Inflating the Russian Threat

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media, led by The New York Times, has behaved as classic propagandists, hyping a Russian military “threat” and promoting a new Cold War hysteria, as Jonathan Marshall describes.

By Jonathan Marshall

Readers of the New York Times have more to sweat about than hot summer weather in the Big Apple. The paper’s chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon — co-author of the infamous 2002 story about Saddam Hussein’s “quest for A-bomb parts” — has all but warned that war in Europe could break out at any minute with the mighty Russian army.

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

“Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer,” he reported last month with Eric Schmitt. Sounding like speechwriters for Sen. John McCain, they called the long-planned military exercises with Belarus — known as “Zapad” (Russian for “west”) — “one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.”

Gordon and Schmitt added that this latest and greatest example of “Mr. Putin’s saber-rattling,” represents “the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that so much offensive power has been concentrated in a single command.”

Many other Western news organizations have echoed this story, albeit with less alarmist rhetoric. NBC News warned that “another military challenge may be on the horizon” as “thousands of Russian troops and tanks are preparing to take part in what may be the country’s largest military exercise since the Cold War.”

Reciting the same talking points almost verbatim, the London Guardian reported days ago that “Russia is preparing to mount what could be one of its biggest military exercises since the Cold War.” Like the Times, it cited estimates by “Western officials and analysts” that “up to 100,000 military personnel and logistical support could participate” in the war games next month.

Meanwhile, the Defense Minister of Estonia predicted that “Russia may use large-scale military exercises to move thousands of troops permanently into Belarus later this year in a warning to NATO.” Two Polish military officials speculated darkly that “Having created such a military build-up under the pretext of such exercise, Russia could launch a limited or provocative military hybrid operation to see what happens and further test the waters on NATO’s eastern flank, or in Ukraine, where the Russo-Ukrainian conflict remains in full swing.”

The Missing Context

The average reader would never know that U.S. and NATO forces themselves engaged this summer in “their largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War,” to quote NPR. Nor would they know that NATO collectively spends 12 times more than Russia on its military, or that its European members alone field nearly 75 percent more military personnel than Russia.

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

And only the most attentive reader, reaching the bottom of the long New York Times story, would have learned that “Russian officials have told NATO that the maneuvers will be far smaller than Western officials are anticipating and will involve fewer than 13,000 troops.”

The anti-Putin director of the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies in Minsk points out that only 3,000 Russian military personnel will take part in the exercises in Belarus from September 14 to September 20. “Based on these figures, the military drills are practically the same as the previous Zapad-2013,” he said.

He also noted that Belarus has invited no fewer than 80 international observers to calm fears:

“In addition to the accredited military attaches of Western embassies, special delegations from the UN, the International Red Cross . . . and NATO will be invited. This, by the way, is the first time when NATO observers are invited to such exercises. Separately, Belarus arranged for the presence of delegations from Sweden, Norway and Estonia.”

NATO has complained — possibly with justification — that Russia and Belarus have not fully complied with their obligations under the Vienna Document of 2011 to provide detailed briefings, progress reports, and opportunities to interview soldiers about the exercise.

NATO and Russia undertook after the Cold War to provide greater transparency about their military exercises to minimize the threat of conflict. In recent years, particularly following the Ukraine crisis, growing political tensions have put a strain on such cooperative measures.

A number of reasonable analysts warn that Russia may sidestep its reporting obligations by dividing its exercises into smaller units, below the threshold of 13,000 personnel that gives members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe the right to observe.

‘Probably Exaggerated’

For example, Russia claimed that its Western exercises four years ago kept just within that threshold. But two experts writing for the conservative Jamestown Foundation in Washington, D.C. argued that “if one takes a broader view of what elements constituted a part of the Zapad 2013 exercise, then the total participants number approximately 22,000 men, of which 13,000 exercised on Belarusian territory and more than 9,500 on Russian territory.”

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

The Guardian quotes an expert on Russia’s military as saying of Zapad-17, “you can’t trust what the Russians say. One hundred thousand is probably exaggerated but 18,000 is absolutely realistic.”

Even if true, such numbers hardly support viewing the upcoming exercises as an “ominous” threat to the West. A British expert, remarking on the “mythology” that often accompanies such events, noted that “Much of the Western coverage said that the 2009 exercise ended with a simulated nuclear attack on Warsaw, Poland, even though there is no evidence at all from unclassified sources to suggest this was the case.”

Michael Kofman, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, has debunked many of the unfounded estimates of Zapad-17’s size and potential threat to Europe.

“The Russian Ministry of Defense itself likely hopes Western media will report exaggerated figures,” he says. “Such headlines help validate the scale and success of the exercise to national leadership in Moscow. In this respect, the entire affair is an exercise in co-dependency and is self-affirming.”

Russia unquestionably wants to impress NATO with its military capabilities, Kofman acknowledges, but that’s for deterrence.

