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JFK: In Cannes, Oliver Stone puts the spotlight on the US establishment for the murder of JFK

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The Cannes Film Festival awarded its Golden Palm award on Saturday which went to Titane, but there is another movie I want to talk about. “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass” by director Oliver Stone premiered on the beach in Cannes last week and it has got to be the most memorable and most important movie that the Cannes Film Festival saw this year.

Stone got on stage and told the quick story: the JFK assassination investigation files are still being concealed by the CIA and the FBI; Donald Trump was supposed to reveal the files last year, but he peddled back last minute, and the mainstream media have not covered Stone’s investigation contained in the documentary. “They were telling me I am making things up”, Stone shared with us on the beach in Cannes. He also voiced his frustration at the silence and lack of discussion of the JFK’s assassination.

Half an hour into the movie, it became apparent why the mainstream media are not covering Stone’s investigation – he delivers a devastating critique of the US establishment for the murder of JFK and the coverup. Stone’s theory supported by facts is that the CIA and the Pentagon murdered JFK in a conspiracy and then the FBI covered it up. To date, no one has been prosecuted for the JFK assassination.

JFK was famously opposed to the CIA’s subversive actions in Cuba as a result of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. The deceased President shut down operation Mongoose, a CIA ops camp of 10,000 people. JFK wanted to end the war in Vietnam. He negotiated with Khrushchev in the Cuban missile crisis seeking peace, and not conflict. He was a leader for black rights. All this did not sit well with the establishment.

Stone delves into all the discrepancies and fake facts that made it into the Warren Commission report, which is the official version by the US government for JFK’s assassination. The movie traces the fight of New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison to investigate the assassination and the way that he was smeared and targeted by the US government. The media helped.

Stone delves into the official version, claiming that the man that was accused for JFK’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald, and who was consequently killed, was actually a patsy, a person appointed by the US establishment to be blamed for JFK’s murder. Oswald was a CIA operative, trained in the Russian language, who moved to Moscow to join the Soviet Union. Openly, he was a Marxist but only as a public façade. It was known in the CIA circles that Oswald was actually with them.

Stone delivers a critique of the official version of the Warren Report, through the eyes of District Attorney Garrison, revealing that Oswald was interrogated for 12h after the assassination and there is no record of the interrogation. Oswald was a special CIA operative that got killed to cover up the truth of the assassination. He was no regular soldier despite what the official version says. Plenty of the FBI’s investigation is being shown to be just wrong and fabricated.

The Pentagon oversaw JFK’s autopsy, and the medical doctors were not allowed to examine the neck. All of it smelled of a coverup.

District Attorney Garrison is shown having a conversation with an official from the Pentagon’s black ops division, who tells him that everything around JFK’s assassination looks like a black op by the US government targeting the President. All the security measures around the Louisiana Avenue convoy in Dallas, Texas, were quite the opposite of what securing the parameter would have looked like. In Dallas, they would have never allowed a slow-down of the limousine or left windows uncovered. There would have been snipers everywhere. Anything that took place on the day of JFK’s assassination was a violation of standard operating procedures that would have never been allowed under regular circumstance.

Stone shows that everything on the day of JFK’s assassination went wrong. Witnesses were pressured by the FBI to lie and change their testimony about how many shots they heard, and what they saw. 51 witnesses heard shots from a second location, which contradicts the US government lone-shooter official narrative. This is something that the FBI also wanted to conceal. Everything smells rotten, as shown by Stone’s documentary. Perhaps the mainstream media refused to cover Stone’s investigation because they are unwilling to face the truth about how ugly the US government truly is.

Stone shows that there were many more than 3 shots, which is what the official US government version claims. The magic bullet theory according to which one shot must be responsible for multiple wounds and entries now looks like a laughable proposition. One has to wonder: how come American society has bought this for so long? There was definitely a second shooter, which means conspiracy.

JFK’s body was taken away from the regular medical autopsy. The military confiscated the body.

