies that are destabilizing other countries, escalating a new arms race and promoting conflict instead of diplomacy.

Rick Sterling is an independent writer/researcher. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com

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44 comments for “Western Propaganda for a New Cold War

  1. July 14, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I am hesitating to forward this to a friend of mine because I know he will say it is “Russian propaganda.” This is a German friend, but he could just as well be an American or (other) European. “Putin is a fascist,” they will say, “who oppresses his own people, does not allow free speech, and the eastern European countries know from experience that Moscow is indeed a “bear” and cannot be trusted. They (Russians) respect only strength, and that is what exactly what NATO wants to show them. The annexation of Crimea was a violation of international law which cannot go unpunished.”

    I am playing devil’s advocate here. Can you help me?

    • July 14, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Good piece, Rick. And, Michael, it is a REALLY thick layer of propaganda that truth-tellers must penetrate. I’ve never seen it so thick, and I’ve been around a long time.

      Scott Horton of antiwar.com gave me 25 minutes to try to spread some truth around last week. No guarantee, of course, but there is an outside chance that, if your German friend(s) can be persuaded to listen in on that, that might help.

      I refer you to my website raymcgovern.com . As of now, a link to Scott’s interview sits atop the list of new postings.

      Ray

      • July 14, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        Thanks, Ray. I’m listening to it now and will refer it to my German friend. I will let you know (right here!) his reaction. But I will have to listen to it twice myself to get the info into my head. It is so much easier just to listen to the propaganda. Alles gute, Ray!

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

          Michael, and Ray, what we need is a media which would show the American people just exactly what is going on inside Ukraine, and some other places where America is engaging in. I would love to see a documentary that posed such examples, as while you Americans were being told this by the New York Times and other news outlets, this was what was really going on at the time. Most American people I know, haven’t a clue to what the truth really is. If only we had a media outlet who would only tell them. Would we see Americans grief stricken with horror, as we saw German people, when the concentration camps were open for all to see?

          • Nancy
            July 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

            Make short, consise documentaies 4- minutes or so. Make several that layout the issues.

            Then look to the progressive internet news sites because American’s are reading and watching.

            Look to the Green Party and those supporting it.

            Get the word out! Many American’s know that our government is hijacked by the 1%.

      • July 15, 2016 at 5:18 am

        Ray, What is required is An Amerexit. Read Ivan Eland’s ‘Entangling Alliance’ on this site.

        https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/11/nato-as-an-entangling-alliance/

        Revolutions may be started or planted in a day or overnight… but it takes a while for them to grow, mature and bear fruit. Usually an entire season. Go BREXIT!

        America is into its 200 something year and, although seemingly well rooted, and even putting out tentacles or dendrons to the rest of the world like crab grass, it still does not seem to have matured, blossomed, or appear to be ever going to bear fruit. Like Kudzu, growing and spreading like hell, but still a useless and strangulating, predatory weed.

        And it is. in fact, beginning to show evidence of root rot… beginning to wither dry up, and die in the soil in which it was planted.

        Perhaps it is time to replant and start over again. REVOLUTION BABY!

        • Brad Owen
          July 15, 2016 at 7:25 am

          You should read Webster Tarpley’s take on Brexit. It’s a move by their oligarchy, dressed up in populist clothing. Brexit is a campaign to become the bankers for China…their “Genoa” (who became the bankers for the huge Spanish Empire). It’s going to be a currency war. The Dollar, Euro, and Yen are going to be hit hard, Great Depression hard. It could be the trigger for WWIII (China’s “Co-Prosperity Sphere” gone global…like what Japan did in WWII). Watch for it to unfold…it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Siberia, who gets it; China or PanEuropa.

