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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia trying to sell nuclear power to Kuwait

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia, Kuwait Discuss Possible Construction of Nuclear Power Plant   MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and Kuwait discussed possible construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) as well as cooperation in the spheres of petroleum services and gas, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 broadcaster on Sunday…….https://sputniknews.com/business/201701221049880931-russia-kuwait-nuclear-power-plant/

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Russia, marketing | Leave a comment

Russia to lock Bangladesh into a 20 year big nuclear power debt

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia extends $11.38 bln loan to Bangladesh to build nuclear power plant http://tass.com/economy/925025 January 13 Bangladesh will repay the actually spent loan in equal six-month installments over a twenty year period MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. Russia’s government has extended a $11.38 billion loan to Bangladesh to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant. The relevant document was published on the government’s website containing legal information.

According to the draft inter-governmental agreement, the loan will be used from 2017 to 2024. Bangladesh will repay the actually spent loan in equal six-month installments over a twenty year period. The first installment will be paid out on March 15, 2017.

Two units of the Rooppur nuclear power plant, with a capacity of 1,200 MW each, which are being built with Russia’s assistance, are planned to be put into operation in 2022 and 2023.

In mid-December 2015, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation signed an EPC contract for a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

The construction work is being done in accordance with the inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in building a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, dated 2011. The nuclear power plant will be located on the eastern bank of the Ganges River, 160 kilometers from the country’s capital of Dhaka.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Agreement between Trump and Putin – let’s revive the nuclear arms race

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin agree: Let’s revive the nuclear arms race, WP  December 22 Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech Thursday in which he praised his country’s military operations on behalf of the government of Syria and made a case for how Russia could be stronger moving forward.

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces,” …… You can’t have a new nuclear arms race, of course, without someone to run against. Enter President-elect Donald Trump……..

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The trend since the late 1980s has been in the opposite direction, winding down the stockpiles of weapons held by the United States and Russia…….

As always, it’s fraught to take one Trump tweet as a descriptor of where his presidency might be headed. (He has, for example, also tweeted that he never argued for other countries to get nuclear weapons, which is false.) It’s also not clear that “strengthen and expand” means more actual nuclear warheads. (The United States will spend an estimated $1 trillionover 30 years to modernize its weapons stockpile, in part because aging nuclear warheads require significant maintenance.) But Trump’s tweet stands in stark contrast to what President Obama said in May, at the site of the first atomic detonation in world history. In Hiroshima, Japan, Obama called for “a world without nuclear weapons.”…….

As Gizmodo’s Matt Novak noted on Twitter, a recently declassified 1982 briefing given to President Ronald Reagan estimated that 80 million Americans could be killed in a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/12/22/donald-trump-and-vladimir-putin-agree-lets-revive-the-nuclear-arms-race/?utm_term=.d133721b9c37

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The continuing radiation horror of Russia’s Mayak nuclear plant

Many people we spoke to say they are being used as human guinea pigs. They talk of a secret government experiment looking at the effects of radiation exposure on humans.

They say they have to go to a hospital in Chelyabinsk, the regional capital around 50km away, for treatment of the various radiation related illnesses they suffer.

text-from-the-archivesLiving in a nuclear hell, Aljazeera, By Charles Stratford in Europe , 2012-04-04 The town of Muslymovo has to be one of the saddest places on earth. The thousands of people who have little choice but to live here, on the banks of the Techa river not far from Russia’s
southern border with Kazakhstan, are the victims of a nuclear disaster that began more than six decades ago.

They are still suffering with the consequences of life next door to the Mayak nuclear plant – still dying from the radiation-related illnesses that have claimed the lives of so many before them.

Mayak was constructed in the 1940s. Our driver knew how to avoid checkpoints. We stuck a small camera on our windscreen and drove to within a hundred metres of the plant gates.

It’s like a city. Families work and live here. Teenagers chased eachother in the snow just beyond the fence.

Mayak is surrounded by silver birch forests. Signs by the road warn people not to enter the woodland or pick the wild mushrooms. Mayak once provided the Soviet Union with around 40 per cent of the world’s
weapons-grade plutonium.

The country’s first atomic bomb was built here. Between 1949 and 1951, the plant dumped hundreds of tonnes of highly radioactive waste into the nearby Techa.

Hundreds of villages were resettled but incredibly, four remain in the contaminated area. Residents don’t know why they were never moved.

Many people we spoke to say they are being used as human guinea pigs. They talk of a secret government experiment looking at the effects of radiation exposure on humans.

They say they have to go to a hospital in Chelyabinsk, the regional capital around 50km away, for treatment of the various radiation related illnesses they suffer.

One woman described her visits.

“They must have tested new drugs on us. You come from the hospital where you spend a month then get sick for a month at home. They don’t treat you. They hurt you. They don’t say anything.”

Some of the old Muslymovo village has been moved in recent years but to a place which is only a less than a half hour walk from the highly radiation polluted river. The Geiger counter readings we took by the river showed radiation levels 50 times higher than the level experts say is safe for humans.

Mayak disaster

Our driver, who himself suffers chronic radiation illness pointed to a car tyre frozen solid in icy marsh. He said if we tested our Geiger counter there we would get a reading at least three times higher than
the one we had.

There were no barriers or fences to keep people out. And there were footprints in the snow everywhere. A rusty sign warned people not to enter or pick the berries. But fishermen still come here. In the summer children still swim…….

Most of the children in this area suffer some form or other of radiation related illness.   Symptoms of Chronic radiation sickness include recurrent infections, swellings, anemia, unhealed wounds, hair
loss and bruises. Long term exposure to high rates of radiation causes birth defects and cancer.

Locals call it the “river sickness”.

The boy in our report with the growth on his neck is 17 years old. He has eight brothers and sisters. They all suffer from radiation related illness. His mother says she took him to the local doctor to get his neck checked.

She says the doctor told her the lump would disappear. She says her son was never even offered a biopsy.

This, in a place where people have died of cancer for decades. An area that has some of the highest levels of radiation pollution in the world.

“We are afraid, the consequences are terrifying. But where can we move
to?” she said… .. http://blogs.aljazeera.com/europe/2012/04/04/living-nuclear-hell

December 21, 2016 Posted by | health, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia’s new ‘drone submarine’ with range of 6,200 miles

Russia tests terrifying unmanned ‘drone submarine’ capable of carrying nuclear warheads within range of the US,

Top-secret nuclear-capable submarine is code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon
It is feared to have a range of 6,200 miles with top speeds of up to 56 knots
US officials detected the testing on November 27 at an undisclosed location
It comes after Russia unveiled design of a robot submarine called Surrogat

The top-secret nuclear-capable sub, code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon, is feared to have a range of up to 6,200 miles with top speeds of 56 knots.

US security officials detected the test on November 27 after it was launched from a separate Sarov-class submarine though the location has not been revealed. …..

It would be used to help Russian navy training but could also be used for ‘mapping and reconnaissance’ trips, according to Russia’s Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. ….. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4014014/Russia-tests-terrifying-unmanned-drone-submarine-capable-carrying-nuclear-warheads-range-US.html

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia kept secret about an explosion at a nuclear power plant

 https://realrussiatoday.com/2016/11/22/explosion-at-nuclear-power-station-in-russia/6th reactor building of the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant, that was built based on an experimental reactor VVER-1200, could only work a few weeks at full capacity until an accident occurred.

Locals reported a powerful explosion at the nuclear power plant, reports Russian ecological media Bellona.ru.

At the same time, Russian state-owned media traditionally kept extremely silent regarding the details of the incident. In particular, news agency RIA Novosti reported that “the 6th power unit of Novovoronezh nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid due to failure of the power generator.” Meanwhile, independent environmental organizations found out that the problem is actually much more serious.

“Turning off the 6th unit at the night of November 10 was preceded by an explosion that smashed the turbine hall,” writes the local media “Notebook Voronezh”, citing eyewitness of the accident. “Alarm systems in all vehicles in the area were screaming for at least 15 minutes. The generator in the turbine hall of the 6th unit burned down beyond repair. Also, a transformer blown, and all electrics burned. A state commission is working at the station, the situation is an emergency.”

