Joe Biden, James Stavridis, Ivo Daalder, James Clapper: In praise of The New Cold War. Political Observer comments

Nothing so steadfast as American Hypocrisy, yes capitalized, and getting New Democrat Vice President Joe Biden to deliver the threat of an act of aggression against Russia, featuring Putin The Terrible, is awash in comic book melodrama, rivaling that of the Marvel Universe. Biden plays his part in that Universe as bungling actor on the world stage, doing the bidding of the Neo-Conservative Cabal, led by it’s latest dupe President Obama!

Headline: Biden hints at US cyber revenge on Russia

Sub-headline: Obama deputy signals retaliation over perceived election meddling

‘US vice-president Joe Biden has suggested the Obama administration may launch a retaliatory cyber strike against Russia in response to what Washington believes to be interference by Moscow in this year’s election.

In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning, Mr Biden said “we’re sending a message” to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the election-related hacking. “He’ll know it.”

“We have the capacity to do it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact,” he told NBC.

This week the White House said the US would respond in a “proportional” way to the attempt to interfere in the election and that sanctions and covert action were under consideration.

On the question of outright interference in the domestic political affairs of other nations, let the inquiry begin with America’s promulgation of a Foreign Policy dominated  by the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, unabashedly announcing its Hemispheric Hegemony, as Foundational to the American State: all else falls in line of this declaration, if historical honesty be a guiding principle of an unbiased inquiry. Except to those who willfully try to re-write or erase from American History this principal! One of America’s latest and most blatant examples of interference in the the domestic affairs of another nation is the Ukrainian Coup of 2014. NATO was an active participant in that Coup, so James Stavridis as ‘NATO supreme allied commander’ until 2013 must have played some role in the plotting of the Coup strategy, that led to the overthrow of duly elected President Yanukovych. So his announced ‘expertise’ on curbing ‘Russian Aggression’, and the means and methods of curbing their cyber attacks, does not come from the stance of an impartial spectator, but from a participant in, at the least, the early planning stages of that Coup. His position is one of an active partisan in this melodrama. He is an advocate and defender of the American National Security State: a Machiavellian of the Prince rather than The Discourses? Or should the reader look to the notion of the ‘response with a firm hand’ as dull witted paternalism?

Headline: How to Win the Cyberwar Against Russia

Sub-headline : Vladimir Putin’s brazen attack on U.S. democracy demands that the Obama administration respond with a firm hand.

The basic facts about Russia’s election-year hacking of the American political system are clear. For more than a year, the Russian government has repeatedly infiltrated the computers of both parties’ presidential campaigns to steal data and emails to influence the outcome of the election. In response, the Obama administration has promised a “proportional” response against Russia.

What’s much less clear is what a “proportional” response could mean. This is an unprecedented situation for the American national security establishment — which means the Obama administration’s response will set a precedent for future foreign-directed cyber-plots.

For Mr. Stavridis the announcement of Putin’s guilt becomes fact by its mere announcement. It is The Part Line and he is nothing if not a political conformist. He is then able to opine on that ‘firm hand’ and the how of its application. But nothing quite compares to the cultivation of political paranoia: The Salem Witch Trials, the First and Second Red Scares, the Japanese Internment and the current Islamophobia. Its a hallowed American Tradition and Mr. Stavridis makes his investment in that Tradition:

The Russians have managed to cling to a veneer of deniability, at least in public, by relying on a clever pattern of cut-out agents, ranging from Russian cyber-criminals to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is a version of the hybrid warfare we’ve seen used so effectively in the attacks in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea — essentially using the cyber-equivalent of the unmarked soldiers (so-called little green men) that led the fight into Ukraine.

Then the reader comes to Ivo Daalder essay:

Headline: The best answer to Russian aggression is containment

Sub-headline:  Its greatest vulnerability is its economy, so strong sanctions will hurt, writes Ivo Daalder

‘What, then, would be an effective response to Russia’s behaviour? The answer is a strategy of containment.

In 1946, the American diplomat George Kennan argued that containment was the necessary response to a Soviet system that was driving towards external expansion because of internal weaknesses. Bringing Moscow into the family of nations, as Franklin Roosevelt had attempted to do, was bound to fail. Outside pressure would lead to the internal change necessary to modify external Soviet behaviour, Kennan said.’

Are we so historically ignorant as not to know the other most famous advocate of ‘Containment’ George F. Kennan? of the Long Telegram and and the X article? a link to a PDF of the X article:

The 1947 Foreign Affairs essay is behind a pay wall here:

And Walter Lippmann’s reply to the Kennan essay here:

What is most important is that Kennan was to eventually repudiate the idea and practice of his ‘Containment Theory’ over the rest of his very long career. For a discussion of the life, thought and career of Mr. Kennan, and the Gaddis biography see the Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall of 2013, link here:

The fact of that repudiation, or the reader just might consider it an evolution of his thought on the Soviet Union, is a fact that is unmentioned by Mr. Daalder, it being historically inconvenient!

Mr. Daalder offers this as ‘evidence ‘ of the guilt of the Russians:

On October 7, the US intelligence chief General James Clapper announced that the Kremlin’s “senior-most officials” had authorised hacks into the emails of US individuals and institutions to interfere in the election process. This followed a decision by John Kerry, secretary of state, to end a bilateral effort to negotiate an end to the brutal fighting in Syria and his accusation that Russian military actions in Aleppo amounted to war crimes.

The source: ‘US intelligence chief General James Clapper announced’ establishes the factual character of the charge? Then the indictment of Putin:

In turn, President Vladimir Putin ended participation in an agreement with the US to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium. And then Moscow shipped nuclear-capable missile systems to Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and the Baltic states, posing an immediate threat to America’s most exposed Nato allies.

This shows how badly relations have deteriorated since the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine in early 2014. So far, neither Washington nor its European allies have produced a coherent response to Russia’s increasingly dangerous behaviour.

Nato has taken some steps to bolster the defence of its allies in the east, and European members have begun to reverse the decade-long slide in defence spending and capabilities. The US and Canada joined the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine and the downing of a Malaysian airliner in July 2014.

Whoever fired the Buk missile, that brought down MH17, has yet to be established, except to those who believe the ‘announced’ guilt of the Russians: more political theology!   Kaliningrad being evidence of an intensification of The New Cold War, and the prima facie guilt of Putin. But The Financial Times offers the reader all she/he needs to know about Mr. Daalder: The writer is president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former US permanent representative to Nato.’

Here is an alternative view:

Headline: The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

Sub-headline : Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required.

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe.

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

Anakonda 2016 and BACKSTOPS 16 looks like American/NATO aggression. ‘A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad’, this might just provide necessary background to Mr. Daalder assertion of:And then Moscow shipped nuclear-capable missile systems to Kaliningrad,’ ?

Political Observer






About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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