“…I have no doubt that in the years or decades to come, history will show that this crisis was deliberately provoked by the United States to weaken Moscow and that the vassalized Europeans obediently followed them to the detriment of their own interests.”
The bilateral consultative commission (BCC), the mechanism for implementation of the last remaining arms control agreement between the world’s two largest nuclear powers will meet “in the near future.”
We may never know who sabotaged Nordstream 2. But it wasn’t the first, nor likely the last casualty of such fierce geopolitical conflict.
Consider this as American liberal and progressives in the US Congress remain complicit and silent.
Bill Clinton’s wholesale rejection of his predecessor’s Russia policy laid the groundwork for the current crisis between Russia and the West.
Understanding the history behind US policy toward Russia since the end of the Cold War has taken on renewed urgency in light of current events. As of this writing, the war in Ukraine, begun on February 24, 2022 has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people and has displaced million others in the largest wave of refugees on the European continent since the end of the Second World War. An understanding of how we arrived at this perilous moment takes on an even greater urgency in light of the real, if distant, possibility of nuclear war. International relations experts, including the realist scholar John J. Mearsheimer and the former US ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock (1987-1991) agree that today’s crisis surpasses the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in its potential to bring the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.
A review of American policy towards Russia in the immediate post-Soviet decade of the 1990s suggests that things didn’t have to be this way: Specific American policy choices (made with the acquiescence of America’s NATO allies in Europe) pursued over the course of that decade have led us to where we are today. [Read more…] about ACURA ViewPoint: James W. Carden: November 1992: The Hinge of History
German leader Olaf Scholz is taking heat for his trip to Beijing — but as usual, critics are oversimplifying a complex geopolitical picture.
The media in the US and in other NATO countries have achieved a harmonious moral clarity, and they are skipping the part with the inconvenient facts.
The cost to Americans and Europeans of escalating the conflict should not be underestimated.
Clips from an interview/debate featuring Professor Cohen in the very early days of the Ukraine crisis.
In the 1962 US-Soviet nuclear showdown over Cuba, there was no shortage of voices calling for escalation or decrying “appeasement.” But there was always broad support for the kind of talks that ended up saving the world — something frighteningly absent today.
Characterizations of Gorbachev as a “quintessential apparatchik” or a blood-stained “totalitarian” who hadn’t sought “to end tyranny” and could only imagine Russia as “an empire” are truly bizarre—and tell us more about the present biases of their authors than they do about the past dramas of perestroika and the Cold War’s end.
Subsequent efforts to cut arsenals or keep weapons from ‘bad guys’ have inured the public from the real danger: the nukes themselves.
The former American ambassador spoke at a recent retrospective on the Cuban Missile Crisis and lamented the lessons lost. He was joined for the event (co-sponsored by the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord and the Quincy Institute) by moderator Katrina vanden Heuvel (ACURA/The Nation), Svetlana Savranskaya (National Security Archive, George Washington University), and Tom Blanton (director, National Security Archive).
Please listen to the entire event, here.
The West is using the wrong analogy for Russia’s invasion—and worsening the outcome.
This week saw the release of a letter signed by 30 House progressives that called on President Biden to explore a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine war. This week also saw the retraction of the letter within 24 hours of its release.
This is sadly the logical end point of the McCarthyite sickness that’s gripped the US establishment since 2016.
Earlier this week, 30 Democratic members of the House signed a letter urging us to balance military support for Ukraine with sensible diplomacy. They were pilloried for their sober advice, and many of them quickly disavowed their call. In less than 24 hours, the letter was withdrawn.
This is a shame.
Sound recording of a telephone conversation held on October 28, 1962, between President John F. Kennedy and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. They discuss dealings with Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev for ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Kennedy’s statecraft in the missile crisis provides a rich source of clues that can help illuminate the challenge the United States now faces, and the choices President Joe Biden is making.
This past June, Senator Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser Matt Duss (an alumnus of the Saudi- and UAE- funded Center for American Progress) published a widely discussed essay in The New Republic in which he declared that American liberals and progressives need to prioritize expressions of “solidarity” with Ukraine over policies that might put an end to the bloodshed.
In this Duss, a reliable weathervane of liberal opinion, is hardly alone among liberal commentators and policy practitioners, after all, Democrats on the Hill unanimously voted for each of President Biden’s billion dollar aid packages to Ukraine.
What accounts for the enthusiasm for war in Eastern Europe against Russia among American liberals?
A seminal essay by the late scholar of France and Central Europe, Tony Judt, titled “Silence of the Lambs: On the Strange Death of Liberal America” (2006) may put the current mania in perspective. Because of their insatiable need for approval, liberals like Duss are prone to drift in the direction the winds are blowing, and never is that more true when the opportunity to cheer on American intervention in “a good war” presents itself.
Judt, writing in the aftermath of the decision by George W. Bush to wage an unnecessary and illegal war of choice in Iraq, noted with dismay that in the run up to the March 2003 invasion, many of the country’s leading liberal voices eagerly went along for the ride. “A fearful conformism gripped the mainstream media,” wrote Judt. “And America’s liberal intellectuals found at last a new cause.”
Liberals saw in the battle against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq “a Good Fight, reassuringly comparable to their grandparents’ war against Fascism and their cold war liberal parents’ stance against international Communism.”
“Once again,” wrote Judt, “they assert, things are clear. The world is ideologically divided. As before, we must take our stand on the issue of the age. Long nostalgic for the comforting verities of a simpler time, todays’ liberal intellectuals have at last discovered a sense of purpose.”
Back then, it was the war against Islamo-fascism. Today, liberals (and neoconservatives with whom they invariably ally themselves when it matters most) have divided the world up into “democracies and autocracies” and the war in Ukraine has handed them a renewed opportunity to display their mettle.
In this Duss, though prominent by way of his connection with the serial presidential also-ran, is representative of liberal and progressives who for much of the past several years have been unstinting in their criticism of America’s illegal and immoral adventures in the Greater Middle East but who now have fallen silent.
In a sense, the enthusiasm of self-righteous American liberals for an American crusade against Russia makes a good deal of sense given the current mania for spreading, indeed, imposing, specifically American-style “rights” abroad.
According to Duss, the Biden Administration “clearly did not seek this war, in fact, they made a strenuous and very public diplomatic effort to avert it.” Yet this assertion is contradicted by State Department counselor Derek Chollet who admitted in a recent interview that the US never seriously considered negotiations over the core demands of Russia’s December demarche which called for a non-aligned Ukraine.
Duss also praised the administration for having “acted with restraint and care not to get drawn into a wider war with Russia.” Duss may have a different definition of restraint than most, because in just the last week reports have surfaced that the administration is in the process of sending to Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles; High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that could potentially hit targets inside Russia; long-range M270 multiple-rocket launchers (MLRS); and M109 self-propelled howitzers.
Ukraine, as even Volodymyr Zelensky now admits, has lost a fifth of its territory and is losing soldiers at a rate of 60 to 100 men a day (knowledgeable sources in Washington speculate the Ukrainian losses are at least double the losses of the Russians).
Solidarity or whatever Duss says he’s calling for, is no substitute for a strategy based on US national interests. A continuation of this war, which is Biden’s current policy, poses unacceptable risks of escalation and only promises a continuing loss of life.
James W. Carden is a member of the board of ACURA.