Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interesting exchange about Iran between Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky

AMY GOODMAN: The documents’ revelations about Iran come just as the Iranian government has agreed to a new round of nuclear talks beginning next month. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cables vindicate the Israeli position that Iran poses a nuclear threat. Netanyahu said, "Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of sixty years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat. In reality, leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history, there is agreement that Iran is the threat. If leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, with can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace," Netanyahu said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also discussed Iran at her news conference in Washington. This is what she said:

HILARY CLINTON: I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern, not only in the United States. What comes through in every meeting that I have- anywhere in the world- is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So, if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors and a serious concern far beyond her region. That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States said, "Please, do this for us!" It happened because countries- once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions- reached the same conclusion that the United States reached: that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. So if anyone reading the stories about these, uh, alleged cables thinks carefully what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with like-minded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Secretary to Hillary Clinton yesterday at a news conference. I wanted to get your comment on Clinton, Netanyahu’s comment, and the fact that Abdullah of Saudi Arabia- the King who is now getting back surgery in the New York- called for the U.S. to attack Iran. Noam Chomsky?

NOAM CHOMSKY: That essentially reinforces what I said before, that the main significance of the cables that are being released so far is what they tell us about Western leadership. So Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion. The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. The results are rather striking. They show the Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel- that’s 80. The second major threat is the United States- that’s 77. Iran is listed as a threat by 10%.

With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority- in fact, 57–say that the region would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. Now, these are not small numbers. 80, 77, say the U.S. and Israel are the major threat. 10 say Iran is the major threat. This may not be reported in the newspapers here- it is in England- but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments, and to the ambassadors. But there is not a word about it anywhere. What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and the Israeli political leadership.

"Foot in the door" by American Goy

Skurwienie in polish, ssucziwijenie(as close a phonetic spelling as I can manage in russian) - loose translation "to make someone else your bitch bitch; verb".

Driving to work the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I overheard on NPR this story: there is a protest planned today against the TSA advanced scanning whatever you want to call it.

The gist of the piece on my radio was this:
NPR: many people are worried about these protests and worry about them slowing down the holiday (thanksgiving, american family holiday) travel. Here's a random person who sees absolutely nothing wrong with the TSA scans.

A (clueless, picked out of a crowd) woman came on and said that she just wants to get home, that this is for our safety, yada yada.

At this moment i turned off the radio, while screaming at it (yes, I do have high blood pressure).

Bought and paid for advert story - on NPR, no less, imagine that (what is the world coming to, oy).

The bad protesters, who slow down the (good, obedient) people's travel plans.

Protests of TSA airport pat-downs, body scanners don't delay Thanksgiving travel, Washington Post, November 25, 2010

The tone of the article's title is congratulatory, euphoric even:

Hooray, the inhuman system grinds on!

Total failure of (isolated, bad, yucky) protesters versus the (abused, exasperated, humble, just doing my job) TSA workers (officers?), to the positive (relief, cheering, clapping) reaction of the normal travellers who just want to get to see their families - stripping naked for weird strangers in uniform or being sexually groped is just part of the "new reality".
Protesters showed up in ones and twos, but not in the predicted battalions.
They held up signs, passed out leaflets damning the government and delayed virtually nobody.


A win for the (groping, death of privacy, Orwellian) democracy!

From New York to Los Angeles - in Atlanta, Kansas City, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis, Seattle and at all three major airports in the Washington region - hundreds of thousands of people launched their holiday travels without falling afoul of airport security or the clamorous minority(...)

Clamorous minority indeed.

Don't mind the brown shirts on the streets, just go along, don't stick out, just fade into the crowd, maybe the people in uniform will not bother me but that young man over there - he looks suspicious to me anyway, maybe I should tell the authorities to grope him.

Don't touch my junk: TSA workers face a tough job, Associated Press, November 23 2010

They've been called molesters, threatened with violence and ordered not to touch "my junk." One woman headbutted a TSA officer who was searching her laptop. Other screeners report being punched, kicked and shoved during pat-downs.

My god, the poor dears.

All they try to do is to condition the American public for further skurwienies (plural of singular skurwienie) - the next, already lined up - humiliations soon to come.

Security officers know the new searches are more invasive but want Thanksgiving travelers to keep in mind they are just doing their jobs to keep people safe.

We are doing it for you.

"We just want the public to understand that we're not perverts," said screener Ricky D. McCoy, who heads a local TSA union for Illinois and Wisconsin.

The handsome, nice men in their black uniforms and fancy runes on their collars were the nicest, good educated, well behaved men with a tough job to do. And sadly, they were also misunderstood by the public...

To be sure, most passengers are docile when going through an airport's security checkpoint, though McCoy said the atmosphere has changed in the past two weeks.

Most Americans are cowardly, honorless, just trying-to-go-about-my-business types, although in the past two weeks strains are showing and it becomes clear that you can only push - admittedly pathetic - people of this nation only so far.

Last week, for instance, McCoy explained the search to a passenger. "The guy looked me straight in the face and said, 'I don't know what I might do to you if you touch me,'" said McCoy.

McCoy stared the man down and told the passenger that touching an officer would be the worst mistake he's ever made because authorities would be called. The search went smoothly.

The authority figure stared the man down, making him feel big and powerful (a feature, a perk, also of the men in black uniforms some 70 odd years ago in a far away land called the 3rd Reich, and also a common occurrence during the 1917 through 1989 when dealing with the 'officers of state security', called variously Cheka, NKVD, MGB, KGB in an exotic, magical place called the Soviet Union).

Then he threatened the man with all the power of the state (in our modern Yoo Ess of Ey, this means a tasering and/or a beatdown by "the servants of the public", the police).

The intimidated man was then humiliated by having his balls and penis fondled, as well as having his ass rubbed.

"About 10 minutes later his wife came back and apologized for what he said," McCoy said.

The wife, terrified that the agent would inform a police officer or his co-workers or boss about the man, and at the least lead to her husband's arrest and legal fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars (at the worst a tasering, beat down and resisting arrest, with a rather large chance of resulting in life changing injuries - broken ribs, bones, face etc), quickly assuaged herself in front of the important man in uniform - a man who could, at his whim, make her husband lose his liberty, his health and cost her thousands of dollars.

