Miroslav Antić


Archive for maj 2014

US diplomats call newly-elected Ukrainian President Poroshenko ‘ disgraceful oligarch’ – WikiLeaks –

leave a comment »


US diplomats call newly-elected Ukrainian President Poroshenko ‘disgraceful oligarch’ – WikiLeaks

Billionaire Petr Poroshenko has been holding high-status positions in Ukraine for a long time, Kommersant newspaper says. The newspaper’s journalists have found, what American diplomats wrote about Poroshenko in their dispatches, which were made public by WikiLeaks. Poroshenko was mentioned in the documents of the US Department of State 100 times during the period from 2006 to 2010. At the same time, part of these references was negative.

The majority of negative commentaries about Poroshenko were made during the period from 2006 to 2009.

During this period he was a deputy of the Our Ukraine political party and chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine. Sheila Guoltni, US deputy Ambassador to Ukraine, told the US Department of State on May 26, 2006 that the image of Poroshenko was discredited by "credible accusations of corruption." Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko accused Poroshenko, an ally of Viktor Yushchenko during the Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, of lobbying for his own interests. Thus, Poroshenko was ousted as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine because of a conflict with Timoshenko and the Verkhovna Rada.

In the dispatch of February 16, 2006, John Herbst, US Ambassador to Ukraine, called Poroshenko "an oligarch, who had disgraced himself." On June 21, 2006, the next US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor characterized him as "unpopular politician, who had been supported by the party members due to his business activity." One month later, Taylor wrote that the Our Ukraine political party had followed the advice of "Poroshenko, who personifies all the weaknesses of the party", instead of nominating a young and perspective deputy for the elections.

According to other dispatches of American deputies, Poroshenko, while being Ukrainian Foreign Minister, did whatever he could to prevent Kiev from cooperating with Moscow. During the conference between Ukraine and NATO Poroshenko asked Western colleagues to "oppose Russia’s attempts to secure any sphere of influence and to veto Ukraine’s aspiration for entering NATO," the dispatch of December 2009 says.

Another US Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said that Poroshenko himself advised Viktor Yanukovych that he firstly visit Brussels and not Moscow. Poroshenko also "called upon the US not to take seriously the words of Yanukovych, who approved the proposal of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to create a new security system in Europe." At the same time, Poroshenko was insisting on making Ukraine a member of NATO, in spite of President Yanukovych’s position.

Kommersant asked Irina Friz, spokesperson of Petr Poroshenko, about the reaction of Mr. Poroshenko to the references made by the American diplomats about him. However, she said that Poroshenko didn’t read them.


Written by Mika

30. maja 2014. at 17:29

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

Why War Is Inevitable

leave a comment »


Why War Is Inevitable

Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts

(image by NBC)

Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.

Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.

The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.

President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the "war on terror" for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.

Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in "the war on terror" died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.

The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, "A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny."

Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people. Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.

Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century — Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.

The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, "I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism."

It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.

For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat "the terrorist threat."

This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.

Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.

By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.

If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who, having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.

The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.

Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. See here and here.

The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be "rogue states" and the "axis of evil," such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.

The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the "exceptional, indispensable country" chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.

The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a "greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the "settlers" and those who control the Israeli government.

Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine — invaders really — have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.

Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the "others." When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, "God created us all equal."

To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.

Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.

To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. "A loosely confederated Russia … a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization." In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.

Brzezinski propounded "a geo-strategy for Eurasia." In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and "a confederated Russia" are part of a "transcontinental security framework," managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.

I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.

The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.

I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.

The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.

The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."

In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.

The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.

Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be "bombed into the stone age." Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be "terrorists," and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.

"We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power."

This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has "coalitions of the willing" and military invasions that bring "democracy and women’s rights" to non-compliant countries.

China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an "authoritarian state." China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.

The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?

The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.

Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.

Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.

The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.

Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will
have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.

If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.

The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.

The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.

Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.

Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.

Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.

Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?

As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, "uprisings span four corners of the globe." Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.

