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26 October 2014

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FB Ali

"...outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders".

Could he be referring to Angela Merkel? Perhaps that is the solution to policies that have been quite puzzling.

rjj

Obama is doing his job. Platitude-speak = taking a piss.

harry

Excellent piece or rather, I noticed the same thing.

Babak Makkinejad

Walrus:

Obama talks of the strengths of the United States in its domestic area - such as non-discrimination and Putin talks of presumed defects in US foreign policy.

Putin implicitly is acknowledging the hard truth of the centrality of the United States to the international system.

He also is implicitly stating that neither the Russian Federation, nor China, nor SCO nor any one else can put on the table a credible and alternative formulation of the international order.

Farmer Don

"Science currently holds that time travel is an impossibility", but could it be possible that Col Lang helped ghost write Putin's Speech??

Seriously, I see echos of this blog through out his Speech.

VietnamVet

Walrus,

The Ukraine Crisis is the “whole enchilada”. It is the focal point of the world gone crazy.

In the middle of the earlier fighting I wrote letters to my three Congresspersons saying “The United States must force the Kiev government to settle the Civil War right now before it escalates to a shooting war between NATO and Russia.” Recently I did get one reply back from Senator Mikulski stating that “Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is wrong. It is important that Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and independence be respected.”

This is cognitive dissidence and a DC centric world view that has no relationship with reality. They believe their own propaganda. I do not think that the elected leaders have grasped the fact that Russia and the United States are once again at war and that the goal of NATO is regime change in the Kremlin. It is the United States that has to back down. Russia can't.

If The Vineyard of the Saker is correct and a November offensive is about to start, the world is right now on the brink of World War III. No Russian leader can let the ethnic Russian homeland be cleansed by the Neo-Nazis and will intervene to prevent it.

We’ve embarked on the final voyage of the Ship of Fools.

FB Ali

Putin's speech is worth reading, even though rather long (he does tend to be wordy). For those who are tired of listening to or reading the same old politician-speak, meaningless platitudes and falsehoods, this is a refreshing change.

This is how a statesman speaks, one confident enough in himself and his policies that he is not at all afraid of being realistic, laying it out as he sees it.

pbj

"freedomize" -- that's a new one, nice!

robt willmann

FB Ali,
Another technique used by the U.S. and, of course, others, is bribery. Taxpayer money is used to bribe foreign political leaders, which can include European politicians.

Angela Merkel could be the subject of blackmail or bribery. She lived in Communist East Germany, and it is pretty well established that she was an informant for the Stasi, the East German Department of Homeland Security. She is certainly a curious case, having come from East Germany and then transformed herself into a "conservative" type to run in a political party.

confusedponderer

Tom Engelhart takes a very cleareyed look at America's protestations of indispensability and specialness when he writes in his introduction to an article by David Bromwich:

"Whoever the presidential candidates may be, expect the political landscape to be littered with references to the United States as an “exceptional nation” and to “American exceptionalism” (as well as its more recent doppelgänger, “indispensable,” as in “indispensable nation”). And the presidential candidates, baying for the exceptional privilege of entering the Oval Office in 2017, will join a jostling crowd of past presidential candidates, presidential wannabes, major politicians, minor figures, and pundits galore who have felt compelled in recent years to tell us and the world just how exceptional we really are.

Such references were once rare in our politics, but that was back in the days when Americans didn’t doubt our exceptional nature, which meant that there was no need to talk about it ad infinitum. Like anything spoken of too insistently, recent rounds of exceptionalist comments surely reveal lurking feelings of doubt about this country, its state, its fate, and its direction (which, according to most polls, Americans believe to be downward, as in “wrong track” or “decline”)."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175911/tomgram%3A_david_bromwich%2C_american_exceptionalism_and_its_discontents/

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

It has to be kept in mind that Albright uttered her notable declaration of indispensability in the context of a Europe expanding and asserting independence, coninciding with ideas like a European military command (not subordinated to NATO). The balkan crises were a remedy to that.

Today's decpalarations of indispensability come in the wake of a dacade and more of disastrous and largely failed US foreign policy projects, with regional players doing as they please, ignoring the US where they want to - Israel, Saudi Arabia in particular.

For Europe, the Ukraine crisis reinserts and establishes US relevance to Europe.

Up until that was kicked off we were grappling with the economic fallout of the Euro crisis, and were getting along well with Russia, while the US busied herself with screwing up the Middle East. Alas, now they're back to Europe, and Ukraine is a mess too. At our cost, because the US suffers very litle from this crisis economically.

The benefit: The US throws a wrench in our economy, thereby making us less of a near term peer competitor, while also making themself relevant again, in particular to 'New Europe', re-emphacising NATO as the only means to counter the self-created threat of Russia.

Perversely, the US is in a situation that, the worse it gets, the more indispensable they become. Apparently the strategy is to let it become worse still, in hope that America will become even more indispensabile, das 'Zünglein and der Waage', tipping the scales - think of it as a crack crazed version of 'ofshore balancing'.

confusedponderer

Nice, but only if not experienced in practice.

