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Saturday
Jan222011

Oksanka is Angry

Some people are sick, sick in the head with Russophobia. Oksana Bashuk Hepburn is one of them. Here we will have a look at this piece

Despite losing the cold war some 20 years ago, Russia is determined to regain superpower status without concessions to a new world order. The policy issue for Canada and others is this: how far to tolerate Russia’s aggression in the name of good relations? And: will it change, if criminal behavior is accommodated?

Straight to the point, I like that!

Cold War was not a war in the real sense of the word, this is why it bears the epithet 'cold.' If it was a war of anything, it was a war of ideas. The loser in this exchange was Communism deservedly, because it was a rotten, unrealistic, and dysfunctional ideology. Russia did not really lose, it is a new subject of international relations which emerged from the collapse of Communism and its main supporting state, the Soviet Union. As the largest state in the world, and a nuclear superpower, Russia is well justified in pursuing its own interests in what it rightfully deems its own backyard, the so called 'near abroad.' States in this area can either comply with Russian interests or suffer the consequences of their insolent behaviour. Sounds harsh? Well, international relations is not for those 'easily offended' types. 

What are the challenges to Russia reasserting itself in its backyard? Oksana dropped the term, 'new world order.' One must understand that certain form of international order existed for a long time among humanity. From the Egyptian-Hittite treaty to the Pax Romana, to the Treaty of Westphalia, humanity has seen attempts to have the rule of law and not the rule of the jungle govern the conduct of nations. (1) What we are witnessing today is an attempt to establish a liberal democratic, US dominated order, a Pax Americana if you will.

The nineties saw several works of literature debating the position of Western liberal democratic and capitalist order, and the future dominance of the US. Notably Francis Fukuyama's book with an eschatological title End of History, and the Last Man. According to Fukuyama, the end of the Cold War and the triumph of liberal democracy and capitalism, will ultimately lead to a world where liberal democracy and capitalism become universal, and moreover the final forms of human organisation. Fukuyama later joined the Project for New American Century, a neoconservative think-tank, whose aim was and probably still is:

...to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. 

Discussing American global leadership is Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard, which provides the reader with possible strategies on how to achieve the desired outcome, an American dominated, unipolar world. In opposition to such an arrangement stands the idea of a multipolar world. Huntington for instance imagines a world of multiple civilisations which are in constant conflict and competition with each other. There of course can be arrangements other than Huntington's civilisations, Eurasianism transcends religious boundaries for instance. Whatever the concessions Russia needs to make are, it needs to make them to the idea of a universalist world order. In short, relinquish its own ambitions, and become another vassal state of the American Empire.

Russia’s lawlessness is evident. It invades sovereign territory, issues passports to citizens of other states and fails to honor agreements to withdraw troops. It ranks in the top 10 percent of the world’s most corrupt states; the only G-20 country with such a distinction. There’s mischief-making in Transdnistria, cyber attack on Estonia, interference in Kyrgyz Republic's internal affairs. Relations with neighbors are consistently confrontational. It even uses orthodoxy to spread 19-century pan-Russianism worldwide.

And one must add that Russia is still playing nice, and not running at its full capacity. I mean, you take a look at the US. The Americans have a gained much more experience in invading and/or bombing countries without UN mandate, in the last twenty years. Same goes for meddling in affairs of sovereign states worldwide. But guess what, that is all good, because it helps forge a 'new world order.' (2) 

I have to object to the accusation levelled against Russian Orthodoxy. Russian Orthodoxy abroad is a multinational, multilingual, and multiracial entity, or more precisely a set of entities. These entities includes such close to Russians ethnic designations as 'Ukrainian,' or very distant ones like 'Japanese.' It is too diverse to be a vehicle of pan-Russianism. However this statement sounds ridiculous, it is no stranger to the arsenal of Russophobes. 

The state, under President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, controls virtually all aspects of domestic affairs: Political opposition in the Duma; parliament is stifled. Much of the Russian media serve its oligarch -- read government --owners. Insubordinate journalists are murdered; the leading independent paper Novaya Gazeta lost five, including Anna Politkovskaya; three others have been killed in the last few weeks.

Business shenanigans are legion, best exemplified by the lengthy incarceration of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s former energy czar. Most of Russia’s wealth is controlled by oligarchs favoring the state. Those who do not, like Boris Berezovsky, must flee.

And matters are getting worse. Liberties at home are declining and aggression towards neighbours is rising as Russia, once again, pursues its 19th century imperialist doctrine of Czar Nicholas I 'autocracy, orthodoxy and nationalism.'

Yet, Russia is accommodated by Western powers.

The West happily trades and consults on matters of international politics with China. This entire above piece of Oksana's drivel concerns Russia's domestic affairs, and is of little relevance to international relations which form the main focus of her article. 