“Throughout the exercise, Russian armed forces will try to signal that they have the ability to impose substantial costs on a technologically advanced adversary, i.e. the United States,” he writes. “Russian thinking is founded on the belief that its military can raise costs for the West such that they will grossly outweigh the potential gains for sustaining hostilities, particularly if the fight is over Belarus.”

Threat Inflation Nothing New

The steady drumbeat of warnings about Russian military capabilities and intentions recalls the perennial use of “threat inflation” since the earliest days of the Cold War to sell bigger military budgets and a permanent warfare state.

Former NATO Commander Philip M. Breedlove.

One of the acknowledged masters of threat inflation was NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove. Hacked emails exposed his undercover campaign to “leverage, cajole, convince or coerce the U.S. to react” to Russia during the Obama years.

Two years ago, the West German news magazine Der Spiegel, ran a lengthy article on Breedlove’s reckless disregard for facts. Following the Minsk ceasefire agreement, at a time of relative quiet in Ukraine between government and pro-Russian forces, Breedlove held an inflammatory press conference to announce that Vladimir Putin had sent Russian armed forces with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, . . . some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery” to Eastern Ukraine. The military situation he warned was “getting worse every day.”

German political leaders and intelligence officials were “stunned,” according to the magazine. Their information didn’t match his claims at all.

The same thing had happened soon after the start of the Ukraine crisis in early 2014, triggered by an anti-Russia coup that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. Breedlove warned of an imminent invasion by 40,000 Russian troops massed on the border — when intelligence officials from other NATO member states had ruled out such an invasion and put the total number of Russian troops at about half that number.

“For months,” the magazine observed, “Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.”

Russian troop advances . . . the massing of forces . . . it all sounds familiar. Sure enough, although now retired, Breedlove was one of the first to sound the alarm this year about the Zapad exercise, telling a Senate hearing that it could involve as many as 200,000 troops.

Two years ago, members of the German government condemned Breedlove’s warnings as “dangerous propaganda.” They told Der Spiegel, “The West can’t counter Russian propaganda with its own propaganda, ‘rather it must use arguments that are worthy of a constitutional state.’”

The same stricture should surely apply today, as unsupported rhetoric foments unnecessary and dangerous military tensions between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to Consortiumnews.com.

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83 comments for “Inflating the Russian Threat

  1. mike k
    August 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    The US program of total world domination can only be achieved by war. America worships a two faced God: Money and War. Our whole US culture is obsessed with fighting and acquisition.

    • mike k
      August 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Peace and sharing are not really on our agenda, except as a fig leaf covering the real deal.

    • August 28, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      mike k: absolutely! We are a rather bizarre society, obsessed as we are with our own oh so special “identities” while simultaneously unconcerned with the slaughter of innocents around the world in our name and to benefit our standard of living. How many of those now mobilized to oppose our current malignant narcissist president sat on their hands for the last 8 years while the photogenic family man in the White House bombed and droned 7 nations in the Middle East, none of which had ever attacked us? Many apparently believe that “fascism” is when some disenfranchised white guys wave the Confederate flag, but that somehow “fascism” has nothing to do with our ongoing corporate/military nexus of 800+ military bases, the destruction of habeas corpus and our basic constitutional protections, massive illegal covert government surveillance, and an absolutely corrupt political structure that insures the oligarchy remains in power. If there is a more self-deluded and ethically corrupt populace on the planet I’m not sure where that would be.

      • August 29, 2017 at 11:48 am

        “Many apparently believe that “fascism” is when some disenfranchised white guys wave the Confederate flag, but that somehow “fascism” has nothing to do with our ongoing corporate/military nexus of 800+ military bases”…good point, Gary!

  2. Joe Tedesky
    August 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Reading this makes me disheartened that if you wish for detente with Russia, then that’s synonymous with you being a Trump supporter, and or your being a Putin apologist. Ever since we witnessed on our tv’s a Russian cop harass a Russian homosexual during the Sochi Olympics, add to this the Pussy Riot episode for whatever that was suppose to represent, America’s left leaning have devolved into true blue Russia haters. Little do my pseudo lefties realize how they are aiding the same people in government who gave us all this war we have been funding and dying for over the last 16 years, but no big deal, because Russians hate Gays. Well that’s not me saying it, that’s the overwhelming majority of Identity Politics minded there are among our liberal society crying such foul. Can you hear me Bill Maher? So, maybe the New York Times has it right printing such propaganda as they do, to quench the thirst of their Putin hating crowd…hey, whatever sells right?

    • Lois Gagnon
      August 28, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Military solutions are problems as the old 60s saying goes. I’m having the same experience. Trouble is, no amount of evidence such as the VIPS report makes a dent in their perceptions. They are as evidence averse as those they demonize on the right.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

        You are right the VIP reports are like garlic being shoved in the face of Dracula. I can just see now the flinching and twitches on the faces of these Neocon’s with just the mention of such truth tellers, as the VIP’s.

