Europe May Finally Rethink NATO Costs

Exclusive: By dunning NATO nations to chip more money into the military alliance, President Trump may inadvertently cause some Europeans to rethink the over-the-top anti-Russian propaganda, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

President Donald Trump’s politically incorrect behavior at the gathering of NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday could, in its own circuitous way, spotlight an existential threat to the alliance. Yes, that threat is Russia, but not in the customary sense in which Westerners have been taught to fear the Russian bear. It is a Russia too clever to rise to the bait – a Russia patient enough to wait for the Brussels bureaucrats and generals to fall of their own weight, pushed by financial exigencies in many NATO countries.

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday evening for their fourth stop on their trip abroad. President Trump met with leaders from around the world before the NATO Summit in Brussels. (White House photo)

At that point it will become possible to see through the West’s alarmist propaganda. It will also become more difficult to stoke artificial fears that Russia, for reasons known only to NATO war planners and neoconservative pundits, will attack NATO. As long as Russian hardliners do not push President Vladimir Putin aside, Moscow will continue to reject its assigned role as bête noire.

First a request: Let me ask those of you who believe Russia is planning to invade Europe to put down the New York Times for a minute or two. Take a deep cleansing breath, and try to be open to the possibility that heightened tensions in Europe are, rather, largely a result of the ineluctable expansion of NATO eastward over the quarter-century since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

Actually, NATO has doubled in size, despite a U.S. quid-pro-quo promise in early 1990 to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev in early 1990 not to expand NATO “one inch” to the east of Germany. The quid required of Russia was acquiescence to a reunited Germany within NATO and withdrawal of the 300,000-plus Russian troops stationed in East Germany.

The U.S. reneged on its quo side of the bargain as the NATO alliance added country after country east of Germany with eyes on even more – while Russia was not strong enough to stop NATO expansion until February 2014 when, as it turned out, NATO’s eyes finally proved too big for its stomach. A U.S.-led coup d’etat overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installed new, handpicked leaders in Kiev who favored NATO membership. That crossed Russia’s red line; it was determined – and at that point able – to react strongly, and it did.

These are the flat-facts, contrasting with the mainstream U.S. media’s propaganda about “Russian aggression.” Sadly, readers of the New York Times know little to nothing of this recent history.

Today’s Russian Challenge

The existential threat to NATO comprises a different kind of Russian “threat,” which owes much to the adroitness and sang froid of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who flat-out refuses to play his assigned role of a proper enemy – despite the Western media campaign to paint him the devil incarnate.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Over time, even the most sophisticated propaganda wears thin, and more and more Europeans will realize that NATO, in its present form, is an unnecessary, vestigial organ already a quarter-century beyond its expiration date – and that it can flare up painfully, like a diseased appendix. At a time when citizens of many NATO countries are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, they will be reluctant to sink still more money into rehab for a vestigial organ.

That there are better uses for the money is already clear, and President Trump’s badgering of NATO countries to contribute ever more for defense may well backfire. Some are already asking, “Defense against what?” Under the painful austerity that has been squeezing the Continent since the Wall Street crash nearly a decade ago, a critical mass of European citizens is likely to be able to distinguish reality from propaganda – and perhaps much sooner than anyone anticipates. This might eventually empower the 99 percent, who don’t stand to benefit from increased military spending to fight a phantom threat, to insist that NATO leaders stop funding a Cold War bureaucracy that has long since outlived its usefulness.

A military alliance normally dissolves when its raison d’etre – the military threat it was created to confront – dissolves. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 – more than a quarter century ago – and with it the Warsaw Pact that was established as the military counter to NATO.

Helpful History

NATO’s first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, who had been Winston Churchill’s chief military assistant during World War II, stated that NATO’s purpose was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” But a lot can change over the course of almost seven decades.

The NATO flag is raised during the opening ceremony for Exercise Steadfast Jazz in Poland, Nov. 3, 2013. (NATO photo by British army Sgt. Ian Houlding)

The Russians relinquished their East European empire after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and withdrew their armed forces. There no longer needed to be a concerted priority effort to “keep the Russians out,” preoccupied as they were with fixing the economic and social mess they inherited when the USSR fell.

As for “keeping the Germans down,” it is not difficult to understand why the Russians, having lost 25 to 27 million in WWII, were a bit chary at the prospect of a reunited Germany. Moscow’s concern was allayed somewhat by putting this new Germany under NATO command, since this sharply lessened the chance the Germans would try to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.

But NATO became the “defensive” blob that kept growing and growing, partly because that is what bureaucracies do (unless prevented) and partly because it became a way for U.S. presidents to show their “toughness.” By early 2008, NATO had already added ten new members – all of them many “inches” to the east of Germany: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

There were rumors that Ukraine and Georgia were in queue for NATO membership, and Russian complaints were becoming louder and louder. NATO relations with Russia were going to hell in a hand basket and there was no sign the Washington policymakers gave a hoot.

A leading advocate from the Russo-phobic crowd was the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had been President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser and remained in the forefront of those pressing for NATO expansion – to include Ukraine. In 1998, he wrote, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

The relentless expansion of NATO greatly bothered former Sen. Bill Bradley, a longtime expert on Russia and a sober-minded policy analyst. On Jan. 23, 2008, in a talk before the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, he sounded an almost disconsolate note, describing NATO expansion a “terribly sad thing” … a “blunder of monumental proportions. …

“We had won the Cold War … and we kicked them [the Russians] when they were down; we expanded NATO. In the best of circumstances it was bureaucratic inertia in NATO – people had to have a job. In the worst of circumstances it was certain … irredentist East European types, who believe Russia will forever be the enemy and therefore we have to protect against the time when they might once again be aggressive, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.”

As tensions with Russia heightened late last decade, Sen. Bradley added, “Right now we are confronted with something that could have easily been avoided.”

Finally Saying Nyet

A week after Bradley’s lament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called in U.S. Ambassador William Burns to read him the riot act. The subject line of Burns’s CONFIDENTIAL cable #182 of Feb. 1, 2008, in which he reported Lavrov’s remarks to Washington shows that Burns played it straight, choosing not to mince his own or Lavrov’s words: “Nyet means nyet: Russia’s NATO enlargement redlines.”

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Here what Ambassador Burns wrote in his summary, which the public knows because the cable was among the thousands leaked to WikiLeaks by Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, for which she was imprisoned for seven years and only recently released (yet the cable has been essentially ignored by the corporate U.S. news media):

“Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan at the Bucharest summit, Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains an emotional and neuralgic issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.

“In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the government of Russia and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally.”

So, it is not as though then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. policymakers were not warned, in very specific terms, of Russia’s redline on Ukrainian membership in NATO. Nevertheless, on April 3, 2008, the final declaration from at a NATO summit in Bucharest asserted: “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”

The Ukraine Coup

Six years later, on Feb. 22, 2014, the U.S.-pushed putsch in Ukraine, which George Friedman, then President of the think-tank STRATFOR, labeled “the most blatant coup in history,” put in power a fiercely anti-Russian regime eager to join the Western alliance.

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)

Russia’s reaction was predictable – actually, pretty much predicted by the Russians themselves. But for Western media and “statesmen,” the Ukrainian story begins on Feb. 23, 2014, when Putin and his advisers decided to move quickly to thwart NATO’s designs on Ukraine and take back Crimea where Russia’s only warm-water naval base has been located since the days of Catherine the Great.

U.S. officials (and The New York Times) have made it a practice to white-out the coup d’etat in Kiev and to begin recent European history with Russia’s immediate reaction, thus the relentless presentation of these events as simply “Russian aggression,” as if Russia instigated the crisis, not the U.S.

A particularly blatant example of this came on June 30, 2016, when then U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute spoke at a press briefing before the NATO summit in Warsaw:

“Beginning in 2014 … we’re moving into a new period in NATO’s long history. … So the first thing that happened in 2014 that marks this change is a newly aggressive, newly assertive Russia under Vladimir Putin. So in late February, early March of 2014, the seizing, the occupying of Crimea followed quickly by the illegal political annexation of Crimea. … Well, any notion of strategic partnership came to an abrupt halt in the first months of 2014.”

And so, for the nonce, Western propaganda captured the narrative. How long this distortion of history will continue is the question. The evolution of Europe as a whole (including Russia) over the past half-century, together with the profound changes that this evolution has brought, suggest that those of the European Establishment eager to inject life into the vestigial organ called NATO – whether for lucrative profits from arms sales or cushy spots in NATO’s far-flung bureaucracy – are living on borrowed time.

President Trump can keep them off balance by creating uncertainty with respect to how Washington regards its nominal NATO obligation to risk war with Russia should some loose cannon in, say, Estonia, start a shooting match with the Russians. On balance, the uncertainty that Trump has injected may be a good thing. Similarly, to the degree that his pressure for increased defense spending belatedly leads to an objective estimate of the “threat” from Russia, that may be a good thing too.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  A CIA analyst for 27 years, he specialized in Russian foreign policy.  He led the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President’s Daily Brief one-on-one during President Ronald Reagan’s first term.

113 comments for “Europe May Finally Rethink NATO Costs

  1. Pixilico
    June 6, 2017 at 10:58

    I’ve been tempted for a long time to view NATO as more of an occupying force led by the US to keep the defeated powers of Western Europe (the UK included) from ever rising again, rather than a countervailing multinational military force against an ‘aggressive’ URSS, from the the second half of the 1940s ’til (formally) 1991 or Russia from thenceforth to as of now. The same rationale of US occupying forces applying to Japan as well. Have I been misled all this time?

  2. June 3, 2017 at 04:27

    Yeah, now that the U.S. is going to cut funding and they have to pay for it out of their own pocket. Screw them.

  3. May 31, 2017 at 04:48

    If we’re going to war with the EU, we should get out of NATO.

  4. Jerry Clifford Kays
    May 30, 2017 at 12:58

    I just hope that some day soon the general public, that is so self-satisfied that their Corporate Media tells them the truth, will wake up to the higher truth that the “other media” (such as this source here) is, in fact, the media of truth and the corporate mainstream media is, in truth, the lying “Fake News” itself.

    There is much evil at play in this world and it is led by those who have the most invested in power and control, and that best represented by the Western Banking System!

    IMnsHO and E.

  5. Max
    May 29, 2017 at 20:34

    Today we are witnessing the triumph of a hyperdemocracy in which the mass acts directly, outside the law, imposing its aspirations and its desires by means of material pressure.

    José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses

    Outlaw operations are growing. Who can afford $1500.00 an hour legal help? The outlaw press is under pressure.

  6. Bernie
    May 29, 2017 at 00:50

    Wishful thinking, Ray. I seriously doubt that one blustering real estate mogul who stumbled his way into the White House is going to bring down a golden goose for the worlds arms dealers, intelligence agencies, and military brass like NATO. Why do think JFK got offed? He was toying with ending the Cold War too. JFK and Khrushchev were on the road to ending the arms race. Couldn’t have that said the CIA. Where would our next paycheck come from?

  7. Bill Bodden
    May 28, 2017 at 19:56

    “Merkel says EU cannot ‘fully’ rely on the US or UK: ‘We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands’ says the German chancellor, the day after a G7 summit.” – –

  8. backwardsevolution
    May 28, 2017 at 16:37

    Ray McGovern – just an exceptional piece of work! Thank you.

  9. Eva Nielsen
    May 28, 2017 at 16:14

    Europe’s answer to Trump or other americans are: YANKEES GO HOME.

  10. Ned
    May 28, 2017 at 15:32

    NATO is a US foreign policy, not a Eurpean one. Even the NATO sanctions against Russia are designed so that Russia’s counter-sanctions don’t affect the US economy. Much has been learned since President Carter was punished for cutting off US wheat exports to Russia. It’s about time the Europeans started their own military policy and stop chipping in to pay for what is so obviously a US foreign policy.

  11. Lin Cleveland
    May 28, 2017 at 11:51

    Excellent presentation, Ray McGovern! So nice to read such a balanced and informative article. Also, I sure enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor in the following:

    First a request: Let me ask those of you who believe Russia is planning to invade Europe to put down the New York Times for a minute or two. Take a deep cleansing breath, and try to be open to the possibility that heightened tensions in Europe are, rather, largely a result of the ineluctable expansion of NATO eastward over the quarter-century since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

    But NATO became the “defensive” blob that kept growing and growing, partly because that is what bureaucracies do (unless prevented) and partly because it became a way for U.S. presidents to show their “toughness.”

  12. Patricia Victour
    May 28, 2017 at 09:33

    When, on the campaign trail, Trump said we needed to get rid of NATO, I felt a glimmer of hope. Nope. No such luck.

  13. Ted Tripp
    May 28, 2017 at 09:00

    I hope that Ray is right and Europeans reject NATO due to expense and rationality, but that certainly has not held true here in regard to our military and irrationality. While citizens suffer and young people become debt peons, we add more and more expensive gadgets to our arsenal without any sign of abatement.

  14. Brad Owen
    May 28, 2017 at 07:27

    It’s fun watching Coyote Trickster at work. In an attempt to get Europe to beef up NATO with some more “$”, it may be this very ploy that dismantles it (where Trump wanted to go anyway). It’ll be interesting to see if Europe’s 99ers can buck the Synarchy Internationale (and if we can buck the Cecil Rhodes RoundTable Group to which we are in thrall) and actually dismantle NATO. After all, it’s the military arm for the Holy Roman Empire Project of the Synarchist Movement for Empire (SME), and it’s the managerial elites in service to Royal Dynastic families that have to be over-powered by the 99ers. I wonder what trick Coyote Trickster has up His Sleeve for THIS confrontation?

    • mike k
      May 28, 2017 at 12:17

      Coyote Trickster is not a fool. Unfortunately Donald Trump is a fool and a simpleton. His only accomplishment is as a real estate con man, and that was a disaster for all he dealt with. He may make a lot of money in his fling at role playing being US president, but everyone else will suffer from his act.

      • Brad Owen
        May 29, 2017 at 08:40

        That’s just it. It’s like tripping and falling upstairs to the top. Trickster will use the unlikeliest, and most unqualified, of “heroes”. Trumps probably as surprised as anyone that he is where he is. No matter. It’s not Trumps Game. It Trickster’s Game, played on behalf of the forgotten people, striking when and where The Establishment isn’t looking, making them look the fools that THEY are, and the whole World sees it…that’s Trickster for ya. The MSM is in on the coup too, straining to make Trump look like he’s now just one of them. I get a very different story on EIR. I trust their bylines the most.

  15. May 27, 2017 at 23:01

    Interesting article on our “allies.” See link below:
    To prevent another week of terror, our state must not become a vast Isis recruiting sergeant

    By Patrick Cockburn

  16. F. G. Sanford
    May 27, 2017 at 22:04

    Sung to: “If I Only Had a Brain”, from “The Wizard of Oz”

    We can screw with super powers, from group think ivory towers,
    There seems to be a lot to gain.
    Crimea we’ll be snatching, Vladimir we’ll be outmatching,
    If we overthrow Ukraine.
    While expanding NATO borders we’ll establish new world orders,
    Even though it sounds inane.
    The pessimist forecaster, speaks of nuclear disaster,
    If we overthrow Ukraine

    Carl Gershman tells us why, Ukraine’s the biggest prize-
    A coup d’etat will make them westernize,
    Those Nazi thugs – we subsidize!

    We’ll not be neo-conning, it’s a new Third Reich we’re spawning
    Putin soon will feel the pain-
    Poroshenko will be merry, he’ll rejoice with Yats and Kerry,
    When we overthrow Ukraine.

    Now remember Vicki Nuland, she said let’s screw EU land-
    That was just a bit profane.
    It’s a crooked oligarchy, they tolerate malarkey,
    And bribes will quickly ease the pain.
    For every weapon contract, there will be a fiscal impact,
    Only cold war can sustain.
    This isn’t rocket science, by enlarging the alliance,
    There is big financial gain.

    We’ll mid-wife this thing through, we’ll use some real good glue,
    John McCain and Biden’s son will help us too,
    Lots of cash will soon accrue!

    We’ll be strictly diplomatic, a regime change democratic,
    And the European Union won’t complain-
    We’re sure that they will smile with each jolly good “Sieg Heil”
    ‘Cause we haven’t got a brain!

    Now some say that poor John Kerry, is just a dingleberry-
    He knows who really shot that plane.
    With sanctions economic, we could start a war atomic,
    But Putin isn’t so insane.
    It doesn’t take a scholar, to know the petrodollar,
    Is threatened by Xi Ping’s chow mein.
    If Putin doesn’t fluster and he weathers all the bluster,
    Soon our deficit will cause a strain.

    The empire’s in decline, our stocks could even crash.
    The Russians have a healthy stash-
    But we owe lots of cash!

    Our infrastructure’s rotten, our old and sick forgotten.
    We fight wars our leaders can’t explain.
    But there might be a solution short of death and destitution…
    If we only had a brain…

    • May 28, 2017 at 00:49

      Dear F.G.Sanford

      All I can say is BRAVO!!!

      In your next song, please include the Tin Man. “If we only had a heart.”

      Best regards,


      • mike k
        May 28, 2017 at 08:39

        Happy trails FGS.

        You’ve seen the Wizard without his fancy clothes
        You know what a few of us knows
        Let’s hope that’s not as far as it goes
        But out of this a better world grows….

    • Erik G
      May 28, 2017 at 09:22

      Thanks, FG, with your permission I will suggest that as the anthem of my proposed College of Policy Analysis, to serve as the organization of policy debate that should be the brain of democracy.

      To improve the quality of public debate and that in Congress, we need an independent federal college of policy analysis constituted to protect all points of view, and textually debate among university experts of all disciplines the status and policy options of each world region. It would produce debate summaries commented by all sides and available to the public for comment. The ability to see all sides challenged and responding in an orderly manner is essential to public understanding. The availability of such debates could have much reduced the groupthink and hysteria that have led to our endless mad wars since WWII

  17. John P
    May 27, 2017 at 20:57

    It would be interesting to see which country benefits the most and by how much, for the military hardware used by NATO forces. Do the benefits justify the present economic balance in NATO?
    Personally I’d like to see more dialogue and detente.
    As for Zbigniew Brzezinski, I don’t know what to think. What were the interests of Russia and America in Afghanistan? He opened military supplies to militant clans in Afghanistan to upset the Russian presence there (they weren’t al Qaeda).
    It was during the Bush 2 years things changed and there were reports in the Asia Times that America wanted to build a pipeline from the Caspian (oil rich area) down through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian ocean, away from Iran. It was after 9/11 that the Americans also found out that Bin Laden and al Qaeda were also situated in Afghanistan/Pakistan. It was also reported that the Americans found out that the militants in Afghanistan had told al Qaeda of this American pipeline dream. On that note I gather American interests lost their concentration on al Qaeda and broadened the campaign. All hell let loose then.
    Al Qaeda was a radical Muslim group to get America forces out of Saudi Arabia. ISIL is a product of the Iraq war, civilian deaths, and a Shiite government that came down on the Sunni thanks to Blair, Bush and others.

    • mike k
      May 28, 2017 at 08:42

      What to think of Zbig? That’s easy – murdering bastard!

      • F. G. Sanford
        May 28, 2017 at 09:03

        He’s not really dead. I haven’t seen anybody with a wooden stake anywhere near the coffin.

        • Bill Bodden
          May 28, 2017 at 20:02

          Lucifer is setting up a special place in you-know-where for Zbig, Kissinger, and various 21st century warmongers and other barbarians from the U.S..

  18. Deep thought
    May 27, 2017 at 20:38

    Candidate Trump claimed NATO is obsolete. President Trump later announces “NATO is no longer obsolete.” He will be lucky if countries just decide to opt out.

    • Realist
      May 28, 2017 at 01:00

      NATO is worse than obsolete. It is a threat to peace. The world would be fortunate if most of Europe’s NATO members decided to opt out. The main reason the US insists on propping up the NATO cadaver is not to suck revenues from the EU, nor to recruit warm bodies for military campaigns. It could handle all those tasks itself, and mostly has. No, NATO persists because the US realises that it gives the illusion of legitimacy to its hegemonic domination of Europe.

      • mike k
        May 28, 2017 at 08:44

        NATO is the evil creature of an evil Empire.

      • May 28, 2017 at 13:30

        yes…there is no “coalition of the willing” without NATO..

        I dont understand europe’s need to stand with the US…They have borne the brunt of economic sanctions against Russia(which backfired anyway), they have received the huge influx (millions) of refugees from the areas the US has destabilized or destroyed, and now are dealing with the resulting increase in terrorism from their support of US aggression…

        This has been a lose-lose situation for Europe….someone explain to me why they remain onboard with our disasterous wars?…



        • Brad Owen
          May 28, 2017 at 18:05

          The Europeans and the Americans and the Brits (the people themselves) are no longer the sovereign citizens of their nation-states. An oligarchy is calling all the shots in the so-called Trans-Atlantic Community. The Royal Dynastic Families of Europe (both those groups of families either occupying or currently NOT occupying a throne, the Black Nobility and all that sort of thing), and their loyalist servants in the managerial elite of banks, corporations, intelligence communities, high-ranking military officers, in the MIC and the MSM, are following a plan hatched a hundred years ago by something called Synarchy Internationale and the Synarchist Movement for Empire (SME). These are the folks, at the turn of the century into the 1920s, that hatched the fascist and NAZI movements leading to WWII, in an attempt to build another Holy Roman Empire and capture the World and make it its colony. USA, Russia and China foiled their plans. Post-war, they moved to base of operations into America as per Cecil Rhodes RoundTable Group plans, capturing us to use our military and economic might to fight THEIR war to revive the Holy Roman Empire, retake, or deny success to, the former North African and M.E. provinces of the old Roman Empire, which were captured by Muslim Empires, from 600s to 1400s (parts of Europe too were captured). It is indeed lose-lose for Europeans Americans and Brits, the 99ers, NOT the Oligarchy. The immiseration via austerities, and wars and terrorism is meant to prepare the people for the return of the Monarchs, under an Emperor of a new Holy Roman Empire, where “the natural order” of society will be “restored” (i.e. Democratic movements and revolutions will be a thing of the past as the oligarchy fulfills its “noble obligation” to the now-loyal subjects). This picture I put together from EIR website and typed in their search box “return of the Monarchs, Synarchy Internationale, SME, black nobility” for their empire plans, and so on.

          • May 28, 2017 at 18:43

            yes…i am very familiar with these groups and their agendas…what concerns me is the lack of pushback from the citizens of europe…are the conditions within european societies the same as they are in the US, to lazy, selfish and content to be entertained to dath or slavery? As i understand it, some of the euro countries are truly “progressive” in their attitudes towards their own citizens and neighbors…but they seem all to be content to support American imperialsim…

            So far Ive chalked most of it up to levels of corruption in NATO and the governing EU bodies being at least as corrupt as the current situation in the US…US bribery money talks…

            but some of these EU countries REALLY cannot afford the lose of trade with Russia, the additional burden of managing huge immigration waves, and never could afford the investment for military that NATO demands….a lack of money talks as well…pain and hunger can be usefully inspirational…

            Am hoping for some feedback from citizens of Europe, as how they see these situation in their countries…Thanks Brad for your watchfulness of the Dark Globalists…

          • May 28, 2017 at 18:52

            sorry for the many typos…:>)

          • Brad Owen
            May 29, 2017 at 08:29

            They also made pushback difficult, by “scrambling our brains” with their Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF also found in EIR search box). We went from JFKs “We’re going to go to the moon and do the other things ( gigantic infrastructure projects, plan the Mars Mission, etc…) too, NOT because they are easy but BECAUSE they are hard”, to “Tune in turn on drop out. If it feels good, do it”. This was the mission of the CCF. Think of Europeans, Brits and Americans (ALL the Americas, North, South, Central) as one group; subjects of the new Holy Roman Empire, subjected to the same policies to wear down the “republicanism” in them. The people of South America, sometimes called Ibero-America, have been most effective in push-back…but nobody has yet succeeded. FDR new of this long-term threat (his OSS guys and French Intelligence dug up the Intel on this story in 1940) and he felt the combined power of USA, USSR and Republic of China could keep them in permanent checkmate while pursuing the development of colonies-turned-sovereign nations, under the UN umbrella. This plan died with FDR and the RoundTable Group, combined with American Tory Loyalists, staged a coup in the intelligence community,and have been on a roll ever since.

  19. Randal Marlin
    May 27, 2017 at 20:38

    Ray McGovern does us a great service by quoting from the Wiki-Leaked (by Chelsea, then-Bradley Manning) cable by U.S. Ambassador William Burns cable #182 of Feb. 1, 2008:

    “Here [is] what Ambassador Burns wrote in his summary, which the public knows because the cable was among the thousands leaked to WikiLeaks by Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, for which she was imprisoned for seven years and only recently released (yet the cable has been essentially ignored by the corporate U.S. news media)”:

    [Ambassador Burns]: “Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan at the Bucharest summit, Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains an emotional and neuralgic issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.

    “In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the government of Russia and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally.”

    Written in 2008, these words were prophetic, and they show how bamboozled the American people have been by the MSM in characterizing Putin as the “aggressor.”

    John J. Mearsheimer seems to have been of a similar mind in his September/October 2014 Foreign Affairs article “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin”; but the Burns cable comes with special ambassadorial credentials, and the additional feature of terseness.

    • Sam F
      May 28, 2017 at 09:13

      Yes, this cable is very illuminating, and its concealment by oligarchy tyrants of the US shows their intent to subvert democracy to achieve their own goals. We are indebted to Manning.

  20. May 27, 2017 at 19:57

    Good article, Ray McGovern. The Russia “aggression” tale is getting so tedious, hard to imagine the pundit prattlers aren’t tired of it themselves. And the EU countries are looking rather pale economically, too, just as the US is going to be staring at its humongous debt, something is going to catch up soon and hopefully truth. We can all be grateful for the intelligence, patience, and sense of humor of Putin and Lavrov. What is clear, is that western imperialists have no sense of humor at all, just aggression, which they attribute to Russia because they can’t see theirs; in psychology terms, it’s called “displacement”.

