Why Russia Fears NATO

One of the most self-defeating concepts I’ve run into in the past 20 years is the idea that if somebody else is wrong about something, then one doesn’t have to pay any attention to their opinion. “Wrong” could mean either factually or morally/legally incorrect, or both. Regardless, the theory is that if I am right and you are wrong, then what you think shouldn’t affect my behaviour. I should do what I believe it is right to do regardless of your opinion. Wrongness can’t defeat rightness.

An example of this popped up this week in a post on Twitter by former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, a man well-known for his hawkish position vis-à-vis the Russian government. With reference to the current tensions between Russia and NATO , Bildt comments that

“I see that Russia complains that the West has a ‘lack of understanding’ of the Kremlin’s security demands. That’s entirely correct. Virtually everything they’ve said in the last few weeks about NATO or Ukraine suddenly becoming a threat to Russia is pure invention. Factually wrong.”

You get the logic, I’m sure. In Bildt’s eyes, it is a verifiable truth that NATO does not threaten Russia. Any claims to the contrary from Russia are “factually wrong”. Therefore, NATO should not make any concessions to Russia.

I’ve come across this sort of argument many times in different variations. Before the invasion of Iraq, for instance, I was told that one could not oppose the invasion on the grounds that it would incite terrorism, because “We can’t let the terrorists dictate our policy.” Terrorists are wrong, you see, whereas we are right. So their wrongheadedness is irrelevant.

This is, of course, a silly approach. It doesn’t matter whether other people’s beliefs are right or wrong; what matters is that they believe them and that this affects their behaviour. Maybe, just maybe – for the sake of argument – in invading Iraq you are, in some objective sense, liberating people from an evil dictator. But if the locals think that you are there to occupy them and grab their oil, and therefore take up arms against you, it doesn’t matter what the objective truth is. You’d be better off if you had taken the Iraqis’ incorrect opinion into account.

Likewise, maybe Russia is indeed “wrong” in its assessment of NATO, but that incorrect assessment is driving what it does, with serious consequences. Ignoring it because it’s wrong is simply stupid. Instead, you need to be thinking about why others think the way they do, wondering if it’s perhaps because you’ve done something that’s given them the wrong impression, and then doing something about it. Charging forward all guns blazing simply reinforces the incorrect assessment, causing a reaction that in the end hurts you.

In short, ignoring other people’s alleged wrongness harms one’s own interests as much as theirs.

All this assumes that the others actually are “wrong.” What if they’re not? Or what if, though wrong, there are good reasons for them to believe what they believe given the circumstances in which they find themselves? In short, what if the reason they misperceive you is because you’ve done and said things that lend themselves to misperception? In that case, ignoring the misperception is a huge mistake – instead, you need to address your own behaviour.

So is it “wrong” for Russia to believe that NATO threatens it? I can see in some abstract, objective way, you might say yes, in that I don’t believe that NATO has any intention of ever attacking Russia. Minus intention there is no threat.

However, from Russia’s own subjective position, things look differently. NATO’s claims that it is a purely defensive alliance ring hollow after its attacks on Yugoslavia and Libya. NATO has a proven track record of attacking weak states it doesn’t like. Russians might well conclude that maintaining a strong military is the only guarantee they have of not meeting the same fate.

Beyond that, the rhetoric coming out of the West, and particularly the United States, is extremely belligerent. NATO might have no intention of attacking Russia, but if you read the American press, as I’m sure the Russian government does, you might not be so sure.

Take, for instance, a piece published yesterday by Evelyn Farkas, who served as US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia under Barack Obama. Entitled “The US Must Prepare for War Against Russia Over Ukraine,” the article is, to say the least, a little frightening. Its basic logic is that in order to stop a Russia that is hell-bent on destroying the entire international order, America must threaten it with war, and if it doesn’t surrender, launch that war – for war now is better than war later.

Nuts.

But sadly I kid not.

Farkas argues that if America makes concessions to Russia over Ukraine, it “will spell the beginning of the end of the international order. … Any appeasement will only beget future land grabs not only from Putin, but also from China in Taiwan and elsewhere. … the rules-based international order will collapse.” She concludes:

“The only way to reassert the primacy of international law and sanctity of international borders, and contain Russia, may be to issue our own ultimatum. We must not only condemn Russia’s illegal occupations of Ukraine and Georgia, but we must demand a withdrawal from both countries by a certain date and organize coalition forces willing to take action to enforce it. … The horrible possibility exists that Americans, with our European allies, must use our military to roll back Russians – even at the risk of direct combat. But if we don’t now, Putin will force us to fight another day, likely to defend our Baltic or other East European allies.”

So, for the sake of Ukraine and Georgia, the United States should threaten Russia with World War Three, and if it doesn’t concede, should carry through with the threat.

Now imagine that you are sitting in Moscow reading this. What are you going to think? You might dismiss it as the mad rantings of some nobody on the internet, but this is a former Assistant Secretary of Defense – and a Democratic one, to boot. If this is what the supposedly moderate Democrats of the Obama era think like, what’s going on in the minds of the current bunch, let alone the Republicans? Reading this, you’re not necessarily going to assume that this is actual government policy, but you’re certainly going to have some doubts about the sanity of the US security establishment. Claims that you are “wrong” to think that NATO threatens you aren’t going to have much of an impact. Can you take the chance when senior ex-officials are saying this sort of thing?

Regardless of whether the Russian leadership is “wrong” or “right” to think as it does about NATO, its beliefs make sense from where it is standing, and those beliefs don’t come out of nowhere, but are to some degree a product of what the US and its NATO allies have done and said, and continue to do and say. Telling the Russians that they are “wrong” and therefore have to shut up and put up with it will achieve nothing other than convince them that they are indeed right.

Of course, we have the right to decide that annoying the Russians is a price we are willing to pay in order to pursue more valuable objectives. To date, that’s been our policy. In essence, Russia’s problem has been that we simply don’t care enough about it to feel that we need to take its concerns into consideration. Russia is now trying to convince us that we need to do so. I don’t see much sign that they’re succeeding.

66 thoughts on “Why Russia Fears NATO”

  1. How many senators and other officials have declared Russia, or more correct “Putin”, an enemy of the USA?

    At one point one has to take that label seriously and prepare for war.
    It is not Russia encircling with bases the EU or the USA.

    I heard today in an interview with Afshin on RT that the Obama regime had abandoned the idea of acting against Ghaddafi, a decision that was however within an hour or so overturned by the Clinton harpy. With that example in mind – who can you trust in Washington.

    And not to forget – how many NATO allies participated in the illegal move against Iraq? Even if NATO officially did not participate.
    How many stood up against the US breaking the JCPOA?

    There seems to be a severe lack of reflection and self-critique in NATO/US, a whole lot of arrogance, and the will to forget history.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A punchy thought provoking 20 minute segment covering (among some other topics) Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and neolib/neocon foreign policy elites:

      Robustly providing top quality analysis on a range of key foreign policy, historical, media and sports issues.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, Russia does have its territory placed suspiciously close to the European borders and NATO bases, doesn’t it? That proves its (Russia’s) belligerent nature beyond any doubt /s

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      1. Some might not see the sarcasm or second guess whether you’re being sarcastic.

        Russia’s far eastern flank isn’t under threat. A 200,000-300,000 Russian force to takeover all of Ukraine is cutting things short.

        It’s not gonna happen. I’m already seeing flacks like Juan Williams saying that Biden’s threat might serve to deter “Russian aggression”. Just as ridiculous, Brit Hume added that the proposed sanctions on Russia will not have such a negative effect on others.

        This is all about unpopular US and Ukrainian presidents looking for a diversion, in addition to seeking to quash Nord Stream II and the military industrial complex looking for greater opportunities..

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    3. Paging Blinken & Amanpour:

      https://tass.com/defense/1388731

      Are you a government faced with a violent insurrection? Call 1 800 CSTO. Upon request, CSTO will promptly send a rapid deployment force to assist in your effort to return normalcy. Upon completion, CSTO will leave, as opposed to another power which is in Syria uninvited and remains in Iraq, despite that country’s parliament asking for a withdrawal.

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    4. Exactly. Article’s concluding line is strange though. Russia is not suceeding in trying to get US attention?

      Did Russia just wake up one day and decide to give it a shot? To ask US to pay attention to the process of encircling?

      This is clearly a ling term process, but the one with a mivement forward. Russia fully expected at this stage such an arrogant and superior posturing. Russia has mapped its tasks meticulously, taken into account all possible alternatives, We just do not know where does it lead. But following the logic of US officials —- Russia is ready for war. There may be many intermediate steps, but at this point Russia has several strategic advantages, while US is catching up. Three key technologies — missile defense, hypersonic missiles, including MIRV, and autonomous submarine drone/probe. And it will not be Ruusia alone. US must take into account the simple fact — China cannot alllow US to prevail. US will find out that it does not have that many allies after all, We are simply looking at the first shot fired.

