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Stoking Confrontation with Russia

by Stephen Lendman Friday, May. 02, 2014 at 7:40 AM


Stoking Confrontation with Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Confrontation is dangerous. At risk is escalating things to conflict. Doing so is madness. Major wars start this way.

Extremists infesting Washington go where angels fear to tread. Peace is considered sissy.

The militant Atlantic Council's just concluded Defending the Vision of a Europe Whole and Free conference addressed crisis conditions in Ukraine.

Hawkish present and past Western officials participated. Barry Pavel heads the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

He moderated a discussion featuring four Eastern European defense ministers. They included Estonia's Sven Mikser, the Czech Republic's Martin Stropnicky, Georgia's Irakli Alasania, and Montenegro's Milica Pejanovic Duristic.

They expressed similar views. They replicated US ones. They lied saying Putin threatens Europe. His agenda is expansionist, they claimed. He's revanchanist, they said.

He wants to dominate regional countries, they added. Western nations should unite against him, they urged.

Tougher sanctions should be imposed, they stressed. Greater NATO deterrence should be prioritized.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow spoke. Putin's "aggression" challenges Europe, he said.

He's trying to rewrite history, he claimed. He invaded Ukraine, he added. He rejects working cooperatively with NATO, he said. He sees it as an enemy, not partner.

He urged upgrading its Response Force to act more quickly to threats. Ukrainian crisis conditions show more readily deployable forces are needed, he claimed.

Madeleine Albright was Clinton's Secretary of State. Stephen Hadley served as GW Bush's National Security Advisor.

They're two of America's worst. They relish war. They deplore peace. They addressed Atlantic Council attendees.

They agreed. Obama, Congress, and major media need to act in unison. Tell Americans, they said. Explain Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Blame Putin's aggression, they stressed. According to Albright, "Americans want to worry about themselves."

They "don't know what our role is." Washington wants to help Ukraine and Eastern Europe, she said.

Putin wants Russia's borders expanded, she claimed. He wants regional dominance, she added.

Obama, Congress, and US media haven't explained things effectively, she said.

"Obviously we all believe in Presidential leadership. But…we also need leadership in Congress. We cannot have people who are proud not to have passports."

Through major media, “there is not enough of an explanation to the American people as to how important it is" to address Russia's attacks on Ukraine, she stressed.

"We have now spent zillions of hours. I'm really sorry about the people who were lost in the Malaysian plane, but the bottom line is that what is happening in Ukraine is so much more important for America's future and there's no explanation of it."

"We are exhausted from (over 12 years of war in) Iraq and Afghanistan. It is very dangerous."

"We have to recognize that ultimately, if nothing is done (against Putin), in the long run we will pay for it.”

Accordingly to Hadley, enlisting public support "always takes a president who goes to the American people not once, not twice, but consistently, explaining…why what happens out there matters here, and what we can and need to do about it."

"When presidents have done that, in a systematic and sustained way, the American people get it…and support it."

Albright, Hadley and other conference participants barely stopped short of urging war. Hawkish comments escalated things closer toward it.

Washington thrives on it. Eliminating Russia as a global rival is prioritized.

Ongoing events show resolving conditions responsibly won't happen. US and Russian policies are geopolitical opposites.

Moscow wants Ukraine independent, sovereign and free. Washington wants it co-opted. It wants total control. It wants it incorporated into NATO.

It wants new bases encroaching on Russia's borders. It wants its heartland targeted. It wants it weakened, isolated and controlled.

It wants it made a shell of its proud self. It wants it colonized. It wants it plundered. It wants ordinary Russians exploited. It wants war if other ways to achieve goals don't work.

Europe is more moderate than Washington. Putin and Germany's Angela Merkel spoke. They addressed each other's concerns.

On Thursday, the Kremlin press service said:

"Putin stresses that the most important now consists in withdrawing army units from Southeastern Ukraine's regions, ending violence, and immediately launching Russian dialogue in the framework of constitutional reforms process involving all regions and political forces."

"The discussion of the development of the social and political crisis in Ukraine continues."

"Merkel asks for help in the release of military observers, from several European countries, including Germany, detained in southeastern Ukraine."

They're infiltrators. They're NATO spies. Included are three German Bundeswehr officers. Sending them is provocative.

It escalates things. It's unrelated to OSCE monitoring. Germany's defense ministry controls them. It's high time it explained its involvement.

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed concern about Kiev's plans "to carry out a special assault operation in the south-eastern regions of the country using ultra-nationalist Right Sector units."

"Such irresponsible and aggressive actions by the present ‘Ukrainian government’ can have catastrophic consequences if implemented."

"Punitive measures against their own people would indicate the inability of the Kiev leadership to fulfill its obligations assumed under the Geneva Statement of April 17 to stop all violence as soon as possible and launch a broad national dialogue with all regions and political forces."

"Kiev and the conniving United States and the European Union which signed the Geneva agreement not to make criminal mistakes and to soberly assess the gravity of possible consequences for the use of force against the Ukrainian people."

"Kiev's intention to hold a nationwide (election) May 25 (is) a sham." Coup-appointed prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claims it's to "decentraliz(e) power."

Coup-appointed cabinet members approved so-called "regional reform." Unspecified guarantees for Russian speakers were proposed. Lack of specificity assures none.

Russia's Foreign Ministry pulled no punches saying:

"Instead of launching an extensive nationwide discussion in the country to seek for ways out of the deep political and socio-economic crisis that would involve all political forces and all regions, Kiev authorities are engaged in staging sham actions."

"This will lead nowhere except to a further aggravation of the crisis in the country." Polar opposite policies are needed to avert a potentially catastrophic East/West confrontation.

A Final Comment

Dozens of countries commemorate May 1 annually. May Day is International Workers Day.

The first Monday in September is Labor Day in America and Canada. It once had meaning. It no longer does.

Years of organizing, taking to the streets, going on strike, holding boycotts, battling police and National Guard forces, as well as paying with blood and lives won real gains. Now they're lost.

Bargaining collectively with management on equal terms can be regained. So can peace and fundamental rights.

Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize! Don't compromise. Stay the course. Eastern Ukrainians won't do less.

Over 100,000 rallied in Moscow. They carried signs and banners saying "Unity!" "Solidarity!" "Rights of Working People!" "Decent Work - Fair Pay!"

Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITU) Secretary Alexander Shershukov called this year's commemoration an "antifascist event."

It targets illegitimate Kiev fascist putschists. It deplores war. It champions peace.

Going all-out for conditions fit to live in makes them possible. Achieving them takes resolve. Struggles aren't won easily.

Power yields nothing. Direct action alone works. The only solution is world revolution. What better time than now.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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