(Russia vs. the U.S.)
Most Americans think that there was only one “Cold War” with Russia, and they think Ronald Reagan ended it. But that’s not true.
Jimmy Carter ended the first one in the 1970s. But in 1980s Ronald Reagan’s Administration got us into a second one, and George W. Bush’s Administration got us into a third one. Now, President Obama must deal with an escalation of that Third Cold War. But since it appears that won’t happen, the American people need to understand the history.
The First Cold War between Russia and the United States began with the Truman Doctrine in 1947 following the Second World War. It created a long, terrible rift between the two very mistrustful, powerful nation-empires, because U.S. President Harry Truman established policies and committed U.S. military and intelligence forces to prevent Russian Soviet imperialistic expansion, while Russian Leader Joseph Stalin declared that Soviet-style Communism was at odds with what he felt was Western Capitalist imperialist expansion. Each side felt it was right and the other was wrong, and each side felt it had to protect the world from the other.
Judging by the bloody and tyrannical record of Joseph Stalin before the Second World War, it is easy to see which political system was better. And it was a shame, since the Russians and Americans had been allies against Nazi Military Imperialism during World War II, that Stalin did change his ways and that the two empires did not continue as allies. But, unfortunately, the desire for power and control set the stage for a whole lot of conflict, trouble and violence (usually by proxy) around the world.
It started to get very serious when the Soviets supported East Berlin in Germany and the U.S. supported West Berlin, and a hard line was drawn and even a huge wall was built dividing the German people into East vs West. Then the same thing happened over North and South Korea, because by that time the Soviets supported Communist China and North Korea while the U.S. supported and fought for South Korea.
What most Americans are not aware of today is that Truman’s policies of restraint in fighting the Korean War were actually crucial in preventing a much larger and catastrophic war, and he ended up being hated by Republicans and many right-wing Americans because of it.
You see, just as a truce was in the making in Korea, an insubordinate U.S. Army General, Douglas MacArthur, a right-wing Republican, decided on his own, against the orders of the Commander in Chief, to issue an ultimatum to the North Koreans. Thus MacArthur ruined the truce and extended the war a lot longer. In fact, MacArthur pushed for nuclear warfare against the North Koreans and the Chinese, who had come in to help the North Koreans. But fortunately, Truman knew that would only lead to a much wider war, which would have been not only against China, but the Soviet Union as well.
Truman was painfully aware of the horrific impact of the U.S. atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to end World War II, and he was determined not to be responsible for more horrible deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian men, women and children.
Truman also did not want to lose more American lives. Even as it was, 50,000 American lives were lost in Korea (many of those because MacArthur ruined the first truce). But even though Truman prevented more loss of life, he was severely criticized by many right-wing Americans because he fired General MacArthur for his insubordination, while MacArthur received a ticker-tape parade when he came home. It was very clear that many Americans wanted to continue to be the biggest Super-Power in the world, and prized victory at all costs.
In the 1950s and '60s the First Cold War raged and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was an indicator of how bad things had gotten. But while President Kennedy dealt with that and planned to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam, after his assassination the U.S. reversed Kennedy’s plan and instead plunged the U.S. into a hot war there.
The Vietnam War was one of the proxy wars between Russia and the U.S., because the two major “super-power” sources of the conflict did not actually go to war against each other in Vietnam. Even though it was none of Russia’s or America’s business, Russia supported the North Vietnamese Government and the Viet Cong, while the U.S. Government supported the South Vietnamese Government in Saigon.
One of the most significant historical factors about the Vietnam War was that it proved to be a turning point in America’s status as a “moral” force, due to the shameful way the U.S. waged that war. It was one of the biggest indicators that the U.S. Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower had warned us about in 1961 had indeed become more corrupt and dangerous, and that it would commit atrocities and mislead the American people in order to perpetuate and expand a war that was very profitable for American military contractors.
Some Americans are still in denial about that. In fact, there are some Americans even today who still cling to misconceptions about it, mainly due to claims made by Ronald Reagan.
Reagan claimed Americans had nothing to be ashamed of, which, by the way, is why George W. Bush later resorted to claiming that Americans against his war in Iraq were just like the Americans who were against the war in Vietnam. Bush, a loyal Reaganite, claimed that dissent just "aids and comforts the enemy." And Reaganites still claim that the only reason the U.S. lost the war in Vietnam was because of a so-called "lack of resolve on the part of the American People." They blame American anti-war demonstrators in the 1960s for the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, and they claim that "if America had really tried to win, we would certainly have won."