The man was not vindictive - the nice young man in uniform was a pleasant fella, and was satisfied first with humiliating her husband and then with her pleading with him for her husband's life.

The new pat-downs began about a month ago, and early on, an officer was assaulted. Since the story made headlines, McCoy said officers at least six times have been punched, pushed or shoved after they explained what would be happening.

I for one am A-OK with strange men touching my penis, fondling my balls and patting my butt.

"We have major problems because basically TSA never educated the public on what was going on," McCoy said. "Our agency pretty much just threw the new search techniques out there."

That was by design.

Informing the public a few weeks before the launch of the groping by uniformed men of your private body parts (pardon - advanced screening technique) would launch a national discussion, would make the media cover it, would make the total strangeness of it all imprint itself on the American psyche.

Launching it with nary a warning placed on the public allowed the rulers to present the public with a fait accompli - also to put an Orwellian twist on the idiot sheep masses.

Of course, you don't have to be molested - you can opt for complete strangers to see you completely naked under a powerful x-ray machine. It's your choice, citizen!

... Or perhaps not, as the "security officers" may and can choose to pat you down "advancedly" anyway - for your own protection, of course.

Opt Out of a Body Scan? Then Brace Yourself, The New York Times, November 1, 2010.

Mr. Delahorne said: “They had one of the T.S.A. staff announcing loudly: ‘Take everything out of your pockets. If you have a wallet, take it out. A handkerchief, out.’ I asked the guy, ‘Can you explain the reason for the new process?’ He said there was nothing new. ‘We have always done this.’

In case you missed it, launching this on the public with no warning was by design.

Oceania was always at war with EastAsia.

The purpose of this whole exercise is skurwienie - ssucziwinije - to make you into a bitch.

To get you ready for the further humiliation to come.

This should be self explanatory to you, because if you are reading this blog I believe you are at least somewhat intelligent, but i will explain just in case.

The foot in the door technique
Pretty decent Wikipedia article on this tried and tested psychological technique,

In an early study, a team of psychologists telephoned housewives in California and asked if the women would answer a few questions about the household products they used. Three days later, the psychologists called again. This time, they asked if they could send five or six men into the house to go through cupboards and storage places as part of a 2-hr enumeration of household products. The investigators found these women were more than twice as likely to agree to the 2-hr request than a group of housewives asked only the larger request.

This is painfully obvious, but let me explain using painfully obvious language so that there is no misunderstanding between us here.

Americans are being trained, like dogs, to conform to their masters' wishes.

First small things are asked - wiggle the tail, roll over, let me fondle your balls and play with your penis.

But once that is done, bigger requests and actions will be expected.

And, like the TSA homosexual gropings (nothing against gay men per se, sorry if I offended you) those new requests, humiliations, skurwienie - will not be advertised beforehand.

They will be sprung upon you, the cowardly, pathetic American public, with no warning whatsoever.

But hark! The making-you-into-a-bitch (obedient, ever ready to serve, unsurprised by any of the master's wishes) is working quite well.

First, there are no protests - and the full force of the state (taser, beatings, jail, fines) will be used to back up the inhuman requests.

Second, if someone is protesting, that someone should not be surprised if the resistance and disdain to their actions come not from the men and women in uniform, but from their fellow citizens standing in line behind them :

Quit causing trouble, asshole!
Just do what they say, we are late already!
What the hell is your problem man, just let him grope you and move on!
Someone arrest that man!

And the skurwienie - ssucziwinije - proceeds apiece...


You know?

An american citizen (written with a small "a" and small "c" on purpose).

Homework for you - research what other countries subject their citizens to either be wholly x-rayed and/or sexually groped all over your body.

The answer might surprise you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

US Plutocrats even dumber than Soviet Gerontocrats

Amazing but true.  The US invasion of Afghanistan is even longer than the Soviet one which lasted nine years and 50 days.  Yesterday, the US beat this sad figure and the end of the US occupation is nowhere in sight.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Road to Hope (R2H) Convoy Reaches Gaza

Road to Hope (R2H) Convoy Reaches Gaza
Despite kidnapping, government obstacles and financial challenges

The Road to Hope Convoy reunited in Egypt after having been split by the Egyptian requirement to charter a ship from Libya to El Arish and the kidnapping of 10 convoy members from Libya to Greece.  3 members of the convoy travelled to Egypt by sea with 30 vehicles and £500,000 of humanitarian aid, 29 convoy members flew in a chartered jet from Libya to El Arish and 3 of the 10 kidnap victims flew from the UK and Greece to Egypt on November 21, 23 and 25, all reuniting on the 25th.  The convoy was subsequently challenged by the Egyptian resistance to the 3 kidnapped convoy members rejoining the convoy, this because they had not flown in with the chartered jet from Libya.  This was not possible however because of their inability to get new passports after having been separated from them against their will.  Importantly, Egypt had approved travel to Gaza for all 3 of these convoy members just days before.

Being unable to negotiate the return of the kidnapped convoy members to the convoy they were compelled to jump into the vans when they proceeded from El Arish Port to Rafah.  When the Egyptian authorities realized that these convoy members were among the entire convoy group at Rafah, they announced that these three would not be able to reach Gaza.  Among these members was Ken O’Keefe, convoy leader and survivor of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara.  With the entire convoy standing firm, the Egyptian authorities reversed their decision after several hours and the entire convoy passed through to Gaza. 

After a demanding and very long 7 week journey the convoy members have been given just over two days to stay in Gaza or risk joining the imprisoned population of Gaza; this is typical of the Egyptian control of the Rafah Crossing.  13members of the convoy were blacklisted by Egypt, including a seventy-year-old children’s entertainer and magician from Wales who was transporting toys for the children of Gaza.  Also blacklisted was a Scottish national who has never left Scotland and has no affiliation with any organization, along with a 19 year-old British national, again with no associations that could be considered prohibitive.  Several survivors of the Mavi Marmara were banned, along with British/Pakistani nationals and previous convoy members.  This trend makes it harder and harder for people to support Palestine and should be considered a part of the overall blockade of Gaza.

The convoy members will do their best to experience as much of Gaza as possible and share with the world the reality of life for people entering four years of a brutal collective punishment policy.  The vehicles and aid will be distributed to various charities and organizations that are doing invaluable work.  Among the aid is medical equipment and medicines, wheel chairs, crutches, toys, clothes footballs and shoes. 

