The recent Kerch Strait incident marks a new low amid the US-led expansion of NATO eastward.
The intentional provocation executed by Kiev saw three Ukrainian naval vessels seized by Russia. The vessels were intentionally violating the protocol for passing through the Strait – previously agreed upon by Kiev and previously observed by Ukrainian naval vessels.
In the wake of this incident – predictable calls are being made to use it as a pretext to expand NATO even further east, with senior American Foreign Policy Council fellow and former professor at the US Army War College Stephen Blank declaring the need for the US to “lease” Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, patrol the sea with US warships, all while committing to the “full-fledged” arming of Ukrainian forces.
Blank’s commentary – published in The Hill in a piece titled, “Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of war,” predicates an anti-Russian narrative and NATO’s eastward expansion into Ukraine upon a number of blatant falsehoods.
He mentions Russia’s “seizure” of Crimea, its “claiming that Crimea, the Sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait are exclusively Russian waters,” and the building of the Crimean Bridge which Blank claims is impeding Ukrainian commerce in the Sea of Azov – all as Russian provocations.
However, Blank conveniently omits the US-NATO backed putsch that seized power in Ukraine in 2013 – setting off Ukrainian-Russian tensions in the first place. Nowhere in Blank’s commentary does he mention the prominent role paramilitary Neo-Nazi organizations have played in both overthrowing the elected government in 2013 and militancy carried out against Russian businesses, institutions, and even Ukrainians of Russian decedent – particularly in Donbass, eastern Ukraine.
Blank would even feign ignorance over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motives in repatriating Crimea and taking measures against a now fully hostile Ukraine sitting on Russia’s borders.
Also conveniently omitted from Blank’s commentary was any mention of decades of NATO’s eastward expansion along with various episodes in NATO’s history where it waged wars well beyond its jurisdiction and mandate, including in Libya and Afghanistan.
Coupled together with Blank’s prescription for a “response” – it is abundantly clear who stood most to benefit from the Kerch Strait incident – especially considering the systematic expansion of NATO that has been ongoing long before President Putin ever came to power.
Beyond imposing more sanctions, waging a robust informational campaign and transferring more arms to Ukraine we can and must do something more innovative and decisive. We have the means and precedent for doing so.
He then suggests (emphasis added):
Ukraine could lease ports on the Black Sea and even in the Sea of Azov to the U.S. while we lend them military equipment they need for air, naval, and ground warfare. The U.S. or NATO naval vessels could then stay at those ports for as long as necessary without bringing Ukraine formally into NATO. It would greatly diminish the chance of Russian attack if those forces patrolled the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Blank concludes by claiming:
Not only do these forces deter future Russian attacks they show everyone, not least in Moscow, that Putin’s reckless adventurism has merely brought NATO into Ukraine to stay, the exact opposite of his goals.
Yet, claiming Russia’s actions prompted NATO’s entrance into Ukraine is preposterous – especially considering NATO’s decades-long and relentless expansion eastward. The US-NATO backed putsch in 2013 was aimed wholly at placing a proxy regime in power that would uproot all Russian influence and interests in Ukraine, fast-track Ukraine’s entry into both the European Union and NATO, and join the front-line of NATO expansion – literally right on Russia’s borders.
NATO Expansion was the Goal Long Before “Putin’s Reckless Adventurism”
Despite assurances from senior US representatives to the Soviet Union toward the end of the Cold War that NATO would not be expanded “one inch to the east,” it has since been expanded directly to Russia’s borders.
NATO members bordering Russia now include Estonia, Latvia, and Norway – with Georgia and Ukraine both bordering Russia and being considered “aspirant” countries.
Norway was host of one of the largest NATO exercises in decades – Trident Juncture. Other exercises are regularly held in the Baltic states bordering Russia. And US troops have carried out training, have provided arms to, and have ensured compliant regimes remain in power in Ukraine and Georgia.
Then US Secretary of State James Baker – as revealed in now declassified documents maintained in archives by George Washington University – personally and repeatedly made assurances to then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not be further expanded toward Russian borders.
We fought a war [World War 2] together to bring peace to Europe. We didn’t do so well handling the peace in the Cold War. And now we are faced with rapid and fundamental change. And we are in a better position to cooperate in preserving peace. I want you to know one thing for certain. The President and I have made clear that we seek no unilateral advantage in this process.
In other words – the US recognized the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany and admitted both nations failed to broker peace in the war’s aftermath. The US also stated it sought to cooperate with Russia regarding the reunification of Germany and the post-Cold War political order in Eastern Europe. It would stand to reason that in exchange for any sort of cooperation from Moscow, certain assurances would have to be made that NATO would not be expanded further eastward.
