Wednesday, 26 November 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Senate Bill Preps for War With Russia

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:07 By Renee Parsons, CounterPunch | News Analysis

If there was an anti-war movement in the US, the  Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014  (S.2277) which will cost American taxpayers $117 billion, might be at the top of the list for defeat as a totally provocative, irrational piece of legislation that can only be viewed as paving the road for a preemptive first strike on Russia.

But as the Obama foreign policy has crossed the threshold of madness in its prevarications of geopolitical crises into costly wars and escalations of US global domination; amazingly alas, there is no anti war movement.   The most militarized, most blatantly pro-war country on the planet, perhaps in the history of the world, has not one prominent voice for peace – except the American people who, in every poll, are consistently opposed to more war.

In what is destined to be a lose-lose for world peace, 23 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation that seeks to prevent “further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia.”  If there is any reader who believes that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine or elsewhere, this graphic video of civilian atrocities committed by Ukraine’s neo nazi National Guard ought to be enough to shake even the most apathetic population out of their indifference.

To date, no Democrat has co-sponsored the bill but that is not to say that neither will they object to its intent.   With Congressional recess tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend until after the midterm elections, the odds are that S.2277 may not be adopted any time soon.

But what its existence does do is to provide political cover for the Obama Administration which has already moved to adopt a number of its provisions as it follows the bill’s outline that sets the stage for a direct military conflict with Russia – with no Senate presence to object to the ominous rumblings that S 2277 evokes – not the liberal darling du jour Elizabeth Warren nor any other Senator with enough inner grit or integrity to dare challenge Obama’s narcissistic abuse of power.

Here are some disturbing reasons for concern:

* Directs the President to submit a plan to Congress for accelerating NATO and European missile defense efforts. 

“Accelerating …missile defense efforts” confirms that additional anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), already in Poland and the Czech Republic, will be deployed elsewhere in eastern Europe as a provision to block retaliation from Russia after a US first strike.

As if NATO needs any accelerating, on a recent European trip, the globe-trotting president assured Poland and other eastern European countries of an extra $1 billion to pay for an increased US military presence.  It is no secret that eastern European leaders see Uncle Sam handouts as the gift that keeps on giving, a gravy train of empowerment – more jobs, more influence and greater prestige.  While Obama softly chastised its members to “do its fair share” and “step up,” each NATO country is required to contribute 2% of its GDP to defense, most have reduced rather than increased their payment. The largesse of the US taxpayer carries 75% of the NATO budget load.

* Directs the President to impose significantly increased sanctions if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from the eastern border of Ukraine, or if agents of the Russian Federation do not cease actions to destabilize the control of the government of Ukraine over eastern Ukraine, and if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from Crimea– all within seven days after enactment.

Here we have a deliriously myopic cock-eyed view of reality that Russia is on the doorstep of NATO rather than NATO being the interloper.  On that same European trip, the president threatened additional sanctions in an effort to weaken the ruble and destabilize the Russian economy, if Russia continued ‘actively destabilizing its neighbors” again predating Corker’s legislation.

The requirement that Russia withdraw from Crimea, a tenet of the Neanderthal  School of Foreign Policy, reveals a pitiful ignorance of the 200 year history of the Crimea as part of Russia and that the Donbas in east Ukraine has been a dominant Russian-speaking industrial epicenter since the 1930’s.  The US has informed the Putin government that it would not accept the legitimacy of the Crimea vote for secession to Russia with the time-honored concept of self-determination now verboten at the US State Department.

Speaking of efforts at destabilizing Ukraine, the currently-in-shambles Kiev government is doing a pretty good job of destabilizing itself with the resignation of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the recent upheaval in the Ukraine parliament including a series of fistfights over its failure to agree on the war in east Ukraine and allowing western control of the country’s pipeline infrastructure.

* Directs the President to halt all redeployments of combat forces from Europe, and develop a plan to correct any deficiencies in the Armed Forces’ ability to respond to contingencies in Europe and Eurasia and

* Directs DOD to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces and authorizes the President to provide military assistance to Ukraine.                                                                       

* Provides non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer of defense articles or services as well as to increase U.S. armed forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

In toto, the above three points all reflect the preliminary bureaucratic process necessary to prepare for war.  Once formal ‘ally’ status has been conferred, the US can then justify its own  and NATO military action coming to the aid of an ‘ally’ under a specious attack from Russia.  The addition of nine other countries for increased military assistance is a worrisome signal that the coming conflict is expected to be more widespread than just Ukraine.   On July 29, CNN reported that Ukraine military initiated firing short range ballistic missiles capable of carrying up to 1000 pound warheads; and yet if Russia retaliated, a momentous perhaps irreversible confrontation would be inevitable.

* Secretary of State shall increase efforts, directly or through nongovernmental organizations, to improve democratic governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in the Russian Federation; strengthen democratic institutions and political and civil society organizations in the Russian Federation;  expand uncensored Internet access in Russia; and expand free and unfettered access to independent media of all kinds in Russia, including through increasing United States Government-supported broadcasting activities, and to assist with the protection of journalists and civil society activists who have been targeted for free speech activities.

All of the above would be hilarious if it were not so pathetically hypocritical.  Every element of ‘improving democratic governance” is sorely needed in the US but then the American government excels at pointing the finger at others and laying blame when the US itself has been guilty of exactly what it accuses others of.

*  Amends the Natural Gas Act for expedited application and approval process for export to World Trade Organization members as well as urge the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation,  the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction for “promotion of US private sector participation in energy developmentin Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova” for exploitation of natural gas and oil reserves.

So herein lies the real nub of the matter:  that is, in what the Pentagon calls ‘full spectrum dominance,” the US pursues ultimate control of the entire world’s supply of petroleum resources and production facilities.   It is intriguing to note that the Natural Gas Act section includes not  just energy development in Ukraine but Georgia which has a mere 35 billion barrels of crude oil reserves ranking 81st on the list of countries with proved oil reserves and that Moldova has virtually no petroleum reserves, imports all of its energy from Russia and ranks 141 according to the CIA World Factbook.   The goal here, of course, is to eliminate any dependency on Russia’s export of oil as well as to draw Georgia and Moldova into the fight.

This June, 2014 video of Sergei Glazyev, economic assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides rare insight into Russia’s interpretation of current geopolitical realities in east Ukraine with an alarming prediction of the US response.  His view is that Ukraine should be considered a US ‘occupied’ state with significant CIA and military advisors in key positions as they direct the war and the likelihood that after the Donbass and its courageous rebellion has been totally extinguished, there will be an invasion of the Crimea.   The equally alarming news that the US Star Wars  (aka ABM’s designed to intercept ICBM’s but may also be used as an offensive weapon),  was tested ten days ago and deployed to the Romanian Russian border is further indicative of President Obama’s apocalyptic plans.

But the truly mind-numbing possibility is that an inexperienced, ineffectual President will be easily swayed to believe that the US can prevail in a limited nuclear first strike.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Renee Parsons

Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth.  in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor.  Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.


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Senate Bill Preps for War With Russia

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:07 By Renee Parsons, CounterPunch | News Analysis

If there was an anti-war movement in the US, the  Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014  (S.2277) which will cost American taxpayers $117 billion, might be at the top of the list for defeat as a totally provocative, irrational piece of legislation that can only be viewed as paving the road for a preemptive first strike on Russia.

But as the Obama foreign policy has crossed the threshold of madness in its prevarications of geopolitical crises into costly wars and escalations of US global domination; amazingly alas, there is no anti war movement.   The most militarized, most blatantly pro-war country on the planet, perhaps in the history of the world, has not one prominent voice for peace – except the American people who, in every poll, are consistently opposed to more war.

In what is destined to be a lose-lose for world peace, 23 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation that seeks to prevent “further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia.”  If there is any reader who believes that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine or elsewhere, this graphic video of civilian atrocities committed by Ukraine’s neo nazi National Guard ought to be enough to shake even the most apathetic population out of their indifference.

To date, no Democrat has co-sponsored the bill but that is not to say that neither will they object to its intent.   With Congressional recess tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend until after the midterm elections, the odds are that S.2277 may not be adopted any time soon.

But what its existence does do is to provide political cover for the Obama Administration which has already moved to adopt a number of its provisions as it follows the bill’s outline that sets the stage for a direct military conflict with Russia – with no Senate presence to object to the ominous rumblings that S 2277 evokes – not the liberal darling du jour Elizabeth Warren nor any other Senator with enough inner grit or integrity to dare challenge Obama’s narcissistic abuse of power.

Here are some disturbing reasons for concern:

* Directs the President to submit a plan to Congress for accelerating NATO and European missile defense efforts. 

“Accelerating …missile defense efforts” confirms that additional anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), already in Poland and the Czech Republic, will be deployed elsewhere in eastern Europe as a provision to block retaliation from Russia after a US first strike.

As if NATO needs any accelerating, on a recent European trip, the globe-trotting president assured Poland and other eastern European countries of an extra $1 billion to pay for an increased US military presence.  It is no secret that eastern European leaders see Uncle Sam handouts as the gift that keeps on giving, a gravy train of empowerment – more jobs, more influence and greater prestige.  While Obama softly chastised its members to “do its fair share” and “step up,” each NATO country is required to contribute 2% of its GDP to defense, most have reduced rather than increased their payment. The largesse of the US taxpayer carries 75% of the NATO budget load.