Ken O’Keefe will remain in Gaza for 40 days (or longer if imprisoned) and begin daily video reports focusing on the children of Gaza.  These will be posted at his Facebook and Twitter accounts and his blog.
R2H Facts - The Road to Hope humanitarian aid convoy left London on the 10th of October with £500,000 of humanitarian aid for the besieged people of the Gaza Strip. The convoy travelled with over 100 members and 32 vehicles over 5,000 miles through the UK, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and Egypt.

Ken O’Keefe (Gaza) +970 5977 52919

Thursday, November 25, 2010

US Jarheads "Winning the hearts and minds" in Iraq


Commentary: What this testosterone-poisoned moron clearly does not realize is that these "fucking pussy cowards with their thumbs up their ass" (as he so delicately puts it when talking about, and to, the Iraqi Shia) have comprehensively defeated every single US tactic and strategy in Iraq and have won both the civil war and the war against the occupation.  

It is rather pitiful to listen to this idiot calling them "unmanly" and saying that he can beat up anyone of them when in reality, they have already beaten him and his entire military into a bleeding pulp.

Even more pathetic is he outrage at the fact that one of them smiles.  I would suggest that these Iraqis are true masters of self-control for not rolling around on the ground in hysterical laughter at the sight of this hybrid between Robocop and a Neanderthal thinking that he and his likes would ever rule a country with 5'000 years of history and which has seen invasions far more impressive that Dubya's truly pathetic army.

I can just image how much these Iraqis despise these dumb jarheads...

Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”

by Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly Slapin for Oyate

What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?

Is it because as Americans we have a deep need to believe that the soil we live on and the country on which it is based was founded on integrity and cooperation? This belief would help contradict any feelings of guilt that could haunt us when we look at our role in more recent history in dealing with other indigenous peoples in other countries. If we dare to give up the “myth” we may have to take responsibility for our actions both concerning indigenous peoples of this land as well as those brought to this land in violation of everything that makes us human. The realization of these truths untold might crumble the foundation of what many believe is a true democracy. As good people, can we be strong enough to learn the truths of our collective past? Can we learn from our mistakes? This would be our hope.

We offer these myths and facts to assist students, parents and teachers in thinking critically about this holiday, and deconstructing what we have been taught about the history of this continent and the world. (Note: We have based our “fact” sections in large part on the research, both published and unpublished, that Abenaki scholar Margaret M. Bruchac developed in collaboration with the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation. We thank Marge for her generosity. We thank Doris Seale and Lakota Harden for their support.)

Myth #1: “The First Thanksgiving” occurred in 1621.

Fact: No one knows when the “first” thanksgiving occurred. People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. Indigenous nations all over the world have celebrations of the harvest that come from very old traditions; for Native peoples, thanksgiving comes not once a year, but every day, for all the gifts of life. To refer to the harvest feast of 1621 as “The First Thanksgiving” disappears Indian peoples in the eyes of non-Native children.

Myth #2: The people who came across the ocean on the Mayflower were called Pilgrims.

Fact: The Plimoth settlers did not refer to themselves as “Pilgrims.” Pilgrims are people who travel for religious reasons, such as Muslims who make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Most of those who arrived here from England were religious dissidents who had broken away from the Church of England. They called themselves “Saints”; others called them “Separatists.” Some of the settlers were “Puritans,” dissidents but not separatists who wanted to “purify” the Church. It wasn’t until around the time of the American Revolution that the name “Pilgrims” came to be associated with the Plimoth settlers, and the “Pilgrims” became the symbol of American morality and Christian faith, fortitude, and family. (1)

Myth #3: The colonists came seeking freedom of religion in a new land.

Fact: The colonists were not just innocent refugees from religious persecution. By 1620, hundreds of Native people had already been to England and back, most as captives; so the Plimoth colonists knew full well that the land they were settling on was inhabited. Nevertheless, their belief system taught them that any land that was “unimproved” was “wild” and theirs for the taking; that the people who lived there were roving heathens with no right to the land. Both the Separatists and Puritans were rigid fundamentalists who came here fully intending to take the land away from its Native inhabitants and establish a new nation, their “Holy Kingdom.” The Plimoth colonists were never concerned with “freedom of religion” for anyone but themselves. (2)

Myth #4: When the “Pilgrims” landed, they first stepped foot on “Plymouth Rock.”

Fact: When the colonists landed, they sought out a sandy inlet in which to beach the little shallop that carried them from the Mayflower to the mainland. This shallop would have been smashed to smithereens had they docked at a rock, especially a Rock. Although the Plimoth settlers built their homes just up the hill from the Rock, William Bradford in Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, does not even mention the Rock; writing only that they “unshipped our shallop and drew her on land.” (3) The actual “rock” is a slab of Dedham granodiorite placed there by a receding glacier some 20,000 years ago. It was first referred to in a town surveying record in 1715, almost 100 years after the landing. Since then, the Rock has been moved, cracked in two, pasted together, carved up, chipped apart by tourists, cracked again, and now rests as a memorial to something that never happened. (4)

It’s quite possible that the myth about the “Pilgrims” landing on a “Rock” originated as a reference to the New Testament of the Christian bible, in which Jesus says to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The appeal to these scriptures gives credence to the sanctity of colonization and the divine destiny of the dominant culture. Although the colonists were not dominant then, they behaved as though they were.

Myth #5: The Pilgrims found corn.

Fact: Just a few days after landing, a party of about 16 settlers led by Captain Myles Standish followed a Nauset trail and came upon an iron kettle and a cache of Indian corn buried in the sand. They made off with the corn and returned a few days later with reinforcements. This larger group “found” a larger store of corn, about ten bushels, and took it. They also “found” several graves, and, according to Mourt’s Relation, “brought sundry of the prettiest things away” from a child’s grave and then covered up the corpse. They also “found” two Indian dwellings and “some of the best things we took away with us.” (5) There is no record that restitution was ever made for the stolen corn, and the Wampanoag did not soon forget the colonists’ ransacking of Indian graves. (6)

Myth #6: Samoset appeared out of nowhere, and along with Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive and joined them at “The First Thanksgiving.”

