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Why America Still Gets Russia Wrong: Self-Inflicted PSYOPS and Redundant Red Lines

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The news covering the Ukraine conflict causes many to pause and wonder if the world is on the verge of a new world war. More likely, it is on the precipice of a false WWIII, provoked by a disingenuous Cold War, with most media organizations in the West serving to intensify panic, rather than dissecting information to make citizens more aware and nuanced with the increasingly hostile rhetoric being thrown at each other. Why is this so and, most importantly, what is to be done?

First off, it must be recognized how much frustration permeates the current situation, fed by politicized streams that have stubbornly continued to overflow their capacity, keeping each side from wanting to engage in real dialogue with the possibility of mutual compromise.

At the heart of America’s frustration with Russia is the irritation of the so-called “winner” not seeing the declared “loser” of the Cold War remain humbled when it comes to global impact.

But analyzing how America has behaved toward Russia since the end of the Cold War, it is challenging to come away with any other conclusion. For example:

  • Rejecting Russian overtures to become real partners in the Global War on Terror after 9/11.
  • Trumpeting the “Pivot to Asia” as a symbolic reduction of Russian importance.
  • Bringing NATO across Eastern Europe right up to the very borders of Russia while not addressing professed Russian security concerns or attempting to include Russia in NATO expansion discussions.  
  • Criticizing Russia’s desire to play a leading role in regional affairs as hiding a secret desire to “restore the Soviet Union.”  
  • Lambasting Russian support of a longstanding Middle Eastern ally (Syria) during a highly complex civil war as akin to fostering war crimes.  
  • Driving a wedge between improving China-Russia relations as an effort to “keep the global order more stable.”
  • Punishing Russia at least half a dozen times with severe sanctions, even creating the never-before-seen instrument of “individually citizen-targeted international sanctions.”  

This is just a starter list, but a vivid one. The consistency about American policy toward Russia has been a resounding strategy of keeping the country isolated and disconnected from reclaiming a leading role on the world stage.

It is not surprising that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia has accused America of wanting to make sure Russia is never at its side but on bended knee.

At the heart of Russia’s frustration with America is the belief that the end of the Cold War in the 20th century should not mean an end to Russia in the 21st. The above-mentioned endured policy irritations are, to the Kremlin, seemingly based on a strategic American vision that Russia must always be portrayed as the villain. This is not just propaganda directed to foreign audiences but is self-inflicted PSYOPS to American ones.

It is quite likely that a new bipolar rivalry between America and China will not have the same adversarial tone that America vs. Russia always did and does. Perhaps this is because America feels more comfortable with China’s embracing of global capitalist prosperity and is convinced that any injury to America will also be an injury to China, so inextricably linked and codependent the two economies have become. Russia, no matter how much it adapts to the global economy and embraces market principles, will always carry the Soviet baggage of backwardness in the American mind. Consequently, this mental block prevents what is to Russia the logical progression of its relationship with America: why can’t it just be a copy of the “friendly tension” that exists between the US and China? Not allowing that to happen is just further affirmation that America has no interest in Russia reemerging successfully onto the global stage.  

This affirmation moves further with the constant decrying of redundant red lines in the West, of promises to take action against inevitable Russian aggression. Truly, if it wasn’t so serious in ultimate consequences, the whole affair would be worthy of political mockery. Think about the unfulfilled warnings: Russia at various times has been accused of impending invasions against Estonia (didn’t happen), Georgia (didn’t happen), Ukraine (part I, didn’t happen), the Czech Republic (didn’t happen), Poland (twice, didn’t happen either time), and now Ukraine again (part II, still hasn’t happened).

Perhaps most galling of all is this de facto character assassination takes place while America continuously supports NATO, perceived as an inherently anti-Russian military organization, sliding ever closer to the physical borders of the Russian Federation and criticizes Russia for having a problem with it.

The newest redundant red line (Ukraine, part deux) has already resulted in some American military divisions being deployed over to Europe “just in case” while media broadcasts it as proof of war. Is it just coincidence that many moderate analysts who declare real war between America and Russia over Ukraine unlikely because it is the one result sides agree would be a disaster for all are pushed off the air in favor of other so-called Russian experts charging the Kremlin’s ultimate goal is to reclaim all things once-Soviet and reestablish a true military empire across Europe? Not only are such declarations ridiculously false. They are diplomatically reckless. They create a media expectation of dread amongst Americans and remove any hope of peaceful engagement with Russia. Why is this done? What value is there in fomenting panic when actual evidence doesn’t support it? These questions need to start being addressed more seriously.

