Those scary, scary Russians and their dastardly peace talks

Those darn Russians are aggressively threatening everyone.
Don't believe me? Just look at this Bloomberg article published today titled:
How NATO Is Preparing for the New Cold War
A huge military exercise in Norway signals the alliance’s pivot back to its original foe, Russia.

“If we discount the martians, there is no one else who can attack Norway apart from Russia,” says Aleksandr Golts, a Russian military analyst who observed the NATO exercise, which ended earlier this month. “The scenario and the sheer number of troops involved in both this and similar Russian exercises show that we are back to the Cold War-time military confrontation.”

Because Martians have made as many threats to Norway as Russia has.

So what has Russian been doing to scare NATO so much?
Well, for starters, they are conducting an unauthorized Afghan peace summit.

Russia has hosted a landmark international meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow aimed at kick-starting peace talks after decades of war.

It is the first time Taliban militants have attended such an event.

Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the Afghan government, were also present...The US had observer status.
...Western officials and the Afghan government view the Moscow talks with some suspicion - some fear it could derail other efforts at negotiations.
... Neither the US nor the Afghan government wants Russia to lead such an initiative, known as the "Moscow Format".

Darn those Russians for derailing our virtually non-existent peace efforts in Afghanistan by arranging their own successful Afghan peace talks.
Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, says that "the U.S. and NATO hasn’t only failed to solve the problem but exacerbated it.” Which happens to be true, but that's still no excuse for making NATO look bad.

If that wasn't bad enough, Russia is leading Syrian peace talks too.

Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold the next round of talks on Syria's conflict on 29 and 28 November in the Kazakh capital Astana, Kazakhstan's foreign minister confirmed on Monday.
...Abdrakhmanov said representatives of Damascus and armed opposition groups would take part, but did not specify what level of officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey would attend.
The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the regime's favour. It has gradually eclipsed an earlier UN-sponsored negotiations framework known as the Geneva process.

The U.S. refused to attend these peace talks because Russia!
Germany and France did attend them.
Think of the terrible implications of Russia achieving peace in Syria without American involvement. The horrors!

To make matters worse, Russia is also seeking peace with Japan.

For decades, every sign Russia and Japan had made progress in talks on disputed territories and a post-World War II peace treaty turned out to be a false alarm. This time may be different: Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe need a deal more than their predecessors did.

Putin and Abe met in Singapore last week and agreed to speed up talks on a peace treaty their two countries negotiated after World War II but the Soviet Union refused to sign.

What evil peace will Russia inflict upon the world next?
It's gotten so bad that Russians are sneaking up behind us.
Now we need to "fight" Russia and China in Latin America.

The U.S. is ready to compete with growing Chinese and Russian influence in Latin America, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein has said.
...China has largely used direct financial investment—described by some observers as "checkbook diplomacy"—and trade policy, while Russia has relied on arms sales. While Trump pushes his nationalistic “America-first” politics, U.S. adversaries have been more proactive.

China, for example, has become the main export destination for five Latin American nations—Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, and Uruguay, Foreign Policy noted. Meanwhile, Russia has sunk billions of dollars worth of weapons into the region, leaving many nations heavily reliant on Moscow’s technology and offering the Kremlin vital leverage.

How dare they sell stuff to Latin America! That obviously sounds like something our military must respond to.
Because that's what a rational foreign policy looks like.

Goldfein stressed the importance of the U.S. weapons industry in maintaining Washington’s reach in the region, warning the Latin American nations that choose to buy Chinese or Russian they risk damaging relations with the U.S.

And we all know what "damaging relations with the U.S." means.
After all, we're the good guys.

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When the U.S. does it

As National Security Adviser John Bolton was in Moscow, where he's expected to inform Russian officials of the Trump administration’s intention to withdraw from a major nuclear arms agreement -- the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty -- President Trump himself said Monday it definitely would happen.
..
Earlier this year, NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg agreed that the Russian development of the 9M729 intermediate missile system constitutes a violation of the INF treaty. Russia has denied all allegations that they are in violation.

