Putin Calls Bush’s Bluff

Throughout this mawkish missile-defense saga, President Bush has been talking to the Russians as if they were born yesterday. “Don’t worry, Vladimir, the Cold War is over,” Bush urged. And then he proceeded to bash Putin over Russia’s backsliding on democracy — as if Russian democracy was an issue when Boris Yeltsin was shelling the elected legislature.

More importantly, Putin has not been impressed by the notion that the U.S. plans to sight a missile interceptor system on Russia’s Western doorstep in order to better intercept ICBM’s fired from Iran or North Korea. Nor should he be; the argument is hard to take seriously. Missiles fired at the U.S. from North Korea would fly over the Pacific onto the U.S. West Coast, for one thing. Iran has no space program, and therefore no ICBM capability for the foreseeable future. If it were to attack the U.S. it would do so by targeting its imperial footprint on Iran’s doorstep — even if it used missiles, they would be short- or medium-range types, against which an interceptor system in Poland would have no relevance.

For all the media claims that Putin and Bush smoothed things over by talking nicely at the G-8 summit, what in fact transpired was that Putin, with a very polite and gracious smile, put Bush on the spot, by proposing that the U.S. sight its interceptor system in Azerbaijan. After all, the former southern Soviet Republic is far closer to Iran, and better able to offer the protective shield to Europe, as well.

Bush was taken aback. He had told the Russians to be more helpful; to “participate” in the U.S. plan. And that’s exactly what Putin was doing. But, of course, sighting the missile interceptors on Russia’s southern front would make them entirely useless against Russian missiles fired westward. So what Putin has done is called the U.S. bluff on the real intention of the shield it plans to put in Poland and the Czech Republic.

It’s not hard to see why the Russians assume that its real purpose is to target Russia’s own missile capability — in the longer term. The missile shield system being deployed right now at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars is actually no threat to anyone’s missiles — it has yet to pass the most basic test of consistently hitting a missile whose flight path has been pre-programmed into the interceptor’s guidance, rather than one that may be trying to evade defenses. But by deploying an ineffective system, Bush is trying to put down a marker: It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that their ultimate goal is as a seat-warmer for a more technologically capable system, to be deployed later, which would have the capacity to attack Russian missiles in the boost phase (missiles are more vulnerable before they leave the earth’s atmosphere, but to target them in the boost phase, interceptors have to be as close as possible to their firing point).

M.K. Bahdrakumar suggests that the U.S. moves are driven by the need to consolidate its own increasingly fragile geopolitical position — eliminate Russia’s strategic parity with the U.S. and prevent China from establishing anything close to a nuclear balance of terror, as well as reasserting its leadership over Western Europe as the platform for its continued global dominance.

And Martin Jacques has argued that “The starting point for understanding the deterioration in the relationship between the US and Russia lies in Washington, rather than Moscow.” He writes:

After 1989, Russia was a defeated power. Despite the fine words and some limited gestures, the Americans have treated it like one. Their policy has been one of encirclement. Following the end of the cold war, there was much discussion concerning the point of Nato. In the event, it was reinvented as a means of reducing Russia’s reach on its western frontiers and seeking to isolate it. Its former east European client states were admitted to Nato, as were the Baltic states. It now finds itself militarily encircled to its west and, in central Asia, to its south. It is hardly surprising that Russia is unhappy about these developments. Not only are its reasonable security concerns being trampled on, but it also feels it is being humiliated.

As John le Carre once noted, the right side lost the Cold War but the wrong side won. Bush tells Putin that the Cold War is over, but it is Bush who is behaving as if it isn’t. His contempt for international law and international consensus even as he goes about invading countries and threatening to bomb others is hardly encouraging to a humiliated power now beginning to pick itself up thanks to oil revenue increases. It’s no wonder the Russians are pushing back, and it may be a sign of more to come — and not only from Moscow.

Bush’s father knew the Cold War was over; that was why he took the whole matter of going to war in Kuwait very patiently through the U.N. But the current president wants act out the fantasy of every college-age Reaganaut of the 1980s, who believes the Soviet Union collapsed because Reagan threatened to build a missile shield and made speeches demanding that Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall.

And it tells you how bad things have gotten with U.S. unilateralism that Vladimir Putin, almost as nasty a piece of work as Dick Cheney, can show himelf to be more adept at diplomacy than his counterpart in Washington.


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42 Responses to Putin Calls Bush’s Bluff

  1. Ziad says:

    I suspect that after “studying the proposal” the pentagon will come up with some technical reason why Azerbaijan isn’t a feasible alternative. Still, in Europe Putin will appear as the reasonable negotiator and that is worth something.

    Also, I’m not sure why Poland would be a great place for interceptors. Russian ICBMs would not be launched transatlantic over Europe, but from Siberia over the north pole. Canada would be the premier place for ABMs, but I think they’ve turned Bush down. I think your place marker idea of developing closer military ties to new Europe is the most likely explanation.

    Other bloggers have speculated that the ABMs in Poland were just a cover story for deploying nuclear armed missiles. I thought that was crazy at first. Poland would never permit offensive nukes on their soil. Then I realized Poland has the most right wing anti Russian government imaginable and I wouldn’t put much past the Kaczinski twins. Once done, future governments will be faced with a fact on the ground.

  2. Bernard Chazelle says:

    One can’t help but feel sorry for the Poles: being stuck being Germany and Russia is like being the pickles in a Big Mac. But by putting the reactionary Kaczynski twins in power, they haven’t helped themselves. (Are these two clowns related to the Unabomber, by any chance?)

    I wonder how much more abuse the Poles will take from the US (from being a voluntary missile target to being subject to asinine visa requirements to being host to Soviet-style CIA-run “black sites”) before they realize they’re being played like a pawn on the new “Great Game” chessboard. The Czechs, however, appear to be ferociously against the missile defense deal (according to recent polls).