In the current situation, consider the conflicting reports that push American fear and confusion:

  • Russian troops were mobilized to the edge of the Ukrainian border, when in fact most were over 150 miles away.
  • When many units were moved back to their home bases, America complained this was to places already nearby, thus meaning remobilization could happen any moment and therefore pulling back from the border was irrelevant.
  • Military exercises were happening in Belarus to open a second front against Kiev, when in fact these drills happen every year.
  • February 16th was the moment of promised invasion, until it wasn’t, and then people were told that wasn’t really the right date in the first place.
  • February 20th was the REAL moment of promised invasion, until it wasn’t again, and then people were still told it could happen at any time.
  • The conflict was all about gaining Eastern Ukraine, until it was actually about invading Kiev, until it was once more about gaining Eastern Ukraine.
  • False flag operations by Russia supposedly abound everywhere, all done to give it the ‘impetus excuse’ to roll into Ukraine for a full-scale invasion. But these false flags never actually result in Russia rolling in. But people still have to be wary of new false flags getting the invasion moving…even if they never come to fruition.

While these flip-flops and face value contradictions don’t get analyzed by media/political analysts in the West, they are easily pointed out by Russian media, which is not insignificant. They reveal the insipid and apparently hopeless silliness of American-Russian relations today in the new-old fake Cold War. Understandably, this inability to get Western partners sincerely to the negotiating table often leaves Russia feeling painted into a diplomatic corner, resulting in sudden political maneuvers to gain attention and catch the West off-guard. This is likely how best to characterize Putin’s “recognition of sovereignty” of the Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples Republics in the far east of Ukraine, on the border with Southern Russia, that took place on February 21.  Will this lead to Russia entering those territories to support their new sovereignty (which will assuredly only be acknowledged by Russia and no one in the West) with a strong military presence? Or will Russia simply acknowledge these republics and then call for more negotiations in a diplomatic venue?

The West will first wait to see what this “sovereignty declaration” means in real terms for Ukrainian-Russian relations and to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. What will the status and condition of Russian military divisions be in the immediate aftermath? How will the authorities within the DPR and LPR react to this declaration? Will their next maneuvers be well-thought and considered or will they be rash and reckless? What will Kiev do in response? The answers to these queries will go a long way to defining how the present conflict unfolds further. The instinctive, knee-jerk reaction to the Russian declaration by the West will of course be one of negativity and dismissal. That is to be expected. So what matters is not what happens immediately but more in the medium-term, over the next few months, when observers can truly see what consequences shake out from this Moscow acknowledgement.

Unfortunately, important to note, many of those observers in America will be “new” Cold Warriors: trained by the old guard to think of Russia as inherently the enemy, not to be trusted, and taught to shy away from innovative or new streams of political and diplomatic consciousness. Until America makes a concerted effort to sweep this old Cold Warrior mentality out and inspires new thinkers, new ideas, and new strategies on Russia, then one of the most important and enduring geostrategic relationships in the world today will remain mired in a morass resembling 1962 more than 2022.

Author’s note: first published in Russia in Global Affairs

Dr. Matthew Crosston is Executive Vice Chairman of ModernDiplomacy.eu and chief analytical strategist of I3, a strategic intelligence consulting company. All inquiries regarding speaking engagements and consulting needs can be referred to his website: https://profmatthewcrosston.academia.edu/

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The Despair of American Youths under an Overly ‘Critical Society’

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A recent tragic incident in the United States has stunned the world. This incident, is not merely “domestic terrorism”, but its root cause, that of a “critical society”, is far more serious than people think.

Payton Gendron, from Conklin, New York, drove a few hours to Buffalo, which is about 200 miles away, to a predominantly African-American, low-income neighborhood, about 3 miles north of the central Buffalo. It is surrounded by residential areas, a university, a nearby Family Dollar store, and a fire station. –

In an act that shocked everyone, Payton Gendron pulled up his rifle and walked into the supermarket, and started killing people, women, the elderly, and cashiers. Not only did he shoot at the unarmed people, but he also broadcast the gory scene of the massacre live on Twitch. This vicious mass shooting incident left at least 10 people dead and 3 others injured. Of the 13 victims, 11 were black.

In the aftermath, it was horrifying to discover that the white young man who did the mass shooting was only 18 years old. “This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now”, said Mayor Byron Brown.

After the incident, President Joe Biden urged unity to stem racial hate as a remedy to get rid of the “hate that remains a stain on the soul of America.” Biden said that, “violence inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that through the media and politics, the Internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost, and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced”.

The so-called “Great Replacement Theory” alluded to in the speech of President Biden in his condemnation of the massacre refers to the belief that immigrants or other people of color are “replacing” white Americans. Propagated by the media and the Internet, and deliberately exaggerated by political shows and politicians, there are those who become firm believers that the “Great Replacement” is the reality and the future of the United States. The Buffalo massacre is but one of the countless hate crimes. In today’s American society, no one is completely happy, and everyone seems to have different reasons for dissatisfaction, disappointment, and hatred.

