President & Founder of RAGA
Dear friends of the Russia & America Goodwill Association and antiwar colleagues!
The tsunami of anti-Russian Western propaganda has been so relentless that I have to administer another doze of antidote ahead of schedule. Hopefully, it will work over the Labor Day holiday to keep my American friends sane and sound and focused on domestic affairs.
Professor John Mearsheimer explains "Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault" - www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141769/john-j-mearsheimer/why-the-ukraine-crisis-is-the-wests-fault
<<When Russian leaders look at Western social engineering in Ukraine, they worry that their country might be next. And such fears are hardly groundless. In September 2013, Gershman wrote in The Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.” He added: “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”>>
Mearsheimer speaks with the same authority and conviction on Ukraine and Russia as he once spoke on Israel and Palestine when he published, jointly with Stephen Walt, the pioneering research "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" - www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501
Though the book was not received kindly by the media, the point was made and still stands. In this article on Ukraine, Mearsheimer exhibits the verve to think out of the box that considered to be part of American individualism. That's what I learned during my first year in the USA when I began my American journey at the University of Chicago where Mearsheimer is an honored professor.
Is there a way out? Yes, says Mearsheimer: "an economic rescue plan for Ukraine funded jointly by the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia, and the United States -- a proposal that Moscow should welcome, given its interest in having a prosperous and stable Ukraine on its western flank."
To me, this sound both reasonable and consistent with the Western way of doing things. "The Russians (meaning the Soviets), always go from one extreme to another, always insist on their own way, as Lenin says 'kto kogo' (who beat whom), but here in the West we favor moderation and compromise," so I was taught at the University of Chicago. Yet, on February 21, 2014, the US and EU, rejected a ready-made compromise with Yanukovich's supporters choosing instead Lenin's motto 'kto kogo', that is civil war. Well, more Mearsheimer
Tom Graham, the Managing Director at Kissinger Associates, was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia on the National Security Council from 2004-2007. Now he challenges the official Washington's fixation on Putin and warns: "He (Putin) is the dominant figure in Russia today, and he makes the final decisions on foreign policy. But we need to remember that he operates in a political context and does not have a free hand, as he must balance the competing factions around him to maintain his own position. Moreover, he is a product of the Russian elite, and he gives voice to its consensus on Russia’s role in the world, which has deep roots in history and strategic tradition. His departure might lead to a change in style, but it will have little impact on the substance of Russian foreign policy. In short, we have a Russia problem, not a Putin problem".
Graham's article is pointedly titled "A Russia Problem, Not a Putin Problem". - perspectives.carnegie.org/us-russia
One has an uncanny feeling that the author exercised a bit of censorship. Had he said an Ukrainian problem or, God forbid, an American problem, he would have run the risk of not being heard at all. - perspectives.carnegie.org/us-russia
Robert Parry has no such fears and lays it out the way it is. He calls his article "The Powerful "Groupthink" on Ukraine" - consortiumnews.com/2014/08/18/the-powerful-group-think-on-ukraine/
Official Washington’s “groupthink” on Ukraine – blaming everything on Russian President Putin – is so dominant that even independent thinkers like Paul Krugman get sucked into the collective misinformation, reports Robert Parry.
Saturday, 23 August 2014 13:24 By Robert Parry
Consortium News | News Analysis
The "Groupthink" meme is inspired by George Orwell's novel "1984" in which he denounced the totalitarian Communist propaganda. When applied to US current policy, does not the meme suggest it is moving in the same totalitarian direction of Central Thought Control? That it is not Communist is a little consolation.
Unlike Krugman, another American economist, Dr. J Andrew Spindler, manages to stay level-headed. He complains: <<The dominant narratives about Russia and Putin are neither accurate, sufficient, nor useful. These narratives tend to view Russia in monolithic terms; President Putin, the Russian state, and Russia’s state capitalist system often appear nearly synonymous. In reality, the Russia of 2014 is a complex, multifaceted emerging market powerhouse, weakened by recent events and its own economic shortcomings, but still the world’s sixth largest economy.>>
Spindler eschews politics, as his article's title suggests, "Help Build Markets in Russia and the Region". - perspectives.carnegie.org/us-russia/help-build-markets-in-russia-and-the-region
- But he proposes what US foreign policy lacks most: <<A philosophy of engagement, recognizing the increasingly globalized order in which we live, should guide U.S. policies toward Russia as well as its neighbors. For any of these countries to achieve lasting stability and prosperity, they will need to establish vibrant market economies combined with the rule of law, and they will need to overcome the endemic corruption that is common in so many emerging market countries. U.S. efforts in Ukraine should be focused on helping to strengthen governance and to build the underpinnings of a viable market economy; U.S. and Western efforts to help Ukraine achieve that result over the last two decades have fundamentally failed.>>
Spindler's philosophy is consistent with that of RAGA: it takes generations to foster both democracy and free-market economy neither of which can be imposed at will from outside and even from within. Ironically, after the US spent a lot of effort to advance free-market economy in both Russia and Ukraine during the 1990s, now we are about to destroy it. By hook or by crook, the US helped create the oligarchy in both countries. Yet, in spite of this misdeed, we also helped integrate Russia into global economy. Now we risk to unravel that achievement by pulling apart natural economic ties between Russia and Ukraine, on the one hand, and Russia and Europe, on the other. As Spindlersays, <<The U.S.-Russia relationship is currently heading in a direction that threatens to unwind many years of extraordinary engagement>>.