The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which was released in February, had called the U.S. to research its own medium-range missiles carrying low-yield nuclear warheads to pressure Moscow, but it had also warned Russia's continued violations were making the treaty "untenable.”

same time

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the deployment of new Russian SSC-8 missiles puts the “historic” Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in jeopardy.

In a speech on Monday, he called on Russia to ensure “full compliance” with the treaty but at the same time repeated NATO's pledge not to deploy more nuclear weapons to Europe in case the pact between Washington and Moscow collapses.

Stoltenberg's call on Russia comes after the Trump administration itself has said it wants to abandon the landmark 1987 arms-control agreement.

Meanwhile in Ukraine

Ukraine’s president has signed a bill threatening any Russian flying into Russia-annexed Crimea with a stint in prison.

The Ukrainian parliament said Wednesday that the president signed a bill making such crossings a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. The law will apply to Russian nationals or anyone acting in Russia’s interests.

The new legislation means that any Russian who flies into Crimea or drives there via a new bridge linking it with Russia’s mainland will face criminal charges in Ukraine.

Part II

On Thursday, November 15, in the State Border Service of Ukraine announced the detention of 15 vessels for calls to the Crimean ports. At the same time, “in sight of the border guards” there are about 940 “vessels-violators”, most of which serve the work of ports in the Crimea.
...
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@gjohnsit A Norwegian Navy frigate KNM Helge Ingstad has all but sank off the coast of Norway after colliding with an oil tanker last week. No official explanation, similar to the 2 U.S. Navy ships that had collisions at sea. Coincidence maybe, then again maybe not. I'm surprised the Russians haven't been blamed yet.

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GreatLakeSailor's picture

@pro left

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=norway+gps+jamming&t=ffcm&ia=web

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The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% have agreed to it.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gjohnsit

of closing your borders I've ever heard of. And I'm an American.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

divineorder's picture

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@divineorder I'm not in support of any empire or any imperialist war machine.

That said, if I were in a position of power in China or Russia, and if I were a nationalist of any stripe, I'd be militarizing as fast as I could too--and trying to get as many smaller countries buying weapons from me and acting on my side as possible.

Nobody could view the last twenty years in the U.S. with anything but trepidation. Well, nobody but the psychopaths who engineered the events.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

who can attack Toronto.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

dervish's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@dervish

photographs of that? I want to see them.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@dervish

If you mean the U.S., no, I don't want to see that.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
Although we invaded Canada a couple times after that.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@gjohnsit

trying to make the Canadians come in on our side. They weren't having any of it - Epic Fail.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@TheOtherMaven Very foresighted of them. It's not like it could have been that obvious that hanging tight with the East India Company and Parliament was the right choice. Good 'on em for making it.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Given that was an American who called it that, I'm assuming it's a compliment, right?

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3 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

arms from Russia and China instead of the U.S.?

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

The answers reveal a tide of truths that people ought to be aware of: How foreign aid really works, how big money moves through the global economy, the strategic interdependence of nations, and the arms-sales global economy.

But, of course, in recent years with the emergence of the multi-powers and the corporate overlords, it's become more competitive and market-based. And, then there's the slowly dawning reality that despite the enormous size of the US military budget, both Russia and China make arguably more advanced weapons that we do. That demonstration of Russia's missile defense system during the US tomahawk missile attack on Syria was a moment of marketing genius for Russia. Even Israel is contracting for missile defense with Russia as their friendship grows suddenly warmer. But why does China have faster supercomputers and scarier supersonic weapons after all the money the US has spent?

"They stole our technology," just dosen't cut it, no matter how many show-sanctions the US slaps on those nations. We spend ten times more money than they do. I guess having a higher national IQ really does make a difference.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Well...perhaps because the U.S. is no longer truly a nationalist or imperialist project, regardless of appearances. The point (of anything undertaken by the U.S.) is not to make the U.S. stronger, but to maximize the profit and power of the top people in a handful of powerful industries: finance, agriculture, weaponsmaking, and energy (especially petroleum and methane, secondarily coal). For some reason, info tech and media have decided to be the handmaidens of the big four instead of turning the tables on them. This is perhaps understandable in the case of the media; not particularly so when it comes to the digital wizards in Silicon Valley. But there they are, going yes sir, no sir, three bags full!

The CIA, NSA, private security firms like Palantir and Xe and others of that ilk, both public and private, are functioning as the bouncers at this party--but not just that. They seem to have a great deal of power for glorified security guards whose job is to keep the money and power flowing to the right places. Perhaps it's because propaganda requires one to be a lot more than muscle; perhaps it's because they know too many of the rich guys' secrets.

Which brings me to your question:

But why does China have faster supercomputers and scarier supersonic weapons after all the money the US has spent?

Because China is a nation with nationalist (and probably imperialist) aims. Therefore, when China invests money in weapons, the weapons are top-notch (or somebody hears about it). Here, the business of business is not to serve a nation, but to push the bottom line as hard as you can. In other words, to spend as little as possible and charge as much as possible. There is no way to do that without reducing quality. It's also not an atmosphere which encourages creativity or inventiveness, in weaponsmaking or anything else.

Now, it seems to me they shouldn't have to push their bottom line, given that the big defense corporations basically get whatever money they want from Congress. Then again, knowing that you essentially have great piles of guaranteed money that will flow to you no matter what is not exactly a spur to excellence is it? I mean, that is the capitalist argument for denying people basic necessities, right? That we want to spur them to excellence by putting the pressure to compete on them? But that isn't the case for Big Weapons. They're different. Very different; the money given them by the government doesn't even count as "government spending."

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pluto's Republic That said, sabotaging one's own education system for forty years certainly doesn't help.

This is perhaps another sign that the agenda here is not nationalist. Though history has plenty of successful nation-states who restricted good education to the upper echelons. Still, deliberately dumbing down and deskilling your populace sounds about as nationalistic as blowing the tops of your own mountains to extract coal rather than leading the world into a new energy era.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

sabotaging one's own education system for forty years certainly doesn't help.

The education "programming" was in place in the 1950s in schools. The public had been propagandized for a very long time. Schools were a place to build citizens that would conform. Avant-garde ideas were shunned and suppressed in schools. You probably know a lot about this.

But I figure by the 1980s, they knew the people were getting pretty dumb and were poorly informed about the real world and real politics and real economics. I imagine at that time they may have paused to reflect, but then recommitted to maintaining a dumbed-down population via education and the media — just smart enough for dead end service jobs they would be afraid to quit. Health care insurance (staying alive) would be the carrot and employers would control it.

Apart from the void in basic economic knowledge, the people's awareness of competing economic systems was restricted and distorted. Communism and socialism were demonized and reduced to slogans because discussing them immersed the people in understanding how economic systems work. Instead, the Anglo Empire embraced modern finance, which obscures economic activity and hides market manipulations from the people, allowing them to be fleeced occasionally. Official narratives came to replaced logic and critical thinking.

The right American /kids from the right families would go to the right schools and take their place among the elite. This probably would have worked fine for a long time, but in their greed they suppressed the peoples wages and started treating them like prey. That is proving to be a big mistake.

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@Pluto's Republic

major work, Left Back, documents a century of dumbing down our public education system for exactly the reasons you describe. And she names names. It has been a very concerted effort, a consistent decision to keep the populace poor and ignorant for the most part. And while her research helped to spur the Reading Wars and the Math Wars in education controversy, as you and CSTMS point out, the most important focus we should have is on the History Wars, what we are and are not allowed to know about corporate plunder of the earth and of the people in it.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pluto's Republic

if you want to tell it:

The answers reveal a tide of truths that people ought to be aware of: How foreign aid really works, how big money moves through the global economy, the strategic interdependence of nations, and the arms-sales global economy.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Pluto's Republic
you won't discount the possibility that the industry is multinational for the purpose of creating a need for itself.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Linda Wood

The weapons market is international and competitive, but if you buy weapons from China or Russia, we might harm you with sanctions. At the same time, the business is high ticket and multinational, with France, Israel, and the UK as key partners. But they are still only vassal states of the Empire.

Yes, weapons sales invents it's own market and is in competition with itself to create either the best killing machine — year over year — or the best defense system to protect against the best killing machine. In the end, it is just another depraved protection racket that all countries must spend their people's wealth on. Money that an evolved species would use to benefit the the people and the planet. We're lost in an evolutionary cul-de-sac and fueled by fear.

