nvgnbk,,thank you,,your witty humor is very healing to me!!!
Russia - Still King of the North
nvgnbk,,thank you,,your witty humor is very healing to me!!!
Reminds me of the old joke “ A penguin spilt ice cream on its feet and then walked into a garage where a n auto-mechanic was working on a car.
“What has happened to you?”, the mechanic asked the penguin.
The penguin replied “ I have just blown a seal”
Too damn funny stilla!
Investor's Business Daily
June 25, 2007
Putin Stay Home
Diplomacy: President Bush invited Russia's leader
to Kennebunkport this week, but he's hardly our
good amigo. His latest provocations should be
enough for Bush to cancel the trip and re-evaluate this friendship.
On July 1, President Bush will honor Russian
President Vladimir Putin with access few other
world leaders experience. He's heading to the
Bush family compound in Kennebunkport to dine on
lobster and view the beautiful Maine scenery, as
only a few distinguished world leaders, like
Poland's Lech Walesa and Jordan's King Hussein, have done.
Sure there are differences, the media kits say,
but the rationale is that the two leaders, away
from their aides and public pressure, can finally
get together like old friends and hash out differences.
But in Putin's case, there's some doubt about that going to plan.
Instead of presenting at least a temporary spirit
of friendship, Putin in recent days has issued
increasingly shrill, belligerent public
statements, and his recall of history is a
surreal revisionism harkening back to the days of Soviet propaganda.
Over the weekend, Putin derided the U.S. memorial
to the victims of communism and declared that no
one should make Russia feel guilty for the epic crimes of Stalinism.
In fact, the West had far more to answer for, he said.
"We have not used nuclear weapons against a
civilian population," Putin said. "We have not
sprayed thousands of kilometers with chemicals,
(or) dropped on a small country seven times more
bombs than in all the Great Patriotic (War)."
Questionable on its own merits, given the human
losses of Stalinism (60 million murdered), as
well as the Soviet Union's role in prolonging
World War II and involvement in the Cold War's
conflicts, like Vietnam, Putin's claims are even
more disturbing because they come just ahead of
the red-carpet welcome he's getting here.
What kind of a leader says that ahead of a major summit?
While Putin's words give us pause, his actions
are worse. He has threatened to fire missiles at
Europe if it deploys a U.S.-led missile defense.
In May, Russia boldly tested a new
intercontinental missile, sending a clear message
to Europe that the threat is real.
Putin also reportedly began delivery of five
MIG-31E advanced fighter jets to Syria, a terror-supporting regime.
His words also come as Venezuela's unhinged
dictator, Hugo Chavez, declared over the weekend
that he still hopes to buy advanced Russian
submarines and use them against the U.S.,
explicitly citing Puerto Rico. Was this a trial
balloon from Putin to remind the U.S. that
Russia's malign reach extends to our hemisphere?
On top of this, Putin has brazenly rescinded
democratic rights inside Russia and is stepping
up hostile spying against the West.
He seems to be angling for a third term in office
and may well succeed. Another term and he'll be
able to make huge trouble for us especially if
Americans mistakenly elect a weak president in 2008.
Putin, like a wild bear, seems to have lost his
fear of the West and views its friendship as
cheap. Despite concessions and conciliatory
language from the West, his hostility has only grown.
Russia seems to have no intention of meeting the
West halfway as a friend. It might be wise to
rescind the generous U.S. invitation, and let
Putin visit his friends in Venezuela and Cuba instead.
More evidence of Bush pushing Putin and Putin resisting.
July 12, 2007
Summit at Kennebunkport
By MIKE WHITNEY
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be
reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Presidents Bush and Putin concluded their brief
summit in Kennebunkport, Maine without resolving
any of the main issues. Bush seeks Putin's help
to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear
enrichment program and Putin wants Bush to
abandon his plans to deploy the US Missile
Defense System in Czechoslovakia and Poland. No
progress was made on either topic.
