Seeing the Substance in Trump-Putin Meeting

The first meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin achieved  potentially life-saving progress on the Syrian crisis, but the U.S. media/political world can’t get past its obsession with Russia-gate, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

The U.S. mainstream media’s obsessive focus on President Trump’s tone when he asked President Putin about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election – and whether Trump accepted Putin’s denial – left under-reported what was actually achieved during the possibly historic meeting.

President Trump discusses his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

To be sure, there was not all that much substance because substance normally requires detailed advance preparation by teams from both sides, something which could not and did not occur due to the intense pressure from Trump’s political opponents and even from several of his own advisers, who wanted no meeting at all or a confrontational meeting as opposed to constructive meeting if any.

That being said, there was one concrete piece of business which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned in his July 7 press briefing immediately afterwards: a cease-fire in southwest Syria along with the creation of a joint U.S.-Russian center for de-confliction in Jordan, where the U.S. military coordination of the Syrian theater is located, to oversee a return to civilian life in the southwest area.

That move appears to be a positive development, with the cease-fire holding better than some earlier ones have — and adding one more zone to the six de-confliction areas established during meetings in Astana between the warring parties and under the guaranty of Turkey, Iran and Russia.

It would be still better if there had been some progress on the more dangerous zone of eastern and southeastern Syria along the Euphrates, where U.S.-backed forces of the Free Syrian Army have clashed with Syrian government forces and where the U.S. shot down a Syrian bomber a couple of weeks ago, causing the Russians to cut military hot lines and to threaten to target all U.S. and allied planes flying west of the Euphrates.

We also were told that the United States will now be taking an active role in pressing for the implementation of the Minsk Accords for the sake of a political solution in Ukraine, along with the appointment of a U.S. point man for the conflict.

Although the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Russia is at fault for the lack of progress, the reality is that Kiev has been dragging its heels on implementing a realistic approach to fulfilling its Minsk commitments that call for allowing eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbas, to achieve greater autonomy and to vote for its own leadership.

Trump and Putin also agreed to set up a joint body to deal with cyber security to ensure there will be no possible attacks on electoral processes in either country. The Russians, in particular, sought such cooperation in the knowledge that cyber-attacks are considered a causus belli by the Americans. But the idea was mocked by the political establishment in Washington, which instead wants to impose more sanctions on Russia for alleged interference in last fall’s election.

More generally, what seems to have been achieved at the Putin-Trump meeting was agreement on procedures to begin a normalization of bilateral relations, including the early appointment of new ambassadors in both capitals. No agreements on anything specific as yet, but the identification of outstanding issues and the start of assignment of responsibility on both sides to enter into detailed discussion to find solutions. If followed up – or not sabotaged by anti-Trump political/media forces in the U.S. – that could turn out to be a turning point in relations.

Historical Parallels

Before the meeting took place, journalists and pundits were looking for scenarios from the past, which might characterize the emerging relationship of the two presidents. Optimists, in particular, spoke of the important example set by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, which led to very significant agreements on arms limitation and laid the groundwork for the ending of the Cold War. Donald Trump’s repeated indications on the campaign trail that he believed Putin was someone with whom he could do business was redolent of Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s views of Gorbachev.

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

But I think that this conceptualization of what may lie ahead is off the mark. Today there is no Soviet Union, no Russian empire in Europe, and nothing of the kind to resolve. Moreover, with all of the negative associations in Russia regarding Gorbachev’s naïve trust in the Americans (including the economic distress that followed in the 1990s and the aggressive expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders), the Reagan-Gorbachev parallel is a nonstarter for the Russian side.

Instead, I see the Nixon-Brezhnev détente of the early 1970s as a better frame of reference.  One of the great implementers of that détente was Henry Kissinger, whose Realpolitik underlies Trump’s America First thinking. And Kissinger himself has been very visible in the Trump foreign policy circle. He was with Trump when he received Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak in the Oval Office a couple of months ago. Kissinger also was Trump’s messenger to Putin a week ago in Moscow when the former Secretary of State had a tête-à-tête with the Russian President that Russian state television considered newsworthy.

Nixon-era détente was all about peaceful coexistence between two world superpowers pursuing their own national interests, not about cozy friendship.

There are, of course, some key differences. Today, we do not have an ideological divide driving the competition of these two countries, but we do have heightened and even malicious competitiveness in which U.S. power centers still see the United States as the “indispensable” and “unipolar” superpower that can operate wherever it wants without interference.

So, the obstacle that must be cleared is to find a polite way of saying the unspeakable in American politics, that Russia and other powerful nations are permitted “spheres of influence,” rather than the entire globe being America’s “sphere of influence.” At the highest level of abstraction, we are talking about an agreement on world governance.

In the heyday of détente in the 1970s, Brezhnev offered Nixon a condominium: if we and you agree, said Brezhnev, no one else in the world will dare raise a finger. The Americans did not buy it. Nixon could not have accepted that even if he wished because Congress would never agree. Putin is not offering such a condominium, but instead is offering mutual responsibility for governance through the United Nations and other international agencies, like the G-20, a proposition that Trump might be willing to go for since it would shift the financial burden for the world’s security away from the U.S. and thus fit with his core slogan, America First.

Russian Viewpoint

In trying to understand how the Russians have assessed the Putin-Trump meeting, as usual I have found the country’s highest-level political talk show, Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, to be an invaluable aid. Opinion was divided between politicians and think tank intellectuals who are openly optimistic and those who are guardedly optimistic.

Couple walking along the Kremlin, Dec. 7, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

The openly optimistic commentators believe that Trump and Putin got off to a good start, with good “personal chemistry” which promises an improvement of bilateral relations. And in general they believe that Russia did well from the encounter, with the eyes of the world directed respectfully at their President. The world had returned to the good old days when everyone looked to Washington and Moscow as the arbiters of global stresses.

The guardedly optimistic commentators believe that the meeting does not hold the promise of good relations, but may mark the end of deterioration and so potentially averts war, which otherwise was quite possibly on the horizon. The meeting and its longer-than-expected duration highlight the understanding in the United States that maintaining working relations and open dialogue with Russia is essential for world peace.

But the anti-Russian sanctions will remain and the major power blocs of the United States and Europe on one side and Russia and China on the other will vie for influence and keep their distance from one another for many years to come.

It also bears mention that the Russians were bemused by the criticism of Trump from American journalists and other attendees of the G-20 Summit for being incompetent, something of a deranged fool. No one in living memory had witnessed such contempt for an American Commander in Chief from his fellow citizens. This fact curbed Russian expectations that anything promised by Trump could actually be realized.

Another prominent feature of the G-20 was the obvious isolation of the U.S. delegation at the conclusion of the summit when the other 19 members joined in a common statement reaffirming their countries’ commitment to the Paris Climate Change treaty from which Trump has withdrawn the United States.

The other main aspect of the G-20 in Hamburg that captured the headlines of the U.S. and European press was the violence of the demonstrators who, as is now customary at such events, came to curse globalization and the free trade pacts that G-20 members have traditionally subscribed to.

An irony about the large-scale protests, which primarily targeted globalization, was that Donald Trump is the first American President in the modern era to oppose the free-trade principles typically espoused at the G-20. For once the protesters had someone who shared their outlook inside the halls of the summit.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

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84 comments for “Seeing the Substance in Trump-Putin Meeting

  1. F. G. Sanford
    July 12, 2017 at 7:07 am

    I’ve been following the media as well as readership commentary on this and other sites. I voted for Obama because I truly believed it was time to put a black guy in the Oval Office. Instead, we got a member of the Congressional Black Caucasians. While I’m at it, I gotta say something about Ralph Peters. He retired as a Light Colonel, for God’s sake. He wouldn’t even qualify for a job as a Post Commander. This guy is no military prodigy. Drop into the Pentagon sometime, and you’ll find Brigadier Generals making coffee for the staff meetings. How Tucker Carlson and Fox News ever got bamboozled by this guy is beyond comprehension. Peters is to military strategy what Nikki Haley is to international diplomacy. These people are national embarrassments. Now, if they wanted a military expert, they could get Larry Wilkerson. But Wilkerson wouldn’t follow the Fox News script – and believe me, Tucker Carlson really, really, really is a scripted commentator. He certainly would not be entertaining Ralph Peters if he were a free-thinking journalist. Make no mistake. Fox doesn’t support Hillary, but it’s still a “deep state” corporate controlled outlet. If Carlson were to interview Wilkerson, he’d probably get observations very much like the contents of this article. The corporate controlled media is still going to do its best to derail the Trump Presidency, even if only by damning with faint praise. By playing along with the defamation of Trump, his critics empower the deep state actors who are itching for more war. Stop and think about it. How much more war can we really afford?

