Has Russia’s Military Checkmated The United States?

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Above Photo: rosaluxemburg/ Flickr

Note: In addition to the description by Michael Whitney in the article below of Putin blocking US regime change efforts around the world, Putin gave the equivalent of a State of the Union speech in Russia this week. The speech must be sending chills and panic through the Pentagon, neocons, intelligence agencies and all those involved in military and foreign policy in the United States. Putin essentially announced checkmate when it comes to military conflict.  Russia, while spending ten percent of what the US spends on the military, announced new weapons systems that the US military cannot defend against.

In the speech, Putin does not threaten the US and urges negotiation but warns if Russia or their allies are attacked, they will immediately retaliate. The speech included pointed messages to the United States — stop the threats, stop the exceptionalism and get serious about creating a world where people work together for sustainable human development.

Military and intelligence analyst, the Saker, describes the weapons Putin announced, writing:

“ First, he confirmed that the Sarmat ICBM would replace the old but already formidable SS-18 ‘Satan’. Then he turned to new weapons systems:

  • A nuclear powered cruise missile with basically unlimited range
  • A nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving at great depths
  • A Mach 10 hypersonic missile with a 2’000 kilometer range (named: Kinzhal)
  • A new strategic missile capable of Mach 20 velocities (named: Avangard)

“All of these systems can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads. Just think of the implications! Not only does that mean that the entire ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] effort of the USA is now void and useless, but also that from now US aircraft carrier battle groups can only be used against small, defenseless, nations!”

If President Putin’s announcement is accurate, it is a game changer in the military relationships between Russia and the US and NATO. The Independent describes the speech and reaches what we believe is the correct conclusion: It is time for a new era where countries talk to each other and negotiate, stop the threats and the exceptionalism. The US has shown its insecurity, probably because US intelligence is aware of these developments, in its new National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review, which focuses on Russia as a rival and launches a new arms race. More militarism is not the solution.

It is also important to remember that the United States has already fallen behind China in the most accurate measure of Gross National Product, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP GDP) and is ranked third in the world after China and the EU in the global economy. These are all signs of the coming end of US empire and global dominance. It is time for a major re-evaluation that de-emphasizes military power and instead focuses on participating in a multi-polar world that creates a sustainable economy that benefits humankind and protects the planet. KZ

Putin: The Man Who Stopped Washington’s Regime Change Rampage

“It is essential to provide conditions for creative labor and economic grewth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers. The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems.” Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

March 01, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Putin wants to end poverty? Putin wants to stimulate economic growth in developing countries? Putin wants to change the system that divides the world into “permanent winners and losers”? But, how can that be, after all, Putin is bad, Putin is a “KGB thug”, Putin is the “new Hitler”?

American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he’s also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution. Naturally, the Russian system has its shortcomings, but there has been significant progress under Putin who has dramatically increased the budget, improved treatment and widened accessibility. Putin believes that healthcare should be a universal human right. Here’s what he said at the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club:

“Another priority is global healthcare…. All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development.” (Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club)

How many “liberal” politicians in the US would support a recommendation like Putin’s? Not very many. The Democrats are much more partial to market-based reforms like Obamacare that guarantee an ever-increasing slice of the pie goes to the giant HMOs and the voracious pharmaceutical companies. The Dems no longer make any attempt to promote universal healthcare as a basic human right. They’ve simply thrown in the towel and moved on to other issues.

Many Americans would find Putin’s views on climate change equally surprising. Here’s another clip from the Valdai speech:

“Ladies and gentlemen, one more issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind is climate change. … I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue….What we need is an essentially different approach, one that would involve introducing new, groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the environment, but rather work in harmony with it, enabling us to restore the balance between the biosphere and technology upset by human activities.

It is indeed a challenge of global proportions. And I am confident that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made significant advances in fundamental research. We propose convening a special forum under the auspices of the UN to comprehensively address issues related to the depletion of natural resources, habitat destruction, and climate change. Russia is willing to co-sponsor such a forum…..” Valdai)

Most people would never suspect that Putin supports a global effort to address climate change. And, how would they know, after all, bits of information like that– that help to soften Putin’s image and make him seem like a rational human being– are scrubbed from the media’s coverage in order to cast him in the worst possible light. The media doesn’t want people to know that Putin is a reflective and modest man who has worked tirelessly to make Russia and the world a better place. No, they want them to believe that he’s is a scheming tyrannical despot who’s obsessive hatred for America poses a very real threat to US national security. But it’s not true.

Putin is not the ghoulish caricature the media makes him out to be nor does he hate America, that’s just more propaganda from the corporate echo-chamber. The truth is Putin has been good for Russia, good for regional stability, and good for global security. He pulled the Russian Federation back from the brink of annihilation in 2000, and has had the country moving in a positive direction ever since. His impact on the Russian economy has been particularly impressive. According to Wikipedia:

“Between 2000 and 2012 Russia’s energy exports fueled a rapid growth in living standards, with real disposable income rising by 160%. In dollar-denominated terms this amounted to a more than sevenfold increase in disposable incomes since 2000. In the same period, unemployment and poverty more than halved and Russians’ self-assessed life satisfaction also rose significantly.”

Inequality is a problem in Russia just like it is in the US, but the vast majority of working people have benefited greatly from Putin’s reforms and a system of distribution that –judging by steady uptick in disposable incomes– is significantly superior to that in the United States where wages have flatlined for over 2 decades and where virtually all of the nation’s wealth trickles upward to the parasitic 1 percent.

Since Putin took office in 2000, workers have seen across-the-board increase in wages, benefits, healthcare and pensions. Poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half while foreign investment has experienced steady growth. Onerous IMF loans have been repaid in full, capital flight has all-but ceased, hundreds in billions in reserves have been accumulated, personal and corporate taxes have been slashed, and technology has experienced an unprecedented renaissance. The notorious Russian oligarchs still have a stranglehold on many privately-owned industries, but their grip has begun to loosen and the “kleptocracy has begun to fade.”

Things are far from perfect, but the Russian economy has flourished under Putin and, generally speaking, the people are appreciative. This helps to explain why Putin’s public approval ratings are typically in the stratosphere. (70 to 80 percent) Simply put: Putin the most popular Russian president of all time. And his popularity is not limited to Russia either, in fact, he typically ranks at the top of most global leadership polls such as the recent Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) where Putin came in third (43 percent positive rating) behind Germany’s Angela Merkel (49 percent) and French President Emmanuel Macron. (45 percent) According to Gallup: “Putin has gone from one in three (33 percent) viewing him favourably to 43 percent, a significant increase over two years.”

The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States (14 percent) and EU (28 percent), the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class. This should come as no surprise to Americans who know that the chances of stumbling across an article that treats Putin with even minimal objectivity is about as likely as finding a copper coin at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The consensus view of the western media is that Putin is a maniacal autocrat who kills journalists and political opponents (no proof), who meddles in US elections to “sow discord” and destroy our precious democracy (no proof), and who is conducting a secret and sinister cyberwar against the United States. (no proof). It’s a pathetic litany of libels and fabrications, but its impact on the brainwashed American people has been quite impressive as Gallup’s results indicate. Bottom line: Propaganda works.

The attacks on Putin began sometime in 2006 during Putin’s second term when it became apparent that Russia was going to resist the looting and exploitation the US requires of its vassal states. This is when the powerful Council on Foreign Relations funded a report titled “Russia’s Wrong Direction” that suggested that Russia’s increasingly independent foreign policy and insistence that it control its own vast oil and natural gas resources meant that “the very idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ no longer seems realistic.” That’s right, Russia was thrown under the bus because they wanted to control their own oil and their own destiny.

John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a CFR task force which concocted the absurd pretext that that Putin was “rolling back democracy” in Russia. They claimed that the government had become increasingly authoritarian and that the society was growing less “open and pluralistic”. Kemp and Edwards provided the ideological foundation upon which the entire public relations campaign against Putin has been built. Twelve years later, the same charges are still being leveled at Putin along with the additional allegations that he meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.

Needless to say, none of the nation’s newspapers, magazines or broadcast media ever publish anything that deviates even slightly from the prevailing, propagandistic narrative about Putin. One can only assume that the MSM’s views on Putin are either universally accepted by all 325 million Americans or that the so-called “free press” is a wretched farce that conceals an authoritarian corporate machine that censors all opinions that don’t promote their own malign political agenda.

What Washington really despises about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a “unipolar” world order. As he said at the annual Security Conference at Munich in 2007:

“The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign; one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”

Despite Russia’s efforts to assist the US in its War On Terror, Washington has continued to regard Putin as an emerging rival that would eventually have to be confronted. The conflict in Ukraine added more gas to the fire by pitting the two superpowers against each other in a hot war that remains unresolved to this day.

But Syria was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Russia’s intervention in the Syrian War in September 2015 proved to be the turning point in the 7 year-long conflagration. By rolling back the CIA-trained militants, Putin bloodied Washington’s nose and forced the Pentagon to adopt a backup plan that relied heavily on Kurdish proxies east of the Euphrates. At present, US Special Forces and their allies are clinging to a strip of arid wasteland in the Syrian outback hoping that the Pentagon brass can settle on a forward-operating strategy that reverses their fortunes or brings the war to a swift end.

The Syria humiliation precipitated the Russia-gate Information Operation (IO) which is the propaganda component of the current war on Russia. The scandal has been an effective way to poison public perceptions and to make it look like the perpetrator of aggression is really the victim. More important, failure in Syria has led to a reevaluation of how Washington conducts its wars abroad. The War on Terror pretext has been jettisoned for a more direct approach laid out in the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy. The focus going forward will be on “Great Power Competition”, that is, the US is subordinating its covert proxy operations to more flagrant displays of military force particularly in regards to the “growing threat from revisionist powers”, Russia and China. In short, the gloves are coming off and Washington is ramping up for a land war.

Putin has become an obstacle to Washington’s imperial ambitions which is why he’s has been elevated to Public Enemy Number 1. It has nothing to do with the fictitious meddling in the 2016 elections or the nonsensical “rolling back democracy” in Russia. It’s all about power. In the United States the group with the tightest grip on power is the foreign policy establishment. These are the towering mandarins who dictate the policy, tailor the politics to fit their strategic vision, and dispatch their lackeys in the media to shape the narrative. These are the people who decided that Putin must be demonized to pave the way for more foreign interventions, more regime change wars, more bloody aggression against sovereign states.

