Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Russia Responds

"Wag the Dog

Eric Walberg

"US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack..."

Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it an US election ruse gone wrong.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a gritty, straight-talking 30-minute interview with CNN this week in Russian. It was not translated or reported on widely in the US media, which is a shame. He charged that US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack, and lectured about such topics as Ossetia’s long membership in the Russian empire (since 1801) and Ossetians’ age-old resentment of Georgian chauvinism, especially following the 1917 Russian revolution and the 1990 declaration of Georgian independence. A South Ossetian legislator has already mooted the possibility that it will eventually become part of the Russian Federation.

When asked by CNN if he would stop threatening neighbours now that the Ossetian crisis was over, he angrily dismissed the question as preposterous, saying it was up to the US and its new Eastern European clients to stop threatening Russia. It is the Polish and Czech missile bases and Ukrainian and Georgian pretenses to join in the nuclear-tipped encirclement of Russia that are the destabilising developments forcing Russia to batten the hatches. The Russians see the bases as a precursor to a much larger system that would undermine the already seriously eroded Russian nuclear deterrent. “For the first time in history — and I want to emphasise this — there will be 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,” said Putin at a press conference last year which was also not reported in the mainstream US media.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined Putin’s words Monday, referring to “the reality of the post-America world” and warning that “in the absence of a reasonable multilateral dialogue we will be forced to react unilaterally.” Europe’s inability to produce a new collective security system, “open for everyone and taking into account everyone’s interests,” was to blame for the Georgia crisis. He added: “There is a feeling that NATO again needs frontline states to justify its existence.”