Thursday, July 6, 2017


There appears to be only one subject of concern regarding the planned meeting of the two world nuclear heavyweights tomorrow: will President Trump tell President Putin where to get off?  Not a single commentator appears to attach any importance to what Putin might say to Trump.  They cannot even imagine that he might have anything to say that could possibly change the dynamic between the two countries.
Since the US had led the creation of the UN, supposedly to encourage worldwide cooperation after two deadly wars, when Vladimir Putin became president, he believed it would welcome his country into the fold of market-oriented democracies. Instead American policymakers reaffirmed The Wolfowitz Doctrine, which became the Bush, Clinton and Obama Doctrine, states unequivocally:

"U.S. primacy
There can be no challenge to U.S.'s world leadership.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the means to deter potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

Long before Vladimir Putin entered the world stage, the United States threw down the gauntlet: No one should even think of proposing that regional powers work together to ensure a peaceful world. Since the 1990’s, US policy has been to prevent the emergence of the multi-polar world called for by the Russian president. Its mildest accusation is that Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian with whom the US can barely do business. America’s foreign policy requires “the creation and maintenance” (by any means…) of alliances: “One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.”  This last sentence implies only two possibilities: cooperation under US hegemony — or chaos, downplaying the value of international coalitions.

“Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, (presumably against Kuwait in 1990) we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.”

This paragraph suggesting that the US has the last word was re-written with a change in emphasis:

“Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.

"Pre-emptive intervention
The doctrine originally states the U.S’s right to intervene when and where it believes necessary.

“While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.”

The softened version suggests that allies may not be expected to join in security actions that affect mainly American interests, while implicitly rejecting “international mechanisms’ for resolving conflicts:

“While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.”

"Russian threat
The Wolfowitz doctrine directly highlights the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia in a series of statements whose contradictory nature cannot be denied:

“We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia (this in fact is no longer the case, China being the preeminent military power in Eurasia); and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others... We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”

Evidence of the continuing tug of war between Washington’s hegemonists and realists, this hodge-podge was replaced by a more diplomatic statement that left the door open to exactly the opposite scenario: “The U.S. has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.”
In 2008 the US made a first unsuccessful attempt to pry a former Soviet Republic, Georgia, away from Russia, by engineering an attack (referred to as the Georgian ‘war’) to which Russia put an end in 28 hours. Unchastened, in 2014 Washington successfully carried out ‘regime’ change in Ukraine by backing a pro-European movement, assisted by beefy second-generation descendants of pro-Nazi Ukrainians. 
Americans cannot imagine the fervor with which Ukrainian nationalists — like so many Davids — plot the demise of Russia — the country with the largest landmass in the world, (and which, as American historians now admit, did most of the fighting in World War II, losing 27 million, or about a fifth of its people). Scarcely familiar with their own history, Americans cannot be expected to know that from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Ukraine was part of a Commonwealth that at various times encompassed present-day Poland, Lithuania, Bela Rus, and Ukraine, and that the only time the land known as Ukraine (meaning far border) was ever independent was from 1917-1921. Dismissing history, Ukrainian patriots were convinced that World War II would bring them sovereignty. Under the leadership of Stepan Bandera, an organization called the OUN was formed to fight alongside Hitler’s Nazi Army in the hopes of achieving independence from the Soviet Union. After leading the Ukrainians on for a while, Hitler pulled the rug out from under them, but not before many OUN members fled to the US and Canada where they have been politically active ever since.  (See Operation Paperclip for their little-known story, which played an important role in the birth of the American Neo-Conservative Movement.) 
(The back-story to the kerfuffle over Crimea is that in 1954, for largely sentimental reasons, Khrouchev gifted the peninsula, which had been part of Russia since Catherine the Great built a mighty fleet at Sebastopol, and was still largely inhabited by Russians, to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. Partly because of Ukraine’s contentious history, it failed to thrive, and whenCrimea’s mainly Russian inhabitants voted (under the protection of ‘little green men’) to take their little peninsula back to Russia, this only exacerbated the conflict between these two brother nations. (The same applied to the Eastern regions dominated by ethnic Russians, who formed autonomous regions with Russia’s help, giving rise to the Minsk Accords and endless Russia/West squabbles over why it isn’t being implemented.)
Vladimir Putin has been saying loud and clear what he wants from the US, and it is not simply, as our media pretends, simply ‘respect’, or even a taking into account of Russia’s interests. It’s something a lot more ambitious, which our European allies appear to have understood, and that is, that the world should not be ruled by a hegemon, but by the cooperative efforts of the main power centers, referred to as a ‘multi-polar world’.
Rarely mentioned, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) already prefigure such a shift: alas, one country is missing, the US, which wants to continue to rule unchallenged.  I am not here referring to some sort of conspiracy theory, but to the documents that have defined out foreign policy since the 1990’s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Given the existence of vastly redundant nuclear arsenals on both sides, one could imagine that America’s— claim to leadership —based on its ‘exceptionalism’, is necessary to avoid a holocaust, as when there can be but one captain on a ship if all are to arrive safely in port.  No, America’s claim is based on……nothing but pure hubris.  
Given these historical facts, and Trump’s assertion during the presidential campaign that he doesn’t want the US to run the world, Putin is likely to describe to Trump what a multi-polar organization of the world would look like 
Under the Americanized version of political milestones, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was supposed to have been disbanded after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as was effectively its vis-a-vis, the Warsaw Pact, the Ukraine coup was intended to enable the West to realize its Cold War wet dream of actually threatening Russia up close. 
In Moscow, however, every May 9th is celebrated with a big military parade. The image I captured this year projected onto a facade near Red Square, was of a flaming tank, a reminder to those who throughout history have fallen victim to delusions of Russian conquest.

No comments:

Post a Comment