The Bethesda doctors appointed by the military found only 2 bullets but a pathologist testified that the President’s brain “had disappeared”. A doctor who testified later shared that he was told not to examine the neck. Pathologist had to examine all but he was told to examine just the head. An army general was directing the autopsy. More admirals were present at the autopsy and were giving orders to the autopsy doctors. The autopsy was completely tainted by the Pentagon. The public can’t see the record of the autopsy.

The patsy Oswald was a Marxist-Leninist publicly who acted as someone who wanted to join the Soviet Union. Publically he was a pro-Castro person but he was connected to the CIA and the FBI. Stone reveals operation Mongoose which was a training camp for Cuban operatives working for the CIA and which Kennedy shut down angering the CIA. Oswald was a Cuban camp operative too. The FBI and CIA covered up that fact because Oswald was actually their operative. When Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, the State Department supported him. No one prosecuted him for defecting. He was a US government operative, as he was never investigated.

Stone shows records of the idea within the intelligence community to take down JFK. Many on the right in fact, celebrated JFK’s assassination. Stone also traces the political murders around Oswald and the CIA operatives circle. Many political murders followed, which looked like accidents but were actually political murders, a part of the cover-up. Oswald’s wife, Marina was kept in detention for 2 months. After harassment, pressure and exhaustion she changed her story and supported the Warren Report official version.

The Warren Report files remain classified, all on the basis of national security. Stone reveals that the witness statements were completely altered in the Warren Report. The FBI were lying and making everything up. The narratives were completely fabricated. Signatures were forged, showing the FBI as scammers and cheats. People were arrested in Dallas and were never seen again. There was no record of interrogation. They just disappeared.

Oswald couldn’t have done the shooting but the FBI worked tirelessly to create an official version of the assassination which was full of lies and fabrications. The Warren Report sold “that crap” to the American public, in Stones words.

Dallas’ mayor’ brother was deputy director of the CIA who JFK fired for the Bay of Pigs. The Warren Commission investigation’s lead was also someone that JFK had fired previously.

The only person ever prosecuted for JFK’s murder and who was found not guilty, was Clay Shaw. He was involved with the CIA. Italy expelled a company that was a CIA cover-up business for espionage in Italy that Shaw was involved with. The CIA contractor Shaw was involved in the murder of JFK. At the time, Shaw’s connection to the CIA was blocked. Subpoenas of the CIA leadership were blocked. A CIA director later admitted that Shaw who was prosecuted for JFK’s assassination was indeed a CIA operative. The FBI covered up the fact that Shaw and Oswald knew each other, claiming in the official version that there was no connection between them, when they were both CIA operatives. The FBI covered up the fact that many witnesses said that Oswald and Shaw knew each other. Oswald met with the FBI two weeks ahead of JFK’s assassination.

Stone reveals that the FBI also blocked extradition subpoenas. District Attorney Garrison was indeed very close.

The US corporate media didn’t want to tell the truth that the CIA killed Kennedy which is a very plausible and believable theory. Stone’s movie turns the theory from just a theory into a well-founded narrative revealing all the crimes, the cheating and pressure committed by the FBI and the CIA, as a matter of normal practice. The movie is reverting and as sexy as a documentary gets. Stone’s movie needs more public support and discussion. The media should no longer keep their heads in the sand for these facts.

Stone then shows that New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation’s funding was cut off. He faced a lot of discrediting and smear efforts – anything to be stopped. He was asked to resign. His family faced psychological attacks. Garrison financed the investigation with his own funds. Garrison discovered that Shaw, Oswald, Ferre and everyone else involved were all CIA. Torture and political murder took place within the circle of all those involved.  

“Even the shooters don’t know who killed Kennedy”, is a memorable quote, underlying that Garrison did not find direct communication of conspiracy to kill the US President. Stone’s theory is that the JFK assassination was a black op carried out by the US establishment. Oswald as the lone killer was a fabricated story by the black op, and remains the official story of the Warren Report. The movie reveals that Oswald actually knew he was the patsy and that he would be blamed. There were no records of his interrogation. He didn’t get a lawyer. Then he got killed publicly as an enemy of the people. And case closed. The media takes it from there. The lie was solidified. Stone shares with the audience that Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were also killed by those that want war.

