Why NATO Wants to Destroy Putin’s Russia: From Manifest Destiny Book
For this installment of my gratis newsletter I want to share a chapter excerpt from my latest book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. In the first chapters of the book I describe in detail rarely discussed background to how severely and ruthlessly both the Bush and Clinton Administrations during the 1990’s used their CIA-controlled asset, Boris Yeltsin, to open up the fabulously resource rich but money poor Russian Federation after 1989. By the end of that fateful decade, in 1999 internal opposition to the Yeltsin looting of the country was so great that the CIA-backed Russian oligarchs around Yeltsin—Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and others—decided to bring in an unknown new face, one they were convinced would allow them to continue their plunder. He was then 47-year old former Deputy Major of St Petersburg named Vladimir Putin. Within months as Putin won the 2000 Presidential vote on a promise to restore Russia to a stable nation, the oligarchs and their friends in Washington realized they were dealing with a far different character from the pliable Yeltsin. There began NATO’s 18- year campaign to bring down Putin’s Russia. The following is an excerpt from my book, Manifest Destiny dealing with NATO efforts after 2002 to encircle Russia and break Putin, all to date to little success. It gives an essential missing element to the extraordinary demonization of Putin’s Russia over the recent time.
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A Cold War Ended Not
“We gave categorical assurances to Gorbachev back when the Soviet Union existed that if a united Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not be moved eastward.”
—US Ambassador in Moscow, 1987-1991, Jack Matlock
NATO Marches EastFor Washington and the US military–industrial complex, the Cold War in no way ended in 1991 with the dissolving of the Warsaw Pact military alliance, along with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, Washington stepped up efforts to push NATO expansion to the very door of Moscow, taking advantage of the catastrophic economic chaos they had created in the Russian Federation during the Yeltsin era.
In February 1990, during highest-level talks between Moscow and US Secretary of State James Baker III, the US made Mikhail Gorbachev, then President of the Soviet Union, an offer. According to transcripts of meetings in Moscow on February 9, 1990, US Secretary Baker suggested that in exchange for cooperation on unification of Germany, East and West, into NATO, Washington would make “iron-clad guarantees” to Moscow that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward.”ii
As with many of its promises in those days, Washington broke it.
PNAC: Rebuilding America’s Defenses (sic)
named the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) issued an extraordinary report based on the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance prepared by Dick Cheney, then President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense. The members of the PNAC included Cheney, his earlier assistant at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, and other key members of what would be the Bush–Cheney neoconservative presidency.
The PNAC report, financed by the Bradley Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation,iii both linked with the US military industry, was prepared as a military blueprint for the incoming administration. The report called for a most aggressive US military agenda at a time when many were asking if the world even needed NATO following the end of the Cold War and Russian moves to build down her nuclear force. Among PNAC report recommendations were
- Remove Saddam Hussein, by war if necessary.
- Deploy global missile defense “to provide a secure basis for US power projectionaround the world.”
- Control space and cyberspace, and create a “new military service—US SpaceForces—with the mission of space control.”
- Exploit the Pentagon’s “revolution in military affairs,” including moving to high-tech,unmanned weaponry, such as drones.
- Develop a new family of more effective nuclear weapons.
- The US “should seek to establish a network of ‘deployment bases’ or ‘forwardoperating bases’ to increase the reach of current and future forces.” It must move beyond western Europe and northeast Asia to increased permanent military presence in southeast Asia and east Asia “to cope with the rise of China to great-power status.”
- Redirect the US Air Force “toward a global first-strike force.”
- End the Clinton administration’s “devotion” to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty withRussia.
- “Preserve Pax Americana” and a “unipolar 21st century” through securing andexpanding “zones of democratic peace, deter rise of new great-power competitor, defend key regions (Europe, East Asia, Middle East), and exploit transformation of war.”ivVirtually every item of that PNAC report was realized after 2000 during the George W. Bush presidency. Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and the team around Bush senior who had drafted the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 implemented that doctrine through the presidency of Bush’s son. They named it the War on Terror.