Baker would continue, claiming (emphasis added):
All our allies and East Europeans we have spoken to have told us that they want us to maintain a presence in Europe. I am not sure whether you favor that or not. But let me say that if our allies want us to go, we will be gone in a minute. Indeed, if they want us to leave, we’ll go and I can assure you that the sentiment of the American people is such that they will want us to leave immediately. The mechanism by which we have a US military presence in Europe is NATO. If you abolish NATO, there will be no more US presence.
Of course, if the sentiment of the American people was and is for the US to withdraw its military presence from Europe – as a defender of global democracy – the US finds itself making a very undemocratic decision by keeping its military in Europe regardless.
Baker then claims (emphasis added):
We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is part of NATO, there would no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.
Baker would reiterate this point by asking Gorbachev the question:
Would you prefer a united Germany outside of NATO that is independent and has no US forces or would you prefer a united Germany with ties to NATO and assurances that there would be no extension of NATO’s current jurisdiction eastward?
Obviously then, just as now, Russia had nothing to gain by allowing NATO to continue expanding eastward. A meeting between then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Gorbachev following the Baker-Gorbachev meeting would again reiterate commitments not to expand NATO any further eastward.
The US has – in retrospect and to no one’s surprise – claimed that the meetings, language used, and agreements were non-binding, misinterpreted, and ultimately did not equate to any sort of constraint on NATO’s expansion, including up to and along Russia’s borders.
Some have claimed that the assurances only applied to NATO’s presence in Germany – but clearly Baker’s assurances of not expanding NATO’s jurisdiction eastward inside of Germany was an acknowledgement that NATO’s move eastward – anywhere – was seen as a threat and provocation by Moscow.
If the US understood that eastward expansion of NATO’s jurisdiction inside of Germany would be perceived rightfully as a threat and provocation, why wouldn’t it be equally understood that eastward expansion outside of Germany and up to Russia’s borders would be perceived as an even greater threat and provocation? Wouldn’t the US equally see similar expansion by Russia westward as a threat and provocation?
Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot – How Would Washington React to “Russian Expansion?”
To understand how bad NATO expansion actually looks outside the bubble of American exceptionalism and just what sort of situation Moscow is faced with – consider what Washington’s reaction would be to a Russian-backed coup in Canada, Mexico, or both.
Consider both nation’s hosting Russian troops and receiving Russian arms with high-level Russian politicians vowing to overthrow the political order of the United States next.
Consider as Russia did this, it also imposed sanctions on the United States – crippling its economy – then blamed Washington’s “incompetence” rather than Russia’s own sanctions for the predictable economic crisis. Consider if Russia also imposed secondary sanctions on American allies, preventing them from trading with the US, thus attempting to impose a modern-day blockade on the United States itself.
It takes little imagination to conclude Washington would not tolerate such activity – and considering what the US has already done in reaction to unfounded claims of “Russian meddling” in US elections, such extreme meddling, sanctions, and military and economic encirclement carried out along America’s borders would fall well within the realm as “acts of war.”
Washington has lied the American people into serial wars abroad, destroying entire regions of the planet and killing millions. One can only imagine what Washington would do if actually confronted with genuine acts of war carried out directly on its borders.
And yet Russia’s reaction to exactly these sort of very real provocations carried out by the US and NATO all along its borders and against its allies has been measured, patient – and for some – considered even woefully inadequate.
Despite this, US policymakers and the Western media still manage to twist the narrative a full 180 degrees and portray Russia – a nation with a military budget and GDP a fraction of those of the United States – as the “aggressor.”
NATO Will Not Stop Itself
It is clear that NATO’s expansion is aimed at Moscow itself. It will continue until it is forcibly stopped. This means either by Russia warding off NATO expansion until NATO collapses under its own unsustainable weight, or Russia outmatches NATO at the very edge of the West’s extent in areas Moscow clearly holds the military, sociopolitical, and economic advantage.
The Kerch Strait incident and attempts to leverage it as a pretext to place NATO warships in the Sea of Azov is a dangerous provocation – the Sea of Azov is not “international waters” and is considered by both Ukraine and Russia as an inland sea they share control over.
If people like Stephen Blank have their way and warships enter the Sea of Azov – NATO will be one step past many of the proxy wars the West is already fighting Russia through – and one step closer to fighting Russian forces directly.
Blank’s claiming NATO must act to confront Russian “provocations” is an instance of inverse reality. In this case – NATO is encircling Russia, violently stripping it of buffer states where the West and East have and could have continued to share influence to avoid conflict, and is instead turning them into frontier fortresses in preparation for what is clearly further and more direct conflict planned with Russia in the future.
A nation leading an alliance that must cross the Atlantic Ocean and several seas to station its vessels in Russian waters is not reacting to provocations – it is the provocateur.