JFK was dangerous to the establishment. He wanted to end the Cold War. He didn’t want to invade Cuba.  He was bad news for the war-hungry establishment who were happy to get rid of him. They killed him because he wanted to change things. Stone reveals the ugly truth about America and the American government. And his version is totally believable and plausible. The CIA, the FBI and the Pentagon conspired in coup d’état and Lyndon Jonson was waiting on the sidelines.

As the Cuban people are fighting for their rights today, it is worth remembering JFK’s leadership, and the way he stood up against the destructive US establishment when it came to Cuba. The US has been the most destructive force in Cuba. As we look at US policy towards Cuba today, it is clear that Biden is no JFK. Biden looks more like a Republican defending the embargo and less like the Democratic leader people would have wished to see.

Keeping in mind the events in Cuba today, JFK stood up against all the subversion by the US government in Cuba. A congressional investigation concluded that JFK was killed in a “probable conspiracy”, contradicting the Warren Report version. Stone dedicated the movie to “the young who will keep the fight alive”, underlying that it might take another generation for the JFK files to be unlocked and revealed.

Iveta Cherneva is an Amazon best-selling author, political commentator and human rights activist. Her latest book is “Trump, European security and Turkey”. Cherneva’s career includes Congress and the UN; she was a top finalist for UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech in 2020. Iveta’s opinions appear in Euronews, New York Times, Salon, The Guardian, Jurist, Washington Examiner, Modern Diplomacy, Emerging Europe, EurActiv, The Fletcher Forum, LSE, Daily Express. She comments on TV and radio for Euronews, DW, Voice of America and others.

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Indictment of Trump associate threatens UAE lobbying success

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This month’s indictment of a billionaire, one-time advisor and close associate of former US President Donald J. Trump, on charges of operating as an unregistered foreign agent in the United States for the United Arab Emirates highlights the successes and pitfalls of a high-stakes Emirati effort to influence US policy.

The indictment of businessman Thomas  J. Barrack, who maintained close ties to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed while serving as an influential advisor in 2016 to then-presidential candidate Trump and chair of Mr. Trump’s inauguration committee once he won the 2016 election, puts at risk the UAE’s relationship with the Biden administration.

It also threatens to reduce the UAE’s return on a massive investment in lobbying and public relations that made it a darling in Washington during the last four years.

A 2019 study concluded that Emirati clients hired 20 US lobbying firms to do their bidding at a cost of US$20 million, including US$600,000 in election campaign contributions — one of the largest, if not the largest expenditure by a single state on Washington lobbying and influence peddling.

The indictment further raises the question of why the Biden administration was willing to allow legal proceedings to put at risk its relationship with one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East, one that last year opened the door to recognition of Israel by Arab and Muslim-majority states.

The UAE lobbying effort sought to position the Emirates, and at its behest, Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed’s counterpart, Mohammed bin Salman, at the heart of US policy, ensure that Emirati and Saudi interests were protected, and shield the two autocrats from criticism of various of their policies and abuse of human rights.

Interestingly, UAE lobbying in the United States, in contrast to France and Austria, failed to persuade the Trump administration to embrace one of the Emirates’ core policy objectives: a US crackdown on political Islam with a focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed views political Islam and the Brotherhood that embraces the principle of elections as an existential threat to the survival of his regime.

In one instance cited in the indictment, Mr. Barrack’s two co-defendants, a UAE national resident in the United States, Rashid Al-Malik, and Matthew Grimes, a Barrack employee, discussed days after Mr. Trump’s inauguration the possibility of persuading the new administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a designated foreign terrorist organization. “This will be a huge win. If we can list them. And they deserved to be,” Mr. Al-Malik texted Mr. Grimes on 23 January 2017.

The unsuccessful push for designating the Brotherhood came three months after Mr. Barrack identified the two Prince Mohammeds in an op-ed in Fortune magazine as members of a new generation of “brilliant young leaders.” The billionaire argued that “American foreign policy must persuade these bold visionaries to lean West rather than East… By supporting their anti-terrorism platforms abroad, America enhances its anti-terrorism policies at home.”

