Heightened US/Russian Tensions
by Stephen Lendman
US-style diplomacy features bullying, bluster and coercion. Cowing other nations to comply with its diktats is longstanding Washington policy. Outliers face stiff reprisals.
Post-9/11, former Bush Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage notorious warned Pakistan, saying: “You will either accept our carpet of gold or we will carpet-bomb you back to the Stone Age.”
John Perkins was an “economic hit man.” His job was plundering countries for profit. It’s controlling their resources.
It’s impoverishing them. It’s bankrupting them. It’s entrapping them in debt bondage. It’s exploiting their people.
Nations refusing face major reprisals. Washington stops at nothing to achieve goals. Tactics include bullying, intimidation, punishing sanctions, assassinations, coups and lawless aggression.
Washington rules apply. It’s a game as old as empire. Go along or else. Nothing too outlandish is out of bounds.
Rule of law principles are ignored. Human lives and welfare aren’t important. Advancing America’s imperium matters most.
Hegemons operate this way. Washington is totally out-of-control.
Neocons make policy. How many regime changes are too many?
When does overreach risk global war? Perhaps bullying Russia too much risks it.
The damn fool in the White House lost his senses. So did his damn fool Secretary of State. On March 8, The New York Times headlined “Kerry Warns Russia Against Annexation of Crimea.”
According to an unnamed State Department official, doing so would “close any available space for diplomacy.”
He warned against “continued military escalation and provocation in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine…” He “urged utmost restraint.”
He responded to Russia’s upper house Federation Council and lower house State Duma saying they support Crimean parliamentarians wanting to join Russia.
It’s their choice. It’s entirely legal. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence. A World Court July 2010 advisory opinion affirmed its right to do so,” saying:
Its “declaration of independence of the 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law because (it) contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence.’ “
On September 18, 2014, Scottish citizens vote up or down on independence. It’s their choice.
Crimeans can opt out of Ukraine the same way. They can declare independence or join Russia. It’s their legal right. Claims otherwise are false.
Moscow has every right to welcome them. Odds favor it happening. US threats won’t stop it.
Kerry is a world class bully. His counterpart Sergei Lavrov is a consummate diplomat. On Saturday, he said:
“We are ready to continue the dialogue on the understanding that the dialogue must be honest, partnership-like, without attempts to show us almost as a party to the conflict.”
Moscow rejects Kiev putschist governance. It does so responsibly. It has no legitimacy whatever. Power-grabbers lack it entirely.
“The so-called interim government is not independent,” said Lavrov. “To our huge regret, it is dependent on the radical nationalists who (lawlessly) seized power in an armed attack.”
“It seems to me our Western partners are well aware of what they are because they visit there regularly, and share very alarming impressions in private candid conversations, but for the reasons of seemingly political expediency are trying to hush up these facts.”
“Effectively, there is no state control whatsoever over public order, and the music is ordered by the so-called Right Sector which operates with the methods of terror and intimidation.”
“Already, threats are sounded not only against officials in Kiev and other Ukrainian regions, but against heads of the Russian regions neighboring with Ukraine as well.”
Lavrov wants Kiev sniper shootings independently investigated. Russia’s State Duma intends to do so.
What happened “can no longer be swept under the rug,” said Lavrov. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had nothing to do with them.
He was wrongfully accused. Evidence showed putschists were responsible. They murdered scores of civilians and police. They did so in cold blood.
They shot them from roof tops. He fired from windows of nearby buildings. Washington’s dirty hands were involved. Nothing too underhanded is too dirty to topple sitting governments it opposes.
Rogue states operate this way. None match US ruthlessness.
In talks with John Kerry, Lavrov “warned against hasty and reckless steps capable of causing harm to Russian-American relations, particularly…sanctions which would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
He urged common sense. It’s not a US attribute. Lavrov knows what he’s up against. Dealing with an out-of-control hegemon isn’t easy.
Restraint is entirely lacking. Barrel-of-a-gun diplomacy is featured. One country after another is ravaged. Millions of corpses attests to US depravity.
Lavrov shows remarkable resilience. The patience of Job describes him. His bests efforts may fall short.
His Foreign Ministry issued a blistering statement, saying:
“A number of the member states and executive bodies of the OSCE have behaved in the worst traditions of double standards with respect to the situation in Ukraine.”
“Despite their mandate, they said nothing about the rise of nationalist and neo-Nazi sentiments, and, of course, ‘did not notice’ the forceful activities of extremist forces.”
“Ill-disguised attempts to turn a blind eye to crimes committed in Kiev and Western Ukraine are accompanied by a desire to strictly track the activities of the legitimate Crimean authorities aimed at independent determination of their future, and all this is being done in contravention of the OSCE’s basic principle of consensus, without taking into account the opinions and recommendations of the Russian side, without waiting for official invitations from the authorities of Crimea.”
“Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats, but in the event of their implementation…they will not be left without a response.”
Instead of resolving things responsibly, Washington and complicit EU states escalate them dangerously.
Media scoundrels hype Big Lies. Scurrilous reporting and commentaries proliferate.
The Los Angeles Times relied on illegitimate Kiev defense spokesman Alexei Mazepa. He lied claiming hundreds of Russian marines invaded Crimea.
“Russia is expanding its military presence on the peninsula,” he said. “There are thousands of Russian troops now in Crimea in addition to the official contingent of the Black Sea fleet,” he claimed
“There is no other word to describe the process but as an all-out invasion.”
No responsible editor would publish this trash. Don’t expect LA Times editors to explain.
AP was no better, headlining “Russia Reinforces Military Presence in Crimea,” saying:
“Dozens of military trucks transporting heavily armed soldiers rumbled over Crimea’s rutted roads Saturday as Russia reinforced its armed presence on the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea.”
Crimean-based Kiev source Vladislav Seleznyov claimed Russian amphibious ships unloaded around 200 military vehicles on Friday.
“Neither the equipment nor the ‘paratroopers’ have insignia that identify them as Russian, but we have no doubt as to their allegiance,” he said.
AP outrageously accused Russia of “seiz(ing) control of Crimea.” So did most other media scoundrels. Their reports and commentaries say so.
Haaretz hyped the Big Lie. On March 9, it headlined “Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea despite US warning.”
It cited Kiev spokesman Oleh Slobodyan claiming Russian forces took over a western Crimea border post. It controls 10 others across the Autonomous Republic, it said.
Fox News lied claiming “Russian troops hold Ukrainian border guards hostage.”
No evidence whatever suggests Russian forces operating on Crimean territory except those related to its Black Sea Fleet.
Don’t expect media scoundrels to explain. Big Lies proliferate like crab grass.
Putin said Russia has no intention of annexing Crimea unilaterally. At the same time, its residents are entitled to decide their status on their own, he maintained.
On Sunday, March 9, alone, scurrilous reports continued. The New York Times headlined “Suspicion Falls on Russia as ‘Snake’ Cyberattacks Target Ukraine’s Government.”
A second one headlined “Kerry Warns Russia Against Annexation of Crimea.”
Days earlier, Times imperial apologist Roger Cohen headlined “Ukraine Fights for Its Truth.”
The Washington Post headlined “Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea, surrounding border guard stations.”
WaPo editors featured Bush Secretary of State/unindicted war criminal Condoleezza Rice headlining “The US must lead again.”
The Wall Street Journal features one or more daily scurrilous reports and/or commentaries. A Saturday one headlined “Why Putin Fears Ukraine: It’s an Alternative Russia.”
The Chicago Tribune headlined “Putin, West butt heads over Crimean secession.”
An accompanying editorial headlined “Be firm, be patient on Ukraine.”
A days earlier commentary hyped “The Invasion of Ukraine.”
A Los Angeles Times editorial headlined “Putin plays with fire in Ukraine.”
Numerous other reports, commentaries and editorials proliferate Big Lies. They do it daily.
Lawless neo-Nazi Kiev putschists are considered Ukraine’s legitimate government. Yanukovych was maliciously accused of mass murder they committed.
Clear evidence showing otherwise is suppressed. US imperial lawlessness gets no attention. Russia/Putin bashing exceeds the worst of Cold War geopolitics.
Big Lies drown out truth. Readers and viewers are systematically deceived. Headlining screaming misinformation substitutes for legitimate journalism.
It’s available only in alternative spaces. It’s a commodity perhaps more than ever needed. It bears repeating what other articles stressed.
Today is the most perilous time in world history. Peace may hang by a thread. Some savvy observers think war is inevitable.
Potential East/West confrontation looms. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance. What’s more important than peace?
Mindless US policy risks global war. There’s no turning back if it erupts. Perhaps they’ll be no way of avoiding the worst of all outcomes. Imagine risking that possible outcome.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.