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Informative article on Caucus war


Maggie Hansen
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Putin Walks into a Trap

By Mike Whitney

13/08/08 "ICH" --- - 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".

Brzezinski: "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". http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/20...6/13/9798.shtml

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.

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!)

Holbrooke: "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.”

“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 the 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.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20508.htm

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The author as seems to be his norm cites almost no sources in support of his contention the Georgians provoked the current situation.

For those interested Gorbachev will be a Larry King tonight, talking about this very subject.

Being the advisor to a 'peer reviewed' journal I suppose you can judge these things.

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The author as seems to be his norm cites almost no sources in support of his contention the Georgians provoked the current situation.

For those interested Gorbachev will be a Larry King tonight, talking about this very subject.

Being the advisor to a 'peer reviewed' journal I suppose you can judge these things.

There is no reason to get snotty, you’re better than that. Leave such behavior to Drago and Rigby etc. One doesn’t need any special qualifications to realize if a claim is sourced or not and Whitney’s claim wasn’t. See my post in the other thread. I do have degree in history if that makes you happy.

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The author as seems to be his norm cites almost no sources in support of his contention the Georgians provoked the current situation.

For those interested Gorbachev will be a Larry King tonight, talking about this very subject.

There have been a series of articles in the serious press supporting the views expressed by Mike Whitney. It is at this moment the story is being covered by BBC 2 Radio. It now seems an accepted fact that Georgia started this war. What is amazing is that thought Bush would come to their aid? I hope Georgia is never allowed to join NATO.

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At least there is one US journalist who can see clearly.

Blowback From Bear-Baiting

By Patrick J. Buchanan

15/08/08 "ICH " -- - Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia's invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser's decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Nasser's blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili's blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili's army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America's lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight -- Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.

Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.

True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?

Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?

When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?

Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of who viscerally detest Russia?

That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili's provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia's nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.

When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?

American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia's doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin's birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?

The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.

We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic "revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.

Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.

Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia's space and getting into Russia's face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost -- in Tbilisi.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20522.htm

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At least there is one US journalist who can see clearly.

Blowback From Bear-Baiting

By Patrick J. Buchanan

15/08/08 "ICH " -- - Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia's invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser's decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Nasser's blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili's blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili's army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America's lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight -- Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.

Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.

True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?

Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?

When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?

Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of who viscerally detest Russia?

That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili's provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia's nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.

When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?

American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia's doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin's birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?

The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.

We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic "revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.

Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.

Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia's space and getting into Russia's face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost -- in Tbilisi.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20522.htm

Maggie,

I disagree with this article almost entirely. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were already recognized internationally as part of Georgia, so keeping them as part of Georgia can't really be a Coup.

The reporting of Georgia's attacks on South Ossetia; as far as I can tell, when Russia advanced into the region, Georgia likely was honoring a French sponsored cease fire. The reports of Georgian atrocities in the South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region are likely the product of Russian propaganda. At least the source of this information can be traced back to Russian websites (look at Bolshoyforum.org) and I read at least one analysis that confirms this.

Based on the size of the Russian advance, and if you look at the reported timeline for the reported Georgian attack on Tskhinvali, the Russians had to be planning and mobilizing far in advance of any Georgian attacks. An incursion that size cannot be planned and mobilized inside of hours as this article would suggest.

I do agree that if Georgia was counting on any US military aid in this fighting then they are stupid. There is no way the U.S. would plant Army boots that close to Russian territory in a military conflict. That would invite disaster.

Inviting Georgia into NATO? First I don't see how the United States has postured to protect any vital US interests in the region, and I don't think there are any vital US interests in the region. NATO membership is supposed to protect member nations from the expansion of hegemonic neighbors and invasion, but NATO can (and sometimes does) become subservient to a US agenda. I agree with John that Georgia is probably a little too red-necked (i.e. shotgun diplomats) to become a NATO member.

The US has only been promoting Georgian autonomy (AFAI can tell) and independence, much the same as with Kosovo and their Declaration of Independence. This would of course annoy Russia, and in the long run would prevent Russian expansion, which would happen sooner or later, unless Georgia unequivically declares their independence. This is good for the US in the long run since it keeps Russia from ambitious land grabbing in the future. AFAIK, this is the extent of our involvement.

There is a lot of Russian propaganda flowing right now on the Georgian situation. There is not much (actually none that I can find) evidence that Georgia attacked South Ossetia to start this crisis. in fact they insist that they were honoring a French brokered cease fire when Russia attacked. Based on the timing and the scope of the Russian advance, this appears to be the truth.

Russia has pulled this before (especially when they were the Soviet Union). The current Russian Government is looking more and more totalitarian, and appear to be trying to improve the Russian sphere of influence to Soviet times.

The US supported Kosovo when they declared independence so we should support South Ossetia. We are also provding humanitarian aid to Georgia. Outside of that, I agree we should not be involving ourselves (other than to endorse Georgian independence) in the energy politics of the region.

There is a problem right now with determining what information concerning the Georgian-Russian crisis is true and what is propaganda.

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Putin Walks into a Trap

By Mike Whitney

13/08/08 "ICH" --- - 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".

Brzezinski: "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". http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/20...6/13/9798.shtml

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.

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!)

Holbrooke: "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.”

“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 the 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.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20508.htm

Mike Whitney has a great perspective. The key point among many he makes, is that for Russia, with its recent accession to the top of the global energy supplier rankings, the last thing they would desire would be a military confrontation on their doorstep.