The reason for this is that the U.S. is typically a “critical society”, which does not often offer much justice and truth. Instead, discrimination, grievances, conspiracies, and hatred more often than not emerge in such a society seemingly plagued by despair and pain. The real United States might not be exactly like this, of course. Yet, countless people from all over the world are eager to come to America by all means to seek hope there, not knowing that Americans, especially young people who are overwhelmed by disappointment, are not hopeful about the future.

There are many reasons why the U.S. has become a critical society.

Education in the U.S., with its strong emphasis on critical thinking, trains young people from an early age to not only possess critical spirit, but also to have critical point of view. This started with English composition among young children, and continues to dissertation among college students. Such critical spirit is like a contagious disease, which is easily transmissible. In books, in movies, in TV shows and newspapers, in culture as well as in fashion, Americans are always criticizing all the time, trampling. Yet, their critical mind does not come with constructive strength. There is a serious lack of respect for the classics. It is as if only through crushing the past and the traditions that allows them to show their superiority.

The cultural model that balances the critical and classical, empirical and traditional do not seem to be the dominant model in American society, nor an integral part of its popular culture. American institutions of higher learning, which are supposed to be places where the classics are taught, are now the venues that instill radical critical thinking. Therefore, the non-technological departments in colleges there are nothing short of houses of madness. This has led to a pernicious consequence of increasingly polarized critical thinking, turning the U.S. into a very harmful critical society.

In such as overly critical society, it is difficult for people to see the presence of the classics that represent all things positive. Since everything can be criticized, then everything is problematic, where there are flaws everywhere, where everything is imperfect. In an overly critical society, no one is normal, and everyone has a vicious side. If one cannot find shortfalls in a person, then standards will be raised up or lowered down, or new standards are invented, so that everyone becomes the target of criticism. All doubts are noble, and the classics themselves are the best objects of doubt.

The biggest problem with a society like this is that there is no hope, only hate. All that is left is despair. A young man like Payton Gendron is actually just a victim who goes astray in such a society. In an overly critical society, every young adult is in despair.

The U.S. today is already very worrying enough, its future is even more so. With the Internet, disappointment and hatred are ubiquitously amplified. From the country’s power center to its legislature departments, in terms of constructing, developing, and protecting the nation, the professional politicians there contribute less than regular nine-to-five office workers. These politicians expose, create, amplify, and criticize any possible flaws of political opponents without hesitation, in accordance with the modus operandi of professional politicians there. Such amplification and role model effects have made the United States a desperate country.

The world of information is complex, and not everyone possesses the ability to process information objectively, and not everyone should be expected to do so.

In the face of all kinds of information sweeping in, using the “believe it or not” mentality to deal with the survival challenges of the modern information society is a major blunder. The right approach is to recognize and analyze information, but this is too difficult for the average person and requires good training in information analysis. In China, it seems that there is only one think tank that has that kind of training in both critical and empirical information analysis. In this sense, Chinese academia does not always lag behind its counterpart in the United States. As for the U.S., the path of seeking science and technology to solve overly critical problems through specialized information processing is most certainly not going to work. Technology will always be objective, and as it can be used to clarify doubts, it can also certainly be used to create problems.

To bring things to a close, the sole way for the United States to get more people to see the light is for its society to make changes and move out of an overly critical society.

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Are Biden’s Troubles of his Own Making?

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Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

What a fractious world we live in.  The somnambulist Biden has woken up in his nocturnal wanderings to hear complaints about China for its sea incursions close to the littoral areas of allies like Taiwan and Japan.  Thus at the “Quad” (Australia, Japan, US and India) meeting in Tokyo, he reaffirmed US support for Taiwan, militarily if need be, to defend Taiwanese independence in what appeared to be a reversal of policy as earlier the US had recognized it as a province of China.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) an economic union of the Quad and other Asia-Pacific countries has been revived — Trump had buried it earlier, aiming presumably higher but missing.  Mr. Biden announced its reincarnation as the new Inter Pacific Economic Federation (IPEF).

All of which is the least of Mr. Biden’s headaches.  There’s a full blown war in Ukraine to consider.  And he promptly announced a $40.1 bill military aid package for Ukraine.  Defense contractors couldn’t be more pleased.  Lockheed Martin stock is up 6 percent in two days as it ramps up production of the Javelin anti-tank missile, doubling it according to the CEO to supply Ukraine.

