Washington’s Hawks Push New Cold War

As a fragile and partial cease-fire in Syria totters, the back story is the political warfare in Washington where powerful hawks seek to escalate both the war in Syria and the New Cold War with Russia, ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

By Alastair Crooke

Does the failure of the U.S.-backed, major insurgent August “push” on Aleppo – and the terms of the consequent ceasefire, to which some in the U.S. only irascibly agreed – constitute a political defeat for the U.S. and a “win” for Russia?

Yes, in one way: Moscow may, (just may) have cornered America into joint military air attacks on Al Qaeda in Syria, but in another way, one would have to be somewhat cautious in suggesting a Russian “win” (although Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s diplomacy has been indeed tenacious).

President Barack Obama talks with advisers, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, prior to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with advisers, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syria agreement with Lavrov though, has sparked virtual open warfare in Washington. The “Cold War Bloc,” which includes Defense Secretary Ash Carter and House Speaker Paul Ryan, is extremely angry.

The Defense Department is in near open disobedience: when asked in a press teleconference if the military would abide by the terms of the agreement and share information with the Russians after the completion of the seven-day ceasefire, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, which is directing the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, responded: “I think … it would be premature to say we’re going to jump right into it. And I’m not saying yes or no.”

But President Obama wants to define some sort of a foreign policy historical “legacy” (and so does Kerry). And the President probably suspects (with good cause possibly) that his legacy is set to be trashed by his successor, whomsoever it be – the minute he steps down from office.

In brief, the Establishment’s dirty washing is hanging on the line in plain sight. And it does not look great: Ash Carter, whose Department would have to work jointly with Russia in Syria, last week at Oxford University, accused Russia of having a “clear ambition” to degrade the world order with its military and cyber campaigns.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called Russian President Vladimir Putin an “adversary” and an “aggressor” who does not share U.S. interests. There is a U.S. media blitz in train, with powerful forces behind it, which paints Putin as no possible partner for the U.S.

Obama’s Will

Only in the coming days will we see whether Obama still has the will and clout to make the Syria ceasefire agreement stick. But the agreement did not appear out of the blue. One parent was the failure of America’s military “Plan B” (itself a response to the failed February ceasefire), and the other “parent” was Kerry’s wringing of a further concession from Damascus: Obama supposedly agreed to the separation of U.S. insurgent proxies from Al Qaeda (the former Nusra Front now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), and to their joint targeting, in return “for the what the Obama administration characterized as the ‘grounding’ of the Syrian air force in the current agreement,” as Gareth Porter has reported.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The U.S. and its Gulf allies – in pursuit of Plan B – had invested enormous effort to break Damascus’ operation to relieve Aleppo from the jihadists’ hold in the northeastern part of the city. The two sides, here (Russia and U.S.), were playing for high stakes: the U.S. wanted its Islamist proxies to take Aleppo, and then to use its seizure by the jihadis as political leverage with which to force Russia and Iran to concede President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster. Plan B, in other words, was still all about “regime change.”

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has from the outset of this conflict been strategically pivotal – its loss would have pulled the rug from under the Syrian government’s guiding objective of keeping the mass of the urban population of Syria within the state’s orbit.

America’s long-standing objective thus would have been achieved – albeit at an indescribable price paid by the inhabitants of western Aleppo, who would have been overrun by the forces of Al Qaeda. Thus, the Syrian government’s recovery of all Aleppo is a major strategic gain.

In the end, however, the U.S. and its Gulf allies did not succeed: their much vaunted Plan B failed. And in failing, the insurgents have sustained heavy loss of life and equipment. Indeed, such are the losses, it is doubtful whether a “push” on this scale could again be mounted by Qatar or Saudi Arabia (despite the post-Aleppo “push” in Hama) .

In spite of the failure of Plan B, the U.S. was not ready to see Al Qaeda isolated and attacked. It wanted it protected. The U.S. ambiguity towards the jihadists of being “at war with the terrorists”; but always maneuvering to stop Syria and Russia from weakening the jihadists was plain in the letter sent by the U.S. envoy to the Syrian opposition Michael Ratney to opposition groups backed by the United States.

The first letter, sent on Sept. 3, after most of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement had already been hammered out, “makes no reference to any requirement for the armed opposition to move away from their Al Qaeda allies, or even terminate their military relationships, and thus implied that they need not do so,” Porter wrote.

A second letter however, apparently sent on Sept. 10, reverses the message: “We urge the rebels to distance themselves and cut all ties with Fateh al-Sham, formerly Nusra Front, or there will be severe consequences.”

Will it happen? Will the agreement be observed? Well, the Syrian conflict is but one leg of the trifecta that constitutes the “new” Cold War theatre: there is the delicate and unstable situation in Ukraine (another leg), and elsewhere NATO is busy building its forces on the borders of the Baltic Republics (the third leg). Any one of these pillars can be wobbled (intentionally) – and crash the delicate political framework of all the others.

Demonizing Russia

Which brings us to the complex question of the current demonization of Russia by the Cold War Bloc (which includes Hillary Clinton) in the U.S. presidential election campaign.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Gregory R. Copley, editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs has described the situation as one in which the U.S. Establishment is deliberately and intentionally “sacrificing key bilateral relationships in order to win [a] domestic election,” adding “in my 50 odd years covering the US government, I have never seen this level of partisanship within the administration where a sitting president actually regards the opposition party as the enemy of the state.”

In short, the stakes being played here – in demonizing Russia and Putin – go well beyond Syria or Ukraine. They lie at the heart of the struggle for the future of the U.S.

There is practical evidence for such caution – for, three days before the Syrian artillery was scything the ranks of Ahrar al-Sham near Aleppo on Sept. 9 to close the chapter on America’s Plan B – (and four days before Ratney’s letter to the Syrian insurgents telling them to separate from Al Qaeda “or else”), Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in addressing the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada in Kiev, was eviscerating the Minsk II accords, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as the only possible political solution to the Ukrainian civil war.

“Moreover, in a difficult dialogue,” Poroshenko said (see here and here), “we have convinced our western allies and partners that any political settlement must be preceded by apparent and undeniable progress on security issues: a sustainable ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from the occupied territories, disarmament of militants and their family – and finally the restoration of our control over our own border” (emphasis added.)

Poroshenko, in other words, unilaterally turned the accord on its head: he reversed its order completely. And just to skewer it further, he told Parliament that any decision would be “exclusively yours” and nothing would be done “without your co-operation” – knowing full well that this Ukrainian parliament never wanted Minsk II in the first place.

And Kiev too is deploying along the entire borders of Donetsk and Lugansk. (A description of the military escalation by Kiev can be seen visually presented here).

Is Poroshenko’s U-turn the American “revenge” for Russia’s “win” in Syria – to heat up Ukraine, in order to drown President Putin in the Ukraine marshes? We do not know.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has boasted: “I think I tend to be in more direct conversation, for longer periods of time with the President [Poroshenko], than with my wife. (Laughter.) I think they both regret that (Laughter).”

Is it possible that Biden was not consulted before Poroshenko made his annual address to the Rada? We do not know, although within 48 hours of Poroshenko’s making his Rada address, Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in London, recommitting to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as he signed a “bilateral partner concept” with the Ukrainian defense minister.

Provoking Russia

What we do know however, is that this is – and is intended to be – a direct provocation to Russia. And to France and Germany, too. Within a week, however, Poroshenko was backtracking as “coincidentally” a new IMF loan was being floated for Kiev, just as the German and French Foreign ministers insisted on the Minsk formula of “truce – special status – elections in Donbass – control of the border” be respected – and as the Donetsk and Lugansk leadership unexpectedly offered a unilateral ceasefire.

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

But Poroshenko’s “backtrack” was itself “backtracked” by Sept. 16, when the French and German visiting Foreign Ministers were reportedly told that Ukraine’s government now refused to implement the Minsk accord as it stood, as it now insists that the order be fully reversed: “truce – control of the border – elections.”

The American bitter internal election “civil war” is now shaking the pillars of the tripod on which America’s – and Europe’s – bilateral relations with Russia stand. It would therefore seem a stretch now for Obama to hope to prevail with any “legacy strategy” either in the Middle East or Ukraine that is contingent on cooperation with Russia.

The U.S. Establishment seems to have come to see the very preservation of the global status quo as linked to their ability to paint Trump as President Putin’s instrument for undermining the entire U.S. electoral system and the U.S.-led global order.

To the world outside, it seems as if the U.S. is seized by a collective hysteria (whether genuine, or manufactured for political ends). And it is not clear where the U.S. President now stands in this anti-Russian hysteria having likened Putin to Saddam Hussein, and having accused the Republican nominee of trying to “curry favor” with the Russian president – for having appeared on “Larry King Live” which is now broadcast by Russia Today.

But the bigger question is the longer-term consequence of all this: some in the “Hillary Bloc” still hanker for “regime change” in Moscow, apparently convinced that Putin’s humiliation in either Syria (not so likely now), or in Ukraine, could see him deposed in the March 2018 Russian Presidential elections, for a more Atlanticist, more “acceptable” leader.

It is unadulterated wishful thinking to imagine that Putin could be displaced thus – and more likely, Ukraine (with its prolific ‘kith and kin’ ties to Russians) used as a lever to “humiliate” President Putin will prove counter-productive, serving only to harden antagonism towards the U.S., as ethnic Russians die at the hands of rightist Ukrainian “militia.”

But it is certainly so that this campaign is strengthening the hand of those in Russia who would like to see President Putin taking a less “conciliatory line” towards the West. So, we may be heading towards more troubled waters.

Alastair Crooke is a former 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.

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32 comments for “Washington’s Hawks Push New Cold War

  1. Tom Welsh
    September 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    “Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city…”

    No, it is actually Syria’s largest city – going by the only reasonable measure: population before the war. It had well over 2 million inhabitants, as against Damascus’ 1.71 million.

    Incidentally, only four US cities are bigger than Aleppo was: New York, LA, Chicago and Houston. Washington, DC has only a third as many people as Aleppo.

  2. Tom Welsh
    September 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    ‘House Speaker Paul Ryan called Russian President Vladimir Putin an “adversary” and an “aggressor” who does not share U.S. interests’.

    That’s a very revealing statement. So Mr Ryan considers all nations that do not share US interests to be “adversaries” and even “aggressors”?

    What if we flip it, and ask what other nations make of the USA? Does the USA share Russian interests? No? Then the USA is an “adversary” and an “aggressor”. Does the USA share China’s interests? No? Then the USA is an “adversary” and an “aggressor”. Does the USA share Iran’s interests? Venezuela’s? Libya’s? Iraq’s? Afghanistan’s? Brazil’s? I think you see where this is going.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    September 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    While Hillary seems to enjoy poking the Bear, someone should remind her how the Bear has people like her who will poke back.

    Vladimir Zhirinovsky is leader of the LDPR party in Russia, and Russians are starting to take this man seriously. If I were Europe I would be very concerned to where all this war talk is leading them. Here is a quote from Zhirinovsky;

    “Poland—the Baltics—they are on the whole doomed. They’ll be wiped out. There will be nothing left. Let them re-think this, these leaders of these little dwarf states. How they are leaving themselves vulnerable. Nothing threatens America, it’s far away. But Eastern Europe countries will place themselves under the threat of total annihilation. Only they themselves will be to blame. Because we cannot allow missiles and planes to be aimed at Russia from their territories. We have to destroy them half an hour before they launch. And then we have to do carpet bombing so that not a single launch pad remains or even one plane. So—no Baltics, no Poland.”

    Breedlove and Nuland should be read this, and then fired. Hillary should learn how to become a diplomat, but if having been Secretary of State hasn’t taught her anything along those lines, then there is no hope.

    Hearing Zhirinovsky makes Putin seem like a cuddly cute teddy bear. Maybe Hillary and the American media should take note of this, and treat Vladimir Putin with some real respect.

