LA Times regurgitates pro-Russian propaganda

You wanna know what a Communist Fifth Column looks like? Here you go: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-shifrinson-russia-us-nato-deal–20160530-snap-story.html

It has an academic, publishing a report in an academic journal, pushing a Pro-Russian lie through the deliberate omission of important historical context picked up without any sort of review by a major US newspaper….

And what is that important historical context?

All, and I mean ALL of the documents listed by Shifrinson from 1990 are leading up to something called the “2 plus 4 Treaty” which limited NATO expansion into the former East Germany, which was signed in 1991. By omitting that fact the author, and the unwitting copy editors of the LA Times who utterly failed to apply the “layers and layers of editorial oversight” which is supposed to make “professional journalists” better than bloggers, has engaged in a deliberate attempt to justify Russian aggression in Georgia, Crimea, and east Ukraine.

The other bit of important historical context is the “NATO Russia Founding Act” which was a bit of a gentleman’s agreement on how NATO would be able to accept former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO that essentially boiled down to, “NATO forces wouldn’t be permanently deployed into new NATO nations” and Russia wouldn’t be a dick.

Asking Russia not to be a dick was a bit too much to ask for given the historical reality of Russian politics.

The timeline of new entries into NATO is pretty clear. 1999, Russia isn’t too bothered. 2001, all cool. Hell even in 2009 the Russian VDV trained in the Continental US! NATO even ignores the Georgian incursion, after all Georgia isn’t a NATO ally.

What happened to change all this is that Ukraine was looking to put reformers into power, reformers that were pro-EU and pro-NATO. And to Russia, that would be as unthinkable as Belarus joining NATO, it would be an “unforgivable offense to the fatherland” because Russia had so long dominated Kiev. Essentially Russia wanted to maintain Hegemony over Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus and only Belarus was willing to play ball.

So after Ukraine started looking to reform and drift to a more pro-Western regime Russia decided that it would act, and so created a crisis which would allow it to intervene. Russians are not stupid, and so it created a crisis that wouldn’t trigger any red lines in terms of military action, only sanctions and other diplomatic responses.

But in order to justify their actions Russia needed to invent an excuse, and so like an abusive boyfriend who asks, “Baby, why do YOU make me HIT you?” Russia begins using NATO expansion as a pretext for being a dick. Now there is the Baltic Air Policing Mission, and all sorts of other ongoing reassurance measures in place.

But still, the “2 Plus 4 Treaty” is still in effect, stopping Germany from moving NATO troops into the former East Germany, and requiring diplomatic clearances to even move troops through long in advance of exercises. A treaty with which the US still complies, because it signed the treaty back in 1991. You can read more about that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_the_Final_Settlement_with_Respect_to_Germany

Michael Gorbachev: The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a singe Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.

Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been observed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.

Of course that is no longer the Russian position because admitting such would not be useful. Russia will continue to claim the US did not act in good faith simply because Russia has NOTHING to lose from telling this lie over and over again, and if some people believe it then Russia has gained something.

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4 Responses to LA Times regurgitates pro-Russian propaganda

  1. DW says:

    I know that you have first hand experience and a lot of knowledge on the situation in Europe, so if this post seems misguided then I trust you’ll enlighten me. First given the islamic migration/invasion in progress now, it seems probable that Europe and it’s culture are headed for termination. It may take a generation or two, but coupled with the financial disaster the Euro zone is, the trends are clearly not positive. My position is, it’s not our problem. Don’t want to spend coin or kin fixing their mess.

    So now we have this concern that Russia is poised on the border to over-run Europe? Assuming that were true given the scenario above, it seems to be a more welcoming solution than an islamic-europe. At least it would still be a “European enclave”. Putin is certainly the dictator of Russia, but he is very calculating in his actions and does not take chances. But if in fact there is saber rattling going on, I think it is more from the US & its allies looking for a war to cover-up the economic disaster it’s created. I refer you to another blog I read: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-russia-is-preparing-for-wwiii/

    I assume you will have a counter argument, but the article makes a lot of sense to me given what I know about Putin and Russia. What I absolutely know is while I love my country, I will do everything in my power to prevent my kin from fighting and dying in another war in Europe, fighting for God knows what idiotic/fake reason the US government and the MSM gin up for a “patriotic” excuse.

