From Russia With Concern

Putin 01By: Roger Landry (TLB)

TLB does in fact find the letter From Putin to the American people (A Plea for Caution From Russia) both logical and pragmatic. Putin is no idiot (by a long shot) having not only survived the treacherous Soviet political system for many decades, but also the transition from the old USSR to the present Russian political system. He has also succeeded in raising the respect level for his once hated and feared nation through demonstrated strong leadership and diplomacy.

For sixteen years Putin served as an officer in the KGB (as Bush Sr. once headed the CIA), rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before he retired to enter politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991. As a result his understanding of global politics and intent is probably second to none.

Talking straight to the American people is in fact a brilliant maneuver as he is stroking our ego by adding considerable perceived credibility to the concept that this is (or used to be) a government of the people. As a result in some ways he shows more respect to We The People of America than our own leaders, who in the recent past have shown their disdain for us by instituting freedom robbing and corporatist supporting bills and laws not supported by a vast majority of the populace, as was the case under the old USSR’s communist dictatorship.

By addressing the American people in this fashion the Russians are counting on us to continue to apply, or increase the pressure on our president to forgo another protracted foreign conflict, and one with the potential to spread well beyond the middle east with serious global ramifications.

As a child growing up during the height of the cold war, the mere mention of the USSR elicited both anger and fear simultaneously. As the two most prominent nations with massive nuclear weapons arsenals and MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) capabilities, everything we did was counterbalanced against a possible soviet backlash.

We were allies during WWII in the defeat of  Germany’s Hitler were millions of soviet citizens perished to protect their nation and bring this evil tyrant down. We were mortal enemies during the cold war when we witnessed the imperialism of the communist soviet state as they attempted to spread their political ideology and influence across the globe, fomenting revolution and insurrection time and again (many times against the will of the countries affected). And now we are what … allies, enemies, or some sort of a hybrid of the two. Old hatred and distrust is a hard concept to displace, especially when these feelings where so deeply ingrained in the American psyche for so long.

During the last generation we have witnessed a paradigm shift in our understanding and relationship with Russia. At one point in time we competed vehemently for superiority in space, now we ride into space together on Russian rockets. We have witnessed American presidents willing to help the struggling nation of Russia navigate the obstacle laden path to Democracy as the USSR deteriorated fatally. Those of us in what is called the freedom movement now receive a sizable portion of our information from Russian Television (RT) because we have found that in many cases it is more forthcoming and reliable than what we receive from our own agenda driven, propaganda ridden mainstream media. This in itself is a concept well beyond the comprehension of those of us who grew up during the cold war.

Today many of us who work so diligently to keep this nation free see the undeniable parallels between the old USSR and the imploding USA. We watched as the purchasing value of the rubal deteriorated to a point where at the end it required almost a bushel basket of them to purchase a loaf of bread. We saw a nation deeply involved globally in imperialistic endeavors it could no longer afford. And we saw a people exhausted by constant tyranny from an out of control and abusive government rebel. Look around you and witness the repeat of history as the dollar collapses on the global stage and our military is spread so thin across the globe that another protracted war could see a major defeat we may not recover from. And again we see a rising tide of anger from the people of America as our government usurps more power and authority from us in a very authoritarian fashion.

The world is weary of war and its constant drain on resources, capital and the lives of their citizens. Yet another looms on the horizon. We will be the first to tell you that the message from Putin should be looked at with skepticism but not outright rejected. Russia has its own problems and is no angel (as is Putin) on the global stage.

Most of what Putin describes in his letter, the old USSR was at one point guilty of. Her government is riddled with corruption as is ours and her military still exercises huge and sometimes overbearing influence on the satellite nations that used to comprise the USSR. BUT when any voice of possible reason interjects to assist in the avoidance of what could very well evolve into another global war (one this fragile planet my not survive), it is something that should be listened to and seriously considered.

Attached you will find the letter from Putin to We The people. Please read it and consider its message. It you take one thing away from it, let it be the fact that this world leader is trying in earnest to avoid global catastrophe, and he has enough faith in the American people to feel we may just be the mechanism to help accomplish this …


A Plea for Caution From Russia

What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria


Published: September 11, 2013 By:The New York Times

MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

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