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Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn't

By David Swanson, originally published by the Fairbanks Alaska Daily Miner

I would not rank Vladimir Putin high on a list of leaders. If I lived in Russia I'd be working for major reforms in my government, just as I'm doing where I do live, in the United States. I regularly go on Russian media and criticize the Russian government. Russia is illegally and immorally bombing people in Syria, just as the United States is doing in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

But there are Putin Halloween masks for sale in U.S. stores. Time magazine has Putin on the cover accusing him of trying to damage U.S. elections. A Google search for "Hitler Putin" brings back 11 million results. This demonization of a foreign leader should frighten us more than that leader himself.

Wars do not only kill, if they kill at all, a foreign leader. But they do kill large numbers of children, grandparents, mothers, and fathers. They enrage people, endanger us, damage the natural environment, justify the removal of our rights, and divert unfathomable resources from areas where they could have done a world of good.

The actual Adolph Hitler had no plans or ability to invade the United States and was defeated primarily by Russians who lost at least 27 million lives in the process. For over 70 years, since the end of World War II, the United States has bombed dozens of nations, and in every case that I am aware of U.S. officials have labeled a targeted individual "Hitler."

In May the Politico newspaper reported on Pentagon testimony in Congress to the effect that Russia had a superior and threatening military, but followed that with this: "'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock."

Politico then cited a less-than-credible "study" of Russian military superiority and aggression and added: "While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military's influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes."

The United States has overseen the expansion of NATO to Russia's border. The buffer zone of the last Cold War is gone. U.S./NATO missile bases are now in Romania and being built in Poland. The U.S. has organized in Eastern Europe the largest military exercises seen there since World War II. The U.S. role in supporting a violent coup that created an anti-Russian government in Ukraine was exposed before the coup. When the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia, the U.S. media characterized Russian actions that resulted in total casualties of zero as "an invasion of Ukraine."

Without presenting us with any evidence, the U.S. government has accused Russia of shooting down an airplane, of exposing the corruption within the Democratic National Committee (shouldn't we be grateful?), and of somehow sabotaging the upcoming U.S. election. Every atrocity committed by Russia or Syria in Syria is big news. Every U.S. atrocity there is a yawn.

The stakes are high every time the United States overthrows a government. The disasters of Iraq and Libya have fueled the current catastrophes in those countries and Syria and around the region. But the stakes are higher when the United States and Russia confront each other. These are nuclear nations. Russia has announced that it is considering re-opening a base in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in case anyone has forgotten, was one of the many times since the creation of nuclear weapons that humanity has come close to intentionally or accidentally destroying itself.

The nukes are of far greater strength now. And our understanding has grown of how a limited nuclear war anywhere on earth would create a crop-destroying nuclear winter followed by mass starvation. We don't need to take this sort of risk. To avoid it we need to turn away from war. And that means we need to stop using human rights abuses by targeted governments as excuses to bomb people.

We should protect human rights through leadership by example and consistent application of the rule of law. Doing so would then open the United States up to the possibility of opposing human rights abuses by some of the nasty governments that it props up and sells or gives weapons to, beginning perhaps with Saudi Arabia, a monarchy that makes Vladimir Putin look like Mohandas Gandhi.

David Swanson is speaking at the University of Alaska Schaible Auditorium at 7 p.m. on October 22nd. His books include War Is A Lie and War Is Never Just. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Focus: United States and Russia - Oct 10, 2016

Russia says U.S. actions threaten its national security, Lavrov: 'Russophobia now lies at the heart of U.S. policy' - Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister says US is not fighting Al-Nusra in Syria - Sputnik

Mikhail Gorbachev warns world is at 'dangerous point' amid US-Russian face off over Syria - Telegraph

Russia to build permanent Syrian naval base in Tartus, eyes other outposts - Reuters

Russia to equip navy base in Syria’s Tartus with air defense, anti-sub systems - Sputnik

Russia sends cruise missile ships to Mediterranean - IHS Jane's 360

Russian parliament ratifies indefinite deployment of air force in Syria - Sputnik

Exclusive: Russia builds up forces in Syria, Reuters data analysis shows - Reuters

How scary is the Russian S-400 SAM?, It is the most capable and lethal long-range air defense missile system on the planet - Fighter Sweep

Not by stealth alone: Russian Corvettes to get ability to shoot down enemy jets - Sputnik

New Russian radars give the Pentagon headaches even before being fully deployed -


Russia, China quickly forming ‘strategy of synergy' in Syria - Sputnik

India to propose to BRICS states creation of fund to restore Syria - Sputnik

Saudi Arabia, Qatar slam Egypt for supporting Russia's proposal for Syria truce - Egypt Independent

Egypt 'ready to agree' new Russian air base on coast - Middle East Eye



At debate Trump, Clinton Spar on Russia As Moscow Ties Crumble -

VIDEO: Clinton: 'What is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia’; Trump: 'I think it would be great if we got along with Putin so we could fight ISIS together' - YouTube

U.S. government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections - The Washington Post

U.S. army chief issues stark warning to potential enemies, including Russia and China: ‘We will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before' -

Army chief: U.S. army’s dominance is being challenged by a belligerent Russia and rising China, Future war is ‘almost guaranteed’ - Association of the United States Army

VIDEO: U.S. army chief threatens war with Russia - YouTube

U.S. army leaders warn about Russia's bold moves in information warfare in a bid to to both degrade U.S. military power and damage its democratic institutions -

Army Secretary: Drawdown, Russia and ISIL stretch us ‘very thin' -

Experts: 'Prospects low' for direct US-Russia war, but ‘clashes possible in third states' - Sputnik

Russian experts: Words of US generals on war with Russia shouldn’t be taken seriously - TASS

The US air force just dropped two fake nukes, The tests in the Nevada desert come as tensions rise with Russia - Defense One

War hawks: US think tank already planning 10 ‘killer weapons’ of a US-Russia war - Sputnik

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

We got 8 years of change, but not much hope: President Barack Obama’s Crappy Legacy

By Dave Lindorff


Barack Obama came into the White House on a wave of passionate new voters, many of them black or young and white, becoming the nation's first black president and promising a new era of "hope and change."

