Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for and and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, Lendman became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999.

Since then, he has devoted his time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues.

He is also author of the celebrated books "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity" and "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".

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Cold War Politics Heats Up

by Stephen Lendman


Previous articles discussed how Washington reinvented the “evil empire.” On March 8, 1983, Ronald Reagan coined the term. He addressed the National Association of Evangelicals.

He called communism “the focus of evil in the modern world.” He said don’t “ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire….and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

That was then. This is now. Cold War politics returned. Vladimir Putin is prime target. Boris Yeltsin was Russia’s first president. He played Washington’s game. He instituted neoliberal shock therapy.

He ignored essential human needs. He let corruption and other criminality flourish. He surrounded himself with likeminded apparachiks. He institutionalized pro-Western free market rapaciousness.

He let Russia’s oligarch class accumulate enormous wealth at the expense of suffering millions. Decades may be needed to recoup the enormous damage he caused.

Putin and former President Dmitry Medvedev haven’t done much to change things. Modernizing Russia’s economy inflicts horrendous harm. Creating a favorable investment climate makes ordinary people suffer.

At the same time, Putin asserts state sovereignty. He’s less compromising toward Washington than Medvedev. Russia under him is back. It’s proud and reassertive. He’s not about to roll over for America.

He wants greater Moscow influence. He wants rule of law principles respected. He wants Western meddling in the internal affairs of Russia, Syria, and other nations stopped.

He stresses Moscow’s “independent foreign policy.” He affirms the “inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissibility of excessive force, and unconditional observance of international law.”

He and Obama disagree on fundamental geopolitical issues. Key is national sovereignty. So are war and peace. America claims a divine right to fight. Putin prioritizes conflict resolution.

Disagreements between both countries play out in dueling agendas. Russia’s gone all-out to prevent full-scale war on Syria. It’s valued regional interests are too important to sacrifice.

Washington notoriously plays hard ball. It retaliates different ways. For decades, Jackson-Vanik legislation remained a Cold War relic.

Section 401, Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act affected commercial relations with communist and former communist countries. It targeted nations. It influenced US/Russian relations until mid-December.

Repealing it came with strings. On December 6, House and Senate legislators passed the Magnitsky Act. On December 14, Obama enacted it. Congress and US media scoundrels hailed it as “an important step in the cause of human rights and democracy.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry angrily responded. It called linking human rights to trade “cynical.”

“We regret that a US administration declaring its commitment to the development of stable and constructive bilateral relations was unable to defend its stated position against those who look to the past and see our country not as a partner, but rather an opponent – fully in line with the canons of the Cold War,” it stated.

Putin called the Magnitsky measure a “purely political, unfriendly act.”

“I don’t understand why Russian-US relations should be sacrificed for some domestic political gain,” he added.

“The government’s stance is to ignore crimes against Russian orphans adopted by US parents and not to punish the criminals. Russian observers are not even allowed to attend such trials and I find this unacceptable.”

“The US should better not humiliate Russia,” he stressed.

Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko said:

“That law, the so-called Magnitsky law is aimed against Russian citizens whose guilt has not been proved by the court yet but who were a priori found guilty in the US.”

“This is a very unfriendly gesture to Russia. I am sure that some political forces are interested in the presence of constant political pressure on Russia.”

“If the US Congress adopted a universal law banning entry to the US for citizens of any country who violate human rights that could be understood.”

“But why is Washington doing such an unfriendly gesture amid the current reset of the US-Russia relations on which the global stability depends? Why did they chose Russia for it?”

Moscow promised “analogous restrictions” on US officials in response.

Key is anti-Russian sentiment. Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian attorney. In 2009, he died in police custody. His death drew international media attention.

He specialized in civil law. He did anti-corruption work. He uncovered evidence of tax fraud. He implicated police, judiciary figures, tax officials, bankers, and Russia’s mafia.

He accused them of stealing around $230 million dollars in 2007 through fraudulent tax refunds.

