Russia - Still King of the North

by proplog2 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Gayle

    nvgnbk,,thank you,,your witty humor is very healing to me!!!

  • nvrgnbk

    nvgnbk,,thank you,,your witty humor is very healing to me!!!

    Thanks Gayle!

    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!

  • proplog2

    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.

  • proplog2

    More evidence of Bush pushing Putin and Putin resisting.
    July 12, 2007
    Summit at Kennebunkport
    Demonizing Putin
    Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be
    reached at:

    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.

    Demonizing Putin

    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.

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