That is simply not true.
It is propaganda designed to denigrate the American Peace Movement of the 1960s, and Americans should understand the truth.
The truth is that U.S. military leaders tried their damnedest to win the war in Vietnam, but they lost for a couple of very basic reasons.
First, they ignored or did not understand the desire and the will of the vast majority of the Vietnamese people. Instead, they served the interests of the relatively few Vietnamese who had become part of the French colonial establishment based in Saigon. And, in waging war as the U.S. Government did, American leadership demonstrated ignorance, carelessness and disregard for the majority of Vietnamese, as well as Cambodians and Laotians.
The second key reason the U.S. lost that war was because the leadership grossly underestimated the tenacity and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people, who were simply continuing a very long and hard fight for independence from any foreign influence -- first Chinese, then French, then American. Of course, there were other reasons as well, but those were the two biggest ones, and it's time Americans realized it.
Another thing is that just as the Bush Regime was clearly warned by experts against his invasion and occupation of Iraq, predicting what would happen (and did happen), so the U.S. Government had been warned by experts on the Far East as early as 1954 against getting involved in Vietnam.
Of particular concern at that time was the American support in the early 1950s of the French, who ruled South Vietnam as a French colony but were starting to lose control of it. The U.S. support of the French rule in Vietnam only fueled Vietnamese desire for independence, and that is what enabled and justified communist influences.
The experts even made it known that American efforts were becoming "an extremely ineffective and ultimately hopeless defense of the status quo, showing how absurdly wrong we are to battle Asian nationalism and independence instead of aiding it."
That is why, when the U.S. military actually stepped into South Vietnam with full military fighting forces in 1964, the U.S. government claimed it was to aid South Vietnamese nationalism. U.S. leaders by then believed in the "domino theory" which claimed that Communism would be widely spread if it wasn't stopped in South Vietnam.
History, of course, proves that was not true. But that theory had been implanted in the 1950s by McCarthyism, the John Birch Society, and the “Second Red Scare.” And many politicians in Washington, D.C. were infected with the right-wing ideology that had been spread by people like rich oil baron Fred Koch, one of the founders of the John Birch Society (and the father of the Billionaire brothers David Koch and Charles Koch, who are still trying to rule with the power of their money).
Unfortunately, in Vietnam the U.S. military forces poisoned the country with 11.2 million gallons of Agent Orange, the most toxic and long-lasting chemical ever synthesized by man, dropped countless tons of horribly destructive high explosive bombs on the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians during many years of senseless and fruitless saturation bombing, built a huge amount of helicopter gun ships and other military hardware, all of which made some U.S. Military Contractors very rich, all to no avail.
In the 1970s, the Carter Administration, backed by a preponderance of hard evidence from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intelligence which revealed the increasing decline of Russian Soviet power, de-escalated the First Cold War and entered into a new era of dialogue with the Russian Soviet leaders.
The First Cold War hostilities practically disappeared in the ‘70s because Jimmy Carter focused his efforts on finding common ground and working in the spirit of cooperation instead of conflict. After all, as Carter has shown as an ex-president, he is a man of great compassion and goodness, and of peace, and he is a true Christian. And President Jimmy Carter’s initiatives and policies could have changed the world for the better.
Unfortunately, the world has gotten worse because Carter’s efforts were squashed and negated by a concerted propaganda campaign in the early 1980s lead by Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, who actually started the Second Cold War and helped to set the scene for the trouble to come.
As is explained in the article titled Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy, in the early 1980s Ronald Reagan and his team of right-wing Republican ideologues influenced and manipulated the U.S. intelligence community and began to dismantle the policy of détente which had been established with bipartisan support during the Carter presidency.
The Reaganites came to power waving the flag, thumping their bible and rattling their swords. They claimed that America had “nothing to be ashamed of” regarding Vietnam or anything else. They also claimed the Soviet Union was still a terrible threat, and they even accused the CIA of “underestimating the intensity, scope, and implicit threat” that the Soviets posed to American security.
Many Americans were eager to believe them, and did believe them. And so, as the Military Industrial Complex was pleased to find, the arms race heated up because the Reaganites adopted the old Machiavellian strategy of establishing foreign policy based not merely on economic-financial and political expediency. In addition, they focused on exaggerating and even fabricating a threat from an enemy, in this case the Soviet Union, which Reagan called “The Evil Empire.”
