After provoking Russia for decades, the United States government has apparently concluded that the Russians are all saints and decided to escalate the provocations with confidence that nothing will go wrong, or go nuclear. Either that or the U.S. government truly wants World War III.
I wouldn't treat a diseased rat the way the United States treats Russia. The Russian government has exercised such incredible restraint that the United States has apparently decided it can get away with being even nastier, a move that is now openly described by Washington insiders as being driven by weapons profiteering:
"'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock.'"
In fact, the United States spends well over 8 times what Russia does on militarism, not counting "Homeland Security" or Energy or State or Veterans, etc. The world still contains enough nuclear weapons to destroy human life if just a small fraction of them are used, and 93 percent of them belong to Russia and the United States.
Why aren't the nukes gone, when Gorbachev was willing to give them up?
Because Reagan was unwilling to give up a stupid, non-functioning, and fraudulent technological defense against a threat that would not have existed if he had. That technology is back in the movie theaters and back in the news: Star Wars.
The Cold War continued. The Soviet Union broke up. Germany reunified. And the Cold War still continued at the Pentagon. The Warsaw Pact went away. NATO expanded. When Germany reunited, the United States promised Russia that NATO would never expand eastward. NATO then added the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Albania, and Croatia to its membership. Since the U.S.-facilitated coup in Ukraine, and against the desires of the Ukrainian people, NATO has been pushing for a partnership with Ukraine, as well as with Georgia.
Imagine if Russia had promised not to expand the Warsaw Pact and then added to its membership Greenland, Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Mexico. If Russia claimed to have done all that to protect itself from Iran, how many U.S. pundits would treat that as a serious, non-laughable claim? And if Russia made a deal with Iran under which more stringent inspections than ever endured by any nation would verify that Iran had no threatening weapons, and if Russia bragged about this deal, but if Russia went right on expanding the Warsaw Pact, would the United States take that as the harmless gesture of friendship that NATO depicts its actions as?
NATO has also been "looking for a purpose" and rushing off to wage wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya. The United States and some of its NATO allies are waging wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. In a number of those places, drone wars and proxy wars have been turned into U.S. ground wars, perfectly primed for major expansion. Yet, the United States speaks of its actions as "defensive," describes Russia as aggressive, and falsely accuses Russia of invading Ukraine, a mythical act that Hillary Clinton determined made Vladimir Putin the equivalent of "Hitler."
Now the United States has sent ships to the Black Sea, sent tanks to Georgia, planned a huge military "exercise" in Poland, opened a "missile defense" site in Romania, which Russia calls a "direct threat" (and a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), and begun building another "missile defense" site in Poland. There's a video online of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the new site in Romania, describing it as a "team effort" involving Romania, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK. Stoltenberg's stilted speech claims repeatedly that "Missile defense is for defense. It is defensive." Stoltenberg claims the "missile defense" missiles are too close to Russia to intercept Russian missiles, which misses the point that Russia views the U.S. missiles as offensive, not "defensive."
"U.S. officials say the Romanian missile shield, which cost $800 million, is intended to fend off missile threats from Iran and is not aimed at Russia. But NATO decided in January 2015 to set up command-and-control centers in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria by the end of 2016 -- at least partly in response to challenges from Russia and Islamic extremists and to reassure eastern partners."
What challenges? Essentially the 10-foot giants landing in the U.S. rear and on both flanks simultaneously -- in other words: money to be made.
Read this further bit from CBS News carefully:
"President Obama and other NATO heads of state and government met in September and ordered an overhaul of the alliance's capabilities and defense posture, called the Readiness Action Plan, or RAP, to take into account Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and purported military interference in eastern Ukraine."
The key word there is "purported." It's been years now since the weekly announcements that Russia had invaded Ukraine, something it obviously never did. And of course the people of Crimea voted to join Russia after the U.S. state department facilitated a violent coup in Ukraine that installed a government significantly made up of Nazis. CBS can't bring itself to comment on whether or not there is any evidence of the "purported military interference," so it just calls it "purported" and hopes that not too many people know what that word means.
Russia, believe it or not, is expressing some annoyance. As Jonathan Marshall recounts: "Moscow spokesmen have warned that Romania could become a 'smoking ruins' if it continues to host the new anti-missile site; threatened Denmark, Norway and Poland that they too could become targets of attack; and announced development of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to penetrate the U.S. missile shield."
Russian planes have come near U.S. ships and planes in recent weeks, although U.S. reports have generally failed to focus on the fact that those ships and planes were quite near Russia's borders. These near misses at starting a war between the world's major nuclear militaries present a far greater threat than is generally imagined, because most U.S. citizens have zero interest in starting World War III and so don't think about it, but the U.S. government and NATO want blood. NATO's new commander says he wants to be ready to fight Russia immediately.
Donald Trump blurted out the common sense solution of abolishing NATO but quickly backed off and reversed himself, as on so many other topics. Hillary Clinton has wholeheartedly supported NATO's expansion from the beginning, when she was First Lady. Bernie Sanders generally accepts whatever the military is doing, so as not to rock the boat, which still might leave him the best of the three on foreign policy, as he so obviously is on domestic.
But a great deal can happen in 8 months. A lot can happen before anyone new is elected. And with all eyes focused on the election, it's more likely than ever to do so. And what could happen makes climate change seem manageable by comparison.