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  2. Reading Maximilian Forte, “Slouching Toward Sirte: NATOs War on Libya and Africa” left me with a clear understanding that NATO is no longer a force for good but more of a threat to civilization. The USIans hold it completely hostage to their insane bloodthirsty agenda. Victoria Nuland’s comments yesterday are a classic example of pure disingenuous USian projection when she accuses Russia of creating a crisis for Ukraine, for European security, and for global security. The US is without question hostis humani generis.

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    1. It isn’t so much NATO but America. NATO is an american organisation used to pursue US colonial and foreign financial interests (stealing oil, gas, gold, minerals etc). Same as the IMF really and the World Bank. If a war does indeed happen one must bear in mind that the Russians do not have to fight a war on multiple fronts against multiple nations, it has to fight only one war on one front and win it and that is with the US. Russia has the capability even in a conventional conflict to hit the American homeland and hit it hard, asymmetrically and with state of the art weaponry. Once the US folds the rest of NATO will crumble. Sure the crazy nazis in ukraine or the crazy nationalists in Poland may need sweeping up by ground forces but the war will have been won long before that. The only risk is just how the crazy mentally ill Russophobic neocons will react to defeat, will their heads implode and will they go nuclear?

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  3. NATO affords the US an excuse to build bases and set up missile launching sites in every one of the member/satellite states. In addition, as was recently demonstrated, the ID government can use these states to establish prisons and other facilities that it would be inconvenient to set up in the USA.
    Once this has been done the satellite state becomes economically and politically indebted to the US- losing its ability to leave the alliance. It is no accident that no state, with the instructive and partial exception of France, has ever left NATO. As the recent Corbyn experience in the UK showed the US government will simply not tolerate governments which might leave an alliance whose continued existence can only be justified by maintaining the fiction that Russia represents a military threat to Europe. This was a nonsense in the Cold War it is absolute nonsense now.

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  4. The preparation that Russia is taking, the fact that they were able to take and keep the initiative and the speaking platform, and the wording and shedding of any attempt to sidestep issues and cloak them in diplomatic speak, have convinced me that Russia will strike. Romania’s NATO rocket base will be destroyed, as will any other preparations for naval bases in Ukraine. These negotiations have created the context and clarified the reason. They did not use the words ‘ultimatum’ for these Russian demands, but that will be the next stage. Cuba II, here we come. Let’s hope the Americans are not insane: a dying empire will thrash about irrationally.

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  5. I, frankly, don’t understand why this should be all about NATO.

    The US is, by far, the strongest military power in the world. It doesn’t need Macedonia, Montenegro, and Estonia to be stronger. The US has military bases all over the world. Many in Europe, in NATO countries, but a lot outside Europe too. I imagine the US would be able to build its military installations in Poland and Romania without NATO; just by signing bilateral agreements. Oh, and as far as military command-control, I imagine the NATO bureaucracy makes it less efficient than if it was run directly by the US military.

    So, why is it all about NATO? Yes, weaker NATO countries become, in effect, politically subservient to the US; they lose their independence. And that’s extremely unpleasant for the RF when these countries are Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia. Just as Cuba being a Soviet client was extremely unpleasant for the US. Note that Cuba never was a member of the Warsaw pact.

    I guess my point is that the anti-NATO crusade doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense from the security point of view. It does make sense from the multipolarity point of view, though. Defining spheres of influence.

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    1. I don’t see an anti-NATO crusade by Russia. The Russians correctly understand that there is only one sovereign member in NATO, which is the US. In that sense, NATO and the US are interchangeable. The Russians are negotiating with the US, nobody else. The US’ NATO satraps will then get their marching orders from Washington. The Europeans also know that they are non-entities, but they prefer the pretense of being included. Hence their loud whinging about being sidelined in the current talks. But the Russians are correct. You only need to deal with the Don, i.e. Uncle Sam.

      Evelyn Farkas (farkas meaning wolf in Hungarian) is an unhinged American of Hungarian descent. His father is a 1956 Hungarian emigrant, and they both still seem to be fighting the invading Soviets. A US/NATO War against Russia in Ukraine or Georgia means nuclear war. Which would be the end of human civilization as we know it. I am sure the US military understands this. So Evelyn’s foaming at the mouth doesn’t matter.

      There is a petition circulating among the members of AGU (the American Geophysical Union), calling mainly on the US to deescalate and introduce steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war. These include the US renouncing the first use of nukes, removing warheads from missiles, POTUS not being allowed to issue launch orders alone, etc.