On issues relating to courts, taxes, fines, and civil law, he was called the “go to guy” in Moscow.

In November 2008, he was arrested, imprisoned, and treated abusively. For 11 months he was denied family visits. Serious health problems developed. Inadequate treatment followed.

On November 16, 2009, he died for reasons attributed officially to a “rupture to the abdominal membrane” and subsequent heart attack. If trial proceedings didn’t begin, he was due to be released eight days later.

His death sparked public outrage. Improving prison healthcare was demanded. Reducing the number of inmates awaiting trial was stressed.

In December 2009, an independent Moscow Public Oversight Commission said he was subjected to “psychological and physical pressure….”

Initially his death was blamed on medical neglect. Later claims suggested murder. Official investigations began. In July 2011, death by medical neglect was ruled.

The 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act normalized US/Russian trade relations. Doing so came with strings. Moscow raised legitimate objections.

The legislation imposes visa bans, asset freezes, and other sanctions on Russian nationals accused of committing human rights abuses.

It mandates publishing and updating information on individuals the Secretary of State believes were responsible for detaining, abusing, and/or causing Magnitsky’s death.

Others accused of concealing what happened are targeted. So is anyone believed to have benefitted financially, as well as those involved in an alleged criminal conspiracy regarding his treatment and death.

Targeted offenses include extrajudicial killing, torture, and/or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal Russian activity, or against persons promoting human rights and freedoms.

On December 21, Russia’s State Duma lower house retaliated. It passed the Dima Yakovlev bill.

On December 26, Russia’s upper house Federation Council followed suit. It passed the measure unanimously. It imposes visa bans and asset freezes on US officials accused of violating the rights of Russian citizens abroad.

It prohibits US-sponsored NGOs from operating in Russia disruptively. It also targets US citizens associated with them. Another provision bans US citizens from adopting Russian orphans.

At issue is neglect causing harm or death. Dima Yakovlev was a Russian boy. His adoptive father abused him. It led to his death. He was acquitted on manslaughter charges.

Reprehensible negligence caused Dima’s death. Lax US adoption laws and follow-through prevent knowing how other Russian orphans are treated.

America never signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Failure shows dismissiveness and contempt for children’s rights. It’s clear from how adopted Russian and other orphans are treated. Moscow reacted.

On December 28, Putin enacted Dima Yakovlev legislation. It’s effective January 1. Addressing a Thursday State Council session, he vowed “to adopt the decree granting support to orphans, children without parental care, and especially those kids who have health problems.”

US-Russia 2009 reset policies promised a “fresh start.” Rhetoric was more promise than fulfillment. Washington’s intentions prevent normalized relations. Obama is more belligerent than Bush. Conflict is prioritized over diplomacy.

NATO includes 10 former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact countries. Georgia, Ukraine and potentially others may join them.

Washington’s been systematically encircling Russia and China with bases. North Africa, the Middle East, and Eurasia are increasingly militarized.

Moscow isn’t happy about aggressive encroachment on its borders. America’s early warning radar and offensive missile defense systems target Russia belligerently.

Magnitsky legislation adds fuel to the fire. Russia knows America perhaps is more threat than ally. It’s back to the future.

US/Russian relations are strained. Global war risks are too high to tolerate. Instead of cooling tensions, US policies heighten them. Anything ahead is possible.

About the Author: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

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4 Responses to "Cold War Politics Heats Up"

  1. sachsach  January 3, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Excellent comment and knowledge on the subject. Why dont the people of America get rid of this evil establishment called the White house? and all its occupants? Are the ordinary people suffering in America Evil? i dont think so.

    • K7KTR  January 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Personally I think of the thousands of US Citizen’s who gave their best and their families watched as their loved ones have died over all these lies. Then to those who have not committed suicide only to return home to see the U.S. Government supporting those that killed their Loved One’s.

      People just don’t see that FACTS…
      The US Arms the very Al Qaeda who for 11 years was used as the “Reason” for the War on Terror, Then the U.S. delist’s the Mujaheddin, Releases the top leaders of the Taliban from Bagram prison while VP Biden said the Taliban “wasn’t” an enemy of the U.S., Confirmed by the White House and Welcomed by the Taliban. Then Supports into the Billions the Muslim Brotherhood who if peoples memories weren’t so short would remember the FBI Handlers during the 1993 WTC Bombing with FBI Bombs that it was the Muslim Brotherhood there too.

      So to get the facts right, PFC Bradley Manning is alleged to have Aided the Enemy, WHAT ENEMY? Is it the Enemy the U.S. Arms the Al Qaeda and Rebel’s, Delisted Mujaheddin, Released Taliban that are not enemies but continue to bomb Embassies and NATO HQ’s as well as shoots down Seal Team 6 Helicopters? Or the Paid Muslim Brotherhood Puppets. Is that the Enemy that Manning Aided?

      To Arm the very ones who have warred against the U.S. and Coalition forces is no less then TREASON!

      Yet like your Rhetorical Question asks, “Why don’t the people get rid of them from the White House?” There is too much Profit in DEATH. After all, Not one of them who votes to send in the forces will at all be sending one of their Children in. Or like Bush and Obama, Not an ounce of Service Time and they have caused the Deaths of more American’s then Terrorist’s ever have.

      In the last 11 years, More American’s have died from Skateboards then from Terrorism and you DON’T see DHS pumping $50,000,000,000 a year into Skateboard Safety do we? While Obama is trying to crack down on US Citizen’s Arms, GOOGLE THIS> “U.S. Sends Arms to” See how many countries the U.S. has been sending Arms to. or Fast & Furious, Operation White Gun and Operation Castaway. It is OK to Arm the World with $63,000,000,000 a Year in Arms sales, yet a CRIME in America if WE arm ourselves. Mainly against the Israeli trained POLICE STATE!, FAIL

      They should all be hung for TREASON!

  2. K7KTR  January 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Mr. Lendman, What a wonderful way to sum up the political problems of the United States. I can still hear that “IDIOT” Hillary Clinton saying “Russia and China will PAY!” For screwing up the WET DREAMS of the United States MURDER MACHINE.

    As the HOAX on the American People continue with Bush first and now Obama for 4 years+++ saying “Al Qaeda Al Qaeda Al Qaeda behind the War on Terror and then strengthening the Patriot Act and signing the NDAA into Law to be used, not to fight the War on Terror but to be TURNED (INWARDS) upon the American People (Citizen’s) as the U.S. now Arms the very Al Qaeda in violation of those same Patriot Act’s, NDAA and also the Lugar-Obama Act signed into law by Bush.

    This can only be topped by the Support of the very same Al Qaeda FROM IRAQ whom the Rebel’s leader in Libya said they all had Al Qaeda ties so the NTC/Rebel’s/Al Qaeda were fighting on the Front Lines with NATO (North Atlantic Terrorist Organization) whom the NTC leader said 50,000 were slaughtered. Which should remind U.S. Citizen’s that every time the U.S. pull’s the *Humanitarian Aid* BULLSHIT that More People die under U.S. lead AGGRESSION then had died with those former Regimes.

    While Hillary was calling Gaddafi an “Evil Dictator” he was to receive from the Award that March for “Human Right’s” In answer to that, Our Sectary of State once again says, “WE CAME WE SAW HE DIED” it is no wonder while in Egypt that everyone threw their Shoes at her. I would have too!

    The the great speech from Bush on how the people of Iraq would benefit from U.S. lead INVASION that Murdered 4,801 U.S. Soldier who WEREN’T treated as Liberators as 1,000,000 Iraqi’s died fighting for their country. Here a person is called Patriotic fighting for their country, in Iraq they were labeled as Insurgent’s!

    I can still hear Russia’s PUTIN saying “How gave them the right to assassinate Gaddafi and why Russia’s stand on Syria has been repeated over and over that RUSSIA will NOT allow Syria to be another Libya.

    I find one thing really interesting about Saddam and Gaddafi compared to OUR political RAT’S in the White House… They drove around and walked around their countries Freely. In open car’s waving to their people. Here, Our Elected by Cheating Political MESS has to drive around in blast proof vehicles and wear bullet proof vest while in the public. It goes to show you how our President and others are viewed here and how they see the threat in their lives that they can’t walk freely in their own country.

    This U.S. involvement in Syria has cost the lives of nearly 30,000 people as the U.S. doesn’t want any TALK, Just WAR. Again supplying Arms, Communications and tactical information and…. The Electronics to actually FILM their WAR CRIMES as they chop the heads off the Syrian Police, Throw Postal workers off the roof-tops and out windows and walk up and shoot civilian’s in their heads or in drive by shootings. Or the emptying of 4 or 5 AK47’s supplied by the U.S. into Syrian farmers who were out working in their fields. I guess you can also watch the 30 minute videos of these U.S. supported Murderers/Terrorist’s as they use Chemical Weapon’s on Rabbit’s first then humans.

    Yes, this is the great humanitarian aid that the U.S. who USED TO BE… Know as the “Peace Keepers” But that was mainly because the U.S through foreign aid sent BILLIONS of U.S. Tax Dollars to BRIBE other Arab and Muslim States to be “GOOD” towards Israel, as Israel has for decades continued their genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people while at the same time using Iran as a fulcrum to keep the peoples eyes on Iran’s NON-EXISTING nuclear weapons hoax so that Israel could continue to bomb Civilian’s that neither have an Army, Navy, Air-Force or Marines for defense. If I had someone about to bulldoze my home that was in my family for CENTURIES I would throw more then ROCK’S at those who were on MY LAND.

    It is clear that MANY feel as I do and as Putin and Medvedev said that the Syrian attack from U.S. sponsored Terrorist could lead to a Nuclear Exchange. Many are hoping that Russia sends in 90,000 Russian Troop’s and China too and pushes those Terrorist’s out of Syria and back into Turkey and other “Puppet States” who are being USED as PAWNS.

    One thing American’s don’t realize is that YES, Bahrain and Kuwait and Syria have all beaten down any Civil Dissent, Just as they have across AMERICA as Occupiers 1st Amendment Right’s have been trampled on, (The right to AIR ONES GRIEVANCES) towards your Government will land you in Jail and if your a Soldier who fought for those Constitutional Right’s you can be locked up and forced to a Mental Evaluation from a shrink. That is probably the biggest JOKE upon those in the Armed Forces to fight for our “Alleged Freedoms” only to return home and be locked up for exercising your rights that you fought for. It is no wonder that Kissinger said, “Military men are DUMB, STUPID, ANIMAL’S who are PAWNS in Foreign Policy.” Should make a Soldier feel PROUD to have fought for his FREEDOM?

    In any event, the horrible videos continue to flow from Syria and the threats on Russian’s, Christian’s and Syrian people is daily becoming worse. Daily many like me long to hear how Putin was to send in the Calvary and blow them Terrorist’s away. The stacks of Israeli Mortar Shells shows who really is behind the Terrorist’s, Who else can make sure that Arab’s and Muslim’s murder Arab’s and Muslim’s? Who Benefit’s from this? ISRAEL DOES!

    Great article Mr. Lendman as always. Happy New Year! Reminds me of my Dad who after dozens of radiation treatments and their cutting most of his neck and throat apart trying to stop an aggressive cancer said, “I feel so much better after giving up on hope!” In the Viet Nam war the White Hose listened to the public out cry but today they neither listen or pay attention to what JOHN Q. PUBLIC has to say. Our Foreign policy is PURE EVIL!

  3. stephanaugust  December 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    That’s just one side of communism. It’s like Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica.

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