A High Stakes US Gamble with Russia

Linked with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on RINF, by Stephen Lendman, September 3, 2008.

Prior to entering WW II, US strategists had a clear aim in mind at its conclusion – to hold unchallengeable power in a new post-war global system: military, economic and political in a “Grand Area” encompassing the West and Far East. Essentially most parts outside the communist bloc and exploiting it under disarming rhetoric like being “selfless advocates of freedom for colonial peoples (and an) enemy of imperialism.” Championing “world peace (also) through multinational control” …

… Bashing Russia – A Different View from The Wall Street Journal on the Warpath:

An August 28 Melik Kaylan op-ed is typical – headlined: “How the Georgian Conflict ‘Really’ Started.” His version (from Tbilisi) is that “Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn’t plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken.” He heard it “personally” from president Saakasvili “in a late night (presidential palace) chat.” In contrast, “Russia’s version of events doesn’t jibe with the facts.” On the ground in Gori, he learned “how Russia has deployed a highly deliberate propaganda strategy. (They) made a big show of moving out in force (but) left behind a resonating threat (that) they could return at any moment. (They) flatten(ed) civilian streets in order to sow fear, drive out innocents and create massive refugee outflows.”

He gets his information right from Saakashvili and Georgia’s defense minister, so he knows it’s “accurate.” Direct quotes about Russia “planning an invasion for weeks, even months ahead of time.” Was able to once Putin “consolidate(d) power.” With the Beijing Olympics and US elections as distractions and before Georgia’s winter. A rather amateurish account and not up to the Journal’s agitprop standards.

On August 25, Max Boot did a better job in a piece headlined: “Eastern Europe Can Defend Itself.” He’s way to the right of most others, a senior Council on Foreign Relations fellow, and frequent Journal contributor.

He claims “Eastern Europeans are rightly alarmed about the brazenness and success of the Russian blitzkrieg into Georgia.” Worsened by Russian threats “to rain nuclear annihilation on Ukraine and Poland if they refuse to toe the Kremlin’s line.” Even NATO states “can take scant comfort.” Boot’s solution: “Russia’s neighbors should spend more on defense. We should supply them with more antiaircraft weapons.” No mention of how defense contractors will benefit or the importance of that side of NATO membership.

Boot sees big potential if Eastern European states spend more of their GDP on weapons. Georgia (as a US vassal) is doing it, but not its neighbors. He cites an International Institute of Strategic Studies report that only one regional state spends more than 2% of its GDP on defense – Bulgaria at 2.2%. Nor do they maintain large standing forces, yet they have millions of military aged men to draw on. Russia is the only exception with “more than a million soldiers under arms” and a growing post-Soviet defense budget – 2.5% of GDP or 8% of total spending according to an August 28 RIA Novesti report that says it’s heading much higher.

Eastern European states should react, according to Boot – to “deter Russians from threatening them in the first place….They should double their military spending (and) the US can help.” They should have “large reserves ready for fast call-up and plenty of ‘defensive’ weapons.” Clearly Boot has key things in mind – tightening the screws on Russia. Surrounding it with adversarial states. Giving America a greater edge than is possible without them, and letting US defense contractors cash in on new business … (full long text).

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