Article 43


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bad Moon Rising Part 29 - Putin Walks Into A Trap

For the first time in history - and I want to emphasize this - there are elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security.
- Russian President Vladmir Putin at the 2007 G8 Summit

Putin Walks Into A Trap

By Mike Whitney
Information Clearinghouse
August 13, 2008

The American-armed and trained Georgian army swarmed into South Ossetia last Thursday, killing an estimated 2,000 civilians, sending 40,000 South Ossetians fleeing over the Russian border, and destroying much of the capital, Tskhinvali. The attack was unprovoked and took place a full 24 hours before even ONE Russian soldier set foot in South Ossetia. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans still believe that the Russian army invaded Georgian territory first. The BBC, AP, NPR, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment media has consistently and deliberately misled its readers into believing that the violence in South Ossetia was initiated by the Kremlin. Let’s be clear, it wasn’t. In truth, there is NO dispute about the facts except among the people who rely the western press for their information. Despite its steady loss of credibility, the corporate media continues to operate as the propaganda-arm of the Pentagon.

Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev gave a good summary of events in an op-ed in Monday’s Washington Post:

“For some time, relative calm was maintained in South Ossetia. The peacekeeping force composed of Russians, Georgians and Ossetians fulfilled its mission, and ordinary Ossetians and Georgians, who live close to each other, found at least some common ground....What happened on the night of Aug. 7 is beyond comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas....Mounting a military assault against innocents was a reckless decision whose tragic consequences, for thousands of people of different nationalities, are now clear. The Georgian leadership could do this only with the perceived support and encouragement of a much more powerful force. Georgian armed forces were trained by hundreds of U.S. instructors, and its sophisticated military equipment was bought in a number of countries. This, coupled with the promise of NATO membership, emboldened Georgian leaders into thinking that they could get away with a “blitzkrieg” in South Ossetia...Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against “small, defenseless Georgia” is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity.” ("A Path to Peace in the Caucasus”, Mikhail Gorbachev, Washington Post)

The question for Americans is whether they trust Mikhail Gorbachev more than the corporate media?

Russia deployed its tanks and troops to South Ossetia to save the lives of civilians and to reestablish the peace. Period. It has no interest in annexing the former-Soviet country or in expanding its present borders. Now that the Georgian army has been routed, Russian president Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have expressed a willingness to settle the dispute through normal diplomatic channels at the United Nations. Neither leader is under any illusions about Washington’s involvement in the hostilities. They know that Georgian President Mikail Saakashvili is an American stooge who came to power in a CIA-backed coup, the so-called “Rose Revolution”, and would never order a major military operation without explicit instructions from his White House puppetmasters. Most likely, the orders to invade came directly from the office of the Vice President, Dick Cheney.

The Georgian army had no chance of winning a war with Russia or any intention of occupying the territory they captured. The real aim was to lure the Russian army into a trap. US planners hope to do what they did so skillfully in Afghanistan; lure their Russian prey into a long and bloody Chechnya-type fiasco that will pit their Russia troops against guerrilla forces armed and trained by US military and intelligence agencies. The war will be waged in the name of liberating Georgia from Russian imperialism and stopping Putin from achieving his alleged ambition to control critical western-owned pipelines around the Caspian Basin. Much of this “think tank” generated narrative has already appeared in the mainstream media or been articulated by American political elites. Meanwhile, the fighting in the Caucasus has diverted attention from the massive US naval armada that is presently sailing towards the Persian Gulf for the long-anticipated confrontation with Iran.

Operation Brimstone, the joint US, UK and French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran, ended just last week. The war games were designed to simulate a naval blockade of Iran and the probable Iranian response.

According to Earl of Stirling on the Global Research web site:

“The war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the “enemy force. The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagen (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.”

Stirling adds:

“A strategic diversion has been created for Russia. The South Ossetia capital has been shelled and a large Georgian tank force has been heading towards the border....American Marines, a thousand of them, have recently been in Georgia training the Georgian military forces… Russia has stated that it will not sit by and allow the Georgians to attack South Ossetia...This could get bad, and remember it is just a strategic diversion....but one that could have horrific effects.” ("Massive US Naval Armada Heads for Iran”, Earl of Stirling, Global Research)

In June, former foreign policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, presented the basic storyline that would be used against Russia two full months before the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. The article appeared on the Kavkazcenter web site. Brzezinski said the United States witnessed “cases of possible threats by Russia, directed at Georgia with the intention of taking control over the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline”.


