Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bullying the Bear: Payback and Pipelines

If anyone ever wanted to punch George Bush in his stupid face, kick Cheney in his underbelly or stuff a stinking sock into any palavaring neocon's mouth, he can relax his hostile intentions. The very center of this Administration’s foreign policy has received a massive blow to the gut.

The Administration’s neocon policy of encircling Russia and gutting it from within baited the bear once too often. The bear has struck back and the US can do little but stand aside like a hapless, shown-up punk.

If proof were needed that things were bad, one need only have listened to Condolezza Rice’s hectoring whines chastising Russia’s failure to “integrate” into world institutions and condemning its resort to unilateral and “disproportionate” force against a neighboring country. From an Administration that bully-bellowed it’s “right” to act unilaterally while it incinerated Falluja, Rice’s shamelessness could only provoke acidic ridicule.

If proof were needed that things were edging toward critical, one need only have noticed that virtually no Western media horn published a detailed map of the region

To its credit (mirabilis dictu) the New York Times published a guest editorial by Michael Gorbachev outlining Russia’s complaint against U.S. policies and a decent synopsis by Jad Mouawad of the petro-political issues in the region. I suppose the Times has to do something every once in a while to keep its nose a hair above toney tabloid. Nevertheless, the fact that the western media en masse omitted any mention of the critical gas pipelines that criss-cross the region while they blathered stupidly if tirelessly about who started it and about the ethnic differences between East and West Ossetians was proof certain that Uncle Sam just got his hand mauled as it was clawing the cookie jar.

To appreciate the set back, one has to go back to the sordid foundations of this punk-administration’s foreign policy, so ably set forth in Billy Kristol’s neo- and zio-con PNAC Report of 2000. (Rebuilding America’s Defenses, Project for a New American Cenutry, Sept. 2000)

As enunciated in the Report, the core policy goal for the 21st century was simply and nakedly to “preserve American preeminence through the coming [technological] transformation of war.” America’s policy should be to “preserve and extend” its military “preeminence” by simultaneously fighting “multiple theatre wars” in order to “shape the security environment in critical regions.”

In plain English, the U.S. policy was to go about kicking ass simply to show everyone that it was the meanest punk on the block. This is nothing else that a policy of geo-political terrorism that sought to intimidate anyone and everyone else

The Report identified two critical regions in which this “power projection” needed to take place, viz: (1) “in the Middle East and surrounding energy producing regions and (2) in a new “American security perimeter in Europe removed eastward.” Although much has been written about the “zionist” prong of PNAC policy which obsesses on Iraq and Iran and the fiction of “islamic terrorism” the more “traditional” prong of this policy was the nibbling away, emasculation and encirclement of Russia.

The Report made unquestionably clear that these twin goals were to be accomplished by unilateral “diplomatic” and military decisions and a corresponding rejection of international structures, treaties and norms. In the neocon mind, institutional structures are useful only as they may temporarily serve to cover and advance an American “projection” of its putative “democratic values.”

Bearing these fundamental in mind, Condi Rice’s sanctimonious condemnation of Russia’s action was nothing other than theatre of the absurd. Just listen to her cant.

Early on in the crisis, Rice intoned that Russia had a “choice to act in a 21st-century way, [and] fully integrate into the international institutions.” (8/15/08) Instead it chose to “to engage in kind of Soviet-style behavior of intimidating and invading allies” like Czechoslovakia. (08/19) “Russia” she said, had backed away from “the principles of cooperation among nations of the communities of states” by “invading small neighbors, bombing civilian infrastructure, going into villages and wreak[ing] havoc and wanton destruction of [the] infrastructure.” (08/19) That same week it was reported that the U.S. had twice killed scores of Afghani children in some village blitzkrieg. Rice’s hypocrisy was so shameless that it is hard to say whether she deserved a medal or a wack upside her prissy face.

There are those who argue that Rice utters this nonsense solely for Americow consumption. After all who else can’t remember back past two weeks and who else wouldn’t choke on the absurd analogy of “Georgia” as a Russian “ally”. Certainly almost no one in Europe -- even if they are intensely anti-Russian -- could swallow such crap.

More interesting than whether Rice swallows her own poop is what her effluences disclose about the inner workings of the neo-con mind. Neo-con pronouncements always inversely reflect the truth. One has to translate.

When Rice speaks of a Russian choice to “fully integrate into institutions” what she really meant was that Russia had a choice to vasselize itself as a quiescent and powerless satrap in America’s neo liberal “institutional empire.” That is the only reason she could go on to say that she felt it was “ very much worthwhile to have given Russia that chance.” Alas! For some perverse reason Russia didn’t particularly jump at the opportunity to be the projectee of American values.

