Putin Walks into a Trap
By Mike Whitney
--- - The American-armed and trained Georgian army swarmed
into South Ossetia last Thursday, killing an estimated 2,000
civilians, sending 40,000 South Ossetians fleeing over the
Russian border, and destroying much of the capital, Tskhinvali.
The attack was unprovoked and took place a full 24 hours before
even ONE Russian soldier set foot in South Ossetia.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans still believe that
the Russian army invaded Georgian territory first. The BBC, AP,
NPR, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment media
has consistently and deliberately misled its readers into
believing that the violence in South Ossetia was initiated by
the Kremlin. Let's be clear, it wasn't. In truth, there is NO
dispute about the facts except among the people who rely the
western press for their information. Despite its steady loss of
credibility, the corporate media continues to operate as the
propaganda-arm of the Pentagon.
Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev gave a good summary
of events in an op-ed in Monday's Washington Post:
"For some time, relative calm was maintained in South Ossetia.
The peacekeeping force composed of Russians, Georgians and
Ossetians fulfilled its mission, and ordinary Ossetians and
Georgians, who live close to each other, found at least some
common ground....What happened on the night of Aug. 7 is beyond
comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian
capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to
devastate large areas....Mounting a military assault against
innocents was a reckless decision whose tragic consequences, for
thousands of people of different nationalities, are now clear.
The Georgian leadership could do this only with the perceived
support and encouragement of a much more powerful force.
Georgian armed forces were trained by hundreds of U.S.
instructors, and its sophisticated military equipment was bought
in a number of countries. This, coupled with the promise of NATO
membership, emboldened Georgian leaders into thinking that they
could get away with a "blitzkrieg" in South Ossetia...Russia had
to respond. To accuse it of aggression against "small,
defenseless Georgia" is not just hypocritical but shows a lack
of humanity." ("A Path to Peace in the Caucasus", Mikhail
Gorbachev, Washington Post)
The question for Americans is whether they trust Mikhail
Gorbachev more than the corporate media?
Russia deployed its tanks and troops to South Ossetia to save
the lives of civilians and to reestablish the peace. Period. It
has no interest in annexing the former-Soviet country or in
expanding its present borders. Now that the Georgian army has
been routed, Russian president Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin
have expressed a willingness to settle the dispute through
normal diplomatic channels at the United Nations. Neither leader
is under any illusions about Washington's involvement in the
hostilities. They know that Georgian President Mikail
Saakashvili is an American stooge who came to power in a
CIA-backed coup, the so-called "Rose Revolution", and would
never order a major military operation without explicit
instructions from his White House puppetmasters. Most likely,
the orders to invade came directly from the office of the Vice
President, Dick Cheney.
The Georgian army had no chance of winning a war with Russia or
any intention of occupying the territory they captured. The real
aim was to lure the Russian army into a trap. US planners hope
to do what they did so skillfully in Afghanistan; lure their
Russian prey into a long and bloody Chechnya-type fiasco that
will pit their Russia troops against guerrilla forces armed and
trained by US military and intelligence agencies. The war will
be waged in the name of liberating Georgia from Russian
imperialism and stopping Putin from achieving his alleged
ambition to control critical western-owned pipelines around the
Caspian Basin. Much of this "think tank" generated narrative has
already appeared in the mainstream media or been articulated by
American political elites. Meanwhile, the fighting in the
Caucasus has diverted attention from the massive US naval armada
that is presently sailing towards the Persian Gulf for the
long-anticipated confrontation with Iran.
Operation Brimstone, the joint US, UK and French naval war games
in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran,
ended just last week. The war games were designed to simulate a
naval blockade of Iran and the probable Iranian response.
According to Earl of Stirling on the Global Research web site:
"The war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an
US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier
battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a
large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates
playing the "enemy force. The lead American ship in these war
games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike
Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the
USS Ronald Reagen (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven
(CCSG-7) coming from Japan."
Stirling adds: "A strategic diversion has been created for
Russia. The South Ossetia capital has been shelled and a large
Georgian tank force has been heading towards the
border....American Marines, a thousand of them, have recently
been in Georgia training the Georgian military forces... Russia
has stated that it will not sit by and allow the Georgians to
attack South Ossetia...This could get bad, and remember it is
just a strategic diversion....but one that could have horrific
effects." ("Massive US Naval Armada Heads for Iran", Earl of
Stirling, Global Research)
In June, former foreign policy adviser to President Jimmy
Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, presented the basic storyline that
would be used against Russia two full months before the Georgian
invasion of South Ossetia. The article appeared on the
Kavkazcenter web site. Brzezinski said the United States
witnessed "cases of possible threats by Russia, directed at
Georgia with the intention of taking control over the Baku-Ceyhan
Brzezinski: "Russia actively tends to isolate the Central Asian
region from direct access to world economy, especially to energy
supplies..If Georgia government is destabilized, western access
to Baku, Caspian Sea and further will be limited".