In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.

In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the "war on terror," a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the "Soviet threat," now converted into the "Russian threat," to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.

Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.

If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.

Written by Mika

28. maja 2014. at 18:36

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

Get Ready World: The U.S.-Russian Rivalry Is Back

leave a comment »

Get Ready World: The U.S.-Russian Rivalry Is Back

And it could get ugly.

Dmitri Trenin

May 28, 2014

The May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine mark the end of the beginning in Ukraine; but they do not mark the end of the story, which will continue to evolve and could possibly turn more violent. Yet, the elections and their results give Ukraine more of a chance at avoiding a full-scale civil war and sticking together, even as it deals with current and future hardships.

The Ukraine crisis has ended the era of post–Cold War engagement, which failed to culminate in integration between the West and Russia. In a stunning reversal, the crisis has opened up a period of intense geopolitical competition, rivalry, and even confrontation between Moscow and Washington, but also between Moscow and Brussels.

The area of competition is again Eastern Europe; only this time, father to the east of its Cold War namesake. In a region which includes Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and also the unrecognized Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, fault lines have developed both within and between countries.

Some of these countries, like Georgia, lean toward the European Union; others, such as Belarus, toward Russia; some are battleground states; and there is only one outlier, Azerbaijan. The “gray” buffer zone between Europe and Russia, which has existed ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union, is unraveling.

Russia is pivoting away from Europe and the West. It is pivoting toward itself as a unique civilization related to, but separate from, Western Europe. It is also pivoting to its former empire in Eurasia, redesigned as a Russia-led economic and security union. Lastly, it is pivoting to China, which is seen as a new center of global economic and political power.

All these changes are happening in an atmosphere of intensifying competition. The revolutionary coup in Kiev, supported by Washington, was interpreted in Moscow as a prelude to Ukraine’s eventual accession to NATO. President Putin responded with his own coup in Crimea, which resulted in the peninsula’s incorporation into Russia. The U.S.-Russian tussle over Ukraine has become the first case of open, great-power clash since the end of the Cold War.

In this new rivalry, Europe is both a player, as America’s ally in NATO, and an area of competition in its own right. Europeans are divided in their attitudes toward Russia. Those geographically closer and still reeling from the Soviet era are more wary than those farther afield, who are more relaxed; political elites with little interest in Russia are more critical than the business circles, who have something to lose; and anti–European Union, anti–United States elements see Putin as their ally.

Although the new rivalry is confined to a relatively small region and is peripheral to the United States’ and even Europe’s core interests, it has implications for the wider world. Russia’s shift to the east, which strengthens its alignment with China, is gaining more strategic depth. The Sino-Russian gas deal, signed in Shanghai on May 21, embodies and symbolizes a new quality to the relationship between Moscow and Beijing.

Four decades after Nixon’s groundbreaking trip to China, the strategic triangle between the United States, China and Russia looks very different, with China, rather than America, having better relations with the two other powers. This puts Japan in a more difficult situation: Tokyo is Washington’s ally; it fears Beijing and hopes to improve relations with Moscow. Yet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe perseveres in his strategy of rapprochement with Russia, and looks forward to hosting Putin in the fall of 2014.

Across the Middle East, Russia and the United States continue to share some interests, with respect to fighting terrorism or preventing further nuclear proliferation. But in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Moscow has become more active in its support for Syria’s Assad, strengthening ties to Tehran, and reaching out to Egypt and Saudi Arabia—even as it has managed to protect its special relationship with Israel. U.S.-Russian competition in the Middle East, albeit at a lower level than during the Cold War, is again a reality.

This new competition is essentially being fought on the terrain of economics and information flows and will eventually be decided by economic factors and popular attitudes. This relates to Ukraine, which faces a dire economic situation. This relates to Russia and its ability to use Western economic sanctions to reinvent itself. The alternatives are the country’s breakdown and a possible breakup, or it becoming China’s economic satellite. This relates to Moscow’s Eurasian Union project, which will rise or fall on economic, not geopolitical grounds. And of course, it relates to the European Union, which faces a conflict between the need for further integration and many people’s reluctance to go for it, as evidenced in the elections to the European Parliament, also held on May 25.

As for the United States, its foreign policy can only be as effective as its resources permit. Whether in Ukraine, NATO or the Middle East, Washington has been limiting its commitment. This makes for a more level playing field.

Dmitri Trenin is the Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Image: Kremlin photo


Written by Mika

28. maja 2014. at 16:31

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

Russia, China Banking Deal to Exclude Dollar in Transactions – Symbolic Blow to Dollar

leave a comment »

Russia, China Banking Deal to Exclude Dollar in Transactions – Symbolic Blow to Dollar

21.May.2014 | SCG

Bigger attacks on the dollar are scheduled for this summer.

During Putin’s two day visit in Shanghai, Russia and China took another small step to undermine U.S. monetary hegemony when Russia’s second biggest financial institution, VTB, signed a deal with the Bank of China to bypass the dollar and pay each other in domestic currencies.

Many experts are referring to the move as symbolic. The banking deal is very small in the scheme of things, however it is a signal of intent. Both China and Russia are looking to a future where the U.S. dollar is no longer the world reserve currency, and they aren’t content to wait for that future to arrive. They are working to help it along.

While this particular banking deal may not be incredibly significant in and of itself, there is another deal that is in the works that could have a much wider impact. According to Reuters, the BRICS block (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) aim to finish preparations for a new international development bank by this July. The bank, which has been in the works for several years now, aims to provide an alternative to the IMF (The United States is currently the dominant shareholder of the IMF).

While the new bank is being presented as a means of facilitating investment within the BRICS block, If Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are able to establish a stable financial network that bypasses Washington and the Federal Reserve, it would not only make it impossible for the U.S. to bully any one member (i.e. Russia), but it could also open the door to dollar free energy exchanges… exchanges like the one that Russia has announced it will open this June.

Related: What Obama’s Claim that "Russia is Acting Out of Weakness" ACTUALLY Tells Us

That’s right, on June 8th Russia is opening its own oil exchange to trade crude oil and petroleum products for rubles and gold.

Viewed as a whole it looks as if Washington’s attempts to strong arm Moscow is leading to an accelerated push to undermine the dollar’s position. Don’t get your hopes up for immediate fireworks though. Rome didn’t collapse in a day.


Written by Mika

23. maja 2014. at 11:44

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

Putin and the mythical empire — RT Op-Edge

leave a comment »


Putin and the mythical empire

Opinion pieces by Peter Lavelle, the host of RT’s shows CrossTalk and On the Money, who was also the anchor of the review programme In Context and the commentary series IMHO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev)

Western media, following the “bullhorns of propaganda” resident at the White House and State Department, assumes Putin is bent on re-building the Russian and/or Soviet Union. This is assumed to be true because the “bullhorns of propaganda” say it’s true.

There is never any evidence cited or even a coherent analysis provided to back up this claim. Needless to say, this mindless approach to foreign policy – if it can be called that – ends with car wrecks on someone else’s turf, in this case Ukraine. I submit a completely different and actually very simple interpretation of Putin’s foreign policy. It has nothing to do with an empire and everything to do with respect of ethnic Russians and democratic rights.

Putin has no interest in rebuilding the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was an incredible net economic loss for Russia and Russians. In this century, Russia correctly sees an empire as too costly, politically risky, and importantly at odds with international law. Since the advent of the Putin presidency, the Kremlin has demonstrated it will make smart trade deals with its immediate neighbors, but outright subsidies are to be avoided. (Russia’s overly generous approach toward Ukraine since 1991 is a partial exception – trade relations with Kiev have always been complicated by Russia’s important trade relationship with Europe).

Putin’s ‘near abroad’ foreign policy is about people and principles. The day the Soviet Union came to an end, millions of ethnic Russians suddenly found themselves in a country that was not their own. Putin is addressing this painful historical wrong. And it is a very important domestic issue among Russians at home.

