Category Archives: imperialism

EDITORIAL: Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia

Anti-communist protesters light a bonfire on the steps of their parliament in Moldova

Anti-communist protesters light a bonfire on the steps of their parliament in Moldova

EDITORIAL

Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia

Last Sunday, voters in Moldova returned the Communist Party to power in a massive landslide.  Two days later, Moldova’s streets exploded in violence, organized on Twitter.

Russia, it’s policy in shambles, is panicking and screeching hysterically about “foreign interference.”

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EDITORIAL: Girding for War in the Arctic

EDITORIAL

Girding for War in the Arctic

It’s time the Obama administration realized that the KGB Kremlin of Vladimir Putin is taking the new cold war very literally indeed.

Last week the Associated Press reported that according to a Kremlin strategy paper signed by Dmitri Medvedev “Russia plans to create a new military force to protect its interests in the disputed Arctic region.” According to the AP:  “The Kremlin paper says the Arctic must become Russia’s “top strategic resource base” by the year 2020.”  The paper “calls for strengthening border guard forces in the region and updating their equipment, while creating a new group of military forces to ‘ensure military security under various military-political circumstances'” and states that by 2011 Russia will have “proved” its Arctic borders.

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Springtime War in Georgia?

The always brilliant Pavel Felgenhauer, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Six months after the French-brokered agreement ended the Russo-Georgia war on August 12, 2008 the ceasefire continues to be fragile with constant incidents that both sides describe as “provocations.” Last month the Defense Ministry of the separatist South Ossetia said Georgia was moving troops towards its border (RIA-Novosti, January 9). This week the South Ossetian authorities again accused Georgia of “increasing preparations to begin an aggression” and firing two RPG-7 shells at the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and accused EU observers that monitor the Georgian side of the ceasefire line of turning a blind eye to the alleged Georgian military buildup. On January 26, Tbilisi signed an agreement with the EU observer mission to limit its armed presence near South Ossetia and Abkhazia to one battalion (500 men) and exclude all heavy weapons. The South Ossetian authorities called this agreement a sham to cover “the preparation of an aggression” (Interfax, February 9).

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EDITORIAL: Condemning Russian Aggression in Georgia

EDITORIAL

Condemning Russian Aggression in Georgia

On January 23rd the Human Rights watch released a 200-page report entitled  “Up in Flames: Humanitarian Law Violations in the Conflict Over South Ossetia.”   Based “on more than 460 interviews done over several months of field research” the report “details indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by both Georgian and Russian forces, and the South Ossetian forces’ campaign of deliberate and systematic destruction of certain ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia. It also describes Russia’s failure to ensure public order and safety in areas of Georgia that were under its effective control.”

The New York Times reported:

Russia and Georgia had opposite reactions to [the] report. Moscow said it was “based on a series of shopworn and baseless theses actively discussed in foreign political and media circles.” Tbilisi called it “an objective and thorough picture.” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Human Rights Watch, based in New York, had said “practically nothing about the colossal damage” to South Ossetia “as the result of Georgian aggression.” Georgia said the report “unambiguously places responsibility on the occupation forces of the Russian Federation and its proxy regime for ethnic cleansing and war crimes.”

In other words, once again Russia has suffered a crushing defeat in the PR campaign over the war in Georgia and been exposed as the wanton aggressor.   When a study finds that Russia is in the wrong, that study is “shopworn and baseless.” But if the study had found Russia was 100% in the right, the Kremlin would have praised it to the sky.  Welcome to the through-the-looking-glass world of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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Putin and “Greater Russia”

Jeremy Putley tips La Russophobe to the following item in the Financial Times that puts Vladimir Putin’s KGB regime squarely in the crosshairs.  Two years ago, Putley defined the “Putin Doctrine” as follows:

The collapse of the USSR had been a catastrophe; only one thing could be worse, and that was a similar dismemberment of the Russian Federation, with constituent states seceding one after another. Putin and his advisers concluded that regardless of any other consideration the risk of such a break-up justified extreme measures to prevent it” and so it was driven by a “territorial imperative” in which “the ends justify the means ­– any means at all, including all-out war such as was launched in Chechnya by Vladimir Putin in 1999 as prime minister and then carried on by him as president. The faking of elections is a trivial crime by comparison with what preceded them, but they are in an unwavering continuum. There is nothing enigmatic or hard to understand about Putinism.” I think these observations stand the test of time. 

And now we see that doctrine horribly realized before our gaping eyes! Here’s the FT response:

We need to get this straight. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded a neighbour, annexed territory and put in place a partial military occupation. It seeks to overthrow the president of Georgia and to overturn the global geopolitical order. It has repudiated its signature on a ceasefire negotiated by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and disowned its frequent affirmations of Georgia’s territorial integrity. Most importantly: all of this is our fault.

The “our” in this context, of course, refers to the US and the more headstrong of its European allies such as Britain. If only Washington had been nicer to the Russians after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If only the west had not humiliated Moscow after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Surely we can see now what a provocation it was to allow the former vassal states of the Soviet empire to exercise their democratic choice to join the community of nations? And what of permitting them to shelter under Nato’s security umbrella and to seek prosperity for their peoples in the European Union? Nothing, surely, could have been more calculated to squander the post-cold-war peace.

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Beware of Russian Imperialism

Writing in the Brisbane Times Robert Horvath, of Australia’s La Trobe Univerisity, sounds the clarion call of warning on Russian imperialism:

PERHAPS the worst thing about the anti-American left is not its prejudices but its parochialism. Fixated upon the evils of US global hegemony, its publicists turn a blind eye to the imperialism of regimes opposed to that hegemony.

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Russia Destroys its Relations with the United States

Reuters reports that both U.S. presidential candidates have condemned Russia’s action in Georgia in the strongest terms, after the White House declared:  “If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations.”

U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain stepped up their criticism of Russia’s military activity in Georgia on Saturday, calling for Moscow to withdraw its forces and the international community to facilitate peace talks. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona who has made foreign policy and national security the centerpiece of his campaign, said he spoke to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Saturday, their second conversation since the crisis erupted. Obama, on vacation in Hawaii, said he had also spoken to Saakashvili and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Russia and Georgia came into direct conflict after Tbilisi launched an offensive to regain control over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

McCain, an outspoken critic of Moscow, said it was clear the situation in Georgia was dire. “Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border,” he said in a statement. “I again call on the government of Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.”

Obama called for direct talks among all sides and said the United States, the U.N. Security Council and other parties should try to help bring about a peaceful resolution. “I condemn Russia’s aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire,” Obama said in a statement. “Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia.”‘

 

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