“Russia actively tends to isolate the Central Asian region from direct access to world economy, especially to energy supplies..If Georgia government is destabilized, western access to Baku, Caspian Sea and further will be limited”. LINK .

Nonsense. Neither Putin nor newly-elected president Dmitry Medvedev have any such intention. It is absurd to think that Russia, having extracted itself from two pointless wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan, and after years of grinding poverty and social unrest following the fall of the Soviet state, would choose to wage an energy war with the nuclear-armed US military. That would be complete madness. Brzezinski’s speculation is part of broader narrative that’s been crafted for the western media to provide a rationale for upcoming aggression against Russia. Brzezinski is not only the architect of the mujahadin-led campaign against Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but also, the author of “The Grand Chessboard--American Primacy and it’s Geostrategic Imperatives”, the operating theory behind the war on terror which involves massive US intervention in Central Asia to control vital resources, fragment Russia, and surround manufacturing giant, China.

“The Grand Chessboard” it is the 21st century’s version of the Great Game. The book begins with this revealing statement:

“Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power.....The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics.”

This is the heart-and-soul of the war on terror. The real braintrust behind “neverending conflict” was actually focussed on Central Asia. It was the pro-Israeli crowd in the Republican Party that pulled the old switcheroo and refocussed on the Middle East rather than Eurasia. Now, powerful members of the US foreign policy establishment (Brzezinski, Albright, Holbrooke) have regrouped behind the populist “cardboard” presidential candidate Barak Obama and are preparing to redirect America’s war efforts to the Asian theater. Obama offers voters a choice of wars not a choice against war.

On Sunday, Brzezinski accused Russia of imperial ambitions comparing Putin to “Stalin and Hitler” in an interview with Nathan Gardels.


What is the world to make of Russia’s invasion of Georgia?

Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Fundamentally at stake is what kind of role Russia will play in the new international system.(aka: New World Order) Unfortunately, Putin is putting Russia on a course that is ominously similar to Stalin’s and Hitler’s in the late 1930s. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has correctly drawn an analogy between Putin’s “justification” for dismembering Georgia—because of the Russians in South Ossetia—to Hitler’s tactics vis a vis Czechoslovakia to “free” the Sudeten Deutsch. Even more ominous is the analogy of what Putin is doing vis-a-vis Georgia to what Stalin did vis-a-vis Finland: subverting by use of force the sovereignty of a small democratic neighbor. In effect, morally and strategically, Georgia is the Finland of our day.

The question the international community now confronts is how to respond to a Russia that engages in the blatant use of force with larger imperial designs in mind: to reintegrate the former Soviet space under the Kremlin’s control and to cut Western access to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia by gaining control over the Baku/Ceyhan pipeline that runs through Georgia.

In brief, the stakes are very significant. At stake is access to oil as that resource grows ever more scarce and expensive and how a major power conducts itself in our newly interdependent world, conduct that should be based on accommodation and consensus, not on brute force.

If Georgia is subverted, not only will the West be cut off from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We can logically anticipate that Putin, if not resisted, will use the same tactics toward the Ukraine. Putin has already made public threats against Ukraine.” ("Brzezinski: Russia’s invasion of Georgia is Reminiscent of Stalin’s attack on Finland”; Huffington Post)

Brzezinski takes great pride in being a disciplined and rational spokesman for US imperial projects. It is unlike him to use such hysterical rhetoric. Perhaps, the present situation is more tenuous than we know. Could it be that the financial system is closer to meltdown-phase than anyone realizes?

It should be clear by Brzezinski’s comments that Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia was not another incoherent exercise in neocon chest-thumping, but part of a larger strategy to drag Russia into an endless conflict that will sap its resources, decrease its prestige on the global stage, weaken its grip on regional power, strengthen frayed alliances between Europe and America, and divert attention from a larger campaign in the Gulf. It is particularly worrisome that Brzezinski appears to be involved in the planning. Brzezinski, Holbrooke and Albright form the “Imperialist A-Team”; these are not the bungling “Keystone Cops” neocons like Feith and Rumsfeld who trip over themselves getting out of bed in the morning. These are cold-blooded Machiavellian imperialists who know how to work the media and the diplomatic channels to conceal their genocidal operations behind a smokescreen of humanitarian mumbo-jumbo. They know what they are doing and they are good at it. They’re not fools. They have aligned themselves with the Obama camp and are preparing for the next big outbreak of global trouble-making. This should serve as a sobering wake-up call for voters who still think Obama represents “Change We Can Believe In”.