US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing

By Dave Lindorff


If the danger of the anti-Putin, anti-Russian disinformation propaganda campaign out of the Pentagon and promoted by the US corporate media weren't so serious, the effort itself might be laughable. I did laugh,

Focus: United States and Russia - Sept 7, 2016

Ash Carter: Russia sowing seeds of global instability through coercion and aggression - The Washington Post

VIDEO (Full speech): Ash Carter: Russia’s aggression and ISIL’s barbarism are robust challenges for U.S. - DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of Defense Speech at the University of Oxford - DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Trump campaign slams Defense Secretary Ash Carter's attack on Russia -

Trump blasts Clinton as 'trigger-happy', says her legacy in Iraq, Libya and Syria 'has produced only turmoil and suffering and death’ - POLITICO

TRANSCRIPT: Trump's speech: 'We want to achieve a stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground...This will require rethinking the failed policies of the past - Washington Examiner

POLL: Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 19 points among military, veteran voters - Washington Times

Tim Kaine: Hillary Clinton plans to strengthen European Allies against Russia - Sputnik

Hillary Clinton suggests alleged Russian hacking is designed to help Trump, says the Republican nominee has 'allied himself with Putin's policies' - NBC News

Clapper: Russians hack U.S. computer networks 'all the time' - POLITICO

Guccifer 2.0 denies Russian involvement in hack of Democratic Party - WSJ



U.S., Russia divided on way forward in Syria: State Department - Reuters

Foreign Ministry statement: Russia expresses "grave concern” about the advance of Turkish troops in Syria - MFA Russia on Twitter

Turkey ready to join US in capturing Raqqa from ISIS: Erdogan - Business Insider

Turkey seeks to establish ‘safe zone’ along Syrian border -

White House dismisses Turkey's suggestion for Syria no-fly zone - Daily Sabah

Boris Johnson insists Russia should end ‘indefensible’ support for Assad regime in Syria - The Independent


UK Foreign Office spent £1m on US lobbying on behalf of Syrian opposition - The Independent

Syrian opposition unveils road map for transition: Assad must go after six months, adding it will reject any US-Russia deal that strays from its terms - Al Jazeera

Text of the Syrian opposition transitional plan -

Iraq Shite militia says it has dispatched more than 1,000 fighters to join battle for Syria's Aleppo - Reuters

VIDEO: Saudi Arabia FM's thoughts on fresh attempt to end Syria conflict - BBC News

Ukraine's president Poroshenko warns that a full-scale invasion from Russia could be on the horizon, with Europe powerless to fight the Kremlin's ‘aggression' - Daily Mail Online

President Poroshenko: Our strategic goal is NATO membership - Official website of the President of Ukraine

Poroshenko: Loss of Russian market has cost Ukraine $15 billion -

Ukraine's alleged pro-Russian Inter TV burned, picketed -

Pentagon head Ashton Carter to meet with Ukrainian partners in London -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


But, Mr. Putin, You Just Don't Understand

Once in a while one of the videos somebody emails me a link to turns out to be well worth watching. Such is this one. In it a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union tries to explain to Vladimir Putin why new U.S. missile bases near the border of Russia should not be understood as threatening. He explains that the motivation in Washington, D.C., is not to threaten Russia but to create jobs. Putin responds that, in that case, the United States could have created jobs in peaceful industries rather than in war.

Putin may or may not be familiar with U.S. economic studies finding that, in fact, the same investment in peaceful industries would create more jobs than does military spending. But he is almost certainly aware that, in U.S. politics, elected officials have, for the better part of a century, only been willing to invest heavily in military jobs and no others. Still, Putin, who may also be familiar with how routine it has become for Congress members to talk about the military as a jobs program, appears in the video a bit surprised that someone would offer that excuse to a foreign government fixed in U.S. sights.

Timothy Skeers who sent me the video link commented: "Maybe Khrushchev should have just told Kennedy he was just trying to create jobs for Soviet citizens when he put those missiles in Cuba." Imagining how that would have played out may help people in the United States to grasp how their elected officials sound to the rest of the world.

That one main motivation for U.S. military expansion in Eastern Europe is "jobs," or rather, profits, is almost openly admitted by the Pentagon. In May the Politico newspaper reported on Pentagon testimony in Congress to the effect that Russia had a superior and threatening military, but followed that with this: "'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock."

Politico then cited a less-than-credible "study" of Russian military superiority and aggression and added:

"While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military's influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes. 'That's news to me,' one of these highly respected officers told me. 'Swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles? Surprisingly lethal tanks? How come this is the first we've heard of it?'"

It's always the retired officials speaking truth to corruption, inlcuding retired Ambassador Jack Matlock in the video. Money and bureaucracy are euphemized as "jobs," and their influence is real but still explains nothing. You can have money and bureaucracy promote peaceful industries. The choice to promote war is not a rational one. In fact, it is well described by a U.S. writer in the New York Times projecting U.S. attitudes onto Russia and Putin:

"The strategic purpose of his wars is war itself. This is true in Ukraine, where territory was a mere pretext, and this is true of Syria, where protecting Mr. Assad and fighting ISIS are pretexts too. Both conflicts are wars with no end in sight because, in Mr. Putin's view, only at war can Russia feel at peace."

