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22 March 2018

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Anna

"... there is now a growing body of declassified documents that confirm that there was a gentlemen's agreement that there would be no further eastward expansion of NATO..."
-- Guess there are no gentlemen left among the US deciders... Cannot be too much of reminding about the zionization of the US army: https://israelpalestinenews.org/fighting-israels-wars-u-s-military-government-become-zionized/

David E. Solomon

Harper, Thanks very much for posting this piece. Somehow, I always thought (probably naively), that the agreement was always a well known fact. I often wondered why our esteemed leaders broke it. Why the desire to reduce the Russians to total insignificance?

Thanks again.

David

LeaNder

Harper, this has been the lonely argument of Harald Kujak and a select few public others for a longtime over here in Germany.

Yesterday I witnessed a debate under the header: Who is more dangerous Trump or Putin? on German TeVe.

The British representative invited, the expert on British intelligence, argued he couldn't understand in the least the German public. Seems 'poll wise' the vast majority of Germans considers Trump more dangerous then Putin. There were phases in his talk were he seemed to get exhausted and tried to address us more directly via our conscience/soul: We have to stand up bold against Russian aggression, since it does not necessarily mean war, but if you do it in a united fashion the other side will fold.

Meanwhile on another public channel a day earlier, second vs first, a prominent German economist seemingly joined Trump*. Strictly this is only to

*
http://klauskastner.blogspot.de/2018/03/prof-sinn-agrees-with-president-trump.html

Strictly it was part of the promotion of his latest book, something in like in search of the truth. As economist he is obviously aware of matters that lately were alluded to here via OECD. In fact it was the context of the first question to him.

*****
concerning European foreign policy, by now it feels the east dictates it to a large extend, led by Poland.

LeaNder

Sorry didn't proofread well. Had a phone call from my brother somewhere in between and didn't look bak.

Richardstevenhack

Movement on the Skripal case from Russia. They called together ambassadors from numerous nations to the Foreign Ministry and held a two-hour meeting to discuss the British allegations against Russia. The video of that is here:

Russian MFA summons all ambassadors to a meeting on Skripal case (MUST WATCH!!!)
http://thesaker.is/russian-mfa-summons-all-ambassadors-to-a-meeting-on-skripal-case-must-watch/

Although the headline says "Must watch", I wouldn't bother. I watched it and it was mostly a waste of time. There was one statement bringing up the point that all that is known about the alleged "Novichok" agent comes from one Russian defector to the US who is working for the US and what that means for the validity of any statement about those agents.

What matters is the referenced "aide memoire" which the Russian MFA produced for distribution to the ambassadors for conveyance to their capitals. That document is here:

Official Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the “Skripal Case”
http://thesaker.is/official-statement-of-the-russian-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-on-the-skripal-case/

The document raises a number of questions about the case which the British appear to be avoiding answering and also points out that there is a procedure under the Convention For The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons" which Russia alleges the British are not following.

Alexander Mercouris at The Duran analyzes the EU response to the British allegations in a UNSC meeting which occurred on March 14th.

Britain’s ultimatum to Russia BACKFIRES, NATO and EU allies reject demands for action on Skripal
http://theduran.com/britain-struggles-win-allied-support-skripal/

Although the EU publicly claims (and repeated these claims in the Russian MFA meeting referenced above) solidarity with Britain, the UNSC meeting was considerably more muted in terms of ascribing the Skripal attack to Russia. Mercouris believes the intent of Britain was to get a UNSC Resolution blaming Russia (which Russia would veto) and then getting NATO to impose wide-ranging sanctions against Russia under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty and that this isn't going to happen.

It's important to note that the language Theresa May has been using blames Russia for a "chemical attack on Britain" which is an act of war and can be used to invoke NATO Article 5.

Quote:

In other words the British referral to the UN Security Council had the purpose of preparing the ground for an emergency NATO summit at which Britain would invoke Article 5.

End Quote

But it seems most of the parties decided to duck that serious step and left May hanging.

Depending on what new details come out about the Skripal attack, I suspect the whole affair may end back-firing against Britain.

r whitman

I seem to remember that Yeltsin specifically asked that Russia be allowed to join NATO and was turned down. The creation of an alternate organization was suggested, probably the Partnership for Peace.