The West likes to consider itself to be above all others due to its self-proclaimed superior values. This includes values of the right to self-determination. However, these are only often words. Ethnic Russians in the Baltic states frequently see themselves as being treated as second-class citizens within the European Union. They are discriminated against on the basis of language and even cultural values. In Georgia in 2008, they were violently assaulted in South Ossetia. Russia was forced to intervene militarily to protect lives, including those of Russian citizens and internationally recognized peacekeepers. In Ukraine, the same is happening, though on a horrific scale and supported (again) by the West.

RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin

Putin’s agenda is not to change present borders. (Crimea is of course an exception. It should not have been “given” to Ukraine during the Soviet period on a whim, over the heads of the people there). What Putin wants is to have ethnic Russians on the other side of the border given the same rights of the majority population. This includes a say in both domestic and foreign policies. For example, any government in Ukraine must take into account the opinion of ethnic Russians when joining any military alliance. The US State Department should not be the entity to decide this along with their illegally imposed regime in Kiev.

Putin’s approach also includes respect for the cultural values of Russians abroad. For the most part, Russians are culturally and socially conservative. This includes respect for the traditional family unit and reverence for the sacrifices made during the Great Patriot War. Many Western cultural and social values remain alien to many among the Russian population. Said differently: Russia and the West are moving further and further away from each other because of discernible cultural and social differences.

The current leadership in Russia is not consumed by ideological determinism like in the West. Putin’s worldview is informed by realities found inside Russia and along its borders. Russia’s foreign policy in fact is status quo orientated and risk averse. That cannot be said about the West, particularly Washington.

The West assaults country after country in the world in the name of democracy and so-called universal freedoms. This is a lofty mission in name only. Washington’s neo-liberal economic agenda has no place for values or national pride. It is a neo-colonial agenda to forward the greed of the few who have captured the political process and the West’s media echo chamber.

Vladimir Putin disagrees. Putin’s empire is of the mind and is found among the people who look to him to express their values.

Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program ‘CrossTalk’ and monthly business program ‘On the Money.’ His views are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


Add comment

Written by Mika

18. maja 2014. at 14:19

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia

leave a comment »

In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia

Washington’s role in Ukraine, and its backing for the regime’s neo-Nazis, has huge implications for the rest of the world

A pro-Russian activist with a shell casing and a US-made meal pack that fell from a Ukrainian army APC in an attack on a roadblock on 3 May in Andreevka, Ukraine. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

Why do we tolerate the threat of another world war in our name? Why do we allow lies that justify this risk? The scale of our indoctrination, wrote Harold Pinter, is a "brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis", as if the truth "never happened even while it was happening".

Every year the American historian William Blum publishes his "updated summary of the record of US foreign policy" which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders.

In many cases Britain has been a collaborator. The degree of human suffering, let alone criminality, is little acknowledged in the west, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications and nominally most free journalism. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – "our" terrorism – are Muslims, is unsayable. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Anglo-American policy (Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan) is suppressed. In April the US state department noted that, following Nato’s campaign in 2011, "Libya has become a terrorist safe haven".

The name of "our" enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory, or merely offering an alternative to US domination. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin.

Washington’s role in Ukraine is different only in its implications for the rest of us. For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war. With eastern Europe and the Balkans now military outposts of Nato, the last "buffer state" bordering Russia – Ukraine – is being torn apart by fascist forces unleashed by the US and the EU. We in the west are now backing neo-Nazis in a country where Ukrainian Nazis backed Hitler.

Having masterminded the coup in February against the democratically elected government in Kiev, Washington’s planned seizure of Russia’s historic, legitimate warm-water naval base in Crimea failed. The Russians defended themselves, as they have done against every threat and invasion from the west for almost a century.

