WORLD FUTURE FUND
AMERICAN RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA TODAY
THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE
Russia is not like any other country in the world. Russia has a nuclear arsenal which can reduce the United States to a heap of radioactive rubble in about half an hour. This is an overwhelmingly significant point that should never be forgotten. Thus, U.S. Russian relations are of the highest importance. It doesn't mean that America should back down if there's irresponsible Russian behavior, but it should remind policymakers in both Moscow and Washington that it's important to manage the relationship to avoid a total catastrophe that will end life on this planet.
It is important to understand the history of this situation and to put forward solutions on how we can go forward, which will all be discussed below.
We are certainly not here to defend all Russian actions, but we do feel the need to point out that America's own actions toward Russia since 1991 contain many hostile acts.
What is the future of relations between the United States and Russia? Right 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. A bill for more sanctions has been sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and cosponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Politico, 1-10-17). The same senators are also working on a bill that could function to prevent the President from lifting any Russian sanctions (Bill Text).
Sanctions are an act of war, and they will only serve to escalate current tensions.
Yet there is powerful anti-Russian hysteria brewing in Washington over allegations that the Russian government intervened in the U.S. political process to help Donald Trump win the 2016 Presidential Election. This is why Former President Barack Obama issued sanctions against Russia in December of 2016, and this is why senators such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham are trying to pass even more sanctions yet.
We feel there is a need for practical efforts to reduce tensions on both sides. In particular we feel greater efforts are needed to bring peace to the Ukraine.
OUSTING OF NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR MICHAEL FLYNN
FACTS AND FEARS
The White House states that Mr. Flynn was fired because he did not give accurate information about a conversation with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Pence. We have seen no evidence to contradict this version of the facts. We have no problem with a Senate investigation of Flynn's resignation, but it should not distract from the main issue, the need for stable relations between the world's two nuclear super powers. The bottom line is that Mr. Flynn is gone and has been replaced by a respected military leader.
ALLEGATIONS THAT RUSSIA "HACKED" THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
There has also been an outcry for sanctions against Russia over allegations that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election by hacking embarrassing material from key Democratic leaders and giving it to Wikileaks. Many have claimed that Russia did this as a deliberate ploy to help Donald Trump win the election. However, Wikileaks flatly denies this, and the security at the Democratic National Committee was so bad that even a child could probably have hacked them.
DANGEROUS LEVELS OF HYPOCRISY OVER RUSSIAN ACTIONS
We are not in a place to verify whether the hacking allegations against Russia are true or not.
America's current levels of hysteria over this situation represent breathtaking and dangerous levels of hypocrisy. Since 1991, America has been doing everything possible to interfere with Russia and to interfere with internal Russian politics. This has not only been through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, but there has been interference from a whole network of NGOs, the CIA, and so on. And this isn't just limited to Russia either.
Concerning the whole subject of interfering with foreign elections, no other nation has done more of this than America itself. The CIA has been interfering with the elections of other countries for around sixty years now. (The Washington Post, 10-13-16).
And another point to add is that even if the hacking allegations were true, it was probably a Russian response to a long series of hostile American actions against Russia since 1991, which we will describe more below.
HOSTILE U.S. ACTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
It is important to note that since the end of the Cold War there have been a whole series of hostile US actions against Russia, including the direct violation of a pledge that NATO would not be expanded eastward if Russia withdrew its troops from Eastern Europe.
Now the most recent geopolitical conflict between the U.S. and Russia concerns 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.
THE REAL DANGER OF A MAJOR 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.
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
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.
Dangerous bills that the U.S. has passed regarding Russia
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.
Can the United States afford to continue with its aggressive stance toward Russia? We think not.
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.
A list of passed U.S. bills granting aid and weapons to Ukraine.
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.