Russia and the United States are now more
politically divided than any time since the
breakup of the Soviet Union. In fact, following
the meeting in Maine, first deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Ivanov, blasted Washington in the
blistering rhetoric of the Cold War era:
"They are trying to push us into knocking heads
with Europe... in order to create a new dividing
line, a New Berlin Wall," bawled Ivanov. "It is
obvious that continuing with the plans and
carrying them out by placing rockets in Poland
and radar in the Czech Republic will present an obvious threat to Russia."
Ivanov is right. Missile Defense poses a clear
danger to Russia's national security. It
integrates the United States entire nuclear
capability (including space-based operations)
with systems that are inside Russia's traditional
sphere of influence. Putin summed it up like this
in a press conference at the G-8 meetings:
"For the first time in history, there are
elements of the US nuclear capability on the
European continent. It simply changes the whole
configuration of international security ... Of
course, we have to respond to that."
The Bush administration is trying to achieve what
nuclear weapons specialist, Francis A. Boyle,
calls the "longstanding US policy of nuclear
first-strike against Russia". By placing weapons
systems and radar on Russia's borders the US will
have a critical advantage that will disrupt the
essential balance of power.This is forcing Putin to restart the arms race.
The media has tried to downplay the gravity of
the situation by focusing on the personal aspects
of the Putin-Bush relationship. But this is
intentionally misleading. Putin did not go to
Kennebunkport to win-back Bush's affections or
for sensitivity-therapy. He went to see if he
could change Bush's mind on an issue that could
quickly escalate into a nuclear standoff.
Putin has made a number of offers designed to
satisfy Bush's concerns for "enhanced security".
For example, Putin proposed a "global integrated
missile shield that would protect all of Europe"
and would include both the United States and
European countries, including neutral ones such
as Austria, Finland and Sweden. All of the
participating countries in the program would have
equal access to the system's control."
"We are proposing to create a single missile
defense system for all participants with equal
access to the system's control," Ivanov said on the state-run Russian TV.
The Russian proposal would "create missile
defense data exchange centers in Moscow and
Brussels, headquarters of NATO and the European
Union. Ivanov also did not rule out the sharing
by Russia of some of its "highly sensitive"
technologies with the West as part of creating
the new integrated system, in order to generate
trust in thwarting rouge missile threats."
(There's been no coverage of this offer in the western media)
Putin also reiterated his earlier offer to allow
the US to use existing "early warning" radar
located in Azerbaijan that can observe the
launching and flight of any long-range ballistic
missiles from Iran. Bush politely rejected that offer, too.
Bush is not serious about defense or security.
His real intention is to force Moscow to do
whatever Washington wants by putting a loaded gun
to their head. Putin can't allow this to happen.
Bush's doggedness has already triggered a strong
reaction from the Kremlin. When Putin was
rebuffed by Bush at the G-8 meetings a month ago,
he promptly retaliated at the International
Economic Forum in St. Petersburg less than 24
hours later. In his address to the conference, he
called for "a new architecture of economic
relations requiring a completely new approach
(with an) alternative global financial center
that will make the ruble the reserve currency for
central banks." He said that the World Trade
Organization, the World Bank and the IMF are
``archaic, undemocratic and inflexible'' and do
not `` reflect the new balance of power.''
Putin's speech is seen as a direct challenge to
Washington's global leadership and the
institutions which preserve its position as the
world's only "superpower". He rejects US
hegemony" and the prevailing doctrine of "unipolar" world order.
The Kremlin reacted just as quickly after the
"Lobster Summit" at Kennebunkport. Less than 10
hours after Putin's departure from the US, deputy
Prime Minister Ivanov warned that if Bush
deployed Missile Defense in Eastern Europe,
Russia "would place medium-range nuclear missiles
in Kallingrad", a small finger of Russian-owned
territory sandwiched between Lithuania and
Poland. This would put Russian-controlled nuclear
weapons just a few hundred miles from the heart of Europe.
Ivanov added, "If our proposals are accepted,
however, Russia would no longer need to deploy
new missile systems in our European territory, including Kaliningrad."
Putin and Ivanov apparently rehearsed this "good
cop, bad cop" routine before Putin even arrived
in the USA. But their point is still well taken.
