Russia: an “Existential Threat”? - (PART 8)
by Gary Leupp
First of all, the NATO advocates, however often they repeat that “We’re not against Russia, this isn’t about Russia,” do indeed posit an enduring Russian threat. Thus General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the most senior British officer in NATO, stated last February that Russia poses “an obvious existential threat to our whole being.” Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command told the Aspen Security Forum in July that “Russia could pose an existential threat to the United States.”
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) warned Obama to sign a military appropriations bill because Russia poses “an existential threat” to the U.S. Philanthropist George Soros (who likes to finance “color revolutions”) wrote in the New York review of Books in October that “Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence.”
These are wild, stupid words coming from highly placed figures. Isn’t it obvious that Russia is the one being surrounded, pressured and threatened? That its military budget is a fraction of the U.S.’s, its global military presence miniscule in relation to the U.S. footprint?
But anyone watching the U.S. presidential candidates’ debates—and who can perceive the prevalence of paranoia about Russia, the unthinking acceptance of the “Putin as Hitler” theme, and the obligatory expression of determination to make America more “strong”—can understand why the expansion of NATO is so horribly dangerous.
People who do not think rationally or whose minds are twisted by arrogance can look at the maps of NATO expansion and think proudly, “This is how it should be! Why would anyone question the need for nations to protect themselves by allying with the United States? It’s alliances like NATO that preserve peace and stability in the world.”
(Some are able to believe that, perhaps, but the fact is the world has become less peaceful and far less stable than it was during the Cold War when the two superpowers checked one another’s moves. Thereafter the U.S. emerged as what a French diplomat has called an “hyper-puissance” or hyper-power intervening with impunity in multiple countries and producing new, often ugly forms of resistance.)
People looking at the NATO map of Europe can mentally color in Montenegro too. A tiny republic on the Adriatic with under 650,000 people, it was formally invited by NATO to submit its membership application on December 2. What other countries have yet to sign?
As mentioned, in 2008 NATO announced that Georgia and Ukraine would join. But their cases actually seem to be on hold. Belarus, wedged between Poland and Russia, has been under the self-styled “authoritarian” President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. The regime, considered close to Moscow, was targeted by an abortive U.S.-funded “color revolution”* in March 2006. The U.S. favored Mikhail Marynich, a former ambassador to Latvia and proponent of NATO membership. (He participated in a closed-door NATO “War and Peace” conference in Riga in November 2006.)
Then there is Moldova, the former Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic located between Romania and Ukraine. To its east is the breakaway republic of Transnitria, where ethnic Moldovans are a minority and Russians and Ukrainians make up almost 60% of the population. It is a “frozen conflict” zone. The neocon dream is to ultimately change all their regimes and draw them all into the warm embrace of NATO.
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
in the Land or Mordor where the shadows lie
What do you do after you complete the western encirclement of Russia? Why, you destabilize the country itself, hoping to slice it up!** Russia remains a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation. There are tensions and secessionist movements to exploit in the Caucasus particularly, but also on the Karelian Peninsula and in Siberia.
If Russia is an existential threat, its own existence is a threat, right? So why not cut it up?
Doesn’t the logic of NATO expansion require an enemy, and doesn’t America lead the world in defeating enemies?
Or if not, isn’t NATO itself the real threat? (After all, didn’t it, in its last major project, totally wreck the modern state of Libya, and as a result destabilize Mali?)
Shouldn’t we welcome tensions within NATO, and failures of member states to devote the required 2% of GDP to military expenses? Shouldn’t we welcome resistance to further expansion, complaints about U.S. arm-twisting, and calls for cooperation with Russia rather than confrontation and destruction?
* The US will probably continue to arm militants in Syria, keeping Putin busy, at least until 2016 presidential elections. With a more willing puppet than Obama to follow neocon agenda (any GOP, or Hillary), Washington may then open a new front in the Russian borders. Western media focused on the recent win of Alexander Lukashenko, while insist to call him 'last dictator of Europe'. It is not accidental that Lukashenko opposed Western-backed "shock therapy" during the post-Soviet transition. The one that under IMF mafia destroyed Russian economy in the late 90s. Maybe the various US think tanks design another 'color revolution' in Belarus this time, as the game in Ukraine appears to be lost for now.
** What we see in Ukraine is probably another failure of various think tanks, mostly from Washington, which they are funded, of course, by the international capital. It seems that, apart from the fact that they have underestimated Putin's abilities, they have also wrongly estimated that Russia had passed permanently in the neoliberal phase and would be ready to become an easy victim to promote their plans. According to these plans, the ultimate goal would be probably to dissolve the vast Russian territory in future and bring in power Western-friendly puppet regimes, in order not only to conquer the valuable resources, but also to impose permanently the neoliberal doctrine on "unexplored" regions and populations.