    • Realist
      September 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Zhirinovsky is the Russian nationalist who undoubtedly would have defeated Yeltsin for re-election back in the 90’s if not for the help of American cheating in that campaign. Stephen F. Cohen explains how the Russian federal government headed by the democratically-elected Putin is not a strong-man dictatorship as represented by Washington and its lackeys in the media, but a complex dynamic with power focused on the president from many different interests, regions and ethnic groups. Putin is the ultimate decider on foreign policy (as Obama is in the United States), but his decisions are molded by the real world milieu of government, the military and society at large ( http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/stephen-f-cohen-talks-russia-israel-and-middle-east-diplomacy-steele-and-unger/ri16515 ). Most of the narrative by the American government and its media tools portraying Putin as “the new Hitler” bent on re-establishment of the Soviet Union and world domination through force is a complete confection, and mostly a projection of an American strategy for world domination. Yes, the American numbskulls running our country’s foreign policy had better be damned careful of what they wish for.

      As Professor Cohen has emphasized time and again, Mr. Putin is actually the most liberal, enlightened and peaceable leader Russia has produced in the lifetime of anyone currently drawing breath on this planet. To put it in terms that most American voters require for an understanding, his primary interests have been to advance the standard of living and technological capability of his country, he wants to exploit Russia’s vast natural resources and develop its economy, not to take over the world. In other words, like Trump, he has sought to “make deals*” with whomever wished to cooperate with Russia for mutual advantage. Washington’s global strategy has been to impede any other country that might make progress on any level, under the assumption that, in a zero sum game, any gain for them, however small, is an unacceptable loss for the U.S. This is the mentality of psychopaths who want absolutely everything for themselves, no matter how many others suffer.

      *I suggest a new campaign motto for Mr. Trump: “Make deals, not war.”

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 20, 2016 at 8:21 pm

        Realist I agree, Putin is our best bet. I’m sure there is a gracious story to why the two F16 & A10 were able to breach the Syrian sky’s this past weekend, and the Russians get no thank you. The Pentagon along with the 51 State Dept Diplomats appear to be cutting away from Obama & Kerry on Americans Syrian//Iraq strategy. Although she may need some help from Deibolt our first woman president has people warming up the stage for her coronation to the throne of war. It will be what ever Tel Aviv wants our warriors to do.

        But all this American tough guy rhetoric is summoning the oppositions tough guys, and well things may only get…you got it, tougher! Next thing you Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be back, and what will Hillary do with that one? Better yet, just ask Bibi.

      • George
        September 20, 2016 at 8:36 pm

        You’re mistaking Zhirinovsky for Zyuganov from whom Yeltsin in deed stole the 1996 presidential election.

      • JaKo
        September 20, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        Nail, head, hammer — in whichever order — you got it! There is no “privileged” nation on this Earth (save Israel), to start with. If there was to be an American Century, there would have to be leaders to accomplish that — not by wars, but by diplomacy and “making deals” — there weren’t any: W had been a bad joke and O even worse: Yes we can => But…
        I guess there will be an interesting time in WDC the coming January — someone would have to convince Trump, that this (USA) is not His Empire…

    • John
      September 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Joe, really ?….America too far away. Wars fought and contained to Europe is 1960 thinking…..Are you joking !…. No country wants to physically occupy north America . They will however stop the spread of neo-colonialism, in the blink of the eye…..You are good guy, I hope you understand this and prepare your family……

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        John, what your referring to was a quote by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. I agree Russia not being able to inflict pain on North America is a bygone era. See Russia Club K Container series missile. It’s the Kalibr missile system packaged inside of shipping containers. These containers can be transported and hauled by train, ship, or tractor trailer anywhere. Scary kind of stealth transported weapon, as it is also an intimidating delivery system to keep your eye on to prevent entry into port areas.

        My whole point is it is time to switch gears. Quit enforcing the Yinon Plan. Pull back on placing Aegis missile systems in Baltic states. Stop trying to unseat Assasd. Partner with Russia and destroy ISIS. There is so much more, but just to start with anyone of these things would be a start in the right direction, but that would be the plan of a nation who wants to bring peace to the world…is that America’s goal?

    • William Beeby
      September 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      You are not dealing with rational human beings when it comes to the neo-cons who are running America. These idiots want war to save face when the dollar and economy go bust which as they know could be any time soon .

  4. Mark Thomason
    September 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    The same day this is published, the hawks won. They destroyed the ceasefire and blamed the Russians. They did it by bombing the Syrian Army in support of ISIS.

  5. Wobblie
    September 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Empire always needs outside enemies to justify Empire.

    I wish Liberals and Conservatives would understand this.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2016/09/04/paradise-suppressed/

  6. Wobblie
    September 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Empire always needs outside enemies to justify Empire.

    I wish Liberals and Conservatives would understand this.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2016/09/04/paradise-suppressed/

  7. Tristan
    September 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Good article. I’m increasingly of the mind that we are hurtling toward a “Strangelovian” moment where the fools will do us all in.

  8. delia ruhe
    September 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Is this strategy or stupidity? It seems as if Obama is setting things up in a made-to-order way for Hillary “regime change” Clinton. What does he expect her to do? Declare war on Russia? He’s playing with fire here — because with the kind of approval of his handling of Russia’s foreign affairs, Putin grows ever more likely to be swept back into office in 2018.

    Putin may be an unpleasant kind of guy, but the Russians voted him into high public office to clean up the gawdawful mess the American carpetbaggers made of things as long as Yeltzin remained in a drunken stupor. Putin is likely no more (or less) corrupt than the government he took over when he first entered it, but a majority of Russians don’t seem to mind as long as he manages to stay free of the propaganda traps laid for him by Washington.

    It must freak Obama out that Xi has openly invited Putin to broaden the Russia-China relationship to include the military for the purpose of paralysing NATO. But Obama has only himself to blame, since it’s he who’s driven Putin into the arms of Beijing.

    An empire in decline is at its most dangerous — and Obama seems determined to prove it.

    • Realist
      September 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Obama is either a gutless coward who refuses to take control of his own foreign policy or he is the ultimate Manchurian Candidate, steadfastly dedicated to spreading American imperialism to every corner of the globe and working exclusively for the interests of the oligarchs and the megacorporations they own, while being twice elected by fraudulently posing as some kind of peacenik and populist. He promised to be “transformative” like a Lincoln, an FDR or at least a Reagan, bringing “hope and change” to all of us poor victims of previous poor governance. He only brought economic stagnation and erosion of the infrastructure at home and endless proliferation of war in the greater world. He, and his puppet master Hillary, deliberately provoked Russia at every turn, re-igniting the Cold War and perhaps setting the stage for World War III. He glibly blathers on about leaving a legacy of peace while continuing to employ the tools of inflammatory speech and provocative actions towards his chosen enemies. In brief, he’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. If he were honest and serious about leaving a legacy of peace rather than death and chaos, he would sack, forthwith, Ash Carter and every other traitor in his administration (like Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice and Samantha Powers) who is subverting his supposed goals. He never would have fired Chuck Hagel, the only sane man to serve as Secretary of Defense over Obama’s two terms. But Obama either relishes the self-assigned role of Lord High Hegemon of the World as much as Dubya did, or he is so gutless that, from day one, he allowed the latest generation of world conquering militarists (the self-proclaimed “Neocons,” but indistinguishable from the Roman Legions, the Knights Templar or Herr Schicklegrubber’s Schutzstaffel) to hijack his foreign policy and nip all of his hopey-changey ideals in the first, barely imagined, trace of a bud. The world is going to pay dearly for America’s mistake of electing Mr. Hope and Change back in 2008. But, then again, we were probably damned in any event. The world would probably already be a green glass parking lot if we had chosen Killary, McMaverick or Mittens.

      If you think I am pessimistic about what Obama and Hillary may visit upon this hapless planet over the coming few months, PCR ( http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/09/19/will-russia-surrender-paul-craig-roberts/ ) seems to interpret Washington’s recent aerial attack on the Syrian army during the midst of a negotiated cease-fire as tantamount to a declaration of the world war against Russia we’ve all been dreading but anticipating for many months. No question about it, it is a blatant casus belli if Russia is willing to admit as much. No more hiding behind diplomacy says Roberts. That was pointedly not allowed to succeed. This was another ruthless stab-in-the-back, and right during the Russian elections to rub it in. Obama (or his uncontrollable administration) has orchestrated events to where Russia will either have to surrender to Washington, leaving Assad and Syria to their fate, or the war will start on Obama’s watch and be continued to its conclusion under Hillary. I wonder if, in those last moments before the nuclear missiles hit, Obama and Hillary will think it a fair exchange, to see the whole world immolated just to get in the final licks at Vladimir Putin? I just can’t put myself in the mind of a psychopath to formulate an opinion.