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 12, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I always thought that Peters was a Oded Yinon clone. Colonel Peters is a great example of everything that’s wrong with our nations foreign policies, if solutions aren’t found in a bomb then we have no remedy at all. This kind of thinking evolves out of a nation which prides itself on its many institutions of higher learning, and if you dare criticize these geniuses you are deemed a ‘deplorable’ or something like that.

      Obama maybe our first Black President, but he never really was the leader. His first mistake was his Citicorp Cabinet looked more like a hybrid based upon a Bush Clinton White House. Obama as all presidents find, never had a grip over the CIA, but then who does? It’s hard to talk about Obama without either sounding like a Obama apologists or sounding as though you are a disenfranchised leftist or even a pissed of centrist. Obama did what he had to do, he was America’s First Black President. Now he and Michelle can retire to grow their organic garden in peace.

      • curious
        July 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm

        Hi Joe,
        As the constant inquisitive person you are I’ll send a link to a very important article. It doesn’t have a direct relationship to Mr Doctorows’ piece but I think it should be passed around. Since I was once ahead of the curve in the IT world this article makes a lot of sense, but I have fallen behind the times and it would be good if the real hip IT people can examine the content. We all know Crowdstrike was a phony source, but somehow the link rings true. If true, it is further proof how deep and common the lies of the MSM are, since most probably never asked a real technical person for an evaluation of the DNC release or the election bs. Please feel free to contest the results if you have a chance to speak to a guru in the biz, and then we can end this -gate business. I hardly ever provide a link because of the bad ones out there, but here I’ll make an exception to me rule. cheers.
        https://www.rt.com/usa/396056-guccifer-forensicator-hack-dnc/

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 12, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          Wow ‘curious’ isn’t that amazing? I did read something about that the other day, and being not an IT wizard I couldn’t question the science, but I found it interesting, and assumed that it must have some truth to it, or it would not have been posted on RT. BTW RT.com in my estimation is a very good news sight.

          When I saw the date of the last file transfer July 5th, I hurriedly looked to see the date of Seth Rich’s murder and it was July 10th…hmmm kind of close to the transfer date isn’t it? But there I go again with the tin-foiled hat stuff. But with this new IT information, and without getting down deep into the weeds of conspiracy theories, would it still not seem reasonable to suspect that Seth was the leakier, and that his death was a retaliation, and possibly his death was a message to be sent to any potential other leakier’s, that you just don’t mess with the big boys and girls and live to talk about it?

          This whole hacking accusation thing is a crime. Our media is a disgrace, and reliable integrity is no where to be found.

          Thanks for sharing that information curious have a good day, and a pleasant evening Joe

          • Curious
            July 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm

            Well, I think it’s closer to the IT I once knew. It is worth a good analysis if one has the strength to stand up to power gone astray.
            A bit off topic, but Hitler this or Hitler that for me depicts the ignorance of most people, because they have no historical alternative to have a constructive conversation, so let’s call our unknown and misunderstood leaders Hitler since it has certain ring to it. The Germans were hammered after WW1 and they needed to grow as a country. Hitler only won the vote by 33-37% despite those who protest and make the entire country a virus, as if he won 95% of the vote. He deleveloped the Volkswagen, literally the car of the people, and put an entire country to work on the autobahn and other projects. He may have had ulterior motives, but so does Trump. Hitler was kept alive and a force because it was convenient for the start and continuation of Israel. If Israel didn’t exist Hitler would be down on the list of a Mussolini. Israel has made a mistake making a ultra-hero of Hitler and it will work against them I think. If it weren’t for Krystal Nacht Hitler would have faded away.
            But we do have to be alert to the surreptitious military encroaching more and more throughout the US, and Trump LOVES the police and the military, no matter how much money they lost. The F-35 is already asking for more in that money pit of a plane. Are we ignorant or just don’t care since our own homes have not been bombed? It is all a sad joke and crazier by the day.

          • F. G. Sanford
            July 13, 2017 at 1:40 am

            Joe – It strikes me that some here don’t realize that Ralph Peters has been a favorite Fox News “expert” guest over and over and over again since the Iraq war. He’s a known quantity. By interviewing him – even if Carlson seems to disagree – he provides him with a platform to reinforce his lunatic fringe point of view. The “banter” in that interview just looked too well coordinated to be spontaneous. At the end, they both laugh it off as though neither one accused the other of insanity or Hitler nostalgia. The audience got the message: “Military expert says Putin an evil, murdering psychopath”.

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

            A longtime ago I knew of a record company who when getting rock bands ready to go perform on the road send in a rock band choreographer who would rehearse the band on every move they made on stage, to even plan knocking over the drummers cymbal stands. So in reality even the screw ups weren’t as spontaneous as it appeared.

            How many business associates play good salesperson bad salesperson? Oh, these business people probably learned this from the police inquisitors. Like John Lennon said, ‘and nothing is real’. We should remember that what we see on television is 98.9% entertainment, and we all know our news is infotainment.

            Still it was pretty neat to watch Tucker rattle super patriot Peters. In my mind Peters represents everything that is wrong with our U.S. Foreign Policy.

      • tina
        July 12, 2017 at 10:38 pm

        Hi Joe,
        Way back in the day when Obama was President, there were not too many issues or media reports that I felt so emotional about.
        Of course, as an Obama supporter, and twice voter, I was very disappointed that Obama chose to go status quo. I hoped we would get single-payer healthcare, I hoped wall street people would go to jail, but alas. I think it is not nice of you to think the Obamas will retire to an organic garden. I take offence because we are growing organic peppers. BHO and MO are working to examine illegal gerrymandering and other things that really do matter. For the past 8 years (2009-2017) Obama was not really in my face. For the past 6 months, the Trumps have been in my face everyday. See the difference.

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

          I didn’t mean to make it sound like a ‘dig’, I throughly love the Obama’s as people, and I wasn’t joking about the ‘organic’ farm. I thought it was ashame that Michelle had to take a back seat to the chemical GMO lobby, when she quit promoting healthy eating.

          Everything you mentioned about single payer, Wall Street bankers going to jail, and etc., should be what the Democrates are talking about, and not talking about Russia-Gate.

          I don’t mean to upset you tina, that’s the last thing I’m here to do. So please except my apologies if I offended you over Obama having a ‘organic garden’. Joe

        • Cal
          July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm

          ‘I think it is not nice of you to think the Obamas will retire to an organic garden. I take offence because we are growing organic peppers.”…..tina

          Sorry but I have to say that is ridiculously silly.. And Joe really doesn’t owe you an apology. But go post it on the ‘microagression project board if you feel so offended…….its bound to be as bad as these ‘microagressions’.

          http://www.microaggressions.com/

          When entering an elevator with white people and I am the only woman of color, I quickly press the button correlated with the floor I need and slide backwards away from the buttons to avoid the entitlement of someone casually and rudely demanding I press the floor they need without so much as a thank you. I am not the elevator operator. Further, their index fingers appear to be fully functionally. #idonotworkforyou

          At the deli this morning, I ordered my bagel with nothing on it. The guy at the counter said, “Summer’s coming! Gotta fit into that tight swimsuit.” No, actually I just keep my own cream cheese at the office, you fuck face.

          I’m waiting to visit my father after his heart surgery with my mother behind a pair of doors. Another South Asian family is waiting some distance away from us to visit someone else. A white nurse opens the door and seeing all of us says, ‘Only two visitors per patient!’

      • Cal
        July 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

        Obama should have been great for race relations—he did prove there is no difference in blacks and whites except skin color—black politicians can be just as corrupt as white politicians.

    • July 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

      “Instead, we got a member of the Congressional Black Caucasians.”….LOL

    • Abe
      July 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      The “substance” is black
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqHKwlHwXbI

      The brilliant Robert Newman comes to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years. The entire nine part series is recommended.

      For more on Ralph Peters and the US/NATO Plan for a “New Middle East”, see comment further down the page.

      • July 12, 2017 at 10:54 pm

        Thanks, Abe…I watched all 9 segments and heIS brilliant.

      • Abe
        July 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

        Russia is a target of U.S. imperialism because of its vast resources. Eighty percent of Russian exports abroad are now in raw materials, primarily gas and oil. The petroleum industry in Russia is one of the largest in the world. It is the largest exporter of natural gas. Coal, iron, aluminum, precious metals, lumber and cereals are other major exports.

        This makes Russia’s economy especially vulnerable to global commodity swings and drastic downturns.

        There is an insatiable drive to control Russia’s great wealth by the largest banks and corporations. All currents of the U.S. and Western imperialist ruling class are desperate to have unlimited access to this great stream of profits, which they had finally laid their hands on just a few years ago. Remember: Imperialism’s very survival depends on expansion and profit.

        http://www.workers.org/2017/07/12/russia-a-target-not-a-superpower/#.WWed_YU5MZo

        Photo ops, handshakes and reports of cooperation at the G20 meeting do not change or lessen U.S. imperialism’s desperation to hammer down any form of resistance to its global domination. Any country attempting independent development is immediately targeted.

    • Catcher in the Wild
      July 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Hello from NH where I live on a country road in “J.D. Salinger Country” half an hour south of that Ivy League bubble known as Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH where I lived in the 70’s so know it from the inside as well…also as a psychologist received my clinical training in the Dartmouth Dept. of Psychiatry which revealed the dark side or “Peyton Place” of the community at the time. And now, I see this quintessential Establishment educational institution for training the next generation of “power elite”, leaders of The Liberal Free World Order” or whatever you want to call it plus the extended community of alumni, foreign service professionals & a whole array of highly educated affluent retirees, not to mention the local newspaper which channels toxic Washington Post news & commentary into the minds of a large swath of the population across NH-VT…nearly all (especially the nytimes true believers) locked in this Russophobia psycho-socio-pathology. Furthermore, in neither one-on-one conversations nor standing up & speaking out at campus forums, such as one last Nov. on “politics & the media” featuring a WaPo journalist & 2 with the NYTimes: a Dartmouth PolSci prof. blogger & Rutenberg its “Mediator” (where the microphone was snatched from my hand by the moderator-enforcer) or this spring when the State Dept.’s Daniel Fried (in the pre-Victoria Nuland European chair) delivered The Official Foreign Policy Script…a few days before he was dismissed in the “swamp cleaning”…to a packed audience in Dartmouth Hall, I was politely permitted to stand with mike & thoughtfully dispute Fried’s whole agenda…which simply slid down the mental fortress wall to lie rejected on the floor of that historical hall.
      Or, I audited a Dartmouth Russian Foreign Policy course this spring by a internationally-known political sci. prof. author of a pile of books, Foreign Affairs J. papers, years of research work in Russia…but the day after Trump lobbed 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, the Prof. was cheering him on with “It was past time to teach the Russians a lesson!” Or with all of the brou-ha-ha about “fake news” & I raise questions re. the nytimes to these folks & recommend Consortium News, The Intercept, Counterpunch or even hand the editors of the local Valley News mentioned above, copies of papers by the Russian scholar Princeton-NYU emeritus Prof. Stephen F. Cohen or re. “Russian hacking & interference in our elections” & mention or offer copies of the classic 1996 Time magazine story, “Saving Boris” of US interference in the Russian election which kept Yeltsin in power…but they’re in utter denial & avoid me thereafter.
      Then there have been my 2-year-long efforts to get through to Senator Leahy when I was living in VT & have continued via my contact his young military advisor since moving to NH…also trying to get through to our former NH Gov/now Senator Shaheen, the only female on the Senate Foreign Relations committee & chair of the European-NATO subcommittee plus on the Armed Services committee but she has so barricaded herself behind an automated communication system & a thick-headed staff to protect her Military-Industrial-Media-Complex mindset…that I can’t pierce it…even when I finally managed to get the floor & the mike at a Manchester in March to quietly but powerfully confront her sabre-rattling rant “Against The Russia Threat” she had just delivered…only to be chastised thereafter for being “disrespectful to The Senator.
      So it seems that I witness, think, stand & speak alone…because connect with anyone, rather up like-minded potential activists here in NH I try to ascertain at any of the political or activist meetings up & down NH? forget it. & the present editors or publisher of the Valley News where I was a 70’s columnist, won’t even speak to me.
      Or I could bore you with all of my attempts to get into NYTimes minds…where once upon a 1974 day, I succeeded in getting a piece of satirical verse, “Bus Grown-ups”, published on their op-ed page…but now find that my mere “reader’s comments” critical of their Russia-bashing hysterical news & commentary…even though read by next-to-nobody-before-burial in their archives… CENSORED!? A year ago as they plunged into their Save Hillary delirium, I commented that The Times was on the verge of a nervous breakdown…but now it seems that they are delusional: a series on “The Red Century”?!…they’re unaware that Communism! died 25 years ago?…or they were so proud of their “Russian Hacking” series from June 14, 2016 to Jan. 20, 2017 of some 87 stories! and continues to this day” the colossal waste of time, energy, print & digital!
      As their columnist Roger Cohen wrote 9/14/15: “THE MOST DANGEROUS POINT IN THE ARC OF A NATION’S POWER IS WHEN THE APOGEE OF ITS GREATNESS IS PASSED BUT IT IS NOT YET RESIGNED TO DECLINE.”….yet he, like the rest of his colleagues, refuses to heed that wise insight as they remain trapped in their Russophobic delusions, they passionately pounding the keys cranking out Trump-Russian collusion propaganda to destroy Trump…utterly blind to the fact that they’re driving the US toward war with Russia & what will be virtual civil war within the country between the Reds & Blues, the Clintonistas & the Trumpists.
      They seem convinced that they can do to Trump what they did to Nixon. Before I returned to grad school in the late 70’s, I was a columnist at our Valley News covering the ’72 NH primary & I’m witessing this as a repeat of history. Then I watched the Liberal Democratic Elite, including John Kenneth Galbraith, Gloria Steinem & Schlesinger rally at Galbraith’s farm in VT, staring their candidate, George McGovern (of the limp handshake, bless his heart) vs Maine Senator Ed Muskie (the one Nixon & Co. really feared), whose candidacy was destroyed with one shot by David Broder (of WaPo, dean of DC punditry) in front of our notorious Manchester Union Leader and the succeeding media frenzy. Then in the pre-Clinton-Blair 3rd way days…liberal-leftist McGovern won only Massachusetts & we got Nixon, the semi-psycho, with his tapes re-installed in the White House…until Watergate then The Resignation…followed by the benign VP then the Southern Baptist…still in the midst of the first Cold War…but with the McCarthyism Paranoia & the Kennedy’s Nuclear Brink behind us. So here we are, as Cohen warned, “at the most dangerous point in the arc”…and if the Ivy League Elite, as seen here, is in the grip of Russophobia psychopathology…what about the rest of the country and Europe where I recently spent a month & witnessed, listened, read much of the same…or I only have to turn on the BBC radio Newspeak.
      Anybody, among you independent-thinkers have any advice re. what I/we can do: any shock therapies that might shake the country to its senses? There’s no Frank Church or Wm. Fulbright and The Media locks out or buries a Seymour Hersh alive while such truth-tellers as Snowden & Assange are driven into refuge in Moscow & the Ecuadorian embassy…there to be Discredited by the co-opted Intelligensia.at such as The NY Review of Books…a media in which Larry Wilkerson, whom I know well, “doesn’t exist”…while the latest WMD (“Syrian Sarin Gas Attacks”) definitely does…even in the mind of a Dartmouth Political Science Professor.
      What’s a Catcher in the Wild to do next? For now, I’m going out to pick blueberries then swim laps for an hour so I can sleep & keep my sanity.

