Sharon Tennison and the Center for Citizen Initiatives - Edited at end

I am on Sharon Tennison's (of the Center for Citizen Initiatives) mailing list. I learned of this group from someone here at c99. Their efforts for global peace and understanding are among the best I have seen. I am posting her last letter here in it's entirety.


CCI Friends,

Information such as Putin's 'Open Letter' to the BRICS Summit (following this note) is never seen in our mainstream newspapers or TV channels. While we aren't aware of such happenings, this information is being read by millions of hopeful people in strategic places throughout the world.
It's easy to comprehend why elite globalists here and abroad are doing everything possible to interfere with the process of multipolarity––given that Russia, China and the BRICS nations are forging ahead with activity that will replace America's 70 years of being the only lead country in the world.
It's understandable why Washington has put missile defense systems around Russia's borders, why NATO tries to heel in China's waters and agenda, why these power players are being aggressive in every area they can. THEY SIMPLY INTEND FOR THE U.S. TO STAY IN POWER. They believe we must control the destiny of the entire world. They call this "Full Spectrum Dominance." It works well for us ... but to date, not so well for many other countries. These powerful forces have controlled the earth's waters, airspaces, satellites, technology, surveillance, financial systems and the fates of smaller nations for decades. How? Through NATO, the military industrial complex corporations and Wall Street.
Like them, I too am deeply concerned, but for different reasons. Why? Because a nuclear war may result from this deadly competition for global power. Secondly, if a multipolar world comes into existence, it could cause cataclysmic challenges for us––unless a lot of forethought and planning occur. What will happen if the world "goes off" of the U.S. dollar? What will this do to our currency? How will it affect the price and availability of bananas and coffee at our Safeways and Starbucks? ... And what will happen to our stock markets, pension plans, salaries and many other factors we take for granted? We need our best minds studying how to get through such a transition successfully––not budgeting and making plans in war rooms for more military engagements.
China and Russia have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a multipolar world. They are more socially-minded than we are due to their histories. Today they are bringing the world's smaller nations into huge trade routes such as the new One Belt-One Road (OBOR) system being built. They believe multipolarity will head off poverty, wars, refugees and lead to a gentler more cooperative future for planet earth. The BRICS nations are already using their own currencies for trade and are beginning to tackle some of the gargantuan problems ahead like global warming.
Do Russia and China promote America's exact form of democracy and free enterprise for themselves or OBOR countries? Not religiously. Forms of democracy yes, free trade yes, a fair and equitable international banking system for all countries, yes. But not a carbon copy of our methodologies.
If our US system was working well for us and the rest of the world, I would be all for keeping things like they are. Realistically, not much is working well, even in our own country. We need to rethink everything anew, starting TODAY.
We need to put our best U.S. minds into analyzing what the world will look like ten years from now ... and how we can survive, change and thrive in this transition toward a multipolar world. I continue to ask everyone I know, "How will America survive this global change-in-motion? Who is working on solutions to soften the bumpy years of adjustments that will surely take place?
Some of us were on ground during the 1990's when the USSR tried to switch to a new political and private sector system following communism. It was a devastating decade. I was in multiple Russian cities, watching the despair, the inability to comprehend how to move forward. People died by the droves when pensions stopped, collective farms stopped bringing food to the cities, the ruble became worthless overnight ... Many Russians and foreigners were sure Russia would NEVER survive, that the country would break into small pieces and people would live off the land to survive ... and that the young oligarchs with Western support and encouragement would cherry-pick the USSR's huge industries and retain power in Russia. They almost did!
