Monday, March 16, 2015



Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
(#1 March 21, 2014; #2 April 10, 2014; #3 May 16, 2014; #4 July 22, 2014)

What’s at stake:   “The question for progressives is how to construct a compelling alternative to the Cold War model as much of the world slides towards a new Dark Age of class struggle, climate crisis and religious fundamentalism appearing on many continents.”  Tom Hayden


CONNECTION BETWEEN US ENCIRCLEMENT OF CHINA AND RUSSIA:    See OMNI’s newsletters/blogs on US Imperialism Westward Pacific/E. Asia, on Iran, and related subjects.

Contents of Newsletter #4 at end.

Contents of Russia/Ukraine Newsletter #5
Threats Up and Down, Hawks’ Incitements to War 2014-2015
(In chronological order)
President Obama To Travel to Estonia 8-16-14
NATO to Send Troops to E. Ukraine  9-2-14
Borowitz, Putin Doesn’t Answer Obama’s Calls 9-2-14
Al Jazeera, Pro-Russian Rebels Lower Demands  9-2-14
Cohen, Silence of US Hawks Over Atrocities in Kiev  2015
NATO Commander U.S. General Breedlove vs. Chancellor Merkel  2015
Steven Hurst, Cold War Never Ended, NATO Expansion the Problem  2015
Identifying the Belligerents 2015

Geopolitical Zones of Influence
Interview of Sergey Marcedonov

Hayden, Roots of the New Cold War

Trauger, MH17 No Re-run of KAL007 But Resembles Iran Air 655

The Nation, Cold War Resuming?  Choose Diplomacy.
Bloomberg News, Ask for United Nations Peacekeeping Forces

Contents of Newsletter No. 4


OBAMA TO ESTONIA, August 16, 2014
“President Barack Obama will travel to Estonia during the first week of September to reassure Baltic allies that they have the support of the United States, the White House said, as tensions arise over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.”  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (August 16, 2014).  On almost the same day, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Vietnam since 1971, seeking to boost military ties.   What are our leaders doing?  Do they know nothing about zones of influence—the Monroe Doctrine for instance. 

NATO Approves 4000-Strong Force to Counter Russia
Democracy Now!
Sep 2, 2014 - Ukraine Rejects Russia Ceasefire Call, Accuses Moscow of "Open Aggression" ... NATO Approves 4,000-Strong Force to Counter Russia.
The continued violence in Ukraine comes ahead of a NATO summit in Britain later this week. NATO officials[DB1]  say they plan to approve a 4,000-member force that could be rapidly deployed to eastern Europe in response to "Russia’s aggressive behavior."

Andy Borowitz | Furious Obama Says Calls to Putin Going Straight to Voice Mail , Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, Reader Supported News, Sept. 2, 2014
Borowitz writes: "In what he called 'a provocative and defiant act,' President Obama charged on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has started letting his calls go directly to voice mail."

By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, posted July 17, 2014.
The author is a professor of history emeritus at New York University.

Members of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist Svoboda Party rally in Kiev (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

