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Vlad the Bad Steals a March on the West

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Soviet leader Josef Stalin used to shrug off critics by his favorite Central Asian saying: “The dogs bark; the caravan moves on.”

Russia’s hard-eyed president, Vladimir Putin, is following the same strategy over Ukraine and Crimea.

Putin swiftly moved his knight into the empty chess square of Crimea, thereby regaining full control of one of Russia’s four strategic port regions: Sevastopol, Murmansk, St Petersburg and Vladivostok.

Sevastopol, now firmly in Moscow’s hands, is Russia’s sole gateway to the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Mideast. The vast, co-shared Russian-Ukrainian Sevastopol naval base was a shaky, awkward arrangement doomed to eventual failure.

Semi-autonomous Crimea, over 60% ethnic Russian, will hold a referendum on 16 March to decide to remain in Ukraine or rejoin Russia. A referendum is clearly the answer to the whole Ukraine-Russia problem.

Ukraine has been a corruption-ridden failed state since it separated from Russia in 1991. This writer has long suggested that partition of Ukraine into Western and Russian-oriented halves is the sensible solution, with Crimea returning to Russia.

Putin asks if Western-backed Kosovo can go independent of Serbia, why can’t Crimea break its links with Kiev?

The temporary attachment of majority ethnic Russian Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 after 250 years of Russian rule was unnatural, a ticking time bomb. It has now exploded, triggered in part by the West’s successful effort to overthrow the elected but corrupt government in Kiev of Viktor Yanukovich.

Overturning regimes deemed uncooperative or hostile has long been a CIA specialty. Its first big success came in 1953 with the subversion of Iran’s democratic-nationalist leader, Mohammed Mossadegh by a combination of propaganda, rented crowds, and bribes. We saw this same technique used – enhanced by modern social media – in Ukraine’s first Orange Revolution, Georgia, again in Iran(unsuccessfully), and, with the help of US and British special forces, in Libya and Syria. Egypt came next, where a US-backed tinpot military dictator, the self-appointed “Field Marshall al-Sisi” claims he is answering the people’s call.” Not a peep from Washington. Or about the crushing of opposition by Bahrain’s US-backed monarchy.

Russia, which used to be adept at subversion, has lagged in recent years but it still knows the signs. The Kremlin is convinced that Ukraine’s latest revolution was engineered by Washington. The US Undersecretary of State for Europe admitted Washington has spent $5 billion over recent years in Ukraine to bring it into the West’s orbit – aka “building democracy.”

Two points to note. Did Washington think that tough Vlad Putin would just take its coup lying down?

Second, it’s amazing how determined Washington’s cold warriors remain to tear down Russia. The bankrupt US, $17 trillion in debt, running on money borrowed from China, with bridges collapsing and 44 million citizens on food stamps, suddenly finds the money to offer bankrupt Ukraine a new $1 billion loan – just to compete with Moscow. A loan unlikely to be repaid.

America has a bad habit of personalizing foreign affairs and demonizing uncooperative leaders. Remember when Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser was denounced as “Hitler on the Nile?” “Khadaffi, Mad Dog of the Mideast?” Most Americans have little knowledge of geography, history or world affairs so the easiest way to market overseas adventures to them is by creating foreign bogeymen like Khadaffi and Saddam.

Vladimir Putin is the latest. He is being hysterically demonized by the US and British media. Vlad the Bad.

Disturbingly, US Republicans and the usual media propagandists are heaping blame on President Barack Obama for “losing Crimea,” as if any of them knows where it was before last week. John McCain and his sidekick Sen. Lindsey Graham have been demanding that Obama “get tough.”

Sure. Let’s mine Russia’s ports or blockade its oil and gas exports. Nothing like a nuclear war to show how weak the Democrats are. Thank god McCain did not win the presidency. The dolts at Fox TV can’t tell the difference between caution and cowardice.

President Putin’s ambition is to slowly reassemble some parts of the old USSR, Ukraine being the most important. Doing so is in Russia’s national interest, much as we may not like it. Nearly all Russians believe Putin is on the right track. By contrast, Washington wants to keep Russia weak and treat it as an obsequious, defeated nation, like postwar Germany or Japan.