      • Skip Scott
        July 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

        Enjoy your swim and your fresh blueberries, who knows how many days we have left with the lunatics in charge of the asylum, including Dartmouth College. I think you’re doing about all you can. I think there are more of “us” than the “Powers That Be” realize, and that their hysteria shows that their propaganda narrative is beginning to wear thin. If we can win the battle for net neutrality, we may someday soon even begin to crack the MSM. Even just a few voices speaking truth to power on the MSM will quickly turn the tide. But in the mean time, I’d keep my pitchfork handy!

        • Akech
          July 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm

          I wonder how we will be able win net neutrality. The law makers have no voices other than those fed to them through (a) the elites who shower them with billions $$$ of campaign contributions and dictating to them how to deceive the American voters and get away with it (b) Legislative Assistants (Congressional Staffers) assigned to them moment they set their feet in Congress (c) the obnoxious and corrupt GOP and DNC party elites put in charge implementing the deceitful system!

          Few people have clues about the number of Congress men and women who are powerful enough to control and thwart the agenda dictated to them by the Legislative Assistants who are assigned to them by other control machines. It is not clear that voting public has ever wondered or question how this Legislative Assistant(ship) system works. Just like Barack Obama’s cabinet members (not elected) were dictated to him by Citigroup, Congressional elites take their marching orders from Legislative Assistants, the folks not elected by the voters! Where do these Legislative Assistants get their marching orders from or where do their loyalties lie?

          • Skip Scott
            July 13, 2017 at 7:42 am

            I am hoping we win it by popular support. Obviously the Legislative assistants are inundated with lobbyists, and all the usual corruption, bribes, blackmail, etc. etc. However, occasionally they run into a brick wall when popular support is so overwhelming that the legislator fears for his job if he goes against the will of his constituents. I think web neutrality is such an issue. But of course the evil forces never sleep, they try again and again and again. Time will tell.

          • backwardsevolution
            July 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

            Skip Scott/Akech – saw this on net neutrality. This guy used to own his own internet company.

            https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=232222

          • Skip Scott
            July 14, 2017 at 10:44 am

            B.E.-

            Read the link, but I don’t agree. The real scary part of the net neutrality debate is creating fast and slow lanes, and subverting the flow of information with “Big Guys” and “Little Guys.” As for cost, I think of the internet as part of the public infrastructure, like roads and bridges. Yes, everyone pays through taxes, just like we do for schools, and just like we should for health care. I don’t have any kids and I’m healthy, but I don’t mind paying for schools, and wouldn’t mind being taxed for health care. I do mind endless spending on the war machine, and think we should be able to divert those dollars to something useful to society, like a free and open internet. In Europe I hear they have free wi-fi virtually everywhere. It is public broad band. The guy who wrote this piece probably wouldn’t like that very much.

      • backwardsevolution
        July 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        Catcher in the Wild – you have certainly tried, but there is no getting through the wall unless people want it. They have bought the propaganda and are willing participants in keeping it alive. It’s eye-opening to see educated people, even professors, buying into this stuff though, isn’t it?

        Spend your time swimming, picking blueberries, and come to this site for moral support. All we can do is keep plugging away. Good luck to you.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Sanford – I don’t know whether you watch Tucker Carlson on a nightly basis or not, but if you did, you would see that he almost always has on people exactly like Ralph Peters. He occasionally has on people like Stephen Cohen, but Cohen is just preaching to the crowd, as Tucker agrees with everything he says. No, he has on idiots like Ralph Peters just to show people what they’re up against. Know thy enemy.

      He has on, for instance, a black Muslim transvestite and at the end of the conversation Tucker says something like, “But we’re all Americans first, aren’t we,” at which point he/she says, “No, I’m black first.” Conversation ends. Or people who are pro-sanctuary city, and invariably Tucker says something like, “Yes, but don’t the laws of the country supersede sanctuary city laws?” or “Aren’t you creating a country within a country, placing the rights of non-citizens above actual American citizens?” to which the guest will say something like, “If that’s what it takes, man!” End of conversation.

      He has them on to make a point and ask a question: is this what you want, America?

      If anyone got bamboozled, it was Ralph Peters. He was ready and willing to go on the show (others aren’t) and speak his mind, cow someone down into appearing unpatriotic, and it didn’t work. Carlson threw it right back at him by saying that you can’t even pose questions anymore without being labeled a “traitor”.

      Ralph Peters’ map he drew up of the new Middle East is laughable, but that’s what the elite want. It’s what they’re after. After I watched the show, I looked up Ralph Peters, saw his map, and so the show was useful in drawing this to my attention. See the map at link below. Ralph Peters has written many books and he considers himself a military expert, holds himself out to be one.

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

      Tucker didn’t want a military expert. Military experts do what they’re told by the political elite. Tucker wanted an idiot. Peters also represented where the country has gone and is going. Scary.

    • Cal
      July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Peters is a psycho neo on the zio payroll to supplement his retirement pay …..go read his insane war mongering screeds at JINSA.org the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

      Lt. Col. Ralph Peters on Journalists: ‘Kill Them All’

      May 21, 2009 By Richard Silverstein

      ”.Let me start by saying that one of the sub-specialties of this blog involves featuring the paranoia, delusions and outright mania of the neocon right. Today, we have one hot sample. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, writing at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a hard-right pro-Israel national security site, pens a virtual fever dream of a proto-fascist, anti-democratic screed,,,,,

  2. Brad Owen
    July 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Not Gorbachev/Reagan, not Brezhnev/Nixon, but Lincoln/Czar Alexander II; changers of the political status quo throughout the World, whose alliance deterred Anglo-French attempts at allying with the Confederacy to destroy the Union (the Synarchists were already in de-facto existence by then, from “Synarchy against America”, EIR search box); from EIR search box; “Czar Alexander II”. I hope they can escape the assassins, which Lincoln and Alexander did not, to the World’s great misfortune. The Synarchists are not easily opposed.

  3. Skip Scott
    July 12, 2017 at 7:45 am

    The thought of the USA sharing global power flies in the face of the Project for a New American Century and it’s Deep State promulgators. Russia will never be allowed a “sphere of influence” if the Deep State has it’s way. I will be extremely surprised if Trump is allowed to follow through. The Deep State oligarchs and their MSM lackeys would rather march us straight to Armageddon than to allow that.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Hey Skip, if there is money to be made with a Armageddon then, well damn it then let’s do it…hoorah!

  4. mike k
    July 12, 2017 at 9:12 am

    The temptation to enter into black and white thinking during these days of world crisis is very strong. It’s a way of cutting through all the bedeviling complexities to achieve a false sense of clarity. Trump is a complete idiot without a brain in his head. Putin is evil incarnate determined to destroy America. This high tension comic book soap opera can certainly dominate one’s attention – but it is not the reality we are actually facing.

    As Mr. Doctorow understands, this is not going to be a dramatic all-in win or lose on the outcome of a single encounter affair. If we are lucky this world history will unfold painfully over time without decisive winners and losers, or an apocalyptic moment that ends the human game forever.

    As to how a game such as this is best played, it reminds me of my own chess playing career. Looking back, I can see that I had no patience. I wanted to force the situation to a dramatic climax where one side or the other’s fate would hang on a single decisive move. Players who played a stodgy, unflappable style would drive me up the wall – and yet they would usually win against my brash tactics. The world is fortunate at this critical time that Vladimir Putin is just such a careful defensive player.

    • Virginia
      July 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Mike, I’m finding it hard to believe you really think this, that… “Putin is evil incarnate determined to destroy America.” Maybe I’m blinded by hope, but I see him very differently. Although I’m well aware that he has the best P R handlers, during his own news conferences, the statements he makes make good sense, very consistent with those of Lavrov and the deceased UN Ambassador, which makes me think they are all sincere. He and they are very calm and enlightened people who want the best for their country — self determination, the preservation of their culture, not to be dictated to by the US, to hold to agreements that benefit everyone, working steadfastly with Iran and Turkey to help the sovereign country Syria, and so on. And I particularly liked something he said to Oliver Stone,… that it’s very hard to make the Russian people afraid. What a sound life preserving trait that is! The Russians like Putin, and I really like him, too, finding much good and worthwhile in him. Possibly he and his promoters have fooled me entirely.

      I do agree with your last statement that the world is fortunate to have Putin at this critical time. I do not believe Russia is seeking world dominance but rather to be left more alone and not to be so provoked and threatened by the illegal aggression of NATO (illegal meaning violating its own rules).

      So please tell me, Mike, why you think he is “evil incarnate.” I’m sure you have a good reason for that belief.

      • Skip Scott
        July 12, 2017 at 11:06 am

        Hi Virginia-

        I think you misread Mike k. He is citing “Putin is evil incarnate…” as the black and white thinking that does not reflect reality, not his personal opinion. It is more of a summation of the MSM BS the public is constantly submitted to.

        • Virginia
          July 12, 2017 at 11:25 am

          Thank you, Skip. Of course Mike was referring to the MSM propaganda. I knew it didn’t sound at all like you, Mike, and I apologize for my too hasty conclusion. I guess I’d better take up chess!

      • Dave P.
        July 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

        Virginia: The way I read mike’s words is that how this soap opera is being played on MSM. In mike’s words, this high tension comic book soap Opera on MSM: “Trump is a complete idiot without a brain in his head. Putin is evil incarnate determined to destroy America . . .”.
        What he really meant that it is a false opera.

        • Virginia
          July 12, 2017 at 11:28 am

          Dave, I stand happily corrected!

          You are all such dear people and correct so gently. And support one another.

          Thank you.

      • mike k
        July 12, 2017 at 5:37 pm

        Virginia, you have totally misunderstood the part of my comment that was intended to illustrate the really unreal thinking that is unfortunately now prevalent. Did you read the last paragraph where I thanked our lucky stars that we have a cool head like Putin heading Russia? Please go back and read my comment again, and see if it makes mores sense to you on second reading. Also since you are a regular reader of these comments, does what you thought I said jibe with all the other praise I have lavished on Russia and Putin? You may not have read the comment where I explained that I love Russian culture so much that I went into Russian studies in graduate school?

        • Virginia
          July 12, 2017 at 9:30 pm

          Mike, Your friends and supporters Skip and Dave already corrected me. I misunderstood that one line initially. It was very unlike everything I already knew about you from your many comments on CN. I do apologize.

  5. Joe Tedesky
    July 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

    The other day I read where ‘the Saker’ hopes the sanctions stay in place, because Russian farmers are enjoying the added business of selling their produce and vegetables (organic only) in the Russian market place over the foreign imports that get trucked in.

    This ‘Project for the New American Century’ has ruined all that was left of good in America, and it continues to do so. This idea of using our military might while we retain the superiority with it, is killing a lot of innocent people thus creating more future terrorist, while draining our national treasure down to dirt. Not to overlook how our military presence in all these foreign nations, is turning the world citizens against the USA.

    Our news media has painted Russians with a very bad brush. This Putin is a thug, and all Russians are homophobic, is our news media showing their ignorance at its highest levels. Americans, or if you prefer U.S. Citizens, need to wise up. We in the U.S. don’t need a bigger bomb, no instead we need to read Emily Post.

    • Sam & Shanti
      July 12, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Well-said! Thank you.

    • jo6pac
      July 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Here Joe more on the economy in Russia.

      http://johnhelmer.net/how-the-russian-economy-looks-if-you-arent-wearing-nato-night-fighting-goggles/

      Lame stream Amerikan press doesn’t went Amerikans to know the truth on Russia and the President

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

        Helmer is always informative. Think of this; Russia entered the Syrian war September 2015, and then went on to cut their defense budget by 25% in 2016….who does that? To an American military strategist that’s an insult. None the less we Americans should be so lucky, as to find in a crisis something we could all get around, and unite to overcome it. Neocon Think Tanks, for as smart as they think they are, don’t get it that these societies who we are disrupting, can and will unite to overcome our imperial ways.

  6. July 12, 2017 at 10:24 am

    This shows that, basically, Trump wants detente. This flies in the face of the current alliance of the power-elite that is using Cold War II to gain power for their factions. This is all about a power-struggle over who controls both the Narrative and the security services. We have to remember where the real power lies. The National Security State needs enemies to survive so the Russians seem to be the easiest to demonize since hatred of Russia has been a feature of propaganda for many decades and lies ready to explode. I don’t think the monsters actually believe Russia is a threat–they just want to reclaim the power that they have lost with the election of Trump who campaigned against “the Swamp” and it looks like they’ll win right now. The power of the mainstream’s 24/7 lies and misdirections is also at stake here. Will most people believe the bull they are being handed?

  7. July 12, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I’m not sure I would agree with the description of Gorbachev’s position as a “naive trust in the Americans” but am only relying on my recollections of that time. He was under a lot of pressure from the populist Yeltsin at home and I believe the phrase would best describe Yeltsin.

    • Skip Scott
      July 12, 2017 at 11:11 am

      The only naivety that I see Gorbachev guilty of is trusting the USA that NATO would not move one inch to the east. At least if he had gotten a written treaty he would have had something to throw in our face when we violated it.

    • Dave P.
      July 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      BobH: I agree with you completely regarding Yeltsin. But I may add that Gorbachev, along with foreign minister Shavardnze was also carried away in this euphoria of new dawn coming – “Western Freedom and Democracy”. They did not understand The West. It seemed to me at the time that none of these leaders in the Soviet Union had read much of Western History to understand truly the objectives of the West. In fact, Gorbachev did not understand fully the forces inside Soviet Union, especially in West Ukraine. Yeltsin, of course, was a charlatan.

      The Russians are definitely getting the taste of The West’s objectives now. I don’t know how most of the Russians can tolerate these trouble makers in Moscow and Saint Petersburg with their slogans for western democracy and all that.

      I worked with many Soviet emigre engineers – mostly Jewish but some mixed couples – during 1980’s and 90’s. They were interesting people and my work place friends. I still remember the blunt words of Tanya from Leningrad: ‘No body comes here for freedom. We come here to make money; economy in the Soviet Union is in bad state. People do talk about every political topic in their homes. But one can’t go demonstrate there in Red square with a sign for a change in government without consequences.’

      As it is true today Russia is nowhere near the West in their standard of living. But I think they are at a stage that people are well fed, and most of them have access to basic amenities. And they enjoy their lives in their own way in their wide but cold country.

      • July 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        Dave P., thanks for the interesting perspective

      • Skip Scott
        July 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Dave P-

        I suppose you are right that Gorbachev didn’t fully understand the criminal intentions of the west. Given our history of rape, pillage and plunder, I suppose it was a bit naive. I also think that Reagan was a bit naive himself. I regularly read PCR, and he is a real Reagan apologist. In his mind, all the evil began with Clinton. He thinks that Reagan had good intentions, wanting to get rid of the nukes,etc. It could be that Reagan and Gorbachev were both being “played” by the Deep State oligarchs.

        • Dave P.
          July 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          Skip: You are right about Reagan on that in some ways. Vacationing on his hill top Ranch on the mountains above Santa Barbara with wide views of beautiful Pacific with cool breezes, U.S.A. sure looked to him “The Shining City on the Hill”. He sure was naive in many respects. The economic slide of the country started with him big time. Being in the hands of Wall Street Oligarchs, Clinton sold the whole shop.

          • backwardsevolution
            July 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm

            Skip Scott/Dave P. – totally agree with you. Reagan, I think, was very naive, very simple, the perfect president for having the wool pulled over his eyes. He was totally sucked in by the oligarchs and he didn’t even know it. How wonderful to go through life like that – oblivious.

            Obviously Gorbachev got sucked along too, otherwise he would have insisted on getting a treaty in writing. I think Gorbachev got blinded by the innocence of Reagan when he should have been sizing up the others in the room.

    • Jessejean
      July 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Yeltsin was incredibly unpopular, only winning the presidency because the CIA saw to it. He was a drunk, but not a populist. Baker and Daddy Bush completely screwed Gorbachev over, not due to his naïveté but because they were lying sacks of shit.

      • backwardsevolution
        July 12, 2017 at 5:54 pm

        Jessejean – but you’ve got to be a bit naive to get screwed over by lying sacks of shit. That’s how lying sacks of shit work; they get you to trust them. You don’t buy a house with just a handshake; you get it in writing. Gorbachev I think got sucked into the moment. Surrounded by a feeling of goodwill, he trusted when he shouldn’t have. It’s a lesson to us all, and we’ve all been there. If anything, he could have gotten the agreement on tape, had a reporter film the discussions.

  8. Herman
    July 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Professor Doctorow: “Although the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Russia is at fault for the lack of progress, the reality is that Kiev has been dragging its heels on implementing a realistic approach to fulfilling its Minsk commitments that call for allowing eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbas, to achieve greater autonomy and to vote for its own leadership.”

    Of course that is true. Kiev was probably discouraged when it lost Clinton, but re-energized when Vickie Haley shocked Russia and delighted Kiev with her announcement that Russia must return Crimea. Now, in their minds, they are wondering what Trump has in mind regarding the Minsk Agreement. One thing is sure, unless Haley is dismissed or silenced, things aren’t going anywhere. If we put Crimea on the table demanding it be “returned”, Russia will walk away as they should.

    • Skip Scott
      July 12, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Why Trump chose Nikki Haley, along with most of his cabinet choices, is beyond me. Either he is a liar without conscience, or he is an idiot. That he has had to do a complete 180 on most of his campaign rhetoric I could understand as bowing to pressure from the Deep State after his trip to the woodshed, but I would think his cabinet choices came prior to that.

      • Brad Owen
        July 12, 2017 at 11:59 am

        Branstad is a very good choice (personal friends with President Xi since the 80s). Tillerson is a very good choice (friendly relations with Russia and Putin). Mnuchin is pure Wall Street Synarchist financier Imperialism, polar opposites of Trump. Nikki…whats up with that? Presidential choices require Senate approval, and Trump really is a man without a Party (many of the Republicans were ready to jump ship and join “status quo” Hillary). So just who really did choose this Cabinet? Too many “status quo”ers in the ranks? Just wonderin’.

        • backwardsevolution
          July 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

          “Presidential choices require Senate approval…..So just who really did choose this Cabinet?”

          Can you imagine getting anybody who wasn’t pro-pro-pro-Israel past the Senate? No way. You had to pledge that you would lie down in traffic for Israel before you had a chance of getting chosen. Trump was probably told that if he wanted to get his agenda passed within the first few months, he needed to get Senate confirmation quickly. Most likely he was given bad advice, on purpose.

          So who really chooses the Cabinet? The ones who can hold it up.

          • Brad Owen
            July 13, 2017 at 4:26 am

            You are right of course. They are the tip of the spear, and wherever you find the “Zionist battalion”, there you’ll find attached the entire “Synarchist/RoundTable Group” army of dynastic, Royal, extended families, their fellow financier oligarch families, their loyal retainers in MSM, MIIC, Universities, think tanks, Congress, the ranks of lobbyists-of-Congress, etc…their transnational, Imperial, Deep State apparatus infecting the entire Trans-Atlantic community of Nations (Provinces-of- Empire)

      • mike k
        July 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm

        Trump is a liar without conscience and an idiot. If you understand that, then you understand his tweeting, abusing women, total inconsistency, etc.

        • Brad Owen
          July 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

          I think there is a deliberate operation afoot to induce the populace to think exactly that, so as to undermine any popular support for Trump. I don’t trust such simplicity, not in this situation. I think much more complexity is at work; turns-within-turns, feints, covering tracks, projecting of misleads, and such-like maneuvers. My lodestone is what the EIR operatives think; if THEY go “thumbs down” on Trump, THEN I’ll abandon ship. Instead they’re working to shape and direct the Presidency in directions conducive to the General Welfare…of the entire World. They don’t pull their punches (they’ve paid for it dearly, with several prison sentences as political prisoners..although such a thing isn’t supposed to happen in the USA). They went “thumbs down” immediately on Bush, and, within a few months, on Obama. They are an intelligence organization and are political activists fighting for FDRs Vision…not just a news-gathering operation without a particular POV.

  9. Leslie F
    July 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Yes, it definitely seems like Trump has come around to sanity again on Syria, but I don’t trust it to last. I’m afraid he will flip-flop again when the Saudi’s and Israels start whispering in his ear.

  10. Kiza
    July 12, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Another nice summary by Dr. Doctorow. I can only say that my impressions agree 100% percent with what has been written in this article: the situation is so bad that this almost (warning cliché) nothingburger meeting offered a small glimmer of hope for the better. As they say in Australia: better this meeting than poke in the eye with a blunt stick. It is another slowdown for the Military Industrial Propaganda Complex on the path towards nuclear war.

  11. Michael Kenny
    July 12, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I’m glad to see that Mr Doctorow has not forgotten that the centrepiece of the conflict with Putin is Ukraine. Ceasefires in Syria are great, if for no other reason that that they keep Putin bogged down there, but until Putin agrees to a deal Ukraine can accept, the conflict will just go on. I don’t understand Mr Doctorow’s argument about the Donbass. The area is under military occupation by what appear to be Russian special forces. Two “independent” republics have been proclaimed which seem to be run by Russian “blow-ins” having no connection to Ukraine. Putin has threatened to make war on Ukraine if it tries to re-assert its sovereignty of that part of its territory. I don’t see how Ukraine can grant “greater autonomy” to an area that claims to be already a sovereign and independent state and in which the Ukrainian government’s writ is not even allowed to run! The first step to a settlement, therefore, is to allow Ukraine to re-assert its sovereignty in Donetsk and Lugansk provinces.
    The problem with Putin’s quaint 19th century spheres of influence theory lies not in American perceptions of it but in the implications for state sovereignty and national independence all across the world. Implicit in the theory is that there are “superior races” and “inferior races”. Only the former have “spheres of influence” while the latter have no right to sovereignty or national independence nor even to choose into which “superior people’s” sphere of influence they fall! That question is decided by the “superior peoples” among themselves, with military force to be used against any “inferior people” which refuses to accept the decision of the “anointed ones”. That sets human civilisation back by about 250 years, to the time before the American and French Revolutions, and for that reason, seems to be a wholly impractical and unworkable concept in today’s world. Does anybody really see China knuckling under to Russia’s sphere of influence, which is where Mr Doctorow puts it?
    Small correction of fact: very few of the demonstrators in Hamburg were violent. Most were on the other side of town taking part in a peaceful demonstration with music and singing with the police just looking on. That brings us back to Ukraine. What we saw is the same phenomenon that we have seen in Athens and Kiev, among others: a small group of “rent-a-rioters” hijack a peaceful demonstration and try to turn it into what looks on TV like a riot. Clearly, the same manipulators were at work in all three places.

    • Skip Scott
      July 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Michael Kenny-

      From the article:
      “Although the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Russia is at fault for the lack of progress, the reality is that Kiev has been dragging its heels on implementing a realistic approach to fulfilling its Minsk commitments that call for allowing eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbas, to achieve greater autonomy and to vote for its own leadership.”

      The “rent-a-rioters” you refer to are nazis. They hold considerable power in Kiev, they are not a small group, and they burned alive 42 people in the Trade Union building in Odessa. Excuse me for providing a “small correction of fact.”

      The Kiev Nazis would prefer ethnic cleansing of the Donbass. You seem to fault Putin for not allowing that to happen. I will be disappointed in him if he caves in on the goal of allowing at least partial autonomy for the region, which is what the MInsk accords call for. I frankly think he should have accepted them back into Russia at the same time he did Crimea. It would have reflected the will of the majority of the citizens in those areas, and saved them a lot of bloodshed and pain and suffering.

    • Abe
      July 12, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      Ah, the latest belch of Atlantic Council swamp gas from “Michael Kenny”.

      Quaint theories aside, clearly it wasn’t the Russians wasn’t writing the checks for those “rent-a-rioters”.

      The violent actors embedded in the protests Athens, Kiev, and Hamburg had the same patrons as the deadly provocateurs in Daraa, Syria in March 2011. And the Russians know it.

    • mike k
      July 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Michael Kenny, If you are not being paid for your comments by some neocon sources, you should be. Your comment fits their propaganda spin perfectly.

    • Kiza
      July 13, 2017 at 12:15 am

      Good, we have not had a typical MSM bull written here at CN for a while. Thanks for reminding us of the mind-pollution bull in the world outside of CN, the kind that the MSM consumers endure every day:
      “… there are ‘superior races’ and ‘inferior races’. Only the former have ‘spheres of influence’ while the latter have no right to sovereignty or national independence nor even to choose into which ‘superior people’s’ sphere of influence they fall …”

  12. Zachary Smith
    July 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Brezhnev offered Nixon a condominium

    I had to go to an online dictionary to figure that one out, but now have a new vocabulary word!
    :)

    No one in living memory had witnessed such contempt for an American Commander in Chief from his fellow citizens. This fact curbed Russian expectations that anything promised by Trump could actually be realized.

    Two things are happening to cause Trump to appear to be (or to actually be?) essentially neutered as a functioning president. The most obvious one is on account of his overwhelming laziness – he has outsourced Domestic policy to the Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell types, and has given the Pentagon control of Foreign policy. The second is due to the spitball blizzard being directed towards Trump by the “mainstream media” and their Zionist controllers – it’s doubtful he could get much done even if he wanted to because of the unending distractions. So it’s my opinion the Russians have good reason to be leery of any agreements they come to with Trump. There is growing doubt the man is currently in charge of anything except “Making America Great Again” by way of his non-stop “tweeting”.

    On a humorous note, the Dances With Bears site has a piece “decoding” Putin’s remarks about the Trump meeting. Example:

    In cipher: “he analyses things pretty fast…”

    SIGABA{decoder}: “His comprehension is slow, and works by breaking down complex topics into simple slogans. Then he has trouble sequencing. He can’t remember what he has said or thought before, so he isn’t capable of consistency. He tweets so he can look up what he’s just said.”

    http://johnhelmer.net/melania-trump-and-sigaba-allow-putin-to-decode-trump-trump-too-defective-and-impotent-to-make-or-keep-agreements-state-department-working-groups-are-last-hope/

  13. Abe
    July 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Ralph Peters and the US/NATO Plan for a “New Middle East”

    In June 2006, Armed Forces Journal published a map for “The New Middle East” from Ralph Peters, a pro-war strategist.

    The map shows the method to the current madness — creating ethnic tension and civil war in order to redraw the boundaries and divide most of the Arabs from most of the oil.

    A new “Arab Shia State” would contain much of the oil, separating governments in Riyadh, Baghdad and Tehran from what is currently the main source of their national wealth.

    The plan for also involves the creation of a “Free Kurdistan”. The news state will be carved out of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey and would serve as an energy transit corridor.

    Some of the neo-cons have publicly proclaimed that their goal for the War on Iraq (and eventually, its neighbors) is to redraw the borders of the Middle East. The ostensible reason given for this arrogance is to separate feuding ethnic and religious groups from each other.

    However, if you combine maps of the “New Middle East” sought by these armchair warriors with maps of the oil fields, a more sinister motive becomes obvious. Dividing up Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia would allow the consolidation of most of the region’s oil into a new country (which presumably would be allied to the United States). This would remove control over the oil from governments based in Baghdad, Tehran and Riyadh, allowing new arrangements of control to be established.

    The Useful Myth of “Failure”

    The supposed “failure” of the Bush Cheney invasion of Iraq allows for a new administration to supposedly fix the problems of their civil war by splitting Iraq into three new states – a Kurdish enclave in the north, a Shiite Arab state in the south, and a Sunni region in the center. Most of Iraq’s oil would be concentrated in the Shiite region, with lesser amounts in the Kurdish part, and very little would remain for the Sunnis. This would allow the US to focus its occupation and manipulation on the parts of Iraq that have oil, and the parts without oil could be ignored.

    Saudi Arabia has a similar confluence of ethnicity with petroleum geography. Saudi oil fields are in the east, along the Persian Gulf. The two holy cities of Mecca and Medina are in the west, along the Red Sea. Some neo-conservatives have floated the idea of partioning Saudi Arabia into at least two countries – one with the holy cities but without oil, the other without holy cities but with oil fields. The US merely wants to control the oil and is not interested in occupying Mecca and Medina.

    Iran’s oil is mostly in the western provinces along the Persian / Arabian Gulf. One particularly oil rich region is Khuzestan, an Arab area of Iran. Most “Westerners” probably think that Iran is an Arab country, but while it is Islamic, it is not Arab. Most Iranians speak Farsi, not Arabic. Iranians are Persians, not Arabs. Iran is a multi-ethnic country, but it is a strange circumstance that the area with the most Arabs is also one of the areas with lots of oil. In 1980, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Iran (with the covert help of the US), he was hoping to seize Khuzestan’s oil fields to add them to his own oily empire (Khuzestan is on the border of southern Iraq).

    The neo-con proposal for a new “Arab Shia State” along the northern Persian / Arabian Gulf would separate the bulk of the oil from Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Senator Joe Biden, chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ran for President in 2007 largely on the platform of promoting Iraqi partition as a “solution” to the Iraqi disaster that Bush’s invasion created. While Biden’s presidential ambitions went nowhere, it was his audition to be Vice President in the Obama administration.

    Russia Gets In The Way of Insanity

    After the destruction of Iraq and Libya by US and NATO forces, the Russia Federation dared to disrupt US-Saudi-Israeli efforts to dismember the Syrian Arab Republic. The US and NATO retaliated by accelerating a planned coup d’etat in Ukraine, imposing economic sanctions against Russia, and greatly intensifying propaganda efforts against the Russia.

    On the 11 July 2017 Tucker Carlson Tonight program on Fox News, Carlson interviewed Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters. The following exchange happened when Carlson challenged Peters’ statements about Russia and Putin:

    Peters: “You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying Hitler hasn’t attacked us.”

    Tucker: “I beg your pardon? You cannot compare me to somebody who makes apologies for Hitler. And I don’t think Putin is comparable.”

    Peters: “I think Putin is.”

    Tucker: “I think it is a grotesque overstatement actually. I think it’s insane.”

    Peters: “Fine, you can think it’s insane all you want.”

    Tucker: “You just up compared me to a Nazi apologist because I asked the question. Which is, why does it contravene American interest with a common cause with a group trying to kill ISIS?”

    Peters: “He invaded his neighbors, broken the long peace in Europe, assassinates dissidents and journalists, he bombs women and children on purpose in Syria, he is as bad as Hitler. If you don’t like the Charles Lindbergh [comparison], I will retract that, but you sound like someone in the 1938 saying what has Hitler done to us?”

    Tucker:” I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and America safer, when in fact it has been the opposite and it has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most — let’s be totally honest, we don’t always know the outcomes.”

    Back in 2006, geopolitical analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya reported on Peters and the US/NATO plan for a “New Middle East”:

    “The overhaul, dismantlement, and reassembly of the nation-states of the Middle East have been packaged as a solution to the hostilities in the Middle East, but this is categorically misleading, false, and fictitious. The advocates of a ‘New Middle East’ and redrawn boundaries in the region avoid and fail to candidly depict the roots of the problems and conflicts in the contemporary Middle East. What the media does not acknowledge is the fact that almost all major conflicts afflicting the Middle East are the consequence of overlapping Anglo-American-Israeli agendas.

    “Many of the problems affecting the contemporary Middle East are the result of the deliberate aggravation of pre-existing regional tensions. Sectarian division, ethnic tension and internal violence have been traditionally exploited by the United States and Britain in various parts of the globe including Africa, Latin America, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Iraq is just one of many examples of the Anglo-American strategy of ‘divide and conquer.’ Other examples are Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan.

    “Amongst the problems in the contemporary Middle East is the lack of genuine democracy which U.S. and British foreign policy has actually been deliberately obstructing. Western-style ‘Democracy’ has been a requirement only for those Middle Eastern states which do not conform to Washington’s political demands. Invariably, it constitutes a pretext for confrontation. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are examples of undemocratic states that the United States has no problems with because they are firmly alligned within the Anglo-American orbit or sphere.