Fact: Samoset, an eastern Abenaki chief, was the first to contact the Plimoth colonists. He was investigating the settlement to gather information and report to Massasoit, the head sachem in the Wampanoag territory. In his hand, Samoset carried two arrows: one blunt and one pointed. The question to the settlers was: are you friend or foe? Samoset brought Tisquantum (Squanto), one of the few survivors of the original Wampanoag village of Pawtuxet, to meet the English and keep an eye on them. Tisquantum had been taken captive by English captains several years earlier, and both he and Samoset spoke English. Tisquantum agreed to live among the colonists and serve as a translator. Massasoit also sent Hobbamock and his family to live near the colony to keep an eye on the settlement and also to watch Tisquantum, whom Massasoit did not trust. The Wampanoag oral tradition says that Massasoit ordered Tisquantum killed after he tried to stir up the English against the Wampanoag. Massasoit himself lost face after his years of dealing with the English only led to warfare and land grabs. Tisquantum is viewed by Wampanoag people as a traitor, for his scheming against other Native people for his own gain. Massasoit is viewed as a wise and generous leader whose affection for the English may have led him to be too tolerant of their ways. (7)

Myth #7: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate the First Thanksgiving.

Fact: According to oral accounts from the Wampanoag people, when the Native people nearby first heard the gunshots of the hunting colonists, they thought that the colonists were preparing for war and that Massasoit needed to be informed. When Massasoit showed up with 90 men and no women or children, it can be assumed that he was being cautious. When he saw there was a party going on, his men then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. (8)

In addition, both the Wampanoag and the English settlers were long familiar with harvest celebrations. Long before the Europeans set foot on these shores, Native peoples gave thanks every day for all the gifts of life, and held thanksgiving celebrations and giveaways at certain times of the year. The Europeans also had days of thanksgiving, marked by religious services. So the coming together of two peoples to share food and company was not entirely a foreign thing for either. But the visit that by all accounts lasted three days was most likely one of a series of political meetings to discuss and secure a military alliance. Neither side totally trusted the other: The Europeans considered the Wampanoag soulless heathens and instruments of the devil, and the Wampanoag had seen the Europeans steal their seed corn and rob their graves. In any event, neither the Wampanoag nor the Europeans referred to this feast/meeting as “Thanksgiving.” (9)

Myth #8: The Pilgrims provided the food for their Indian friends.

Fact: It is known that when Massasoit showed up with 90 men and saw there was a party going on, they then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. Though the details of this event have become clouded in secular mythology, judging by the inability of the settlers to provide for themselves at this time and Edward Winslow’s letter of 1622 (10), it is most likely that Massasoit and his people provided most of the food for this “historic” meal. (11)

Myth #9: The Pilgrims and Indians feasted on turkey, potatoes, berries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and popcorn.

Fact: Both written and oral evidence show that what was actually consumed at the harvest festival in 1621 included venison (since Massasoit and his people brought five deer), wild fowl, and quite possibly nasaump—dried corn pounded and boiled into a thick porridge, and pompion—cooked, mashed pumpkin. Among the other food that would have been available, fresh fruits such as plums, grapes, berries and melons would have been out of season. It would have been too cold to dig for clams or fish for eels or small fish. There were no boats to fish for lobsters in rough water that was about 60 fathoms deep. There was not enough of the barley crop to make a batch of beer, nor was there a wheat crop. Potatoes and sweet potatoes didn’t get from the south up to New England until the 18th century, nor did sweet corn. Cranberries would have been too tart to eat without sugar to sweeten them, and that’s probably why they wouldn’t have had pumpkin pie, either. Since the corn of the time could not be successfully popped, there was no popcorn. (12)

Myth #10: The Pilgrims and Indians became great friends.

Fact: A mere generation later, the balance of power had shifted so enormously and the theft of land by the European settlers had become so egregious that the Wampanoag were forced into battle. In 1637, English soldiers massacred some 700 Pequot men, women and children at Mystic Fort, burning many of them alive in their homes and shooting those who fled. The colony of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a day of thanksgiving commemorating the massacre. By 1675, there were some 50,000 colonists in the place they had named “New England.” That year, Metacom, a son of Massasoit, one of the first whose generosity had saved the lives of the starving settlers, led a rebellion against them. By the end of the conflict known as “King Philip’s War,” most of the Indian peoples of the Northeast region had been either completely wiped out, sold into slavery, or had fled for safety into Canada. Shortly after Metacom’s death, Plimoth Colony declared a day of thanksgiving for the English victory over the Indians. (13)

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.

Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.

(1) Correspondence with Abenaki scholar Margaret M. Bruchac. See also Plimoth Plantation, “A Key to Historical and Museum Terms,” www.plimoth.org/education/field_trips/ft-terms.htm; “Who Were the Pilgrims?” www.plimoth.org/library/whowere.htm.

(2) See Note 1.

(3) See William Bradford’s Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, p. 19.

(4) Conversation with Douglas Frink, Archaeology Consulting Team, Inc. See also Plimoth Plantation, “The Adventures of Plimoth Rock,” www.plimoth.org/library/plymrock.htm.

(5) See William Bradford’s Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, p. 28.

(6) See “The Saints Come Sailing In,” in Dorothy W. Davids and Ruth A. Gudinas, “Thanksgiving: A New Perspective (and its Implications in the Classroom)” in Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective, pp. 70-71.

(7) Correspondence with Margaret M. Bruchac about the relationship Samoset, Tisquantum, Hobbamock, and Massasoit. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving.

(8) See Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, ibid.

(9) For a description of how the European settlers regarded the Wampanoag, as well as evidence of their theft of seed corn and funerary objects, see Mourt’s Relation. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, ibid.

(10) See Edward Winslow, Good Newes from New England: A True Relation of Things Very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plimoth in New England.

(11) See Duane Champagne, Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit: Visible Ink (1994), pp. 81-82; and Chuck Larsen, op. cit., p. 51.

(12) See Plimoth Plantation, “No Popcorn!,” www.plimoth.org/library/thanksgiving/nopopc.htm, and “A First Thanksgiving Dinner for Today,” www.plimoth.org/library/thanksgiving/afirst.htm. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, op. cit.

(13) See “King Philip Cries Out for Revenge,” pp. 43-45; and “There Are Many Thanksgiving Stories to Tell,” pp. 49-52, in Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, op. cit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.S. Recruits Russia As Junior Partner To Maintain Global Dominance

This past weekend the world witnessed an event that until recently would have seemed inconceivable: A Russian head of state attended a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

President Dmitry Medvedev participated in the NATO-Russia Council meeting during the second day of the summit in Lisbon, Portugal on November 20 with the heads of state of NATO's 28 member states.

The national leaders signed a Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges, agreed on resuming joint - NATO and Russian - theater missile defense cooperation and "reconfirmed a shared determination to assist in the stabilisation of Afghanistan and the whole region." [1]

That is, Russia's Medvedev endorsed NATO's agenda without adding anything of substance to it and without asking anything by way of a quid pro quo.

The joint declaration states that "we have embarked on a new stage of cooperation towards a true strategic partnership" and "that the security of all states in the Euro-Atlantic community is indivisible, and that the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined." [2] It also applauds Russia - referred to in the third person - for "facilitating railway transit of non-lethal ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] goods" through its territory for the war in Afghanistan and for "resuming its support to NATO’s operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea." The summit declaration referred to Operation Active Endeavor, now in its tenth year, as an Article 5 mission; that is, as part of the first and to date only activation of NATO's collective military assistance provision.

On November 23 Russia signed a pact with NATO to allow "NATO to ship armored vehicles and other equipment from the region [the greater Afghan war theater] back to Europe using the same route via Central Asia and Russia." [3]

The day before the NATO-Russia Council meeting, where Russia was outnumbered 28-1, U.S. President Obama met privately with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Russia’s Public Enemy No. 1 as military analyst Alexander Golts described him on the occasion.

Saakashvili, who was educated in the U.S. on a State Department fellowship and came to power through a U.S.-sponsored coup in 2003 which its perpetrators termed the Rose Revolution, ordered sniper and mortar attacks on South Ossetia on August 1, 2008, killing six people including a Russian peacekeeper. The day after the Immediate Response 2008 NATO war games led by 1,000 U.S. troops had ended and with American soldiers and military equipment still in Georgia.

Six days later, as the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was underway in Beijing, Georgia launched an all-out assault on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali.

By the time Russian reinforcements beat back the Georgian offensive and the war ended five days after it had begun, 64 Russian service members had been killed and 323 wounded. The U.S. provided military transport planes to bring 2,000 Georgian troops back from Iraq for the fighting.

Shortly afterward the U.S. rewarded Georgia with the signing of the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership and NATO formed the NATO-Georgia Commission, out of which an individually tailored Annual National Program(me) was created to further Georgia's integration into the North Atlantic Alliance.

The declaration issued by the recently concluded NATO summit in Portugal includes:

"At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO and we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. We will foster political dialogue and practical cooperation with Georgia, including through the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Programme. We strongly encourage and actively support Georgia’s continued implementation of all necessary reforms...in order to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We welcome the recent opening of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia which will help in maximising our assistance and support for the country’s reform efforts. We welcome Georgia’s important contributions to NATO operations, in particular to ISAF. We reiterate our continued support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders....We continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of
Georgia as independent states."

During the opening hours of the Georgian-Russian war of 2008 Mikheil Saakashvili was reported to have held "several phone talks including consultations with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer." [4]

That almost 400 Russian soldiers had been killed and wounded by Georgian military forces trained, equipped and supported by the U.S. and NATO before, during and since the war doesn't appear to mean much to President Medvedev. That his 28 fellow heads of state in the NATO-Russia Council had unanimously supported the perpetrator of the 2008 war while demanding Russia humiliate itself by rescinding its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - and withdrawing its troops, thereby leaving both states easy prey for Georgia's next assault - also didn't take the fixed smile off Medvedev's face during his huddling with President Obama and 27 other NATO leaders this past Saturday.

The autumn session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Warsaw, Poland ending three days before the NATO summit began passed a resolution referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "occupied territories." Also in advance of the summit, interim president of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, who came to his position on the back of the latest "color" uprising in a former Soviet republic - the so-called Twitter Revolution of last year - sent a telegram to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen calling on the U.S.-dominated military alliance for assistance in ousting 1,500 Russian peacekeepers from Transdniester (Pridnestrovie), which refused to join an independent Moldova (and be absorbed into Romania, now a NATO member) as the Soviet Union was dissolving in 1990.

But the legendary "reset" button has been pushed by the Obama administration and now Russia has a new "strategic partner."

Medvedev had only been president of Russia for five months when the war with Georgia broke out and five months after it ended George W. Bush was no longer president of the United States.

Obama and Medvedev, it has been observed, are their respective nations' first fully post-Cold War heads of state. Medvedev was 26 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Obama was 30.

However, Obama's vice president, Joseph Biden, was the first American official to visit Georgia after the war in his then-position of chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, pledged to work with the George W. Bush administration to secure $1 billion in emergency aid for the Saakashvili government, and upon returning to Washington stated:

"I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism....[T]he continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region.”

Five days after leaving Georgia - on August 23 - Biden was announced as Barack Obama's running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

Three weeks after taking up his current post as vice president on January 20, Biden spoke of plans to "press the reset button" with Russia without in any manner adjusting his position on the South Caucasus or any other issue: Russia had invaded Georgia. Georgia had not attacked South Ossetia. Russian actions were characterized as a belated confirmation of Cold War fears of Russian troops and tanks pouring over the territory of a defenseless nation whose only crime was to cherish freedom and democratic values...and so on.

When Obama and Biden moved into the White House in 2009 Obama had only served two-thirds of his first term in the U.S. Senate, where he had been catapulted from the Illinois state legislature in 2005. Biden had served six terms - 36 years - in the Senate and was the outgoing chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Biden, not Obama and the equally foreign policy-challenged Hillary Clinton at the Department of State, is the current administration's international relations veteran and grey eminence.

Though Obama and Clinton have learned to parrot Biden's position on not only the South Caucasus but on relations with Russia as a whole.

Last month Clinton met with a delegation led by Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri at the second annual United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership meeting in Washington, D.C. and repeated the accusation that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are "occupied territories," a charge she made in July while meeting with fellow former short-term New Yorker Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi.

On October 6 she stated: "We continue to call on Russia to end its occupation of Georgian territory, withdraw its forces and abide by its other commitments under the 2008 cease-fire agreements."