    • Joe L.
      July 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Michael Morrissey… I don’t know if anything that I say will help but I will just talk about my own experience. I am not an American but a Canadian. I look at what is happening in the world right now and I just cannot see us, collectively the west, as the good guys. Sometimes I will go and sit at my neighbour’s garage for a beer and we banter for awhile. He likes to watch our local news after work and sometimes we will talk about the news and what our perceptions are of what is happening in the world. I remember him at one time denouncing Iran and that they threatened to wipe Israel off of the map. I told him that I did not agree and that the quote that he was referring to was a mistranslation, as far as I have read. I then went further to point out the US/British coup in 1953 against the “democratically” elected Mossadegh for oil interests (what would become British Petroleum) and subsequently the US/Britain put the Iranian people under a dictator friendly to US/British interests until 1979 happened – hence why I believe Iranians refer to the US as “The Great Satan”. There is a very LONG history of US backed coups, the US even training 11 Latin American dictators at the School of the America’s (now WHINSEC) located in Fort Benning, Georgia where they have even displaced “democracies” all across the region to install them. Overall, though I think to even approach someone who probably has a bias or approaches a subject simply from what they glean from the mainstream media is to open up history – that is largely what my neighbour is missing by simply watching our news. In speaking of the Middle East I have also told him flat out that I believe that our government’s are either directly supporting Al Qaeda in the Middle East to pull off “regime change” or factions related to Al Qaeda (which are no better) – I then subsequently showed him the video from US 4-star General Wesley Clark from 2007 talking about US plans that predate 9/11 for regime change all across the Middle East and have also spoken to him about the speeches made by Vice President Joe Biden about our “allies” in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar etc.) being so hellbent on regime change in Syria that they are funding/arming Al Qaeda and ISIS (meanwhile supposedly we are fighting them and yet our “allies” are still our allies).

      Now when it comes to Ukraine, based on a history of US coups or regime change, it seems to me what occurred in Ukraine was one of the most blatant coups that the US has pulled off. First we have the tape with Victoria Nuland picking who the US should or should not put into government and having Ban Ki-moon, from the UN, “midwife this thing”. Then we have Victoria Nuland talking in, I believe, 2013 about the $5 Billion that the US has invested in Ukraine since 1991 (through USAID, I believe) standing in front of a Chevron sign. Then we can look at American politicians such as Victoria Nuland giving out cookies on the Maidan, John McCain having photo ops with nationalists/Neo-Nazis, VP Joe Biden’s son on the board of Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, an American that used to work for USAID in Ukraine becoming Ukraine’s Finance Minister, and I also think there was a link to Larry Diamond (whom I believe is related to the US State Department) producing the “I am Ukrainian” video where subsequently the girl in the video is now the deputy Governor of Odessa (I believe, under Mikheil Saakashvili the ex-Georgian President wanted for crimes in Georgia) – the US’ fingerprints are all over Ukraine and it did not start with Russia.

      As for Crimea, I do see that as defensive in nature. From what I have read, Crimea was actually Russia 61 years ago and has had a Russian military base there for something like 300 years. This means that there are people in Crimea that were born as Russians, not Ukrainians, and have strong links to Russia. As much as our media wanted to denounce the referendum that occurred in Crimea, where something like 81% of Crimeans came out to vote and of them 96% voted to rejoin Russia, we now have Pew Research, Gallup & GFK polls which all support the original findings of the referendum. Overall, though, I do believe that Russia annexed Crimea as a way of keeping its’ military base from becoming a NATO base. Russia also has definite justifications for its’ findings since it was promised that NATO would not expand to the east of Germany during reunification – and that was a finding by Der Spiegel, a German publication, in their article entitled “NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?”

      Anyway, I just think that many people are captive to the mainstream media which does not try to walk in another person’s shoes and is severely lacking of any historical perspective to open up the conversation. I would maybe open up with the historic nature of US backed coups, even against democracies, and even before Ukraine happened the US recently pulled off a coup in Honduras in 2009 (something Hillary Clinton is infamous for) and right now Newt Gingrich is meeting with a group in Paris that wants to pull off “regime change” in Iran (which severely undermines the agreement with Iran). USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy – they were active in Cuba (ZunZuneo) trying to create regime change as reported by the Associated Press & the Guardian (US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest and undermine government), they were active in Egypt against Morsi as reported by Al Jazeera (Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists), and then we have an American who worked for USAID becoming Ukraine’s Finance Minister. Well, I am sure that I have rambled too much but maybe a video from the award winning John Pilger, a contributor to this site, about US regime change in Latin America entitled “War on Democracy” – https://vimeo.com/16724719 is probably a good start and maybe it would be worth talking about the Chagos Islands as well where in the 1970’s the US/Britain ejected the residents of those islands and dumped the people into the slums of Mauritius so that the US could build a military base on Diego Garcia – John Pilger also did a documentary on this as well entitled “Stealing a Nation”.

