NATO expansion in E. Europe ‘destroys EU security order’ – Gorbachev

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbacheve knows more about East/West security issues than almost anyone. So when he says something important about them we should all pay attention. What he’s saying now is that NATO has destroyed European stability and security.

Gorbachev

Former Soviet President Gorbachev

Speaking to Der Spiegel, Gorbachev said the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe has destroyed the European security order and the Ukraine crisis could easily lead to nuclear war. Here’s a quote:

The expansion of the bloc in the east [of Europe] has destroyed the European security order which was written in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975,” the 83-year-old political veteran told the German newspaper.

NATO’s expansion has become “a 180-degree turn drawing us away from the Paris Charter of 1990, which was made together with all European states to finally leave the Cold War in the past.”

Of course that is exactly what this Blog has been saying from its inception. NATO is pressing towards the Russian border just like Hitler’s legions did in the Second World War. Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Hitler set up puppet states as he rolled eastward each allied with Germany just as NATO is doing today. And just as they were then, today’s Eastern European states are also allied with Germany through NATO.

The only difference is that Hitler used force and today Germany and America are using economic power.

The point I’m making is that Russia will not accept the harsh economic sanctions currently being applied by NATO, the West, and incidentally, Saudi Arabia. It will fight back if pushed to the wall.

If you’re worried about this, and you have every reason to worry, write your M.P. and demand that Canada withdraw from Europe, withdraw from NATO and refuse to antagonize our nuclear-armed Northern neighbour.

 

The War Drums are Beating in Canada

A respectable conservative think tank, the Fraser Institute, has come out publicly calling for Canadian troops to be sent to the Baltic countries. You should read the whole thing because it implies that stationing troops in “NATO’s most-at-risk members” will halt Russian expansion into the territory of the old Soviet Union.

estonians cropped

Estonian troops during a NATO exercise in Poland in 2013.  (NATO photo/SSgt Ian Houlding GBR Army)

This is EXACTLY the kind of thinking that caused Canada to agree to a British request in 1941 to send two infantry battalions and a brigade headquarters (1,975 personnel) to Hong Kong to deter Japan from expanding southwards. That had zero effect on the Empire of Japan which launched its attack on Dec. 8, killing or capturing the entire contingent in a matter of days.

Indeed, if you go back a little further, Neville Chamberlain extended a military alliance to Poland in 1939 to deter Hitler from expanding eastward. The fact was Britain had no troops to send to Poland, no way to get them there and no real desire to fight. It was all a bluff that Hitler called and started WWII.

Trying to bluff large countries led by powerful leaders bent on establishing, or in this case, re-establishing empires, always leads to war. Please consider that last sentence. Where we intervene on behalf of a belligerent in an alliance, it always causes a war.

Where we do not intervene, as in the Spanish Civil War, it remains a civil war. The same thing happened in the Franco-Prussian war which Britain sat out and suffered zero deaths. There are plenty of examples of this from history; too many to count.

The bottom line is that alliances don’t prevent wars, they cause wars. We can all thank God Ukraine is not a member of NATO or WWIII would already have started!

Do what you can to stop this madness. Call or write your M.P. and demand that Canada remove its soldiers, aircraft and ships from the area around Russia. We should also get out of NATO while we’re at it. NATO is a dangerous illusion that could kill us all.

Legion Magazine Says Canada flirting with WWIII

An extraordinary article in the current (Jan/Feb) Legion magazine says Canada is flirting with starting World War III with Russia. The article, by Adam Day, describes a trip into the Black Sea by the Canadian naval vessel HMCS Toronto. Day says the voyage was meant to “deter Putin’s aggression” in Ukraine but could result in “the same kind of mistakes that led to the First World War.”

su-24

SU-24 Fencer

Day sets up his observation by noting that WWI started because of inter-locking treaties and securities arrangements. Then he says this about Operation Reassurance which involves HMCS Toronto.

There may not be an intention to start a war or even to cause conflict. But it isn’t necessary that one actor or more has a coherent intention, all that is required is that certain interests come into conflict in such a way that the situation can’t easily be de-escalated, either because of treaty commitments, domestic politics, actual national security concerns or all three.

A little later he says that symbolism can get out of hand.

The current state of mobilization is almost entirely symbolic, at least on paper. . .  Where the operation gets very real, however, is out where the symbols of our resistance to Putin actually stand face-to-face, missile-to-missile, with the Russians. So that’s where I wanted to go. If the conflict was going to start, that’s where it would happen–on the Estonian border or in the sky over Ukraine or on the Black Sea.