Richard Holbrooke appeared on Tuesday’s Jim Lerher News Hour with resident neocon Margaret Warner. Typical of Warner’s “even-handed” approach, both of the interviewees were ultra-conservatives from right-wing think tanks: Richard Holbrooke, from the Council on Foreign Relations and Dmiti Simes from the Nixon Center.

According to Holbrooke,

“The Russians deliberately provoked (the fighting in South Ossetia) and timed it for the Olympics. This is a long-standing Russian effort to get rid of President Saakashvili.”

Right. Is that why Putin was so shocked when he heard the news (while he was in Beijing) that he quickly boarded a plane and headed for Moscow? (after shaking his finger angrily at Bush!)


“And I want to stress, I’m not a warmonger, and I don’t want a new Cold War any more than Dimitri does....The Russians wish to re-establish a historic area of hegemony that includes Ukraine. And it is no accident that the other former Soviet republics are watching this and extraordinarily upset, as Putin progresses with an attempt to re-create a kind of a hegemonic space.”

It is impossible to go over all of Holbrooke’s distortions, half-truths and lies in one article but, what is important is to recognize that a false narrative is being constructed to demonize Putin and to justify future hostilities against Russia. Holbrooke’s bogus assertions are identical to Brzezinski’s, and yet, these same lies are already appearing in the mainstream media. The propaganda “bullet points” have already been determined; “Putin is a menace","Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet empire”, “Putin is an autocrat”. (Unlike our “freedom loving” allies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt!?!) In truth, Putin is simply enjoying Russia’s newly acquired energy-wealth and would like to be left alone. But it is impossible to be left alone when the US spends 24 hours a day pestering people. The world deserves a break from an extremely irritating USA.

So why are Brzezinski and his backers in the foreign policy establishment demonizing Putin and threatening Russia with “ostracism, isolation and economic penalties?” What is Putin’s crime?

Putin’s problems can be traced back to a speech he made in Munich nearly two years ago when he declared unequivocally that he rejected the basic tenets of the Bush Doctrine and US global hegemony. His speech amounted to a Russian Declaration of Independence. That’s when western elites, particularly at the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Enterprise Institute put Putin on their “enemies list” along with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Morales, Mugabe and anyone else who refuses to take orders from the Washington Mafia.

Here’s what Putin said in Munich:

“The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign---- one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.Ŕ

Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves---wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. More are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!

Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of force - military force in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?

In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate. And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.

I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.֔

Every word Putin spoke was true which is why it was NOT REPRINTED IN WESTERN MEDIA.

“Unilateral and illegitimate military actions”, the uncontained hyper-use of force”, the disdain for the basic principles of international law”, and most importantly; No one feels safe!”

Putin’s claims are all indisputable, that is why he has entered the neocons crosshairs. He poses a direct challenge to - what Brzezinski calls - the “international system”, which is shorthand for the corporate/banking cartel that is controlled by the western oligarchy of racketeers.

South Ossetia was a trap and Putin took the bait. Unfortunately for Bush, the wily Russian prime minister is considerably brighter than anyone in the current administration. Bush’s plan will undoubtedly backfire and disrupt the geopolitical balance of power. The world might get that breather from the US after all.



Bush Dispatches US military Forces to Georgia

By Barry Grey
World Socialist Review
August 14, 2008

In a major escalation of the conflict with Russia over Georgia, President George W. Bush on Wednesday announced a vigorous and ongoingӔ deployment of US military forces to its key ally in the Caucasus. Bush appeared in the White House Rose Garden for the second time in three days, this time flanked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and announced the military buildup, casting it as a humanitarian relief operation.

Even as he spoke of a humanitarian mission, Bush made clear the military dimensions of the measures he was announcing. He said he was directing Pentagon chief Gates to lead the mission, which would be headed by the United States military.Ӕ He announced that a C-17 military aircraft was already on its way to Georgia and that in the days ahead we will use US aircraft, as well as naval forces, to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.Ӕ

This is a formula for an injection of US military and naval forces into Georgia of indeterminate scope and duration. It will certainly involve the presence of hundreds if not thousands of uniformed US military personnel on the ground, and a substantial number of warships in the region. The US is introducing this military force into a situation that remains highly unstable and combustible, raising the possibility of a direct military clash between the United States and Russia.

Bush spoke less than a day after Russia and Georgia had agreed provisionally to a cease-fire in their five-day war. The agreement had been brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, acting on behalf of the European Union.

Even as Bush spoke, Russia and Georgia were trading accusations of truce violations, and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was objecting to provisions of the agreement which, he claimed, failed to prevent the pro-Russian break-away republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from seceding from Georgia.

In his remarks, Bush issued an implicit threat against any attempt by Russia to interfere with Washingtons ғhumanitarian operation. ԓWe expect Russia to honor its commitment, he said, ԓto let in all forms of humanitarian assistance. We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communications and transport, including seaports, airports, roads and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for civilian transit.

The US will pour military resources into Georgia to strengthen its hand against Russia, and denounce any objections by Moscow as an attack on humanitarian aid and a violation of the cease-fire agreement.

Within minutes of BushԒs Rose Garden statement, Saakashvili spelled out its essential meaning in a televised address from Tbilisi. You have heard the statement by the US president that the United States is starting a military-humanitarian operation in Georgia,Ӕ he said. It means that Georgian ports and airports will be taken under the control of the US defense ministry...Ӕ

He went on to call Bushs ғrelief mission a ԓturning point, and characterized its import as ԓdefinitely an American military presence.

Bush also announced that Rice would immediately travel to France to meet with Sarkozy and then go to Georgia. Employing the rhetoric of the Cold War, he said Rice would meet with Saakashvili and ԓcontinue our efforts to rally the free world in defense of a free Georgia.

He further threatened Russia with diplomatic and political sanctions, suggesting it might be excluded from the G-8 group of industrialized nations and prevented from joining the World Trade Organization.


BushԒs remarks were drenched with hypocrisy. He reiterated Washingtons support for Georgian control of the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, invoking once again the ғsovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. Neither he nor any other American spokesperson has explained why GeorgiaԒs use of murderous violence against South Ossetia in its indiscriminate shelling of the regions capital city was a legitimate defense of ғterritorial integrity, while SerbiaԒs use of force against Kosovan secessionists was a war crime.

The US seized on Serbias moves against CIA-backed separatists in Kosovo to carry out a ten-week air war, under the auspices of NATO, in 1999. While Washington decries RussiaҒs disproportionateӔ use of force against Georgian troops which attacked South Ossetia and condemns Moscow for military action beyond the borders of the breakaway republic, the US and NATO rained bombs and missiles on virtually all parts of Serbia, demolishing bridges, water pumping stations, electricity grids, government buildings, housing developments, schools and hospitals in the capital city of Belgrade. The US and NATO killed far more civilians in its campaign to crush Serbia, a traditional ally of Russia, than have been killed by both sides in the current fighting in the Caucasus.

The US has absolutely no political or moral standing to denounce Russia or anyone else for deploying military force. Washington asserts an unlimited and unilateral right to mobilize its massive apparatus of military violence wherever and whenever it wishes, spreading death and destruction from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia and threatening even more bloody conflagrations.

In the current conflict, the US government and media have cast Russia as the aggressor. There is no progressive content to Moscows actions in Georgia. They are motivated by the predatory aims of the Russian ruling elite, which is intent on reasserting Russian control over territories on its border that it dominated for centuries. However, the eruption of war in the Caucasus is the outcome of a policy pursued by US imperialism since the breakup of the Soviet Union whose ultimate aim is the reduction of Russia to a semi-colonial status.

It is inconceivable that Washington was not intimately involved in the preparations for Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia. US military advisers virtually run the military of what Washington considers its key ally in the Cacausus, a strategically critical bridgehead between the oil-rich Caspian Basin and Western Europe.