Employees of Novovoronezh NPP deny the information about an explosion. They say that a loud sound was caused by a fault trip.

“During the power test, an electrical generator failure occurred, which led to the shutdown of the power grid,” told a representative of Novovoronezh NPP administration on a condition of anonymity. “When you disconnect a power generator and a turbine, a system triggers that prevents building up pressure of the steam over the limit. The loud sound was caused by a rapid opening of valves.”

Source: rusjev.net

November 28, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

New sanctions on North Korea, agreed on by China and USA. Russia delays

China, U.S. agree on new sanctions to punish North Korea for nuclear test, but Russia ‘trying to hold it up’, National Post Michelle Nichols, Reuters | November 24, 2016 UNITED NATIONS — The United States and China have agreed on new U.N. sanctions to impose on North Korea over the nuclear test it conducted in September, but Russia is delaying action on a draft resolution, a senior Security Council diplomat said on Wednesday.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believed China could persuade Russia to agree to the new sanctions and that the 15-member Security Council could vote on the draft resolution as early as next week.

Since North Korea’s fifth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 9, the United States and China, a close ally of North Korea, have been negotiating a new draft Security Council resolution to punish Pyongyang.

That draft text was recently given to the remaining three permanent council veto powers, Britain, France and Russia.

“The (permanent five members) are getting very close to agreement on a draft resolution,” the diplomat said. “The key thing is that China and the U.S., who have led this, have got to a position that they agree on. So the issue now is Russia…….http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/china-u-s-agree-on-new-sanctions-to-punish-north-korea-for-nuclear-test-but-russia-trying-to-hold-it-up

November 26, 2016 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international, Russia, UK | Leave a comment

Russian Senator Senator Klintsevich claims that NATO expansion would be met with nuclear response

Russian senator promises nuclear response to NATO expansion  https://www.rt.com/politics/368146-russian-senator-promises-nuclear-response/25 Nov, 2016 In response to NATO’s efforts to enlist new member-countries, a member of the defense and security committee for Russia’s Upper House has said that Russia will target any sites it considers to be a threat with nuclear weapons.

In reply to NATO’s aggressive actions, to the alliance’s attempts to draw more and more nations into their orbit, there will be a harsh and unambiguous response from Russia’s side. We will aim our weapons, including the nuclear ones, at any of the alliance’s site that would threaten us, wherever these sites are placed,” RIA Novosti quoted Senator Franz Klintsevich as saying. The senator also explained that by nuclear weapons he meant both stationary land-based systems, and mobile weapons, including sea- and air-based systems.

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Friday that Klintsevich’s position was understandable, but also warned against jumping to hasty conclusions.

Russian lawmakers have the right for own opinion, they are vividly reacting to international events, to NATO’s expansion towards Russian borders, and to the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure. This makes their position understandable,” Peskov said. At the same time, he noted that, according to the Russian Constitution, lawmakers cannot determine the country’s foreign policy, as that is solely the president’s prerogative.

In late October of this year, Senator Klintsevich told Norwegian television TV2 that Russia was concerned about US plans to deploy marines at a Norwegian base which he sees as part of its Prompt Global Strike doctrine. The implementation of this plan would force Russia to target sites in Norway with strategic weapons, which it has never had to do before.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia tests intercontinental ballistic missiles for its “nuclear trains” program.

missile-envyRussia successfully tests missiles that fire from ‘nuclear trains’ Latest missile advancement comes as Kremlin deploys nuclear-capable missiles to Polish boarder , The Independent, Samuel Osborne  @SamuelOsborne93  Wednesday 23 November 2016 Russia has successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles intended for its “nuclear trains” program.