      • David Smith
        July 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm

        Russia did not “annex” Crimea. Crimea was severed from the Russian SSR and attached to the Ukrainian SSR with the status of Autonomous Region. Crimea was never “Ukrainian sovereign territory”. An Autonomous Region within a nation may choose, by plebicite, to become a sovereign nation,,or anything else. The bogus term “annex” has been used even by Ray McGovern(who should know better) and feeds into the “Russian invasion” propaganda line. The propagandists know Crimea followed international law leaving Ukraine, but their backup line is “the referendum was rigged”(it was not).

    • Joe L.
      July 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Michael Morrissey… One other thing, and it somewhat relates to Russia, is the Red Line that Obama, Kerry etc. drew for Syria blaming Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people meanwhile at the very same time UN inspectors, that Assad invited, were on the ground in Syria – so it made absolutely no sense at all for Assad to use chemical weapons. Meanwhile, I believe that Carla Del Ponte, a lead UN investigator, pointed out that it was most likely the “rebels” that used chemical weapons in Syria, I believe Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) was caught with 2 kg of Sarin Gas in Turkey, and there are even stories now of ISIS using chemical weapons in Syria – surprise, surprise. Then add in people like Robert Parry or Pulitzer Prize Winner Seymour Hersh who wrote “The Red Line and the Rat Line” and “Whose Sarin?” which disputes the US Government claims. My point being that the US Government, as well, spews its’ fair share of “propaganda” and the Iraq War (along with Syria) is a very clear picture of this but historically you can go back to major events throughout history, from the dropping of the Atomic Bombs forward, and see all of the propaganda spewed by the US Government and mainstream publications such as the New York Times (William Laurence).

    • Eddy
      July 15, 2016 at 3:22 am

      Ask your German friend, who has military bases in Germany, the Russians or the U.S. ??? Ask him too, whether he is aware those military bases also have nuclear weapons stored upon them, thus making them a nice fat target should the shite hit the fan. So what would he think of a Germany that glowed in the dark ??? I guess he’d probably blame the Russians again . LOL There are none so blind, as the ones who refuse to see the light.

    • MEJ
      July 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      I’ve been in similar situations and I decided not to lecture my friends who believe this. But I do mention little zingers before I change the subject, like the fact that Putin has huge popularity back home, and the Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia which makes that legal according to the Kosovo precedent.

      After that, if anybody is really curious, they will Google some information.

    • dahoit
      July 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

      And the Lying Times said today.Russia manipulated photos of the shot down flight over Ukraine.
      As it was behind the paywall,I didn’t see the alleged photos,but no one else ran with the story today.

    • Oleg
      July 16, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I am a Russian. I also lived for a while in the West. Including Germany. There is more freedom of speech in Russia than in Germany. A case at hand: recent events at an opposition TV and newspaper RBC. Its leadership quit their jobs, ostensibly, as a result of “pressure from Kremlin”, and a new editor in chief was appointed. Here (in Russian but Google translate should not be an issue), https://meduza.io/feature/2016/07/08/esli-kto-to-schitaet-chto-mozhno-pryamo-voobsche-vse-eto-ne-tak once can find a record of the first and very frank meeting of the new editor-in-chief with the RBC reporters. Actually, it is claimed it was recorded illegally, but it is out anyway. So it is really frank. What is my impression from reading it: reporters are allowed to do pretty much everything, as long as (i) they do it professionally, and (2) they do it responsibly. And these are really reasonable requirements. Russia is a multicultural country to quite a greater extent that most Western countries who claim to be multicultural. Russia has North Caucasus that still remains a problematic region. Professionalism and judgement and sometimes restraint should be important values for the people in the media. As it is in the West. Yet another thing that came up and the only thing that I personally could possibly see as an infringement on the freedom of speech is the request not to expose in the media the private lives of the family members of the country leaders. Again, the case at hand is Putin’s ex-wife and daughters. Well, technically speaking – maybe, but in fact – it is very much understandable, also from the security point of view. Also, people in Russia hold very strict views on this kind of privacy, they demand privacy of their families, especially females, and they do not see why the President should be denied it. You in the West think that becoming a politician means your private life is all in public now. We are different. You generally like to expose your private lives, gay parades are good examples. We do not. And it is OUR media and WE should judge it.