      It was members of my professional community, Alan Robock of the US and Gera Stenchikov of the USSR/Russia, who did the first atmospheric modeling studies on nuclear winter. Sadly, their current petition is as relevant as ever.

      The Western world has to decide whom they listen to. Rational scientists or unhinged lunatics like Farkas or the equally deranged Russophobes of the German fake green party (Baerbock and Habeck).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “I don’t see an anti-NATO crusade by Russia.”

        The post is written like that: “Why Russia Fears NATO”, and that’s what I responded to. It probably makes sense for Russia to be concerned about the possibility of a ‘preemptive nuclear strike’. But that wouldn’t be decided or ordered by NATO. In fact, any possible military confrontation with the West wouldn’t be decided or ordered by NATO.

        To make the same point in a slightly hyperbolic way: NATO is mostly a legal framework simplifying the process of placing US military bases in member-states. Same can be done without NATO, just more paperwork.

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      2. I assume our host also uses NATO and the US interchangeably. NATO is just a polite shorthand for the US and its satraps. Everybody understands there is only a single sovereign here. But the satraps prefer to be called NATO ‘allies’.

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      3. Yes, like I said: from the national security point of view, it’s the US.

        But for defining the spheres of influence, it’s perfectly rational to oppose NATO enlargement. But that’s not a case of ‘fearing NATO’. It’s a case of claiming the sphere of influence. Something like the 1945 Yalta conference, is what the RF is trying to do when they talk about NATO, I think.

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      4. I agree, it’s rational for Russia to oppose NATO’s enlargement. I opposed Hungary’s joining of NATO and voted no in the referendum. The referendum was invalid due to low voter turnout, but our quisling political elite made the country a NATO member anyway. So much for Hungarian democracy.

        I don’t believe Russia wants to carve out a traditional sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, where she wants to control the cultural, political, economic life of countries. Russia would like to have militarily neutral countries on its Eastern flank, which is the traditional invasion route of the racist Western powers. It’s a perfectly legitimate demand in my opinion. The EU doesn’t gain anything by allowing the US to turn us into military beachheads against Russia. Only the US benefits from this conflict.

        The top EU clown, Charles Michel the president of the EC, said that Europe wants to be a player not a playing field. Sadly, brown nosing the Americans guarantees that we are a playing field for the malignant yanks.

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      5. “Russia would like to have militarily neutral countries on its Eastern flank, which is the traditional invasion route of the racist Western powers.”

        I think, just as in Yalta, the basic idea would be to have a circle of client states (this time it’d be former Soviet republics: Ukraine, Belarus, etc. Not sure about the Baltic states) within the circle of neutral (‘non-aligned’ in the military sense) states (this time it’d be Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania).

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      6. equally deranged Russophobes of the German fake green party (Baerbock and Habeck).
        The German Atlanticist camp is a lot larger. But I agree concerning Baerbock and Habeck. Habeck visited the Ukraine shortly before the election, travelled to the Ukrainian frontline to convey Green solidarity. At least for me: Somewhat reminiscent of the Visa Scandal, that dominantly surfaced in the Ukraine. With a couple of curious Green party Foreign Ministry connections. From Volmer to Fischer edict (Erlass). Remember???

        And then there is: The Red-Green coalition and the Kosovo war. A 2021 publication analyzes how we ‘glided’ into that war, an absolute paradigm shift for post 1945 Germany at the time.

        https://www.bundeswehr.de/de/organisation/weitere-bmvg-dienststellen/zentrum-militaergeschichte-sozialwissenschaften/zmsbw-publikationen-kriemann-hineingerutscht-5222956

        I surely hoped that Scholz and Lindner can tame the foreign policy fervor of the lady and her post 1999 party. … But yes, it doesn’t look good. The EU poodles follow their masters.

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    2. The anti-Russian stances from NATO are crystal clear. Recall that Russia inquired about NATO membership before all of the other now former Communist states.

      This Russian inquiry as met with astonished bemusement. Shortly thereafter, the NATO inquiries from Poland and some others were taken seriously, along with Russia hating propaganda, including the notion that Russia is an inherent threat.

      Germany fought two world wars against the West. The Brits fought two wars against the US and sympathized with the Confederacy.

      NATO was biased against historic Russian ally Serbia in the 1990s, when the latter constituted much of Yugoslavia.

      The US outspends the next 11 countries in defense combined. Russia is ranked fourth in that category. The other aforementioned 11 include NATO members UK, France, Germany and Italy.

