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Here’s why a Russia-U.S. alliance makes sense – a memo to President-elect Trump

Shared culture and national interests make the US and Russia natural allies. The US policy of hostility to Russia makes no sense and should be reversed.

Walter Dublanica

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A US-Russia alliance stretching from Seattle to Vladivostok would be a win-win for both the United States and Russia as well as all the countries of Europe.

We now have a House of Representatives Resolution 758 which declares Russia to be America’s enemy. Resolution 758 was passed on December 4, 2014, with only 10 votes against. Such a Resolution, passed in connection to recent events in Ukraine, makes no sense compared to the much bigger challenges that face both the US and Russia.

ISIS terrorism is a danger to both the US and Russia. Both countries share common enemies. Over the last 13 years US policy in the Middle East has been an unmitigated disaster, with no end in sight and with thousands of lives and trillions of dollars lost.

According to former US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, Saudi Arabia is the US’s main ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the diametric opposite to the sort of democracy the US claims to want to see in the world. Fifteen of the twenty  9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the prime sponsor of the radical Muslim Wahhabi sect, with which Jihadist terrorism – including ISIS – is associated. 

China  is a challenge to the United States. China is still a Communist country. Moreover, it is close to surpassing the US as the world’s biggest economy. China competes directly with the US for world energy and mineral resources, which Russia does not, since its vast energy and mineral resources make it self-sufficient. China has also taken millions of US manufacturing jobs, whereas Russia has taken none.   

China also thinks of itself in terms of the ancient ‘Middle Kingdom’ destined to control the world. Russia does not, though understandably enough it does want to influence countries on its border as does the US.

Military conflict between the US and Russia is unthinkable. No one in their right mind in either country would contemplate nuclear war. As for a conventional war, Russia clearly can defend itself.

Who in fact would attack Russia alongside the US? Certainly not Germany and France. Both of these countries have previously attacked Russia and both were badly defeated. Germany and its allies during the Second World War lost 4 million troops fighting the Red Army on the eastern front. That means the Germans and their allies were losing more men fighting the Russians each week than the US has lost in the Middle East in 13 years of war. 

There is no way Germany and France will go to war with Russia again for the sake of the US.

The US and Russia need to get past their previous antagonisms and live in peace with each other. The US should invite Russia to join NATO and do so without delay. Why not? Russians and Americans are both culturally Europeans. Russia is a Christian nation as is the United States. Russians have abandoned communism and have adopted democratic principles.

The US has fought wars with many  countries: Britain, Mexico, Spain, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany and Italy – the list is endless. However it has NEVER fought a war with Russia.

The United States and Russia have fought common enemies together like Japan and Germany. The fighting the Russians did during the Second World War in Europe saved millions of American lives.

Russia has been on the US’s side throughout much of its history.

During the American Revolution the British King asked his allies in Germany to supply Hessians to fight against the Americans, which they did. He also asked the Russian Tsar for Cossacks to fight the Americans. That was not surprising since the Cossacks had the reputation of being the best fighters in Europe. In the war of 1812 between France and Russia, Napoleon labelled the Cossacks “a disgrace to the human race” because of their bravery in fighting and defeating the French army – supposedly the best in Europe. 

The Tsar, however, refused the British King’s request.

During the American Civil War, the Russians sent ships to New York harbour and to San Francisco to support the Union. The British supported the Confederacy in an attempt to split the US.

In 1867 Russia sold Alaska (about 660,000 square miles) to the U.S. for $6,500,000. That’s $10 per square mile or  less than 2 cents per acre.

In the 20th century the US and Russia were fighting common enemies: Germany in the First and Second World Wars, and Japan also in the Second.   

This brings us to the present  tensions relating to the Ukraine, which began when President Victor Yanukovych – Ukraine’s elected leader – refused to sign an association agreement with the EU. Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs) arranged the coup which overthrew him, being caught in a recorded phone conversation with the US ambassador to the Ukraine deciding who the new Ukrainian Prime Minister should be (“Yats” i.e. Arseny Yatsenyuk) and famously  saying “f..k the EU”.

The US established a “putsch” regime in Ukraine much as it has done so often in Latin America in the past.  Nuland even publicly admitted that the US spent $5 billion dollars to influence events in Ukraine and to prepare the ground for the coup.

The crisis in Ukraine comes from the fact that the US leveraged into power a small group of extremists originating mainly in the province of Galicia in western Ukraine, and a bunch of oligarchs who want to control Ukraine in their own selfish interests.

During the Second World War, under the leadership of Stephen Bandera, some Galicians  collaborated with the Nazis and were actively involved in the Nazi programme to exterminate the Jews and the Poles. The present day radicals in Ukraine look upon Bandera as a national hero. Are those the sort of people the US should support?

The majority of Ukrainians want a peaceful relationship with Russia.  Why does the US support fanatical neo-Nazi extremists and not the ordinary citizens?

Why shouldn’t the US be friends with Russia?  What problem is the US solving  by confronting Russia? 

If the focus is Ukraine, then Russia and Ukraine have been neighbours for over a 1,000 years and originated from the same cradle. They will be neighbours forever and in time friends again. What does the US gain by trying to stop this? 

If we are talking about nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have between them 95% of the world’s nuclear stockpiles. Why is it a good thing to have them pointed at each other? Does it not make more sense to stop doing so? 

Surely it makes far better sense, and is far more in the US’s interests to have Russia as a friend and ally, bringing it into the West rather than have it join the East, where because of US hostility it is already forming alliances with China through BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in opposition to the US.

There is an old joke that one can divide people into two categories. First there are those who wear suits and those those who don’t.  Well Americans and Russians both wear suits.  Then there are those who drink their liquor straight, and those who drink it mixed. Russians unlike Americans drink their vodka straight.

Is that a significant enough difference or reason to make them enemies?

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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