* Directs the President to impose significantly increased sanctions if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from the eastern border of Ukraine, or if agents of the Russian Federation do not cease actions to destabilize the control of the government of Ukraine over eastern Ukraine, and if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from Crimea– all within seven days after enactment.

Here we have a deliriously myopic cock-eyed view of reality that Russia is on the doorstep of NATO rather than NATO being the interloper.  On that same European trip, the president threatened additional sanctions in an effort to weaken the ruble and destabilize the Russian economy, if Russia continued ‘actively destabilizing its neighbors” again predating Corker’s legislation.

The requirement that Russia withdraw from Crimea, a tenet of the Neanderthal  School of Foreign Policy, reveals a pitiful ignorance of the 200 year history of the Crimea as part of Russia and that the Donbas in east Ukraine has been a dominant Russian-speaking industrial epicenter since the 1930’s.  The US has informed the Putin government that it would not accept the legitimacy of the Crimea vote for secession to Russia with the time-honored concept of self-determination now verboten at the US State Department.

Speaking of efforts at destabilizing Ukraine, the currently-in-shambles Kiev government is doing a pretty good job of destabilizing itself with the resignation of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the recent upheaval in the Ukraine parliament including a series of fistfights over its failure to agree on the war in east Ukraine and allowing western control of the country’s pipeline infrastructure.

* Directs the President to halt all redeployments of combat forces from Europe, and develop a plan to correct any deficiencies in the Armed Forces’ ability to respond to contingencies in Europe and Eurasia and

* Directs DOD to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces and authorizes the President to provide military assistance to Ukraine.                                                                       

* Provides non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer of defense articles or services as well as to increase U.S. armed forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

In toto, the above three points all reflect the preliminary bureaucratic process necessary to prepare for war.  Once formal ‘ally’ status has been conferred, the US can then justify its own  and NATO military action coming to the aid of an ‘ally’ under a specious attack from Russia.  The addition of nine other countries for increased military assistance is a worrisome signal that the coming conflict is expected to be more widespread than just Ukraine.   On July 29, CNN reported that Ukraine military initiated firing short range ballistic missiles capable of carrying up to 1000 pound warheads; and yet if Russia retaliated, a momentous perhaps irreversible confrontation would be inevitable.

* Secretary of State shall increase efforts, directly or through nongovernmental organizations, to improve democratic governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in the Russian Federation; strengthen democratic institutions and political and civil society organizations in the Russian Federation;  expand uncensored Internet access in Russia; and expand free and unfettered access to independent media of all kinds in Russia, including through increasing United States Government-supported broadcasting activities, and to assist with the protection of journalists and civil society activists who have been targeted for free speech activities.

All of the above would be hilarious if it were not so pathetically hypocritical.  Every element of ‘improving democratic governance” is sorely needed in the US but then the American government excels at pointing the finger at others and laying blame when the US itself has been guilty of exactly what it accuses others of.

*  Amends the Natural Gas Act for expedited application and approval process for export to World Trade Organization members as well as urge the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation,  the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction for “promotion of US private sector participation in energy developmentin Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova” for exploitation of natural gas and oil reserves.

So herein lies the real nub of the matter:  that is, in what the Pentagon calls ‘full spectrum dominance,” the US pursues ultimate control of the entire world’s supply of petroleum resources and production facilities.   It is intriguing to note that the Natural Gas Act section includes not  just energy development in Ukraine but Georgia which has a mere 35 billion barrels of crude oil reserves ranking 81st on the list of countries with proved oil reserves and that Moldova has virtually no petroleum reserves, imports all of its energy from Russia and ranks 141 according to the CIA World Factbook.   The goal here, of course, is to eliminate any dependency on Russia’s export of oil as well as to draw Georgia and Moldova into the fight.

This June, 2014 video of Sergei Glazyev, economic assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides rare insight into Russia’s interpretation of current geopolitical realities in east Ukraine with an alarming prediction of the US response.  His view is that Ukraine should be considered a US ‘occupied’ state with significant CIA and military advisors in key positions as they direct the war and the likelihood that after the Donbass and its courageous rebellion has been totally extinguished, there will be an invasion of the Crimea.   The equally alarming news that the US Star Wars  (aka ABM’s designed to intercept ICBM’s but may also be used as an offensive weapon),  was tested ten days ago and deployed to the Romanian Russian border is further indicative of President Obama’s apocalyptic plans.

But the truly mind-numbing possibility is that an inexperienced, ineffectual President will be easily swayed to believe that the US can prevail in a limited nuclear first strike.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Renee Parsons

Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth.  in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor.  Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.


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