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Putin's Dilemma: Fending Off the United State's Imperial Hand

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Cross-posted from Counterpunch

From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCWRcwtF8mA: Vladimir Putin and Ukraine
Vladimir Putin and Ukraine
(Image by YouTube)
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"The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world's paramount power." (p. xiii)

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"Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia -- and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained." (p.30)~~Excerpts from The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997

"We were promised in Munich that after the unification of Germany, no expansion of NATO would take place in the East. Then NATO expanded by adding former Warsaw Pact countries, former U.S.S.R. countries, and I asked: 'Why are you doing that?' And they told me, 'It is not your business.'"~~ Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow press conference, April 2014

The United States is in the opening phase of a war on Russia. Policymakers in Washington have shifted their attention from the Middle East to Eurasia where they hope to achieve the most ambitious part of the imperial project; to establish forward-operating bases along Russia's western flank, to stop further economic integration between Asia and Europe, and to begin the long-sought goal of dismembering the Russian Federation. These are the objectives of the current policy. 

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The US intends to spread its military bases across Central Asia, seize vital resources and pipeline corridors, and encircle China in order to control its future growth. The dust-up in Ukraine indicates that the starting bell has already been rung and the operation is fully-underway. As we know from past experience, Washington will pursue its strategy relentlessly while shrugging off public opinion, international law or the condemnation of adversaries and allies alike. The world's only superpower does not have to listen to anyone. It is a law unto itself.

The pattern, of course, is unmistakable. It begins with sanctimonious finger-wagging, economic sanctions and incendiary rhetoric, and quickly escalates into stealth bombings, drone attacks, massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, millions of fleeing refugees, decimated towns and cities, death squads, wholesale human carnage, vast environmental devastation, and the steady slide into failed state anarchy; all of which is accompanied by the stale repetition of state propaganda spewed from every corporate bullhorn in the western media.

Isn't that how things played out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?

Indeed, it did. And now it's on to Moscow. Putin's survival and that of the Russian Federation depends to large extent to his ability to grasp the new reality quickly and to adapt accordingly. If he decides to ignore the warning signs hoping that Washington can be appeased or that the men who dictate US foreign policy can be persuaded to abandon the so-called "pivot to Asia," he could face the same end as Saddam or Gadhafi. So the first priority is simply to accept the fact that the war has begun. All future policy decisions should derive from that basic understanding.

So what does Putin know already?

He knows that the CIA, the US State Department and the US-funded NGOs were directly involved in the coup in Kiev. He knows (from hacked phone messages) that Washington had a hand in picking the junta's leaders. He knows that the White House and NATO have already undermined the spirit of Friday's Geneva agreement by threatening to intensify economic sanctions and by planning to move more military assets to the Baltics as well as 10,000 US ground troops to Poland and additional American warships to the Black Sea. 

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He knows that high-ranking US policymakers have demonized him in the media as the new Hitler, a moniker that is unfailingly affixed to targets of Washington's aggression. And he knows that the Obama team is loaded with bloodthirsty neocons and recalcitrant Cold Warriors who have never abandoned the idea of splintering Russia into smaller pieces, pilfering its resources, and installing a US puppet in Moscow.

To that end, the western media has shaped an absurd narrative that Crimea is part of "evil" Putin's plan to reconstruct the Soviet Union and return to the glory days of the Russian Empire. While there's no point in refuting such a laughable allegation, it is worth noting that many journalists have repudiated the media's performance comparing the coverage to state-managed propaganda. Here's how Robert Parry summed it up in a recent piece:

"In my four-plus decades in journalism, I have never seen a more thoroughly biased and misleading performance by the major U.S. news media. Even during the days of Ronald Reagan ...there was more independence in major news outlets. There were media stampedes off the reality cliff during George H.W. Bush's Persian Gulf War and George W. Bush's Iraq War, both of which were marked by demonstrably false claims that were readily swallowed by the big U.S. news outlets.

"But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of 'propaganda' when their accounts...are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing. The casualness of this propaganda... is not just wretched journalism but it is reckless malfeasance jeopardizing the lives of many Ukrainians and the future of the planet." ("Ukraine, through the US looking glass," Robert Parry, Smirking Chimp)

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.


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