Putin has repeatedly warned Washington that Russia would not stand by while the US destroyed one country after the other in its lust for global domination. He reiterated his claim that Washington’s “uncontained hyper-use of force” was creating “new centers of tension”, exacerbating regional conflicts, undermining international relations, and “plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.” He has pointed out how the US routinely displayed its contempt for international law and “overstepped its national borders in every way.” As a result of Washington’s aggressive behavior, public confidence in international law and global security has steadily eroded and “No one feels safe. I want to emphasize this,” Putin thundered in Munich. “No one feels safe.”

On September 28, 2015 Putin finally threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. After reiterating his commitment to international law, the UN, and state sovereignty, he provided a brief but disturbing account of recent events in the Middle East, all of which have gotten significantly worse due to Washington’s use of force. Here’s Putin:

“Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa… Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life…

The power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973….”

US interventions have decimated Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond. Over a million people have been killed while tens of millions have been forced to flee their homes and their countries. The refugee spillover has added to social tensions across the EU where anti-immigrant sentiment has precipitated the explosive growth in right wing groups and political organizations. From Northern Africa, across the Middle East, and into Central Asia, global security has steadily deteriorated under Washington’s ruthless stewardship. Here’s more from Putin:

“The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions….It is irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them….”

Putin clearly blames the United States for the rise of ISIS and the surge in global terrorism. He also condemns Washington’s strategy to use terrorist organizations to achieve its own narrow strategic objectives. (regime change) More important, he uses his platform at the United Nations to explain why he has deployed the Russian Air-force to bases in Syria where it will it will be used to conduct a war against Washington’s jihadist proxies on the ground.

Putin: “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world.”

Less than 48 hours after these words were uttered, Russian warplanes began pounding militant targets in Syria.

Putin again: “Dear colleagues,….relying on international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism….Russia is confident of the United Nations’ enormous potential, which should help us avoid a new confrontation and embrace a strategy of cooperation. Hand in hand with other nations, we will consistently work to strengthen the UN’s central, coordinating role. I am convinced that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, and provide an enabling environment for the development of all nations and peoples.”

So, here’s the question: Is Putin “evil” for opposing Washington’s regime change wars, for stopping the spread of terrorism, and for rejecting the idea that one unipolar world power should rule the world? Is that why he’s evil, because he won’t click his heels and do as he’s told by the global hegemon?

We should all be so evil.

  • thicks

    I don’t know what to think about Putin. What he is quoted as saying here sounds good. But so much of what Obama said sounded really good as well. Yet what actually happened behind closed doors and on the ground was very different. In this era of fake news, how can the ordinary person access what is really going on in the world?

  • rgaura

    Lets hope this checks imperial ambitions for now.

  • jemcgloin

    For he, the best evidence that Putin and the Russian Intelligence services are attacking U.S. public opinion is that left activists that claim to be for peace putting pro-Russia propaganda pieces like this one.
    The beginning is this article celebrates a news class of nuclear weapons that supposedly could be used to attack the United States. In the speech in which Putin announced these weapons, he showed animations of nuclear missiles hitting Florida.
    Ahi independent aspirations of khakis like the us and

  • kevinzeese

    So, people should not report this news? No one is celebrating nuclear weapons, reporting is not celebrating. Some are so Russiagate infected they think this information should not be shared.

  • jemcgloin

    The article is title “Has Russia’s Military Checkmated the United States?” Checkmate is victory. Victorious are celebrated. The article only says how good it is that Russia is winning. It does not criticize Russia for building new nuclear weapons.
    What kind of piece activists call new nuclear weapons victory?

    And by the way, all of this was widely reported in corporate mass media. But they weren’t so breathless in their condemnations as this article is in its support for Putin.

    [I edited my original post you may want to read it again.]

  • kevinzeese

    No one is celebrating Russia’s victory. What we are hoping is the US will stop its threats, especially nuclear weapons threats and start talking with other nations not as a dominator. US empire is ending, thankfully, and it will either end in a horrible war, potentially a world war, or it ends with the US facing reality and becoming part of a community of nations in a multi-polar world where the US recognizes war is not a solution and regime change is no longer an appropriate strategy.

  • jemcgloin

    I hope for and advocate for the same things. And I do research to back up my arguments against our hyper adhesive millitary that goes around making the world safe for global billionaires. And I go to primary sources as much as possible.

    Trump, as a primary source, keeps attacking the Constitution. He attacks every check on presidential power in a way that makes Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush seem like patriotic statsement, which they were not.
    You don’t need corporate media or the FBI to tell you Trump is a power hungry lunatic. You only have to listen to Trump.

    The president of the U.S. is not supposed to attack the justice department, and his own appointments to intelligence agencies to say he believes the head of an adversarial intelligence service, who shows videos of nuclear attacks on Florida.
    He is not supposed to attack career union employees of the government as the “deep state,” a purposeful misuse of the term.

    Trump is telling you in plain language that the constitution is in his way, and that he wants to be president for life, but I embrace in hyperbole?

    Listen to the President speak.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Great preface by KZ, great analysis by Mike Whitney, whose articulateness, thorough research and common sense (as opposed to nonsense) are always refreshing. I watched parts of President Putin’s SOTU; one immediate visual takeaway for me was that (gasp!) his suitcoat lapel didn’t sport a Russian flag! How drab, how unpatriotic, how unexceptional….

    (BTW, my commenting at this site [and only this site among the 3 or 4 I visit regularly] continues to make for frustration. Letters, words and phrases typed by me are delayed in appearance by seconds or longer; (for the second time in two days) I just lost the entire site–it simply disappeared from my screen and, tossed back to my desktop, I was forced to reboot from scratch. Fortunately, my above paragraph had not been erased…and now, unaccountably, my typing of this paragraph has been uneventful. I don’t know what is going on. Is BB watching me, calculating, assessing, warning…?)

  • Robert H. Stiver

    “Has Russia’s Military Checkmated the United States?” It’s only a *question,* for heaven’s sake!!! — followed by a probing, comprehensive geopolitical analysis.

  • jemcgloin

    It doesn’t seem to you that the entire article answers the question in the affirmative?
    Does it say one good thing about the U.S.? Does it say one bad thing about Russia, that Putin isn’t already fixing?

    There at least seven armies fighting in Syria. An honest discussion about Syria should be mostly questions. But the author is sure about the motives and relative strength of each actor, and that Russia is the good guy merely protecting the world from the U.S. How does he know that. He just assumes the Putin’s heart is pure. How does he know that. Because Putin gave a speech about all the great things he will do for the Russian people.

    An article that talks about two adversary powers fighting proxy wars around the globe that praises one side and criticizes the other is not analysis. It’s propaganda.

    When I read things like this in the NY Times (with the roles reversed) I go on the comment pages and call them out, just like I’m doing here.

  • chetdude

    Disqus has quite buggy software…

    Unfortunately, Popular Resistance has no control over that…

  • Tedder

    You can take for granted the author’s claim of media propaganda, i.e. practically everything you have ever read or heard about Putin is “fake news”, i.e. a concerted effort to demonize Putin and thus make us ready for war, a manufactured consent.

  • Tedder

    Just about every word you write confirms the nefarious effects of long-lasting anti-Russia propaganda. If you have skepticism about our government, you should also have skepticism about the MSM. I take for granted that everything printed or said about Russia for at least ten years is false. Thus, we do not really know anything about Russia and perceive events through a very clouded lens. Your observation about Crimea is a case in point. Your version of events is just wrong, sorry to say. You need not recognize Russia as your friend, but you would be wise to note that America as constituted is your enemy. Of course, some of us in the homeland are relatively cozy, but the rest of the world is not.

  • kevinzeese

    There is an interesting analysis of Putin’s announcement by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. McGovern briefed multiple presidents with the daily intelligence briefing and was head of the Soviet section of the CIA. He highlights the US undermining of the 1972 ABM treaty as a major error that has led to this point. He also chides the NY Times for saying Putin is bluffing. He points out the authors who wrote the article were also reporters who claimed Iraq had WMD. He hopes people in the Pentagon are taking Putin seriously, in particular his call for negotiations about weapons rather than the escalation of the arms race that the US has announced in its Nuclear Posture Review and New Defense Strategy as well as showing in the military budget (now 57% of federal discretionary spending). He wonders if Putin calls, will there be anyone from the US government who answers the call. McGovern takes Putin seriously, I hope the US does and sees the futility of an arms race that is already creating austerity and not providing for the necessities of the people or protection of the planet. https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2018/03/03/ray-mcgovern-says-putin-claims-strategic-parity-respect/

  • jemcgloin

    Taking for granted that everything mass news says is a lie is just as delusional as assuming it’s all true.

    So do you deny that Crimea was a part of Ukraine, and that now it is part of Russia? How did that happen? Most countries don’t give up important parts of their territory voluntarily.

    I will own up to my privilege, and I argue against much of what my country does, often against the defeatist “liberals” on the NY Times comment pages, but I do not take my country to be my enemy.
    If I did, I would move.

  • Tedder

    Of course not ‘everything’ mass news is propaganda; in fact, effective propaganda always contains a nib of truth. You must remember the lies that initiated the Iraq War. I maintain most of what we are told about Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, etc are lies.
    Ukraine, for instance, was a right-wing putsch orchestrated by our very own State Department, whose ultimate goal was regime change in Russia. NATO was salivating over spending winters in the Russian base in Sebastopol until it was thwarted by “the little green men”. Russia did not only protect its base, but the Crimeans as well, who perceived a genuine threat from the NAZI Kiev ‘invaders’. It is not difficult to ascertain the truth of this version of events. You just have to look.
    America’s ruling elite has for many years been guilty of plunder and mayhem, We have killed millions. So, my country is not my enemy, but the rulers are.

  • jemcgloin

    Global Corporate Mass Propaganda works so well because a lot of what it says is true.
    It lies mostly by omission, innuendo, and distraction. It relies more on the desire of people to not know, than actual blatant lies, which get people interested.
    But for those of us that know how to read between the lines and not believe the “common wisdom,” we can find a lot of fact.
    Part of not being lied to is comparing the details to the big picture.
    The big picture in Ukraine is that Russia ended up with Crimea. They annexed a part of a neighboring country. That much is obvious from both Western and Russian versions of the events.
    No country gives up large, important parts of itself, voluntarily. Even if the”little green men” were Crimeans, and not Russian, they would have wanted independence, not absorption into Russia.
    I’ve spent decades driving through lies by much better propagandists than the Russians.
    There is much I still cannot figure out. But it is obvious that Putin’s Russia is not the savior of the world so many here wish it were.
    If you want credibility as someone fighting corruption and empire, don’t try to say that one government lies and the other doesn’t. All governments lie.

  • Tedder

    Of course all governments lie. Of course Russia reclaimed Crimea, but that was in response to the coup. What is hypocritical in the media and US portrayal is that Russia is wrong to defend itself. Sebastopol is Russia’s only warm water port. To think that they were going to just turn that over to what I consider an illegitimate government is crazy. While Putin may not be the “savior of the world”, he stands very tall in comparison with most of the rest of world leaders. I believe in his Eurasian dream and a unipolar world. I do not believe in American imperial hegemony.

  • kevinzeese

    Ukraine was a US coup in order to capture the Russian Navy Base in Crimea — where they have been for decades, had a long-term agreement and their only warm water port. And, the coup was to get NATO onto another part of the Russian border and cause chaos along their border as well as US/NATO threats.

    Crimea joined with Russia without much conflict. Kiev and west Ukraine (which worships Hitler and Naziism) were passing laws to punish Russian speakers in Crimea and east Ukraine. They have a long Russian heritage and did not leave until Khrushchev, who was born in Ukraine, granted them their indpendence. But, they have always been closely aligned with the Soviet Union and Russia until the US coup. So, it is not a surprise Crimea rejoined Russia and that Russia welcomed them as they did not want to lose their base. Putin only went as far as necessary for Russian national security. I expect all of eastern Ukraine would have liked to have joined Russia, but he did not go that far.

  • gliderboy

    Unfortunately, this great article will see little air time in USA MSM.

  • jemcgloin

    And where do you get all of this detailed information about how Ukraine just voluntarily gave up the Crimea to Russia?
    Why are you so sure you are correct?
    “Crimea joined with Russia without much conflict.”
    “Putin only went as far as necessary for Russian national security.”
    What does that mean exactly?

  • kevinzeese

    I did what I could to follow a variety of reporting when it occurred.

    Putin only went so far as he needed to keep their largest naval base in the world and not let it be turned into a NATO base to be used to threaten Russia. East Ukraine was being threatened by Kiev, in fact, it still is, but he did not support efforts for them to join Russia. Now, the US is arming Ukraine in what may become a civil war on the Russian border. The US is up to its dirty work in Ukraine with regime change, seeking to expand NATO and causing choas and violence on the Russian border. Keep watching, Ukraine could become a very hot
    spot of conflict, another proxy for US to undermine Russia. This is what Syria has become as well.

  • jemcgloin

    I don’t see how you can be so sure that Crimesnd really wanted to be part of Russia.
    I see far away events and am left with many more questions than answers.
    Just because U.S. media lies does not mean Russian media doesn’t.

    There seems to have been a large unmarked army in Ukraine,. Do you believe that? Do you think they were Russians?
    If they were Russians wouldn’t it be a little optimistic to call that a fair election? If they were Crimeans, wouldn’t they be less worried about attack from the West since they were heavily armed?

    Any way this is an interesting tangent, but not as important to me as what my president is doing.

    For the sake of argument let’s, say that Putin and the Russians are all sugar and light, but a bunch of Democrats convinced Trump and his team they were Russian intelligence agents that wanted to trade dirt on Hillary for ending Russian sanctions, and Trump and his team went for it. Doesn’t that make Trump a traitor?

    And besides the Russia thing, aren’t Trump’s attacks on Justice, FBI, the Judiciary, the State Department, Congress, the press, and all of the other mechanisms we have to keep the president from turning the government, including the U.S. military, into his personal play thing, more important than Russia?

    What is the point of helping Fox attack the Mueller investigation by making it all about Russia, when it is really all about Trump and his team.

  • jemcgloin

    Sebastopol was not Russia’s port. It was Ukraine’s port.
    The most obvious (but not necessarily correct) interpretation of what happened is that Russia used the turmoil in Kiev as an excuse to take back Crimea. I know the U.S. government thinks it has the right to invade any country with lots of Americans there, like Panama, but that doesn’t make it right.
    Just because Russians live in Ukraine and Russia wants the Port, doesn’t mean they didn’t steal it.
    What evidence do you have to refute this possible scenario?
    Ukraine is a sovereign nation. Sebastopol wasn’t Russia’s to take.

  • Tedder

    Jem, Kevin below restates my position very ably. I think you are quite idealistic in your views of geopolitics. Putin’s position is that we now live in a multipolar world and the days of US hegemony are over. He is quite able to play. The Americans destabilize Ukraine with the goal of expanding NATO and seizing Sebastopol and Putin pushes back with his in situ forces and a population as fearful of the Nazis as the eastern Ukraine peoples. Check and mate.

  • jemcgloin

    How do you know the goals of Clinton’s State Department? Do you have official documents planning these actions? How was America going to”seize Sebastopol?” Joining NATO is not the same as being seized.
    But you seem to state that Putin used his military, “in situ,” unmarked, to go in and take over, based on the threat that Ukraine would join NATO. Elections under a foreign military occupation to join that foreign country are under duress. They have no legitimacy.
    If I am going to call out U.S. policy for being outside of justice and the rules of international law, then I am also going to call out other countries that flout justice and international law.
    The argument that everyone does it, so it’s ok, is the kind of right wing dismissal of justice in favor of raw power I expect from Trump.
    I recognize that raw power can be effective, but I I do not support state aggression from Russia any more than I support it from my own country.

    I believe in actual national defense. Not military offense and not offense dressed up as defense which is the usual propaganda technique.

  • kevinzeese

    The Russians used that port for decades and had a long-term lease for it. Yes, it was part of Ukraine and that is one reason why the US conducted a regime change coup in Ukraine one year before an election.

  • kevinzeese

    Do you agree it was a US coup or is your Russian hatred so deep that you cannot see that? Do you believe US the US State Dept official ()Undersecretary Victory Nuland) who said they US spent $5 billion to build opposition in Ukraine? Do you believe the leaked telephone call between Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine picking Yats as prime minister, and he became prime minister? Do you know the finance minister of the new government was a former State Dept employee made a Ukrainian citizen the day she became finance minister? Or, that Biden’s son and Kerry’s long time financial colleague and friend since college were put on the board of the largest Ukrainian gas company? This was a coup. The US wanted Ukraine in its orbit, hoped to expand NATO to include Ukraine which has a long border with Russia and the US was well aware Russia had its largest Navy base in Crimea and its strategic importance. The US spent billions for all of it. It was one of the most open regime change operations in history — even John McCain joined the protests giving flowers to protesters — so if you can’t see it, people should ask why? You may want to ask yourself about the blinders you are wearing.

  • Tedder

    So, you support US national defense, but apparently, you deny Russia the right to its defense. Please, effect some due diligence about Ukraine before spouting off so passionately. As Kevin states below, you evidently hate Russia. I admire Russia and consider its national policy, though containing elements of capitalism, far superior to that of our own, particularly in regard to preventing war and nuclear annihilation.

  • jemcgloin

    Sounds pretty convincing. When I have more time I’ll check into out more deeply.
    By the way, just because I am careful about what I believe doesn’t mean I hate Russia. If I don’t believe what my government tells me, why should I believe what other governments tell me?

    Assuming you are correct, what do you think of Ukrainians that helped the U.S. with their coup?

    But at the moment I’m focused on Trump. I don’t have to hate Russia (which I don’t) to hate Trump, and think he is a danger to my Republic.
    And I don’t have to hate Russia to think that if my president accepted help from them in the election, then he is s traitor.
    And if Trump says that it’s great that Xi made himself “president for life,” and, “maybe we should try that here, I have a right to believe him.

    So if you guys are more worried about you own country than Russia, maybe you should be doing more coverage of Trump’s attack on his own government, than protecting Russia’s reputation.
    Putin has nukes. We’re not going to invade Russia.
    More likely Iran, which would be terrible.

  • jemcgloin

    I didn’t shoot off so passionately about Russia. Unlike you and Kevin, I have not taken a strong position on Russia or Ukraine. I merely expressed my doubts. When searching for truth, doubt is a critical function.
    I support everyone’s right to actual defense, but not to use an excuse of defense to engage in offense.
    And I have long argued that most of America’s wars were aggressive offensive wars for the sake of global corporations and their shareholders.
    But I don’t have to hate Russia to have an equally cynical view of their foreign policy.
    I don’t even mind if you like their foreign policy better. There are countries that I think have better foreign policies than the U.S. also, unfortunately. I’m just not as sure as you about Russia.

    And I don’t have to hate Russia to believe that Trump is truly dangerous. He just nominated a known torturer to be head of CIA.

    Last week Trump praised Xi as a “great man,” because he” made himself president for life…And maybe we should give that a shot here.”
    It’s not funny when a president says that. Just saying that is impeachable, in my opinion.

    If you are an American citizen you should be spending far more time wiring about what Trump is doing than worrying about Russia’s reputation.

    If Trump thought he was getting help from Russia to get elected, and accepted that help, I consider him a traitor. It has nothing to do with Russia. It has to do with the President of the Untied States.

    Assuming you are correct that the U.S. staged a coup in Ukraine (which is not far fetched) aren’t Ukrainians that accepted money and help from the U.S. traitors? Wouldn’t the new president be a traitor?

    Trump is doing EVERYTHING a president would do if he wanted to be president for life. Russia is only one possible element in that equation.
    I patiently await the results of the Mueller investigation to see what evidence that he presents.
    Either way, I will fight Trump. I helped get rid of the Clintons (just a tiny bit) and I will help get rid of him.

  • Tedder

    Two things bothered me about the Russia obsession. First, by claiming “interference”, the Clintonites could avoid admitting that their policies and their candidate elected Trump and that it was not their fault. Second, the only thing Trump said that made sense was to hint at normalizing relations with Russia, and the “Russia, Russia, Russia” meme has served to weaken him. Not that weakening Trump is a bad thing, but by doing so, the Deep State has strengthened its anti-Russian bias, a set of policies that will lead to WWIII.
    Sure, the Ukrainians who accepted ‘help’ from the NED, CIA, State, et al are traitors to the Ukrainian people. The coup has practically destroyed Ukraine and caused the deaths of thousands. Our misguided policy is the real problem, just like the policies that have destroyed or destabilized the Middle East.
    By the way, Putin does not suffer from fantasy and seems to be clear-eyed and practical facing all this nonsense from the West. He is admirable because he faced the devastation caused by the West after the end of the Soviet Union, and restored Russia to health; thus, he is very popular with his people and hated by the Western financiers and capitalists.
    I intuit that Trump did not ‘collude’ with the Russians, but he has something very fishy going on with certain Russian oligarchs that the Mueller investigation might turn up. Hopefully, that will end him, then Pence will be discovered to be a pedophile and after the Democrats take the House, we might have a decent President after all (assuming the Speaker of the House is a decent Dem).

  • kevinzeese

    We criticize Trump plenty. He is a danger to this country and the world. See the article on Tillerson being fired and my note about his replacements. They are a disaster. A war hawk and torturer.

    The Ukranians who participated in the coup were well paid. The US spent tens of billions to build the opposition. The US also allied with neo-Nazi’s who are extreme right wing capitalists. They like their alliance with the largest empire in world history.

  • Putin’s Russia has placed the US in check alright, but not quite a checkmate.

    The check is not quite a mate since the Neocons are allowed to continue waging war until they’re literally reduced to a pile of dust – unfortunately that hasn’t occurred yet.

    Russia’s stealthy new nuclear capabilities need not have been revealed – they could have kept silent and only launched them after the Neocons make their fatal mistake to attack Russia – that’s the time to wipe out Neocons headquarters and the MIC and whatever else.

    That the new weapons have been revealed is still a very clever move – now the Neocons will be placed under even more pressure to back off – [I’ve always said this required a global response]

    At the same time they’ll use this to cry wolf even louder and demand more taxpayers fund which is hypocritical considering the Russian budget exposed how US taxpayers have been ripped off by many many trillions plus 6 trillion unaccounted for.

    While the Neocons are not ousted from the political arena the entire merry go round continues and that is a problem since I would love to see them inside the ICC – and that my friend is where it will have to end.

    Either the Neocons are reduced to a pile of dust of they will have to be brought before the ICC.

    Before that happens the US will nee to ratify international laws and treaties and forget about being exceptional.

  • mujibulhoq

    Obviously in some weapons they got preference.long ranges missiles.Aircraft & underwater.

  • Jay Hansen

    Let’s take a reality check, shall we? We have a rapidly advancing fascist regime here in the United States of Apprentice. We have rumors of interference from the established fascist regime in Russia. We have, in the USA, groups exploiting anticommunism and slavophobia. Let’s be clear! The enemy of working people in Russia and America is oligarchical. What do these oligarchs hold in common? They are capitalists, and financially interlocked as they are, they are the SAME capitalists. Remember this the next time you hear that Russia interfered in American elections. Russian OLIGARCHS interfered in US elections, not Russian working people, who endure the same crap American workers do. We need an international labor union response, and an international call to working class revolution.

  • collectivist

    “United States of Apprentice” Nice.

    And indeed, we need, nothing less than, global working class revolution to defeat global capitalism.

  • Jay Hansen

    It seemed somehow appropriate.

  • jemcgloin

    We’re the Ukrainians that took money and help from the U.S. for their coup traitors?

  • jemcgloin

    I’ve hated the Clintons since 91. I spent all last year begging Peele not to vote for Hillary. And their supporters are still blaming everyone from Stein to the Founding Fathers who created the electoral college for their loss.
    I hope Putin had nothing to do with Trump.
    I’m glad we found common ground.

  • jemcgloin

    So I just read the Tillerson story you posted. It talks more about Russia and “Russia Gate” than Trump.

    And in the article is this:

    “I think another possibility worth considering is the timing of the fatal blow the Russiagate narrative has suffered as House Intelligence Committee Republicans officially ended their investigation with the conclusion that there is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and no evidence that Vladimir Putin tried to help Trump win the election.”

    The House investigation was Ann obvious sham, and I don’t have to even doubt this or make qualifications, it was so pathetically done.
    They did not question many of the most important players. A couple are under indictment so they cannot, but many weren’t. Many of the most important players that did testify refused to answer many questions, based on no recognized executive privilege or immunity. They just refused to answer. A congressional committee that wasn’t just a cover up would have charged then with Contempt of Congress.
    The Republicans in the committee were so partisan that they had a press conference announcing the end of the investigation before they told the Democratic members of the committee.
    The Nunez Memo discredits itself in the last paragraph, when it says Carter Page was being investigated since 2014 because Russian intelligence was trying to recruit him as an asset. The Steele Dossier was just one piece of evidence used to get the fourth NSA Warrant.

    Again, why are you printing more attacks on the Russia investigation than attacks against Trump?

    These articles that actively seek to attack the Mueller investigation before it is concluded are propaganda.

    Wait for the evidence.

  • kevinzeese

    It depends on how you define traitor. The US Constitution defines traitor very narrowly, aiding and abetting a country the US is at war with, so Ukraine would not fit that definition.

    But, not using a legal definition I’d say that the coup participants allied with a foreign power to remove their elected government. That seems pretty treasonous to me, especially when it is the US government that will rob them of their resources and get them in debt with foreign bankers who will control them.

  • kevinzeese

    I agree with you about the House Intelliegence Committee and the Nunes memo — they discredited themselves and their report is irrelevant.

    I assume you are talking about Steve Bannon who refused to answer many questions when he went before the congressional committee, but he did testify before Mueller investigation. I think he testified for a full day. There were no reports that he refused to answer questions before those investigators. The Mueller investigation is the only one that matters as it will result in an indictment or recommendation of indictment or recommendation for impeachment or a decision that no laws were violated. He has at least three people from the Trump team cooperating and providing information. Manafort is facing life in prison, according to the federal judge handling his bail decision, so he may even flip. And, what will Jared Kushner do if comes close to indictment or is indicted. The Mueller investigation is the key to finding out what , if anything, happened regarding Russiagate.

  • kevinzeese

    Here is a link to the Tillerson article, about him being fired and replaced by extreme hawk Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, a hand-on torturer who destroyed evidence of torture, becoming head of the CIA.

    I provide the link so others can read my comments and determine for themselves whether it is about Russiagate or the terrible direction of Trump foreign policy. In writing the note preceding the article I thought I was primarily writing a criticism of Trump foreign policy, saying it is going from bad to worse and that he is putting a war hawk in charge of diplomacy and a torturer in charge of intelligence and has already but the generals in charge of war. I know you have a different view of the political climate than I do. You are very focused on Russiagate, which I see as an unproven allegation with so far very little evidence. I expect other people will read my comments very differently from you.

    I look forward to hearing what others think.


  • jemcgloin

    Yes, so there is a chance that Trump has done something similar, and we as a country need to know if it’s true.
    To me those that have already chosen what to believe are probably fooling themselves based on a lack of evidence..
    But the investigation is far more important than Trump or Russia.

  • kevinzeese

    Those that are waiting for the evidence, are waiting for the evidence. The information that has come out so far and claimed to be evidence is totally inadequate. The investigation is continuing. Mueller has gotten several Trump staffers to provide information in return for their freedom. He has a big budget of about $10 million a month approved into next year. He has some of the best prosecutors and FBI agents working on it. They will issue a final report sometime in 2019 most likely. That report will be analyzed and judged, maybe there will be criminal trials or an impeachment proceeding, then we will have a much better idea. Right now, Russiagate is an unproved theory and the evidence thus far is thin. As much as I dislike Trump and his foreign and domestic policies (he is in a race for worst president of my lifetime but he has tough competition), I’m not going to convict him before the evidence is even presented.

  • jemcgloin

    I should have been more clear about the article I was referring to. It was this one: TRUMP PROMOTES LONGTIME RUSSIA HAWK JUST AS RUSSIAGATE LOSES MOMENTUM

    Kushner, Donald Jr., and others refused to answer questions based on made up immunities and privileges that would not stand up in court Only the president can invoke executive privilege, but he didn’t. It’s bizarre.

    The Mueller investigation is the only one with any credibility. If Trump tries to fire Mueller, all Hell could break out.

  • kevinzeese

    Yes, that would be a major error by Trump and all hell would break lose.

    I’m not sure Russiagate is losing steam as the author writes, but Mueller has still not presented evidence that the theory is real. My sense is the peak of his investigation lies a head.

    But, Trump has appointed a Russia hawk, that I agree with. In fact, that undermines a lot of the Russiagate theory as it shows Trump is not allied with Russia or a stooge of Russia. In face sent weapons to Ukraine to fight Russia, is in conflcit with Russia in Syria and continues to expand NATO across Russian borders. Pompeo is not only a hawk on Russia, he is a hawkin every conflict. He is a very dangerous secretary of state who will take Trump foreign policy from bad to worse.

  • jemcgloin

    I should have been more clear which article I read. It was

    The article and the introduction you link to are much more straight forward and fact based analysis, that I mostly agree with.

  • jemcgloin

    (If I criticize that article more I’m going to do it on that page.)
    I agree that Pompeo is a danger. I’m pretty sure that Trump has decimated the state department, and now fired the SOS (by Twitter!) as an attack on yet one more check on his power.

  • jemcgloin

    Yes, but beyond that, Fox News is undermining the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Mueller investigation in every way they can think of. They are trying to create an atmosphere where a Republican appointed by Republicans can be accused of having a partisan bias against a Trump!
    And Trump is attacking all checks on presidential power in a torrent of scandal so crazy that no one can keep up to all the damage he is doing.
    He just makes stost up, and so far, the Republican Party spends its time explaining away his attacks on the constitution.
    When Trump attacks Sessions, he is attacking the idea that the grass of the Justice Department is not his personal ppi bill.
    When he attacks Rosenstein, it seems to me, he is preparing to fire him for someone willing to fire Mueller.
    Today we learned that they are looking at Trump’s business records. If billionaire oligarchs are not laundering money through luxury high rises and other real estate, some of it Trump’s, I’d be shocked.

    But Mueller is not going to do this a little at a time, except the periodic subpoena or indictment.
    He will not try Trump in the press like many prosecutors do. He will examine the evidence, create s narrative, and deliver it all at once to Congress, with a summary.

  • Tedder

    I just listened to an interview with Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now! about the Republican collusion. For one, Michael Flynn’s meeting with the Russian ambassador had to do with Flynn’s attempt to influence the Russians to vote against the anti-Israel motion before the UN Security Council, an anti-Obama move. Scahill believes the Trump-Russian collusion has to do with money laundering and perhaps blackmail, not the election. Maybe this will all come out of the Mueller investigation.

  • jemcgloin

    Interesting. If the is “collusion,” it would almost certainly be directly related to money laundering. Anyone living in NYC and paying Stanton can see that large amounts of foreign money, including Chinese and Russian oligarch cash is being laundered through NYC real estate.
    Yesterday’s news that Mueller subpoenaed Trump business records is not surprising.

  • jemcgloin

    I won’t pass judgement on the “collusion” charge until the investigation is complete either.
    But if I believe anything that Trump says, it’s that he wants to be “president for life.”
    Trump is an obvious threat to the Republic and the world.