Mr. Barrack further sought to persuade America’s new policymakers, in line with Emirati thinking, that the threat posed by political Islam emanated not only from Iran’s clerical regime and its asymmetric defence and security policies but also from the Brotherhood and Tukey’s Islamist government. He echoed Emirati promotion of Saudi Arabia after the rise of Mohammed bin Salman as the most effective bulwark against political Islam.

“It is impossible for the US to move against any hostile Islamic group anywhere in the world without Saudi support…. The confused notion that Saudi Arabia is synonymous with radical Islam is falsely based on the Western notion that ‘one size fits all,’ Mr. Barrack asserted.

The Trump administration’s refusal to exempt the Brotherhood from its embrace of Emirati policy was the likely result of differences within both the US government and the Muslim world. Analysts suggest that some in the administration feared that designating the Brotherhood would empower the more rabidly Islamophobic elements in Mr. Trump’s support base.

Administration officials also recognized that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt constituted a minority, albeit a powerful minority, in the Muslim world that was on the warpath against the Brotherhood.

Elsewhere, Brotherhood affiliates were part of the political structure by either participating in government or constituting part of the legal opposition in countries like Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, and Indonesia.

The affiliates have at times supported US policies or worked closely with US allies like in the case of Yemen’s Al Islah that is aligned with Saudi-backed forces.

In contrast to UAE efforts to ensure that the Brotherhood is crushed at the risk of fueling Islamophobia, Nahdlatul Ulama, one of, if not the world’s largest Muslim organization which shares the Emirates’ rejection of political Islam and the Brotherhood, has opted to fight the Brotherhood’s local Indonesian affiliate politically within a democratic framework rather than by resorting to coercive tactics.

Nahdlatul Ulama prides itself on having significantly diminished the prospects of Indonesia’s Brotherhood affiliate, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), since the 2009 presidential election. The group at the time successfully drove a wedge between then-President Susilo Yudhoyono, and the PKS, his coalition partner since the 2004 election that brought him to power. In doing so, it persuaded Mr. Yudhoyono to reject a PKS candidate as vice president in the second term of his presidency.

Nahdlatul Ulama’s manoeuvring included the publication of a book asserting that the PKS had not shed its links to militancy. The party has since failed to win even half of its peak 38 seats in parliament garnered in the 2004 election.

“Publication of ‘The Illusion of an Islamic State: The Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia’ had a considerable impact on domestic policy. It primarily contributed to neutralizing one candidate’s bid for vice president in the 2009 national election campaign, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said militancy expert Magnus Ranstorp.

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Biden Revises US Sanctions Policy

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Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

In the United States, a revision of the sanctions policy is in full swing. Joe Biden’s administration strives to make sanctions instruments more effective in achieving his political goals and, at the same time, reducing political and economic costs. The coordination of restrictive measures with allies is also seen as an important task. Biden is cautiously but consistently abandoning the sanctions paradigm that emerged during Donald Trump’s presidency.

The US sanctions policy under Trump was characterised by several elements. First, Washington applied them quite harshly. In all key areas (China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, etc.), the United States used economic and financial restrictions without hesitation, and sometimes in unprecedented volumes. Of course, the Trump administration acted rationally and rigidity was not an end in itself. In a number of episodes, the American authorities acted prudently (for example, regarding sanctions on Russian sovereign debt in 2019). The Trump-led executives stifled excess Congressional enthusiasm for “draconian sanctions” against Russia and even some initiatives against China. However, the harshness of other measures sometimes shocked allies and opponents alike. These include the 6 April 2014 sanctions against a group of Russian businessmen and their assets, or bans on some Chinese telecommunications services in the United States, or sanctions blocking the International Criminal Court.

Second, Trump clearly ignored the views of US allies. The unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 forced European businesses to leave Iran, resulting in losses. Even some of the nation’s closest allies were annoyed. Another irritant was the tenacity with which Trump (with Congressional backing) threw a wrench in the wheels of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. Despite the complicated relations between Moscow and the European Union, the latter defended the right to independently determine what was in its interests and what was not.

