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NATO Risks War with Russia to Prolong its own Existence

NATO is deliberately engineering a conflict with Russia in Europe to raise money from its members and to justify its continued existence.

Seth Farris

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It is not difficult to see the new direction the US and its NATO apparatus are taking.  It is a commonly-used one – turning retreat into advance by changing the so-called enemy.

Following the debacles in Libya and Afghanistan, and the gradual unravelling of the Iraq and Syria adventures, the Western allies are now preparing to deploy four battalions—a force of about 4,000 troops—in Poland and the Baltic countries.

These will of course point in the other direction from the battle fronts where US and NATO troops are currently engaging in combat, thereby providing justification for removing troops from unsuccessful arenas and downgrading those conflicts before they become too much of an embarrassment.

History gives us many examples of this tactic. One is the infamous War of Jenkins’s Ear, the 1739 British-inspired conflict with Spain designed to promote more trade and protect slave markets. This resulted in heavy losses for the British, and the temporary gain of only one Spanish possession in the Caribbean. It therefore became subsumed into the War of Austrian Succession, an entirely different conflict about an entirely different question in which the same powers – Britain and Spain – just “happened” to find themselves on opposite sides.

In this case it is not just impending defeat which is causing a change in the game. It is the fact that NATO countries have long realised that they have no business being involved in places like Syria. Their own publics no longer think they are defending the free world, or protecting anyone from terrorism, or keeping out immigrants.  So they have turned into a more important issue.

Like the League of Nations and French Community before it, NATO is dying of pointlessness. It won’t survive unless it can find a higher purpose – and having failed to do so, its only option is to demonise Russia, the enemy everyone grew up with, regardless of what it might actually be doing.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

A generation or two ago, when wars broke out people would look for the causes over which they were being fought. NATO wouldn’t get involved in conflicts it couldn’t find a good reason for. For example, both sides in the hideous civil wars in Rwanda and Burundi long urged international intervention.  However their conflicts were seen as disputes between competing power groups, neither one having a better reason to be fighting, and the slaughter was left to continue unabated.

Now we live in a world where there is one global superpower, one generally agreed economic line and therefore no enemy to protect the free world from. People no longer assume that conflicts, regardless of their complexity, are between pro-Western and pro-Iron Curtain forces and therefore part of a globally fought ideological struggle over a way of life they themselves are part of.

Interventions like those in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as the latest foreign adventures in which troops are sacrificed for no obvious reason, to overthrow governments we all remember supporting when it suited the same West to do so.

For example, it was frequently pointed out during the Gulf War that Saddam Hussein was using against the West the same weapons and training the West had given him to fight the Ayatollah Khomeini when he was the ruler of Iran. During the subsequent invasion of Iraq it was revealed this alleged WMD factory had been built by Western contractors, supposedly to produce baby milk.

These interventions keep the funding for the military-industrial complex flowing but ultimately they cost governments support rather than rallying the people round them as wars once did.

This might not be the case if nations were acting alone in pursuit of their own interests.   However the collaborative nature of NATO is itself a problem. The comment European politicians often hear on the doorsteps is, “why are you sending our troops to be killed in someone else’s war, for someone else’s issue, which nobody here cared about before you told us you were sending the troops?”

Having no more enemies was supposed to be the consequence of the Western victory in the Cold War. The publics of NATO countries, having endured that war, have taken their governments at their word. So if there is going to be a Western force, upholding Western values, it has two options: it can find completely new enemies – the reason we hear so much about “Islamic fundamentalism” –  or it can revert to the old ones.

The West is getting nowhere in its supposed assaults on Islamic terrorist groups because it is actually arming and supporting them, and always has done to suit itself. But it can’t admit this to the public, as then that same public would want to string them up.

So all that is left is to restore NATO’s original purpose and attack Russia. Maybe people will understand this, maybe not, but with nothing else to hold on to, this is the deadly gamble the West is preparing to take.   

A bit late to start worrying

Most Western countries are still struggling with the fallout of the banking crisis but persist in perpetuating the same policies that caused it – just as was the case during the Great Depression. At that time the resulting problem of unemployment was “solved” through a world war.

It can be argued that a war to stop Hitler was entirely justified, as no anti-war advocate of today would have wanted to live under the Nazis, or would have been allowed to go on doing so for very long. Why therefore did it take six years to declare that war, when Hitler’s intentions were clear from the start and his actions were entirely consistent with them?

The present Russian administration is the same one the West sought to “reset” relations with when Obama took office. It even has the same foreign minister. If the West has suddenly discovered something new and disturbing about this administration, what is it?