Following the West’s Cold War victory which liberated some 500 million people and 15 states plus the satellites, from the concentration camp that was the Soviet Union, Russia was in no better position to negotiate terms than post-war Germany. Yet, some--Stalin’s moniker for Western apologists of the USSR had been 'useful idiots' -- lobbied hard to stop the 'humiliation' of Russia and blessing its unilateral claim to a new 'near abroad' empire. To this end, Ukraine and Kazakhstan were threatened with aid withdrawal if exclusive control of the Soviet nuclear arsenal were denied Russia. And when NATO membership support was nearing 70 percent in Ukraine, Western democracies sided with Russia’s nyet rather than admit the largest European country-- a fledgling democracy aiming to embrace the West--into its fold. The pattern persists: there was tepid consternation rather than outrage as Putin threatened Ukraine and Georgia with nuclear annihilation were NATO membership to be granted.

When the First World War ended, it was called the Great War, it was the worse military conflict the world had witnessed to date. On contrary, as I already stated, the Cold War was not a real war, and therefore there was no state entity which was in position to dictate terms to Russia. That said, Oksana does not even realise in her pathological Russophobia where 'humiliation' of inter-war Germany lead eventually. 

I would very much like to see the source of such a staggering '70% for NATO in Ukraine' figure. Also Putin threatening Georgia and Ukraine with nuclear annihilation is highly suspicious. Furthermore, even if such a time existed in the recent history of Ukraine, a country does not enter into NATO because the people wish it. The process is a little harder than that. The question of Russia's Black Sea Fleet would have to be resolved for instance. Speaking of resolving issues, Georgia's position looked even worse with regions not under its control. As things stand, Georgia can forget about entering NATO for the foreseeable future, not that it was ever eligible. 

Russia appeasement is alive and well as short-term interests get in the way of principles and strategic goals. This gets France technology transfer contracts for Russia’s naval fleet enlargement. Germany’s Angela Merkel--with roots in East Germany where Mr. Putin served as a KGB operative, speaks Russian at official bilateral meetings and works hard to be on the right side of Russia’s energy policies. The United States may have a new START agreement, open bases in Kyrgystan and cooperation in dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat but at what price?

The price is whatever Russia says it is, what is so hard to understand here? Germans, French, Italians understand it, even Americans do get it. Who does not appear to still get it are the East Europeans and their diaspora representatives like Oksana. Russians build the Nord Stream pipeline and the Baltics scream about herrings in danger, or something of the kind. Herrings are probably the only thing their wretched economies have left. Germans and Russians want to do business, Germans have industry and Russians have energy to power it with. Both countries are divided by a strip of land filled with unreliable, loudmouthed states. Unfortunate situation indeed, makes things unnecessarily more difficult for all, except those pushing 'new world order' as defined above.

Meanwhile, Russia’s strategic goals are gaining ground. It is expanding its hegemony in the neighborhood; participating in Europe’s security deliberations; increasing control of global waters; seeking trade access via WTO membership; and demanding respect while expanding its criminal empire. Cold War victors applaud-- da, da kharasho--and throw in the Winter Olympics and the World Cup into the bargain.

With US in decline, it can be argued that somebody needs to take control of global waters. If Russia is willing to step up to the plate, why not? They certainly know how to deal with piracy. I heard comments which were not welcoming to Russia's WTO membership, therefore Russia might not gain much by entry into the organisation. Besides that, what exactly have sporting events to do with international relations? Is Russia not even entitled to host sporting events?

Historian Eerik-Niiles Kross reminds how George Smiley (John le Carre’s fictional character in his Cold War novels) was fond of saying that 'bargaining with the Russians tends to result in giving away the crown jewels in return for chicken feed.'

Bargaining with Russians is probably the only thing Americans have left in their arsenal when it comes to short term policy on Iran. Chicken feed is better than nothing.

Ukraine is a particularly fine gem. The largest country in Europe, with outstanding assets--agriculture, metallurgy, aerospace, with considerable Europe reach via river networks and into the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through the Black Sea, it is key to yedynyj ruskyj mir, the one Russian world, as its current rhetoric has it.

Now she likens Ukraine to a crown jewel, of the West presumably. The 'Russian world' idea is certainly popular among certain segments of the current Russian elite, but is it that popular in Ukraine? I doubt it is, but according to Oksana the answer is 'yes it is!':

Pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych leads the charge in Ukraine, while the West, in deference to Russia, throws the proverbial pearl to the pigs. From an impressive near 90 percent support for independence from Russia- dominated USSR in 1991, Ukraine reverted to a narrow pro-Russia presidential victory in 2010. Unquestionably Russia was guiding developments there; buying Western hearts and minds, by besmirching its state politics, claiming 'Ukraine fatigue' and 'political instability' to ensure the results it wanted. Instead of mounting robust fights, the West caved and Ukraine is, for the time being, sliding back into Russia’s sphere of influence.

