Berto Jongman: Pfaff on US Doing Stupid Stuff in Ukraine Plus Chuck Spinney & Pat Buchanan on Bluster, Bluff, Corruption and More Stupidity in Estonia…

02 Diplomacy, 06 Russia, 08 Wild Cards, Corruption, Government, Idiocy, Ineptitude, IO Deeds of War, Officers Call, Peace Intelligence
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

Doing Stupid Stuff in the Ukraine

William Pfaff


President Obama said not long ago that his foreign policy principle was “not doing stupid stuff.” At about the same time his State Department and CIA were conspicuously guiding and supporting a coup d’etat in Ukraine that was the exact contradiction to the Obama policy statement. The Ukrainian Parliament’s first post-coup act was to pass a resolution outlawing the use of the Russian language in the Ukraine, which is the native language of more than a fifth of the population of a country that has always been intimately involved in the history, religion and culture of the Russian nation. Nothing could have been more stupid.

[Until Obama’s next move…]

Read full post.

Chuck Spinney and Pat Buchanan below the fold.

Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

Attached herewith is Pat Buchanan’s excellent summary of the potential for yet more foreign folly — this time consequence of NATO’s expansion.  He analyzes the implications of President Obama’s recent statement that a Russian attack on Estonia would be an attack on the United States under Article 5 of the NATO treaty.

A subject not addressed by Buchanan is that Obama’s foreign policy speech in Estonia was obviously a pusillanimous or cynical response to rising domestic political pressures to do something about Ukraine.
One could argue that NATO expansion itself, which may not be over, is a reflection of such pressure:  Here are a just few tidbits: NATO expansion began in earnest 1996 when Bruce Jackson, a former Lockheed vice president and a prominent neocon, formed the U.S. Committee to expand NATO with as yet unknown sources of funding.   Not so coincidentally, in 1996, Jackson was also a co-chairman of the finance committee for Republican Senator Bob Dole’s presidential campaign against President Bill Clinton.  Dole made NATO expansion of a major foreign policy plank in his campaign.  On Oct 22, 1996, a little over two weeks before the election, Bill Clinton pulled one of his triangulation stunts and also called for NATO expansion, beginning in 1999 with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, but continuing thereafter with others.  Clinton, in effect, pulled the foreign policy rug out from under Dole and ingratiated himself with those defense contractors who would benefit from the expansion.  Of course, the defense (especially aerospace) contractors had already begun lobbying Congress heavily to support NATO expansion — the reason for their interest was simple: The end of the Cold War implied procurement cutbacks by the Pentagon, at least in the short term (the Pentagon was busily packing its R&D program in the early 1990s for a bow wave of future procurements that would explode the defense budget in the late 1990s or early in the 21st Century — see my 6 March 1996 report, Defense Budget Time Bomb )  The former Warsaw Pact countries were armed with old Soviet weapons which were incompatible with those of the NATO countries.  Thus, their entry into NATO would create a huge new market for U.S. weapons — like F-16s in exchange for Migs — to met NATO’s so-called standardization and interoperability requirements.  As Willaim Greider pointed out  between 1996 and 1998, the six biggest military contractors spent $51 billion to sell the idea to Congress and the public, or in Senator Tom Harkin’s words, to create a Marshall Plan for the defense contractors.
Given the obvious nature of the folly outlined below and elsewhere, one could argue that U.S. foreign policy, like domestic politics, stops at the water’s edge.

Bluster and Bluff in the Baltic

by Patrick J. Buchanan,, September 09, 2014

“I say to the people of Estonia and the people of the Baltics, today we are bound by our treaty alliance. … Article 5 is crystal clear: An attack on one is an attack on all. So if … you ever ask again, ‘who’ll come to help,’ you’ll know the answer – the NATO alliance, including the armed forces of the United States of America.”

That was Barack Obama in Tallinn, Estonia, last week, reissuing a U.S. war guarantee to the tiniest of the Baltic republics – which his Cold War predecessors would have regarded as certifiable madness.

From 1945 to 1989, no president would have dreamed of issuing a blank check for war in Eastern Europe. Our red line was in the heart of Germany. It said to Moscow: Cross the Elbe, and we fight.

That red line was made credible by hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops permanently stationed in West Germany.

Yet Truman did not use force to break the Berlin Blockade. Ike did not use force to save the Hungarian rebels. JFK fulminated, and observed, when the Wall went up. When Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact armies into Czechoslovakia, LBJ did nothing.

Why did these presidents not act? None believed there was any vital U.S. interest in Eastern Europe worth a war with Russia.

And, truth be told, there was no vital interest there then, and there is no vital interest there now. If we would not risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia over Hungary or Czechoslovakia half a century ago, why would we risk it now over Estonia?

Cold War presidents routinely issued captive nations resolutions, declaring our belief in the right of the peoples behind the Iron Curtain to be free. But no president regarded their liberation worthy of war.

What has changed?

Read full article.

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