This was, in fact, how the New York Times reported last October on the event from which the video linked above is taken. (More here.) I condemn the Russian bombing of Syria all the time, including on Russian media on almost a weekly basis, but if there is a nation that is always at war it is the United States, which backed a right-wing anti-Russia coup in Ukraine and now refers to the Russian response as irrational war-making.

The wisdom of the New York Times writer, like the wisdom of Nuremberg, is selectively applied in a hostile manner, but still wise. The purpose of war is indeed war itself. The justifications are always pretexts.

Focus: Trump, Clinton and Russia - July 31, 2016


Trump says not wrong a good relationship with Russia: 'If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing’ - Indian Express

Trump says he may let Russia keep Crimea: 'the people of Crimea...would rather be with Russia than where they were [Ukraine]' - CBS News

VIDEO: Donald Trump on Russia, NATO, Ukraine and Crimea - YouTube

Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump has 'absolute allegiance to Russian wish-list foreign policy' - Washington Times

Clinton says Russian intelligence services hacked DNC, 'For Trump to encourage that and praise Putin...raises national security issues' - Reuters

VIDEO: Hillary: 'Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin' - Breitbart


VIDEO: Sessions: 'Trump is right' - we need to end this cycle of hostility with Russia - Breitbart

VIDEO: Russia expert Stephen Cohen: Trump wants to stop the new cold war, but the America media just doesn't understand -  RealClearPolitics

Top spy DNI James Clapper: Despite intelligence war with Russians, 'I don't think we're quite ready' to blame them for DNC hack - POLITICO

VIDEO: James Clapper comments on DNC hack - YouTube

CIA chief John Brennan: People 'jumping to conclusions' over Russia hacks - Washington Examiner

VIDEO: CIA Director Brennan on hacks of campaigns & elections - YouTube

Assange refuses to say if Russia behind DNC hack - Washington Examiner

Is D.N.C. email hacker a person or a Russian front? Experts aren’t sure - The New York Times


NSA whistleblowers doubt DNC's claim of Russian role in damaging e-mail leaks -

No, We don’t know yet that Russia is behind DNC email hacks. Here’s Why. - LawNewz

Who hacked the DNC? Jeffrey Carr, author of Inside Cyber Warfare, shows that the identification of the hacker groups as Russian state actors is based on arbitrary definitions -

Jeffrey Carr: Can facts slow the DNC breach runaway train? - Medium

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: NATO and Russia - July 9, 2016

NATO leaders meet to deal with Russia threats from east, Islamic terrorism from south - US News

NATO approves buildup in eastern Europe at Warsaw summit - Stripes

U.S. sending 1,000 rotating troops to Poland, building radar systems in Germany and Turkey, moving drones to Italy -

Britain commits 650 troops to Nato’s Baltic forces to counter Vladimir Putin -

Trudeau pledges troops, frigate and jets as NATO faces off against Russia - CTV

NATO takes over U.S.-built missile shield, amid Russian suspicion - Reuters

NATO agrees to ensure freedom of movement of troops, equipment amid Russia's alleged aerial denial capabilities' development - Sputnik

New chess game between NATO and Russia, Moscow’s investment in ‘access denial’ military systems calls into question the Alliance’s ability to defend Baltics — and divides it politically - POLITICO

According to NATO statistics, the U.S. spent an estimated $650 billion on defense last year, more than double the amount all the other 27 NATO countries spent between them -

Fact sheet: U.S. contributions to NATO capabilities -

Compendium of defence expenditures of NATO countries (2009-2016) - NATO



Obama urges NATO to stand firm against Russia despite Brexit - Reuters

Obama op-ed: America’s alliance with Britain and Europe will endure -

Obama: U.S. to be lead nation for enhanced NATO presence in Poland - U.S. Department of Defense

Kerry says U.S. will remain firm on Russia sanctions -

Merkel: Russia's actions have deeply disturbed our eastern allies and require a clear reassurance of their safety -

Kremlin says NATO talk of Russian threat absurd, short-sighted - Reuters

Kremlin spksm Dmitry Peskov's in no doubt about NATO threat: "If it walks like a dog, smells like a dog, barks like a dog, then it's a dog.” - Steve Rosenberg on Twitter

Russia vows to ‘do anything’ for Black Sea balance despite NATO plans -

Putin increases Russian Armed Forces’ organic strength to 1.885 million - TASS


Russian media unhappy with NATO summit - BBC News

Stoltenberg: NATO-Russia Council may meet at ministerial level, after meeting at the level of ambassadors on July 13 - TASS

Stoltenberg: NATO’s door remains open to Ukraine, Georgia - Ukrinform News

‘No to militarism!’ Anti-war activists mirror NATO meeting in Warsaw with own summit - RT News

Trump’s Russia adviser criticizes U.S. for ‘hypocritical focus on democratization…and regime change”’ - The Washington Post

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Russians Ask “Why Do You Demonize Us When We Are So Much Like You?”

By Ann Wright


Photo of Russian kids attending a youth camp called Artek in Crimea.  Photo by Ann Wright

Some Reflections from our Recent Trip to Russia

By David and Jan Hartsough

We have recently returned from a two week citizen’s diplomacy peace delegation to six cities in Russia under the auspices of the Center for Citizen Initiatives.

Our trip included visits with journalists, political leaders, teachers and students, doctors and medical clinics, veterans of past wars, representatives of small businesses and nongovernmental organizations, youth camps, and home visits.

Since David’s earlier visits to Russia over the past fifty-five years, much has changed. He was struck by how much new building and construction has taken place, and the “westernization” of clothing, styles, advertising, automobiles and traffic, as well as global corporations and private companies and stores.

