Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tensions are the Empire’s Coin of the Realm

Putin's NATO Beef

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Conservatives are upset over critical remarks made by Russian President Putin about the U.S. Empire and its interventions and abuses all over the world. Not surprisingly, they’re resorting to attacking Putin for hypocrisy rather than considering the distinct possibility that what he is saying about the U.S. government might be true.

After all, let’s not forget that the U.S. government has attacked and occupied a country that never attacked the United States, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people in the process, and is threatening to do the same to Iran and North Korea. It is a government that claims the right to attack any other country on earth as the self-proclaimed enforcer of the GBOT (global war on terror). And that it claims the right to torture, abuse, and execute any suspected terrorist found anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenry, without any judicial involvement.

The Los Angeles Times pointed out in an editorial yesterday a classic case of U.S. foreign-policy double-dealing and double-cross.

The Times points out that at the end of the Cold War, a deal was struck between Russia and the U.S. in which Russia would accede to German reunification and a withdrawal of troops from Eastern Europe in return for the U.S. commitment to not expand NATO to Russia’s borders.

As the Times editorial points out, “That is precisely what followed…. Within a few years, the U.S. turned vindictive victor in the eyes of Russia, allowing former Warsaw Pact members into NATO, including the formerly Soviet Baltic republics. The humiliation, and seeming encirclement, of Russia continues relentlessly to this day, with talk of someday bringing Georgia and Ukraine into the club.”

How many Americans are aware of this? I’d bet 0.01 percent (about the same number that know about the CIA’s secret, illegal ouster of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister in 1953 and the installation of a brutal dictator that tortured his people until extremist Iranian revolutionaries succeeded in ousting him from power in 1979). It’s how the U.S. Empire has operated for decades — in secrecy so that they can “play the innocent” when there is retaliatory blowback.

Why wasn’t NATO, whose mission was to protect against a Soviet attack, dismantled after the dismantling of the Soviet Union? Good question! Maybe because if it was dismantled, it could not be used to increase tensions with Russia.

After the Cold War, U.S. officials turned on their old partner and ally Saddam Hussein and made him the bad-guy poster child of the 1990s to scare Americans to death. Throughout the 1990s, they poked hornet’s nests in the Middle East with their Persian Gulf intervention, their brutal sanctions against Iraq, their stationing of troops on Islamic holy lands, their no-fly zones, and their foreign aid to both Israel and Arab governments.

That produced terrorist strikes on American ships abroad, U.S. Embassies, the WTC in 1993, and of course the 9/11 attacks.

By increasing tensions abroad, the Empire had finally provided the Pentagon with its new mission — the GWOT — and its new justification for ever increasing budgets (and debt, inflation, and taxes) for the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us against.

Will Americans finally see through the big-government, big Empire foreign-policy scam before it’s too late?

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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