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work has explained the deployment of more NATO troops near Russia as a “response to increased Russian activity near the Baltics”—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. He maintains that tensions have been rising there due to an upswing in the holding of Russian military exercises in the vicinity, which he described as being “extraordinarily provocative behaviour.”

Russia has frequently pointed out that NATO holds exercises near Russia’s borders on a regular basis, has surrounded Russia with military installations armed with weapons pointed at Russia and has told countries bordering Russia that they cannot maintain equally strong ties to Russia as with the West.

That insistence was one of the root causes of the Ukrainian conflict. 

If Russia is simply doing the same as the West, the West should explain why such behaviour is regarded as “extraordinarily provocative” when done by Russia but not when done by the West.

Any such argument rests on the question of Russia’s intent. The implication of Work’s comments is that if Russia holds exercises near the Baltic states it is getting ready to take them over again.

These countries declared their independence at a critical time in East-West relations. They were later – in 2004 – accepted into NATO, becoming an encouragement to others to continue to behave as if the  Soviet Union had never existed. If Russia had had any intention to attack the Baltics at any time after the USSR broke up in 1991, it would have been obliged to take on the whole of NATO, not the fractured individual states of 1940. Russia has at all times known this – never more so than now.

Furthermore, Russia does have ample grounds for concern over the treatment of ethnic Russians in the Baltics.  However it has not used their situation as a pretext for military action.

There are lot of absurd situations connected to the situation of ethnic Russians in the Baltics. For example, one of the first actions Latvia took after gaining independence was to establish a national rugby team, because it was not a sport favoured by the Olympic medal-hungry Soviets. However over half its team, including the captain, were not entitled to Latvian citizenship because they were of ethnic Russian origin and their families had not lived in Latvia before 1939, as the new Latvian citizenship law required. Thus these players could not travel on their national passports having no Latvian citizenship, and this did not allow them to represent their country properly.

Russia’s “provocative action” is simply to be Russia. When all else fails, it is the standing enemy Westerners can understand. They may not be too interested at present, but the remaining subliminal  instinct that Russian expansion is a bad thing may still kick in to help NATO out. However, it is NATO that is moving its membership to Russia’s borders and not the other way round.

Bottom lines aren’t straight

One fact about the end of the Cold War which Westerners are not presented with is that Western governments before 1991 had agreed with Gorbachev that NATO would not move eastward after the Berlin Wall fell. This was part of an attempt to do the opposite: if a newly-constituted Russia could live in peace with the West it could actually join NATO itself, thus making a conflict irrelevant.

However before Russia had the chance to reconstitute itself, NATO went back on the deal and took in several former Eastern bloc states, including the Baltics.

These countries had genuine concerns about being left at the mercy of new Russian domination, but NATO nevertheless breached the agreement by making them members,rather than providing other support – thereby itself becoming the aggressor in East-West affairs.

Now NATO is going out of its way to show it is still united in facing the outcome of its own aggression.

According to Western officials the U.S. is likely to provide two battalions for this new retreat-become-attack and Germany and the UK a battalion each. It would have to be Germany and the UK – traditional powerhouses and belligerents – to show NATO is serious. But 4,000 or 5,000 soldiers will not be able to resist any real action. They are there to ready the public for the idea of future action, and suck more NATO countries into it because they can’t be seen to go against an action spearheaded by the US, the UK and Germany. 

NATO’s former commander, General Breedlove, is calling for an increase in defence spending, saying that the U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should concentrate its technical capabilities to counter Moscow’s “growing military might.”

This is an attempt to create the same scenario we saw with the year 2000 with the so-called Millennium Bug, when we were told computers would stop working when their internal clocks showed 00:00:00 and millions had to be spent to fix the problem to protect ourselves. 

But there is another reason NATO has to create a new enemy for the sake of it. NATO has to pay for any action it takes. At present, it is having difficulty doing this in an official, over-the-counter way.

NATO recommends each ally spends at least 2 percent of its GDP on defence, but in 2015 Germany spent just 1.2 percent, Italy less than 1 percent and France 1.8 percent, levels which are symptoms of the pointlessness consuming NATO.

So by its own reckoning, there is a hole in NATO’s finances which makes it difficult to conduct official operations, paid for by taxes rather than illegal oil and drug sales.

NATO knows how to get the money to pay for its current entanglements. If it is to survive operationally as well as politically, it has to provoke a conflict within Europe, by which its allies will be forced to join the fray.

