Cold War 2.0
By Stephen Lendman
A previous article said welcome to Cold War 2.0. The first one never ended. Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place.
Putin and Obama are geopolitical opposites. They're world's apart. Their ideologies clash. They represent conflicting values.
Putin defends Russian sovereignty. He opposes US imperial lawlessness. He affirms UN Charter and other rule of law principles.
Obama claims a divine right to pursue unchallenged global hegemony. Washington considers Putin public enemy number one. At risk is potential East/West confrontation.
Russia bashing persists. It's intense. It rages daily. It exceeds the worst of Soviet era levels.
Daily vilifying reinvents the Evil Empire. It's back to the future. It doesn't surprise. Neocons infest Washington. Business as usual continues.
Recklessness defines US policy. At stake is world peace. On April 19, Putin said there's "nothing to prevent us from normalizing (US/Russian) relations and (reestablishing) normal cooperation."
At the same time, he knows how Washington operates. He knows its dark side. He knows what hasn't existed in a century or more.
He knows it takes a giant leap of faith to expect America to act responsibly. It hasn't throughout its sordid history. Why expect change now.
On April 19, The New York Times headlined "In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin," saying:
"…Obama and his national security team are looking beyond" Ukrainian crisis conditions." They plan "forg(ing) a new long-term approach to Russia…"
They want one "appl(ying) an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment." Presidential advisor George Kennan (1904 - 2005) shaped Washington's containment policy.
He prioritized curtailing its influence in strategic areas. His July 1947 "X" article headlined "The Sources of Soviet Conduct."
He urged "counter(ing) it "effectively." He stressed "containment, saying:
"The main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies."
He called doing so "vital to the national security of the United States." He urged undermining Soviet strength.
He outlined covert and overt strategies. He included political alliances, economic policies. He encouraged underground resistance initiatives.
He urged establishing "Liberation Committees" across Europe. He supported policies short of war.
Influential US official Paul Nitze (907 - 2004) helped shape post-WW II US policy. His Joint State-Defense Department Committee National Security Memorandum No. 68 (NSC-68) prioritized containing Soviet Russia.
Inflammatory language called it an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony...animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world."
Obama launched Cold War 2.0. According to The Times, he's "focus(ing) on isolating Russia…"
He'll do it "by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood, and effectively making it a pariah state."
Even if Ukrainian crisis conditions are resolved, he'll "never have a constructive relationship with Mr. Putin, aides said." He'll spend his remaining time in office containing him.
He'll cooperate only "where progress remains possible." Previous articles explained. Washington's longstanding policy wants all independent governments eliminated.
Unchallenged US hegemony depends on it. Russia is America's main military rival. China is the world number two economy.
In a half dozen more years or so, it'll surpass America. It'll be number one. Washington is going all-out to prevent it. It wants its military might unchallenged.
It wants rival states marginalized, weakened, isolated, neutralized and contained. It wants unchallenged global dominance. It's going all-out to achieve it.
Co-opting Ukraine into NATO is a key element of US strategy. Doing so ensures encroaching on Russia's entire Western border.
Positioning nearby US bases threatens its heartland. Doing so weakens its potential resistance. It achieves greater isolation.
More absolute US dominance is possible. At the same time, world peace is threatened. Last month, The Times headlined "If Not a Cold War, a Return to a Chilly Rivalry," saying:
"Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Washington and Moscow had struggled to replace their Cold War rivalry with a new form of partnership, one that was tested by crisis after crisis but that endured in its own peculiar way."
After previous ruptures, resets put both countries "back onto an uneasy equilibrium." Putin's decision to "snatch Crimea" changed things, said The Times.
It "usher(ed) in a new, more dangerous era." It involves sustained "confrontation and alienation…" It'll be "hard to overcome." Further resets "appear far off and far-fetched."
The Times left unexplained what's most important. Crimea is a useful pretext. So are overall Ukrainian crisis conditions. Russia's opposition to America's imperial agenda matters more.
It military strength matters most. Washington accepts no rivals. It wants uncontested dominance.
Achieving it requires eliminating all challengers. Russia alone matches America's military strength.
It formidable nuclear arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems reflect it. Neutralizing them is prioritized. Efforts to do so go on in real time.
They'll continue throughout Obama's remaining tenure. His successor will persist where he leaves off. At risk is potential East/West conflict. All bets are off if it happens.
Last month, the Washington Post headlined "The 'Russia reset' was already dead; now it's time for isolation," saying:
"…(B)y end of 2013, the issues that animated the reset had withered."
"The relationship was at its lowest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union when Barack Obama won the presidency; it is now far worse."
WaPo pointed fingers the wrong way. Obama bears full responsibility. Current policy exacerbates things.
US-Russia 2009 reset policy was more illusion than reality. Washington's intentions prevent normalized relations. Obama is more belligerent than Bush. Conflict is prioritized over diplomacy.
Encircling Russia with US bases prevents normalized relations. Militarizing North Africa, the Middle East and part of Eurasia breached GHW Bush's pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev not to do so.
Washington's promises aren't worth the paper they're written on. Russia understands well. At a time no nation threatens America, the Pentagon maintains a growing network of well over 1,000 global bases. Unknown secret ones exist.
