Putin calls the West's bluff
- So Putin has the gall to say to Poland and its schoolyard pals "Niet",
and indirectly to the schoolyard bully "Niet! Niet"? Eric Walberg
reflects on the spoilsport -- the ever-dangerous Russian bear
Putin calls the West's bluff
As Poland and the Czech Republic dither whether to let the US put a
few "interceptor missiles" on their territories as part of the US
missile defence shield, it is high time to take stock of the latest
phase in US plans for reshaping the world in its image: having ripped
up the hard-won anti-missile defence moratorium of the Cold War, it
proceeded to absorbed ex-socialist block countries into its NATO
defence arm -- plans are for Croatia, Macedonia and Albania (Al ban
ia?) to join next year. And when Europe dithered about what to think
of the US invasion of Iraq, the US succeeded in destroying any
semblance of an independent European defence policy by conning Poland,
Bulgaria and who- remembers-who-else into joining the carnage. Rather
than quietly dismantling NATO after the Warsaw Pact was buried in
1989, it managed to slowly refashion NATO from its supposed role as
bulwark against the nasty Russians into US world gendarme. The hat
trick to beat all hat tricks.
Not satisfied with its brilliant success so far, it is now twisting
rather flaccid arms in Poland, the Czech Republic and elsewhere into
giving the US, sorry, NATO bases as part of its peace-loving
anti-missile defence system.
What possible rationale is there for this? Aren't we all friends now,
East and West? Didn't the "Evil Empire" collapse? Shouldn't the UN
--if anyone -- be the world's policeman? Is it possible that the UN
and the promise of world peace that the very creation of the UN
embodied (or so we were led to belief) is intentionally being
undermined by the US, sorry, NATO?
If, say, even 15 years ago, after the collapse of the "Evil Empire",
in the days of Yeltsin's cowboy capitalism and Clinton's promised
"peace dividend", one had tried to conjure up a more absurd scenario
for the world -- Poland or the Czech Republic as the brave new
defenders of democracy in the guise of airbases aimed at Russia, you
would have laughed. If I had predicted such a nefarious plan 20 years
ago, during the rosy days of Gorbachev's perestroika, 30 years ago
during the stagnation of the Brezhnev period, or 60 years ago, during
the dark days of Stalinism, you would have told me I was paranoid,
that the mighty Soviet Union would never face such a frightening
prospect. That these poor little countries were quite harmless. That
the US was, after all, the defender of world peace.
But this is no laughing matter and unfortunately I am not paranoid.
Russian President Putin told Czech President Vaclav Klaus last week
that caving in to US demands would "raise the risk of nuclear
destruction". Klaus pooh-poohed Putin's claim, denying the proposed
missiles could possibly be directed at Russia, asserting that Iran and
North Korea were the intended destination. Huh?
Enough humbug. Clearly the US is taking aim at what's left of its only
real military rival. True, Russia has its dark side, as did the Soviet
Union. Chechnya is one of the terrible tragedies of the Muslim world;
Putin's cynical support of Uzbekistan after the bloodbath in Andijan
is inexcusable; even the staunchly anti-imperialist Soviet Union
flirted with pseudo-imperialism, when Polish and Czech patriots were
unjustly persecuted, and Balts were forced, kicking and screaming, to
join the Union itself. However, we must remember: this was part of the
post-WWII agreement between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin which
ensured a half century of peace and prosperity for the world. These
were not necessarily pretty days, but they were sober ones, in keeping
with a cruel world where much is not pretty.
In a world of pain and sorrow, we can find few knights in shining
armour. But despite their many faults, all the past leaders of Russian
contributed to world peace, with the very clear exception of the
recently deceased Yeltsin, who was the one and only Russian leader who
shamefully sold his country out to the imperialists. Funny how only
ex-presidents Bush Senior, and Clinton bothered to show up at his
funeral last week. What a shame US Defense Secretary Robert Gates
didn't drop by to renew his oh-so-generous offer for Russia to join
this latest bit of US of warmongering.
Yes, Stalin was psychotic, Brezhnev dull and scheming, Khrushchev and
his political acolyte Gorbachev pompous windbags, but their gut
instinct was true: they stood up to the plans of the imperialists --
European and US, and gave breathing room for Africa and Asia and even
for a short while, Latin America, to live in peace and develop in a
way that at least partly met the needs of their people.
Since the SU collapsed, this path has been blocked, and now the world
is being forced to take a new road -- the road to hell in a US/
We must not be distracted by the Western media's orchestration of a
new anti- Russian politics and solemn promises of US peaceful
intentions. Putin objectively represents the forces fighting for world
peace. And if he threatens to withhold gas to the EU, or "worse" -- a
moratorium on the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, or
deploying of medium range ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad -- he
should be commended. Even if he changes the constitution and accepts a
third term as president as the vast majority of Russians want, he
should only be congratulated. His foreign politics embody the will of
the people as no other modern Russian leader does. We have seen the
glories of US-style democracy at work in Iraq. God forbid this
"democracy" rule the world. Thank God the Russians have a leader with
some backbone, and a tradition of world peace.
Now the Polands and Albanias are all flocking to the EU, seduced by
Western goodies and moral relativism, sending their doctors to sweep
London's streets and their young women to fill Western brothels. And
now, in the absence of any clear European socio-economic alternative
to US-led imperialism, they are being jockeyed into accepting nuclear
weapons- related facilities -- the thin edge of a possible nuclear
wedge? And to what end? At the same time, Arab and Muslim countries
are being denied even nuclear power, and Israel is given carte
blanche, not to mention interest-free loans for its German-made
nuclear-tipped submarines, to spread its own nuclear terror.
Is this the road to world peace? Is this an honourable way for these
new states to show their "independence" and their own desire for
peace? Is the UN really to be dismissed as a pathetic plaything of US
The Arab world must find its place on the world's political map -- and
it should be located solidly behind Putin's efforts to thwart NATO's
latest campaign. One can argue that Arab and Muslim countries have
even more right to nuclear power than other countries. Islam means
peace, after all, and no Muslim country has ever threatened another
country with nuclear Armageddon. The one Muslim nation with "the
bomb", Pakistan, makes clear it views it in the tradition of MAD (the
wonderful acronym of Cold War days meaning "mutually assured
destruction"). Armageddon threats have been the privilege of the
Christian and Jewish nations, may God forgive them.
There really does seem to be a "clash of civilisations", but is it
Christian and Jewish vs Muslim or just the good ol' imperialism vs
anti-imperialism? Choose your terminology, but it looks very much like
these are becoming synonymous.
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