Originally published on 2018-12-07
About the author: Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Arrest and detention of three days for Joanikije, Bishop of Budimlye and Niksic, and eight priests of the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Basil of Ostrog in Nikšić has sparked tensions in Montenegro again. Namely, after the prayer procession that had been held in Nikšić on May 12th, on the feast-day of St. Basil of Ostrog, a 72-hour detention was ordered for Bishop Jonikije, Fr. Slobodan Jokic, Fr. Danilo Zirojevic, Fr. Zeljko Rojevic, Fr. Ostoja Knezevic, Fr. Mirko Vukotic, Fr. Vasilije Brboric, Fr. Dragan Krusic and Fr. Nikola Marojevic.Protests in support of those arrested have taken place in several cities across ...
In June and July 1941, detachments of German Einsatzgruppen, together with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began murdering the Jews of Lithuania. Groups of partisans, civil units of nationalist-rightist anti-Soviet affiliation, initiated contact with the Germans as soon as they entered the Lithuanian territories. A rogue unit of insurgents headed by Algirdas Klimaitis and encouraged by Germans from the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst, started anti-Jewish pogroms in Kaunas (Polish: Kovno) on the night of 25–27 June 1941. Over a thousand Jews perished over the next few days in what was the first pogrom in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in what was ...
Their anxiety about the future of NATO, recently on full display again when the American president was in Europe, could not be bettered as a measure of the incapacity of Europe’s top politicians to guide their continent and represent its populations. Through its provocations of Moscow, NATO systematically helps increase the risk of a military confrontation. By thus sabotaging its declared purpose of preserving collective security for the countries on either side of the Atlantic, it erases its fundamental reason for being and right to exist.
Grasping these facts ought be enough to fuel moves aimed at quickly doing away with ...
Strange things happen in civil wars: During the Russian Civil War in 1919, 13,000 U.S. troops were dispatched by President Woodrow Wilson to occupy the cities of Archangelsk in the Arctic and Vladivostok on the Pacific.Half a century earlier, thousands of Imperial Russian Navy sailors and their officers flooded the cities of San Francisco and New York. But the circumstances were very different. They were there to defend the United States from foreign invasion – not to threaten it and they brilliantly succeeded in their tasks.The incredible story is well told in “Friends in Peace and War: The Russian Navy’s ...
What must the world think watching the US presidential campaign? Over time US political campaigns have become more unreal and less related to voters’ concerns, but the current one is so unreal as to be absurd.The offshoring of American jobs by global corporations and the deregulation of the US financial system have resulted in American economic failure. One might think that this would be an issue in a presidential campaign.The neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony is driving the US and its vassals into conflict with Russia and China. The risks of nuclear war are higher than at any previous ...
Fresh calls for a Greater Albania, incorporating the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, have led to an angry backlash from politicians in Belgrade.Sputnik Radio’s Mark Hirst talked to Marko Djuric, Director of the Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija.Such a move by Albania, if acted upon, could plunge the entire region back into a bloody and costly war on a scale not seen since the 1990s.Marko Djuric said that Serbia will not allow the creation of a Greater Albania in its southern province and that it is not alone in opposing the idea, which stems from the times of Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia.When asked whether this inflammatory statement by Albanian ...
As the Cold War entered its final act in 1985, journalist Helena Cobban participated in an academic conference at an upscale resort near Tucson, Arizona, on U.S.-Soviet interactions in the Middle East. When she attended what was listed as the “Gala Dinner with keynote speech”, she quickly learned that the virtual theme of the evening was, “Adopt a Muj.”
“I remember mingling with all of these wealthy Republican women from the Phoenix suburbs and being asked, ‘Have you adopted a muj?” Cobban told me. “Each one had pledged money to sponsor a member of the Afghan mujahedin in the name ...
“If you have nukes, never give them up–If you don’t have them, get them”Dan Coats, Director of National IntelligenceThose were the words of President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, about the lessons taught from the U.S. destruction of Libya and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi.That is why North Korea is a nuclear power. That is the reality and eventually the U.S. will have to accept “Mutually Assured Madness“. The U.S. has nobody to blame for its self-inflected wounds. It is called Blowback.The propaganda mill and the mainstream media greatly exaggerate the US national security risk to the American people, and ...
Many innocent civilians were killed in American military interventions around the world – from Vietnam and Serbia to Iran and Afghanistan, because of the alleged “errors” or “collateral damage” – without consequences for civil and military leadership. In addition to political, military and every other power, Americans secured itself with legal mechanisms.Twenty-two civilians, wounded and doctors, among them three children, were killed in the American bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. Americans acknowledged the error and apologized. The President of the United States expressed his condolences, the military leadership announced three independent investigations. “Doctors without borders” ...
Following the death of President Tito in 1980 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slid towards chaos. In the 1990s the plunge accelerated into civil war and one of the regions most affected was Kosovo from which Serbia withdrew after a NATO bomb and rocket offensive from 24 March to 11 June 1999. That blitz involved over 1,000 mainly American aircraft conducting some 38,000 airstrikes on Yugoslavia that killed approximately 500 civilians and destroyed much of the economic and social infrastructure of the region.NATO said its air bombardment was essential to halt repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and justified the ...
