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Email to U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper – No to NATO Buildup In Europe

July 1, 2022

photo credit – Mint News

Dear Senator Hickenlooper, Dear John:

I would like you to oppose Biden and NATO’s plan to create a large military force to face off Russia and China.

You have to know this NATO posture is a recipe for provocation and global war. We need to solve many problems at home. We do not need to court war and potential nuclear apocalypse. We need to end the US/NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine now and establish a global security framework we all can live with. This war was completely avoidable had the US/NATO considered Russia’s legitimate security interests instead of provoking them into the invasion. It’s time to end this conflagration and begin to solve other existential problems that are falling by the wayside during this completely unnecessary and resolvable conflict.

Cheers,

Rob Prince/Retired Senior Lecturer, International Studies, University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies.

(You could write one too! – It’s easy)

Audio – The JCPOA Is Dead. What Next? KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues. June 28, 2022 Produced by Jim Nelson

June 28, 2022

Phot Credit: Emad Hajjaj | Copyright 2015 Cagle Cartoons

 

Brief summary: Although negotiations to resurrect the JCPOA continue in Doh, Qatar, for all practical purposes, it is a dead letter – or to be generous – existing in  a state of cryonic suspension. The United States – and its European allies – have refused to agree to lift sanctions against Iran, an important aspect of the 2015 agreement. What now for the region and to one degree or another, the entire region is experiencing geopolitical realignment. How so?

Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince look at the failure of the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal) negotiations and what lies ahead for the Middle East now that the agreement is history.

The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) is dead. What now for the Middle East? – KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, June 28, 2022 @ 6 pm MST

June 27, 2022

Phot Credit: Emad Hajjaj | Copyright 2015 Cagle Cartoons

Title: (Sadly) The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) is dead. What now for the Middle East?

Brief summary: Although negotiations to resurrect the JCPOA continue in Doha, Qatar (moved from Vienna), for all practical purposes, sad to say, it is a dead letter – or to be generous – existing in  a state of cryonic suspension. The United States – and its European allies – have refused to agree to lift sanctions against Iran, an important aspect of the 2015 agreement. What now for the region and to one degree or another, the entire region is experiencing geopolitical realignment. How so? Tune in – KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues hosted by Jim Nelson; Tuesday June 28 at 6 pm MST. 

With Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince
Streaming at http://www.kgnu.org; In Colorado on the radio 88.5 FM in Denver and Boulder, 1390 AM.

Video: Ukraine: The Clash of Two Doctrines: The Bush Doctrine Meets the Putin Doctrine. The second in a series..

June 24, 2022

School reopening in Mariupol

Video: Ukraine: The Clash of Two Doctrines: The Bush Doctrine Meets the Putin Doctrine

The second part of a three part series on the war in Ukraine, or as the Russians refer to it, the Special Military Operation with Ibrahim Kazerooni and myself, Rob Prince. Part One

Kazerooni, originally from Najaf, Iraq has a joint PhD from the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies and the Iliff School of Theology. Rob Prince is a retired Senior Lecturer of International Studies from the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies. For the past 12 years the two have been monthly commentators on Boulder, Colorado’s public radio station – KGNU – on Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues hosted by Jim Nelson. They have also produced programs on the situation in the Horn of Africa, and now this series on the Ukraine war.

Ukraine: The Clash of Two Doctrines: the Bush (Cheney) Doctrine Meets the Putin Doctrine: NATO and the War in Ukraine. The second in a series…Live: Thursday, June 23, 2022 @ 8 pm (Mountain States Time)

June 20, 2022

Ukraine: The Clash of Two Doctrines: the Bush (Cheney) Doctrine Meets the Putin Doctrine: NATO and the War in Ukraine. The second in a series…with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince

Live: Thursday, June 23, 2022 @ 8 pm (Mountain States Time)

“We Stand With Ukraine” signs abound. Translation: “We Stand With NATO” NATO’s Role, Goals in Russia’s Special Military Operations in Ukraine. NATO – the elephant in the room in the Ukraine war.