Tests on missiles for the Barguzin “railway-based combat rocket system” were carried out at the Plesetsk cosmodrome two weeks ago, the state-owned Interfax news agency reports…

The mobile weapons platform, made up of several train carriages designed to conceal the launchers of six Yars or Yars-M thermonuclear ICBMs and their command units, are expected to enter service between 2018 and 2020…….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-putin-nuclear-train-missiles-tests-success-a7433861.html

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia keen to stay ahead of Franc e, USA, in marketing nuclear energy to India

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Russia Still India’s Main Partner in Nuclear Energy Despite French, US Interest Sputnik News, 18 Nov 116 India struck its thirteenth civil nuclear deal when PM Narendra Modi visited Japan. Despite many suitors ranging from the French to the Americans, Russia is India’s preferred partner and the collaboration is breaking new ground every day. New Delhi (Sputnik) – India has signed 13 civil nuclear agreements to meet its ever increasing energy needs. But India-Russia nuclear cooperation remains the oldest and the most standout partnership because Moscow firmly believed in India’s non-proliferation credentials and helped it set up modern nuclear power plants despite Western opposition because it is not a signatory to the NPT.

Analysts consider India-Japan civil nuclear deal as a landmark even. It will help India access Japan’s nuclear market as also pave the way for US and French companies to set up nuclear reactors in India. Japanese companies such as Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi have major stakes in US and French companies as GE, Westinghouse and Areva planning to construct reactors in India. Without an India-Japan nuclear deal, it was impossible for them to set up nuclear reactors in India. But the much hyped India-Japan nuclear deal is on fragile ground. According to the terms of the deal, the moment India conducts a nuclear test, Japan will terminate the nuclear deal. This will impact not only the Japanese nuclear reactors but also the US and French reactors. ……https://sputniknews.com/business/201611171047552712-russia-india-nuclear-energy/

November 18, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

USA and Russia bicker over nuclear issues

‘A Dangerous Situation’ As U.S.-Russia Tensions Spill Over To Nuclear Pacts October 31, 2016 Heard on Morning Edition DAVID WELNA  The U.S. and Russia are the world’s two mightiest nuclear powers, and yet over the years, they’ve made deals to reduce their respective arsenals.

Just like a marriage gone bad, though, things have soured between Washington and Moscow. Bickering over nuclear issues has increased markedly in recent months, with each side accusing the other of cheating.

And that war of words is being matched by actions:

Russia, in early October, moved a battery of nuclear-capable missile launchers within range of three Baltic states.

In September, three U.S. long-range bombers — the kind used to drop nuclear weapons — flew over Eastern Europe in NATO military exercises.

Russia, in late October, unveiled images of a new intercontinental ballistic missile dubbed the Satan 2, whose warhead, it claims, can destroy an area the size of Texas.

“I would have to say that, without question, this is the low point in U.S.-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War,” says Steven Pifer, an arms control expert at the Brookings Institution………http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/10/28/499754655/a-dangerous-situation-as-u-s-russia-tensions-spill-over-to-nuclear-pacts

November 4, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s top secret nuclear sacrifice zone revealed

REVEALED: Putin’s top secret deadly nuclear city where spies observe ‘poisoned’ locals http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/727223/Putin-s-top-secret-deadly-nuclear-city-where-spies-observe-poisoned-locals

A CITY of almost 82,000 people are living on a nuclear time bomb in one of the most toxic places on earth. By SIOBHAN MCFADYEN, Oct 31, 2016 And the residents of the Russian walled city of Ozyorsk in Chelyabinsk Oblast code named City 40 are living in fear of their lives with their every move being watched by Kremlin spies.

Brave locals are living in an experiment zone, on a toxic lake where almost of all of Vladimir Putin’s nuclear arsenal is stockpiled.

And for the first time they have opened up about their experiences residing in the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. The city is officially closed to the outside world and for those who live there every day is a battle.

Around 15,000 people are employed by the Mayak plant, a plutonium handling facility which rose to prominence during the Cold War. The plant itself covers an area of approximately 50 miles and reprocesses spent fuel from the country’s nuclear submarines.

A new documentary called City 40 now available on Netflix shows for the first time the challenges being faced by the people who live there – many of whom are suffering from cancer. The narrator says: “Growing up as a kid I was aware of a strange place a closed place, a top secret place

“This is where almost all the reserve of Russia’s nuclear materials is stockpiled. “To get in there you would need a full-scale army operation. “Unauthorised access there cannot even be imagined.” The city itself is constantly under surveillance with very little information leaking out to the mainstream.

