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Obama, Putin and Ukraine

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“Russia is never as strong as it appears; Russia is never as weak as it appears. Its diplomacy is always relentless.”

— Ernest Renan

Vladimir Putin’s audacious moves on Ukraine continue to unsettle the White House. Not only did Obama fail to anticipate his boldness, the President and his advisers still do not fully grasp the implications of what is happening and why it happened. Putin the Kremlin leader does not fit into any established category; his actions make no logical sense to them; and they have no idea what to expect next. In short, they are in intellectual disarray. That state of mind is not conducive to devising a coherent, credible counter strategy. By scattering the pieces on the pre-existing chessboard with one swipe of his arm, Putin has the United States scrambling to reassemble them into some recognizable shape.

The President’s foreign policy team of course does have experience of willful players who are neither friendly, compatible nor cooperative with the United States. Some bear the United States ill-will. Indeed, it’s a quite a long list ranging from the manifest “bad guys” like Ahmedi-nejad, Mullah Omer, Bashir Assad and Muammar Ghadaffi to bothersome recalcitrants like Nuri al-Maliki, Hamid Karzai, Mohamed Mursi, and just about everyone in Pakistan to the occasionally mischievous and disobedient like Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Egyptian Army (on odd days of the week) and – previously – Mr. Putin himself. Those in the first category, i.e. the enemies, presented little in the way of an intellectual challenge. Washington coerced them, threatened them, and/or isolated them – in various mixes and with varying degrees of success. What Obama adamantly refused to do was to talk to them; that is to say, to conduct diplomacy on a basis that accepted them as facts of international life – however disagreeable and problematic.

Moreover, all of these persons operated within that special diplomatic zone we designate as the Greater Middle East. It has two odd characteristics. One, it is there that America sees the greatest danger to its national security in the form of “Terrorism,” spreading WMDs, propinquity to its ward Israel, and vulnerable energy hub of the world. The other peculiar trait is that for the past twenty years the United States has been the only great power (or putative great power) in the arena. China’s stake has remained uni-dimensional: ensuring a stable supply of oil for its great economic leap forward. The European Union does little more than scurry behind and beneath Washington’s skirts while showing no capacity whatsoever to marshal a political will commensurate with its interests. Russia, a strong and active protagonist in the old Soviet days, has till recently been licking its wounds, accepting its role as a sideline observer and only within the past year reentering the field of play selectively where opportunity and American blundering have created openings. Moreover, there was no compelling reason for Moscow to move assertively.

Ukraine is a different story entirely. Here the stakes are of the traditional kind – the word “new” as a qualifying adjective can be dispensed with. No new world order, new world disorder, new transnational forces or supranational entities. A bit of economic globalization does come into play – but at heart this is a retro world that does not call out for disquisitions on “social media” for explanation or interpretation. Hence, it was at once illuminating and instructive that President Obama and his senior officials should complain that Putin’s grab of the Crimea was a return to the nineteenth century. Being somewhat weak on history, they actually meant that this did not conform to their conception of international politics post-1991 (Iraq and a few other places understandably excepted). Equally troubling, they could not imagine this happening in Europe (by contrast to the Forbidden Zone that is the Middle East) or that the miscreant should be a country that enjoyed the status of a G-8 member. Military invasion of a sovereign country to alter an internationally recognized boundary just wasn’t in the cards. Putin’s insouciant manner made the entire affair all the more alien and unpalatable.

What was the United States to do? The initial first weeks of huffing-and-puffing were predictable and quite natural. So, too, was the threatened imposition of penalties – penalties of an economic nature. These have materialized in a disjointed manner, cobbled together incrementally in packages agreeable to the European Union and the United States alike.

The third reaction entailed a sensible piece of realism: engaging Russia, the Ukrainians, and the other Europeans in talks on how to stabilize the political future of the Ukraine so as to forestall later crises – internal and perhaps external. Implicitly, this means a de facto acceptance of the Russian fait accompli in annexing the Crimea. Achieving that stability has an intricate and delicate process requiring time and patience – even as the West remains confused as to whether, when and where Putin will set a limit on how far Russian will meddle in the flammable Donets’k Basin.