But Nato’s military encirclement has accelerated, along with US-orchestrated attacks on ethnic Russians in Ukraine. If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role will justify a Nato-run guerrilla war that is likely to spill into Russia itself.

Instead, Putin has confounded the war party by seeking an accommodation with Washington and the EU, by withdrawing Russian troops from the Ukrainian border and urging ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon the weekend’s provocative referendum. These Russian-speaking and bilingual people – a third of Ukraine’s population – have long sought a democratic federation that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous of Kiev and independent of Moscow. Most are neither "separatists" nor "rebels", as the western media calls them, but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland.

Like the ruins of Iraq and Afghanistan, Ukraine has been turned into a CIA theme park – run personally by CIA director John Brennan in Kiev, with dozens of "special units" from the CIA and FBI setting up a "security structure" that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup. Watch the videos, read the eye-witness reports from the massacre in Odessa this month. Bussed fascist thugs burned the trade union headquarters, killing 41 people trapped inside. Watch the police standing by.

A doctor described trying to rescue people, "but I was stopped by pro-Ukrainian Nazi radicals. One of them pushed me away rudely, promising that soon me and other Jews of Odessa are going to meet the same fate. What occurred yesterday didn’t even take place during the fascist occupation in my town in world war two. I wonder, why the whole world is keeping silent." [see footnote]

Russian-speaking Ukrainians are fighting for survival. When Putin announced the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border, the Kiev junta’s defence secretary, Andriy Parubiy – a founding member of the fascist Svoboda party – boasted that attacks on "insurgents" would continue. In Orwellian style, propaganda in the west has inverted this to Moscow "trying to orchestrate conflict and provocation", according to William Hague. His cynicism is matched by Obama’s grotesque congratulations to the coup junta on its "remarkable restraint" after the Odessa massacre. The junta, says Obama, is "duly elected". As Henry Kissinger once said: "It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but what is perceived to be true."

In the US media the Odessa atrocity has been played down as "murky" and a "tragedy" in which "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) attacked "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal damned the victims – "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Propaganda in Germany has been pure cold war, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warning its readers of Russia’s "undeclared war". For the Germans, it is a poignant irony that Putin is the only leader to condemn the rise of fascism in 21st-century Europe.

A popular truism is that "the world changed" following 9/11. But what has changed? According to the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, a silent coup has taken place in Washington and rampant militarism now rules. The Pentagon currently runs "special operations" – secret wars – in 124 countries. At home, rising poverty and a loss of liberty are the historic corollary of a perpetual war state. Add the risk of nuclear war, and the question is: why do we tolerate this?



Written by Mika

17. maja 2014. at 14:54

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

They’re lying about Ukraine, again: Primitive prejudice, stupi dity and the reflexive compliance of the New York Times

leave a comment »

They’re lying about Ukraine, again: Primitive prejudice, stupidity and the reflexive compliance of the New York Times

We have had the full-frontal porn of an American subversion op, a coverup — then the media’s supine cooperation

Patrick L. Smith

Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin (Credit: AP/Evan Vucci)

However Ukrainians settle their drastic differences — and they can, providing all sides find the will to do so — a large and welcome consequence of this crisis falls to Americans. This is summed up in a single word. Ukraine gives us the gift of revelation.

We Americans are destined to discover who we are in this century, as opposed to who we tell ourselves and others we are. The great dodge of the American century, chiseled in granite with Woodrow Wilson’s famous line, “The world must be made safe for democracy,” will lose its power to propel. This was a fairly easy call long before the events of the past six months on Russia’s southwest border. In Ukraine we start to see how this will occur, what forms it may take, and what we will find when we look.

I did not see this coming, to be honest. It was Victoria Nuland’s famous-but-not-to-be-mentioned “‘F’ the EU” appearance on YouTube in February that turned things. We have since had full-frontal porn of an American subversion op, the ensuing coverup, then the media’s supine cooperation in the coverup, then the full-frontal of everybody in the bedroom. Even the coverup is not covered up.

