Recent interview with Clinton aide contains disturbing hints of the wars to come

Recent interview with Clinton aide contains disturbing hints of the wars to come

A recent interview shows Clinton's determination to push Russia into an increasingly desperate and isolated position, one hesitates to think of the consequences.

A recent interview with high-level Clinton aide Jeremy Bash indicates that as president Hillary Clinton would escalate already strained tensions between Russia and the US. In the interview Bash claims that one of the “first key tasks” of the Clinton administration would be to, “work to get Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, ‘out of there.’" While there’s no doubt that Assad represents a, “murderous regime that violates human rights; that has violated international law,” it cannot be overlooked that Assad is also a key ally of Russia. By making these statements about Assad Clinton is engaging in the latest of a series of serious provocations against Russia that are leading down a path of escalating violence.

What is Syria to Russia?

Syria is a crucial ally of Russia for a few reasons. As Robert Fisk explains, “the Syrian city of Tartous contains the only 24-hour port open to the Russian navy in the Mediterranean. Without Tartous, every Russian naval vessel in the sea would have to return through the Bosphorous to Odessa for every nut, screw and cigarette packet it needs."1 Additionally, the oil and gas pipelines which pass through its territory are Europe’s key sources of supply. By controlling these supply routes Russia can exercise considerable influence over European decision making. 2

Broken promises

The loss of influence in Syria would be just one of a series of devastating blows dealt to Russia since Mikhail Gorbachev took steps towards rapprochement with the US before the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1989, Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow a reunified Germany to enter the US led NATO alliance. In exchange, the US made repeated verbal assurances to Russia that they would not expand NATO any further to the East. This agreement was a big step towards a peaceful Europe. Russia was allowing the country which had within the past century devastated it twice through invasion to join the most powerful military alliance in the world headed by a country which viewed Russia as its greatest enemy. Unfortunately for world peace, after the breakup of the Soviet Union the US had little motivation to adhere to verbal arrangements made with Gorbachev. The promise to not expand NATO to the east was broken during the administration of Bill Clinton in 1999 with the addition of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Shortly thereafter, the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic, a strong Russian ally, was bombed with the strong backing of Hillary and her friend Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “I urged [Bill] to bomb,” Hillary would later recount in an interview. Hillary has since bragged constantly about her involvement in the decision to bomb Serbia, actions which Russia is unlikely to forget.

Aggression

Since the Serbian bombings and the addition of the new NATO members, the US has sought to build a ring of missile complexes around Russia’s borders. The complexes have been built ostensibly in order to protect Europe and Israel from an Iranian nuclear attack. In reality the only conceivable purpose they serve is to provide NATO with first strike nuclear capabilities against Russia. Russia has strongly protested the construction of these bases, the latest of which has been built in Romania, and has repeatedly threatened to retaliate. One can only imagine the US response if Russia decided to build nuclear missile bases, in, let’s say, Cuba. None of this seems to bother Hillary who talks on the campaign trail about how as Secretary of State she helped to create missile systems in South Korea and Japan, systems which she intends to expand upon if she becomes president.

Trolling with Pussy Riot

Additional provocations are exhibited by Hillary’s friendly attitude toward the Russian band Pussy Riot. In February of 2012, five young young women wearing balaclavas and revealing clothing entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in central Moscow. The women ran to the altar and began to shout obscenities calling the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church a “bitch” before fleeing the scene. Subsequently, at the urging of the church which had been targeted by this group in previous incidents, three of the women were arrested and charged with “hooliganism”. The women arrested were members of the band Pussy Riot, an offshoot of a collective called Voyna whose past actions have included group sex in Moscow’s Timiryazev Museum, throwing live cats at employees of a McDonald’s, and stealing a chicken from a supermarket by having one of the members hide it up her vagina. The arrest of the women for their latest stunt provoked international outcry and pop stars such as Paul McCartney, Bjork, and Madonna came to the defense of the Pussy Riot musicians. Amnesty International, headed by Hillary’s friend Suzanne Nossel, awarded the women “prisoners of conscience” status and treated their case as a major human rights campaign. For her part, Hillary took the opportunity to further denigrate Russian society. In April 7th, after Putin ordered the early release of the Pussy Riot members, Hillary tweeted a photo taken with the members in New York writing, “Great to meet the strong & brave young women from #PussyRiot, who refuse to let their voices be silenced in #Russia.” When asked by People magazine which women “inspired” her, Hillary listed Pussy Riot.3 The irony of an American politician criticizing another country for jailing people while their own country has by far the most prisoners per capita in the world shouldn’t be lost on anybody. To Russians, Hillary’s support for the women could only be interpreted as yet another slap in the face.

"We came we saw he died"

On the issue of Syria, one really has to stand back and admire how Hillary has seamlessly moved on from her disastrous actions in Libya without having learned a single lesson. Libya, a once stable and peaceful country has been turned into an uncontrollable disaster and a safe haven for ISIS and people smugglers. After psychopathically bragging about her role in the murder of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Clinton has since backed away from association with the unfolding catastrophe, simply moving on to the next country to bomb without blinking. For Russia, the bombing of Libya was yet another slap in the face. Russia was on good terms with Gaddafi and their navy enjoyed regular access to Tripoli’s refueling stations. Additionally, Gaddafi was a shrewd businessman in many ways and he kept the NATO countries from having too much access to Libya’s highly valuable oil and gas resources. The intervention was undoubtedly carried out in large part for this reason. In this way they could get oil and gas without having to deal with Russia.

In order to avoid a Libyan situation in Syria, Russia (and China) have vetoed UN Security Council resolutions threatening Assad. Additionally, Russia has provided strong military support in the form of weapons, tanks, and air strikes. Thanks to these efforts, Assad has never held any less than 13 of the 14 Syrian provincial capitals. Despite this, Hillary has never once backed down from the ludicrous ultimatum that Assad must step down, something which simply will not happen given the current and past balance of forces. So the war drags on, with the US (in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE) funding (directly or indirectly) jihadist groups, and Russia funding Assad, with civilians trapped in the middle. Rather than seriously pursuing peace by backing down from her impossible ultimatum, Clinton has urged member countries of the Friends of Syria organization to isolate Russia, “I do not believe that Russia and China are paying any price at all—nothing at all—for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime. The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price."4

Hillary’s interview in the Telegraph and her actions on the campaign trail show a complete unwillingness to compromise, and indicate that the worst of the Syrian conflict may be yet to come. It is viewed as highly likely that as president Hillary would nominate Center for New American Security co-founder Michele Flournoy for the Secretary of Defense. On the subject of Syria, Flournoy has criticized the Obama administration for refusing to send troops to combat both ISIS and the Assad regime. In the words of Flournoy, “The United States should also be willing to increase its use of military coercion…and be willing to threaten and execute limited military strikes against the Assad regime in order to protect [friendly rebel groups] while signaling to all of the key external actors in Syria, including both its Middle Eastern partners as well as Russia and Iran, that it is willing to get more engaged."

Ukraine

And while the US refuses to allow Russia to hold on to its influence in Syria, the Ukraine crisis has driven Russia further to the brink. The right wing forces which have seized power in the Ukraine are fiercely anti-Russian, and with much of the Russian fleet based in Sebastopol, Putin decided that he had no choice but to annex the pro-Russian Crimean peninsula. Despite widespread popular support for annexation from the people of Crimea, Russia has been internationally shamed for this incident and is currently subjected to sanctions specifically designed to punish and provoke Putin. All of this while the US continues to practice naval exercises in the Black Sea (one can imagine what would happen if Putin sent the Russian navy into the Gulf of Mexico to conduct military exercises). Russia has responded to this by beginning to place anti-ship ballistic missile batteries in the Crimea.

Collision course

From what can be discerned, Hillary would undoubtedly be a very dangerous president. Her statements on Syria not only confirm what we already knew-Hillary likes military intervention-but they also show that her presidency will likely bring the US and Russia to the brink of war. A Hillary Clinton presidency would mean more attacks on an already weakened and humiliated Russian government, one that is surrounded on all sides by first strike nuclear missile bases, with the US navy patrolling the Black Sea, losing its grip on the flow of oil and gas and its naval capabilities. Russia is being forced into an increasingly desperate position, one hesitates to think of what might come next.

  • 1. Fisk, Robert. Syria: Descent into the Abyss
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Johnstone, Diana. Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton.
  • 4. Ibid.

Comments

Steven.
Aug 2 2016 10:08

Interesting piece, but a couple of questions/comments.

Quote:
In reality the only conceivable purpose they serve is to provide NATO with first strike nuclear capabilities against Russia.

On the new missile system, I'm not sure you are correct. It is an anti-missile system, not a new system of nuclear missile silos I believe. And NATO already has first strike nuclear capabilities against Russia as Europe is full of nuclear missiles, whereas there aren't any Russian ones near the US.

It is worrying though that in response to this anti-missile system, the Russians have designed a drone nuclear submarine to detonate a nuclear bomb by coastal cities (more info)

In terms of a couple of other bits, Clinton's support for Pussy Riot comes off in this article as cause for criticism of her, whereas actually that's one of the only things she has done which isn't terrible.