    • mike k
      May 28, 2017 at 08:48

      Displacement is also called projection, but what it really is is simply lying.

  21. Adrian Engler
    May 27, 2017 at 19:52

    Generally, I agree with the content of this article. There is no rational basis for such fearmongering about a Russian threat, and there is some hope that the demand to increase military expenses because of this alleged threat will lead to more European politicians questioning whether there really is such a threat.

    I don’t completely agree with the idea that the eastward expansion of NATO is the source of the current tensions and that it should have been avoided. I think that the perspective presented in the article is a valid one – eastward expansion of NATO is seen as a security problem by Russia, and if it was undertaken, it should have been accompanied by compensating measures for building trust -, but I think it is not the only perspective. Focusing too much on that perspective can lead to the accusation that this is thinking in “spheres of influences”, and that instead countries should be free to choose their own alliances. I would argue that, even with such a different perspective that focuses more on democratic decisions of independent countries, the Western idea (mostly from the Anglosaxon countries, others were always sceptical about this) to invite Ukraine to NATO can be rejected.

    One way to put it is that by expanding NATO to Poland and the Baltic states, NATO invaded to some degree towards the Russian “sphere”, and with the intention to expand NATO even further to Ukraine, the expansion would have gone even further towards Ukraine, Russia finally felt compelled to take countermeasures. But I think that there are more differences between the invitation of countries like Poland to NATO and the idea that Ukraine should NATO than the latter being further in Russia’s “sphere”.

    In Poland, there was and is a wide consensus about NATO membership across the political spectrum. Most Poles want their country to belong to a Western alliance. One could argue that this could have been reached by intergrating Poland into the EU without NATO membership, but for many Poles, NATO membership with a guarantee that an attack on Poland is seen as an attack on all NATO members as something especially important. This does not necessarily depend on current fearmongering about a Russian threat – at the time when Poland joined NATO, there was much less such fearmongering, but there still was a broad consensus about joining NATO and it was seen as something important by many Poles. Of course, there is a lot of fearmongering about Russia in countries like Poland or the Baltic states. Many sober and educated people in these countries would probably agree that the likelihood of a Russian attack is very unlikely, but even most of those who think that way would still consider NATO membership important for their country. This has to do with a long-term perspective. People in these countries have painful historical memories about Russian dominance, and even if the current Russian government is relatively moderate and pragmatic, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case in the future.

    There is a stark contrast between this broad consensus about NATO membership in Poland and the situation in Ukraine. Polls from 2014 (after the coup) and 2015 show that only a relatively small minority of Ukrainians actually supported NATO membership. The only part of Ukraine where a majority of people (and even there, it was a relatively narrow majority) supported it was the very West of the country, areas around Lviv that used to belong to Austria-Hungary and later to Poland. There are claims by representatives of the Ukrainian government that support for NATO membership has increased in the meantime, and the constant propaganda in the Ukrainian media and the ban of Russian media may, indeed, have had some effect. But what is clear is that there still in no such broad consensus about joining NATO as there was in Poland, a significant part of Ukrainians is strongly opposed to such an idea (of course, more people in the East and South of the country, but I suppose that there is also still quite a large number of people who personally don’t have a negative opinion of NATO membership as a part of integrating Ukraine with the West, but think that this is too divisive and should therefore be avoided).

    There can be different ideas about what democratic self-determination should mean in relation to membership in military alliances. One point of view is that, like in general for political decisions, a narrow majority in favor of membership should be enough. But if such a memership is seen as a long-term project with significant consequences, I think in the case that it is controversial, it is more appropriate to aim for a neutral or block-free status as a compromise.

    In that context, I also think that the acceptance of Montenegro into NATO crossed a line the acceptance of Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states did not cross. While in countries like Poland, there was a broad consensus about NATO membership, in the case of Montenegro, there is no such consensus (in the case of Montenegro, this has little to do with Russia, which is not even that close, but mostly with the fact that the country was bombed by NATO in 1999).

    I would not even view breaking the promises made to the Soviet government in 1990 about expanding NATO so negatively (although I do think NATO expansion should in any case have been accompanied with compensating measures for building trust). I think it is important to see that in 1990, the Soviet government allowed Germany to unify and Warsaw pact countries to free themselves from Soviet control (with interventions if they went too far away like 1956 in Hungary and 1968 in Czechoslovakia), but it was far from clear that the victory of Perestroyka was permanent. The list of the participants of the 1991 coup attempt comprised many members of the top elite of the Soviet Union. That coup quickly failed and accelerated the end of the Soviet Union, but in 1990, it could not be excluded that Gorbachev would be toppled and his successor would try to revert his policies. Therefore, there was a lot of pressure to go forward quickly with projects like the unification of Germany. This pressures also lead to more promises were made. There can be different opinions about how binding such promises that were made in such a situation of pressure should be. Should a country like Poland, where there was a very broad consensus about NATO membership and joining NATO seemed important to many people, really have been denied NATO membership because of this? I am not so sure.

    While I see NATO expansion less negatively than the author of the article, I also don’t necessarily agree that Russia’s reaction to the coup in Ukraine was a very strong one. I think much stronger ones would have been thinkable, and on the whole, the Russian reaction may be viewed as relatively moderate.

    The most shocking part was probably the “annexation” of Crimea. If possible, borders should not be changed without the consensus of all governments that are involved. But considering that there already were Russian troops on the peninsula (on the basis of a treaty related to the port in Sevastopol, and the number of Russian troops on Crimea did not exceed the number allowed by the treaty until Crimea was officially accepted into Russia), Crimea had always had a special status, there were many political conflicts between Crimea and the central Ukrainian government in the 90es, and independent polls confirmed the result of the referendum, according to which a vast majority of the population on the peninsula prefers Crimea to belong to Russia rather than Ukraine, it probably should not be viewed as that shocking. Of course, the Ukrainian constitution (like, for instance, the Spanish one and the ones of many countries) does not allow parts of the country, even autonomous ones with a special status, to leave Ukraine and vote about joining another country. The Ukrainian constitution was also clearly violated during the coup – not only was the required number of votes for ousting the president not reached, but the Ukrainian constitution does not allow ousting a president with a simple parliamentary vote, but there would have to be a more complex impeachment procedure with reasons for the impeachment being brought forward, and there was not even an attempt to keep up the appearance of a constitutionally correct procedure (and when some claim fleeing meant implicit abdicating, I think this is a very dangerous position against the rule of law). Of course, one blatant violation of the Ukrainian constitution does not necessarily justify further violations of the constitution, but one should certainly understand that such an unconstitutional coup lead to resistance in parts of the country. For a long time, the Ukrainian government had gone back and forth between people who had their power base in the East and South of the country. When this cycle is broken by a violent coup with the participation of extremist paramilitary groups, it should not be surprising that this leads to resistance in parts of the country. Some argue that, before the referendum on Crimea, Russia exaggerated the threat from right-wing extremists in Ukraine, but on the other hand, the later events in Odessa with people burnt alive and even more the bloodshed in Donbass showed that these fears were perhaps not so far-fetched, and I think it is understandable that many people who live in Crimea appreciate that with the quick unification with Russia bloodshed on Crimea was avoided.

    As far as the conflict in Donbass is concerned, it is not clear to what degree Russia is involved. Certainly, there are voluntary fighters from Russia who support the unrecognized “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk, and there is also some limited support from the Russian state. But I think it is also an outrageous arrogance towards the people who live there if it is claimed that they would have been entirely passive after the coup and that the resistance and occupation of public buildings was only due to Russian “incitement”. Before the coup, in Western Ukraine, many public buildings were occupied by local forces of people who did not want to subordinate to the unpopular (especially in these parts of the country) Yanukovich government any more. After the coup, the same happened in the East of the country with local people who did not want to recognize the coup. What was probably responsible to a higher degree for the further escalation than everything else was that the post-coup Ukrainian rulers did not consider the insubordination in the East as a reaction to the unconstitutional coup a political problem, but a military one that should be crushed with brutal military force.

    • May 28, 2017 at 00:37

      Thank you, Adrian, for your very thoughtful, and information-packed comment. I learned quite a bit from it. ray

    • mike k
      May 28, 2017 at 09:00

      Adrian, I think you are way over thinking this. If you would enter the overwhelming importance of the hegemonic drive of the American Empire into your calculations, it would all appear much simpler than you have made it. The US Empire seeks at all times and in every situation to act in order to dominate the world and all it’s resources. If we keep that in mind, a lot of apparently complex situations are revealed to be simple power grabs and counter thrusts by those attacked, economically or militarily.

    • D5-5
      May 28, 2017 at 11:49

      Adrian, I much enjoyed this discussion and teaching. Well-done. This is the kind of thinking we need to sort out the complexities, as with Ukraine and Poland. It continually comes back to the interests of the people vs the power ploys of the oligarchies, of whatever nation they derive from.

  22. Rob
    May 27, 2017 at 17:15

    An excellent and much needed history lesson, but I must object to the suggestion that Donald Trump has any coherent policy with regard to Russia and Europe generally. Trump is nothing more than an America-first nationalist without any understanding of the finer points raised in Ray McGovern’s piece. If he somehow manages to bring about positive changes, it will be pure happenstance.

    • Realist
      May 27, 2017 at 18:04

      He’s nothing more than the elected president, whose constitutional authority includes running foreign policy. Let’s see what fruits his suggested policies bear before lynching him from the tree.

      How is it possibly advantageous for anyone alive for the Dems, the neocons, the spooks, the MIC, the Deep State and the MSM to be incessantly pushing him towards conflict with Russia when he ran on a platform of peace and cooperation. He’s flipped on much of that because he’s been constantly threatened by this cabal of insurrectionists since the moment Hillary gave her concession speech. Their treachery is getting tiresome. Whatever he does with that American military juggernaut–and it’s a scary monster that strains to be unleashed upon the world–will not be worse than what Clinton would have done.

    • May 27, 2017 at 20:29

      I agree, Rob. ray

  23. ranney
    May 27, 2017 at 16:47

    It always makes me happy to see Ray McGovern’s by line. I know I can read the article without trying to sift fact from fiction as is usually the case with pundits in the MSM.
    I wonder what Ray makes of Kushner’s desire to have a backdoor method of communication with Russia. Of course our media and the neocons have gone absolutely ballistic, but I can’t see what is wrong with that. After all, sainted Jack Kennedy did it; and thank god he did! Without that we would very likely all be dead. I don’t like Kushner’s attitude toward Israel ( he seems to like them more than the US and would give them everything) but in the case of having a chance for dialogue with Russia, I don’t see any real drawbacks. It’s not treason to talk to your “enemy” – and as far as I can see Russia is not our enemy, however we are doing our utmost to make sure that WE are their enemy. But for Putin’s levelheadedness, we would have already accomplished that.

    • Realist
      May 27, 2017 at 17:43

      If any other president or his advisors had done this, everyone would agree that few negotiations on critical issues are ever carried out in the open with the public privy to everything said, much of which is simply to establish boundaries, define the issues to be discussed, gain leverage and persuade in what may be a very roundabout procedure. The Trump administration, just like all that came before, must have the prerogative of confidential and even secret communications with the Russian government, and any other government with which the United States must interact.

      The public and the political opposition does not have a right to watch the sausage being made or to interfere in its manufacture. And to purport as an excuse to justify such interference, without a shred of evidence, that our leadership is conducting treason is simply outrageous assertion that is itself damaging to the interests of this country. I may not like Trump or most of his goals, but I like the actions of the insurrectionists trying to carry out a coup against him much less. These sinister actions must be exposed, in the face of the conspiratorial actions of the MSM, to the public and stopped cold by whatever honorable officials yet remain willing to uphold the constitution.

      • mike k
        May 27, 2017 at 18:51

        Where are these gutsy defenders of the constitution going to come from? Not from the congress or the intelligence groups, or the judiciary. All of these players are hopelessly beholden to the media, corporations, military, the deep state in short. There is nobody with a public voice and standing who is up front calling this attempted coup what it is. They are all afraid of the power players behind the scenes. There were voices that spoke out loudly against McCarthyism. Where are those voices now? A few websites are the only open dissenters.

        • Realist
          May 28, 2017 at 00:45

          I certainly agree with you that such people are in very short supply. I have to wonder, though, do the media and all the other insurrectionists I mentioned have the vaguest clue of what happens next should they succeed in accomplishing a domestic regime change? Sure, Pence ascends to the presidency, but what demands will they be making of him? Should they insist on war, will he mindlessly accommodate them? Does HE have an itchy trigger finger? Why should we want to find out?

      • FrankZappa
        May 30, 2017 at 13:23

        “The public and the political opposition does not have a right to watch the sausage being made or to interfere in its manufacture.”

        Why would you say that? I thought we were supposed to have a government by, for , and of the people. We should know what this scumbag is doing just like we should see details of hillary’s war crimes in her emails.

        Your statement says one set of lice deserves better than the other set? But I’m assuming you despise clinton and I would expect you to feel little better about the present oligarchs.

    • May 27, 2017 at 20:31

      VERY good points, Ranney! Thanks. ray

    • teri
      May 29, 2017 at 04:24

      Well, I would normally agree with this sentiment (that backdoor negotiations can create useful dialogue), but we are talking about Trump and Kushner here. Their “backdoor” channels are no doubt geared toward enriching the Trump/Kushner families and have nothing to do with world peace. These people are jackals, and not at all concerned with peace or the betterment of mankind. Not in the least.

      Any good to come of having them in charge (or Pence, for that matter) will be quite accidental.

  24. rosemerry
    May 27, 2017 at 16:18

    Europeans are not consulted on their support or not for NATO. Most know that Russia is not a threat, except in Poland and a few frantic fearmongers, and the NATO actions, plus placing of nukes and other WMD by the USA in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey makes these the targets if there were to be confrontation. The USA wants Brussels to buy expensive “defense” F35s and pushes against an unwilling public. The USA’s aggression put all of us at risk.

    • Realist
      May 27, 2017 at 17:07

      The American government has not delivered “liberty and justice for all” in a single, indivisible nation that co-opts “God” as its authority. There are a few big winners and a horde of losers in the unfettered competition that operates under America’s unregulated system where justice is conspicuously for hire and the laws are drawn up by insiders for personal advantage. Why should anyone else in the world believe that America intends, or is capable, of bringing pie in the sky to them? Look for a better deal under “The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.”

  25. CitizenOne
    May 27, 2017 at 15:57

    I hear ya Ray but it is wishful thinking. There is nothing we can do but complain about others not paying their fair share or we could unilaterally reduce our contribution. The problem is that everything Trump wants to to has resulted in a media assault on him.
    Tried to kill costly defense projects
    Tried to make nice with the Russians and argued it was better to forge economic partnerships rather than perma-cold-war
    Tried to walk away from Syria.
    Tried to tell those who don’t already know it that the press really is the enemy of the American People.

    At each turn he was bitch slapped backed into a corner and reversed course. Is it any accident the sarin attack came a week after he said he wanted nothing to do with Syria? Of course it isn’t.
    But he is rewarded when he gets stuff “right”.
    The day after the missiles flew, Trump was finally being presidential.
    His 20 billion dollar Saudi arms deal was a concession for his tormentors in control of the government and the press and was well received.

    As long as the New York Times and every other major media fails to cover our aggression against Russia and the constant attempts to gather all of the former eastern block into NATO including CIA actual or attempted Coups including Ukraine and Georgia, Americans are in the dark. As long as they spin the story that any violence that erupts as a result of US interference and trouble making against Russia is always entirely the fault of the Russians (like they did with Ukraine), Americans are in the dark.

    Now they are using the “Russian menace” fake news boogeyman to persecute Trump to his demise. I have watched as they have doubled down on all the BS. Apparently now, even attending an event or being paid to give a speech in Russia is enough to make you an unamerican spy and traitor. Even speaking with Russians is suspect.

    Apparently the only legitimate behavior you can display when dealing with Russia according to our western press is animosity. Any other form of expression will be dealt with swiftly by a western media who will crucify anyone that threatens its interests or the interests of the corporatocracy. That is the fact of it.

    Obama just went along for the ride and was spared his presidency even though he had to do a lot of role playing which I now officially have no respect for what he did. Trump resisted and look at where he is right now.

    It was no accident that Howard Dean experienced the “open Mic” event that was played endlessly (like we were in the room with Noriega during the psyops phase of the standoff) which effectively ended Dean’s campaign. Several weeks before that he made the grave mistake of publicly stating that if he were elected, he would place new regulations on the media. In a similar fashion, Tony Blairs campaign manager walked into Blair’s office, threw three copies of Murdoch owned papers down on his desk depicting the slaughter of another politician and said to him. Go to Murdoch and tell him you will do whatever he wants or I quit. Apparently, Blair took that advice.

    Even Britain has reconciled the disasterous days of it’s alliance with the American war machine with the release of the damning Chilcot Report but we have not come to terms with our unwarranted and unecessary acts of war. Hey NYT! Ever run a story about how badly you lied to us about Iraq? Or how you lied to us about Syria and Libya and Ukraine? Perhaps they can find a way to blame the Russians for all that too. Oh wait, they did.

    This Memorial Day, let us honor those who served our country while being clearly mindful of the numerous ways our commercial press and our elected officials have not served our interests and have defined their own self interests with a lack of concern for others interests and even others lives.

    Memorial Day is not a day for celebrating victory although there were clearly important wars and victories that we were on the right side of history and we wouldn’t be here today if not for those victories. Memorial day is to honor all of those who served and sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice for the idea of creating and preserving freedom and creating and defending our Nation. Whether that was really the case is quite suspect in a number of cases.

    Memorial day should also be a grim reminder of the horrors of war and serve as a reminder to all those who cavalierly bandy war talk like it is a fashion statement or beat the drums of war when war is not necessary to observe the rows of grave markers for what really is the cost of war.

    Finally, while honoring all who served our Nation, let us not be fooled into believing we should become a servile and compliant population happy to have a national condition that appears to be in step three of the five steps to fascism. BTW, after step three there is no turning back.

    • D5-5
      May 27, 2017 at 20:50

      Thank you, Citizen One!

      • Jerry Clifford Kays
        May 30, 2017 at 13:30


    • May 27, 2017 at 23:11

      Its100 Billion to Saudi Arabia! Absolutly horrific!! So sad the suffering we are financing in the middle east. It defies words. Saudi also is a major share holder in Fox news. No wonder.
      I used to support Howard Dean but he has gone Neo Liberal supporting bombing Syria. But you are right he was treated unfairly by the press. Embassed and humiliated.

  26. mike k
    May 27, 2017 at 15:32

    Sorry. The machine did it.

    • Realist
      May 27, 2017 at 16:47

      Just a glitch in the Matrix.

  27. mike k
    May 27, 2017 at 15:31

    Why would anybody with a brain in their head make a deal with a discredited flip-flopper like Donald Trump? Aside from Trump the US government lacks credibility. Nobody can trust us. We are a not so secret pariah among nations. Our selfishness, greed, willingness to violate all standards of human decency is too apparent for others to ignore. Reasonably responsible leaders like Putin rightly regard us as dangerous psychotics.

  28. mike k
    May 27, 2017 at 15:30

    Why would anybody with a brain in their head make a deal with a discredited flip-flopper like Donald Trump? Aside from Trump, the US government lacks credibility. Nobody can trust us. We are a not so secret pariah among nations. Our selfishness, greed, and willingness to violate all standards of human decency is too apparent for others to ignore. Reasonably responsible leaders like Putin rightly regard us as dangerous psychotics.

  29. D5-5
    May 27, 2017 at 15:04

    “President Trump can keep them [NATO] off balance by creating uncertainty with respect to how Washington regards its nominal NATO obligation to risk war with Russia should some loose cannon, in, say, Estonia, start a shooting match with the Russians. On balance, the uncertainty that Trump has injected may be a good thing. Similarly, to the degree that his pressure for increased defense spending belatedly leads to an estimate of the ‘threat’ from Russia, that may be a good thing too.”

    Does this passage suggest that Trump shares a critical perspective on NATO with Ray, or (less critically) is following campaign rhetoric, although he has confused that by more recently praising NATO and saying that previously he knew nothing about it? In this latter case it would seem, again, bluster, not that he would resist a new shooting war with Russia. Also, would this pressure for increased NATO spending actually lead to a new estimate of the so-called threat from Russia or lead to renewed propaganda and pressure on him as “deviant” plus awkward and a know-nothing?

    Additional to appreciating this well-written analysis, I would like Ray and colleagues here to say more on this paragraph quoted, which falls a little short in clarity to me, given what seems Trump blundering and shallow thinking.

    • evelync
      May 27, 2017 at 20:23

      I modestly suggest – modestly, because it’s a guess – that when Trump made his speech he was playing to his base here at home. He faced the camera and started spouting aggressively. His choice of words were at the coarse level that he used to address his rallies. Crude, thoughtless, with no evidence that he understands or cares about the impact of policy positions one way or another.
      I think he has very little respect for his base voters, or anyone else, except to manipulate people, with very little interest in anything except trying to keep his businesses afloat. As Bernie, I think, said, Trump is a con man.

      As far as Ray’s excellent article, i’d like to say that when Wes Clark was running for president and I supported him, I trusted NATO as a well-meaning, even handed force for peace. Foolish me. I finally got it! When Bush disrespected the international balance and the U.S. promise to leave Russia’s neighboring countries alone and also refused to accept Ukraine’s wish to avoid “allegiances” to keep open relations with both the west and Russia – which should have satisfied any well meaning country interested in peace. I then started to question what NATO really was. Irresponsible and foolish came to mind. NATO was not acting in a way that served the long term best interests of average Americans or anyone else, except the wet dreams of the delusional, power hungry Neocons. And then, under Obama/Biden/Clinton more of the same, willing to risk a peaceful world for their own MIC chess games.

      I really appreciate Ray’s thoughtful piece which provides me a solid overview and fills in a lot of the gaps for me.

      • D5-5
        May 27, 2017 at 20:45

        Yes, it may be that when Ray speaks of “good” he means the EFFECT of Trump in terms of creating uncertainty on, say, Article 5, and toward re-assessing the Russia threat. He doesn’t say Trump INTENDS this but it may be the outcome, which would be “good.” And, Evelyn, I completely agree on the fine work in Ray’s piece, so eloquent also, one of his best.

        • evelync
          May 28, 2017 at 00:57

          Sure, D5-5, I wasn’t trying to suggest otherwise. Whatever motivations are back of Trump’s choices, if he stumbles onto something that actually does some good, I’d welcome it too.

          Thanks for your kind response:)

          And yes this is one of the best yet from Ray’s pen!

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 27, 2017 at 23:29

        When I watched Trump shoving aside other NATO leaders, and witnessed his gruff actions while at the event, I couldn’t help but think of how he was putting on an act for his voters. I personally think Trump is the frontman, and his generals are the back room deal makers.

        The one thing, which Ray McGovern points out that I find most interesting, is how the other NATO nations may finally come to the conclusion that NATO has lost it’s worthiness.

        It would be wonderful if NATO were to transform into a coalition of nations who would concentrate on matters of ecology, organic food growing, and humanitarian relief efforts. Now that would be something worth supporting.

        • evelync
          May 28, 2017 at 01:00

          Yes, indeed! Joe.
          That sure would be a welcome change.

        • Skip Scott
          May 28, 2017 at 07:16

          Our European Nato allies are getting screwed all the way around. First, Trump now wants them to help more in feeding the beast of the war machine, meaning less money for domestic needs. Second, they are sacrificing business opportunities with Russia, which probably translates into a significant loss of income. Thirdly they are taking the brunt of the refugee crisis that is the direct result of their puppet master’s (US) shenanigans in the neighboring ME and North Africa, which is a huge drain of resources along with being a humanitarian catastrophe. Meanwhile Russia responded to the sanctions by becoming the largest wheat producer in the world, and all of it NON GMO. Our Globalized Corporate Monsters can’t have that! Maybe Monsanto is behind Russiagate.

        • Sam F
          May 28, 2017 at 08:50

          Yes, re-purposing NATO for humanitarian relief would be an improvement, but we already have the UN and USAID and NGOs. The NATO treaty should be disavowed or restructured rigorously as purely defensive, to avoid serving as an excuse for warmongers.

          I would suggest re-purposing about 80 percent of the US military for international aid projects, to create James’ (and Carter’s) “moral equivalent of war,” to train the young, the citizen, and the mass media to see humanitarianism as robust and to reject the selfish amorality of US oligarchy pop culture, to serve as a “backup” peacekeeping or defense force (probably little used), and to avoid alienating their staff with unemployment.

          Redirecting the US military to international aid projects also transfers those surplus resources where they belong, serving the interests of humanity to the best of our ability, rather than lying, cheating, stealing, bullying, harassment, and vandalism, the ideals of the oligarchy.

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 28, 2017 at 09:44

            Sam F I could not agree more. To win the hearts and minds of the earth America must turn towards using it’s soft power. Dollars could be made producing life saving products over manufacturing chaos. Why just the retooling would be a bonanza for pattern makers, and technicians to hammer out new methods in the change over. War isn’t the only platform to be used to get rich. I don’t mean to make it all sound so material, but because many investors think material, I thought it good to mention so that the investor class doesn’t feel left out.

          • Sam F
            May 28, 2017 at 11:26

            Yes Joe, the motives and profits of free enterprise are just as well served by industry that improves the lot of humankind, as by weapon making, and should as readily be recruited. The trick is convincing the selfish to maintain the military budget as a humanitarian budget, rather than demanding tax cuts and benefits, and domestic improvements.

            That is the proper battle between the left and right. But a re-purposing of the inflated military for development aid, could introduce that change if properly presented as the robust “moral equivalent of war.”

  30. Bill Bodden
    May 27, 2017 at 14:59

    Related: “Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance” by Brian Cloughley –

  31. Joe Tedesky
    May 27, 2017 at 14:44

    As much as I’d like to join Ray McGovern in thinking positive over Trump’s negative gestures towards his NATO allies, I will instead after watching how this Trump Adminstration operates for the time being take it slow with my emotions. Hearing Trump appointees say one thing while President Trump says another, is not out of the ordinary when it comes to comprehending what this Trump Adminstration is all about. I mean what is it all about. I’m confused.

    With the passing of Zbigniew Brzezinski I have little sorrow, or compassion, for a man who cleverly invented a violent jihadist movement to combat the Soviet Russians, without any forethought to where this alliance would lead too, as his planning is unconscionable for a lot of reasons. In my mind Brezezinski brought his Galicia hate of Russia to the U.S. who should have had better detente with Russia in the first place, and the rest of Zbigniew’s chessboard strategy is history, as we are now living through it. Would it be considered mourning, if you hugged a terrorist, and you gave your condolences to the jihadist over the loss of Zbigniew Brzezinski?

    • D5-5
      May 27, 2017 at 15:10

      Joe, this comment to me–and I am not in ANY way defending psychopathic terrorists, I abhor them as much as anybody–but it does point out there are two sides to this story. Demonizing the enemy as fiends in the age-old manner will not get to essential causes which need considering to avoid repeating the same errors.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 27, 2017 at 15:46

        I’m not sure what you are trying to tell me, but my sarcasm maybe dull.

        • Skip Scott
          May 27, 2017 at 19:36

          Hi Joe-

          I suppose that D5-5 Is talking about the Islamic world’s legitimate grievances when it comes to the West’s meddling. However, I agree that we created the Mujahadeen, later known as Al Qaeda, and are feeling the results of that years later. Few people know that women were wearing mini-skirts in Kabul, and it was known as the Paris of central Asia up to the mid 1970’s. I don’t pretend to defend terrorists either, but I think the world would be a much better place if we practiced non-interventionism. I can’t think of a single place since WWII where the people were better off after our intervention. We must learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world.

          • D5-5
            May 27, 2017 at 20:30

            Yeah, thanks Joe and Skip. What I had in mind is that IS and such groups are formed out of many disgruntled Iraqi army people, for example, released following conquest of Iraq. In other words, we don’t pay enough attention to their grievances, as Skip says. I’m not sure I understand your last sentence, Joe, but it made me think of how the enemy is demonized and dismissed. (no sarcasm intended on my part, ever)

          • Bill Bodden
            May 27, 2017 at 22:01

            I don’t pretend to defend terrorists either, but I think the world would be a much better place if we practiced non-interventionism.

            “We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It” by Patrick Cockburn –

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 27, 2017 at 22:10

            Skip, Leave well enough alone, is a good motto.

            There was a time when I was young, that I honestly though that when the U.S. deployed troops into a country that we Americans were there to improve the lives of the indigenous who dwelt there. Then came the Vietnam years, and from that terrible episode the truth about American involvement leaked out one by one by our returning veterans. Desert Storm reinvigorated our go to war spirit, but that is until we learned of April Glaspie’s sly wink and nod to Saddam, and there were no babies thrown from incubators, and well you know the rest.

            It’s time the U.S. develop a new mindset, and a more well balanced foreign policy. Oh, and start taking care of America’s own house.

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 27, 2017 at 21:58

          Okay D5-5 I see what you are referring to. What I meant about hugging a terrorist was that in Brzezinski’s universe the jihadist is like his family. In fact if you read what I wrote about William Eaton and Hamet Caramelli it may explain my true intentions to my point of view.

          Brzezinski along with Eaton made promises to their proxy militia they could not keep. Yes the mercenaries do well while they are needed, but once the battle is over the money ship pulls up anchor to sail away as to live and forget, and once friends are no more.

          If the terrorist were to have developed a deep hatred of Zbigniew it would be well understood. Brzezinski like a lot of schemers use people, and then once accomplishing their scheming goals, these schemers throw their useful doers away.

          The other thing, is did the world really need a hegemonic weasel to create a ideology which will out survive his evil world domination heart. Zbigniew maybe gone, but his chessboard legacy lives on.

          • D5-5
            May 28, 2017 at 11:13

            Right on, Joe.

    • May 27, 2017 at 15:34

      “Brezezinski brought his Galicia hate of Russia to the U.S”

      Agree. Zbig gave us Al Qaeda/ISIS – and Israel is still rejoicing at that.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 27, 2017 at 20:14

        Going as far back as when William Eaton along with 8 marines and 2 mishipmen enlisted the help of Hamet Caramelli with his 500 strong troops to capture the town of Derne proved that promises made against promises kept are a tad more than what the U.S. is prepared to tackle. You see Eaton struck a deal with Hamet to reinstall Caramelli back into power, this deal would have taken out Hamet’s brother Yosuf from power, and put Hamet in the drivers seat. Although since the U.S. Senate did not approve this deal all bets were off. So even then the U.S. was finding it to be a little more than difficult to hire mercenaries, and to assure itself a satisfactory outcome. The one good thing that came out of that was the Marine Hymn got it’s most memorable lyric…’from the shores of Tripoli’.

        It goes without saying that when a nation outsources it’s military strength, it is taking on the responsibility to keep their proxies happy. The backlash is always responded too with surprise, but yet the memory of a one time ally is often forgotten with little notice. The only ones who remember the blood brother oath are the proxy mercenaries.

    • jo6pac
      May 27, 2017 at 15:53

      Agree sadly he was in charge of training new neo-liberals that hide behind the curtain pulling the strings.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 27, 2017 at 20:17

        You are right. We are living inside of Zbigniew’s grand chessboard, and his students are leading the way.

        • tina
          May 27, 2017 at 22:06

          I love and adore Henry Kissinger. That bastard has been alive forever and still is influential. One polish dude died, Kissinger is still alive and relevant

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 27, 2017 at 22:15

            What is you love about Henry Kissinger tina, is it his foreign policy strategies, or his longevity?

      • tina
        May 27, 2017 at 22:14

        Hallo, Herr Kisssinger,
        Was? Du bisst noch am Leben? Und weiter hin, Du regierst auch noch Heute?


        Hi, Mr. Kissinger,

        What, you are still alive? Furthermore, what, you are still directing policies?

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 28, 2017 at 01:07

          Are you sure tina your not connected to ’30 Rock’?

          You are funny.

  32. Watchdog
    May 27, 2017 at 14:40

    Here is another example of the good that Trump has done – quite wittingly in the case of dissing NATO and calling on Lavrov to visit him in the Oval Office which has left the neocons, the neoliberalcons and “progressives” like Rachel Maddow weak in the knees.

    BUT you will rarely find a word of clear praise for Trump among those genuinely opposed to the US drive for war and Hegemony. McGovern moves a bit in that direction and he is to be applauded for that!!!
    To be a critic of Trump’s crazed critics is no longer enough. That leaves Trump undefended for the decent things he is attempting to do. That does NOT mean one must also praise him for the very bad things like TrumpCare – essentially a twin of ObamaCare but even worse. We should be able to separate the good from the bad.
    Among the “educated” and “well-mannered” clear praise of Trump is likely to get one shunned by others with good table manners. But it would be a sad thing if fear of being shunned prevented the truth from being told in a clear way – and even sadder if it resulted in the initiatives for getting along with Russia – and China – to evaporate and to cause a return to the policies of Obama/Hillary toward those countries.

    • Sunset
      May 27, 2017 at 15:23

      Yes, I’ve noticed that, too. Most commentators when debunking Russian hacking for lack of evidence say something like, “This doesn’t mean the Russians were not guilty of hacking or that there was no colluding!” They feel the need to “qualify” their statements obviously.

  33. Mark Thomason
    May 27, 2017 at 14:34

    Europe DID rethink NATO’s costs. They slashed their defense budgets, all of them did, by half or more.

    It is not just that they have not raised them. Before that they slashed them.

    • Ol' Hippy
      May 28, 2017 at 13:38

      If the US could be so lucky, to slash the defense budget, maybe all the manufactured tension around the world would dissipate and perhaps peace would break out. But again look at the ones behind the scenes,(the deep state?) always stirring up trouble instead of promoting peace.

  34. Bill Bodden
    May 27, 2017 at 14:26

    The U.S. reneged on its quo side of the bargain …

    Reneging on agreements is an American tradition. Just ask the Native Americans.

    • jo6pac
      May 27, 2017 at 15:50

      LOL and sadly so true.

  35. Bill Bodden
    May 27, 2017 at 14:23

    First a request: Let me ask those of you who believe Russia is planning to invade Europe to put down the New York Times for a minute or two.

    Ray: It isn’t just the NYT. The WaPo, CNN, MSDNC, and Faux News have made it obvious Russia is out to get us. They’re not all lying to us, are they?

    • N. R. Murray
      May 27, 2017 at 15:29

      Yes. Yes they are. All corporate legacy media. Some or all CIA bought. Read any of them for (1) hilarious entertainment or (2) to keep up with what the elites expect you to believe. Not for facts though.

    • Kelly
      May 27, 2017 at 22:27

      Bill, Yes they all are. Same talking points. Everyone falls in line or you dont get access. No press credentials no advertisers.

    • Tiu
      May 27, 2017 at 22:27


    • Sam F
      May 27, 2017 at 23:10

      Ray has written well to the general audience, bridging the information gap for those heavily propagandized. He has properly shown the expansion of NATO as an act of calculated betrayal, a policy of aggression in the face of zero threat.

      It is sensible but really too polite to say that NATO expanded because “that is what bureaucracies do … and … it became a way for U.S. presidents to show their ‘toughness.'” To expand a bureaucracy by subversion of Ukraine and false reports of Russian aggression, to show toughness by aggression rather than defense, requires the mad power grasping of tyrants in the military, the intel agencies, the NSC, the administration, Congress. and the mass media.

      They are joined in a tyranny of inventing foreign monsters, to pose falsely as protectors, and to accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty, as Aristotle warned. This is the domestic political power grab of tyrants, a far greater danger.

      Tyranny is a subculture, a groupthink of bullies who tyrannize each other and compete for the most radical propositions of nonexistent foreign threats. They fully well know that they are lying to the people of the United States to serve a personal and factional agenda that involves the murder of millions of innocents, the diversion of a very large fraction of their own and other nations’ budgets from essential needs, and they have not an ounce of humanity or moral restraint among them. Those who waver are cast aside, and the worst of the bullies rise to the top. This is why the nation’s founders opposed a standing military, and they were right.

      Apart from NATO and a few other treaties, the US would have no constitutional power to wage foreign wars, just to repel invasions and suppress insurrections, and that is the way it should be. Any treaty becomes part of the Supreme Law of the land, and must be rigorously restricted to defense, with provisions for international resolution of conflicts. NATO has been nothing but an excuse for warmongering since 1989.

      Let us hope that Trump pulls the plug on NATO interventionism, accidentally or otherwise. The Dem leaders have now joined the Reps in their love of bribes for genocide, but at the least the Reps still don’t like paying for it. Perhaps the last duopoly imitation of civilization.

      • Peter Loeb
        May 28, 2017 at 07:05

        Thanks first to Ray McGovern for his article and second
        to Sam F. for his incisive comment.

        Two areas remain somewhat hazy for this reader:

        1. It is more than commonplace for commentators to refer
        to the end of “the Cold War”. A redefinition of this
        war can be found in Joyce and Gabriel Kolko’s landmark
        book, THE LIMITS OF POWER, p.31:

        “….The so-called Cold War, in brief, was far less a
        confrontation of the United States with Russia, than
        America’s expansion into the entire world—a world
        the Soviet Union neither controlled nor created…”

        2. What is one to make of the “collapse of the Soviet
        Union” reiterated constantly? As far as I know, the Soviet
        Union, now “Russia’, is still very much there.

        If one is to speak economically, should one not also
        refer to the Great Depression of the 1920-30’s as
        “the collapse of the United States”? Or our current
        economic problems likewise as” the collapse of
        the United States”?

        Deeper scrutiny into what exactly transpired is
        consistently overlooked. Perhaps because it never
        happened in the sense an author intended.

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • Sam F
          May 28, 2017 at 08:18

          1. While “the Cold War” was seen domestically as containment of the USSR, that strategy made little sense in Korea and Vietnam, where Russian and Chinese influence supported anti-colonial and socialist revolutions that did not threaten interests of the people of the US, but merely interests and preferences of its oligarchy. It made no sense in Cuba or Latin America, where political choices of socialism were deliberately misrepresented by cold warriors as “Soviet expansionism.” Similarly socialism was opposed by the US in its overthrow pf democracy in Iran in 1953 and its imposition of dictatorship. An idea such as economic justice is not a conspiracy to be fought militarily.

          So the “Cold War” outside of western Europe was an excuse of oligarchy to thwart socialism and to steal resources, and to build up the US military and secret agencies and control of mass media to thwart socialism and democracy in the US. But of course the “defenders of democracy” had to be canonized, the population terrorized, to go along against their interests.

          2. I will leave the question of what remains of the USSR in relations among the Russian Federation to those who know the details better than I. There appears to be little joint military operation or geopolitical aspiration. Central Asia appears to have been a great liability for the USSR, and Afghanistan in particular would probably have done far better under the USSR. The Reagan/Brezinskyites who grew AlQaeda there to give the USSR its own Vietnam were enemies of humanity, and we suffer their foul spirits long after they are gone.

          • D5-5
            May 28, 2017 at 11:36

            Sam F, thanks for these fine notes. On 2) despite the demonization of Putin as “thug,” “nasty piece of work,” “killer,” etc., including such characterization by progressive journalists such as Matt Taibbi whose work I respect and enjoy mostly, Putin offers reasoning, restraint, and guidance toward problem-solving. This behavior does not fit perception of the Soviets as a brainless, brutal machine washed over us throughout the 20th century. Indications now suggest the US has turned into that perception.

          • Peter Loeb
            May 29, 2017 at 06:53


            Thanks for your responses to my points.

            The book by Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, THE LIMITS OF
            POLICY, 1945-1954 is one of my treasures.I have a hardbound
            copy. (Harper & Row, 1972). When I bought it, it was
            out-of-print. I got it through a second-hand bookseller
            and I have never regretted it.I have read it many times.

            It is a piece of work at 716 pages.

            As you may know, after his wife passed away Kolko was
            not “making any (political) friends”. A radical but
            sceptical of many “activist” strategies (other works), he
            called things as he saw them. Not according to the
            liberal-progressive “conventional wisdom.”.

            After giving the world many works of critical value,he went
            to The Netherlands and took his life in accordance with
            rules there.

            If you or friends have the nerve and time to tackle the
            Kolkos, I strongly recommend it.

            I often think of a black gospel song which begins:

            “If everbody loved Jesus,
            What a wonderful world it would be…”

            Most know that everyone does not follow our visions.
            We also know by intellect and experience that the
            world will not suddenly arise. Kolko despite his
            radical views also recognized that. “The workers
            of the world are not going to unite!”

            Kolko provides a well documented description
            of what is.(not a pathway to our most cherished dreams)

            He is not perfect, of course, but essential to one of
            your clear understanding and comprehension.

            I was flattered to read your response. Thanks so very much!

            —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Jerry Clifford Kays
        May 30, 2017 at 13:23

        So well said, and so much more could be said, it is so sad that so many normal caring citizens around the world, and especially here in the USA, have the wool pulled over their eyes by the media they have been programmed to trust. A media that has been selling us all down the stream!

        • Jessejean
          June 1, 2017 at 14:51

          A media that has its nose up the butt of Hillary, the current cudgel-wielder for the Clinton cabal. Did you see that jobathehut thing on the Lawerence Macdopey show on MSNBC? She LOOKS like Henry the mound Kissinger. I couldn’t watch. She was one of the prime movers in the Ukrainian coup, she and Nuland. We need a BIG story on that as she is starting her “come back” and the so called defense industries will be slathering her all over their organs of propaganda, i.e. ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, all the cable spigots, NYT and WaPo. The reason the “media” is so corrupt is because the war industries own them. It’s a crying shame. Thank the gods for Consortium.

    • John wilson
      May 28, 2017 at 03:43

      Well if the EU states aren’t able to see the blatant propaganda about Russia now, no amount of demands for cash from Trump is likely to alter their mindset, which appears to be completely blinkered.

    • Ol' Hippy
      May 28, 2017 at 13:33

      All of these ‘outlets’ function to spread ‘official’ government propaganda which explains why it doesn’t vary, at all, between different ‘official’ sources. I pick one to find out what the ‘flavor’ is of the day and have a chuckle and ignore it. I wish many more folks had the time to find the real truth to what’s going on. There are so many lies about Syria that truth will never be known, and believe me when I say it changes almost daily, the real and the fake. If more good folks could see what’s really going on with Russia, Syria, Iran, the designated ‘enemies, at this time, things might just change; but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Thomas Paine
      May 28, 2017 at 15:00

      Yes, in fact they ARE all lying to us.

      Deep state runs America, not Trump, not GOP and certainly not the Dems.

      Deep state is in control of *everything*.

      If you think I’m exaggerating then please take a look at Eisenhower’s speech on that subject and reflect on what’s happened since then.

      If we don’t wake up to this then democracy as we know it is dead.

  36. May 27, 2017 at 14:07

    NATO has a Billion dollar war palace in Brussels financed by taxpayers’ dollars. Has this war bureaucracy ever been audited? More info at link below:

  37. May 27, 2017 at 14:03

    There is evidence that NATO and its “allies” have been helping and assisting terrorists. One wonders when this treacherous behaviour is going to be exposed and the powerful criminals arrested. More info on this at link below:

    • Jerry Clifford Kays
      May 30, 2017 at 13:16

      Thank You, Sir, for the link to links that provide the truths needed to see the lies of the corporate purveyors of lies claimed to be the truth.

Comments are closed.