Putin Fights Back
By Mike Whitney
Clearing House" -- -- The confrontation between Russia and
Georgia looks like a dust-up between neighbors over the arrest
of 4 Russian officers accused of spying. In reality, it is a
struggle between the Bush administration and Russian President Putin for control of Central Asia. The stakes couldn’t be higher
and it appears as though the conflagration could go on for some
time to come.
The standoff began last week when Georgia President Mikail
Saakashvili arrested the 4 officers and charged them with
espionage. Putin protested their detention to the UN and
demanded their immediate release. He then phoned the White House
and issued a terse warning that “any actions taken by third
parties (the Bush administration) would be considered
encouragement of Georgia’s destructive policy and were
unacceptable for peace and dangerous for the peace and stability
of the region.” (Itar-Tass News agency)
The phone call shows that Putin knows where the plan originated
and who is ultimately responsible. It also illustrates how the
relationship between Bush and Putin has steadily deteriorated
and is increasingly adversarial.
Saakashvili has since retreated from his hard-line position and
delivered the 4 officers to the care of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) The UN group then
promptly returned the men to Russia. In the interim, the United
States blocked a resolution that would have quickly resolved the
dispute, a move which further angered Moscow.
So, what is going on here?
Saakashvili is an American stooge no different than Karzai in
Afghanistan. He came to power via the American-sponsored “Rose
Revolution” which swept Eduard Shevardnadze from office and
replaced him with the Yale-educated neocon puppet, Saakashvili.
The “color-coded” revolutions have since been exposed as
US-backed charades in which NED-funded NGOs foment political
upheaval by providing financial resources, printing presses and
logistical support to opposition parties within the given
system. It has become the preferred method of “regime change”
for the Western elites who favor spreading American-style
capitalism by peaceful means rather than Iraq-type violence.
Moscow is on Washington’s target-list and the issues run deeper
than Putin’s “alleged” departure from democratic reforms. Putin
has joined in a broad-based security alliance with China and
other key nations in Central Asia. Under the auspices of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the member states have
set up a parallel NATO-type collective that threatens to derail
Bush’s plan to expand American influence throughout the region.
The 19th century Great Game to control Eurasia has resumed under
the rubric of the war on terror and the nations of the region
are realigning themselves to fend off future American
As Michel Chossudovsky notes in a recent article “The Next Phase
of the Middle East War” (Global Research):
“Military exercises organized by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Tajikistan under the Collective Security Treaty Organization
(CSTO) were launched in late August. These war games, officially
tagged as part of a counter terrorism program were conducted in
response to US-Israeli military threats in the region including
planned attacks against Iran”.
Russia also conducted war games with China earlier in the year
setting aside their traditional differences and suspicions to
achieve the mutual goal of enhanced security from foreign
aggression. Putin clearly has not been hoodwinked by Bush’s
fictitious war on terror. Like the other leaders in the region,
he is anticipating that the US will continue to push into
Central Asia, establishing bases and pipeline routes while
trying to gain control the vast reserves of oil and natural gas.
Political heavyweight, Zbigniew Brzezinski, clarified the
importance of Central Asia to US plans for global dominance in
his book, “The Grand Chessboard”. In it he states:
“Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some
500 years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power”…“For
America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia—and America’s
global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how
effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is
sustained”….“How America manages Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is
the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A
power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s
three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere
glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would
almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering
the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to
the world’s central continent. About 75% of the world’s people
live in Eurasia and most of the world’s physical wealth as well,
both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia
accounts for 60% of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of
the world’s known energy resources.” (“The Grand Chessboard”)
Brzezinski’s book provides the basic blueprint (which was
further elaborated in the Project for the New American Century)
for the administration’s present policy in Central Asia. The
current maneuverings in Georgia are the predictable flare-ups
that result from a policy that is rooted in hostility and
Washington has used the cover of the Rose and Orange revolutions
to push its “cat’s paw” NATO further into Eurasia, establish
more military bases, and to surround Russia. NATO in Ukraine and
Georgia is the equivalent of fully-equipped Russian bases in
Toronto and Tijuana. No American president would even consider
allowing that to take place.
The growing distrust between Washington and Moscow goes beyond
Bush’s plan to deploy NATO to the former Soviet republics.
Washington is also unhappy with Putin’s nationalizing the oil
industry (Gazprom) and ditching the dollar in the oil trade.