The US won’t accept that Russia has any legitimate spheres of influence, while Washington’s span the globe. Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who used to be a sensible fellow before becoming corrupted by power, blasted Russia: “you just don’t invade a country under a phony pretext!”

I guess Kerry has never heard of the US invasions of the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Libya. Or can’t remember Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin “incident.”

Kerry should cut the hypocrisy and get to work on a diplomatic settlement. Two major nuclear-armed powers cannot – must not – be allowed to confront one another.

Ukraine could turn out to be the 1914 Bosnia-Herzegovina of our era if we don’t stop primitive breast-beating over a region no one could even find on a map until recently.

(Reprinted from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Ukraine

14 Comments to "Vlad the Bad Steals a March on the West"

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  1. Curious–no mention of the US overthrow of the elected president of Guatemala in the summer of 1954, which was the pattern for much that came later, including Bernays’ masterful manipulation of the media and the illusion of a local, popular war.

    Also curious–with all the attention on Crimea, there is little being said by the US and its hired media trying similar tactics simultaneously in Venezuela, which, by the way, it tried before under Chavez.

    Moreover, one of the common factors between Ukraina and Venezuela, never mentioned in he controlled western media except as an aside, is oil and gas. In Ukraina indirectly, because it is Russia’s pipeline pathway to Europe, in Venezuela more directly.

    No doubt the Neo-Conservatives, including Nuland, are vicious, perverse and incompetent, but they are not playing (as many of them think) this game alone and are also tools of a much wider constellation of financial interests.

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  2. It is appalling to think that a Cold War we were told was fought against communism threatens to come back fully aggressive and metastasized like a returned cancer. But it turns out the disease was partly misdiagnosed the first time, mistaking side effects for the underlying disease. It wasn’t just about fighting communism after all, or only making the world safe for democracy. Somewhere along the way, it morphed into making the world safe for a certain set of transnational oligarchs, and has now become a struggle for one clique’s set over another’s. Cabals of donorists aren’t interested in democracy, here at home or abroad, except to buy it up. The policies we get stuck with the losses for, as the American public, are the ones they have their politician employees carry out for their own financial interests, not ours. When will we be sick of this enough, to say, Enough! as our incomes drop, our opportunities disappear and our jobs are offshored? When elites enrich themselves with threats of ever greater aggression? Do they prefer to corner us into a hot war, because they see the potential for profit is beyond any previous limit, as mad as they have become with greed? The President and his ill-advisors seem incapable of realizing the consequences of their intemperate domination gambits – John Kerry, having forgotten the early lessons of his long ago return from Viet Nam, tweeted from Kiev that he’s reminded there is nowhere in the world so remote that it isn’t essential to U.S. economic and security interests – and values. Just what would those lost values be? Which of his own moral decorations has he tossed over the White House fence at this late date?

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  3. no problem finding time for a little carbon (dioxide) finance summit in Mexico City!

    10 March – Businessweek: Switzerland Seeks Precision as Nations Shape Carbon Markets (1)
    South Africa, Brazil and Ukraine are among countries considering carbon markets that met last week in Mexico City under the auspices of the Partnership for Market Readiness, a World Bank program to develop nations’ emissions trading…

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-03-10/switzerland-seeks-precision-as-30-nations-shape-carbon-markets

    World Bank Carbon Finance Org: The Partnership for Market Readiness
    Shaping the Next Generation of Carbon Markets
    PMR Implementing Country Participants—Proposed Activities in Other Regions
    (SEE UKRAINE SECTION)

    https://wbcarbonfinance.org/docs/PMR_Brochure_v2.pdf

    PMR Update: Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR): Update Since PA7
    Eighth Meeting of the Partnership Assembly Mexico City, Mexico
    March 3-5, 2014

    http://www.thepmr.org/system/files/documents/PA8_Update.pdf

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  4. Vlad the Bad—sad, Eric has to bad mouth a great leader. Would Eric label USA president as Barry the O’Bomber? Not likely.

