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Paradigm For Peace Applied To Russia, Ukraine, And The US: Proposal For A Peaceful Pathway Forward- Part 4M – Countercurrents.org






Part 4. Mental escalators of violence in US policy and media makers – Part 4M. “Experts” who advocate the expansion of NATO and capitalist privatization dismiss Putin’s accusations and instead falsely claim that Putin craves empire and emulates Peter the Great
False Bias #13. Putin Does Not Recognize Ukraine’s Borders or Sovereignty and He Longs to Be an Emperor, like Peter the Great. Question: Who has 800 military bases around the world? Putin? Or the US government?
Answer: The US government.
Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that the US government would be accusing Putin of seeking empire when it’s the US government who has 800 military bases worldwide?[1] The Project for a New American Century, as described in the earlier essay Part 3B, openly wrote in 2000 about its goals of expanding the American Empire, though without using the words “American Empire.”[2] In an article on the Brookings Institution website, James M. Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations and Ivo Daalder, former US Ambassador to NATO and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, write of the obvious existence of the American Empire and the need to decide—not whether a US empire exists—but what type of empire it should be.[3]
The American Empire, driven by desire for land, fear of those who are different, and convictions of moral superiority, had its nascent origins in attacks upon the Native Americans in the Connecticut River Valley of the Northeast, including the attack in 1637 upon a major Pequot village, which killed hundreds. The Puritans of New England with their Mohegan and Narragansett allies proceeded to essentially annihilate the tribe.[4]
The American Empire sprang forward with the American Revolutionary War. Most Native Americans sided with the British who at least would’ve observed the Proclamation Line of 1763, an imaginary line running through the Appalachians, west of which settlement was forbidden.[5] With the victory of those Americans who chose to fight the war, there was no stopping the American Empire’s relentless expansion west, plowing and paving over habitat and countless Native American lives.
By the 1890s, US policymakers and their business colleagues were seeking conquest beyond the North American mainland. They were prodded by the theory of Charles Conant, who insisted that capitalism would fall apart unless banks and government worked together to continually force open new markets and investment opportunities abroad in order to ensure—not merely profit, but continually growing profits.[6] In their minds, the survival of capitalism was somehow more meaningful and valuable than survival of other peoples, survival of other species, and survival of the planet.
They were morally assisted by their inaccurate, self-serving twist on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and survival of the fittest, even though his theory pertained to survival of entire species, not privileged circles within a species. They were aided in their mission by the US media who painted war and conquest as the advancement of morality and who cropped out of the picture war’s promotion of greed and cruelty. By the early 1900s, they were also aided by Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm who worked for clients involved in railways, mines, and sugar mills abroad, in order to strongarm other nations to bend to their will and to ensure that US foreign policy served corporations’ interests.[7]
The American Empire, a force and a reality that is not representative of the values and goals of the American population, has never ceased to expand in coverage, whether in the form of physical territorial invasions, behind-the-scenes economic and political domination, or the subtle expansion of control and spinning of media information. Despite this, US policymakers, instead of pointing the finger at their own greed for land and resources and their own control over the public mind through the media, claim that Putin is seeking empire and Russia is spreading lies.
Note that this constant reference to “Russian aggression” and “Russian Empire” is indicative once again of what Gordon Allport called the Prejudiced Personality, as described in the earlier essay, Part 4B. The Prejudiced Personality includes an entire set of cognitive habits that distort one’s perception of reality. One habit, for example, is the largely unconscious tendency to blame others for problems while denying any cause for blame in oneself.[8] The US and NATO, for example, are fully blaming Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and they’re not uttering one word of remorse for their own behavior in expanding NATO, supporting the 2014 coup in Ukraine, and sending billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine since the coup to fight a proxy war against Russia. The total absence in US foreign policymakers’ speeches of any recognition of the American Empire and the constant reminders of this alleged about-to-begin Russian Empire seems to be a clear case of projection: seeing poor motives in others that are really within oneself.
Read Putin’s July 2021 essay, “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” Then read “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century” (2000) by the Project for the New American Century. Which one reeks of ambition for empire? See for yourself. This was the topic of essay 3B. And even though PNAC is defunct, its ideas are fully alive and kicking within the walls of the US foreign policymaker establishment.