Note the role of the Western media--partners in crime with the Bush Government.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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Putin Walks into a Trap

By Mike Whitney

Mike Whitney has a great perspective. The key point among many he makes, is that for Russia, with its recent accession to the top of the global energy supplier rankings, the last thing they would desire would be a military confrontation on their doorstep.

Note the role of the Western media--partners in crime with the Bush Government.

Mark,

I agree that the Western Media can't be trusted. But I don't trust the opposite side either, having seen their propaganda machine (which is coming back to be fairly effective). I also am very wary of Brzizenski and his world view, because his theories IMO are a main reason for our occupation of Iraq.

How are you sifting through information to make conclusions?

Also I've read where Russia is at odds with the Azerbhaijan-Turkmenistan oil and gas supply lines to Israel and wants to take control of the Caspian Oil supply route, which could place Georgia in center stage.

Russia has, in the past, engaged in military aggression where it helped their agenda, also they have been the masters of propaganda and disinformation in the past, and Novosti seems to be very much players. Why do you think this case is different?

Edited by Peter McKenna
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Mark,

I agree that the Western Media can't be trusted. But I don't trust the opposite side either, having seen their propaganda machine (which is coming back to be fairly effective). I also am very wary of Brzizenski and his world view, because his theories IMO are a main reason for our occupation of Iraq.

How are you sifting through information to make conclusions?

Also I've read where Russia is at odds with the Azerbhaijan-Turkmenistan oil and gas supply lines to Israel and wants to take control of the Caspian Oil supply route, which could place Georgia in center stage.

Russia has, in the past, engaged in military aggression where it helped their agenda, also they have been the masters of propaganda and disinformation in the past, and Novosti seems to be very much players. Why do you think this case is different?

Hi Peter,

In a situation like this, I think the western media is useless as a source of credible information. The western media is merely a cheerleader for Washington.

The only source of information I use is the alternative media, including this forum. There was a good piece by Michael Klare posted on Common Dreams this week which backgrounded the situation well:

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/08/04/10977/

I know the Russians have shown they are capable of brutal suppression at times and are determined to control the Caspian oil routes. However, if the roles of America and Russia were reversed, America would have secured control of those routes, with force if necessary, long before now, imo. The Georgians, despite the tragic loss of life, should be thankful that it wasn't US forces invading their country, as I believe they have even less concern for civilian casualties, as was shown in Iraq.

The US have a long history of subversive interference in smaller nations as well as being responsible for the invasion of some 45 sovereign nations since 1900. Further, their recent efforts to install missile defence systems in Poland and the Czeck Republic, fully aware of the discomfort caused to Russia, show they are prepared to ratchet up tensions when it suits their purpose. As the Buchanan article posted by Maggie points out, the US would never permit the Russians to carry out subversive activities in Cuba, Mexico or anywhere near their backyard. So why should Russia allow the US to do the same?

It will be interesting to see where this all leads. I think it's got a while to go yet.

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Peter, you may think that Novosti, Izvestia, Pravda are the epitome of propaganda and I am not saying that they can't be used for propaganda purposes but they are clumsy and crude. Most East Europeans I know are in total awe and amazement of that well oiled, smooth, wall to wall, all encompassing and slick propaganda machine called the western media, particularly the US variety complete with Hollywood, product placement, talking heads, Madison Avenue, celebrities, spin and photo shop. The old soviet newspapers don't stand a chance.

Surely the best way to sift through any information is to read widely and deeply and know one's sources. It is not a matter of trust. You can often find the truth in an organ of propaganda, western or other. It may be on page 28 in the bottom of the 6th column but it may often be there. But don't rely on the MSM. Look well beyond. Know your journalists who employs them (and who owns the employers and what else they own) and their strengths and weaknesses no matter who they write for. And just as importantly know your own strengths and weaknesses. Take off the blinkers and the rose coloured glasses, open the mind but use the brain. Learn to read between the lines and the fine print and listen for the dog whistles.

Just curious, any reason you point out Novosti in particular?

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The author as seems to be his norm cites almost no sources in support of his contention the Georgians provoked the current situation.

For those interested Gorbachev will be a Larry King tonight, talking about this very subject.

There have been a series of articles in the serious press supporting the views expressed by Mike Whitney. It is at this moment the story is being covered by BBC 2 Radio. It now seems an accepted fact that Georgia started this war. What is amazing is that thought Bush would come to their aid? I hope Georgia is never allowed to join NATO.

Actually I’m coming to believe that was the case. Even if the Ossetians did carry out attacks against Georgian civilian and military targets Georgia’s response was disproportionate, but then again so was Russia’s. According to the BBC despite the ceasefire the Russian army is still advancing deeper in to Georgia.

According to a few pundits the odds of Georgia getting full NATO membership at this point are slim to none. The west would not want to get dragged into a war with Russia over this dispute.

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Actually I’m coming to believe that was the case. Even if the Ossetians did carry out attacks against Georgian civilian and military targets Georgia’s response was disproportionate, but then again so was Russia’s. According to the BBC despite the ceasefire the Russian army is still advancing deeper in to Georgia.

According to a few pundits the odds of Georgia getting full NATO membership at this point are slim to none. The west would not want to get dragged into a war with Russia over this dispute.

Agreed. It seems that Bush has increased the stakes with the agreement signed yesterday in Poland.

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