Swans Commentary » swans.com March 10, 2014  



The Gall Of Vladimir Putin


by Steven Hohensee





(Swans - March 10, 2014)   Condoleezza Rice's Op-Ed, "Will America heed the wake-up call of Ukraine?", The Washington Post, March 7, 2014:

The longer-term task is to answer Putin's statement about Europe's post-Cold War future. He is saying that Ukraine will never be free to make its own choices -- a message meant to reverberate in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states -- and that Russia has special interests it will pursue at all costs. For Putin, the Cold War ended "tragically." He will turn the clock back as far as intimidation through military power, economic leverage and Western inaction will allow.

The American ex-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's impassioned complaints over Russia's invasion of Georgia and Ukraine truly pull at the heartstrings. However, in her obvious haste to meet print deadlines, Condi apparently forgot to explain how Russia's interference in the affairs of its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine is much different from America's full-scale invasions of defenseless third-world countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. She also forgot to mention the $5 billion in covert funding to destabilize Ukraine and fund neo-Nazi extremists in Ukraine, which Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discussed in a recorded telephone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine. Condi has been so busy she's probably not aware that the Estonian Foreign Minister told Catherine Ashton, the head of EU foreign policy, that reliable sources had informed him that right-wing anti-Russia snipers were shooting protestors and blaming the deaths on Russia. Of course, Condi is a very busy lady. We can't expect perfection in our esteemed public servants. That's probably why Condi also forgot to mention other cases where the US has subverted and instigated civil wars, such as Somalia and Syria.

Condi explains that America is very, very upset with Russia's failure to "respect democratic processes." However, she doesn't explain how an un-elected right-wing mob who physically chased away the leader of the country, who had been elected, is respecting democratic processes. I'm sure there must be a good explanation of what at first blush appears to be an idiotic self-serving inconsistency, of course.

It's heart-warming that Condi is also very concerned over the loss of human life in Georgia and Ukraine. This wonderful concern for human life on the part of America's leaders makes me feel good about being American. The casualties in the Russian-Georgian War were tragic. Of course, it's also true the war was actually started by Georgia, not Russia...

In the early hours of August 8, 2008, the Georgian military started to shell the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinval, with artillery and multiple-launch missile systems, violating the earlier-reached ceasefire agreement. The targets included a Russian peacekeepers' base and residential districts of the city, causing huge losses among civilians -- according to South Ossetian officials between 1,500 and 2,000 non-combatants were killed in this attack....

The military casualties from the Russian side were over 70 people dead, while the Georgian military said they lost over 150 servicemen. Hundreds of people were wounded.

On August 16, Medvedev signed the plan for a peace settlement that was earlier signed by leaders of Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. ("5 years after 5-Day War: Russia and Georgia bury the hatchet," Russia Today, August 07, 2013.)

And of course there have been almost 100 deaths in the current Ukraine conflict, mostly from mysterious snipers.

So Condi is right to be concerned over the loss of human life in the Georgian and Ukrainian conflicts involving Russia . . . from the RT article, it sounds like there was a total of about 2,000 deaths in the Russia-Georgia War, a good number of which were inflicted by Georgian shelling of civilian areas.

So . . . what does Condi have to say about the loss of life in conflicts caused by America? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya come to mind as recent examples. In Iraq, for example, surely Condi has heard about The Lancet, which conducted two major studies on "excess deaths" in the Iraq War, and concluded that 1 to 1.5 million Iraqis died as a result of America's invasion? This is what she has to say about Iraq:

We must not fail, as we did in Iraq, to leave behind a residual presence. Anything less than the American military's requirement for 10,000 troops will say that we are not serious about helping to stabilize that country.

Perhaps Condi needs a little more empathy. For example, as an empathy-inducement exercise, perhaps Condi might imagine that she had been kidnapped, beaten, and raped by a vicious psychopath, who finally let her go after neighbors complained about the terrible screaming. Afterwards, when asked if he had any regrets, the psychopath paused for a moment, contemplating the question carefully, and then answered, "Yeah. I should have kept her locked up in the basement." The only regret psycho-Condi seems to have for those poor millions of dead Iraqis is that the puppet Iraqi government installed by America kicked America out at the first opportunity. That's the real "American values" on full display.

The fascist American corporate system needs war. Wants war. Starts wars. This bloodlust is thoroughly bipartisan. Condi and the innumerable Beltway Chickenhawks who, safely ensconced behind high walls of palatial taxpayer-funded castles in D.C., think nothing of killing millions of people for power and profitable markets and sources of raw materials -- all in order to benefit the major shareholders (rich families, elites) who control our corporate-fascist state, where the melding of state and corporate interests is now complete. When Charles Wilson (CEO of GM) said "What is good for General Motors is good for America," he was prophetic indeed. Today, America and its people exist to serve their masters, who are the fascist-corporate state. In a culture dominated by nonsensical bread & circus, confused and morally adrift American voters who usually don't even vote worship money, profits, and "free markets."

Mammon and mammaries are what we live for, and are what the millions of victims of our far-flung foreign wars die for.

Condi likes a "muscular" foreign policy. But only for us, not for anyone else. We get to kill and break the law with impunity. We're special.

Such people used to be called psychopaths. The modern term is run-of-the-mill "Democrat" or "Republican." Think: serial killer with legal immunity, unlimited money, tons and tons of vicious hi-tech toys, and the whole world as a playground.


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Steve Hohensee is an old, insignificant, rebellious pebble bumping nervously along the bottom of the stream of life. He lives in Easton, Kansas, and is a long-time supporter of Swans.   (back)


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Published March 10, 2014