With less than a month before the November 8th election, I wish to re-affirm RAGA's essentially non-political stance. We do not favor any party or candidate. We want American citizens to vote--or not to vote--all according to one's conscience.
Having watched the political process in the USA for fifty years, I make two sad conclusions. First, I have not seen such antagonism, such divisiveness, even hostility and contempt between leading presidential contenders, not even during the Vietnam war, as it is now. What is worse, is the lack of civility among those who support them. It is a sure sign that we cannot take democracy in the USA for granted as it shows symptoms of disease and degeneration. Nonetheless, I hope the election goes smoothly, and, once the national choice is made, the country goes back to civility and allows the winner to act in its name. Unless it is done, the current hostility might degenerate into a chaos and even, God Forbid, civil war.
The second conclusion is that the United States has never been as ill prepared to deal with international challenges as it is now. I agree with Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute and an expert on U.S. relations with the states of the former Soviet Union, when he says
<<Murky links to Moscow and speculation of Kremlin interference have dominated the U.S. election. So how come neither candidate has a coherent Russia policy?>>
I wonder too. And I agree with Matt that "Trump and Clinton Have No Idea How to Deal With Putin"
<<Love Putin or hate him, both the Russian president and his country aren’t going anywhere. Moscow is one of a small handful of powerful governments that has both the capability and the ambition to challenge U.S. interests not only by defying Washington’s preferences for human rights within Russia, but by intervening in neighboring states and even projecting power far beyond its borders>>. Read more
Rojansky wrote this in August. The situation has not improved. Sharon Tennison, a long-time antiwar activist (CCISF.org), alerted me to a recent statement by a group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials warning President Obama to defuse growing tensions with Russia over Syria by reining in the demonization of President Putin and asserting White House civilian control over the Pentagon. Read
Obama Warned to Defuse Tensions with Russia, October 2, 2016
ALERT MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: PREVENTING STILL WORSE IN SYRIA
<<We write to alert you, as we did President George W. Bush, six weeks before the attack on Iraq, that the consequences of limiting your circle of advisers to a small, relatively inexperienced coterie with a dubious record for wisdom can prove disastrous. Our concern this time regards Syria...The door to further negotiations remains ajar. In recent days, officials of the Russian foreign and defense ministries, as well as President Putin’s spokesman, have carefully avoided shutting that door, and we find it a good sign that Secretary Kerry has been on the phone with Foreign Minister Lavrov. And the Russians have also emphasized Moscow’s continued willingness to honor previous agreements on Syria.>>
The Memorandum was signed by fifteen members of the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, including such RAGA authors as Ray McGovern and Ann Wright.
The situation has become so dire that on October 3, 2016 Sharon Tennison of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCISF.org) issued an alert that I am forwarding to all RAGA newsletter readers:
<<We need to flood our Congressional representatives, President Obama and any authority to whom we have access with demands to back off of this insane policy to pursue a war with Russia. Call and email daily!>>
Call the White House: 202-456-1111 (9 thru 5 EST)
Email the President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
I responded to Sharon's call by emailing to President Obama the following:
Dear Mr. President:
As your presidential duties will soon expire, I want you make sure your Nobel Peace Prize is deserved: Please instruct your officials to return to the path of bilateral talks with Russia, be it the Syrian crisis, the lapse of the plutonium nuclear arms control deal or Ukraine. Above all, keep the Hot Line to the Kremlin always ready for dialog.
By so doing, you will bequeath to your successor—whomever it might be—a solid foundation on which to build a healthier and more peaceful Planet Earth. The United States should re-commit to the policy of non-interference that our Founding Fathers consistently proclaimed and adhered to. Instead of imposing our cherished values of “free-market” and “democracy” abroad, let us rely on the wisdom of a man who risked the reputation of a “traitor” when he opposed King George’s war on American colonies.
I am talking about Edmund Burke, the British philosopher and father of modern conservatism. Like ancient Greeks, he argued that each country is entitled to its own form of government, be it democracy, republic, monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny or despotism, each of which tend to evolve into its opposite. Therefore, the colonies did not have to bow to the King. Burke’s monument now graces Washington DC.
In respect to Russia, remember that Empress Catherine the Great refused King George’s request to send Russian Cossacks help him quell George Washington’s rebellion. During the Civil War, while Europe’s great powers-- England, France, and Spain—tried to take advantage of President Lincoln’s problems with the South, Tsar Alexander II who had just abolished serfdom in Russia, sent Russian Navy to the harbors of New York and San Francisco as a gesture of Good Will. In our days, in spite of the USSR’s unconcealed bellicosity to “Capitalist” America, the two countries were able to co-operate in the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan, and then managed to keep the bitterness of Cold War in check.
Since 1991 Communists don’t rule in Russia. The New Russia has been espousing the same values of private property, free enterprise, multi-party elections, secular government, and freedom of speech and religion—as we do. To be sure, the post-1991 Russian road has been rocky, partially due to US meddling in favor of the oligarchs, but mainly because it takes years and decades to cultivate free enterprise and democracy in a country that had none for 73 years.
In 1990, when I was writing Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth (Westview Press, 1991), Soviet soldiers were forbidden to wear crucifix, much less read the Scriptures. 25 years later, thousands of churches, destroyed and desecrated under Soviet rule, are restored. Hundreds more are built each year. General Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Defense Minister, would not enter the Red Square without crossing himself. President Vladimir Putin has been seen praying in a church. He also addressed Russian Muslims in a mosque and Jews in a synagogue. None of the Western leaders can match the degree of popular support that Putin enjoys in Russia. This tectonic shift in global correlation of forces the United States can ill afford to ignore.