    Putin’s move was brilliant (and calling Blair “ex prime minister” was not bad either). His current popularity exceeds that of Bush and Blair combined.

    The shocking thing is how dumb the Bush-Cheney gang goes about playing the imperialism game. What has Putin done to deserve such mediocre adversaries? Mozart at least had Salieri. Putin has Bush. Life just ain’t fair.

  3. h. kim says:

    I, for one, have no sympathy for the Poles. Let’s not forget the first act of independent Poland in 1918 was to invade Russia beset by the Civil War, in attempt to conquer Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine and recreate the old Polish Empire, and confirming Gorchakov’s prediction in 1870s that Poles conceive of themselves as rightful masters of Eastern Europe and as such, their existence is a mortal threat to Russia’s security. Poles are inherently a warlike, aggressive people who are deluded by their perpetual sense of grandeur. After their empire fell in the 18th century, they’d been trying to play a great power by piggybacking on others–first, on Napoleon, then the Entente powers, and finally, the United States. Personally, I think practically Polish leadership ever since Sigismund III have been a bunch of charlatans and gangsters who have brought every misfortune that befell upon them thruogh their own aggressions.

  4. saifedean says:

    In Arabic we have an old saying: once a bull falls, many come forward to slaughter it.

    With America stuck in the Iraq quagmire, it’s not a surprise to see everyone from Iran to Venezuela to Russia to North Korea posturing against the US. There will be much more of this from all over the world soon.

  5. John says:

    I can spot my homophones by sight and I always site them carefully in my texts.

  6. antonym says:

    lol, Putin isn’t a “bad piece of work”. The guy is highly intelligent and an accomplished martial artist. Bush however is an american idiot, which is an Anglo Idiot squared.

  7. steve says:

    “Poles are inherently a warlike, aggressive people who are deluded by their perpetual sense of grandeur”

    You mean to say that the series of governments in Poland you wrote of are the same as the people who live in Poland? As a result, the people of Poland are responsible for the actions of their leaders? And the Polish of 2007 are responsible for the Polish leaders in 1918?

    My oh my. I guess I am guilty for 19th century slavery in America because I happen to live there.

    Presuming collective guilt on a country’s population is barbaric. I suppose in your view it matters none that a population could actually be at odds with their heads of state? Even someone who voted for Bush could not be blamed for his crimes. Most people in this world just want to be left alone and provide for their families. How can the inhabitants of nations be legitimately guilty individually for the actions of the political scum that rule over them?

  8. h. kim says:

    Often, one writes “the Poles,” “the Koreans,” etc. to describe the leaders of the people over their histories. My apologies for the lack of clarity.

    Having said that, the fact remains that entire nations ARE judged for the actions of their nominal representatives. And yes, in a way, we are all responsible for the historical wrongs of our peoples–Yes, you and I ARE responsible for the 19th century slavery, even if my ancestors weren’t in the States for well over a century after Civil War was over. Sustained peaceful relations after conflicts–especially long conflicts–often require acknowledgement of the collective responsibility by the peoples who were once responsible for their past misdeeds (unless the misdeeds happened so very long ago that no one remembers them–i.e. I wouldn’t think modern Mongolia needs to accept responsibility for Genghis Khan’s conquests).

    The trouble with Poland is that history of its aggression (the Polish-Bolshevik War, its repression of the Ukrainian minorities in Western Ukraine, its participation in the partition of Czechoslovakia, etc) is quite recent, yet they are all hidden away by an emphasis on Polish history of victimhood. My personal view is that most national myths are dangerous (whether as victims–as with Poland, Korea, Ireland, or even Russia–or as somehow more virtuous than others (e.g. United States) because it breeds selective historical memory. We ignore the parts of our histories that don’t fit into the myth and disown them–hey we ain’t responsible…since we weren’t there. But, whether one takes personal responsibility or not, their consequences remain long afterwards–whether of 19th century slavery in U.S. or early 20th century aggression by Poland. They have to be dealt with, somehow.

  9. Ziad says:

    Polish public opinion, btw, is opposed to the missile shield. While in history the poles were not always the victim, when compared to the rest of 18th century Europe, they were certainly no worse.

    Allying herself with a greater power to counterbalance Russia and Prussia/Germany made perfect sense. And it makes sense today, but I agree that if Poland, Estonia etc. continue to stick their finger in Russia’s eye there will be a price to pay.

  10. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Cold War was lost by Russia but contrary to what most Americans think was not won by USA.
    American victory was moral, not military. At some point of its history Russia looked into the mirror and was terrified at its own image. USA at the time maintained very attractive image of itself and that contrast made it clear for Russia that it need to drastically change course.
    The result – two decades later Russia went through humiliation and complete rebuilt of itself, while America convinced itself that it is so powerful now that it need not to consult with the world and squandered its moral supremacy and in a way now moving fast into a world bully that Russia was 20 years ago.
    I look with some concern to consolidation of power in Russia but I fear it much less than the rollback of civil rights that we have here, on American soil.
    Putin, Ivanov and I went to Leningrad State together, the same year (1970) and although we belonged to opposite political sides at the time, these are decent people, well-educated, well-read, disciplined and patriotic in a decent, balanced and respectful to others way.
    But when it comes to the security of Russia they won’t budge an inch. And they shouldn’t.