To those that were subjected to America's rather wanton application of Freedomization there was a steep price to be paid.

One cannot unbreak these countries. They can now only be reforged through the victory of one side in the resulting civil wars that have erupted as a result of Freedomisation. The US disingenuously blames the targeted countries, but it is the US who bear a lot of responsibility for pushing events.

The US are directly responsible for empowering those Islamist nuts in Syria who then killed ambasador Stevens. The US - in co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar - are directly responsible for those Islamist nuts and arms they helped ship to Syria and the carnage they engaged in once they arrived.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

Same for Ukraine, you don't pump 5 billion into what must tightly be called subversion efforts, and then are not responsible for the consequences when your proxies succeed.

Maybe it is a muddled reinterpretation of Powell's Pottery Barn rule, 'You broke it, you own it'.

The new Obama doctine is apparently: 'We want it, so let's break it'?

Despite the ever sweet lure of Freedom™ - it was a whole lot more fun to be a Libian only five years ago than it is now. Same goes for being a Syrian five years ago, or a Ukrainian only two years ago. As Rumsfeld then put it so inimatbly when Baghdad was being looted bare: 'Freedom™ is messy', apparently.

The US has done a lot of harm and caused lasting damage to the societies they put their sights on for their Fredomisation efforts. And it is not the US who is going to pay the price for that. Yes it costs thejm a lot of money, and too many soldiers lives, but all that iss but a trifle compared what the targeted societies went through. As of May 2012 the US had lost some 4,425 servicemen in Iraq - too many, of course, but that's for Iraqis what terrorism and repression killed in Iraqi civilians in a couple bad months.

If the record is any indication, the US suck at
achieving positive or even just the pursued results when they are intervening.

The locals should be forgiven to ask dor a dispensation of indispensable attention. They have it rough already. There is no point in making it worse. Or is it?

Piotr, Poland

I’ve read all the Putin’s speech.

Obama’s common, easy to identify platitudes vs highly sophisticated and well hidden Putin’s platitudes, that’s my opinion.

One, clear example of it.
Putin accuses USA of being guilty of radicalizing Islam. Islam would radicalize itself with or without American help, that’s my view, USA only accelerated this process, so Putin is partially right about it.

But is Putin really innocent in this case? What Putin and Russians did in Chechnya and other Caucasian countries?
During Dzokhar Dudaev times, all the Chechen army’s headquaters drunk vodka during their meetings (and most of them called themselves “muslims”)
Chechen Islam was very peacefull and not "seriously taken” by most of the Chechen people in 90’s. After 2 Chechen wars, so called “infiltration camps” and all Russian army crimes in Chechenya Russia has got the answer – Beslan school and Dubrovka theatre terrorist attacks.
Did it change any of Putin’s views? No. Russia still tries to imprison Akhmed Zakayev, last of the important figure from Chechen moderates, who still trying to resist “salafisation” of Chechen fight against Russia.

Removing all the Chechen moderates by Russia from real influence on Chechen policy created political vacuum used by Caucasus Caliphate salafist supporters. Now they are only one real military power in Chechnya resisting Russia, and the Chechen fight for independence is now subordinated to Islamic utopists, who treat it instrumentally as a part of their efforts of establishing Caliphate. But it is the result Putin dreamed about, and worked on it with all the power Russians had. Now he can say Chechens = Terrorists not partisans, fighting for Itchkerya’s (Chechenya) independence, isn’t it?
Over 900 Russian citizens (mostly Chechen and Dagestani’s) are among IS fighters now.
Have you heard about Yazidi / IS supporters or Kurd/ IS supporters clashes in Germany not so long ago?
Most of IS supporters were Chechen immigrants to Germany.
So who is guilty of radicalizing of Chechen Islam for his own political interests? USA?

Aka

Babak Makkinejad,
Obama talks about "strengths of the United States in its domestic area", but those "strengths" are neither created by him nor further strength by him. And why should Putin care or worry about how Americans are treated by their government?

"Putin implicitly is acknowledging the hard truth of the centrality of the United States to the international system."

And I don't think putin would want to collapse that order quickly. If US were collapse, world would plunged in to mayhem. Putin clearly doesn't want to be the world policeman. But I think he would be very careful when dealing with US in the future and would try to minimize any influence US has on Russia.

Croesus

from Putin's speech: "International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. "

from a speech by Chas Freeman, --


" It is, however, hard to find any principle of due process, the several Geneva Conventions, or the Nuremberg trials that has not been systematically violated in the Holy Land. Examples of criminal conduct include mass murder, extra-judicial killing, torture, detention without charge, the denial of medical care, the annexation and colonization of occupied territory, the illegal expropriation of land, ethnic cleansing and the collective punishment of civilians, including the demolition of their homes, the systematic reduction of their infrastructure and the de-development and impoverishment of entire regions. These crimes have been linked to a concerted effort to rewrite international law to permit actions that it traditionally prohibited, in effect enshrining the principle that might makes right.

