Putin Agonistes: Missile Defense
will not be Deployed
by Mike Whitney
www.zmag.org, December 21st, 2007
It's been a lot of hard work, but Russian
President Vladimir Putin has finally achieved his goal. He's cleaned
up the mess left behind by Yeltsin, put together a strong and
thriving economy, and restored Russia to a place of honor among
the community of nations. His legacy has already been written.
He's the man who rebuilt Russia. The last thing he wants now,
is a pointless confrontation with the United States. But how can
it be avoided? He understands Washington's long-range plans for
Russia and he is taking necessary steps to preempt them. He is
familiar with the heavyweights of US foreign policy, like Zbigniew
Brzezinski, and has undoubtedly read his master-plan for Central
Asia, "The Grand Chessboard". Brzezinski's recent article
in Foreign Affairs, (A publication of the Council on Foreign Relations)
"A Geostrategy for Eurasia" summarizes his views on
America's future involvement in the region:
America's emergence as the sole global
superpower now makes an integrated and comprehensive strategy
for Eurasia imperative.
Eurasia is home to most of the world's
politically assertive and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders
to global power originated in Eurasia. The world's most populous
aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia,
as are all the potential political or economic challengers to
American primacy. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's
population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy
resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential power overshadows
Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent.
A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence
over two of the world's three most economically productive regions,
Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests
that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically
control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as
the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to
fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens
with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be
of decisive importance to America's global primacy and historical
So, there it is. The US is moving into
the neighborhood and has no intention of leaving. The war on terror
is a fraud; it merely conceals the fact that Bush is sprinkling
military bases throughout Central Asia and surrounding Russia
in the process. Brzezinski sees this as a "strategic imperative".
It doesn't matter what Putin thinks. According to Brzezinski "NATO
enlargement should move forward in deliberate stages" . The
US must make sure "that no state or combination of states
gains the ability to expel the United States or even diminish
its decisive role".
This isn't new. Putin has known for some
time what Bush is up to and he's been as accommodating as possible.
After all, his real passion is putting Russia back on its feet
and improving the lives of its citizens. That will have to change
now that Bush has decided to install a "Missile Defense"
system in Eastern Europe. Putin will have to devote more time
to blocking America's plans. The new system will upset the basic
balance of power between the nuclear rivals and force Putin to
raise the stakes. A confrontation is brewing whether Putin wants
it or not. The system cannot be deployed. Period. Putin must now
do whatever he is necessary to remove a direct threat to Russia's
national security. That is the primary obligation of every leader
and he will not shirk his responsibility.
Putin is an elusive character; neither
boastful nor arrogant. It's clear now that western pundits mistook
his reserved, quiet manner as a sign of superficiality or lack
of resolve. They were wrong. They underestimated the former-KGB
Colonel. Putin is bright and tenacious and he has a vision for
his country. He sees Russia as a key player in the new century;
an energy powerhouse that can control its own destiny. He doesn't
plan to get bogged down in avoidable conflicts if possible. He's
focused on development not war; plowshares not swords. He's also
fiercely nationalistic; a Russian who puts Russia first.
But Putin is a realist and he knows that
the US will not leave Eurasia without a fight. He's read the US
National Security Strategy and he understands the ideological
foundation for America's "unipolar" world model. The
NSS is an unambiguous declaration of war against any nation that
claims the right to to control its own resources or defend its
own sovereignty against US interests. The NSS implies that nations'
are required to open their markets to western multinationals and
follow directives from Washington or accept a place on Bush's
"enemies list". There's no middle ground. You are with
us or with the terrorists. The NSS also entitles the United States
to unilaterally wage aggressive warfare against any state or group
that is perceived to be a potential threat to Washington's imperial
ambitions. These so-called "preemptive" wars are carried
out under the rubric of the "war on terror" which provides
the justification for torture, abduction, ethnic cleansing and
massive civilian casualties.
US National Security Strategy articulates
in black and white what many critics had been saying for years;
the United States owns the world and everyone else is just a guest.
Putin knows that there's no way to reconcile
this doctrine with his own aspirations for an independent Russia
but, so far, a clash has been averted.
