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U.S. Vice President Pence Calls For Vigilance About Russia

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence sought on Monday to reassure Poland about Washington’s commitment to protecting it from Russia, saying allies should “remain vigilant” about Moscow’s election meddling and work towards independence from Russian energy supplies.In Warsaw for a two-day visit, Pence spoke days after President Donald Trump drew disagreement from U.S. allies by calling for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven advanced industrialized countries. “With its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world now is the time for us to remain vigilant about the intentions and the actions being taken by Russia,” Pence said. Trump’s call at a G7 summit last month for Russia to be allowed to return to the group was rejected by other members. Asked about the issue, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Moscow’s actions in Ukraine raised a question over whether relations with the country should amount to “business as usual”. “Unfortunately, over the last several years, Russia has taken actions which cannot be ignored by anyone who respects international law,” he told a joint news conference with Pence.

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Ukraine is an only loser in all of this... hypocrisy.

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Despite, let say "criticism" about Russia, we are witnesses that Putin does what he wants ... so, less talk, more action.

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Nothing more than cheap populism...

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Vigilance? Is that mean - we will keep watching them while they do what they want?

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7 minutes ago, francoba said:

Vigilance? Is that mean - we will keep watching them while they do what they want?

There is one constant: German's dependency on Russia. Indeed, not just Germany - "half" of Europe depends on Russian gas... Money talks

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Russia has lost influence in Eastern Europe in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, etc... Don't forget one important thing: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany jointly attacked Poland in 1939... It was a time of big love between Stalin and Hitler...Just to remind you

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3 hours ago, Pavel said:

Ukraine is an only loser in all of this... hypocrisy.

Ukraine lost much of its land and Russia is paying a price for stealing it, and other land stolen. 

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3 hours ago, Pavel said:

There is one constant: German's dependency on Russia. Indeed, not just Germany - "half" of Europe depends on Russian gas... Money talks

They don't need Russian gas, it is just a bit cheaper. Gradually the price of natural gas from other countries will cut into their market. 

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3 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

They don't need Russian gas, it is just a bit cheaper. Gradually the price of natural gas from other countries will cut into their market. 

I don't think that is entirely accurate, Ron.  At this point the Germans, and Poles, and some others, have become dependent on Russian imported gas as they have no infrastructure to unload enough LNG just yet - although the Poles in particular are hard at work on that.  The more interesting question is whether new gas discoveries off Israel and Cyprus are going to push the installation of pipelines into Europe via Greece and Italy, and then push that gas Northward into Poland and Germany. If the Turks and the Greeks can iron out their differences, then that scenario becomes plausible. 

The other alternative is vast amounts of very cheap gas from the USA, but to get there, a lot more specialized LNG carrier ships have to be built.  And, that is the bottleneck. So the Russians still have an ebbing play in hand.  For now, anyway. 

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I agree Jan, that is why I said gradually, but thanks for the specifics. The other issue is Europe not developing its own natural gas. 

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On 9/2/2019 at 5:10 PM, Pavel said:

Ukraine is an only loser in all of this... hypocrisy.

I dare say Georgians do pretty poorly as well, more than a few hectors/acres have been annexed . Ukraine worse, not doubt. 

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(edited)

This is mother of new Cold War - you broke agreement not to expand NATO eastward. So Im sorry its western fault Russia decided to make alliance with China.

 For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the “loss of Russia” was largely of their own doing. The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world’s dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.

3 articles  about that

Quote

 

At the tail end of the Cold War, there was an incredible atmosphere of Americanophilia throughout the USSR, including amongst Russians.

Blue – approve of USA; orange – disapprove.

Around 75%-80% of Russians approved of the United States around 1990, versus <10% disapproval.

By modern standards, this would have put Russia into the top leagues of America fans, such as Poland, Israel, and the United Kingdom. It was also around 10%-15% points higher than contemporary US approval of Russia.

The blogger genby dug up a VCIOM poll from 1990 asking Russians – that is, Russians within the RSFSR, i.e. the territory of the modern day Russian Federation – what they thought about Americans.

The poll was redone in 2015, keeping the same questions, which allows a direct comparison between the two dates.

What in your opinion characterizes the United States?19902015

High criminality and moral degradation1 15

No warmth in people’s relations1 15

High living standards35 12

Large gap between rich and poor 5 11

Racial discrimination1 9

Highly developed science and technology15 7

Success depends on personal effort 20 7

Free society13 5

Other.6

Can’t say for sure10 12

I would wager Russian opinions on America were more positive c.1990 than the opinions of the average American on his own country today!

Is US government friendly or hostile to Russia?19902015

Friendly35 3

Not very friendly40 32

Hostile2 59

Can’t say23 6

These results speak for themselves and hardly need more commentary.

Nowadays, of course, things are rather different. Suffice to say the numbers of America fans have plummeted, while the percentage of Russians with actively negative views emerged essentially out of nowhere to constitute majority opinion. According to other polls, Russian approval of the US rarely breaks above 30%, and the sentiments are quite mutual. Just 1% (that’s one percent) of Russians approved of US leadership by 2016. Although there were hopes that this trend would turn around after Trump, which seemed plausible in early 2017 and indeed seemed to be happening, this was in the end not to be.

What I think is more significant is that nobody likes to talk about it now, because it reflects badly on pretty much everyone.

