United States (GPA) – As Jeff Sessions becomes the latest victim of the establishment witch hunt for Russian influence, the one question nobody seems to be asking is ‘what exactly has Trump done for Putin?’ Attorney General Jeff Sessions is…
The New York Times reported on Sunday that US special forces have been deployed in a number of Baltic states in order to ‘counter possible Russian aggression’ and ‘shadowy efforts’ by Moscow to destabilize the region.
This announcement comes amid a tour of Eastern Europe by several prominent US politicians, led by none other than notorious war hawks, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The tour reached a peak over New Year’s weekend with McCain making an appearance with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the war ravaged Donbas region.
The New York Times’s hiding — for nearly three years after this massively important historical event — the U.S.-imposed bloody coup that occurred in Ukraine during February 2014, makes the Times’s hiding of it from the public, become by now no longer merely egregious ‘news’-reporting, but finally lying about history: it’s an egregious lie about a major event of recent world history — a worse lie as each year passes without the Times’s acknowledgment that they had been hiding it from their readers, all along; hiding the news, until it became history — a lie which is harder to extricate themselves from, as each year passes and as this event becomes more and more important, because it accumulates more and more consequences, all of which are bad.
So: when will the NYT finally come out publicly acknowledging that the coup existed — that it was a «coup», and no ‘revolution’ (such as they’ve falsely claimed it to have been, and still refer to it)? Will it remain unstated (to have been a coup), until decades later?
During the last days of December, Russia will host a round of diplomatic talks with Iran and Turkey.
A hundred years ago, Ernst Jünger described a peculiar encounter with a frightened British officer in his account of trench warfare, Storm of Steel: “he reached into his pocket, not to pull out a weapon, but a photograph (…). I saw him on it, surrounded by numerous family (…). It was a plea from another world.” According to conventional wisdom, “war is hell,” as famously sentenced by General Sherman. Hence Jünger’s depiction of the scene as something from another planet. And that is how the world today, more concerned with the holidays and the latest Hollywood blockbuster, is receiving the dire plea for help by multiple civilians caught in the crossfire of the battle for Aleppo. We simply content ourselves with the thought that civilians will always suffer in times of war, for war is hell. Or is it?
A few days ago, the soon to be replaced Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, gave his last press conference. Referring to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, he remarked ominously: “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell”. But surely the Secretary General did not intend merely to describe a regrettable fait accompli, as someone might depict a natural disaster. His closing official words carry a message for the world to actively engage in Aleppo, and particularly to make belligerents stop targeting civilians, for not everything is allowed in war after all. As Michael Walzer has pointed out in his decades-long effort to revive the Just War tradition, we strive to fight wars justly and to uphold rules even in the midst of hell.
Following the departure of several African nations, Russia has joined the growing list of countries abandoning the Western dominated International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry (FM) said they were withdrawing their signature from the Rome Statute signed in 2000. The FM said that they were backing out of the agreement on the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Similar to the complaints lodged by the African nations that left, Russia has said that “The court did not live up to the hopes associated with it and did not become truly independent,” and agreed with poorer countries who say the court is “one-sided and inefficient.”
The election of Donald Trump as US president has put his connections to Russia back in the spotlight. News headlines have announced “Russia’s establishment basks in Trump’s victory.” The Duma, the lower house of the federal legislature very much under president Vladimir Putin’s control, erupted in applause at the election news from the US. The editor of the Kremlin-backed English-language television network RT (formerly Russia Today)said she would drive around Moscow with an American flag in celebration.
Despite this and despite allegations of Russian interference to disrupt the US election campaign, no one can say for certain yet how Russia-US relations will develop in the coming years. Trump has publicly admired Putin’s leadership, but it’s not at all clear what the Putin-Trump dynamic will mean for human rights in Russia or Russian respect for human rights abroad.
Many of the Western powers and a lot of mainstream and alternative media in the US have been talking quite a bit lately about the threat of an oncoming World War with Russia. In what is likely to come as a surprising revelation to them is Russia’s latest announcement that they’ll possibly be cutting large portions of their defense budget in the upcoming years.
Many of the western pro-Putin crowd may not have realized this but Russia has become heavily dependent on oil exports in the past few decades. Like the other nations who rely heavily on oil exports such as Venezuela or Saudi Arabia; Russia is feeling the same pinch of the sharp and sustained drop in oil prices. Along with the drop in oil prices, Russia – like Venezuela – is also under sanctions from the international community.
Russia has recently suspended a cooperative mechanism through which Russia and the United States were engaged in eliminating portions of the two countries’ weapons-grade plutonium stockpiles.
On October 3, a presidential decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed that the implementation of the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (“PMDA”) will be put on hold citing “Washington’s unfriendly actions toward Russia.”
25 years ago, an attempted takeover by communist hardliners led to the Soviet Union’s collapse. The reverberations still continue.
The death of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a reality, despite rumours that it didn’t happen at all. But it was a strange death, reflecting the strange life of the beast itself. A state that had survived the onslaught of Nazi armies and avoided overthrow by popular revolution ended as a result of the failure of the “State Committee for the State of Emergency” (GKChP in its Russian acronym), better known as “the failed coup in Moscow in August 1991”. A quarter of a century later, the aftershocks are still being felt, and by all of us.
It was a pathetic end for the former superpower. The coup was orchestrated by its top officials, the entire cast in power with one exception: the USSR’s first (and last) president, Mikhail Gorbachev, who was taking his summer vacation in Crimea. The “gang of eight” included Gennady Yanayev, the Soviet Union’s vice-president; Valentin Pavlov, its prime minister; Dmitri Yazov, defence minister; Boris Pugo, interior minister; Vladimir Kryuchkov, head of the KGB.
Recently, we have been confronted by the rise of populist political forces supporting authoritarianism all over the world: Trump, Russia’s Putin, France’s Le Pen, Hungary’s Orbán and Erdogan from Turkey all belong to a very specific group, with similar ideological patterns, including disrespect for the elements of democracy; nationalism; using fear as a political tool; inciting anger against minorities, opponents and surrounding nations. Some commentators openly call them fascists and there is some online dispute under way as to whether they belong to the fascist camp. Google them one by one, and you find numerous articles on their fascistic nature, the majority written by journalists or non-experts.