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    • rthtgnbs says:

      The article is meant to make sense. Propaganda is meant to resonate with the reader and appeal to innate bias from preconceived notions or cultural baggage, and to be GOOD propaganda it needs at least a solid nugget of truth.

      However, the question becomes, why is Russia preparing for WWIII because of 150 to to 1,500 additional NATO soldiers spread across Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on a rotational training basis? Clearly that level of activity does not require Russia to prepare for WWIII.

      Secondly, how can Russia claim that a missile defense system in Romania and Poland, designed to stop a very low number of missiles can be any threat to Russian security? Russia itself has said that it can overwhelm any missile defense (a true statement) and any attack on Canada or the United States would take a polar route nowhere near the European Aegis ashore system. So clearly that doesn’t require Russia to prepare for WWIII.

      So when you take a look at what NATO is actually doing, and what Russia’s capabilities actually are, then it becomes quite clear that “something else” is going on. And that something else is “empire building” by Putin. There is no other reason to “prepare for WWIII” except that like his previous land grabs from Georgia and from Ukraine in Crimea and Donbass, he plans to incite a “crisis” amongst ethnic Russians who were transplanted into those regions during Soviet times and then “intervene” on there behalf to “restore” Russian glory and influence.

      If you were Estonia, with a 30% ethnic Russian minority, wouldn’t you want German, French, British, and US troops on your soil so that if Russia tried the same play (called the Gerasimov doctrine after the Russian General who came up with it) in Estonia that it would trigger an Article 5 collective defense response? Of course you would, Estonia “enjoyed” being a member of the Soviet Union against their will for many decades and has no desire to go back to being a part of the Russian Empire. And that is what Putin has convinced many Russians the Soviet Union was, just a change of management for the Russian Empire, and that all those breakaway states are like Taiwan to the Chinese….

      So Russia has no interest in saving the world, no interest in a healthy and prosperous Europe. Russia has fallen for the “Napoleon Trap” where a democracy that replaces a monarchy fails, and instead creates a new Emperor for themselves to follow. But not all Russians are following their Napoleon, the productive middle class has largely voted with their feet since 2011, and so after sanctions are lifted at some point in the future it will be much harder for Russia to bounce back economically. http://upnorth.eu/the-virus-of-freedom/

      Anyways, as long as NATO continues to rotate troops through Poland and the Baltics the claim that it is “US and NATO aggression, provocations against Russia” will continue. Because Russia cannot effectively send in little green men to stir up enough trouble while the world has eyes on those countries in the form of Soldiers who are training and interacting with the population daily. But Russia will gripe about “German artillery within firing distance of St. Petersburg” without mentioning the Iskandar missiles they put in Kalinigrad and aimed at Poland and Denmark.

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      • DW says:

        Point taken. I don’t disagree with your position on the article link or things regarding Russia and I have already acknowledged that Putin is a dictator with grand designs to enlarge his empire. It’s clear that Russia’s economy is also failing, so enlarging/stealing/taking over new territories is a good way to get more stuff to feed your empire. That does not change the fact that Putin has been very cautious about the moves he makes. He is not a gambler and plays the cards he knows have a high chance of success.

        So I am under no delusion that Putin/Russia is a benign state. That said I am also no longer under the delusion that the US gov’t is a benign state either.

        Especially since 9/11, the US gov’t has demonstrated a clear interest in nation building/control/influence and continued support of the crony capitalist industrial complex. At the expense of US lives and coin. Sadly as the situation in the Middle East, Iran, China,( the list is long ), clearly illustrates; the power-mad idiots now in charge of the US are clearly lacking in the skills strategically or tactically to manage said “empire building” successfully.

        So say what you want about Putin, in comparison to the political & military leaders of the US, he is clearly better and more successful. And as to the fact that he is a dictator, I would submit that the US lost that moral high ground long ago, given all the US and state gov’t violations of pretty much every amendment in the bill of rights under the guise of making us more “safe”! I call bravo sierra on that without question. If you claim we are free then you are not paying attention.