Putin is forcing Bush to decide whether he wants
to work for regional stability or "turn Europe
into a powder keg". It's up to Bush.
Putin knows that the Bush administration is full
of Cold War militarists who deliberately
sabotaged the ABM Treaty so they could expand
their nuclear arsenal while surrounding Russia
with American bases. He also knows that these
same arm-chair warriors embrace a belligerent
National Security Strategy that advocates
"preemptive" first-strike attacks on rivals and
which may include the use of low-yield,
bunker-busting nuclear weapons. Putin"who has
watched the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan
from the sidelines"knows that the threat of
American aggression cannot be taken lightly. He
must carefully consider the "stated goals" of the
administration for global domination and prepare
for the worst. He cannot allow the Missile
Defense System to be deployed even if that means "unilaterally" taking it out.
But why would Bush choose to confront Russia now
when American troops and resources are already
stretched to the limit? What is Bush thinking?
The Bush administration and their counterparts in
the far-right think tanks still believe that
America can be a big player in the fight to
control resources in the Caspian Basin and
Central Asia. The war on terror was basically
designed to conceal US geopolitical ambitions in
Eurasia"not Iraq. The neocons managed to expand
the conflict to Iraq, but ruling elites have had
serious misgivings about the invasion-occupation
from the very beginning. Now the failures in Iraq
are weakening the military, constraining US
involvement in Central Asia and Latin America,
and triggering anxiety among "old order"
conservatives who think that the greater project
may collapse altogether if Iraq does not
wind-down quickly so the US can refocus on its
original goals. This may explain why the
defections in the senate are beginning to
snowball and why the establishment media is
suddenly calling for a draw-down of troops. The
situation has gotten so bad that it's impossible
for Washington to execute its broader imperial strategy.
The personal attacks on Putin are no different
than the attacks on Iran's Ahmadinejad or
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Any leader who has the
temerity to control his nation's own
resources---and use them for the common good
rather than enriching privately owned
corporations--is the de facto enemy of the
Empire. In truth, Putin is neither a tyrant nor
an opponent of the United States. The criticism
directed at him is mostly hot air.He's demonized
because he has used Russia's vast natural wealth
to rebuild his country and to improve the
standard of living for the Russian people. There's nothing more to it.
Presently, Putin enjoys an 84% public approval
rating---the highest rating of any world leader
today. He has reduced poverty, stabilized the
ruble, strengthened defense, deposed the
rapacious "oligarchs" and restored Russia's
international prestige. He is fiercely
nationalistic and the Russian people admire him for it.
More importantly, Putin has successfully
out-maneuvered Washington in every major energy
deal since Bush took office in 2000. Even the
invasion of Afghanistan-- which was supposed to
clear pipeline corridors for transporting
resources from the Caspian Sea to Pakistan--has
turned out to be a complete fiasco. The resurgent
Taliban have ensured that the safe shipment of
resources will be impossible for the foreseeable
future. Also, setbacks in Afghanistan have
exacerbated divisions in NATO which are causing
the European allies to reconsider their
involvement in the US-led mission. This is a
dodgy predicament for Bush and Co.If NATO falls
apart, the Transatlantic Alliance will probably
unravel leaving America friendless in a world
that is increasingly hostile to foreign adventurism.
While Bush is bogged down in Iraq and
Afghanistan, Putin has continued to consolidate
his power in Central Asia while making impressive
inroads into Europe. In fact, Russia seems to
have already won "The Great Game" of controlling
Eurasia's massive natural resources without even clashing with the US.
In this year alone, Russia has increased its
"strategic dominance over Europe's energy
supplies while US-led efforts to promote energy
diversity for Europe are faltering and the EU's
policies are in disarray." ("Escaping Putin's
Energy Squeeze" Adrian Karatnycky)
In June, Russian energy giant Gazprom firmed up a
deal with Italy to build a gas pipeline to
southern Europe via the Black Sea sabotaging
Washington's plan for a similar project called Nabucco.