Nonsense. Neither Putin nor newly-elected president Dmitry
Medvedev have any such intention. It is absurd to think that
Russia, having extracted itself from two pointless wars in
Chechnya and Afghanistan, and after years of grinding poverty
and social unrest following the fall of the Soviet state, would
choose to wage an energy war with the nuclear-armed US military.
That would be complete madness. Brzezinski's speculation is part
of broader narrative that's been crafted for the western media
to provide a rationale for upcoming aggression against Russia.
Brzezinski is not only the architect of the mujahadin-led
campaign against Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but also,
the author of "The Grand Chessboard--American Primacy and it's
Geostrategic Imperatives", the operating theory behind the war
on terror which involves massive US intervention in Central Asia
to control vital resources, fragment Russia, and surround
manufacturing giant, China.
"The Grand Chessboard" it is the 21st century's version of the
Great Game. The book begins with this revealing statement:
"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some
five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world
power.....The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is
controlling the Central Asian Republics."
This is the heart-and-soul of the war on terror. The real
braintrust behind "neverending conflict" was actually focussed
on Central Asia. It was the pro-Israeli crowd in the Republican
Party that pulled the old switcheroo and refocussed on the
Middle East rather than Eurasia. Now, powerful members of the US
foreign policy establishment (Brzezinski, Albright, Holbrooke)
have regrouped behind the populist "cardboard" presidential
candidate Barak Obama and are preparing to redirect America's
war efforts to the Asian theater. Obama offers voters a choice
of wars not a choice against war.
On Sunday, Brzezinski accused Russia of imperial ambitions
comparing Putin to "Stalin and Hitler" in an interview with
Gardels: What is the world to make of Russia's invasion of
Zbigniew Brzezinski: Fundamentally at stake is what kind of role
Russia will play in the new international system.(aka: New World
Order) Unfortunately, Putin is putting Russia on a course that
is ominously similar to Stalin's and Hitler's in the late 1930s.
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has correctly drawn an
analogy between Putin's "justification" for dismembering Georgia
-- because of the Russians in South Ossetia -- to Hitler's
tactics vis a vis Czechoslovakia to "free" the Sudeten Deutsch.
Even more ominous is the analogy of what Putin is doing
vis-a-vis Georgia to what Stalin did vis-a-vis Finland:
subverting by use of force the sovereignty of a small democratic
neighbor. In effect, morally and strategically, Georgia is the
Finland of our day.
The question the international community now confronts is how to
respond to a Russia that engages in the blatant use of force
with larger imperial designs in mind: to reintegrate the former
Soviet space under the Kremlin's control and to cut Western
access to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia by gaining control
over the Baku/Ceyhan pipeline that runs through Georgia.
In brief, the stakes are very significant. At stake is access to
oil as that resource grows ever more scarce and expensive and
how a major power conducts itself in our newly interdependent
world, conduct that should be based on accommodation and
consensus, not on brute force.
If Georgia is subverted, not only will the West be cut off from
the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We can logically anticipate
that Putin, if not resisted, will use the same tactics toward
the Ukraine. Putin has already made public threats against
Ukraine." ("Brzezinski: Russia's invasion of Georgia is
Reminiscent of Stalin's attack on Finland"; Huffington Post)
Brzezinski takes great pride in being a disciplined and rational
spokesman for US imperial projects. It is unlike him to use such
hysterical rhetoric. Perhaps, the present situation is more
tenuous than we know. Could it be that the financial system is
closer to meltdown-phase than anyone realizes?
It should be clear by Brzezinski's comments that Georgia's
invasion of South Ossetia was not another incoherent exercise in
neocon chest-thumping, but part of a larger strategy to drag
Russia into an endless conflict that will sap its resources,
decrease its prestige on the global stage, weaken its grip on
regional power, strengthen frayed alliances between Europe and
America, and divert attention from a larger campaign in the
Gulf. It is particularly worrisome that Brzezinski appears to be
involved in the planning. Brzezinski, Holbrooke and Albright
form the "Imperialist A-Team"; these are not the bungling
"Keystone Cops" neocons like Feith and Rumsfeld who trip over
themselves getting out of bed in the morning. These are
cold-blooded Machiavellian imperialists who know how to work the
media and the diplomatic channels to conceal their genocidal
operations behind a smokescreen of humanitarian mumbo-jumbo.
They know what they are doing and they are good at it. They're
not fools. They have aligned themselves with the Obama camp and
are preparing for the next big outbreak of global
trouble-making. This should serve as a sobering wake-up call for
voters who still think Obama represents "Change We Can Believe
Richard Holbrooke appeared on Tuesday's Jim Lerher News Hour
with resident neocon Margaret Warner. Typical of Warner's
"even-handed" approach, both of the interviewees were
ultra-conservatives from right-wing think tanks: Richard
Holbrooke, from the Council on Foreign Relations and Dmiti Simes
from the Nixon Center.
According to Holbrooke, "The Russians deliberately provoked (the
fighting in South Ossetia) and timed it for the Olympics. This
is a long-standing Russian effort to get rid of President
Right. Is that why Putin was so shocked when he heard the news
(while he was in Beijing) that he quickly boarded a plane and
headed for Moscow? (after shaking his finger angrily at Bush!)
Holbrooke: "And I want to stress, I'm not a warmonger, and I
don't want a new Cold War any more than Dimitri does....The
Russians wish to re-establish a historic area of hegemony that
includes Ukraine. And it is no accident that the other former
Soviet republics are watching this and extraordinarily upset, as
Putin progresses with an attempt to re-create a kind of a
It is impossible to go over all of Holbrooke's distortions,
half-truths and lies in one article but, what is important is to
recognize that a false narrative is being constructed to
demonize Putin and to justify future hostilities against Russia.
Holbrooke's bogus assertions are identical to Brzezinski's, and
yet, these same lies are already appearing in the mainstream
media. The propaganda "bullet points" have already been
determined; "Putin is a menace","Putin wants to rebuild the
Soviet empire", "Putin is an autocrat". (Unlike our "freedom
loving" allies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt!?!) In truth,
Putin is simply enjoying Russia's newly acquired energy-wealth
and would like to be left alone. But it is impossible to be left
alone when the US spends 24 hours a day pestering people. The
world deserves a break from an extremely irritating USA.
So why are Brzezinski and his backers in the foreign policy
establishment demonizing Putin and threatening Russia with
"ostracism, isolation and economic penalties?" What is Putin's
Putin's problems can be traced back to a speech he made in
Munich nearly two years ago when he declared unequivocally that
he rejected the basic tenets of the Bush Doctrine and US global
hegemony. His speech amounted to a Russian Declaration of
Independence. That's when western elites, particularly at the
Council on Foreign Relations and the American Enterprise
Institute put Putin on their "enemies list" along with
Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Morales, Mugabe and anyone else who
refuses to take orders from the Washington Mafia.
Here's what Putin said in Munich:
"The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one
master, one sovereign---- one center of authority, one center of
force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this
is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but
also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from
within.… What is even more important is that the model itself is
flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral
foundations for modern civilization.”
“Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not
resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human
tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for
yourselves---wars as well as local and regional conflicts have
not diminished. More are dying than before. Significantly more,
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of force
– military force – in international relations, force that is
plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic
principles of international law. And independent legal norms
are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one
state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and
foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders
in every way. This is visible in the economic, political,
cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations.
Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to
resolve a given question according to so-called issues of
political expediency, based on the current political climate.
And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the
fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this – no one
feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is
like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a
policy stimulates an arms race.
I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we
must seriously think about the architecture of global security.”
Every word Putin spoke was true which is why it was not
reprinted in the western media.
“Unilateral and illegitimate military actions”, the “uncontained
hyper-use of force”, the “disdain for the basic principles of
international law”, and most importantly; “No one feels safe!”
Putin's claims are all indisputable, that is why he has entered
the neocons crosshairs. He poses a direct challenge to---what
Brzezinski calls---the "international system", which is
shorthand for the corporate/banking cartel that is controlled by
the western oligarchy of racketeers.
South Ossetia was a trap and Putin took the bait. Unfortunately
for Bush, the wily Russian prime minister is considerably
brighter than anyone in the current administration. Bush's plan
will undoubtedly backfire and disrupt the geopolitical balance
of power. The world might get that breather from the US after
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