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'F**k the EU': Tape Reveals US Runs Ukraine Opposition

Nuland Tape

In the latest debacle for the US State Department and the Obama Administration, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape micro-managing Ukraine opposition party strategies with US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. That the Ukraine regime-change operation is to some degree being directed from Washington can no longer be denied.

The tape (listen below) was released today, on the eve of Nuland's second trip to meet with Ukrainian protestors and opposition leaders in the past two months -- last time she passed out cookies to protestors.

The taped conversation demonstrates in clear detail that while Secretary of State John Kerry decries any foreign meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, his State Department is virtually managing the entire process. The "F**k the EU" part is her expressing anger that the EU is not moving fast enough with regime change in Ukraine and her plan is to get the UN involved in the process.
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Is a New Cold War Brewing?

A new Cold War? RPI Academic Advisor Mark Almond joins Peter Lavelle and guests to debate whether a new Cold War is brewing, pitting the West against Russia. The US media is hysterical in its attacks on Russia, says Peter Lavelle, even more strident than he remembers during the original Cold War. Prof. Almond points out that although the West's ideological argument against Russia has disappeared -- in some ways Russia is more capitalist than some of the European countries that join with the US to criticize it -- the russophobia has become even stronger.
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Victoria Nuland: The Bride At Every Wedding

Nuland Cookies

The United States increases pressure on Ukraine while preparing sanctions against the country. It sends a high-level State Department official to visit the country only a month after her previous visit. US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is going to Kiev on Thursday, February 6. The event is coordinated with the European partners. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will also visit Ukraine on February 5.

According to US State Department’s statement, in Kiev the Assistant Secretary will meet with government officials, opposition leaders, civil society and business leaders "to encourage agreement on a new government and plan of action that can put Ukraine back on track toward fulfilling the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for democracy, respect for human rights, European integration and economic growth." It means the US is to lend a helping hand only to the Ukrainians who want to associate with the EU. Those who don’t should be looking for support somewhere else. No taking sides and meddling, of course. That’s how democracy and impartiality are interpreted by the State Department.

The visit is taking place against the background of announcements from the White House that the US is reportedly readying financial sanctions that could be levied against Ukrainian government officials and opposition leaders. U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden has made at least three phone calls in recent weeks to press Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to accept forming a government akin to Western interests.
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Nice Job, Conservatives

When Barack Obama was elected president, the chickens came home to roost above the sordid nest that conservatives made for us after the 9/11 attacks. It was after those attacks that conservatives, quivering and quaking in their shoes over the thought that the terrorists were coming to get us, traded away the freedom of the American people to the federal government in the hope of gaining safety and security from the terrorists.

What were the terms of that fateful trade? They surrendered to President Bush omnipotent powers, powers that are inherent to any totalitarian regime and that are antithetical to the principles of freedom, due process of law, and limited government in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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What is the Real Price of Starting Another Cold War?

Ukraine Fire

In the late 1980s, the leaders of the west promised Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that they would not expand eastward if the Soviet Union pulled out of Eastern Europe and ended the Cold War. That promise was not kept. A triumphal West stuck it to the Soviet Union’s greatly weakened Russian successor, by incorporating the former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO and the EU. But that was not enough to sate the lust of the neo-liberal

triumphalists in search of a new imperium. Their next move tried to incorporate the Caucasus country of Georgia — a country more a part of Central Asia than of Europe — into the West’s sphere of influence. That turned out to be a bridge too far; the Russians intervened militarily to put a stop to the lunacy.

But events in the Ukraine suggest that stop may have been viewed as a temporary speed bump on the pathway to rolling back Russia’s geography to the years of Ivan the Terrible.

Ukraine may be descending into chaos, and some triumphalists in the west are again tempted to meddle and fan the fires of chaos and revolution, perhaps with a near-term aim of a partitioning the Ukraine along its historic Orthodox-Catholic fault line. Seaumas Milne describes the chaotic state of play in Ukraine in this commentary in the Guardian.
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The Continuing Al-Qaeda Threat

Appearing last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that he could not say the threat from al-Qaeda is any less today than it was ten years ago. It was a shocking admission. Does he mean that the trillions of dollars spent fighting the war on terrorism have resulted in no gains? That those who urged us to give up some of our liberties to gain security have, as Benjamin Franklin warned, lost both?
 
There may be reasons Director Clapper would want us to believe that the threat from al-Qaeda is as strong as ever. An entire industry has arisen from the government’s war on terror, and for both the government sector and the security-industrial complex the terrorist threat is big business.
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Stalin's Crimes Haunt Sochi Games

Sochi

Sochi seems a strange place to hold the Olympic games. First, it’s almost subtropical. To find snow, one must travel up to the Caucasus mountains.

The Black Sea resort is charming and exotic. But Sochi is a beach resort. No one knows if there will be enough snow for the skiing and snowboarding events being held on the low mountains behind.

Let me stop here and say that I consider all Olympic games a titanic waste of money that leave behind white elephant buildings and debts that never get paid off. Bread and circuses. Russia is blowing over $3 billion on this extravaganza. The games are just a huge commercial jamboree with faux patriotic overtones.

Second, there is the big security scare facing Russia from violent militants in the North Caucasus. The US government, trying to rain on Vlad Putin’s parade, actually warned American visitors to take extreme caution or just not go to Sochi because of the dangers of “terrorism.”
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The Year of Iran: Tehran’s Challenge to American Hegemony in 2014

Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s president seven months ago caught most of the West’s self-appointed Iran “experts” by (largely self-generated) surprise. Over the course of Iran’s month-long presidential campaign, methodologically-sound polls by the University of Tehran showed that a Rohani victory was increasingly likely.

Yet Iran specialists at Washington’s leading think tanks continued erroneously insisting (as they had for months before the campaign formally commenced) that Iranians could not be polled like other populations and that there would be “a selection rather than an election,” engineered to install Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “anointed” candidate—in most versions, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. On election day, as Iranian voters began casting their ballots, the Washington Post proclaimed that Rohani “will not be allowed to win”—a statement reflecting virtual consensus among American pundits.
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Obama and Kerry Jeopardize Peace With Iran

Obama Iran

Barack Obama and John Kerry should make up their minds: Do they want war or peace with Iran?

We should hope for peace, but Obama and Kerry make optimism difficult.

Ideally, the Obama administration would simply exit the Middle East, taking all its military and economic aid with it. The U.S. government cannot micromanage events there, especially when it is no honest, neutral broker. Shamefully, it is firmly in the Israeli camp against the Palestinians (who, let us remember, are the occupied, not the occupiers), and generally in the Sunni Muslim camp against the Shi’ites, led by Iran. (Iraq is the anomaly.)

As welcome as a U.S. exit would be, alas, it won’t happen anytime soon, so the best we can hope for is rapprochement with Iran. The U.S.-led economic sanctions impose an unconscionable hardship on Iranians — for example, depriving the elderly and children of medicines and nourishment. Clearly, a war would be catastrophic on many levels for nearly all concerned, including Americans. (I say “nearly all” because opportunistic rulers in Israel and Saudi Arabia could benefit.)
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