Many are positioned near Russia's borders. Doing so is provocative and belligerent. So called missile defense systems and advanced tracking radar are for offense, not defense.
Friendly countries don't treat others this way. Doing so is fraught with risks. Russia knows it's targeted. US policy destroys trust.
On April 20, the Wall Street Journal headlined "US-Russia Relations Come Full Circle After Ukraine: Despite 'Reset,' Ukraine Crisis Shows US-Russia Tensions Far From Extinguished."
Obama policy "lurched" from reset to "benign neglect and awkward cooperation" to "punitive sanctions and sharp (anti-Putin) criticism."
The Journal like other US scoundrel media lie. They claim Putin aims to restore Russia's imperial might. America alone seeks unchallenged supremacy.
Permanent wars reflect official policy. Transforming all independent governments into subservient pro-Western ones is prioritized.
Eliminating major rivals matter most. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain. Russia bashing continues.
Putin "seek(s) confrontation, said the Journal. He's gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Big Lies persist.
Polls show propaganda works. More than two-thirds of Americans believe Russia invaded Ukraine. Three-fourths believe no justification for what didn't happen.
Over 80% consider it a violation of international law. Before Ukrainian crisis conditions erupted, 44% of Americans called Russia an ally.
Currently, 68% call it unfriendly or an enemy. More than two-thirds view Putin unfavorably. It's polar opposite how most Russians perceive him.
His US public opinion rating is the worst since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution. At the same time, only 35% of Americans believe Washington's Russia policy should toughen.
Over 50% say America should stay uninvolved. They think current conditions are beyond US control. Washington has no responsibility to intervene over Crimea, they say.
Sanctions alone are supported. Over half of Americans back Washington and EU states imposing them. Only a scant one-third think they'll be effective.
Earlier post-Soviet Russia views were more positive. According to a late March Gallup poll, half of all Americans think their government and Russia are heading into a new Cold War.
At the same time, 58% believe Washington shouldn't play a leading rule in resolving international problems. Stay uninvolved, they say.
Steven Pifer is a retired foreign service officer. He's a former US ambassador to Ukraine. He's currently Brookings' Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative director.
He's its Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence as well as Center on the United States and Europe in Foreign Policy senior fellow.
He points fingers the wrong way saying:
"We certainly are headed toward perhaps the rockiest period in US-Russia relations since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991…Unless the Russians change course, we're going to be in a very difficult time, unfortunately."
"Vladimir Putin by his military occupation of Crimea has violated the rules of the game…You haven't seen this (type) blatant grab in the last 25 years," he claims.
He ignored US imperial wars. Post-WW II, they raged. They did so globally. They continue. One country after another was targeted, ravaged, and destroyed.
Some were occupied, colonized and exploited. Hegemons operate this way. Rule of law principles don't matter. Unchallenged dominance is official US policy.
Big Lies claim otherwise. Fingers point the wrong way. Victims are called perpetrators. US aggression is called humanitarian intervention.
Professor Michael Kimmage says ongoing events don't reflect a new Cold War. "It's worse," he claims. Western ideals embody "Plato-to-NATO sensibility," he says.
Russia is a "latter-day Persia…Putin and Obama committed themselves to two irreconcilable visions of international politics."
Putin's "politics is set by the assertion of power," he claims. "Russian nationalism and American internationalism (leave little) room for diplomatic maneuvering," he added.
Kimmage reflects mainstream anti-Russian sentiment. Putin is unjustifiably bashed. Longstanding US imperial policy is ignored.
America bears full responsibility for most global flashpoints. Confronting Russia irresponsibly risks much more than Cold War 2.0 politics.
Ukraine is in the eye of the storm. Sergei Lavrov is right. He accused Washington of elevating illegitimate putschists to power.
It should take responsibility for its actions. It should stop issuing ultimatums to Russia. Ukrainian crisis conditions are deepening.
Nothing is being done to change things. Things lurch from bad to worse. Restoring order to crisis-torn Ukraine should be prioritized, says Lavrov.
Washington and EU partners "invent possible and impossible arguments against Russia," he added. Outrageous accusations follow.
"Attacks are continuing in Slaviansk, Mariupol, and other different places in southeastern Ukraine, as well as the attacks carried out by militants in masks, who are acting ruthlessly," Lavrov said.
New York Times policy is one-sidedly anti-Russian. Irresponsible bashing continues daily. Big Lies persist. On April 20, it headlined "Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia."
It called them the same "Russian military and intelligence forces - equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February."
No evidence whatever suggests it. Clear evidence points fingers the right way. Kiev-deployed Right Sector neo-Nazis murdered four Slavyansk activists.
Don't expect The Times to explain. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted. She lied saying:
"There has been broad unity in the international community about the connection between Russia and some of the armed militants in eastern Ukraine, and the photos presented by the Ukrainians last week only further confirm this, which is why US officials have continued to make that case."
Unnamed US and Kiev putschist officials were cited. Concealing the identity of its forces reflects Russian strategy, they claim.
The Times calls it "Russia's flair for 'maskirovak' - disguised warfare." It's more evident under Putin, it says.
Truth is systematically buried. Big Lies substitute. Putin bashing persists. Obama risks letting things spin out-of-control. Rogue leaders operate this way.
Potential East/West conflict may follow. It bears repeating. All bets are off if it happens.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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