The West’s Russo-centric optic is historic and due, in part, to ignorance of the Slavic world. Canada’s historian Margaret MacDonald underscores this in her '1919: The Versailles Treaty' as Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George split Ukraine between Poland and Russia.

And, nearly a century later, as the U.S.S.R. collapses President George H.W. Bush admonishes Ukraine for breaking with Russia! Current opinion leaders chatter about 'Russia’s Crimea.' Similarly, centuries of Ukraine’s incessant struggles for independence are dismissed as '300 years of Russian rule,' thus legitimizing the hope of the czarist doctrine: Ukraine never was, is not now and never shall be and playing into Putin’s hand.

Yanukovych being pro-Russian is such a worn out line these days, and in my opinion is a result of intellectual laziness. Let me once again repeat myself, Yanukovych is certainly not anti-Russian, he does not appear particularly eager to play into Russia's hands completely either. One would require more evidence of Yanukovych playing into Russian hands to claim that he is pro-Russian. So far his steps are very ambiguous to make such a straight forward assertions.

But this is a necessary assertion that one needs to be convinced of to swallow the thought that after centuries of striving for independence, Ukrainians elected a Russophile. This was apparently a result of Russian meddling, as if Ukrainians are incapable of thinking and making choices on their own apparently. One should be reminded, that during the 'Orange Revolution' which could also be accused of being a result of this time Western meddling, Southern and Eastern Ukraine voted for Yanukovych too. This time around, Yanukovych added some Western Ukrainian districts of Transcarpathia, and percentages here and there in other Western and Central regions. This had little to do with Russian meddling, but more with disillusionment of Ukrainians following broken promises of the Orange camp. 'Political instability' and 'fatigue' were a reality that had no need for Russian propaganda.

Speaking of realities, Oksana has very interesting views. Note that she says that following the First World War, Ukraine was split between Poland and Russia. In fact territories of contemporary Ukraine were split between Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and most importantly Soviet Ukraine. Was Soviet Ukraine to go to that Russia with a doctrine of suppressing the development of Ukrainian identity, we would most likely not even talk about Ukrainians today. The Soviet input into the development of Ukrainian nation and unification of Ukrainian territories is so easily overlooked by pundits today. One should also not forget that Crimea was part of Soviet Russia until the fifties, and is still in ethnic sense, predominantly Russian.

Pro-Russia thinking is evident globally. Despite its lawlessness, it is a bona fide member of the G-8 and G-20; it is courted by NATO. And, if Christopher Westdal’s writings are indicative, more Russia accommodation is in the works. 'Make no mistake' he says '…new boundaries of Europe and Russia will be drawn. … the Caucasus is not European…neither is Ukraine European--enough.' And, if history is a measure, the West just may allow Russia to prevail.

It is chilling that the West may bargain away yet another crown jewel-- NATO’s Western self-determination-- in return for cooperation in Afghanistan and Iran. Mere chicken feed? Delusionary trust? Or both?

A good predictor of future behavior is past performance. The United States and Canada, for instance, should continue to have good relations, given some 200 years of peace and prosperity. The future in Russia’s neighborhood and the rest of the world will be turbulent unless pressured to change. In the last century, Russia invaded the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Georgia. There is mischief making in Armenia and Transdnistria, cyber attacks on Estonia and interference in the Kyrgyz Republic. Gratuitous butchery in Chechnya contrasts sharply to the way Canada, for example, handled Quebec’s independence aspirations.  

Has anyone just compared the Québécois to the Chechens? One should note that decades ago, the French speaking population of Canada was not treated as it is now. Liberal democratic accommodation of ethnic minorities is a relatively new concept. In my recent post I alluded to the fact that Russia has compensated Chechnya for past ills. Not to mention, making a contrast between Russia and Canada is completely out of touch.

I am wondering why the list of invaded countries does not include Ukraine? After all, did not the Red Army invade the independent Ukrainian National Republic? Maybe it was not Russia invading Ukraine? Maybe Russia did not invade Czechoslovakia and Hungary either? I might inquire into how many Ukrainians participated in quelling Prague Spring in 1968. Not to mention, that the great leader at the time, Leonid Brezhnev was Ukrainian. A prominent Czechoslovak Communist from the 'conservative' faction of the party, and supporter of Soviet invasion Vasil Bil'ak was a Rusyn by ethnicity, but I am sure Ukrainian nationalists would not mind saying that he was a Ukrainian. Did Ukraine invade Czechoslovakia? Obviously not, but Soviet Union certainly did. From the list, only Georgia fits the bill properly, and Georgia deserved it.

Christopher Westdal, former ambassador of Canada in Moscow, speaks a lot of sense. Caucasus is off limits and Ukraine is not European enough. This goes for for the Ukrainian region, Galicia as well.

Russia’s aggression calls for deterrents rather than rewards. Yet in April, Obama and Medvedev signed the New START Treaty to reduce nuclear power of both countries. Some fear it will ensure the U.S. nuclear arsenal cannot overwhelm Russia’s and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia reserves the right to drop out of the pact if it believes U.S. missile defense plans for Europe threaten its security.

In this uncertain world, Canada is doing its part.

Let's see what Canada is doing:

During the recent visit to Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper drew heavily on Canada’s foreign policy pillars: security within a stable global framework and projection of Canadian values.

Harper spoke in Kyiv, but his words were heard in Moscow and around the world. He called for the rule of law, respect for human rights and the importance of free media. He paid homage to victims of both Nazi and Communist regimes in this blood-soaked land with the message that admission of past atrocities is a deterrent to future genocides. His performance was statesman like, in the best Canadian tradition and one which virtually all Canadians are proud to support.

It surprises that some would have him -- Canada-- silenced because such positions are 'tailored to suit…Russia-phobe diaspora voting blocks in Canada.' Moreover, dismissing Canada’s concerns regarding Russia’s territorial claims in the Arctic as being '…equivalent to bald men arguing over a comb' is perplexing given the suspected massive oil and gas reserves in the Arctic and Russia’s enhancement of its navy capacity by some 50 vessels and the new military budget by 650 billion dollars.

Harper is a neocon freak, as far as I have heard. If he did not do it to please Russophobic Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, Oksana for instance, he might as well be emulating some folks in Washington. Harper is also a supporter of Ukrainian and Georgian NATO membership. Those 'some' is the aforementioned Christopher Westdal, let us read other Westdal's comments:

The world has moved on, but neo-con thought is alive and well in Ottawa. We need to lift our sights and our game.

...

In Moscow . . . we’ve just been hard to take seriously these last five years, what with the open antipathy in our Last Cold Warrior Standing posture. Such nonsense gets notices — and does us no good.

I have to admit that I never heard the name Christopher Westdal before writing this article, now I have respect for the man. I am also getting the impression that his comments caused Oksana's Russophobic outrage. 

Notes: 1/2) I borrowed from George H.W. Bush's famous speech.

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Reader Comments (24)

Part of me regrets commenting on such articles as the one Leos addresses. On the other hand, letting such remarks go repeatedly unchallenged doesn't help to set the record straight. Hence, some rehashing of what has been previously said.

Concerning the English language coverage, anti-Russian/Ukrainian nationalist leaning views get the upper hand at the Kyiv Post, in a way that responsibly patriotic Russian views don't at The Moscow Times. Therein lies an underlying bias, which some propped sources seem to stay away from.

Instead, one is prone to see articles like this one:

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/raising-patriots-rather-than-physicists/429192.html
I suspect there might be some misleading comments in it.

I continue to maintain that there’s a constructive need for an effectively communicated and responsible Russian patriotism – which (in accordance with Latynina’s article) shouldn’t take away from education in the hard sciences.

Hence, a two prong approach is helpful inside and outside Russia.

Beware of the stressing of the Russian nationalist bit. Unlike Yanukovych - "Putvedev" haven't had to annul arbitrarily given Soviet like "Hero" statuses to historical figures that conjure up a good degree of negativity.

An example of a paranoid nationalist mindset criticizing another form:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/roman-kabachiy/ukrainian-nationalism-are-russian-strategies-at-work

Two private views from some astute individuals who I’m glad to know:

“Muddled and convoluted, but the same old BS…”

&

“Typical misguided use of a conspiracy theory.”

****

Yushchenko and his wife are committed Bandera supporters.

Yushchenko has a pattern of seeking unreasonable goals like putting Ukraine in NATO, ASAP and seeking just one UOC church independent of the MP. On the latter, he would’ve been practically better off with a free to choose (UOC-KP, UOC-MP, UAOC) stance.

Note the mischievous Russia behind the scene line in the above linked oD article.

That site has run two recent gems from someone else, who suggests that Yanukovych’s PoR might be backing the nationalist Svoboda movement. That author’s main beef with Svoboda seems to be its xenophobia at Western orgs. He has nothing to say of that org’s. anti-Russian stances.

Regarding who has recently decided to appear with Svoboda:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/95379

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Everything said in the article can be levelled right back at the US and Britain as well as other countries.

Interference in other countries that has been a staple of British, EU and US foreign policy including Russia installing US compliant puppet regimes in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Belarus (until Luckachenko came to power), Afghan (Taliban then Karzai), Kosovo, Venezuela (attempted coup), Haiti and good knows how many other countries.

