America, Russia and NATO look for New Frontiers of Influence

[Photo: Fars News]

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

Editor’s Note

Be it NATO or the G7, the US and European nations (on the whole) continue to place Russia on the “outside”, even while considering adding other nations lead by dictators – such as Turkey. This automatically fuels adversarial relationships and makes peacemaking and common projects difficult if not impossible. This is as simple, and as complex, as Relationships 101 (IMO, but I’m no diplomat).

Ukraine and the U.S. forced Russia’s hand into their annexation of Crimea. As discussed by Dr. Mahboob below, this was a Russian-speaking region that reportedly sought closer ties to Russia. However, it was the threat of losing the seaport there that forced Russi’s hand as it is Russia’s only open seaport, and has been for a very long time. The threat of being blocked from that port forced Russia’s hand on annexation. Continued militarism over this has now placed Russia, Ukraine, (and with them NATO) on the brink of a full-scale conflict. One would well ask “whose interests are being served here” for it is not that of the people of the region.

This is not to say that Putin does not have dreams of glory of his own. The man is a dictator in all but name, but he does see the standing and health of Russia as part of himself. In other words, he is not as self-serving as Trump was (and is), and while he is a dictator in all but name he has also tried to protect the interests of Russia. On the other hand, for the U.S. at least, using Russia as everything from a bullyboy to an imminent threat serves a number of interests, particularly of the Military-Industrial-Financial complex.

Regardless, we have growing global-scale threats from environmental collapse to climate chaos to the current pandemic that require coordinated action and cooperation. The messages are so clear that we need to work together, and yet it seems the time of self-interest and nationalism. The current paths are putting us on a short path to extreme hardship (as with Afghanistan and Ukraine) and a slightly longer path to our own extinction. Sadly, it is not just the politicians and official leaders who need to wake up, but the people – too many of whom are allowing themselves to be tools of maniacs because of their fears. Rational thought and empathy are equally running out like water from a cracked pot. Ironically, shoring up either (rationality or empathy) might take us to higher ground.

Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

Why Are the Lessons of History are Ignored?

America, Russia and NATO’s Geneva diplomatic talks ended in failure without any formal course of action to avoid military confrontation on Ukraine’s border.  Other vital issues include how to treat each other in an imaginary future encounter or their common interests. The global community is watching the prelude to a staged drama of unwarranted warfare with profligate waste, malevolence and unknown miseries for unthinkable multitudes.  All the superpowers – the stage actors of the 21st century – have fictitious monsters equipped with innovative sophistry and captivating eloquence to talk about peace, security, human rights, global order and justice. They are masters of deception playing on the passion of an entrenched and exhausted mankind as if they could stop the emerging pains, horrors and devastation of warmongering to ensure a return to normal human affairs. To an analytical eye looking for global peace and harmony, it does not appear rational to articulate fears and misleading intentions to safeguard human peace and dignity while all actions speak a different language of obsessed assertions based on their own despotic national interests. They claim peace but talk about threats of wars – how to rationalize the irony of human wickedness and inherent deception. Was the same stage drama not enacted during the First and Second World Wars killing millions and millions of people across this Planet Earth?  

Human progress and future-making are jeopardized when the lessons of history are deliberately misinterpreted and ignored by the paranoid, vengeful and suspicious (and likely duplicitous) leaders.  If war is the only avenue to seek peace, we are on the wrong side of history and thinking for our future. It took several centuries for Europeans to understand the false shadows of apprehension of peace and harmony and to come to terms with nation-building, some resemblance to democracy, human equality of rights and unity for future-making via the EU. A reasoned perspective would illustrate that Russia after the breakdown of the former USSR is not the same inheriting entity of Communist authoritarian ideology, leadership, institutions, political thought, policies and practices within the working systems of global order. There are visible progressive movements for political change, open communications, elections, institutional developments and global interactions and seeking reunion with the global order, UNO, world institutions, friendly relationships with adversaries and balanced socio-economic ties with others.  To enlarge the scope of reason and understanding, Russia needs formidable change as it appears to be forging on different national strategic interests; its position on Ukraine is not the same as eluded by most NATO members. Ukraine and Russia have common geography and history just like Britain, France and Germany have.  Would it not be a matter of extreme political-strategic sensitivity if other perceived enemies would dare to come close to military confrontations in Western Europe?  It is logical that true friends of humanity will not act blindly to cause wild uproars and evil-mongering anywhere on this planet.

Is NATO Relevant to the Emerging Conflicts of the  21st Century?