      To sum it up, regarding the freedom of media and all that. Having Internet and knowing how to use it, I never failed to find the information I needed. Never. And regarding the freedom of speech in the West. MSM, corporate ownership – you know all that already so I think I needn’t bother to recap it.

      Oppression of the people – LOL. Putin did win the election, three times now. Very comfortably. His ratings are sky high. Etc. If your German friend thinks like that, he is seriously brainwashed. If he thinks that’s all manipulations – see the freedom of speech above.

      Russians tend to forgive their leaders lots of things, if they see that a leader is really capable of leadership, to lead and protect the country and its interests. Putin is. Russians do not forgive weakness, scheming, political games, indecisiveness. That’s why Gorbachev is liked in the West and hated in Russia. None of the current Western leaders would stand a chance to be elected in Russia. Maybe except Ms. May, the new British PM, and even that remains to be seen. But we are similar to Brits anyway in that we prefer to be our own masters.

      So yes, in a sense, we respect strength. But NATO does not show any strength. The recent NATO decisions expose not strength, they show again – political games and the lack of brainpower, ability, or political will, to assert and judge the real threats to NATO’s countries. We in Russia think that your leadership is very much senile or brainwashed and cannot see the obvious. This is not a show of strength. This is a show of weakness. We do not fear strong NATO. A strong NATO would see things for what they are, would have vision of real threats, and perhaps even cooperate with Russia to combat those threats. Nice, coup in Turkey… But NATO leadership is in fact extremely weak and that’s why it has to “demonstrate unity” and strength. Really strong people do not demonstrate, they do. And it is the weak NATO that we are wary of. Weak people, and weak organizations, are irresponsible. That’s the real threat – to everyone.

      • Henrik
        July 26, 2016 at 11:40 am

        Different cultures take time and good will to fix. Otherwise you can always do what America does and kill them all or send them to little reserves on what used to be their own land.

        China is the same way as Russia with many trouble spots in autonomous regions because of the cultural differences. But these problems only get worse when the CIA involves itself like in Tibet and XinJiang and Hong Kong……. and Taiwan. Dam CIA’s been busy!

        But China isn’t going to murder them or force them into a Trail of Tears so it will take time to settle those places down.

    • robin
      July 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm
    • robin
      July 17, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      Could this be of any help to you ?
      The real reason Russia and Syria are being targeted right now.—– http://stormcloudsgathering.com/the-geopolitics-of-world-war-iii

    • robin
      July 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Follow the site, it could open your friend’s eyes . There are links to the very good articles ( below the page ), and they are of american journalists. Double Game and False Flag Operations are interrelated— http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/07/17/nice-attack-double-game-and-false-flag-operations-are-interrelated/

  2. Bob Van Noy
    July 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I watched the eight part series “War & Peace” on Hulu yesterday to remind myself of the horrors that the Russian people have known. Years ago I become engrossed in Tolstoy’s novel and remain so to this day. Yes it was the French invading Russia, but the overreach of the French and Napoleon IS the story. I’m now reading, “The 900 Days about the German siege of Leningrad” by Harrison Salisbury (1969). One cannot view and read such things and come away unaffected by the strength of the Russian people. I maintain that Americans don’t know the Russians outside of the post WWII propaganda we’ve been fed for a lifetime. It’s time that we finally understand them instead of always reacting to untrue pop culture. I’m providing links for those of you interested in education rather than propaganda…

    Harrison Salisbury here:
    http://spartacus-educational.com/USAsalisburyH.htm

    And 900 Days here: https://www.amazon.com/900-Days-Siege-Leningrad/dp/0306812983/ref=sr_1_1/000-1595007-8004472?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468517653&sr=1-1&keywords=harrison+salisbury

    Tolstoy here:

    War & Peace video series here: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/war-and-peace

    And here: https://www.amazon.com/War-Peace-Wordsworth-Classics-Tolstoy/dp/1853260622

    Now we see the drumbeat starting again by backroom intellectuals who know nothing of personal sacrifice, including the Clintons. The 1% cannot be asked to fight the Russian people on some propaganda assumption. It cannot happen!

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 14, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Correction, the 99% cannot be asked to fight for this political/bureaucratic cabal.

  3. Gregory Herr
    July 14, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    https://www.rt.com/shows/in-the-now-summary/332766-zakharova-syria-media-propaganda/

    Marie Zakharova, of the Russian Foreign Ministry, is the featured guest on this short program. When Bob Van Noy referred to the “strength of the Russian people”, I was reminded of her strength, character, and emotion.

  4. jaycee
    July 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Nothing demonstrates support for a “rules-based” international order more than the swift recognition of the unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government.

  5. July 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Its all about the military industrial complex. Eisenhower warned us and Kennedy be it John or Robert payed the price. Nato has to justify its existence with out a bogie man how can they plunder the public purse and let us not forget the wall street mob alot of western oligarchs to feed 64000 of them thats alot of fiat money to go around

  6. July 15, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Thanks to all the above who responded to my call for help. Now all I have to do is get Fritz to read the article, listen to Ray’s interview, and read the comments here. This will not be easy. No easier, I admit, than trying to get me to read a similar amount of argument from the other side — though I already do that just by exposing myself to the mainstream media.

    I have long been an advocate of internet debate but have never seen a forum that lives up to the technological potential of online discussion, i.e. no limits of time or space that always snuff live debates otherwise. Such a format could be easily provided by virtually any website, and rules could easily be set down to force participants to respond properly, fully, and in good faith. This is the only way to have every point in an issue exhaustively debated, instead of the unsual thing, which is for each side to expound infinitely their own point of view without ever having to respond specifically and exhaustively to every single point of contention.

    The technology of the internet makes this perfectly possible, but I have never seen even an attempt to create such a forum. (I tried it once but half the participants dropped out before it could get started.) It is the only way to turn general BS-flinging contests (each side believing the other side to be full of BS into rational discussion, and though I am trying not to be too cynical I have to conclude that the fact that it has never been done must mean nobody is really interested.

    Fritz, would be more likely, I think, to read through a tit-for-tat debate where “his” side is adequately and fully represented (as well as challenged) on every single point. But where does one go for this? All I’m saying is that the internet is the perfect mechanism for this, such a mechanism has never before existed in the history of humanity, and we are fools not to use it.

    • TruthTime
      July 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

      People do use the Internet for debates already. It’s a thing.

      And the issue you refer to with different people unable to see another person’s point of view is simply the human condition, and there is likely biological explanation s as well considering also the complexity of the human brain. Many people ‘solidify’ their beliefs as they age and become ‘set in their ways.’

      Certainly carefully constructed language and the use of psychology may get someone to ‘see’ another point of view, but it takes time.

      • July 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        I am not talking about people being unable to see a different point of view. If one really believes that there is no point in discussion at all. There is no debate on the internet. There are just millions of people saying what they think and trading insults whenever a point of disagreement is identified. If you can link me to anyplace where a real debate of the kind I am trying to describe (hard because it has not happened yet), please do.

        Let me give you an example. VIPS contra the current “intelligence assessment” (or whatever they call it) on any given point. These people would know how to formulate the questions, isolate the points of difference, and proceed to debate, and then, hopefully, to consensus. Boy, wouldn’t that be great! VIPS vs VIPIP (Veteran Intelligence Professionals In Power).

        Another example is this website. There is no debate here. Occasionally there is a different point of view, but can you identify any single point that has been debated? Maybe somebody says something different, but that is not debate.

  7. Bob Van Noy
    July 15, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Thanks to you Michael Morrissey, and to you Robert Parry for giving us, your readers, an opportunity to speak truth to power…

    • Roger
      July 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Only to you brainwashed Western Propaganda types. Just like Oleg said most Russians love Putin and hated what Russia turned into after the USSR’s fall.

  8. AndJusticeForAll
    July 15, 2016 at 10:24 am

    this article is as good as this “Stalin was not a tyrant, he was a talented manager. Victims are unavoidable.”

    • Gregory Herr
      July 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

      AndJusticeForAll:

      The author, writing from personal experience and a developed insight that he has gained through extensive travel and communication, has produced an article that is much “better” than you seem to be able to give it credit for.

      That Russian people “have a deep understanding of war and invasion” is something you might do well to reflect upon. That Crimeans freely decided to assert their political will, that the Ukraine coup was engineered by Washington, that NATO is playing a game of lies & provocation, are all well-studied points of Mr. Sterling’s article.

      How you can contort this into Stalin apologetics is “funny”. But then, mindless blather is easier than studied comprehension.