And the general slant of the piece seems to be more pro-Putin, than against both Putin and Clinton. For example you refer to Clinton doing things just to further her imperialist agenda, but you refer to Putin doing things like annexing Crimea because he "felt forced" to. When in reality either side could use this sort of justification for anything.

Maybe that wasn't what was intended but that's how it reads to me

Soapy
Aug 2 2016 13:36
Steven. wrote:
Interesting piece, but a couple of questions/comments.
Quote:
In reality the only conceivable purpose they serve is to provide NATO with first strike nuclear capabilities against Russia.

On the new missile system, I'm not sure you are correct. It is an anti-missile system, not a new system of nuclear missile silos I believe. And NATO already has first strike nuclear capabilities against Russia as Europe is full of nuclear missiles, whereas there aren't any Russian ones near the US.

It is worrying though that in response to this anti-missile system, the Russians have designed a drone nuclear submarine to detonate a nuclear bomb by coastal cities (more info)

In terms of a couple of other bits, Clinton's support for Pussy Riot comes off in this article as cause for criticism of her, whereas actually that's one of the only things she has done which isn't terrible.

And the general slant of the piece seems to be more pro-Putin, than against both Putin and Clinton. For example you refer to Clinton doing things just to further her imperialist agenda, but you refer to Putin doing things like annexing Crimea because he "felt forced" to. When in reality either side could use this sort of justification for anything.

Maybe that wasn't what was intended but that's how it reads to me

Considering that the best intelligence estimates have repeatedly pointed to the fact that there has been no iranian nuclear weapons program one must assume some ulterior motive for the missile "defence" systems. Let's take NATO at their word and say they really are capable of shooting down a nuclear missile, by building anti-nuclear missile bases outside of Russia while still maintaining their own systems, all NATO is doing from Russia's perspective is trying to scrap mutually assured destruction for Russia's assured destruction. This obviously worries Russia considerably and they are responsing with their own rush to bolster their nuclear capabilities. And it seems quite likely that the bases in Eastern Europe are intended to be used as first strike missile bases (nuclear or not) against Russian targets. There is very little way of knowing of course, but one can safely assume I think.

On the topic of Pussy Riot, I dont think they are worth supporting, but Im happy to agree to disagree.

The annexation of the Crimea was done after the people of Crimea voted by a vast majority to ask the Russian government to annex them. This was done because they knew that given the takeover of Ukraine by far right elements oriented towards the West of the country, they would be severely repressed. I guess saying "felt forced" was in retrospect a poor word choice as it implies Russia did it out of benevolence which I certainly dont believe. Although what I do believe is that Russia "felt forced" in the sense that they are desperately trying to hold onto their imperial possessions.

Putin is a reactive figure in many senses although Im sure Putin would be hellbent on NATOs destruction were the balance of forces any different. I didnt think it really fit withe article though to talk about how nation states naturally act. although I suppose I couldve said I dont support Putin or any nation state.

Serge Forward
Aug 2 2016 12:50
Quote:
Maybe that wasn't what was intended but that's how it reads to me

It read to me like our Soapy's been watching RT a bit too much.

baboon
Aug 2 2016 19:11

I think that "disturbing hints of wars to come" is a correct analysis applied to the probable Clinton presidency. In general Nato, following a resurgence of Russian imperialism under Putin, is now pursuing its strategy of "Forward Defence", i.e; pushing Russia back by pressing on its borders, a strategy that was in place just prior to the collapse of Eastern Bloc (and contributed to it). As Soapy says, the US is the major imperialism here and, in general, it is this force that leans on or pushes and squeezes the lesser imperialism. That makes neither of them any the less militarist and imperialist.

Soapy mentions the "Centre for a New American Security" which looks very much like being Clinton's (and the US's) foreign policy turn against Russia in Syria. The document also says that Isis is not the main enemy, which is obvious considering the use that the CIA has made of it. More than 50 serving State Department officials have signed a leaked letter which shows a similar turn to the Clinton clique. Believe it or not they are still going on about a non-jihadi anti-Assad force on the ground in Syria. Like the bombing of Iraq and Libya it is complete irrationality but that won't stop them.

Mr and Mrs Clinton (and the Democrats) appear to be quite close to the Gulenist empire in the US. A Gulenist dominated regime in Turkey would fit in precisely with a "new American security" and is further circumstantial evidence of a State Department/CIA/Gulenist coup in Turkey. I think that the defeat of this coup will lead to further problems and expose further weaknesses of US imperialism - a certain "loss of control".