Some of our reflections include:

  1. Danger of US and NATO military exercises on Russian border, like a game of nuclear chicken. This could very easily escalate into nuclear war. We must wake up the American people about the danger and encourage our government to move away from this dangerous posturing.
  1. We need to put ourselves in the Russians’ shoes. What if Russia had military troops, tanks and bomber planes and missiles on the US border in Canada and Mexico. Wouldn’t we feel threatened?
  1. Russian people don’t want war and want to live in peace. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in World War II because they were not prepared militarily. They will not let that happen again.   If attacked, they will fight for their Motherland. Most families lost family members in WWII, so war is very immediate and personal. In the siege of Leningrad between two and three million people perished.
  1. US and NATO must take the initiative and show a commitment to living in peace with the Russians and treat them with respect.

Trashing Clinton in the Times: Is Sanders’ End Game to Sell Out His ‘Political Revolution’ or to Take It to November?

By Dave Lindorff


            What is Bernie Sanders up to?


            I sure don’t know, and I’m sure that Hillary Clinton and her campaign managers are wondering too.

Focus: Russia - June 21, 2016

Germany's foreign minister accuses NATO of ‘warmongering' over Russia, criticizes military exercises in Eastern Europe - RFERL

NATO’s chief brushes aside comments from Germany’s foreign minister saying both military, political approach needed toward Russia - RFERL

U.S. Navy officials say European exercises not 'sabre-rattling', but necessary steps to deter aggressive Russian maritime expansion - Reuters

US Nato general fears rapid Russian troop deployments - BBC News

NATO targets Russia ‘threat' in July summit - Daily Express

German foreign minister suggests European split over Moscow, Merkel ally rebuffs his NATO criticism -

Russia won’t be invading NATO countries, Germany shouldn’t help start a new arms race: former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder - RT News

NATO launches anti-submarine warfare exercise in Norwegian Sea - NATO

NATO jets in Baltics scrambled twice last week to escort Russian warplanes -

NATO battalions on Russian borders could easily grow into larger contingent: Russian analyst - Sputnik

Defense secretary Carter hails US alliances amid Trump criticism that the U.S. 'cannot afford to police the entire world’ - TheHill

Pentagon chief Carter: 'Next month when I accompany President Obama to the NATO Summit in Warsaw, we all need to do more to deter and defend against Russian aggression' - Sputnik

Carter confirms new NATO battalions on eastern flank - IHS Jane's 360

Is the Pentagon hyping the Russia threat? Some officials are inflating it in an effort to boost the Defense Department’s budget - The American Conservative

Joe Biden rips Donald Trump's foreign policy: 'Embracing Putin at a time of renewed Russian aggression I believe will call into question America's longstanding commitment to Europe' - CNN

Top Russian politician hails Trump’s Washington invite of Putin as ‘common sense' -

She isn’t president yet, but Russia already hates Hillary Clinton - Observer



EU to extend Russia sanctions until the end of the year, divided over next steps - Reuters

European ministers wrestle with future of Russia sanctions - WSJ

Likely sanctions renewal on Russia welcomed by US allies -

US senators press EU to renew Russian sanctions -

NATO's Stoltenberg: EU sanctions on Russia should remain - Reuters

Germany's Steinmeier favors gradual phasing-out of Russia sanctions - Reuters

Time to send ‘strong signal of accommodation’ to Russia and gradually lift sanctions: Austrian FM - RT News

Germany supports Russia's initiative on Nord Stream-2: Russian Energy Minister - TASS

Putin seeks to include China, India, Iran in fledgling Eurasian Union - Forbes

China, Russia expected to sign multibillion dollar high-speed rail deal during Putin’s visit to Beijing - South China Morning Post

Moscow starts developing heavy engine for joint Chinese-Russian airliner - TASS


Work on Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter autonomous from 3rd countries: deputy PM - TASS

Putin said to weigh $11-billion Rosneft sale to China, India -

Key economic policy players in the rival Kremlin camps - Daily Mail Online

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: Russia - June 18, 2016

Putin calls on Europe to improve ties despite sanctions, 'we are willing to meet our European partners halfway' - AP

Putin: Russia ready to lift sanctions first, if certain that EU will follow suit - RT News

Russian economy overcomes recession: Putin - RT Business

Putin repeats praise of Trump for his comments on improving relations between Russia and the US, says he's a 'bright' person - POLITICO

VIDEO (and transcript): Putin speech at the Plenary session of St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia

VIDEO: Putin talks to world news agencies at St. Petersburg Economic Forum - YouTube

Putin hosts top EU official for talks in rare visit, Juncker says EU-Russia ties not broken beyond repair and must be mended - AP

Speech by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum -

U.S. State Dept official confident EU will continue to back Russia sanctions, 'this is the price we all need to pay if we're to successfully resist Russian aggression' -

VIDEO: U.S. State Dept official confident EU will continue to back Russia sanctions - YouTube

Ukraine furious over remarks on Russia by U.N. chief Ban - Reuters

Western leaders, CEOs visit Russia amid sanctions fatigue - AP

Calls for EU-Russia free trade agreement echo at St. Petersburg Forum - Sputnik

Italian leader Renzi wants to boost ties with Russia, says Europe and Russia share same values - ABC News

Foreign investment in Russia doubles despite sanctions, West Europeans lead - Russia Beyond The Headlines

To the first, the spoils - Western investors venture back to Russia - Reuters



Russia assails NATO's move to deploy troops near its border - AP

NATO military rotation in Eastern Europe poses threat to Russia: Envoy - Sputnik

NATO war games In Poland get Russia's attention - NPR

Russia's position regarding missile defense, NATO ignored: Putin - Sputnik

Russian lawmaker says US missile defense system deployment in Japan to affect security - TASS

