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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/7/16

Obama. Putin and the U.S. Election

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Message Thomas Riggins
Why is Obama deliberately stirring up old Cold War tensions with Russia by ordering saber-rattling by the Pentagon and our puppet military alliance Nato? Professor Steven Cohen, writing in The Nation (2-29-16), says Obama is escalating the tensions with Russia in an unprecedented manner not seen since the days of Nazi Germany. These hostile actions are being basically ignored by the mass media and none of the presidential candidates in either party have addressed them in the debates except indirectly (Sanders and Clinton supporting NATO, Trump mentioning he wants to make a "deal" with Putin).
The issue is Obama's decision to increase by 400% military expenditures and deployments on or near the Russian border by the U.S. and NATO. Such a huge concentration of Western military power on the Russian border has not been seen in modern times -- not even at the height of the Cold War. Cohen says Russia will have to respond by its own build-up including the positioning of advanced missiles. Thus the whole of Eastern Europe will become a tinderbox, increasing the probability of a regional war or worse if some minor incident flares up.
This is, I might add, wholly unnecessary and reckless behavior on the part of Obama and his generals (the type of behavior a future President Cruz or Rubio are characterized of being capable of initiating). Why is this coming at the very time Russia is trying to de-escalate tensions with the U.S.?
The Russians have cooperated with the U.S. on the Iran deal and in trying to bring about a truce in Syria (their intervention was provoked by CIA "covert" weapons deals with jihadists against their ally Assad, the legally UN-recognized government), and in calming down the situation in Ukraine by a cease fire (another intervention initiated by the U.S.- E.U. role in overthrowing the legally elected government in that country and the installation of an ultraright-wing anti-Russian regime.
Cohen says the mass media in the U.S. attributes all these international problems to Russian aggression and to Putin's megalomania ["Putin's Russia"]. So while we play around with farcical political debates and a news media that misinforms rather than informs, Obama stealthily builds up the aggressive capabilities of U.S. imperialism and, consciously or unconsciously, further endangers the peace of the world and the future of humanity.
The Left is falling down on the job of warning the working class of the dangers it faces in the coming election. HRC has wrapped herself in the Obama legacy and will no doubt continue the march towards more wars and military adventures that the U.S. has embarked upon ever since Korea. The Republican candidates are no different in this respect. Whoever wins in November, the big losers will be the working class and the minorities who will continue to be abused and exploited by the U.S. ruling establishment.

The Left has, however, done its duty in one respect. There is a slight possibility the dire consequences enumerated above could be avoided or alleviated and that would be the election of Bernie Sanders as president. This event would open up progressive political action outside of the control of the establishment and could lead to a democratic renaissance in the U.S. The Left - Progressive movement has solidly backed Sanders (aside from some fringe elements). Unfortunately, the Left cannot agree on a Plan B. HRC's election would be a victory for the establishment and there is no third party that the Left is willing to unite behind.
This military build-up is part of the profit-generating foreign policy of the military-industrial complex. It justifies the transfer of billions of dollars in "defense" spending to the private coffers of the 1%. What are the chances that HRC will adopt a pro-peace agenda and come out against the U.S.- NATO build-up in Europe? Sanders is also weak on this issue but he can be more easily pressured to change, as cutting the military budget frees up money for the progressive changes to reduce income inequality that he favors and he is not beholden to the establishment. What is to be done?
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Thomas Riggins, PhD CUNY, is a retired university lecturer in philosophy and ancient history and the former book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.

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