In Britain there's a similar anti-Putin, anti-Russian narrative from the ruling class apart from elements of the Corbyn clique. The BBC, about as "independent" as RT (but more sophisticated), has led with the interests of British imperialism. No mention of "Coalition" bombs killing masses of Syrian and Iraqi civilians while putting Russia in the frame. This is in no way a support for Russian imperialism and its butcher Assad.

Incidentally, there is quite a close relationship between some on the Trump team and RT, and Russian interests in general.

jef costello
Aug 2 2016 20:13

A lot of what it says is correct as regards Hilary Clinton but it is really does read like a partisan pro-Russia piece.

The Pigeon
Aug 2 2016 20:47

I'd be surprised if either Clinton or Putin are interested in anything other than putting crocodiles in their moats, rather than actually laying nuclear siege... both of them are too invested in things... I speculate it's more about the third parties who they employ, and to what extent the Islamic monster grows too big for them to manage, and what kind of new possibilities develop in cyberspace, or just China or whatever.

jesuithitsquad
Aug 3 2016 09:09

I'd highly recommend reading about the current Russian military strategy of hybrid war as well as the standing orders for battlefront generals to use tactical nukes by discretion if over-run on the battlefield. This, combined with Russia's active support and funding of far-right authoritarian nationalist movements across the globe, leads me to believe Russian imperialism is every bit as dangerous as it's Western counterpart.

In fact, I believe a valid argument can be made that Putin is more dangerous. Given that the entire logic for "peace" during the cold war era was based on each side's predictability, the hybrid war strategy's fundamental element of unpredictability leaves outcomes of even the smallest provocation unknown. For all its faults and as much as it would like to see a weakend Russia, the U.S. (and by extension NATO) have a very well known plan of stratified escalating tactics, with an equally planned out series of moves to indicate de-escalation (a Trump administration notwithstanding).

In a world where each side has enough nuclear weapons to end civilization many times over, unpredictability is well, just not very good.

As the old saying goes, no thermonuclear war except the thermonuclear class war.

Soapy
Aug 3 2016 17:34

The issue here is time. I base my blogs off of whatever books And articles Ive read that I I think I can fit together into a coherent argument. I focused on US aggression because that's what ive read about, if someone would like to write a blog about Putin's whatever then please be my guest.

I think people might undersstimate how much time goes into something like this.

The writing process took about 5 hours, editing another 2 hours, that doesnt include previous research ive done that prepared me for this. id appreciate if libcom could share it just say something like how nobody here is pro-putin. That said, If anyone can see anything factually wrong with what ive written im more than willing to have a discussion about that

Soapy
Aug 3 2016 17:37

Id also be open to having the admis straight up edit this to make it seem less partisan

jesuithitsquad
Aug 3 2016 18:37
Soapy wrote:
The issue here is time. I base my blogs off of whatever books And articles Ive read that I I think I can fit together into a coherent argument. I focused on US aggression because that's what ive read about, if someone would like to write a blog about Putin's whatever then please be my guest.

I think people might undersstimate how much time goes into something like this.

The writing process took about 5 hours, editing another 2 hours, that doesnt include previous research ive done that prepared me for this. id appreciate if libcom could share it just say something like how nobody here is pro-putin. That said, If anyone can see anything factually wrong with what ive written im more than willing to have a discussion about that

Sorry Soapy-- i hope you didn't see my comment as an attack. I enjoy your blog and was attempting to engage with the topic, not to criticize you. I can't imagine how much time it takes to put this together. Thanks for doing it.

Steven.
Aug 3 2016 18:49

Hey Soapy, we really appreciate you taking the time to write this stuff, don't worry.

I don't think there's any need to edit your article, as it stands with the comments. Basically I was just asking what your perspective was, especially as the bulk of the left nowadays is pro-Russia, as they see US imperialism as the biggest evil.

Going back to you earlier responses:

Quote:
Let's take NATO at their word and say they really are capable of shooting down a nuclear missile, by building anti-nuclear missile bases outside of Russia while still maintaining their own systems, all NATO is doing from Russia's perspective is trying to scrap mutually assured destruction for Russia's assured destruction. This obviously worries Russia considerably and they are responsing with their own rush to bolster their nuclear capabilities.

I agree, I think this is the main thing Russia would be worried about, the intention to disrupt the balance of MAD.

Quote:
On the topic of Pussy Riot, I dont think they are worth supporting, but Im happy to agree to disagree.

On this, basically they are a group of anarchist artists who were being heavily repressed for being critical of the government/authorities. As a result I think they deserve our full support.