He also knows that Bush is flanked by
a band of fanatics and militarists who plan to weaken Russia,
install an American stooge (like Georgia and Afghanistan) and
divide the country into four regions. This strategy is clearly
presented in forward-planning documents that have been drawn up
in Washington think tanks that chart the course for US world domination.
Brzezinski is quite candid about this in his article in Foreign
Given (Russia's) size and diversity, a
decentralized political system and free-market economics would
be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian
people and Russia's vast natural resources. A loosely confederated
Russia - composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and
a Far Eastern Republic - would also find it easier to cultivate
closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated
entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled
for centuries by Moscow's heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a
decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.
(Zbigniew Brzezinski,"A Geostrategy for Eurasia")
Partition is a common theme in imperial
planning whether its called apartheid in Israel, federalizing
in Iraq, "limited independence" in Kosovo, or "loose
confederation" in Russia. It's all the same. Divide and rule;
undermine nationalism by destroying the underlying culture and
balkanizing the territory. This isn't new. What is amazing, is
that Bush's plan is going forward despite 7 years of uninterrupted
foreign policy failures. Hubris and self-delusion have a longer
shelf-life than anyone could have imagined.
Putin is surrounded by ex-KGB hardliners
who have warned him that America cannot be trusted. They have
watched while the US has steadily moved into the former-Soviet
satellites, pushed NATO to Russia's borders, and precipitated
regime change via "color coded" revolutions. They point
to Chechen war where US intelligence services trained Chechen
insurgents through their ISI surrogates in Pakistan-teaching them
how to conduct guerrilla operations in a critical region that
provides Russia with access to the western shores of the resource-rich
1. Michel Chossudovsky has done some excellent
research on this little-known period of Russian history. In his
article "The Anglo-American Military Axis", he says:
U.S. covert support to the two main Chechen
rebel groups (through Pakistan's ISI) was known to the Russian
government and military. However, it had previously never been
made public or raised at the diplomatic level. In November 1999,
the Russian Defense Minister, Igor Sergueyev, formally accused
Washington of supporting the Chechen rebels. Following a meeting
held behind closed doors with Russia's military high command,
Sergueyev declared that:
'The national interests of the United
States require that the military conflict in the Caucasus [Chechnya]
be a fire, provoked as a result of outside forces the West's
policy constitutes a challenge launched to Russia with the ultimate
aim of weakening her international position and of excluding her
from geo-strategic areas.
In the wake of the 1999 Chechen war, a
new "National Security Doctrine" was formulated and
signed into law by Acting President Vladimir Putin, in early 2000.
Barely acknowledged by the international media, a critical shift
in East-West relations had occurred. The document reasserted the
building of a strong Russian State, the concurrent growth of the
Military, as well as the reintroduction of State controls over
foreign capital.The document carefully spelled out what it described
as " fundamental threats" to Russia's national security
and sovereignty. More specifically, it referred to "the strengthening
of military-political blocs and alliances" [namely GUUAM],
as well as to "NATO's eastward expansion" while underscoring
"the possible emergence of foreign military bases and major
military presences in the immediate proximity of Russian borders."
(Michel Chossudovsky, "The Anglo-American Military Axis",
That's right; there's been a low-grade
secret war going on between Russia and the US for over a decade
although it is rarely discussed in diplomatic circles. The war
in Chechnya is probably less about "succession" and
independence, than it is about foreign intervention and imperial
The same rule applies to the controversy
surrounding Kosovo. The Bush administration and its EU clients
are trying to fragment Serbia by supporting an initiative for
Kosovo "limited independence".
But why "limited"?
It's because Bush knows that the resolution
has no chance of passing the UN Security Council, so the only
way to circumvent international law is by issuing a unilateral
edict that is promoted in the media as "independence".
By this same standard, Abraham Lincoln should have granted Jefferson
Davis "limited independence" and avoided the Civil War
Author Irina Lebedeva reveals the real
motives behind the administration's actions on Kosovo in her article
"USA-Russia: Hitting the same Gate, or playing the same game?"