      The current NATO head Jens Stoltenberg is blatantly anti-Russian, as is one of his predecessors Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Ditto numerous NATO connected others including ex-US Commander Ben Hodges.

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      1. Stoltenberg is nothing more than a spokesperson. He has all the economic and military might of Norway behind him. He dutifully recites what is given to him by the yanks. His foaming at the mouth might be irritating, but he has no power. Russia has to cut a deal with the yanks. The European clowns and Canada will then follow what they are told by the US.

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      2. Is the US government denouncing him? Name me a high profile opposite of Stoltenberg in NATO?

        Definitely existential and potentially more provocative. How would you like having a powerful entity constantly threatening you in front of your house, inclusive of spreading negative misinformation about you?

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      3. What I am saying is that Stoltenberg is the yanks’ spokesman. It’s the yanks who are threatening Russia. This irrelevant non-entity is just a nasty narrator. He is as much the ‘head’ of NATO as is the Slovakian finance minister the ‘head’ of the Eurogroup.

        I don’t support these aggressive, threatening statements against Russia. In fact, I want Hungary to leave NATO. The current Hungarian government also opposes a conflict with Russia, but Orban is not visionary and brave enough to leave NATO. But at least they want to do business with both Russia and China, having correctly recognized the shift of global economic power to Asia.

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  6. Perhaps this phenomenon can be best explained in terms of local interactionism. Two particles become entangled because they are the same kind of particle. Sure, one has a left hand spin and the other – right, but that’s a function of their entanglement. A human cannot interact with a chimpanzee the same as another chimpanzee can; the converse is also true. So with sovereign entities. The yanks cannot force the whole word to think and behave the way that they do. This is not so much because the yanks are wrong as because if they did such a thing they would deprive themselves of the “other” and as a consequence would cease to exist. So Russia functions as the yankee (brit etc.) other. Every time the yanks say “right”, Russia says “left”. It’s a function of their relationship. Vive la différence!

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    1. Speaking of which, here is what one pro-NATO advocate and former president of Estonia said about Russians:

      No Twitter banning or any NATO condemnation of that bigoted scumbag.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Estonia is the CIA’s second home. One has to assume that whatever comes out of an Estonian official’s mouth has been pre-approved for public dissemination.

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  7. Just remember. The “west” attitude is to be prepared to kill for what they want (as we have observed in their colonies in the past). Now, the rest of us (never exceptional of course) that are not members of your “international community” of the five eyes and thirty odd blind slave followers have a little bit different attitude – we are prepared to die to protect what is ours. Are you prepared to die? If not, you better back off. Those prepared to die have nothing to lose. Think about it

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  8. It’s called arrogance Paul. Reading Sikorskis Russophobic Twitter bile yesterday is an indication of where the Anglosphere is at. The non stop vile, retarded and often infantile dreck coming out of the US and its vassals is enough to understand who is at fault. Of course because they think they’re the indispensable nation and the shining light on the hill they don’t see it as purely racist clap trap. The elites in the US have become unhinged, for a variety of reasons, all of their own making I might add but in typical US fashion it’s never their fault it’s always someone elses. Biden now finds himself caught squarely by his own sword. 5 years of nonsensical ‘Russiagate’ from the Dems and he can’t be seen to go easy on ‘those pesky Russians who sought to subvert our beloved mockracy’. I’m afraid that one doesn’t have to be an analyst to realise that the US has become almost totally untethered from reality. The sooner it collapses the better for everyone.

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      1. Sikorski and his wife are one class act. Neither are above fabricating from whole cloth anything that serves their purpose, as Sikorski’s already done and been caught red-handed at, with his fictitious meetings with Putin.

        I suspect they most definitely suffer from some unknown mental condition or maybe just run of the mill psychopathy. It’s a crowd pleasure these days.

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  9. Ms Farkas got some brilliant replies on Twitter. Here’s my favorite:

    “Lady we just got done losing a war. Give it a minute.”

    Five stars @AFenaughty! 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s US military industrial complex propped. Hyping a Russian threat benefits that entity. There’s also an anti-Russian leaning group of people in the US with apparent historical axes to grind, who she has openly sought.

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      1. Only the 1956 immigrants and their Western-born offsprings have historical axes to grind. Actual Hungarians, those of us who were born in and are still citizens of Hungary, don’t have any major issues with Russia.

        Russia, including Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, and the Duma, apologized for the 1956 Soviet invasion. Nasty American political operators like Farkas and Soros should stop meddling in our affairs. They are not Hungarians and thus are not entitled to speak on our behalf.