        Let me close with this question for you:

        We are in agreement that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have the right to be independent countries and pursue their own liberty. I support that without question. Now should Putin decide to invade any of those countries, how long would they hold out and survive? How many lives and support would the rest of Europe commit to defend them? I have little faith that Europe would do much if anything to help them and even if the commitment was there, you know better than I do that the European’s have seriously degraded their military capabilities. So that leaves the US to provide the majority of support to help defend them.

        I know you are a man of honor and a member of the US military, so if ordered you would go and help defend them. Most likely those countries would be overrun within days, if not weeks and Europe would establish a defense perimeter somewhere within Poland ( who I believe would fight ), but at that point Russia would stop and consolidate gains. Would this start WW3 or cause a nuclear war. Extremely doubtful as that is a no-win situation ( except maybe for China!) for all involved.

        Your combat mission has a limited chance of success against the Russian military and the odds are that you would be killed. So now hostilities are over for the moment.

        The headlines read – the US gov’t has the moral high ground in this instance. We were helping defend our friends in Estonia, Lativa, etc. against overt aggression by Russia. We strongly recommend to the world and the United (useless) Nations that Russia withdraw and restore the independence of Estonia, Lativa, etc., blah blah blah. Yeah right.

        The problem is you are dead. Your wife is a widow and your children fatherless. Again I don’t diminish your personal honor and sacrifice for a second. What I question is why and to what end. If we as a country are going to commit lives and coin in a war, I want to understand what the objectives are and is the commitment there for us to have a “realistic” chance for success?

        It’s easy for a politician or a general to commit lives and coin to make a statement, they have no skin in the game and can simply enlist new recruits and raise taxes to pay for their “statement”. That’s not liberty, that is enslavement and tyranny.

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  2. rthtgnbs says:

    Everyone dies eventually, and we have no guarantees on when we will die, so we need to live each day with that knowledge. Worrying about dying in war is the last thing a Soldier needs to spend any energy on, because it takes away from the effectiveness of your efforts today.

    The point of having Soldiers in Estonia, Latvia, LIthuania, Poland, Romania, etc, is the same reason we planted the 82nd Airborne in the Saudi Desert after Iraq “annexed” Kuwait. The paratroopers of the 82nd could not have stopped the Iraqi Army had they started to move south, essentially they were there as a visible demonstration of American commitment to our ally. And that is why we are in the Baltics today. Because instead of the 5th largest mechanized land force on the planet facing down a much less mighty neighbor, it is the 2nd largest mechanized land force on the planet staring down countries with less populations than many US cities, let alone states.

    You cannot achieve peace through appeasement. “Si vis pacem parabellum” is as true today as it was so many thousands of years ago. And facing down a resurgent Russia in Europe means that we don’t have to face them down in New York, or Philadelphia.

    Also the military of the United States is part of the “DIME” of national power, Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic. Right now all four parts are working to keep the peace we have and begin normalizing relations with Russia. Russia respects the Military part and the Economic part much more than the Information and Diplomatic parts, so we must use troops and sanctions in order to achieve our own National goals.

    But I will acknowledge you the point that it is easy for politicians to send troops and spend taxes to achieve national security objectives. But that is fundamentally how our system was developed, the US Navy was designed from the very beginning to be a standing Navy, and only the Army had the restriction of requiring budget review every two years. As far as getting more recruits, it is still amazing that people will risk their life and health to serve the republic, but that is how it is. Whether we’ve elected politicians who can use the powers granted to them with wisdom is an entirely different matter.

    What George Washington stated, that government is force, remains true.

    And if Russia decided to take the Baltics by force, it could. However Russia would have to pay a heavy price, and it would invite WWIII, because we have 150 to 1,500 US servicemembers on the ground in those countries. Because we have NATO Article 5 collective defense measures. Because we have stealth bombers and nuclear weapons.

    Put this altogether with the rest of the DIME, and you see that it is a huge message to Russia to “knock it off! Stop what you are doing!” and nothing more. And yes there is risk involved in doing this, but there is at least equal if not greater risk in doing nothing.

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