Russians would have to acknowledge that they were naive idiots who threw away an empire centuries in the making to end up within the borders of old Muscovy in exchange for… jeans and “common human values.” These figures testify to the complete and utter failure of Soviet propaganda, which spent decades spinning tales about American criminality, unemployment, and lynched Negroes only to end up with a society with some of the most Americanophile sentiments in the entire world. It also makes it much harder to scapegoat Gorbachev, or the mythical saboteurs and CIA agents in power that feature prominently in sovok conspiracy theories, for unraveling the Soviet Union, when ordinary Soviets themselves considered America the next best thing since Lenin and the US government to be their friend.

For their part, Americans would have to acknowledge that Russians do not have a kneejerk hatred of America, and that the “loss of Russia” was largely of their own doing. The arrogant refusal to take into account Russian interests after the Cold War, instead bombing their allies, expanding NATO to Russian borders in contravention of verbal commitments made to the USSR, and for all intents and purposes treating it as a defeated Power, may have made sense when it seemed that the US would be the world’s dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia was doomed to die anyway – as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s. And from a purely Realpolitik perspective, the results have hardly been catastrophic; the US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, tied up further European integration into an Atlantic framework, and closed off the possibility of the “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. On the other hand, in a world where China is fast becoming a peer competitor – with the implicit backing of a resentful Russia – this may, in retrospect, not have been the best long-term play.

 

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Newly Declassified Documents: Gorbachev Told NATO Wouldn't Move Past East German Border

So what happenned? 

 

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given a host of assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand past what was then the East German border in 1990 according to new declassified documents.

Russian leaders often complain that the NATO extended an invitation to Hungary, Poland and what was then Czechoslovakia to joint the alliance in 1997 at the Madrid Summit in contravention of assurances offered to the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. The alliance has dismissed the notion that such assurances were offered, however, scholars have continued to debate the issue for years. Now, however, newly declassified documents show that Gorbachev did in fact receive assurances that NATO would not expand past East Germany.

“The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991,” George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote. “That discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.”

Indeed, Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin have complained bitterly about the expansion of NATO towards their borders despite what they had believed were assurances to the contrary. “What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today?” Putin said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007.“No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?”

 

As the newly declassified documents show, the Russians might have had a point. While it was previously understood that Secretary of State James Baker’s assurance to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” during a February 9, 1990, meeting was only in the context of German reunification, the new documents show that this was not the case.

Gorbachev only accepted German reunification—over which the Soviet Union had a legal right to veto under treaty—because he received assurances that NATO would not expand after he withdrew his forces from Eastern Europe from James Baker, President George H.W. Bush, West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the CIA Director Robert Gates, French President Francois Mitterrand, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British foreign minister Douglas Hurd, British Prime Minister John Major, and NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner.

 

Indeed, as late as March 1991, the British were reassuring Gorbachev that they could not foresee circumstances under which NATO might expand into Eastern and Central Europe. As former British Ambassador to the Soviet Union recounted in March 5, 1991, Rodric Braithwaite, both British foreign minister Douglas Hurd and British Prime Minister John Major told the Soviet that NATO would not expand eastwards.

“I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding,” Major had told Gorbachev. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. We are talking about the coordination of efforts that is already happening in Europe between NATO and the West European Union, which, as it is envisioned, would allow all members of the European Community to contribute to enhance [our] security.”

 

Of course, later, in 1994, Bill Clinton decided to expand NATO eastward despite the various assurances that the previous administration had offered Gorbachev—and despite legendary diplomat George F. Kennan’s repeated warnings.

Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton’s full report along with 30 of these documents can be found here.

 

 

Quote

 

His voice is a bit frail now, but the mind, even at age 94, is as sharp as ever. So when I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate's ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America's successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.

''I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,'' said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ''I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.''

''What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,'' added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ''X,'' defined America's cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ''I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

''And Russia's democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we've just signed up to defend from Russia,'' said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. ''It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.''

One only wonders what future historians will say. If we are lucky they will say that NATO expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic simply didn't matter, because the vacuum it was supposed to fill had already been filled, only the Clinton team couldn't see it. They will say that the forces of globalization integrating Europe, coupled with the new arms control agreements, proved to be so powerful that Russia, despite NATO expansion, moved ahead with democratization and Westernization, and was gradually drawn into a loosely unified Europe. If we are unlucky they will say, as Mr. Kennan predicts, that NATO expansion set up a situation in which NATO now has to either expand all the way to Russia's border, triggering a new cold war, or stop expanding after these three new countries and create a new dividing line through Europe.

But there is one thing future historians will surely remark upon, and that is the utter poverty of imagination that characterized U.S. foreign policy in the late 1990's. They will note that one of the seminal events of this century took place between 1989 and 1992 -- the collapse of the Soviet Empire, which had the capability, imperial intentions and ideology to truly threaten the entire free world. Thanks to Western resolve and the courage of Russian democrats, that Soviet Empire collapsed without a shot, spawning a democratic Russia, setting free the former Soviet republics and leading to unprecedented arms control agreements with the U.S.

And what was America's response? It was to expand the NATO cold-war alliance against Russia and bring it closer to Russia's borders.

Yes, tell your children, and your children's children, that you lived in the age of Bill Clinton and William Cohen, the age of Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, the age of Trent Lott and Joe Lieberman, and you too were present at the creation of the post-cold-war order, when these foreign policy Titans put their heads together and produced . . . a mouse.

We are in the age of midgets. The only good news is that we got here in one piece because there was another age -- one of great statesmen who had both imagination and courage.

As he said goodbye to me on the phone, Mr. Kennan added just one more thing: ''This has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end.''

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tomasz

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