Granted, the Soviet Union was evil, but it was changing, and it was already in decline due to the reforming work of Mikhail Gorbachev. But Ronald Reagan made it appear that he was going to be a conquering hero, in spite of the fact that the Soviet Union was already in severe decline and was destined to crumble regardless of what Americans did.
As early as 1974 when Gorbachev became the First Secretary to the Supreme Soviet, he had advocated reforms. He continued after he became a member of the Politburo in 1979, and he had made significant progress in making reforms by the time he became General Secretary in 1985 and was able to really implement the reformation.
It was Gorbachev's reforms that then enabled him to take part in summit conferences with U.S. President Ronald Reagan during Reagan’s second term, and it had been his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims that were the main factors in ending the Cold War before Reagan became president. Gorbachev also ended the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And, for these efforts, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Reaganites ignored all that because they had a highly motivated economic interest in military spending and growth of the Military Industrial Complex. That was because Bechtel Corporation’s president, George Schulz, was one of the most influential players in formulating the Reaganite agenda, as were the right-wing imperialist-minded ideologues like former CIA Director George H. W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and advisers Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who influenced or colluded with Reagan and the corporate special interests that he served.
Thus, in terms of foreign policy, the Reaganites adopted the politics of fear, and began the Second Cold War with the Soviet Union. They went ahead with a dramatic military build-up and escalation of conflicts and hostilities in many different places in the world, all under the guise of “fighting Communism” while actually serving American corporate interests.
While that was going on, the American commercial news media failed to do its job to find out the truth and educate the American people, so the Reaganites were able to fool many Americans and not only indulge in a military build-up and start up a Second Cold War, but also usher in Reaganomics and create a recession, a huge deficit, another decade of fear and conflict, nuclear weapons proliferation, “Star Wars,” trouble in El Salvador, Nicaragua and elsewhere, all of which served to further the agenda of making some American corporate industry executives a whole lot richer.
In 1989, the Soviet Union suffered a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan and was forced to withdraw from there, and that further quickened its decline as a super-power. But, unfortunately, the Reaganites had chosen to seize the opportunity to gain the upper hand, rather than use the opportunity to assist Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia’s leader at the time, in his reformist policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In fact, the Reagan administration supported, funded and supplied Osama bin Laden and other "Mujahadeen" leaders in their fight against the Russians in Afghanistan (and we all know what that created).
Thus, even though Russia was deservedly driven out of Afghanistan, it was hindered in many other ways. It was unable to establish economic security and real reform, and instead had to squander much on a pointless and needless military and nuclear weapons race with the Reagan administration.
Some historians and analysts believe that the self-serving folly of the Reaganites unwittingly helped set in motion a series of events that ultimately resulted in many of the terrible consequences we’ve seen in the world, especially in many of the failed nations that were in the sphere and control of the former Soviet Union. There’s some truth to that, and we have been seeing the results throughout the 1990s to the present time, which even include nuclear weapons material and munitions finding their way into the hands of terrorists and rogue nations.
Of course, in the 1990s the Clinton Administration did what they could to deal with the mess the early Reaganites had made, but Clinton was unable to do much because of a Reaganite Republican-controlled Congress. (It is worthy of note, however, that during the eight years under President Clinton, the U.S. did not use its military might to protect any American-supported foreign dictators or American economic interests in foreign countries. Clinton deserves credit for being the first American president to accomplish that since 1945, establishing a precedent that should have been followed, but wasn’t.)
If you read the article on Bush’s Real Record and War, you will see exactly how and why the Bush Regime only made things worse, especially because of its nuclear weapons revival and expansion (which went on behind the scenes because the American commercial news media failed to do its job and report it), and also because of their obviously imperialistic efforts to increase their corporate globalism movement, and gain a more firm foothold in oil-rich Iraq and Kuwait to increase American influence in the Mid-East.
Many Americans do not realize that the Bush Regime tried to implement the plan they made in September 2000 in their document entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, written in by a right-wing conservative think-tank called Project for the New American Century (PNAC), spearheaded by the likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennet, Dan Quayle and other like-minded right-wing imperialistic ideologues. Their PNAC plan shows how and why Bush’s War in Iraq was not about helping Iraqis. It was about American corporate control of Iraqi oil (for Cheny’s company Halliburton) and gaining a firm military foothold in the region as a “new American frontier,” just as that document and plan reveals.
The Bush Regime and the Reaganites/Bushites in Congress started the Third Cold War with Russia, exacerbated and escalated the hot war on Muslim extremists, and plunged America into a bloody quagmire in Iraq. The American people were deliberately and systematically deceived by a group of right-wing conservative Reaganite/Bushite ideologues who manipulated and distorted or simply ignored intelligence, and even used blatant lies to drag this country into war and into yet another nuclear arms race. And it has made some very wealthy Americans a whole lot richer.
The Russians were very aware of the Bushite Neo-Conservative plan for world dominance, and it is no wonder that when the Russian state TV channel ran a poll at the time, there was only one question, “Choose the person you consider to be the most outstanding leader in the recent Russian History.”
By an overwhelming margin (90%) the Russian people chose Joseph Stalin, who we know as one of the more ruthless and murderous tyrants in the Twentieth Century. Of course, we do not know whether that is the actual choice of the Russian people, or whether the state manipulated the results. Either way, it shows that there is a desire in Russia for strict, strong, ruthless rule to bring Russia back to Superpower status in the world.
Vladimir Putin exemplifies that Russian desire, and, in one sense, it began to reveal itself during the Bush presidency, perhaps most notably in 2008.
In August 2008, Russia invaded Georgia, and many Americans jumped to the conclusion that Russia was resorting to brutal military imperialism again to restore its imperial superpower status. And the Bush Administration made the situation worse by claiming that the conflict between Georgia and Russia was simply about Soviet-style Russian imperialism. However, it was far more complex than that, and the U.S. was not an innocent observer.
The U.S.-backed Georgian president really started the major violence with Russia, and the historic record shows why there was such a strong Russian military response. While the roots of the problem were originally sown in the Russian Soviet imperialism in the early 1900s, and while part of the problem was about ethnic conflicts and concerns, in 2008 the conflict was about control of oil and natural gas energy resources and particularly about a gas pipeline.
In the 1990s the situation had become complicated when an idea backed by the U.S. established a plan to create oil and natural gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to Turkey, running through Georgia so they would deliberately bypass Russia. Then when pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in Georgia in 2004 by way of a U.S. supported revolution, Georgia became closer to the U.S., and the presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia stood with the Georgian president. (In fact, they all supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq, because they felt they needed the U.S. support against Russia. They are still very afraid of a Russian occupation, and they don't forget the sixty years of Soviet Russian military dominance and occupation.)
When the Bush Regime began urging Georgian President Saakashvili to become part of NATO, Russia objected. Then when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation from a command post in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, Saakashvili accused Putin of wanting "to depose the democratically elected government of Georgia."
In 2005 the United States helped open the 1,000-mile-long pipeline that connected Azerbaijan to Turkey (running through Georgia deliberately to bypass Russia), and more oil and natural gas pipelines are scheduled to be built in Georgia. That's why the U.S. poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building up the Georgian military, specifically to protect Georgia and the gas pipeline.
Pentagon and State Department documents reveal that this is about energy security, not about democracy or human rights or the other justifications that have been given. This was confirmed when the Bush Regime's Department of Defense funded a military exercise with Georgia in July, 2008, and Bush’s Secretary of State even visited there in support.
Vladimir Putin and Russian leadership wants to have control of the flow of oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and Europe, so they could profit from it. But by building the alternate pipelines, the Bush Regime was trying to undercut Russia’s political and economic power in Europe. So, part of the Third Cold War was and is seen as the geopolitical contest between the U.S. and Russia for influence in Europe, and a contest for natural resources.
A big part of the problem was oil man Dick Cheney, who pushed a foreign policy that was not interested in cooperation but in confrontation and in ramping up the Third Cold War with Russia. Some experts on the region suspected that the staffs of Vice President Cheney and Republican presidential candidate John McCain were motivated to serve the interests of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, which would benefit from stoking the Third Cold War. Some also suspect that Cheney and McCain told Georgian President Saakashvili that if he invaded South Ossetia, he would get much more support from the United States than he did, and that this is what motivated him to provoke the conflict. And while that may be cynical and biased, it is a logical assumption. After all, it's really all about money and the control of natural resources, and since Bush and Cheney were oil men, that is probably what drove their actions in Georgia (and in Kuwait and Iraq as well).
As a U.S. military protectorate, Georgia received hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid, and U.S. military instructors were sent to Georgia. That was seen by Moscow as an offensive effort that the Bush Regime pushed. Russians feared it was tied to plans for putting missile interceptors in Poland to go along with the radars in Czechoslovakia. Russians saw this as a Cold War assault on Russia coming from Washington, tied also to plans to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which the Bush administration favored. So, the Russians felt threatened. That's why they viewed it as something that required a strong countermove.
Indeed, on August 28, 2008, Vladimir Putin accused the Bush Regime of orchestrating the Georgian-Russian conflict to benefit U.S. presidential candidate John McCain and the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex. Putin also said Russian defense officials believed that U.S. citizens were in the conflict area supporting the Georgian military when it attacked the separatist region of South Ossetia. So the Third Cold War definitely heated up as Bush's reign came to a close.
At the beginning of his presidency, President Obama started off in many good ways (except in all the ways he perpetuated Bush’s policies). In March 2010 President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to cut their nuclear arsenals by about one third, to 1,550 warheads each. The pact, replacing and expanding a 1991 treaty that expired in December 2008, was a gesture toward improving U.S.-Russian relations that had been badly damaged by the Bush Regime’s words and actions, particularly with regard to the natural gas pipe lines and Georgia.
Unfortunately, while this could have been a step in the right direction toward ending The Third Cold War and implementing total nuclear disarmament, it was but a very small step that still enables the two biggest nuclear powers in the world to be able to destroy the world. And the crisis in Ukraine is highly problematic and can lead to much worse problems.
The recent conflict in and over Ukraine really began back in the 1990s but there have been recurrences problems and crises — and the main issue is really about oil and gas pipelines. There have been many disputes between Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Russian gas supplier Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices, and debts. These disputes have grown beyond simple business disputes into geopolitical issues that threaten natural gas supplies in numerous European countries that are dependent on natural gas imports from Russian suppliers which transport the gas by pipelines through Ukraine.
In 2013 the issue and problem got so bad it resulted in the Crimean crisis, and in 2014 it was part of the reason for the overthrow of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, a coup that was at least in part orchestrated by the U.S. It is a complex issue that deserves a lot of discussion, but that is the crux of the issue.
A big part of the problem in Washington, D.C. is that President Obama has not repudiated all the policies of George W. Bush. In fact, Mr. Obama has perpetuated some of the worst. That’s why Americans should be aware of just how bad a president Bush was.
Many Americans do no know that as president Bush denied habeas corpus and due process to many human beings and even to his own fellow citizens. He violated the U.S. Constitution and dismissed it as “just a piece of paper.” He start ill-advised and illegal wars on false premises, and committed war crimes by allowing torture of prisoners and by permitting U.S. military forces to kill up to 30 innocent civilians per air strike as "acceptable collateral damage." He allowed illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens. And he assumed other dictatorial powers and issued statements and decrees with impunity, avoiding deserved impeachment and even avoiding huge demonstrations and protests against him on the streets of our cities.
President Obama, while being a much better man than George W. Bush, has perpetuated some of Bush’s policies, most notably in his “Patriot Act, the drone strikes, and the “collateral damage” rationalization. That is why even though when Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 he was supported by most Americans and most of the people of the rest of the world, he is now often vilified by former supporters.
Americans need to know the truth so that they will never again be fooled by any demagogue who waves the flag, thumps their bible and rattles their sword. For the truth is that we can put an end to hot wars and cold wars.
We can have government of, by and for all the people, and we will have it as soon as enough people get the message and abide by God's will. Then we will no longer be divided and ruled by a rich partisan "pretender to the throne." We will share the "throne" as equal joint heirs, and, at long last we will have government that is truly of, by and for the people. We will be able to govern ourselves, determine our own destiny, and use the common wealth for the common good
You see, while many people think "democratic" partisan party politics will do the trick if they win victory over the opposing party; while some other people think the only answer is in some form of Communism; and while still other people think that Religious Theocracy will establish good and righteous government, they are ALL wrong.
First, partisan party politics only perpetuates conflict, division, and instability. Secondly, while Russian-style Communism was originally based on justifiable anger at the European capitalistic nobility and aristocracy, the Russian Bolsheviks were wrong in calling for violent revolution to overthrow and destroy the capitalists, and most subsequent Communists have been even more wrong in advocating and perpetuating totalitarian rule. And thirdly, "good theocracy" is an oxymoron, because true servants of God do not seek to rule the people, but to liberate and empower them.
Now is the time for all good, conscientious people to come together, to stand up and demonstrate your will and be counted, to bring about a peaceful, non-violent revolution and reformation and establish government that is truly of, for and by the people. For the truth is that the average people who are the humble, gentle, peaceful and meek majority of people in this world shall indeed inherit the earth.
However, it will not happen unless and until you make it happen. And that is spelled out in the article titled The 21st Century Declaration of Independence.