Kiev’s Atrocities and the Silence of the Hawks

We may honorably disagree about how to resolve the crisis—but not about deeds that are rising to the level of war crimes.
For weeks, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been committing atrocities against its own citizens in southeastern Ukraine, a region heavily populated by Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. While victimizing a growing number of innocent people, including children, and degrading America’s reputation, these military assaults against cities, captured on video, are generating intense pressure in Russia on President Vladimir Putin to “save our compatriots.” Both the atrocities and the pressure on Putin have increased since July 1, when Kiev, after a brief cease-fire, intensified its artillery and air attacks on eastern cities defenseless against such weapons.
The reaction of the Obama administration, as well as the new Cold War hawks in Congress and the establishment media, has been twofold: silence, interrupted only by occasional statements excusing and thus encouraging more atrocities by Kiev. Very few Americans have protested this shameful complicity. We may honorably disagree about the causes and resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, the worst US-Russian confrontation in decades, but not about deeds that are rising to the level of war crimes, if they have not done so already.
In mid-April, the new Kiev government, predominantly western Ukrainian in composition and outlook, declared an “anti-terrorist operation” against a growing political rebellion in the southeast. At that time, the rebels were mostly mimicking the initial 2013 protests in Kiev—demonstrating, issuing defiant proclamations, occupying public buildings and erecting defensive barricades—before Maidan turned ragingly violent and, in February, overthrew Ukraine’s corrupt but legitimately elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, the precedent for seizing official buildings and demanding the allegiance of local authorities, even declaring “independence,” had been set earlier, in January, in central and western Ukraine—by pro-Maidan, anti-Yanukovych protesters. Reports suggest that some cities in these regions, almost ignored by the international media, are still controlled by extreme nationalists, not Kiev.
Considering those preceding events—but above all the country’s profound historical divisions, particularly between its western and eastern regions—the rebellion in the southeast was not surprising. Nor were its protests against the unconstitutional way (in effect, a coup) that the new government had come to power; the southeast’s sudden loss of effective political representation in the capital; and the real prospect of official discrimination. But by declaring an “anti-terrorist operation” against the new protesters, Kiev signaled its intention to “destroy” them, not negotiate.
On May 2, in this incendiary atmosphere, a horrific event occurred in the southern city of Odessa, awakening memories of Nazi German extermination squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics during World War II. An organized pro-Kiev mob chased protesters into a building, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty people, perhaps many more, perished in the flames or were murdered as they fled the inferno.
Members of the infamous Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary organization ideologically aligned with the ultranationalist Svoboda party—itself a constituent part of Kiev’s coalition government—led the mob. Both are frequently characterized by knowledgeable observers as “neofascist” movements. Kiev alleged that the victims had themselves accidentally started the fire, but eyewitnesses, television footage and social-media videos told the true story, as they have about subsequent atrocities.
Instead of interpreting the Odessa massacre as an imperative for restraint, Kiev intensified its “anti-terrorist operation.” Since May, the regime has sent a growing number of armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes to southeastern cities. When its regular military units and local police forces turned out to be less than effective, willing or loyal, Kiev hastily mobilized Right Sector and other radical nationalist militias responsible for much of the violence at Maidan into a National Guard to accompany regular detachments. Zealous, barely trained, and drawn mostly from the central and western regions, Kiev’s new recruits have escalated the ethnic warfare and killing of innocent civilians.
Initially, the “anti-terrorist” campaign was limited primarily to rebel checkpoints on the outskirts of cities. Since May, however, Kiev has repeatedly carried out artillery and air attacks on city centers. More and more urban areas, neighboring towns, and even villages now look and sound like agonized war zones. Conflicting information makes it impossible to estimate the number of dead and wounded noncombatants, but Kiev’s figure of nearly 2,000 is almost certainly too low. The number continues to grow due also to Kiev’s blockade of cities where essential medicines, food, water, fuel and electricity are scarce. The result is an emerging humanitarian catastrophe.
Another effect is clear: Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” tactics have created a reign of terror in the targeted cities. Even The New York Times, which like the mainstream American media in general has deleted the atrocities from its coverage, described the survivors in Slovyansk living “as if…in the Middle Ages.” An ever-growing number of refugees, disproportionately women and traumatized children, have been desperately fleeing the carnage. In late June, the United Nations estimated that as many as 110,000 Ukrainians had fled across the border to Russia—where authorities said the number was much larger—and about half that many to other Ukrainian sanctuaries. By mid-July, roads and trains were filled with refugees from newly besieged Luhansk and Donetsk, a city of 1 million and already ”a ghostly shell.”
It is true, of course, that the anti-Kiev rebels in these regions, though lacking the government’s arsenal of heavy and airborne weapons, are aggressive, organized and well armed—no doubt with some Russian assistance, whether officially sanctioned or not. But calling themselves “self-defense” fighters is not wrong. They did not begin the combat; their land is being invaded and assaulted by a government whose political legitimacy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions having voted overwhelmingly for autonomy referendums; and, unlike actual terrorists, they have not committed acts of war outside their own communities.
* * *

  • Kiev’s Atrocities and the Silence of the Hawks
  • We may honorably disagree about how to resolve the crisis—but not about deeds that are rising to the level of war crimes.
  • Stephen F. Cohen
  • July 15, 2014   |    This article appeared in the August 4-11, 2014 edition of The Nation.

