Friday, 28 January 2022 — Global Research
By Mike Whitney
“The main issue is our clear position on the unacceptability of further NATO expansion to the East and the deployment of highly-destructive weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Washington delivered a slap in the face to Moscow on Wednesday when U.S. ambassador John Sullivan provided a written response to Russia’s proposals for security guarantees. The missive was given to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko who did not reveal the contents but passed them on to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for analysis. Lavrov, in turn, issued a statement on Thursday morning confirming our worst suspicions that the Biden administration has shrugged off Russia’s reasonable demands choosing instead to intensify the provocations that are likely to trigger a war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. This is an excerpt from an article at Tass News Agency:
“The United States and NATO don’t seem to have taken Russia’s concerns on security guarantees into account when drawing up responses to Moscow’s proposals, nor did they demonstrate any willingness to do so, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
“The numerous statements that our colleagues made yesterday make it clear that as for the major aspects of the draft agreements that we earlier presented to other parties, we can’t say that they took our concerns into account or showed any readiness to take our concerns into consideration.” (Tass News Agency)
Peskov is right, on the core issues the US either issued no clear response or refused to comply. In effect, the US response was designed to look like Washington was honestly negotiating when in fact, they were merely reinforcing their original position. The US response is essentially a defense of Washington’s commitment to rule the world by force and to ignore the legitimate demands of weaker states to provide even minimal security for their people. If the US and NATO are allowed to pursue their present course of action, Russian cities and towns will be within 7 to 10 minutes of nuclear missiles located in nearby Romania and Poland. Russia’s are being asked to live with a nuclear dagger pointed at their throats. This is Biden’s idea of global security. Is it any wonder why Putin does not agree? Here’s part of what Lavrov said on Thursday:
“There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document. The main issue is our clear position that further NATO expansion to the east and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation are unacceptable.”
Lavrov has summed it up perfectly. While Sullivan was delivering his response to Grushko, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement saying the Alliance “will not compromise” on potential expansion into Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet republics, as this clashes with the NATO’s principles.” Stoltenberg’s statement removes any doubt that NATO will not only continue its eastward expansion onto Russia’s doorstep, but feels thoroughly justified in doing so. As we noted earlier, NATO’s response confirms that Washington is still committed to its overarching plan to rule the world by force regardless of how ordinary people are impacted by the policy.
On Thursday morning, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev reiterated the recently-verified claim that NATO’s eastward expansion violates the promises of US officials to Russia following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
“They promised not to expand NATO, but didn’t keep their promise,” Medvedev said speaking with the Russian media. “They say that ‘we did not sign anything.’ But we all know well who and when granted to whom such promises, such assurances….. They failed to keep their promises. They are now encroaching on our state borders.”
The steady eastward movement of troops, the buildup of lethal military hardware, and the deployment of nuclear weapons all pose an existential threat to Russia that suffered horrific losses in World War 2. The Biden administration seems to believe their sinister plan is working since people in the west generally believe reports in the media that the fake threat of “Russian invasion” is an honest account of what is actually going on the ground. But there is no threat of a Russian invasion; the story was stitched together to divert attention from Russia’s security demands which are both reasonable and appropriate. Once again, the media is shaping a narrative to fit the policy which is the very description of state propaganda.
In an effort to further downplay the importance of Moscow’s requests, US officials characterized their written response not as “a formal document but a set of ideas for further discussion.” What this means is that Washington does not feel that that Russia is its equal so it does not feel required to enter into a treaty agreement with them. Keep in mind, this response does not in any way meet the basic requirements that were clearly outlined by Putin repeatedly in December when he said thatRussia wanted a written, legally-biding treaty that could not be sloughed off by countries that prefer to conduct an impulsive, self-aggrandizing, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants foreign policy that has left great swathes of the Middle East and Central Asia in an utter shambles. Indeed, this may not be a “formal document”, but it is clear that there will be a formal document or there will be no agreement and no peace. The choice is Washington’s.
On the issue of nuclear missile sites in Poland and Romania, as well as, the development of military bases in Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that Washington was still open to discussion.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if Russia were to approach this seriously, and in a spirit of reciprocity, with the determination to enhance collective security for all of us, there are very positive things in this document that should be pursued,” he said.
“Positive things”, says Blinken?
There are no “positive things” in the American response. The response is a flagrant and contemptible rejection of Moscow’s core demands on NATO expansion and the deployment of nuclear missiles to locations on Russia’s border. To understand what a fraud the Biden administration is engaged in, please, take a look at this brief excerpt from the draft treaty that Russia presented to NATO and Washington.
The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them……
The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.
The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories.” (“Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation on Security Guarantees,” Official Russian State Document, December 17, 2021)
Is there anything ambiguous in the language of this document?
No, there isn’t.
The US was asked to respond in writing to these explicit demands. No one is in the slightest bit interested in Blinken’s vague pontifications on “positive things”. It’s completely irrelevant. What Putin wants to know is whether US nukes are going to remain 7 minutes flight-time from Moscow and whether a hostile foreign army is going to be hunkered down in nearby Ukraine. He wants to know whether Washington plans to put a gun to Russia’s head in order to increase its power in the region. That’s what he wants to know, and that’s what this foreign policy debacle is all about.
What Blinken’s response tells us is that the provocations are going to continue unabated whether they ignite a war or not. Even as we speak, the US is sending more lethal weaponry and troops to the Ukrainian theater while other NATO allies promise to assist in the effort. It is madness.
At the same time, President Joe Biden is threatening to impose “direct personal sanctions” on Putin if the Russian president takes action to defend the Russian-speaking people in East Ukraine. The threat was issued just hours after the State Department told Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov that he “would have to leave the US by April if Moscow fails to meet certain demands made by Washington.” While these may seem like trivial developments, the two incidents help to illustrate how relations between the two nations are fast deteriorating increasing the prospect of a tragic miscalculation that could precipitate a bloody and protracted conflagration.
This article was originally published on The Unz Review.
Michael Whitney is a renowned geopolitical and social analyst based in Washington State. He initiated his career as an independent citizen-journalist in 2002 with a commitment to honest journalism, social justice and World peace.
He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
Featured image is from TUR