        I’d like to take this time to explain myself a little further, in regard to my previous comment. I’m all for the rights of Gays, and or any other minority that deserves equal equality observance. For this reason I would only urge my fellow American Gay or left leaning minority’s to not get too highly involved in this Russia bashing. The backlash from the Identity Politics if there is a backlash, could be ruining to any minority who gets behind such a movement, and besides this Russian Gay Bashing is nothing but propaganda of the worst kind anyway. So, I’m not advocating against Gays or minority’s from having their rights respected, but I am just stating that this Russia bashing is not the place, nor is it the time, to promote American values on to another nation.

        This link has nothing to do with the article, but listen to Rep. Thomas Massie throw down on American involvement in Afghanistan.

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/watch-brave-congressman-explains-how-us-keeps-afghan-heroin-trade-alive-at-your-expense/5606158

        • August 29, 2017 at 11:58 am

          “the VIP reports are like garlic being shoved in the face of Dracula”…nice imagery, Joe…sums it up and helps us smile!

          • Lois Gagnon
            August 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm

            I’m writing that one down for future reference. Love it.

        • Lois Gagnon
          August 29, 2017 at 8:45 pm

          He’s right of course, but I wouldn’t advocate the use of Round Up anywhere. It would be just as effective to bulldoze the poppies and it wouldn’t decimate the environment.

    • mark
      August 29, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      There are 76 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal. Russia is not one of them. In Saudi Arabia it carries the death penalty. In Qatar 5 years jail. Some African countries are trying to bring in the death penalty for gays. About 30 US states have anti gay legislation on their statute books.

      If people were genuinely concerned about gay rights, they would be attacking Saudi Arabia or any of the other 75.

      Russia is attacked because it has a law banning gay propaganda to children. What happens if you fall foul of this law?
      Shot at dawn? Exile to a Siberian gulag?
      Not quite. Maximum penalty a $50 fine. As repression goes, that’s a little bit on the weedy side.
      Why can’t the Ruskies man up and do a few decent beheadings?

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm
      • Gregory Herr
        August 29, 2017 at 9:53 pm

        Thanks for the perspective. It wasn’t that long ago in this country that we had “don’t ask don’t tell”, a “need” for “closets”, and going back a little further…Archie Bunker. Americans really need to get out more before coming to supercilious or ill-formed conclusions about Russian (or any other) society.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    August 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Notice to Robert Parry, please look into this moderation thing, it’s killing me.

    • Virginia
      August 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Joe T., I’m not sure, but I keep wanting to tell everyone who is trying to get a message to Robert Parry, it might work better to scroll to end of the articles to where it says, “Contact Us.” No guarantees, I assure you, but possibly that’s the way to get a personal message to Mr. Parry and/or to the moderators.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 29, 2017 at 7:02 am

        Thanks, I’ll try it.

        • David A Hart
          August 31, 2017 at 11:10 am

          Joe,, if you put RE: TOM BRADY in the subject line, I guarantee it will go to the top of the pile, :-)

  4. Drew Hunkins
    August 28, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    “Russia unquestionably wants to impress NATO with its military capabilities, Kofman acknowledges, but that’s for deterrence.”

    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding…! This is spot-on, 100% correct. Deterrence, that’s all it is, deterrence.

    Russia was invaded throughout its history by, among others, Napolean and Hilter. Over approximately the last 20 years NATO (read: Anglo-Zionist imperialists) has been routinely encroaching on and harassing Russia’s western border regions. Moscow has no other alternative than to put on an overt display of military might for all the world to witness. It’s not dissimilar to Kim Jong-un and his acting the madman routine to keep a Western bombing campaign at bay.

    That Russia’s actually inviting NATO reps to observe and monitor the maneuvers speaks volumes.

    • JWalters
      August 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      The Oligarchy media scoffs at conspiracy theories, except for their own conspiracy theories. There’s vastly more evidence for something fishy about 9/11 than for the Russia-gate election conspiracy.

    • Dave P.
      August 29, 2017 at 1:30 am

      Drew: As you said Russia has been invaded throughout it’s history, from the West by Napoleon and Hitler. It also had all these invasions from the East by very cruel Mongols, Tatars, the nomadic tribes like Kalmyks, and Turks from the South. Talking about so many threats from all sides on their borders throughout their history , Peter Hitchens called Russia has been like an Army with a country, not country with an army.

      Russia is, and always has been quite behind The West in Technology. And they have been under sanctions for a century now. And now this all powerful NATO on their borders installing all these missile defense systems, and doing all these Military exercises on their borders. What the Russians are supposed to do then? Sit back and drink vodka! They have to have these military parades to assure their population that you are safe.