  11. bob k says:

    I laughed when I read Alex Chaihorsky’s comment that Russia was horrified when they looked in the mirror. The USA is a vampire nation and can’t see its image in a mirror. Most Americans have no idea how hated and feared this rouge nation is around the world. The USA is an existenial threat to mankind as the psychopaths in government attempt a one-world hegemony backed by nuclear primacy.
    This attempt to control mankind by nuclear terror is what Putin is countering. I was glad to read from someone who knew him, that Vladimar Putin is a decent man, unlike the genetic psychopaths who appear to have taken control of the USA. I have traveled in Russia and noticed that generations of tyranny has given them a keen insight into the pathologies of pschopathic personalities and the necesssity of removing these deviants from power to maintain a citizen friendly government. Life has been easy in the USA for so long that Americans have lost the ability to recognize psychological deviance, and are at the mercy of the psychopath’s lies. They will wake up one day, hopefully not to late to avoid a gulug.

  12. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    bob k –
    Well, I am glad that I contributed to your good mood. You may laugh all you want, but it is a fact, that America did manage to maintain very positive external image in the times of Cold War, especially after Vietnam war ended and many of us from outside looked at it with admiration and hope, including people who were deep inside Soviet power system. They may have kept it to themselves, but when the time came, these people supported Gorbachev and allowed bloodless change of course, which was the first time in Russian history.
    I did not know Mr. Putin closely, but I have many friends who did and I personally knew his mentor, Mr. Sobchak, (the late Mayor of Leningrad/St. Petersburg) quite well. Later, when Mr. Putin worked for Sobchak, he, personally, acting fast, courageous and despite great risk for his own life, saved the life of a very good friend of mine who in the course of difficult business negotiations became a target of a contract killer in mid-90-ies.
    I met several times Mr. Ivanov (the next Russian President, I think 🙂 who was a classmate of my closest friends. These are not easy, smily, huggable, sweet cowboys.
    Both underwent certain special training as former KGB officers which must have taught them a lot. I remember how I was laughing my butt of when Bush early in his presidency said that he looked at Putin’s eyes and saw his soul!

    But they are intelligent, reasonable and contemporary people. They won’t play fetch like late Mr. Eltzin, but they will be decent, reliable partners, if treated fair and with RESPECT. Treating them like Mr. Bush treats Tony Blair and telling them “You are wrong, the Cold War is over!”, is, I apologize to Mr. Bush – childish.

  13. Bob k says:

    It seems to me the relatively bloodless end of the Soviet Union is one of the great moments of human history, it is a profile of courage that the men and women living in that system allowed it to collapse without violence. I think this event should be carefully studied and acknowledged as a high point of the last century. Perhaps Israel and the USA can follow in these footsteps. Thank you for you insight.

  14. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    to Bob K. –

    Unfortunately I do not think your wish will come true anytime soon. Both societies are too much in love with themselves and completely lack healthy self-criticism.
    My prediction – America may suffer tragic acceleration of losses in Iraq, followed by a sizable dollar fall, people will get angry and frustrated and will point their finger at Israel (especially if Israel will attack Iran which can lead to dramatic losses of US Navy in the Gulf and unheard-of gasoline prices) – and American Jewish elite will be accused of unlawful political manipulations which can lead to a sudden u-turn of the Christian Right and many other unintended consequences,
    As usual, perpetrators will be long gone and simple folk will pay the price.

    I was always fascinated how some nations benefited from their humiliations. Take Sweden. It was quite a militant and aggressive kingdom, but after it lost to Russians early in 18 century it quickly achieved a status of civil, well-educated, peaceful and moderate society. Russia, on the other hand went through the period of wars and the life quality of an ordinary citizen deeply deteriorated.
    Cold War may have played a similar game with its participants. Russia went through very humiliating time, witnessed many of its institutions destroyed, but finally got rid of its terrible ideological past and is entering now what appeared to be a path to strong economic and civil progress, untethered by any imperial aspirations.
    America, on the other hand, secure in its belief that it is the only righteous superpower on Earth, got reckless, arrogant, allowed gross misjudgments on the part of its political elite and id facing a looming humiliation of gargantuan proportions.
    My only hope is with grassroot America, old American traditions of the desire for small government, private freedom, etc. The only way, IMHO, to achieve it is to stop equating money and free speech. Or adopt – one man – one term for all elected posts.
    Can you see that happening?

  15. Bob k says:

    If I may, I would like to paste a link to a news conference by Vladimir Putin a few days ago, he certainly is a rational and
    eloquent man. This news conference was completely ignored by the american media. It reinforces Mr. Chaihorsky’s contention that generations of tyranny seems to sharpen the wits, awareness, and humility of men, at least this man. It is refreshing to know there are people willing to tell the truth to lies. It is why I read Tony’s work and his readers comments. Thanks!
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17855.htm

  16. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    For me, who, for half of my life were used to listen on Russian TV how Brezhnev mumbled every word none of which has any sense at all, this is also a linguistic joy! My generation did develop much greater oratorical kills, that our fathers, but we are still a bit too tense :))))))))))) When I watch him speak I can recognize and attribute every half-smile, every smirk, every change of voice as a generational language feature. I think he needs to break out of it.
    I wish he would be more relaxed and try to use a more friendly body language. I think many people all over the world would gladly like a strong, intellegent, eloquent and humorous opponent of Mr. Bush and all that he and his cohort represent in the greater world today.

  17. Abe Bird says:

    So Putin Called Bush’s Bluff…. so what? Is Putin an angel?
    Need to back your anti Bush agenda with
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info demagogic bullsh**t reflects only on the crying leftist wolves.

