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Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space

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Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
Rick Rozoff

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completed a four-day, five-nation tour of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus by holding a press conference with Georgia's volatile president Mikheil Saakashvili and delivering what in effect was a harsh ultimatum to Russia.

A stern and even provocative admonishment which clearly defines the narrow parameters within which the current U.S. administration has "pushed the reset button" with Moscow.

As Clinton's own comments best illustrate, Russia is a partner of the United States when it assists in levying onerous sanctions against Iran, provides support for the nine-year American and NATO war in Afghanistan (and neighboring Pakistan), and timidly accedes to the Pentagon taking over military bases and stationing interceptor missile batteries along Russia's Western flank from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

But should Russia object, however perfunctorily, however reticently, to Washington shearing the sheep too closely by recruiting former Soviet states and neighboring nations into its political, economic, energy and military blocs, then Clinton and the administration she is the foreign policy point person for will not hesitate to rebuff and even gratuitously insult its Russian "partner."

Speaking in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and reiterating the demand that Russian troops evacuate Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ceding both to the less than tender designs of American client Saakashvili, the U.S.'s top diplomat stated, "That is the rebuke (to Russia) that no one can dispute." [1]

With Saakashvili, who graduated from New York's Columbia University (Zbigniew Brzezinski's haunts) on a State Department fellowship in the 1990s, to her side, on July 5 Clinton all but ordered Russia to remove its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia: "I came to Georgia with a clear message from President Obama and myself. The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States does not recognize spheres of influence. President Obama and I have also communicated this message directly to our Russian counterparts, most recently during our meetings in Washington on June 24th....As I told the [Georgian] president, President Obama and I and other American officials raise our concerns about the invasion and occupation with Russian counterparts on a consistent basis. And it is very important for us that we do so, because we are very frank in asserting our concerns and our ongoing support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity." [2]

Saakashvili seized on her words, crowing that Obama and Clinton were the first major American officials to use the word invasion in lieu of earlier terms that almost sound diplomatic in tone. The Georgian leader said: "President Obama was the first one to call a spade a spade, basically, to say it was an invasion. Because before, as you remember, the term 'disproportionate use of force' was used....President Obama was the first one to use the term." [3]

That the U.S. invaded and still militarily occupies Afghanistan and Iraq was not mentioned by either official. That Georgia has supplied 2,900 troops for both wars wasn't mentioned either.

At an earlier town hall meeting in Tbilisi Clinton stated her government was "appalled, and totally rejected" the Russian argument that it was protecting the lives of its citizens in the two South Caucasus republics. "We, the United States, was appalled, and totally rejected the invasion and occupation of Georgian territory. I was in the Senate at the time, and, along with my colleagues and the prior Administration, made that view very clear. We continue to speak out, as I have on this trip, against the continuing occupation." [4]

She reached into her quiver for the familiar verbal projectiles appropriate to the occasion: Acting as guarantor for Georgia's claims on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have never been part of post-Soviet Georgia, and branding Russia's defense of the two republics as invasion and occupation. Clinton, an attorney like Saakashvili, completed her indictment of Russia with the repeated asseveration that it is not entitled to a sphere of influence on its borders and in territory that had been its own for centuries.

Despite Clinton's claim to the contrary, the United States most decidedly recognizes spheres of influence. In its own hemisphere - the entirety of it - in the South Caucasus and everywhere else on the planet. Its own sphere of influence and those of its allies and client states. It is the policy presented in the Aesopian apologue from which the expression the lion's share is derived: What's mine is mine, what's yours is ours and what's ours is mine.

The Ultimate Sphere: The Earth

Two years after being catapulted from the Illinois state legislature (where few outside his Chicago district had heard of him) into the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (until the year before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations) and less than two years before becoming president elucidated his notion of spheres of influence (and political Manichaeism and messianism):

"I dismiss the cynics who say that this new century cannot be another when, in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth."

"We must maintain the strongest, best-equipped military in the world in order to defeat and deter conventional threats....I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines....No President should ever hesitate to use force unilaterally if necessary to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened."

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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