We've been diligently posting these weekly Cold War discussions for nearly two years now. Has there been a time where they've been more important?
I was out most of last evening so I haven't had a chance to listen yet...though, obviously, I will later this morning. Below is the summary that was posted on Mr. Batchelor's site, the original link to which can be found here: https://audioboom.com/boos/3852131-tues-11-24-15-hr-2-nato-emergency-ses...
Tues 11/24/15 Hr 2: NATO Emergency Session: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies/History/Politics at NYU and Princeton. Also American Committee for East-West Accord (eastwestaccord.com).
Russia against ISIS. Washington began to criticize Putin. Hollande has taken over leadership of the EU, trying to form a [huge] coalition. Obama refused. Why? Right-Sector [probably] Ukrainian nationalists blew out the Crimean electrical system, incl hospitals. When repair teams arrived at the sabotaged grids, they were opposed by Ukrainian commandos. Then 36 hours later the shoot-down of Russian fighter plane over Turkey, plane lands in Syria. On the main Russian evening news, videos of people on the ground murdering at least one Russian pilot who'd safely ejected, and then murdering the helo pilot who'd come to rescue.
Tuesday 24 November 2015 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies/History/Politics at NYU and Princeton; in re; Russia will cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in response to Ukrainian sabotage of all electrical supply to Crimea. . . . Most people who espouse conspiracy theories cannot explain history and political interactions. If a rapprochement begins between Europe and Russia because of Paris, I wouldn't be surprised if odd things began to happen to delay that. My view is that the sabotage of electricity to Crimea is one such, Also, suddenly Kiev said it'd stop all freight deliveries to Russia. Note that there's a nuclear reactor in Crimea; cutting electricity is highly dangerous. [London is now reporting that the shoot-down took place over Syrian air space. Just happened to be a Turkish film crew to record it, which is where we got the pictures.]
Tuesday 24 November 2015 / Hour 2, Block C: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies/History/Politics at NYU and Princeton; in re; Jens Stoltenburg: "As we've repeatedly made clear, we stand with our NATO ally Turkey; look forward to diplomacy and de-escalation. " It's NATO that aggressively threatens Russia, knows that it commits multiple provocations. It's NATO that's creating provocations– expansion begun 20 years ago by Clinton, with the Baltics, Poland, Rumania - looks through Moscow's eyes. Russia's defense perimeter was considered to be the Warsaw Pact countries. Now much of the pact is in NATO Not surprising that this alarms the daylights out of Moscow. Creeping approach of NATO toward Georgia that led to the Russia-US proxy war in Georgia, and now to the proxy war we have in Ukraine. US Policy is to bring Georgia into NATA; vetoes d by Franc and Germans , who say the implications. In 1990 we violated our promise (by Jim Baker) to the Russians that in exchange for letting Germany reunite, we wouldn't expand one inch to the east. The single evilest threat in the world today is terrorism. No longer only non-state actors – e. g., ISIS. The only way to contain this is a coalition with Russia, which has resources we lack, from information to special training. Paris needed Moscow's agreement to send the DeGaulle to the Eastern Med. Royal Navy said, US too. this coalition is not NATO; four great powers operating together. Today Obama said, "We are allied with France, not Russia." Reckless! The back story is: Obama demands htat Assad must go now before we can have an alliance with Russia, IF the US did that, there'd be another Libya in Damascus. Putin, Hollande, and all of Europe know this. Russia destroyed more of ISIS in days than the US did in 14 months of not aiming at ISIS but bombing Assad's forces on behalf of "moderate" Syrians – anti-Assad/pro-al Qaeda groups. [Not surprisingly, this annoyed Russia. –ed.]
Tuesday 24 November 2015 / Hour 2, Block D: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies/History/Politics at NYU and Princeton; in re; American triumphalism creates the problem that leads to alienation between Moscow and Washington, and has since the end of the Soviet Union. "We're number one!" - egad.
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Russia: Officials Threaten to Cut Energy Supplies to Ukraine over Crimea Blackout
Situation Reports NOVEMBER 24, 2015 | 21:33 GMT ! Print − Text Size +
1. Russia will cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine in response to a dispute over a power blackout in Crimea and is threatening to halt coal deliveries, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Nov. 24, Reuters reported. Unknown saboteurs blew up power lines to Russia-annexed Crimea on Nov. 22, leaving the peninsula to rely on emergency generators to meet its basic power needs. The row could exacerbate tensions between Ukraine and pro-Russia fighters in the east, where a recent spike in cease-fire violations is threatening to shatter a tenuous truce. Faced with a food import ban by Moscow for supporting sanctions against Russia, Ukraine said it would hit back with reciprocal trade bans and may also block goods shipments to Crimea.
2. The downing of the Russian warplane does not constitute a threat to energy ties between Russia and Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said Nov. 24, BBC reported. Turkey is the second biggest purchaser of Russian natural gas products, according to statistics by Russian energy giant Gazprom, and both countries are taking part in the construction of the influential TurkStream pipeline.
RUSSIA AND TURKEY
Russia and Turkey have long been at odds over Syria, with Moscow backing President Bashar al Assad and Ankara supporting the opposition to overthrow him. Tensions increased dramatically with the start of the Russian air campaign on September 30. The Turkish shoot-down of a Russian combat aircraft on November 24 is an escalation in this tense stand-off between Russia and a NATO member. Although both sides may refrain from additional aggressive activities at once, tensions between Russia and Turkey have been continuously growing and are likely to expand, further testing the strength of the US commitment to its NATO partner. These tensions will also severely hinder efforts to build a "grand coalition" including Turkey and Russia.
Turkey's decision to fire on a Russian Su-24 that briefly violated its airspace resulted from more than concerns about the integrity of its borders. Russian airstrikes have been helping Assad, Hezbollah, and Iranian proxy forces advance in Turkmen areas near the Turkish border in recent days. Turkey claims that those airstrikes hit Turkmen villages. Turkey regards the Turkmen of Iraq and Syria as kin, works to protect and advance their interests, and tries to defend them. The Turkish shoot-down is probably intended to deter Putin from continuing to provide air support to Assad operations against them, among other things
The incident highlights the grand strategic implications of American policy in Syria, moreover. The West, led by France, has been drifting in the direction of cooperating if not allying with Putin, whom many wrongly believe is in Syria to fight ISIS. That drift empowers Putin and overlooks the larger objectives of Putin's maneuvers, as Leon Aron points out. Putin aims to disrupt NATO fundamentally as part of a larger effort to recoup Russia's losses following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has been deliberately and aggressively prodding Turkey from his airbase in Syria, just as he has been consistently violating the airspace of US allies in the Baltics and US partners in Scandinavia. He is counting on Washington to remain so myopically focused on the fight against ISIS that it overlooks and tacitly accepts these assaults on the Western alliance structure. It would be an enormous mistake if we did so.
This timeline is a joint presentation by the Institute for the Study of War (www.understandingwar.org) and the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute (www.criticalthreats.org). The text is drawn from daily media tracking and analysis conducted by the superb analytical teams at ISW and CTP. The Syria Team at ISW includes Jennifer Cafarella, Christopher Kozak, and Genevieve Casagrande. The Ukraine/Russia Team is headed by Hugo Spaulding. This presentation was created by Frederick W. Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project (fkagan[at]aei[dot]org). ISW analysts can be reached at press[at]understandingwar[dot]org.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition based out of Baghdad said the U.S. indeed heard Turkey on "open channels" issue 10 warnings to the Russian jet before the incident. Reports out of Russia also say a military helicopter was shot at in Syria, killing one serviceman. The helicopter was reportedly on a rescue mission.
Rebels said they fired at the two parachuting pilots as they descended, and that one had died. A rebel spokesman said they would consider releasing the body in exchange for prisoners held by Syria. The fate of the second pilot was not immediately known.
VIDEO: Raw footage of Russian jet being shot down U.S. defense official said that two Turkish F-16s fired heat-seeking air-to-air missiles at the Russian aircraft.
“This will get complicated,” the official said.
Tuesday's incident is the first time since the 1950s that a Russian or Soviet military aircraft has been publicly acknowledged to have been shot down by a NATO country, according to Reuters.
The officials said the jet had ignored ten warnings. However, a furious President Vladimir Putin of Russia denied the plane had been in Turkish air space and made clear he would not let the matter drop, with the risk of an international escalation.
“Today’s loss was a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists,” he said. “Our pilots and our aircraft never threatened the territory of Turkey. That much is obvious.” He insisted that the Russian air force had been taking part in operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). "We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today," he said.
Russia's military operations in Syria will continue despite the downing of a Russian fighter plane by Turkey, according to a Kremlin spokesman, Reuters reported Nov. 24. Russian mission creep may be setting in as Moscow becomes increasingly invested in and committed to sustaining Syrian government forces in the conflict.
Ukraine Is Not a Bargaining Chip for Putin's Support against ISIS By Ihor Kozak
Putin livid at Turkey ANKARA/MOSCOW - Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, in one of the most serious clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century. Russia's Lavrov cancels Turkey trip after jet downing ; Putin's 'realpolitik' aims to make Russia indispensable /Read more at Reuters https://www.reuters.com/#hDrDpDGPx4Uj7YW4.99
In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Turkey said it had shot down the jet while in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction, the letter said. "Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
NATO ambassadors called on Ankara to show "cool-headedness" on Tuesday following an emergency meeting in Brussels, after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, diplomats said. Diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters that while none of the 28 NATO envoys defended Russia's actions, many expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace. "There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents," said one diplomat who declined to be named. / Read more at Reuters https://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/24/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-nato-idUSKBN0TD2C620151124#XjyLXTPEtkCks43D.99
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday night that the military alliance stands by key ally Turkey, but urged both sides to try to calm the crisis.
LIVE BLOG: Turkey downs Russian jet near Syria border
"As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey," Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of all 28 members requested by Ankara.
"I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation," he said.
Turkish officials told Al Jazeera the Russian plane was shot down by the Turkish military according to the rules of engagement, but Putin said the jet posed no threat.