Russia House

editorial

2018-04-19
An ex-British Navy chief raises alarm bells about the governments Syria story live on the BBC
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2018-04-19
Britain admits OPCW did not confirm 'essential evidence' on origin of Skripal poison
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2018-04-19
An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery
An alternative explanation to the mystery surrounding the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter may involve a possibility that neither the British nor Russian governments want to talk about, as Gareth Porter explains.

By Gareth Porter
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2018-04-18
'US knew there were no toxins & risked nothing' - chemical experts on Syria strike
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2018-04-18
Russia Ostracized By Washington, But What About Wall Street?

By Kenneth Rapoza
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2018-04-18
Donald Trump must address American people

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2018-04-16
The West Gets Russia Wrong Because the Media Are Peddling a Pack of Lies
" ... if you have been visiting Russia periodically, every few years, as I have for many decades, you will have found that it has been changing at breakneck speed."

By Dmitry Orlov

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2018-04-16
On the Reaction to the U.S. Strike in Syria

By Gilbert Doctorow Special to Consortium News
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2018-04-16
Western Media's conundrum - why is 'bad guy' Putin so popular at home?

By Steve Keen
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2018-04-13

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Russia House

2018-03-21

U.S. Raises the White Flag, Calls for Talks with Russia over the New Arms Race

by Gilbert Doctorow

One can say with certainty that Vladimir Putins presentation of Russias new weapons systems during his Address to the Federal Assembly on 1 March has finally elicited the desired response from its target audience in Washington, D.C. In that presentation, Putin spoke about strategic weapons systems employing cutting-edge technology that, he claimed, is more than a decade ahead of US and other competition.

He scored a direct hit in the Pentagon, where our senior generals were left dumbfounded. But, as is normally the case, when these gentlemen need time to collect their wits, we heard first only denial: that the Russians were bluffing, that they really have nothing ready, that these are only projects, and that the US already has all of the same, but is holding it back in reserve.

Of course, not everyone in US political elites bought into this stop-gap response.

On 8 March, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- California), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and two lesser known Senators from Massachusetts and Oregon wrote an open letter to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to send a delegation to open arms control talks with the Russians as soon as possible. This was an improbable demarche that even their supporters in the Progressive camp, let alone mainstream Democrats found hard to believe. The two named Senators have been bitter foes of Russia and were actively promoting the Trump Collusion with Russia fairy tale in recent months. They were among those who had hissed at the pictures of Jeff Sessions, not yet Attorney General, shaking hands and smiling with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Now they were calling for revival of arms control talks with the Russians.

This was a story that died before publication everywhere except in Russia, where it had been a featured news item within hours of the Letters release. The American and world public knew nothing about it, although the letter was there for the reading on the home pages of the Senate websites of the respective co-authors. The American and world public know nothing about that letter today, nearly two weeks after its release, apart from readers of Consortium News who were properly briefed at the time (https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/03/putin-claims-strategic-parity-respect/ )

In the meantime, the US propaganda machine moved into high gear, producing diversionary issues to draw the attention of the US public away from what had been the subject of Putins speech of March 1. And so we have been getting saturation news coverage of the Skripal nerve gas attack, of the alleged cyber attack on the US energy grid and water systems. Both are pure Russians did it stories. And we read about the repositioning of US naval forces in the Mediterranean to within cruise-missile range of Damascus for a possible punitive blow in response to a chemical attack on civilians by Assads regime that still has not happened, all with intent to humiliate Assads backers, the Russians.

Now, at last, after the denial and the diversion, the truth begins to emerge. The President of the United States himself is the bearer of a message that, given American hubris, amounts to the raising of a white flag.

We find the following on page one of The New York Times describing Trumps remarks about his phone call to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his electoral victory:



"We had a very good call, Mr. Trump told reporters. We will probably be meeting in the not-too distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.



The Financial Times has this to say on page one:



Donald Trump said he wanted to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss an arms race that was getting out of control and other issues over which the countries remain at loggersheads.

Being in an arms race is not a great thing, the US president said on Tuesday, adding that he would probably meet his Russian counterpart in the not too distant future.



The re-instatement of Russian strategic parity with the United States appears to be making itself felt, even if one has to be an expert in reading between the lines to parse from Trumps statement the depth of concern about new Russian military potential.



It is a safe assumption that now arms talks with the Russians will begin soon. But the American public should be forewarned that the scope of the discussions will surely be much greater than that of the so-called reset under Barack Obama, which played to an American, not a Russian wish list of cutting the numbers of warheads. This broader agenda will have to take into account Russian concerns about the US global anti-missile system. Should there be agreement, the change in approach to arms control will come not from US charity, but out of US fear.



Did Donald Trump raise the white flag and call for negotiations on a whim? Did he consult with his military advisers?



It is scarcely credible that this President came to the conclusion about the need to halt the arms race on his own or that he dared raise such an inflammatory subject without having the firm backing of Pentagon specialists who evaluated rationally and expertly where we now stand in strategic security with the Russians. No one will say this, but it is inescapable.



To put the present situation in an historical context: in the past year or two, the United States and Russia have reached a level of confrontation that approaches that of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That crisis was resolved by mutual back-downs on positioning of nuclear capable missiles near the borders of the other side. The mutuality of the solution was not announced to the American public until decades later, when the withdrawal of US missiles from Turkey was made public. This time, the mutuality of major concessions will necessarily be part of the presentation of any solution reached to the global community. Vladimir Putin will not go the way of Nikita Khrushchev, who paid for his concession to the Americans by a palace coup at home.

"usforeignpolicy.blogs"