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AMERICAN RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA TODAY

THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE

The most important national security issue in the world today is the relationship between America and Russia. Russia is not like any other country in the world. It alone has the capability to wipe out the United States in about 45 minutes. Likewise, America has the ability to wipe out Russia in about 45 minutes. Also, if there is a nuclear war, the consequences for the global environment could be fatal and could kill everybody else on the planet, not just the citizens of America and Russia. As a result, there is a need for mature and intelligent relations between America and Russia.

We are not going to defend the actions of President Putin, nor are we going to defend the actions of President Trump. What we are interested in discussing is the need for an intelligent relationship between America and Russia.

Since the end of the Cold War,  America and the West have adopted highly threatening policies towards Russia and have broken a large number of promises to Russia. Specifically, there was a promise not to expand NATO to the east. That promise has been broken and today NATO is about an hour away from St. Petersburg.  America is building an ABM base in Poland that could very well be seen as a means to enable an American nuclear first strike.   America unilaterally pulled out of the ABM treaty with Russia under President Bush.   The missile tubes in this base could also launch long range nuclear cruise missiles against Russia.

In 2014, America supported a revolt in the Ukraine next door to Russia, and a government came to power which was virulently anti-Russian and filled with fascists. Russia has legitimate security needs relating to the Crimea and the Russians took this opportunity to reunite the Crimea. This was an action that was clearly supported by the majority of the Crimean people. This was an action of vital national security to Russia, it was not a matter of vital national security to the United States. However, what followed was a hysterical campaign against Russia launched by President Barack Obama, including sanctions and a good deal of hostile rhetoric. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton even compared President Putin to Hitler. Russians retaliated by publishing a lot of very embarrassing material about the Democratic Party. We're not going to get into the details of what who hacked whom, and what really happened. But we will say that America's reaction to the hacking allegations represents the height of hypocrisy, considering that America has interfered in more elections than any other country since World War II. In addition, many foreign governments try to interfere with American politics, not just Russia. We could discuss the huge Saudi contributions to the Clinton foundation, but we won't get bogged down by that.

What we want to talk about is where to go from here. There is a very serious need for a de-escalation of tensions. A case study of what not to do is the sanctions bill that was just passed by the Senate, a bill to put even more sanctions on Russia, and require a congressional review in order for the President to lift sanctions on Russia. We don't have 535 secretaries of state.

Yes, we have reservations about Donald Trump's leadership, but passing a sanctions bill that might be very difficult to repeal is going to escalate, not de-escalate tensions.

A REALISTIC PLAN FOR PEACE IN THE UKRAINE

What's the endgame of the people who pass this bill? Do they think the Russians are going to surrender and give up Crimea? The reality is that the Russians are not going to back down. It's never going to happen.

We have proposed a more realistic solution. We call on all reasonable people to support an internationally supervised plebiscite in Ukraine to help the different provinces to decide their own future. What many Americans don't understand is that there are different ethnic groups in Ukraine, and the situation is a conflict between ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. With an internationally supervised plebiscite, the parts of Ukraine that want to join Russia can join Russia, and the parts that want to remain in Ukraine can remain in Ukraine. We have good friends on both sides of this conflict. We understand it is a difficult and tricky situation. But somebody needs to de-escalate the conflict, and what we need to do is to have high-level discussions between America and Russia to resolve the differences.

US SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA:  A THREAT TO THE WORLD ECONOMY

The big problem here in our view is not Russia.  It's the United States. America is making totally unreasonable demands on the Russians, and the sanctions bill is not only a threat to US relations with Russia, it's a threat to the whole world economy. America is currently the world's largest debtor with a net deficit position of a staggering $8 trillion according to the Commerce Department.    Meanwhile, Europe depends on Russian gas. American economic warfare against Russia could end up devastating the U.S. economy if it creates major shifts in world credit flows.  After all, why trust America with your money if America will try to seize it any time it does not like your policies?

Sanctions are an act of war and they're a very clumsy tool for diplomacy. They should be used sparingly. They are not the magic solution to everything. What America should do is build up its cyber defenses, that's an intelligent response to this whole situation. Getting into a huge conflict with Russia and setting the stage for a nuclear holocaust is not a good idea. The American people do not want war with Russia. We need to be moving in the opposite direction of war. The Senate sanctions bill is a direct threat to world peace, indeed it could be considered the most direct threat to world peace in recent times.

