I have written the following letter to the editor of the NZ Listener in response to the article, Former Nato commander: Europe is heading for war with Russia.
Let's see if it is published. My suspision is that it will not be, or it will be edited to make it meaningless.
Comments from Prof Stephen Cohen:
Many thanks for your comments and for what you are doing. Sheriff is promoting his book and getting a lot of help. As Richard Sakwa wrote recently, the only Russia-relatead military threats and crises are ones that US/NATO itself created — and it is very dangerous.
Wishing all of us well,
Re the article “Former Nato commander: Europe is heading for war with Russia”
"Genial chap"and warmonger, General Sir Richard Shirreff
One gets the impression from Cathrin Shaer’s article of a “genial chap” writing his first piece of fiction - a potboiler.
Unfortunately the author was 2nd-in-charge of NATO until recently and so has to be taken a bit more seriously than an amateur writer.
I find it frightening to think of such a man (and I’m thinking of Gen Breedlove as well), in charge of the security of the West for there is hardly a single fact in anything they say.
The “genial chap” happens to be a warmonger.
And yet the consequences of their words and deeds are absolutely dire.
A picture is painted of an unstable leader, Vladimir Putin, thirsting after the past greatness of the Soviet Union taking his country into ruin and invading all his neighbours from Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics.
The fact is it is all a piece of fiction - the threatening, the posturing. and most of all, the purported invasions.
None of it is true .
The fact is there have been no invasions.
Russia "took" Crimea back as a reflexive action without a single soldier being brought in from outside, or a single shot being fired.
The "invasion" of Ukraine is likewise a complete myth.
Far from being a ‘dictator’ Putin has to balance between differing factions. The main criticism to Putin has been that he has been sitting on his hands doing nothing, relying on Lavrov's diplomacy, while the Russian-speaking people of Donbass are being bombed and killed.
If Russia had wanted to invade they'd have been at the gates of Kiev within days.
The introduction of a few facts would help:
- Bush Sr. and Kohl promised Gorbachev and the Russians aftter the collapse of the USSR that NATO would not move "a centimetre" to the east. This was betrayed during the 90's when Russia was weak until now
- Russia is truly encircled and we have NATO troops based 100 miles from St. Petersburg and there is talk of the introduction of nuclear weapons
- The United States has long threatened the introduction of "missile defense shield" which they claimed was directed at Iran (sic) but which has now been opened to great fanfare in Romania.
This allows the Americans to change their policy from MAD (mutually-assured destruction) to a nuclear strike first policy.
It was the Americans under George W Bush, not the Russians, who abrogated the Sovist-era ABM (anti ballistic missile) Treaty that allowed both countries to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
Western actions are not ones of deterrence, (especially seen in relation to other actions taken against the Russians, in areas from economic sanctions to sport boycotts) , but of utmost (and repeated) provocation.
Claims of "aggression" by the Russians-can be given the lie to by two recent headlines:
- The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned NATO a couple of weeks back against "warmongering" (his word), after it conducted military exercises in Eastern Europe and said that manoeuvres were counterproductive to regional security and could inflame tensions with Russia. He urged NATO to replace the exercises with more dialogue and co-operation with Russia.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36566422
- The chairman of the NATO Military Committee,General Petr Pavel, stated some days ago that he sees no imminent Russian threat to Baltics "It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing." http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nato-russia-pavel-idUSKCN0Z616T
It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the greatest threat to the world's security comes, not from Russia but from the neo-cons that rule the roost in Washington.