US Policy of Isolating Russia and Expanding NATO Is a Dismal Failure
4th Media, 8 March 2014
[NATO's goal is] to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.
— Hastings Ismay, first NATO Secretary-General
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
— James Madison (1751-1836), fourth American President
The hazards associated with American foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 should appear obvious to all, because it is precisely this policy that has caused the crisis in Ukraine with all its negative consequences for the coming months and years.
President Barack Obama was candid in admitting it on March 3, 2014: “we are indicating to the Russians [that] if in fact they continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic— that will isolate Russia.”
Well, it is precisely this desire to expand NATO and to isolate Russia by incorporating all the countries bordering Russia into NATO; i.e., a strategy of geopolitical and military encirclement of Russia, which has provoked that country when it felt threatened in its national security.
This is easy to understand.
This essay (also attached below, argues that Syrian civil war places the contradictions in US/UK foreign policy into sharp relief.
Clearly, this particular self-inflicted grand-strategic wound is a direct consequence of ignoring the basic advice of Sun Tzu (i.e., “know your enemy and know yourself” — or what Robert Asprey, one of the great historians of guerrilla war, called “the arrogance of ignorance”).
The predictable result, in a general sense, is equally clear: the emergence the paralyzing effects of what the late American strategist Col. John R. Boyd
called “noncooperative centers of gravity” as the messiness of the real world intrudes to displace the neat ideological virtual world of decision makers. Once again, the problem is one of Orientation hijacking Observations in the collective decision-making OODA loops that shape behaviour in Versailles on the Potomac (and, in this case, America’s faithful poodles in Whitehall (for new readers interested in how the hijacking takes place — see “Inside the Decider’s Head.”
The author ends on an off-tone upbeat note by suggesting there are incipient indications that President Obama senses the problem and is struggling to find a way out of the cul de sac. If past is prologue, his approach will be a messy one of cutting and shaving the same domestic politics that got him into this mess — but then foreign policy never really goes beyond the water’s edge.
We can get rid of Assad or fight al-Qaeda, but we can’t do both
To get a proper picture of the Syrian conflict, the West needs to listen to its enemies
By Peter Oborne, Telegraph [UK]
9:24PM GMT 26 Feb 2014
Click on Image to Enlarge
India-Afghanistan: Indian Minister of External Affairs Slaman Khurshid said on 15 February that India will provide helicopters to Afghanistan.
“We are giving them helicopters and we will be supplying them very soon,” Khurshid told reporters accompanying him on a day-long visit to the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he inaugurated an agricultural university built with Indian aid. “We also have been giving them some logistical support and we hopefully will be able to upgrade and refurbish their transport aircraft.”
Khurshid did not specify the number or type of helicopters to be provided to Afghanistan. Nor did he elaborate on transport aircraft contracts.