The longer-term implications are still harder to spell out – and the wider European order still harder to conceptualize. The Obama administration has just begun to face that challenge, in its own inimitable way. Let’s look at the strands of thinking that are being spun. One, there is much talk of “containment.” This hallowed strategy is predicated on the premise that Russia under Putin is a rogue state that cannot be counted on to play by the rules. It is willful, unpredictable and ready to use military force to get what it wants. Obama reportedly has personalized this sentiment in judging that he never will have a “constructive” relationship with Mr. Putin. Therefore, the only way to proceed is to minimize the damage that the Kremlin can do (especially in Europe) and otherwise to ignore Putin. This attitude has met with approval by much of the foreign policy establishment. Former Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder sees this as the right strategy since “if you remain confident and raise the cost gradually and increasingly, that doesn’t solve you Ukraine problem. But it may solve your Russia problem.” This conforms to the prevailing current of thought that we should be prepared to treat Russia as a dangerous enemy for the next generation – or, at least, until Putin disappears from the scene. Appointing as the new American envoy to Moscow John F. Tefft, who served previously as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, – all in “the near abroad” – fits this mode of thinking.

Eventually, it is hoped, economic pressures will force Putin to modify his behavior in order to come to terms with the West or, if not, make way for someone who will. Built into this calculation is the judgment that Russia will not retaliate by manipulating its exports of natural gas to the countries of Central and Western Europe whose economies are critically dependent on them. Given Russian revenue needs, this may well be an economic version of Mutual Assured Destruction. Some eager minds in Washington carry this line one step further in contemplating methods by which that import dependence could be sharply reduced quickly. That is nothing more than a fanciful dream, however.1

It is a strategy that trails skeptical question marks. The historical record tells us that sanctions rarely are effective. They can cause much pain and suffering but do not change the policies of governments as intended. From Japan before Pearl Harbor to Cold War China, to North Korea, Iraq and Iran in more recent times, their ineffectualness has been demonstrated. South Africa is the exception – as were the conditions there.

The willfulness of states to act in accordance with their self-defined basic interests is the main reason for the recurrent failure of sanctions. This is especially true of authoritarian regimes that have the means to contain social unrest. There also are economic factors at work. The essential nature of economic relations is that they are the expression of the parties’ mutual interests (except in the case of slavery or other forms of coerced employment). That is to say, they entail mutual gain – even if the benefits are unequal or asymmetrical and leave one party feeling the outcomes are unfair. Trade dealings certainly fall within this category. And it is on matters of trade that American policy currently is focused. For it is far harder to impose curbs on financial transactions, e.g. freezing assets or denying access to banking facilities. The latter require near unanimity among countries where financial institutions are chartered. We have learned that Great Britain will resist the imposition of severe financial sanctions out of fear for their impact on the City of London which is the foundation stone of the parlous British economy.

Commodity trade with Russia is the center of attention – for obvious reasons. The Russian economy is heavily dependent on the export of natural resources, oil and natural gas above all. They provide the bulk of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, employ a large fraction of the nation’s industrial workers, and are the main source of the state’s tax revenues. Although the Obama administration has not yet called for a boycott of Russian energy exports, it may look in that direction given the unlikelihood that other trade sanctions will dissuade Vladimir Putin from continuing to pursue as assertive policy in Ukraine. Just as the Cameron government in Britain shies away from financial sanctions due to the deleterious effect that they would have on the economy (and his political prospects in next year’s elections), so too are all European leaders sensitive to the high price that their countries would pay were they to interfere with the mutually beneficial energy commerce they have with Russia.

There is no doubt that on some objective scale of measurement, Russia stands to suffer more economic loss from such a disruption than does Europe. However, economic sensitivity per se does not translate into commensurate vulnerability to the pressure exerted by economic sanctions. There are crucial intervening variables of a political nature. They concern the strength of governmental leadership, how responsive it is to public sentiment, the means at their disposition to contain or repress dissent, and their ability to arouse a nationalist response. Success in fostering the feeling that the Motherland is being mistreated and disrespected by foreign powers can strengthen the collective resolve not to give in to economic sanctions whatever the price paid. That is happening now across Russia.