Links: YouTube:

Facebook: https://streamyard.com/view_on_platform/facebook?link=https://www.facebook.com/10157922805818884/videos/803414040562975

First Part of Series

For more info: robertjprince@gmail.com

Why Is Saudi Arabia’s Prince Salman Smiling?

June 18, 2022

Why is this man smiling? (photo credit – Finance Twitter)

So…. here we go again.

Forget all the contrived outrage over the Saudi breathtakingly brutal torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Or Joe Biden’s long forgotten campaign promise to render Saudi Arabia into a pariah state. When push comes to shove – as it has over global energy supplies – Washington’s “human rights concerns” evaporate. Poof… gone and quickly forgotten.

As news filters out about the Biden Administration’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next month, it appears that the American president’s trip is about more than simply requesting that the two Middle East oil and gas producers increase production to meet growing global demand, although that is an essential part of the mix.

Is a Washington-Riyadh enhanced security relationship in the making, one that will include (the usual) flooding the region with U.S. aid, arms sales and more troops on the ground in both countries in exchange for yet closer cooperation with Washington?

Frankly there is nothing new – beyond the yet to be determined size of the package the Biden Administration will offer – in showering Middle East oil producers with their medieval governments and Wahhabist religious orientations with big bucks and military hardware. Same old song, just a new version. Nor will it work again.

My own cynical take: the Saudis are learning from their arch rival Turks how to have the best of both worlds – to use enhanced relations with Russia and China to extract more financial and security concessions from Washington and its European allies. Both the Trump and Biden Administration have been worried – if not panicked – over improved Saudi and Emirate relations with China and Russia and the increased trade and energy flows involved.

The other concern: Iran’s growing regional influence despite all U.S. and Israeli efforts to counter it with sanctions (now more than 40 years of these) and Israeli thinly veiled denials of targeted assassination programs. The apparent failure of the negotiations to get Washington to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA – Iran Nuclear Deal) has resulted in Iran’s increased enhancement of nuclear fuels. The growing cooperation between Iran, Russia and China has boosted Iranian confidence not to give in to Washington’s pressures.

No doubt the balance of power in the Middle East – as in the world at large – is shifting away from Washington’s “unipolar” global dominance and moving, to Washington’s (and Tel Aviv’s) dismay, toward more “multipolar” arrangements. Watching regional allies formally considered entirely within the U.S. camp – Turkey and Saudi Arabia – in particular – open serious and cordial relations with Russia and China must result in serious heartburn for the likes of  Jake Sullivan and Anthony Blinken..

The solution, the only solution both Democratic and Republican Administration’s seem to have in their tool kits: throw money, military hardware, and troops into the mix in an effort to stop History.

Ukraine Fighting at a Crossroads; Possibility of a Negotiated Settlement Exists, But Remains Unlikely

June 14, 2022

Battle front, Northern Donbas. June 14, 2022

 

Defining moment of Russia’s Donbass campaign… Battle of SIEVIERODONETSK at crucial stage of victory for Russian forces. With the only remaining bridge across Seversky Donets River destroyed earlier today, Ukrainian forces are practically encircled in Sievierodonetsk, their strategically important stronghold in eastern Donbass, unable to retreat to neighbouring/twin city of LYSYCHANSK. Russian forces have reached Sievierodonetsk city centre. Capture of Sievierodonetsk & Lysychansk will position them to advance farther west toward KRAMATORSK, & if Kramatorsk falls, Russian forces will in effect be in control of the whole Donbass region.

Bhadrakumar Melkulangara (retired Indian diplomat)

Following the military situation in (what was – and is no more) Eastern Ukraine is not for the feint hearted., but this brief explanation (the map) sums up the situation as I have come to understand it. A broader map of the region would put this detailed snapshot in better focus… but the essence is accurate… Should the local Luhansk and Russian troops breakthrough to Lysychansk and then on to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk – it will mark the end of “Phase Two” of Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Donbas.