Among the members of that high-powered PNAC military think tank were key neoconservative war hawks that would soon serve in key positions in the new administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as run Bush’s War on Terror after September 11, 2001
In addition to Cheney—who, as Bush’s vice president, de facto ran foreign policy, much as George H.W. Bush did for Reagan two decades before—the PNAC members included Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan American who became George W. Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001 and later ambassador to US-occupied Iraq. It included I. Lewis “Scooter’” Libby, who became chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
Also in PNAC was Peter W. Rodman, who in 2001 became the Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. The PNAC also included Donald H. Rumsfeld, soon-to-be secretary of defense for the Bush–Cheney presidency. The PNAC members signing the September 2000 report included Paul D. Wolfowitz as well, as Rumsfeld’s undersecretary of defense. Wolfowitz had authored the controversial 1992 Pentagon Defense Planning Guidance, dubbed the Wolfowitz Doctrine, that called for US “preemptive” wars against any potential challenger to America’s “sole superpower hegemony.”v
NATO’s Fake Democracy PromotionAmong the more interesting little-noticed members of the 2000 PNAC was Vin Weber. Weber, a former Minnesota congressman, was a registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin, then the world’s largest defense conglomerate. At the same time, Weber was also chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US government–financed, “fake democracy” nongovernmental organization (NGO) that was installing chosen pro-NATO regimes, one after the other, in former Communist Eastern Europe.vi
Vin Weber, the person responsible for the NGO that ostensibly brought democracy into former Communist states, was, at the same time, a select member of the PNAC, which drafted the precise military foreign policy of not only the George W. Bush–Cheney administration but also the Obama–Biden administrations. The same Vin Weber was a paid lobbyist for the world’s largest military–industrial conglomerate, Lockheed-Martin. Little wonder that the “democracy” operations of the NED paralleled the eastern expansion of NATO and its military agenda.
That eastern expansion of NATO was a campaign politically led in Washington by Bruce P. Jackson, from 1993 to 2002, a vice president for strategy and planning at Lockheed Martin Corporation, the same company that Vin Weber, NED “democracy promoter” was a paid lobbyist for. Further, Weber and Jackson both sat on the board of the PNAC, the think tank devising the military strategy of the Bush–Cheney presidency. Bruce Jackson also founded something he named the US Committee on NATO in 1996 to promote the expansion of the North Atlantic alliance eastward. Its motto was “Strengthen America, Secure Europe, Defend Values, Expand NATO.”vii
As Lockheed-Martin Vice President Bruce Jackson was busy in the 1990s creating one after another well-funded newspaper front group to promote the NATO and US military–industrial complex agenda for arms buildup. He did that despite the fact that in the 1990s, the former states of the Soviet Union, especially the Russian Federation, were in economic ruin and in no way a threat to NATO.
A cofounder with Lockheed-Martin’s Bruce Jackson of these lobbyist newspaper organizations from the US Committee on NATO was someone named Julie Finley. In 2003, as NATO’s eastward expansion was going forward with dramatic speed, Finley and Jackson together created a successor to the no-longer- needed US Committee on NATO, calling itself the Project for Transitional Democracies, where Jackson was president and Finley chairman of the board. At the same time Finley sat on the Project for Transitional Democracies board, she was a board member and treasurer of Vin Weber’s NED.viii It was a tight-knit circle promoting NATO side by side with Washington’s NGO-led fake democracy in former Communist Eastern Europe.
NATO Moves EastBy 1999, Washington was ready to begin its provocative expansion of NATO eastward, violating those solemn assurances given the Soviet leader Gorbachev in 1990. After almost a decade of Yeltsin’s looting of Russia’s economy, as well as his nonpayment of pensions and other social benefits, the Russian Federation could do little to stop NATO other than protest feebly.
