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  • 16

    The Tragedy of 1204 Redux
    Globalism; Posted on: 2008-04-10 12:59:28 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Russia and the West

    by Srdja Trifkovic

    As the demographic, geopolitical and ideological challenge of global Jihad to the shrinking remnant of Christendom looms ever larger, the West appears hell-bent on cordoning off, fragmenting, and eventually destroying the only Eastern Christian power that could and therefore should be its partner in the joint struggle. In the name of lofty ideals, but in truth roused by avarice, blinkered by ideology, and driven by raw cultural prejudice, Western leaders are endangering their own nations by forcing a key potential ally into resentful, and potentially menacing, acceptance of its “otherness.”

    No, I am not talking about Byzantium in 1204, although the above description would be apt enough. The tragedy of over eight centuries ago is being repeated with Russia, not as a farce but as a potentially even greater tragedy.

    Back then the endeavor was conducted under the cover of the Fourth Crusade. In the name of Christendom and with the stated goal of liberating the Holy Land from the Muslim yoke, the existential enemy, the Frankoi embarked on a campaign that had the conquest and sack of Christian Constantinople as its end result. Today the idiocy and hypocrisy is no less audacious, yet depressingly familiar:

    * Earlier in this decade, in the name of “democracy,” a massive joint Euro-American disinformation and electoral manipulation campaign was undertaken to secure the victory of the chosen faction in Geogria and to try and mould the Ukraine into a mirror image of its morbidly Russophobic western third.

    * In the name of “human rights” the West is supporting the church-burning, dope-dealing terrorists of Pristina today, just as they had found alibis for the child murderers of Beslan five years ago, ridiculing Russia’s claim to be battling the same enemy that caused 9-11.

    With some differences of emphasis, most recently over NATO’s expansion along the Black Sea, the policy-making, academic and media class in Europe and America displays a surprising identity of cultural assumptions and ideological preferences. The tone and substance of rhetoric and propaganda have been replicated at both ends of the political spectrum—neoliberal and neoconservative—here and abroad.

    The totality of U.S.-Russian relations over the past decade and a half—including the antiballistic-missile shield, Nabucco pipeline, demands for Black Sea NATO expansion, designs in Central Asia, Kosovo, allegations of “human-rights violations” and “backtracking on democracy,” etc.—reveals a stunning reversal of the two countries’ geopolitical roles.

    The Soviet Union came into being as a revolutionary state that challenged any given status quo in principle, starting with the Comintern and ending three generations later with Afghanistan. Some of its aggressive actions and hostile impulses could be explained in light of “traditional” Russian motives, such as the need for security; at root, however, there was always an ideology unlimited in ambition and global in scope.

    At first, the United States tried to appease and accommodate the Soviets, then moved to containment (1947), and spent the next four decades building and maintaining essentially defensive mechanisms—such as NATO—designed to prevent any major change in the global balance. By the late 1970’s, the system appeared to be faltering, especially in the Third World.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been trying to rearticulate her goals and define her policies in terms of classic national interests: peace and prosperity at home, stable domestic institutions, secure borders, friendly neighbors. The old Soviet dual-track policy of having “normal” relations with America, on the one hand, while seeking to subvert her, on the other, gave way to naïve attempts by Boris Yeltsin to forge a “partnership” with the US.

    By contrast, the early 1990’s witnessed the blossoming of America’s strident attempt to assert her status as the only global “hyperpower.” This ambition was inherently inimical to post-Soviet stabilization and kept Washington from entertaining any suggestion that Russia might, in fact, have legitimate interests in her own post-Soviet backyard. The justification for the new American project was as ideological, and the implications were as revolutionary, as anything concocted by Zinoviev or Trotsky in their heyday.

    In essence, the United States adopted her own dual-track approach. When Mikhail Gorbachev’s agreement was needed for German reunification, President George H.W. Bush gave a firm and public promise that NATO wound not move eastward. Within six years, however, Bill Clinton expanded NATO to include all the former Warsaw Pact countries of Central Europe. Another round of NATO expansion came under George W. Bush, when three former Soviet Baltic republics were admitted—and the process is far from over. Georgia and the Ukraine are off the front burner for now, but not off the agenda. The rationale for NATO’s continued existence was found in the nebulous and eminently revolutionary concept of “humanitarian intervention” used against the Serbs in 1999.

    The collapse of Russia’s state institutions and social infrastructure under Yeltsin, accompanied by a hyperinflation that reduced the middle class and pensioners to penury, was a trauma of incomparably greater magnitude than the Great Depression. Yet its architects—Anatoly Chubais, Yegor Gaidar, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov—were hailed in Washington as “pro-Western reformers,” and their political factions and media outlets were duly supported by the U.S. taxpayers, by way of a network of quasi-NGOs. The wholesale robbery of Russian resources by the Moscow oligarchs and the fire sale of drilling concessions to the oligarchs’ Western cohorts became a contentious issue in U.S.-Russian relations only a decade later, with the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Likewise although there was no evidence that Anna Politkovskaya was killed on Putin’s orders, the U.S. media immediately jumped to that conclusion in November 2006. By contrast, when a nationalist opposition leader was gunned down last May in would-be NATO candidate Georgia—the fiefdom of Mr. Bush’s good friend Mikhail Saakashvili—the event was ignored here and barely mentioned in Europe.

    News Source: Chronicles


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