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Sochi: US vs Russia

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(Article changed on January 22, 2014 at 13:12)

Today's news that the Russian government is hunting for four Dagestani terrorists is accompanied by the seemingly casual announcement that the U.S. is so worried about terrorist attacks during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the Russian Black Sea resort located on the other side of the Caucasus Mountains from Dagestan, that it has poised warships in the Black Sea ready to evacuate victims.

As world opinion appears to be shifting from half a century of deference to Washington to a sometimes grudging preference for Russia's international positions, the Obama administration will increasingly engage in anti-Russian propaganda and mischief as the February games approach.   This afternoon, MSNBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel told Andrea Mitchell from Moscow that the U.S. finds Russian cooperation on security insuf-ficient, and the Voice of America website complained that Washington is not getting all the information it needs to protect its athletes in the Games.  

Although the Russian President declares that his country is prepared for any eventuality, fear is likely to inhibit American travel to the other side of the world in the middle of winter.  Does anyone know whether the U.S. had ships poised off the British Coast during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, even though Britain had suffered terrorist attacks in the preceding years?

Perhaps not unrelated to Russia's chance to show it can compete with the West in organizing a major international event, violent anti-government demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital Kiev have been on-going since the country's president decided to forego an agreement with the European Union last November. Kiev is 860 miles from Sochi (a relatively small distance as Russian geography goes), and today, Washington accused the Ukrainian government of using excessive force, notwithstanding that dozens of policemen have been injured by club-wielding demonstrators. Their leader is world heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, whose far-right party, called strike, blow or punch, is allied with the Ukrainian neo-Nazi party Svoboda. Rumors that neo-Nazis from Western Ukraine have been the driving force in the months' long uprising have been ignored by the Western media and no wonder: As with Washing-ton's embarassing support of Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, an Assistant Secretary of State was photographed giving the Ukrainian demonstrators cookies. 

Recently, there were two bombings in Volgograd, a major rail hub six hundred miles northeast of Sochi, accompanied by specific threats against the games on the part of a militant Sunni group that is fighting for Dagestani independence.   (The Caucasus Muslim region of Dagestan was the home of the Boston bombers...) One of the men seemed to be referring to potential American spectators when he said:  "We've prepared a present for you and all tourists who come over."

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Alfred McCoy's recent analysis ( ) of the fact that the national security state is not about national security, but about the blackmailing of national and foreign leaders in order to keep them in line, couldn't be more a propos. The policy began with the conquest of the Philippines more than a hundred years ago and was perfected by J. Edgar Hoover, who founded the FBI in 1935 and led it until his death in 1972, accumu-lating embarrassing files even on the country's presidents.

 In the Philippines, as elsewhere, the U.S. resorted to all sorts of dirty tricks to get its way.  But whatever happens in Sochi next month, it is unlikely to fundamentally alter the current direction of the arrow of time, away from American world leadership and toward a bigger role for Russia.

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Born in Philadelphia, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe. I began my journalistic career at the French News Agency in Rome, spent two years in Cuba finding out whether the Barbados were Communists before they made the (more...)

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Today's extrardinary violence in Kiev, led by neo-... by Deena Stryker on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 at 1:09:20 PM
We know you are biased, but this? " Vitaly Kli... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 9:13:08 AM
I don't know how much you know about Klitchko's ba... by Deena Stryker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:13:13 AM
"Fascist leaning groups" who survived for seventy... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:23:20 PM
What Wiki article are you quoting here? It seems... by Deena Stryker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:19:32 PM
The article is "Ukraine", go to section WWII. Yo... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:18:25 AM
P.S.  Not to mention right here in the US the... by Deena Stryker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:21:22 PM
Really?  "here in the US the armed groups... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:12:51 AM
How about people who don't like Russian dominatio... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:28:24 PM
I'm not implying that it is wrong for Ukrainians ... by Deena Stryker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:16:21 PM
You seem to be implying that those who want to jo... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:21:18 AM
I don't know whether the US media is reporting on ... by Deena Stryker on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 12:14:09 PM
I am sure that RT is an "objective" source. And ... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 1:31:29 PM
And by the way, the European US satellites did qui... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:22:55 AM
It's precisely because they did very well while af... by Deena Stryker on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 12:15:37 PM
You should make up your mind. First you say: " ... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 1:34:30 PM
There is nothing contradictory in what I have wri... by Deena Stryker on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 8:07:35 PM
The image of US that you paint is very sinister a... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 9:04:36 PM
Did you live in Europe as an independent person o... by Deena Stryker on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 8:57:46 AM
If Russia wants to join EU, it is fine with me. I... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:32:49 PM
The socialist ethos is pro-peace and pro solidari... by Deena Stryker on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 4:18:37 PM
I understand socialist ethos, just don't see much... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 5:33:57 PM
You don't have to take it literally.  Russia... by Deena Stryker on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 8:39:53 PM
I don't, but many of your readers will think that... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 8:10:54 AM