  18. Tony says:

    There’s nothing left about Putin, Abe, and I said in the piece that he’s a nasty piece of work — pretty much as nasty as Cheney, really, when it comes to “breaking eggs” to make his omelettes

  19. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Nasty in what sense, Tony?
    For me him being ex-KGB is nasty, but lets get serious – the guy did not open a new Guantanamo, never started a war, has about 75 approval rate and no serious human rights violation cited by Amnesty International. He treated the TV media quite harshly, but there is no accusations of him stifling free press when it comes to papers, publications or internet. He put a lot of hurdles to jump over for the foreign NGOs and that I think was seriously wrong, however, many of these NGOs were lead by enthusiastic young westerners with no knowledge of Russian language, traditions and history and were smashing centuries of tradition and public sentiment like it was a computer game.
    There is no concern in Russia as far as I can seefrom what I read and hear for any form of return to Communism.
    The history of the end of Cold War is where today’s situation is arising from. After the August 1991 coup failed (BTW, the KGB, especially its young generation, not just allowed it to fail, but actually helped Sobchak and Eltsin, which at the time left many completely puzzled) – after it failed, Russians were looking at the West with great aspiration of new partnership.
    You can ask any American who worked in Russia in early 90-ies about the highest esteem the USA was seen there, both by educated and simple folk.
    Daddy Bush made sure that it never happened. Russians were humiliated, the country was financially raped by the Western banks, its most valuable resources auctioned for scraps, Eltsin was a drunken clown who brought democracy of affluence and anarchy to few and almost starvation to the most. Western banks and governments openly dealt with criminal element as long as their political and financial appetites were satisfied.But MOST importantly – the solemn promise that NATO would not move closer to Russian borders was broken and that played major role in the reversion of Russian public opinion. All these nasty, awkward Communist propaganda about the aggressive West that our generation laughed at, suddenly appeared to majority of Russian population to be true. Reagan promised Gorbachev that NATO won’t move eastward and it DID!
    A man like Putin could not not come after that….
    And it could have been much, much worse.
    So, I am judging him from the standpoint of WHAT HE COULD HAVE DONE – and what he could have done would have rocked the world and not in a good way.
    I am absolutely sure that if the West would excersize respect toward Russian society 15 years ago, if Russia as a country would not be pushed into the corner and humiliated, we will have today a much more relaxed situation.
    But if anyone thinks that Russia, however rich or poor, could be humiliated militarily or will tolerate disrespect or condescending attitude – man, you can’t be more wrong.
    Seriously.

  20. Tony says:

    Alex — you may have noticed that I don’t divide the world into simple “good guys” and “bad guys” categories, and I understand the factors that produced Putin’s nationalism — and certainly agree that it is the U.S. that has continued the Cold War geopolitical encirclement of Russia rather than Moscow launching some new expansion drive. I can also see how Putin has achieved a number of gains for Russia over the past decade, and that he is playing a useful role on the world stage right now in restraining some of the excesses of Washington, particularly in the Middle East. But I also can’t forget the cynical brutalization of Chechnya with which he helped established his tough-guy nationalist credentials.

  21. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Tony –
    Brutalization of Chechnya was started by Eltsin in 1994 – Grozny was almost completely destroyed by 1996. If you have information on Putin been more brutal in Chechnya than Eltsin, I do not have it (please, share it with me).

    Putin certainly became famous for his “whack them in the outhouses” phrase, but in my opinion as a guy who have a lot of family in Caucasus and actually spend 2 years of my obligatory army service there – devil himself would never understand that region and who did what to whom.
    Chechen society is deeply tribal and deeply disrespectful of any laws except their own. They were never shy to take that disrespect outside of their territory and made a lot of enemies all over Russia. At the same time, considering themselves occupied by Russian Empire, they argue that they have a right for such a resistance and here we have a case when the world does not yet recognize that occupation, while the Chechens themselves do.
    As you know, even a much clearer situation when the whole world recognizes Israeli occupation (including Israel herself) is still unresolved.
    I think that Putin, being very weak politically at the beginning of his first term was showing everybody in a very Russian, but very accepted there way who is the boss.
    But again, I would wholeheartedly agree with you if we had that discussion before the 9/11 era started and we all saw Guantanamo, destruction of Bagdad, Patriot Acts, etc.
    Most of my friends inside and outside Russia who absolutely hated Putin for his first term, slowly changed their mind seeing him restoring the rule of law, mostly stopping the crime that went rampant during “democracy”years and seeing how services, infrastructure, schools, universities, hospitals came back to life.
    I actually do not agree with you calling him a nationalist. Most of the minorities in Russia feel quite more comfortable under current regime than during “democracy years”.
    He definitely has an authoritarian way of doing things, but IMHO if he does not impose censure, allows free flow of capital, elections and will step down after his term ends, that is good enough for me.
    Again – after so many years of thieves, drunks, demented Communist rulers and earlier – bloodthirsty Bolshevik ideologs, Putin looks like a very reasonable guy. To most Russians who only during his term got out of terrible poverty and rampant crime, whose children now can get education and jobs, who can walk the streets of their cities without hearing the Kalashnikovs bursts and whose sons and daughters finally started to marry and have kids – it does look like they hear that faint fluttering behind his back.

  22. Petr says:

    Discussing these issues is very good, but you also can contribute, altough in a very reduced way, to minimize in some way the US imperialism through a boycott of american products.

    Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are boycotting US companies made products in order to express their disagreement with US foreign policies. On the other hand, by choosing products made in other countries or other countries companies, you are supporting the multi polar world economics.

    Its well known that some major american companies like Pepsi and Philip Morris have financely supported Iraq campaign. In this huge economics circle of american imperialism and hegemony theres no “McDonalds” without US army and vice-versa.

    There is always an alternative to MADE IN USA. Buy Adidas not Nike, use Glonass SRNS (which is far better, by the way) instead of GPS, and so far.

    Yes to multi polar world, no to imperialistic uni polarism!

  23. MM says:

    Alex –
    Russia’s human rights record under Putin is abysmal and you only have to look it up on amnesty or human rights watch. Here’s a quick link: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engeur460592004

    Putin’s successes on Russia’s economy do not and cannot excuse his policies in Chechnya or his silencing of the press on this subject. Let us never forget what happened to the courageous Politkovskaya. And to say that he is not responsible because someone else started it, is in my opinion very childish. It’s like saying Olmert is not responsible for what he is doing now in the Occupied territories because someone else started the whole thing before him.

