[News] Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 8 13:30:13 EST 2012


Why Putin is driving Washington nuts
By Pepe Escobar

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NC09Ag01.html

Mar 9, 2012

Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, 
Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the 
problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the 
foreseeable future, Washington's top bogeyman - and also for its 
rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media 
shills - will be none other than back-to-the-future Russian President 
Vladimir Putin.

And make no mistake; Vlad the Putinator will relish it. He's back 
exactly where he wants to be; as Russia's commander-in-chief, in 
charge of the military, foreign policy and all national security matters.

Anglo-American elites still squirm at the mention of his now 
legendary Munich 2007 speech, when he blasted the then George W Bush 
administration for its obsessively unipolar imperial agenda "through 
a system which has nothing to do with democracy" and non-stop 
overstepping of its "national borders in almost all spheres"."

So Washington and its minions have been warned. Before last Sunday's 
election, Putin even advertised his 
<http://en.rian.ru/world/20120227/171547818.html>road map The 
essentials; no war on Syria; no war on Iran; no "humanitarian 
bombing" or fomenting "color revolutions" - all bundled into a new 
concept, "illegal instruments of soft power". For Putin, a 
Washington-engineered New World Order is a no-go. What rules is "the 
time-honored principle of state sovereignty".

No wonder. When Putin looks at Libya, he sees the graphic, regressive 
consequences of NATO's "liberation" through "humanitarian bombing"; a 
fragmented country controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militias; backward 
Cyrenaica splitting from more developed Tripolitania; and a relative 
of the last king brought in to rule the new "emirate" - to the 
delight of those model democrats of the House of Saud.

More key essentials; no US bases encircling Russia; no US missile 
defense without strict admission, in writing, that the system will 
never target Russia; and increasingly close cooperation among the 
BRICS group of emerging powers.

Most of this was already implied in Putin's previous road map - his 
paper <http://premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/16622/>A new integration 
project for Eurasia: The future in the making. That was Putin's ippon 
- he loves judo - against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
(NATO), the International Monetary Fund and hardcore neo-liberalism. 
He sees a Eurasian Union as a "modern economic and currency union" 
stretching all across Central Asia.

For Putin, Syria is an important detail (not least because of 
Russia's naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, which NATO 
would love to abolish). But the meat of the matter is Eurasia 
integration. Atlanticists will freak out en masse as he puts all his 
efforts into coordinating "a powerful supranational union that can 
become one of the poles of today's world while being an efficient 
connecting link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region".

The opposite roadmap will be Obama and Hillary's Pacific 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011102812222630653.html>doctrine. 
Now how exciting is that?

Putin plays Pipelineistan
It was Putin who almost single-handedly spearheaded the resurgence of 
Russia as a mega energy superpower (oil and gas accounts for 
two-thirds of Russia's exports, half of the federal budget and 20% of 
gross domestic product). So expect Pipelineistan to remain key.

And it will be mostly centered on gas; although Russia holds no less 
than 30% of global gas supplies, its liquid natural gas (LNG) 
production is less than 5% of the global market share. It's not even 
among the top ten producers.

Putin knows that Russia will need buckets of foreign investment in 
the Arctic - from the West and especially Asia - to keep its oil 
production above 10 million barrels a day. And it needs to strike a 
complex, comprehensive, trillion-dollar deal with China centered on 
Eastern Siberia gas fields; the oil angle has been already taken care 
of via the East Siberian Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. Putin knows 
that for China - in terms of securing energy - this deal is a vital 
counterpunch against Washington's shady "pivoting" towards Asia.

Putin will also do everything to consolidate the South Stream 
pipeline - which may end up costing a staggering $22 billion (the 
shareholder agreement is already signed between Russia, Germany, 
France and Italy. South Stream is Russian gas delivered under the 
Black Sea to the southern part of the EU, through Bulgaria, Serbia, 
Hungary and Slovakia). If South Stream is a go, rival pipeline 
Nabucco is checkmated; a major Russian victory against Washington 
pressure and Brussels bureaucrats.

Everything is still up for grabs at the crucial intersection of 
hardcore geopolitics and Pipelineistan. Once again Putin will be 
facing yet another Washington road map - the not exactly successful 
New Silk Road (See 
<http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MK04Df03.html>US's post-2014 
Afghan agenda falters, Asia Times Online, Nov 4, 2011.)

Ant then there's the joker in the pack - the Shanghai Cooperation 
Organization (SCO). Putin will want Pakistan to become a full member 
as much as China is interested in incorporating Iran. The 
repercussions would be ground-breaking - as in Russia, China, 
Pakistan and Iran coordinating not only their economic integration 
but their mutual security inside a strengthened SCO, whose motto is 
"non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs 
of other countries".

Putin sees that with Russia, Central Asia and Iran controlling no 
less than 50% of world's gas reserves, and with Iran and Pakistan as 
virtual SCO members, the name of the game becomes Asia integration - 
if not Eurasia's. The SCO develops as an economic/security 
powerhouse, while, in parallel, Pipelineistan accelerates the full 
integration of the SCO as a counterpunch to NATO. The regional 
players themselves will decide what makes more sense - this or a New 
Silk Road invented in Washington.

Make no mistake. Behind the relentless demonization of Putin and the 
myriad attempts to delegitimize Russia's presidential elections, lie 
some very angry and powerful sections of Washington and Anglo-American elites.

They know Putin will be an ultra tough negotiator on all fronts. They 
know Moscow will apply increasingly closer coordination with China; 
on thwarting permanent NATO bases in Afghanistan; on facilitating 
Pakistan's strategic autonomy; on opposing missile defense; on 
ensuring Iran is not attacked.

He will be the devil of choice because there could not be a more 
formidable opponent in the world stage to Washington's plans - be 
they coded as Greater Middle East, New Silk Road, Full Spectrum 
Dominance or America's Pacific Century. Ladies and gentlemen, let's 
get ready to rumble.

Pepe Escobar is the author of 
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0978813820/simpleproduction/ref=nosim>Globalistan: 
How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 
2007) and 
<http://www.amazon.com/Red-Zone-Blues-snapshot-Baghdad/dp/0978813898>Red 
Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent 
book, just out, is 
<http://www.amazon.com/Obama-Does-Globalistan-Pepe-Escobar/dp/1934840831/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233698286&sr=8-1>Obama 
does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com



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