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Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’

Should NATO Be Handling World Security?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 22, 2012

By Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History emeritus, SUNY Albany

 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (better known as NATO) is in the news once again thanks to a NATO Summit meeting in Chicago over the weekend of May 19-20 and to large public demonstrations in Chicago against this military pact.

NATO’s website defines the alliance’s mission as “Peace and Security,” and shows two children lying in the grass, accompanied by a bird, a flower and the happy twittering of birds. There is no mention of the fact that NATO is the world’s most powerful military pact, or that NATO nations account for 70 percent of the world’s annual $1.74 trillion in military spending.

The organizers of the demonstrations, put together by peace and social justice groups, assailed NATO for bogging the world down in endless war and for diverting vast resources to militarism.According to a spokesperson for one of the protest groups, Peace Action: “It’s time to retire NATO and form a new alliance to address unemployment, hunger, and climate change.”

NATO was launched in April 1949, at a time when Western leaders feared that the Soviet Union, if left unchecked, would invade Western Europe. The U.S. government played a key role in organizing the alliance, which brought in not only West European nations, but the United States and Canada. Dominated by the United States, NATO had a purely defensive mission — to safeguard its members from military attack, presumably by the Soviet Union.

That attack never occurred, either because it was deterred by NATO’s existence or because the Soviet government had no intention of attacking in the first place. We shall probably never know.

In any case, with the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, it seemed that NATO had outlived its usefulness.

But vast military establishments, like other bureaucracies, rarely just fade away. If the original mission no longer exists, new missions can be found. And so NATO’s military might was subsequently employed to bomb Yugoslavia, to conduct counter-insurgency warfare in Afghanistan, and to bomb Libya. Meanwhile, NATO expanded its membership and military facilities to East European nations right along Russia’s border, thus creating renewed tension with that major military power and providing it with an incentive to organize a countervailing military pact, perhaps with China.

None of this seems likely to end soon. In the days preceding the Chicago meeting, NATO’s new, sweeping role was highlighted by Oana Lungescu, a NATO spokesperson, who announced that the Summit would “discuss the Alliance’s overall posture in deterring and defending against the full range of threats in the 21st century, and take stock of NATO’s mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defense forces.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sea alert: Russian warships head for Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2011

Heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov (image from

Moscow is deploying warships at its base in the Syrian port of Tartus. The long-planned mission comes, providentially, at the very moment when it could help prevent a potential conflict in the strategically important Middle Eastern country.

The Russian battle group will consist of three vessels led by the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov.

Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago, the Izvestia newspaper reports. Apart from Syria, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships are set to visit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Genoa in Italy and Cyprus, says the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko.

Nevertheless, he added that the presence of a military force other than NATO’s is very useful for this region, because“it will prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict,” Izvestia quoted Kravchenko as saying.

The Soviet Union, the Admiral recalled, created a special naval squadron to deter Western military forces in the Mediterranean Sea. To repair and supply its ships, Moscow needed its own maintenance base in the region, and that was how the base in Tartus came into being. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin promotes ‘Eurasian Schengen’ in first program article

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 5, 2011

Vladimir Putin has proposed the creation of a new international power nexus between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in an article in the Izvestia daily.

The Izvestia article, published on Tuesday, mainly covers the economic dimension of the proposed union, but also touches upon the political aspects of the project.

Putin writes that the creation of the joint economic space in 2012 is an integration project of prime importance and will constitute a historic landmark not only for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but for all countries in the post-Soviet space.

“We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.”

The Prime Minister also states that the Customs Union started in 2011 and the anticipated joint economic space would form the basis for a future Eurasian Economic Union and later the Eurasian Union – a political organization similar to the European Union today.

The Russian Prime Minister describes the Eurasian Union as an open project. “We welcome other partners to join it, first of all the countries of the Commonwealth [of Independent States], but we are not going to hurry or push anyone,”Putin writes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Through blood to democracy: Failed Soviet coup that fostered Russia

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 19, 2011

August 19, 1991 marks 20 years since the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Ironically, it was the coup attempt

Yeltsin supporters at the White House greet the military (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev)

aimed at saving the union that firmly set the country on its new path of democratic reforms.

“Imagine that picture: tanks are standing in front of the White House, all surrounded by people. People are even on top of them, standing on the armor…”

These are the recollections of just one young man out of thousands on the barricades in central Moscow, an image that shocked the world 20 years ago.

Millions watched as in the course of three short days, the foundation of the Soviet Union cracked, and the promise of democratic changes loomed on the horizon.

Mikhail Gorbachev‘s reforms of economic and political restructuring (“perestroika”) and openness (“glasnost“) were not being well received by some of the political old-timers. They specifically opposed the New Union Treaty, which called for a union of independent republics with a common president, foreign policy and military force.

But eight of the nine republics (with the exception of Ukraine) approved the plan, which was to have been signed on August 20, 1991.

Hard-line Communist Party members, livid with Gorbachev’s plan to give the Soviet republics more autonomy, decided there was nothing left to do but intervene. They attempted to force Gorbachev to back down or step down.

Demonstration on Okhotny Ryad street (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Demonstration on Okhotny Ryad street (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

When that plan failed, they simply placed him under house arrest in his Crimean retreat and ran a news story about an “illness” that was keeping the leader away from Moscow. An unspecified emergency was named the reason for the creation of the State Committee for the State of Emergency, or GKChP, and that same emergency, together with Gorbachev’s alleged illness, the reason for a new leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mikhail Gorbachev Criticizes Vladimir Putin, Says Russia Needs Change

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 17, 2011

Gorbachev already changed USSR into Russia and so on. What else needs to be changed?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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For Pakistan, time to try India as a friend

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 21, 2011

By Adnan Rehmat | DAWN.COM

Is Pakistan set to implode in its exasperating persistence to define itself in only security terms vis-à-vis

A cricket fan gets his face painted with the colors of the Pakistan and Indian national flags ahead of the ICC World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan, in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. – AP Photo/File.

India as did the Soviet Union with the United States in a nuclear-shadowed Cold War that lasted 40 years, a numbing fear that consumed three generations, but ended in a barren inevitability 20 years ago of the former collapsing into 13 new countries?

It seems more likely than not, given the few signs that a fundamental rethink in underway in Pakistan in determining what it stands for rather than what it doesn’t stand for, which passes for its schizophrenic identity.

Two specific WikiLeaks cables published in Dawn in recent weeks reveal more than just what is already known about Pakistan’s paranoid obsession with India and the authorship and control of the policy of paranoia by the military establishment. In the first, President Asif Zardari, the commander-in-chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, counters the suggestion of Senator John Kerry that New Delhi is interested in pursuing peace with Islamabad by arguing that India has five times more tanks than Pakistan and that these are Pakistan-specific because the Sino-India border terrain cannot support a tank battle. In the second cable, severe civil-military tensions are revealed over access to and control of American aid flows to Pakistan with the army insisting for, and getting, direct aid and refusing to share details with the elected government even during drafting of the annual budgets.

The oversimplification of the link between military prowess and bilateral relationship – no doubt handed to Zardari in briefings from the military leadership – is disturbing. If Pakistan has to match India tank to tank, plane to plane, soldier to soldier, frigate to frigate and missile to missile before making peace, then it’s a lost battle in perpetuity. If matching military might was the precondition to peace then the world would have been blown up 200 times over because the unending Indo-Pak tensions and Indo-Pak like wars would have been replicated on every shared national border on the planet. What use was there to acquire super-expensive nuclear capability if it didn’t solve the problem of imbalance in conventional military capability? No two nuclear powers have fought a conventional war. Tensions are one thing but war is another. So why still sacrifice national prosperity at the cost of national dignity, as Army chief General Kayani said days after Osama bin Laden was taken out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia tightens security ahead of nationwide VE Day celebrations

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 8, 2011

More than 200,000 police officers and over 13,000 servicemen will be involved in maintaining security during

Almost 6,000 servicemen will be deployed in cities around Moscow, where some 70 large-scale public events are to take place.

nationwide Victory Day celebrations in Russia.

Victory Day that Russia celebrates on May 9 marks the final defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union in World War II. This year, almost 14 million people are expected to attend festive events, including over 100 military parades, in more than 5,300 Russian cities and towns.

“We plan to involve more than 200,000 police and over 13,000 servicemen in maintaining order and public security during the festivities,” first deputy interior minister Mikhail Sukhodolsky said, adding that they would be supported by 12,000 civilian volunteers and almost 5,500 Cossacks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anti-American Extremists Among Libyan Rebels U.S. Has Vowed To Protect

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 19, 2011

It is too early to start world war III
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Mikhail Gorbachev awarded top honour on 80th birthday

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 2, 2011

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, left, meets former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Gorki presidential residence, Moscow. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

Mikhail Gorbachev has been awarded Russia‘s highest medal on his 80th birthday, in a belated tribute from the homeland where many blame him for the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, told Gorbachev he would be awarded the Order of St Andrew for his service as the last Soviet leader. Medvedev said leading the Soviet Union during a “very complex, dramatic period” was a tough job. “It can be assessed differently but it was a heavy load,” Medvedev said. He will invite Gorbachev to the Kremlin to present the award. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bury Vladimir Lenin? Russians Put It To A Vote

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 26, 2011

We follow Leninism or not, that is not important, however; better not to bury or destroy Lenin and continue to keep him there for public. That is history and by removing his body from there does not mean that his followers will be decreased.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Vladimir Putin Interview With Larry King

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 17, 2010

Interview with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in lots of International issues like WikiLeaks, Spy, internal power struggle, arms race etc by Larry King.

Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. Has Been In Afghanistan As Long As Soviet Russia

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2010

Why not one more year than Soviet Union to break the record? Anyway this is not for good reason.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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A ‘hedge’ strategy toward China

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 16, 2010

The Washington Post By Fareed Zakaria

Two years ago Barack Obama was superman. Now he can’t do anything right.

His trip to Asia has been reported as a failure because he didn’t get a trade deal with South Korea or a currency devaluation from China. But the visit had broader purposes and was largely successful at those, though this is just the start of a complex set of foreign policies that should constitute the core of a new American grand strategy.

For the negative reporting, Obama has only himself to blame. Doubtless egged on by his political advisers, Obama cast his trip to Asia as about jobs, jobs, jobs. If the president was truly crafting a trade trip, someone sent him to the wrong places. Only one of the countries he visited (Japan) is among the top six destinations for U.S. exports. He could have saved a lot of fuel and traveled to Canada and Mexico, which together buy 20 times as many American goods and services as does India and 10 times as many as does South Korea. (Indonesia is not even in the top 20 countries that buy U.S. exports.)

In fact, by undertaking this trip to India, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, Obama was making America’s opening move in a new great power game unfolding in Asia. Until now, China’s rise had been talked about more as an abstraction. But events over the past few months have made the rise of China tangible in the eyes of many Asians. They are watching how the United States will react. Read the rest of this entry »

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