Pro-Russian Rebels Lower Demands in Peace Talks
Al Jazeera America and Associated Press, Reader Supported News,
Sept. 2, 2014
Excerpt: "Pro-Russian rebels have reportedly softened their demand for full independence, saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy."


Top NATO commander General Philip Breedlove has raised hackles in Germany with his public statements about the Ukraine crisis.  AP March 6, 2015.
US President Obama supports Chancellor Merkel's efforts at finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. But hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin's approach. And NATO's top commander in Europe hasn't been helping either.

It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn't holding perfectly, but it was holding.

On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass. "What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."
German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

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

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

The 'Super Hawk'

But Breedlove hasn't been the only source of friction. Europeans have also begun to see others as hindrances in their search for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. First and foremost among them is Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department. She and others would like to see Washington deliver arms to Ukraine and are supported by Congressional Republicans as well as many powerful Democrats.

Indeed, US President Barack Obama seems almost isolated. He has thrown his support behind Merkel's diplomatic efforts for the time being, but he has also done little to quiet those who would seek to increase tensions with Russia and deliver weapons to Ukraine. Sources in Washington say that Breedlove's bellicose comments are first cleared with the White House and the Pentagon. The general, they say, has the role of the "super hawk," whose role is that of increasing the pressure on America's more reserved trans-Atlantic partners.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama after a Feb. 9 meeting in Washington: Increasing pressure on America's more reserved trans-Atlantic partners. Zoom
Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama after a Feb. 9 meeting in Washington: Increasing pressure on America's more reserved trans-Atlantic partners.
A mixture of political argumentation and military propaganda is necessary. But for months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove's leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements. To be sure, neither Berlin's Russia experts nor BND intelligence analysts doubt that Moscow is supporting the pro-Russian separatists. The BND even has proof of such support.
But it is the tone of Breedlove's announcements that makes Berlin uneasy. False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO -- and by extension, the entire West -- in danger of losing its credibility.   MORE

The following came from Environmentalists Against War [it’s contaminated by background messages including commercial products] 2-16-15
NATO Expansion after Cold War at Heart of Crisis in Ukraine

February 16, 2015
Steven R. Hurst / The Associated Press & Stars and Stripes
The Cold War didn't end. The East-West showdown over Ukraine makes that clear. As the non-Russian republics and Eastern European Soviet satellite countries broke free following the Soviet collapse, common wisdom held the Cold War was over. The victors: The US and Europe were bound together in the NATO alliance to block further Soviet expansion. But as Moscow feared -- despite Western assurances that would not happen -- NATO has been relentlessly pressing eastward and encircling Russia.

NATO Expansion after Cold War at Heart of Crisis in Ukraine
Steven R. Hurst / The Associated Press & Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON (February 13, 2015) -- The Cold War didn't end. It just took on a 24-year pause. The East-West showdown over Ukraine makes that clear.

As the non-Russian republics broke free in the Soviet collapse and Eastern European Soviet satellite countries snapped the chains of Moscow's dominion, common wisdom held the Cold War was over. The victors: The United States and its European allies -- bound together in the NATO alliance to block further Soviet expansion in Europe after World War II.

Since the Soviet collapse -- as Moscow had feared -- that alliance has spread eastward, expanding along a line from Estonia in the north to Romania and Bulgaria in the south. The Kremlin claims it had Western assurances that would not happen. Now, Moscow's only buffers to a complete NATO encirclement on its western border are Finland, Belarus and Ukraine.

