Sunday, July 5, 2015

» Brzezinski on Russia: 'We Are Already In a Cold War' 02/07/15 09:36 from SPIEGEL ONLINE - International Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes the West should stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. "We should make it more costly for the Russians to use force," he tells SPIEGEL ONLINE

» Brzezinski on Russia: 'We Are Already In a Cold War'
02/07/15 09:36 from SPIEGEL ONLINE - International
Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes the West should stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. "We should make it more costly for the Russians to use force," he tells SPIEGEL ONLINE in an interv...

Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski on Russia and Ukraine

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Russia wants to expand its arsenal of intercontinental rockets. The US intends to base heavy weaponry in Eastern European NATO member states. In addition, Washington is considering new atomic cruise missiles for Europe in response to Russia's alleged violation of an arms reduction treaty. The Ukraine crisis is threatening to spread.
In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was US President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor from 1977 to 1981, talks about the new Cold War. Now 87, Brzezinski works for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Brzezinski, are we seeing the beginning of a new Cold War between Russia and the US?
Brzezinski: We are already in a Cold War. Whether it will become hot is fortunately still less than likely.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The last Cold War lasted more than 40 years. Will it last that long this time around?
Brzezinski: I don't think so. Things move much more rapidly. Pressures from the outside are more felt internally. If this continues, and if Ukraine doesn't collapse, domestic pressures in Russia will force whoever is in charge to explore alternatives. Hopefully, Putin is smart enough to know that it's better to explore alternatives ahead of time and not too late.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is he smart enough?
Brzezinski: That's very hard to say. He has what's called "smarts" in American, which is a kind of instinctive smartness. He has a real sophistication. I wonder why he's almost deliberately antagonizing more than 40 million people in a country next door which, until very recently, were not driven by any hostility towards Russia.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you think it is right for the US to send heavy weaponry to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states?
Brzezinski: Do you think it is right to send troops and weapons into a sovereign country and start up a limited war after having seized a larger portion of it?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are talking about Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Brzezinski: You have to see both sides. It's a question of action and reaction. I don't want a war, but I'm not going to be intimidated by the argument that if we respond symmetrically to unilateral actions by the other side, it is us who is somehow provocative and precipitating a war. On the contrary. Not doing so is the most likely way of precipitating a war.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But isn't NATO playing into the hand of Putin's anti-Western propaganda?
Brzezinski: You mean NATO is not allowed to put troops on the territory of its member states when something potentially dangerous is happening nearby?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The question is whether it is politically wise because of the boost it could provide him domestically.
Brzezinski: That's exactly the argument that one could have made about a restraint reaction when Hitler invaded the Sudetenland, or with the Anschluss of Austria.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are you comparing Putin with Hitler?
Brzezinski: I think there are some similarities, but also some differences. Hitler was never particularly interested in personally making a lot of money. Putin has a side interest in making a lot of money, and that introduces a somewhat different perspective in life and one in which may perhaps be stabilizing and tempering down passions. But what is particularly dangerous is that he is a gambler.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Let's imagine a scenario where Russia invades the Baltics. Would NATO go to war?
Brzezinski: If he goes into the Baltic states by invasion, of course. That's the point of NATO, isn't it? We can't say to the world: "We don't mean what we are saying. We'll not do anything if you do anything"? That's a little bit like hanging out a sign on the front door of your home reading: "We are away, the doors are not locked." Do you think that would be a smart security strategy?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of the German population doesn't believe that Germany should use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia.
Brzezinski: I've seen that. What percentage of the Germans would say that, if Germany was attacked, the United States should not protect it?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Probably, the majority would say the US should help.
Brzezinski: Well, of course. That's human nature. That's why I don't worry too much about these things because human nature changes as circumstances change. Look at the Lithuanians, that tiny, little country. They have just announced that they are going to defend themselves, period. That should put Germany to shame. In fact, I believe Germany would fight. I think Ms. Merkel would fight. And the opposition would fight.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: in the Ukraine conflict, President Barack Obama has let German Chancellor Merkel take the lead. Is that a good move?
Brzezinski: I think Chancellor Merkel is doing an extremely good job. Obama also has some other problems, such as the Middle East.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Merkel believes that sending weapons to Ukraine is the wrong way to go. She doesn't believe that there is a military solution to the crisis. What do you think?
Brzezinski: We should make it more costly for the Russians to use force. I think it makes sense to give defensive weapons to the Ukrainians, like mortars and anti-tank rockets, for the defense of major cities. If you want to take over a large country, you have to take the big cities. And taking big cities is extremely expensive if people are willing to defend it.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you see a potential solution to the crisis that could avoid further escalation?
Brzezinski:
 I do believe that the final outcome of this crisis should be reached on the basis of an accommodation, and that the fundamental framework for such an accommodation is the application to Ukraine of the same arrangements that have provided for stability and peace for a number of decades now between Russia and Finland. Ukraine should be free to choose its political identity, its political philosophy, and institutionalize it by closer links with Europe. But at the same time, Russia should be assured credibly that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO. I still think this is the formula for a solution.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: We've learned a lot about NSA in recent years. When you were national security advisor, did the NSA eavesdrop on German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt?
Brzezinski: I have a sense of responsibility to my former position, and therefore, I'm not going to discuss it.
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Questions Over 7/7 Bomber's Israel Trip