      • John
        September 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm

        At this point in the take over the world game, Obama just wants out. It’s not that he’s a coward, he really hates sheading innocent blood in the middle east to satisfy the blood thirsty YahZooz. The rest of the USA game is neo-colonialism….aka… use the USA military and financial sanctions to rape the world for international corporations……

      • Tristan
        September 20, 2016 at 9:28 pm

        It may be nothing more than Obama being what he was elected for, another tool in the service of the Deep State, the continuance of Government, regardless of party, as higher interests ($$) are indeed the masters. But as hubris and machismo act as succubus, and demands that all recognize the indispensable and exceptional imperial ruler of the planet, embodied by, presently, Obama, it ends up that the sweet singing, dancing, father of two children, can thus easily say http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/03/obama-drones-double-down_n_4208815.html Then we know what is what. The simplicity of Obama’s statement provides clear understanding into the nature of our government and its figureheads.

        The power of our debauched and recognizably corrupt capitalist government, clothed in the sheep’s wool of “Democracy” and justifying all by the divine power of exceptionalism, is not to be trifled with. Those chosen to figurehead this arraignment are nothing more than Orwellian members of the party who have but one goal, perpetuate the system. And with the determination of unbridled steeds, these global corporations, partnered with the enforcing muscle of the US military, have nothing to fear, as they know, war and fear are so profitable.

      • Peter Loeb
        September 21, 2016 at 7:02 am

        CONSEQUENCES

        Realist, your analysis is basically on target. I doubt that
        there is any question in Russia that there must be a reaction
        to the US attack on the Syrian army. There cannot in the
        aftermath of that attack be any kind of meaningful negotiation.

        From the Russian perspective(s), the issue is not what response
        is appropriate but what kind of a response. The options
        are far from clear at this point.

        Your comment and my response to Realist above make the
        wondering of A. Crooke considerably OFF target.

        Years ago Americans would say (over and over) that
        “you can’t negotiate, you can’t TRUST the Russians…”

        How could Russia “trust” Americans, the West or
        any of its “coalitions”, alliances etc.?

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • William Beeby
      September 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      “Putin may be an unpleasant kind of guy ” ….lol…do you speak Russian then ? How do you know what the man is like offs? If it’s just what you have read about him in the Western media then of course THEY do know what kind of guy he is …lol…is Obama a nice guy ? From what I have learnt about him since he became president is that he is a bare faced liar and mass killer of innocents overseas. No not a nice man to my mind.

  9. Bart in Virginia
    September 20, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    ‘Ash Carter…last week at Oxford University, accused Russia of having a “clear ambition” to degrade the world order with its military and cyber campaigns.’

    Carter obviously doesn’t do irony; nor, having graduated from high school in 1972, did he do Viet Nam.

    • Realist
      September 20, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      I used to think that it was mostly Republican presidents who had a particular knack for nominating the most dangerous talent available to cabinet posts, but Obomber has sure put the lie to that notion.

      • Taras77
        September 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm

        Fully agree!
        I’ve become absolutely astounded by the Obama appointees from day 1: summers, geithner, holter, lanny ….(rubert ruben lackies)
        Then we go to nuland, power, rice, gates, ultimately to carter; (neo con regime changers/”humanitarian interventionists”

        Robert Parry has offered that obama does not have the cojones to stand up to the neo cons-indeed plausible; another theory is the deep state is in full control, personified by robert rubin and the banksters.

        Don’t know but the appointees have been absolutely mind boggling psychopathic! (and obsessive incompetent)

        BTW, this link has an excellent discussion of the deep state, comments are worthwhile as well: Philip Giraldi
        http://www.unz.com/article/deep-state-america-2/

      • Bill Bodden
        September 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm

        When it comes to governance and expansion of the Empire American policy has almost always been bi-partisan. Republican President McKinley had a Democrat in Cuba as ambassador generate propaganda to promote war against Spain. Somewhere around half of the Democrats in Congress supported Dubya’s war on Iraq.

