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Turkey and Russia after the coup attempt: friends, not allies

Turkey’s ongoing rapprochement with Russia will intensify following the failed coup attempt. However it is very unlikely to lead to Turkey formally quitting NATO.

Alexander Mercouris

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The pending summit between President Erdogan of Turkey and President Putin of Russia is increasing speculation of an eastward pivot by Turkey away from its traditional alliance with the US towards Russia and the Eurasian powers.

This speculation is undoubtedly correct for the short term.  However it remains far from clear how far that pivot will go and how successful it will be.

Turkey and Russia have had a complex relationship.  Before the First World War tsarist Russia and Ottoman Turkey were traditional enemies fighting a long succession of wars against each other.  However since the establishment of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1922 relations have alternated between short periods of friendship and longer periods of hostility.

Kemal himself for most of the period of his rule maintained very close and friendly relations with Russia.  Indeed in the 1920s and early 1930s the USSR and Turkey were often thought of as allies.  Relations however began to deteriorate towards the end of Kemal’s life and following the end of the Second World War Turkey aligned itself decisively with the West and against the USSR by joining NATO. 

In the late 1970s Bulent Ecevit, during one of his brief periods in office as Prime Minister of Turkey, visited Moscow in a way that appeared to signal an attempt to achieve a sustained improvement in relations.  The attempt – if such it was – was short-lived, and the two countries shortly after once again began to distance themselves from each other.

Relations however improved again following the coming to power in 2002 of Erdogan’s AKP party and for a time appeared to become very close.  However there was a sharp deterioration in relations at the end of last year, when the two countries fell out because of their conflicting positions in the Syrian war and following Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian SU24 aircraft near the Turkish – Syrian border.  Relations remained extremely tense until just a few weeks ago when Erdogan (to most people’s surprise) suddenly apologised for the SU24 shoot-down.  Relations have since improved, and following the recent coup attempt there has been a dramatic improvement.

This history should however serve as a warning against any idea that the two countries are natural allies or friends.  On the contrary the fact that for most of their history – including their recent history – they have been enemies, all but confirms the opposite.  It is significant that the only two periods when relations between Turkey and Russia have been close have both been periods when Turkey has had unusually strong leaders: Kemal and Erdogan.  At all other times, when the political situation in Turkey has been more normal, relations have gone back to being bad. 

That suggests that a state of conflict with Russia, rather than friendship with Russia, is Turkey’s natural or default position.  That in itself must call into doubt the prospects of a sustained friendship between the two states.

What chance however is there for a decisive pro-Russian pivot by Turkey whilst Erdogan remains in power?

The first point to say is that such a pivot would for the first time in the history of Russian – Turkish relations make economic sense.  Trade links between the two countries have burgeoned in recent years with Russia becoming a major investor in the Turkish economy and a key exporter to Turkey of energy and manufactured goods.  Turkey for its part until the recent short period of bad relations had become a major destination of Russian tourists and was becoming an important exporter of agricultural and other goods to Russia.  Russia was also becoming an important market for Turkish businesses.  To those who believe that good political relations follow trade (actually a highly debatable proposition that finds little support in historical experience) conditions for sustainably good relations between Turkey and Russia have never been better.

It is also true that Turkey has become increasingly disillusioned with the West. 

Turkey has had an association agreement with the EU since 1963.  It formally applied to join the EU in 1987.  It has however since then and to its growing frustration been obliged to witness a string of former Communist East European states, all of whom applied to join the EU after Turkey, being admitted to the EU ahead of Turkey, with Turkey constantly being put back to the end of the queue.  Turkey has so far not even managed to gain for its citizens visa free access to the EU. Some EU politicians have even recently taken to saying that they will never agree to Turkey joining the EU. 

In the meantime, as part of this seemingly endless accession process, the Turks have had to endure the usual lectures and demands for “reform” from the EU.  Not all of these reforms are popular or make much sense in Turkey.  Erdogan himself has also had to endure the indignity of being constantly mocked and ridiculed in Europe and of being patronised by EU politicians in ways he must find infuriating.  By contrast the Russians – even when they have been angry with him – have always treated Erdogan with respect as the leader of a great nation and state.

Unsurprisingly some sections of Turkish society have become increasingly disenchanted with this never-ending quest for EU membership and in recent years doubts have increasingly been voiced about whether it is even worth pursuing.  Turkey’s recent economic boom – which has shown that Turkey is perfectly able to prosper outside the EU – and the crisis in the Eurozone have meant that for the first time in decades there is a nationalist case for not joining the EU which in Turkey is gaining an increasing hearing.

Beyond Turkey’s disappointment with the EU there is also deepening frustration and anger with the way Turkey feels it has been treated by the US.  This centres on US treatment of Turkey during the Syrian conflict. 

Prior to the start of the conflict Turkey had built up close and very friendly relations with Syria, with Erdogan forging a strong personal bond with Syria’s President Assad.  Though it is not well remembered today, when the protests against Assad’s government in Syria began in 2011 the Turks were initially very reluctant to become involved.  Turkey was however strongly pressed to do so by the US and its other Western allies, with the result that Turkey rapidly became the chief base and staging post for Syrian rebels entering Syria to take part in the war there.

Turkey made this commitment under the impression – and assurance from its allies – that Assad’s government in Syria would quickly fall.  To Turkey’s dismay that has not only failed to happen but as the conflict in Syria has dragged on it has spread to Turkey itself.  Turkey is now the target of numerous jihadi terrorist attacks on its own soil, its large Alevi minority, which sympathises with President Assad, is deeply unhappy about the war, and a painfully negotiated settlement of the Kurdish issue with the Kurds has unravelled as Turkey has become increasingly concerned at the emergence of autonomous Kurdish controlled territories within Syria along the Turkish border.  To add insult to injury the US – Turkey’s NATO ally – has allied itself with some of these Kurdish forces in Syria despite warnings from the Turkish authorities that they are closely linked the Kurdish groups fighting the Turkish army in Turkey. 

Last but not least the conflict in Syria led to a major falling out last year between Turkey and Russia.  Not only did Turkey and Russia apparently come close this winter to an armed clash – with credible rumours the Russians threatened the Turks with nuclear weapons – but over the course of the crisis Turkey’s economic links to Russia came close to falling apart and Erdogan had to endure the personal humiliation of having the Russians publicly accuse members of his own family of illegal links to Daesh.

Not only has the Syrian conflict been a disaster for Turkey.  It has also brought home to the Turks how little the US ultimately cares about them.  It is known that Erdogan was bitterly angry, and felt personally betrayed, when US President Obama at the last moment called off the bombing strikes on Syria he had announced following the Ghouta chemical attack in August 2013.  Even more serious and unnerving for the Turks was the very tepid support Turkey got from the US and its NATO allies during the crisis in relations with Russia this winter following the shooting down of the SU24, with some German officials actually publicly blaming Turkey for the incident.

The Turks therefore already had good reasons to be angry with the US and the West before the recent coup attempt.  However that coup attempt has now made the Turks angrier still.

As I have recently written, it is unlikely the US was involved in the recent coup attempt.  The claim that it must have been involved because some of the F16 fighters involved in the coup took off from the giant air base at Incirlik is by the way wrong.  Whilst Incirlik is a US base, it is also a Turkish air force base.  The US does not control what the Turkish air force does there and is not in a position to prevent Turkish air force fighters taking off from a Turkish air force base in Turkey.

The important thing however – as I have also pointed out – is not whether the US was actually involved in the coup or not.  It is that Erdogan and public opinion in Turkey believe it was.  It is that belief which is now governing their actions and which is leading to a further sharp deterioration in relations between Turkey and the US.

The suspicions of US involvement in the coup meanwhile contrasts with clearcut Russian and Iranian opposition to it.  As I have said previously, the rumours the coup failed because of a Russian tip-off are almost certainly true.  Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek is incidentally just the latest in a long line of Russian and Turkish officials who have been given an opportunity to deny that there was a tip-off but have failed to do so.  When asked to comment about the tip-off a few days ago he stuck to what is clearly now the agreed line, which is that he didn’t know anything about it, but then went on to talk immediately of Russia’s clearcut support for Turkey.  His exact words – as reported by TASS – were as follows:

I have no information on this matter, but I’d like to note that the next day after the coup attempt the most serious backing was provided by Russia that emphasised its support to the legitimate government of Turkey. We highly value the phone call of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This support was very strong.”

(bold italics added)

It can therefore be taken as read that over the course of the next few weeks the Russians and the Turks will move much closer to each other.  Turkish anger with the US over the coup and gratitude to Russia will accelerate and intensify a process of Turkish – Russian rapprochement which was already underway before the coup.

How far however, will it go?

I would warn against over-high expectations.  Economic links will surely strengthen.  There is talk of a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, and that must now be a real possibility.  The Turk Stream gas pipeline project will surely be revived.  The Turks will lessen their support for the rebels in Syria (the state of the Turkish army following the coup anyway allows for nothing else).  There is even talk that they might join with the Russian military in joint operations against Daesh. It is by no means impossible that we could see a joint Russian-Turkish position for a Syrian settlement starting to form, with Turkey to some degree replacing the US as Russia’s main interlocutor in the negotiations to end the Syrian conflict.  Lastly Turkey could move closer towards some of the Eurasian institutions that are being created such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (in which it already has observer status) and the Eurasian Economic Union, and it might even take some initial steps towards joining them.  However actual membership of these organisations would be seen as incompatible with Turkey’s NATO’s membership, and I therefore doubt things will go that far (see below).

Simultaneously the Turks are likely to take more steps to distance themselves from the US.  They may continue for example their ongoing harassment of US personnel at the base in Incirlik.  It is not inconceivable that they might even start to float demands for the base to be closed, or for US nuclear weapons to be removed from there.  They might even revive an incendiary proposal that was briefly floated for a few days shortly before the coup of the Russians using the base to conduct operations in Syria.  The US was understandably enough horrified by this proposal, and succeeded in blocking it.  If it is now revived it will trigger serious alarm and anger in Washington.

However I doubt that Turkey will take any immediate steps to expel the US from Incirlik or to withdraw from NATO or to abandon its links to the EU.  Quite apart from the fact that taking such steps would reverse an alignment that is now 70 years old and which still has considerable support within Turkey itself, it would also antagonise the US, which would certainly at that point come to see Erdogan and his government as enemies.  I doubt that Erdogan will want that, regardless of how angry with the US he currently is.

The ongoing Russian – Turkish rapprochement will continue and will intensify.  I doubt however that there will be any formal reversal of alliances and I am sure the Russians don’t expect it.  Since their priority now must be to keep Erdogan in power as a potential partner, they might even advise against it if they feel that doing it might threaten Erdogan’s position by calling down on him the wrath of the US.

However the fact of that rapprochement will certainly have an immediate impact on the international situation, especially in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.  It might even complicate NATO operations in the Black Sea, and lead to resistance from Turkey to any more anti-Russian posturing by NATO such as we saw recently at the NATO summit in Warsaw, something that might become increasingly important if (as seems likely) Hillary Clinton is the next US President.  The Russians will surely feel that that is quite enough for the time being.

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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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