Thursday, November 06, 2014

NYT-picking Putin

Patrick L. Smith has written a spot-on analysis of the NYT and Vladimir Putin. The immediate concern is a major speech given by Putin, but this article casts a wider net -- it addresses the weird, misleading views of Russia and Ukraine that are continually drummed into the heads of all Americans.
Give me a sec to count. In my lifetime the Soviet Union and latterly the Russian Federation have had nine leaders. Stalin’s death elevated Malenkov and then Khrushchev, and the banishing of Khrushchev led to Brezhnev. Then came a pair of forgettables, then Gorbachev and on to the ever-inebriated Yeltsin (whom one wants dearly to forget). For 15 years, counting the Dmitry Medvedev interval, Vladimir Putin has held the wheel of the Russian bus.

Of all these figures only Stalin, and only in his post-“Uncle Joe” years, has been vilified to the extent of the current Russian leader. The question is obvious and I hope not too complicated: Why?
Damned good question. I think the answer is that Putin, unlike Yeltsin, has refused to be our creature, and has refused to allow "the West" to rape his country.

Putin's speech castigated Washington's elites as the architects of new era of Total Global Chaos. In the NYT, the sole substantive response was offered by Serge Schmemann. The headline above Schmemann's text says it all: "Blaming the West for Things Gone Wrong, Mr. Putin Sings an Old Tune."

Here's Smith on Schmemann:
You will see a classic case of Times’-style innuendo and the use of language as instruction in what to think. And you will understand, if you do not already, why I think American responses to Putin can fairly be called childish.
Here is Schmemann on the Ukraine passages of the presentation: “In Mr. Putin’s version of the Ukrainian crisis, the United States was the instigator of the protests in Kiev that led to a ‘coup’ against President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent fighting. One American participant told Mr. Putin she was hard put to recognize her country as the one he was describing.”

Well, confused American participant, you make an interesting point. Washington has created a version of events in Ukraine that amounts to a parallel reality, and people such as Schmemann are paid to perpetuate it. If it is of any help: There was a coup, there were neo-fascists among its leaders, the State Department backed it, and the evidence of all this is indisputable.
“What is hard to gauge listening to Mr. Putin,” Schmemann writes, “is whether he really means to put the blame for all things wrong on the United States, or whether he is cynically using the old Soviet gimmick of projecting onto America and the West all the faults of which the U.S.S.R. itself was accused.”

Hmmm. The thought never occurred to me. I suppose it is a strange idea to some of us, but I think even Russians can mean what they say, I think Putin did, and we are better off for his having said it.
I'll say it, even if Smith won't: It is becoming increasingly difficult to think of a sin committed by the old USSR that is not also a failing of modern America. Democracy? I suppose we have some democracy left, although the role of money in elections makes a mockery of true democracy. Thanks to the internet, we even have some freedom of the press -- as long as you know when to ignore publications like the New York Times.
English text of Putin's speech;

Video of Putin's speech;

Putin's forty minute prepared speech is at the beginning.
At 1:14 begins the long open question-answer session with Putin that is very informative.
The way the man presents himself is 180 degrees from what you read in the western press.
Putin's no Slavophile. He's a westerniser. But he represents westernisation not under western control.

In Russia, you've got to go back to Tsar Peter I for a parallel. Who was long before the NYT's time.

As for the rest of the world, what have you got? The Citroen 2CV and Brigitte Bardot in France? No great power has been anything close to this successful at this game.

(Israel, a westernised settler state whose controllers also control the US, is a different kettle of fish.)

And Putin represents westernisation to the west itself, through RT and using other very well-run and well-understood propaganda means. For that, there is no parallel.

(That Soviet interpreter in the 1980s who knew how to wow a press room and could speak in various US accents operated at a much lower level!)

The rulers of the west don't like that one bit.

It's something the US has never had to face before. I am sure Putin is growing in popularity in Germany, France, the Hispanic world, the Arab world, and very probably also much of non-Russian Asia.

The KGB in its present incarnation is a formidable organisation and culture. It will have been playing both sides of the street in Ukraine (neo-fascists in Europe without a KGB presence - give me a break!) and it seems to me as though it has achieved its objectives. They've completely outplayed the US and the EU in the Ukraine. Sure, the US has got its puppets in power in Kiev, but in the 'game' that comes (huge sovereign debt, anyone?), the KGB are going to be on top.

That's given of course that in conflict the law is laid down to you by the opponent.

(The coming winter in the Ukraine may be very hard for the population of that country. I wouldn't be surprised if famine returns. Rulers in the US, Russia and Ukraine itelf, far from 'caring', will look only for opportunities. I damn well hope that as many people as possible in Ukraine do some 'prepping'. Not that they need my advice on that.)

If you want to look for contradictions within the KGB-sphere I think the most important one relates to the Jewish mafia and to contradictions within that. Israel is of much greater importance to Russia than might at first seem to the the case. Shimon Peres went to Moscow in connection with the Arctic Sea affair.

US intelligence can wind up their puppets Andrei Navalny and Pussy Riot and set them ticking. Big deal. And it wouldn't surprise me if the KGB had a big share, or even a controlling share, in both. But if that kind of operation was going to lead to a regime change in Russia and to Russian cabinet ministers kowtowing to Michael Bloomberg as British cabinet ministers do, it would already have happened.

There isn't going to be a 'colour revolution' in Russia, not even in the 'new, improved' form of a 'spring' or an 'occupy movement'. No way.

Nor will the US be able to do a Gaddafi or Yanukovych on Putin.

Where they might be able to have a big influence is if they play the Zionist card and go for mafia war on the streets.
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