The “conflict” Day is referring to is WWIII. He even says that specifically:

Life aboard a warship in the days that might be leading up to WWIII is relaxed, even happy. The crew of 250-plus, led by Commander Jason Armstrong, initially give the impression of being engaged in a great adventure.

The article goes on to describe a fly-by by Russian Su-24 Fencers, air-to-surface bombers. The jets zoomed in but the Canadian ship decided against turning on its fire control radar. As one of them flew past, it turned to show it wasn’t carrying weapons. Of course the next time things could be different. The next time could be the last time.

And this is what this blog has been saying from the beginning. Stephen Harper and the West is playing with fire. Putin may decide he’s had enough; today, tomorrow, next Tuesday. And if he does, then HMCS Toronto won’t be the only vessel at the bottom of the sea.

And its crew won’t be the only bodies floating on the surface.

Sanctions Caused the War with Japan; Sanctions Will Cause WWIII

Maybe it’s time you took out any history book of WWII and read the Chapter on why Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. You may have to read several to get at the truth because most blame “Japanese imperialism.” According to these sources, the Japanese were on a mission to conquer the world and America was in the way. The truth, however, is very different. Japan launched its attack because the United States was conducting a campaign of economic warfare against Japan.

Air_raid_pearl_harbor_RGSmith

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, by R.G. Smith

There are plenty of honest historians around; I’m going to quote two. First, here’s Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute. He writes that U.S. economic warfare provoked Japan’s attack.

The Roosevelt administration, while curtly dismissing Japanese diplomatic overtures to harmonize relations, imposed a series of increasingly stringent economic sanctions on Japan. In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. “On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials.” Under this authority, “[o]n July 31, exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants and No. 1 heavy melting iron and steel scrap were restricted.”

Next, in a move aimed at Japan, Roosevelt slapped an embargo, effective October 16, “on all exports of scrap iron and steel to destinations other than Britain and the nations of the Western Hemisphere.”

Finally, on July 26, 1941, Roosevelt “froze Japanese assets in the United States, thus bringing commercial relations between the nations to an effective end. One week later Roosevelt embargoed the export of such grades of oil as still were in commercial flow to Japan.” The British and the Dutch followed suit, embargoing exports to Japan from their colonies in southeast Asia.

My favorite author on this subject (and on many others) is Patrick J. Buchanan, Here he is on the same issue.

When France capitulated in June 1940, Japan moved into northern French Indochina. And though the United States had no interest there, we imposed an embargo on steel and scrap metal. After Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941, Japan moved into southern Indochina. FDR ordered all Japanese assets frozen.

But FDR did not want to cut off oil. As he told his Cabinet on July 18, an embargo meant war, for that would force oil-starved Japan to seize the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. But a State Department lawyer named Dean Acheson drew up the sanctions in such a way as to block any Japanese purchases of U.S. oil. By the time FDR found out, in September, he could not back down.

Tokyo was now split between a War Party and a Peace Party, with the latter in power. Prime Minister Konoye called in Ambassador Joseph Grew and secretly offered to meet FDR in Juneau or anywhere in the Pacific. According to Grew, Konoye was willing to give up Indochina and China, except a buffer region in the north to protect her from Stalin, in return for the U.S. brokering a peace with China and opening up the oil pipeline. Konoye told Grew that Emperor Hirohito knew of his initiative and was ready to give the order for Japan’s retreat.

Fearful of a “second Munich,” America spurned the offer. Konoye fell from power and was replaced by Hideki Tojo. Still, war was not inevitable. U.S. diplomats prepared to offer Japan a “modus vivendi.” If Japan withdrew from southern Indochina, the United States would partially lift the oil embargo. But Chiang Kai-shek became “hysterical,” and his American adviser, one Owen Lattimore, intervened to abort the proposal.

Facing a choice between death of the empire or fighting for its life, Japan decided to seize the oil fields of the Indies. And the only force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu.

This article has more nuance than Higgs’ but the facts are the same: the sanctions and oil embargo meant war. Japan was pushed too far. It’s honor-bound military would not back down and so it doubled down.

The reason I’m writing this and reminding you why Japan went to war is that the West is doing exactly the same thing today with Russia and it did yesterday with Japan. This issue is Ukraine rather than China, but the technique is the same; cutting off trade with Russia just as America cut off trade with Japan. We’re told by hawks like Prime Minister Stephen Harper this will force Russia to get out of Ukraine.

How naive can you get? You don’t force a nuclear-armed country with ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, killer satellites, strategic bombers and atomic cruise missiles. It doesn’t budge. It’s not afraid of you. All these Western sanctions will do is to get Russia angry. If they really start to bite and the Russian economy goes into crisis the next step is war.