By May of 2001 (a year after President Putin came to power), the prestigious ATLANTIC Monthly's cover carried the title: "RUSSIA IS FINISHED ... the subtitle: Russia's unstoppable descent into social catastrophe and strategic irrelevance." But it didn't happen like writer Jeffrey Taylor predicted. However, it did take another ten years of painful struggle for the Russian people to get on their feet and to head in another direction. Fortunately younger Russians had the best-schooled brains in the world. The Soviet school system had taught them to think, analyze, and understand higher math even in their secondary schools. A high percentage just out of universities had studied engineering, physics and cybernetics. As a result younger Russians were able to reinvent themselves within ten years (and of course took care of their families' pensioners). During those years, some 6,000 Russians from 71 of Russia's 89 regions applied for and received CCI's US-based business training in American companies. They took the missing knowledge back home to Russia and shared it with others in their cities and towns. This was less than 25 years ago.
Watching all of this in Russia has made me acutely aware that this level of social upheaval can happen to any nation that is thrust into vastly new circumstances with a currency that no longer works.
I watched what happened when Vladimir Putin took hold of the reins of Russia in 2000. It was a lose-lose predicament. Lawlessness reigned, oligarchs were the kingpins, Russia's young entrepreneur class had been wiped out a second time by the late 90's Asian financial meltdown. Chechnya, a haven for terrorists, was breaking away. Regardless of what one thinks about Putin, it's to his credit that Russia has survived and is where it is today. Russia's educated brains were present, yes, but how to organize society and bring the country's lawlessness and chaos to an end was his task. It took methodical trial and error for several years. Putin had no previous experience at such a task. Fortunately he had been stationed in Germany for five years previous to the USSR collapse, and he spoke fluent German from his student days. One of his KGB tasks during the 80's was to help the Kremlin understand why West Germany was so successful and East Germany was failing. He observed and took the knowledge back to Russia where he began to experiment with it in St. Petersburg in the 1990's, then unexpectedly in Moscow during the 2000's.
Today, 17 years later, order and stability exist in Russia. One of our CCI alums said in May, "I'm not fond of Putin, but I like order and stability, and I'll vote for him in the coming election." Russians are obviously proud of themselves and their country for the first time in decades. They have rebuilt their cities and upgraded most of their residential buildings. They live far better than any Russians of the past except for the tiny aristocracies prior to the 1917 Revolution. Today ordinary Russians travel abroad and have open access to world news through the Internet. Street crime in their cities is negligible, they drive the same makes and models of cars as we, they have free education and free and private medical care ... and they consider themselves a free people in a lawful society. How could this have happened in so few years?
As for us, we Americans need to be doing our homework ahead of the massive changes coming our way... as the other side of the world comes forward organized and ready to take on a much larger role in international problem solving, trade, finances and global responsibility. The BRICS countries intend to make this happen. They are hard workers, hungry for success and highly motivated by principles of building their own countries. They don't seem interested in acquiring new territories; they are interested in making their own people viable through education, production and trade.
Let us demand that our U.S. governmental energies be used to rebuild our future and to cooperate with the BRICS nations as the world becomes more multipolar. Creating one war after another will bring us and the world closer to grief and WWIII. WE MUST choose a more constructive way. What can we readers of this note do to prepare for a more constructive future? Send your ideas, we will print and share them!

