** Mike Whitney on Putin **


Richard Moore


This is the best analysis I've seen of what's going between Russia and the US 
these days. A must read.


Original source URL:

Putin Agonistes: Missile Defense will not be Deployed
By Mike Whitney

Global Research, December 20, 2007

It's been a lot of hard work, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally 
achieved his goal. He's cleaned up the mess left behind by Yeltsin, put together
a strong and thriving economy, and restored Russia to a place of honor among the
community of nations. His legacy has already been written. He's the man who 
rebuilt Russia. The last thing he wants now, is a pointless confrontation with 
the United States. But how can it be avoided? He understands Washington's 
long-range plans for Russia and he is taking necessary steps to preempt them. He
is familiar with the heavyweights of US foreign policy, like Zbigniew 
Brzezinski, and has undoubtedly read his master-plan for Central Asia, ³The 
Grand Chessboard². Brzezinski's recent article in Foreign Affairs, (A 
publication of the Council on Foreign Relations) ³A Geostrategy for Eurasia² 
summarizes his views on America's future involvement in the region:

³America's emergence as the sole global superpower now makes an integrated and 
comprehensive strategy for Eurasia imperative.

Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive and dynamic states.
All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world's
most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, 
as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. 
... Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's population, 60 percent of its
GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential 
power overshadows even America's.

Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia 
would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most 
economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the 
map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically 
control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive 
geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe 
and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the 
Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and
historical legacy.²

So, there it is. The US is moving into the neighborhood and has no intention of 
leaving. The war on terror is a fraud; it merely conceals the fact that Bush is 
sprinkling military bases throughout Central Asia and surrounding Russia in the 
process. Brzezinski sees this as a ³strategic imperative². It doesn't matter 
what Putin thinks. According to Brzezinski ³NATO enlargement should move forward
in deliberate stages² . The US must make sure ³that no state or combination of 
states gains the ability to expel the United States or even diminish its 
decisive role².

This isn't new. Putin has known for some time what Bush is up to and he's been 
as accommodating as possible. After all, his real passion is putting Russia back
on its feet and improving the lives of its citizens. That will have to change  
now that Bush has decided to install a ³Missile Defense² system in Eastern 
Europe. Putin will have to devote more time to blocking America's plans. The new
system will upset the basic balance of power between the nuclear rivals and 
force Putin to raise the stakes. A confrontation is brewing whether Putin wants 
it or not. The system cannot be deployed. Period. Putin must now do whatever he 
is necessary to remove a direct threat to Russia's national security. That is 
the primary obligation of every leader and he will not shirk his responsibility.

Putin is an elusive character; neither boastful nor arrogant. It's clear now 
that western pundits mistook his reserved, quiet manner as a sign of 
superficiality or lack of resolve. They were wrong. They underestimated the 
former-KGB Colonel. Putin is bright and tenacious and he has a vision for his 
country. He sees Russia as a key player in the new century; an energy powerhouse
that can control its own destiny. He doesn't plan to get bogged down in 
avoidable conflicts if possible. He's focused on development not war; plowshares
not swords. He's also fiercely nationalistic; a Russian who puts Russia first.

But Putin is a realist and he knows that the US will not leave Eurasia without a
fight. He's read the US National Security Strategy and he understands the 
ideological foundation for America's ³unipolar² world model. The NSS is an 
unambiguous declaration of war against any nation that claims the right to to 
control its own resources or defend its own sovereignty against US interests. 
The NSS implies that nations' are required to open their markets to western 
multinationals and follow directives from Washington or accept a place on Bush's
³enemies list². There's no middle ground. You are with us or with the 
terrorists. The NSS also entitles the United States to unilaterally wage 
aggressive warfare against any state or group that is perceived to be a 
potential threat to Washington's imperial ambitions. These so-called 
³preemptive² wars are carried out under the rubric of the ³war on terror² which 
provides the justification for torture, abduction, ethnic cleansing and massive 
civilian casualties.

US National Security Strategy articulates in black and white what many critics 
had been saying for years; the United States owns the world and everyone else is
just a guest.

Putin knows that there's no way to reconcile this doctrine with his own 
aspirations for an independent Russia but, so far, a clash has been averted.