To call the policy reaction of the Yeltsin government to the US-led expansion of NATO to former communist countries of Eastern Europe “confused” would be to put it mildly. In the 1990s, Moscow had shown clear willingness to cooperate with Washington in mutual nuclear arms reduction.
On January 3, 1993, just days before leaving the presidency to incoming President Bill Clinton, US President George H. W. Bush went to Moscow, where he and Boris Yeltsin signed the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, popularly called START II. A skeptical Russian Duma refused to ratify Start II. That same year, Washington proposed a Partnership for Peace (PfP) as a loose diplomatic dialogue initiative and invited Russia to join, which Russia did.
After Washington money and support of the US-tied Russian oligarchs had secured Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996, Washington brazenly escalated its moves to formally expand NATO, secure in the conviction the corrupt Yeltsin would not react. In 1999, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined the NATO organization over the feeble protests of the Yeltsin regime.
For reasons of their financial dependency on US and Western banks and financiers, the circle around Yeltsin tended to favor Washington on most issues. However, the NATO issue was extremely unpopular among the vast majority of Russians, who, rightly, saw no reason a decade after the end of the Soviet Union for NATO to exist at all, let alone move eastward in the direction of Russia’s borders.
Yeltsin himself, at different times, made contradictory statements on the NATO expansion. At one point, he called the NATO expansion “a strategic mistake.” Later, he tried to minimize the danger for Russian security noting, falsely, “the negative consequences of NATO’s enlargement will be reduced to the minimum through the NATO-Russia deal.”ix
For Washington and the US military–industrial complex, it was a huge strategic victory. The eastward expansion of NATO allowed the US to dominate and effectively sabotage the EU’s attempts to create an independent-from-NATO EU defense pillar, partly by locking the former communist states of Eastern Europe into long-term US military equipment purchases as part of NATO, in effect making them US client states.
US Missile “Defense”
NATO’s expansion into the countries of the former communist Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe was by no means the only Washington move that raised alarm bells in Moscow. In December 2000, just weeks after the admission of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into NATO and just days before Donald Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon released a Strategy Report for Europe and NATO. The report contained a section on “Theater Missile Defense.” As an official US Defense Department policy paper, it was worth careful study. It stated:
Theater Missile Defense: As part of broader efforts to enhance the security of the United States, Allied and coalition forces against ballistic missile strikes and to complement our counter-proliferation strategy, the United States is pursuing opportunities for TMD (Theater Missile Defense) cooperation with NATO Partners. The objectives of United States cooperative efforts are to provide effective missile defense for coalition forces…against short to medium range missiles. In its Strategic Concept, NATO reaffirmed the risk posed by the proliferation of NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) weapons and ballistic missiles, and the Alliance reached general agreement on the framework for addressing these threats. As part of NATO’s DCI, Allies agreed to develop Alliance forces that can respond with active and passive defenses from NBC attack. Allies further agreed that TMD is necessary for NATO’s deployed forces.x
Two years earlier Rumsfeld, a former Secretary of Defense and NATO Ambassador, had headed a presidential commission to look into the desirability of reinvigorating the moribund US missile defense effort that had been largely set aside after the collapse of the Soviet nuclear threat. The Rumsfeld Commission vigorously advocated a revived US missile defense program.
Missile defense projects first emerged in the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan proposed developing systems of satellites in space, as well as radar bases as listening stations, and interceptor missiles around the globe, all designed to monitor and shoot down hostile nuclear missiles before they hit their intended targets.
The Reagan program was dubbed “Star Wars” by its critics as science-fiction fantasy, but the Pentagon had officially spent more than $130 billion on developing the system after 1983. President George W. Bush, beginning in 2002, increased that amount significantly to $11 billion a year. That was double the amount allocated during the Clinton years. And another $53 billion for the following five years was budgeted, not even counting the untold billions which were being diverted to missile defense under secret and unaudited Pentagon “black box” budgets.