    “Additionally, the United States has deliberately blocked or displaced genuine democratic movements in the Middle East from Iran in 1953 (where a U.S./U.K. sponsored coup was staged against the democratic government of Prime Minister Mossadegh) to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the Arab Sheikdoms, and Jordan where the Anglo-American alliance supports military control, absolutists, and dictators in one form or another. The latest example of this is Palestine.

    “The Turkish Protest at NATO’s Military College in Rome

    “Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters’ map of the ‘New Middle East’ has sparked angry reactions in Turkey. According to Turkish press releases on September 15, 2006 the map of the ‘New Middle East’ was displayed in NATO’s Military College in Rome, Italy. It was additionally reported that Turkish officers were immediately outraged by the presentation of a portioned and segmented Turkey. The map received some form of approval from the U.S. National War Academy before it was unveiled in front of NATO officers in Rome.

    “The Turkish Chief of Staff, General Buyukanit, contacted the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, and protested the event and the exhibition of the redrawn map of the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Furthermore the Pentagon has gone out of its way to assure Turkey that the map does not reflect official U.S. policy and objectives in the region, but this seems to be conflicting with Anglo-American actions in the Middle East”

    Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
    By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
    https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/

    • Virginia
      July 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Abe, Do you publish somewhere so that your analyses and information could be shared? Hopefully you do; but if not, maybe you should write articles for CN.

      And thank you Mr. Doctorow for this excellent piece and for all your contributions.

    • Typingperson
      July 13, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Very informative, Abe. Thanks!

  14. Ol' Hippy
    July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Nice summation of current affairs. What I have never quite understood is why Russia is our “enemy” as has been drummed into US citizens from birth on. I can see that Stalin was a danger especially after H-bomb development and apparently there were generals that wanted nuclear war in the 50’s and into the 60’s. Those times are over thank goodness. But to continue with the sour grapes these days seems quite the stretch. Crimea is not an excuse; Putin kept a lot of folks from being slaughtered as I understood it,(in Crimea) but the narrative,(MSM) vilifies Putin as expansionist unstoppable tyrant. Trump for all his many faults seems to want to get along with Russia which I see as a good thing. We certainly don’t need a nuclear apple hanging over our heads even if the generals see that as a viable option. Let’s just get along with Putin and perhaps the world will be a bit safer. Then we can address the global warming/poisoning disaster unfolding before all of us.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 12, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      You are right Ol’ Hippy. There were plenty more mob killings to come, like the one in Odessa where the local Russian ethnic were burned alive in a building, and then beaten to death by the Kiev Nazi’s. The problem is with that incident, is our MSM never to my knowledge covered it…but yeah Putin’s aggressive.

      Good comment Joe

  15. Drew Hunkins
    July 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Robert Reich has an absurd — and actually highly dangerous — piece out today basically slamming Putin and bashing any attempt by Trump to reach any sort of detente with Moscow. Reich goes on toward the end of his article to imply that Putin definitely interceded in the election to tip it to Trump.

    It’s this exact type of drivel that Reich’s spewing that certain liberals are eating up day after day.

  16. Bob In Portland
    July 12, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    The meeting offered an opportunity for Trump to complain about all his enemies in the corridors of power, and it gave Putin an opportunity to give Trump a dose of reality.

  17. Virginia
    July 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Here is another good article on the Trump-Putin meeting:

    https://larouchepac.com/20170712/we-can-win-battle-mankind-you-can-tell-freak-out

  18. Abe
    July 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sat in on the discussion between Trump and Putin. Tillerson told reporters the ceasefire in Syria was a “defined agreement” and could be a precursor to further cooperation. “This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” he said.

    “I think there is a level of commitment on the part of the Russian government,” Tillerson said. “They see a transition from the defeat of ISIS to … what do we do with the state of Syria after the fall of ISIS.”

    Given recent reports that ISIS figurehead Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a recent Russian airstrike in Syria, it is necessary to see the substance of efforts to eliminate the proxy terrorism Al Qaeda and ISIS.

    Geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci has discussed the reality of ISIS as a proxy terrorist force:

    “ISIS is a State-Sponsored Militant Proxy – Not an Independent Organization

    “ISIS is first and foremost a proxy military organization, created by and for the state sponsors that fuel it politically, financially, and militarily. As revealed in a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document (PDF), these include the United States itself, its European partners, NATO-member Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, as well as Israel.

    “The summation of ISIS’ fighting capacity stems from a torrent of cash, weapons, supplies, and military protection provided to the group, particularly in the establishment of safe havens within Turkey, Jordan, and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights where Syria and its allies are unable to strike.

    “Within Syria itself, virtual safe havens have been likewise established by US and Turkish occupations, preventing Syria and its allies – including Russia and Iran – from fully rooting the organization from within Syria’s borders. On numerous occasions, Syrian forces have even come under direct US military attack while engaging ISIS militants.

    “Furthermore, as the US footprint in Syria expands, its need for ISIS as a pretext to build the necessary infrastructure to encircle and pressure Damascus with wanes. Replacing ISIS with something more permanent – such as US occupied ‘safe zones’ Syrian forces and its allies cannot attack – appears to already be underway. ‘Pulling the plug’ on ISIS in Syria would be of paramount political convenience, allowing ISIS fighters to redeploy to other ‘safe houses’ US foreign policy has afforded them – particularly Libya and Afghanistan.”

    The (In)significance of Baghdadi Being “Dead”
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-insignificance-of-baghdadi-being.html

    • Abe
      July 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      The leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report admits that the US and its allies sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) in eastern Syria, precisely where ISIS now resides:

      http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

      The US DIA admitted:

      “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

      The DIA document then explains exactly who this “Salafist principality’s” supporters are (and who its true enemies are):

      “The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.”

      • backwardsevolution
        July 12, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        Abe – yes, you can see in that Ralph Peters interview with Tucker Carlson (see link below at 8:53 minutes) where he says that Syria WILL be broken up, and that the problem with Iraq in 2003 was that it WASN’T broken up. That’s what the U.S. and their allies are after, to break up the whole of the Middle East.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=495dL67MkHk

        Tucker says at 17:59:

        “Tucker: You’re going to break up Syria into lots of little countries.

        Peters: No, I’m not going to break it up. It’s going to break up.

        Tucker: Because it worked so well in Iraq?

        Peters: Well, it hasn’t broken up yet, and the problem with Iraq was in 2003, when we had the chance, we didn’t break it up.”

      • Abe
        July 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Made in Israel: US Foreign Policy talking points

        BAD: “break up” Ukraine

        GOOD: “break up” Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Palestine

        • backwardsevolution
          July 12, 2017 at 9:27 pm

          Abe – good description!

  19. Stiv
    July 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    “What the core issue will be going forward, the Trump adviser said, is that the “Russia story will get worse and worse, and you can’t just really say anymore, ‘fake news.'”.

    What will Consortium News do when they can’t use the “fake news” angle anymore? Will Parry jump from Trump Tower?

    • backwardsevolution
      July 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Stiv – as long as the oligarchs have got control, the fake news will keep flowing in an endless stream. When they lose control, then reputable outfits will jump at the chance to hire someone like Robert Parry. Good is always in demand.

      And when the oligarchs do eventually lose, maybe we should put a big “X” on the ground at the bottom of Trump Tower, just so they know where to jump.

      • mike k
        July 12, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        Rich people own the MSM. That’s all you need to know about their product.

  20. Abe
    July 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    “The approach taken by Brennan’s task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, ‘Many of the key judgments…rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.’ There is no better indication of a tendency toward ‘group think’ than that statement. Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this ‘body of reporting’ was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

    “The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

    ‘President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of ‘analysis of alternatives’ mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA’s vaunted ‘Red Cell’ was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as ‘What if President Putin is telling the truth?’

    ‘Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan’s foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA—the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

    ‘The excuse that Brennan’s source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous—both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA’s mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

    ‘President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president’s most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

    “The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president’s statements appear factually sound.”

    Throwing a Curveball at ‘Intelligence Community Consensus’ on Russia
    By Scott Ritter
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

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