Third, concerns about sanctions have emerged among American business as well. Fears have grown in financial circles that the excessive use of sanctions will provoke the unnecessary politicisation of the global financial system. In the short term, a radical decline in the global role of the dollar is hardly possible. But political risks are forcing many governments to seriously consider it. Both rivals (Moscow and Beijing) and allies (Brussels) have begun to implement corresponding plans. Trade sanctions against China have affected a number of US companies in the telecommunications and high-tech sectors.

Finally, on some issues, the Trump administration has been inconsistent or simply made mistakes. For example, Trump enthusiastically criticised China for human rights violations, supporting relevant legislative initiatives. But at the same time, it almost closed its eyes to the events in Belarus in 2020. Congress was also extremely unhappy with the delay in the reaction on the “Navalny case” in Russia. As for mistakes, the past administration missed the moment for humanitarian exemptions for sanctions regimes in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic. Even cosmetic indulgences could have won points for US “soft power”. Instead, the US Treasury has published a list of pre-existing exceptions.

The preconditions for a revision of the sanctions policy arose even before Joe Biden came to power. First of all, a lot of analytical work was done by American think tanks—nongovernmental research centers. They provided a completely sober and unbiased analysis of bothха! achievements and mistakes. In addition, the US Government Accountability Office has done serious work; in 2019 it prepared two reports for Congress on the institutions of the American sanctions policy. However, Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election significantly accelerated the revision of the sanctions instruments. Both the ideological preferences of the Democrats (for example, the emphasis on human rights) and the political experience of Biden himself played a role.

The new guidelines for the US sanctions policy can be summarised as follows. First, the development of targeted sanctions and a more serious analysis of their economic costs for American business, as well as business from allied and partner countries. Second, closer coordination with allies. Here, Biden has already sent a number of encouraging signals by introducing temporary sanctions exemptions on Nord Stream 2. Although a number of Russian organisations and ships were included in the US sanctions lists, Nord Stream 2 itself and its leadership were not affected. Third, we are talking about closer attention to the subject of human rights. Biden has already reacted with sanctions both to the “Navalny case” and to the situation in Belarus. Human rights will be an irritant in relations with China. Fourth, the administration is working towards overturning Trump’s most controversial decisions. The 2020 decrees on Chinese telecoms were cancelled, the decree on sanctions against the International Criminal Court was cancelled, the decree on Chinese military-industrial companies was modified; negotiations are also underway with Iran.

The US Treasury, one of the key US sanctions agencies, will also undergo personnel updates. Elisabeth Rosenberg, a prominent sanctions expert who previously worked at the Center for a New American Security, may take the post of Assistant Treasury Secretary. She will oversee the subject of sanctions. Thus, the principle of “revolving doors”, which is familiar to Americans, is being implemented, when the civil service is replenished with personnel from the expert community and business, and then “returns” them back.

At the same time, the revision of the sanctions policy by the new administration cannot be called a revolution. The institutional arrangement will remain unchanged. It is a combination of the functions of various departments—the Treasury, the Department of Trade, the Department of Justice, the State Department, etc. The experience of their interagency coordination has accumulated over the years. The system worked flawlessly both under Trump and under his predecessors. Rather, it will be about changing the political directives.

For Russia, the revision is unlikely to bring radical changes. A withdrawal from the carpet bombing of Russian business, such as the incident on 6 April 2018 hint that good news can be considered a possibility. However, the legal mechanisms of sanctions against Russia will continue to operate. The emphasis on human rights will lead to an increase in sanctions against government structures. Against this background, regular political crises are possible in relations between the two countries.

From our partner RIAC

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Sea Breeze 2021: U.S. is worryingly heading closer to conflict with Russia in the Black Sea

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On July 10th, the 2021 iteration of the joint military exercise, Sea Breeze, concluded in the Black Sea. This exercise, which began on June 28th was co-hosted by the Ukrainian Navy and the United States Navy’s Sixth Fleet. According to the U.S. Navy, the annual Exercise Sea Breeze consists of joint naval, land, and air trainings and operations centered around building increased shared capabilities in the Black Sea.