Max

I was unaware of the "gentlemen's agreement," but it makes sense, and Matlock's testimony is good enough for me. NATO was a cold war construct, and with the end of the cold war, NATO could have been dismantled as the relic of a previous age. But institutions die hard and those vested in them seek to maintain their budgets and find new missions to justify their existence. European countries have indeed had a long history of conflict, and the alliance did seem effective at maintaining the peace in Europe. Many of the new post-Communist governments in the former Soviet Bloc also wanted in. It wasn't all our own doing. The Partnership for Peace was another post-cold-war construct that gave the old school in Garmish a new mission and something else to do. I think it might have been possible to bring Russia in, but was that the purpose of an expanded NATO and the Partnership for Peace, or was it aimed at isolating Russia and ensuring a perpetual western domination? The Orange Revolution in Ukraine seems to have been the tipping point Did we play a clandestine role in that? I frankly don't know, but I suspect we did. Then came Putin's assertion of Russian interests in the Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine. And here we are, witnessing the revival of populist nationalisms in many places, including the USA.These pose a challenge to the post-cold-war "new world order" (I'm citing President #41) which likely will be less and less pretty as it gains momentum. It might have been easier to have abided by that "gentleman's agreement," and the issues we face to day might have been avoided. But then there would have been other issues. We are humans after all and seem to like "issues."

turcopolier

max

Good to see you back here. want a job on SST? If so, write me off line. pl

Max

Thanks, Pat. Not looking for a fob. But I’ll try to remain curren—hard to do when one spends most of the day in the 18th century

Anna

"...what would happen if Russia was to have good relations with the rest of Europe on all levels?"
The non-obedient leaders of such countries in the "rest of Europe" would have been compromised and removed from the positions of power by the deciders. Take a closer look at May, Johnson, and, particularly, Gavin Williamson. Do they look like the persons of integrity and able leaders? Was not Macron competitor conveniently (and fraudulently) compromised during the last elections? Were not the Swedes ordered to keep the ridiculous lawsuit against Assange?
The deciders have been weeding out the intelligent, principled, honest, and patriotic individuals from the positions of influence in order to ensure that only the mediocrities and pliable opportunists were “elected” for the important governmental positions in the “rest of Europe.”

Anna

It is hard to wrap one's mind around the stupidity of the Skripal affair, considering that the UK (or perhaps the Friends of Israel in the UK) decided to use the case of poisoning of a Russian citizen Julia Skripal (and her father) during her visit to the UK, as a ground for Article 5 -- before any evidence is collected and before a thorough investigation is conducted. The role of May & Johnson was so obvious and it defied the human dignity to such extend that others did not dare to participate in the provocation.

Anna

"Did we play a clandestine role in that? I frankly don't know, but I suspect we did. Then came Putin's assertion of Russian interests in the Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine."
Why don't you do some minor research on the "clandestine role?' The materials are in abundance and are widely available on the internet.
For example: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/13/the-mess-that-nuland-made/
https://www.salon.com/2014/02/25/is_the_us_backing_neo_nazis_in_ukraine_partner/

Peter AU

Max commented on the orange revolution, not the maidan.

Balint Somkuti, PhD

There has been innumerous stories circulating about the West's broken promises towards Russia. To be honest I thought most of them was fake and the russians were making them up to to ease their pain felt about the loss of an empire.

Now based on the above the opposite seems to be true.

I just dont come to understand at all how can a once superpower with 1000s of nuclear warheads can downplayed for decades. I just don't get it.

The ignorant western elite should heed the old szekler saying: "The bear is not a toy!"

hemeantwell

Yes, a very worthwhile reminder, thanks. It should be run every day on the front page of major news outlets for the next year. Ignorance of NATO's failure to sustain that accord becomes a Pandora's box of bear-filled nightmares.

"Why the desire to reduce the Russians to total insignificance?"

Your question provides the answer. The US and NATO aimed for a Russian government run by natural resource-vending oligarchs. China would have been raised from its understudy role to serve as an excuse for big ticket military spending.

fanto

Anna
@11
...The deciders have been weeding out ...that is very important observation. The other half of that sentence is ´..who is weeded in..´ for example, in Germany, the current new government has a social democrat at minister of finance, but he nominated a guy from Goldman Sachs - Jörg Kukies. What more can be said?

fanto

sorry, again not written properly - it should be - but he nominated as his undersecretary a guy from Goldman Sachs

LondonBob

I remember some bigwig, I want to say Scowcroft but can't really remember, said the reason Russia wasn't allowed in to NATO is that they would be an alternate power centre to the US within NATO. NATO is really there to assert US primacy over Europe. The Russia nonsense keeps Europe divided and under the thumb, reconciliation between Germany and Russia is an abiding fear for some.

NATO expansion was largely the result of extensive lobbying of the US Senate by American arms and manufacturers in the 1990s, exposed by the New York Times at the time, as well as for domestic political reasons to make Clinton look tough. Now it has all become a self fulfilling prophesy by creating an adversary in Russia.

David Habakkuk

All,

Prior to the ‘Briefing Book’ to which ‘Harper’ linked, the National Security Archive published, last December, one entitled ‘NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard.’

(See https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early .)

A crucial point not mentioned in the – generally excellent – introduction to this series of documents is that Gorbachev did not even ask for the verbal assurances he was given to be put in writing.

This, incidentally, is a matter which Putin raised in his interviews with Oliver Stone. In these, his comments on almost all the people discussed – up to and including John McCain – are restrained and emollient. His contempt and distaste for Gorbachev, however, shine through.

Part of the background to Gorbachev’s approach at the time was the advice he was getting – very bad advice, it now seems clear, with hindsight wisdom – in particular from Georgy Arbatov, the long-serving head of the Institute of the USA and Canada.

In a letter to the ‘New York Times’ in December 1987, in response to a column by William Safire, which was headlined ‘It Takes Two to Make a Cold War’, Arbatov made clear that Gorbachev was intended to, as it were, ‘walk away’, from the Cold War. And he wrote:

‘And here we have a “secret weapon'” that will work almost regardless of the American response – we would deprive America of The Enemy. And how would you justify without it the military expenditures that bleed the American economy white, a policy that draws America into dangerous adventures overseas and drives wedges between the United States and its allies, not to mention the loss of American influence on neutral countries? Wouldn't such a policy in the absence of The Enemy put America in the position of an outcast in the international community?’

(See https://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/08/opinion/l-it-takes-two-to-make-a-cold-war-963287.html .)

As it happened, Arbatov was completely and utterly wrong. The liquidation of the security posture inherited from the Stalinist period, followed by the break-up of the Soviet Union and the abandonment of communism, in no ways decreased Western hostility to Russia. The seething and near unanimous hatred of Putin is greater by far than that towards any of the leaders of the old Soviet Union.

The truth, it turned out, was that people like Gorbachev and Arbatov were naive fools.

What however then becomes material is that if Western behaviour makes clear that those who sought good relations with us were indeed such, it really is very foolish to expect that Russians will vote for such people.

Something that saddens me somewhat is that, as became clear if one probed, a strong undercurrent in the thinking of people like Arbatov was the belief that, although this had not been Stalin’s intention, his post-war policies had gratuitously wrecked the relationship with the United States built up during the wartime ‘Grand Alliance.’

I have difficulty thinking of any more promising way causing people to abandon such beliefs than allying with those who venerate Stepan Banderistas in an attempt to bring the Crimea into NATO. One thought people might be aware that Sevastopol is the scene of two great sieges, by the French, Ottomans and British in 1854-5, and by the Germans, Romanians and Italians from December 1941 to July 1942.

In both cases, the city fell. In the latter, however, the defenders tied up Erich von Manstein – one of the greatest exponents of mobile warfare – and the German Eleventh Army for seven crucial months, which among other things made a major contribution to the fact that Stalingrad did not fall, and the Germans were decisively defeated there.

Max

I am certainly aware of the role that Nuland and the State Department and the Obama administration in general played in supporting the Orange Revolution. What I don't know is what "clandestine" efforts--cash payments, secret promises, etc.--other elements of our government may or may not have played. I suspect we did, but I don't know and for this, open research is difficult to conduct.

b

Here is the link to the National Security Archive summary with the relevant documents:

NATO Expansion: What Yeltsin Heard

LeaNder

Now that matters are heating up in Europe-Russia relations, strictly along the lines of the representative in the political talksshow circle, I talked about above, was Prof. Glees, he speaks German has a semi-German background. Apparently was more frequently present on German media, got glimpses. DW? Didn't take a closer look.

Prof. Anthony Glees - Buckingham University:
https://www.buckingham.ac.uk/directory/professor-anthony-glees/

Strictly two of his arguments stuck out for me. One challenged how it would be challenged here, Iraq, anyway:

a) it is no doubt significant that it only happened 7 km/?miles? from Porton Down. What was he doing there?
b) if the Foreign Minister speaks he has relevant intelligence information.

Apparently the EU followed the latter argument.

Thomas

"I just dont come to understand at all how can a once superpower with 1000s of nuclear warheads can downplayed for decades. I just don't get it."

Look at the advocates. Russia committed the gravest of sins, they killed Trotsky! And stopped the looting of their country by the same advocates' kin.

JW

Anna, re #11. There is very little 'weeding out from positions of influence' as you suggest. The political preselection process ensures that such people do not actually get started on the train, but in most cases they have already left as soon as they arrived, having seen, to them, the nauseous and noxious collection of people with whom they would otherwise spend years rubbing shoulders.
You will not find a Teddy Roosevelt or a George Washington in the current era.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

I think you are underestimating the demand side of NATO expansion; many Eastern European states wanted to be included in NATO - for reasons of both security and prestige (of being associated with the dominant civilization on Earth and the Winners of the Cold War).

In fact, EU membership, NATO, and Plato went together - it was an act of joining (or re-joining) the "Civilization".

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