Expect there will be a “Phase Three” although what it will be is unclear… Possible that negotiations could follow although after the failure of such at Istanbul – after both Washington and London put pressure on the Zelensky government not to proceed – I do not know if the Russians, frankly, are interested or even trust the process. With Russia and its local allies having the upper hand militarily, each time Kiev refuses to negotiate, Ukraine loses more territory.

That said, as, from where I am sitting, this war is essentially one in which Ukraine is a little more than a proxy for NATO/US to weaken Russia (using the Ukrainian military as nothing less than cannon fodder) and if possible overthrow the Putin government, at this point we can say the following:

  • a. all attempts to weaken Russia strategically on the part of Washington through the Ukraine have, to date, failed. To the contrary. Washington seriously underestimated Russian economic and military strength as well as it diplomatic acumen, a classic case of underestimating the situation/strengths of an adversary and exaggerating Washington/NATO strength.
  • b. Russia and its allies in the Donbas (whose actual role in the fighting has been ignored or denied) have given NATO/US a bloody nose – one that will inspire others to stand up to NATO/US. Seems pretty clear that NATO has met its match on the battlefield will suffer humiliation as a result (and already has).

Will look at the broader geo-political consequences of all this – the beginning of what is shaping up to be “two world systems” (and probably a third, the Global South that is not interested in taking sides for or against either US/NATO nor China-Russia-Iran) to follow in the next week when the political dust settles a bit (if it ever does).

All We Are Saying is Give Peace A Chance – Time to Revive the Movement Against Nuclear War Before It’s Too Late.

June 13, 2022

Anti-Nuclear Rally in Central Park on June 12, 1982, in New York City. , PL Gould / Getty Images

(Some thoughts: The article below came today by email. It was written by lifelong friend and companero Michael Myerson.  It is Michael’s story but in some ways also mine as well (although I was in Colorado at the time of this great demonstration, not in NYC).  I want to share it, It deals with some (not much) stuff concerning the Communist Party and with the work we did with the U.S. Peace Council. This piece, a sort of memoir, details how the Peace Council was founded, what it was and how it was involved in organizing a massive peace demonstration in NYC in association with the Second Special Session on Disarmament on June 12, 1982. That demonstration is considered – and I have never seen anything to disprove it – the largest demonstration in U.S. history and brought together more than a million people. On the same day there was one in Colorado that brought together some 40,000 people to hear John Denver and Jimmy Buffet and to talk about nuclear disarmament. Forty years on, today, I remain proud to have been a part of both organizations – for all their warts… the best political work of my life is what I did with the U.S. Peace Council, the most sustained contribution to the common good… working for peace! still is. Nothing comes close. All this is history – it’s more than 30 years that I left, rather unceremoniously, both organizations… nor have I joined any others since, nor will I… but, as long as I’m still able, I’ll do what I can to work for peace and do it essentially along the same lines as I did those precious years – with working class people, people of color. Gotta. Gotta do what we can, modest as it is 

We done did GOOD. I’m still proud to have been a small part of it. How many people can say that? I know what’s possible RJP)

All We Are Saying Is, Give Peace a Chance. 40th Anniversary of the Demonstration in Support of the U.N. Second Special Session on Disarmament – Guest Blogger, Michael Myerson.

The contributions to the peace movement as a whole that we hoped to make with the U.S. Peace Council were 1) to develop a working-class component, and one that was multiracial and multinational; 2) to make clear the relationship of an economy dominated by the military-industrial complex and short-changing, not to mention impoverishing working-class communities—especially communities of color—and their essential needs: good housing, good schools, good healthcare, and such; 3) and to embrace and integrate the twin concerns of nuclear disarmament and national liberation.

Beats me how I came to head up the U.S. Peace Council. I mean, I know that I was asked to do so by the Communist Party, but have no idea why, of all people, I was the chosen one.

