Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More ruminations on the Russo-Georgian war

August 19th, 2008

The Greanville Journal

“Sadly, the hawkish posture seems compulsory for any US politician, and whether it’s Obama or McCain or Bush or Lieberman or Rice or Biden, the language is the same, and the madness the same…”

Mikhail Saakashvili, Georgia’s president, has been coddled by the Western media from the start. An American educated lawyer, he was described as a crusader against corruption and poverty. Critics describe him as an authoritarian demagogue and a skillful populist. He’s also obviously quite capable of huge political miscalculations.

BY JOHN STEPPLING

THE HYPOCRITICAL AND EVEN OUTRIGHT DELUSIONAL COVERAGE of the Russian/Georgian crisis continues in the western mainstream press.

One constantly reads of this event prefaced by “the Russian invasion of Georgia…” as if Russia had just decided to annex Georgia. In fact, of course, Georgia had launched an assault on South Ossetia, that killed a dozen or more Russian peacekeepers (made up from the CIS, and sanctioned by the UN), and untold civilians (thousands is the figure the Red Cross estimates) to which Russia responded. And daily one must endure the depiction of Putin as the new *Hitler*. Now of course, there seems a new Hitler almost every month (Karadazic, Milosevic, Chavez, Mugabe, etc etc etc). What these new Hitlers seem to have in common is that they lead, or are part of, countries refusing to do business with the western corporate hegemon on the terms dictated by same. Putin took power after Yeltsin (Boris in one shining moment of clarity, assigned him as successor) and tried to clean up the mess Yeltsin had made when he, Yeltsin, was selling off national assets for something like 1% of their value to the new Oligarchs, the gangster class ( Berezovsky, and his protege, Roman Abramovich, Khodorkousky, et al) which had left Russians on the street selling whatever they had in order just to eat.

What Putin did was to reclaim Russia from the gangsters. This was not something corporate western governments saw as a good idea — western gangsters like Cheney, and Soros and the Bilderberg clan, or Maurice Tempelsman, are in fact much closer in ethics and moral outlook to the Russian mob). When the gangsters fled west (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/13/topstories3.russia) they began, with great help from western corporate media, to spin Putin as, yes, the new Hitler.

Whatever Putin’s faults, or mistakes (and before anyone leaps on the western versions of subjects like Chechnya, it’s useful to read some counter arguments, starting here…

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=3598…) he has provided security and prosperity to Russia. And let’s remember who backed those Chechnyan *freedom fighters* (many of the same oligarchs)– and how Muslim extremists are fine with the west in certain contexts (the Balkans and Chechnya) but remain the target of western warnings of an Islamic takeover of the planet in all other situations.

There is a reason Putin was elected overwhelmingly, and then re elected overwhelmingly. He has helped the people of Russia. And, additionally, remains one of the most articulate of all world leaders….but then the west rarely get any translations of his speeches.

What is astonishing are the number of contradictions are work in the mainstream media coverage. Suddenly the US is a friend to national sovereignty, although it just forced through an independent Kosovo, and the entire criminal bombing of Serbia was explained — in large part — as a way for Kosovo Albanians to achieve self determination (never mind there was already an Albanian state…..named…..uh….Albania….and never mind the KLA were war criminal gangster thugs). The US does what it wants; force Aristide from power, a man democratically elected, and replace him with Duvalierist criminals, or organize coups against Chavez while supporting narco-gangster Uribe in Colombia, or simply re-write history whether in the Balkans, or South America or, especially perhaps, in Africa ( read here on Rwanda: http://allthingspass.com/journalism.php?jid=119, or http://cirqueminime.blogcollective.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/30/3377099.html, or just read Robin Philpots book….or this article from Chris Black; http://cirqueminime.blogcollective.com/blog/_archives/2005/12/6/1437840.html). This has been the story for fifty some years….Lumumba, Allende, Mossadegh, and our friends like Mobutu, the Shah, and Pinochet. Yet, the official story remains, and it’s hard to tear down this received wisdom after a while.