In regards to the Soviet Union that was a western backed anti-Russian coup who for decades through a British lead effort and campaign that included Europe and the US which included petitioning for abandoning US-Russia trade agreements since the time of Lincoln and Russia’s support during the civil war.

Some reference is made to this in Jacob Schiff’s official biographical sketch by Cyrus Adler.

They used the same tactic as they do today EXACTLY the same.

Lobbying and protesting how evil and repressive the Tzarist government while at the same time supporting mostly ethnically based international Marxist terrorism emanating out of the conflict of the Pale of Settlement with organisations like The Parliamentary Russian Committee with Marxist Petr Kropotkin published The terror in Russia : an appeal to the British nation (1909)"> and organisations like Society of Friends of Russian Freedom.

As for the state of affairs in Russia today when there mafia Oligarchs and the western cronies and banks running the country between the 1992-2000 genocided 6 million Russian which cannot be attributed to conventional life and death issues not to mention the tens of thousands of Russian girls trafficked each year into Europe, the Mid East and the US by western linked “Russian” and non-Russian mafia.

Russian Oligarchical framework and other issues are a product of what happened during the 90’s. If Putin went against the Oligarchs like he did with Berezovsky, Guisinky and Khoderkovsky they would simply with EU, US and other government backing move there assets out of Russia collapsing the Russian economy.

All of the Oligarchs have their money and companies invested in of shore British tax havens like the Cayman Islands out of state control.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

Gratuitous butchery in Chechnya contrasts sharply to the way Canada, for example, handled Quebec’s independence aspirations.”

I remember when Quebec was ruled by a regional military dictator and the CIA, MI6, ISI and other countries covertly started training and making contacts via corrupt Canadian military personal and major organized crime syndicates with mass rapes, kidnappings, murder and ethnic cleansing sparked an inevitable military intervention supported by at least half a dozen countries who perfected the art of urban combat in a live training exercise called Bosnia in 91.

It was tricky for a period when the Quebecian separatists started training in camps in the US, camps in Taliban controlled Afghanistan and recruitment through UK webmasters of French speaking militants during their de-facto period especially when they signed agreements for investment in billion dollar oil contracts with British/US oil companies in London which Canadian authority handled remarkably well especially when they invaded neighboring financed by the regime in Qatar but the Canadian authorities handled it remarkably well unlike the evil Russian who after the first war through Guisinky and the World Jewish Congress moved tens of thousands of Chechens with free housing and benefits into Russian cities, a culture centre and a Chechen Embassy and there “genocide” of the of over 100,000, 100,000-200,000 and an impossible 250,000 depending on the source which by coincidence matches the same numbers citied during the Balkan wars and rather then decrease the Chechen population from the 89-2002 census increased 461,254 by while the ethnic Russian population decreased by 3,976,839.

http://www.perepis2002.ru/ct/doc/English/4-1.xls

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

@ Misha

I am working on several translations and articles now, this was nothing but a quick exercise. I did not even bother to address the article on oD. With this oD has reached a new low in my opinion.

January 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ jack

Yes, nobody thinks of Russians cleansed out of Chechnya, many of which were forced to leave before the start of the conflict.

January 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Leos, Jack & Co.

Elsewhere, I came across a recent bit uncritically citing Lilia Shevtsova who suggests that the internal situation in Russia is making it more difficult for that country to be on better terms with the West. NOTHING said of how some influential stances in the West (particularly among neocon, neolibs and flat out Russia haters) unfairly spin Russia in a way the serves to prevent the likelihood of better cooperation.

As for the Kyiv Post article Leos comments on: whatever her limited role in Canadian government, Oksana Bashuk Hepburn expresses views that don't seem to be as passionately refuted on the same level as her piece.

This point relates to how Strobe Talbott has been called "soft" on Russia. Talbott is nowhere near as soft on Russia as McCain and some other leading American politicos have been hard on it.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Also from Canada: Haroon Siddiqui's recent article on Crimea (discussed at this blog) is in the same slanted direction as Bashuk-Hepburn (albeit less bombastic).

Nice to know that there're other folks north of my border thinking like Mark Chapman.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

@Misha

Yeah but you will never EVER find a Russian commentator who will say BOOOO! to the west despite all the evidence that they are supporting organised crime and terrorism in that country and abroad and everything else that threatens not just Russia but the entire Eurasian sphere.

