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Get Vlad! ... How Putin Blocked the U.S. Pivot to Asia

By       Message Mike Whitney       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   33 comments

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Reprinted from Counterpunch

From openclipart.org/detail/193683/Vladimir-Putin-2006-by-wanglizhong: Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
(Image by openclipart.org)
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"The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington's power to act unilaterally abroad. ... Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the 'world's only superpower.' Neoconservatives proclaimed 'the end of history.'" -- Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury

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"Don't blame the mirror if your face is crooked." -- Russian proverb

On February 10, 2007, Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference that created a rift between Washington and Moscow that has only deepened over time. The Russian President's blistering hour-long critique of US foreign policy provided a rational, point-by-point indictment of US interventions around the world and their devastating effect on global security.

Putin probably didn't realize the impact his candid observations would have on the assembly in Munich or the reaction of powerbrokers in the US who saw the presentation as a turning point in US-Russian relations. But, the fact is, Washington's hostility towards Russia can be traced back to this particular incident, a speech in which Putin publicly committed himself to a multipolar global system, thus, repudiating the NWO pretensions of US elites. Here's what he said:

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"I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue."

With that one formulation, Putin rejected the United States assumed role as the world's only superpower and steward of global security, a privileged position which Washington feels it earned by prevailing in the Cold War and which entitles the US to unilaterally intervene whenever it sees fit. Putin's announcement ended years of bickering and deliberation among think-tank analysts as to whether Russia could be integrated into the US-led system or not. Now they knew that Putin would never dance to Washington's tune.

In the early years of his presidency, it was believed that Putin would learn to comply with western demands and accept a subordinate role in the Washington-centric system. But it hasn't worked out that way. The speech in Munich merely underscored what many US hawks and Cold Warriors had been saying from the beginning, that Putin would not relinquish Russian sovereignty without a fight. The declaration challenging US aspirations to rule the world, left no doubt that Putin was going to be a problem that had to be dealt with by any means necessary including harsh economic sanctions, a State Department-led coup in neighboring Ukraine, a conspiracy to crash oil prices, a speculative attack of the ruble, a proxy war in the Donbass using neo-Nazis as the empire's shock troops, and myriad false flag operations used to discredit Putin personally while driving a wedge between Moscow and its primary business partners in Europe.

Now the Pentagon is planning to send 600 paratroopers to Ukraine ostensibly to "train the Ukrainian National Guard," a serious escalation that violates the spirit of Minsk 2 and which calls for a proportionate response from the Kremlin. Bottom line: The US is using all the weapons in its arsenal to prosecute its war on Putin.

Last week's gangland-style murder of Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, has to be considered in terms of the larger geopolitical game that is currently underway. While we may never know who perpetrated the crime, we can say with certainty that the lack of evidence hasn't deterred the media or US politicians from using the tragedy to advance an anti-Putin agenda aimed at destabilizing the government and triggering regime change in Moscow. Putin himself suggested that the killing may have been a set-up designed to put more pressure on the Kremlin. The World Socialist Web Site summed up the political implications like this:

"The assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a significant political event that arises out of the US-Russia confrontation and the intense struggle that is now underway within the highest levels of the Russian state. The Obama administration and the CIA are playing a major role in the escalation of this conflict, with the aim of producing an outcome that serves the global geo-political and financial interests of US imperialism...

"It is all but obvious that the Obama administration is hoping a faction will emerge within the Russian elite, backed by elements in the military and secret police, capable of staging a 'palace coup' and getting rid of Putin...

"The United States is not seeking to trigger a widespread popular revolt. (But) are directed entirely at convincing a section of the oligarchy and emerging capitalist class that their business interests and personal wealth depend upon US support. That is why the Obama administration has used economic sanctions targeting individuals as a means of exerting pressure on the oligarchs as well as broader sections of the entrepreneurial elite...

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"It is in the context of this international power struggle that one must evaluate Nemtsov's murder. Of course, it is possible that his death was the outcome of his private dealings. But it is more likely that he was killed for political reasons. Certainly, the timing of the killing--on the eve of the opposition's anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow--strongly indicates that the killing was a political assassination, not a private settling of accounts." ("Murder in Moscow: Why was Boris Nemtsov assassinated?" David North, World Socialist Web Site)

Just hours after Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow, the western media swung into action releasing a barrage of articles suggesting Kremlin involvement without a shred of evidence to support their claims. The campaign of innuendo has steadily gained momentum as more Russia "experts" and politicians offer their opinions about who might be responsible. Naturally, none of the interviewees veer from the official storyline that someone in Putin's charge must have carried out the attack. An article in the Washington Post is a good example of the tactics used in the latest PR campaign to discredit Putin. According to Vladimir Gel'man, Political Scientists European University at St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki:

"Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of political opposition, was shot dead nearby the Kremlin. In my opinion, it has all the hallmarks of a political assassination provoked by an aggressive Kremlin-induced campaign against the 'fifth column of national traitors,' who opposed the annexation of Crimea, war with the West over Ukraine, and further decline of political and civil freedoms in the country. We may never know whether the Kremlin ordered this killing, but given the fact that Nemtsov was one of the most consistent critics not only of the Russian regime as such but also of Putin in person, his dissenting voice will never upset Putin and his inner circle anymore." ("What does Boris Nemtsov's murder mean for Russia?" Washington Post)

The article in the Washington Post is fairly typical of others published in the MSM. The coverage is invariably long on finger-pointing and insinuation and short on facts. Traditional journalistic standards of objectivity and fact-gathering have been jettisoned to advance a political agenda that reflects the objectives of ownership. The Nemtsov assassination is just the latest illustration of the abysmal state of western media.

The idea that Putin's agents would "whack" an opposition candidate just a stone's throw from the Kremlin is far fetched to say the least. As one commenter at the Moon of Alabama blog noted:

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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