The Kremlin would not have to be paranoid to look at that map with concern. And Russia reacted dramatically early last year. US-Russian relations have fallen back into the dangerous nuclear and political standoff of the Cold War years before the Soviet collapse.

The turmoil began when Ukraine's corrupt, Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of an agreement with the European Union for closer trade and political ties and instead accepted Russian guarantees of billions of dollars in financial aid. That led to prolonged pro-Western demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The upheaval caused Yanukovych to flee to Moscow a year ago.

When a new, pro-Western government took power in Ukraine, Russia reacted by seizing the Crimean Peninsula and making it again a part of Russia. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had transferred the strategic region from Russian federation control to the Ukraine republic in 1954. Crimea remained base to Russia's Black Sea fleet. Ethnic Russians are a majority of the population.

Also, Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine -- along the Russian border -- began agitating, then fighting to break free of Kiev's control, variously demanding autonomy, independence or to become a part of Russia.

As separatist fighters -- the West claims they have been given Russian heavy arms and are backed by Russian forces -- pushed deeper into Ukraine, a September peace conference drew up plans for a cease-fire and eventual steps toward a political resolution.

The cease-fire never held, and the fighting between Ukrainian forces and the separatist grew more intense. The separatists accumulated considerable ground in the fighting, which the United Nations reports has claimed 5,300 lives.

Now there's a new peace plan. Hammered out in all-night negotiations this week, it calls for a cease-fire to take effect Sunday. But since the deal was announced, fighting has only increased, as Ukrainian forces battle to hold a major rail hub in Debaltseve.

The town controls transport between the rebel-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Those regions are home to major heavy industrial complexes, many of which produce weapons for Russia's military.

As part of the deal that calls for an end to fighting, both sides are to draw back heavy weapons from the conflict line. Kiev is to write a new constitution that would reflect the autonomy demands of the separatists. Ukraine would retake control of its border with Russia. Moscow views the accord as a guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO.

The agreement was heralded as a new chance for peace by French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arranged the deal at negotiations that also involved Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rebel leaders also signed on. US President Barack Obama's administration, which has led a tough sanctions drive against Moscow over its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, has taken a wait-and-see attitude.

"The true test of today's accord will be in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia," the White House said in a statement.

American officials are skeptical the deal will hold. Secretary of State John Kerry put it bluntly: "Actions will be what matter now. We will judge the commitment of Russia and the separatists by their actions, not their ords."

In the meantime, the administration has put off a decision on sending lethal weapons to Ukraine and imposing additional sanctions on Russia. Putin, who so far has proven impervious to Western sanctions and crashing oil prices that threaten the entire Russian economy -- is a step closer to his goal of making certain there won't be yet another NATO member along the country's western frontier.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Dear TMS subscriber , greetings.
TRANSCEND Media Service brings to you its own Peace Journalism Perspective plus a digest of the week’s relevant News, Analyses, Papers and Videos–in various languages. . . .
Editorials by Johan Galtung and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated and translated, provided a citation and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Please forward the WD to your colleagues, friends and lists. Thank you, enjoy your reading.
by Johan Galtung, 16 Mar 2015 - TRANSCEND Media Service
Germany has become philo-semitic, fights racism, no residual colonialism, rejection of war as instrument (except defensive), and seeks cooperation with Russia. England, with the USA, challenges Russia. Anglo-America is the most belligerent party in today’s world, residual colonialism survives in the Commonwealth and in the use of English for conquest; racism is rampant inside England.
by Jan Oberg - Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research
You’ve heard everybody involved in the Ukraine conflict solemnly declared that there is no military solution. And what do they all do? Right, they militarise the situation further, use bellicose language, speak bad about each other, take provocative steps, use propaganda and flex their military muscles. These men – sorry, but they are all men – who are competent in war and violence run our world.

 168 HOURS: NEWS AND ANALYSIS, March 26, 2014.   Breaking down the world into geopolitical zones of influence will be better than chaos | 13:50 | March 26 2014 Print | Views: 54 Interview with Russian politician Sergey Marcedonov -What do you think about Russia’s activities in Ukraine’s Crimea? -Ukraine and the Crimea crisis should be divided into several parts. The first part would be the situation in the Crimea, the second one would be relations between Kiev and the Crimea, third – relations between Russia and Ukraine, and fourth – international relations that include relations between Russia and the West. When people say Russia does not have interests it is very strange because Russia has put down its interests long ago. In case of Ukraine Russia’s interest is not to let Ukraine become a member of NATO or any other alliance. The same is true about other post-Soviet countries. This theory has been published long ago and Russia has been implementing it. Back in 1997, when NATO was expanding due to Eastern Europe, Russia announced that it was the continuation of the frozen war, and such expansion would be negative. The next issue is the Black Sea and port. During the Soviet time the Crimea and Ukraine were a part of a big country, and a significant part of the Black Sea port infrastructure was concentrated in Sevastopol of the Crimea. When the Soviet Union collapsed, 70 per cent of its fleet appeared to be out of its area. This brought a lot of problems. These issues were negotiated for a long time but when the revolution took place in Ukraine, there was a risk that the agreements would not be enforced, and NATO would revise the status of Ukraine, and at that time Russia started to act the way it is acting now. If there were no pro-Russian attitude in the Crimea and if people do not want to go out of the territory of Ukraine, Russia would not be able to do anything. There are disputable issues in the world but neither Russia nor other countries are interfering because there are no prerequisites.   MORE

"Ukraine: Anvil of the New Cold War"
By Tom Hayden, The Nation, posted July 21, 2015