The second, critical strand being woven into this strategy is to forge an international consensus to isolate Russia. Some in the administration use the term “pariah.” They hold out Iran as the model where it is believed that sustained political isolation and economic strangulation have forced Tehran to bend the knee on the nuclear issue. Even China, some in Washington believe, can be enlisted into the coalition. A grave weakening of Russia, they postulate, could be viewed in Beijing as serving China’s aim of becoming the dominant power on the Eurasian continent. How this notion is reconciled with the United States’ own concerns about such an evolution has yet to be thought through.

Washington-Moscow-Beijing

“Divide and conquer” is a venerable political adage. The Obama administration has taken a different, quite novel course in dealing with rivals: “consolidate and unify.” Washington has performed this feat in a manner that quickly has borne fruit. How and with what consequences?

The blockbuster energy deal between Russia and China inked in August received headline attention. Deservedly so. For it solidifies in tangible form a strategic collaboration with wide-ranging implications. By entrenching massive natural gas projects that serve crucial economic interests of both parties, it builds a stabilizing element into their relationship. That will be a constant in the diplomatic equation that will militate against conflict in other spheres while favoring a convergence of outlook wherever energy plays a prominent role, e.g. the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caspian Basin. To underscore the point, the two countries scheduled the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (the anti-Davos) annual meeting a few days later. A considerable range of countries (including all of Asia’s main energy players, Iraq among them), and an even more impressive range of businesses participated. The West derides the envisaged Eurasian Economic Union; but the convergent of interests are now being reified by hard facts on the ground. Yet another consequential effect of this partnership will be to expand each country’s room for maneuver in its external relations generally, e.g. Russia vis a vis the European Union.

This pattern of development runs counter to American strategic interests viewed from any reasonable perspective. Certainly, it poses further obstacles to realizing Washington’s ambition to be a major player in the heart of Eurasia where, by the testimony of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, vast opportunities are opening for investment and trade.2 A friendly, flourishing Afghanistan, administration officials often have said, is our steppingstone into the region. The notion that the United States could successfully establish itself there on an equal footing with China and Russia always contained a heavy dose of wishful thinking. Now it is obvious that the American role in all respects will be secondary – whatever the lingering aftereffects of its misadventure in Afghanistan. From the more reasonable perspective of fostering multilateral arrangements globally with the participation of the emerging powers, the challenge has been accentuated and the American ability to shape those arrangements diminished.

The dream-like “pivot to Asia’ never was in the cards. Nonetheless, the suddenness and definitiveness with which the Chinese and Russians have concluded their common business is something of a surprise to Washington. It shouldn’t since it is clumsy American foreign policy that has brought it about. In the span of a few months, the Obama administration has managed to create the ideal conditions for a Beijing-Moscow entente. Moreover, Washington has given it a distinctly anti-American edge. If there were a prize for the most counter- productive diplomatic strategy, the Obama team would be hands down favorites to be awarded the dubious honor.

Naturally, the administration will have to consider the implications of worsening relations with the Kremlin on issues such as Syria, the Iranian nuclear negotiations, the supply/exit lines for American troops that still run through Russia, and the future of Afghanistan where Washington has invested $1 trillion and massive amounts of political capital. The Obama White House will try to maintain a modicum of cooperation on these issues on a pragmatic basis. In principle, doing so is in the interests of both parties. The modalities of such collaboration, though, cannot fail to be adversely affected by the deterioration in overall relations that inexorably will result from a steady tightening of American pressure intended to force Putin to change his attitude toward Ukraine, other former republics of the USSR and the general neighborhood.

A strategy of containment/isolation/selective cooperation will require sustained and subtle management. Yet there are signs that Obama views it through a quite a different optic. He apparently is dedicated to not allowing the Ukraine crisis and the Russia issue from dominating his time and foreign policy agenda. At the height of the Geneva negotiations, the President made a point of concentrating his noon briefing on the latest enrollment numbers for Obama Care and his minimum wage proposals. This conforms to his long established pattern of devoting himself only sparingly and intermittently to any one issue. The President’s public remarks convey the impression of his being offended that Putin’s egregious actions should intrude upon his precious political space – almost as if a more “constructive” Vladimir Putin had some sort of obligation to make life easier for Barack Obama, as does an ally like David Cameron or Francois Hollande. Studiously downplaying the Russia “issue” is the logical concomitant of this attitude.

Compartmentalization has been a feature of Obama foreign policy over the past five+ years. So, too, has been an aversion to grand strategy. Diplomatic finesse has been distinguished by its absence as well. They seem slated to remain the marked traits of the White House approach in the future – Ukraine and Putin notwithstanding. We await the consequences. One effect is logically inescapable. It is the lost opportunity to engage Putin in a sustained dialogue whose aim would be to achieve an overlapping perspective on world affairs that at the least allows for cooperation on a selective basis and militates against conflicts aggravated by an ingrained sense of incompatible interests. They may well be such areas of rivalry and conflict. Wise diplomacy, though, not only at minimizing and containing them; it also seeks to reshape the underlying strategic perspectives in order to narrow the degree of divergence.

The Putin Weltanschauung

Vladimir Putin has offered his own conception of how relations between the West and Russia should be structured. In a long address to the Russian parliament immediately after the seizure of the Crimea he laid out a bill of particulars indicting the United States and its allies for is violating of various agreements reached between 1990 and 1999 (the Yeltsin decade) while stressing the slights that Moscow had suffered.3 He placed particular stress on NATO’s expansion highlighted by public invitations to Georgia and Ukraine to join. That recitation of history a la the Kremlin was prelude to an implicit formulation of how matters of mutual interest should be addressed.

The principal points were these:

1. All states should accept and act in accordance with the same rules governing international behavior, especially those pertaining to the use of force.

2. No state can be exempted from the requirement that the use of force can be legitimated only via the mechanisms of the United Nations Security Council.

3. Russia expects respect from “our western partners” who since 1991 have treated it not as “an independent, active participant in international affairs,” with “its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected,” but as a backward or dangerous nation to dismiss and “contain.”

4. Russian national interests are rooted in its history which has forged the country’s national identity. Recognizing that cardinal fact conforms to the wishes of the Russian population of the Crimea and is essential to establishing on a firm footing the long-term security of the region.

5. Reminding “Europeans, and especially Germans,” about how Russia “unequivocally supported the sincere, inexorable aspirations of the Germans for national unity,” he expects the West to “support the aspirations of the Russian [russkii] world, of historical Russia, to restore unity.” The same principle was observed in Kosovo.

6. Russian views should be solicited and considered on matters where its national interests are engaged.

7. Those matters are not defined as present everywhere where one finds contention in the world since there is no ideological component to West-Russia strategic relations as during the Cold War. This means that Moscow is little concerned when the United States acts unilaterally to destabilize so-called “leftist” governments in Latin America; banners of Che Guevara will not be draped over Kremlin walls in protest. But Russia is acutely sensitive to American interventions in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and parts of the Middle East – as well as the European “near abroad.”

Speaking some months later at the Russian sponsored Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin offered a more systematic interpretation of the present international system whose domination by the United he described in these words:

“the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.

In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes. This group’s ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. … In essence, what was being proposed was the formula: the greater the loyalty towards the world’s sole power centre, the greater this or that ruling regime’s legitimacy. But these attempts are increasingly divorced from reality and are in contradiction with the world’s diversity.

The Putin worldview, so articulated, carries with it the seeds of potential frictions with the West beyond the Crimea. It promises a hardnosed promotion of the Russian national interest. However, it does not presume the kind of implacable, across-the-board conflict that was the hallmark of the Cold War.

What this boils down to is an invitation to play the classic game of realpolitik (minus traditional warfare – directly between the powers anyway) accompanied by a set of guidelines as to how the game should be conducted. Americans may have an instinctive aversion to realpolitik – but this is in fact the game the United States has been playing for the past 75 years. The expressed hope that the “New World Order” ushered in by the Cold War’s end, along with the interdependencies of globalization, would render it obsolete have been only partly realized. Indeed, over a large swath of the globe the United States has continued to follow the dictates of power politics. Its modus operandi has governed just about everything that it has been doing across the Islamic world for more than decade. Now the United States faces the question of whether to accept that logic along Russia’s western frontier or to try ignoring the Kremlin’s doings until they change their way of thinking so as to accommodate Washington.

