The following “news” story is not really fake news. It is propaganda. It is reported in order to foment more anti-Russian feeling in this country. It is part and parcel of the broader Democrat strategy to paint Trump and everyone in his Administration as a tool of Putin. Today’s news has been dominated by the resignation of Michael Flynn and most of the coverage tries to portray this as something sinister linked to Russia.

Along with the Flynn story was this other news alert about Russia: 

A Russian spy ship was spotted patrolling off the East Coast of the United States on Tuesday morning, the first such patrol since President Trump took office, two U.S. officials told Fox News.

The Russian spy ship was 70 miles off the coast of Delaware, heading north at 10 knots, according to one official. That location means the ship is in international waters. The U.S. territory line is 12 nautical miles.

Ominous, huh? How does that make you feel?

Okay, let me take you back almost a year ago:

Two separate close encounters between the Russian and U.S. militaries in recent days have left many wondering if future incidents could result in an armed clash. . . .

After two Russian fighter jets flew within 30 feet of the USS Donald Cook last Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the Russian action could have resulted in the jets being shot down.
Kerry told CNN en Español that “under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot-down, so people need to understand that this is serious business.”
And where was the US ship located?

The Donald Cook happened to be around 70km away from a Russian naval base when the Su-24 planes passed by, according to the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov.

“On April 13, the pilots of the Russian Air Force Su-24 planes took part in a training exercise over international waters in the Baltic Sea. Their route took them to an area where the USS Donald Cook was present, around 70km from a Russian naval base,” he said, as cited by TASS.

70 Kilometers is roughly 44 miles. In other words, we were a lot closer to the Russian shore but still in international waters. Only, we were not “spying.” Nope. We were conducting a military exercise. How would we be reacting if Russia was conducting a military exercise with Cuba only 45 miles from our coast? Problem?

But we did not stop there. A couple of months after the Baltic Sea incidents we sailed into the Black Sea:

A U.S. guided missile destroyer has entered the Black Sea for the first time this year, according to the ship-spotting site Bosphorus Naval News.

USS Porter (DDG-78) is the first U.S. surface ship to cross the Bosphorus Strait this year as part of the ongoing Operational Atlantic Resolve. The operation stood up shortly after Russia seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and has been marked by a revolving cast of NATO ships conducting semi-regular presence operations and exercises in the region.

While the presence for the U.S. has been higher in the last year and a half than it has in decades, alliance leaders have complained NATO has not done enough to curtail Russian expansion.

Once again, we were conducting military exercises off the coast of Russia for no other reason than to rattle our sabres at Moscow in order to “curtail Russian expansion.” A cute phrase that ignores alternative views about why Russia moved into Crimea:

The Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014. Since then, the peninsula has been administered as two de facto Russian federal subjects—the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which, until 2016, were grouped in the Crimean Federal District.[31] The annexation was preceded by a military intervention by Russia in Crimea, which took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.[32][33]. . . .

Ukraine considers the annexation to be a violation of international law and agreements by Russia, including Agreement on Establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991Helsinki AccordsTreaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1994 and Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.[39] The event was condemned by many world leaders as an illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, signed by Russia.[40]. .

Folks with strictly a Western perspective insist that Russia invaded Crimea and is bent on reconstituting the glory of the USSR. Experts on Russia, however, like Stephen Cohen and Richard Sakwa, wisely note that Russia’s acted in this way because it perceived a legitimate threat from Ukraine and NATO. The vast majority of Americans are happily ignorant of the fact that the U.S. engaged in both overt and covert activities in the Ukraine that fueled legitimate concern at the Kremlin that Russia faced a growing threat on its Western border.

But why would Russia feel threatened by us? How many countries have we invaded in the last 15 years? Two–Iraq and Afghanistan. Apart from those two, how many other countries have we actively tried to destablize? At least two–Libya and Syria. Then we have countries where we are conducting military operations and killing people–Yemen and Somalia. And let’s not forget that we violated Pakistan’s air space and killed Osama bin Laden and a couple of others at his “home” in Abbottabad (this is some snark on my part because Obama claimed we did this op without the knowledge of the Paps–that’s a lie, the Paks knew and helped us).

I know we can come up with a ton of justifications for all of our military activity overseas. My intent here is not to argue the pros or cons of these intervention. I am simply trying to help you look at the situation through Russian eyes. That does not mean that Russian eyes are seeing straight or occupy the moral high ground. But if ignore their view of reality and insist on our own vision then we are putting ourselves on the road to a military conflict. I do not believe that serves the interest of either country.

If you are 45 or younger you probably have no memory of the tensions and fears that fueled the Cold War between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics aka Russia. The record of Russia in terms foreign intervention since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 is benign when compared to U.S. military interventions overseas in that same 27 year period. Yet, it is American politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, and pundits that are tirelessly talking about Russia as a threat.

I am old enough to recall the days when Russia was funding dozens of terrorist groups around the world, when Russia was invading places like Afghanistan. The pre-1989 days were a dangerous time and Russia in its guise as the Soviets was a serious threat. But that Russia no longer exists. We make a grave error if we continue to delude ourselves that Putin is Stalin reborn and that he wants to emulate Hitler and take over the world. We live in a glass house when it comes to the issue of intervening in the affairs of other countries. Time to look in a mirror.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.