He also knows that Bush is flanked by a band of fanatics and militarists who 
plan to weaken Russia, install an American stooge (like Georgia and Afghanistan)
and divide the country into four regions. This strategy is clearly presented in 
forward-planning documents that have been drawn up in Washington think tanks 
that chart the course for US world domination. Brzezinski is quite candid about 
this in his article in Foreign Affairs:

³Given (Russia's) size and diversity, a decentralized political system and 
free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of 
the Russian people and Russia's vast natural resources. A loosely confederated 
Russia -- composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern 
Republic -- would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations 
with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its 
local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow's heavy bureaucratic 
hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial 
mobilization.² (Zbigniew Brzezinski,³A Geostrategy for Eurasia²)

Partition is a common theme in imperial planning whether its called apartheid in
Israel, federalizing in Iraq, ³limited independence² in Kosovo, or ³loose 
confederation² in Russia. It's all the same. Divide and rule; undermine 
nationalism by destroying the underlying culture and balkanizing the territory. 
This isn't new. What is amazing, is that Bush's plan is going forward despite 7 
years of uninterrupted foreign policy failures. Hubris and self-delusion have a 
longer shelf-life than anyone could have imagined.

Putin is surrounded by ex-KGB hardliners who have warned him that America cannot
be trusted. They have watched while the US has steadily moved into the 
former-Soviet satellites, pushed NATO to Russia's borders, and precipitated 
regime change via ³color coded² revolutions. They point to Chechen war where US 
intelligence services trained Chechen insurgents through their ISI surrogates in
Pakistan‹teaching them how to conduct guerrilla operations in a critical region 
that provides Russia with access to the western shores of the resource-rich 
Caspian Basin.

1.  Michel Chossudovsky has done some excellent research on this little-known 
period of Russian history. In his article ³The Anglo-American Military Axis², he

³U.S. covert support to the two main Chechen rebel groups (through Pakistan¹s 
ISI) was known to the Russian government and military. However, it had 
previously never been made public or raised at the diplomatic level. In November
1999, the Russian Defense Minister, Igor Sergueyev, formally accused Washington 
of supporting the Chechen rebels. Following a meeting held behind closed doors 
with Russia¹s military high command, Sergueyev declared that:

'The national interests of the United States require that the military conflict 
in the Caucasus [Chechnya] be a fire, provoked as a result of outside forces", 
while adding that "the West¹s policy constitutes a challenge launched to Russia 
with the ultimate aim of weakening her international position and of excluding 
her from geo-strategic areas.'²

In the wake of the 1999 Chechen war, a new "National Security Doctrine" was 
formulated and signed into law by Acting President Vladimir Putin, in early 
2000. Barely acknowledged by the international media, a critical shift in 
East-West relations had occurred. The document reasserted the building of a 
strong Russian State, the concurrent growth of the Military, as well as the 
reintroduction of State controls over foreign capital....The document carefully 
spelled out what it described as " fundamental threats" to Russia¹s national 
security and sovereignty. More specifically, it referred to "the strengthening 
of military-political blocs and alliances" [namely GUUAM], as well as to "NATO¹s
eastward expansion" while underscoring "the possible emergence of foreign 
military bases and major military presences in the immediate proximity of 
Russian borders." (Michel Chossudovsky, ³The Anglo-American Military Axis², 
Global Research)

That's right; there's been a low-grade secret war going on between Russia and 
the US for over a decade although it is rarely discussed in diplomatic circles. 
The war in Chechnya is probably less about ³succession² and independence, than 
it is about foreign intervention and imperial overreach.

The same rule applies to the controversy surrounding Kosovo. The Bush 
administration and its EU clients are trying to fragment Serbia by supporting an
initiative for Kosovo ³limited independence².

  But why ³limited²?

It's because Bush knows that the resolution has no chance of passing the UN 
Security Council, so the only way to circumvent international law is by issuing 
a unilateral edict that is promoted in the media as ³independence². By this same
standard, Abraham Lincoln should have granted Jefferson Davis ³limited 
independence² and avoided the Civil War altogether.

