"The cost of being presented as a 'responsible and serious candidate' by the media [is] usually to show fundamental agreement with the existing distribution of wealth and power." -- Michael Lerner, from the book The Politics of Meaning, 1997, p99

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News about NATO

Once Ukraine receives F-16 fighter jets it will be free to use them against military targets inside Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told American state-run media. 

Stoltenberg was speaking to RFE/RL for an interview which is scheduled to air on Friday. According to snippets released in advance, the NATO head has argued that Ukraine has the right to self-defense against Russian “aggression,” which would include “striking legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.”

They just can’t take a joke. The former president Donald Trump made a sarcastic crack about encouraging Russia to attack NATO members that didn’t invest in their defense, and hysteria enveloped both Washington and Brussels. For some officials, the imbroglio appeared to signal the end of Western civilization. 

A recurring defect in US foreign policy is a refusal by elites to concede when they made a serious policy mistake.  This is not a new problem, but it has grown decidedly worse in the past few decades.  It characterized the intervention in Vietnam years after it should have become evident that Washington’s approach was failing.

NATO has grown from 15 members to 31, & now they’re trying to admit Sweden as No. 32. Hungary sees this as provoking Russia but Washington says this won’t be tolerated & threatens sanctions.

Mainstream news is reporting that a bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators made an official visit to Hungary’s capital Sunday to put pressure on the nationalist government of Viktor Orban to immediately approve Sweden’s request to join NATO.

Earlier, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that since the beginning of the special operation, the Russian Armed Forces had eliminated more than 5,800 foreign mercenaries.

NATO soldiers under the guise of mercenaries are involved in combat operations in Ukraine, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate, said in an interview with Russian media.

About 32,000 NATO soldiers, over 1,000 armored vehicles, 235 airplanes and helicopters are deployed near Russia's and Belarus's borders, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.

The West wants Ukraine to submit a list of targets inside Russia and provide reasons for striking them, a source told TASS.

"Western sponsors of the Kiev regime link continued deliveries of long-range combat missiles to Ukraine with the effectiveness of their practical use," the source said. "NATO countries that transfer such weapons are well aware that the regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelenskyy uses terrorist methods, using these missiles to strike civilian sites on Russian territory, killing unarmed Russian citizens."

The Russian military has made the accusation that NATO troops are actually manning and directly overseeing Ukraine's advanced anti-air defense systems which were provided by the West.

The charge comes after weeks of the Kremlin saying that French mercenaries have been positioned in the city of Kharkiv, which sits across from Belgorod - a Russian border area subject of persistent mortar and rocket attacks.

The West grossly overestimated Ukraine’s chances of battlefield progress against Russia last year, a senior NATO commander has told the Financial Times. His comments came after Kiev’s botched counteroffensive and the recent loss of the strategic city of Avdeevka.