Russia to watch US and NATO military activities in Black Sea: Grushko - TASS

US to Russia: We're staying in the Black Sea - Business Insider

‘I don’t need war’: Bulgarian PM rules out joining NATO flotilla in Black Sea - RT News

NATO watches warily as Russia conducts snap combat readiness test - Sputnik



Putin: New elections, not forced regime change, key for ending Syrian civil war - Fox News

Putin hopes US can convince Syrian opposition to talk with Damascus  -Sputnik

Russia failed to heed U.S. call to stop targeting Syrian rebels: U.S. - Reuters

Lavrov accuses US of sparing al-Qaeda's branch to topple Assad - Telegraph

State Department officials call for U.S. military action against Assad regime -

Obama, despite dissent on Syria, not shifting toward strikes on Assad - Reuters

Diplomats’ dissent on Syria is a signal to their former boss Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir rips White House on Syria -

Erdogan sends letter to Putin, hopes for improved ties with Russia - Sputnik

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


Gorbachev Disagrees With Obama on Nukes

Mikhail Gorbachev and Barack Obama have radically different views on what is involved in doing away with nuclear weapons.

Reading Gorbachev's new book, The New Russia, is a bit disappointing, but it contains some key insights. It may also be a cure for insomnia; it's no page turner. It's part decades-long diary and travelogue, part petty self-aggrandizement (by someone in no need), and part ill-informed conservatism.

Gorby claims that Obama "honoured his promise to withdraw from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." In fact, both are still raging, the never completed withdrawal from Iraq fell wildly short of the campaign-promise schedule, and Obama actually promised to escalate in Afghanistan, which he did, tripling the U.S. presence and making that war primarily his own in terms of deaths, days, and dollars. The fact that smart well-informed people abroad, like Gorbachev, fall for common U.S. myths is an indication of how very difficult foreign relations can be.

Why go to Russia?

By Kathy Kelly

Since 1983, Sharon Tennison has worked to develop ordinary citizens’ capacities to avert international crises, focusing on relations between the U.S. and Russia. Now, amid a rising crisis in relations between the U.S. and Russia, she has organized a delegation which assembled in Moscow yesterday for a two week visit.  I joined the group yesterday, and happened to finish reading Sharon Tennison’s book, The Power of Impossible Ideas, when I landed in Moscow.

An entry in her book, dated November 9, 1989, describes the excitement over the Berlin Wall coming down and notes that “Prior to the Wall’s removal, President Reagan assured Secretary General Gorbachev that if he would support bringing down the Wall separating East and  West Berlin, NATO would not move ‘a finger’s width’ closer to Russia than East Germany’s border. With this assurance Gorbachev gladly signed on.

Building Bridges of Peace instead of Fear-Citizen Diplomacy with Russia

By Ann Wright
I just flew across 11 times zones--from Tokyo, Japan to Moscow, Russia.  
Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, nearly twice as large as the United States and has extensive mineral and energy resources, the largest reserves in the world. Russia has the world's ninth largest population with over 146.6 million people. The population of the U.S. of 321,400,000 is more than twice as large as Russia's.  
I haven't been back to Russia since the early 1990s when the Soviet Union dissolved itself and allowed 14 new countries to be created from it.  At the time I was a U.S. diplomat and wanted to be a part of the historic opening of U.S. Embassies in one of the newly formed countries.  I asked to be sent to a new country in Central Asia and soon found myself in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 

Why I am Going to Russia

By David Hartsough

The US and Russian governments are pursuing dangerous policies of nuclear brinkmanship. Many people believe we are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba missile crisis in 1962.

Thirty-one thousand troops from the US and NATO countries are engaged in military maneuvers on the Russian border in Poland - together with tanks, military planes and missiles. The US has just activated an anti-ballistic missile site in Romania which the Russians see as part of an American first strike policy. Now the US can fire missiles with nuclear weapons at Russia, and then the anti-ballistic missiles could shoot down Russian missiles shot toward the west in response, the assumption being only the Russians would suffer from nuclear war.

A former NATO general has said he believes there will be nuclear war in Europe within a year. Russia is also threatening use of its missiles and nuclear weapons on Europe and the US if attacked.

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Tick... Tick... Tick...

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Lessons for Peace from Back in the USSR

In the early 1980s almost nobody from the United States traveled to the Soviet Union or vice versa. The Soviets wouldn't let anybody out, and good Americans were disinclined to visit the Evil Empire. But a woman in California named Sharon Tennison took the threat of nuclear war with the seriousness it deserved and still deserves. She got a group of friends together and asked the Russian consulate for permission to visit Russia, make friends, and learn.

Russia said fine. The U.S. government, in the form of the FBI and USAID, told them not to go, warned that they would not be permitted to move freely once there, and generally communicated that they, the U.S. government employees, had internalized their own propaganda. Tennison and company went anyway, had a wonderful experience, and spoke at events with slide shows upon their return, thus attracting many more people for the next trip.

Now it was Tennison's turn to brief the flabbergasted and ignorant U.S. government staff who had virtually no actual knowledge of Russia beyond what she gave them. This was back in the day when President Ronald "Is this a film or reality?" Reagan said that 20 million dead Americans would be acceptable in a war. Yet the so-called intelligence so-called community didn't know its assets from its elbows. War as a "last resort" was being considered without having considered literally any other resorts. Someone had to step in, and Sharon Tennison decided she'd try.

Those first trips took courage, to defy the U.S. government, and to operate in a Soviet Union still monitored by a nasty KGB. But the Americans went with friendship, were generally permitted to go wherever they wanted, and encountered friendship in return. They also encountered knowledge of cultural differences, the influences of history, political and social habits both admirable and lamentable. They became, in fact, a bridge between two worlds, experts on each for the other.

They expanded their work as Gorbachev came to power and the USSR opened up. They hired staff and opened offices in both countries. They sponsored and facilitated all variety of exchanges from art schools to Rotary clubs to police officers to environmentalists. They began bringing Russians to the United States as well as the reverse. They spoke all over the United States, even -- in some examples Tennison gives in her book The Power of Impossible Ideas -- converting gung-ho members of the U.S. weapons industry into volunteers and staff (in one case a man lost his job at General Dynamics as penalty for associating with them, but this freed him to more closely associate).

Focus: NATO and Russia - May 13, 2016

New US missile defense system Aegis Ashore goes live in Russia's back yard - CBS News

NATO press release: Key missile defence site declared operational - NATO

VIDEO: NATO Secretary General at inaugural ceremony of Aegis Ashore, Romania - NATO

VIDEO: Joint press Conference following the Aegis Ashore ceremony - NATO

New NATO supreme commander vows tough line on Russia, says alliance should arm Ukraine - AFP

Commander: NATO needs to be ready to fight Russia ‘tonight' - The Daily Caller

Permanent US armored force in Europe would better deter Russia: NATO commander - Reuters

The U.S. Army’s war over Russia, group of dissenters say they’re overreacting to get a bigger share of the defense budget - POLITICO

Chuck Hagel to next US President: Talk to Putin, Former Defense Secretary warns against ‘cold war buildup’ as NATO deploys in Europe’s eastern flank -

Poll shows Americans say the U.S. 'should deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own', but Washington wants to intervene... everywhere - The Daily Caller

POLL: Key findings on how Americans view the U.S. role in the world - Pew Research Center



Russia calls new U.S. missile shield in Romania a ‘direct threat' - NBC News

Russia rejects US claims about ‘threat’ of Iran’s missiles - Tasnim News Agency

Russia is taking countermeasures against US missile defense in Europe: Kremlin - TASS


Russian media: 5 reasons why US antimissiles in Europe threaten Russia - RT News

Putin: Russia to encourage defense industry enterprises - TASS


Putin to hold third meeting on development of Russian defense sector - TASS


Putin ally accuses new NATO general of stoking ‘war hysteria' -

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Hysterical Cold-War Style US Reporting as 2 Unarmed Russian Jets Buzz US Destroyer Sailing Near Russian Port

By Dave Lindorff


US news reports on an incident Tuesday in which two Russian jet fighters buzzed very close to a US destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, in the Baltic Sea, make it sound like a serious threat in which the US might have been justified in defending itself against a simulated attack on the high seas.

Nowhere in the reports in the US was it mentioned that the Cook was itself engaging in provocative behavior.

Focus: NATO, Russia and Donald Trump - Apr 1, 2016

US sending thousands more armed troops and heavy weaponry to Eastern Europe in response to 'aggressive Russia’ - VICE

Official news release: Eucom announces European Reassurance Initiative implementation plan - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

NATO to switch defense doctrine from 'assurance to deterrence' in E. Europe: Eucom chief Breedlove - GlobalPost

Remarks from the Eucom chief General Breedlove in Riga, Latvia - United States European Command

NATO commander Breedlove calls for return to service of U-2 spy plane to help conduct surveillance on a resurgent Russia - The Independent

First Look at $3.4 billion in weapons the US is sending to NATO - The Fiscal Times

NATO reaches agreement With Kiev on military reforms -

NATO says Russian forces in Syria complicate crisis -

Russia envoy: Moscow won't passively watch US military build-up in Europe - TASS

Get ready, NATO: Russia's cold war T-72 tank is set for a big upgrade - The National Interest Blog

ARCHIVE: Pentagon chief Carter: Russia top global threat to U.S. - News.Az

ARCHIVE: The Pentagon's secret foreign aid budget, U.S. sends billions to foreign militaries each year - Politico



Terrorism and North Korea dominate Nuclear Security Summit in Washington - NBC News

Kremlin: Russia skips Nuclear Security Summit over lack of cooperation with partners - TASS

Russia’s absence from the Nuclear Security Summit raises questions about the international community’s ability to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, say analysts - VOA

Will the Nuclear Security Summit help stop terrorists from getting the bomb? - The National Interest Blog

America's nuclear weapons in Europe are the nuclear elephant in the room - VICE News



Pentagon: Donald Trump is wrong, NATO is not 'very obsolete’ - TheHill

VIDEO (and transcript): Trump: NATO is obsolete and expensive, doesn't have the right countries in it to fight terrorism - RealClearPolitics

Trump adviser Page has deep ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom, says his close relations with Russian business are a strength - Bloomberg Politics

Trump adviser Page criticized what he considers American aggression toward Russia, compared U.S.-Russia policy to slavery -

Clinton blasts Trump over NATO comments - Business Insider

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton on NATO: "If Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin" - YouTube


Patrick Buchanan op-ed: Trump is right about NATO - WND

Is it time for America to quit NATO? - The National Interest Blog

Donald Trump highlights debate over NATO's relevancy, interview with two experts - NPR

How did NATO survive the Cold War? NATO's transformation after the Cold War from 1989 to the present, lecture by acting NATO spokesman Jamie Shea -  NATO

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Crimea, Russia Celebrate 2nd anniversary of remarriage



Behind the Crimea/Russia Reunion



Editor Note: Official Washington marches in propaganda lockstep about Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia two years ago, with references to a Russian “invasion” and a “sham” referendum of Crimea’s voters, but the reality is different.

By Ray McGovern

With high symbolism Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Crimea “to check on the construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge, which will link the Crimean peninsula and continental Russia,” the Kremlin announced on Thursday.