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      2. The current Hungarian government (especially the head of state and foreign minister) have a mature outlook on Russia – especially when compared to the Baltics and Poland.

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  10. Paul Robinson has outlined an important theme.

    During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 99% of my friends and neighbors favored Hillary Clinton. Several months later, after Donald Trump had been elected, a close friend asked me what I thought about the election. I replied, “Well, in light of the results I was expecting to witness some self-refection on the part of Democrats. I’m surprised that Democrats are not re-evaluating their positions or tone of voice. After all, half the electorate voted against them.”

    My friend then told me that curiosity about those voters was pointless because Trump voters were stupid, and lazy. (She cited a book.) I asked, “Are you are saying that roughly 1/2 of all voters in the U.S. are stupid-and-lazy? That seems like a big fraction to dismiss. Surely there is value in wondering why they voted the way they did?”
    My friend didn’t budge.

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  11. The U.S., EU et al have settled into a mindset where they dish stuff out but don’t have to take much in return. Endless sasnctions, threats, provocations gush forth and from Russia and China come mostly just verbal objections. The US/EU see that have successfully bullied and intimidated Russia+China and so are ever encouraged to ramp up their actions.

    But Russia+China are playing the long game, comes the response, building up their resources waiting for their opponents to trip up or fall out. The problem is that by failing to resist with demonstrable power both regimes look weak. And this impels their own population and that of the US/EU to lose respect. And that subjective state is one of enormous power.

    So, Russia and China have to get kinetic very sharply and quickly. And to hell with mere ‘sanctions’. Just think what anything much at all would do to western markets and debt bubbles.

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  12. It’s also amusing how in the Western press the actual arguments from Russia are almost never actually quoted. Recall the whole argument about the counter-missile bases in Eastern Europe: Russia’s one of the main complaints was that the US could just simply replace the interceptors with nuclear-armed missiles and use those for the first-strike capability — that’s a non-trivial thing to do from the technical point of view, but Russian missile systems allow for that, and Russians don’t think the US are technically inferior to them so…
    And then, the planned silos are replaced with Aegis Ahore which is quite an astonishing way to evade IRNFT without technically breaking it in itself: the naval-based systems were explicitly left out of the Treaty… and the previous argument still stood: Aegis can launch both interceptor missiles and nuclear-armed cruise missiles, and with ease; the US actually had claimed that much and did precisely such training during one of their maneuvers.
    But, of course, that counter-missile defense is targeted agains Iran and North Korea, obviously. What’s that? The radars in Poland and Romania can’t realistically detect missile launches from Iran and N. Korea in timely manner, but Russians now offer to jointly operate a Soviet-time radar in Armenia that actually can detect such launches very quickly? Nope, absolutely not interested in that, and no, that doesn’t contradict our statement about the intent of our missile defense systems. How it doesn’t contradict? Just so: we say it doesn’t, so it doesn’t, and if you don’t understand our impeccable Western logic, you’re an uncivilized primate not worthy to be talked with. Any other questions?
    So yeah, Russia looks at the actions, the (covering) rhetorics, probes the sincerity of that rhetorics, sees from the reactions that the rhetorics appears to be bogus and concludes, well, what it concludes. Un-European barbarians, what else to say, eh?

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  13. “WHY RUSSIA FEARS NATO”

    Three simple words explain it: ‘NATO is untrustworthy’

    It’s also dysfunctional, deceptive, two-faced and fork-tongued. I had a business partner like that once who was all of the above except dysfunctional. You fear their ability to harm your economic, political and physical assets until you adequately distance yourself from them and gain a parity in doing equal damage. That tends to cool their jets until you’re at a safe distance to go on with your affairs. Most of the fear I think comes from a fear of lowering yourself to their level to achieve that parity. It’s a soul-piercing experience.

    People, Tribes, Teams, Nations, Corporations – we all react in similar fashion. All I know from experience is if you don’t stand your ground, expect to be rolled over.

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  14. “So, for the sake of Ukraine and Georgia, the United States should threaten Russia with World War Three, and if it doesn’t concede, should carry through with the threat.”

    Well, there we have it. Those Poseidon world destroyers will now be parked off America’s East and West coasts within the year. Shiva has spoken.

    Farkas will be thrilled.

