Old Cold Warriors Cool to New Cold War

To the surprise of many, some old Cold Warriors, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, are cooling to the idea of a New Cold War with Russia and China, recognizing that cooperation makes more sense than confrontation, notes Kathy Kelly.

By Kathy Kelly

It seems that some who have the ears of U.S. elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China.

In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the U.S. Cold War with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested U.S. global imperialism is coming to an end. Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, U.S. aims.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski

Graham recommends a shifting mix of competition and cooperation, aiming toward a “confident management of ambiguity.” Brzezinski calls for deputizing other countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to carry out the combined aims of the U.S., Russia and China so that this triumvirate could control other people’s land and resources.

It’s surely worthwhile to wonder what effect opinions such as Brzezinski’s and Graham’s might have upon how U.S. resources are allotted, whether to meet human needs or to further enlarge the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and further enrich the corporations that profit from U.S. investments in weapons technology.

If the U.S. might diminish offensive war preparations against Russia, when would DOD budget proposals begin to reflect this? As of April 15, 2016, the U.S. DOD was proposing that the U.S. Fiscal Year 2017 budget significantly increase funding for the “European Reassurance Initiative” (ERI) from $789.3 million the previous year to $3.4 billion.

The document reads: “the expanded focus is a reflection of the United States’ strong and balanced approach to Russia in the wake of its aggression in Eastern Europe.” The requested funds will enable the U.S. “defense” establishment to expand purchases of ammunition, fuel, equipment, and combat vehicles. It will also enable the DOD to allocate money to airfields, training centers, and ranges, as well as finance at least “28 joint and multi-national exercises which annually train more than 18,000 U.S. personnel alongside 45,000 NATO Allies.” This is good news for major “defense” contractors.

In the past year, the National Guard of my home state of Illinois has participated in the DOD reserve component. 22 U.S. states matched up with 21 European countries to practice maneuvers designed to build up the ERI. The IL National Guard and the Polish Air Force have acquired “Joint Terminal Attack Controller” systems that enable them to practice coordinating airstrikes with Poland in support of ground forces combating enemies in the region.

Members of the IL National Guard were part of NATO’s July 2016 “Anakonda” exercises on the Russian border. As the state of Illinois spent an entire year without a budget for social services or higher education, millions of dollars were directed toward joint military maneuvers with Poland that ratcheted up tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

Many families in Illinois can relate to the impact of rising food prices in Russia while family income stays the same or decreases. People in both the U.S. and Russia would benefit from diversion of funds away from billion-dollar weapons systems toward the creation of jobs and infrastructure that improve the lives of ordinary people.

But people are bombarded with war propaganda. Consider a recent piece of propaganda-lite, just under 5 minutes, which aired on ABC News, showing Martha Raddatz in the back seat of an F-15 U.S. fighter jet, flying over Estonia.

“That was awesome,” Raddatz coos, as she witnesses war-games from the F-15’s open cockpit.  She calls the American show of force a critical deterrent to Russian forces. The piece neglects to mention ordinary Russians on whose borders, in June 2016, 10 days of U.S. / NATO military exercises involving 31,000 troops took place.

In the high plateaus of Afghanistan, peasant women provide a striking example of risk-taking in order to literally plant new seeds. The New York Times recently reported on women in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province who have formed unions, risking ridicule and possible physical abuse to form cooperative groups.

These women help one another acquire seeds for vegetables other than potatoes and also for new varieties of potatoes. They manage to feed their families and to pool resources so that they can spend less on delivering their crops to the market.

These women are acting with clarity and bravery, creating a new world within the shell of the old. We should be guided by such clarity as we insist that lasting peace can’t be founded on military power.

The end of U.S. empire would be a welcome end. I hope that policymakers will let themselves be guided by sanity and the courage to clarify the U.S.’ vast potential to make a positive difference in our world by asking themselves a simple, indispensable question: how can we learn to live together without killing one another? An indispensable follow-up is: When do we start?

Kathy Kelly ([email protected]) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence. www.vcnv.org  Voices is organizing a small delegation to Russia in October 2016.