It is so F**king obvious that the war in the Balkans was a precursor for war against Russia

Even the US own 98 DIA report confirms Bosnia Muslims and KLA as one of the main groups supporting Chechen lead terrorism in Russia’s North Caucasus.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/story/2004/nov/defense-intelligence-report-details-al-qaedas-plans-russia-chechnya-and-wmd

Perhaps a Chinese annexation of Siberia to Han Chinese dominion is Russia’s only hope but I doubt they will do much of a better job than the Russians.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

Former Carnegie crony Andrew Kuchins which coordinates the activities of foreign NGO’s in Russia wrote for Brezinzki linked Centre for Strategic and International Studies hypothetical scenario in which Russia is engulfed in civil war

I posted the exiled article that gives a comical take on it (god forbid commentary on any western actions against Russia should be taken seriously) and a link to the CSIS page and a PDF link to the report.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302/thread/1295148344/last-1295326177/A+Russia-Watcher%92s+Fairytale+%28overview+of+CSIS+Russian+civil+war+scenario%29

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

At his Gray Falcon blog, Nebojsa Mailic recently referenced "soft on Russia" not Strobe Talbott suggesting that the Western largely neocon to neolib influenced activity in the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia was done to a certain degree with Russia in mind.

Meantime, you've folks (including Michael McFaul) saying that a good number of Russians have a geopolitical zero sum game mindset against the West - while downplaying the confrontational manner of some leading Western politicos. One can also pointedly address which side has been the more provocative?

For some, it appears out of the question to consider an imperial mindset when supporting stances like replacing the Russian military presence in Pridnestrovie with a Western force. The situation in Pridnestrovie is noticeably more peaceable than what has been evident in Kosovo - which continues to have a considerable Western military presence. Why the need to make such a push in Pridnestrovie? When discussed, media outlets like The Moscow Times (TMT) frequently cover such matter in a one-sided way.

I saw a recent panel which essentially served as a neolib pat on the back for Western involvement abroad. At this panel, someone from the USIP lauded Western activity for maintaining relative peace in Crimea. IMO, greater credit should be given to the peoples and nations primarily involved in that region. At the aforementioned panel, someone with a US military background referred to Ukraine as not yet being in NATO.

Western mass media (include TMT), academia and body politic can only be faulted so much. Responsibly pro-Russian views can be improved upon at the more high profile of venues, seen as being more open to such advocacy.

As the cronyism lingers on.

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

"I remember when Quebec was ruled by a regional military dictator and the CIA, MI6, ISI and other countries covertly started training and making contacts via corrupt Canadian military personal and major organized crime syndicates with mass rapes, kidnappings, murder and ethnic cleansing sparked an inevitable military intervention supported by at least half a dozen countries who perfected the art of urban combat in a live training exercise called Bosnia in 91. "

You do? Perhaps you could enlighten me as to when Quebec was ruled by a regional military dictator. While you're at it, I'd like to see some citations that support known links between "corrupt Canadian military personnel" , western intelligence agencies and organized crime. I'm sure the Canadian government would be extremely interested, since the death penalty remained operative for violations of the Official Secrets Act right up until 1989 despite there being no such penalty for any civil offense in the country. Finally, I'd be interested in some details on how all those former residents of Grozny moved to Quebec, since there is no mention of anyone from Quebec or Canada in the reference you cited. What a load of rubbish.

Stephen Harper is not a neocon freak. He is a pragmatic bureaucrat with extensive education in business, like quite a few neocon freaks south of the border, and there is little doubt he would pander to that gallery a great deal more if he had a majority government and could spead his wings a little. It's true that he solicits the good wishes of Russophobic elements in the USA, although I doubt he feels anything personal against Russia. That's not an excuse for bad-mouthing it, of course, but it does aid in explaining why it is all talk and no action. That's because nobody has asked the Canadian government to do anything more than cheerlead for Team USA, so far.

I had some serious disagreements with the referenced article, as you could see from the comments. However, it is helpful to note Ms. Bashuk-Hepburn was a policy adviser in financial matters, had no input to Foreign Policy, and formed her nutty Uke-Nationalist organization after her government service. Christ, what a loony.

January 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

@Mark

I was being facetious pointing out the obvious ludicrous statement comparing Chechens to Quebecan separatists.

Obviously Quebec militants did not pre-plan a military conflict, initiate an ethnic cleansing campaign and attempt to turn Quebec into a regional dictatorship.

Not that this worthless government in Russia, intellectuals and professional commentators will tell you anything of this.

Let’s hope when the civil war starts in Russia , China is prepared to intervene and annex Siberia.

January 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

OK, sorry for overreacting. The FLQ (Front de Liberation de Quebec) Crisis was the only instance in my lifetime (that I recall) of imposition of martial law in Canada. Even the Oka crisis, more recent, did not inspire martial law, although the "Mohawk protesters" (many of whom were neither natives or Canadian) were better armed than the FLQ and constituted a larger movement numerically. But there appeared to be no support for the FLQ movement outside Quebec, and it constituted a tiny minority within it. The people of Quebec refer to themselves as "Quebecois".

