CONFESSIONS OF A CONDOR: From the depths of my soul

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By Mark J. Plawecki

During the late stages of Cold War I (b. 1945 - d. 1991), a Czech dissident spent some time visiting the United States. He was asked, upon departing, what struck him as the biggest difference between life behind the Iron Curtain and that of the Leading Country of the Free World. He didn't hesitate in his response.

"In the Soviet bloc, people are quite aware that everything the press regurgitates from the government is propaganda. Here in America, your citizens believe it."

Those sentiments have increasingly haunted Condor since our MICMAC masters began ratcheting up tensions with Moscow in late 2013. Of course, the "narrative" as spewed forth from the New York Times-Wall Street Journal-Washington Post troika and their foreign policy vassal subsidiaries (insert local media of choice) is completely uniform. The official version goes like this: Russia began interfering with Ukraine, annexed Crimea in rearming its ambition to once again become a super power, and is led by the dangerous megalomaniac Putin, who must now be checked lest his inner Hitler/Stalin persona wreak havoc upon the world.

The reality, for anyone paying attention (meaning few of the record watching 114.5 million Super Bowl groupies), is rather more nuanced. Left out of the narrative is the $5 billion U.S. aid to prop up Ukraine's pathetically dysfunctional governments since the Soviet Union's dissolution. Left out is our participation in the February 2014 coup, not inconsiderably assisted by proud neo-Nazis, which ousted a democratically elected pro-Russian president, mere days after he had agreed with dissidents (and representatives from three neutral countries) to hold and abide by early elections. Left out is the bumbling Obama Administration promoting Dick Cheney's principal deputy foreign policy advisor Vicki Nuland to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, so that she could foist her regime change ideology (Nuland is married to discredited neocon godfather Robert Kagan) on the operationally ineffective Obamaites.

The fact that Russian troops couldn't "invade" Crimea since they were already stationed there per an agreement with the Ukrainian government, and that the referendum on annexation found overwhelming support among Crimean residents, is also never mentioned. Lost in MICMAC's narrative is the typical United States of Amnesia forgetting the conditions set at the end of the first Cold War as determined by the man most responsible for its peaceful conclusion. Mikhail Gorbachev removed the tanks and soldiers from Soviet satellite countries and permitted the reunification of Germany requiring but one major concession from George H.W. Bush & Co: NATO was not to expand eastward. The Clintons conveniently ignored that promise, though, and by 1999 Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were all aboard the NATO gravy train. Moscow understandably increased its nervousness.

Gorbachev, whose wife and mother were both Ukrainian, on January 10 gave a frightening interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, and implicitly blamed the U.S. for the current crisis. Lest one think, "What would you expect of the former head commie," Gorby has been heretofore a sharp critic of Putin's lengthy grip on power; many of the latter's allies would like the former Soviet leader brought to trial for his "treasonous" surrender in the mad nuclear weapons race.

Gorbachev explained the ties Russia and Ukraine have forged over centuries, and his genuine fear of nuclear war if both the West and Russia escalate the conflict. Coup-ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was prepared to switch economic allegiance to the West in 2013, but was informed by his National Academy of Science that the cost would be fifty times greater than estimates the West were giving him. Putin offered him better terms ($15 billion in aid) than the IMF money lenders, so he balked. When the coup was instigated three months later, eastern separatists, predominantly Russian (where Yanukovych's base was) commenced hostilities. Five thousand have died and hundreds of thousands more are refugees. Instead of attempting to broker a peace deal, as is wanted by much of Europe, the U.S. now imposes harsh sanctions in an unveiled push to topple Putin. But Vlad the Bad enjoys great public support in Russia. He also recently signed two long-term energy deals with China estimated at $725 billion U.S.-Obama's vaunted "pivot to Asia" being apparently superseded. Some suspect those deals, along with Russia's harboring of U.S. surveillance state exposer extraordinaire Edward Snowden, is the real reason for U.S. brinkmanship.

The squeeze on Moscow is quite counterproductive. Our Russian sanctions inevitably hurt its increasingly fragile European trading partners. Secondly, a Russian ally in containing terrorism, as it was in the months following 9/11, would be most welcome-since nearly everything the U.S. touches in the Greater Middle East turns to terror. Finally, pushing The Bear further into the arms of U.S. chief economic rival China is hardly an intelligent chess move in the grand game of global strategy.

The now 83-year-old Gorbachev wrote letters in January 2014 to both Obama and Putin to head off the current crisis. Neither man responded.

"My letters," he told Der Spiegel, "were a cry from the depths of my soul."

This cry must yet be heard by sober leaders of the world's two largest nuclear nations. The stakes are far too great to ignore it.

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Mark J. Plawecki is a district court judge in Dearborn Heights. He is also president and CEO of the Ransom Stoddard Institute, an Anti-Think tank Missile (ATM) dedicated to the proposition that "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance."

Published: Fri, Feb 20, 2015