14 comments for “Old Cold Warriors Cool to New Cold War

  1. J'hon Doe II
    September 9, 2016 at 11:36

    “bodies floating on water” — Archimedes Theory


    the ability or tendency to float in water or air or some other fluid.
    the power of a liquid to keep something afloat.

    or — an optimistic and cheerful disposition.

    the latter is blatant disapprobation of sentiment.
    the former is blatant perpetuation of American Empire.

    or — All is well and ominous currents events are frivolous.


  2. J'hon Doe II
    September 8, 2016 at 16:36

    communication from variant platforms.
    I was of teen age at the beginning of TV Star Wars.
    It was major Sci-Fi to us of that age.
    Broadcast into our homes thru a piece of furniture.
    If you weren’t in life in that period of history,
    U have no clue as to how it altered living perspectives.
    Socrates as the “gadfly” of the state (4thC BC)

    Dialogues, vol. 2 (Plato)

    By: Plato

    Theme: Politics & Liberty


    Plato in his Apology for the life of Socrates reminds us that all societies need a “gadfly” to sting the “steed” of state into acknowledging its proper duties and obligations:

    I am the gadfly of the Athenian people, given to them by God, and they will never have another, if they kill me. And now, Athenians, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not sin against the God by condemning me, who am his gift to you. For if you kill me you will not easily find a successor to me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by God; and the state is a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long 1and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me.

    Full Quote
    About this Quotation:

    According to the words put into his mouth by Plato, Socrates believed that he had been sent by the gods to act as a “gadfly” to the Athenian state. He saw the state as “a great and noble steed” which had to be reminded of its proper duties. Socrates believed he did this by stinging the steed of state “all day long and in all places”. No wonder it wanted to get rid of him by forcing him to commit suicide!





  3. J'hon Doe II
    September 8, 2016 at 13:10

    Olu — “It lies in ordinary people’s refusal to engage in abstraction delivered by feel good words and fear and instead to exercise free speech, acting on ideals inspired in the heart.”

    A wonderful sentiment, Olu — but america has a violent history of death befalling many who ‘act on ideals inspired in the heart’.

    The late (murdered) Malcolm X proclaimed an apt description of “The Great White Fathers” when he outed them as Blue Eyed Devils.
    Witness the vicious treatment of the Sioux people this very day standing in defense of Treaty Provided Land!
    John 8:44-45
    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  4. wobblie
    September 8, 2016 at 08:47

    I think the whole Cold War apparatus is too big to roll back. It’s crumbing of its own accord. Zbig and Graham will not bear any influence on policy. The imperatives are in place. A multi-polar world would force the US into a more honest actor. Hopefully.


  5. Secret Agent
    September 8, 2016 at 07:52

    It’s not that Zbig thinks cooperation is better, it that he is smart enough to see that Obama has led America off a strategic cliff.

    It’s not just that Russia and China are back, it’s that all the allies/vassal states have had enough of the BS and are leaving the reservation.

    The American imperial project has failed on a spectacular fashion, and though the MSM is able to paint a brave face on it, America will only maintain its toehold on the Eurasian continent with the consent of either Russia or China. That’s not likely to happen.

    The good news for Americans is that Empires rarely implode. They just stop being relevant.

    • September 10, 2016 at 01:28

      Zbig was Obama’s mentor at Columbia, during Obama’s undergraduate time.

      Obama hasn’t led the US anywhere much different than Bush nor Hillary, just different variations on the same theme of Empire.

  6. Olu
    September 8, 2016 at 05:30

    When you are the only one indispensible and exceptional country, you do not apologise to anyone, its a sign of weakness and wait for it…. a threat to national security. When checks and balance of power are broken, democracy’s fail-safe does not reside in voting. It lies in ordinary people’s refusal to engage in abstraction delivered by feel good words and fear and instead to exercise free speech, acting on ideals inspired in the heart. When we fully come to terms with reality, we can find strength within ourselves to solve problems in our lives. We can see a new hope, one that will not blind us from the truth, but one that constantly demands courage for the truth.

  7. Olu
    September 8, 2016 at 05:29

    When you are the only one indispensible and exceptional country, you do not apologise to anyone, its a sign of weakness and wait for it…. a threat to national security.
    When checks and balance of power are broken, democracy’s fail-safe does not reside in voting. It lies in ordinary people’s refusal to engage in abstraction delivered by feel good words and fear and instead to exercise free speech, acting on ideals inspired in the heart. When we fully come to terms with reality, we can find strength within ourselves to solve problems in our lives. We can see a new hope, one that will not blind us from the truth, but one that constantly demands courage for the truth.

