New U.S.-Russia Cold War Likely
Since its inception ten years ago, the Austin, Texas based "private intelligence agency" Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor) has consistently drawn a great deal of attention from the mainstream media.
Occasionally, as in its coverage of The Hague war crimes tribunal of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in the early 2000s, this "shadow CIA" has been accurate, demonstrating that it can cultivate reliable sources in places like Belgrade and elsewhere. But when it comes to Dr. George Friedman, the President of Stratfor, the predictions and "strategic forecasts" have often taken a turn towards the bizarre (for example, Friedman has predicted that Mexico will become a major rival for America in the late 21st century). Not for nothiing has my alma mater university community of Austin, Texas (whose unofficial motto is "Keep Austin Weird") become the home of both George Friedman and the professional conspiracy theorist and frequent Russia Today TV guest Alex Jones.
It's been said by many observers that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In the case of Friedman, during a recent appearance on the U.S. conservative Dennis Prager's talk radio show, the President of Stratfor revealed what he thinks the purpose of NATO expansion is: "to block the Russians" from reasserting influence in the Russian near abroad of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Click on the extended post to read more.
The founder of Stratfor, George Friedman
During the 18th minute of George Friedman's interview with Dennis Prager, Friedman makes an interesting comment (the link to the Townhall.com audio is here):
George Friedman " We want to block the Russians..."
Dennis Prager "Do you have some sympathy for Putin?"
Friedman: "I have to admit that if I were...an ex- KGB agent or Russian patriot I would regard NATO expansion as direct, deliberate threat to Russia."
Friedman's remark is reminiscent of what Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly told U.S. President George W. Bush when Bush telephoned Medvedev during the Georgia War in August 2008, "George, if you had been in my shoes, you would have done the same thing." Whereas the purpose of NATO in the middle of the 20th century was to "keep the Germans down and the Russians out", now some in Washington think it's just about keeping the Russians out. However, NATO badly needs access to Russian territory in order to supply its beleaguered mission in Afghanistan. And this means that plans for U.S. missile defense installations in Poland and bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO are likely to be shelved indefinitely.
Admittedly, Friedman is not a Washington insider and his views are not necessarily representative of any actual decision makers at the White House, State Department or U.S. Congress. Stratfor's heyday may have come and gone with the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when millions of Americans suddenly became interested in the Middle East and other troubled regions.
Today millions of Americans are mostly concerned about paying their bills or finding their next job, and outside of the Washington Beltway, very few care about Russia at all. Friedman, at least, reminds people to look at the long-term picture amidst the current economic doom and gloom. In that sense, even if he may still demonstrate a Cold War-era vision of perpetual U.S.-Russian rivalry, he performs a useful public service.
A video clip of Stratfor's George Friedman discussing America's demographic, geographic, English-language, and military advantages over the rest of the world's major states