|This is indeed big news about Meirs. I'd like to know more about how the "twofer" Holtzman referred to would work. Would Pelosi be President? In that case the short time period we are faced with before the administration's term is over suddenly works to our advantage, if Pelosi is president, which Republicans hate, it is only for a couple on months in the heat of the election, which is nothing. Can someone point me to the hearing video where Holtzman says "twofer"?|
Also I have come across the answer to the "it will jeopardize the election of Obama" question. It is exactly the opposite. We need to get this article to every Democrat in congress and on all the democrat websites. Hint: It's the Blue Dogs, it has been all along. By Rob Kall at Opednews.com , he blew it away!
Kos Diary on this:
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Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Wake Up, Dennis!
From Current Invective * www.currentinvective.com
"Wake up, America!" says Dennis Kucinich to a packed convention hall as he pleads for peace, justice and principle. Wake up, Dennis! Open your eyes, and you must discern a bought crowd and a bought party.
Wake up, Dennis, and ask yourself what these Democrats are all so happy about. They should be standing in silence in observance of the sorry state of our country. They choose the nation's leaders, and they have nothing to celebrate. They should be plotting a solution to the mess we've got ourselves into, but they're patting themselves on the back. You won't hear a word from them about our bombing of civilians in other countries, about the catastrophe that looms unless we stop burning fuel, about the debt our grandchildren will have to bear because of our foolish national adventures, or about anything except how to win.
Wake up, Dennis, and you'll observe that this ain't the salt of the earth you're talking to. This party courts the same interests as the other party. "Who's paying for this convention?" you might well ask when you wake up. This party coddles a "faction" that sides with the other party on critical issues, to ensure that the policy of the other party, and the policy of the rich patrons who are paying for both conventions, is the policy of the nation.
Wake up, Dennis, and you might hear the catch in the voice of the self-described "progressives" dotting the audience. I heard some left-wing radio personalities gloating over their presence at the convention. A couple of well-placed members of Congress had talked to them, and they were star-struck. They're so pleased, Dennis, that the party allowed you to make a speech, as if they actually believed any of your demands had even the slightest chance of being met.
Wake up, Dennis, and ask whether this party will stop the wars, all of them. Will they recompense the displaced and dispossessed of New Orleans? Or punish felons in government? Or promise food, shelter, and health care for all? Or restrain corporate political power? Or end the brutal oppression and exploitation of the poor by the rich? Or find out what really happened on 9/11/2001?
Wake up, Dennis, and ask whether this fat, happy crowd, browsing at the buffet tables of notorious international racketeers like ATT and Coca-Cola, really cares what ordinary people want. Do they care about peace, justice, and principle, or are they just out for a good time?
From Current Invective * www.currentinvective.com
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Saturday, August 23, 2008
By Dr. Kevin Barrett
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
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Saturday, August 16, 2008
The assembly is August 21 from 7 to 9 pm at 74 Tremont Street, Hartford, where Ruth and Steve Fournier reside. Steve, Green Party candidate for Congress, will make brief remarks. It will be a time for exchanges of rage and frustration over the state of government, controlled by thugs and accountable to no authority whatsoever. Open to all. Drop an email if you're coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts08132008.html
Two Morons: Bush and Saakashvili
"President Bush, Will You Please Shut Up?"
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The neoconned Bush Regime and the Israeli-occupied American media are heading the innocent world toward nuclear war.
Back in the Reagan years the National Endowment for Democracy was created as a cold war tool. Today the NED is a neocon-controlled agent for US world hegemony. Its main function is to pour US money and election-rigging into former constituent parts of the Soviet Union in order to ring Russia with American puppet states.
The neoconservative Bush Regime used the NED to intervene in Ukrainian and Georgian internal affairs in keeping with the neoconservative plan to establish US-friendly and Russia-hostile political regimes in these two former constituent parts of Russia and the Soviet Union.
The NED was also used to dismember the former Yugoslavia with its interventions in Slovakia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, told the Washington Post in 1991 that much of what the NED does "today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
The Bush Regime, having established a puppet, Mikhail Saakashvili, as president of Georgia, tried to bring Georgia into NATO.
For readers too young to know, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a military alliance between the US and Western European countries to resist any Soviet move into Western Europe [and to ensure European countries lined up behind the US, and bought its weapons systems. Editors] . There has been no reason for NATO since the Soviet Union's internal political collapse almost two decades ago. The neocons turned NATO into another tool, like the NED, for US world hegemony. Subsequent US administrations violated the understandings that President Reagan had reached with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, and have incorporated former parts of the Soviet empire into NATO. The neocon goal of ringing Russia with a hostile military alliance has been proclaimed many times.
Western European members of NATO balked at the admission of Georgia, as they understood it as a provocative affront to Russia, on whom Western Europe is dependent for natural gas. Western Europeans are also disturbed at the Bush Regime's intentions to install ballistic missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic as the consequence will be Russian nuclear cruise missiles targeted on European capitals. Europeans don't see the advantage of helping the US block Russian nuclear retaliation against the US at the expense of their own existence. Ballistic missile defenses are not useful against cruise missiles.
Every country is tired of war except for the US. War, including nuclear war, is the neoconservative strategy for world hegemony.
The entire world, except for Americans, knows that the outbreak of armed conflict between Russian and Georgian forces in South Ossetia was entirely due to the US and its Georgia puppet, Saakashvili. Americans, alone in the world, are unaware that the hostilities were initiated by Saakashvili, because Bush, Cheney and the Israeli-occupied American media have again lied to them.
Everyone else in the world knows that the unstable and corrupt Saakashvili, who proclaims democracy and runs a police state, would not have taken on Russia by attacking South Ossetia unless given the go-ahead by Washington.
The purpose of the Georgian attack on the Russian population of South Ossetia is twofold:
To convince Europeans that their action in delaying Georgia's NATO membership is the cause of "the Russian aggression" and that to save Georgia from conquest Georgia must be given NATO membership.
To ethnically cleanse South Ossetia of its Russian population. Two thousand Russian civilians were targeted and killed by the US-equipped and trained Georgian Army, and tens of thousands fled into Russia. Having achieved this goal, Saakashvili and his puppet-masters in Washington quickly called for a cease fire and a halt to "the Russian invasion." The hope is that the Russian population will be afraid to return or can be prevented from returning, thus removing the secessionist threat.
No doubt the Bush Regime can con the American population, just as it did with Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, and 9/11 itself, but the rest of the world is not buying it, not even America's bought-and-paid-for European allies.
Writing in the Asia Times, Ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar, a former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, notes the disinformation that is being peddled by the Bush Regime and the US media and reports that "at the outbreak of violence, Russia had tried to have the United Nations Security Council issue a statement calling on Georgia and South Ossetia to immediately lay down weapons. However, Washington was disinterested."
Amb. Bhadrakumar notes that the American and Georgian resort to violence and propaganda has brought an end to the Russian government's belief that diplomacy and good will can bring about a settlement of the South Ossetia issue. If Russia wished, Russia could terminate Georgia's existence as a separate country at will, and there is nothing the US could do about it.
It is certain that the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia was a Bush Regime orchestrated event. The American media and the neocon think tanks were ready with their propaganda blitzes. Neocons had ready a Wall Street Journal editorial page article for Saakashvili that declares "the war in Georgia is a war for the West."
Faced with the collapse of his army when Russia sent in troops to protect South Ossetians from the Georgian troops, Saakashvili declared: "This is not about Georgia any more. It is about America, its values."
The neocon Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., quickly called a conference hosted by warmonger Ariel Cohen, "Urgent! Event: Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World."
The Washington Post hosted neocon Robert Kagen's war drums, "Putin Makes His Move."
Only a fool like Kagen could think that if Putin intended to invade Georgia he would do so from Beijing, or that after sending the American-trained Georgian army in flight, he would not continue and conquer all of Georgia in order to put an end to American machinations on Russia's most sensitive border, machinations that are likely to eventually end in nuclear war.
The New York Tiimes hosted Billy Kristol's rant, "Will Russia Get Away With It?" Kristol thunders against "dictatorial and aggressive and fanatical regimes" that "seem happy to work together to weaken the influence of the United States and its democratic allies." Kristol presents a new axis of evil--Russia, China, North Korea and Iran--and warns against "delay and irresolution" that "simply invite future threats and graver dangers."
In other words, "attack Russia now."
Dick Cheney, the insane American Vice President telephoned Saakashvili to express US solidarity with Georgia in the conflict with Russia and declared: "Russian aggression must not go unanswered. Only an idiot would tell Saakashvili anything other than "to cease immediately."
What must be the effect on US Intelligence services and the US military of Cheney's propagandistic and irresponsible statement of US support for Georgia's war crimes? Does anyone really believe that the CIA or any US intelligence service told the vice president that Russia opened the conflict with an invasion? Russian troops arrived in South Ossetia after thousands of Ossetians had been killed by the Georgian attack and after tens of thousands of Ossetians had fled into Russia to escape the Georgian attack. According to news reports, Russian forces have captured Americans who were with the Georgian troops directing their attack on civilians.
The US military certainly has no resources for a war against Russia on top of lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a planned war with Iran.
With its Georgian venture, the Bush Regime is guilty of a new round of war crimes. What will be the consequence?
Many will reply that having got away with 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and with its preparations for attacking Iran, the Bush Regime will get away with its Georgian venture as well.
Possibly, however, this time the Bush Regime has overreached.
Certainly Russia now recognizes that the US is determined to exert hegemony over Russia and is Russia's worst enemy.
China realizes the US threat to its own energy supply and, thereby, economy.
Even America's European allies, chafing under their role of supplying troops for America's Empire, must now realize that being an American ally is dangerous and has no benefits. If Georgia becomes a NATO member and renews its attack on South Ossetia, it must drag Europe into a war with Russia, a main supplier of energy to Europe.
Moreover, if Russian troops are sent across European frontiers, there is nothing to stop them.
What does America offer Europe, aside from the millions of dollars it pays to buy off Europe's political leaders to insure that they betray their own peoples? Nothing whatsoever.
The only military threat that Europe faces comes from being dragged into America's wars for American hegemony.
The US is financially bankrupt, with budget and trade deficits that exceed the combined deficits of the rest of the world together. The dollar has wilted. The American consumer market is dying from the offshoring of American jobs and, thereby, incomes, and from the wealth effect of the real estate and derivatives collapses. The US has nothing to offer Europe. Indeed, American economic decline is killing European exports by driving up the value of the euro.
America long ago lost the moral high ground. Hypocrisy has become America's best known hallmark. Bush, the invader of Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies and deception, thunders at Russia for coming to the defense of its peacekeepers and Russian citizens in South Ossetia. Bush who ripped Kosovo out of Serbia's heart and handed it to the Muslims, has taken an adamant stand against other separatist movements, especially the South Ossetians who wish to be part of the Russian Federation.
The neoconned Bush Regime is furious that the Russian bear was not intimidated by the US supported aggression of the American puppet state, Georgia. Instead of accepting the act of American hegemony that the neocon script called for, Russia sent the Americanized Georgian army fleeing in fear.
Having failed with weapons, the Bush Regime now unleashes the rhetoric. The White House is warning Russia that failure to acquiesce to US hegemony could have a "significant, long-term impact on relations between Washington and Moscow."
Do the morons who comprise the Bush Regime really not understand that short of a surprise nuclear attack on Russia there is nothing whatsoever the US can do to Moscow?
The Bush Regime owns no Russian currency that it can dump. The Russians own US dollars.
The Bush Regime owns no Russian bonds that it can dump. The Russians own US bonds.
