Latest Bump In US-Russian Relations – Analysis

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Latest Bump In US-Russian Relations – Analysis
Published 13-04-2017, 00:00

Michael Averko

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. He has appeared as a guest commentator on the BBC and WABC talk radio, in addition to having been a panelist at the World Russia Forum, Russia Forum New York and Experts' Panel. Besides Averko's Eurasia Review column - Counterpunch, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Research, History News Network, InoSMI.Ru, Johnson's Russia List, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Kyiv Post, Oriental Review, Penza News, Pravda.Ru, Pravoslavie.Ru, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russia Insider, Sputnik News, Strategic Culture Foundation, The Huffington Post, Valdai Discussion Club and WikiLeaks, are among the numerous venues where his commentary have either appeared or been referenced. The American Institute in Ukraine and the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, have referenced some of his commentary, along with academic white papers prepared for NATO Watch, Ohio State University, Problems of Post-Communism and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He is source referenced in Richard Sakwa's book "Frontline Ukraine". Averko's Eurasia Review article on Pavlo Skoropadsky, provides the first full online transcript of Skoropadsky's edict calling for an "All-Russian Federation", inclusive of Russia and Ukraine. Among other issues, that article explains the relationships among the major combatants in the Russian Civil War. He can be reached via

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard commendably emphasized (with examples) the importance of not eagerly accepting as fact something that has yet to be conclusively proven – during her April 7 exchanges with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

For the most part, US mass media TV news networks have downplayed her comments, which are shared by numerous other Americans, who can attest to the establishment biases in their country. Gabbard represents a reasonable alternative to the comments from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, former Obama administration official Antony Blinken and US UN ambassador Nikki Haley, among others.

Tulsi Gabbard. Official United States Congress portrait.
Tulsi Gabbard. Official United States Congress portrait.

Regarding the Russian position on Syria relative to international law, Amanpour’s ad nauseam selective whataboutism notes Crimea without mentioning Kosovo. (In contrast, my periodic take on this score serves to highlight an ongoing mass media bias.) Amanpour, Haley, et al, downplay Crimea’s popularly accepted reunification with Russia, following the overthrow against a democratically elected Ukrainian president. For them, that territorial changeover is "aggression", unlike the Clinton administration led NATO military action, that helped pave the way for Kosovo’s declared independence – contradicting UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the preference of Serbia.

In addition to readily assuming that the Syrian government is guilty of the recent chemical incident (without addressing the counter-claim to what happened), Blinken suggests that the recent terrorist attack in St. Petersburg might concern Muslim outrage over Russian policy. In some prominent sectors, it’d be staunchly decried to present US and Israeli policies as a negative contributing factor for terror attacks against their citizens.

From this past December 1, the following excerpt of mine concerns Gabbard and Haley:

"In some influential circles, the role of UN ambassador has been somewhat belittled as a messenger kind of position. A rejoinder on that emphasis notes that the tone set by the UN ambassador helps to underscore the attitude of the government that he/she represents. The Obama appointed UN Ambassador Samantha Power is a prime example of high horsed hypocrisy, with an arrogantly ignorant demeanor.

For that UN position, Trump was said to have considered Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She would’ve been a good choice. Having her in the Trump administration would give the appearance of a more diverse presidency. Gabbard became disgruntled with the Democratic Party establishment, to the point of supporting Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. She’s a decorated Iraq war veteran. her foreign policy views mesh well with Trump’s. Gabbard is pro-Israel, while seeking to work with Russia against ISIS and opposing the advocacy to overthrow the Syrian government.  

Trump’s UN ambassador selection of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is a solid move for the Republican Party and the incoming president. Haley is viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party. She’s considered a success as governor. Haley’s new role will provide a foreign policy background to broaden her government experience.

During the Republican presidential nominating process, Haley pointedly opposed Trump. Her position in the Trump administration will serve to put a lid on such manner. South Carolina Lieutenant Governor and Trump supporter Henry McMaster, is in line to replace Haley as governor.”


United States' Nikki Haley. Photo Credit: Office of the President-elect, Wikipedia Commons.
United States’ Nikki Haley. Photo Credit: Office of the President-elect, Wikipedia Commons.

Haley is the latest in a line of some past US UN ambassadors, who editorialize in a counterproductive way, that serve a given special interest. In Haley’s case, this matter concerns the flawed Republican Party foreign policy wing of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.

US-Russian relations face challenges with or without this element. These circumstances aren’t made easier with Haley’s openly rude prose in a diplomatic position. From the get go in her role as US UN ambassador, Haley has carried on in this way. At present, there remains a noticeable enough difference between Trump and the mean spirited "kicking Russia in the ass” approach, as stated by Haley’s fellow South Carolinian supporter Lindsey Graham. (Is he not deserving of a proverbial kick in the ass?) It’s high time for a more concerted counter to the neocon-neolib establishment stance against Russia.

There’s ample reason for the US to be represented by someone else at the UN. Haley’s insultingly undiplomatic manner contradicts what Trump was on record for seeking with Russia. She has said things like: Russia should never be trusted and having the desire to "beat up” on Russia. On the other hand, Haley is ethically steadfast on issues like limiting the display of the Confederate battle flag and opposing the discrimination against Muslims.

In relation to the US and others, Germany and Japan did some harsh things in the past. These two countries are now accepted in the US mainstream. This brief comparison on Haley arguably suggests bigotry (whether conscious or otherwise) on her part. I know that it might come as a surprise to many that there’re patriotically minded Russian-Americans and earnest others who concur, while hoping for improved US-Russian relations.

Jim Jatras, is a seasoned attorney, with US government foreign policy experience. His views on global issues match the stated pre-election victory comments of Donald Trump. Jatras is an excellent interlocutor, who can hold his own against the top neocon/neolib advocates. At the UN, he’d be a very suitable replacement for Haley.

Someone out there liking my idea of Jatras as US UN ambassador said that it’s probably not going to happen. Notwithstanding, it’s a worthy advocacy to have on record. Constructive change is more likely to happen with an attempt. Surprises periodically occur. Trump’s victory serves as a prime example. In his campaign for the US presidency, Trump spoke of seeking talented foreign policy hands that have been greatly kept out of the mainstream.

Trump expressed understandable disgust upon seeing the high profile media pickup of babies suffering from the recent chemical incident in Syria. In his earlier level headed exchange with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the US president noted the high level of killing in Iraq, related to the not so distant US action. The hundreds of thousands killed in that situation have included babies. The visual highlighting of this has been comparatively limited to the coverage of actions claimed against the Syrian government.

Russia has formally challenged the US government to reveal proof that the Syrian government used sarin gas in a recent attack. At the UN, Haley showed photos of the victims of that occurrence – as opposed to showing evidence of how the chemical was released. During the Cuban Missile Crisis and the downing of KAL 007, the US government provided compelling evidence to the UN. On the other hand, then US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented "evidence” to the international body (in 2003) that was later revealed to be quite faulty. Upon further thought, one recalls the fake incubator story, involving a Kuwaiti diplomat and his daughter, prior to the 1990 Gulf War.

Hence, there’s a reasonably clear basis to be in line with what Tulsi Gabbard expressed. The April 7 UN Security Council discussion on the Syrian situation is a good overview of the differing views. Among the highlights were the comments by Bolivian ambassador Sacha Llorenti, as well as those by his UK, US and Russian peers.

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