  8. exiled off mainstreet
    September 8, 2016 at 00:35

    Perhaps Brzezinski has finally figured out that no one gets out alive in a nuclear war and is seeking to throttle back the headlong lemminglike rush to oblivion sponsored by the Clintons and other neocons.

    • Realist
      September 8, 2016 at 02:19

      I sure hope that Trump brings his “A” game to the debates with Killary and can make her seem like a maniacal warmonger while he speaks the language of peace and sweet reason. Was flipping channels this evening and caught a bit of her answering questions by supposedly regular folks–she sounded like a maniacal warmonger. In her mind, I don’t think that Russia is even allowed to call the shots within its own borders. She will expect Putin to play that childhood game of “Mother may I?,” with her being “mother” for the next eight years.

      Trump needs to question her judgement at every turn–rhetorically asking the audience to try and find the sense of her approach, while pointing up the dangers. Mittens made Obomber look foolish in their first debate, before Mr. Shuck and Jive made a comeback. If Trump can run the table against Killary, he might pull those chestnuts out of the fire and allow us to survive the next presidential term. I hope he’s getting in plenty of practice dismantling the neocon agenda.

      • Secret Agent
        September 8, 2016 at 07:56

        Don’t worry. Trump will eat her lunch. All he has to do is point out that she is full of shit.

      • September 9, 2016 at 23:44

        Trump is just as bad as the Clintons, he’s just a slightly different flavor of Empire. Note his comment this week that we should grab the oil of Iraq. Heads they win, tails we lose.

  9. J'hon Doe II
    September 7, 2016 at 11:17

    Thomas Graham, – “confident management of ambiguity.”
    — Or fulfillment of Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism or Unrepentant, Unapologetic Lust for Genocide?

    SEPTEMBER 07, 2016

    President Obama is continuing his historic trip to Laos—the first trip there for a sitting U.S. president—although he has so far refused to issue a formal apology for the secret U.S. bombing campaign in Laos during the U.S. war in Vietnam. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped an average of eight bombs per minute on Laos, including as many as 270 million cluster bombs. Laos authorities say as many as one-third of these cluster bombs did not explode at the time. President Obama has pledged $90 million to help clear Laos of the unexploded U.S. bombs.

    President Barack Obama – “For all those years in the 1960s and ’70s, America’s intervention here in Laos was a secret to the American people, who were separated by vast distances and a Pacific Ocean, and there was no internet, and information didn’t flow as easily. For the people of Laos, obviously, this war was no secret. Over the course of roughly a decade, the United States dropped more bombs on Laos than Germany and Japan during World War II. Some 270 million cluster bomblets were dropped on this country.”

    • Jean Ranc
      September 9, 2016 at 20:50

      Here I will insert the comment I made on the National Interest site to Thomas Graham’s “The Sources of Russian Conduct” and heading, “Kennan’s Long Telegram needs an update for Putin’s Russia”:

      Mr. Graham, we already have an update of “Kennan’s Long Telegram” but it was directed at the US, not Russia and was quoted by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry in his 2015 book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink”, to introduce his chapter 20, “The Fall of Security Ties With Russia”: “I think it (NATO expansion) is the beginning of a new Cold War. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies, I think it is a tragic mistake.” George Kennan, quoted by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, 2 May 1998. Further, Mr. Perry also warned against expanding NATO membership to include the Czech Republic, Poland & Hungary in 1996 knowing that it would sabotage our then positive working relationship with Russia, which would feel threatened…but the ever aggressive Richard Holbrook won the debate in the National Security Council & Clinton approved their membership…to the detriment & decline of US-Russia relations down to the dangerous new Cold War, which both Perry and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warn: pushes us ever closer to a nuclear confrontation with Russia…whether by accident or design in such as Syria.

      It seems that Mr. Graham’s position as Managing Director of Kissinger Associates informs us that he has not shed his Cold War Hawk wings after all. An Associate of Kissinger?!? whose Machiavellian strategies from Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos to the over-throw of the democratically-elected Allende in Chile 9/11/73…and beyond cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives as the price of American-empire building & maintenance. And yet Hillary awaits Kissinger’s endorsement to win the presidency/the power..to proceed with turning the present Cold War Hot?

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