Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bad News and Media Nonesense

by Norman Markowitz

There are a few stories making the rounds today which show the priorities of our mass media First, Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, reported in the Woodward-Bernstein tradition that the Bush White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam and then use the forgery as part of its phony "evidence" for Iraq's having weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration is screaming no, the CIA is in high damage control, and the former agents who told this to Suskind are backtracking under CIA pressure. Now is the time in a democracy of any kind for a free press to start rolling, since these actions in so far as they contributed to the invasion are clear impeachable offenses, "high crimes" of a political nature. But the story is being buried.

Instead, TV media, CNN et al, is saturating viewers with stories of John Edwards extramarital affair, making endless analyzes of his statement admitting the affair, crying crocodile tears for his wife (this is the way I see it, since if they had any respect for her, they would shut up) and sanctimoniously proclaiming the end of Edwards political career.

As someone who wrote a positive article on Edwards for the print edition of Political Affairs, let me say that these events have nothing directly to do with his qualifications, achievements, and the militant pro labor campaign that he ran. John Edwards would make an outstanding Attorney General, given his background as an attorney fighting powerful corporations. I would say to CNN et la about john Edwards what a politician endorsing Grover Cleveland, the Democratic Presidential Candidate who admitted to fathering an illegitimate child, over James G. Blaine, the Republican caught in scandals involving bribes from big railroad interests, in the 1884 presidential campaign--that since (I am paraphrasing) Blaine had a fine private life and a terrible public life and Cleveland had a fine public life and a terrible private life, Cleveland should be advanced in public life and Blaine retired to private life.

But there is a very important big story developing in the former Soviet Union, which should give readers insight into what the destruction of the Soviet Union has meant. The Soviet idea of a family of peoples, united under socialism with broad-based planned economic equality and with linguistic and cultural rights, has largely been destroyed. The constituent republics of the Soviet Union were destroyed and today anti-Communist post Soviet government's square off against each other.

The young Georgian president, a former associate and later rival of Edward Shevardnadze's, the Gorbachev foreign minister who literally abandoned all of the tenets of Soviet foreign policy since its inception and ran "independent" Georgia as a fiefdom after the fall of the USSR, has advocated naming a Georgian mountain after Arnold Schwarzenegger, sought to bring U.S. capitalist efficiency to Georgia and, most of all join NAT0. To the anti-Communist Kremlin government, the former is completely unacceptable, as it would be to any Russian government, since NATO was created as an anti-Soviet, anti-Communist alliance system and with the fall of the Soviet Union, capitalist policy is to treat "new Russia," the way it previously treated Czarist Russia, as a place to extract raw materials and a possible military threat.

There is an important oil pipeline involved in this conflict, in which Russia is supporting a separatist region of Georgia as it had since Georgia separated from the Soviet Union. All over the former Soviet Union, ethnic conflicts have emerged, often with a clear economic foundation, as various forms of capitalism have developed. The crisis is very dangerous, since Russian forces are advancing into Georgia proper, and there are voices that are calling for U.S. and United Nations actions. The benighted Georgian president is even trying to revive in a farcical manner the old cold war "Munich analogy," comparing the Russian intervention on behalf of separatists to Hitler's annexation of the

German speaking Czech Sudetenland. Of course, the "appeasement" of Hitler was aimed at maintaining the containment or quarantine directed at the time against the Soviet Union and in effect encouraging Hitler to attack the Soviet Union, just as the expansion of NATO into former
Warsaw Treaty countries is aimed at intimidating any Russian government of any kind. Also, the Czech Sudetenland was never part of any German state, whereas all of Georgia was part of the USSR, along with the other former Soviet Republics.

Russia still has great nuclear arsenals and overkill nuclear capacity, however it has been weakened politically, economically and in a sense morally by the destruction of the Soviet Union. Hopefully, the Bush administration will not be reckless enough to deepen this conflict in some hope that it could help McCain in the election by reviving cold war fears. Who knows? If Bush could get away with linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, he might think that he could get away with linking the present Russian leadership with a revived Soviet Union and Soviet Power.