The people in the former Soviet countries (unlike their Western-financed elites) are the last to want more conflict with Russia. They were promised that NATO membership would help them to avoid such a conflict. But in order to get them pay their “recommended” contribution, they may just have a conflict imposed upon them, however limited in scope. And then they will be forced to take risks for the sake of a Western Paradise, which fewer and fewer of them believe in.

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge


Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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The Stampede of the Gadarene Swine: US Leaders Allowing Ukraine to Pull Them into Global War

There is no way in any sane assessment that the Ukrainian forces – and certainly not the neo-Nazi militias recruited in the west of the country to terrorize the east – can be regarded as “brothers” of the US armed forces.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was right – Again: The only thing the human race learns from history is that it learns nothing from history.

In 1914,the British Empire, largest in human history and one of the longest-lasting, charged into World War I to defend “gallant little Belgium” whose King Leopold over the previous 30 years had carried out one of the longest, largest genocides of all time, killing 10 million people in the Congo.

Germany, wealthiest, most prosperous nation in Europe, blundered into the same needless war when feckless Kaiser Wilhelm II causally gave sweeping approval to Austria-Hungary to annihilate the tiny nation of Serbia. Millions of brave and idealistic Russians eagerly volunteered to fight in the war to protect “gallant little Serbia.” Most of them died too. There is no record that any of the Serbian leaders after the war visited any of their mass graves.

Now it is the United States’ turn.

Since the end of the Cold War US policymakers, presidents and their congresses have carried out virtually every stupidity and folly imaginable for any major power. The only one they have so far avoided has been the danger of stumbling into a full scale world war.

However, now, with the escalating and increasingly hysterical US support for the shady and risk-taking junta in Kiev, President Donald Trump risks committing that most dire and unforgivable of all horrors.

Trump today is no more than putty in the hands of his national security adviser John Bolton, one of the masterminds of the catastrophe that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Bolton is just like his hero Winston Churchill a century ago during World War I. He always gets his way, always gets the wars and battles he wants and bungles them embarrassingly every time. And like the young Churchill, Bolton never learns, never mellows and he never changes. It is always everybody else’s fault.

Churchill finally did grow and learn. His famous activities of the 1930s were not meant to start a new world war with Germany under the far worse leadership of Adolf Hitler: He wanted to avert such a war.

The invaluable diaries of Ivan Maisky, the Soviet Union’s ambassador to Britain through the 1930s make clear that even then Churchill was eager – alone in the British ruling classes – to establish a serious close defensive alliance with Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union. He recognized that would be the only way to box in Hitler and prevent a global catastrophe.

But Bolton has not learned from his hero – Quite the reverse. He is now impelling Trump on a reckless course of empowering the dangerous adventurers who with US support have seized Ukraine and have spent the past nearly five years wrecking it.

Even worse, the same kind of absurd sentimentalizing of an obscure, tiny or unstable ally that doomed Britain, Russia and Germany to unimaginable suffering and loss in 1914 now permeates US decision-makers, strategists and their pontificating pundits about Ukraine. On March 1, 2016, US General Philip Breedlove, then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) memorably referred to “our Ukrainian brothers and sisters” in a Pentagon press briefing

There is no way in any sane assessment that the ramshackle Ukrainian forces – and certainly not the neo-Nazi militias recruited in the west of the country to terrorize the east – can be regarded as “brothers” of the US armed forces. The US and Soviet troops who met on the River Elbe on April 25, 1945 after advancing a combined more than 2,000 miles to liberate Europe from the darkest tyranny in its history could truly be called “brothers.”

However, the US military today and the Ukrainian forces they are being drawn in to protect certainly are not “brothers and sisters.” No poll has been taken since then across the United States, as far as I am aware as to whether the American people would be willing to risk full-scale nuclear war to defend a government in Ukraine that is demonstrably unpopular among its own people.

Trump was elected president in November 2016 precisely because he was the only candidate in that shock election who unambiguously called for the United States to end its 70-year fixation with getting pulled into one endless war and confrontation after another around the world. It would be the darkest of ironies if instead he took America into its last and most catastrophic conflict – a nuclear confrontation from which there could be no recovery, no escape and no survival.

Britain, Russia and Germany in 1914 were all destroyed by the deliberate plotting and manipulations of vastly smaller or weaker allies run by psychopathic gamblers. The rulers of Kiev today, in their entirely reckless disregard for the dangers of global thermonuclear war clearly fit into that category.

Policymakers in Moscow recognize this dire reality. Their counterparts in Washington remain amazingly totally blind to it. Their only idea of strategy is the suicidal stampede of the Gadarene Swine in the Gospels off the end of a cliff. And they are taking the entire human race with them.

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