Sharon Tennison
Center for Citizen Initiatives


Putin's Open Letter to the BRICS Summit
Held on Sept. 4 -5, 2017

"The 9th BRICS Summit will be held in Xiamen, China, on September 4 and 5. I consider it important in this regard to present Russia's approaches to cooperation within the framework of this large and respected association and to share my views on the future of our further cooperation.
I would like to begin by expressing our appreciation of China's significant contribution as this year's chair of the organisation, which has allowed the BRICS countries as a group to move forward in all the key areas of our partnership, including politics, the economy and culture. Moreover, the group of five has greatly strengthened its global standing.
It is important that our group's activities are based on the principles of equality, respect for one another's opinions and consensus. Within BRICS, nothing is ever forced on anyone. When the approaches of its members do not coincide, we work patiently and carefully to coordinate them. This open and trust-based atmosphere is conducive to the successful implementation of our tasks.
Russia highly values the multifaceted cooperation that has developed within BRICS. Our countries' constructive cooperation on the international arena is aimed at creating a fair multipolar world and equal development conditions for all.
Russia stands for closer coordination of the BRICS countries' foreign policies, primarily at the UN and G20, as well as other international organisations. It is clear that only the combined efforts of all countries can help bring about global stability and find solutions to many acute conflicts, including those in the Middle East. I would like to say that it was largely thanks to the efforts of Russia and other concerned countries that conditions have been created to improve the situation in Syria. We have delivered a powerful blow to the terrorists and laid the groundwork for launching the movement towards a political settlement and the return of the Syrian people to peace.
However, the fight against terrorists in Syria and other countries and regions must continue. Russia calls for going over from debates to the practical creation of a broad counterterrorism front based on international law and led by the UN. Naturally, we highly appreciate the support and assistance of our BRICS partners in this respect.
I have to say a few words about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have grown recently and the situation is balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict. Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile programme is misguided and futile. The region's problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.
Russia and China have created a roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula that is designed to promote the gradual easing of tensions and the creation of a mechanism for lasting peace and security.
Russia also calls for promoting the interaction of the BRICS countries in the area of global information security. We propose joining our efforts to create a legal basis for cooperation and subsequently to draft and adopt universal rules of responsible behaviour of states in this sphere. A major step towards this goal would be the signing of an intergovernmental BRICS agreement on international information security.
I would like to point out that on Russia's initiative a BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership was adopted at the Ufa Summit in 2015 and is being successfully implemented. We hope to be able to discuss new large-scale cooperation tasks in trade and investment and industrial cooperation at the Xiamen Summit.
Russia is interested in promoting economic cooperation within the BRICS format. Considerable practical achievements have been recently reported in this area, primarily the launch of the New Development Bank (NDB). It has approved seven investment projects in the BRICS countries worth around $1.5 billion. This year, the NDB is to approve a second package of investment projects worth $2.5-$3 billion in total. I am convinced that their implementation will not only be a boost to our economies but will also promote integration between our countries.
Russia shares the BRICS countries' concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies. We will also work towards a more balanced distribution of quotas and voting shares within the IMF and the World Bank.
I am confident that the BRICS countries will continue to act in a consolidated manner against protectionism and new barriers in global trade. We value the BRICS countries' consensus on this issue, which allows us to more consistently advocate the foundations of an open, equal and mutually beneficial multilateral trade system and to strengthen the role of the WTO as the key regulator in international trade.
Russia's initiative on the development of cooperation among the BRICS countries' antimonopoly agencies is aimed at creating effective mechanisms to encourage healthy competition. The goal is to create a package of cooperation measures to work against the restrictive business practices of large multinational corporations and trans-border violations of competition rules.
I would like to draw your attention to Russia's initiative on the establishment of a BRICS Energy Research Platform. We believe that this would enable us to coordinate our information, analysis and research activities in the interests of the five BRICS countries and would ultimately facilitate the implementation of joint energy investment projects.
Another priority is to build up our cooperation in the area of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). We believe that we should integrate the national SMEs' online resources for placing crosslinks and other commercial information and for exchanging data on reliable partners.
Russia is advocating the Women and the Economy public-private dialogue. This initiative provides for holding regular debates by members of the BRICS countries' business and expert communities, women's associations and government agencies. The first such meeting was held in Novosibirsk on July 4, 2017, on the sidelines of the First International Women's Congress of the SCO and BRICS Member States. Another related idea is to create a BRICS Women's Business Club as a network of professional interaction between women in business through a specialised online information resource.
Our other priorities include cooperation in science, technology, innovations and cutting edge medicine. Our countries have a big potential in this respect that comprises a solid and mutually complementary research base, unique technical achievements, skilled personnel and huge markets for science-intensive products. We propose discussing at the upcoming summit a package of measures to reduce the threat of infectious diseases and to create new medicines to prevent and fight epidemics.
I believe our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere has excellent prospects. While working to implement the BRICS Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture, we hope that our partners will take part in the New Wave and New Wave Junior international contests of young pop singers. We have also advanced the initiative to create a joint television network of the BRICS countries.
Russia stands for strengthening the BRICS countries' partnership in politics, the economy, culture and other areas. We are ready to continue working jointly with our colleagues to promote democracy and to strengthen the healthy elements of international relations based firmly on international law. I am convinced that the Xiamen Summit will help invigorate our countries' efforts towards finding solutions to the challenges of the 21st century and will propel cooperation within BRICS to a higher level.
I wholeheartedly wish health and success to your readers and to all people in the BRICS countries".

This message was sent to from

sharon tennison
Center for Citizen Initiatives
820 N. Delaware Street
San Mateo, CA 94401, US

Edited to add . . .

Marilyn, thank you for your note ... and PLEASE send to as many people as you can.
Ambassador Jack Matlock said that there will be no change at the top until Americans citizens at the bottom demand change ... as happened with the Vietnam war, with school integration in the 60s, with gay marriage.