I must have missed the statement that compared the "gratuitous butchery" in Chechnya to the plight of the FLQ. Again, sorry, I should have realized it was sarcasm.

As I have suggested elsewhere, acknowledgement of certain elements' advocation for Chechen independence will not happen, because the government is well aware that their purpose is not independence, but instability. Genuine independence would be far more effectively squashed by granting it, then weakening the newly-independent nation-states by way of trade imbalances until they were no longer able to maintain credible independence. Trade among themselves (assuming the entire Caucasus went) would not keep their head above water if Russia did not bless their success. But if the Caucasus were granted independence, it would not satisfy the radical Islamists - the front would merely leapfrog to the new border, and the provocations and terrorist acts would continue.

Analysts of the Iraq war were aghast that the population permitted insurgents to live among them, and spoke of them with loathing as disgusting cowards for swimming in the sea of innocent protection while striking at the occupiers, whose hands were tied. Home news sources cheered while "coalition patrols" (almost 100% American) killed or captured thousands of insurgents, never noticing that the insurgency had been initially pegged at a few thousand, no more than 10,000, while nearly ten times that number are dead. But then, of course, they were killing Americans. So they were animals. The Chechen extremists, by contrast, are freedom fighters, battling impossible odds to shrug off the brutal taskmasters who hold their country captive and prevent it from realizing its true potential. Because they are killing Russians.

How are the Iraqi insurgents different from the Islamist insurgents in the Caucasus (barring the obvious geographical difference)? Yet the perspective and reporting are as different as if they were not the same species. Russian troops killing Chechens is butchery, while American troops killing Iraqis is compassionate and specifically-targeted efforts to sort the wheat from the chaff.

War and killing are horrible. But they are uniformly horrible - not here horrible and there glorious.

China has no reason to annex Siberia as long as its present owners will empty it of its bounty and sell it to China at reasonable prices. Annexation becomes feasible when China needs more land (it doesn't) or resources it cannot get any other way. If such an attempt were made, it would be greatly to the west's detriment to allow it, since the west has already had its head up its ass for a decade too long on the issue of the rise of China - not to mentioning the USA giving China the keys to the federal treasury.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Dude, Siberia is an extreme climate. It is warmer in Antarctica than, say, Yakutsk. Maintaining its level of population is a huge drain on the federal budget - and that is with the help from infrastructure which would certainly be of no use should a foreign army invade (gas hookups, port facilities.) Russia's infrastructure (for example, its rail gage and GLONASS) was deliberately designed to be incompatible for security reasons.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercartman

@ Mark

The Chechens never really wanted independence. Independence is unrealistic to any thinking person, Chechens included. I have read that Dudayev wanted to negotiate arrangements close to those Kadyrov obtained. Who then wants independence, radicals who are not always Chechens and even in many cases not even North Caucasians. The Jihadists are no freedom fighters.

@ Siberia and China point

As my saying goes: 'Native Siberians did not go the way of Native Americans because they are the only people willing to live there.'

There is a lot of talk about how Russia might be threatened by China in Siberia, but I would say the Russians display much less worry about Chinese expansion (economic, population, and territorial) than do the South East Asian countries.

January 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

In the West, such "worry" relates to shifting geopolitical/economic realities:

http://rbth.ru/articles/2011/01/24/a_faraway_visit_12304.html

In contrast to what seems to be periodically suggested, any Chinese historical claim to some existing Russian territory is limited in terms of involved land - in conjunction with China indicating sought after land claims elsewhere.

In any event, China and Russia signed an agreement fully recognizing their respective borders. Granted, that such agreements can get violated at a later date. At the same time, China and Russia each have respective differences with other nations, while seeing the benefits of peaceful cooperation with each other.

Some might be motivated to see a decline in Sino-Russia relations as a kind of Machiavellian positioning, relative to the perceived growing rivalry between China and the US.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

@Leoš Tomíček

This is just a repeat of the Pale of Settlement were Russia was facing an international Marxist terrorist threat denounced for committing a “genocide” and an international campaign against Russia denouncing it for being undemocratic so they could bring about civil war and the “Russian” revolution and annex strategic regions of the South and Siberia which failed to materialise both during the civil war and WW2.

The point of the first and second conflict was to use that as a base first to organise and destabilise the North Caucasus so they can annex Dagestan and control the Caspian basin then get NATO to intervene so they can use that as a base to destabilise the whole of Russia.

And what really PISSES ME OFF is that this Russian government has kept and suppressed all the evidence of foreign terrorist support and that Russians and Russian commentators will not take it seriously and give to shits that’s why Han Chinese have to take over Russia.

Russia is years behind and should have spend at least a billion dollars researching and gather information around the world in regards to support of Chechen terrorism and Eurasia.

