A cold-war relic!
  1. War is a Racket is the title of a book written by a retired US Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler. Twenty five years later, US President Dwight D Eisenhower (a 5-star Army General during world-war-2) warned of the dangers of the military industrial complex which since has spawned the military industrial media complex as well as the military entertainment complex to convince the public that war is good.
    quote: "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell (author: Nineteen Eighty-Four)
    Art imitates life? Lyrics of a 1970 song titled War Pigs

    Generals gathered in their masses ° Just like witches at black masses ° Evil minds that plot destruction ° Sorcerer of death's construction ° In the fields, the bodies burning ° As the war machine keeps turning ° Death and hatred to mankind ° Poisoning their brainwashed minds ° Oh lord, yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away ° They only started the war ° Why should they go out to fight? ° They leave that role to the poor, yeah ° Time will tell on their power minds ° Making war just for fun ° Treating people just like pawns in chess ° Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

    Now in darkness, world stops turning ° Ashes where their bodies burning ° No more war pigs have the power ° Hand of God has struck the hour ° Day of judgement, God is calling ° On their knees, the war pigs crawling ° Begging mercy for their sins ° Satan laughing, spreads his wings ° Oh lord, yeah!
  2. USA geopolitical confusion will start the next world war (because it played a huge role in the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict)

    Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. Policy & "West's False Narrative" are Stoking Tensions with Russia and China

  3. About NATO - OTAN
    • 1949: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) also known as OTAN (Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord) began as an alliance of twelve countries to provide collective protection from Joseph Stalin.
    • 1953: Stalin died but NATO was not disbanded. NATO's mission quietly shifted to offering collective protection from the USSR.
    • 1954: Eastern bloc countries expressed interest in joining NATO but were refused.
    • 1955: the Warsaw Pact was created after it became clear that Western countries would never allow Eastern bloc countries to become NATO members. Food for Thought: could the building of the Berlin Wall (and all the associated cold-war drama) have been avoided if NATO, or Western hardheadedness, had not existed? Imagine an alternative world in which Germany was not split into two countries. Imagine no Checkpoint Charlie? Rather than the path to military tribalism which led to a 34-year cold war, the simpler philosophy of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" would have yielded better results.
    • 1989: German citizens breached the Berlin Wall and Mikhail Gorbachev allowed it.
    • 1991: the USSR dissolved but NATO was not disbanded. As part of the German reunification deal, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved after the USA promised Russia to not engage in NATO expansion "East of Germany" but the USA broke that promise or perhaps never intended to honor it. Comment: if the United States of America could make this promise, then it is the United States of America that controls NATO.
    • 1996: As part of his reelection campaign, and to short-circuit his Republican opponent, Bob Dole, who was going to use the lack of NATO expansion as one of his campaign issues, Bill Clinton called for former Warsaw Pact countries and post-Soviet republics to join NATO, and made NATO enlargement a part of his foreign policy. Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic officially joined NATO in March 1999 as a result of Clinton's actions (but Bob Dole might have done the same)
    • 1997: NATO and Russia sign a deal in 1997 but not very much comes of this. NATO's diplomatic cooling might have something to do with Russia condemning the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999
    • 2000: Vladimir Putin asked Bill Clinton when it would be possible for Russia to join NATO. Apparently Clinton did not object but nothing came of this.
    • 2002: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia were invited to begin accession talks at the Alliance's Prague Summit in 2002. On 29 March 2004, they officially became members of the Alliance, making this the largest wave of enlargement in NATO history.
    • According to declassified NATO documents, we now know that NATO's original objective (according to first NATO Secretary General - Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay of Great Britain) was to "keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down” and I wondered what modern citizens might think about that. Especially those in Germany.
