• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London

On October 12 the British media gave prominence to a three-hour foreign affairs debate that had taken place in the House of Commons the previous day. The Commons’ proceedings centred on allegations that Russia had committed war crimes in Syria and there were many insulting and purposefully offensive statements about Russia and its president made by almost all members of parliament who took part.  The final speech was made by the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and can be taken as reflecting the policy of the British government towards Russia.

The Guardian newspaper reported that “Making his frontbench debut as foreign secretary in a Commons debate, Johnson said Russia should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo and took the unusual step of calling for demonstrations by anti-war protesters outside the Russian embassy in London.”  “I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy,” he said. “Where is the Stop the War coalition?”

Come again? 

We have reached a stage in international affairs in which Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Right Honourable Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, can stand in Parliament and declare to its members and to his country and the world that mobs should swarm around a building in central London that houses a diplomatic mission whose members are officially accredited to the United Kingdom.

Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states, inter alia, that  “The premises of [a diplomatic] mission shall be inviolable . . .  The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.”

But there has been serious impairment to the dignity of the United Kingdom by the buffoonish pronouncements of a most senior member of its government.  Certainly, Johnson is one of these exceptionally intelligent people who is, in the final analysis, a fool, and it is barely credible that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the balanced and sensible leader of the Conservative Party, could continue to endorse the absurd clowning of her foreign secretary.

Nevertheless, he remains in that appointment, and therefore it must be presumed that the British government approves of the use of mob demonstrations to illustrate its censorious position as regards Russia — and, by definition of that endorsement, all nations it considers to have in some manner offended against British policies.  Johnson made it clear that he wished to poison relations between London and Moscow, and although the Russian foreign ministry reacted with dignity and amusement rather than anger to his bizarre exhortation, there is no doubt he achieved his aim of raising the level of confrontation with Russia.

Perhaps he was trying to match or even outdo the confrontation capers across the Atlantic where, in the course of a presidential election campaign which has developed into a bizarre circus that daily reaches new depths of vulgarity and xenophobic crudity, the anti-Russia candidate, Hillary Clinton, has made it clear that if she becomes president she will never deal with President Putin.  Her contempt and hatred goes back a long way, and first became obvious when she was electioneering in the time of President GW Bush, who had said after his first meeting with Russia’s president that “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He’s a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”  His point was that  US-Russia relations would be greatly helped by personal understanding, which is a sensible approach to international affairs.

But Clinton dismissed the Bush statement with derisive scorn by declaring that President Putin “was a KGB agent. . .  By definition he doesn’t have a soul. I mean, this is a waste of time, right?  This is nonsense.”

At the election debate between Trump and Clinton on October 10 she reinforced her anti-Russia stance by formally pronouncing her belief that Russia is an enemy of the United States.

She was recorded as saying that “Putin and the Russian government are directing the [cyber] attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election . . .  We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election, and believe, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They are doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump. Now, maybe because he praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow.”

So far as the next likely president of the United States of America is concerned, Russia is “an adversary” and anyone who speaks approvingly of President Putin must be condemned as a supporter of an enemy.

It could not be more plain that Clinton will never, unlike President Bush, even attempt to forge a “constructive relationship” with Russia.  The confrontational approach that was promoted by Obama will reach new depths and intensity under President Hillary Clinton, and in this she will be joined by the United Kingdom.

The drumbeats of open hostility are growing louder, and soon we shall see how far Washington and London are prepared to go.  And we shall also see for how long Moscow is prepared to accept their insults, their deployment of troops, warships and combat aircraft along Russia’s borders, and the growing level of relentless confrontation.

A version of this piece appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on October 14.

More articles by:

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail