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By Sean — 9 years ago
The BBC aren’t the only ones still sorting out South Ossetia. Mark Ames dismantles the NY Times coverage in “The Cold War that Wasn’t“. Like most American media, the Times was fully on board with the Russia = bad, Georgia = good crusade. That is until facts made it too difficult to blindly sustain that line. Even then, the Times made no overt self-criticism, and instead opted for articles showing that maybe Georgia wasn’t the glowing democracy that we all were made to believe it was. A good correction, though horribly academic when it was published two months after the conflict was over. Taking this as a cue, Ames rhetorically asks, then answers:
It’s interesting that the Times published this exactly two months after Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia–a military decision so off-the-scale idiotic that to call it a “gamble” is an insult to struggling addicts like Bill Bennett.
The real question, then, is why the Times waited until this late to question its own position–why wait until the war was long off the front pages, to publish an article about what everyone with an ounce of journalistic curiosity already knew–that Saakashvili was about as much a democrat as he was a military genius?
The push in the West by outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post to get a new cold war on hinged on two major fallacies: (1) that Russia invaded Georgia first, totally unprovoked, because Georgia is a “democracy”; and (2), that Georgia is a “democracy.”
Justin Raimondo over at Antiwar.com tackles the Georgia issue by focusing on the fact that Saakashvili’s little war got him a big payout in return, proving the profitability of being recognized as a Western-style democracy. The World Bank donors’ conference in Belgium has $4.5 billion in Western money coming to the rescue to rebuild the Caucasian nation’s “infrastructure.” That’s about a billion more than the World Bank’s initial target. Though not intended for the Georgian military, one only assume that much of those funds will find its way weapons purchases. In more honest times, the US and its European allies would have just given weapons to Georgia. However, in these politically correct, “humanitarian” times, militarism must be shrouded in the facade of aid. And the fact that none of this money will go to the real victims, the South Ossetians, is a no brainer. As Raimondo concludes, the donor’s money will most likely slither its way
through Saakashvili and his cronies, who would rather leave the shattered infrastructure of bombed-out Tskhinvali as it is today, a stark reminder of what may very well reoccur should the Ossetians persist in going their own way. If anyone rebuilds, it will have to be the Russians. The private sector aid will be used to buy up Georgian assets on behalf of Western corporate interests. The difference between the World Bank figure and the number announced in Brussels – nearly half a billion – will cover bribes, covert action operations carried out by Western intelligence agencies, and other incidentals.When challenged, proponents of foreign aid programs invariably reply: yes, but look at the minuscule numbers! Why, foreign aid is less than one percent of the total overseas budget, including, one supposes, military expenditures – but so what? The point is that these programs do real harm, in most cases achieving the exact opposite of their intended purpose. And in this particular case, the entire package is premised on a lie, and a freshly debunked one at that. What’s really going on here is that the West is rewarding Saakashvili for his recklessness, and inciting him to commit fresh assaults. This course guarantees war.Post Views: 131
By Sean — 10 years ago
Is this the beginning of the big payback for Vasilii Yakemenko’s loyal service to Putin? News sources say that Yakemenko will be named a member of the newly created Committee on Youth. And from the Kremlin’s point of view, its a position well deserved. Yakemenko is responsible for turning the moribund pro-Putin group Walking Together, which he founded in 2000, into the flamboyant Nashi. Sure Nashi’s influence over Russian politics may be slight, but in two years, thanks to Kremlin and corporate monetary and political capital, the movement has turned into another Kremlin populist mechanism to curry favor among politically active and ambitious youth. Now as a member of a quasi-cabinet position, Yakemenko will surely have even more resources at his disposal. Yakemenko’s appointment, says Iulia Taratuta of Kommersant, “marks the start of his rise up the ladder of officialdom.” One can only speculate how high his political ambitions are.
Officially, however, the choice for who will staff the Committee on Youth will be decided Sunday. But Kremlin sources have told Kommersant and Vedomosti that in addition to Yakemenko, Kremlin youth political coordinator Nikita Ivanov, and Molodaia gvardiia leader Andrei Turchak will also be tapped. The exact functions of the Committee have yet to be disclosed, but according to Kommersant, it will “define state policy on youth, cooperate with social organizations and youth movements, and even promote a healty form of live and patriotic education to youth.” Such tasks sound all too familiar. So familiar that Putin’s denials that Nashi isn’t a “restoration of the Komsomol” aren’t fooling anyone.
The question for the near future, however, is what does all this mean for Nashi’s role in the upcoming elections if Yakemenko is coordinating youth policy from the Kremlin. One Kremlin source told Kommersant that mobilizing youth participation in the elections will be moved to United Russia, specifically under the command of Molodaia gvardiia’s Turchak. As for Yakemenko, he will be given a purse especially earmarked for “youth” of around 160 million rubles from the state budget and a regional budget said to number in the millions of dollars to dole out to political allies. That’s a good chunk of change to build a personal political fiefdom.
Thanks to Dmitri Minaev for drawing my attention to the articles.Post Views: 118
By Sean — 8 years ago
In Russia, the time of great campaigns has returned. In Soviet times, we broke new ground and planted corn. Then we fought against drunkenness and concerned ourselves with economic acceleration. We were not always successful, but certainly in the real world. Today’s Russia proclaims the slogan of modernization. But so far this modernization is only in cyberspace.