- Tuesday, May 17, 2022

My introduction to The Washington Times began on May 17, 1982, during its Corcoran Gallery birthday reception, and since then I have had the privilege and honor to express my opinions on its pages.

Considering they dealt extensively with U.S.-Soviet/Russia relations, some of my opinions could be pretty controversial. Yet throughout its 40-years history, The Washington Times proved to be a rare mainstream media source that treats its readers as educated, responsible, and with deep understanding of Washington politics that have the right to analyze different, often opposite points of views. Never have I encountered censorship or criticism for my sometimes non-mainstream analysis of world affairs.

Contrast this with other media sources like NPR and BBC news, funded respectfully by the U.S. and British governments, who have interviewed me many times in the past, and recently requested to do so again.

However, prior to putting me live on the air, each station called in advance to sound me out. After hearing my views on the roots of Ukrainian crisis, both stations promptly cancelled my appearance.

The dismal state of the U.S. mainstream and corporate social media is well known but The Washington Times is a rare example of the media that keeps maintaining its integrity.

The immense crisis now unfolding between the U.S./NATO alliance and Russia over the Ukraine should never have happened as there was always another way which many of us, including old cold warriors, stated repeatedly over the years… but too often in vain.

In times of crisis, America needs the leaders with a clear geostrategic vision but nowadays we do not see too many of them around or on the horizon. Those few who qualify have no chance to hold key government positions.    

John F. Kennedy managed to resolve the Cuban missile crisis through compromises with the Kremlin, Ronald Reagan peacefully put an end to the Cold War, and George H.W. Bush had the wits to declare a new “world’s security arch from Vancouver to Vladivostok” which saw Russia as an equal partner in the new world order.

During that period of high hopes in the early 1990s, America had two choices.

First, integrate Russia with the West and make it an ally by repeating what has happened with the former archenemies Germany and Japan after WWII.

Second, follow the ideas developed by “Project for the New American Century” to maintain unipolar world order under absolute U.S. hegemony.

George H.W. Bush was inclined to undertake the first option. He confirmed this in a private Oval Office meeting with Paul Weyrich, and then publicly in August 1991, when he went to Ukraine and made a speech to the local parliament in which he praised Gorbachev and warned that “Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.”

Encouraged by the signals from the White House and many Members of Congress, we opened the Russia House in Washington, D.C., and the American University in Moscow using the buildings previously occupied by the Communist party officials.

At the Russia House opening ceremony in a symbolic gesture of friendship, Paul Weyrich joined the Mayor of Moscow Gavriil Popov and together raised U.S. Stars and Spangled and Russia’s Three Color flags.

Regrettably, this direction to the U.S.-Russia alliance made a U-turn when Bush lost the 1992 elections and Bill Clinton switched U.S. geopolitical gears setting us down the road to the current crisis.

Clinton was executing the policy that had been summarized by the famous diplomat George Kennan when he stated the following: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

Russia was chosen as a perfect candidate for such an enemy while Ukraine was supposed to be turned into an anti-Russian strategic beachhead. Billions of U.S. taxpayer funds have been poured into Ukraine exactly for this purpose and the drive for its eventual membership in NATO has begun.

There were some glimpses of hope in 2001 for the return to elder Bush’s vision when his son GW and many Members of Congress from both parties praised Putin for his support after the 9/11 terror attack. He responded in kind during a reception in Washington in the presence of many U.S. dignitaries. At this event, Putin said that Russia is ready to advance U.S.-Russia rapprochement as far as America is ready.

In an October 26, 2001, Washington Times article, Paul Weyrich and I stated that “Recent dramatic moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin towards a rapprochement with the United States and NATO in our opinion can be compared on a geopolitical scale with the far-reaching impact that the collapse of communism had in 1991. Secretary of State Colin Powell is talking about seismic changes in U.S.-Russian relations. One could say without exaggeration that Russia under Mr. Putin has become a de facto American ally, as it had been during World War II.”

Well, these hopes were quickly squashed by the U.S. abrogation of the ABM treaty, endless American wars in the Middle East, NATO eastern expansion, and continuous push to drag Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

Trump tried to revive the idea of U.S.-Russia friendship  but his efforts and presidency itself were ruined by the same forces that George Kennan had in mind in the above mentioned quote and the obedient media. 

Biden quickly reinstated the pre-Trump course thus dramatically increasing the tensions between the two major nuclear powers and here we are - on the edge of the abyss.

Recently, the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin made news when he said that the goal of U.S. policy in Ukraine is to weaken Russia.

Well, those who read my TWT column of December 1, 2013, could get the same information much earlier: “Bill Clinton’s policy of rejecting even the possibility of making Russia an equal partner in a Euro-Atlantic alliance as a means of promoting regional and world stability. Washington thus continues to pursue the same shortsighted policies intended to drive a weakened Russia into a geopolitical corner and keep it there.”

Geopolitics is a cynical enterprise, but since those who implement it claim the adherence to sacred western values, it would be hard to justify that turning two nations bound by centuries-old religious, family, cultural and economic ties into enemies correspond with western and, for that matter, Judeo-Christian values. 

The “rules-based order” has allowed the U.S. to violate international law with impunity, calling terrorists in Syria “moderate rebels,” Ukraine’s neo-Nazi battalion Azov as a legitimate military force with no criticism from human rights, Jewish or Christian organizations claiming to share these values.  

According to the Brown University’s “Costs of War” project during the NATO’s post 9/11 wars over 929,000 people have died, including over 387,000 civilians, 38 million became war refugees and displaced persons, but where is public outcry about these atrocities?

So, however bitter it is to admit, it looks like our dreams of achieving mutually beneficial win-win U.S.-Russia relations did not materialize. Russia House and its front symbol, the bust of Nobel Peace Laureate Andrei Sakharov were vandalized by the mob. Police filed a hate crime report but no one was apprehended.

The reason I keep writing and giving interviews is that as each day edges us closer to the unthinkable, meaning WWIII with the use of nuclear weapons; it is important, at least for the benefit or survivors and future historians, to correctly describe why our civilization has decided to commit suicide.

• Edward Lozansky is President of Russia House Associates and American University in Moscow.

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