Friday, August 15, 2008

Pole Position: More U.S. Troops Sent to Russian Border

Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 15 August 2008

First Georgia, now Poland. The Bush Administration announced Thursday that American soldiers will begin manning missile sites in Poland -- part of an agreement that surpasses even the NATO treaty in binding Washington to an armed response to any attack on Polish soil.

Spokesminions for President George Butt-Thumper said the installation of the missile base is designed to protect Poland from an intercontinental missile attack from Iran. (The perfidious Persians' long-standing plans to conquer Poland are well-known, of course.) The minions say that the missiles and troops are not at all intended as a threat to Russia, which is being slowly encircled by NATO bases and American missiles -- despite solemn promises from Washington to refrain from, er, encircling Russia with NATO bases and American missiles.

But while Butt-Thumper was playing coy about the latest interjection of American cannon fodder into the now-roiling region, the Poles were admirably frank: they wanted a signed, ironclad deal that would force Americans to fight for them -- unlike the hapless Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili, who depended on a nod and a wink from militarist factions along the Potomac (apparently John McCain and his neocon crowd) when launching his own sneak attack on South Ossetia. [Justin Raimondo has more on this.]

As we all know, Misha was left up Saakashvili Creek without a paddle when the U.S. cavalry failed to ride to his rescue as expected. (Can there be any other explanation as to why he would launch his tiny military on a reckless adventure that was certain to provoke a massive Russian response? Obviously he thought Uncle Butt-Thumper would back him up.)

But there was none of that boneheaded shilly-shally for the Poles. They took advantage of the Bush Regime's panicky anxiety to look big and tough in front of the Russians and quickly sealed the missile base deal, wringing concessions that Washington had been resisting for 18 months.

The Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, put plainly what his country wanted out of the agreement: “Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later — it is no good when assistance comes to dead people. Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of — knock on wood — any possible conflict.”

Poland has an understandable fear of Russia, which has invaded and occupied its territory several times -- most recently, of course, in collaboration with the Bush Family's old business partners, Nazi Germany. Then again, Poland invaded and occupied Russia a few times too, back when it was a major power. Major powers tend to do that kind of thing. Which is why, as I noted in a recent comment exchange, one should be eternally suspicious of any person or group who takes control of massive, inhuman structures like states, because of our common human propensity to abuse power -- and to justify those abuses by claiming they are done in the name of some higher ideal. This applies no matter what system a particular state is based upon: capitalism, communism, theocracy -- or the grotesque chimera that now holds sway in both the United States and Russia: lawless, militarist authoritarian corporate-cronyism.

An American military move into Poland is the height of folly -- then again, we have been living on those dizzy heights for a number of years now, so there's nothing new in that.

But speaking of business partners, so much of the current unpleasantness would never have arisen if the dastard Putin had not begun hoarding Russia's natural resources for his cronies instead of giving it away to Butt-Thumper's buds. One recalls those halcyon days of yore when BP and Shell were striking fat oil and gas deals with Russian partners. Back then, Putin was Butt-Thumper's "soulmate," invited down for barbecues in Crawford. Back then, Putin was praised in the American media as the strong, steady hand that Russia needed, "a man we can do business with." Back then, Putin's astonishingly savage rampage through Chechnya and his installation of a regime of brutal thugs to preside over its remains were lauded as part of the war against Islamofascist terror.

But that was then and this is now. In the past few years, as the Kremlin has tightened its grip on Russia's oil and gas reserves and its indispensable pipelines to Europe, as it has grown rich from the spike in oil prices sparked by Bush's wars and threats of war, as its has rolled back Big Oil's presence in Russia -- often in harsh and humiliating ways -- Putin has steadily emerged in Western eyes as a tyrant, a bully, an ogre who threatens the stability of the entire world. (How long will it be before he is dubbed "the New Hitler"?)

The actual nature of Putin's regime has never mattered to our freedom-loving elites. The only "foreign policy" question they have is this: "Will they play ball? Will they fork over?" If Putin had only let the Western elite have a nice juicy slice of the Russian pie -- and maybe joined in one or two of Butt-Thumper's wars -- why, he could have romped and scampered around the region all he liked. But he didn't, and so now we have a "new Cold War," with Washington pouring oil on the fires in the Caucus and stirring the embers of fear and suspicion on the Russian-Polish frontier.

What next? Landing an expeditionary force in Vladivostok?

UPDATE: As'ad AbuKhalil weighs in with these observations (in separate posts, here and here):

My favorite thing about the whole coverage of the Georgia situation in the U.S. is the way the White House and media are feigning outrage over Russian actions. They just are aghast that a country can send its troops (across the border) under pretext of national security and defense. I mean, the U.S. would never ever send troops, say 10, 000 miles away from its border, under those pretexts. Never.

If I were Putin, I would have toppled the Georgian government, and installed a puppet government and then I would have said: We are here in Georgia at the invitation of the "democratically-elected" government of Georgia, and we will stay in Georgia as long as we are needed, and not one day longer. And I will make decisions on the basis of my military commanders on the ground, and in consultation with the new government of Georgia."


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