US provoked war in Ossetia
- Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it an US
election ruse gone wrong, asks Eric Walberg
Wag the Dog
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
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-
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
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
So whoever wins in November will undoubtedly push WWIII 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 lobby".
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.
US tries to create an 'iron curtain' around Russia
F William Engdahl: US in decline as Russia asserts its rising power
The US provoked Russia to respond militarily and the US as the
dominant power is beginning to stumble and "to look desperately for
ways to hold on to that power."
Russia sets conditions for withdrawal of remaining troops from
Russia will withdraw its troops from the "buffer zone" it has
created in Georgia when they are replaced by international
peacekeepers and once the Georgian government has signed non-
aggression pacts with the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, Moscow's ambassador to London, Yuri Fedotov said today.
US sends Navy flagship to Georgia, plans to roll out $1 billion aid
In Azerbaijan, Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States had
a "deep and abiding interest" in the region's stability. It was the
first stop on a tour of three ex-Soviet republics that are wary of
Russia's intentions after its war with Georgia last month.
Russia reacts to NATO ships:
"We don't understand what American ships are doing on the Georgian
shores, but this is a question of taste, it's a decision by our
American colleagues," Putin reportedly said. "The second question is
why the humanitarian aid is being delivered on naval vessels armed
with the newest rocket systems."
IMF to lend Georgia $750 million to rebuild:
The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it has agreed to lend
Georgia $750 million to help rebuild the economy of the pro-Western
former Soviet republic after Russia's invasion last month.
Saakashvili 'no longer' Georgia president:
RUSSIAN President Dmitry Medvedev no longer considers his
counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili to be Georgia's leader, telling
Russian television today that Mr Saakashvili is a "political corpse".
David Miliband and David Cameron blunder over Russia:
The most frightening sight in recent weeks has not been the media's
metamorphosis of Russia from genial, if rather uncouth, bear into
snarling wolf, but the knee-jerking of British politicians.
CIA Agent or English Instructor?
Russia and U.S. at Odds Over Incident in Georgia
Russia: A useful enemy in US polls:
The United States presidential candidates increasingly present
Russia as a threat in their campaigns. Republican Senator John
McCain is clearly thriving on the recent Georgia-Russia war.
Escalation in the Caucasus has been lobbied by McCain since at least
2003, and he is now exploiting the conflict to his full advantage.
Russia warns US over missile deal:
Moscow has warned Washington that it will respond to deployment of
interceptor missiles and radar facility in Poland and the Czech
Justin Raimondo: September Surprise: Get ready for it...
The Russian "threat" seems to have replaced the Iranian "threat" as
the War Party's bogeyman of choice. What we didn't know, however, is
that the two focal points are intimately related.
Georgia won't affect Russian stance on Iran:
The Georgian crisis will not affect Russian cooperation with the
West on tackling Iran's nuclear program, unless Western powers make
it an issue, Moscow's ambassador to Britain said on Wednesday.
Georgia airfields earmarked for war on Iran:
Georgia permitted Israel to use two military airfields for 'a
potential pre-emptive strike' against Iranian nuclear sites, a
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