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  15. Pythia and Cassandra dropped by & we had a girls night out, ouzo an all. Here’s what they said: after the talks on keeping 🇺🇦 out of NATO predictably fail, there will be no war. Instead Russia will: 1) build a new, shiny and permanent military base close to where the troops are massing now 2) properly arm the Donbass boys for extra deterrence 3) help to build up Donbass into a safe and prosperous region 4) in 10 years, welcome Odessa and the rest of Novorossia as they start holding their own referenda to join Donbass 5) in another 10 years, watch Kiev&central Ukraine cessate from Galicia and follow suit.

    At least that’s what I heard – mon grec laisse à désirer

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    1. Donbas is a relatively minor stake in this game, imo.

      Here, I think, is a hint for the most likely strategic response to the US rejection:
      BEIJING, December 30. /TASS/. Both China and Russia are able to ensure global order and withstand pressure from individual countries seeking hegemony and dominance worldwide, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday.

      “I strongly believe that if our great powers, China and Russia, stand side by side and boost their cooperation, the world order will be unshakable, and global principles – irrefutable. Hegemonism will not be able to defeat [us],” the minister said.
      https://tass.com/world/1382743

      Sino-Russian alliance taking a more distinctive shape.

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      1. > Donbas is a relatively minor stake in this game

        This is wrong Mao. Since time immemorial tribes judge each other on the will and ability to protect their own. Such perceptions matter A LOT.

        People of Donbass are OUR OWN. As long as Russia is Russia, it will not abandon them.

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      2. “As long as Russia is Russia, it will not abandon them.”

        Maybe so, but that’s irrelevant to what I was saying, irrelevant to the geopolitical game.

        Incidentally, the Russian Federation has officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, long time ago. But not DNR/LNR. Entirely unsurprisingly (and perfectly legitimately, in my opinion), state politics prevail over ethnic solidarity.

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      3. Next Christmass in Berlin and Chinese New Year in Taipei. Anglo/Saxon/Celtic tribes are cowards mate. They expanded by committing genocides against people that could not defend themselves. They feel safe on their islands and bark as mad dogs. However, they never face those who are real deal. The Christmas after the next in our Alaska. What are they going to do? They simply have no balls.

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    2. Hey, Lola, so glad to hear that Cassandra is okay and people FINALLY LISTENING TO THIS CHICK, for cryin’ out loud…
      See, that was always her problem, the gal was always right, but nobody ever paid attention, that was her curse… well, maybe things are finally changing…
      🙂

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      1. Good point as always Yalensis ; )

        But it kinda makes sense that the curse would have an earlier expiration date, no?

        After all, the gift was the original product, while the curse, just a hasty hack!

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      2. Well, if I have my mythology correct: First Cassandra tried to warn about the sea monster’s proclivities, but nobody listened to her; so the sea monster swam ashore and gobbled up a lot of people including Laocoön and his sons.
        Then she tried to warn people about the Trojan Horse. Again: nobody listens, “Oh, it’s just a nice big huge wooden horsie… no problem there!”

        Didn’t she end up getting her throat slit by Greek soldiers? Or maybe, according to some legends, Captain Idomeneus just took her back to Crete with him, along with her sister, Ilia, as captives. Ilia got to marry Ideomeneus’ son Idamanates (who is usually sung by a mezzo-soprano), but Cassandra was forced to go back to work as a priestess, doing her usual shtick.

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      3. Lola, I saw that sculpture too, in the museum, it’s amazing!
        Trojan Priest Laocoön and his sons were in fact attacked by a sea monster, but it was the kind of monster which had many tentacles, which could appear as snakes. Was probably a giant squid.

        There are many different versions of the story, and the reason why this priest was attacked like that. According to Virgil’s Aeneid this attack was organized by that section of the gods who supported the Greeks in the war. Laocoön like Cassandra tried to warn his fellow Trojans not to take the wooden horse inside the gates. I don’t remember which God in particular was behind this punishment. I think it was Poseidon, who commanded all sea creatures. But later (things get confusing) Poseidon turned against the victorious Greeks and kept hounding them so much it took them years and years to sail home. (It took Odysseus 10 years to get home, a trip that should have only taken a couple of weeks at most.)

        Even Captain Idomeneus was punished by Poseidon. He was a Cretan, but he was still a good man and virtuous soldier who did nothing wrong. He was one of the brave volunteers who hid inside the horse and led the horse squad in the attack against Troy. While other Greek commanders were war criminals, Idomeneus maintained his good morals and didn’t rape or slaughter anyone. In fact, he tried to save the lives of several Trojan captives, including Priam’s daughter Ilia (and possibly Cassandra herself). Unfortunately, Poseidon still decided to punish him for whatever reason, and it took him forever to get back to Crete, including braving a horrific storm at sea. In a moment of despair, just as his ship was about to sink, Idomeneus offered an oath, that if the gods were to spare his sailors, he would sacrifice the first living creature that he encountered, once arriving back on the beach. The gods agreed, and everybody was spared. So, the ship finally arrived back on the beach, and you’ll never guess who was the first person he encountered? His own beloved teenage son, Idamantes! Mozart tells the story in his wonderful opera “Idomeneo”.

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  16. Arrogance is Carl Bildts trademark.

    As prime minister i the early 90s he ran Swedish economy in ruins by sheer arrogance: to prevent devaluating of the SEK he raised interest to 500%, which of course ran a lot of businesses into bankruptcy. The electorate threw him out of office, but in his circles his ability to keep on to absurdities with a poker-face is an asset, so he was soon used again for other purposes.

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  17. Professor you wrote

    “ In essence, Russia’s problem has been that we simply don’t care enough about it to feel that we need to take its concerns into consideration. Russia is now trying to convince us that we need to do so. I don’t see much sign that they’re succeeding.”

    You were nearly there in your article . But you missed the other fundamental point… Russia knows the west doesn’t care – THEY DO.

    Now they will do what they need to do to secure themselves from the threats from NATO.

    That’s what this week has been about.

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  18. “…he Russian Federation has officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, long time ago. But not DNR/LNR. Entirely unsurprisingly (and perfectly legitimately, in my opinion), state politics prevail over ethnic solidarity.”
    It is more complicated than that: much of Ukraine is in a similar position to the Donbas enclaves in that a substantial minority, probably a majority of people in the non Galician areas, see their estrangement from Russia and incorporation in the west, as temporary and unfortunate.
    Ironically underneath all the cheap talk about democracy, from the NATO people, the reality is that Ukrainians are not being allowed to debate and decide upon their fate. Since 2014 the persecution of Russian sympathisers and (by no means the same thing) socialists has been intense.
    After seven years in power the politicians in the Rada have proved themselves completely unable to get to grips with the worsening socio-economic crises that have reduced the population to famine. It is hard to believe that, given a fair chance, the electorate would not cashier the entire mob.
    In short ‘democracy’ in practice rather than in windy verbal generalisations, would probably lead to a quick resolution to most of the country’s political problems. The Russians, see this and prefer to regard the two enclaves as part of a large population of supporters- hiving them off into permanently estranged mini republics would benefit only the Galician fascists.

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    1. What you’re saying — how is it different from what I said, in the quote at the top of your comment?

      Geopolitical considerations prevent the RF from recognizing LNR/DNR. The idea (as I understand) is to push them back into the Kiev-controlled entity, with a special status that would give them veto power over Kiev’s geopolitical decisions. It’s a geopolitical game, and the populations of LNR/DNR have to suffer.

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  19. I’d replace fear with extreme wariness. NATO has adequately displayed a reptilian brain and chameleon coloring to good effect. Stoltenberg says that Ukraine’s and Georgia’s eventual entry into NATO were decided in 2008, yet NATO’s own rules deny entry to states that have ongoing border disputes (for good reason), so either NATO will ignore its own rules or seek disguised militaristic methods to fulfill them. Either path undermines and in fact destroys its own legitimacy. Granted, chameleons are cute. Hybrid chameleon-rattlesnakes are not.

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  20. Another example of NATO’s ‘chameleon-like character’: Stoltenberg professed that NATO never made promises of no further expansion, clearly in the face of back-slapping promises by state leaders to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Instead of simply saying (dishonestly) that NATO AS AN… organization independent of state leaders never made such promises, or even more bluntly ‘that was then and this is now’, it sought to directly negate the accuracy of what is transparently in the National Archives itself.

    So what then is to be trusted?

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  21. The internal politics of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and more importantly NATO and the US itself are prime examples of ‘spiders in a jar’.

    If the Russians decide to assume the role of household pest control when the jars begin to wobble from instability on its table’s edge , I say more power to them. Certainly, the Americans would just knock it over, hide the survivors under the carpet and declare ‘Mission Accomplished’.

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      1. Haha! I saw that story too, just this morning. So I get to thinking, 2 such similar incidents in the same window of “dark omens” – that can’t be a random coincidence, right? I mean, what are the odds?

        But we can’t know for sure that these omens portend the fall of the Ukrainian government until that octopus weighs in, you know the one I’m talking about, the mollusk who predicts football scores…

        🙂

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