American-sponsored coups have flopped before, goodness knows. The list is long. But this failure takes us further than ever before up the creek that smells, in my view.

At writing, the provisional government in Kiev has reluctantly opened talks on decentralizing the Ukrainian political structure. Hardly was this in Washington’s plan, but the Obama administration will nonetheless have considerable influence on the outcome in Ukraine as it backs out the gate it crashed, as I am convinced it will before this is over.

This is not my point. My concern is with what the Ukraine crisis has unexpectedly exposed: the bankruptcy of the story, the hollowness of the pose. To be revealed is the great collection of presuppositions, prejudices, presumptions, myths, representations and ideological beliefs that were the ink with which the American century narrative was written.

Good for Ukrainians, all of them in the end, that Washington’s effort to install a crew of neoliberal puppets in Kiev has been disrupted. Good for everyone, including Americans, that the Ukraine crisis exposes so many of the defects in the prevalent American worldview. I may judge the moment too optimistically, but there seems no going back from this.

I have asserted previously in this space that Moscow’s account of the Ukraine crisis is more coherent than Washington’s. Each time, the argument provokes a certain shock-horror syndrome among many readers — and, of course, numerous accusations that the writer of such things must be a shill for the Russians, an FSB agent, a Putin groupie, and so on.

To be honest, I greatly enjoy advancing this view. First of all because it is true, and second because so many of my fellow Americans choke on it. The default position, name-calling, is a boring but common ruse in the American conversation, always an indication that there is no comeback other than to invoke beliefs as opposed to thoughts.

The question raised is what lies behind this. The core idea is that if the Russians say something or think it, it cannot be right and no one’s thinking can credibly coincide with theirs. I see something important to learn here; something needing to be revealed.

I am always one for history, so let us begin there.

The first thing to consider is how “the West” came to be. The idea of the West as opposed to “the East” is as old as Herodotus, maybe older. But the West as a political notion is much younger. It dates to the 1840s. Peter the Great had started modernizing Russia and building an empire — in imitation of the Europeans — in the early 18th century. By the mid-19th century it was evident that the czars had made Russia a contending power.

Ponder this observation: “There are only two peoples now. Russia is still barbarous, but it is great. The other young nation is America. The future is there between these two great worlds. Someday they will collide, and then we shall see struggles of which the past can give no idea.”

That is a French historian and critic named Charles Augustin Sainte–Beuve. He wrote the passage in 1847 — a prescient call, we have to say. Within a few years, French and German thinkers wanted Europe and the U.S. to make common cause by way of some form of alliance against the rising Russians. Out of this came the political West, and it is a straight line all the way up to NATO.

The West, then, evolved from a cultural distinction to a function — an operational entity, a mechanism — and was a reaction from the start. Westerners accustomed to civilizational supremacy were fearful of the arriving East.

The scholars call what emerged from this current in 19th century thinking a national character argument. You find these in lots of places, and in every case they are to be countered without mercy, for they are nothing but ignorant prejudice. Germany after the war got this treatment: The Germans did this because they are German and this is what Germans do. The Chinese deploy this as we speak: The Japanese did what they did to us in the war because they are Japanese.

Essentialism substitutes for politics and history: This is the trick of the national character crowd. It is excellent for marshaling popular emotion but altogether an indecent exercise. The French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Now you know what I think of people who signed on for this one during the Bush II years.

The Russians came in for a national character argument as Western opinion evolved in the 19th century and then the 20th. Russia was quintessentially of the East, and the East was cast as Edward Said described in “Orientalism”: autocratic, irrational, dark of motive, and so on more or less infinitely.

You can anticipate the next thought easily enough. Exactly 100 years before time, Sainte-Beuve described the Cold War. There was a practice run after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, and then the real thing as of 1947. (Amazing symmetry in these dates.) The Cold War was many things, but before it was anything else it was the consequence of intellectual habits formed a century earlier.