Ukraine: Anvil of the New Cold War

To understand the present crisis over downed Malaysian flight MH17, we need to look at the roots of the new Cold War.
Piece of MH17
A piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 lies in the grass near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
The Cold War is perhaps not even remembered by this generation of Americans, beyond dim and distorted traces. Yes, the power alignments in the world have shifted, for example, by the rise of the BRICS and their opposition to Western finance capital. And yes, the rise of China offsets the demise of the old Soviet Union. The Vatican is no longer battling “godless communism.” Communism itself is a spent force.
But no new global paradigm has come to dominance and, in that vacuum, the old Cold War premises arise to fill the chatter-boxes of our media and cultural mentality.
Ukraine is the anvil on which the new Cold War thinking is heating up.
It’s impossible to understand the roots of the current Ukraine crisis over the downed airliner without understanding the past, but the past is remembered as cliché on all sides. We can agree, however, that the “new” Cold War began when Western strategists sought to expand their sphere of influence all the way eastward across the Ukraine to Russia’s border. That push, which seemed like the spoils of Cold War victory to the Western triumphalists, ignored two salient realities. First, eastern Ukraine was inhabited by millions of people who identified with Russia’s language, culture and political orientation. Second, since it was believed that the Soviet Union was “defeated”, the assumption was that Russia lacked the will and capacity to fight back. Though both assumptions were proven wrong on the battlefield in Georgia in 2008, the machinery of the West never stopped churning and expanding.
Eventually, Russia took back Crimea by force, in an offensive that was entirely predictable but seemed to shock the Western mind. Ukraine was broken along historic ethnic lines. For a brief moment, it appeared that a power-sharing arrangement might be negotiated. There was no reason that Putin would send Russian troops to war over the eastern Ukraine if peaceful coexistence was achievable. Putin accepted the ascension of a new pro-Western elected president in Kiev and called for a cease-fire and political settlement. But as often happens in proxy wars, the proxies drove the dynamics. Ukraine’s army marched east, claiming a sovereignty that the Russian-speakers refused to accept. Putin’s allies—the so-called “pro-Russian separatists”—refused to surrender and complained loudly that the Russians weren’t giving them enough support.
In the Western narrative, these Russian-speakers weren’t really Ukrainian at all, or they were Russians in disguise, or pawns of Moscow. That designation humiliated and angered them. In the Western PR offensive, the Russians trained them, advised them and perhaps even directed them to shoot down the airliner. And, of course, those alleged Russian agents were carrying out the orders of the Kremlin. Putin is hardly wrong when he says the catastrophe would not have happened if his calls for a cease-fire were heeded. Instead, a ten-day cease-fire was terminated by Kiev on June 10, surely with US support. No one has asked whether the US government lobbied with Kiev to extend the cease-fire instead of pressing their offensive eastward. The New York Times reported that “Ukraine’s President, Petro O. Poroshenko, let the latest cease-fire lapse and ordered his military to resume efforts to crush the insurrection by force.” If he had extended the cease-fire instead, the plane would not have been shot down.
It is insane for anyone to believe that Putin would want to shoot down a plane carrying over 200 hundred Europeans at a time when the European Union was debating whether to join the United States in imposing harsh sanctions on Moscow. What makes more sense is that no one in an official capacity anywhere wants to take the blame for an unplanned moral, political and diplomatic catastrophe. If Putin bears responsibility for the chain of escalation, so does Kiev and the West. In the meantime, the West will continue freezing its Cold War position and Ukraine’s armed forces will take their war towards the Russian border unless higher authorities restrain them. No one has asked if Western forces are advising or embedded with the Ukrainian military. Either way, the Kiev fighters can advance all they desire, but they cannot pacify the east or predict Russia’s next move. If they march into a trap, will the US feel obligated to dig them out?
The inevitable tightening of Western sanctions will push Russia to exploit the economic contradictions between the United States and European nations like Germany, and make Moscow increase its links with the BRICS countries, especially the Chinese powerhouse. As a sign of Russia’s trajectory, just before the airliner shootdown, Putin visited Latin America, where he promptly forgave 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion massive debt to the Russians, ending a two-decade dispute. Then Putin toured six countries and sat down to dinner with four Latin American presidents. The irony barely was noticed. The purpose of the 1960 US policy towards Cuba was to separate the island from the Soviet sphere of interest. Now it is the United States which is increasingly isolated diplomatically in its “backyard” while Cuba is secure in a new Latin America with Russian support. If Cold War thinking prevails, the Obama administration will continue funding illegal “democracy programs” aimed at subverting the Cuban state. That could persuade some in the Cuban leadership to resist normalization with the States, continuing a Cold War standoff of many decades.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, America’s heralded new “pivot” to China is stalled in deep contradictions. Lacking any alternative to the Cold War model, the US is dangerously close to fighting two.
The question for progressives is how to construct a compelling alternative to the Cold War model as much of the world slides towards a new Dark Age of class struggle, climate crisis and religious fundamentalism appearing on many continents.

Analyzing the Past To Assess Present and Future
By Mark B. TraugerHistory News Network, posted July 24, 2014.
In light of the course of events of the MH17 disaster, the better historical comparison than the KAL 007 incident is the U.S. shooting down of Iran Air 655 on 3 July 1988. - See more at:
The author teaches history at West Virginia University.


Choose Diplomacy and Cooperation
The Nation’s editorial of March 2-9, 2015 reveals the Doomsday Clock has been moved to 11:57, “the closest we’ve been to doomsday in more than thirty years.”  The two nuclear nations are moving toward brinkmanship, while the Ukraine has suffered 5000 killed, 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced, and is almost bankrupt.  We need diplomacy not Cold War that could turn Hot War.  And the world needs cooperation between the US/NATO and Russia for a host of problems.  --Dick


