Accusing Russia and Listening to History

Even recent history is conveniently forgotten when it comes to blaming Russia for just about everything, as Ted Snider comments.

By Ted Snider

The prophet Cassandra’s curse was that when she told the future, no one listened. Many are cursed because they don’t listen to history either.

The West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia, but most of them can be grouped into one of three categories: that Russia intervened in the American elections, that Russia is dragging the world into a new cold war, and that Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. Sometimes when charges are brought against you, the best witness you can call to your defense is history.

Election Intervention

This history of Russia, America and political intervention begins right at the beginning of the Soviet Union. But, it was not the Soviet Union doing the interfering.

The story of America and the West’s interference in the birth of the Soviet Union is not well-known. It began with propaganda but metastasized well beyond words. By mid 1918, 13,000 American troops (as well as forces from Britain,France, Japan, Italy and other allies) were on Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of “the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution.” Churchill would record for history that the West “shot Soviet Russians on sight,” that they were “invaders on Russian soil,” that “[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government,” that “[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall.”

America would interfere more specifically in Russian elections upon the death of the Soviet Union. In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from a discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, giving himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But President Bill Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and Russian law, giving him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was interfering in the Russian people’s choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton “praised the Russian President has (sic) having done ‘quite well’ in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament,” as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought “the United States and the free world ought to hang in there” with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be “on the right side of history.”

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed an unconfirmed 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin’s massacre, claiming that “I don’t see that he had any choice…. If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it.” Clinton’s secretary of state, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin’s suspension of parliament in these “extraordinary times.”

In 1996, America would interfere yet again. With elections looming, Yeltsin’s popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6 percent. According to Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at Princeton, Stephen Cohen, Clinton’s interference in Russian politics, his “crusade” to “reform Russia,” had by now become official policy. And, so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections. Three American political consultants, receiving “direct assistance from Bill Clinton’s White House,” secretly ran Yeltsin’s re-election campaign. As Time magazine broke the story, “For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin’s campaign.”

Funded by the U.S. government,” Cohen reports, Americans “gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin’s reelection headquarters in 1996.”

More incriminating is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton’s Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory, in his book, Behind the Oval Office, Morris says that, with Clinton’s approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin’s odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was “expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June.” The Times explained that the loan was “a vote of confidence” for Yeltsin who “has been lagging well behind … in opinion polls” and added that the US Treasury Secretary “welcomed the fund’s decision.”

Yeltsin won the election by 13 percent, and Time magazine’s cover declared: “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.

Time magazine cover recounting how the U.S. enabled Boris Yeltsin’s reelection as Russian president in 1996.

Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that “without our leadership … we would see a considerably different Russia today.” That’s a confession of election interference.

Fifteen years later, Russia would accuse America of meddling still. When protests broke out over flawed parliamentary elections in December 2011, Putin said that Hillary Clinton “set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal.” He accused the State Department of supporting the protesters. The accusation could be dismissed if the State Department hadn’t declared its intention to “establish a direct relationship with the Russian people over the Kremlin’s head.”

A New Cold War

Western political discourse and Western media constantly repeat the charge that Russia is pulling the world back into the Cold War. But it was actually the US that put the Cold War on life support when Russia wanted to let it go. In his new book Russia Against the Rest, Richard Sakwa, Russia expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, argues that, at the close of the Cold War, Russia wanted to transcend the blocs and divisions, but America insisted on preserving them. Russia wanted to join a transformed international community freed of blocs and made up of equal partners who cooperated with each other; America offered Russia only an invitation to join an enlarged American-led community as a defeated and subordinate member.

Gorbachev offered the world Russia, but Bush could still only see the Soviet Union. But Gorbachev had brought about what Sakwa calls a “self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc” in favor of ending the Cold War. Sakwa says that “it was not Western pressure that forced the Soviet leadership to end the Cold War but a decision of the Soviet leadership . . . that accepted the possibility of a stable and enduring cooperative relationship . . ..” 

