They might as well of put it on a silver platter for them.
Russia's military is surprised by the Georgian army's negligence
An elite group of Georgian special forces drove into the "Russian-occupied" Poti on 5 U.S. military Hummers this week. The vehicles were carrying explosives, firearms and top-secret satellite technology — the pride of NATO generals.
The Russian military learned the special forces were approaching the city long before their arrival. Their movement was detected by satellite and reports had been received from local Georgians angered by Saakashvili's recent military actions.
According to Russian officials, they didn't expect that a key unit of Georgian intelligence trained by top NATO specialists would drive directly into their hands. The Georgian officers were overtaken without causalities.
"We knew there was a lot of negligence going on in the Georgian army, but not to this degree," one well-known, highly-positioned Russian general told me, who didn't want to reveal he is currently stationed in Georgia.
There were also three Arabs among the 20-odd Georgians. The Russian military is interrogating the officers who say they didn't intend to blow anything up. All the artillery in the vehicle was there by chance, they say. They forgot to unload the Hummers before departing. They had arrived together in such a large number to carefully study the situation in the port city.
It's likely NATO will have to re-encode their entire military and space system after the operation, which will be costly. This will certainly give them something to think about: Are closer military relations with Georgia and Ukraine really worth the hassle?
It is worth Trillions to contractors.
The Russia-Georgia clash has generated heated anti-Moscow rhetoric from John McCain and
One unstated reality about revived tensions between
Indeed, the spending on Cold War II could dwarf what military contractors are now making on the “war on terror” – and the prospect of spending on both conflicts simultaneously should make arms industry executives drool.
Others who stand to profit grandly from a new East-West showdown include tough-talking politicians and their friends in Washington think tanks – like Heritage, AEI and CSIS – that have long fattened up on contributions from the defense industry and related corporations.
There would be losers, too, like taxpayers who would see more of their dollars go to “national security” and less to domestic needs, from repairs to the crumbling infrastructure to the costs of health care, education, the environment and Social Security.
But, in many ways, the exploitation of Cold War fears – to divert money away from domestic needs to the coffers of what Dwight Eisenhower dubbed “the military-industrial complex” – is nothing new.
Arguably, the original Cold War ended under Eisenhower’s former Vice President, Richard Nixon, who as President returned from
Nixon unveiled a new era of realpolitik cooperation between
However, while reducing fears and lowering tensions might be good news for many people, it wasn’t welcomed by the corporations that profited from the fears and the tensions, nor by the intellectual hired guns who had built lucrative careers in politics, media and academia by exaggerating those fears and exacerbating those tensions.
So, Nixon’s era of “détente” was short-lived. After his ouster over the Watergate scandal in 1974, a new batch of Cold Warriors – some operating from conviction and others from expediency – returned to the old patterns of hyping threats and stoking paranoia.
In 1975, with President Gerald Ford confronting an internal Republican challenge from Ronald Reagan on the Right, many key figures associated with “détente” were purged, while hard-liners were given key jobs.
The so-called Halloween Massacre saw Henry Kissinger, the chief architect of détente, stripped of his post as national security adviser to be replaced by Gen. Brent Scowcroft; James Schlesinger was out as Defense Secretary while Donald Rumsfeld was in; CIA Director William Colby lost his job to George H.W. Bush; and Dick Cheney was promoted to Ford’s White House chief of staff.
Soon, alarming rumors began spreading around
So, as Ford struggled in Republican primaries against Reagan, the word “détente” was banished from the administration’s lexicon. Then, to appease the Right further, CIA Director Bush let a right-wing panel of outsiders critique the work of CIA analysts who had been detecting a declining Soviet threat.
The outsiders, known as “Team B” and including a young neocon named Paul Wolfowitz, tore into the CIA professionals and insisted that the Soviet Union was rapidly outstripping the
Years later, after the
But the “Team B” report served its purpose. Its dramatic findings shaped an alarmist CIA intelligence estimate that CIA Director Bush left behind to limit the arms-control initiatives of Jimmy Carter’s incoming administration. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]
During the late 1970s, the hysteria on the Right about mythical Soviet weapons continued to grow, pushed along by an arch-conservative group called the Committee on the Present Danger, which warned of a “window of vulnerability.”
The fear about secret Soviet capabilities seeped into mainstream news coverage critical of Carter’s proposed arms deals with
‘Winning’ the Cold War
By 1980 and the election of Ronald Reagan, the old Cold Warriors and their younger neoconservative allies had gained the upper hand. Assuming power under Reagan, they immediately sought to bury any remnants of the Nixon-Kissinger détente.
At the CIA, hard-line Director William Casey and his deputy, Robert Gates, purged CIA analysts who still insisted on seeing a Soviet decline. The only acceptable analysis was to agree that the Soviets were on the march and set on world domination.
In reaction to this perceived Soviet threat, there was a massive expansion in
Ironically, when the
The counter-analysis – that the Soviet Union was in a death spiral by the early 1970s and that Reagan’s aggressive strategies may have, if anything, prolonged the Cold War by strengthening the hands of
Reagan’s legacy had another consequence. The triumphant neocons insisted on dispatching to
When George W. Bush became President in 2001, his administration welcomed back many of the key neocons and hardliners who had served in previous Republican administrations. Cheney was Vice President; Rumsfeld was Defense Secretary; Wolfowitz was Rumsfeld’s deputy.
On the other hand, Bush claimed to have forged a bond of personal trust with Vladimir Putin by looking into the Russian president’s eyes.
“I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country,” Bush said on June 16, 2001.
In June 2002, for instance, Bush withdrew the
The Bush administration and its oil-industry allies also supported the construction of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which was designed to deliver Caspian oil to the West and to
The pipeline also enhanced the need to make sure that the former Soviet
So, U.S.-financed political organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, poured in money to help an anti-Russian political movement called the Rose Revolution, as well as to groom pro-Washington politicians like Mikheil Saakashvili.
In 2003, the bloodless Rose Revolution brought Saakashvili to power and, in his gratitude, the new president named a major boulevard in the capital of Tiblisi after George W. Bush. Saakashvili also committed Georgian soldiers to Bush’s “coalition of the willing” in
Meanwhile, the Bush administration kept up the pressure on
In 2007, Bush announced plans to deploy interceptor missiles to
Arms Export magazine editor Mikhail Barabanov, writing in the Moscow newspaper Kommersant, said the real U.S. motivation for placing interceptor missiles in Poland was to expand U.S. military and strategic capacities and constrict those of other nuclear states, such as Russia and China.
In effect, Russian leaders became convinced that Bush’s words about partnership were just sweet talk disguising the neocon agenda, as described by the Project for the New American Century, of crippling potential challengers to American global dominance.
Yet, under Putin’s firm grip, Russian authorities were steadily regaining control of the nation’s political destiny. “Robber barons” were exiled or jailed, their media outlets throttled, their businesses brought under the Kremlin’s thumb.
The rise in commodities prices for Russian oil, natural gas and metals also put money into the national treasury and helped Putin rebuild his military might.
That was the backdrop to the crisis in
If Saakashvili thought his offensive would go answered – that the Russians again would retreat rather than risk offending the West – he thought wrong. The Russians counterattacked, expelled
The American political elite, led by Sen. McCain and President Bush, and neocon editorialists, including at the Washington Post, raged against the Russian military thrust, but the Russians were not deterred. They agreed to a ceasefire largely on their terms and left Saakashvili to fume about his betrayal by Western powers.
Bush, however, did back up his angry words with some action.
On Aug. 15, the
The next day, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ratcheted up the tensions by defining the American move as a provocative threat to Russian security and warning of possible military action against
“The Russian side in such a situation will take adequate measures to compensate for potential threats to its national security,” the Ministry said, referring not to diplomatic but to “military-technological methods.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev added, “Placing elements of a global anti-missile system by the
Some observers suggested that the Russians were now facing a situation similar to what President John Kennedy confronted in 1962 when the Soviets installed missiles in
Still, despite the risks to humanity, the rewards of a revived Cold War – with fatter defense budgets and greater demand for anti-Russian propaganda – will benefit military contractors, neocon theorists and politicians who again can exploit the fears of the American people.
Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern and Russian History, and was an advisor to CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on the