  24. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    MM –

    1. It depends who is accusing whom. What I am trying to say is that in today’s world Mr. Bush after he dismantled civil rights her, in the US, he cannot accuse Putin of being a bad democrat. Same criticism from the Swedish PM would be much better founded. I would be much more willing to agree with you on an invidivual level if I would have known who you are, too.

    2. Accusing people of being childish without having even discussed the issue with them is often itself not a very adult thing to do.
    Ask and I will give you my answer. Then, call me anything you want.
    Chechnya… I would accept your position if USA and the rest of the West would as vigorously criticize Eltsyn on Chechnya, Bush on Iraq and especially Israelis on occupation. It is not my point that he is immune because he did not start it, it is my point that it is hard to accept harsh criticism of Putin when Eltsyn who was really monstrous in Chechnya, was just slightly reproached.

    3. I think its not really serious to accuse Putin of killing Politkovskaya. Just “in time for his birthday”? Looks like hidng the tracks to me.

    BTW, in an unrelated note, I, as her, am also a holder of both Russian and US passports and I was very disappointed that she never openly and voluntarily disclosed it herself. Her accusations would have carry much more weight if she openly admitted her two citizenships and just get it out of the way. We call this a conflict of interests in business and one must do everything to avoid it and if its unavoidable, to disclose it.
    Politkovskaya was a wonderful woman and a courageous journalist, her death was a tragedy and unless we find out definitively the circumstances of her death, it should not be used as a political argument by any side.

    I very much understand the frustration of Russian middle class with Putin, his autocratic moves and anger at his policies toward more and more governmental control. Since I am not on the receiving side of these misgivings, I am more concerned about Mr. Bushes autocratic escapades, of which I am on the receiving end. That said, I also hear from my friends who do live in Russia, that although his autocratic attitude irritates them, the fact that wild criminality was reigned in, infrastructure restored, foreign debt paid and ruble strengthened seem to play a balancing act for them. And of course recent US military games in Europe just made them hate his autocracy much, much less.

  25. Adam Wozniak says:

    The misile system’s function is two-fold. The more mundane one is to line the pockets of chosen contractors, which seems to always take priority over actualUS national interests. The other function is to stake out the empire’s newly acquired teritory.

    It is an enduring and symbolic expression of ownership, far stronger than any paper ‘pact’ or even a division of marines stationed as part of NATO.
    It is a ‘strategic interest’ which states clearly -we’re here to stay.
    It is a wedge driven between Russia and Europe to spoil their doing bussiness together.

    Poland has made a sad but conscious choice of selling itself into the empire. This is because we know that Europe will sell us out at the first opportunity, while Russia at the first opportunity will fold us back in. So we stick wit the US, the only global force currently hostile to Russia.

    I think that this is a mistake. America is far away and, despite its global superpower posturing, it has a record of failing against local powers. Russia and Europe are close and all they need to do is wait for the gringos to slip up, which will happen sooner rather than later. Then we’ll end up like Israel, colonial traitors surrounded by enemies.

    The smart thing to do, I think, would be to take a realistic look at the map and adjust to the geopolitical situation (so far we insist on swimming upstream) . The sad truth is that the west-europeans will not accept us as ones of their own. We’re trying to push our way in, but the only way they see us is as cheep labour and slight embarassment. They mostly can’t even tell the difference betwen all that eastern svolocz . Took us into the EU out of a squirt of their own imperial ambition, but now looks like they’re all squirted out and probably regret ever daring to think big. Meanwhile the Russians will never see us otherwise than as an unruly province, and will always claim property rights.

    Us being a part of the russian zone of influence is a simple fact. Every attempt at braking out led to trouble, and considering who wants us and who doesn’t, it will still end in our ‘return to the slavic familly of nations’..

    The Chech’s have accepted the fact of them belonging to the germanic zone of influence, and for centuries did relatively well within it (considering possible alternatives) Perhaps the Russians make for less cozy relationships, but the Germans have lost interest, demographics won’t let them, we got too big for them (vide their fear of letting in eastern workforce). Chech’s are just the right size for them, and we’re just the right size for the Russians..

    We can no longer stand on our own, our potential insufficient. As far as I can tell, the longest period of calm (no war, no brutal occupation) happened when friendship with russia was written into our constiution (communist era) I know that we have an organic and completly unjustified supperiority complex towards them (don’t know about the other way) and we don’t trust eachother for s**t, but going back to that might be in the long run our most sustainable and stable option.

    @h. kim Remember, from our point of view, 1918 we didn’t attack russia, we made an attempt at repossesing our lost provinces. Calling them ‘russia’ as you did also reflects an imperialist approach. And while they didn’t at all appriciated being ‘reposessed’, the subsequent return to Matushka Rassija was no fun to them either. You quote Gorchakov saying that we see ourselves as ‘rightful masters of Eastern Europe’ and this makes our very existence a mortal threat to Russia’s security. First of all, we don’t see ourselves as masters, at least not anymore. We do have a fairly disgusting superiority complex, completely unjustified but hard to shake off, because we use our past glories to console ourselves in those sadder times. The claim that our interest in Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine constitutes a threat to Russia itself is another manifestation of an inherently imperial way of thinking. The imperial tug of war between Poland and Russia is obviously the biggest source of trouble. That’s because we’ve lost, and than refused to accept it. It possibly wouln’t have got so bad if we were spared the humiliation of having all of our homeland conquered and partitioned, but there you are, s**t happened, and so it did get bad. When you accuse us of siding with anyone as long as we got to kick the Russians out, you are ignoring the fact that we were fighting for our own independance, not the resurection of the empire (that was for some the second point on the agenda, but in my oppinion mostly as a pride thing).
    There is a lot of bad blood between us, literally. As I said before, I believe that it would be in our best interest to enter an alliance with Russia, and forget all the BS. Unfortunatelly, allmost no one in Poland believes that Russians wouldn’t take that as an opportunity to punish us again for our ‘treason’. Plus, like I said there is the superiority complex, we have been nurturing ‘delusions of grandure’ as you call them, which is to say that through the centuries of humiliation we’ve been clingin to the belief that we have it in us to defeat our oppressors. That kind of thing sticks with you afterwards. And as for the ‘admition of our sins’ that kind of thing is something that nations who feel unthreatened can afford. Otherwise, it just gives the attackers something to hit you with. By the way, The Russians still obstruct the inquiries into the massacre of the interned polish officers, and an average russian either never heared of it, or will say that the germans did it.
    Kaczynscy won because many of those who would vote against them emigrated, and because they relied on the votes of brainwashed grannies, followers of a catholic radio cult ‘Radio Maria’. Would be funny, if it wasn’t scarry.

  26. Adam Wozniak says:

    The misile system’s function is two-fold. The more mundane one is to line the pockets of chosen contractors, which seems to always take priority over actualUS national interests. The other function is to stake out the empire’s newly acquired teritory.

    It is an enduring and symbolic expression of ownership, far stronger than any paper ‘pact’ or even a division of marines stationed as part of NATO.
    It is a ‘strategic interest’ which states clearly -we’re here to stay.
    It is a wedge driven between Russia and Europe to spoil their doing bussiness together.

    Poland has made a sad but conscious choice of selling itself into the empire. This is because we know that Europe will sell us out at the first opportunity, while Russia at the first opportunity will fold us back in. So we stick wit the US, the only global force currently hostile to Russia.

    I think that this is a mistake. America is far away and, despite its global superpower posturing, it has a record of failing against local powers. Russia and Europe are close and all they need to do is wait for the gringos to slip up, which will happen sooner rather than later. Then we’ll end up like Israel, colonial traitors surrounded by enemies.

    The smart thing to do, I think, would be to take a realistic look at the map and adjust to the geopolitical situation (so far we insist on swimming upstream) . The sad truth is that the west-europeans will not accept us as ones of their own. We’re trying to push our way in, but the only way they see us is as cheep labour and slight embarassment. They mostly can’t even tell the difference betwen all that eastern svolocz . Took us into the EU out of a squirt of their own imperial ambition, but now looks like they’re all squirted out and probably regret ever daring to think big. Meanwhile the Russians will never see us otherwise than as an unruly province, and will always claim property rights.

    Us being a part of the russian zone of influence is a simple fact. Every attempt at braking out led to trouble, and considering who wants us and who doesn’t, it will still end in our ‘return to the slavic familly of nations’..

    The Chech’s have accepted the fact of them belonging to the germanic zone of influence, and for centuries did relatively well within it (considering possible alternatives) Perhaps the Russians make for less cozy relationships, but the Germans have lost interest, demographics won’t let them, we got too big for them (vide their fear of letting in eastern workforce). Chech’s are just the right size for them, and we’re just the right size for the Russians..

    We can no longer stand on our own, our potential insufficient. As far as I can tell, the longest period of calm (no war, no brutal occupation) happened when friendship with russia was written into our constiution (communist era) I know that we have an organic and completly unjustified supperiority complex towards them (don’t know about the other way) and we don’t trust eachother for s**t, but going back to that might be in the long run our most sustainable and stable option.

    @h. kim Remember, from our point of view, 1918 we didn’t attack russia, we made an attempt at repossesing our lost provinces. Calling them ‘russia’ as you did also reflects an imperialist approach. And while they didn’t at all appriciated being ‘reposessed’, the subsequent return to Matushka Rassija was no fun to them either. You quote Gorchakov saying that we see ourselves as ‘rightful masters of Eastern Europe’ and this makes our very existence a mortal threat to Russia’s security. First of all, we don’t see ourselves as masters, at least not anymore. We do have a fairly disgusting superiority complex, completely unjustified but hard to shake off, because we use our past glories to console ourselves in those sadder times. The claim that our interest in Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine constitutes a threat to Russia itself is another manifestation of an inherently imperial way of thinking. The imperial tug of war between Poland and Russia is obviously the biggest source of trouble. That’s because we’ve lost, and than refused to accept it. It possibly wouln’t have got so bad if we were spared the humiliation of having all of our homeland conquered and partitioned, but there you are, s**t happened, and so it did get bad. When you accuse us of siding with anyone as long as we got to kick the Russians out, you are ignoring the fact that we were fighting for our own independance, not the resurection of the empire (that was for some the second point on the agenda, but in my oppinion mostly as a pride thing).
    There is a lot of bad blood between us, literally. As I said before, I believe that it would be in our best interest to enter an alliance with Russia, and forget all the BS. Unfortunatelly, allmost no one in Poland believes that Russians wouldn’t take that as an opportunity to punish us again for our ‘treason’. Plus, like I said there is the superiority complex, we have been nurturing ‘delusions of grandure’ as you call them, which is to say that through the centuries of humiliation we’ve been clingin to the belief that we have it in us to defeat our oppressors. That kind of thing sticks with you afterwards. And as for the ‘admition of our sins’ that kind of thing is something that nations who feel unthreatened can afford. Otherwise, it just gives the attackers something to hit you with. By the way, The Russians still obstruct the inquiries into the massacre of the interned polish officers, and an average russian either never heared of it, or will say that the germans did it.
    Kaczynscy won because many of those who would vote against them emigrated, and because they relied on the votes of brainwashed grannies, followers of a catholic radio cult ‘Radio Maria’. Would be funny, if it wasn’t scarry.

