Posted 3 years ago on July 22, 2012, 3:36 p.m. EST by frogmanofborneo
from New York, NY
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“Every rouble spent in the social sphere should ‘generate justice.’ An equitable social and economic system is the main requirement for ensuring our sustained development during these years.”
– Russian President Vladimir Putin
Is Vladimir Putin really the “KGB thug” the US media makes him out to be?
Take a look at this except from a book review in the New York Times and see what you think.
“A decade ago it was possible to imagine two inner Putins wrestling for his soul: the K.G.B. thug versus the modernizer. Sadly, events since then suggest that the inflexible misanthrope we see is the only Putin we get…
Even the most casual Putin-watcher has marveled at his narcissism, manifested in his odd habit of inviting cameras to record him bare-chested on horseback, swimming the butterfly stroke in a Siberian river, scuba diving and collecting skin samples from whales, among other stunts. Gessen traces his self-absorption back to his youth.
Putin’s childhood ambition was to be a spy in the K.G.B., but Gessen reveals that his actual experience was more Walter Mitty than James Bond. He was basically a paper-pusher, collecting press clippings in Dresden while the East German Stasi did the real dirty work of recruiting informers and policing dissent….Putin soon hitched himself to the first of a series of flawed, small-d democrats, who would propel him to power.” (“Reclaiming the Kremlin”, Bill Keller, New York Times)
Okay, so according to the Times, Putin is an ass-kissing, paper-pushing, self-adsorbed, autocratic thug who has dreams of greatness. Did we miss something? Oh yeah, he’s also a misanthropic slacker who let’s everyone else do the heavy lifting.
Is that what they call objective journalism at the NYT? Its worth noting that this laughable bit of propaganda was written by the Times editor himself, Bill Keller! Can you believe it? I mean, wouldn’t you think that the editor of the nation’s number 1 newspaper would make some effort to hide his bias?
But, no, when it comes to serving the folks in power, Keller is just as willing to run his credibility through the mud as the next guy. And, so he has, but what does that tell us about Putin?
It tells us that Putin is despised by powerful members of the US policy establishment. That’s what it tells us. After all, it’s their views that are reflected in the mainstream media via propagandists like Keller.
But, why? Putin is not a fiery leftist like Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro. He’s a right-of-center nationalist who’s not particularly ideological, confrontational, or unreasonable. so, what’s the problem? Besides, Putin has bent over backwards to accommodate the US on everything from nuclear disarmament to the War on Terror. So why the hostility?
It’s because Putin wants to be a partner on global issues, particularly security issues. But the US doesn’t want partners; it wants lackeys and puppets who will follow orders. And that’s why the NY Times and the others in the moron media are ganging up on him, because–in Washington’s eyes–if your not a lackey, your the enemy. It’s that simple.
If you want to know why Russian-US relations have steadily deteriorated, you might want to read this excerpt from an article by Pat Buchanan who asks “Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”
“Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia’s front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin.
Second, America backed a pipeline to deliver Caspian Sea oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, to bypass Russia.
Third, though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.
Fourth, though Bush sold missile defense as directed at rogue states like North Korea, we now learn we are going to put anti-missile systems into Eastern Europe. And against whom are they directed?
Fifth, through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and “human rights” institutes such as Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA director James Woolsey, we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself.
U.S.-backed revolutions have succeeded in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia, but failed in Belarus. Moscow has now legislated restrictions on the foreign agencies that it sees, not without justification, as subversive of pro-Moscow regimes.
Sixth, America conducted 78 days of bombing of Serbia for the crime of fighting to hold on to her rebellious province, Kosovo, and for refusing to grant NATO marching rights through her territory to take over that province. Mother Russia has always had a maternal interest in the Orthodox states of the Balkans.
These are Putin’s grievances. Does he not have a small point?”...
..........Incidentally, Russia – we – are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.
Along with this, what is happening in today’s world – and we just started to discuss this – is a tentative to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world.
And what have the results been?
Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. … And no less people perish in these conflicts – even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate.
And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasise this — no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.
The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, significantly new threats – though they were also well-known before – have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character.
I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.” (Russian President Vladimir Putin, Conference on Security Policy in Munich in February 2007)
Can you see why Washington gave up on Putin? The speech identifies the United States reckless behavior as the single greatest threat to global security today. Putin says that the unipolar world-model which operates from “one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making” is unacceptable, has no “moral foundation”, and “plunges the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.” The speech is a straightforward repudiation of Washington’s lunatic ambition to rule the world, which is why Putin is presently on America’s list of enemies.
Putin’s domestic vision also conflicts with US policy, which is dominated by neoliberal, trickle-down, austerity-crazed, deficit hawkery that transfers the nations wealth to the 1 percent plutocrats at the top of the economic foodchain. The Russian president has made great strides in reducing poverty, eliminating illiteracy, improving healthcare, and raising the standard of living for millions of working people. Here’s an excerpt from a speech by Putin that outlines his domestic priorities:
“Russia is a social welfare state….Social policy has many objectives and many dimensions. It entails providing support for the poor and those who are unable to earn a living for valid reasons. It means implementing social mobility and providing a level playing field for every person on the basis of his or her capabilities and talents. The effectiveness of social policy is measured by whether popular opinion believes the society we live in is a just one or not...
I MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org