      Can you imagine what America will do, if it had lost 26 millions in War on U.S., within it’s borders ! Just think of our response to 9/11, and all this endless coverage of it, writing about it in newspapers, talking about it on media since then. And starting and justifying all these endless wars creating death and destruction. I think, If war even approaches a few miles from the borders here, we are going to blow up half the planet.

      Around the turn of the century, when Russia was in every way in total ruins, and there were so many books coming out in the West proclaiming death of Russia. They were saying Russia can not recover now for a century, if it ever does. At the time I thought it too that it will be very hard for Russia to recover. It seems like that they have recovered enough – economically, and militarily – to deter aggression against them. But, it is hard to tell what will happen if it actually comes to that..

      • Yuri
        August 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm

        Nuclear winter- that’s what…

  5. Drew Hunkins
    August 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    By the way, does anyone else find it fascinating, bordering on the bizarre and baffling, that Breedlove rhymes so perfectly with Strangelove? Is this some sort of esoteric psy-ops that’s being waged on the entire population of the planet?

    Not only does this guy’s name roll off the tongue like the nuclear bomb loving, anti-Russkie, Red Scare fomenting sociopath in Kubrick’s magnum opus, but he’s an anti-Russkie, warmonger, scaremonger himself.

    • Patrick Lucius
      August 28, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      I certainly noticed the name similarity… Bizarre coincidences! Not just the names but the actual personalities of the movie character and the real [nutty] general. You can’t make this stuff up!

      • Drew Hunkins
        August 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm

        Exactly Mr. Lucius.

    • jo6pac
      August 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Yep.

      Patrick L. You Nailed it

      • Soldim
        August 28, 2017 at 8:33 pm

        While I get the general gist. For the record- Dr strangelove is played by Peter Sellers and is modelled on Sidney Gottlieb the crazy nazi scientist who worked at CIA for years and architect of MK-ULTRA. The air force general Jack Ripper, played by George C Scott, is modelled on Curtis Lemay Air Force chief of staff during vietnam. He was as batshit crazy as the film character and is credited with the phrase ‘bomb them back to the stone age’ which is pretty much the only advice he ever gave to the President.

        • David A Hart
          August 31, 2017 at 11:14 am

          A bombing which he (happily, undoubtedly) accomplished in North Korea during the Korean was, 1950-53r. That man has more blood on his hands than any vampire.

  6. Billy
    August 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    With the two recent collisions of the US navy destroyers and civilian ships. Our military readiness is exaggerated also. If unarmed tankers can take US destroyers out of commission on accident. Imagine if a foreign navy ship was trying.

  7. F. G. Sanford
    August 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Somebody needs to ask the obvious question: “Which Defense Industry Contractor hired Breedlove when he retired?” It is almost certainly one capable of paying a salary commensurate with the six million dollars received by James Comey for his Lockheed Martin gig.

    The lunatic left is playing right into the hands of the “alt right”. Antifa appears to be on track to make itself the most reviled organization since the Black Panthers in the 1960’s. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a prima facie case of “color revolution”/”Hegelian Dialectic” social engineering…most likely Soros-social Engineering of the same nature recently seen in the Maidan riots or currently on display in Venezuela – a “strategy of tension” scam, and the morons on both sides are being played off against each other to the benefit of the ‘secret government’. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

    I’m still betting nothing will happen to Hillary Clinton. The Awans may be prosecuted for bank fraud, theft and misappropriation, but nothing will extend to espionage or collusion with DWS. Nobody will be prosecuted for lying to Congress. Everything will be “classified”, so nobody will be able to investigate. The JFK records won’t be released – especially if Poppy Bush is still alive. There won’t be a war in Ukraine or Korea, but Venezuela and Iran are real possibilities. Production has been stagnant for years, but the stock market keeps going up. Sooner or later, it will crash…it’s either death, or Roo-roo. They’ll take us to war, or declare martial law.

    Two anthropologists deep in the South American jungle are observing sacred rituals of a pre-literate society when they are captured. Having disrupted the sacred ritual, the chief offers them a choice: death, or Roo-roo. The first anthropologist logically chooses Roo-roo. When the second anthropologist sees what that entails, he chooses death. The chief solemnly proclaims, “The sentence is death…by Roo-roo!”

    But, there is an alternative. You can look up that video with Kevin Shipp called, “CIA Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government”. And, yes, I know this comment will be moderated. I don’t even have to wait for the little green congratulation box.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 29, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      The best I can find is Breedlove is now a professor at Georgia Techs Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. It is said he will teach his students how to deal with a technical Russia.

      Along time ago I remember reading how to control the masses of society, that it is imperative you infiltrate the extremes, both extremes right and left, and then get them battling each other, so as to squeeze the population into the middle where power may take complete control.

      Wassermann Schultz and Hillary are lucky Trump owns the entirety of the news cycles.

      Also, what in the world is a Roo-roo?