    • Oleg
      July 16, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      And what does Stalin have to do with this article? Manipulations, again? All the signs of weak people…

      Stalin was NOT a talented manager. Under his regime, Russia/USSR has indeed developed many industries and infrastructure – but at a horrible cost. This is not a sign of a talented manager. During the late 1800th and early 1900th, Russia was perhaps the fastest developing country in the world. Thousands of miles of railways were built. New industries were built from scratch. New regions were developed. Without Gulags, without repressions, without anything. Using private funding, capitalist mechanisms, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the Russia’s merchant class. Bolsheviks did not do it. They ended it and destroyed much of this infrastructure during their coup and 5+ years of civil war and repressions that followed. But it is convenient for people like you to continue to prop up Stalin every time. As a scarecrow. Stalin was even a bad leader during the war, his cleansing of the army and errors in policy and defense planning left the country vulnerable to Hitler’s invasion. He was a part of our history though. What it has to do with anything now?

      • AndJusticeForAll
        July 17, 2016 at 11:51 am

        The words about about good manager belong to Putin and that point of view is shared by Russian Communists and many people in Russia now. They are now trying to deny all those horrors that you Oleg have mentioned and call him a good manager. So, I highly doubt that Russians made any conclusions from the bloody past. Look at recent beat up of English fans in Marseille. Russian media praised them. There is no any country along the Russian border that does not feel threat now. Even Belarus and Kazakhstan feel like they are trapped.

        The same thing this article is doing. According to UN definition of aggression Russia is the aggressor regardless of Fox News or NYTimes etc. And this article through manipulation of facts is an attempt to say vice versa. It has exactly the same structure, arguments and cliche as other articles on this site.

        To me accusers of western propaganda act exactly the same. There is no balanced information analysis they claim they represent here in a vast majority of articles except few. There is one ex-cia author whose articles have merit even if I do not agree with some conclusions.

        • Oleg
          July 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm

          “The words about about good manager belong to Putin and that point of view is shared by Russian Communists and many people in Russia now.”

          And so what? What is has to do with anything? Many people in the US believe in poltergeist, aliens, I do not know. Russia IS a free country and people can believe whatever they want. My opinion is different from the majority because I know history. Most people do not. Including in the US and elsewhere. Also, for obvious ideological reasons, the success of Russian development in late 1800s was downplayed in Soviet history textbooks, and many people in Russia including myself went to school still during the Soviet times.

          About feeling threatened: if the propaganda machine tells big lies and continues to repeat these lies over and over again, oh yes, the people will be brainwashed. Whether or not this has any real substance behind it or not.

          Many people in the world, including myself, feel really threatened by the United States. Even its closest ally, Canada. I know, I lived there for many years. An even if the United States always behaved like lowly lambs, there will be people who would fear the US regardless because of its sheer size and power. The same is true about Russia.

          The real question is: are the NATO leaders also brainwashed so they do not see that there is no threat? Or are they so weak and unprincipled that, even if they know it to be untrue, they still continue to play political games with war and death? I do not know which of the alternatives would be worse.

          If you want to imply that Stalin was aggressive, I have to disappoint you. He was extremely defensive in all his actions. I do not have time to educate you in history, and it will be futile anyway, you seem to be from one of these places, Poland perhaps, and even 300 years of doing the same thing and getting the same (disastrous) result did not teach the Poles anything. Suffice to say that, for instance, regarding the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939, the Finnish military leader of that time, a Finnish national hero and a truly remarkable statesman, General Gustaf Mannerheim, argued before this conflict that Soviet requests were in fact very reasonable from the military point of view and in view of inevitable German aggression and tried to persuade the government to accept at least some of them. He was overruled by politicians who, as now, could not see the obvious and played political games. So he had to cooperate with Germans, and people in Russia did not forgive his role in the siege of St. Petersburg and the death of millions of people there, but at least he did the most honorable thing he could: he stopped the advancement at the old Russo-Finnish border and did not allow Germans there, not a single soldier. Very few Soviet soldiers were actually killed by Finns, and we also remember that.