Why I won’t be voting for Hillary in November: A Neolib Posing as a Progressive vs. a Reality TV Star Posing as a Fascist

By Dave Lindorff


            I won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic Party nomination for president, and I won’t heed Bernie Sanders if, as he has vowed to do, he calls on his supporters to “come together” after the convention, should he lose, to support Clinton and prevent Donald Trump or another Republican from becoming president.


Putin No Want Slog Thru Quagmire



Putin Shuns Syrian ‘Quagmire’




Editor Note: Gambling that President Obama will cooperate in seeking peace for Syria, Russian President Putin called back much of Russia’s military force dispatched to Syria last fall, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s abrupt announcement that Russia would begin “the withdrawal of the main part” of its military “contingent” from Syria has been widely seen not only as a welcome surprise, but also as a hopeful fillip to serious negotiations to end the carnage in what is left of that beleaguered country.

Focus: U.S., NATO and Russia - Feb 6, 2016

Note: We are witnessing the making of a strategic military blunder by the Pentagon. Treating Russia as a top threat to U.S. national security is wrong and dangerous.

Armed with new U.S. money, NATO is planning its biggest build-up in eastern Europe since the Cold War to counter Russia - Reuters

NATO chief meets EU defense ministers to beef up their responses to Russia and the Islamic State - Financial Express

Russia ramping up military drills to Cold War levels, NATO says - Fox News

US admiral: Russia's submarine activity in the North Atlantic is at Cold War levels, but we don't know why - Business Insider

Russia simulated nuclear attack on Sweden, says NATO - The Week UK

RAND Report: Russia Defeats NATO in Baltic War Game -

RAND Report (Full): Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank -

NATO's top 5 weapons of war pointed at Russia - The National Interest Blog



Carter: Pentagon seeks to boost defense in Europe to counter Russia as a top threat to US interests - Tribune Washington Bureau

US Defense Secretary: Our most stressing competitors China and Russia developing weapons for use in rapid war  -

TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by Secretary Carter on the budget at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. -

U.S. army budget boosts European presence, sacrifices modernization -

The big budget crunch awaiting America's spies: U.S. intelligence community overall budget may rise but spending on information technology will not, a new report says - Defense One

Robot Boats, Smart Guns & Super B-52s: Carter’s Strategic Capabilities Office - Breaking Defense

How America's New Invisible Flying Gas Stations Could Keep Russia in Check - VICE News

The Pentagon nuclear modernization plan is on the table -

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton: We have to send Putin a clear message that [Russian] belligerence... will have to be responded to - MSNBC

Russians Slam Clinton For Calling Russia A Threat - Vocativ

Jeffrey Sachs op-ed: Hillary is the candidate of the war machine -



Russia to add new army divisions in the Western military district as a direct response to recent NATO exercises - Telegraph

The West fears qualitative improvement in Russian military -

Russia considers principles of conventional arms control In Europe treaty outdated -

Russia explores asymmetrical response to U.S. military budget hike - TRUNEWS

US rejected Russia’s proposal on Syria consultation center in Amman to coordinate operations: defense ministry - TASS

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

War with Russia or with ISIS: What ever happened to peace?

According to the Nation magazine and many others, there are two options available to the U.S. government. One is increased hostility perhaps leading to nuclear war with Russia. The other is a joint U.S.-Russia-and-others war on ISIS.

Many in the United States who generally oppose war and who look for information outside the U.S. corporate media manage to recognize the U.S. focus on overthrowing the Syrian government, with Iran next on the list. They notice the lack of U.S. concern over Saudi and Turkish assistance to ISIS. And at least in the backs of their minds they remember that the destruction of Iraq was the critical ingredient in the creation of ISIS. But they've been as frightened by the beheading videos as any Donald Trump fanatic screaming for the eradication of Muslims -- all right, maybe a bit less frightened, but still very frightened. So they find refuge in the idea that Russia really wants to destroy ISIS, and they urge the United States to help. The alternative of war with Russia is unthinkable. But why in the world should that be the only alternative?

A Russian media outlet, no doubt hoping I would advocate a unified war on ISIS, sent me these questions on Thursday. First they wanted me to comment on this remark by President Vladimir Putin: "Today we are again facing the destructive barbaric ideology and we do not have the right to allow that the newly found obscurantists reach their goals. We need to throw away all arguments and differences to create one powerful fist, a united antiterrorist front which would act on the basis of international law and under the UN auspices."

Second, they wanted me to comment on these statements by Putin: "Russia has many old, reliable friends in Turkey, who should know we don't put them on level with ruling top officials." and "Russia knows who in Turkey [is] making money on stolen oil, recruiting fighters."

I sent back these answers, asking them to use all or nothing, which I suspected meant they would use nothing:

1. What President Putin proposes and many even on the left in the United States support, a united front against terrorism sounds right until you examine the details. He means a united war, a united bombing of people's homes, a united counterproductive effort to make things better that will make things worse, using large scale terrorism to produce more small scale terrorism. This may be better than a disunited front. It's certainly better than a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the maniacs so respectably running Washington D.C. straight toward armageddon, but it's not a solution to the problem, it's not an alternative to destructive cycles of violence, it's just a different spin on the same wheel.

2. Washington would rather be wrong than agree with Russia. NATO would rather die than agree with Russia, for if it agrees with Russia it loses its reason to exist and dies anyway. What does bringing the world down with it matter? Yes, of course, the United States is less interested in destroying ISIS than in destroying Syria, but a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS. It will only spread it across the globe. Imagine the a united front kills everyone in half of Syria and Iraq, as would have to be done to destroy ISIS. Muslim hatred of the United States would sweep the globe and Muslim hatred of Russia, and bombs in Russian airplanes, right along with it. Is that what Putin wants? Is that what Russians want? A united attempt to actually seriously reduce, rather than increase, terrorism would establish a ceasefire, an arms embargo, humanitarian aid, assistance to refugees, and the sort of intense investment in green energy that right now only goes into killing people.

