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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 15,725

Journal Archives

Russia Moves Tactical Nukes Closer to NATO. Gulp.


As recently as this spring, the Russians have moved their tactical nukes to sites close to their Western frontiers, alarming the Baltic and Eastern European members of NATO, the Wall Street Journal reports. Russia’s longstanding position is that it won’t pull its tactical nuclear weapons behind the Ural Mountains until the U.S. gets its own small nukes out of Europe. True totals of Russian tactical nuclear weapons is a tightly-held secret, but the Federation of American Scientists estimated last year that Moscow has nearly 5,400 of them, with about 2,000 deployed.

The Russian nuke movement isn’t expressly forbidden by prior nuclear treaties; and the Journal notes that it “appeared to coincide” with the arrival of NATO missile defense systems near Russia’s European borders. At the NATO summit in Lisbon this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev endorsed building a joint NATO-Russia missile defense system over the next ten years — a big NATO priority — but warned that if “universal” missile defense couldn’t be fielded, a “new round of arms race will start.” So it’s tense, but it’s not necessarily time to dig out that old Sting song out of the record crates.

You sure you guys want to do this Ukraine thing?

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine -- beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 -- were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president -- which he rightly labeled a “coup” -- was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.


Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but it should understand the logic behind it. This is Geopolitics 101: great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory. After all, the United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, much less on its borders. Imagine the outrage in Washington if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico in it.


There is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, however -- although it would require the West to think about the country in a fundamentally new way. The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernize Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia, akin to Austria’s position during the Cold War. Western leaders should acknowledge that Ukraine matters so much to Putin that they cannot support an anti-Russian regime there. This would not mean that a future Ukrainian government would have to be pro-Russian or anti-NATO. On the contrary, the goal should be a sovereign Ukraine that falls in neither the Russian nor the Western camp.

MORE: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141769/john-j-mearsheimer/why-the-ukraine-crisis-is-the-wests-fault

How we gonna pay for the new war on terror? Anybody? SERIOUSLY war hawks, how???

ISIS Is Beheading Journalists to Lure America Into Another Ground War.


The nature of war in Iraq today, and for most of the past decade, is the reality of irregular warfare where winning the battle entails occupying territory and dealing with ambushes, roadside bombs, snipers, and every other tactic aimed at weakening a great power. Our soldiers don't deserve another ground war in Iraq and we should never again wage a counterinsurgency war anywhere in the world. ISIS wants this suicidal showdown, they want to lure the U.S. into a ground war, and they need the legitimacy acquired by Al-Qaeda and Bin-Laden when both lured our country into two colossal mistakes in the Middle East.

Our society, sadly, is seemingly quick to forget the lessons learned only several years ago. Why? Because never-ending media images of militants with black beards and uniforms doing donuts in tanks and vehicles, relishing their victories and slaughtering groups of unarmed men, have garnered exactly the type of attention desired by ISIS. In order to defeat ISIS, we'll have to wage war on our terms; not the terms of a terrorist group who's raison detre, like Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and every other terror organization, is to weaken a far greaterer power though asymmetric warfare. There are a number of reasons why ISIS desperately wants the U.S. to send tens of thousands of ground troops back to Iraq and this article highlights why we shouldn't fall into their trap.

1. The U.S. should leave the ground war to Shia, Kurdish and other Iraqi forces. According to a Salon.com article in 2006, the Battle of Fallujah is an example of why Iraqis, not U.S troops, must vanquish ISIS:

Is it true that Social Security has increased 300% recently in Russia?

That's what my Russian cabbie is telling me....

OMG!!! Threat Level ORANGE!!!!!

From the White House: The Intelligence Community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S. targets worldwide in the event of a U.S led military campaign. A large volume of reporting across a range of sources, some of which are highly reliable, indicates that terrorists probably would attempt to launch terrorist attacks against U.S. interests claiming they were defending Muslims.



Secret Detainee Abuse Photos may see the Light of Day

A federal district court judge has ruled that the government’s certification to prevent the disclosure of thousands of photos of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq—including inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison—is “not sufficient to prevent publication.”

The federal judge ordered the government to appear in court on September 8 and produce the photographs or submit additional evidence to support keeping the photos secret.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) staff attorney Marcellene Hearn reacted, “Americans have a right to know what was done in our names in military detention centers. We have a right to know what resulted from senior officials’ decisions to authorize and tolerate the abuse and torture of prisoners.”

The ACLU has been pursuing the release of records related to detainee treatment and “the death of prisoners in United States custody and abroad after September 11, 2001, since October 2003.


In Saudi Arabia death row inmates are beheaded and crucified in increasing numbers

That people are tortured into confessing to crimes, convicted in shameful trials without adequate legal support and then executed is a sickening indictment of the Kingdom’s state-sanctioned brutality,” Mr Boumedouha said. “It is clear that the authorities are more interested in threatening victims’ families to shut them up rather than putting an end to this grotesque phenomenon.”

A deadly August is just the tip of the iceberg for Saudi Arabia which executed more than 2000 people between 1985 and 2013, figures provided by the human rights group reveal.

According to them, trials in capital cases are often held in secret and defendants are given no or insufficient access to lawyers.

And people in Saudi can be executed for a range of crimes including adultery, armed robbery, apostasy, drug-related offences, rape, witchcraft and sorcery. Most executions are done by beheading and many take place in public. In some cases decapitated bodies are left lying on the ground in public squares as a “deterrent”.


Not sure why Saudi Arabia is our ally and we have to go to war with ISIS if the goal is humanitarianism.

Pro "war with ISIS" people, please explain.

EDIT: seriously, can anyone explain why it's OK for Saudi Arabia to do this, but not ISIS? Why attack ISIS and not SA? Why not leave the area to it's own fate?

Our track record shows me that our use of military force in the region just makes things worse..... MUCH worse.

Dogs feed on Ebola victims

Source: New Dawn

The residents of the Mount Barclay Community within the Johnsonville Township, outside of Monrovia woke up on last Friday morning in total dismay when the remains of dead Ebola victims were reportedly seen, eaten by dogs, something reminiscent of the brutal civil war here, when dogs ate dead bodies on the streets.

The Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, buried some unaccounted-for corpses, suspected to have died from the Ebola Virus in that township few weeks ago.

Read more: http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12468:dogs-feed-on-ebola-victims&catid=25:politics&Itemid=59


Defense rests in Blackwater trial

Source: AP

The Blackwater crew had gone to Nisoor Square to clear a path for a safe return to the Green Zone of a convoy carrying a State Department official.

At the trial, a federal jury witnessed the anguish of more than a dozen Iraqi citizens recounting the loss of their loved ones, a number of them crying for justice from the witness stand.

In all, more than half a dozen of the 19 men in the Blackwater unit called Raven 23 were summoned by prosecutors to testify against their former colleagues.

Former Blackwater guard Jeremy Krueger testified that he didn't fire his weapon because he didn't see any threats and did not see anyone firing at the Blackwater convoy. He said he saw Slough firing his weapon into the driver's side of a white car.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/defense-rests-blackwater-trial
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