The focal issue seems to be the prospective membership of Ukraine to the community of NATO in Western Europe. America and Russia and other EU members enjoin conflicting views on this issue. Ukraine claims its freedom to join any international organization for its betterment, peace and security. Russia and America should not be concerned except that they want to draw certain strategic gains out of this chaotic perceived tragedy of future warfare. After the dreadful consequences of the Two World Wars, NATO was formed by the Europeans to maintain peace and security and avoid future unwarranted national wars within the European hemisphere. Its formation and scope is limited to nationalistic conventional warfare in the European theatre. One wonders, what wars did NATO fight to protect its ideals and strategic priorities after the 1945 WW?  What did NATO have to do with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya?  Were these accidental engagements or simply an extension of planned mischievous catastrophic instances of tyranny against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere who never posed any threat to NATO, America or to any Western European nations? American and European leaders pushed soldiers to fight unwanted draconian wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other parts of the Middle East. Millions of innocent Afghans, Iraqi and Libyan civilians and Western troops were killed during the US-led NATO wars in these regions. It is clear that there was an expansion of NATO from European-based conflicts to the “interests” of certain members of NATO.  Could any American-European leaders explain why every day approximately 18-25 US war veterans commit suicides?  (“Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide and Global Warlords.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA).  

How would one rationalize the role and actions of NATO in a global theater of strategic interests?  The history of NATO and its plans and ideological motives are equally distorted and disfigured on the global screen of reason, honesty and accountability. Russia overtook eastern parts of Ukraine – Crimea – with forces aligned to Russian-speaking masses and trying to integrate those territories into the Russian federation.  This issue has been discussed between Russian President Putin, former German Chancellor Merkel, and French President Macron on several occasions. Could America, Russia and Europeans not talk again for a peaceful resolution of this and other related problems?  Would it help if Russia was not excluded from NATO, which contains many former Eastern Bloc nations, and the G7/8?

Looking for Hope of Peace Beyond the Lens of Geopolitics

Scott Ritter (a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD): “What War with Russia Look Like”  (Global Research: 01/11/2022): explains the irony of current affairs:

If the U.S. tries to build up NATO forces on Russia’s western frontiers in the aftermath of any Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia will then present Europe with a fait accompli in the form of what would now be known as the “Ukrainian model.” In short, Russia will guarantee that the Ukrainian treatment will be applied to the Baltics, Poland, and even Finland, should it be foolish enough to pursue NATO membership. Russia won’t wait until the U.S. has had time to accumulate sufficient military power, either. Russia will simply destroy the offending party through the combination of an air campaign designed to degrade the economic function of the targeted nation, and a ground campaign designed to annihilate the ability to wage war. Russia does not need to occupy the territory of NATO for any lengthy period—just enough to destroy whatever military power has been accumulated by NATO near its borders.

Is NATO being managed by those people who lived in the distant past and perhaps post WW2 historic culture is still alive and flourishing? Is there any glimpse of hope for change and newly reasoned relationships between America, Russia and West European people? The future of violence and nationalistic resentment looks embedded into the distorted strategic necessities of current affairs, be it the argument of Russia or American-led NATO and/or the EU on its own. NATO is run by the wrong people, glued to wrong thinking and doing the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. Craig Murray (“NATO-an Idea Whose Time has Gone.”:, a former British diplomat and Rector of the University of Dundee, UK, foresees the body as obsolete to emerging strategic thinking  and needs of the Western alliance:

It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has deteriorated. It has deteriorated politically, economically, militarily and socially. The notion that NATO member states could bomb the world into good was only ever believed by crazed and fanatical people like Tony Blair and Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society. It really should not have needed empirical investigation to prove it was wrong, but it has been tried, and has been proved wrong….NATO’s attempt to be a global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels. Its plan to redeem itself by bombing the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a further sign of madness. Except of course that it will guarantee some blowback against Western targets, and that will “justify” further bombings, and yet more profit for the arms manufacturers. On that level, it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and is the author The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.Provocations Have A History Of Escalating Into War: Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?” Information Clearing House: (8/31/2018), strikes a proactive caution to all Western policymakers: 

The Zionist neoconservatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler. When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation.

Every beginning has its end. America needs Navigational Change after the January 6, 2021 Trump’s revolutionary attack on democracy and the Constitution, and so do Russia and NATO in their search for a peaceful transition to sustainable future-making. We, the People of the global community live on one floating Planet Earth, and we must be conscious of who we are, how connected we are in human solidarity, and where are we heading in our imagination of the present and future. It is awful and a tragedy of human conscience to be speaking of military conflicts and territorial gains when mankind urgently needs an effective cure for the Covid-19 pandemic. George Floyd’s cries continue to be heard all over the globe: “I can’t’ breathe.”  

We are One People, One Humanity – ignorance, natural disasters, and man-made fatalities know not any borders, flags or nationalities but surge like wildfires as are being witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Again political absolutism heightens animosity and hatred rather than human understanding and cooperation for a precious cause of saving human lives on Earth. To save the life of one human being is to safeguard the whole of humanity. We are all born equal One Humanity: – the Divine Message of Al-Qur’an clarifies the truth:

“Proclaim in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created,                                                                                   Created man (human being) out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood,                                                                        Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the Pen,                                                      Taught man (human being) that which he knew not.”

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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