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Putin calls the West's bluff

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    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7 4:23 PM
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      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
      Eric Walberg
      http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/843/in1.htm


      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/
      Israeli-nuclear-tipped handcart.

      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
      imperialism?

      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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