The North Atlantic alliance (The US and
its EU allies) documents indicate that the bloc aims at the "Balkanization"
of the post-Soviet space by way of overtaking influence in the
territories of the currently frozen conflicts and their follow-up
internalization along the Yugoslavian lines are set down in black
and white. For example, a special report titled "The New
North Atlantic Strategy for the Black Sea Region", prepared
by the German Marshall Fund of the United States on the occasion
of the NATO summit, already refers to Black Sea and South Caucasus
(Transcaucasia) as a "new Euro-Atlantic borderland plagued
by Soviet-legacy conflicts." And the "region of frozen
conflicts is evolving into a functional aggregate on the new border
of an enlarging West." Azerbaijan and Georgia in tandem,
the report notes, provide a unique transit corridor for Caspian
energy to Europe, as well as an irreplaceable corridor for American-led
and NATO to bases and operation theatres in Central Asia and the
Greater Middle East.
Once again, divide and rule; this time
writ large for an entire region that is being arbitrarily redrawn
to meet the needs of mega-corporations that want to secure "transit
corridors for Caspian energy to Europe". The new Great Game.
Brzezinski has called this area a critical "land-bridge"
to Eurasia. Others refer to it as a "new Euro-Atlantic borderland".
Whatever one calls it; it is a good illustration of how bloodthirsty
Washington mandarins carve up the world to suit their own geopolitical
Putin has seen enough and he's now moving
swiftly to counter US incursions in the region. He's not going
to wait until the neocon fantasists affix a bullseye to his back
and take aim. In the last few weeks he has withdrawn Russia from
the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) and is threatening
to redeploy his troops and heavy weaponry to Russia's western-most
borders. The move does nothing to enhance Russian security, but
it will arouse public concern in Europe and perhaps ignite a backlash
against Bush's Missile Defense system.
Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin
also announced this week that Russia will move part of its fleet
to Syrian ports where "it will maintain a permanent presence
in the Mediterranean. Israeli leaders are in a panic over the
announcement claiming that the move will disrupt their "electronic
surveillance and air defense centers" thus threatening their
national security. Putin intends to go ahead with the plan regardless.
Dredging has already begun in the port of Tartus and a dock is
being built in the Syrian port of Latakia.
Also, Russian officials are investigating
the possibility of building military bases in Serbia and have
been invited to discuss the issue with leaders in the Serbian
Nationalist Radical Party (SRS) The prospective dialogue is clearly
designed to dissuade the US from pursuing its present policy towards
Russia also delivered its first shipment
of nuclear fuel to Iran this week which means that the controversial
1,000 watt nuclear plant at Bushehr could be fully operational
within three months. Adding insult to injury, Iranian officials
announced on Monday their plans to build a second plant in defiance
of US orders to halt its nuclear activities.
Also, on Monday, "Russia test-launched
a new intercontinental ballistic missile part of a system that
can outperform any anti-missile system likely to be deployed"
according to Reuters. "The missile was launched from the
Tula nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in the Arctic."
"The military hardware now on our
weapons, and those that will appear in the next few years, will
enable our missiles to outperform any anti-missile system, including
future systems," Col.-Gen Nikolai Solovtsov was quoted as
telling journalists." (Reuters)
Bush's Missile Defense system has restarted
the nuclear arms race. Welcome to the new Cold War.
Finally, Russia Chief of Staff, General
Yuri Balyevsky warned:
"A possible launch of a US interceptor
missile from Central Europe may provoke a counterattack from intercontinental
ballistic missiles.If we suppose that Iran wants to strike the
United States , then interceptor missiles which would be launched
from Poland will fly towards Russia and the shape and flight trajectory
are very similar to ICBMs" (Novosti Russian News Agency)
Balyevsky's scenario of an "accidental"
World War 3 is more likely than ever now that Bush is pressing
ahead with his plans for Missile Defense. Russia's automated missile
warning systems can be triggered automatically when foreign missiles
enter Russian air space. Its a dangerous game and potentially
fatal every living thing on the planet.
To great extent, the American people have
no idea of the reckless policy that is being carried out in their
name. The gravity of the proposed Missile Defense system has been
virtually ignored by the media and Russia's protests have been
dismissed as trivial. But hostilities are steadily growing, military
forces and weaponry are being put into place, and the stage is
set for a major conflagration. This is every bit as serious as
the Cuban Missile Crisis, only this time Russia cannot afford
to stand down.
Putin will not allow the system to be
deployed even if he has to remove it through force of arms. It
is a direct threat to Russia's national security. We would expect
no different from our own leaders.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state.
Read other articles by Mike.