As the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department has argued:

“If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries . . . . International law progresses through violations.”

A colleague of his has extended this notion by pointing out that:

“The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

These references to Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the extent to which the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples."

http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/29130/pid/897

jr786

From Putin's speech:

"As for financing sources, today, the money is coming not just from drugs, production of which has increased not just by a few percentage points but many-fold, since the international coalition forces have been present in Afghanistan. You are aware of this."

I wasn't aware of this until earlier today when I read in a NYT editorial that after spending 7.6 billion on stopping the opium trade more land than ever in Af is under poppy cultivation and that up to $155 million from that is going to the Taliban.

That's truly exceptional.

William R. Cumming

Check out DANGEROUS NATION!

Aka

Piotr,
US invaded countries far far away from US mainland for no good reason.

Chechnya on the other hand is a part of Russia.
And I don't think putin distinguishes a non-wahhabi Chechen rebel from a wahhabi Chechen rebel.

And for that matter Soviets nor the Russian empire before that didn't distinguish much between islamic rebels from christian rebels.

" Now he can say Chechens = Terrorists not partisans, fighting for Itchkerya’s (Chechenya) independence, isn’t it?"

And I don't think Putin needs to justify himself over a domestic COIN op to anyone (specially when that operation is going relatively well). And even if the Russian response was more timid to the Chechen insurgency, how exactly would that stop the gulf funded Wahhabism?

Babak Makkinejad

Chechens speak flawless Russian and it was clear to me that very many were quite comfortable with Russian Culture. However, they seemed to have been led largely by fools - Russians retreated and Chechnya descended into anarchy and criminality.

Sort of like the pre-cursor of what Kosovo is today.

Where and how would Chechens function as an independent state?

Like Kurds, or Sikhs, or Gurkhas, they have not been capable of building a state in historical times and they demonstrated that yet again - this time attacking Russia as well - they were truly on a suicide path....

Misanthrope

CP,

Yes I agree with this. The curious thing is why are the Europeans going along with it? It must surely have occurred to them that they are being used as sacrificial lambs to further the interests of the US.

Babak Makkinejad

Obama is oblivious to the costs of US foreign policy to other people and nations - he is clearly oblivious to such costs to the United States herself.

That must be the Consensus of US leaders: " we will carry any burden..." etc.

Putin, like FB Ali here, is urging the leaders of the United States to reconsider - nay - he is beseeching them to make a course correction.

He still harbors hope that somehow, somewhere US will indeed realize the folly of her ways and alter course.

The concern in all of this for the United States is when Putin and Russian leaders give up on the hope of any potential course correction by the United States in her strategic posture and its attendant foreign policy.

At that future time, Russia will have joined Iran in not expecting anything positive to come out of the United States and move on to counter US strategies at the best she can all the while attempting to minimize the damage to the Russian Federation.

The existence of this rhetoric in Putin speeches indicates a persistent hope for better relations with US; US leaders ought to be concerned, in my opinion, when that rhetoric disappears - indicating absence of hope for better relations with US among the Russian leaders.

John

Dangerous Nation, written by Vicki "Cookie" Nuland's husband, should be checked out for it's study of particularly delusional examples of American exceptionalism.

But "Turdblossom" Rove's more succinct statement: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." is all you need to know.

Breathtaking hubris, begging for goddess Nemesis to appear. Someone didn't read about Achilles in high school.

Poor, hapless Obama thought he could go all kumbaya with these monsters and take a good Wall Street payday at the end of eight years.

I find Putin's reference to the noveau riche interesting in the Russian context.
The hubris of the parvenu, the arriviste, the noveau riche is an old problem. I'm greedy, rich and therefore know best about all things.

FB Ali

For an interesting and amusing take on where and how that $7.6 billion went, and why it didn't do a thing for reducing opium production, see:

http://tinyurl.com/kacvryl

toto

Barack the White-Toothed: "We have nothing to hide - so stop looking. Or else."

Vladimir the Bare-Chested: "How dare you help Europeans reject my Greater Eurasian Co-Prosperity Sphere!"

Both of them: "When I bomb, it's for freedom; when you bomb, it's for imperialism."

Piotr, Poland

Domestic? They don't want to be a part of Russian Empire. Why don't you let them go away?

Chechnya was invaded by Russia in 19th century.
Stalin "exported" the whole Chechen nation to Kazakh steps or Siberia - 1/4 of Chechen nation died - it was their own shoah! Khrushchev let them go back, only to see Russian settlers living in their houses.
And you say to them: live in Russia Chechen boys and girls, because Russia needs to be Empire.
Sorry, but who gave the right to say it to them?

It's like saying "Hello Jews, we all know about Holocaust, but Germany need to be a power, so forget your sufferings and live in Germany"

Who are you to teach them how should they treat their own history and suffering?

SteveG

Croesus

So the worlds problems track
back to the Israelis? How long
have you been anti-Semitic?

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