          The Finnish war is in fact a very good example. Finland was perfectly safe during all the 1920th and till 1939. Nobody wanted to invade it or anything. Western Ukraine and Belarus were parts of Poland. Baltic states were independent and nobody tried to annex anything there. Poland was totally safe and even annexed some territories from its neighbours. And – all these places were parts of the Russian Empire just 20 years before. Yet Russia did not try to annex them, except idiotic events in Poland in 1919, and even then this was really part of the Russian Civil war and provoked by Polish invasion and seizure of a great part of Ukraine. But after the Civil War ended, everybody lived in peace, even though Russia lost immense territories (that are of course in the focus of all the troubles now again). One thing that changed everything: Hitler’s aggressive behavior in Europe, build-up of military forces along Russian borders and open declaration of the intent to attack the Soviet Union. You do not see any similarity to the present-day situation? Then you are hopelessly brainwashed, sorry.

          The plain truth is: Ukraine would have been a safe and prosperous state, including Crimea and Donbass, if not for the coup there that was orchestrated by EU, NATO and the US. And everybody who has just a bit of brain left know this is true.

  9. Lawrence Fitton
    July 16, 2016 at 10:47 am

    governments, it seems to me, are run by immature types who play juvenile ‘games’ with adult consequences. all manner of intrigue, secret cabals(clubs),childish name-calling, bullying, harassing, spying, and sometimes physical fighting are common to many governments. preteen clubs and teenage gangs have a lot in common with them. alone, perhaps no one actor is dangerous. but when people of a like-mind hang together they develop a more radical belief system.
    children tend to be selfish. they lie and cheat – and sometimes steal – to get what they want. governments display the same immaturity.
    but, governments are run by, so called, grown-ups, who play with adult toys. they show-off techno-gizmology that kills, mains, destroys. they have not developed a conscience or feel remorse. they are stunted. they are sociopaths.
    alas, the age of enlightenment may arise in some distant galaxy.
    here on earth? the little children shall lead them.

    • Oleg
      July 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      I fully agree with you. However, it has not been that bad until recently. As recently as in 2008, when Georgia invaded South Ossetia, major potential problems were prevented by mature leadership of then French president Sarkozy. I do not know and it really puzzles me why ALL Western leaders are now of the same juvenile immature and irresponsible variety. Is it a generational change? Well, then we need to brace for more. Millennials are on their way… I have already seen them in my classroom and, oh my, I am scared.

  10. Jim
    July 26, 2016 at 11:28 am

    If you want to know what a peoples feel about their country just let them leave it on a foreign exchange. When they are on neutral soil and can believe that nobody is looking over their shoulder the truth comes out.

    I was living overseas one time and near a local university in a neutral country. There were people there of so many different countries. Of course you can’t talk to them when they are with other people that might have come with them. They don’t feel secure enough like that and the allure of playing for your team is too strong then. One other thing to understand is that you have to act neutral too. You can’t let them think you are part of or agree with the propaganda of anybody related to their country’s issues. They will hold back too.

    So here’s a few things I learned when I get them alone.

    Russians LOVE Putin. They feel like Russia is finally on track again and Putin is making it great. They really speak their mind too. So much for “oppresses his own people, does not allow free speech, and the eastern European countries know from experience that Moscow is indeed a “bear” and cannot be trusted.”

    North Koreans are scared of their country and Kim Jong il now Jong un. But they have their own personalities and those personalities bleed through once they feel like their government isn’t watching. The two key points for them are that 1. they are just like everybody else and 2. they really don’t like South Korea and can give you very real examples of why.

    South Koreans are very materialistic thanks to the investment of the US into their economy. This is one of the reasons North Koreans don’t like them because they see them as selfish. South Koreans think this makes them free. They also don’t like North Koreans but if you dig deeper you’ll find their reasons are based on how the media portrays them.

    Japanese don’t like Shinzo Abe. They don’t like this neo-dainippon thing that’s happening in their country and most want China and other victimized countries to forgive them. Several of the ones I met told me flat out the first place they visit when they go to China is Nanking so they can pay their respects and ask for forgiveness at the memorial site. Besides that they are very similar to modern day Chinese people in that there’s this weird tug of war between tradition and modern culture. They love shopping for example and taking selfies and shouting their admiration for things. But tradition hits them at each one where they’ll watch their spending, excuse themselves for taking selfies because it might be a bother for someone else and try to keep their excitement at bay if they think their oohing and aahing will cause a scene.

    • Jim
      July 26, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Forgot to add one thing.

      If you leave America. DO NOT let people think you are American. They will not like you.

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