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US sponsored war in Ossetia

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  • efgh1951
    Wag the Dog Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it an US election ruse gone wrong, asks Eric Walberg Russian President Vladimir Putin gave
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2008
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      Wag the Dog

      Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it an US
      election ruse gone wrong, asks Eric Walberg

      Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a gritty, straight-talking 30-
      minute interview with CNN this week in Russian. It was not translated
      or reported on widely in the US media, which is a shame. He charged
      that US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack,
      and lectured about such topics as Ossetia's long membership in the
      Russian empire (since 1801) and Ossetians' age-old resentment of
      Georgian chauvinism, especially following the 1917 Russian revolution
      and the 1990 declaration of Georgian independence. A South Ossetian
      legislator has already mooted the possibility that it will eventually
      become part of the Russian Federation.

      When asked by CNN if he would stop threatening neighbours now that
      the Ossetian crisis was over, he angrily dismissed the question as
      preposterous, saying it was up to the US and its new Eastern European
      clients to stop threatening Russia. It is the Polish and Czech
      missile bases and Ukrainian and Georgian pretenses to join in the
      nuclear-tipped encirclement of Russia that are the destabilising
      developments forcing Russia to batten the hatches. The Russians see
      the bases as a precursor to a much larger system that would undermine
      the already seriously eroded Russian nuclear deterrent. "For the
      first time in history — and I want to emphasise this — there will be
      elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It
      simply changes the whole configuration of international security. Of
      course, we have to respond to that," said Putin at a press conference
      last year which was also not reported in the mainstream US media.

      Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined Putin's words Monday,
      referring to "the reality of the post-America world" and warning
      that "in the absence of a reasonable multilateral dialogue we will be
      forced to react unilaterally." Europe's inability to produce a new
      collective security system, "open for everyone and taking into
      account everyone's interests," was to blame for the Georgia crisis.
      He added: "There is a feeling that NATO again needs frontline states
      to justify its existence."

      As if to make his point, the Russian military carried out a
      successful test of a Topol RS-12M nuclear capable stealth rocket from
      the Plesetsk space centre. Analysts are already speculating that
      Putin (OK, Medvedev) may well "take out" the Polish missile site. "He
      has no other option. The proposed system integrates the entire US
      nuclear arsenal into one operational-unit a mere 115 miles from the
      Russian border. It's no different than Khrushchev's plan to deploy
      nuclear missiles in Cuba in the 1960s," writes Mike Whitney at Online
      Journal. At the very least he "will be forced to raise the stakes and
      send warplanes over the construction site. That is the logical first-
      step that any responsible leader would take before removing the site
      altogether." So if Cold War II keeps accelerating and something like
      this happens later this year, what should we make of it? Is this
      Russia threatening and even invading its neighbour, or is it a
      justifiable warning to the US to back down from its attempts to
      instigate WWIII?

      Is it possible that all this furfural is really just an
      early "October Surprise", in the US electoral tradition that both
      Reagan and Bush II made such masterful use of? Recall that Ronald
      Reagan's advisors orchestrated a delay in returning US hostages from
      Iran in 1980, tipping the balance in his favour in the elections that
      year. President George W Bush got a letter purportedly from Osama bin
      Laden weeks before the elections in 2004, conveniently reminding
      Americans that he is their defender against terrorists. This
      possibility was the inspiration for the 1998 movie "Wag the Dog",
      where a few weeks before the elections, a presidential advisor hires
      a Hollywood producer to fabricate and market a war in an ex-socialist
      bloc country (Albania) and ensure the incumbent's re-election.

      In the current "reality show" version, discretion is thrown
      completely to the wind, with a certain Randy Scheunemann playing both
      spin doctor and advisor to Republican "incumbent" Senator John
      McCain. Scheunemann's two-man Orion Strategies lobby firm has been
      advising Latvia since 2001 and more recently, Georgia. Georgia hopes
      to following Latvia's success in joining NATO and — why not? — the
      European Union. It has already paid Orion Strategies $300,000 to this

      Putin firmly declared in his CNN interview that the attack on Russian
      peacekeepers by Georgia was given the green light by US officials as
      part of an US election campaign ploy. He was most likely referring to
      McCain, a personal friend of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
      and Scheunemann, McCain's chief foreign policy advisor. Or possibly
      Joseph Wood, Cheney's deputy assistant for national security affairs,
      who was in Georgia shortly before the war began. Or both.

      But Putin is caught between a rock and a hard place in this US
      election year. Even if he's right about Scheunemann, McCain's advisor
      has his counterpart in Senator Barack Obama's chief foreign policy
      advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who while being no fan of Bush, is
      rubbing his hands in glee over the Russian move to protect Ossetia .
      So whoever wins in November will undoubtedly push CWII into high
      gear, come what may.

      Will this "Wag the Dog" Part II bring in the votes for McCain? That
      is far from certain considering his admiration for the now-despised
      Bush, his endless gaffes and his patent lack of intelligence.
      However, the key to US elections — the Israeli lobby — is not happy
      with Brzezinski, and could scuttle Obama's candidacy, despite Obama's
      choice of self-proclaimed Zionist Senator Joe Biden as his running
      mate. Recall that Brzezinski was foreign policy advisor to ex-
      president Jimmy Carter, whose Camp David accords forced Israel to
      give the Sinai back to Egypt.

      Enter Scheunemann. He has no such skeletons in his closet. And he is
      a big fan of the current Middle East make-over designed to ensure
      Israeli supremacy. As director of Chalabi's Committee for the
      Liberation of Iraq he pushed for the invasion in 2003. Mission
      accomplished, he found his new warrior prince in Tbilisi. Scheunemann
      is just one of dozens of US and Israeli advisors to the trigger-happy
      Georgian president. Israel has been actively supporting Saakashvili,
      eager to see the Georgian pipeline project bypassing Russia
      completed. Georgian Defence Minister Davit Kezerashvili and Minister
      of Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili are both Israeli citizens who
      returned to Georgia to enter politics.

      If in fact the US Israeli lobby has decided on McCain for president,
      and passed the word on to Sheunemann, this could well account for the
      green light that Saakashvili clearly thought he had to attack Russian
      peacekeeping troops and Ossetia civilians, killing hundreds if not
      the 1,500 claimed by Russia. And what better way to force both
      candidates to shore up Bush's policy of war and death, just in case
      by some fluke the suspicious Obama overcomes the many hurdles to a
      candidate not enjoying the full confidence (i.e., control) of "the

      You can't fault Obama for trying to please them, short of firing his
      patron Brzezinski. Already, he has dropped his willingness to talk
      to "the enemy", which clearly means Russia these days, every bit as
      much as Iran. Under him, Iraq will keep its US bases and Afghanistan
      will absorb any troops who leave Iraq. Whether or not Washington
      succeeds in bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO is the only moot
      point in all this, and this really depends more on Russia than on who
      inhabits the White House for the next four years.

      This is all very much like Brzezinski's scheming as advisor to
      president Carter. He now boasts that by orchestrating US funding of
      Islamic extremists like bin Laden from 1979 on, he was responsible
      for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of
      the Soviet Union. This did nothing to wag Carter's dog back into
      power in 1980, but that is of little consequence to these shadowy
      advisors, who are never without work in the higher echelons of US
      politics, just as Scheunemann will not suffer in the least if his
      candidate is found to have Aldzheimer's and forgets to show for his
      inauguration next January. And if Obama wins, he will merely cede his
      White House pass to Brzezinski and continue advising world leaders
      such as the hapless Georgian president.

      It's quite possible that this ratcheting up of tensions in the
      Caucasus is intentional. It clinched the Polish missile deal in a
      hurry and put Russia in a bad light, giving succour to those planning
      to make the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline the key link in a
      network bypassing Russia. But the Georgian pipeline was shut down by
      BP during the recent conflict, and it is far from clear that spin
      doctors and tweaking the Russian bear's nose will bring the US any
      closer to cutting Russia down to size. What this episode and Putin's
      steely evaluation did was to further expose the poison at the heart
      of American politics and confirm the world's suspicions that Russia
      is not afraid to stand up for itself.


      Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at
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