Gorbachev’s vision preceded the end of the Cold War: it was not a concession that came after. It was the Soviet Union, and not the United States, that ended the Cold War. James Matlock, the US ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time, complains that American politicians were only able to see “the end of the Cold War as if it were a quasi-military victory rather than a negotiated outcome that benefited both sides.” Matlock tried to remind the West that “it was Gorbachev’s initiatives and not Western military pressure that ‘defeated communism’.”

Cohen argued that Gorbachev ended the Cold War “well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union.” But the US was unable to recognize the Soviet invitation and refused to reciprocate: “The Cold War [had] ended in Moscow,” Cohen says, “but not in Washington.” It was the West, and not Russia, that resumed the Cold War after disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact voluntarily dissolved on March 31, 1991. NATO never did.

As recently as 2000, Putin was still answering the question of whether Russia would join NATO with, “Why not?” He saw Russia as part of a transformed community where Russia was “part of European culture . . . part of the ‘civilized world,’” where “seeing NATO as an enemy is destructive for Russia.” Sakwa says that in the early 2000s, Putin seriously entered into informal talks about NATO membership until the US vetoed the idea.

Sakwa says that Putin continued to engage the West and to attempt to forge a post Cold War partnership. Immediately after 9/11, Putin offered America logistical and intelligence support and helped take out the Taliban. Sakwa quotes an American official who rated Russian support after 9/11 as “as important as that of any NATO ally.” Rather than taking the hand Russia was offering in partnership, America slapped it by pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and announcing that it would now welcome the Baltic States into NATO.

Despite Russian attempts to integrate Europe and the international community into a world order that transcended Cold War divisions, pacts and rivalries, Europe and the West continued to maintain and expand those divisions. 2008 saw the creation of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Sakwa explains that the aim of the EaP was to draw Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia into the Western sphere. WikiLeaks has exposed a US cable that confesses that the aim of the EaP was to “counter Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe,” and admits to looking “for ways to enhance western influence beyond NATO’s eastern border.” Russia was trying to end, to transcend, the Cold War; America kept trying to push it.

Gorbachev and Putin always hoped the West would reciprocate Moscow’s voluntary dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and the ending of the Cold War. George Keenan, the American diplomat and father of the “policy of containment” of the Soviet Union, mourned the missed opportunity in a 1998 interview: “Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.”

When Gorbachev dissolved the Soviet Union, he hoped to dissolve it into a transformed world that was no longer separated into rival blocs. It was Washington and the West that lacked the vision to leave the Cold War behind and that continuously failed to seize that transformative vision because they were ossified in a Cold War way of seeing the world.

Aggression and Expansionism

Russian interventions, especially in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, have repeatedly been offered as evidence of the Western charge that Putin’s Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. But Russia’s interventions have never been expressions of policy. Instead, they have been isolated responses to a larger systemic Western policy of expansionism.

The West wasn’t supposed to expand. At a February 9, 1990 meeting, George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia to pull its troops out of East Germany “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction one inch to the east.” But according to Sakwa, this promise meant only that NATO would not spill over from West Germany into East Germany. The promise of not “one inch to the east,” meant only that NATO wouldn’t militarize East Germany.

The question of militarizing east of a unified Germany never had to explicitly come up: it was implicitly understood. Sakwa says that “It was clear that [the promise] did not refer just to the former German Democratic Republic.”

Baker: Promises not kept.

The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after Baker’s promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze, “‘For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.’ And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: ‘As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.’”

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, reports that the US ambassador to the USSR at the time of the promise, Jack Matlock – who was present at the talks – told him: “The language used was absolute, and the entire negotiation was in the framework of a general agreement that there would be no use of force by the Soviets and no ‘taking advantage’ by the US … I don’t see how anybody could view the subsequent expansion of NATO as anything but ‘taking advantage. . ..”

Gorbachev certainly thinks there was a promise made. He says it was made not to expand NATO “as much as a thumb’s width further to the east.” Putin also says the promise was made. Putin has asked, “And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.”

Putin pointed out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just his and Gorbachev’s perception. It was also the view of the NATO general secretary at the time: “I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990,” Putin noted. “He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are those guarantees?”

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Sakwa says that “studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany.”

The promise made to Gorbachev was shattered: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004 and Albania and Croatia in 2009. It was the West, and not Russia, that was being expansionist.

Georgia Attacks

When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia perceived the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence.

Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was “the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second.” The Georgian war was less an example of Russian expansionism than a defense against Western expansionism. And, even in the attempt to stop Western expansionism, Russia was not the initiator of aggression.

When Georgia declared independence from Russia in 1991, South Ossetia sought independence from Georgia. In August 2008, separatists responded to the massing of Georgian troops on the border of South Ossetia by attacking. Hours after a cease fire had been declared, Georgia launched a surprise attack on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. An estimated 160 South Ossetians were killed in the attack, as were 48 Russian soldiers.

Sakwa says that Russian forces arrived and defeated the Georgian army “in response to the Georgian bombardment of Tskhinvali.” Fifteen Russian peacekeepers were killed. The EU’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, headed by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini condemned the Georgian attack: “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack” were legitimate. Nor, she found, was the bombardment “necessary and proportionate.” She concluded that, though, the conflict had long been simmering, the “full-scale” hostilities were started by Georgia.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observers saw no evidence that South Ossetia attacked Georgia before Georgia attacked Tskhinvali in violation of the cease fire.

A Coup in Ukraine

Ukraine was the second Russian intervention to stop NATO enlargement and encroachment. The catalyst seized upon for the US-backed coup in Ukraine was

Former NATO Commander Philip M. Breedlove.

elected President Viktor Yanukovych’s abandonment of an economic alliance with the European Union in favor of an economic alliance with Russia.

But, the economic alliance with the EU was not the benign one presented to the Western pubic. It was not just an economic offer. According to Cohen, the EU proposal also “included ‘security policy’ provisions . . . that would apparently subordinate Ukraine to NATO.” The provisions compelled Ukraine to “adhere to Europe’s ‘military and security’ policies.” So, the proposal was not a benign economic agreement: it was a security threat to Russia in economic sheep’s clothing.

Russia had no problem with EU expansion. Sakwa says that “there was no external resistance at this point to EU enlargement. On its own it posed no security threat to Russia, and it was only later, when allied with NATO enlargement . . . that enlargement encountered resistance.” And that is why the EU offer to Ukraine is an example of Western expansionism: it was allied with NATO.

Sakwa says “EU enlargement paves the way to NATO membership” and points out that, since 1989, every new member of the EU has become a member of NATO. It’s not only that the EU package subordinated Ukraine to NATO, since the EU Treaty of Lisbon went into effect in 2009 all new members of the EU are required to align their defense and security policies with NATO.

The EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine was no simple economic agreement. Article 4 says the Agreement will “promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine’s ever-deeper involvement in the European security area.” Article 7 speaks of the convergence of security and defense, and Article 10 says that “the parties shall explore the potential of military and technological cooperation.”

So, the annexation of Crimea, after it was overwhelmingly approved in a popular referendum, was not part of a larger, consistent policy of Russian expansionism. It was a defensive reaction to Western encroachment deep into its sphere of influence and right up to its borders. It was a specific response to a threat, not a hunger for expansion. It was a specific response that Russia felt was forced upon it by a Western coup that was intended to escort Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence and into an expanded NATO that stretched right to Russia’s door step.

The two cases offered by the West in evidence of its claim that Russia is increasingly aggressive and expansionist were really specific defensive responses forced on Russia by Western expansionism that had taken earlier NATO expansionism too far. Charges that Russia “invaded” Ukraine have never be backed by evidence. According to German intelligence, the accusation was largely fabricated.

Like the charges against Russia of election interference and aggressive expansionism, both lack evidence. The charge of inciting a new cold war requires a blinding dose of hypocrisy and a strong case of historical amnesia. The witness that gives the defense the best chance of answering the charges is history itself. But, only if we listen.

A version of this commentary was originally published at Antiwar.com.

Ted Snider has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on US foreign policy and history.

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41 comments for “Accusing Russia and Listening to History

  1. May 1, 2018 at 00:39

    One point missing from this good chronicle.

    Clinton helped keep Yeltsin in power even though he had completely wrecked the Russian economy. He had driven it to a point perhaps even worse than the Great Depression in the USA. That did not matter to him.

  2. Zzp
    April 30, 2018 at 05:09

    Thank you *so* much for this full magazine of anti-xenophobe rounds. ?

    I consider myself pretty well-informed on the topic, and you surprised me at least four times. Thank you again

  3. CitizenOne
    April 28, 2018 at 20:43

    The basic problem for Americans is that they believe that what they hear on the main stream media outlets is the truth. It stems from a complete lack of historical occurrences where the main stream media outlets have never led us to the slaughter of the United States. Our unique history is unlike the history of Japan, Italy and Germany and the rest of Europe except for England or the UK where the European governments either capitulated to fascism or actively participated in it. While we bask in the victory of WWII we have not really had the sharp end of the spear of fascism destroy our nation as it destroyed Europe. Fascism for Americans is a dimming memory and a tasty morsel to sell to a gullible nation by our multi media conglomeration of amalgamated global truth providers who can now propagandize us all with 24/7/365 “news” saturation coverage aiming to convince us we need to all die for freedom along with a whole other bunch of people on the other end that all also need to die because they are the enemies of freedom.

    It is a game of arms dealers and merchants of death who seek to influence every corner of every government plying their wares of death and destruction for profit.

    The media provides the plot and the script where we are enraged and willingly give support to the money making scheme of the war profiteers.

    Eisenhower warned us about the inevitable conclusion of the development of a massive armaments industry and how it would become an existential threat to human life on the Planet.

    Listen to the opening statement of Eisenhower. He thanks the media for allowing him to be heard which is their own prerogative and no doubt were based on Eisenhower’s cooperation with the military industrial complex.

      • CitizenOne
        April 28, 2018 at 21:24

        My thoughts are as follows regarding the speech by President Eisenhower on the eve of his exit from politics:

        I think he said good night and good luck. I think he said I am out of here. I think he said we have a huge challenge ahead of us which we will likely lose. I think he said we are facing an opponent which is so great and so powerful that we can only hope to oppose it but that we really cannot oppose it. He was speaking of the Military Industrial Complex which was an existential threat for Democracy and our Constitution.

        Fast forward to today. We are faced with the same threat that Eisenhower warned us about. A Military Industrial Complex that seeks to wage wars around the Planet for its own benefit in increasing the profits with which it can grow by creating the new theaters of war which have come and gone in decades past which now include Russia and its formidable Nuclear arsenal capable of destroying us all.

        The Military Industrial Complex cares not who dies. They simply count their profits from war.

        When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

        Frederic Bastiat – (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms

    • Zzp
      April 30, 2018 at 05:12

      Reminds me of the possibly apocryphal tale of the Russian propaganda minister touring the “Free Press” in the United States.

      His reaction was to praise the superiority of American propaganda because in Russia everyone understands it’s propaganda, and here they believe it.

  4. April 27, 2018 at 23:55

    A comprehensive and well articulated account of post Soviet U.S. intervention in Russian politics and the manipulation of former East bloc nations to destabilize Russia.

  5. irina
    April 27, 2018 at 13:30

    NATO is here for the long term. If you haven’t already, you really should
    google ‘images for new NATO headquarters’. A very chilling building !

    It’s also more than bizarre that their space-agey logo is ‘NATO / OTAN’

  6. Christian Chuba
    April 27, 2018 at 11:41

    I thought I was reading ‘The Onion’ rather than the ‘CSM’ when they wrote about Yeltsin slaughtering the protesters …

    “Yeltsin prevailed, thanks in large part to the loyalty of the Russian armed forces, …”

    Wow, is that what the western MSM would say if Putin ever did that?

  7. Michael Kenny
    April 27, 2018 at 09:57

    Umpteenth standard re-hash of the clasic pro-Putin line. Nothing new in it.

    • Skip Scott
      May 1, 2018 at 11:54

      I suppose you mean the factually correct pro-Putin line, since you refute none of its contents.

  8. Realist
    April 27, 2018 at 02:44

    You know, it’s really quite preposterous, the false news and history the people in control of the levers of power are contriving to hoodwink the population. Yet they seem to be succeeding without any impediment except for the futile resistance of a small minority including the readers of this blog. One can only hope that this era will eventually be exposed for the disgusting fraud that it is, and that its victims get some small modicum of recognition if not justice. A pity that one should have to hope that his generation gets remembered as a caution to the future.

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2018 at 04:22

      Most people in America and the UK wouldn’t have a clue who Yeltsin was if you asked them, or that the Soviet Union as it was no longer exists. All the public know is that Russia is bad and the West are the good guys. This is the essence of what people know about history. The history associated with the two world wars and history since the end of the second world war is so huge that even devoted scholars can’t absorb it. History to most people is about kings and queens of centuries past or the founding fathers etc. No wonder Jo public isn’t able to understand today using history as a yard stick.

      • tina
        April 27, 2018 at 22:18

        spoken as a true American. Any other person born , or lived outside of the good ol usa would know history, Keep Betsy De Vos, privatize education, strip universities of their “Liberal” mission, defund public education. and we can all get on the Christian , pull yourself up by your own bootstraps bandwagon. God I cannot stand educated people. Especially public educated people. They get in my way.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 27, 2018 at 09:57

      Hey Realist the saddest part to all of this calamity is we Americans are led to believe that we live in a fair and equal democracy, and any deviation from that democratic stance is instigated by Putin’s Russia… worst still there are Americans who believe this.

      Now I knew all along that Hillary was a severely flawed presidential candidate, but still here she is some 18 months after the 2016 election, and Hillary is somehow to be found behind the curtain. If it isn’t Hillary herself then it’s her minions hard at work rustling in the bushes waging their anti-Putin narrative for all to fear.

      This can only happen to a citizenry which is exposed to …are you ready for this, ‘fake news’. The problem is, is that the ones parading all over the place with this fake news nonsense is the very news agencies that expound the fake news in the first place.

      • Realist
        April 27, 2018 at 16:16

        The folks who hand out the Pulitzer Prizes have recently shown themselves to be just as much a part of the fakery as the Nobel Peace Prize committee when they lauded the NYT and WaPo for their extensive false narratives on “Russiagate.” If anyone should have won a Pulitzer for Russiagate it would have been Robert Parry for exposing it as a hoax.

        It’s almost like the people in control watched “the Matrix” movie or read Orwell’s “1984” and thought they’d put theory into practice. Careful you don’t take the blue pill, Joe, it’s laced with “Novichok.”

  9. ToivoS
    April 26, 2018 at 23:58

    In the past decade I have been very active in the Democratic Party — our club is very “progressive”. It has been very disheartening to see so many of my friends turn out to be extreme russophobes. This article by Ted Snyder is very useful. It provides the arguments and references to support the case that Russia’s action since 2005 have been reactive to Western (i.e. US and NATO) violations of Russia’s national interests. I will use this article as a resource in my probably futile efforts convince those fools.

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2018 at 04:24

      Good luck with that, Toivos.

      • Nancy
        April 27, 2018 at 12:13

        Yes. People tend to believe what they want to believe. Facts are irrelevant to these “progressives.” It is all about the narrative handed down from the misleaders of the Democratic Party, a bunch of red-baiting phonies. So sad that supposedly educated people are falling for it.

      • The Seeker
        April 27, 2018 at 14:38

        while I share you skepticism John the inly way things will ever change is from the bottom up… grassroots movement… without it we are doomed….

  10. Silly Me
    April 26, 2018 at 21:44

    Russia has about $170 trillion in natural resources, the US has 40, 30 of which is coal.

    That alone explains a lot.

    • Tom Welsh
      April 27, 2018 at 10:26

      The Americans constitute a unique experiment in human nature. Effectively about 200 years ago, the few million colonists packed into the eastern seaboard of North America began to surge westward. Ahead of them lay an entire large continent which, in terms of agrarian, industrialised Man, was virtually unexploited. Land, timber, water, minerals were exactly as they had always been – in a state of Nature, apart from slight cultivation by Native Americans.

      The American “civilization” that ensued has been pithily summed up by John Michael Greer as having determinedly sought out the quickest ways of turning natural resources into pollution. Wherever there were potentially saleable resources, they grabbed and pillaged them. If anyone got in the way, they were overwhelmed, expelled or simply killed. In the absence of any older concepts of royalty, nobility, gentility, culture, politeness or virtue, their only value was money. The man with the most money was automatically the most powerful, respected and admired.

      Today we are seeing the consequences. Whereas people have been inhabiting Asia, Africa and Europe for tens of thousands of years without inflicting fatal damage, North America has been almost ruined in 200 years. And that is why the leaders desperately want to seize and pillage the rest of the world – they have run out of natural resources in their own continent.

    • Toby McCrossin
      April 30, 2018 at 22:37

      “Russia has about $170 trillion in natural resources, the US has 40, 30 of which is coal.”

      Source, please? I found the following estimates…The US: $45tn, Russia: $75tn. You’re off by $95tn.

      https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets-economy/090516/10-countries-most-natural-resources.asp

  11. April 26, 2018 at 21:14

    I hope this article makes rounds on other truth-seeking web sites because Americans are woefully ignorant of history, even of the not-so-past Bill Clinton era when the US started its shock therapy disaster capitalism project on Russia. Interestingly, i read that younger Russians, who would be analogous to US millenials, supported President Putin in the March election, recognizing they are doing better than their parents, whereas in the US our millenials are having a harder time than their parents.

    • Daniel
      April 26, 2018 at 23:35

      Cogent observations, Jessika. And of course, US millennials were unimpressed with Clinton (Trump as well) in our primaries/election.

      Russians saw a drop in life expectancy of 5 years or more during the Yeltsin “shock therapy” era as they went from zero poverty to about 1/3. Suicides skyrocketed, along with substance abuse. Today’s Russian kids still feel a bond with the older generations, and both honor them and work to avoid repeating the errors.

      In the past few years, we in the US have been seeing life expectancy drop for the first time in a century (and then due to war and disease). Suicides and substance abuse are also up as the wealth divide reaches historic levels.

      But we are so divided that we seem incapable of presenting a unified resistance. In some ways, I envy Russia.

  12. Anon
    April 26, 2018 at 20:09

    Thanks to Ted Snider for this closer look at US aggression against Russia via NATO. Indeed “the West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia” which always turn out to be not only quite false, but in fact cover stories for its own deliberate wrongdoing. The worst charges of the USSR against the US begin to seem ever more true.

  13. dahoit
    April 26, 2018 at 18:45

    Could I just say again,Putin for potus.Forget about the zionists,they stink to heaven.

  14. KiwiAntz
    April 26, 2018 at 18:01

    The destruction of the US Petrodollar system with the US dollar unfair advantage & domination as the Worlds reserve currency, is the key to ending American hegemony & Worlwide imperialism? This System enables America to fund its massive MIC & it’s Economy without suffering the effects of hyperinflation or bankrupting itself as its Federal Reserve, Central Bank can print trillions of dollars of worthless fiat currency? Russia & China know this is the non militaristic way of stopping America in its tracks & if they can achieve this, with their alternative Chinese Yuan for Oil backed by the security of Gold, then all America’s scheming, meddling & interfering in other Countries affairs will come to nought, as the collapse of the US Petrodollar system signals the death throes of the American Empire as they won’t be able to fund their MIC, the overseas bases & NATO etc! That’s another reason, not mentioned in this article as to why Russia & also China is hated & detested by America & its Allies?

    • Dennis
      April 27, 2018 at 02:09

      So Mr. Kiwi, you say the “US Petrodollar system with the US dollar unfair advantage & domination as the Worlds reserve currency” is the cause of all the Worlds problems. Parroting the signs held up by street corner end-of-the-world doomers for years.
      If this is true, why has the rest of the World not done something about it? And when are we going to see the “collapse of the US Petrodollar system”? Are you guys useless? If you don’t like it, why don’t you do something about it!

      • Joe L.
        April 27, 2018 at 11:02

        Dennis… actually it is pretty much impossible for most countries to get rid of the US Petrodollar (since pretty much all energy is priced in US dollars) and countries that have tried such as Libya and Iraq end up getting invaded. Luckily, China just unveiled the Petroyuan which will still take many years to really compete with the Petrodollar but it will provide competition and allow countries to avoid US sanctions. I would say that in the future the more that the US puts sanctions onto countries then the more it will push countries toward China strengthening the Petroyuan system. Also, as the use of the Petrodollar diminishes, over time, then it will also make America’s wars and foreign bases less affordable and I would say that is a good thing for the world.

    • The Seeker
      April 27, 2018 at 14:41

      very true and is probably the main reason they took out Gaddafi’s Libya…. he had the nerve to want to be paid in gold for his oil not US $

  15. Drew Hunkins
    April 26, 2018 at 17:50

    A big part of me thinks Gorby was a naive nitwit.

    He had no idea what he was getting himself and the world into when he gave away the entire store to the Western imperialist capitalist greedheads. He couldn’t comprehend that the Western ruling class would settle for nothing, instead they would incessantly demand and desire everything: all the choice lands, all the profitable gov’t enterprises, and all the free and desperate hands to exploit, rob and pillage. The Washington-Wall Street elites would resort to proxy forces, quislings, outright aggression, mass media propaganda and whatever else to turn the entirety of the East into a capitalist nightmare.

    That Putin’s trying to reverse some of this is his unforgivable sin.

    The demise of the USSR in 1990 has turned into the greatest calamity to befall the globe in several decades, by far. No longer would there be a competing politico-economic bloc, no longer would there be a state that every once in awhile would act as a bulwark of sorts to the biggest and most violent global imperialist military machine the human race had ever experienced. Had there been a Soviet Union in 2003 there never would have been an Iraq War, there wouldn’t be 100,000+ innocent Iraqis lying in their graves.

    Despite some of its faults (many of them exaggerated; read Dr. Grover Furr for the straight dope) the fall of the USSR has been a tragedy for the working people across the face of the earth.

    • Sam F
      April 27, 2018 at 12:43

      True; the USSR collapse also removed the hate-focus that the US warmongers could do little about, enabling them to become imperialists as accused by the USSR at al.

  16. mike k
    April 26, 2018 at 17:03

    The unmentioned elephant in the living room of Mr. Snider’s article is the US determination to achieve “full spectrum dominance.” The US seeks to rule the world, and Russia is in the way. This is the underlying dynamic of all the history recounted here. Otherwise an informative article.

  17. WC
    April 26, 2018 at 16:41

    Hard times builds character.

    • john wilson
      April 27, 2018 at 04:28

      Yes, WC, and when the people become poor and see the rich wallowing in unearned wealth we have revolution which cause war and misery for everyone. There is NO EXCUSE for hard times in countries that can afford to spend more money on their military than most other countries spend on their entire budget.

    • The Seeker
      April 27, 2018 at 14:51

      Hard times is a mischaracterization of what America has evolved into. MSM has become a propaganda machine for the oligarchs and most Americans are out of touch with what is transpiring. Aaron Russo launched a state to state grassroots movement exposing the “system” and was getting a lot of attention before he contracted cancer and passed. I thing they killed him. As they did Lennon and MLK…. In 1953 a historian, Henry Elmer Barnes pulled together the writings a number os true historians and published a book, “”Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace.” The year was 1953 and in it he warded that current American foreign policy of the day, if continued, would one day lead to perpetual war. Barnes contends it all started with WWI and was perfected by FDR in WWII… I have been researching the period for over a decade for a documentary, Charles Lindbergh: Democracy and Dissent. Charles, the infamous aviator was deeply influenced by his populist father and both men realized war was not the way to settle international disputes. Both men were, as anyone who has a bully pulpit, marginalized, their patriotism questioned and smeared.

      • WC
        April 27, 2018 at 16:50

        The “hard times” I am talking about hasn’t happened yet.

        • irina
          April 27, 2018 at 20:24

          Not here in the US it hasn’t. But it will, and we are woefully ignorant of how to cope.

  18. Sally Snyder
    April 26, 2018 at 16:18

    Here is an interesting look back in time when a Democratic president and a Russian president colluded to keep each other in power:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ro/2018/02/a-historical-look-at-mutual-election.html

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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