Just months ago, Putin announced that he would switch from the
“international currency” (the greenback) to the ruble.
Presently, Russia provides 15.4% of world daily output of oil;
second only to Saudi Arabia. Previously, oil transactions had
been denominated exclusively in dollars. This de-facto monopoly
in the oil trade is a great boon to the American economy. It
forces central banks around the world to stockpile mountains of
dollars. By some accounts, there could be as much as $4.6
trillion either in central banks or circulating in oil
Putin’s conversion to the ruble poses a direct threat to
America’s dollar hegemony and could potentially send hundreds of
billions of dollars back to the United States triggering massive
hyper-inflation and an economic meltdown. (this may explain why
the Federal Reserve cancelled publishing the M-3 report so that
dollar holders will not know how many billions are being
The US must maintain its dominance in the oil trade or the
dollar will plummet and the over-leveraged American empire will
disappear in an ocean of red ink.
After Putin signaled that he would abandon the dollar, it was
clear that Washington would retaliate to defend its interests.
Some readers will remember that 2 months ago Henry Kissinger
paid an unexpected visit to Putin in Moscow. At that time the
public was unaware that Kissinger secretly advising Bush and
Cheney on a regular basis. Kissinger most likely warned Putin
about the potential dangers of converting to the ruble. He may
have pointed out how Saddam was attacked just 6 months after he
switched to the euro. Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad have been
threatened as well. Maintaining the Petrodollar Empire is as
critical to US supremacy as is controlling the last dwindling
supplies of oil.
Two months after Kissinger’s visit, Saakashvili swung into
action and arrested the 4 Russian officers. There’s little doubt
that Washington was behind the incident.
In order to grasp the growing tension between the Kremlin and
White House, we have to understand how Russia fits into the
neocon cosmology of dependent states. The National Security
Strategy (NSS) gives us a idea of where Bush and co. place
Russia in the imperial order.
It says: (Russia must) “understand that Cold War approaches do
not serve their national interests and that Russian and American
strategic interests overlap in many areas…We are facilitating
Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization to promote
beneficial trade and investment relations. We have created the
NATO-Russian Council with the goal of deepening security
cooperation among Russia, our European allies and ourselves. We
will continue to bolster the independence and stability of the
states of the former Soviet Union in the belief that a
prosperous and stable neighborhood will reinforce Russia’s
growing commitment to integration into the Euro-Atlantic
community…Russia’s uneven commitment to the basic values of free
market democracy and dubious record in combating the
proliferation of WMD remain matters of great concern”.
Since the NSS was written, Russia has been blocked (by the US)
from joining the WTO and reproached for trying to maintain its
authority within its traditional sphere of influence. (Ukraine,
Georgia, Belarus etc) The NSS clearly outlines what it takes to
stay in Bush’s “good graces”; to allow NATO to militarize the
states surrounding Russia, to submissively comply with the
edicts from Washington, and to integrate the Russian economy
with the American-dominated global economic system.
The fiercely nationalistic Putin has chosen to preserve Russia's
sovereignty and independence which has put him on a collision
course with the Bush administration.
The powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) recently
released a report that urges Bush to “stop regarding Russia as a
strategic partner.” It further states that “Russia has become
increasingly authoritarian state with a foreign policy that is
sometimes at odds with the interests of the United States and
its allies.” (The report was co-authored by former Senator John
Edwards and ex-politician Jack Kemp)
The battle lines have been drawn and Russia has been placed on
the ever-expanding list of “axis of evil” states whose defiance
make them the logical targets of US intervention. We can expect
that a variety of strategies will be used to destabilize Russia
and, ultimately, affect regime change in Moscow. The Bush
administration’s long-range objectives are already clear. They
aim to privatize the Russian oil industry, convert the ruble to
the dollar, remove Putin from office, and prevent Russia from
controlling the huge oil reserves in the Caspian Basin.
America’s success in the region depends on its ability to
weaken, disrupt, or dissolve the Russian state. Traditionally,
these goals are achieved by covert operations, inciting ethnic
tensions, providing military assistance to rebels (in Chechnya
or wherever) and grooming dissident groups to foment political
turmoil. We expect to see these same tactics employed here.
The Bush administration has big plans for Central Asia. It is
a critical part of the ongoing global resource war. The arrest
of Russian officers is just one small skirmish in what will
undoubtedly be a much larger and more lethal war.
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