The Critics

Perhaps the most paradoxical element of America’s current foreign relations is the intellectual conformity that prevails among analysts and commentators as well as within government circles. A world in flux has stimulated neither novelty nor sharp debate about the United States’ place in the world or its strategies. That feature of the current situation is highlighted by the reaction to the Ukraine crisis among members of the country’s political class. Uniformity of thinking about the meaning and significance of the Kremlin’s moves represents at once a broader tendency toward consensus within what is loosely labeled the “foreign affairs community” and near unanimity in interpretations of the Ukraine events themselves

This is the context in which to assess the atypically radical initiative of the group of former senior intelligence officers in writing the German Chancellor Merkel on the eve of the NATO summit meeting 4 & 5 September.5 The Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity(VIPS) has a small but active role in keeping alive a critical view of the Obama administration’s orientation toward national security which they see as an only slightly modified extension of the Bush orientation. Their focus is on what they judge to be ill-considered military interventions in the Islamic world, an untempered Global War on Terror, serious assaults on civil liberties by the government’s security agencies, and a perversion of the public discourse on these matters by the tendentious distortion of intelligence and information management generally. The impressive background of the major personalities who animate the group, their intellectual integrity, and their assiduously non-partisan approach have won their criticisms credibility among like-minded opponents of present policies. However, we should take care not to exaggerate the influence of their activities on public opinion or even within “policy” circles. Little attention is paid their declarations and reports by the mainstream media (MSM). Official spokesmen shrug off any question that they prompt. In short, they are viewed as only a minor inconvenience by those who shape American foreign policy attitudes. It is understandable, therefore, that their “Merkel letter” barely broke the surface of the placid waters of the MSM and think tank worlds.

Washington’s Post-Cold War View of Russia

There were been two braided threads in the United States’ attitude toward Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. One is the strong conviction that Russia simply no longer counted as a serious player on the world scene. Shorn of empire, reduced in size, an economic weakling, its state institutions in disarray, in diplomatic retreat – it came to be seen as a literal non-entity. This devolution was welcome – for obvious reasons. Even Vladimir Putin’s succession of the compliant Boris Yeltsin altered this image only at the margins. During the Medvedev years, cooperation between unequal partners on American terms was still taken as the natural order of things.

The second strand of American strategy was the extension of Western multilateral institutions right across the continent up to Russia’s borders. This strategy had the dual aim of consolidating the triumph of liberal democracy and market economics in the wake of Communism’s collapse. Washington provided the intellectual and political leadership for this historic project. Conceived in the broadest terms, it was the centerpiece of a global enterprise that had the grand ambition of unifying the entire globe on the foundation provided by liberal principles. In other words, the United States as the midwife to the birth of a global Kantianism.

Russia would be either a benign participant in the New Order or an impotent outlier.

There were of course recognized limits to how far east Western organizations could spread. The European Union, in particular, could not be easily steered. Expansion to include the former Soviet bloc, though, was certainly seen by all as a foundation stone for the new continental architecture. Where full membership was unrealistic, association agreements would be the functional substitute. NATO expansion was another matter. Easier for Washington to manage since the alliance operated under American direction. More sensitive insofar as it entailed military obligations and had security implications for dealings with Russia. The dominant view in Washington was to press ahead aggressively and rapidly. So it did. A weak Russia was to be mollified by the minor concession represented by the NATO-Russia Council and few additional palliatives.

Exactly how far to go geographically was the subject of debate. The matter was decided when an equivocal Clinton administration was replaced by a hard-line Bush administration. Power realists (e.g. Cheney, Rumsfeld) and the neo-conservatives agreed on the objective of expanding NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia. The aim was to ensure that Russia never could regain the status of a power capable of challenging the American dominated new European order. Without Ukraine, it was destined to remain a relative weakling. Georgia was just the cherry on the cake – a way of driving home the point that Washington could do pretty much what it wanted. The epitome of this hubris was the United States’ readiness to serve as an accessory to the suicidal Georgian assault on Abkhazia. Even the resulting debacle did not dissuade the Bush administration pushing hard for a formal NATO invitation to Kiev and Tiblisi to join the alliance. Faced with European foot-dragging, they settled for an official declaration that the two countries eventual membership remained the goal.

No further initiative on this front was taken by the Obama administration. This did not reflect any change in basic thinking about how to organize Europe’s political space. It certainly did not stem from any partisan disagreement. Some of the most forceful advocates of an aggressive American policy have been Democrats – as exemplified by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Advisor. Even the clear evidence that President Putin was pursuing a progressively nationalist foreign policy, with the means and will to do so, did not produce a reappraisal in official Washington. That was evinced by the administration’s uninhibited actions in backing the uprisings that led to the toppling of the government of Victor Yanukovych in February. More surprising is the complete failure to anticipate Putin’s reaction. The Kremlin had signaled unmistakably that it would not stand for the full, irrevocable incorporation of Ukraine into Western organizations. Those warnings were ignored by a self-absorbed administration incapable of self-scrutiny.

Many in Washington have said that understanding the thinking of Putin is singularly difficult, that he is an impenetrable personality. That is absurd. Putin’s personality and mind are easy to read – he states his views bluntly. It is dealing with him that is challenging.

His main goal has always been to stop the American move to bring Ukraine into the West’s political camp and, ultimately, NATO. He wants Ukraine to remain a politically and militarily neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO, while letting the West pay for the privilege of establishing other ties with it (by supporting it economically). Western governments have sought to depict his aim to be to seize Ukraine or, at least, annex the Russian-speaking East of the country. This is quite wrong. For the simple reason that Ukraine is a basket case economically and financially, and if he took over the country (or even a portion of it) Russia would be saddled with the burden of keeping it afloat, as well as having to deal with the many in the population who don’t fancy being annexed, plus the likely backlash from the West.

The incompetence of the lavishly funded American intelligence agencies in foreseeing the Russian response to the Kiev coup, or in understanding Putin’s personality and political make-up, are only secondary concerns for the VIPS who composed the Mekel letter. They do see them as wasteful, over reliant on recondite technology, and lacking in perspective. However, their principle grievance is their politicization. They are seen as having abandoned their professional integrity, telling truth to power. Instead, they seek to curry favor with senior policy-makers by distorting analyses, crediting dubious information, suppressing other inconvenient information and, thereby, placing their imprimatur on questionable interpretations of developments and on the policies that flow from them.

The calculated dishonesty associated with justifications for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is taken as a personal and institutional offense by those who devoted their careers to advancing the national interest through disinterested and diligent intelligence work. They feel deeply aggrieved. Much of that grievance is directed at President Obama who betrayed solemn pledges made during the 2008 campaign to purge the system of the wrongs committed by his predecessor. To the contrary, he has added to them. That helps to explain the deep distrust about official Washington claims as to the nature and extent of Russia’s military assistance to the rebels in southeastern Ukraine. An outsider observer is not in a position to pronounce on the issue. Skepticism is called for, though, given the record of serial distortion and misrepresentation that marks the recent history of the CIA and the NSA.

Postscript

Vladimir Putin has personalized Russian foreign policy. His deep conviction that Russia has been treated disparagingly since the Cold War’s end is matched by aggrieved feelings about what he sees as personal slights by Western leaders – especially successive Presidents of the United States. He demands respect. The intertwining of the personal and the political leads to one clear conclusion: improved relations with Moscow require conciliation between Putin and Obama. That direct diplomacy means face-to-face, open ended discussions without aides in the room. They might begin with a frank query from President Obama: “what do you want, Vladimir?” – and go on from there.

Michael Brenner is a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

NOTES

1 Michael Brenner Energy In The Ukraine Sanctions Equation Huffington Post March 10,2014.

2 Hillary Rodham Clinton “America’s Pacific Century” FOREIGN POLICY October 11. 2011.

3 President Vladimir Putin Address to the Duma of the Russian Federation March 18, 2014

4 New Rules or a Game Without Rules? Vladimir Putin speech at the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s XI session in Sochi on 24 October 2014.

5 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity Open Letter to Angela Merkel August 3, 2014

http://warisacrime.org/content/memorandum-angela-merkel-chancellor-germany

This article originally appeared in the  French electronic journal Defense et Strategie.

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Michael Brenner is a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

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