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Khan was in Israel weeks before two UK men bombed a Tel Aviv bar but potential links between them were not properly investigated.

House starts its review of Iran deal 

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US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a news conference in front of Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, July 5, 2015.

Thousands celebrate Greece's 'No' vote despite uncertainty ahead - Reuters

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Reuters

Thousands celebrate Greece's 'No' vote despite uncertainty ahead
Reuters
ATHENS Having squarely rejected the terms of new financial aid for their cash-strapped country, Greece wakes up to an uncertain future on Monday. But on Sunday night, thousands rejoiced at the outcome of a referendum that they said slapped down the ...

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Russian air force shows off at International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg

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The country's aerobatics teams were seen performing dizzying aerial manoeuvres at the International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg this week.

Greek Vote Forces Europe to Make a Difficult Decision

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Europe’s leaders are faced with a tough choice after Greek voters rejected austerity conditions attached to a new bailout in a referendum on Sunday: fundamentally alter their policies for dragging Europe back to prosperity, or lose a member of a currency union that was meant to represent the political and economic strength of the whole continent.
On Tuesday, leaders of the 19 countries that use the euro will meet in Brussels to grapple with the implications of the referendum result, which saw more than 60% of the Greek electorate vote No to a package of spending cuts and new taxes in return for more loans.
Beyond the economic contagion of a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone, there are lasting political ramifications for all 28 European Union members, regardless of which path they choose.
For an alliance constantly fighting accusations that it is stacked with unelected officials foisting ruinous policies on struggling members, ignoring the will of the Greek people and soldiering on with its tough austerity policies would deal another blow to its democratic credentials. A Greek exit from the single currency would also shatter the dreams of many European leaders who see the euro as the ultimate symbol of the bloc’s political union.
But returning to the negotiating table with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras and forging a new bailout deal with less stringent conditions could embolden other far-left parities across the E.U. It would also spark a backlash both in richer creditor nations like Germany, and other bailout countries such as Ireland and Portugal that had to endure the pain of reform programs.
Much depends on whose pre-vote bluster wins out. Ahead of the referendum, Tspiras said a No vote would give him a stronger hand in negotiations and he could return to Brussels with a mandate to prioritize social justice and get a better deal for a nation that has endured the highest unemployment rates in the E.U. and a plummeting quality of life.
Eurozone leaders, however, threatened that rejecting the terms on the table after six months of negotiations was a vote for leaving the single currency, and right now the hawks are remaining adamant that Greece has blown its last chance of being part of the euro club.
The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said that the vote meant Tsipras had “torn down the last bridges across which Europe and Greece could move toward a compromise”. He told the German newspaper, Tagesspiegel, that the vote was essentially a rejection of the Eurozone’s rules.
Slovakia’s Finance Minister, Peter Kažimír, tweeted that he was “disappointed” by the vote and now “the nightmare… that a country could leave the club seems like a realistic scenario”.
That path would begin with the European Central Bank (ECB) cutting off the emergency funding that has kept Greece afloat even after it defaulted on existing loans. Athens would have to start printing its own currency, meaning a de facto exit from the Eurozone. Exactly how the other Eurozone nations would mange this and contain any economic fallout is uncharted territory.
The “Grexit” option would also likely lead to a prolonged depression in Greece and a potential humanitarian disaster. That prospects has some voices around Europe arguing for a return to the negotiating table. Gianni Pittella, the leaders of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, called for the resumption of talks “inspired by a new attitude of solidarity and cooperation, taking into account the difficult social dimension in Greece”.
The Italian foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, also came out in favor of more negotiations, tweeting that “Now it is right to start trying for an agreement again”.
But there is so much bad blood now between the Greek government and its creditors in the Eurozone, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund that a calm and collected round of negotiations seems unthinkable. Talks have been increasingly combative since Tspiras’ far-left Syriza party was elected in January, and his finance minister has accused the creditors of “terrorism”.
The first hurdle is staying afloat for the next few days, and the ECB must now decide whether to continue the emergency funding for Greece while the Eurozone leaders meet.
Whatever happens in the next few days, Raoul Ruparel of the Open Europe think tank said the referendum would bring “profound change”. Either the Eurozone will “capitulate to Greece… changing its entire modus operandi” or Greece will have to leave the Eurozone.
“In which case the E.U. and the Eurozone will be fundamentally changed,” he wrote on his blog. “The E.U. will have to reconsider its ‘ever closer union’ mantra and accept that its flawed approach and inflexible institutions have helped precipitate the downfall of one of its guiding principles.”
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Russian air force shows off at International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg

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The country's aerobatics teams were seen performing dizzying aerial manoeuvres at the International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg this week.

Greek Vote Forces Europe to Make a Difficult Decision

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Europe’s leaders are faced with a tough choice after Greek voters rejected austerity conditions attached to a new bailout in a referendum on Sunday: fundamentally alter their policies for dragging Europe back to prosperity, or lose a member of a currency union that was meant to represent the political and economic strength of the whole continent.
On Tuesday, leaders of the 19 countries that use the euro will meet in Brussels to grapple with the implications of the referendum result, which saw more than 60% of the Greek electorate vote No to a package of spending cuts and new taxes in return for more loans.
Beyond the economic contagion of a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone, there are lasting political ramifications for all 28 European Union members, regardless of which path they choose.
For an alliance constantly fighting accusations that it is stacked with unelected officials foisting ruinous policies on struggling members, ignoring the will of the Greek people and soldiering on with its tough austerity policies would deal another blow to its democratic credentials. A Greek exit from the single currency would also shatter the dreams of many European leaders who see the euro as the ultimate symbol of the bloc’s political union.
But returning to the negotiating table with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras and forging a new bailout deal with less stringent conditions could embolden other far-left parities across the E.U. It would also spark a backlash both in richer creditor nations like Germany, and other bailout countries such as Ireland and Portugal that had to endure the pain of reform programs.
Much depends on whose pre-vote bluster wins out. Ahead of the referendum, Tspiras said a No vote would give him a stronger hand in negotiations and he could return to Brussels with a mandate to prioritize social justice and get a better deal for a nation that has endured the highest unemployment rates in the E.U. and a plummeting quality of life.
Eurozone leaders, however, threatened that rejecting the terms on the table after six months of negotiations was a vote for leaving the single currency, and right now the hawks are remaining adamant that Greece has blown its last chance of being part of the euro club.
The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said that the vote meant Tsipras had “torn down the last bridges across which Europe and Greece could move toward a compromise”. He told the German newspaper, Tagesspiegel, that the vote was essentially a rejection of the Eurozone’s rules.
Slovakia’s Finance Minister, Peter Kažimír, tweeted that he was “disappointed” by the vote and now “the nightmare… that a country could leave the club seems like a realistic scenario”.
That path would begin with the European Central Bank (ECB) cutting off the emergency funding that has kept Greece afloat even after it defaulted on existing loans. Athens would have to start printing its own currency, meaning a de facto exit from the Eurozone. Exactly how the other Eurozone nations would mange this and contain any economic fallout is uncharted territory.
The “Grexit” option would also likely lead to a prolonged depression in Greece and a potential humanitarian disaster. That prospects has some voices around Europe arguing for a return to the negotiating table. Gianni Pittella, the leaders of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, called for the resumption of talks “inspired by a new attitude of solidarity and cooperation, taking into account the difficult social dimension in Greece”.
The Italian foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, also came out in favor of more negotiations, tweeting that “Now it is right to start trying for an agreement again”.
But there is so much bad blood now between the Greek government and its creditors in the Eurozone, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund that a calm and collected round of negotiations seems unthinkable. Talks have been increasingly combative since Tspiras’ far-left Syriza party was elected in January, and his finance minister has accused the creditors of “terrorism”.
The first hurdle is staying afloat for the next few days, and the ECB must now decide whether to continue the emergency funding for Greece while the Eurozone leaders meet.
Whatever happens in the next few days, Raoul Ruparel of the Open Europe think tank said the referendum would bring “profound change”. Either the Eurozone will “capitulate to Greece… changing its entire modus operandi” or Greece will have to leave the Eurozone.
“In which case the E.U. and the Eurozone will be fundamentally changed,” he wrote on his blog. “The E.U. will have to reconsider its ‘ever closer union’ mantra and accept that its flawed approach and inflexible institutions have helped precipitate the downfall of one of its guiding principles.”

Greek referendum: EU leaders call crisis meeting as bailout rejected - live 

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Mohamed El-Erian, the former boss of the world’s biggest bond trader Pimco and now chief economic adviser at insurance giant Allianz, said investors should brace for a major global equity selloff.
“Yes, you will see one. With the extent and duration a function of whether the ECB steps in with new anti-contagion measures,” he writes for Bloomberg.
‘Without huge emergency assistance from the European Central Bank – a decision that faces long odds – the government will find it hard to get money to the country’s automated teller machines, let alone re-open the banks.’
All referendum votes have now been counted, with a final result of 61.31% voting no, to 38.69% yes.
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Kerry urges Iran to make 'hard choices', says US ready to walk

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VIENNA An Iranian nuclear agreement is possible this week if Iran makes the "hard choices" necessary, but if not, the United States stands ready to walk away from the negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.
Speaking during a break from one of his four meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday, Kerry said they had made "genuine progress" in talks over the last few days but "several of the most difficult issues" remain.
"If hard choices get made in the next couple of days, made quickly, we could get an agreement this week, but if they are not made we will not," he said in Vienna, where talks between Iran, the United States and five other powers are being held.
Foreign ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia began arriving on Sunday evening as the major powers make a push to meet Tuesday's deadline for a final agreement to end the 12-year-old dispute.
Kerry said negotiators were still aiming for that deadline, but other diplomats have said the talks could slip to July 9, the date by which the Obama administration must submit a deal to Congress in order to get an expedited, 30-day review.
The agreement under discussion would require Iran to curb its most sensitive nuclear work for a decade or more in exchange for relief from sanctions that have slashed its oil exports and crippled its economy.
U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, which has been accused of making too many concessions by Republican members of Congress and by Israel, remains ready to abandon the talks, Kerry said.
"If we don't have a deal and there is absolute intransigence and unwillingness to move on the things that are important for us, President Obama has always said we're prepared to walk away," he said.
European officials also said the onus was on Iran to cut a deal. After arriving in Vienna, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters the main question was whether Iran would make "clear commitments" on unresolved issues.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it would take courage and compromise to reach a deal. "I hope that this courage exists above all ... in Tehran," he told reporters.
The major powers suspect Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes such as producing medical isotopes and generating electricity.
CRITICISM FROM NETANYAHU
The top U.S. and Iranian diplomats met for a sixth consecutive day on Sunday to try to resolve obstacles to a nuclear accord, including when Iran would get sanctions relief and what advanced research and development it may pursue.
Keeping up a what has been a steady stream of criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the United States and major powers were negotiating "a bad deal".
"It seems that the nuclear talks (with) Iran have yielded a collapse, not a breakthrough," he said, in remarks released by his office.
Iran's semi-official news agency Fars quoted an unnamed senior Iranian official as saying about 70 percent of a 32-page annex to the agreement had been written and "30 percent is between brackets", meaning it was still under discussion.
The agreement itself is expected to include a political understanding accompanied by five annexes.
"We hope that the main portion of this (annex) will be cleared up today, and if any issues remain, they will be discussed at higher-level meetings, so that we can reach a solution," the official said.
He said that issues under discussion include Iran's uranium enrichment facilities at Fordow and Natanz, its Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor under construction and research and development.
While they have made some progress on the type of bilateral sanctions relief that Iran may receive, the two sides remain divided on such issues as lifting United Nations sanctions and on its research and development of advanced centrifuges.
Diplomats close to the negotiations said they had tentative agreement on a mechanism for suspending U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran.
But the six powers had yet to agree with Iran on a United Nations Security Council resolution that would lift U.N. sanctions and establish a means of re-imposing them in case of Iranian non-compliance with a future agreement.
In addition to sanctions, other sticking points include future monitoring mechanisms and a stalled U.N. probe of the possible military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear research.
Senior officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, plan to visit Iran this week.
Another obstacle in talks is Iran's demand to be allowed to do research and development on advanced centrifuges that purify uranium for use as fuel in power plants or weapons.
(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in Vienna, Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Krista Hughes in Washington and Firouz Sedarat in Dubai; Editing by Andrew Roche)
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