Quote:

The annexation of the Crimea was done after the people of Crimea voted by a vast majority to ask the Russian government to annex them. This was done because they knew that given the takeover of Ukraine by far right elements oriented towards the West of the country, they would be severely repressed. I guess saying "felt forced" was in retrospect a poor word choice as it implies Russia did it out of benevolence which I certainly dont believe. Although what I do believe is that Russia "felt forced" in the sense that they are desperately trying to hold onto their imperial possessions.

Yeah, fair enough. Although I would dispute the Ukrainian takeover as meaning they would definitely be "severely repressed".

And while people in Crimea may have voted to join Russia, as you say Russia didn't do it out of benevolence. Otherwise Russia would organise a referendum in Chechnya!

Iktomi
Aug 4 2016 06:54
jesuithitsquad wrote:
I'd highly recommend reading about the current Russian military strategy of hybrid war

What exactly is the difference between Russian 'hybrid warfare' and everything the US has done since it's inception? Blockading Cuba, funding terrorism/regime change in South America, spying on foreign countries and the domestic population just to cherry pick a few.

As for predictability was anyone expecting the US to invade Iraq after 9/11?

Just curious. Not an expert by any means

radicalgraffiti
Aug 4 2016 13:37
Iktomi wrote:
As for predictability was anyone expecting the US to invade Iraq after 9/11?

yes

Khawaga
Aug 4 2016 14:25

Really? That's was pretty perceptive back then in that case.

I mean Afghanistan was what we all expected; it took some time for the wardrums to beat up a frenzy towards Iraq. Then again, many folks didn't read the Project for a New American Century until after 2003. In there it was all laid out.

Serge Forward
Aug 4 2016 15:12

Nah, they'd been banging the Iraq war drum a while. It was well on the cards. In fact Dubya and pals were already linking Saddam with Al Qaeda in a weird case of double-think of epic proportions. Add that to the "supergun" bollocks and the chemicals they'd flogged them earlier, then you'd be a bit of a dope not to anticipate the invasion of Iraq.

baboon
Aug 4 2016 15:12

I think the question of imperialist war is going to become much more important for the working class and, in this sense, the work of Soapy in analysing the political manoeuvres of the world's major imperialism, the USA, is also very important. I didn't see Jesuit's posts as a contradiction of Soapy but rather a clarification. Particularly the statement that "Russian imperialism is every bit as dangerous" and the characterisation of the growing "unpredictability" of the international situation.

In the two previous world wars it has been the weaker imperialism that has "broken out" but it has done so from a position where it has been pushed by the actions of the larger imperialisms. Above this is the general tendency of imperialism which presses on all nation states and proto-nations such as the Kurds, to make contingent, unstable alliances and manoeuvre against their rivals. I don't think that the proletariat in general (not in the major capitals anyway) are anything like mobilised for war, that is supporting the nation, but the bourgeoisie is having a freer hand than for a long time.

I'm not sure what "hybrid war" means but I think that we are seeing a growth of unpredictability, irrationality and centrifugal forces that we were not seeing during the relative stability of the Cold War. The collapse of the Warsaw Pact also saw the disintegration of the cement that held the Western Bloc together and contributed to the overall weakening of US imperialism. All these elements, centrifugal tendencies, irrationality and unpredictability are evident today on a growing scale in the Middle East.

Khawaga
Aug 4 2016 15:50

But right after 9/11 happened? Iirc very few talked about Iraq at that time, but a whole lot about Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Serge Forward
Aug 4 2016 17:31

I think you'll find they did talk about Iraq quite a bit as well. Yes, it made no sense then either.

Khawaga
Aug 4 2016 17:48

Likely, my memory is not serving me well.

teh
Aug 4 2016 20:07
Quote:
Quote:
On the topic of Pussy Riot, I dont think they are worth supporting, but Im happy to agree to disagree.

On this, basically they are a group of anarchist artists who were being heavily repressed for being critical of the government/authorities. As a result I think they deserve our full support.

Calling Pussy Riot anarchists reminds me of Tariq Ali in the late 80's writing that Boris Yeltsin is going to resurrect communism in the Soviet Union. They're from the generic upper layer that you find in the metropolis of any third world country whose livelihoods depends on the economic predominance of the West locally and behave as such in their class interests. They supported a neo-fascist for Moscow mayor (and one of their husbands worked on his campaign according to The Times of London) running explicitly on a law and order/anti-migrant platform. They also said they would support the presidential candidacy of Russia's former richest man. On the foreign front they endorsed US Democrat Bernie Sanders for president, not exactly an internationalist or an anarchist.
They were arrested for disorderly conduct with incitement to hatred for desecrating an altar not being critical of whoever. Russia has one of the highest per-capita incarceration rates in the world (currently plateauing at late Soviet levels after a post-2000 fall). People go to prison for disorderly conduct all the time, including those from the far-right activist scene like Pussy Riot. It doesn't get Western media attention and global campaigns. Considering Western media isnt exactly sophisticated its probable this was a gimmick of the local embassy (at least it fits with the general farce of Mcfauls tenure).

Quote:
Quote:
The annexation of the Crimea was done after the people of Crimea voted by a vast majority to ask the Russian government to annex them. This was done because they knew that given the takeover of Ukraine by far right elements oriented towards the West of the country, they would be severely repressed. I guess saying "felt forced" was in retrospect a poor word choice as it implies Russia did it out of benevolence which I certainly dont believe. Although what I do believe is that Russia "felt forced" in the sense that they are desperately trying to hold onto their imperial possessions.

Yeah, fair enough. Although I would dispute the Ukrainian takeover as meaning they would definitely be "severely repressed".

And while people in Crimea may have voted to join Russia, as you say Russia didn't do it out of benevolence. Otherwise Russia would organise a referendum in Chechnya!

I think the part that gets missed here is that Crimea was annexed by Yeltsin in the early-90s after the Soviet Union fell. In return for vacating the base in Odessa, Crimea got "autonomy" which included a local parliament loyal to Moscow and 20,000 Russian troops. It was part of Ukraine in the same way that the CIA warlords running North Kurdistan are a part of Iraq. 2014 was formality and a sign of weakness , as Obama and others were apt to point out, not going on the offensive (as some are characterizing here) which Russia didnt have the strength to do then and probably now.

Fleur
Aug 4 2016 20:27

Khawaga wrote:

Quote:
But right after 9/11 happened? Iirc very few talked about Iraq at that time, but a whole lot about Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

On 9/11 itself my house seemed to be the Grand Central Station of people turning up and wanting to talk about it. Idk why, I guess I was around. Anyway, Iraq came up several times, from different people. If you remember Iraq was often in the news at the time, with the oil for food program and various organisations doing sanctions busting. People I talked to seemed to be speculating that 9/11 was carried out by Iraq.

Iktomi
Aug 4 2016 22:35

I'm not disagreeing with hitmans post but was looking for clarification on that term. It seems like one of those words, like terrorism, that gets thrown at US enemies while we conveniently ignore the fact that our govt does the exact same shit.

Not at all apologising for putin/ Russian aggression.

baboon
Aug 5 2016 19:40

On the earlier question of missile defence systems: These are not defensive weapons at all even if the war-heads were filled with duck feathers. In the latest cases, proposed and enacted and situated close to the Russian border, they are offensive, threatening expressions of imperialism. They come with militarised bases, with the surrounding area militarised. They contain Nato troops supplied with military hardware. They are a haven for special forces and act as listening posts and posts for electronic surveillance across the border. And they are backed up by supply lines and air cover.

Along with growing visible elements of repression "at home", the militarisation of borders - and the threat that goes along with that - is increasing. Except the counter-tendency, where borders that have existed for over a hundred years, like the Middle East for example, are breaking down.

petey
Aug 5 2016 22:47

talk about iraq never stopped after the first invasion, with a younger generation of neocons keeping alive the idea that the job "hadn't been finished". any excuse would do to go back in and before the dust of 9/11 had settled the propaganda was being started to include iraq in the plan to "drain the swamp of terrorism."

Reddebrek
Aug 6 2016 04:47

Yeah, Saddam Hussein basically replaced the Soviet Union as the baddie in Western political circles and even pop culture, in the 90's. I can remember at least a dozen early computer games I played based on Desert Storm, or about stopping a villainous dictator called something like "Badman Insane" complete with moustache and beret. And who could forget those classics of cinema the Hot Shots films?

Never mind the Neocons the first Clinton came close to going to war with Iraq. I still remember seeing the news footage of the bombing raids in 98, and I'm sure I am forgetting several other times war looked close. And the sanctions regime just got tighter and tighter. And in order to justify it of course we had a nonstop warning of how brutal and dangerous the regime was, which lets be honest wasn't a hard sell.

Oh and now that I think about it this was true of Gaddafi, with both pop culture villainy and the occasional sabre rattling, though that was more of an 80's thing, because in the 90's and 2000's in started collaborating heavily with European nations.

jesuithitsquad
Aug 6 2016 07:19

To begin, apologies that I've been too busy to respond before now. There are a lot of really good observations and questions here. I haven't had the time to collate links to the sources for my response, but as time allows I will return to post links. My response is based on my memory of the stories I've read, so it's possible I may have misremembered a detail here or there, so apologies in advance if so. I will say that if you're interested in the topic, a really good primer on the escalating conflict between NATO and Russia is Max Fisher's “How World War III Became Possible” written in June of 2015. It's a long read for sure, and it definitely slants from the Washington foreign policy establishment point of view (he pays very little attention to the fact that Russia is literally surrounded by NATO military bases and he treats Russian fears of an aggressive West as little more than paranoia), but even though it's a year old, it is thorough and more or less remains accurate.

Interestingly, the Fisher article backs up baboon's earlier assertion about the weaker imperialist power being the one to break out during the two world wars. In fact, it quotes several foreign policy experts from both sides comparing the current climate to that of 1914, prior to the outbreak of war. The West has not faced a peer-to-peer opponent in generations, and Russian conventional forces can only be considered a peer to NATO when placed in comparison to the gap between all other countries. It is this imbalance that creates the need for a strategy designed to create more parity.

Explaining the concept of hybrid war is problematic specifically because it is, by design, difficult to define. In the West, it's come to be known as “multi-vector hybrid warfare,” and in Russia, the larger military doctrine is known as the Gerasimov Doctrine, named for Russia's Chief of General Staff who began outlining the doctrine in 2013 paper. At its most basic, hybrid war is designed to blur the lines between 'at war' and 'not at war.' The doctrine uses this gray area to open both the space and time wherein the aggressive actor optimizes the enemy's confusion, giving the aggressor the upper hand before open hostilities actually begin. This strategy is thought to be particularly effective against NATO because the very essence of the alliance relies on a very black and white delineation of wartime. In order to trigger the mutual defense clause, a NATO member must be attacked by a state actor. Hybrid war blurs those lines.

We saw it in action for the first time in Ukraine. The concept of 'the little green men' is a direct result of the Gerasimov Doctrine. That is to say, in the Ukraine conflict, Russian special forces removed their insignia, patches, and other identifying information, giving Russia the ability deny the existence of Russian troops in Ukraine, and blurring the issue as to whether or not Putin had invaded. Key in pulling this off is Russia's advanced ability to wage an extreme disinformation campaign.

In the Ukrainian example, Russian propaganda stated that the uprising there was fully organic, with Russian-speaking Ukrainians taking up arms to defend themselves against neo-nazi pogroms against ethnic Russians (a claim Russia has pushed in Estonia as well). Further blurring the lines, the 'little green men' interspersed themselves amongst actual Ukrainian militias, so as to make identification even more difficult.

Now, we are all used to propaganda being used to further imperialist goals, but the Russian model dwarfs all other propaganda models. Obviously, RT is a central piece in this campaign. RT's direct control from Moscow has been pretty well documented at this point, but one could argue the same for the BBC or any of the American news organizations. What sets RT apart from its Western counterparts is its willingness to actually just make shit up. As opposed to Western media's long history of slanting the news coverage of facts to promote the ruling class' interests, RT has been known to create its own facts (think Fox News on steroids).

Augmenting the more official propaganda is an army of internet content creators and professional trolls. As an exercise, pick any story critical of Russia written by a major news organization. Scroll through the comments. Before long you will likely find comment after comment written in broken English defending Putin. Most of these comments are written by paid agents of the Russian intelligence apparatus. There is an amazing New York Times story called, “The Agency” that investigates the so-called Web Brigades. It reads a bit like a real-life Tom Clancy novel:

There are many examples of Russia 'war-gaming' out these techniques, but the one that stands out in my mind is an 'event' in Louisiana. In the middle of the night, a YouTube video began making the rounds of a massive explosion at an area refinery. Twitter accounts began retweeting the video, and area residents began receiving text message warnings from local authorities ordering residents to stay away from the area. All of this seemed like a perfectly normal method of disseminating news in the 21st century, except that the entire event was completely fabricated. The footage was reused, the twitter accounts initially promoting the story were eventually traced to a Russian intelligence unit, and the emergency response text messages were phony. In the end, this exercise appeared to be a dry run, it's consequences no more drastic than causing a bit of confusion and havoc; imagining the implications for a similar scenario during war time is pretty terrifying.

A great deal of the Western foreign policy establishment's collective panic over hybrid warfare stems from a RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Department of Defense, in which they gamed-out multiple scenarios of Russia invading Baltic NATO members. The findings shook the Defense Establishment to the core: unless NATO heavily reinforces the Baltics now, Russia would be able to over-run NATO forces within a maximum time-frame of 60 hours.