More broadly, she added:

"The United States remains committed to Georgia's aspirations for membership in NATO, as reflected in the Alliance's decisions in Bucharest and Strasbourg-Kehl. We strongly support Georgia's efforts related to its Annual National Program, which promotes defence reform and guides cooperation with NATO. And we continue to support Georgia's efforts on defence reform and improving defence capabilities, including NATO interoperability and Georgia's contributions to ISAF operations in Afghanistan."

Her comments on assisting the upgrading of Georgia's military capability led "some observers to surmise that Washington may consider selectively relaxing the undeclared embargo on equipping and training Georgia for defense of the homeland. In that case, interoperability might extend beyond counterinsurgency in expeditionary operations, and start encompassing national defense. The latter would not only answer to Georgia’s own requirements but also enhance its credentials for eventual NATO membership, in line with NATO’s core mission." [5]

The government of Abkhazia responded by challenging Clinton to label Afghanistan and Iraq "American-occupied territories."

Russian President Medvedev was silent on the subject.

As to the ultimate purpose of the U.S. training Georgia's armed forces for deployment to Afghanistan, in September Saakashvili told cadets at a military base in Georgia that "someone may say: 'we have so many problems, our territories are occupied and there is no time now for going somewhere else to fight.' But because of these very same problems that we have, we need huge combat experience...and that [Afghan mission] is a unique combat and war school." [6]

As noted earlier, Obama set aside time on the first day of last week's NATO summit in Portugal to meet privately with his fellow Columbia University alumnus Saakashvili.

Between Clinton's meeting with Georgia's prime minister and Obama's with its president, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley sided with military ally Japan on what Washington also considers to be "occupied territory," Russia's Kuril Islands. On November 2 he affirmed "We do back Japan regarding the Northern Territories," the Japanese term for the islands.

Russia's Medvedev has made an odd choice of partners. Washington has consistently supported Japan, with which it is bound by the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, and Georgia, which it is committed to under the terms of the 2009 United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, against Russia in regards to territorial disputes and openly accuses Russia of occupying territory belonging to two of its major military allies.

There is no reciprocity in Russian-American relations.

Even in the transition from the former Bush administration's interceptor missile plans for Eastern Europe, the new Phased Adaptive Approach of current administration - described by Obama himself in September of 2009 as providing "stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies" than his predecessor's would have - will, as formalized by last week's NATO summit declaration, be far broader than 10 ground-based midcourse missiles in Poland.

That NATO chief Rasmussen has repeatedly advocated - and since the Lisbon summit has secured - a U.S.-controlled interceptor missile system over all of Europe as the continent is allegedly threatened because "30 countries have or are aspiring to get missile technology" without ever listing which nations he's speaking of or being pressed to do so by the news media is reprehensible. Four days before the summit began he told journalists in Brussels: "There is no reason to name specific countries, because there are already a lot of them." That the Russian government allows such statements to go unchallenged is criminal.

This May the Pentagon moved the first interceptor missiles into Europe by installing a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 battery in Poland as close to Russia's border - 35 miles - as possible. [7]

The day before the NATO summit in Lisbon, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich revealed that the U.S. will start rotating F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters and Hercules military transport planes to Poland in 2013. The U.S. provided Poland with 48 F-16s between 2006 and 2008, the first deployment of the planes to a former member of the Warsaw Pact and the largest arms purchase in Poland's history. (Russia's Black Sea neighbors Romania and Bulgaria were next in line to purchase F-16 warplanes until the current financial crisis hit Europe.)

On November 16 the U.S. delivered the third of five C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft to Poland. "The C-130 aircraft are Poland's biggest transport planes. Polish crews used the planes to fly to Spain, Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan." [8]

U.S. F-15C Eagle aerial combat fighters are operating out of the Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania until the end of the year for the now six-year-old NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, and earlier this month they participated in a Baltic Region Training Event with NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft at the Siauliai Air Base.

Fellow Baltic state Estonia recently opened the newly expanded and modernized Amari Air Base for use by NATO and U.S. warplanes. [9]

The U.S. has gained access to and has been employing eight military bases, including three air bases, in Bulgaria and Romania over the past five years.

This February Romania and Bulgaria were prevailed upon by the U.S. to provide missile shield installations for the Pentagon's - and now NATO's - interceptor missile system, in the case of Romania a land-based adaptation of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) as the 1936 Montreux Convention prohibits the transit of non-Black Sea nations' warships over 45,000 tons through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles into the sea and as such effectively excludes U.S. Aegis class destroyers and cruisers equipped with SM-3s. There are no comparable restrictions in the Baltic Sea region where the Pentagon is also going to station land-based SM-3s in Poland.

The U.S. and its NATO allies in Europe have yet to ratify the 1999 Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty - insisting, without legal foundation, on linkage with the demand for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping contingents in Transdniester, Abkhazia and South Ossetia - and the U.S. and NATO are in direct violation of it through establishing a permanent (in all but name) military presence in several Eastern European countries. [11]

The Pentagon and NATO resumed annual Sea Breeze exercises in Ukraine this July, presided over by commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, after last year's exercise was cancelled because of domestic opposition, particularly in the Crimea where the exercises are held near the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

In former Soviet Central Asia, the U.S. State Department signed a military transit agreement with Kazakhstan and the Defense Department a cooperation agreement with Uzbekistan in the past two weeks. The U.S. and NATO conduct ongoing operations out of bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and, though not publicly acknowledged, Turkmenistan. Earlier this year reports surfaced of plans for the Pentagon to construct new multi-million-dollar training bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The U.S. and NATO are also expanding military exercises, deployments and facilities in the Arctic Ocean in concert against their only rival in the region, Russia. [12]

In return for the steadily advancing deployment of U.S. military personnel and infrastructure to Russia's borders, the Medvedev administration is expanding its accommodation of Pentagon and NATO operations in Central and South Asia by providing ever-broader transit and overflight rights for U.S. and NATO troops and equipment headed to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Last week the U.S. secured a port in Lithuania as the latest transit hub for NATO's Northern Distribution Network to bring supplies and equipment by rail across Russia for the war in Afghanistan. Estonia and Latvia already supply docking facilities for goods coming to the Baltic Sea.

Two years ago Russia granted Germany permission to transit military equipment bound for the German military base in Termez, Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan. Several years before Russian passengers were forced off a train to provide seats for German troops. German troops in Russia.

After assigning its first troops to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan recently, on November 12 Kazakhstan signed an agreement with the U.S. that allows American military aircraft to fly across the North Pole and over Kazakhstan to supply U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization and along with Russia and China a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It also shares borders with China and Russia. [13]

Last August U.S. and British troops led a NATO military exercise, Steppe Eagle 2010, in the country.

The new agreement permits the U.S. to send weapons over Kazakh airspace for the first time.

Between the Arctic Ocean and Kazakhstan lies Russia, which had to - and did - agree to the Pentagon flying military aircraft over its territory.

"The new arrangement will also substitute for a previous one under which U.S. military cargo planes flew combat troops and materiel to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they refueled, and from there to air bases in Kuwait and other destinations in the Persian Gulf, circumventing Iran which forbids American military overflights, and then either directly into the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or to Pakistan." [14] Or from Germany over Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and western Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, where cargo was transshipped across Tajikistan to Afghanistan. The Northern Distribution Network also includes sea-land-sea shipments through the South Caucasus: Georgia and Azerbaijan on the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, respectively. Decidedly circuitous - and expensive - routes.

Flying over Russia and Kazakhstan allows U.S. military transport planes to go directly from Alaska to Afghanistan without refueling.

"The new route over the North Pole to Bagram Air Base, the military’s main air hub in Afghanistan, will allow troops to fly direct from the United States in a little more than 12 hours.” [15]

Last April Michael McFaul, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and senior director of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the United States National Security Council, said the agreement would also "allow troops to fly directly from the United States over the North Pole to the region” in addition to supplies and equipment. “This will save money; it will save time in terms of moving our troops and supplies needed into the theater." [16]

Additionally, "Chartered passenger jets could leave from Chicago and fly over the North Pole to deliver troops.” [17]

Presidents Obama and Medvedev prepared the way for the recent agreement in a verbal commitment on polar overflights in the summer of 2009. "The White House said at the time that the accord would set the stage for 4,500 polar-route flights a year over Russia and Kazakhstan, saving the U.S. government $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs." [18]

The Obama administration has approved a $708 billion defense budget for next year - the largest in constant dollars since 1946 and over $2,300 for every man, woman and child in the United States - and Russia is kind enough to save it $133 million on the war in Afghanistan. The Medvedev government is even more obliging considering that two of three armed groups the U.S. and NATO are laying waste to Afghanistan in the name of fighting are those of Jalaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who Washington - and its then-CIA deputy director, now defense secretary Robert Gates - funded and armed to kill young Russian and other Soviet conscripts in the 1980s.

Soon U.S. and NATO planes, troops and equipment will criss-cross Russia from the west, east and north. Russia has made a new friend, has found a new "strategic partner," at the expense of its traditional allies, its national interests and its self-respect alike.

The Russian position on regional and international developments has changed radically since then-President Vladimir Putin addressed the Munich Security Conference in February of 2007 and said:

"What then is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it describes a scenario in which there is one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And this is pernicious, not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. And this, certainly, has nothing in common with democracy. Because democracy is the power of the majority in the light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

"Today we are witnessing an almost unrestrained hyper-use of force - military force - in international relations, a force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts."

Two years before, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held its fifth annual heads of state summit in Kazakhstan at which India, Pakistan and Iran (in addition to Mongolia) were welcomed as observer nations. Addressing the attendees of those nations and the six members of the SCO - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - the host country's President Nursultan Nazarbayev said they represented half of humanity. [19]

After the summit nations as diverse as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal and even NATO member Turkey expressed interest in joining or affiliating with the SCO.

In reference to the SCO and to the RIC (Russia, China, India) and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, India) formats, discussions of a new multipolar world order, of a just, rational and peaceful world, and of a new international security architecture were heard in Eurasia and throughout the world.

When in 2007 Putin warned against the unrestrained use of military force in the world, his comments came three years after the U.S. and its NATO allies had launched three wars in less than four years: In Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. His speech was condemned in the West, after which Putin was labeled a new czar, commissar and so forth, but was welcomed in most of the rest of the world, even being translated and posted on the website of the Turkish armed forces.

Russia is uniquely positioned to rally the world against the post-Cold War unipolar dominance of what current U.S. president Obama referred to as - without irony, though under ironic circumstances: while receiving the Nobel Peace Prize - the world's sole military superpower. [20]

Because of Russia's size and location. Because of its vast natural resources, including oil, natural gas and uranium; its military technology; its possession of the only nuclear deterrent and triad of delivery systems that matches those of the U.S. Because of its history: Its predecessor state the Soviet Union had supported independence and national liberation movements in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America for 70 years.

Calls from Russia for, not a revival of a bipolar, but the creation of a multipolar world had to be taken seriously.

After the financial crisis that began on Wall Street in 2008 and soon engulfed the world, Russia suffered several serious blows, affecting its two main export products: Energy and arms.

The price of oil and natural gas plummeted precipitately, which in turn led to a decrease in foreign arms orders from oil- and gas-producing nations and a substantial depletion of Russia's previously formidable gold and foreign exchange reserves. NATO expansion into Eastern Europe has also led new member states and candidates to discontinue the acquisition of military equipment made, designed and licensed by Russia in favor of U.S. and Western European arms, and deals struck during President Obama's recent visit to India have advanced the displacement of Russia as that Asian giant's main weapons provider.

Nevertheless, the abrupt about-face in Russia's foreign policy is not solely attributable to nor can it be excused by the above-cited developments.

In addition to unconscionably dragging out the completion of the nuclear power plant it has been building in Bushehr after draining Iran of substantial sums of money, in June of this year Russia joined China in voting for the harshest sanctions yet against Iran in the United Nations Security Council. The measures would have stronger, no doubt, without Russian and Chinese efforts to soften them, but both countries had the option of voting against and if need be vetoing them.

Claiming the very sanctions it had supported as the rationale, in September President Medvedev signed a decree which banned the delivery of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran - a $1 billion dollar package for which Iran had already paid $166.8 million - and other weapons including tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, ships and missile systems.

At several decisive points in the middle of this decade key Russian officials - including the country's foreign and defense ministers and top military commanders - warned against military attacks against Iran. It is to be assumed that such public pronouncements as well as back channel communications may well have stayed the hand of the U.S., Israel and perhaps both.