This year’s Sea Breeze included participation from 32 countries, including NATO members and other countries that border the Black Sea, making it the largest Sea Breeze exercise since its inception in 1997. All other countries bordering the Black Sea were included in participating in the joint drills, except Russia.

Russia’s exclusion from these exercises is not unsurprising, due to its current tensions with Ukraine and its historical relationship with NATO. However, it signals to Moscow and the rest of the world that the NATO views Russia as an opponent in a future conflict. At the opening ceremony of Sea Breeze 2021 in Odessa, it was made clear that the intention of the exercise was to prepare for future conflict in the region when the Defense Minister of Ukraine, reported that the drills “contain a powerful message – support of stability and peace in our region.”

These exercises and provocations do anything but bring peace and stability to the region. In fact, they draw the United States and NATO dangerously close to the brink of conflict with Russia.

Even though Sea Breeze 2021 has only recently concluded, it has already had a marked impact on tensions between NATO countries and Moscow. U.S. Navy Commander Daniel Marzluff recently explained that the Sea Breeze drills in the Black Sea are essential deterrents to Russian assertions in region. However, these drills have consisted of increasingly provocative maneuvers that ultimately provoke conflict in the region.

These drills have done anything but act as a deterrent for conflict in the Black Sea. In response to the Sea Breeze drills, Russia conducted its own drills in the Black Sea, including the simulation of firing advanced missile systems against enemy aircraft. As the Black Sea is of utmost importance to Russia’s trade and military stature, it follows that Russia would signal its displacement if it perceives its claims are being threatened.   

Sea Breeze followed another rise in tensions in the Black Sea, when just a week prior to the beginning of the exercise, a clash occurred between Russia and Britain. In response to the British destroyer ship, the HMS Defender, patrolling inside Crimean territorial waters, Russia claimed it fired warning shots and ordered two bombers to drop bombs in the path of the ship. When asked about the HMS Defender, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the ship’s actions as a “provocation” that was a “blatant violation” of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Putin also went on to claim that Moscow believes U.S. reconnaissance aircraft were a part of the operation as well. Despite this, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded with a denial of any wrongdoing.

Russia’s actions to provocations by the United States-led Sea Breeze and interaction with the HMS Defender in the Black Sea signal its resolve to retaliate if it feels as its sovereignty and its territorial claim on Crimea is being impeded on. Despite Russia signaling its commitment to defending its territorial claims in the Black Sea, the United States still willingly took actions during Sea Breeze that would bring the United States closer to a clash with Russia.  

Provoking conflict in the Black Sea does not align with the national security interests of the United States. In fact, it only puts the United States in the position to be involved in a costly clash that only would harm its diplomatic relationships.  

As Russia has signaled its commitment to its resolve and scope of its military response in a possible conflict, any potential conflict in the Black Sea would be costly for the United States. Over the past few years, Russia has increased the size and capabilities of its fleet in the Black Sea. Two of these improvements would especially pose a challenging threat to the U.S. and NATO – Russia’s drastically improved anti-access/area-denial capabilities and its new Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile. This would mean any conflict in the Black Sea would not be a quick and decisive victory for U.S. and NATO forces, and would instead likely become costly and extensive.  

A conflict with Russia in the Black Sea would not only be costly for the U.S. and its allies in the region, but could irreparably damage its fragile, but strategically valuable relationship with Russia. If the United States continues to escalate tensions in the Black Sea, it risks closing the limited window for bilateral cooperation with Russia that was opened through increased willingness to collaborate on areas of common interests, as evidenced by the recent summit that took place in Geneva. After a period of the highest levels of tension between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War, this progress made towards improving bilateral relations must not be taken for granted. Even if the U.S. and NATO’s maneuvers in the Black Sea do not ultimately materialize into a full-scale conflict with Russia, they will most likely damage not just recent diplomatic momentum, but future opportunities for a relationship between the two powers.

In such a critical time for the relationship between the United States and Russia, it is counterproductive for the United States to take actions that it can predict will drive Russia even further away. Entering into a conflict with Russia in the Black Sea would not only engage the U.S. in a costly conflict but would damage its security and diplomatic interests.  

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