By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Folks, the United States has an ulterior motive for inserting itself into the Ukraine crisis. No one needs any special transcendental powers to know why. It seeks to avenge the damage caused to it by the disclosures of Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor now being harboured by Russia.
Of course, Russia is not only harbouring Snowden but it is treating him as the proverbial goose laying its golden intelligence-filled eggs. And trust the Russians to keep mum over anything extracted from Snowden. The US feels threatened in many ways!!
Its ultimate objective may be to use this Ukrainian crisis for actions to teach Russia a bitter lesson and reduce it to the depth of a begging state or to rubble, if need be.
There is a lot of undercurrent to suggest that the US can’t easily forgive Russia for granting asylum to such a “traitor” whose revelations from his Russian safe haven continue to dim the US’ good light on the international stage.
Unlike the vociferous Germans who have complained about the US’s surveillance of their Chancellor and others, the Russians have been strategically tight-lipped, which scares the US (apparently because it is impossible to imagine that the US could mount surveillance on its own western allies without doing so to its arch rival, Russia). The Russians might by now have gathered a lot from Snowden to know how the tide flows but are taciturn, which irks the US.
Behind it all is the common knowledge that the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) is more powerful than the US’ Barack Obama. Indeed, Putin is a man of many parts!! The US won’t like to be outsmarted and is inserting itself into the Ukrainian situation to attempt disabusing minds of that perception of Putin’s stature. A vainglorious mission of self-degradation, it will all turn out to be!!
No amount of intimidation through threats of sanctions or physical actions of the sort being unleashed in batches will bring Russia down to its knees. At least, circumstances suggest that Russia won’t be a mere pushover to be cajoled and eventually crippled.
There may be other factors related to a revival of the Cold War episodes and a test of pulses as muscles begin being flexed over Ukraine—a country that has more traditional links with Russia than the US or any of those latter-day saints in the European Union.
History says much. All that spawned the Cold War and sustained it emanated from mutual suspicion between the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (now rising high on the shoulders of Russia) and the United States at many levels, particularly, armaments.
What shot the USSR’s “Sputnik” above the US’s technological advancements in the 1960’s may be recalled as a painful harbinger of anxious moments awaiting the US. Of course, Yuri Gagarin’s exploits disarmed the US, which had all along been complacent that it was leading the pack in terms of “advancement”.
The 1962 Cuban crisis might be just a faint precursor; but what happened in the late 1960’s would turn out to scare the US into re-defining its scope. And it did so, dragging the former USSR along and pushing it into an economic danger zone that Mikhail Gorbachov’s “perestroika” and “glasnost” would attempt to redeem only to push out of contention as the world’s second super power.
Only the Soviet system could know the harm caused it by the arms race and why when the USSR split up, it was considered to be more economically and politically beneficial to abandon the arms race and the crave for a superpower status, which must have beguiled the US Establishment into thinking that it had all the wherewithal to be the Godfather of the universe.
What the USSR lost, Russia seems to have gained, which is why it still can make its presence felt in the international arena as far as major issues are concerned. Russia is nobody’s underdog and cannot be dictated to. You don’t have to go far to know what Russia has up its sleeves. Syria provides a good example.
But for Russia’s unwavering stance on Syria, the US and its European allies would have long done to Bashar al-Assad what they did to Libya’s Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein and Mula Omar and his Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
Why couldn’t Obama and his allies in Britain, France, and the Arab World act with the same impunity as they used to change the dynamics of internal politics in countries associated with the Arab Spring? Russia stands tall to browbeat them all. And it does so because it knows what it is stepping on, having been perceived and portrayed by its opponents as blind!
Russia seems to be playing a game that the US and its European allies don’t know but are overzealously pushing and over-extending themselves to the point of miscalculating the consequences of their arm-twisting tactics regarding the current crisis in Ukraine. It is clear that Russia is baiting them, and enjoying doing so until it unleashes its own force to confirm that it is still a force to reckon with.
Clearly, beyond Ukraine lies the huge image of the US’ public enemy number one, Edward Snowden, whose disclosures of the US’ massive surveillance escapades has done so much harm to the US’ interests as to warrant his being regarded as a pariah.
The feathers ruffled by Snowden remain unsettled. They can’t regain their composure. Not until a way is found to bring him to their kind of justice. Doing so has proved to be the worst nightmare for them, apparently because Russia is giving Snowden all the security and safety that he needs to continue damaging the US’ underbelly—the very underbelly that he has exposed to international ridicule, caution, and harm.
Knowing the US for all that it is, no one in his right frame of mind will easily and quickly write it off as a mere noise maker. It won’t rest until it lays hands on Snowden to face the wheels of justice that his revelation of his own country’s surveillance activities has set in motion. The wheels are grinding really fast but can’t ensnare Snowden as he enjoys the protection/asylum granted him by Russia.
No amount of threatening of Russia by the US could prevent that country from securing him and providing a safe haven for him. Who knows what else Snowden has disclosed to the Russian authorities to make them determined to protect him for strategic advantage?
You see, folks, Russia is no push-over. Unlike countries that were initially speculated as willing to grant asylum to Snowden (Venezuela, Costa Rica, or any other in South America), Russia is a giant that cannot be easily intimidated with threats of invasion, military action, or sanctions. It has its own levers to pull to the disadvantage of its loud-mouthed opponents, which the US knows and may be scared of.
Not to talk about the possibility that Russia may be more inclined toward China for help as well. The reality is that China is emerging as the immediate threat to the US’ control over the global economy. As noted by scholars, China will by 2015 outstrip the US as the world’s strongest economy, having already shocked the pundits with its rapid pushing away of Japan as the world’s second strongest economy when least expected.
The writing is on the wall to scare the US all the more. The truth is that much of what is consumed in the US is produced in China, not to say that China is even soaking up the US’ huge budget deficits. And China is making forays into areas that none of those in the US could fathom a few years back.
China’s military strength is on the increase while its economy booms. China is entering systems all over the world, adding value to itself and gearing up for whatever Fate brings up.
Unfortunately, the US doesn’t seem to be making much progress to dislodge that Chinese threat. Its own military-industrial complex seems to have been overtaken by events and may soon lag behind the times.
In all these happenings, Russia has been studiously monitoring events and looking for opportunities to prove that it is not as weak as its opponents might think. Can one explain why Russia has threatened not to rely on the US Dollar any more as its foreign exchange reserve? A lot of water is gathering to pass under the bridge.
Interestingly, the US and its declining European allies are still stuck to their conservative and reactionary approaches toward doing international politics. They are quick to depend on their military armaments as the first and last instrument of aggression. Laughable in this 21st century!!
Friends, let me cut everything short here to say that the tenacity with which the US is pushing itself into the Ukrainian crisis has more to it than the mere moral instinct being adduced as the justification. It has set its eyes on a prize that it can’t win.
For the US particularly, this insertion into the Ukrainian crisis is dicey: a mission that will compound its international image problem if Russia succeeds in exerting its influence on Ukraine.
Russia knows what Ukraine means to it and will do all it can to ensure that it doesn’t fall in the hands of those who have no permanent friends in the world but interests to exploit.
I shall return…