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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/21/17

Putin's World: Part 3 of Reactive Mismeasures: The New Yorker and the "New" Cold-War Propaganda

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   2 comments, In Series: Reactive Mismeasures
Message Thomas Riggins

This is the third part (of 5) of a paragraph-by-paragraph commentary on a recent article posing as journalism in the March 6, 2017, issue of The New Yorker. I hope to demonstrate that this article is basically a totally mendacious concoction of cold-war US propaganda constructed out of unsubstantiated opinions expressed by US government officials and various journalists and others who are hostile to the current Russian government. There are a few paragraphs exempt from this characterization and they are duly noted. I have put a link to the article itself so that my commentary can be compared, paragraph by paragraph, to the original. However, the commentary can be read on its own. I contend it expresses the real meaning of the original paragraph and my evaluation of that meaning. The original is there for anyone to check to see if I have distorted rather than clarified what the paragraph's actual meaning is. It is my position that this article is junk journalism that misrepresents the objective reality it purports to describe and that my commentary points out the misrepresentations and attempts to correct them. I hold that no self-respecting journalist would write an article such as this New Yorker piece and palm it off on the public. My commentary is also an object lesson on how to distinguish between reportage that at least attempts to be unbiased and obvious, nonobjective propaganda. You will know more about Trump, Putin and the New Cold War from the commentary than you will ever know from the original article.

Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War - The New Yorker

Active measures were used by both sides throughout the Cold War. In the nineteen-sixties, ... Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008, ...

click here

Section 3 "Putin's World" -- This section has thirty-one paragraphs:

'Preface' I am basically going to list the known facts in each paragraph and mostly ignore blatant speculation, value judgments, and ridiculous reportage (such as Putin's inner mental states) except to point them out.

1. Putin was born in Leningrad in 1952. In WWII the Nazis besieged the city for 900 days and mass starvation occurred. His father was wounded during the war. He joined the KGB when he was 23 in 1975 and ended up in the German Democratic Republic.

2. When the Wall came down in 1989 Putin was in Dresden burning documents in a Soviet compound. Russia did not intervene to save the Wall.

3. Putin went back to Russia and the Soviet Union dissolved and the eastern European socialist countries "went their own way."

4. In August 1991 Communists loyal to the USSR attempted a coup to preserve the Soviet Union -- it failed.

5. The fall of the USSR brought new rights to masses of people, but also tens of millions of Russian Soviet citizens now found themselves outside of Russia in newly independent former Soviet republics -- many were anxious about the future.

6. Putin's speeches, etc., recall the 1990s as a period of social anarchy in which the Western powers tired to take advantage of Russia. The authors state that Putin overlooks some "stubborn facts" but only provide one, if any, and that is that Russia was allowed into the G7 which became the G8. What they don't mention is that the US had promised not to expand NATO or try to include former Soviet allies in a new bigger NATO pressed up on the borders of Russia. The US then did just the opposite. The US and the West also connived to break up Yugoslavia and militarily attack Serbia, a friend of Russia. Having incited violence in the Balkans, the US then used the violence to justify Western intervention. The authors state that the expansion of NATO to the countries the US had promised not to was due to the fact that they "wanted protection." But no one was threatening them!

7. Strobe Talbott, President Clinton's top advisor on Russia, justified not keeping the promise to Russia re NATO expansion on the grounds that it felt "unfair" to him not to let the former Soviet allies into NATO. Not to do so because Russia might be "frightened" by having the US push NATO right up to its borders "didn't hold water."

8. In 1996 while visiting Russia Clinton tells Talbott that he doesn't regret expanding NATO and intervening in the Balkans even though it was putting Yeltsin on the spot.

9. Frank talk from Clinton to Talbot (a direct quote): "We keep telling ol' Boris [Yeltsin] 'O.K. now here's what you've got to do next -- here's some more sh*t for you face.'" It appears that the problems we have with Putin is that he won't take our sh*t in his face.

10. Earlier Yeltsin had complained to Talbott about the US's superior attitude towards Russia. The counter-revolutionary transition from a socialist to a capitalist economy had disrupted Russian society but Yeltsin told Talbott "Russia will rise again" and he wanted "equal treatment" from the US. [Russia has nuclear weapons but as an economic power it just isn't equal to the US. The US has caused a lot of unnecessary problems for all concerned by rubbing Russia's nose in this fact.]

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Thomas Riggins, PhD CUNY, is a retired university lecturer in philosophy and ancient history and the former book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.

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