The US can cut Russia off from no energy supplies. Russia can cut America's European allies off from energy.
President Reagan negotiated the end of the cold war with Soviet President Gorbachev.,The neoconservatives, whom Reagan fired and drove from his administration, were furious. The neocons had hoped to win the cold war, thereby establishing American hegemony.
The Republican Establishment reestablished its hegemony under Bush 1st that it had lost to Ronald Reagan. With this feat, intelligence was driven from the Republican Party.
The neocons engineered their comeback with the First Gulf War and their propaganda, pure lies, that Iraqi troops bayoneted Kuwait babies in hospitals.
The neocons made a further comeback with President Clinton, whom they convinced to bomb Serbia in order to permit separatist movements to become independent states dependent on America.
With Bush 2nd, the neocons took over. Their agenda, American world hegemony, includes Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.
So far the schemes of these ignorant and dangerous ideologues have come a cropper. Iraq, formerly in the hands of secular Sunnis who were a check on Iran, is, after the American invasion and occupation, in the hands of religious Shi'ites allied with Iran.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban are resurgent, and a large NATO/US army there is unable to control the situation.
One consequence of the neocons' Afghan war has been the loss of power of the American puppet president of Pakistan, a Muslim country armed with nuclear weapons. The puppet president now faces impeachment, and the Pakistani military has informed the Americans to stop conducting military operations in Pakistani territory.
The American puppets in Egypt and Jordan might be next to fall.
In Iraq, the Shi'ites, having completed their ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from neighborhoods, have declared a cease fire in order to contradict the US propaganda that American withdrawal would lead to a blood bath. Negotiations on withdrawal dates are now underway between the Americans and the Iraqi government, which is no longer behaving like a puppet.
Last year Hugo Chavez ridiculed Bush before the UN. Russia's Putin ridiculed Bush as Comrade Wolf.
On August 12, 2008, Pravda ridiculed Bush, "Bush: Why don't you shut up."
Americans may think they are a superpower before whose presence the world trembles. But not the Russians.
Those Americans stupid enough to think that America's "superpower" insures its citizens from danger need to read the total contempt shown for President Bush in Pravda:
Why don't you shut up? In your statement on Monday regarding the legitimate actions of the Russian Federation in Georgia, you failed to mention the war crimes perpetrated by Georgian military forces, which American advisors support, against Russian and Ossetian civilians
Why don't you shut up? Your faithful ally, Mikhail Saakashvili, was announcing a ceasefire deal while his troops, with your advisors, were massing on Ossetia's border, which they crossed under cover of night and destroyed Tskhinvali, targeting civilian structures just like your forces did in Iraq.
Why don't you shut up? Your American transport aircraft gave a ride home to thousands of Georgian soldiers from Iraq directly into the combat zone.
Why don't you shut up? How do you account for the fact that among the Georgian soldiers fleeing the fighting yesterday you could clearly hear officers using American English giving orders to "Get back inside" and how do you account for the fact that there are reports of American soldiers among the Georgian casualties?
Why don't you shut up? Do you really think anyone gives any importance whatsoever to your words after 8 years of your criminal and murderous regime and policies? Do you really believe you have any moral ground whatsoever and do you really imagine there is a single human being anywhere on this planet who does not stick up his middle finger every time you appear on a TV screen?
Do you really believe you have the right to give any opinion or advice after Abu Ghraib? After Guantanamo? After the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens? After the torture by CIA operatives?
Do you really believe you have any right to make a statement on any point of international law after your trumped-up charges against Iraq and the subsequent criminal invasion?
Why don't you shut up? Suppose Russia for instance declares that Georgia has weapons of mass destruction? And that Russia knows where these WMD are, namely in Tblisi and Poti and north, south, east and west of there? And that it must be true because there is 'magnificent foreign intelligenc' such as satellite photos of milk powder factories and baby cereals producing chemical weapons and which are currently being 'driven around the country in vehicles'? Suppose Russia declares for instance that 'Saakashvili stiffed the world' and it is 'time for regime change'?
