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All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With Russia In North
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | August 6, 2009
Continuing the pattern by top Canadian federal officials over the past year of issuing blunt and bravado statements aimed at Russia over the Arctic, on August 1 Defence Minister Peter MacKay was paraphrased as "warn[ing] Russia that Canuck fighter jets will scramble to meet any unauthorized aircraft" as a mainstream Canadian news agency less than delicately phrased it, and thundered that "Canadian fighter jets would scramble to 'meet' any Russian aircraft 'approaching' Canada's airspace." 
President Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Monday and agreed to cut American and Russian nuclear stockpiles by at least one quarter and as much as one third. We speak with veteran journalist and leading nuclear disarmament advocate, Jonathan Schell.
* Vietnam War Architect Robert McNamara Dies at 93: A Look at His Legacy With Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young & Jonathan Schell *
Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara has died at the age of 93. McNamara was one of the key architects of the Vietnam war, which killed at least three million Vietnamese, around one million Cambodians and Laotians, and 58,000 American soldiers. We take a look at McNamara’s legacy with two pre-eminent historians: Howard Zinn and Marilyn Young. We also speak with Jonathan Schell, who covered Vietnam as a reporter in 1967 and met with McNamara in a secret Pentagon meeting.
By Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev on Monday agreed a target of cutting vast Cold War arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads by around a third from current levels to 1,500-1,675 each.
The pledge by Obama and Medvedev puts the world's two biggest nuclear powers further along the path to finding a replacement for the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) which expires on December 5.
But the cuts announced on Monday only take the United States and Russia 25 operationally deployed warheads below a range of 1,700-2,200, which both sides had already committed to reach by 2012 under the 2002 Moscow Treaty.
After the cuts -- which have to be made within seven years of a new treaty taking force -- the United States and Russia will still have enough firepower to destroy the world several times over. Many hurdles remain to finding a replacement to START by December.
By VOA News
The United States and Russia have signed an agreement committing the two countries to sharply reduce the number of their nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev had reset U.S.-Russian relations on the first day of their Moscow summit.
The two leaders signed a statement instructing negotiators to finalize a replacement for the Strategic Arms limitation treaty that expires in December. The agreement provides for a reduction of warheads from 2200 to a range of 1500 to 1675 and of launch vehicles from 1600 to a range of 500 to 1100.
Mr. Medvedev said the meeting covered all items on the agenda including a backlog of problems and called the discussions useful, open and sincere.
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
By Stephen Lendman
For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.
Russia Rejects the Notion of a Joint Missile System in Europe
By Ellen Barry | NYTimes
Responding to remarks by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a top Russian diplomat said Thursday that Russia would not collaborate with the United States on missile defense unless Washington scrapped plans to deploy elements of the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
“We cannot partner in the creation of objects whose goal is to oppose the strategic deterrent forces of the Russian Federation,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andrei A. Nesterenko. “No one will do something that harms himself.”
“Only the United States’ rejection of plans to base in Europe the so-called third position area of the missile-defense shield could mark the beginning of a full-fledged dialogue on the question of cooperation and reaction to likely missile risk,” Mr. Nesterenko said. He added that Russia expected “it will be possible to find a common denominator.” Read more.
Russia must keep at least 1,500 nuclear warheads after talks with the United States on a new arms treaty, Interfax news agency quoted the commander of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces as saying Wednesday.
If Moscow's final position reflects Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov's view, it would mean Russia is not willing to cut its stockpiles by more than a few hundred strategic warheads - far less than some arms control bodies had hoped....
Russia and the United States are in talks on a new nuclear arms treaty that aims to reduce stockpiles below the 1,700-2,200 figure both sides already agree must be reached by 2012. Read more.
Last Wednesday, the front page of the Wall Street Journal pulled no punches. The lead headline was: "Global Slump Seen Deepening." ("The outlook for the global economy worsened on the eve of a summit of the world's 20 biggest economic powers…") A chart just beneath that headline, labeled "Gloomier Outlook" and showing World Bank economic projections, was nothing short of dramatic. The graph line for world trade simply plunged off a visual cliff and, like an arrow heading for a target, went straight down. The last paragraph of the piece quoted World Bank President Robert Zoellick this way: "In London, Washington, and Paris, people talk of bonuses or no bonuses. In parts of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, the struggle is for food or no food."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged international leaders on Tuesday to discuss the creation of a modern currency system, speaking ahead of a G20 meeting set to focus on a new financial architecture.
"The current system is not ideal," Medvedev said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
"We cannot develop in the next 10 years if we do not create a new infrastructure including new (currency) systems... We should think about creating a new currency system," he said.
It has been more than twenty-five years since President Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—or Star Wars, as detractors dubbed it. Twenty-six years ago today, Reagan asked, “What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?” It was his great hope that missile defense would “give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.” Although more than $120 billion has been spent on missile defense since Reagan’s speech, it has yet to fulfill its promise of making nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete. However, President Barack Obama may have found a new, more suitable use for missile defense: a bargaining chip.
If you're inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn't mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.
Panarin might be easy to ignore but for the fact that he is a dean at the Foreign Ministry's school for future diplomats and a regular on Russia's state-guided TV channels. And his predictions fit into the anti-American story line of the Kremlin leadership.
Both the U.S. and Russia are denying that any secret deal is in the works concerning missile defense and Iran.
The denials follow a front-page story in Tuesday's New York Times reporting that President Obama sent a "secret letter" to Moscow, suggesting he would back off deploying a missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing its nuclear weapons program.
At the White House on Tuesday, President Obama was quick to throw cold water on the Times story.