Just one month ago Secretary of State Rice visited Tbilisi and reaffirmed US support for Georgias admission to NATO, a development which Russia considers an intolerable threat to its security. Rice’s visit was followed by a massive three-week military training exercise, in which 1,000 US troops participated.

The incendiary measures announced by Bush on Wednesday represent the response of American imperialism to the major setback it has suffered as a result of Russias military intervention in Georgia. There is great concern within the US ruling elite that Russia’s routing of Georgia will undermine Washingtons drive to displace Russia from Moscow’s former spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and establish American hegemony over the Eurasian land mass.

US policy makers worry that the example of Georgia will weaken US control over right-wing client regimes it has established in a whole number of countries that were either part of the Soviet Union, such as Georgia and Ukraine, or allied to the Soviet Union through the Warsaw Pact.

A pattern of provocation

From the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 to the present, the United States has carried out a policy of militarily encircling Russia and surrounding it with hostile states dependent upon and subservient to Washington.

As the USSR was disintegrating, the United States launched its first war against Iraq, a key ally of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. During the 1990s, the US and Western Europe sponsored the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in order to isolate and weaken the Russian ally Serbia.

In 1998, the US spearheaded the incorporation into NATO, the US-dominated military alliance, of a whole number of newly independent states that had been either part of the Soviet Union or allied to it through the Warsaw Pact, including Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria.

In 1999 the US launched the air war against Serbia. At the same time, the US organized the construction of a new pipeline to transport oil from the Caspian Basin, via Baku, through Georgia to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, bypassing Russian territory.

In 2002, the US set up military bases in the former Central Asian Soviet republics of Uzbekistan (since then closed at the insistence of the Uzbek government) and Kyrgyzstan. At the end of 2003, the US engineered the Rose RevolutionӔ that brought Saakashvili to power in Georgia. In 2004, NATO admitted a new group of states formerly aligned with RussiaLithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. One year later Washington orchestrated the דOrange Revolution that toppled a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and replaced it with a pro-American regime.

The final chapter in this assault on the strategic position of Russia was the recognition last February of KosovaԒs bid for independence from Serbia.

Until now, the US has encountered no serious resistance. The events of the past week represent a major shift. For the first time, Russia, flush with oil money and able to exploit the overextended state of the US military, with its massive commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushed back.

This has evoked an apoplectic response in the American ruling elite, which has no intention of accepting a diminution of its influence in the regions formerly dominated by the Soviet Union. US imperialism will react by immensely escalating its confrontation with Russia, no matter what the cost.

There is also a domestic component to the US escalation of tensions with Russia. The Bush administration is consciously seeking to create an atmosphere of international crisis in the run-up to the November presidential election. It calculates that an election held in an environment of fear and insecurity will boost the electoral chances of the Republican candidate John McCain.

McCain has based his campaign on his military background and his supposed foreign policy experience. From early on, he has called for a more combative stance toward Russia, and has responded to the Georgia crisis by demanding Russias ejection from the G-8 and other punitive measures.

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial on Wednesday summed up the demand of sections of the ruling elite and elements within the Bush administration for a major and permanent shift to something like a new Cold War against Russia. The newspaper wrote: ғReshaping US policy toward Russia will take longer than the months between now and January 20, when a new president takes office. But Mr. Bush can at least atone for his earlier misjudgments about Mr. Putin and steer policy in a new direction that his successor would have to deal with.

There are, in fact, only relatively minor tactical differences between McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama on US policy toward Russia. Both continue to demand the admission of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, which would put the US-led military alliance on the very doorstep of Russia. Had Georgia already been a member of NATO, the alliance would have been legally bound to intervene militarily in its defense following Russia’s incursion into South Ossetia.

The trajectory of the imperialist drive to carve up the world, spearheaded by US imperialisms mad drive for global hegemony, is ominously clear. The American ruling elite will drag American workers and all of humanity into a catastrophe unless it is stopped. The only social force capable of achieving this is the international working class, united in the struggle to put an end to capitalism, the source of imperialist war, on the basis of a revolutionary socialist program.


Bad Moon Rising
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15
Part 16 - Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20
Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24 - Part 25
Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30
Part 31 - Part 32 - Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35
Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45
Part 46 - Part 47 - Part 48 - Part 49 - Part 50
Part 51 - Part 52 - Part 53 - Part 54

Posted by Elvis on 08/14/08 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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