With even a primitive missile defense shield, the US could theoretically attack Russian missile silos and submarine fleets with far less fear of effective retaliation; the few remaining Russian nuclear missiles would be unable to launch a sufficiently destructive response. That, at least, was the idea behind US missile defense. It was not defensive in any way, rather extraordinarily offensive.
Upturning MADDuring the Cold War, the ability of both sides—the Warsaw Pact and NATO—to mutually annihilate one another had led to a nuclear stalemate dubbed by military strategists as MAD—mutually assured destruction. It was scary but, in a bizarre sense, more stable than what would come later with a unilateral US pursuit of nuclear primacy. MAD was based on the prospect of mutual nuclear annihilation with no decisive advantage for either side; it led to a world in which nuclear war had been “unthinkable.”
Now, after 2000 and the collapse of the threat from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, the US was pursuing the possibility of nuclear war as thinkable. That was really and truly “mad,” as in insane. The first nation with a nuclear missile “defense” (NMD) shield would de facto have “first strike ability.” Quite correctly, Lt. Colonel Bowman, who had himself been director of the US Air Force Missile Defense Program during the Reagan era, called missile defense “the missing link to a First Strike.”xi
For the time being, at the beginning of the Bush–Cheney administration, little was discussed about Rumsfeld’s December 2000 defense policy document proposing a new US ballistic missile defense effort. Moscow watched nervously.
However, in one of its first official moves, in December 2001, just three months after the September 11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the Bush–Cheney administration announced its decision to unilaterally withdraw from the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
On June 13, 2002, as the original treaty was up for renewal, the Bush–Cheney administration let it expire to the alarm of Moscow, who rightly asked what Washington now planned. Washington was now free to aggressively pursue missile defense. In his official statement announcing the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, President George W. Bush lied and claimed it was necessary after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Back then, anything and everything was justified as part of the Washington War on Terror.xii
That ABM Treaty had been signed by Washington and the Soviet Union in 1972 to slow the nuclear arms race. The ABM Treaty barred both powers from deploying national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles and from building the foundation for such a defense. Washington was preparing to launch an incredibly aggressive missile defense shield aimed directly at Russia. The ABM Treaty had to go.
The withdrawal from the ABM Treaty was a critical step if Washington seriously planned to implement a working global network of “missile defense” capability as the key to US nuclear primacy. Moscow protested that, contrary to assurances from Washington that it was aimed at Iran, North Korea, or “rogue terrorists,” the only serious target with remaining nuclear long-range missile delivery capability was the Russian Federation. It was to be several more years before it became clear how aggressive Washington’s missile defense deployments would be.
By 2002, Washington was ready to bring NATO to the borders of Russia in Ukraine and Georgia.
Then, in November 2002, half a year after US revocation of the US–Russia ABM Treaty, Washington and NATO invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to begin formal NATO membership talks, which were culminated in June 2004 at the Istanbul NATO Summit. More than a few people inside the Kremlin, by then under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, were becoming alarmed at possible Washington motives.
Rumsfeld’s CONPLAN 8022
The term “CONPLAN” was Pentagon shorthand for contingency plan. What “contingencies” were Pentagon planners preparing for? A preemptive conventional strike against tiny North Korea or even Iran? Or a full-force preemptive nuclear assault on the last formidable nuclear power not under the thumb of US full- spectrum dominance—Russia?
The two words “global strike” were notable. It was Pentagon-speak for a specific preemptive US military attack that, for the first time since the earliest Cold War days, included a nuclear option. This was directly counter to the traditional US military notion of nuclear weapons being used only in defense to deter attack.xiv
CONPLAN 8022 was unlike traditional Pentagon war plans that had been essentially defensive. Like the aggressive preemptive 2002 Bush Doctrine, CONPLAN 8022 was purely offensive. It could be triggered by the mere “perception” of an imminent threat and be carried out by presidential order without consulting Congress or obtaining its constitutionally required authorization for war. The constitutional “checks and balances” which the US founding fathers had taken such care to embed into the Constitution were gone. The president, on his own, could detonate nuclear war preemptively.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force, boasted to the press that his fleet of B-2 and B-52 bombers were ready to carry out such missions: “We’re now at the point where we are essentially on alert. We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes.” He added the disturbing remark that his bombers, including nuclear, could execute an attack “in half a day or less.”xv
“Global Strike” was the new military term of art to describe a specific preemptive attack. Washington Post military specialist William Arkin remarked, “When military officials refer to global strike, they stress its conventional elements. Surprisingly, however, global strike also includes a nuclear option, which runs
counter to traditional US notions about the defensive role of nuclear weapons.”xvi Most Americans were blissfully ignorant of what their mad politicians and military were playing with.
The Russian air defense was clearly aware of CONPLAN 8022 and hardly delighted. Again, recovering from the economic devastation of the Yeltsin decade of the 1990s, there was little that Russia under the first term of President Vladimir Putin could do other than hope for the best. In 2003 to 2004, Russia was in no way able to match Washington in a new arms race.
Then Washington made a provocation atop all else that Moscow could not digest. For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Washington moved to install pro-Washington and pro-NATO vassal regimes in the Republic of Georgia and in Ukraine, two former parts of the Soviet Union before 1991 and two states directly at the borders of the Russian Federation.
To create such a coup on Moscow’s doorstep, Washington deployed the full resources of its fake democracy apparatus so successful in former Yugoslavia in ousting Slobodan Milošević. This time, Washington and their PR consultants decided to combine the logos of a clenched fist together with a color theme. In Georgia, the chosen color was rose, and in the Ukraine, it was orange—the Rose Revolution and the Orange Revolution, as the Western mainstream media called the US regime-change fake-democracy operations. Moscow called both color revolutions a catastrophe for future Russian security.
i Richard C. Cook, “Militarization and The Moon-Mars Program: Another Wrong Turn in Space?,” Global Research, January 22, 2007. www.globalresearch.ca.
ii Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Russia’s got a point: The US broke a NATO promise, Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-shifrinson-russia-us-nato-deal—20160530-snap-story.html. Washington officials later denied any such assurance was given to Moscow. However, former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock noted in 1995: “We gave categorical assurances to Gorbachev back when the Soviet Union existed that if a united Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not be moved eastward.” Quoted in Philip Zelikow, “NATO Expansion Wasn’t Ruled Out,” New York Times, August 10, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/08/10/opinion/10iht-edzel.t.html.
iii Center for Media and Democracy, Project for the New American Century, Source Watch, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Project_for_the_New_American_Century.
v Anatol Lieven, The Spectre of Wolfowitz, American Review, http://americanreviewmag.com/opinions/The- spectre-of-Wolfowitz.
vii Right Web, Finley, Julie, February 8, 2016, http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/finley_julie/
ix O.N. Mehrotra, Senior Fellow, NATO Eastward Expansion and Russian Security, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), https://www.idsa-india.org/an-nov8-8.html
x United States Department of Defense, Strategy Report for Europe and NATO Excerpt on Ballistic Missile Defenses, December 1, 2000. Washington, D.C.
xi Robert Bowman, Lt. Colonel, US Air Force (Ret.), Statement made during a telephone interview with the author, March 15, 2009.
xii Wade Boese, US Withdraws From ABM Treaty; Global Response Muted, Arms Control Association, July/August 2002, https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_07-08/abmjul_aug02.
xiii Hans M Kristensen, Global Strike: A Chronology of the Pentagon’s New Offensive Strike Plan, Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C., March 2006, accessed in http://www.fas.org/ssp/docs/GlobalStrikeReport.pdf.
xiv William Arkin, Not Just A Last Resort?, May 15, 2005, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/14/AR2005051400071_3.html.
xv Ibid. xvi Ibid.