Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reviving the "Red Menace" When Russia is No Longer Red

by Norman Markowitz

There is what I consider a low level propaganda article as against a news story or analysis in the New York Times, which, in part because it is in the _NYT_, deserves some comment on the dangers confronting us.

The article, titled, "In Ukraine, Fear of Being a Resurgent Russia;s Next Target" begins with the line, "For17 years now several former satellites and republics of the Soviet Union have cherished their democracies, all made possible by the simple premise that the days of Russian dominance were over.”

Actually, the article which has little real news in it then goes on to have ordinary people taking different positions on the question, but it conflates former Warsaw Treaty states (called "satellites" rather than "protectorates" the term that the British used for those states who were in their close sphere of influence) and "former Soviet republics.

In the article, there is "Russia" meaning the autocratic new Russian state (much better than the USSR because it is capitalist oriented and so much weaker) and there is the "West" (meaning the European Union and the U.S. and the military U.S. NAT0 bloc).

Whereas in the past the "West" was anti-Communist and anti-Soviet, today it is merely anti-Russian, establishing NATO states among former Soviet Republics (a number of Warsaw Treaty States have already joined NATO) to provide military muscle for the exploitation of these regions resources and labor, in effect making them into de facto "protectorates" or "satellites, " as "free" and "independent" as were the Dominican Republic under Trujillo or Cuba under Batista.

The U.S. was a little different than the other imperialist powers; it denied it was doing anything to countries like Cuba and and the Dominican Republic except guarding their "freedom" and "self determination" Later its Cold War leaders applauded the term satellite, widely used in German geopolitical theory by those who did think tank work for Nazis, to the Soviet Union's allies.

The article goes on to praise Viktor Yuschenko, the president of Ukraine and "orange revolution" leader who supports NAT0 membership, EU membership, and "free market reforms"(although not from my readings as extreme or autocratic as Saakashvili)

If the reporters, Nicholas Kulish and Sara Rhodin, read their own story, they might grasp what they are saying.

Being free and independent means making deals with powerful "Western' foreign corporations over the future of your economy in the name of "free markets" which in turn means acceptance of the U.S. European model of capitalism.

Finally it means joining NAT0, the alliance originally created by the U.S. and Britain which included all of the former European imperialist states (.NAT0's original purpose at the was to fight WWIII in Europe against the Soviet Union and its allies. Today serves to both enforce capitalist social relations in former socialist countries(as it initially served to protect capitalist rule in countries like France and Italy with large influential Communist parties) and to intervene as a multi-lateral force where needed in former colonial regions.

Being a "satellite" or a "captive nation" in the past meant being a constituent Republic of the Soviet Union or an East European nation which the Soviets liberated from the Nazis and then used their power to establish their model of socialism and draw those nations to them in a military alliance(pretty much what the the U.S. and a number of the EU Nations, or rather the political horses they are backing, are doing).

When the Russians see this as a threat to them, both militarily and economically, since they have the greatest wealth in natural resources, they are being "resurgent," threatening peace and security, etc.

Robert McNamara, former president of the Ford Motor Company, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War escalation, and later President of the World Bank(someone I do not identify with or agree with on any level in terms of policy but someone who as both a capitalist manager of large corporations and state bureaucracies showed within the system that he was working great intelligence, was the main figure in a remarkable recent documentary.

"The Fog of War," where he presented a series of lessons to those who were willing to listen. One of the major ones was "emphasize with your enemy"(or rival) see things as they would see them(something he admitted the administration's he served didn't do in the Vietnam War). No one right now in U.S. media, or for that matter in politics is "empathizing" on any level with Russia, not seeing them in terms of their history, their present situation, or, for that matter, what they would do if they were in Russia's situation. Instead, they are fanning the flames of conflict, using a language that can only lead to heightened conflict.