Bloomberg News, “Give PeaceKeepers a Chance”
Give Peacekeepers a Chance in Ukraine
43 AUG 7, 2014 5:48 PM EDT
Russia has responded to the imposition of tougher U.S. and European sanctions by piling up troops and munitions at the Ukrainian border. This is not evidence that sanctions were the wrong strategy or that they didn't work -- they are still the right move for the long term. At the moment, though, more creative thinking is needed to halt the escalation of hostilities.
It won't be easy. The scope of the standoff over Ukraine is too great for Russia and the West to achieve any grand settlement quickly. Such a deal will take time and goodwill, both of which are now in short supply.
This week's emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council provided an example of how not to cool things down. Russia, which called the special session, declared that the Ukrainian military had perpetrated a civilian "catastrophe" in Donetsk and Lugansk, and called for the creation of humanitarian corridors to bring in food and medical aid. No doubt concerned that Russia was preparing the diplomatic ground to invade, under the guise of a "humanitarian" intervention, Ukraine said no such crisis exists. The U.S. said there was not even a need for the Security Council meeting.
By pushing back in this way, however, Ukraine and the U.S. ignore the rising tension with Russia and what's needed to bring it down. President Vladimir Putin cannot afford to be perceived at home as losing in Ukraine. The new European and U.S. sanctions and the recent success of the Ukrainian military operation are forcing him to consider a greater armed intervention. Yet he knows that if he chooses this path, it would trigger still tougher sanctions and could involve him in a long and unpredictable war. That's an unattractive set of options, but without some third way between capitulation and escalation, Putin is likely to choose the latter.
As Georgia and Moldova can attest, once armed Russian "peacekeepers" enter a country, they are impossible to remove. Ukraine would spend the coming decades struggling to retrieve its lost territories and worrying conflict might reignite.
[UN Peacekeepers for Diplomacy Instead of Escalating Violence]
So how to find Putin an off-ramp? One possibility is to agree with him that a humanitarian crisis exists in eastern Ukraine and needs to be addressed. With an official UN tally of 1,367 dead, 117,000 displaced internally and as many as 740,000 fleeing to Russia, that's hardly a stretch. Rather than just accuse Putin of stoking conflict, why not offer to form an international peacekeeping force, under the authority of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe?
Modeling such a force would admittedly be hard, not least because it would have to include a Russian contingent and a cease-fire would have to be in place. Putting heavily armed Russian troops in control of territory on their own border would be difficult for Ukraine to accept, so the extent to which the peacekeepers were armed would also need to be negotiated.
Both Russia and the West have the leverage to push a cease-fire. Although the rebels have refused to lay down their weapons in the past, they know that if Putin were to withdraw support they would collapse within weeks. Ukraine would no doubt also resist, thinking its armed forces are on a roll and can secure a military solution. Ultimately, they can't, however, with Putin there to ensure the rebels are not wiped out. The U.S. and the European Union, whose aid is keeping Ukraine out of bankruptcy, can persuade the government in Kiev to play ball.
A peacekeeping force could stop the bloodshed and freeze the status quo, ideally allowing some time for everyone concerned to begin to address the issues at the heart of the Ukraine crisis: Putin's determination that Ukraine should join his Eurasian Union and the Ukrainians' preference to integrate with the EU.  [The version I read in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 8-11-14 ended here.  –D]
There are certainly risks to such a strategy: The peacekeeping force would have to be assembled quickly, to keep Russia from pre-emptively sending in troops to "prepare the ground." The force would probably need to exclude U.S. troops, to minimize the Russian antagonism, and the right balance between Russian and European monitors would have to be carefully negotiated.
These risks would be worth taking if saying "yes" to Putin's peacekeeping force would allow him to escape a costly choice for Russia and declare a small victory at home. It might also create the time for a settlement that would allow Ukraine to remain a bridge between Russia and the West, rather than a battleground.
To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View's editorials: David Shipley at

Contents Russia/Ukraine Newsletter #4  HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS
Polner, Manipulated Crisis
Moss, Another Cold War?
Watkins, Comparing Annexations
Johnstone, Understanding Putin
Blum, US Media War Against Putin and Russia
    US or Russian Exceptionalism?
NATO’S Eastward Expansion

Pilger, the Larger Coup in Washington, D.C.
Gagnon, US and NATO Intervention
Parry, Kerry’s State Department’s Fiasco
Dahlburg, Poroshnko\Ukraine Signs Up with EU
Moeri, Be Critical of Imperialisms
Zunes, Non-violence
Four Articles Via HAW
Fuerst, Germany

Parry, Ukraine’s Presidential Election
UN Wire:  News covering the UN and the world


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