IF the US tells the Nobel Committee that this CEO of a tiny internet news outfit that violated her country’s laws is more deserving of its Peace Prize than Julian Assange who told the world of the US’ war crimes, than Greta Thurnberg who’s woken up the world to the reality of climate change, than a collective of “scientists” who have saved the world from a horrible pandemic, then she gets the prize.
After all, the US is still the global hegemon with the mightiest propaganda apparatus. When it tells the world what it wants to believe, then that is what the world — at least most of it — believes.
This tremendous, unbelievable power is again demonstrated in the case of what is called the “Ukraine crisis,” or the massing by Russia of 100,000 of its troops and thousands of its war machines along that country’s border, which the US says is obviously a preparation by a bully to invade the hapless country.
The reality is that the US created this crisis because of its not-so-subtle moves and policies in the past decade to militarily encircle Russia, turning the former members and allies of the USSR not just into lackeys of the US, but potentially its enemies by taking them in as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO during the Cold War was the US-led military treaty of 16 countries (all Western European countries, including the US) ranged against the USSR, with a provision in it requiring all its members to strike at the USSR if ever one was attacked by that federation.
The US had broken its promises to then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, made when Germany was unified, that it wouldn’t take in as members the former members of the USSR. Since 1999, NATO, under US orders, has made as members 14 Eastern European countries.
Initially it took in only the Baltic states. But in 2004, it made as NATO members former Russian ally Bulgaria and former Soviet republics Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The US even got Romania in 2005 and Bulgaria in 2006 to agree to military-basing agreements for its forces that was the template for the one with the Philippines called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that the Aquino 3rd regime agreed with the US, terrified by the Americans that China would invade the Philippines.
Stephen Walt, an international relations professor at Harvard University, wrote in a piece in the prestigious Foreign Relations magazine two weeks ago:
“During the Cold War, for example, the Reagan administration was so alarmed by the revolution in Nicaragua (a country whose population is smaller than New York City’s) that it organized a rebel army to overthrow the ruling socialist Sandinistas. If Americans could worry that much about a tiny country like Nicaragua, why was it so hard to understand why Russia might have some serious misgivings about the steady movement of the world’s mightiest alliance toward its borders?
“The US seemed on a steady course to encircle Russia with its own version of ‘satellite’ states when the Bush administration nominated for NATO membership at the 2008 Bucharest Summit Georgia and Ukraine — states closest to Russia in ethnicity and even culture. (Stalin was from Georgia while Ukraine, whose official language is Russian, was part of the USSR from 1922 until the end of the Cold War, and the site of its nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.)
“Since the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine has had pro-Russia prime ministers until Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych was ousted after 10 years in office in what was widely seen as a ‘color revolution,’ engineered by the US. He was succeeded by a pro-US prime minister, who increasingly drew Ukraine towards the US ambit, giving Russia the excuse to occupy Crimea in 2014, after which 97 percent of Crimean voters (who were mostly of Russian culture) in a referendum voted to merge the territory with Russia. In 2019 though, actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide vote. After initially seeming to be pro-Russia, he moved Ukraine closer to the US during President Trump’s administration, and in April 2019 called Putin ‘an enemy’.”
Putin appeared to have drawn the red line, probably thinking the Biden administration was a weak one. In mid-December 2021, the Russian foreign ministry issued a set of demands which included a ban on Ukraine entering NATO and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in order for its military forces to be withdrawn. By that month, more than 100,000 troops were in place near the border and US intelligence officials warned that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
What made the US adopt a belligerent stance against Russia? The very same reason it has toward China. Other that the two powers being the US’ rivals in the superpower game, Harvard professor Walt explains in that Foreign Policy piece the deep reason why:
“The great tragedy is this entire affair was avoidable. Had the United States and its European allies not succumbed to hubris, wishful thinking and liberal idealism, and relied instead on realism’s core insights, the present crisis would not have occurred. Indeed, Russia would probably never have seized Crimea, and Ukraine would be safer today. The world is paying a high price for relying on a flawed theory of world politics.
“At the most basic level, realism begins with the recognition that wars occur because there is no agency or central authority that can protect states from one another and stop them from fighting if they choose to do so. Given that war is always a possibility, states compete for power and sometimes use force to try to make themselves more secure or gain other advantages. There is no way states can know for certain what others may do in the future, which makes them reluctant to trust one another and encourages them to hedge against the possibility that another powerful state may try to harm them at some point down the road.
“Liberalism sees world politics differently. Instead of seeing all great powers as facing more or less the same problem — the need to be secure in a world where war is always possible — liberalism maintains that what states do is driven mostly by their internal characteristics and the nature of the connections among them. It divides the world into ‘good states’ (those that embody liberal values) and ‘bad states’ (pretty much everyone else) and maintains that conflicts arise primarily from the aggressive impulses of autocrats, dictators and other illiberal leaders. For liberals, the solution is to topple tyrants and spread democracy, markets and institutions based on the belief that democracies don’t fight one another, especially when they are bound together by trade, investment, and an agreed-on set of rules.
“After the Cold War, Western elites concluded that realism was no longer relevant and liberal ideals should guide foreign policy conduct. They assumed, as then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton put it in 1992, that ‘the cynical calculus of pure power politics’ had no place in the modern world and an emerging liberal order would yield many decades of democratic peace.
“Had this rosy vision been accurate, spreading democracy and extending US security guarantees into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence would have posed few risks. But that outcome was unlikely, as any good realist could have told you. Indeed, opponents of enlargement were quick to warn that Russia would inevitably regard NATO enlargement as a threat and going ahead with it would poison relations with Moscow.
“Proponents of expansion won the debate by claiming it would help consolidate the new democracies in Eastern and Central Europe and create a ‘vast zone of peace’ across all of Europe. In their view, it didn’t matter that some of NATO’s new members were of little or no military value to the alliance and might be hard to defend because peace would be so robust and enduring that any pledge to protect those new allies would never have to be honored.
“Moreover, they insisted that NATO’s benign intentions were self-evident and it would be easy to persuade Moscow not to worry as NATO crept closer to the Russian border. This view was naïve in the extreme, for the key issue was not what NATO’s intentions may have been in reality. What really mattered, of course, was what Russia’s leaders thought they were or might be in the future. Even if Russian leaders could have been convinced that NATO had no malign intentions, they could never be sure this would always be the case.”
Replace “Russia” with “China” and you will understand all the US propaganda and its moves toward that superpower in the South China Sea.
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