Another sober voice proclaims loud and clear that The U.S. needs Russia. Instead of alienating Russians, we should be pulling them in. - It belongs to Jerome Israel, a former senior executive at NSA and the FBI. "Short of a policy change", argues Jerome, "Russia will continue to thwart us, undermine our currency and heighten tensions, creating a new Cold War that neither can afford. Oddly, the Russian people adore our music, movies, and even our fast food restaurants, and a large number speak English to varying degrees. One Russian friend cynically commented that all large empires need enemies. But is this the kind of enemy we want — especially now?"
Apparently, there was no space for the former NSA official in The Washington Post, but The Baltimore Sun was the better for it.
Thanks to Sharon Tennison and her Russia: Other Points of View, we also learn about Karel van Wolferen and his article: The Ukraine, Corrupted Journalism, and the Atlanticist Faith. - www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/
Van Wolferen starts his August 14, 2014 article:
<<The European Union is not (anymore) guided by politicians with a grasp of history, a sober assessment of global reality, or simple common sense connected with the long term interests of what they are guiding. If any more evidence was needed, it has certainly been supplied by the sanctions they have agreed on last week aimed at punishing Russia>>
Van Wolferen ought to be heard as he comes from Holland, the country that lost most lives in the MH17 airplane downing. Wolferen is a Dutch journalist and retired professor at the University of Amsterdam. Since 1969, he has published over twenty books on public policy issues, which have been translated into eleven languages and sold over a million copies worldwide. As a foreign correspondent for NRC Handelsblad, one of Holland’s leading newspapers, he received the highest Dutch award for journalism, and over the years his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The National Interest, Le Monde, and numerous other newspapers and magazines.
Now outstanding authors are more likely to appear in Tennison's Russia: Other Points of View than The New York Times.
Well, if in addition to exclusively Western opinions you don't mind viewing a Russia-funded TV channel RT's Cross Talk, here is a good one with Alexander Mercouris of London, Don DeBar of New York, and US citizen Ed Lozansky of Moscow. They discuss the Putin Phenomenon to which my last newsletter was devoted.
An extremely interesting news came across my desk: An Open Letter of Twelve Polish intellectuals expressing their solidarity with Russia's attitude to the Ukrainian unrest. The authors propose to create World Council of Slavic People. Alas, you need to read it either in Polish or Russian, as it awaits English translation. - www.monitor-polski.pl/zbigniew-wrzodak-list-otwarty-do-narodu-rosyjskiego-i-wladz-federacji-rosyjskiej/
Finally, my article Why Recent Western Verdicts against Russia Have no Merit. It ends with the opinion of an outstanding American lawyer, product of Harvard Law School: “(Jeffrey) Sachs (the author of shock therapy prescription for Russian reforms which the HIID helped implement) should be put in jail for inflicting near genocidal conditions upon the Russian people while at Harvard. Khodorkovsky was just another oligarchic crook, made a hero by the West”. It was published by RIA.
A full version at http://www.raga.org/news/why-recent-court-verdicts-against-russia-have-no-merit-by-w-george-krasnow1
While relaxing on Labor Day why not watch something far removed from today's mundane cares, Old Russian architecture? Professor William Brumfield of Tulane University, whom I recently guided in my native Perm, writes this: <<My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the town of Galich (Kostroma Province), which has been able to preserve and restore its unique ensemble of 19th-century trading rows (shades of the French Market in New Orleans): http://rbth.com/travel/2014/08/22/galich_center_of_kostromas_lake_district_39235.html .
For best results, click the 4-arrow icon at lower right of photo window.
A unified link to the series can be found at: http://rbth.ru/discovering_russia. A total of 3,224 photographs in Russia are accessible.>>
The US - Russia Moscow Forum (September 8 - 9) is quickly approaching. Here is Ed and Tatiana Lozansky's reminder to confirm your participation by filling out a short form below. Several outstanding international experts have already confirmed their participation and the list is posted on www.RussiaHouse.org/wrf.php
Many thanks to people who recently gave encouraging comments to this newsletter: David Wansbrough of Australia, Nick Cobb of Westminster Russia Forum, UK; Stephen Wilson, a Scottish humanitarian helper in Novorossia; Catine Perkins of Texas, Katya Kinski of South Africa, Albert Rosenblatt of New York, Galya Morell of Greenland etc. Please be patient while the RAGA site is being rebuilt. Meanwhile join https://www.facebook.com/RAGAforPeace
Malice to None. Good Will to All. Peace and Justice to the World.
Миру мир и благоволение в сердцах!
W. George Krasnow (Vladislav Krasnov)
Disclaimer: All statements in this report are an opinion. Act at your own risk.
Report by RAGA News