A relatively recent German poll asked 'if Russia invaded one of its NATO neighbors should Germany go to war to defend the ally?' The results showed 58% of respondents saying “No” while only 38% said “Yes.” As internationalists, we should definitely cheer such a reticence to go to war, but no doubt Putin knows this. Particularly if its unclear at first whether or not Russia has invaded, Putin can use the hesitation and desire to negotiate to further his goals. Using hybrid tactics to blur the line of 'at war' gives Russia enough of a buffer to successfully tear the NATO alliance apart.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the most terrifying thing about the Russian-NATO conflict is Russia's newly stated doctrine of using tactical nuclear weapons when under an “existential threat” on the battlefield. This is obviously a result of an imbalance in conventional forces. Russia knows that in the end, they are no match for NATO's conventional forces. Using hybrid warfare to sow confusion and by putting tactical nukes on the table, Putin hopes to bring balance. Unfortunately, Putin has now further clarified this doctrine to include an attack on Crimea as a triggering event for using tactical nukes. From what I know, it doesn't seem like the West is interested in fighting over Crimea, but the slow creep of circumstances in which Russia declares its willingness to 'go there' blurs the red-line of triggering incidents. One of the most frightening pieces of the Gerasimov Doctrine is that Russia calls such a use of tactical nukes “a de-escalatory nuclear strike.” That is, Russia apparently believes that using such a weapon will cause the West to hesitate and retreat rather than responding in-kind.

Someone asked earlier how hybrid warfare differs from the history of imperialist wars and tactics. It is a good question/observation. While initially the Western foreign policy establishment collectively shit its pants in response to the Gerasimov Doctrine, there are some who now argue that the tactics involved are not all that different from what we have seen in the past. Others believe that, in the end, the West—once it shows a willingness to 'take off the gloves'--actually has more hybrid warfare capabilities than Russia. I'm not sure how I feel about this perspective as of yet because these voices are relatively new to the conversation about hybrid war, and I haven't read enough to form an opinion.

I do know that one undeniable thing that makes this an entirely different era and mode of thinking is the notion, inherent in the “de-escalatory strike” concept, that Russia now believes that it is actually possible to “win” a nuclear war.

Cooked
Aug 6 2016 08:07

Jesuit all that info in your post and all analysis like it have as source only state actors with well developed propaganda skills. That info is deliberately seeded as much as anything else it's turtles all the way down.

jesuithitsquad
Aug 6 2016 09:57

Not sure I'm following you completely, but if you mean we need to be aware that state actors on all sides have a story they want to be told, then yes absolutely.

That said in the Vox story, Fisher interviewed state and non-state actors om both sides. The NYT piece was nearly entirely independent, original reporting. So yeah, there's always going to be information out that will make it tough to get to an objective 'truth' but independently sourced and verified information can give us a lens with which to get a semblance of accuracy.

Curious Wednesday
Aug 6 2016 17:04

Steven wrote:

Quote:
Clinton's support for Pussy Riot comes off in this article as cause for criticism of her, whereas actually that's one of the only things she has done which isn't terrible.

Pussy Riot wrote ( http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7460924/pussy-riot-hillary-clinton-america ) :

Quote:
"We would be happy if America chose a woman for president. It would be a wonderful sign that America is the land of opportunity."

We know how much a land of opportunity the UK became when it had a woman prime minister.
Surely Steven should reconsider his implicit support for Pussy Riot. Undoubtedly if they performed the same kind of a show in the USA that got them jailed in Russia – for example, playing rock music with anti-Trump (or indeed, anti-Clinton if she becomes president) lyrics in a major church, would the land of opportunity be so kind to them? I suspect they would end up in jail. After all, Stephen Fry got kicked out of Salt Lake city merely for making a joke on a tour which the tabernacle priest-cum-guide did not appreciate.
(http://bigthink.com/videos/stephen-frys-humor-was-lost-on-salt-lake-city)

Cooked
Aug 6 2016 17:33
jesuithitsquad wrote:
Not sure I'm following you completely, but if you mean we need to be aware that state actors on all sides have a story they want to be told, then yes absolutely.

That said in the Vox story, Fisher interviewed state and non-state actors om both sides. The NYT piece was nearly entirely independent, original reporting. So yeah, there's always going to be information out that will make it tough to get to an objective 'truth' but independently sourced and verified information can give us a lens with which to get a semblance of accuracy.

turtles

Even the true "facts" are part of the war and all parts of war is propaganda. That standing order of the russian generals for example. However independently researched, the original source or fact, is of the military. The fact has been created for a reason part of that reason will be propaganda. That goes for all facts and how they are framed.