FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Vlad the Derailer

On August 7, as distracted Americans were immersed in the HiDef torrent of logo-emblazoned jock-ularity and Olympic pageantry, Bush toady Mikhail Saakashvili saw his opportunity. The Georgian strongman (who ascended to power in a US-backed coup) sent his US and Israeli-trained/supplied military against the South Ossetian capital city of Tskhinvali. Bombs and heavy artillery destroyed government and university buildings.

Residents died, their homes flattened. At least ten Russian peacekeepers stationed there were killed and 30 wounded when their barracks were shelled. Reuters (08/08/08) reported South Ossetia’s president, Edward Kokoity’s estimating “About 1,400 died. We will check these figures, but the order of the numbers is around this. We have this on the basis of reports from relatives.”

“Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family… said, ‘I saw bodies lying in the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars. It’s impossible to count them now. There is hardly a building left standing.’” (Reuters)

Media consumers in the US of course, knew little of all this. Their attention was directed to China and the Olympiad’s multi-billion dollar opening extravaganza. Boss Saakashvili had counted on this misdirection, telling CNN, “Most decision makers have gone for the holidays… Brilliant moment to attack a small country.” (Reuters)

Proving that irony is far from dead, he was complaining about Russia’s response to the Georgian aggression. He relied on US media generally downplayng the initial attack and framing the story as renegade-Ruskies-at-it- again. Press accounts here carefully toed the bi-Party Line and, if the initial Georgian terror-bombing was mentioned at all, it was presented as an afterthought — mingled with photos of Georgians reportedly adversely affected by Russian pursuit of Saakashvili’s routed military.

Some gloating followed. AP quoted “Russian separatist official Russian Kishmaria [as] taunting the retreating Georgian forces, saying they had received ‘American training in running away.’”

Faced with a superior Russian contingent, even Georgian “Coalition of the Willing” legionnaires, were quickly flown back from Iraq as the blitz to “restore constitutional order” in South Ossetia against the wishes and interests of the Ossetians came apart. Georgia has been gamely practicing terror in Iraq where it ranks just behind the US and Britain in soldiers committed to the occupation. Sadly, Boss Saakashvili failed to learn the main lesson that is the basis of US foreign policy / “force projection:” Don’t start a fight with anyone that can fight back.

Since the Soviet Union dissolved the world has been portrayed as “unipolar,” with one super power spending half its discretionary budget on a gargantuan military, subverting /invading weaker countries almost at will, and proclaiming “A New World Order.” In the resultant vacuum, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine years ago argued that the US had become a “hyperpower,” noting that “in other times, great dynasties were almost always counterbalanced by other powers. Today, that’s not the case, and therefore there is this question at the center of the world’s current problems.” Vedrine diplomatically referred to the issue of US domination and “unilateralism,” undeterred by a countervailing power, already many times displayed in the Caribbean, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.

“How do you counterbalance these tendencies when they are abusive?” Vedrine asked. (International Herald Tribune, 2/5/99)

How indeed.

But as the US spends its blood and treasure pursuing oil company profits in Iraq, exports its useful industry, turns the remnant of its economy over to gamers, shysters, pimps and touts, and feverishly pursues a culture of vapidity, cruelty and waste down the bung-hole of history, perhaps Russia’s limited resistance to Georgian aggression signals the stirring of something helpful.

In constructive opposition to US and US client thuggery, Russia may have done for the US population something it evidently could not or would not do for itself — attempt to demonstrate that America and its favored national goon squads are no longer free to just take whatever they want, whenever they want it, at whatever civilian and democratic cost.

The media/political establishment will howl (as they have) at the thought of any limits being placed on US military adventurism. Their consensus view has been ably stated by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the…F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicone Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

If sneaker makers or television manufacturers want to fire their US workers and move production to Vietnam, Korea, Haiti, Panama, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, or Iraq, first those countries need to be pummeled / pried open by the not-so “hidden fist.” American workers are of course expected to cheer these efforts and bleed in them. It’s called being patriotic.

Without the Soviet Union’s modest restraint on US power projection and hubris, American corporate warlords have felt free to launch regular wars of aggression, bust unions, beggar workers, repeal the Bill of Rights, declare the “end of history,” and become — well — toweringly creepy. Many/ most in the US population have noticed and (if poll results are any indication) despair the redolent national thuggery. Sadly, given the structural impossibility of majority rule in this country, their only option is to gape and wait to be pulled personally into the broadening downward spiral.

Since we apparently can’t stop the slide, it must fall to others. Not long ago Vladimir Putin offered to save America from itself. He declared this savage new “unipolar world” with “one centre of authority, one centre of force” and one decider to be over. “This is pernicious…unacceptable…impossible,” he said.

Let’s hope for the sake of the world and ourselves, that he is right.

RICHARD RHAMES is chair of the Biddeford, Maine.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the Kennebunkport town line). He can be reached at: rrhames@xpressamerica.net

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail