Preface for a North American AudienceI delivered the following remarks at an anti-NATO conference held in Moscow on May 15, 2012. Unlike other speakers, my paper urged Russians -- despite the expansionist and aggressive activities in Central Asia of the CIA, SOCOM, and NATO -- to cooperate under neutral auspices with like-minded Americans, towards dealing with the related crises of Afghan drug production and drug-financed Salafi jihadism.
Since the conference I have continued to reflect intensely on the battered state of U.S.-Russian relations, and my own slightly utopian response to it. Although the speakers at the conference represented many different viewpoints, they tended all to share a deep anxiety about US intentions towards Russia and the other former states of the USSR. Their anxiety was based on shared knowledge of past American actions and broken promises, of which they (unlike most Americans) are only too aware.
A key example of such broken promises was the assurance that NATO would not take advantage of détente to expand into Eastern Europe. Today of course Poland is a member of NATO, and there are still proposals on the table to expand NATO also into the Ukraine – i.e. the very heart of the former Soviet Union. This push was matched by U.S. joint activities and operations – some of them under NATO auspices – with the army and security forces of Uzbekistan. (These began in 1997 – i.e. in the Clinton administration.)
Some of the conferees I spoke to see Russia has having been threatened for two decades after World War Two by active US and UK plans for a nuclear first strike against Russia, before it could gain nuclear parity. While obviously these plans were never implemented, those I spoke to were sure that the ultras who desired them have never abandoned their desire to humiliate Russia and reduce it to a third-rate power. I cannot refute this concern: my recent book American War Machine also sees a relentless push since World War Two to establish and sustain global American dominance in the world.
Thus the conference speakers were bitterly opposed to Putin’s endorsement, as recently as April 11 of this year, of NATO’s military efforts in Afghanistan. They are particularly incensed by Putin’s agreement this year to the establishment of a NATO base in Ulianovsk, two hundred kilometers east of Moscow in Russia itself. Although the base has been sold to the Russian public as a way to facilitate US withdrawal from Afghanistan, one speaker assured the conference that the Ulianovsk outpost is described in NATO documents as a military base. And they resent Russia’s support of the US-inspired UN sanctions against Iran; they see Iran instead as a natural ally of Russia against American efforts to achieve global domination.