Congress has now passed a $40 billion aid package.  The amount is not trivial.  For comparison, India, a country of more than a billion people with the third largest defence budget in the world, spends less than half that sum on weapons procurement.

The real question is going to be Mr. Putin’s response.  He might well call it a move aimed at slaughtering young Russian boys, when he himself is asking for peace talks.  Even President Zelensky, the quintessential blowhard politician, has been forced to admit that 50-100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying daily.

American interference in Ukraine has a long history.  The planning and participation in a coup eight years ago (when Biden was vice president) and the selection of future leaders thereafter are all documented.  On lack of European support for it at the time, Victoria Nuland, the then Deputy Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs responded famously, “F–k the EU.”  She has the dubious distinction of being the chief promoter of the so-called “soft coup” which led eventually to the fall of the elected Viktor Yanukovych government and thence to the divisions in Ukraine.  The results have been the deaths of an estimated 13,000 people and the displacement of millions.

Since 2014 about one million refugees have left the country as a result of wars in the Donbas.  Another 1.6 million were internally displaced.  Following the latest fighting in 2022, the number of Ukrainians who have left the country has risen by another 6.6 million and another 7.7 million are displaced from their homes to other parts of the country.  That in total is over a quarter of the country’s population of 44 million. 

It is painful, pitiful, atrocious and appalling that in the 21st century, political leaders instead of resolving disputes have behaved in a manner ending in a human tragedy of these proportions.  Let’s just say, none of the participants need queue up for a Nobel Peace Prize, although one had already received it before this and other misadventures. 

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The WW III that Biden and All Other Neocons Are Leading U.S. Toward

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Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

The intensely neoconservative U.S. President Joe Biden is leading the world into a World War III against both Russia and China, but despite the U.S. spending annually around half of the entire planet’s military expenditures (not only in its ‘Defense’ Department but in its Treasury Department and other Government agencies), America is actually inferior to both Russia and China regarding leading-edge geostrategically crucial technologies of both nuclear and laser weapons, and is getting farther behind each year, because for both Russia and China their own national sovereignty is what their enemy, the U.S. Government, aims to conquer, whereas no one poses a threat to the U.S. Government’s continuing rule over its own people (it becomes increasingly a police-state). The U.S. Government is the only and supreme champion of sanctions and coups and invasions for regime-change producing the creation of new vassal-nations throughout the globe, whereas both Russia and China must protect themselves from that or else become themselves new U.S. vassal-nations. So: they are laser-focused on NOT allowing America to grab their nation. Truly, for them, this is an existential issue, NOT a matter (such as is the case regarding the U.S. Government) of growing to become the world’s first and only all-encompassing global empire (a luxury that only America’s billionaires, who control the U.S. Government, require). This basic distinction is the reason why whereas the U.S. has over 800 military bases spread throughout the planet, Russia and China are concerned ONLY about not allowing U.S. forces to be based so near to their borders as to enable a U.S. missile to annihilate their capital’s command-and-control within less than ten minutes and so to enable the U.S. Government to grab control of them so fast that the targeted nation’s (Russia’s and China’s) retaliatory weapons won’t be launched in self-defense.

Consequently, for example, the geostrategically-focused CRUX youtube site headlined on May 23rd “Why The World Fears Putin’s ‘Flying Chernobyl’ Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile”, and reported on Russia’s emerging “Buravestnik” nuclear-powered nuclear-warheaded missile that will be able to avoid all known types of anti-missile detection and tracking technologies and that will be able to fly for any distance because of its nuclear fuel. Though that pro-U.S.-Government, anti-Putin, CRUX-produced video says “Experts have underlined the threat that … this weapon may pose to the environment and human health” due to radioactive waste that’s released into the air during its flight, because there is no space inside the missile to store waste, even America’s National Defense magazine has admitted that “the amount of nuclear waste that this will produce is very tiny, … basically negligible,” which is hardly what CRUX headlines it as being — a “Flying Chernobyl.” CRUX went on to say, “Experts say that Putin’s Cold War mindset has normalised the development of such doomsday weapons.” It’s all regime-change-in-Russia propaganda.

In other words: the neocons’ aim to destroy Russia so fast that Russia won’t be able to destroy America in retaliation, is hogwash that’s probably funded, ultimately, by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, whose sales are exclusively or mainly to the U.S. Government and its allied governments (vassal-nations), which U.S.-and-allied weapons-making firms’ stock-values have soared ever since the end of the Cold War in 1991. It ended only on Russia’s side in 1991, but this supercharged it on America’s side.  This unleashed a solely military-industrial-complex-controlled U.S. Government, which demands an ever-increasing percentage of the U.S. Government’s expenses to go toward its military, which, nonetheless, is privately owned and controlled; and its profits have soared.

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