Look at how China is bashed in the lead up to the Olympics. Now, China may be many things, that’s not the point, but even the supposed historical record for Mao is open for discussion. The Great Leap Foward was supposedly a disastrous policy that claimed the lives of 16 million Chinese, (with the latest kitsch biography of Mao, the figure is up to 60 million) and yet, those stats come from only two sources essentially, and both have State Department connections. The fact that Mao led a revolution that lifted hundreds of millions of peasants out of virtual slavery is forgotton and instead we get a focus on details like “he hardly ever brushed his teeth”. Soon, the famine that hit China is only the fault of Mao, and a perspective that might include India and its famines is neglected. Or famines anywhere. In India it’s the fault of nature or poor planning or something, but in China it’s the fault of those horrible commies. A read of Mike Davis’ book Late Victorian Holocausts would be useful here (http://www.amazon.com/Late-Victorian-Holocausts-Famines-Making/dp/1859843824/ref=pd_bbs_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219042300&sr=8-4).

The point though, regards the current affair, is that the US has been arming and training Georgia — so it could protect itself against *an al Qaeda cell* and other *rogue states and elements* — and this of course was part of the explanation for the missile defense program being sold to Poland and the Czech Republic. That is, to protect against Iranian nukes. Um, Iran hasn’t such nukes, and even if they did, why would they attack Warsaw? It’s just this cukoo non-logic that now runs rampant in the western spin on the current crisis. And Saakashvilli continues to be described as the paragon of democratic values; which of course is not at all the case. But who cares; we will be subjected to the incoherent rants of John McCain and the hectoring snarky bullshit of Condi Rice (a supposed Russian expert) and now the farcical blustering of Lech Kaczynski, the rotund former child actor (and one of the twins who ran Poland jointly for a while) and rabid Russophobe and reactionary, as they heap more and more blame on Russia and Putin.

It’s almost a weird nostalgia for Cold War rhetoric and tension. And the NYTimes and Washington Post continue to publish the lunacy of guys like Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol. Sadly, the hawkish posture seems compulsory for any US politician, and whether it’s Obama or McCain or Bush or Lieberman or Rice or Biden, the language is the same, and the madness the same. The western press has sunk to new lows, and the bottom feeders from the Time Warner or Murdoch organs of propaganda, spew out an endless stream of disinformation and lies. The self-righteous tone of truly insane men like John McCain reflect nothing so much as the totally impotent and collapsing empire on which they stand. The western neurasthenic pysche, a bloated pustule of willful ignorance and sadism, is reaching its final stages — the moral cancer has metastasized to all regions of the western authority structure. From the ever growing prison population and its ever increasing draconian methods, to the ruthlessness of occupation forces and the out of control private security firms (now on a street corner near you!) to the culture industry and its comic book world of jingoism and worship of authority, there seems no end short of total obliteration.

Here is a useful link, technical, but relevant in explaining exactly why Russia is feeling under threat:

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_10/LewisPostol

The only hope for us seems that the Empire might collapse on itself, crushed beneath the weight of a terminal economy, bad faith, and environmental breakdown. Sadly, that seems the best we can hope for.

—JS

oh, and we have this of course……….

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20080813_georgian_president_checks_in_with_glenn_beck_katie_couric/

which leaves one speechless. [Watch Katie Couric, for one, burnish her credentials as one of the most ignorant and clueless media propagandists in this pathetically biased segment that consumes practically her entire show. CNN's Glenn Beck, of course, is what any well informed person knows, a beyond-the-pale misinformer and agitator for the benefit of his plutocratic masters. It's amazing how much in-your-face criminality and hypocrisy can be deployed with impunity when the masses are kept in a constant state of apathy and confusion!]

And finally, some more useful info:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/15/russia_georgia_conflict_fueled_by_rush

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/saak-a18.shtml

Senior Editor John Steppling currently teaches film in Lodz, Poland. Before transferring to The Greanville Journal, Steppling and co-editor Guy Zimmerman helmed VOXPOP, our special blog devoted to theater, culture, arts and politics.

Source: http://www.bestcyrano.org/cyrano/?p=963#more-963

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