A narrator adds: “It’s cozy and a beautiful town but a closed one.  “There are spies all over sneaking around gathering information. “My mother used to warn me ‘darling, never say where you are from. “‘Or a Black Maria will take us away and you’ll never see your parents again’.

“Once there was a spill of powder, the radioactive kind of powder. “An underground container of liquid radioactive waste exploded.”

According to reports around 10,000 people have disappeared off the census list in just eight years.

The last census was taken in 2010, it is unknown whether the people have died however many residents are extremely sick.  A city dweller adds: “The local people will tell you that this lake is nicknamed the ‘lake of death’ because it has been so heavily contaminated with plutonium.

“Mostly people were dying of carcinogenic diseases. “Once can say this city was built on dead and ruined human bodies.”If someone refused to work they’d be taken to a prison camp and executed because they were introduced to state secrets.

“They created their own ideology. “We’re the saviours of the world, creators of the nuclear shield.” While the undercover film team have managed to gain access to the locals it is unknown whether they will go unpunished for revealing themselves to camera.

Tensions between the USA and Russia have peaked over recent weeks and it is believed the facility will no doubt be in full production mode. A narrator adds that most of the locals wouldn’t dream of leaving – not because they want to but because they can’t.

They added: “We are used to it and this is how we want to live. “It may be for the better, it may be for the worse, but for now just leave us alone please.”My mother told me ‘let state secrets stay secrets.”

November 2, 2016 Posted by | environment, health, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Russia now trying to sell nuclear reactors to Myanmar

Russia, Myanmar launch working body for nuclear tech cooperation, Myanmar Times, By Aung Shin   |  Friday, 28 October 

rosatom

Russia and Myanmar this week established a working body for nuclear technology cooperation, according to officials. 

Little is known about the bilateral taskforce, including who is involved or even how many members are included. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in June last year.

According to a Ministry of Education official, the working body is another step in developing nuclear technology with the help of Russia.

Russian government officials are now in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss further steps for the MoU, said U Khin Maung Latt, director general of the Department of Technology Promotion and Coordination (DTPC) under the Ministry of Education.

“We have a roadmap of further steps for the MoU … We have discussed and agreed for further cooperation,” he said……..

Since 2007 Russia and Myanmar have had an inter-governmental agreement regarding nuclear technology and building a nuclear research centre, according to Rosatom.

Russia has trained more than 700 Myanmar students in nuclear and nuclear-related technologies in the past 10 years.

The Russian state firm is seeking potential investment opportunities in the Southeast Asian region, and is offering comprehensive nuclear technology and experience, said Rosatom officials. The company is building two nuclear power units in Vietnam, and has also won a tender for the preliminary design of a 10-megawatt reactor in Indonesia (see map).

Rosatom has two operating nuclear reactors in India and China, with two more in each country under construction. The Russian state-owned company has also won a project to construct a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh…….http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/nay-pyi-taw/23368-russia-myanmar-launch-working-body-for-nuclear-tech-cooperation.html

October 29, 2016 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

The danger of war between USA and Russia now greater than in the cold war

Germany Warns of the Danger of War  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-friedman/germany-warns-of-the-dang_b_12565994.html George FriedmanGeopolitical Forecaster and Strategist, 26 Oct 16 

 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Oct. 8 that the situation between the U.S. and Russia today is more dangerous than it was during the Cold War. As he put it, “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous.” Since most of us think of the Cold War as by far the most dangerous time we have known, Steinmeier’s view is startling. It is important to understand what he is saying, not simply because he is the foreign minister of an important country, but because he is a smart man.

In the interview, Steinmeier discussed the Russian intervention in Syria, the standoff with the United States and the frozen but still dangerous confrontation over Ukraine. When we look at these two confrontations between the United States and Russia (Germany doesn’t have the military strength to affect this balance) either situation could result in a direct confrontation of U.S. and Russian forces.

On paper, the United States remains committed to the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while the Russians are protecting it. There is now combat in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria. Russian and Assad regime forces seem to be trying to take control of the city. The United States sees Aleppo as a bastion of anti-Assad forces and doesn’t want to see it fall. The U.S. has the option to try to block the Russian and Assad advance. Russia has to decide whether to stand and fight or withdraw. Neither side is confident it knows the other’s intentions, but both believe that Aleppo is a critical if not decisive battle. The chances of intentional conflict are real, as is the possibility of an unintended clash escalating.

At the same time, Syria is not essential to the national security of Russia or the United States. It is not without importance, but a defeat or capitulation there will not change the balance of power between them at all. It would of course affect psychological and political perception, but in the long run, perception ultimately comes down to substantial military and economic power. The United States can afford to back off. The Russians will find it more difficult, but can contrive reasons for slowing or halting the attacks.

In Ukraine, the issue is fundamental to Russia and secondary to the United States. Therefore, it is far more dangerous than Syria. For Russia, a Ukraine dominated by a third power, with forces deployed in Ukraine, represents a fundamental threat to its national security. For the United States, it is a secondary issue that can rise to a primary one.

As I have written, the foundation of U.S. foreign policy since World War I was preventing any single power from dominating Europe and Russia, as their combined strength in technology and resources would threaten American interests. Therefore, Russia returning to its prior position, with the potential to dominate the European Peninsula, would rise to a primary issue. If Russia invaded Ukraine and used it as a base to threaten its former satellite states, this would begin escalating to a primary level. But that is several steps from happening, and if it did, it would still not constitute a direct threat to the entire European Peninsula.

The Cold War focused on the center of Germany, and the possibility of a Soviet seizure of Western Europe did not appear far-fetched. Since the U.S. was defending Western Europe at a distance, its conventional forces facing the Soviets appeared to be inferior. Therefore, part of U.S. strategy, at least officially, was the use of nuclear weapons, both strategically and on the battlefield, to stop a Soviet offensive. That meant that should the Soviets have chosen to undertake an offensive, or if they detected a U.S. offensive, they had to go nuclear at the earliest possible moment.

This is what kept the Cold War from turning into a shooting war. The Soviets and the Americans, along with their allies or subordinates in Europe, saw themselves in an existential crisis. The deterrence against conventional war in Europe, as opposed to proxy wars elsewhere such as Vietnam or Afghanistan, was nuclear war. Wars that did not involve primary and overwhelming interests did not involve the risk of nuclear war. There was no military target worth a nuclear strike in either country, nor would either country risk immolation over Vietnam or Afghanistan. Therefore, these wars could take place.

I think this is Steinmeier’s point. The confluence of extremely critical fears and interests paradoxically reduced the chance of conflict, because it increased the chance of nuclear war. Today, none of the friction points between the United States and Russia are of primary interest to both countries. Syria is at best secondary to both, and Ukraine really matters only to Russia. This cannot result in nuclear war, and therefore, each side will take greater risks than they would have in Central Europe during the Cold War.

Therefore, the situation is more dangerous now precisely because the stakes are lower. In lowering the stakes, the risks decline and the possibility of serious conflict between U.S. and Russian forces rises. That direct clash did not occur during the Cold War, at least not on any significant scale. That means that the risk of nuclear war is diminished, but the risk of direct conflict is higher. This would not be proxy wars, but direct war. Undisciplined crises are the most dangerous.

Steinmeier’s observation seems valid. The mystery, of course, is what he is planning to do about that. Having made the declaration, it would seem reasonable that Germany would try to defuse the U.S.-Russian confrontation. Is Germany announcing that it is shifting its role in global politics to a more active role, albeit mediation? These crises raise the question of what Germany will do. That is a question with an ominous past. But if the German foreign minister is speaking for Germany, then this is exactly where his logic would lead him.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Reheating the cold war between Russia and the West

Cold war 2.0: how Russia and the west reheated a historic struggle
As chasm grows between a resurgent Russia and a divided US and Europe, diplomats say conflict is now more dangerous, with ‘no clear rules of the road’,
Guardian,  and   Washington 25 October 2016

Shirreff, then deputy supreme allied commander Europe, was at Nato’s military HQ in Mons, Belgium, when an American two-star general came in with the transcript of Putin’s speech justifying the annexation. “He briefed us and said: ‘I think this just might be a paradigm-shifting speech’, and I think he might have been right,” Shirreff recalled.

The Russian president’s address aired a long list of grievances, with the west’s attempts to contain Russia in the 18th to 20th centuries right at the top.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said: “The reality is that behind the appearance of consensus … a form of world disorder took hold. We are now paying the price for that error of assessment that gave westerners a feeling of comfort for two decades”.

In the UK, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said in his party conference speech that the west had been mistaken in its belief that “the fall of the Berlin Wall meant the world had come to a moment of ideological resolution after seven frozen and sometimes terrifying decades of communist totalitarian rule”.

Others such as Sir John Sawers, the former head of MI6, warned: “We are moving into an era that is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, as the cold war because we do not have that focus on a strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington.” But unlike the cold war, there are now “no clear rules of the road” between the two countries.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an advocate of dialogue, made the same point: “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the cold war. The current times are different and more dangerous.”………

Many acknowledge the west must take its share of the blame for the collapse of relations. The mistakes are real, notably the scale of Nato expansion to the east and in the Baltics. Russia also feels deeply that it was duped into accepting a UN resolution criticising Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, only to find it was used as cover for regime change. Hillary Clinton, then at the State Department, did little to mange the Russians. Russia has not voted for humanitarian action at the UN since……….

The issue in Europe and the US now is how to respond to Putin? Some believe Russian statehood requires a more aggressive foreign policy. The Kremlin, faced by an ailing economy and declining population, needs external threats of war and violence in the media because Putin “has no civilian project to offer to society”, said Dr Andrew Monaghan at Chatham House. Putin instead offers a mobilisation strategy. The answer is to confront and push back, acknowledging that Putin sees offers of dialogue as a sign of weakness.

Others insist the west must continue to engage and keep pressing the reset button because coexistence is the only option.

In the US and Europe, the question about what to do with Russia is far from settled, something Putin is likely to continue to exploit……

The German chancellor, who has probably devoted more hours to the Putin relationship than any other western politician, is exasperated. She is a dealmaker, but in 2014 – following a conversation with Putin on Ukraine’s annexation – she told Obama that the Russian president was “living in a different world”. But a second round of sanctions in an election year is not attractive.

In Britain, the pre-eminent home for anti-Russian rhetoric since Cameron’s failed attempt at detente in 2011, Johnson has warned Russia that if it continues on its path it could be deemed a rogue nation.

But there are British voices urging calm. Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow from 2004 to 2008, calls for realism. He argues that the post-war international system – or “liberal hegemony” as he puts it – no longer works. “We have failed with Russia and we are failing with China,” he said.

Brenton’s answer is to accept the limits of 21st-century western influence. “We are going to have to moderate our own ambitions. We can defend ourselves. We can protect our interests. But telling other bad countries how they should behave is less and less possible,” he said.

What’s next? How the west could respond to Russian threatsThe EU, in search of a policy response, is reaching again for sanctions. They have been estimated to have cost the Russian economy $280bn in capital inflows and to be taking roughly 0.5% a year off the GDP. In a society devoid of internal political and institutional constraints on the behaviour of the elite, extended sanctions could weaken Putin’s grip on power………

ultimately the key decisions will be taken in the new White House. Anthony Cordesman, a strategic analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the new administration must confront three realities. “First, Russia is a now broad strategic rival and is likely to remain so at least as long as Putin is in power. Second, the US can’t rebalance to Asia away from Europe or the Middle East. And third, short of being chased off the stage, the United States will have to play out a weak hand in Syria to limit and contain Russian influence.”

“There are no easy answers to the Russians,” said a Washington-based European diplomat. “They are deploying such aggressive rhetoric and policy. During the cold war there was an accepted vocabulary between the sides. There was a game, there was an accepted game,” the diplomat said. “Now the danger is there is no order. There is no accepted language. We are not talking the same language”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/24/cold-war-20-how-russia-and-the-west-reheated-a-historic-struggle

October 27, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, UK, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment