The Impending Clash With Russia - September, 2008

According to the corporate owned Western news media, Putin the terrible represents the newest threat to the world order (i.e. Anglo-American-Zionist interests), even perhaps to our galaxy. Putting aside their self-righteous, self-serving, awfully shallow and childish rhetoric, however, it's quite easy to see why the political elite in the West fear him and hate him. In a few short years Putin became the main political obstacle to their grandiose global agenda. Men like Putin come about once every one hundred years or so.

Arevordi

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Why Putin Should Scare us


He’s an ethnic nationalist with a mystical sense of Russian destiny. Cold and pragmatic, he won’t play by the world’s rules.


Possessing a clear vision of where he wants to go and the ruthlessness to get there, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the world's most effective national leader in power. He also might be the most misunderstood. Grasping what Putin's about means recognizing what he isn't about: Despite his KGB past and his remark that the Soviet Union's dissolution was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century, Putin isn't nostalgic for communism. By the time he joined the KGB in the mid-1970s, the organization was purely about preserving the power structure — not upholding abstract philosophies. Far from being a Marxist, Putin belongs to a long tradition of aggressive Russian nationalists. A complex man, he's cold-bloodedly pragmatic when planning — as both his rise to power and his preparations for the recent invasion of Georgia demonstrated — yet he's imbued with a mystical sense of Russia's destiny. The ambitious son of a doctrinaire communist father and a devout Orthodox mother, Putin's straight from the novels of Feodor Dostoevski (another son of St. Petersburg)

Putin's combination of merciless calculation and sense of mission echoes an otherwise different figure, Osama bin Laden. In both cases, Western analysts struggle to simplify confounding personalities and end up underestimating them. These aren't madmen but brilliant, driven leaders who flout our rules. Nonetheless, Putin did carry over specific skills from his KGB career: As a former intelligence officer myself, I'm awed by his ability to analyze opponents and anticipate their reactions to his gambits (Russia is, of course, a nation of chess masters). Preparing for the dismemberment of Georgia, the prime minister accurately calculated the behavior of that country's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, of President Bush, of the European Union and of the Russian people. He knew he could get away with it. Putin has a quality found in elite intelligence personnel: the ability to discard all preconceptions when scrutinizing a target. And when he decides to strike, he doesn't look back. This is not good news for his opponents, foreign or domestic. Among the many reasons we misjudge Putin is our insistence on seeing him as "like us." He's not. His stage-management of the Georgia invasion was a perfect example: Western intelligence agencies had been monitoring Russian activities in the Caucasus for years and fully expected a confrontation. Even so, our analysts assumed that Russia wouldn't act during this summer's Olympics, traditionally an interval of peace.

Putin had been conditioned to read the strategic cards differently: The world's attention would be focused on the Games, and key world leaders would be in Beijing, far from their crisis-management staffs. Europe's bureaucrats and senior NATO officials would be on their August vacations. The circumstances were ideal. It has also become a truism that Putin's foolish for relying on oil, gas and mineral revenue while failing to diversify his economy. But Russia's strongman knows what he's doing: He prefers a wealthy government to a wealthy society. Putin can control a handful of oligarchs whose fortunes flow from a narrow range of sources (once Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky sits in prison for crossing the Kremlin), but a diversified economy would decentralize power. Putin's obsession with control — another national tradition — serves an overarching purpose: restoring Russia's greatness. He realizes he can't restore a Soviet Union that sprawled deep into Europe. What he hopes is to reconstruct the empire of the czars, from eastern Poland through Ukraine and the Caucasus to Central Asia. Putin's expansionist model comes from Peter the Great, but his methods resemble those of Ivan the Terrible, not least when it comes to silencing dissent. The main thing the prime minister has salvaged from the Soviet era is the cult of personality. He knows what Russians want — a strong czar — and his approval ratings have exceeded 80%.

Does this ruthless, focused leader have a weakness? Yes: his temper. Despite his icy demeanor, Putin's combustible. He takes rebuffs personally and can act impulsively — and destructively. Instead of lulling Europeans into an ever-greater dependence on Russian gas, he angrily ordered winter shut-offs to Ukraine and Georgia, alarming Western customers. Rather than concealing the Kremlin's cyber-attack capabilities, he unleashed them on tiny Estonia during a tiff over relocating a Soviet-era memorial — alerting NATO. Putin's invasion of Georgia was also personal. In addition to exposing the West's impotence in the region, he meant to punish Georgia's defiant president. The lengths to which Putin was prepared to go in a personal vendetta should worry us all. Such outbursts of temper suggest that Putin's campaign to restore Russia's greatness could end very badly. We needn't take his dispatch of a naval squadron to Venezuela or bomber flights over U.S. Navy carriers seriously — they're staged for his domestic audience and militarily absurd. But Putin's willingness to use naked force against regional democracies suggests that, like so many strongmen before him, he'll ultimately overreach. Meanwhile, our next president will have to cope with this brilliant, dangerous man. That's going to require the experience and skills to exploit every element of our national power; to convince Europe that appeasement will only enlarge Putin's appetite; and to draw clear lines while avoiding drawn guns. Above all, our president will have to take Putin's measure accurately and not indulge in wishful thinking. Managing Putin's Russia could emerge as our No. 1 security challenge.

Source: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/...tin-shoul.html

Putin’s War-Whoop: The Impending Clash With Russia

"What is a 'unipolar’ world?

It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign--- one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. And 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. It has nothing in common with democracy, which is the power of the majority in respect to the interests and opinions of the minority. In Russia, we are constantly being lectured about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves." Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to the Munich Conference on Security Policy 2-10-07

The deployment of the US Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe is a de-facto declaration of war on the Russian Federation. As Russian President Putin said in a recent press conference, "If this missile system is put in place, it will work automatically with the entire nuclear capability of the United States. It will be an integral part of the US nuclear capability." This will disrupt the current configuration of international security and force Russia to begin work on a new regime of tactical nuclear weapons. This is a very serious development. Russia will now have to rethink its current policy vis a vis the United States and develop a long-range strategy for fending off further hostile encroachments into former-Soviet states by NATO.

Welcome to the new Cold War.

Putin cannot ignore the gravity of the proposed system or the threat it poses to Russia’s national security. Bush’s Missile Defense is not defensive at all, but offensive. It thrusts US military bases--with nuclear infrastructure and radar--up to Russia’s doorstep giving the US a clear advantage in "first-strike" capability. That means that Washington will be able to intimidate Russia on issues that are of critical international importance. Putin cannot allow this. He must force Bush to remove this dagger held to Moscow’s throat.

Bush’s Pyrrhic Victory at the G-8

The central issues on the docket at the G-8 meetings were downplayed in the media. The press primarily focused its attention on the "anticipated" conflict between Bush and Putin. But, the brouhaha never materialized; both were respectful and gracious. President Bush, however, was adamant that his plan for missile defense in Czechoslovakia and Poland would go ahead according to schedule. Putin, for the most part remained politely silent. His objections were censored in the media. But less than 10 hours after the closing ceremonies of the G-8, Putin fired off the first salvo in what will certainly be remembered as "the war that brought down the Empire".

Putin addressed 200 corporate leaders at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg and his comments left little doubt that he had already settled on a plan for countering Bush’s missile shield in the Czech Republic. Putin’s speech articulated his vision of a "Moscow-centered" new world order which would create a ``new balance of power''--less dependent on Washington. He said, ``The new architecture of economic relations requires a completely new approach. Russia intends to become an alternative global financial center and to make the ruble a reserve currency for central banks."

"The world is changing before our eyes.'' Countries that yesterday seemed hopelessly behind are today the fastest growing economies of the world. Institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the IMF are ``archaic, undemocratic and inflexible''. They don’t `` reflect the new balance of power.''

Putin's speech is defiant rejection of the present system. We can be sure that it has not passed unnoticed by anxious mandarins in the US political establishment. Russia is announcing the beginning of an asymmetrical war; designed to cripple the United States economically, weaken the institutions which have traditionally enhanced its wealth, and precipitate a shift of global power away from Washington. Putin’s challenge to the US dollar is particularly worrisome. He emphasizes the inherent unfairness of the current system, which relies almost entirely on the dollar and which has an extremely negative effect on many smaller countries’ economies and financial reserves. "There can be only one answer to this challenge," he said. "The creation of several world currencies and several financial centers."

Putin’s remarks are a direct attack on the dollar and its position as the de facto international currency. He imagines a world where goods and resources are traded in rubles or "baskets of currencies"--not just greenbacks. This would create greater parity between the countries and, hence, a more even distribution of power. Putin's vision is a clear threat to America’s ongoing economic dominance. Already, in the last few months, Norway, Iran, Syria, UAE, Kuwait, and Venezuela have announced that they are either cutting back on their USD reserves or converting from the greenback to the euro or a "basket of currencies". Dollar hegemony is at the very center of American power, and yet, the downturn is visible everywhere. If the dollar loses its place as the world’s "reserve currency"; the US will have to pay-down its monstrous current account deficit and live within its means. America will lose the ability to simply print fiat money and use it in exchange for valuable resources and manufactured goods. Putin is now openly challenging the monetary-system that provides the flow of oxygen to the American superpower.

Can he carry it off?

What kind of damage can Russia really inflict on the dollar or on the many lofty-sounding organizations (WTO, World Bank, IMF, NATO and Federal Reserve) which prop up the US Empire? Russia’s power is mushrooming. Its GDP is leaping ahead at 8% per annum and by 2020 Russia will be among the five biggest economies in the world. It now has the third largest Forex reserves in the world and it is gradually moving away from the anemic dollar to euros and rubles. Nearly 10% of its wealth is currently in gold. Russia has also overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading supplier of petroleum. It produces 13% of the world’s daily output and has the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. In fact, Putin has worked energetically to create the world’s first Natural Gas cartel—an alliance between Russia, Qatar, Iran and Algeria. The group could potentially control 40% of the world’s remaining natural gas and set prices as it sees fit. Putin’s ambitions are not limited to the energy sector either---although he has strengthened the country by turning away foreign investment and "re-nationalization" vital resources. As Pavel Korduban says in his recent article "Putin Harvests Political Dividends from Russian Economic Dynamism"; Putin intends to expand beyond energy and focus on technological modernization:

"The shift in official discourse to "innovations" reflects an attempt to reorient economic policy from the goal of consolidating the status of "energy superpower" to the emphasis on industrial modernization and catching up with the technological revolution. The key role in formulating this new policy is given to Sergei Ivanov, who promised that by the year 2020 Russia would gain leadership (measured as 10% of the world market) in such high-technology sectors as nuclear energy, shipbuilding, aircraft, satellites and delivery systems, and computer software." Putin has also strengthened ties with his Central Asian neighbors and engaged in "cooperative" military maneuvers with China.

"Last month it signed deals with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to revive the Soviet-era united system of gas pipelines, which will help Russia strengthen its role of the monopoly supplier from the region". (Reuters) He has transformed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) into a formidable economic-military alliance capable of resisting foreign intervention in Central Asia by the United States and NATO. The CIS is bound to play a major role in regional issues as the real motives behind the "war on terror" are exposed and America's geopolitical objectives in Central Asia become clearer. So far, Washington has established its military bases and outposts throughout the region with impunity. But the mood is darkening in Moscow and Beijing and there may be changes in the future. We should also remember that Putin is surrounded by ex-KGB agents and Soviet-era hardliners. They’ve never trusted America's motives and now they can point to the new US bases, the "colored-coded" revolutions, the broken treaties and the projected missile defense system--to prove that Uncle Sam is "up to no good".

Putin sees himself as leading a global insurgency against the US Empire. He represents the emerging-market economies of China, India and Brazil. These 4 nations will progressively overtake the "old order". Last year 60% of the world's output was produced outside the G-7 countries. According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Brazil, Russia, India and China will be the world's leading economies. The transition from "superpower rule" is already underway. The centers of geopolitical power are shifting like giant tectonic plates. The trend is irreversible. The deployment of Bush’s missile defense system will only hasten the decline of the "unipolar-model" by triggering an asymmetrical war, where Forex reserves, vital resources and political maneuvering will be used as the weapons-of-choice. War with Russia is pointless and preventable. There are better choices than confrontation.

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.p...xt=va&aid=6125

In related news:

Rice: Russia Becoming Isolated, Irrelevant



Video: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS...ml#cnnSTCVideo

Russia's policies are putting it on a path to isolation and irrelevance, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday. Rice also said that Moscow's other behavior, including using oil and gas as a weapon, threatening countries with nuclear attack, selling arms to rogue states and political persecution of journalists and dissidents, paints a picture of "a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad." Her comments came in a speech on the state of relations between Washington and Moscow. While the United States has taken issue with Russia's behavior for some time, Rice called its invasion of Georgia last month a "critical moment for Russia and the world." She warned that Moscow's international standing following the Georgia conflict is at a post-Cold War low.

"Russia's invasion of Georgia has achieved -- and will achieve -- no strategic objective," Rice said. "Russia's leaders will not accomplish their primary war aim of removing Georgia's government. And our strategic goal now is to make it clear to Russia's leaders that their choices are putting Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance."

The United States and Europe will stand up to Russia and not allow it to bully or threaten its neighbors, she said. While the international community has pledged to help rebuild Georgia and provide massive international aid, Rice said Russia has precious little international support. Noting that Russia's recognition of independence for the Georgia breakaway region of South Ossetia has only been matched by Nicaragua and Hamas, she retorted, "A pat on the back from Daniel Ortega and Hamas is hardly a diplomatic triumph."

Warning about the consequences of Russia's actions, Rice said the United States has more options than during the Cold War "when U.S. foreign policy was hostage" to the standoff with the Soviet Union. Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is at risk, Rice said, and the country's civil nuclear cooperation with the United States is "not going anywhere now." As Russian economic markets continue to take a tumble, Rice warned, Russia needs to be part of the world political and economic community to realize the forward-looking vision laid out by President Dmitry Medvedev when he took office. "If Russia ever wants to be more than just an energy supplier, its leaders have to recognize a hard truth: Russia depends on the world for its success, and it cannot change that," she said.

She also took a jab at Russia's recent overtures to Cuba and bomber exercises with Venezuela. The U.S. agenda to help democracies in the Western Hemisphere prosper "will in no way be diminished by a few, aging Blackjack bombers, visiting one of Latin America's few autocracies, which are themselves being left behind by an increasingly peaceful, prosperous and democratic hemisphere." Rice's aides have heavily promoted her speech, inviting Russia experts and journalists to the State Department on Wednesday to preview the remarks. On Wednesday, Rice called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to let him know she was planning to deliver the speech, her spokesman Sean McCormack said. The speech also was to be translated into Russian, French and German, McCormack said. In her remarks, Rice said the United States will continue to welcome students, political reformers, journalists and other professionals as well as try to help Russia in areas such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. "And we will continue to support all Russians who want a future of liberty for their great nation," she said.

At a CNN panel discussion Tuesday, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and James Baker warned the Bush administration against rupturing its relationship with Russia over the Georgia conflict, saying that the United States needed Moscow's cooperation on major national security issues.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS...sia/index.html

U.S. Threatens Russia with War



Russia will encounter a violent response, if it attacks Georgia after it joins NATO, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced on Thursday. At the same time, Gates urged NATO not to respond provocatively to Russian actions in relation to Georgia, the British television channel Sky News reported. Gates was speaking before an informal meeting of NATO defense chiefs in London, where a response to post-conflict challenges from Russia was discussed. "I think we need to proceed with some caution because there is clearly a range of views in the alliance about how to respond, from some of our friends in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to some of the countries in Western Europe. I think what is important here is the unity of the United States and Europe in addressing what Russia has done," Gates said. On the night of August 7, the Georgian army invaded South Ossetia and nearly reduced the capital city Tskhinvali to ruins. The Georgian army killed the elderly, women and children; fired on columns of humanitarian aid and fired on or set fire buildings with civilians in them. Units and subdivisions of the Russian 58th Army came to the aid of the people of South Ossetia and forced the Georgian out. Russia declared a ceasefire on August 12. More than 1500 civilians died as a result of the Georgian aggression. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26. After the expulsion of Georgian forces, NATO warships approached Georgian shores. Officially, the member states of the alliance declared that they were carrying out preplanned military exercises and providing the Saakashvili regime with humanitarian aid, but representatives of the Russian General Staff said that the ships were carrying weapons along with the aid shipments and the exercises were only a cover.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p-13250/Ru...elations_NATO/

Ten Russian Warships Have Docked at Syrian Port


Israeli military and naval commanders were taken by surprise by Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov's disclosure that 10 Russian warships are already anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Moscow and Damascus have worked fast to put in place the agreement reached in Moscow on Sept. 12 by Russian navy commander, Adm. Vladimir Wysotsky and Syrian naval commander Gen. Taleb al-Barri to provide the Russian fleet with a long-term base at Syrian ports. Israel was not aware that this many vessels were involved in the deal. What most worries Israeli military leaders is an earlier announcement by Adm. Wysotsky that Russia’s Mediterranean assets would subjected to its Black Sea fleet command, thereby placing Russia’s warships near Israel’s shores at the service of Moscow’s contest against the US and NATO in the Caucasian. It is feared that Israel will be dragged into another cold war. Rear Adm. Baranov disclosed that the warships in Tartus had brought engineering crews to widen and dredge the harbor to accommodate additional, fleet vessels. The crews were also working on expanding Latakia, another Syrian port, possibly for aircraft carriers or guided missile cruisers. The Russians are making no secret of their intention of using their naval presence in Syrian ports as a deterrent to a possible Israeli air strike against Syria.

Source: http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5591

Russia Successfully Test Launches Bulava Missile From Submarine

http://rusnavy.com/science/weapons/images/bulava2.jpg

The Russian Navy on Thursday successfully tested a Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile, which hit targets on testing grounds in Kamchatka in Russia's Far East, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. The Bulava, designed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, is carried by Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines. Fourth-generation Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with Bulava missiles will form the core of Russia's fleet of modern strategic submarines. The first submarine in the series, the Yury Dolgoruky, was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region and will soon join the Russian Navy. It will be equipped with 16 Bulava (SS-NX-30) ballistic missiles, each carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads and having a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080918/116942009.html

Russia Eyes 18 Percent of Arctic Shelf


Russia will stand for its interests in Arctic, Interfax reported with reference to the RF Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev. According to Patrushev, Russia is to determine northern borders, where Arctic is. The figure is 18 percent of the RF territory, i.e. that region will account for 20,000 kilometers of the state border. Patrushev said Russia should stand for its interests in Arctic. At the same time, it realizes that other Arctic states, Canada, Norway, Denmark and the United States, they will stand for their interests as well. So, the research activities are important, but “it is vital to carry them out faster and more accurate.” Earlier, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev emphasized at the sitting of the RF Security Council that the external frontier of Russia’s continental shelf in Arctic is to be legally determined in the nearest term. “We need solid regulatory and legal framework, governing Russia’s activities in Arctic. First of all, we have to elaborate and pass the Federal Act On Southern Border of Russia’s Arctic Zone,” Medvedev said.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p-13237/Ar...lf_Patrushev_/

Arctic Resources Central to Russia's Energy Security - Medvedev


The Russian president said Wednesday that the use of Arctic resources was central to the country's energy security. "According to estimates by experts, the Arctic shelf may have about one-fourth of the world's shelf hydrocarbon reserves, and the use of these reserves is a guarantee of Russia's overall energy security," Dmitry Medvedev said at a Russian Security Council session. He also said Russia's competitiveness on global markets depended on Arctic resources, stressing the need to adopt a law establishing the frontiers of Russia's Arctic zone. "We need a firm normative-legal base regulating Russia's activity in the Arctic. First of all the federal law on the southern border of Russia's arctic zone should be completed and adopted," he said. Medvedev also said that Russia would next look to establish "the external frontier of the continental shelf." "This is a very important task," he said. The Russian leader said about 20% of Russia's GDP and 22% of national exports were produced in the Arctic. "Our first and main task is to turn the Arctic into Russia's resource base of the 21st century," Medvedev said, adding that a whole number of problems, including the protection of Russia's national interests in the region, needed to be solved. Medvedev also said a priority task for Russia was the modernization of the transport infrastructure in the north of the country. He said that "roads and air links" had deteriorated in the post-Soviet period, adding that the absence of "modern river and sea ports," plus the "dilapidation of the fleet, including icebreakers," was "a tangible obstacle in implementing the rich investment potential of the Arctic." Medvedev criticized the irrational use of resources in Russia's northern regions. The secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said Wednesday the government was to draft the fundamentals of Russian state policy in the Arctic by December 1. "We should defend our interests, but we understand that Canada, Norway, Denmark and the U.S., as well as Russia, will defend their interests," Patrushev said. Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge last summer - to back Russian claims to the region. The area is believed to contain vast oil and gas reserves and other mineral riches, likely to become accessible in future decades due to man-made global warming. Russia said earlier it would submit documentary evidence to the UN of the external boundaries of the Russian Federation's territorial shelf in 2009. Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries - the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia - each currently have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080917/116894260.html

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