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
The report does not provide ...
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback?
What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of America’s deadliest terrorist organization: the Klu Klux Klan.
Since September 11, extremists associated with various far-right wing ideologies, including the KKK and Jewish extremists, have killed far more people in the United States than extremists motivated by radical Islam.
One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying ...
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999.
Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
This is a long story which extends over fifteen years. NATO first attempted to silence those citizens who were trying to discover the truth about the attacks of 11 September 2001. Then it turned on those who contested the oficial version of the «Arab Springs» and the war against Syria. One thing leading to another, it then attacked those who denounced the coup d’état in Ukraine. Now NATO is behind the accusations by a pseudo-NGO that the people who campaigned for Donald Trump are Russian agents.The attacks of 11 September 2001 were followed by a permanent state of emergency and ...
We all know how the story goes. The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. It was then controversially annexed in 1981, despite the UN calling the efforts “null”, “void” and “without international legal effect”. Today it is still internationally and legally recognised as Syrian land, but Israel persists with its possession.Of course, such persistence can prove to be quite lucrative when the land is abundant in resources – especially land as fertile as the Syrian Golan – a generous source of gushing waters and game changing oil reserves.In fact, the ...
Will the election of Republican George W. Bush as President usher in changes in foreign policy with regard to Serbia, Yugoslavia, and the Balkans? Will there be a continuation of „humanitarian interventionism“, „military humanism“, „economic globalism“ and „globalization“?
The Bush Administration foreign policy team has rejected the selective humanitarian interventionism of the Bill Clinton/Al Gore Administration, as espoused by Madeleine Albright and James Rubin. John Hulsman, Balkans adviser to Bush, announced that Bush was concerned about „imperial overstretch“ and has rejected a foreign policy that uses the US military in „nation building“. Hulsman has announced a „philosophical sea change“ in Balkans ...
Today marks twenty-nine years since the shootdown by the USS Vincennes of Iran Air flight 655, which killed all of the plane’s 290 civilian passengers. This shootdown of a civilian airliner by a US naval ship occurred on July 3, 1988, toward the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War.
This incident is, of course, something that the people of Iran well remember. Americans who rely on the US mainstream media, on the other hand, would have to be forgiven for never having heard about it.
Furthermore, in the rare instances when the media do mention it, to this day they tend to ...
It is coming clear these days that many university professors are increasingly fat-cat and lazy, not doing any research once they get tenure. It is a system-wide corruption of the academy, so entrenched that central administrations have only led the corruption in multiplying salaries and offices with no committed function to advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge – the constitutional and statutory objective of the academy the best are devoted to everywhere.This deep-structural degeneration is not confined to any one place or region. Regular contacts from other universities report a similar decadence. The solution is straightforward, but unspoken: (1) ...
After 19 years since a part of the international community, under the auspices of NATO and the US, took control over the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, following two ethnic pogroms of the Serbs and non-Albanians occurred in 1999 and in 2004, which resulted in ethnic cleansing of around 250 000 Serbs and other non Albanians, the rest of Serbian population still survive in ghettos across the territory of self-proclaimed independent Republic of Kosovo.Destroyed 14th-century Serbian Orthodox church Samodreža in Kosovo by Muslim Albanians in March 2004 The Self proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, as a creation of the USA/NATO joint ...
The “Kaunas Garage Massacre” in 1941: The Lithuanians are Clubbing Lithuania’s Jewish (Litvakai) to Death (Photos)
Ending NATO, a Monstrous Institution
Shield of the Union: How the Russian Navy Protected America in the Civil War
Washington Leads the World to War
Kosovo Serbs ‘Terrified’ by Proposed Creation of a “Greater Albania”
The Other Side of John McCain
U.S. Korea Policy
Why NATO/US’s “Collateral Damage” and “Errors” are not a War Crime?
From Kosovo to Crimea — Tales of Referendums
What is the Obama Regime?
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The NATO Campaign Against Freedom of Expression
The Occupied Golan Heights: How Israel Thrives from Syria’s Natural Resources
New Old World Order? The Foreign-Policy of the George W. Bush Administration
The “Forgotten” US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655
On Universities and NATO War Drums
Serbs Survive in Ghettos in the Heart of Europe: The “Republic of Kosovo”, a Criminal Entity
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
About White Nettle
SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published on this website. The views of the authors presented on this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically, or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government, or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically, or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu
Publish your articles on global politics, history, and international relations online & advertise your website for a moderate charging fee at www.global-politics.eu (contact: email@example.com). For more details see the Submission section on our website. We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We mainly rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations. Follow us on our social platforms!