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@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
of the Patriot missile system, and doesn't come with all the support contracts.

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Of course, I can't find the article now, but read a Russian ex-military officer argue that Russia does not have the prerequisite Navy to successfully launch an invasion of Norway. He went into detail about the current Naval ships and most seemed be carry over from Soviet days, and could not in any way establish a beach head in Norway to land troops any which way.

Which sorta makes sense. Experts not blinded by xenophobia and dollar signs have stated that Putin and the Russian military are preparing for defensive war--that is preventing and expelling any invaders. In fact their military budgets have gone down. Which in some ways makes sense if all a country is doing is creating a defensive force to protect their borders, don't need to build up a huge by quantity military.

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Bollox Ref's picture

@MrWebster
share a land border. I imagine sneaky Putin would just walk in.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I believe the North Atlantic Treaty was inspired primarily by Nazi Germany--or if you want to look at it more broadly, two German-instigated world wars which devastated the continent of Europe. The idea was that certain North American states were essentially backing up several European states as a way of saying "Don't fucking do that again." Of course, secondarily the idea was to discourage Stalin from trying anything similar in the aftermath (he may or may not have been crazy enough to do something like that after the horrific losses the Soviet Union suffered during World War II). But the "original foe" of NATO was Nazi Germany--not Russia, which never declared a war encompassing the European continent and beyond. Russia has never, so far as I know, instigated a World War.

I'm not trivializing what Russia did in Eastern Europe; I don't approve of it; but it was always pretty clear that the Eastern Bloc was there to, well, block troops from coming in. It wasn't the first step in a plan to gobble down Europe and points west, no matter what a certain brand of U.S. politician said.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

You've described the primary flaw in Western strategic thinking. The US projects its own lust for invasion and hegemony upon all other nations. Iran and China have the polar opposite of such propensities, and Russia has an unfortunate border with the perpetual Nazi praxis, who boil up out of a hole somewhere in Bavaria.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Pluto's Republic Russia seems to want very much to have a hard defensive shell, to be big enough and bad enough that nobody wants to come over and mess with them.

Whereas the U.S.....well. There's no denying the appetite to expand power globally. It may have started with certain unfortunate elements of American culture shaking hands with capitalism, but now it's capitalism in the driver's seat. And that's bad. To begin with, the culture has been having all the qualities that are inconvenient to maximized profit stripped out of it. This began with the Reagan Revolution and has continued to the point that, over the past two years, most Americans participating in public discourse have either been gibbering at each other angrily or have appeared to be in some kind of waking dream--or sometimes both. This leaves little or nothing in the way of the drive to maximized profit. However, it also leaves little or no rational thought applied to the direction of global policy. Therefore, it doesn't matter what Russia actually does or is; what matters is how we're going to shove Russia into the narrative position that will maximize profit. This is another version of "faith-based" rather than "reality-based" politics. When truth doesn't matter, you are in for a long hard night.

Is there actually a perpetual Nazi wellspring in Bavaria? (I actually don't know.)

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

what you call,

a perpetual Nazi wellspring

in Ukraine armed and financed by our government.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Bollox Ref Sorry, BolloxRef; I can't make that comment stop responding to *you*. I didn't intend it to be a response to you, but to the diary; I screwed it up initially, and now I can't make it do what I want. So the historical rant is not intended for you.

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Bollox Ref's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@MrWebster Yeah, of course they're preparing for a defensive war.

Because they don't actually want a war.

If they did want a war with us, they could have had one long ago. They could even have made a fairly good case for it being justified--better than our case was for the Iraq War, or the Gulf War, or Vietnam.

A longtime rival building up a heavy military presence on your border is a fairly traditional reason for going to war.

Unlike: "There's a scary man over there. He does mean things to his people, too. He's 6,000 miles away, but we have to fight him there so we don't fight him here."

Or: "Our rival is fighting an ideological war with us worldwide. We can't afford for them to win over too many nations to their side, or they will be a threat to us. So the answer is to send lots of troops to invade the nations that look like they might be deciding to follow our rival. That'll learn 'em."

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti