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Survival of Trans-Atlantic Alliance sees no guarantees

It’s not really about whether NATO can survive, but whether it really should

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NATO head Jens Stoltenberg touted the unifying nature of the NATO Alliance in his call for a greater commitment to its mission. Stoltenberg got around to promoting this necessity because of the threats that are posed by Russia, cyber attacks, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But he seems to ignore the fact that many of the threats to the security of the Western order are artificial or manufactured by NATO’s primary member and benefactor, the United States of America.

USA News reports:

LONDON (AP) — The bonds between Europe and North America are under strain and there’s no guarantee the trans-Atlantic partnership will survive, the head of NATO warned Thursday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for an effort to shore up the military alliance amid the divisions between Europe and the United States over trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.

“It is not written in stone that the trans-Atlantic bond will survive forever,” Stoltenberg said during a speech in London. “But I believe we will preserve it.”

NATO has been shaken by U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” stance and mistrust of international institutions. Trump once called NATO obsolete and has repeatedly berated other members of the 29-nation alliance of failing to spend enough on defense.

Ahead of a NATO summit in July, Stoltenberg said “we may have seen the weakening” of some bonds between North America and Europe. But he insisted that “maintaining the trans-Atlantic partnership is in our strategic interests.”

Stoltenberg said the world faced “the most unpredictable security environment in a generation” due to terrorism, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, cyberattacks and an assertive Russia.

“We must continue to protect our multilateral institutions like NATO, and we must continue to stand up for the international rules-based order,” he said.

After meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing St., Stoltenberg praised Britain, one of a minority of NATO countries to meet a target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense.

He said that despite differences between the U.S. and Europe, NATO delivered “trans-Atlantic unity” every day.

“We have had differences before, and the lesson of history is that we overcome these differences every time,” Stoltenberg said.

Some European officials worry the Trump administration is cool on efforts to hold Russia to account for misdeeds including election meddling and the nerve-agent poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in England, which the U.K. blames on Moscow.

At a G-7 summit this month, Trump suggested that Russia should be readmitted to the group of industrial powers, from which it was expelled over its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Some U.S. allies are concerned by reports that Trump plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin when the American leader travels to Europe for the NATO summit next month.

But Stoltenberg said meeting Putin does not contradict NATO policies.

“We are in favor of dialogue with Russia,” he said. “We don’t want a new cold war. We don’t want a new arms race. We don’t want to isolate Russia.

America’s mission to export democracy and ‘freedom’ and to reshape global politics through regime changes is what has led to many of the threats which Stoltenberg mentions. The reason why the situation with the Ukraine and Crimea even came about was due to the US’s meddling which led to a violent color revolution and which is still mired in violence to this day.

The migration issue facing Europe is largely the result of America’s wars in the Middle East, which had as their aim regime changes, but which have only resulted in radicalized Islamic terrorist groups springing up to destabilize and threaten destabilization not just in the Middle East but across the Eastern hemisphere.

Those migrants are fleeting the destabilization wrought by America’s meddling in the Middle East and Africa. And America is still arming and financing terrorist organizations and continuing to stoke conflict, whether it is Libya, Syria, or Yemen. These activities, by America not Russia, have led to the deaths of millions, war crimes, flagrant human rights violations, and political instability, both actual and threatened, from Europe to the Gulf of Aden.

And it was America which terminated its participation in a nuclear non proliferation agreement with Iran, the JCPOA, and is attempting to totally kill the agreement by trying to force its remaining signatories to ditch it as well, or to render it impossible to observe through the threat of secondary sanctions. America made these global security threats, and continues to do so unapologetically.

Therefore, it would appear that NATO’s mission, both its initial one and however it perceives its current one, cannot be realized in an honest fashion. Essentially, not only are the conditions surrounding a unified West becoming more uncertain by the day, but areas of common interest are becoming fewer also. It’s not entirely about whether NATO can survive, but whether it really should. Perhaps this is one multilateral agreement that Trump should exercise his withdrawal habit upon and walk away from it, perhaps under the pretext that its members just won’t carry their weight and pay up.

 

 

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DenLilleAbewalterregolo gelliniJohn R Balch JrHappyCynic Recent comment authors
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DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

NATO has always been about furthering Americas interest and countering the Soviet union during the cold war. Which many people in Europe initially accepted and stood by. But with the advent of an increasing bellicose rhetoric from Washington, the glimmer faded, and with the Pershing debacle, America shot itself in the foot, unable to understand that : WE DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WAR IN EUROPE! And still don’t.
Most Europeans are fully aligned with Angela Merkel on this issue: We should see to our own security.
The running US’s errand is coming to an end.

walter
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walter

No one wants war except the American neocon cabal. They will not send their own kind into war, just others. Time to get rid of the neocons. T

regolo gellini
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regolo gellini

The hypocrisy of this man, Stoltemberg, is beyond belief . He says one thing (flase flags and fake news) in one go and the exact opposite in the next sentence . When will he understand that the organisation he presides is a rogue left over of the cold war period and serves nothing for our prosperity as a community ? He praises UK for spending 2% of GDP in weaponry while 7 million people in UK don’t have enough food for their children . The NHS has been reduced to its lowest standard and people have to wait months if… Read more »

John R Balch Jr
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John R Balch Jr

The only thing NATO and the United States is pushing for is these smaller countries that are members of NATO to do is do all the Fighting, Bleeding and Dying for the United States World Dominance. Let the other
countries do all the “Fighting, Bleeding and Dying.” That is why they are pushing the Syrian, Russian and Iran Agenda so hard. It has nothing to do with it’s people but control of the countries “Money, Resources and Land.” Money, Power, Land and Greed! The Jewish Creed.

HappyCynic
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HappyCynic

It seems that Trump has been laying the groundwork for withdrawing from NATO. He continually complains that the US pays 90% of NATO, and the EU pays little (and doesn’t even pretend to try to spend 2% of GDP on defense). He certainly realizes that NATO is simply a jobs program for the defense industry, and that the Skripal case is a transparent effort to keep Trump from withdrawing from NATO by pretending that Russia is threatening Europe. Obviously, NATO hasn’t been necessary for European defense for more than 30 (or 40) years. I would be happy (and not surprised)… Read more »

Raycomeau
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Raycomeau

NATO has outlived its shelf life and has turned into a flesh eating virus which carries infectious USA Regime Change viruses! NATO needs to be dismantled and put ( not out to pasture) but in a barn cellar with the manure which it is!

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Just shows how effing “DUMB” this egg-head Stolten-dunce is, NATO the ruination of Europe, for a f-cking pay check !!!!!!!!!

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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