However, with the Russian political leadership's turn toward the U.S, and NATO, the prospects of an attack against Iran and all the catastrophic - perhaps cataclysmic - consequences it will unavoidably bring in its wake is heightened dramatically. To an extent that the conflagrations in Afghanistan and Iraq will seem mild in comparison.

In the past year and a half the only military-security formation Russia is a member of - the Collective Security Treaty Organization - has been weakened, perhaps fatally, with Belarus and Uzbekistan drawing back from commitments and joint exercises and the remaining members - Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - being courted and in varying degrees won over by the U.S. and NATO.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, once a model and a source of inspiration for the world, has degenerated into an ineffectual forum, with this year's summit in Uzbekistan a non-event where Russia's Medvedev stated that "Countries which have difficulties with their legal status cannot claim SCO membership." An allusion to Iran and the sanctions Medvedev's government had voted for two days before.

In February of this year Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted Madeleine Albright and her NATO Group of Experts at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations as part of a tour in preparation for presenting a report on the military bloc's new Strategic Concept.

A leading Russian think tank, the Institute of Contemporary Development, issued a report whose contents, divulged in early September, detailed prospects for Russia collaborating more closely with NATO, even discussing the nation joining the Alliance. President Medvedev is the chairman of the institute's supervisory board.

Two days after the NATO summit in Lisbon ended, Eduard Shevardnadze, former president of Georgia ousted by the "Rose Revolution" and the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union, told one of his nation's newsweeklies that "Russia will become a NATO member soon." [21]

In an analysis published three days before the Lisbon summit, Victor Kovalev, a corresponding member of Russia's Military Science Academy, warned of what confronts Russia as it intensifies its collaboration with NATO:

"The NATO summit which will convene in Lisbon on November 19-20 will adopt the alliance's new strategic concept switching NATO from regional defense to global-scale missions. In practice, the reform will institutionalize the West's victory in the Cold World War III. The already visible results of the victory include the ongoing departure from the Yalta-Potsdam system and the downscaling of the role played by the UN – or at least by the UN Security Council – in international relations."

"The new world order built as we watch on the ruins of the Yalta-Potsdam system automatically energizes a range of negative global processes and is prone with new wars or major regional conflicts. At the moment, the situation in the Far East already appears similar to that in Europe on the eve of World War II." This week's developments on the Korean peninsula bear out the contention.

"Under the circumstances, Russia's priority should be to avoid being dragged into the epicenter of the coming collapse. Hoping to get rid of competitors in the post-capitalist world and to enforce a 'final solution' of the Russian problem, the West is luring Russia into this very epicenter." [22]

The author also pointed out that by assisting the U.S. and NATO in their plans for Eurasia and much of the rest of the world Russia risks alienating the Muslim world. Approximately 20 percent of Russians are Muslims or of Muslim religious background and in 2005 Russia became a permanent observer at the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Russia will also "be neutralized during the planned attack against Iran," though still be affected by whatever broader consequences such an action would entail.

It will expend material resources and political capital on the flagging and failing war in Afghanistan which has already contributed to an explosion in opium production that has led to 2.5 million heroin addicts and 30-40,000 annual overdoses in Russia according to the nation's Federal Drug Control Service.

The Russian analyst also stated that increased cooperation with NATO would lead to Russia Moscow "see[ing] its promising dialog with Beijing suspended as China would end up fully encircled" by a U.S.-created Asian NATO.

Russia will also be expected to distance itself from historical allies in the Arab world like Syria and Libya and to abandon burgeoning relations with Latin American partners like Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Nicaragua and Venezuela have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which none of Russia's partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have yet to do. The U.S. and its NATO allies - President Medvedev's new friends - are adamant in branding the two new nations Russian-occupied Georgian territories. Moscow will be punishing its real friends and rewarding its competitors and adversaries.

Africa, where during the Soviet period Russia was the continent's main political and economic partner, will have to be acknowledged as the exclusive province of the Pentagon's Africa Command.

The analyst also warned that Western preconditions for integrating into NATO include the resolution of territorial disputes and could lead to demands to cede the Kuril Islands and even Sakhalin to Japan. That Russia would have to abandon claims in the Arctic Ocean in favor of NATO members the U.S., Canada, Denmark (through Greenland) and Norway, and "as a minimal concession" would have "to renounce its claim to the Lomonosov Ridge."

Russia might also be confronted with territorial claims by Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Georgia and Ukraine and be compelled to make concessions in the Caspian Sea. The Kaliningrad exclave is not free from potential claims by Poland, Lithuania and even Germany.
It has been a long time since words like multipolar world have been mouthed by Russian officials. Expressions like a just, rational and peaceful world are as rarely heard.

By aligning itself with the U.S. and NATO, Russia has nothing to gain and everything to lose.

1) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, November 20, 2010
2) NATO-Russia Council Joint Statement
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, November 20, 2010
3) Xinhua News Agency, November 23, 2010
4) Russia Today, December 31, 2008
5) Jamestown Foundation, October 8, 2010
6) Civil Georgia, September 13, 2010
7) Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
Stop NATO, May 29, 2010
8) Xinhua News Agency, November 17, 2010
9) Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars
Stop NATO, September 30, 2010
Pentagon Confronts Russia In The Baltic Sea
Stop NATO, January 28, 2010
10) U.S. And NATO Accelerate Military Build-Up In Black Sea Region
Stop NATO, May 20, 2010
Romania: U.S. Expands Missile Shield Into Black Sea
Stop NATO, February 6, 2010
11) Pentagon Forges NATO Proxy Armies In Eastern Europe
Stop NATO, October 30, 2010
U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 23, 2010
12) Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
Stop NATO, August 29, 2010
Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare
Stop NATO, December 1, 2009
NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
13) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
14) Ibid
15) New York Times, April 12, 2010
16) Washington Post, April 12, 2010
17) Air Force Times, April 12, 2010
18) Central Asia Newswire, November 15, 2010
19) The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World
Stop NATO, May 21, 2009
20) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
21) Trend News Agency, November 22, 2010
22) Victor Kovalev, The Cost Russia Will Pay for NATO Rapprochement
Strategic Culture Foundation, November 16, 2010