"I think that the report that was in the New York Times didn't accurately characterize the letter," Obama said.
There is no room for Western concern over Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran, says the head of the Rosatom State Atomic Corporation.
Sergei Kiriyenko, in a joint Wednesday press conference with head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh in Bushehr, addressed Western opposition to Moscow's nuclear cooperation with Tehran.
"Cooperation between Iran and Russia is based on international norms and conventions and it should be said that nothing is being done outside the non-proliferation framework," explained the Russian nuclear official in response to a question by Press TV's correspondent Gisoo Misha Ahmadi.
Kiriyenko added that those who seek to make excuses to hinder the Iranian nuclear program should "lose all hope as they witness the level of progress at the Bushehr power plant."
Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989 - 20 Years Later
Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton | National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 272
Tribute to Alexander Lyakhovsky Includes Previously Secret Soviet Documents; 1985 Decision to Withdraw Delayed by Face-Saving and Stability Concerns
The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy – a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul....The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy – a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul....deputy CIA director Robert Gates famously bet a State Department diplomat on New Year’s Eve 1987 that Gorbachev would make no withdrawal announcement until after the end of the Reagan administration. Gates believed the Chinese saying about the Soviet appetite for territory: “What the bear has eaten, he never spits out” – and only in his memoirs did he admit he was making “an intelligence forecast based on fortune cookie wisdom.”
Obama to seek large cuts in US, Russian warheads
By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe
WASHINGTON - President Obama is preparing to move ahead with the most ambitious arms-control agenda in decades, calling for dramatic cuts in US and Russian arsenals, a halt to the Bush administration's plan for a more advanced nuclear warhead, and the ratification of a global treaty banning underground nuclear tests.
Obama's agenda, posted on the White House website shortly after his inauguration and outlined by several top officials, also includes a worldwide ban on the production of nuclear weapons material - leading to what the administration calls "a world without nuclear weapons."
Remembrance ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan have been held in Russia, amid warnings the US risks repeating the mistakes Moscow made during the conflict.
Events in Russia and other former Soviet states on Sunday were low-key, with wreaths laid at memorials and medals handed out to veterans.
The war, which began in 1979, left more than 13,000 Soviets dead and may have killed as many as one million Afghans.
"It's like fighting sand. No force in the world can get the better of the Afghans," Oleg Kubanov, a former officer, said at an anniversary concert in Moscow.
"It's their holy land, it doesn't matter to them if you're Russian, American. We're all soldiers to them."
The war contributed to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, people who fraternized with foreigners or criticized the Kremlin were "enemies of the people" and sent to the gulag. Now there's new legislation backed by Vladimir Putin's government that human rights activists say could throw Russia back to the days of the Great Terror.
The legislation, outspoken government critic and rights activist Lev Ponomaryov charged Wednesday, creates "a base for a totalitarian state."
Russia has evidence that citizens from NATO member states including the United States and Turkey fought for Georgia in the five-day August war, Russia's top investigator said on Monday.
A senior security official in Tbilisi dismissed the statement and said by law only Georgian nationals could serve in the country's armed forces.
Asked to list the nationalities of the foreign fighters it believes were involved, Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Prosecutor-General's investigative committee said: "America, the Czech Republic, Chechnya, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Turkey."
"It was a fairly small number of people. They mainly fulfilled support roles", Bastrykin told reporters in Russia's second city of St Petersburg.
Medvedev said his Nov. 5 speech — his first state of the nation address — was not "blackmail" intended to pressure the new president-elect. He had postponed the address twice, which he said Saturday was because he was unhappy with the material that had been prepared. When he finally set the date, he said he forgot about the U.S. election. "It was nothing personal," he said.
The Dmitry Medvedev that made his first appearance in the U.S. capital as Russia's president was not the same man Russians usually see at home.
He was confident, even charming, in reaching out Saturday in a spirit of cooperation to the incoming administration of Barack Obama.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev plans to travel this month to Venezuela, Brazil and Cuba to strengthen regional ties, a tour that underscores a foreign policy challenge close to home that awaits the Obama administration.
Medvedev's visit to Venezuela comes as Russia and the Latin American nation strengthen their economic and military relationship. In July, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a strident critic of President Bush, told reporters in Moscow that he might spend as much as $30 billion buying Russian arms through 2012.
Obama has not even been sworn into office yet and already the sparks are flying across the Atlantic.
The BBC reported on November 8 that Polish President Lech Kaczynski said in a statement published on his website that during a phone call with Mr. Obama the president-elect had "emphasised the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the U.S. and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military co-operation between our countries."
"He also said that the missile defence project [Bush's plan to deploy U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland] would continue," the statement added.
During his campaign Obama had said otherwise.
The crackle of gunfire at night makes sleep all but impossible along Georgia's border with separatist Abkhazia, feeding the fears of so many here that the war they hoped was over may be erupting anew.
A cease-fire ended major hostilities between Georgia and Russia after August's five-day war. But shootings and bombings continue — and nowhere more so than here along the poorly defined, porous border that separates Georgia proper from Abkhazia.
Most of the world's attention has focused on the uneasy peace around war-ravaged South Ossetia, the other Russian-backed separatist region that was at the heart of the fighting.
Enough processed uranium to make six nuclear weapons was secretly transported thousands of miles by truck, rail and ship on a monthlong trip from a research reactor in Budapest, Hungary, to a facility in Russia so it could be more closely protected against theft, U.S. officials revealed Wednesday.
The shipment, conducted under tight secrecy and security, included a three-week trip by cargo ship through the Mediterranean, up the English Channel and the North Sea to Russia's Arctic seaport of Murmansk, the only port Russia allows for handling nuclear material.