Taking-On the Pathological Compulsion To Confront Russia

[We have been so conditioned throughout our lives to see Russians as the ultimate “Bad Guys,” that great effort is required on our parts to see past this psychological conditioning.  Some factions of our society see the taming of Russian treachery as a mission in life.  Whenever new opportunity arises which accomodates these American “holy warriors” (think John McCain or Jesse Helms), the volume of their cheerleading overwhelms our ability to think straight.  Giving free-rein to the McCains and the Lindsays of our political establishment, during eras of war fever, is a formula for catastrophe.]

Taking on Russia

By James W. Carden

An important step in the growing movement challenging the established foreign policy consensus with regard to U.S.-Russia policy has been taken with the launch of the new American Committee for East-West Accord.

As the Washington foreign policy establishment finds itself firmly in the grip of a bipartisan consensus, which seeks to fan the flames of conflict in eastern Ukraine by, among other moves, agitating for weapons deliveries to Kiev, U.S.-Russian relations have sunk to their lowest point since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

The Committee hopes to impact the tenor of the debate over U.S.-Russian policy and the crisis in Ukraine by elevating the tone of the discussion from one dominated, at least in the United States, by ad hominem attacks and baseless assertions to a dialogue that centers around a civil discussion regarding the interests of the nations involved and the ethics of the means chosen to achieve those interests. This we hope will be done though open debate and civilized dialogue with those who are opposed to achieving any sort of detente or a modus vivendi with Russia.

The parties opposing any kind of rapprochement with Russia have been, and clearly remain, ascendant. From the time the crisis in Ukraine began in late 2013, leading foreign policy voices within the Obama administration including UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, have strived to paint the crisis in simple black and white terms: the Maidan revolutionaries like Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are the good guys and Vladimir Putin is the bad guy, and but for Putin’s often-described aggression the crisis would not have occurred on the first place.

Yet those who have repeatedly (and so-far with little success) pointed out that perhaps matters aren’t so simple, have been the target of critics who question not only their premises but their patriotism as well. Anyone who has had the temerity to question whether NATO’s relentless expansion eastward to Russia’s borders has contributed to the crisis, can look forward to being labeled a “useful idiot,” a “dupe,” or a “Kremlin apologist.” The trend towards character assassination in lieu of substantive debate has been one of the defining features of the debate over US-Russia policy in the late Obama years.

And so, one of the reasons the time is right for a new Committee is that there are increasing similarities between debates of a generation ago, particularly with regard to our opposite numbers, who, by and large, are made up of a band of neoconservative activists who during the height of the Cold War comprised the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). To give a sense of how little has changed in the ensuing decades, the CPD, anticipating much of the overheated rhetorical bombast aimed at Vladimir Putin’s government that we hear today, issued a statement in 1977 that read, in part:

“The Soviet military build-up of all its armed forces over the past quarter century is, in part, reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s rearmament in the 1930s.”

That type of rhetoric, it seems, has never gone out of fashion for neoconservatives of a certain stripe and remains one of the true stumbling blocks towards holding a civilized and enlightened dialogue which the current iteration the Committee for East-West Accord hopes to inspire.

The Committee’s founding board is made up of several eminent former public servants, businessmen and scholars whose diverse backgrounds and careers who all share a sense of alarm over what is fast developing into a new Cold War and perhaps even an armed U.S.-Russia confrontation in eastern Europe. The Board includes former Senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley, former American Ambassadors William vanden Heuvel and Jack Matlock, businessmen with long experience in Russia, such as former Procter and Gamble CEO John Pepper and the Brussels-based executive Gilbert Doctorow, as well as two eminent scholars of U.S.-Russian relations and Soviet History, Ellen Mickiewicz of Duke and Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton and NYU.

While the Committee is new, its name evokes a distinguished predecessor, the Committee on East-West Accord, which was the leading pro-detente group in the latter half of the Cold War. The old Committee on East-West Accord boasted such luminaries as the scholar, diplomat George F. Kennan, former Under Secretary of State George Ball, Pepsico Chair Donald Kendall, and our own Stephen F. Cohen.

To help achieve its goals, the Committee has launched a companion web site, EastWestAccord.com which features its Mission Statement, several initial proposals for ending the crisis, biographical information on the Founding Board and updates from our European coordinator, Gilbert Doctorow. The site also features the latest opinions and headlines on U.S.-Russia and the Ukraine crisis in the News and Analysis sections as well as a small but growing archive of Official Statements from the American and Russian governments.

We hope that the site will serve as a non-partisan resource for policymakers and citizens who are concerned about what seems to be a headlong rush into a new and potentially more dangerous new Cold War with Russia.

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James W. Carden, a Nation contributing writer, is the executive editor of EastWestAccord.com.

Western Anti-Russian Campaign Plotted Before Ukraine Coup d’etat

NATO Secretary General Jens StoltenbergNATO’s turn against Russia plotted long before Ukraine events — diplomat

tass russian news

The whole NATO machine is turning to the East, in other words is going back to the sources, it’s an extremely dangerous tendency as it envisages long-term trends, Russia’s envoy to the alliance–Alexander Grushko

© EPA PHOTO BELGA / BENOIT DOPPAGNE

MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. NATO’s return to the Cold War era security perception was planned long before the Ukrainian crisis, Russia’s envoy to the alliance, Alexander Grushko, said on Tuesday.

“Today, the whole NATO machine is in fact turning to the East, in other words is going back to the sources. This is an extremely dangerous tendency as it envisages long-term trends,” he told a video link-up between Moscow and Brussels.

“NATO links the need for such a turn to Russia’s alleged aggressive actions in Ukraine,” the diplomat said. “But NATO cannot but see what efforts are made by Russia to ensure the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

“However, those decisions that are taken are no way linked to the Ukrainian crisis, what is becoming another evidence that the military and political turn of NATO was devised long before the Ukrainian events,” he said.

This turn comes first of all as the “epoch of major operations is over, showing NATO’s failure to adopt to new security conditions.” In order to prove that this tool is still in demand, “the alliance has found nothing better than to return to the security perception of the Cold War time.”

US Breathing Down Lebanon’s Neck, Hoping To Stampede Them Into Mediterranean Gas Free-for-all

[The American ambassador is breathing down Lebanon’s neck, urging leaders to jump-in and stake their claims to Med. Gas profits. Never mind, whether it is necessary to draw another at this time in the Middle East line. Israel cannot “slant-drill” Lebanon’s gas until they first manage to begin their own production and marketing. Israeli populist concerns about gas monopolies overcharging for domestic gas will eventually be settled, but the bigger problems will be the cost of cleaning-up the high-pressure gas from Leviathan, and finding a third partner for Israel’s gas oligarchs, because no big oil company wants to be identified with the Zionist state.]

U.S. Envoy Urges Lebanese ‘Not to be Late’ for Energy ‘Party’

naharnet

W460

The U.S. Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs at the State Department has stressed that the solution to the exploration of Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas lied in the hands of the Lebanese.

Amos Hochstein, who is currently on an official visit to Lebanon, told An Nahar daily in remarks published on Thursday that “it was time for Lebanon to issue oil decrees and start working.”

“The solution is in your hands,” he said.

“The issue is more complicated than just drawing a line on a map,” Hochstein said about calls for the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel.

“Gas prices have dropped and opportunities in the world are growing and some countries are developing,” the U.S. envoy told An Nahar, advising the Lebanese “not to arrive late for the party.”

Sharp differences among Lebanese officials have stalled the endorsement of two oil decrees that are needed to start exploration.

The first decree tackles the demarcation of the 10 maritime oil blocks and the second is linked to setting up a revenue-sharing model and tackles the contracts signed with the international companies.

Several Lebanese officials have warned that the delay in the government’s approval of the decrees has given Israel the opportunity to siphon Lebanon’s offshore gas and oil through fields that lie only a few kilometers from the country’s territorial waters.

Hochstein met on Thursday with Speaker Nabih Berri, al-Mustaqbal bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

On Wednesday, he held talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian and UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano.

Al-Liwaa daily quoted the envoy as saying that the U.S. is ready to assist Lebanon in the demarcation of its maritime border.

The Lebanese officials insisted that the process should be carried out through the United Nations, informed sources told the newspaper.

HOW BLOODY SECTARIAN STATES IN THE GULF KEEP BRITAIN PROSPEROUS

HOW BLOODY SECTARIAN STATES IN THE GULF KEEP BRITAIN PROSPEROUS

sons of malcolm


London’s Shard and the Arab World’s Sectarianism

Churchill’s Karma

During the heyday of George W.Bush’s “War on Terror”, his erstwhile ally Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair scolded the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez and the Bolivian President, Evo Morales in the aftermath of a European Union-Latin American summit.

Blair requested both Presidents behave sensibly and responsibly with their respective country’s natural resources. Obviously, Bush’s right hand man did not qualify how such ‘sensibility’ and ‘responsibility’ should manifest itself. But if we gaze across the world and look at how the Arab despots of the Persian Gulf spend their wealth we certainly can decipher what the war criminal meant by ‘sensibly’ and ‘responsibility’.

Abundantly clear to the naked eye, is that what Blair demanded from the Latin Americans, is that their wealth should be jubilantly showered on the British economy.

There hardly isn’t any aspect of the British economy which hasn’t been supported (or “invested in” as the British media likes to delusionally boast) by the Gulf statelets. These statelets have shown themselves to be, in effect, nothing but British demarcated oil wells designed to give the British economy priority over the regions hinterland populations.

Great Britain’s leading arms exporter, British Aerospace is totally dependent on the weapons sold to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE), etc. There very likely would not be a globally renowned, successful British arms industry if it wasn’t for these statelets. I’ve written specifically about this here and discussed other parts of the British economy propped up by the Gulf dictators here.

The latest act of most outrageous ‘sensibly’ and ‘responsibly’ in spending the oil wealth, is that leader of the UAE is building a personal six-story car park in London for his collection of over 110 lucrative private cars to the tune £20 million. While millions around the world are starving to death, what better way for a British lackey to spend the wealth of the region than to build a car park in his master’s capital?

More so, the British economy has been propped up in recent years by these artificial states in the Persian Gulf created by British imperialism, while the mainland of the Arab World sinks deeper into sectarian war funded and tele-visually fanned by these same states. There has always been an outrageous and blood soaked international dimension and backbone to British prosperity. Back in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries it was the transatlantic trade in millions of captured Africans as labour for North American/Caribbean (sugar, tobacco and cotton) plantations and British imperialist rule over India which allowed Great Britain to be the most powerful imperial power on earth.

William Gladstone, the much vaunted great Liberal politician of the nineteenth century, began his career in the British parliament, knee and neck deep in the blood of his father’s slave plantations in Jamaica. Yet we hear next to nothing of this when Great Britain’s famous historians marvel and recount on how great and sublime the British Empire was. Such moral obliviousness never escaped George Orwell. Writing on British prosperity in the late 1930’s he had this to say:

“What we always forget is that the over­whelming bulk of the British proletariat does not live in Britain, but in Asia and Africa. It is not in Hitler’s power, for instance, to make a penny an hour a normal industrial wage; it is perfectly normal in India, and we are at great pains to keep it so. One gets some idea of the real relationship of England and India when one reflects that the per capita annual income in England is something over £80, and in India about £7…This is the system which we all live on…”

Returning to the contemporary world, British political commentators would never mention how Great Britain’s continued prosperity is more or less dependent (or “the system which we live on”) on the bogus statelets created by British imperialism in the Persian Gulf. The barbaric sectarianism running rampant in the Arab World today is the flip-side, of say, the tallest building in Western Europe and London’s latest iconic landmark, the Qatari financed ‘The Shard’ or a Gulf Sheikh’s car park in London.

With one hand the Arab despots of the Persian Gulf fan sectarianism in the Arab mainland and beyond, and with the other they are left free to “invest” in the British economy. The Shard can be seen as symbolising the twisted and essential link between jihadist sectarianism of the Arab World and the British economy.

How Desperate Will Russia Become If Putin Loses Turkey and “Turkish Stream”?

[Putin has sorely pissed Turkey off, by calling the Armenian slaughter “genocide,” at a time when Erdogan’s entire government and political coalition has collapsed around him.  Is this enough to motivate the egotistical Islamist Turk in Ankara into killing the deal?  Probably, yes.  But, the collapse of his coalition does probably mean that any final deal with Russia would be delayed at least until a new govt forms.   Would an end to the Russo-Turkish romance increase Erdogan’s propensity for rash decisions in Northern Syria?  Will the anti-Kurdish campaign begin with the official death of the Russian deal?

When Putin pivoted to Turkish Stream, he started instant negotiations with Greece, Montenegro, Serbia and Hungary to receive most of that gas coming ashore in Turkey.  Today, Ukrainian negotiations broke down and then Ukraine “stopped taking Russian gas,” but not before reassuring their EU pals that their gas would continue to transit through Ukraine.  If Putin loses both future and present European gas sales, does that mean that Obama has “checkmated” Putin? 

If Putin loses all economic strength because of Obama, will he agree to a total submission to an American “world order,” when he becomes “boxed-in,” or will he turn to military solutions in exasperation?]

Russian president Putin calls 1915 Armenian killings ‘genocide’

todays zaman

Russian president Putin calls 1915 Armenian killings ‘genocide’

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

 

“Gazprom” has dived without permission

kommersant


“Turkish Stream” will be built up to an agreement with Turkey



Turkmenistan is ready to deliver gas to the Caspian Sea environment

“Gazprom” for the first time launches a major export project without signing a binding agreement on it: the monopoly announced the start of construction of the pipeline “Turkish stream.” As a result, “Gazprom” is likely to remain with the unfinished tube in the middle of the Black Sea, but the company believes that the delay of a purely political and the agreement with Turkey will be signed after the elections in the country in early June. In Ankara, however, still waiting for the state, and discounts Botas. Early start of “Gazprom” gives Turkey an advantage in the negotiations, but he has nothing to lose: the monopoly is already paying the contractor for the simple.

Installation of the offshore portion of the pipeline, “Turkish Stream” through the Black Sea will begin in June, said yesterday a member of the Board of “Gazprom”, Oleg Aksyutin. He explained that on the first stretch of the pipeline contract signed a contract with the Italian Saipem. “The work will be carried out two ships, depending on the installation conditions. So, in the shallow water work will begin in early June”, – he said. Thus, the Russian monopoly is preparing to start the first real action of the project, which is discussed the past six months.
Friends Club of “Gazprom”
In Europe, a new coalition of allies, “Gazprom”. After the failure of the construction of the South Stream pipeline under the pressure of the EU and the US potential participants in the alternative “Turkish stream” – Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Turkey – have decided to consolidate the position in advance

“Gazprom” in the autumn of last year, contracted from Saipem two-laying vessel (Castoro Sei and Saipem 7000), who had to work on the marine portion of the precursor “of the Turkish stream” gas pipeline South Stream, but after the abolition of the latter in December 2014 stood idle. According to calculations, “b”, a simple cost “Gazprom” of about € 25 million per month. In early May, after the next negotiating chapter of “Gazprom” Alexei Miller and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Saipem was instructed to begin work on a project of similar guidelines said yesterday German Europipe (supplier of pipes for the offshore section).

The Dutch subsidiary of “Gazprom” South Stream Transport BV have permission to lay about two-thirds of the offshore section, which take place in territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation (permits were obtained for the South Stream). But permission to lay pipe in the territorial waters of Turkey and its conclusion on the beach at the “Gazprom” is not, as well as permission to survey for a route. While Moscow and Ankara signed by the “Turkish flow” is generally no binding document.
Crossing Europe
The European Commission begins road show project to create energy union of EU. Vice-President Maros Shefchovich regulator during the summer plans to visit member countries, explaining the details and identifying potential problems. The final report should be the basis for further action in the framework of the project. It is believed that Energosoiuz largely directed against Russia. But sources “b” on the European energy market emphasizes that the European Commission will rise much more contentious issues, rather than the traditional conflicts over Russian gas supplies

Thus, “Gazprom” for the first time begins to build an export pipeline at a stage where the country of destination is not even signed an intergovernmental agreement. Monopoly in a hurry to bring gas to Turkey and South-Eastern Europe before the EU can implement its counter-strategy for the supply of Turkmen and Iranian gas or restrict purchases of Russian gas through the mechanisms of the future energy union (see. “Kommersant” on May 19). In the worst scenario, such haste may lead to the fact that “Gazprom” will be forced pending a decision by Turkey to stop the laying of pipes still at sea – according to the interlocutor, “Kommersant”, close to a monopoly, is technologically possible.

However, the “Gazprom” expects to soon reach an agreement with Turkey. According to the Russian source “b”, familiar with the negotiations, the wire is connected with the parliamentary elections in Turkey, to be held June 7. They are part of the ruling party Taner Yildiz. The signing of the documents on the “Turkish stream”, especially in light of the harsh statements of Ankara after Vladimir Putin’s speech at the event to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, could hurt Mr. Yildiz in the presidential race, said the source “b”. At the same time, according to “Kommersant”, after the election of Mr. Yildiz can leave his post and become an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on energy.
As the “Gazprom” gave a discount to private importers
“Gazprom” after months of negotiations agreed to give discounts to private Turkish companies, which account for over a third of Russian gas imports. Discount, according to sources, “b”, will be about 25% in the first quarter and 15% in the second, and in May the price will fall to around $ 260 per 1 thousand. Cubic meters

On the other hand, the Turkish interlocutors “b” believe that the key issue is not politics, and gas prices for Turkey that “Gazprom” in no hurry to lower. Private importers have discounts only after months of negotiations (see. “Kommersant” on May 5), and state-owned Botas it has not yet been received. “We figured that with the” Turkish stream “Turkey will become a strategic partner but while” Gazprom “does not behave like a partner”, – complains one of the sources of “b”.

Director of the Institute of Turkish energy markets and policy EPPEN Volkan Özdemir believes that the decline in prices for Botas really is the main condition for the agreement on “the Turkish stream.” According to him, the agreement can only be achieved after the elections, as the most likely to be replaced by Turkish Minister of Energy, “which means the emergence of new people in the ministry and in the Botas”. “Since the agreement with Turkey, no, I do not quite understand the statement of” Gazprom “to start construction of the pipeline,” – emphasizes Mr. Ozdemir, adding that “such statements are not going to benefit the project.” He also believes that, given the pressure from the West, which Turkey declines to abandon the project, Russia has to offer “something new”, in addition to the simple supply and transit of gas.

Neither the start of construction or even the conclusion of agreements on the “Turkish flow” is no guarantee of success. South Stream begins to build three times: in August 2012 was inaugurated the first joint is welded to the compressor station “Russian” near Anapa, then, at the end of October 2013, officially started the construction of the Bulgarian section, and a month later – Serbian. After another year, the project was canceled.

Yuri Barsukov, Olga Kuznetsova