America and Russia need a real dialogue to resolve their differences. As we've said before, we have reservations about Donald Trump, and we're not going to get into all the details about Mr. Flynn and what has happened in the White House so far. But we have to ask, can anybody really suggest that the three key people involved in this Administration's foreign policy — Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, or National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster — can anybody really suggest that they are stooges of Russia? Can anybody truly believe that they are on a Russian payroll?

Having the Congress freeze US Russian relations in an extremely hostile act that could lead to a world war.

When the Cold War ended in 1991, many people around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. The peace achieved with Russia after the end of the Cold War ushered in an era of prosperity. But now relations between Russia and America are at their worst point since the end of the Cold War. Powerful forces in Washington are mobilizing to make things even more dangerous.

We feel there is a need for practical efforts to reduce tensions on both sides before it is too late.

Is it worth starting a nuclear war over Crimea?  No, it is not.   In 1914 every leader saw war as a disaster.   America and Russia need to stand down.  Both sides need to move to a safer place.

Hysterical war mongering in Washington DC is a threat to our planet's survival.


SENATE SANCTIONS BILL A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE

BILL TEXT FOR RUSSIAN AND IRANIAN SANCTIONS (PDF)

On June 15th, 2017, the U.S. Senate was nearly unanimous in passing a bill that would pass a new set of Russian sanctions. The bill allows for sanctions to hit Russia's mining, metals, shipping and railway sectors. Under the legislation, new Russia sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in “malicious cyber activity."

But more than adding new sanctions, if passed, this bill would also restrict President Trump from loosening or rolling back restrictions on Russia without Congress’s approval. And this will affect future president's as well, not just Donald Trump.

"We moved to make the Congress, not the President, the final arbiter of sanctions relief when necessary," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said. "Any idea of the President that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation."

We will mention that sanctions are very difficult things to repeal already. The process does not need to be fraught with even more difficulties. There do not need to be more obstacles in the way of America being able to establish peaceful relations with Russia.

The Senate's Sanction Bill is a threat to global peace. It has recently moved on to the House, where it must not be allowed to pass.


U.S. AND RUSSIA TEETER ON THE BRINK OF WAR IN SYRIA

Recent developments in Syria push the United States and Russia closer to the brink of war. The United States and Russia are both fighting ISIS in Syria, but not in tandem — far from it. The Russian air force is bolstering the Syrian Arab Army (S.A.A.), while it has been America's interest to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the start. When the U.S. military shot down a Syrian government warplane in Raqqa on June 18th — which is a flagrant act of war — the Russians had their own response. They released a statement vowing to treat US jets in Syria as targets. Russia has stated that they will target any US-led planes operating west of the Euphrates river in Syria.

Russia’s deputy defense minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said what America did to the Syrian warplane was an “act of aggression.” His ministry said the act voided a cooperation deal and that a military hotline for avoiding incidents in Syrian airspace had been suspended.

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the established communication channel for preventing incidents in Syrian airspace,” the defense ministry said in a statement. (Middle East Eye)

So this is becoming a very dangerous situation. Once ISIS is defeated, the two rivaling super powers will seek to influence who retakes control over the liberated areas.


HOSTILE U.S. ACTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA IN THE UKRAINE

America has displayed national outrage against Russia's annexation of Crimea via imposing sanctions. Yet Crimea contains Russia's only warm water naval base: the naval base at Sevastopol. Without this base, Russia would have no way of extending force through The Mediterranean. Without Crimea, Russia would be severely crippled as a military power.

Crimea has been a historic part of Russia. It was part of Russia until it was given to Ukraine in 1954 for political reasons. Over 90% of its people voted to join Russia in an election. And yet when this happened, America under the leadership of former President Obama decided to take a confrontational stance on the issue with demands that Russia give Crimea back to Ukraine. This is a breathtaking level of hypocrisy on the part of the U.S, considering America's invasion of Iraq, and the long laundry list of American invasions and bombings of other countries since 1945.

The notion that Crimea is part of Ukraine is also ludicrous.  We are not going to get into all the details of who's right and who's wrong in the disputes between Ukraine and Russia. Both sides have some very legitimate grievances. We have both Russian and Ukrainian friends. However we have to look at the overall picture. Crimea is essential to Russian security and is not essential to American security. We don't see a logical endgame in America's current very confrontational policy to Russia. Does anybody in America really think the Russians are going to give back Crimea? They're not. So what is the endgame? It's not clear. We have a proposed endgame, which is an internationally supervised plebiscite for Ukraine where the parts that might want to join Russia could join Russia. The parts that want to stay with the very unstable state of the Ukraine can stay there. That's our proposal. If anybody has a better proposal that works we'd be glad to support it.   At the completion of a plebiscite, all EU and American sanctions against Russia should be lifted.


DANGEROUS FALSE WESTERN PROMISES TO UKRAINE?

Currently Ukraine is being encouraged to take a highly confrontational position against Russia by the West.   Does the West plan to go to war if things get worse?   There is an ominous comparison to the false promises of Britain and France to Poland before World War II where the Poles were led to believe that any attack by Germany would lead to a massive invasion of Germany by France.  This was a lie from day one.   The Poles were left to be crushed by Germany.   Ukraine is not a member of NATO.   The West is very unlikely to intervene if worst comes to worst.   Furthermore, a war in Ukraine could lead to a wider war.


NATO'S EXPANSION TO THE EAST

VIOLATION OF US PROMISES TO RUSSIA

It's very important to understand the danger of war here. In 1914, all the leaders of Europe knew that the outbreak of war would be a total catastrophe. Yet World War I began and set in motion a chain of catastrophic events for life on this planet. One of the most important events of the last 20 years, which is really not widely discussed in America, has been the expansion of NATO to the east in total contradiction to what the Russians were promised when they agreed to evacuate Germany and Eastern Europe. And yes, this was specifically promised even though Americans have tried to pretend it wasn't. It was. The facts of this matter are a hundred percent clear. The end result is that NATO is now directly connected to some of the most sensitive parts of Russia. This is particularly true of the Baltic states, which are very close to St. Petersburg. These are essential Russian security interests, and the American people do not fully understand that NATO is a legally binding military alliance. Any conflict along the borders with Russia will trigger war with Russia. That's what NATO means. Some people who say that everybody's going to be so smart and so clever that this won't happen. That's very fatuous and very dangerous thinking.

In the study of war, you must understand the concept of national prestige. Countries go to war because they feel their prestige is threatened, or they feel they have to keep a commitment. This was the genesis of the catastrophe of 1914. And NATO, again, is a legally binding alliance. The United States is committed to going to war if fighting breaks out, for instance, between Latvia and Russia. Now how many Americans have ever even heard of Latvia? Hardly any.

So our point is that American policy toward Russia, since the end of the Cold War, has been anything but neutral, and anything but friendly. That's the background that we need to look at. (NATO Lies about Eastward Expansion)


AMERICA'S ABM SITE IN POLAND RAISES THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR

To add to what we've mentioned above, America is building an anti-ballistic missile site in Poland.  These missile launchers can also launch long-range cruise missiles to attack Russia. The missile tubes will handle both ABM missiles and cruise missiles. This is a highly provocative move, which moves the world closer to a nuclear hair-trigger. Russia has every reason to perceive this as a potential nuclear threat.


THE DANGEROUS AMERICAN FANTASY OF REGIME CHANGE IN RUSSIA

Some in the west seem to believe that by damaging or wrecking the Russian economy they can bring down Mr. Putin.   This is a lunatic fantasy.  Plunging Russia into chaos is not likely to bring to power "moderate" leaders.  Instead it is more likely to produce either chaos or extreme nationalist and religious leaders.   Think about these people in charge of Russia's nuclear arsenal.


HUGE ECONOMIC RISKS

There's also the economic factor. The Western economies are not in good shape. They still haven't fully recovered from the economic disasters of 2008. Whole new piles of debt have been run up. Huge amounts of funny money have been printed. And this is also a serious situation. The last thing anybody needs is an increased huge arms race draining money out of the economy. Also, the world trade economy as we know it requires the free flow of capital and relatively good relations among all nations. If America is going to start seizing other people's money right and left to back up its political points of view, this is going to cause people to pull out of the world economic system.


IS AMERICA CREATING A RUSSIA CHINA ALLIANCE?

Still another problem that's occurred is that America's confrontational approach to Russia is driving Russia into the arms of China. Former President Obama's confrontational approach toward China's actions in the Pacific and the South China Sea is a factor. And there has been talk in the Trump Administration of pursuing further hostilities with China.

The Russians and the Chinese really don't like each other. They have a long history of border conflicts. But America could create a Russia-China axis which would be very damaging in the long run. So all these are extremely negative events.


RUSSIA MUST BE GIVEN AN INCENTIVE TO NEGOTIATE

If things don't get better, Russia may conclude that negotiations with the West are a waste.    They may choose to adopt a long term policy of confrontation.   They may feel that military action may be worth the cost and the risk.   This is a road we must not take.


LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE

THE NEED FOR A SOLUTION TO THE UKRAINE CRISIS

What is the solution? The heart of the matter is the Ukraine situation. The Ukraine situation needs to be resolved and the sanctions against Russia need to be lifted. Is the United States going to blow up the world in a dispute over Ukraine? The state of Ukraine is a complete mess and so do we want to destroy the world because of Ukraine? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It really doesn't, and the Russians have shown they are willing to negotiate, America has not shown it's willing to negotiate. That situation needs to change. The Ukraine situation needs to be resolved. There is also a dispute in Syria. Syria is a much more complicated situation because you have a whole series of other actors involved such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and so on. But actions also need to be taken there to work toward a peace or something that at least looks like peace.

The big picture here is that Russia must be integrated into a world system of security, this doesn't mean that America should tolerate outrageous Russian behavior. But far more efforts should be made to resolve the situation and bring Russia back into a cooperative system of security. That's the bottom line and failure to do so has the most ominous dangers for America. Things escalate. Things get out of control. One action leads to another action. That's the lesson of history. Those who oppose these policies should understand that they are pushing the world toward nuclear war. That's what they're doing. And even if that doesn't happen, a conventional war would be horrendous and a new huge arms race would have devastating consequences for the world. So all these things are very negative and very dangerous. Thus Russia and America should have incentives to negotiate. The problem is America. It's not Russia. Putin has shown himself to be very flexible to negotiate. America now needs to show that it is flexible to negotiate and bring this crisis to a conclusion.

Russia and America may or may not be friends.  However, Russia and its giant nuclear arsenal must be given the chance to be part of an orderly global system of economics and security.  

If some in America want to risk a major global war to impose their views on Russia, then this matter should be debated by Congress with a full understanding that this could cost trillions of dollars and possibly end life on this planet.

SOLUTION 1: DE-ESCALATE THE SITUATION IN THE UKRAINE

So we need an overall de-escalation of tensions on both sides. We should be focused on resolving the Ukraine situation. That's the focal point of where we ought to be going. And some politicians, such as neoconservatives like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, want to go the opposite way. They want to whip up tensions and give the government of Ukraine all sorts of assurances that the U.S. is backing them. Well here's the problem: are we willing to go to war over Ukraine, which is not even a member of NATO? We are threatening direct Russian security interests. That's the fact we need to understand.

Read our Ukraine Report here

SOLUTION 2: SET UP AN INDEPENDENT JOINT COMMISSION TO REVIEW U.S. RUSSIAN RELATIONS

We also propose an independent joint commission to review U.S. Russian relations covering all aspects of the situation.   Some people are talking about setting up a commission to investigate whether there really was hacking into the DNC on the part of the Russian government. But our leaders need to look at more than just the hacking, they need to consider the entire scope of this situation. So there should be an independent joint commission that looks at the overall picture of U.S. Russian relations and how to go forward.  We're not going to pretend to have all the answers here. However, we believe that this commission should be a bipartisan group that represents all points of view on the matter of Russian and U.S. relations.

The main focus of this panel is create a road to military stability and reduce chances for either a disastrous arms race (at best) or a nuclear war that could end life on this planet.


MORE WORLD FUTURE FUND REPORTS

Nuclear Apocalypse on Hair Trigger

When the Cold War ended in 1991, many people around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

But today the threat looms closer than many people think.

2017 Senate Sanctions Bill

Dangerous Sanctions Bills 

Dangerous bills that the U.S. has passed regarding Russia

NATO Lies about Eastward Expansion

What exactly was Moscow promised in 1990 by the West? This has been the subject of much dispute.

There should be no dispute.  There is not a shadow of doubt that Russia was very specifically promised that NATO would not expand by both America and Germany.

New Cold War

Can the United States afford to continue with its aggressive stance toward Russia? We think not.

Ukraine Crisis

We call on all reasonable people to support an internationally supervised plebiscite in Ukraine to help the different provinces to decide their own future.

We have both Ukrainian and Russian friends. We need a road to a peaceful future for all.

Dangerous Ukraine Bills

A list of passed U.S. bills granting aid and weapons to Ukraine.


PUTIN SPEECH

Putin's Warning to the West 2016

This is a portion of Putin's speech to international news agencies.

Putin urged journalists to report genuinely on the impending danger that is the nuclear arms race.