Author Irina Lebedeva reveals the real motives behind the administration's 
actions on Kosovo in her article ³USA-Russia: Hitting the same Gate, or playing 
the same game?²

³The North Atlantic alliance (The US and its EU allies) documents indicate that 
the bloc aims at the ³Balkanization² of the post-Soviet space by way of 
overtaking influence in the territories of the currently frozen conflicts and 
their follow-up internalization along the Yugoslavian lines are set down in 
black and white. For example, a special report titled ³The New North Atlantic 
Strategy for the Black Sea Region², prepared by the German Marshall Fund of the 
United States on the occasion of the NATO summit, already refers to Black Sea 
and South Caucasus (Transcaucasia) as a ³new Euro-Atlantic borderland plagued by
Soviet-legacy conflicts.² And the ³region of frozen conflicts is evolving into a
functional aggregate on the new border of an enlarging West.² Azerbaijan and 
Georgia in tandem, the report notes, provide a unique transit corridor for 
Caspian energy to Europe, as well as an irreplaceable corridor for American-led 
and NATO to bases and operation theatres in Central Asia and the Greater Middle 

Once again, divide and rule; this time writ large for an entire region that is 
being arbitrarily redrawn to meet the needs of mega-corporations that want to 
secure ³transit corridors for Caspian energy to Europe². The new Great Game. 
Brzezinski has called this area a critical ³land-bridge² to Eurasia. Others 
refer to it as a ³new Euro-Atlantic borderland². Whatever one calls it; it is a 
good illustration of how bloodthirsty Washington mandarins carve up the world to
suit their own geopolitical objectives.

Putin has seen enough and he's now moving swiftly to counter US incursions in 
the region. He's not going to wait until the neocon fantasists affix a bullseye 
to his back and take aim. In the last few weeks he has withdrawn Russia from the
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) and is threatening to redeploy 
his troops and heavy weaponry to Russia's western-most borders. The move does 
nothing to enhance Russian security, but it will arouse public concern in Europe
and perhaps ignite a backlash against Bush's Missile Defense system.

Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin also announced this week that Russia will 
move part of its fleet to Syrian ports where ³it will maintain a permanent 
presence in the Mediterranean. Israeli leaders are in a panic over the 
announcement claiming that the move will disrupt their ³electronic surveillance 
and air defense centers² thus threatening their national security. Putin intends
to go ahead with the plan regardless. Dredging has already begun in the port of 
Tartus and a dock is being built in the Syrian port of Latakia.

Also, Russian officials are investigating the possibility of building military 
bases in Serbia and have been invited to discuss the issue with leaders in the 
Serbian Nationalist Radical Party (SRS) The prospective dialogue is clearly 
designed to dissuade the US from pursuing its present policy towards Kosovo.

Russia also delivered its first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran this week which
means that the controversial 1,000 watt nuclear plant at Bushehr could be fully 
operational within three months. Adding insult to injury, Iranian officials 
announced on Monday their plans to build a second plant in defiance of US orders
to halt its nuclear activities.

Also, on Monday, ³Russia test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile 
part of a system that can outperform any anti-missile system likely to be 
deployed² according to Reuters. ³The missile was launched from the Tula 
nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in the Arctic.²

³The military hardware now on our weapons, and those that will appear in the 
next few years, will enable our missiles to outperform any anti-missile system, 
including future systems," Col.-Gen Nikolai Solovtsov was quoted as telling 
journalists.² (Reuters)

Bush's Missile Defense system has restarted the nuclear arms race. Welcome to 
the new Cold War.

Finally, Russia Chief of Staff, General Yuri Balyevsky warned:

³A possible launch of a US interceptor missile from Central Europe may provoke a
counterattack from intercontinental ballistic missiles....If we suppose that 
Iran wants to strike the United States , then interceptor missiles which would 
be launched from Poland will fly towards Russia and the shape and flight 
trajectory are very similar to ICBMs² (Novosti Russian News Agency)

Balyevsky's scenario of an ³accidental² World War 3 is more likely than ever now
that Bush is pressing ahead with his plans for Missile Defense. Russia's 
automated missile warning systems can be triggered automatically when foreign 
missiles enter Russian air space. Its a dangerous game and potentially fatal 
every living thing on the planet.

To great extent, the American people have no idea of the reckless policy that is
being carried out in their name. The gravity of the proposed Missile Defense 
system has been virtually ignored by the media and Russia's protests have been 
dismissed as trivial. But hostilities are steadily growing, military forces and 
weaponry are being put into place, and the stage is set for a major 
conflagration. This is every bit as serious as the Cuban Missile Crisis, only 
this time Russia cannot afford to stand down.

Putin will not allow the system to be deployed even if he has to remove it 
through force of arms. It is a direct threat to Russia's national security. We 
would expect no different from our own leaders.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

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