The United States has devised on ongoing strategy of tension towards Russia. It has initiated economic sanctions against Moscow, concocted a narrative about ‘Russian aggression’ for public consumption and has by various means attempted to undermine and weaken the energy-dependent Russian economy. It has moreover instigated a coup on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine and is escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe.
The reality is that the US, not Russia, has around 800 military bases in over 100 countries and military personnel in almost 150 countries. US spending on its military dwarfs what the rest of the world spends together. For example, it outspends China by a ratio of 6:1.
But what does the corporate media in the West say about this? That the US is a ‘force for good’ and constitutes the ‘world’s policeman’ – not a calculating empire underpinned by militarism.
By the 1980s, Washington’s wars, death squads and covert operations were responsible for six million deaths in the ‘developing’ world. Other estimates suggests a figure closer to 20 million deaths in 37 nations since 1945.
Breaking previous agreements made with Russia/the USSR, over the past two decades the US and NATO have moved into Eastern Europe and continue to encircle Russia and install missile systems aimed at it. It has surrounded Iran with military bases. It is also ‘intervening’ in countries across Africa to weaken Chinese trade and investment links and influence. It intends to eventually militarily ‘pivot’ towards Asia to encircle China.
William Blum has presented a long list of Washington’s crimes across the planet since 1945 in terms of its numerous bombings of countries, assassinations of elected leaders and destabilisations. No other country comes close to matching the scale of such global criminality. Under the smokescreen of exporting ‘freedom and democracy’, the US has deemed it necessary to ignore international laws and carry out atrocities to further its interests across the globe.
The ultimate goal for the current century is to prevent any rival emerging to challenge Washington’s global hegemony. Washington’s long-term game plan for Russia has been to destroy is as a functioning state or to permanently weaken it so it submits to US hegemony. Getting a compliant leader installed would be ideal for the US; Putin is anything but.
Unfortunately, many members of the Western public believe the narrative about Putin as an aggressor. The lies being fed to the them are built on gullible, easily manipulated public opinion fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media.
These politicians express fake concern for the lives of people in far-off lands, including outrage about alleged atrocities by people like Gaddafi or Assad. Meanwhile, these same politicians, under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’, are responsible for millions of deaths due to their illegal wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
A few years ago, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst spoke about the merits of the coup in Ukraine and the installation of an illegitimate government and the rise of fascist groups there. He called the violent removal of Ukraine’s democratically elected government as enhancing democracy. Herbst displayed all the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’.
As if to underline this, in a recent interview for NBC, Vladimir Putin laid bare this warped mentality by stating:
“Please listen to me and take to your viewers and listeners what I am about to say. We are holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them (we did so fairly recently at a very high level): ‘But you are constantly interfering in our political life’. Would you believe it, they are not even denying it.”
“Do you know what they told us last time? They said, ‘Yes, we do interfere, but we are entitled to do so, because we are spreading democracy, and you are not, and so you cannot do it.’ Do you think this is a civilised and modern approach to international affairs?”
We can see the smoking ruins, the ongoing violence, the mass displacement and the deaths that have resulted in Libya and across the Middle East as a result of exporting US ‘democracy’.
What Putin is really guilty of is calling for a multi-polar world, not one dominated by the US. It’s a goal that most of humanity is guilty of. It is a world the US will not tolerate.
In the wake of the recent use of a deadly nerve agent in the UK, PM Theresa May is accusing Russia of carrying out the attack. However, Russia has demanded evidence. Quite reasonable one would assume, but it has not been forthcoming. May believes that by saying and repeating there is unequivocal evidence to implicate Moscow will be enough to disguise the fact she cannot offer any. Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has written some revealing articles which undermine May’s accusation about Russian involvement.
While May offers moral outrage for public consumption about this attack, supposedly by a foreign power on two individuals on British territory, nothing is said in or by the media about her own disregard for the sovereign integrity of other nations, British involvement in destabilising Syria and the death the West has brought to countries in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, US and the West’s foreign policy is being driven on the basis of fake morality and duplicity.
The US wanted Afghanistan to hand over Bin Laden and refused to give the Afghan government evidence for him to be extradited (as international law requires), on the assumption he was guilty of the 9/11 attack in New York. The Afghan government asked for evidence and received none. The US illegally attacked and now has a foothold in mineral-rich, strategically important Afghanistan.
Saddam Hussein was accused of having weapons of mass destruction. He had none. Iraq was illegally attacked and invaded regardless on the basis of a ‘pack of lies’. Now Western oil interests have what they coveted all along.
Gaddafi was accused of slaughtering civilians as a pretext for his removal. Terror groups were used as NATO’s proxy army and France and Britain supplied air support. Libya lies in ruins and Gadhafi’s plans for unifying Africa and asserting African self-autonomy have met a similar fate.
In Syria, despite the official reasons for Western intervention, including support for a ‘democratic revolution’, what we have seen is imperialist intent backed by a ‘dirty war‘ to remove a sovereign government that would not comply with US interests.
And Russia is condemned for using deadly nerve agent on British soil. While the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn is smeared for demanding clear evidence that the Russian state was behind the attack, May and Trump think blanket condemnation without evidence will suffice.
Whether it is Bush and Blair or the current crop of political leaders, fake morality and deception is used time and again to further Washington’s global hegemony. With millions of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya as a result of US-led imperialism, Russia is constantly demonised simply because it will not acquiesce to Washington and serve as a vassal state.
Regardless of actual facts, the psychological operations about ‘Russian aggression’ directed at the public is unrelenting. All in support of the US, a country that has flagrantly abused international law to carry out illegal wars, torture, drone assassinations and mass murder as and when it deems necessary.
Before finishing, we should not overlook the way US militarism is being driven by a moribund neoliberal capitalism. According to William Robinson, professor of sociology at the University of California, the US and other states that have adopted the neoliberal agenda have turned to four mechanisms in the face of economic stagnation and massive inequalities: the raiding and sacking of public budgets; the expansion of credit to consumers and to governments to sustain spending and consumption; frenzied financial speculation; and militarism.
Robinson concludes that the “creative destruction” of the wars we see have served to throw fresh firewood on the smoldering embers of a stagnant global economy.
Be in no doubt that the ongoing death and destruction in the Middle East has been a boon to the arms industry and demonisation of Russia is a mouthwatering prospect this sector, which is pushing for a new cold war and financially lucrative weapons race.
In the meantime, Theresa May and pro-Washington establishment politicians and media will continue to try to tell the public about ‘Russian aggression’. May and other political leaders are doing the bidding of the interests they ultimately represent. These politicians must act in a manner that mirrors the scant regard for human life exhibited by the elite they serve. Whether it involves the role of the British in the 1943 Bengal famine, which killed up to eight million, or the US dropping of atom bombs on Japan a couple of years later, it’s a defining trait of empire.
When Washington’s strategy of tension with a nuclear armed Russia stretches to breaking point, it won’t be millions who lie dead and wasted this time around; it will be the entire planet.
Colin Todhunter is an independent writer