Nice and simple, isn't it, President Bush?
"So, why don't you shut up? Oh and by the way, send some more of your military advisors to Georgia, they are doing a sterling job. And they look all funny down the night sight, all green."
The US is not a superpower. It is a bankrupt farce run by imbeciles who were installed by stolen elections arranged by Karl Rove and Diebold. It is a laughing stock, that ignorantly affronts and attempts to bully an enormous country equipped with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
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Thursday, August 14, 2008
The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of PowerAugust 12, 2008 | 1508 GMT
By George Friedman
The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.
Let's begin simply by reviewing the last few days.
On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.
On the morning of Aug. 8, Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region's absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded — within hours of the Georgian attack — the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.(click image to enlarge)
On Monday, theRussians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.
The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion
In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia's move was deliberate.
The United States is Georgia's closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia's mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that the Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?
It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but — along with the Georgians — miscalculated Russia's intentions. The second is that the United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.
If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: TheRussians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well — indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow's calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.
The Western Encirclement of Russia
To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is theOrange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.
That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO's expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.
The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia's national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion — publicly stated — was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.
The second and lesser event was the decision by Europe and the United States to back Kosovo's separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts — including demands by various regions for independence from Russia — might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia's requests were ignored.
From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.
Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn't mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.
Resurrecting the Russian Sphere
Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.
By invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.
The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.
The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.
Therefore, the United States has a problem — it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran — and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow's interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).
In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn't all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.
The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia's public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened — it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.
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John Conyers announced today on Democracy Now that he is calling members of the Judiciary Committee from recess investigate to Ron Suskind's revelations
John Conyers announced today on Democracy Now that he is calling members of the Judiciary Committee from recess investigate to Ron Suskind's revelations.
Call members of HJC now.
Attached is a slice & dice of the 40 members of Congress/HJC their phone numbers courtesy of me.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: robin gilbert <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 3:23 PM
Subject: Help spread the word about hearings on Suskind's revelations.
To: impsupporters, ImpeachmentActionCoordination, LANIC-VenturaCounty, NadlerCD8th, Pelosi, SanchezCD39th, ScottCD3rd
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Tobi Dragert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: August 14, 2008 2:01:40 PM PDTTo: "Tobi Dragert" <email@example.com>Subject: Help spread the word about hearings on Suskind's revelations. The war on terror is a fraud.From one of our supreme National Impeachment Network members:LET US HOLD CHAIRMAN CONYERS TO HIS WORD!~ Call all the Jucidiary members as well -- google "House Judiciary Committee" and all the info comes up! AND NOTE THE MEDIA Email addresses below! Please, set aside 30 minutes, an hour, whatever it takes and write to every one of the media AND the HJC -- Conyers said on Democracy Now he needs public support -- let us give it to him in spades! Ask your friends to do the same!
Best, TobiJohn Conyers announced today on Democracy Now that he is calling members of the Judiciary Committee from recess investigate to Ron Suskind's revelations about the forged letter that falsely said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Conyers needs our push now, and said this story needs to be featured on media nationwide.Please contact the Judiciary Committee to urge them to impeach now: 202-225-3951 FAX: 202-225-7680Please also take time to contact our entire Congressional delegation.Democracy Now: www.democracynow.orgPlease help by contacting all media outlets and members of Congress.Impeachment. More important that ever. Plenty of time.Linda BoydWashington for Impeachment
Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration's Forged Iraq Intelligence
For Immediate ReleaseAugust 11, 2008 Contact: Jonathan Godfrey (Conyers)Lillian German (Conyers)
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."
"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration's attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind's reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author's interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind's allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."
A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind's book to be reviewed include:
- The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
- The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
- The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
- Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq's chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
- The payment of $5 million to Iraq's chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
- The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind's research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson's notes were also confiscated.
Sharona L. Smith