Russia, led by a macho ex-KGB agent, won’t back down. He’ll fight first. And so we’ll get what Peal Harbor got in 1941: a surprise attack, only this time it will kill millions.

Poking the Bear

Cartoonist David Parkins has a cartoon on the Globe & Mail website that exactly sums up the concern expressed in this Blog. It’s called “Poking the Bear.”

DavidParkinsandBrianGable

‘Poking the Bear’ by David Parkins

The standard comment on this is that Prime Minister Harper is doing this to curry votes from Ukrainian-Canadian voters. Maybe so.

But doesn’t this require the bear to be good natured despite all the recent provocations? My experience with bears is that they are totally unpredictable.

West Forces Russia towards Brinksmanship

Russian strategic bombers–yes the ones that carry hydrogen bombs–have been probing European, Canadian and American borders just like they did back in the cold war. Bombers have even gone as far as Guam in the Pacific and the Caribbean in the Atlantic.

russianbomberrefuels

Russian bomber refuels in flight

Why is Russia doing this? The strategic answer is that Russia feels America and NATO have intruded into the Russian sphere of influence in Ukraine and so it’s going to interfere in ours.

The tactical answer is that after we get tired of chasing Russian aircraft around the world’s oceans they can then launch a real attack on our dozing defences. This is standard military thinking.

And that’s the point: Russia is now thinking militarily about issues that should have been dealt with at the conference table.

NATO and the West should have given Russia the buffer zone it desperately wants and that includes Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries. The fact we have pushed NATO to the east means we have pushed Russia to the wall.

Why? What’s in it for us?

Why are we goading Russia, ruining its economy and insulting its leaders? What is the benefit to the West of ruining a great country? Are we trying to destroy Russia so Western companies can go in and reap the rewards of conquest?

If that’s the case, we’ve made a mistake.

Russia is a great country. It won’t go down without a fight. It won’t surrender to us any more than the Soviet Union wouldn’t surrender to Germany. It will fight if it has to.

Those Russian bombers will turn gradually from their assigned path in the Atlantic and Pacific and launch cruise missiles at America’s defences. Large mushroom shaped clouds will billow up from America’s strategic force bases and missile silos.

And we caused it.

Update

Respected military commentator Matthew Fisher, writing in the National Post today (Dec. 23), says Russia may lash out at the West rather than compromise:

Rather than admitting the role his government and the ruling elites have played in their country’s misfortunes, Mr. Putin raged last week the West was trying to “chain the Russian bear” and “tear out its fangs and claws.”

If Russia lashes out by opening a new front in the Balkans the situation across eastern Europe could quickly spin out of control. NATO might finally invoke Article V (mutual defence) and send the tanks in. At the very least the trans-Atlantic alliance would impose far more Draconian sanctions on the Kremlin.

Note that “in the Balkans” phrase. Ukraine isn’t in the Balkans; Serbia is.

Former British Ambassador: Time to Engage with Russia

There has been so much bombast and bluster from the West over Russia–and especially from Prime Minister Harper–it’s refreshing to see someone take the opposite view. Tony Brenton, a former British Ambassador to Moscow, writes in the Telegraph today that the West should be magnanimous.

tonybrenton

Former British Ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton

In his long op-ed on Russia’s current difficulties he says we shouldn’t gloat over the problems of a nuclear-armed neighbour.

There is an evident temptation, not resisted in recent statements by No 10 and the White House, to enjoy Putin’s economic discomfort and sit tight until something in Russia changes. It could be a long wait – uncomfortable no doubt for Russia, but disastrous for pulling Ukraine out of the pit into which it has fallen. A wait too which, at least for the foreseeable future, will merely intensify the hyperpatriotism, statism and isolationism that increasingly predominate in Russian political discourse.

Instead the West should extend the hand of friendship:

In the days when foreign policymakers thought long term, there would have been real discomfort at the prospect of Europe permanently landing itself with an embittered, nuclear-armed neighbour, with fast growing links with China. Wasn’t it Churchill who talked about magnanimity in victory? Isn’t now the time to start engaging with an undoubtedly weakened Russia on a way out in Ukraine in which everybody’s concerns are taken into account?

What a breath of fresh air this comment is. Brenton is simply realizing that if we leave no way out for Putin he is likely to go to the military option. That option could be small potatoes in the Baltic or an invasion of Ukraine.

I’ve said from the beginning of this crisis it’s crazy to find out what happens if we poke the Russian bear hard enough. It could result in World War III.