      • F. G. Sanford
        August 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Joe, I think this is supposed to be a ‘family oriented’ site. But, you could try singing the first three notes of “Reveille” in solfege – that pretty well sums it up. But be sure and watch that video. It explains the “Roo-roo” we’re getting from our government.

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm

          It’s something dirty isn’t it?

  8. Andy Jones
    August 28, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    The Russians just flooded Texas.

    • David A Hart
      August 31, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Putin strikes again!!! Those shifty Ruskkies…..they are out to subvert our godly American right to eat until we can barely stand up and our right to continue to be a society of brainless patriots singing God Bless America at every sporting event while the military jets roar overhead. God bless America, indeed.

  9. August 28, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    The former “Supreme” Commander Breedlove certainly does not breed love, but rather breeds lies. I’ve often wondered about that name, certainly is strange!

    • Dave P.
      August 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Below is a link (from the google search) to General Breedlove’s role in Ukraine coup. General Wesley Clark, Colin Powell were in the loop too.
      It seems to me that the whole Ruling Establishment and most in the Media have been gradually sliding into madness for some time now, taking a large portion of the population with them. There is no end in sight to this madness. It will lead to something catastrophic.

      https://www.rt.com/usa/349213-hacked-emails-breedlove-ukraine/

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 29, 2017 at 12:54 am

      Hey Jessica, knock yourself out…

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

      Jack Nickolsen play Garrett Breedlove in ‘Terms of Endearment’.

      Then there’s this guy I remember from growing up….
      Craig Breedlove is an American professional race car driver and a five-time world land speed record holder. He was the first person in history to reach 500 mph, and 600 mph, using several turbojet-powered vehicles, all named Spirit of America.

      Just trying to help out. Joe

      • Realist
        August 29, 2017 at 5:00 am

        Ah, yes, back in the 50’s out on the Bonneville Salt Flats, right? Blue vehicles that looked like rocket ships. Was he ever on the Wheaties box?

    • Realist
      August 29, 2017 at 4:58 am

      Strange amour indeed. Especially if he holds a doctorate…. and suffers uncontrolled spasms of his right arm.

      • Dave P.
        August 29, 2017 at 11:59 am

        Realist: There were some graduates from Navy doing Ph.D. in the graduate program in Industrial and Systems Engineering during mid 1960’s. with me. They were working on problems involving probabilities of striking targets, deaths, destruction, and all that – in the event of nuclear war. We graduate students had cubicles in a big room. And during that very politically charged, active era on campuses, there were fierce arguments between Navy graduates and some other students in the program. Being from a very different background, rural with fields, bird, animals, and from a neutral democratic country, with all kinds of political parties, who were friends with Soviet Union as well, I had a total different outlook towards humans on Earth, than from those Navy School graduates.

        These Navy students were so extreme and focused in their views that it seemed like human life meant nothing to them. I remarked to one of American friends at the time that I am afraid these people, when in command are going to destroy this Earth. I can visualize how general Breedlove and others in those high places are like. We can only hope and pray that these people have some good feelings towards other humans left in them, and do not start Armageddon.

  10. Bill
    August 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    The US military likes to hide behind NATO. Sooner or later the Europeans are going to realize that they have a very sick friend. They will need to dump their sick friend.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 29, 2017 at 1:05 am

      Welcome to the club. I have been saying for sometime now that the U.S. better watch out that we don’t lose Germany. When I think of Germany I cannot for the life of me figure out why Germany puts up with any of it, with any of it. German business misses the business relationship they have acquired with their Russian business associates. Then when it comes to the EU, it would probably benefit Germany more than it would Greece, or Italy, if Germany went solo. I’m not sure where the European citizens sympathies lie, but I’m sure they don’t want war with Russia. You make a good point Bill, the U.S. may find itself a lonely dancer with an empty dance card, if it doesn’t change it’s way. Joe

      • kiltdownman
        August 29, 2017 at 5:08 am

        European sympathies – if you are referring to the populations of Europe almost certainly are that they would love to ditch NATO and have normal relations with Russia . Polling data shows an almost universal view of the USA as a warmongering menace .
        But European governments ( as in the USA ) do not reflect the will of the people . They , the UK particularly , are vassals of the USA .

        • Brad Owen
          August 29, 2017 at 5:51 am

          They and the USA are vassals of,City-of-London, the Inter-Alpha Group banking Cartel and their branch office in Wall Street. No Nation has their name on THIS corporate-financier Empire. It is anti-nationalist to its core, working to destroy its member nations in favor of feudal regions governed by hand-picked boards of directors. Welcome to the New Roman Empire, where they create deserts and call it peace(for the oligarchs anyway).

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 29, 2017 at 7:13 am

          At times this whole thing seems like a huge tinderbox ready to blow, doesn’t it?

      • Realist
        August 29, 2017 at 5:20 am

        If you read Der Spiegel you will have noted that Gerhard Schröder, the former chancellor of Germany has taken a high level job with the Russian gas company Rosneft. He was influential in getting Nord Stream I built. It’s become an albatross around the neck of the Social Democratic party candidate (Schulz) running against the Christian Democrat Merkel. Left to their own devices, I doubt the German people would care. Hölle, mehr Energie, mehr gute Arbeit. Obviously, Washington is inserting its snout into the upcoming German election and trying to paint the socialists as Putin puppets.

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

          Everybody needs more energy and a decent job, but if there is no world to reap that energy and labor, then what good is it?

        • Adrian Engler
          August 29, 2017 at 9:06 am

          Gerhard Schröder has a high level job with a Russian company, and he repeatedly stated views that are rather pro-Russian. But Schröder does not play an important role in his party any more; now, he is a businessman, not a politician. Therefore, I doubt that Schröder’s connections to Russia have a significant influence on the elections – neither for those who see these connections as something bad nor for those who find improving relations with Russia important.

          It is true that there are some Social Democrats – e.g. Matthias Platzeck, a former prime minister of an Eastern Bundesland – are actively in favor of more and better dialog with Russia, and there seem to be more such tendencies in SPD than in CDU, but these are not the most influential politicians, and on the whole, SPD is not that far away from CDU, as far as geopolitical matters and the relationship to the United States, NATO, and Russia are concerned. The parties that are more critical of anti-Russian policies are, on one hand, the left-wing Linkspartei, and the right-wing AfD, but both are unlikely to be a part of the next coalition government (in the case of AfD, this is excluded, in the case of Linkspartei, it would theoretically be thinkable that it could be a part of a center-left coalition, but given the current polling results it is unlikely that a red-red-green coalition can have a majority, and even if it had a majority, as it was the case after the previous elections, it would still be far from clear whether these parties would really form a coalition).

          In recent days, there have been quite a few stories about Schröder’s connections to Russia and the SPD’s opposition to increased military spending in the media. That may have some influence on the elections (on the whole I think that topic rather favors SPD, anti-Russian sentiments are not very strong in Germany, and there is hardly strong support for increased military spending, but I don’t think that topic is enough for significantly improving SPD’s currently rather weak ratings).

  11. maria dziuba
    August 28, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I truly wonder if the Russians can keep to their agreements: Ukraine gave all the nuclear weapons to Russia with promises of sovereignty to it’s borders. There has been so many falsification including hacking, Russian propaganda, 100,000 people killed, 1.6 million displaced, even villages to be moved from aggressors, 27 hospitals cyberattacked, gas lines exploding, a weapon warehouse cyberattacked; including people jailed without trials going on hunger strikes to insure justice? US citizens only care (32%) now as opposed to higher concern in the beginning. It truly is sad that we don’t realize Russian psychology.

    • Bill
      August 28, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Have you been reading the NY Times?

      • BobS
        August 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

        “Have you been reading the NY Times?”
        Have you had your head in the sand? Cyber-warfare conducted by Russia (and the US, and China, and Israel, etc.) is a real thing.
        As is Russian support for European and American neo-fascists.
        American perfidy =/= Russian trustworthiness.
        “All governments lie…”.

        • Antonia
          August 29, 2017 at 7:25 am

          Your evidence of Russian Support for European & American neo-fascists? CIA is the bastard child of the Gestapo.
          USA supported the fascists Albanians and Croatians in Yugoslavia as well as in the Ukraine.

          • BobS
            August 29, 2017 at 8:45 am

            One thing,
            (“CIA is the bastard child of the Gestapo.
            USA supported the fascists Albanians and Croatians in Yugoslavia as well as in the Ukraine.”)
            doesn’t make another
            (“Russian Support for European & American neo-fascists”)
            untrue.

        • Bill
          August 29, 2017 at 8:00 am

          Show me the proof.

          • BobS
            August 29, 2017 at 9:00 am

            Russian support (for pragmatic as much as ideological reasons) for the far-right in Austria, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, etc. has not been a particularly well guarded secret over the past half-dozen years. Except to you (& Antonia), apparently.
            It’s hard to understand the attribution of ‘goodness’ to the Russian government simply because the United States is frequently a bad actor. Hard to understand unless one is carrying water for the Russian government, or is simply ignorant of the machinations of governments.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    August 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Slightly off topic:

    All of us CNers understand that, in the face of the massive neo-McCarthyite groupthink, the ‘Nation’ mag did a rather courageous thing recently by publishing a trenchant piece that forthrightly detailed the VIPS devastating and meticulous investigative report demonstrating that the Kremlin did NOT “hack” or otherwise interfere in last year’s election, that it was very likely the act of a Dem insider, partial to Bernie, who leaked the inside info.

    Apparently the Nation came under much fire and scornful scrutiny from its readers and some of its contributors for daring to delve outside orthodoxy that Katrina’s seriously considering disavowing the article.

    • glitch
      August 28, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      “Apparently the Nation came under much fire and scornful scrutiny from its readers and some of its contributors for daring to delve outside orthodoxy that Katrina’s seriously considering disavowing the article.”

      Such weakness under pressure is why the Nation is no longer must read.

    • Lois Gagnon
      August 28, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Just speculating, but it may have been Katrina’s husband Prof. Stephen Cohen who has been outspoken against the Russia fear mongering who encouraged her to publish the VIPS report. I’m not surprised she would buckle under pressure from the corporate press and deluded Democrats. She has not been a fierce defender of the true left as editor. The Nation ain’t what it used to be, but then neither is MoJo or some other formerly left leaning publications.

    • Realist
      August 29, 2017 at 5:32 am

      Well, I hope she doesn’t cravenly buckle under to such pressure. In time, the truth will come out. When that time comes, I hope she wants to be on the right side of history. Expediently supporting lies and baseless war is what lost the presidency for Hillary. Besides, doesn’t every single publication post a disclaimer that the authors alone are responsible for the content of their published contribution? She might as well betray her husband if she’s going to turn on the VIPS, they stand for the same truths.

      • mike k
        August 29, 2017 at 7:41 am

        My great esteem for Stephen Cohen has lessened slightly. His wife seems to be a coward. Owning property (like the Nation) makes her value it more than the truth. The “liberal class” are all busy protecting their money and their property. To hell with the truth, we can spin that in a way that doesn’t risk us losing all our stuff…….

        • BobS
          August 29, 2017 at 10:12 am

          “My great esteem for Stephen Cohen has lessened slightly.”
          He needs to keep the ‘little woman’ on a shorter leash?

        • August 29, 2017 at 11:26 am

          MIke,…the sad truth is that publications like the Nation and Mojo are most likely partly sustained by the same devious interests that contribute campaign funds to both Republicans and Democrats as well as private & “public” media. In this way they try to control publications by withdrawing financial support if they don’t like the content. Katrina vanden Heuvel is certainly walking a fine line and any editorial decision she makes should not reflect on Stephen Cohen. Unfortunately, most of us here at CN are unable to wield that kind of influence.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 29, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Regarding that Nation piece, this morning I saw an article based on the revelations there.

      Title: “Pundits And Politicians Are Tacitly Admitting That They Lied About Russia”

      Far from addressing the massive, gaping plot holes that have suddenly emerged in its frenzied narrative, the mass media has all but ghosted from the scene. Russia gets an occasional mention now and again, but the fever-pitch shrieking panic has unquestionably been dialed down by several orders of magnitude.

      This is unacceptable. You don’t get to lie to the American people for nine months, terrify them with fact-free ghost stories that their nation has been taken over by a hostile foreign body, use their terror to manufacture support for a new cold war, and then change the subject to Nazis and Joe Arpaio as soon as evidence emerges that you’ve been reporting blatant falsehoods. That is not a thing. You need to either thoroughly refute every single argument against the narrative you’ve been spinning or admit publicly that you’ve been catastrophically wrong. You need to either (A) prove that you have not knowingly and/or unknowingly deceived the world, or (B) do everything you can to fix the damage that you have done.

      That the vermin are working hard to “change the topic” is obvious. They grabbed Trump’s stupid remarks about the Confederate statues and made that into a huge sensation. They’re presently working on the stupid Trump pardon of that Arpaio criminal. Next up – when Trump says something stupid about the hurricane. Or a government shutdown over Trump’s stupid border wall.

      h**ps://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/pundits-and-politicians-are-tacitly-admitting-that-they-lied-about-russia-4b1db7c8c63d

      • mark
        August 29, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        Cue another big distraction. Perhaps there’s some mileage left In bathrooms for transvestites. Or maybe they could revive Trump’s controversy about whether Meryl Streep is any good as an actress. By the time they’re finished with that, Trump will have built the Beaner Wall and started simultaneous wars in half a dozen countries.

  13. fudmier
    August 29, 2017 at 12:16 am

    http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/08/28/mueller-subpoenas-podesta-group-as-firm-retroactively-files-more-pro-russia-disclosures/

    Maybe Russian threat deeper, than the propagandised fake threat media suggests?

    B claims A jumped over the moon, A responds B jumped over the moon.media backs A, soon, without any evidence at all,
    B is declared the guilty-party A appoints a special prosecutor, denies B access to the media, and presto.. there you have it..
    B is guilty.

    Its like the innocent driver whose car was smashed by a drunk lawyer at a traffic intersection; in court the innocent driver is somehow found guilty of intentionally destroying the lawyers car, no mention is allowed as to the sobriety of the lawyer, and the innocent car damaged driver is ordered to repair the lawyers car, pay mental anguish damages to the lawyer and spend 30 days in the poky leased to the judgement jurisdiction, by its owner, the Judge’s wife.

    • mike k
      August 29, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Russia a greater threat?? Greater than the armed to the teeth USA? The only threat Russia represents is to the US plan for world domination.

    • Adrian Engler
      August 29, 2017 at 9:13 am

      I think it is not really surprising that both some people around Trump’s campaign and around the Clinton campaign have some connections to Russia. Russia is a large country and, of course, it does some lobbying and uses influential lobbying companies.

      But there is a large number of other countries that almost certainly does more lobbying in the United States, Consortiumnews wrote about this – Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, Israel, Taiwan, and probably also Western European countries and China.

      Changing the perspective, the United States also interferes heavily in many other countries’ internal politics, with NGOs, sometimes with coups, and sometimes with military aggressions, and this is hardly matched by similar efforts by Russia.

  14. Herman
    August 29, 2017 at 8:43 am

    When reformers look to creating a better society, certainly the existing concentration of media power and its effect upon an open society should be considered to be if not number one then two of the most important things to be reformed. Since this concentration exists, serious consideration and discussion of the issue will be a hard time coming. A tough battle that needs to be fought.

    • Tom Welsh
      August 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.

      – Thomas Jefferson (in a letter to Colonel Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787)

      “To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts and sound principles only.’ Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. I will add that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false”.

      – Thomas Jefferson, (in a letter to John Norvell, 14 June 1807)

  15. Michael Kenny
    August 29, 2017 at 9:59 am

    As long as Putin refuses to budge in Ukraine, the lesson of history is that war is inevitable. It is thus very reassuring to know that NATO collectively spends 12 times more than Russia on its military, or that its European members alone field nearly 75 percent more military personnel than Russia. That means that all the talk about Russia’s military strength is just propaganda and that even if the US left Europe in the lurch, we ourselves have more than enough strength to whip Putin all by ourselves if we had to. At that point, it doesn’t matter how many troops Putin sends on manoeuvres. Whatever he throws at us can easily be beaten. What stopped me dead in my tracks, though, was “the anti-Putin director of the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies in Minsk”. Does anybody seriously believe that Lukashenko would allow an “anti-Putin” figure to hold such a position? Sure enough, when I click on the link, the article makes no mention of said director holding “anti-Putin” views. I also don’t see the relevance of what might have gone on between General Breedlove and Obama. Neither are still in office.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 29, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Whatever he throws at us can easily be beaten.

      Mr. Michael Kenney, this is mind-boggling stupidity. The only question is whether you’re mindlessly cut/pasting something from your unknown employer, or if you are the source of this imbecility.

      • Tom Welsh
        August 29, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        I recommend not feeding the trolls.

    • mark
      August 29, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      It’s certainly very reassuring for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and British Aerospace and their CEOs’ bonuses to know that NATO collectively spends 12 x more than Russia on its military.

      Not so sure about the 75% more military personnel than Russia, though. If you subtract all the gays, lesbians, militant feminists and transvestites, the figures come out about even.

      Still, the EU does benefit from the military genius ex hairdressers and ex receptionists they have appointed as ministers of defence.

  16. Tom Welsh
    August 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    “Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer…”

    Otherwise known as “the Russian border”.

  17. mark
    August 29, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    “100,000 military personnel and logistic support.” If you add in all their wives and girlfriends and second cousins the figure is more like 500,000. Putin’s obviously going to murder us all in our beds.

    • Panas
      August 30, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Bull

  18. Panas
    August 30, 2017 at 10:01 am

    The difficulty is that the mindset of Russians and western nations is incompatible with one another. Comments by Russians are justifying their actions as we do ours. In armed conflict Russians have no concern for colateral damage while the West attempts to address that. The best example would be Russian success in Chechnya and Syria and western approach in Syria. No, western nations is lilly white, but they are not as brutal as the Russians. How many people died in Donbas as result of protecting Russian speaking people by RUSSIA. There was no armed confrontation in Ukraine untill Russia enetered the scene and shot down MH17 civillian airliner. Russian threat is just that. They can give the West a bloody nose, but they can’t win a full scale confrontation. This is why they keep nibbling around the edges and use a full scale threat of nuclear war but avoiding conflict. It is time we forced their poker hand to be revealed.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 30, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      So you want to force their hand? No one wins a full-scale confrontation and Russia has not threatened first strike nuclear use while Sam drops the ABM treaty, encircles their territory, and stirs up trouble throughout the Middle East and into Russia’s backyard.
      You need to check your facts with regard to the airliner shootdown and attacks on Eastern Ukraine. I despise the term “collateral damage” because it’s origin lies in the “concealment” of brutality. Ask someone from Fallujah, Mosul, Aleppo, Libya, Yemen, or Palestine about brutality…I expect Russia will be nowhere near their thoughts.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Panas – there is no credible evidence that Russia took down MH-17. A bunch of lies.

Comments are closed.