Plainly enough for anyone who lived it and suffered all the propaganda and rhetoric and appalling scholarship, the Cold War rested on a national character argument articulated with little inhibition — and no shame. Nothing Soviet was of any worth. All Soviet citizens suffered all the time. No Soviet market ever had enough on the shelves. Anything a Soviet apparatchik said was the very opposite of true. And never to be forgotten (my little fixation), Soviet officials always wore “ill-fitting suits.” Had to be.

The Cold War ended in 1991, but only because the Soviet Union collapsed. The longer war, of which the Cold War decades were but an interim, went on. Russia was still Russia and Russia was still “the East” and all this had come to mean. The West proposed a partnership in the 1990s. As we can see now more plainly, this was impossible from the first in that the West would continue to insist on a divided world, West and East, as soon as it became clear “partnership” would have to mean more than a capitulation of all history and culture on the Russians’ part.

This is why I take revelation as my topic. Most of us think we look at the Ukraine crisis, listen to our leaders, read our newspapers, and draw informed conclusions. Missed altogether is that we are merely taking our place in the long story. There is nothing in orthodox thinking, or in most people’s views, that departs from the burdensome inheritance. (And part of the inheritance is not understanding that it is inherited and is a burden.)

All is in place. The West is the light side of the moon, Russia the dark. Russia has aggressed in Ukraine: We have no evidence but it must have, as this is what Russians do. If Putin says it, it has to be wrong: Russian autocrats are never right or truthful.

No Ukrainian could possibly want to live within the dense weave of his or her historic ties with Russia. This last is an assault on the American sensibility. The American inheritance makes this information indigestible, foreign food. So the Russians must be pulling the strings, manipulating millions of minds as they always do.

Here, just one example.

Last week, Vladimir Putin publicly urged those in revolt against the provisional government in Kiev to step back from their planned referendums on their future arrangements with Kiev. How did the New York Times report this? “It remains unclear what Mr. Putin’s motives were for suggesting the delay,” its correspondent in eastern Ukraine told us in Sunday’s editions.

The baggage of primitive prejudice brings us to stupidity. It is the only way to explain this sentence. It could not be that Putin urged a delay because he thought it best and wanted one. Never, with a Russian, do you get what you see. Never is what is said meant.

The American orthodoxy on the Ukraine question is suffused with this kind of thing. It is irrationality masquerading as high-end rationality. And irrational minds are not equipped to judge.

This is what Ukraine reveals for us. We have a long tradition to overcome. As I have argued elsewhere, among our 21st century tasks is to cross divides, to remake our relations with “the Other” in all manifestations, to advance beyond old conceptions of “the West” and “the East,” to take a divided world as being of the past but not the future.

With the Ukraine crisis as our point of revelation, we are not very far along, are we? In essence Washington has reverted to type, failing to register that this will no longer do. Simply on a practical plane, do American policy cliques seriously think Europe and the rest of the world will take more than a brief, altogether expedient interest in any prolonged attempt to isolate Russia? Out of the question.

Washington’s refusal to acknowledge its role in the Ukraine crisis grows more remarkable by the day. A great game of pretend persists, in the face of pretty good dissemination of many facts. In keeping with the retro character of the strategy, Washington relies on 1950s-era credulousness to sell its story to Americans. But this willing suspension of disbelief common during the Cold War is no longer so reliable. We have the history this time, and the evidence of the history.

It is not encouraging, this stubborn adherence to the plainly untrue. I read it as Washington’s way of deflecting all that Ukraine shows us about ourselves. I also read it as evidence of a profound lack of imagination within the American leadership. No capacity among them to move on from what once was.

It is a truism that self-discovery is never easily achieved. But in this case there is no choice. History’s wheel will force this upon us Americans. We will have to come to terms with who we are and what we do if we are not to fall behind, if we are to avoid other Ukraines. It is doubtful other nations will have the patience or the stomachs for other Ukraines. This one has cost us, in my view, and more of them will cost us more.

Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.


Written by Mika

17. maja 2014. at 10:49

Objavljeno u Uncategorized