To these comments I received the reply:

"I would use all, personally. Some of the things you wrote here, I’m afraid, are controversial for our editorial board as the main idea here in Russia is that it is 'better to fight IS in Syria and Iraq than on Russian territory.' Many Islamist volunteers from Northern Caucasus promise to come back to Russia and kill innocent people in terrorist acts. We have lost a full plane of civilians flying from Cairo and many people here are afraid. However, I promise to send your message (which I think was your main point) that 'a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS.' This quote I will necessarily include. Thank you for your understanding!"

Sound familiar? Fight em there, not here. Use blowback to justify escalation. Where have we seen this movie before?

I failed to be understanding and asked them to use nothing of my quote rather than part of it. They agreed to use nothing, no hard feelings. I encouraged them to think about this:

Generating more terrorism is not a solution to terrorism, and the excuse of being scared and unable to think straight still leaves mistaken thinking. The United States has demonstrated these mistakes for years now. I remember when Russians pointed out that the United States had made all of Russia's earlier mistakes in Afghanistan and moved on to new ones; that was right, and the United States refused to listen. Don't, Russia, make all of the U.S. mistakes in Iraq and start inventing your own. This path leads to hell.

I sent that to my Russian journalist friend who was sounding identical to a war-supporting American of exactly the sort that peace activists usually disagree with. The next response I received only heightened the similarity with U.S. war advocates and U.S. media:

"I personally agree however I do not understand how could we stop Islamic State. What is your recipe?"


I sent back this:

I've been answering this for well over a year many dozens of times at

Here's my latest.

Here's Johan Galtung's answer.

Here's an organizational answer from last October.

Here's an answer this week from a former ISIS prisoner.

Here are former U.S. officials explaining how what they did until the moment they retired was counterproductive.

I got back: "Thanks, I'll read that."

I believe that was sincere. But I wonder what the "editorial board" will read. I suspect Russian and U.S. editorial boards could swap their reading lists and hardly notice, just like ISIS and anti-ISIS fighters swapping the U.S. bullets in their U.S. guns.

On reading Mumia in gaol: Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie

By Linn Washington, Jr.


On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

Russia News - Nov 28, 2015

Russia deploys cutting-edge S-400 air defense system on combat duty to Syrian base after Su-24 downing (VIDEOS) - RT News

VIDEO: See the moment the Russian S-400s arrived in Latakia, Syria - YouTube

Experts opinions: S-400 antiaircraft missile system to defend Russia’s air group, will keep most of Syrian airspace under control - TASS

Reports: Russia launches electronic warfare in Syria as tensions rise - Fox News

Ankara Suspends Air Force Flights Over Syria After Attack on Su-24: Media -

Erdogan warns against use of S-400 against Turkish fighter jets over Syria - News.Az

VIDEO: Erdogan interview: We won't apologize for downing Russian plane - CNN

U.S. officials say Russia didn't give downed jet's flight plan to them, Putin hinted that U.S. might have given detailed Russian operational plans to Turkey ahead of time - Yahoo News

US Hopes Russia Respects Safety Memorandum After S-400s Deployed in Syria -

US special forces begin training Kurdish and Arab fighters to take on Isis -

Israeli Air Force says direct line to Moscow prevents possible air incidents - RT News

Chinese media: Russian S-400 undermines Turkey's plan to impose safe zone in Syria - Xinhua

Russia retaliates with air strikes near Turkey border - World Tribune

Russia ready to coordinate steps to block Turkish-Syrian border: FM Lavrov - TASS

U.S. urges Turkey to seal Syria border, says a bigger Turkish border deployment would close off key transit routes for ISIS fighters in Syria - WSJ

Turkey Masses Tanks on Syria Border Amid Rising Russia Tensions -

Putin: 'Commercial scale’ oil smuggling into Turkey by ISIS becomes priority target of air strikes - RT News

Erdogan denies Turkey buys oil from ISIL - Al Jazeera English

Protests erupt in Turkey after journalists arrested for a report suggesting Ankara shipped arms to Islamist rebels in Syria - AFP

VIDEO: Turkish police pepper spray supporters of 2 prominent journalists arrested for ‘treason’ over publishing photos of weapons allegedly brought to Syrian rebels by Turkish intelligence - RT News

Russian PM Pushes For Economic Sanctions Against Turkey -

Russia scraps visa-free regime for Turks amid bitter dispute - France 24 

France, Russia agree to exchange intelligence in Syria campaigns, but difference remain on the fate of Assad - AP


Russia plays down idea of grand coalition with West to strike Islamic State in Syria, it seeks cooperation on its terms - Washington Post



Coal cutoff escalates Russia-Ukraine tensions, Yatsenyuk says not enough coal for winter - POLITICO

Ukraine seeks imports of anthracite coal from South Africa as shortages loom - Platts News

Ukraine Energy Minister Backs Compromise on Energy Supplies With Russia -

Crimea starts receiving electricity from Russia: RIA - Reuters

Russia cuts gas flow, Ukraine closes airspace as trade war expands - The Washington Post

Moscow will impose a food embargo on Ukraine starting from 1 January 2016, when the economic part of Kiev’s European Association Agreement comes into force - RT

Yatsenyuk: Ukraine to Respond Likewise to Russia's Upcoming Food Embargo -

Ukraine's agricultural exports to Russia down 72.9 pct in first 10 months of 2015 - GlobalPost

Ukraine’s export to decrease 30.8% in 2015: ministry - TASS

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

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