VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY (VIPS) – Mainstream media have marinated the minds of most Americans in a witches’ brew of misleading information on Ukraine – and on the exceedingly high stakes of the war. On the chance you are not getting the kind of “untreated” intelligence President Truman hoped for by restructuring intelligence, we offer below a 12-point factsheet. Some of us were intelligence analysts during the Cuban missile crisis and see a direct parallel in Ukraine. As to VIPs’ credibility, our record since Jan. 2003 – whether on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or Russia – speaks for itself.
LINDA PENTZ GUNTER – The International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022 is another fatal diversion from the most important task at hand: to eschew wars and nuclear weapons and dumb conspiracy theories and focus on drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.
MEL GURTOV – In just the past few years, we have witnessed mass violence directed at innocent people in many places: China’s Xinjiang province, the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the Myanmar (Burma) junta’s atrocities against the Muslim Rohingya, and of course Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Each of these episodes has its distinctive characteristics, but they all violate international law and our common humanity. None of them can be excused by arguments based on state sovereignty, national security, historical analogy, or the sins of others past and present.
BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – More than 100 years after World War I, Europe’s leaders are sleepwalking toward a new all-out war. In 1914, the European governments believed that the war would last three weeks; it lasted four years and resulted in more than 20 million deaths. The same nonchalance is visible with the war in Ukraine.
BRIAN GARVEY – Cohesive opposition that demands an end to the violence and bloodshed in Ukraine must be the top priority of advocates for peace.
ERIKA SHELBY – Pointing fingers wonâ€™t helpâ€”an attitude shift is what the world needs now.
JIM GARRISON – What would it take for NATO and Russia to embrace the obvious? The only way for the current crisis to be truly solved is to create a process in and through which all the former antagonists can come together around the creation of a common security and economic zone that brings Russia together with Ukraine as partners in a larger zone of peace. It is possible.
ROB OKUN – Brent Renaud. Marina Ovsyannikova. One a US filmmaker killed by Russian troops on March 13 while working on a documentary about refugees. The other, an editor-producer on Russian state TVâ€™s Channel One who dramatically interrupted a news broadcast to hold aloft a sign denouncing Putinâ€™s war. She was immediately arrested. Renaudâ€™s senseless killing one day and Ovsyannikovaâ€™s brave action the next, unintentionally have forged a link between journalism and wartime truth telling that cannot be overstated.Â
FRIDA BERRIGAN – If anything good can come out of the horrific war in Ukraine, it might be a renewed movement to abolish nuclear weapons once and for all.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Desperately needed is a new European security framework, to demilitarize and defuse conflicts between Russia and U.S. allies. But the same approach that for three decades pushed to expand NATO to Russiaâ€™s borders is now gung-ho to keep upping the ante, no matter how much doing so increases the chances of a direct clash between the worldâ€™s two nuclear-weapons superpowers.
ROBERT E. HUNTER – Vladimir Putin has been sending warning signals for over a decade; once the Ukraine crisis is over, nothing will be the same. As the United States tries to cope with this crisis, missing so far is a clear sense of â€œwhat next?â€ â€” that is, once the current imbroglio is over, as inevitably it must be.
LINDA PENTZ GUNTER – As Craig Hooper so chillingly warned us in his December 28, 2021Â articleÂ forÂ Forbes, a Russian invasion of Ukraine, â€œcould put nuclear reactors on the front line of military conflict.â€ The result, he said, depending on the tactics deployed by the Russians, could be equivalent to â€œnuclear warfare without bombs.â€ Itâ€™s yet one more reminder of just how much an already perilous situation can become orders of magnitude worse, once you introduce the risk of major radioactive releases into the equation.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – Before America chose to lead any kind of â€œSummit for Democracy,â€ and before â€œAmerica is backâ€ to a new Cold War, the country urgently needs a more serious discussion about its real security prioritiesâ€”and the real challenges it faces.
JAMES W. CARDEN – In his latest book, The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency, American political scientist John Mueller demonstrates that since the end of World War II, American policymakers have developed a kind of addiction to threat inflation by â€œroutinely elevating the problematic to the direâ€¦ focused on problems, or monsters, that essentially didnâ€™t exist.â€ And with regard to the American foreign policy establishmentâ€™s current twin obsessions, Russia and China, Mueller, ever the iconoclast, counsels complacency.
JOHN FEFFER – Despite the enormous economic and political gaps that separate people around the world, we have to somehow join hands across vast differences to leapfrog over the fossil-fuel economy. United we transform or united we fall.
ALYN WARE – By paying lip service to the Fukushima disaster and the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, these games are downplaying the growing danger of nuclear catastrophe.
RAY MCGOVERN – Whether or not Official Washington fully appreciates the gradual â€“ but profound â€“ change in Americaâ€™s triangular relationship with Russia and China over recent decades, what is clear is that the US has made itself into the big loser. The triangle may still be equilateral, but it is now, in effect, two sides against one.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The outbreak of rhetorical hostilities between the White House and the Kremlin has heightened the urgent need for a summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. The spate of mutual denunciations is catnip for mass media and fuel for hardliners in both countries. But for the world at large, under the doomsday shadow of nuclear arsenals brandished by the United States and Russia, the latest developments are terribly ominous.
DAVID BROMWICH – Regardless of which party is in power, US foreign policy since 9/11 has meant a unified government under the masters of war.
WORLD BEYOND WAR – Victoria Nuland, former foreign policy adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, should not be nominated for Undersecretary of State, and if nominated should be rejected by the Senate.
HAL FREEMAN – On January 15, 2020 Vladimir Putin delivered a speech to the Federal Assembly that attracted quite a bit of attention. I was reluctant to write a blog on it. There were many articles that appeared in English which focused on the speech. Yet, the vast majority misrepresented what Putin actually said while missing the speech’s very important main topics.
DMITRI TRENIN – Russian influence is coming to a region near you.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Hereâ€™s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washingtonâ€™s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and theyâ€™ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).
NATYLIE BALDWIN: An interview with Nicolai N. Petro – I conducted an email interview with Nicolai N. Petro, professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island, on the state of democracy in todayâ€™s Russia, after having read his eye-opening 2018 journal article, â€œAre We Reading Russia Right?â€ His full biography is below the interview.
GRAHAM E. FULLER – After some eight years of civil conflict, the situation in Syria is basically reverting to the pre-conflict norm.
GEORGE BEEBE – Today, that old dread of disaster has all but disappeared, as have the systems that helped preclude it. But the actual threat of nuclear catastrophe is much greater than we realize. U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to start addressing the danger.
DR. TIMMON WALLIS – President Trump violated the US Constitution when he unilaterally pulled the United States out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on August 2, 2019.
NATYLIE BALDWIN – Russia’s vast size â€“ the largest country geographically in the world â€“ and its prodigious resources are present for all to see. But now, having overcome its historical issues with poor agricultural policies, it also has the ability to feed itself, a highly educated citizenry, and the industrial infrastructure to support a space program as well as a sophisticated nuclear and defense system. It has the ability to build cars, trucks, and airplanes completely within its own borders. Unlike many countries in the world, it has very little external debt and major gold reserves. It is weathering the sanctions against it better than Iran or Venezuela.
ALICE SLATER – August 6th and 9th mark 74 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where only one nuclear bomb dropped on each city caused the deaths of up to 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 people in Nagasaki. Now, with the US decision to walk away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) negotiated with the Soviet Union, we are once again staring into the abyss of one of the most perilous nuclear challenges since the height of the Cold War.
DOUG MALLOUK – Has the current tide of hysteria against all things Russian risen to the point that European and American policymakers are now attempting an Orwellian rewrite of the history of World War II? This is no mere academic matter of misrepresenting the past but has life-and-death importance for the here and now.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell teamed up to invite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress, they had every reason to expect the April 3 speech to be a big hit with U.S. media and political elites. The establishment is eager to affirm the sanctity of support for the transatlantic military alliance. But huge reverence for NATO is matched by how dangerous NATO has become. NATOâ€™s continual expansion â€” all the way to Russiaâ€™s borders â€” has significantly increased the chances that the worldâ€™s two nuclear superpowers will get into direct military conflict.
SAM NUNN and ERNEST J. MONIZ – Reengagement with Russia is too important to wait for the Mueller probe to end. That means itâ€™s time for Congress to take the lead.
LYLE JEREMY RUBIN – Coming home from the Forever War can be difficult. Not long after returning from Afghanistan as a Marine officer in early 2011, I found myself feeling betrayed by compatriots who worshiped the idea of my service while refusing to confront what that service entailed. There is a chasm of awareness that often exists between veterans and civilians, especially during an age in which an all-volunteer military prosecutes never-ending wars, and in which those Americans who end up experiencing combat prove statistically negligible. It isnâ€™t so much a chasm of awareness as a chasm of memory.
POPULAR RESISTANCE – All of humanity is being put at risk by the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans opposition to dialogue with Russia. The combination of Russophobia and the Democratic Partyâ€™s compulsion to criticize Trumpâ€™s every action, even when he accidentally does something sensible, is preventing the two largest nuclear powers, with the two most advanced militaries in the world, from working together to create a safer and more secure world.
BRANKO MARCETIC – As much of the world celebrates a modest step towards peace in Korea, Western pundits seem to be panicking.
FRED WEIR – Amid the current worries in the West over Russia, the idea that Russia would be cutting its military spending seems counterintuitive to us. But that’s just what Vladimir Putin is doing with his new budget, in which plans for a major infrastructure boost are coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin’s more ambitious defense projects.
PAUL STREET – Given the current state and rate of environmental destruction, the continuing advance in the destructive power of nuclear weapons systems, and the likelihood of pandemics in a warmer and more globalized world, there are good reasons to wonder if a human civilization with historians will exist a century from today. We may well be standing near the â€œend of history,â€ and not the glorious bourgeois-democratic one that Francis Fukuyama imagined with the end of the Cold War.
ROMAN KRZNARIC – Hereâ€™s something that might surprise you: One of the most powerful weapons we can use against far-right authoritarians like President Donald Trump has its roots in ancient philosophy. In particular, we can draw on the idea of carpe diem, or â€œseize the day,â€ a maxim penned by the Roman poet Horace. Let me explain.
NORMAN SOLOMON – More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust. Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, Iâ€™ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, youâ€™ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives. Until now.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Any truthful way to say it will sound worse than ghastly: We live in a world where one person could decide to begin a nuclear war — quickly killing several hundred million people and condemning vast numbers of others to slower painful deaths. Given the macabre insanity of this ongoing situation, most people donâ€™t like to talk about it or even think about it. In that zone of denial, U.S. news media keep detouring around a crucial reality: No matter what you think of Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, they hold the whole world in their hands with a nuclear button.
NORMAN SOLOMON – After Hillary Clintonâ€™s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the partyâ€™s progressive base — personified by Bernie Sanders — was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board. Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject.
NORMAN SOLOMON – For months now, our country has endured the tacit denigration of American ingenuity. Countless statements — from elected officials, activist groups, journalists and many others — have ignored our nationâ€™s superb blend of dazzling high-tech capacities and statecraft mendacities. Fortunately, this week the news about release of illuminating CIA documents by WikiLeaks has begun to give adequate credit where due. And not a moment too soon. For way too long, Russia has been credited with prodigious hacking and undermining of democracy in the United States.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Four weeks into Donald Trumpâ€™s presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that â€œnothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet.â€ The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to â€œthe Trump-Putin axis.â€ Such lines of attack have become routine, citing and stoking fears that the president of the United States is a Kremlin stooge. The meme is on the march — and where it will end, nobody knows. Actually, it could end with a global nuclear holocaust.
ALEX STEFFEN- You canâ€™t understand what Trumpâ€™s doing to America without understanding the â€œCarbon Bubble.â€
DAVID SWANSON – Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed? Here’s why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple “reports” aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. But a closer analysis finds a different reality.
DAVID SWANSON – When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith. Those standards are gone.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 electionâ€”though itâ€™s hardly the slam dunk that agencies like the CIA and U.S. mass media are now claiming. But in any event, this month it has become routine for a lot of progressive organizations and individuals to descend into a dangerous mode of partisan flackery — with troubling consequences.
JONATHAN MARSHALL – If Donald Trump wants to make a decisive and constructive mark on U.S. foreign policy early in his presidency, thereâ€™s no better place to start than by helping to end the brutal war in Ukraine that has claimed some 10,000 lives.
PETER BERGEL – The election is over and Trump won. In a country with a sane election system, he would not have, but we have the Electoral College, so he did. In Joe Hillâ€™s immortal words, â€œDonâ€™t mourn; organize!â€