At the same time, Putin has worked out deals with
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to ship natural gas
to Germany via a proposed pipeline under the
Baltic Sea. And, just this week, the Russian oil
giant Gazprom put the finishing touches on
agreement with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and
Uzbekistan to work-jointly on a gas pipeline
project that will transport natural gas along the Caspian coast.
These deals represent huge commitments of
resources which will put Washington at a
disadvantage for decades to come. The US military
has proved to be a much less effective tool in
procuring dwindling resources than the "free market".
The Bush administration has tried to exert
greater control over Central Asian resources by
building pipelines from the Black Sea to the
Mediterranean. But the plan has failed miserably.
Putin'shas out-flanked Washington at every turn.
The ex-KGB alum has proved to be the superior
capitalist leaving Bush with nothing to show for
his efforts except a badly battered military.
Putin is also on friendly terms with Turkey and
is pushing for "long term energy contracts for
the Black Sea states". The Turkish leadership
shares Putin's belief that the US should be kept
from meddling in the region. This may explain why
Dick Cheney is so mad at Putin and has even
accused him of "blackmail". But this is just
"sour grapes". In truth, Putin is just doing what
the United States used to do---using free market
competition to his best advantage.
What's wrong with that?
An American energy specialist summarized
America's defeat in the Eurasian Resource Wars saying:
"Western energy policies in Eurasia collapsed in
May 2007. During this month, Russia seems to have
conclusively defeated all Western-backed projects
to bring oil and gas from Central Asia directly
to Europe ... Cumulatively, the May agreements
signify a strategic defeat of the decade-old US
policy to open direct access to Central Asia's
oil and gas reserves. By the same token they have
nipped in the bud the European Union's belated
attempts since 2006 to institute such a policy."
Putin's greatest energy-coup may be the mega-deal
he put together with the Austria earlier this
year.According to M K Bhadrakumar ("A Pipeline
into the Heart of Europe," Asia Times)
"Last September, Austria entered a long-term
contract with Russia whereby Gazprom will meet
80% of Austria's gas requirements of 9 billion
cubic meters annually during the next 20-year
period." The project will involve "a massive
gas-storage facility near Salzburg" ... . "which
has an overall capacity of 2.4bcm. The facility
is being built at a cost of 260 million euros
(nearly US $350 million) by Gazprom and, upon
completion in 2011, will be the second-largest
underground gas-storage facility in Central
Europe ...(Putin has expanded) "Austria's role as
a crucial gas-supply hub for transiting Russian
gas to France, Italy and Germany in Western
Europe; to Hungary in Central Europe; and to
Slovenia and Croatia in the Balkans."
Gazprom's agreement with Austria is the death
knell for the Washington-backed Nabucco gas
pipeline project. It will be very difficult now
for the major western energy giants to catch up
with Russia and compete head-on in the European
market. Putin caught them flat-footed once again.
He has consolidated Eurasian oil and natural gas
and established a central depot for distributing
resources to consumers throughout Europe.
Game. Set. Match.
Russia is now the cat-bird's seat peering over
all of Europe and the Balkans as part of its
energy fiefdom. Meanwhile Bush and his legions
continue to toil away aimlessly in Mesopotamia. What a waste.
Missile Defense is an expression of Washington's
frustration with its own failures. The Global
Resource War (aka The War on Terror) has been so
badly bungled that Bush will have to initiate
"asymmetrical" strategies to counter Russia's
economic triumphs. We can expect that US-backed
NGOs will continue funding troublemaking "pro
democracy" groups inside Russia hoping to trigger
a "color-coded" revolution in Moscow. At the same
time, there will probably be a sudden outbreak of
violence in Chechnya, after rebel-separatists
have been "mysteriously" rearmed by foreign
intelligence agencies. (Guess who?) The Bush
administration will also try to strengthen their
military position on Russia's perimeter by
pushing NATO into Ukraine and Georgia.
But, will any of these plans succeed?
Bush and his fellows will do whatever it takes to
disrupt Russia's steady march to becoming the new
century's Energy Superpower. The "charm
offensive" at Kennebunkport is just one part of
America's guerilla war on Putin. Missile Defense is another.
Welcome to the new Cold War.