We MUST educate and active our local mainstream people. Otherwise nothing will change.
I will write my next email on this, please consider joining in to some of these ideas which are totally possible.
More to follow and thanks again,


PS; In which city and state do you reside?

On Sep 14, 2017, at 1:57 PM, Marilyn Hagle wrote:


I really appreciate the work that you and the Center for Citizen Initiatives are doing to promote peace and understanding. I hope you don't mind that I posted this last letter to a blog group I am a member of - There are many folks there who would also be interested in your work. In my mind, it is the hope for the future.

Thanks for all you do,


23 users have voted.


Pricknick's picture

are usually deluded in their thoughts.
Thanks for the post.

11 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Wink's picture

like this that was non-partisan to include in my flyer /leaflet I can hand to neighbors to get sumpthin' started. This looks like just the ticket! Nice find!

15 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Is this the group that encouraged and arranged Russian penpals for kids in the 1980s? My daughter had a penpal for several years. We sent her an Idaho bluebird t-shirt among other things.

13 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

how much I enjoyed reading this post, especially Putin's letter.
This is the country we have become.

11 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

7 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

But to actually sit down and listen is of course all they need to frame you as a "Russian Collaborator..."

What's interesting is that even from my European associates, the visceral hatred to anything even spoken on the other side of the Russian border is positively ludicrous.

So, he is making some good points. Time was in SF that we dreamed of a US/USSR parternship going into the future. Didn't always work perfect but it was interesting. Russian/Chinese sounds worse but only from a language look forward. All those similar characters mixed with far too many consonants for anybody who isn't masochistic.

6 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

earthling1's picture

and the Soviet Union desolved, I dreamed of our helping them becoming a democracy and instilling freedom and equality all across that continent.
I had thought it was the greatest opportunity for the world to become a more peaceful place without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation or posturing for dominance. A world where our best minds could turn from more frightening weapons of war to invention, discovery, and exploration of peaceful problem solving that benefits the Earth and every living thing upon it.
Ronald Reagan could have been the greatest human being of all time.
But he squandered that incredible opportunity.
A became just another damned bureaucrat.
I see an amazing opportunity for Trump should he use his wealth and position of power to defeat the controlling powers of the world. Can he grasp the difference between "classy" and "magnanimous"?
It would take an ego as large as his to take them on. Does he have any courage at all? Or is he just in it for the wealth, more wealth?
Thanks for your comment DMW.

7 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

Head Spook Poppy Bush oversaw the last phases of the deconstruction, and he and Billy Jeff saw eye-to-eye when it came to turning loose the vulture capitalists on the ex-Soviet territories.

Squander, squander, squander.

7 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

divineorder's picture

My wife jakkalbessie and I supported and participated in US USSR Citizens Exchange projects back in the 80's . I helped organize several citizen trips to the USSR back then and went a couple of times myself.

AFAIK I never was censored or harrased by the US gov for my participation.

Heh. When the 'no fly' list came into being here during the Bush/Cheney era I wondered if I would be put on it but never was.

In the 90' we began focusing on teacher's union politics etc and left those projects behind.

Warning: this is a good example of the type of censorship gjohnsit has written about on C99 -- Twitter won't show the picture unless you pre clear it. Gah.


Good to see this.

And thanks to Mh for sharing the letter from Sharon. I am pretty sure that I met her and participated in a conference she organized in San Fran back in the 80's but sadly the memory fades....

6 users have voted.

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

and it all sounds very good and a lot more rational than many official statements, but I can't help thinking that no matter what is said, Russia, China, USA, etc will all end up acting in what they see as their own interest. At best, we can hope for that self-interest to be enlightened. But I don't expect altruistic benevolence from Putin or Xi any more than I do from Trump or Obama.

"Follow the money" and "what's in this for me/them?" should be kept in mind, and after shaking hands with any politician be sure you count your fingers so you know you got them all back.

6 users have voted.

Thanks so much for posting this! But no wonder the Psychopaths That Be would kill to stop this sanity from progressing...

1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Lookout's picture

and we have on a blindfold that prevents us from seeing the rise of China and Russia. They are creating a new Marshall plan for Asia. We have a profit plan for corporations.

Thanks for the post!

0 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”