Therefore, I say, Mr. President, take a breath of fresh air and do whatever it takes to make your Nobel Peace Prize count: Leave the legacy of peace-seeking dialog with Russia from which your successor will not deviate lest he or she is called an abominable warmonger. More than any other two countries, Russia and the United States are called upon to jointly safeguard Peace, Freedom and Commerce not just from San Francisco to Vladivostok, but on the entire Planet Earth. So help us God!
W George Krasnow, Ph.D.
While writing, please remember that only 2500 digits are allowed to email to President. So my letter above was accepted in a reduced form. Feel free to share it with your friends.
Sharon's concern with the increasing risk of a nuclear war is supported by Will Saetren
3 Nuclear-Weapons Programs President Obama Should Kill. The nuclear piggy bank is overstuffed and ripe for a withdrawal. Will Saetren. September 11, 2016
The 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads the United States currently fields under New START is far higher than is needed to deter a nuclear attack. President Obama admitted as much in 2013 when he asserted that that the United States could meet its national- and international-security requirements by reducing its arsenal by an additional third. Doing so would reduce the statistical probability of a catastrophic accident and free up valuable resources to invest in the economic growth of America.
Will Saetren is the author of Ghosts of the Cold War: Rethinking the Need for a New Cruise Missile
Now a few diverse matters:
Putin supports Islam. ISIS is extremists state and serves to destroy islam.
Published: August 13, 2016.
Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha) 2015. Moscow Cathedral Mosque reopening. Putin's speech supporting Islam. Islam - one of the main religions in Russia and provides russian society by peace and unity.
A visit to Minsk reveals a peaceful transition to economic freedom. By JON BASIL UTLEY • August 18, 2016
<<Belarus rates surprisingly high on several measures. The nation ranks 12th in the world for “starting a business,”
compared to Austria at 106th, France at 32nd, and Spain at 82nd. For “registering a property,” Belarus is number 7,
Germany 62, and Ireland, known for its pro-business environment, 39. Rated for “ease of doing business,” Belarus is 44,
For “enforcing contracts,” Belarus is number 29, Belgium is 53, Chile is 56, Poland is 55, England is at 33. See the Doing Business link above for exact details. Still, the regime is pressed to privatize its heavy industries, still mostly government owned. There is little street crime, which also makes the nation attractive for foreign investors. Economic freedom pales when street crime, kidnapping, and armed robbery are rampant, as in some Latin American countries.>>
Belarus and The Rebirth of European Civilization (Peter S. Rieth). ACEWA, August 26, 2016
The Belarusian policy whereby historical sites are nurtured and preserved in full, leaving us to see history in its
totally and better ponder its meaning, is probably the best policy of the slavic nation states between Germany
and Russia. It is jarring, shocking and counterintuitive but also the closest to truth and honesty and the only policy
which unites citizens in contemplation rather than sowing discord. Belorus seems to understand that the word “memorial”
implies a claim on memory, not celebration or acclaim.
U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business. August 23, 2016
America needs revolution in political thinking – not another bogeyman scenario. ROBERT BRIDGE, The Duran, August 22, 2016
<<Although I am no Sanders fan, it was that illuminating slap in the face moment when I finally saw the light and concluded – admittedly, a bit late in life – that the US electoral system is one big massive fraud.>>
Finally, I am grateful to Professor William Brumfield of Tulane University for helping Americans appreciate the uniqueness of Russian civilization in a series of photographs of remote Russian historical sites.
Brumfield: <<My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines focuses on the architectural heritage of Cherepovets, one of Russia's major industrial centers: http://rbth.com/special/discovering_russia/2016/10/07/cherepovets-from-impoverished-monastery-settlement-to-industrial-behemoth_636849 To see the slide show full screen, click the 4-arrow icon at lower right of photo window.
This is the 159 th of my articles and photo essays on Russia's architectural and cultural heritage for the foreign-language service of the Russian national newspaper Rossiiskaia Gazeta. A unified link to the series can be found at: http://rbth.ru/ discovering_russia Through this link a total of 4,539 photographs from my documentary work in Russia are now accessible.>>
W George Krasnow (Vladislav Krasnov)
Malice to None. Good Will to All.
Peace and Justice to the World.
миру мир и благоволение в сердцах
From RAGA site:
"We are an association of Americans who believe it is in the U.S. national interests to foster friendship with Russia on the basis of mutual Good Will and non-interference in each other's affairs. RAGA is a gathering of people who share common interests in Russia's history, culture, religion, economy, politics and the way of life. We feel that Russian people have made outstanding contributions to humankind and are capable of greater achievements. We envision Russia as a strong, independent, proud and free nation and as a partner in achieving peace in the world."
The photograph below captures the moment when I presented my book, Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth, to Boris Yeltsin after he suppressed the putsch on August 22, 1991. He was then president of the Russian Federation inside the USSR. I was professor of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California and delegate to the Congress of Russian Compatriots, the first such gathering of Russian diaspora in Moscow since 1922.
All statements in this report are an opinion of the author. Act at your own risk. Russia & America Goodwill Association (RAGA) is not responsible for the content of the article. Any views or opinions presented in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RAGA. Any liability in respect to this communication remain with the author.