    • Since actions speak louder than words, many citizens now wonder if NATO is nothing more than a sales channel for the military industries of NATO countries, which has grown from twelve to thirty. Some of them are not geographically connected to the Atlantic Ocean (Turkey first springs to mind. The Czech and Slovak Republics are two more)
    • Americans are always banging on about capitalism and free markets but never offered Russia a helping hand up after the USSR collapsed. This would have been a huge opportunity for American businesses had they been thinking more clearly. The world would be a different place had either George H W Bush or Bill Clinton reached out to Russia like Nixon did with China in 1972
    • From Wikileaks, and other sources, we learned that Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, took credit for instigating the NATO attack on Libya in 2011 which destroyed that country while destabilizing the region (a decade later the Libyan economy has never recovered). Was Obama aware of this? German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was commenting on the large volume of African refugees entering Europe then asked, "why are the countries responsible for this mess not doing more?"
    • While observing the international actions of Joe Biden's Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, it appears that the American Secretary of State answers more to the American defense Industry than the President.
    • Do Americans know that continually supporting their own defense industry (which includes sales or gifts to other countries) is unconstitutional? Article 1 Section 8 of the American Constitution states: The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of money to that Use shall be for a longer term than two years. America's founding fathers knew that the Roman Empire collapsed partly due to excessive military spending and did not want the USA to repeat that mistake.
    • No western politician was ever allowed to question the value of NATO, but in 2016 we heard then presidential candidate, Donald Trump, referring to NATO as being obsolete, and now I cannot stop thinking that it is.
    • This article from the State Department website boasts that the USA has been continually delivering weapons to Western Ukraine for almost two decades (from 2004-to-2023). This one-sided destabilization may have contributed to the fact that a civil war in East Ukraine has been on going since 2014. This once-simmering war situation boiled over after Kiev began using American military hardware to attack targets in the breakaway Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk) in 2021 (long before the Russian invasion).  
      comment: Unlike the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian politicians have been considered some of the most corrupt in the democratic world. That is one reason why Ukraine elected a comedian as president rather than someone from one of the main political parties, but even he went over to the dark side.
  4. The Russia - Ukraine conflict
    2022-02-01 We learn that Kiev was using American military hardware to attack targets in the breakaway Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk). Did the USA not realize that their gifts to one side would inflame the situation by upsetting the balance? Did no one in the state department learn anything from this 1968 Star Trek episode?
    2022-02-18 Russian-backed separatists evacuate residents from east Ukraine
    2022-02-19 BBC America showed video of Donbas citizens being placed on buses destined for temporary safety in western Russia
    2022-02-20 BBC America showed video of Donbas citizens exiting buses in Western Russia. The total number of Donbas refugees was said to be 93,000
    2022-02-24 Russia enters Ukraine with a three-pronged attack: Belarus from the North, Russia from the East. Crimea from the South.
    2022-02-25 Putin would have been considered a hero by many had he only ordered Russian troops into the Donbas region to end the 8-year civil war while protecting the lives of Donbas citizens from further aggression. But he did not so Putin's place in history will be forever soiled (both inside Russia as well as outside).
    comments: if Putin wanted to stop NATO encroachment around Russia, he could have done something similar to what John F Kennedy did in 1962 when the USA learned that Russia had been installing missiles in Cuba (in response for the USA installing missiles in Turkey). But Putin missed this opportunity so I fear that many people will die on both sides.
    2022-06-30 (article) quote: "NATO has been preparing for a war with Russia since 2014, said NATO" said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg
    2022-06-30 (article) quote: "NATO radically redefined its mission to reflect a new mantra which could be encapsulated as: keep the Russians down, the Americans in, and the Chinese out" (Scott Ritter)
  5. Gwynne DyerEditorial (2023-07-12): When NATO held its annual summit in Brussels two years ago, all 31 presidents and prime ministers of the alliance’s member states dutifully showed up – but their hearts weren’t really in it. France’s President Emmanuel Macron had publicly declared NATO “brain-dead” in 2019 – and nobody could find a good reason to disagree. This week, the annual meeting is in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania (Tuesday and today), and the cast of characters has not changed all that much – but everything else has. This is an alliance transformed, with a clear enemy, specific goals and a real sense of purpose – all thanks to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his foolish invasion of Ukraine.
    It was foolish not because Putin’s army was too corrupt and incompetent to conquer Ukraine – neither he nor his generals realized that – but because he woke NATO up. If he had just left it alone for another five or 10 years, it would probably have simply mouldered away in the end.
    Now it’s back up and running. Defence budgets are soaring right across NATO, new strategic plans are being made – and Russia is being openly named as the threat. Vilnius, the NATO capital closest to Moscow, has been chosen for its symbolic value. And there are a thousand soldiers there from other NATO countries to provide security for the meeting. Germany has deployed 12 Patriot missile launchers to intercept Russian ballistic and cruise missiles or warplanes. France is sending self-propelled howitzers and anti-drone technology, Finland and Denmark have sent military jets, and Spain has sent a NASAMS air defence system.
    Not to mention Poland and Germany, which are both sending special operations forces with accompanying helicopters in case the Russians try to infiltrate their own Spetsnaz troops to kidnap or kill NATO leaders. No? You don’t think that the Russians will choose this week to bomb Vilnius or send in the assassins? You suspect that this is a pantomime exclusively designed to illustrate NATO’s new-found unity and determination. Well spotted! Almost the sole focus of this summit is embattled Ukraine’s desire to join NATO – which is not going to happen at this time. As U.S. President Joe Biden said: “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war.” That’s understandable, as NATO membership includes an obligation to defend any other member that is under attack. Hands up, who wants to go to war with Russia? Ukraine will get a promise of membership eventually, after the war is over, but for now it will have to make do with arms shipments, financial help and intelligence sharing. Military alliances have a momentum of their own, however, and an elderly alliance that has been shaken awake to deal with a nasty local crisis could go on to regain a central place in world politics. That would be unfortunate. It was the Cold War, the “Soviet threat”, that brought this peculiar transatlantic alliance into existence in 1949, and the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union 40 years later robbed it of its purpose. It trundled on for a while, as large bureaucratic organizations tend to do even after losing their core function, but its proposed new roles were not very convincing. Its most plausible rationale was to provide a safe haven where a dozen newly independent countries, all emerging from many decades or even centuries of Russian and Soviet imperial rule, could take shelter while they got their bearings and built more or less democratic successor states. The great fear in NATO after the Soviet collapse in1991 was that the newly freed countries of Eastern Europe, still terrified of Russian imperialism, would start making alliances among themselves against Russia – and that at least one, Poland, would probably start building its own nuclear deterrent. That would not have been a happy outcome, as such Eastern European alliances would have been strong enough to provoke Russia but not strong enough to deter it. Taking the former satellite countries into NATO was seen by the West as the safer option. Although Moscow deplored this decision, it didn’t make much fuss about it at the time. NATO’s “expansion” never threatened Russia’s security because troops on the border are almost strategically irrelevant in an era of intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles. In any case, U.S. troops in Europe fell from 300,000 at the end of the Cold War to one-fifth of that number by 2008, and stayed there until last year’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s declining years were bound to be problematic no matter what NATO did or didn’t do. But it’s still deeply regrettable that the alliance had to be resuscitated. May it become irrelevant again as soon as possible.
    Gwynne Dyer
  6. Comments (2023-11-30): I have some training in the martial arts which includes Boxing, Jujitsu, Karate (black belt), and Kobuto (black belt) so here's my perspective:
    1. In the west, Boxing is a regulated sport so the referee will be guilty of a crime if he allows any match to continue to the death, or past the first serious injury, or if one fighter is unable to properly defend them self (which could lead to serious injury).
    2. Some locations mandate that a doctor must also be onsite to stop a fight.
    3. Since the fighter's manager or trainer doesn't want to loose a client, he can forfeit a fight by "throwing in the towel".
    4. Most full contact Karate matches will be stopped at the sign of "first blood".
  7. I fear that the constant supply of weapons by NATO countries into Ukraine is causing Ukrainians to engage in wishful thinking, rather than "throwing in the towel to save human life".  Sure, some see the invaded land is the ultimate prize but almost everyone else places a higher value upon human life. And speaking of human life, who speaks for the elderly (too old to fight) or the children (who are loosing their childhood as well as formative education)?