Buoyant Putin and Sinking Western Mis-Leaders
By Finian Cunningham
January 01, 2017 "Information
Future historians may well record 2016 a
vintage year for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At
any rate, at this point we can say it has been a good
year for the Russian leader and his country’s
international standing. Even Western media, which did
its best to discredit, even demonize, Putin have had to
admit so, albeit begrudgingly.
This week, the London Financial Times described the
Russian leader as «Buoyant Putin». While last week, the
Washington Post headlined:
«Moscow has the world’s attention. For Putin, that’s a
The Washington Post surveyed some of the
key developments over the past year as being in Putin’s
favor, including a shaky European Union and the British
Brexit vote to quit the bloc, an unwieldy NATO military
alliance unsure of its purpose, the election of Donald
Trump to the US presidency, and the retaking of the
strategic Syrian city of Aleppo.
The victory by the Syrian army in Aleppo,
crucially aided by Russian military power, was surely a
crowning achievement for Putin. When Putin ordered
intervention in Syria at the end of 2015, it was
predicted by US President Barack Obama that the move
would result in a quagmire for Russia. A year later,
Putin’s decisive intervention has been vindicated as
rolling back a jihadist campaign to destroy Syria.
Syrians celebrating the defeat of
extremists in Aleppo have not only confounded earlier
predictions; the «liberation», as it is being feted by
Syrians, serves to expose Western governments and their
media as having grossly distorted the war as some kind
of popular uprising against a «tyrannical regime»,
rather than being what it is: a foreign-backed criminal
conspiracy for regime change deploying jihadi terror
So the Russian-backed military campaign
in Syria is a clear winning event for Vladimir Putin.
However, on the range of other world
events outlined above, while they may be said to be in
Putin’s favor, it is more a case of denial by Western
leaders about their own failures, instead of attributing
these setbacks to the alleged machinations of the
Putin may indeed be «buoyant». But it is
also true that the mixed political fortunes are due to
the sinking of Western mis-leaders through their own
incompetence and baleful policies.
The Washington Post article cited above
had this to say: «The Russian leader is winning because
the post-Cold War order he has railed against has been
thrown into chaos, and the Kremlin’s fingerprints are
widely seen to be all over it».
Just who is «widely seeing» the Kremlin’s
alleged depredations is not specified by the Washington
Post. But a safe assumption is that the newspaper is
being led by US intelligence and the CIA in particular,
whose multi-million-dollar links to the outlet’s owner
Jeff Bezoz have been documented elsewhere
by Wayne Madsen.
It is true that Putin has often deplored
the post-Cold War order of American unipolar ambitions,
its disregard for international law and its conceited
«exceptionalism» for unleashing military violence to
enforce foreign interests. Putin has said that such
policy is the fount of chaos in international relations.
If anything, he has been proven right when we survey the
conflict-ridden mess of the Middle East from US wars,
supposed «nation-building» and regime-change operations.
But to then attribute this chaos of the post-Cold War as
having the «Kremlin’s fingerprints all over it» is an
The same goes for other aspects of
post-Cold War «chaos». The election of Donald Trump to
the White House is alleged by the Washington Post,
New York Times, NBC and other US media giants as
being the result of Putin overseeing Russian computer
hackers interfering in American democracy. Russia has rejected those
claims as «ridiculous» – as has Trump.
Rather than dealing with political and
social reality of internal decay, the American
establishment has tried to divert the cause to alleged
Russian malfeasance. The reality is, however, that
popular American sentiment is one of disgust with the
Washington establishment and its mis-leaders in both
main parties, Democrats and Republicans. That disgust
embroils the mainstream media which is seen to be an
integral part of a corrupt, venal establishment.
To try to lay the «blame» for Trump’s
election on Russian cyber-attacks is an insult to a
large section of the American citizenry. It is also a
sign of chronic denial by the Washington establishment
that decades of economic and foreign policy are in
shambles – a shambles of its own making.
The same too for the Brexit referendum
held in June which saw the stunning result of Britons
wanting to quit the European Union. On the back of
CIA-inspired claims about Russian interference, British
politicians who are miffed over the Brexit result have
parlayed similar claims that
the Kremlin’s meddling was behind that outcome. Russia
has also hit
back to rubbish the British claims.
But rather than getting a grip on
reality, the official Western paranoia about alleged
Russian subversiveness is becoming even more fevered.
With hotly contested national elections
coming up next year across Europe, incumbent governments
are decrying what they «discern» as Russian interference
to push populist, anti-EU, anti-immigrant parties. Voice
of America reported this
week: «Europe braces for Russian cyber assault before
2017 elections» in Netherlands, France and Germany.
VOA added: «As the chief European
architect of sanctions against Russia, analysts say
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the European leader
Moscow would most like to see voted out of power».
As with the Brexit and Trump, it is an
elitist insult to citizens’ intelligence and their
democratic rights, by imposing what is a scare-campaign
to discredit widespread popular discontent with
establishment governments and the status quo.
People across the West, the US and
Europe, are simply infuriated by elitist governments
that pursue failed policies of economic austerity and a
pro-Atlanticist Cold War geopolitical agenda of
hostility towards Russia, inflating a NATO monstrosity
based on Russophobia, and slavishly following American
imperialism around the world.
Syria may have proven to be a triumph for
Putin and his principled stand to defend Syrian
sovereignty from a US-led covert war for regime change.
But Syria also represents an unmitigated disaster for
Washington and its Atlanticist European acolytes.
The massive influx of refugees from Syria
and other Middle East war zones is the direct result of
the US and its NATO allies waging illegal wars and
sponsoring terrorist proxies – the latter in the
mendacious notion of being «moderate rebels».
The terror attacks that have shocked
France and Germany over the past year – the latest one
in Berlin when 12 people at a Christmas market were
killed by an alleged jihadist asylum-seeker plowing a
25-ton lorry into them – are the corollary of Hollande
and Merkel being complicit in US imperialist wars across
the Middle East.
Merkel’s «open door» policy to a million
refugees is a failed policy. That judgment is not based
on racism or xenophobia. Merkel’s failure is due to her
allowing Germany to become an escape valve for US,
British and French criminal machinations of regime
change in the Middle East.
So it has been a good year for Putin and
Russia’s international standing generally – the recent
appalling assassination of
ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara notwithstanding.
It’s also been an atrocious year for
Western politicians of the Atlanticist mold. But their
downfall is due to their own corruption and
incompetence. To seek to scapegoat Vladimir Putin and
Russia as «interfering» or «sowing chaos» is a
contemptible denial of Western official culpability.
Such is the collapse in official Western
politics and institutions, including the establishment
media, that the more they spin the anti-Russian
narrative, the more popular revolt will grow against
If 2016 becomes a vintage year for
Russia, for the West it is proving to be year when the
official political vessels cracked open with bitter
is former editor and writer for major news media
organizations. He has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles published in
expressed in this article are the author's own and do
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