        • Bob Van Noy
          September 21, 2016 at 10:36 am

          Bill Bodden,
          For me this discussion about American Foreign Policy and the Deep State is the really getting at the Problem. I was negatively impressed by David Talbot’s writing in “The Devil’s Chessboard” about the complexity and manipulation by the Dulles brothers of “real government” while sitting in the board room of their law offices. It wasn’t “the National Interest” that mostly consumed their attention, but how they could manipulate government to achieve what they personally believed would serve them and their clients the best. The fact that they took their arguments to Versailles and beyond seemingly without further government approval, is unbelievable. It is the success of this kind of powerful intervention that has ruled American Foreign Policy ever since.

          Also, the continuity in foreign policy seems to stem from the personal theories of people like Josef Korbel, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Henry Kissinger who appear to be using America as an Eastern European proxy.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Korbel

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright

    • William Beeby
      September 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      There is something weird about this Ash Carter character that puzzles me . Obama who was laughably given the Nobel Peace Price on taking office has sure picked some heavy Defence secretaries with Gates and now Carter . He obviously never intended peace in the world.

  10. Joe L.
    September 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

    For me, I believe that the US will want a Cold War for as long as it feels it can control the rest of the world. This new Cold War must be making a number of people extremely wealthy – particularly arms dealers and the “military industrial complex” that Eisenhower warned against. If the tables turn and pain is lessened on our “enemies” and instead is inflicted on us, we start losing the Cold War, then I think you will see a change in tune from our politicians. Seems China and Russia moving ever closer, even militarily, might be exactly what the world needs to end this madness – to counterbalance us. Also, if we go by the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely” then the US is currently the most corrupt country on this planet – but will that change? The next decade should prove very interesting…

    • William Beeby
      September 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      The next decade ? I think we will be lucky to get through the next month in one piece the way things are going . The U.S. is not going to back down and neither are Russia and China . Make no mistake if you fight one you fight them both and you we and everyone else will lose.

  11. Dan Huck
    September 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

    The MIC’s strategists, the Sec of Def etc, frothing at the mouth over the $1 trillion Nuke makeover, want nothing more than Putin’s nose & eyes bloodied. Praying for a Hater’s War, or. at least, a return to irreconcilable differences, such as Godless vs God-fearing. (We all know where we stand on this one!)

    A truly intensified cold war, a green light for Banker warmongers, Neocon & MIC operatives, would have been dealt an unacceptable setback had they been unable to sabotage the ceasefire and cooperation with Russia.

    I will vote for Trump before Hillary. Like “Realist”, changed a little, “Take a chance on deals; no one has a chance with war”

  12. bozhidar balkas
    September 22, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Have you noticed that it took months to obtain a ‘ceasefire’ that could have been done in one day’s hard work.

    I now wonder why lavrov did not think about that fact. Surely, that alone portended unwell.
    Most ceasefires are done deal in one day and most are broken, so to speak, the next day.

    Aside from this, i have asserted many times since ’11 that US/allies will not ever leave syria in peace unless it at least obtains a partition of syria.
    But even if syro-russo bloc defeats ‘rebels’, US will keep on harming syria.
    That’s the nature of all gangs; be it bike, street, mafia or Nation Gang [Nato]. A gang’s sole or main purpose is to do gangsterism; ie, killing people and stealing from them.

  13. William Beeby
    September 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    If I were in Putin’s shoes right now I would be sorely tempted to go on the offensive in Ukraine and in Syria. It is obvious now beyond any doubt that Washington does not want peace and is trying push Russia into making the first move and war to start either in Syria or Ukraine it makes no difference . If Putin invades and takes over Kiev what would the USA do in response? What could they do ? In Syria they could impose a no fly zone all over the country and make it plain that any foreign troops on the ground will be treated as enemies and attacked. Again ball in Washington’s court what would it do ? How Putin has managed to hold back so far us to his credit but enough is enough he must be thinking.

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