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  5. You forgot Venezuela on your list of CIA-DOE promoted subversion of legitimate governments.

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  6. George, wasn’t Eric using “Vlad the Bad” with a touch of sardonic irony?

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  7. Margolis’ article is his usual marvellous mix of sardonic invective and accurate information.

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  8. You hit it right on the head. Such hypocrites the westeren democracies, especially the U.S. they have been poking the Russian bear ever since the collapse of the old Soviet Union. Bringing the old East European nations into nato and then wanting to put missles on their territory. Claiming it is a safeguard against Iranian attack. As if Iran is going to immediately attack Europe or even had the capability to do so. Do they really think Russia, and Putin or that dumb? As was stated most of the idiots who are crying for the U.S. to be tough probably couldn’t find Ukraine on a map, yet they would want to bring two nuclear armed powers to the brink of war, by lunatic statements and screams. It is these idiotic elites who run our nation who are the dangerous ones who would keep us in constant war and lead us to bankruptcy, while most of them will go home to fabulous estates and money in the bank from the multinational corporations that they lobby for. A pox on all their heads!

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  9. There’s a saying that’s been around for some time now regarding the rules of war. It’s been around since the Atomic Age began with the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Japan in August of 1945; and, that is: Wars are started by rich old men and fought by poor young men, and a nuclear war would completely defy these rules; in that, the rich old men would be the first to die. This is why there has never been a nuclear war since those fateful days in August, 1945.

    Only total lunatics would launch a nuclear war, since this type of war will leave NO winners and a devastated planet barely habitable for 95%+ of life, both flora and fauna. Oh, a few life forms no higher than insects would survive and thrive, and that’s about it.

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  10. Eileen K. You are so right. NEVERTHELESS, the Pentagon aims to replace MAD with Disarming First Strike Capability according to missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org even if it leads to Launch On Warning and Suicide by mistake. The missiles in Romania, Poland and on 32 ships in the Mediterranean Sea will be deployed by 2018, so Launch On Warning will probably be deployed by 2017. In the Pentagon they don’t understand: THERE IS NO DEFENSE AGAINST LAUNCH ON WARNING !!!

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  11. Oh, sweet revenge. Vlad The Bad has single-handedly defeated Obama, along with the entire Zionist/Neocon establishment. Who are all now flailing around like chickens with their heads cut off. Don’t you just love it when bullies and ego-maniacs meet their match?

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  12. Most of what Eric says hits the nail squarely on the head, but there is another saying too: “Empires rise and empires fall”. What is happening in Ukraine now is severely conditioned by the fact that two empires that affect it are falling, albeit at different speeds and one starting twenty years later than the other. What could have happened in 1990-91 was an amicable divorce between eastern Europe and Russia, but Russia played it all wrong, driving its former empire into the waiting arms of the West, storing up resentment for it, and giving people an excuse to see some sort of continuity in Russian foreign and internal policy going back to Stalin. That Russian failure to liberalise its own politics in the 1970s and 1980s in time to deal with eastern Europe was the same reason that the oligarchs and the mafias got their hands on the wealth of the former Soviet Union, instead of it being available for the Russian state to modernise itself, and being able to provide loan guarantees to put some backbone into its PR and diplomacy. This is why a lot of Ukrainians stupidly believe their salvation is the US’s drop in the bucket 1 billion loan guarantee at the price of a “welcome to hell” austerity programme, and permits them to think that it is ok in a democracy to have people in ministerial positions who want to exterminate Jews and see those Ukrainians who fought for Hitler as heroes. It could have been different. And the US? Its desire for military bases around the world knows no bounds. Hopefully, for the sake of peace in the world, its economic decline will leave it unable to pay to maintain them. Would that that had happened earlier too.

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  13. What the western elites and governments don’t like and don’t understand is that Vladimir Putin is a christian and he is not gay. The leadership of the west thinks that this is unacceptable. The government of Russia does not approve of homosexuality and does approve of and supports christianity. This rightious stance is in stark contrast to the official position of the western powers who would love to stamp out national independance and all moral and religious virtue.

    Steven

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  14. Can you name me one Western nation that is not corrupt?

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