As America sanctions Russia for treaty violations Russian President Vladimir Putin adjusts his country’s War Doctrine.
Relations between the United States and Russia continue to falter as the two nations go head-to-head in an attempt to see who will blink first. The US has sought to punish Russia for allegedly commandeering rule in Eastern Ukraine.
In mid-December President Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom and Support Act of 2014 which initiated sanctions on Russia. The Act was only the latest in sanctions that the US and the EU have enforced on President Putin and his people. It also gives President Obama the power to increase defense services, training and equipment to the Ukrainian “rebels”.
The US recently imposed a new set of sanctions against Russia in response to what they say are violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The INF was signed by President Ronald Reagan with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The treaty removed an entire class of nuclear weapons from legal use by banning the possession, production or test-flying of a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. The US accuses Russia of having banned intermediate and advanced-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).
In addition, the State Department announced on Monday that they were imposing sanctions on four Russian officials for human rights abuses under the Magnitsky Act. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the sanctions were endangering ” prospects for bilateral cooperation on solving the situation around the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian crisis and other acute international problems.”
One of the most troubling actions from either country came in the last days of 2014. On December 26 President Putin approved an updated war doctrine for Russia. The doctrine makes it clear that Russia will use military force to protect its citizens. The doctrine also stated that the US and NATO allied countries pose a military threat to the existence of Russia as a sovereign free nation.
Putin said Washington is to blame for the changes, with it’s own war doctrine of pre-emptive attacks, deployment of anti-ballistic missiles, and buildup of NATO forces on Russia’s border. Russia also acknowledged attempts at regime change through “actions aimed at violent change of the Russian constitutional order, destabilization of the political and social environment, and disorganization of the functioning of governmental bodies, crucial civilian and military facilities and informational infrastructure of Russia.”
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, outlined his view of how the changes in Russia’s war doctrine and unfolding economic conditions will affect the geopolitical chess board.
“The financial markets are based on manipulation, not on fundamentals. The manipulation is untenable. With debt exploding, negative real interest rates make no sense. With real consumer incomes, real consumer credit, and real retail sales stagnant or falling, the stock market is a bubble. With Russia, China, and other countries moving away from the use of the dollar to settle international accounts, with Russia developing an alternative to the SWIFT financial network, the BRICS developing alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, and with other parts of the world developing their own credit card and Internet systems, the US dollar, along with the Japanese and European currencies that are being printed in order to support the dollar’s exchange value, could experience a dramatic drop in exchange value, which would make the import-dependent Western world dysfunctional.”
The Security Council of the Russian Federation stated that the threats to their nation include, “typical “indirect actions” observed during the struggle of the leading countries for the spheres of their influence: the use of protest potential of the population, radical and extremist organizations, private military companies; built up of NATO offensive potential directly at the Russian border, swift actions are taken to deploy global missile defense systems.”
Indeed, Russia’s leadership are not alone in their belief that western governments are interfering in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Earlier this week director and film-maker Oliver Stone commented on the situation. He discussed a recent interview he conducted with Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian president who was removed from power in 2014.
“Details to follow in the documentary, but it seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 police men, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside third party agitators. Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions– with CIA fingerprints on it.”
As RT reports, Stone believes there is “ample evidence of pro-Western, third-party interference” in Ukraine. He specifically mentioned Victoria Nuland and Senator John McCain. Stone also mentioned organizations such as USAID who have been accused of training protesters or outright creating conflicts in other nations.
Following the announcement,Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov announced the creation of a special military regiment in support of Russia. Kadyrov said his country would be willing to defend Russia against Western “aggression.” Mr Kadyrov also stated that Chechen army recruits were free to serve in the Russian naval base in Sevastopol.
Konstantin Sivkov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems told Pravda.Ru that the U.S. is aiming to destroy Russia’s nuclear potential and the country itself. Sivkov went on to state that American elite will not be held accountable unless they are militarily destroyed.
Deciphering whether the back and forth between nations is genuine or more trickery on the grand global stage is a difficult task. Both nations and leaders seek to appear strong and up for the challenge but is the world ready? The possibility of a nuclear war has been a looming threat for decades. The media and authorities often trumpet these conflicts to stoke nationalistic fires and support from the masses. It is up to each of us as free individuals to sift through the surface layers and establish an understanding of geopolitical events and how they affect our lives.
We must ask ourselves why gas prices are low (see this and this), and whether America engaging in another Cold War is the best path forward. In the end the rulers of both nations will likely continue to wage proxy wars in hopes of chipping away at the opposing empire.