I was hardly an obedient Communist golden boy, readily submissive to discipline, willing to carry out instructions unthinkingly, eager to repeat any nonsensical wisdom received from the Party leadership. In the 13 years I’d been a member, I had already been “brought up on charges” several times—each time by a Central Committee or Political Bureau member, including three times around unauthorized international travel.

Moreover, much as I was distrusted and perhaps feared in some small way for my independent international travel, the Party leaders must have known I had no interest in undermining them. Truth be told, I rarely considered them at all.

Meantime, besides my engagement with and travel to Vietnam and Cuba, and work with the Tricontinental Information Center, I had been actively engaged with the Movemiento Pro-Independencia (later the Partido Socialista) de Puerto Rico, and had organized the US participation in the centennial celebration of El Grito de Lares, the first Puerto Rican uprising against Spanish Rule in 1868. I had also worked actively in support of Northern Ireland civil rights during the years of “The Troubles” and had twice traveled to Dublin and Belfast and points in between, hosted by the Official IRA/Sinn Fein and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association headed up by Communist Party leaders in Derry and Belfast. (My work with Ireland seemed to completely escape the notice of the US party leadership which took no interest in the issue.)

The point being—as a consideration of my being selected to organize the U.S. Peace Council—that I actually knew stuff. Through my relationships in NY with the PLO and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a Marxist component of the PLO, I came to know the UN ambassador from the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen (DPRY), the then-independent Marxist-led country of South Yemen, whose capital was Aden. Consequently, though holding no position in the leadership, I became the conduit for invitations to the Party to send a delegation to South Yemen and Lebanon to establish party-to-party relations with the DPRY, DFLP, PLO and Communist Party of Lebanon. Read more…

“Unilateralism and Multilateralism Clash In Ukraine and the Middle East. Part One” KGNU- Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson

June 2, 2022

Munch’s The Scream… Metaphor describing the state of the country, the world.

KGNU – May 31, 2022 – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues

(Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince discuss Unilateralism and Multilateralism Clash In Ukraine and the Middle East, Part One)

Jim Nelson (producer): We’ll jump right into the program.

Tonight’s program is going to be how events in one part of the world influence can effect events in another part – in this case, the impact of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine’s impact on the Middle East.

As Ibrahim and Rob have discussed many times, the conflicts in somewhere else in the world impacts regional dynamics, as it does in the Middle East. On a global level – the Ukraine conflict is simply one front in a global competition between two world views – U.S. led unipolarism, which understands the United States to be the world’s dominant force and on the other hand, the growing impact and influence of multi-polar approaches headed up by Chinese-Russian cooperation.

Is the dominance of the U.S. unipolar worldview “almost over”?

Ibrahim and Rob will look at three themes that underline this:

– Turkey’s new initiative to horse trade its veto for Finland and Sweden entering NATO with a green light to invade Northern Syria

– The vote in the Iraqi parliament against normalizing relations with Israel

– The JCPOA is running out of steam

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Yes, I’ll begin.

You contextualized the situation well enough. Rob and I have been engaged in this discussion.

Unfortunately, one of the problems that we have in the West with political pundits discussing different political conflict, situations and crises is that these commentators are not prepared to go

to do in depth analysis by looking at the factors that feed into a particular conflict.

We believe there is no current event, conflict without a broader historical and political context. Read more…

“The Changing Middle East Landscape – It’s Overflow Impact on the Middle East:  KGNU, Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues produced by Jim Nelson; Tuesday, May 31, 2022; 6-7 pm MST; 1390 am. 88.5 fm (in Colorado) or streaming at www.kgnu.org

May 31, 2022

Turkey, rejected by the European Union turns east and south

“The Changing Middle East Landscape – It’s Overflow Impact on the Middle East: ” KGNU, Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues produced by Jim Nelson; Tuesday, May 31, 2022; 6-7 pm MST; 1390 am. 88.5 fm (in Colorado) or streaming at http://www.kgnu.org

Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince discuss some of the regional consequences of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine on some Middle East developments including Turkish expansionism in Syria, the Iraqi Parliamentary vote against normalizing relations with Israel, and the JCPOA on its last legs.

First the NY Times, a Week Later the Washington Post: A Break from Washington’s “Poison to the Soul”, “war Porn” concerning the War in Ukraine

May 29, 2022

According to the Russian government, the two Donbass republics the Luhansk and Donetz Peoples Republics have been liberated, indicating that Russia has no intention of returning them to Ukrainian sovereignty, which neither republic wants anyhow (photo credit: al Jazeera)

The Mainstream U.S. and Western Narrative on Ukraine: Poison to the Soul and War Porn

A Colorado friend of mine (one Chester McQueary) refers to the mainstream media reporting on Ukraine as “poison to the soul”, “war porn”. I could not agree with him more.

Given its intensity, we all know the routine that has been drummed into our heads:

Ukraine’s David is a match for the Russian Goliath: in fact, Ukraine is winning on the battlefield and the Russians are bogged down in an Afghanistan-like quagmire (the 1979 version). Vladimir Putin is nothing short of Satan – or Hitler – incarnate and besides he is dying of cancer. The Russian military is an ineffective fighting force with poor training and mass desertions.

Add to this that NATO involvement is negligible, that the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine suffered no discrimination or repression the past eight years and that the neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine’s military, security and intelligence apparats have been exaggerated.

This rounds out the false narrative.

The above description was the coordinated drumbeat from the mainstream media in the United States, UK (where it was even more strident) and much of Western Europe. While there are many examples of this form of “war porn” that could be cited, I zero in on one in particular, the April 30, 2022 edition of the British Economist, that well written, often interesting weekly of which the foreign policy coverage is often little more than a well-articulated version of Fox News. 

Read more…

NY Times – May 19, 2022 – Op Ed: The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready. Washington Is Getting Nervous

May 25, 2022

Kherson, whose population just voted to sever their ties with Ukraine and become a part of Russia

Below a link (and full text) to the NY Times op ed of May 19, 2022 – a striking document, considering the fawning approach that the Times has given to the Ukraine war, tailing the interpretations, narrative of the U.S. State Department down to the last detail and then suddenly, or so it appears – it breaks ranks with an editorial that must have made Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky’s blood boil.

An indication of just how upset Zelensky is with the growing calls for him to negotiate with Russia  “under the circumstances” can be read here (and in this article the language used to tell Henry Kissinger where to go has been greatly “cleaned up.”)

Until now, the Times, like the rest of the U.S. pliant media, has been engaged with nothing less than NATO triumphalism – the Russians are losing the war, their troops in Ukraine are dispirited, they have suffered many defeats, etc., etc,. all of which are, from the point of view of objectivity, little more than fantasy. U. S. State Department’s push to throw money and weapons at Kiev is in part to prevent the Ukrainian government from completely collapsing and to extend the timeline of the war as long as possible, the logic being that Russia cannot sustain a longterm military engagement, it will become exhausted and be forced to give ground, perhaps withdraw from the territories it has won in Ukraine.

Ironically, now the Times, and with it certain segments of the U.S. ruling class are singing a different song and some of the above logic has turned on its head. Now it is those elements in power in Washington themselves who are increasingly worried about an extended war, fearing a comprehensive  collapse – both of Washington’s sanctions policy to strange the Russian economy and NATO’s war effort. For the first time, at least in the open, the Biden Administration fears an imminent Ukrainian military collapse in the Donbas, one that will do untold damage to U.S. prestige globally. Besides the Times, and the 56 or so Republican congresspeople who voted against the recent $40 billion appropriation to Ukraine, the Administration has shuffled out Henry Kissinger to give essentially the same message to the World Economic Forum in Davos as the Times’ May 19 editorial. Several others in Davos, including Joe Biden confident Chris Coon (D-Maryland) are also casting doubts about what Washington has gotten itself into in Ukraine. While still a minority within the Washington power structure, still the these U.S. voices are beginning to articulate a clear message: Washington should cut a deal with Russia as soon as possible to avoid an even more devastating defeat, to cut their losses while they still can. 

Why this change of heart which, at least publicly, has only come to the fore in recent days?

I want to suggest a couple of themes:

  • At least some Washington “insiders” have come to understand that the Ukrainian military is not only not winning the war in the Donbas, but is about to suffer a defeat, some say is catastrophic, from which the country will not recover, that the Donbas and Crimea are lost permanently to Russia. There is the danger that as the Ukrainian military in the Donbas collapses, that the rest of military resistance in the rest of Ukraine will follow suit and collapse like a house of cards, as the saying goes. Quite a different narrative than the one spoon-fed to the American public. Nothing less than American global prestige is at stake
  • While the U.S. media has tried to downplay the neo-Nazi influence in the Ukrainian military and intelligence apparatus, this particular denial is wearing thin, especially as the crimes committed by the Azov Battalion and like outfits become more obvious. Many of those Azov Battalion elements that surrendered from the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol, in an embarrassing gesture, kept videos of the tortures and killings they committed on their cell phones, now all in Russian hands. Even without that, the level of the terror these (mostly U.S. trained) elements perpetrated on the Russian speaking people of Eastern Ukraine over the past eight years cannot be hidden or denied. It’s a little embarrassing, no? that the U.S. trained and armed the same elements it fought so hard to defeat in World War II.
  • Some here in the USA might not think this particularly dramatic but the revelations that the United States was operating and funding a series of biological and chemical weapons laboratories in the Ukraine which were toying with developing pathogens specifically targeting Slavic people will be, I suggest, nothing short of a political nuclear bomb going off. Nothing less. The Russian government has already released damning documents on this subject, but these document releases are just scratching the surface.
  • Although during the first few days of the Russian Ukraine invasion, Europe “stood strong” with Washington, we are seeing that unity tear some especially over the issue of the sanctions placed on Russian oil and natural gas. Major German corporations are in conflict with the German government over this. Poland and Norway are in a spat as Norway refuses to supply Warsaw with any of the moneys it is earning from high oil and gas prices; Hungary finds itself at odds with a furious European Union leadership – Budapest will veto any EU attempt to extend sanctions against Russia to oil. And then there is the growing antagonism between Turkey on the one hand and Sweden and Finland on the other over Turkey’s refusal (at least to date) to permit Finnish and Swedish entry into NATO. Is Western unity over Ukraine falling apart? No, not yet, but the tensions continue to grow especially as, to dates, Western sanctions have hurt Europe far more than they have Russia.

It is with all this in mind that readers should consider the NY Times editorial (the link is here), full text below for those who do not subscribe:

The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready

Editorial Board – May 19, 2022

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of Opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

The Senate passed a $40 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine on Thursday, but with a small group of isolationist Republicans loudly criticizing the spending and the war entering a new and complicated phase, continued bipartisan support is not guaranteed.

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that the next few months may be volatile. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia could take “a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory,” she said, with the increased likelihood that Russia could threaten to use nuclear weapons.

These are extraordinary costs and serious dangers, and yet there are many questions that President Biden has yet to answer for the American public with regard to the continued involvement of the United States in this conflict.

In March, this board argued that the message from the United States and its allies to Ukrainians and Russians alike must be: No matter how long it takes, Ukraine will be free. Ukraine deserves support against Russia’s unprovoked aggression, and the United States must lead its NATO allies in demonstrating to Vladimir Putin that the Atlantic alliance is willing and able to resist his revanchist ambitions.

That goal cannot shift, but in the end, it is still not in America’s best interest to plunge into an all-out war with Russia, even if a negotiated peace may require Ukraine to make some hard decisions. And the U.S. aims and strategy in this war have become harder to discern, as the parameters of the mission appear to have changed.

Is the United States, for example, trying to help bring an end to this conflict, through a settlement that would allow for a sovereign Ukraine and some kind of relationship between the United States and Russia? Or is the United States now trying to weaken Russia permanently? Has the administration’s goal shifted to destabilizing Vladimir Putin or having him removed? Does the United States intend to hold Mr. Putin accountable as a war criminal? Or is the goal to try to avoid a wider war — and if so, how does crowing about providing U.S. intelligence to kill Russians and sink one of their ships achieve this?

Without clarity on these questions, the White House not only risks losing Americans’ interest in supporting Ukrainians — who continue to suffer the loss of lives and livelihoods — but also jeopardizes long-term peace and security on the European continent.

Americans have been galvanized by Ukraine’s suffering, but popular support for a war far from U.S. shores will not continue indefinitely. Inflation is a much bigger issue for American voters than Ukraine, and the disruptions to global food and energy markets are likely to intensify.

The current moment is a messy one in this conflict, which may explain President Biden and his cabinet’s reluctance to put down clear goal posts. All the more reason, then, for Mr. Biden to make the case to American voters, well before November, that support for Ukraine means support for democratic values and the right of countries to defend themselves against aggression — while peace and security remain the ideal outcome in this war.

. Putin “cannot remain in power,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comment that Russia must be “weakened” and the pledge by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that the United States would support Ukraine “until victory is won” — may be rousing proclamations of support, but they do not bring negotiations any closer.

In the end, it is the Ukrainians who must make the hard decisions: They are the ones fighting, dying and losing their homes to Russian aggression, and it is they who must decide what an end to the war might look like. If the conflict does lead to real negotiations, it will be Ukrainian leaders who will have to make the painful territorial decisions that any compromise will demand.

The United States and NATO have demonstrated that they will support the Ukrainian fight with ample firepower and other means. And however the fighting ends, the United States and its allies must be prepared to help Ukraine rebuild.

But as the war continues, Mr. Biden should also make clear to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people that there is a limit to how far the United States and NATO will go to confront Russia, and limits to the arms, money and political support they can muster. It is imperative that the Ukrainian government’s decisions be based on a realistic assessment of its means and how much more destruction Ukraine can sustain.

Confronting this reality may be painful, but it is not appeasement. This is what governments are duty bound to do, not chase after an illusory “win.” Russia will be feeling the pain of isolation and debilitating economic sanctions for years to come, and Mr. Putin will go down in history as a butcher. The challenge now is to shake off the euphoria, stop the taunting and focus on defining and completing the mission. America’s support for Ukraine is a test of its place in the world in the 21st century, and Mr. Biden has an opportunity and an obligation to help define what that will be.

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Clear Creek Valley Park, S. Adams County, Colorado. May 25, 2022

May 25, 2022

                            Avocet feeding. Clear Creek Valley Park. May 4, 2018

The photo above is three years old. I am beginning to get out and about a bit more, now two months after knee replacement surgery. Still a ways to go; I am starting to walk a little better, but slowly, not very far and with a cane. And I am tired after what is more a stroll than a brisk walk. I still don’t carry a camera so while I did some avocets on today’s outing, the one in this photo is not one of them.

Anyhow…

A sunny day at the tail end of a cold spell here in Denver. Temperature was 65 degrees with 10 mph winds from the north. Because of the winds it felt colder and I wore a jacket.

Usually this time of year the bird life in the pond is extensive and active; today less so. Still over the 45 minutes from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm there was enough to keep me busy and entertained. The short list included:

  • both a great white and great blue heron fishing
  • some avocets, about a dozen
  • a pelican sunning itself on a dry island in the middle of the main pond (there are five ponds there). Although I have seen pelicans throughout the Denver metro area over the years, not so at Clear Creek Valley Park in S. Adams County until today
  • a snowy egret
  • a few mallards and the ever present ubiquitous Canada geese, again in modest numbers
  • a muskrat making its way across the pond from east to west
  • a half dozen turtles, some sunning themselves on the sand bars, others swimming in the nearby waters.

That great variety of ducks that often found shelter and sustenance at Clear Creek Valley past years was missing other than a few mallards and one lonely cormorant.

Still an enjoyable outing.

The Narrative of a Ukrainian Victory in the Donbas Is About To Collapse. Consequences

May 25, 2022

Mariupol celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany in WW2 and the liberation of the city from Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov Battalion on May 9, 2022

Since the war in Ukraine began – call it what you want – the Russian invasion, the Special Military Operation – the media here in the USA – and even more so in UK – has been magnifying Ukrainian victories (there have been some, a few actually, but none of what might be described as strategically important), and claiming that the Donbas republics and Russian troops are bogged down, dispirited, creating war crimes, etc., most of which is what psychologists refer to as projection.

Of course nothing, or very little, about the defining influence of neo-Nazi elements like the Azov “Battalion” and like ultra-right wing militias, NATO and US trained, nor of their eight year record of torture, brutality and ethnic cleansing of Ukraine’s Russian speaking population.

It is this false notion that the Ukrainians are “winning” or at the very least “holding their own” against the more powerful Russian military that is, at least in part, the basis for Washington and the EU throwing money and weapons’ systems in the direction of the Kiev government. It’s easier to justify that which is unjustifiable if the contrived narrative suggests that the side Washington is supporting has a shot – however distant – at winning. No?

It is that narrative of the spunky Ukrainian military standing up to the Russian grizzly bear that is collapsing before our eyes. The article below (in French mostly) details the latest battlefield situation.

Read more…

The War Of The Worlds (US-NATO Versus China-Russia) as Played Out In Ukraine: First Interview: The Global Dimension: Seeing The Forest Through The Trees. Wednesday, May 25, 2022 @ 8 pm Mountain States Time

May 23, 2022

This is a first of three – possibly four live videos on the crisis in Ukraine – call it what you will, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Special Military Operation.. The media and government frenzy – as a major component of the hybrid warfare unfolding over the Russian military operation in Ukraine has never been more pronounced, if not shrill. The very intensity of the propaganda war has resulted in two, possibly more, competing narratives as to the nature of this conflict, who is involved, who is “winning.” We, Kazerooni and Prince, have decided it is high time for us to add our understanding of the conflict – what it is about, in a number of live interviews.

This first video to be aired as noted above in a few days – on Wednesday, May 25 @ 8 pm Mountain States Time will deal with the more global dimension of this situation, that is to say the emerging and now relatively obvious growing class – economic, political and military – between what might be called U.S. unipolarity (U.S. global hegemony) and the emergence of a formation which frankly, has existed for a number of years – a multi-polar world in which none of the major players have primacy or hegemony over one another.

It is this global aspect we want to probe, explore, and in so doing, place the Russian military presence in Ukraine within its broader framework. As inow envisioned, the program will last about a half an hour more or less.

Other programs over the next week will look at the regional dimension of the crisis and one or two programs on the historical development of it within Ukraine itself.

We hope that you will find it useful.

Ibrahim Kazerooni just recently retired as Imam of the Islamic Center of North America – the largest mosque on the continent located in Dearborn Michigan just outside of Detroit. The Detroit-Dearborn area ,  has the largest Islamic-Arab Community in North America. Kazerooni, originally from a family of religious scholars from Najav, Iraq received a joint PhD from the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies and the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.

Rob Prince retired Senior Lecturer of International Studies at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies after 23 years at that institution. For the past 12 years he and Kazerooni have been monthly political commentators on Middle East affairs on Boulder, Colorado’s public radio station – KGNU Boulder. The program is called “Hemispheres: The Middle East Dialogues” produced by Jim Nelson.

The links if you want to watch live: On YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwHFprG84Kg

On Facebook – https://streamyard.com/view_on_platform/facebook?link=https://www.facebook.com/10157922805818884/videos/428080175368838