When Rice condemned “the Russian strategic intent of destroying Georgian infrastructure and economic progress,” what she really was moaning about was Russia's spoiling Prince Cheney and Halliburton’s progress at constructing a gas pipeline circumventing both Iran and Russia. In fact, Russia was simply intent on not having its own infrastructure rendered worthless and its own economic progress sent to the back of the Chevron / Unocal / Halliburton bus.

When Rice goes on to assure us that “The culprit here is that Russia overreached, used disproportionate force against a small neighbor, and is now paying the price for that, because Russia’s reputation as a potential partner in international institutions, diplomatic, political, security, economic is frankly in tatters” what she was in fact doing was describing the nature and confessing the failure of America’s own policy.

Over and over again in the past eight years we have seen that with neo-con speak, the condemnation and characterization of “the other” is almost invariably a confession and characterization of self. “They’re seeking to ..." undermine, provoke, destabilize, destroy... always ends up being a completely accurate description of what this Administration itself has done and is up to. The neocon mind is in fact a mental illness, as those who work with paranoids, psychotics and delusional anti-social crazies will readily recognize.

In all events, what Rice has indirectly admitted is that a key prong of US power projection into the “surrounding energy producing regions” is “frankly in tatters”.

Indeed it is. The Bush-Cheney Administration has but a few months to go and it is scrambling to create “realities on the ground.” In so far as the anti-Russian prong of neocon policy is concerned, the Administration certainly has made headway. The Baltic states and Poland been have admitted into NATO, a missile shield against Somalia’s emerging nuclear threat has been forward based in Poland and the Czech Republic. Quite against Russia’s historic interests and alliances, Kosovo was “freed” from Serbia. There can be no doubt that the Administration was egging Georgia on to de-autonomize South Ossetia. As Presdident Medvedev put it
“ The Georgian leadership chose another way. Disrupting the negotiating process, ignoring the agreements achieved, committing political and military provocations, attacking the [Russian] peacekeepers — all these actions grossly violated the regime established in conflict zones with the support of the United Nations and O.S.C.E [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]. ...It stands quite clear now: a peaceful resolution of the conflict was not part of Tbilisi’s plan.”
Well, Tbilisi had about as much to do with it as the “political and material support provided by its foreign guardians” If Medvedev is to be believed (and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be), Cheney & His Neo Cons were seeking to extend America’s eastward “security perimeter” another nibble or two.

It was too much for the Bear which has now emitted a ROAR that has chilled half of Europe. It has pushed its own security perimeter south and has hung the Sword of Damocles over the CBT pipeline. It has brusquely informed Poland and the Czech Republic that, happy days are again and their cities will once again be targetted by Russian missiles . It is only regrettable that Russia missed a chance for irony by not claiming that the missiles were only directed at the nuclear threat from Brazil. But angry bears aren’t given to irony.

Medvedev made quite clear, that in addition to protecting its southern flank, Russia’s action on behalf of the Ossetians could also be considered pay for Kosovo,
“ [Faced with Tbilisi’s actions] Russia continually displayed calm and patience. We repeatedly called for returning to the negotiating table and did not deviate from this position of ours even after the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo’s independence.”
Contrary to Rice’s disingenuous blather, upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia did earnestly seek to “integrate” itself with the West. What it got was rebuffs, encirclement by US and NATO bases and an insulting 300 million dollar loan collateralized with demands to “open” its economy to savaging and scavenging. Russia has apparently had enough. It is signalling in concrete terms that the days of bullying the bear are over.

And what has the United States shown it can faced with this ROAR? About all it can do is send Condi Rice (and now Cindy McCain!) to hector and whine and accuse the Russians of harboring her own sordid intents. It is truly pathetic, even if Homo Americow can’t figure it out to save his mortgage.

The United States cannot come to the military aid of Georgia. It simply doesn’t have the manpower. Nor does it have the money to double the size of Blackwater, its new Free Market Army. The United States pushed and poked and now it can’t do much more than back off. The United States is close to bankrupt and its fraud riven banking system is dragging the world into recession. The NeoCon Century of Power Projection has turned into little more than a limp dick, high oil and most of our allies in Europe -- still dependent on Russian gas --with very deep second thoughts. All that is needed to make the farce complete is for Israel to discover its long standing “special relationship” with China.

©WCG, 2008

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