  27. MM says:

    Alex –
    You are absolutely right, I was wrong to call you childish and I apologize. However, I stand by the rest of what I said. Human rights law applies to everyone equally, Putin included. You are also right that there is no proof that Putin was behind Politkovskaya’s death, but he has “put in” (no pun intended, but it worked out nicely:-)) zero efforts to try to solve the case – not to mention that she was one of many journalists targeted in Russia for their coverage of human rights abuses. Eltsyn was a drunken idiot, so to be better than him is not exactly a compliment. The truth is that we live in a nasty world with very few righteous examples, but claiming that everything is relative leads us, in my opinion, down a very slippery slope. Just because Bush has moved the “shock and awe” spectacle on the Broadway stage doesn’t make all the other hungry wolves out there into lambs.

  28. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Adam –

    Your analysis is very sober and I understand that for proud Pole it was not easy to come to such conclusions.
    After Soviet Empire (which I hated) fell apart, I understood (could be wrong, of course) that the visibly catastrophic facade of that disintegration concealed a very savvy and very intricate strategy. There are strategical truths in this world of the type that you were discussing that constantly work to bring things to eutectic points disregarding of the will and moods of the times. But distortions introduced by politics, religion, ideologies are capable of stirring enough EMOTIONS that people and nations actually forget where their core interest lie and start chasing chimeras.
    I think that Russian collective “brain”, secure in its knowledge that its neighbors (especially Slavic) need Russia more than Russia needs them, decided to let them go chase their dreams as a wise wife allows her husband to go flirt with other women because she figures that if he would never come back that their marriage indeed was unstable and the earlier they end it the less painful, but if he comes back, he will be not only humble and easier to deal with, but also would more conscientiously appreciate many a thing which he took for granted.
    In the meantime she can pay more attention to herself and start rebuilding her own house more to the needs of current times.

    Being very anti-Soviet in my thinking, I applauded the breaking up of USSR and believed in the fairy tale of nice and friendly coexistence between smaller Russia, Europe and USA.
    I think that all Bush did is just accelerated the inevitable consequence of the still unchanged strategic truths that you described in your post so eloquently, thus, playing into Russian hands. May be Russians even nudged him into that direction because by that time they clearly saw that the model works and there were no need to wait extra time.
    The model of course being that almost all former Russian satellites (less independant as former Republics or more independant, as states like Poland ) with some exceptions, of course, are more attached to Russian hip than they thought, especially if Russia itself abandon outdated policies of outrageously tight control and just offer more respect and laissez-faire of full partnership instead of Communist colonialism that was as bad for Russia itself.

    Plainly speaking, both Slavic peoples of Poland, Slovakia, Belorussia, Ukraine and Turkic peoples of Kazkhstan, Kyrghizstan, Uzbekistan, etc., found for themselves that as soon as they spun off the Russian orbit they found themselves looked upon and dealt with even less respect.
    Plus the price of oil…. Ouch!
    Russians on the other hand, being chess players that they are, positioned themselves very nicely now to welcome back into a new, more realistic alliance the whole bunch of prodigal sons. She also learned many useful and humiliating lessons, so it is reasonable to expect quite a civilized and comfortable outcome of such New Deal.

    In even larger scale of things that would be, IMHO, the first time in history that the Land Power out-strategized the Sea Powers, which are usually better at that game.
    And it looks like Russian population does not mind if the Chief Strategist in Kremlin bites off some heads in the process…

    BTW, what part in this whole process is played by Putin himself and his strategists and what part – by collective Russian psyche (sobornost’ is an absolutely REAL thing in my own opinion) – I do not know.
    And its really irrelevant.

  29. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Dear MM –

    No apology needed, I am no better than you at times :)))))))

    I do not agree that “Human rights law applies to everyone equally” because I do not believe that such a law exists. Human rights, tragically, is just a luxury (it is a personal tragedy for me to say these things, please, believe me) that the powers that be use as a booster of public energy when they think they can afford it or as a token of last resort in the ideological war.
    Western society itself sheds it off quite easily when it think it is threatened, even if the treat is far from existential as was 9/11.
    I understand that my words reflect my very recent disappointment with the docility of US and UK public as they face evil destruction of Magna Carta and US Bill of Rights in ways I never thought were possible.
    And I am dying to proven wrong, by the way.

    Putin’s’ human rights record is not abysmal, this is an exaggeration. I, having lived in Soviet Russia for 35 years through Brezhnev and Andropov years just cannot accept your evaluation.
    He is not a shining example of it and not even a fair example. I do not even think he accepts Western standard of human rights as a standard. I am sure that for him the strategic interests of Russia take precedent over individual human rights, so he is more a warrior for Russia’s rights than Russian’s rights. But that is because the whole Russian society and culture is that way! Russia rejected Eltsyn’s rule IMHO, precisely because Eltsyn compromised Russia’s security and national interests. Putin just represents deep Russian core in the contemporary settings.
    AND I have to admit, I am not impartial here. I just like the guy…. I know I shouldn’t… Damn! :))))))))))))))))))))))

  30. Adam Wozniak says:

    Alex, I’m glad that you apreciate my comment, but I don’t realy share your optimism. Here’s why – you write:

    what part in this whole process is played by Putin himself and his strategists and what part – by collective Russian psyche (sobornost’ is an absolutely REAL thing in my own opinion) – I do not know.
    And its really irrelevant […] I am sure that for him the strategic interests of Russia take precedent over individual human rights, so he is more a warrior for Russia’s rights than Russian’s rights. But that is because the whole Russian society and culture is that way!