Look at this pathetic interview with Russia’s anti-drug Czar encouraged with my urging on Evgeny Khrushchev's Friendly Fire RT blog that did not even come close to answering any of my questions.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302/thread/1278252539/last-1279223555/Submit++questions+to+Russia%27s+anti-drug+Czar+on+Evgeny+Khrushchev%27s++RT+blog

SHIT! with a capital S.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

Have you evidence of foreign terrorist support ( I assume you mean the support of foreign governments through intermediaries for terrorist groups operating in the Cacasus)? Because I'd love to see it. I'd be citing it on other blogs faster than you could say "AK-47".

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

@ jack

I do not think you would be that pissed off if you had linguistic access to Russian media. RT is too tailored for Western consumption.

January 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@Mark

There are some US court cases most interesting being the 9/11 lawsuit as well as statements by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, Yousef Boudansky, Russia claims against British intelligence and foreign states especially Turkey referenced in Paul Murphy’s book Wolves of Islam but extracts from his book are not available online.

Anyway here are some of the US court cases which reference foreign jihadist to Chechen terrorism.

US v. Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, et al.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/248

US v. Benevolence International Foundation, et al.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/106

9/11 law suit. (Financial history of “Al Qaeda”, lists banking and financial connections to Chechen militants).

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/167

US v. Ahmad, Babar (Azzam Publications, Basayev and Khattabs webmaster).

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/107

US v. Ahsan, Syed Taha (helped run Azzam affiliated websites)

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/161

Phoenix memo the source the investigator interviewed had photocopied pictures of Bin Ladin, Khattab and wounded Chechen fighters posted on his living room wall.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/365

Some Chechen- 9/11 connections and what the media did not mention (by no means fully extensive).

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a96hijackerschechnya#a96hijackerschechnya

Qatari regime financed Basayeav and Khattabs invasion of Dagestan in 99 (from the 9/11 lawsuit).

http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302/thread/1285612924/last-1285612924/Qatari+regime+financed+Basayeav+and+Khattabs+invasion+of+Dagestan+in+99.

There is other newspaper reports of militants in London being on the payroll of MI6 recruiting and setting up training camps in the US for Muslims to fight in Chechnya which I will post later.

@Leoš Tomíček

I do not think you would be that pissed off if you had linguistic access to Russian media.

Like what?

I was looking for Russia’s opening press statement at the launch of the 2nd Chechen war were it mentions Chechens trained in camps in Afghanistan in camps financed by Abdullah Bin Ladin is this available online?

What about International sponsors of Chechen terrorist list, from 1991-2000 is that online?

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

@ jack

I found enough articles which acknowledge that. Russians doing a bad PR and promoting their causes in not so agile way is an issue we could spend weeks debating...

January 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@Leoš Tomíček

I found enough articles which acknowledge that.

Acknowledge what?

I doubt any Russian sources and media will give as good information as I have with my very limited scope of information I have access to where I directly show that the financial supporters of terrorism are MI6/CIA assets including the number 1 financier Sheik Klahid bin Mahfouz who financed everything from Bin Ladins stay in Sudan to the Taliban as well as a part of the Azerbaijan oil consortium.

Sheik Klahid bin Mahfouz US government affiliation is confirmed by a 16th May 1985 US Department of Justice letter to US attorney William F Weld from Bradford Reynolds, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division discussing the transfer of the PROMIS spyware in the Mid East.

Dear Mr Weld,


As agreed, Messrs, Manucher Ghorbanifar, Adnan Khashoggi and Richard Armitage will broker the transaction of the PROMISE Software to Sheik Klahid bin Mahfouz for resale and general gifts in his region contingent upon the three conditions we last spoke of. PROMISE must have a soft arrival. No Paperwork, customs, or delay. It must be equipped with special data retrieval unit. As before, you must walk the financial aspects through Credit Suisse and National Commercial Bank. If you encounter any problems contact me directly.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302/thread/1286010930/last-1291945253/Danny+Casolaro+was+correct%21++BCCI%2C++Iran+Contra++and+PROMIS+SOFTWARE+DEALS+were+linked

What about Russia’s opening press statement at the launch of the 2nd Chechen war were it mentions Chechens trained in camps in Afghanistan in camps financed by Abdullah Bin Ladin and International sponsors of Chechen terrorist list, from 1991-2000 are they on any Russian websites?

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

@Leoš Tomíček

I will reiterate Russia and Russian commentators, researchers and historians are SHIT with a capital S.

I was going to send you some material including a video and article removed CNS News website but I don’t see a contact e-mail address which is understandable as you would get lots of SPAM/hate mail.

I you want I will create a new yahoo e-mail account and post the address here then you can respond to it and I can get your email address that way.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjack

@ jack

I display my mail address in the Confession section for everyone who wishes to email me.

January 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

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