    There is your problem, precisely. You have a certain form of collectivism built into your national psyche, but we have our own form of ‘sobornost’, which is borderline anarchist. Being told what to do leads us directly to mutiny. Sometimes it will be violent, more often just disobedience and malicious obstruction, but you can see how at odds we are.
    Also, your analogy of prodigal husband/son returning humbly to the welcomming wife/mother (this slaves = familly, russia=matriarch thing, you realy have it imprinted don’t you?) is not going to work.
    First, we have a very good memory of this relationship being an abusive one, and absolutely no reason to believe that next time it will be diferent. Second, we allso distinctly remember taking part in demolishing the living room making a number of rude gestures at ‘mommy’ and know her well enough to expect heavy handed punishment at first opportunity (vide the current trade and border restrictions), mommy has a heavy hand. And she keeps f***ing telling us what to do, the bitch!! (which triggers the anarchy thing without fail)
    The only way the poles will go back is after a heavy beating. And, since we really rub eachother the wrong way, the relationship will continue to be stormy
    If I went and said ‘we should ally ourselves with russia’ I’d have rotten tomatoes trown at me, with the ocassional stone. I’m not allone in thinking like this, but we are an absolute minority, further weakened by the fact that most of those who would agree with us are quite unsavory or unimpressive characters.
    Oh, I just tought of something, that heavy beating doesn’t have to be from russia. If we get badly mistreated and humiliated by the west (at least nearly as bad as your guys did) there’s a chance people’s attitude will change. But that is probably a long time away, if ever, and I doubt that your leadership, pushed by the national sentiments, will have the patience to wait. Plus, it would turn sour quickly anyway, because of the ‘rubbing the wrong way’ issue.

  31. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    Adam –

    Quickly – I think you oversimplify Russia (where I was born and raised but have not a drop of Slavic blood). I left the shores of Neva 20 years ago being of 35 years of age and I can tell you one thing – never say never when it comes to Russia.

    But Poland I understand very little of, despite much read.
    However, despite its culture being deeply Catholic, having history almost opposite of Russian and being Russian foe for centuries, Poland in its core is very in-tune with Russian core , IMHO.
    Of everything I read in my entire life, in Russian, English, French, ancient Chinese – only one, quite short poem rips me in pieces like nothing ever does and it was written by a Pole. ( “Tomashov”).

    Alex.

  32. Why I Hate Russia
    by Joel Phillips (publisher, http://www.religiousfreeomwatch.org; owner American Coast Title http://www.actfortitle.com and proud to be an American and a Scientologist)

    When I was a kid we used to have jump under our desks and hide when they rang the air alarm. The teachers said this was in case the Russians came and bombed us.

    Well you know what they bombed us and did a good job of it. They have us doing whatever they say.

    First of all they are leaders in religious persecution. They closed down the Scientology Center in Saint Petersburg. Now I suppose the fact that the city used to be called Leningrad tells you something. What other country closes down a church?

    But they are hypocrites. They have their own church namely the Russian Orthodox Church. This church is controlled by the Russian government. This is not how you get religious freedom!

    Second they are sneaky. My website and company have been attacked by Indonesians. I have listed details on my website including those for a substantial reward.

    So what happens? Well it turns out the Russians protect their Internet. It turns out my company which is the sponsor of the http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org site is being sued by OOO TRANSTELEKOM. This OOO is apparently like the AOL or Earthlink of Russia but under the control of the Russian government. They are suing because an IP address used by one of these Indonesians is their IP address and I posted it to show how I was being harassed.

    They are suing for millions of dollars and they are demanding an apology. I have had to meet with Frank Berriz and Linda Blood about it as they are the other owners of American Coast Title and they are named in the lawsuit.

    But they are even sneakier as they are also complaining to Stewart Title who are our underwriters. This could quite literally get us shut down all because I go through life according to my religion.

    And, it gets worse. Some Russian radio station has sent press releases to my competitors telling them about this. I don’t even get my day in court with OOO and the Russians have already decided I lost.

    But the real trick is they are hiding behind the Olympics. OOO is suddenly the official Internet of the Olympics. OOO says this somehow libels the Olympics.

    Maybe countries that value religious freedom should boycott the Russian Olympics again. That will teach them a lesson.

    So that’s it. I hate Russia. The teachers way back when were right they had us hide from the Russians. Maybe we should of kept doing that. It is clear the Russians are just going to walk all over us. They are going take away our religious freedom and who knows what they will do after that.

  33. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    I have no opinion on your conflict per se, just a small piece of info – OOO is not a company name, its a company type – like Ltd in English. Only instead of English they put it before, not after the company name.

    I have mixed feelings here – on the one hand I myself believe that historically close connection between the Church and the State in Russia was bad both for the Church and for the country. After the USSR crumbled, Russia opened its doors to all religions and what happened next was a feeding frenzy of zillions of sects from all over the world jumping in with bad money, radicalism and fanaticism.
    Many used the tragic economic situation and were buying influence by bribing mid-level authorities.
    After that Russia imposed some kind of a ban on these, still allowing all major world religions to operate openly.
    It looks like they did not like Scientology…

    Believe it or not, I was probably one of the first (if not the very first) who brought a copy of L.R. Hubbard’s book to Russia in August of 1987! But that was just a present for a old friend of mine who was interested in these sort of things. I myself had a very bad experience with Scientology Church in Stockholm, Sweden in 1987, so I am impartial here and recluse myself.

    I do believe in complete freedom of religion, but I also understood that right after Communism in Russia was deposed, the country wanted to give a chance to its historical religion that was devastated by 75 years of political persecution and state – sponsored atheism.
    I very much hope that in very short time Russia will open gradually its doors to less known religions and sects.

    But you did not tell us what are they suing you for and what are they asking apology for?

  34. Alex Chaihorsky says:

    CORRECTIOn to the previous post:

    I meant I was PARTIAL, so I recluse myself….
    Somehow the spell checker changed it to “impartial”.

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