In his 2007 Munich speech, his July 2021 essay, and his February 21 and 24, 2022 speeches, Putin’s not talking about empire. It would be more accurate to say that he’s criticizing behaviors of American Empire. In fact, it seems to me that US experts are desperately calling out “Empire! Empire! Putin wants Russian Empire!” to distract the American and world public from the American Empire and from the legitimate points Putin makes, several of which are highly critical of US foreign policy. I see nothing in Putin’s writings that suggests he wants to dissolve Ukraine or cease to recognize it.
Nonetheless, US policy and media makers incessantly harp on this empire theme. On June 9, 2022, Reuters, for example, condemns Putin for “propounding a view of history that asserts Ukraine has no real national identity or tradition of statehood.” The same exact phrase, like a hypnotic watch before our eyes, is reiterated in The Guardian on June 10, 2022 in an article by Andrew Roth to which Reuters contributes a number of paragraphs. But this phrase is a cynical twist on Putin’s words.[9] We’ve already discussed this same accusation against Putin in a previous essay in which Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker says just about the same thing as Reuters. All the US “experts” simply parrot one another.
To briefly reiterate, Putin explains that Ukraine, as an independent political state, only has a brief history of statehood beginning in 1918 and lasting a few years. I don’t know why US experts get so upset about this issue. Putin’s remark, which is confirmed by a variety of sources, is not stated in order to suggest that the consequences of this brief history of statehood is that Ukraine now has no right to exist. This brief political history also does not mean that Ukrainians did not have their own culture, language, and history for centuries before then. It simply means that the political borders had not been set in stone until 1918 and then only briefly. What’s so hard to understand about that?
Peter Dickinson is a UK “expert” who, like a few others mentioned in these essays, including Daniel Fried and Damon Wilson, president of the National Endowment for “Democracy” (NED), is a member of the highly pro-NATO Atlantic Council. Incidentally, you can bet that if NED’s president is a member of the Atlantic Council, then promoting NATO is going to be a foundational goal of NED’s promotion and interpretation of “democracy” abroad. Democracy won’t mean fair representation and caring equally for all. Democracy will mean NATO membership. Keep in mind that the Atlantic Council is not here to assess that statement, and it’s always good to hear people out. If they have a different interpretation of democracy and if their goals have little or nothing to do with NATO, then this would be a good topic to discuss in cooperative dialogue.
Dickinson, as if to imply that he’s giving proof of Putin’s alleged imperial mission, states, “Putin has repeatedly accused Ukraine of occupying ancestral Russian lands and has blamed the early Bolsheviks for bungling the border between the Russian and Ukrainian Soviet republics.”[10]
First of all, what’s wrong with blaming the Bolsheviks for bungling the border? We always hear how nations bungle borders. Europeans such as the British, for example, are known for having bungled the borders in Africa so that national boundaries split ethnic groups that would have preferred to have been kept together in the same nation.
With regard to ancestral lands, Putin is stating that the land north of the Black Sea, which is now Ukraine, used to be a part of Russia. Any historical map will prove this fact. But Putin’s not providing this information in order to use it as an accusation against Ukraine or as evidence that Ukraine has no right to exist or as proof that Ukraine should now submerge itself with Russia.
Based on reading his 2007 Munich speech, July 2021 essay, and February 21 and 24, 2022 speeches, I believe that Putin’s deeper point in emphasizing the solidarity of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus is that it’s exceedingly unnatural for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to be torn apart by Western interests who want to use Ukraine for their own profits and as a “springboard” for their own antagonistic aims towards Russia. He’s absolutely not saying these three nations should dissolve their borders and become one. He’s saying that these three nations should be working and living in cooperation with one another, not antagonism.
Putin is also observing that parts of Ukraine, especially Crimea which had actually been a part of Russia until 1954, but also eastern parts of Ukraine, were historically more Russian than Ukrainian. What’s so wrong about saying that? Population maps of ethnic groups show the mix of Ukrainians and Russians in eastern Ukraine and the predominantly Russian population of Crimea. Putin’s not accusing the entire Ukrainian nation of being more Russian than Ukrainian. Why are US experts always jumping to conclusions? It seems Putin can’t say anything or US experts jump to conclusions that he means something else—something always very sinister.
In fact, when Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence in 2014, Putin didn’t recognize their independent status. As Russia Today reports, “Moscow had long refused to recognize the two republics, pointing to Minsk and calling the conflict an internal Ukrainian matter.”[11] If Putin had really wanted empire, don’t you think he would’ve jumped at the chance to pull Donetsk and Lugansk away from Ukraine? Based on Putin’s interest in the Minsk Agreements, I believe he felt that recognizing the republics’ status might jeopardize attempts at non-violent conflict resolution. His hope was that these republics could remain a part of Ukraine but with special autonomy and with valid assurances that Ukraine’s government would cease to attack them and cease to cut off their access to food, water, electricity, and humanitarian supplies.
In his February 21, 2022 speech, Putin writes of the horror of the civil war in Ukraine since 2014:
“The killing of civilians, the blockade, the abuse of people, including children, women and the elderly, continues unabated. . . .
“Meanwhile, the so-called civilized world, which our Western colleagues proclaimed themselves the only representatives of, prefers not to see this, as if this horror and genocide, which almost 4 million people are facing, do not exist. . . .
“How long can this tragedy continue? How much longer can one put up with this? Russia has done everything to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity. All these years, it has persistently and patiently pushed for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2202 of February 17, 2015, which consolidated the Minsk Package of February 12, 2015, to settle the situation in Donbas.
“Everything was in vain. Presidents and Rada deputies come and go, but deep down the aggressive and nationalistic regime that seized power in Kiev remains unchanged. It is entirely a product of the 2014 coup, and those who then embarked on the path of violence, bloodshed and lawlessness did not recognize then and do not recognize now any solution to the Donbas issue other than a military one.”[12]
Russia wanted a peaceful solution. However, at this point, since eight years of bloody civil war have passed, the Minsk Agreements have not worked, the post-coup Ukrainian government is deliberately anti-Russia and anti-Russian-Ukrainian, the Russians of Crimea chose to rejoin with Russia, and Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine want to preserve their independence and have asked for Russia’s military help, Putin is simply pointing out that historically, the independence of these regions from Ukraine makes sense, especially if relations with the Ukrainian government right now are highly difficult and immersed in a violent eight-year civil war.
Now that the Zaporozhye Region and possibly Kherson Region will be each holding a referendum to decide whether to secede from Ukraine and to request joining Russia, the Western mainstream media is immediately hitting us over the head with the idea that these referendums are completely bogus and are not democratic at all (unlike that “highly democratic” US-supported 2014 Ukraine coup, right?).
Based on my knowledge of Americans, American politicians, and the American media, I see no reason to trust a US policy or media maker more than a Russian policy or media maker. I think most Americans are aware of the fact that Americans are capable of lying to other Americans if they can reap some benefit from it. I think most Americans are aware of the fact that Americans don’t always know what they’re talking about even when they say things in the most confident way possible. This is probably true of people in most nations. The point it, there’s absolutely no reason for us to “patriotically” believe our own news and believe that these referendums in Ukraine are more bogus than not bogus just because US “experts” say they’re bogus.
According to Russia Today, Ukrainian President Zelensky acts as if the referendums are Russia’s initiative. He “warned that if the two regions go through with their plans, Kiev will break off all talks with Russia. Moscow in response suggested that the Ukrainian president should address the citizens of those regions.
“‘The thing is, this is what the residents of the regions plan. It’s not like we [Russia] are holding a referendum,’ said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.”[13]
But, of course, Americans—groomed by decades of TV shows and movies with an anti-Soviet theme of “Do not trust the Russians,” decades of foreign policymakers and unintelligent intelligence specialists who erroneously and obsessively perceived Moscow’s tentacles behind every reform movement worldwide, as well as years of groupthink in our school system that readily sneers at those whose minds are independent—we Americans are supposed to just look down our noses at anything stated by the Kremlin as if it is obviously wrong, malicious, and stupid. Therefore, on that basis, we’re to assume these referendums are false and forced upon Ukrainians with Russian guns and with Moscow’s prodding. What’s more, we’re to assume that any American who thinks otherwise is without doubt an idiot. That’s the height of the intelligence and logic that dominates Western foreign policy and mainstream media.
A more recent flurry of excitement over “empire-evidence” upon which US “experts” have pounced pertains to Putin’s comments on June 9, 2022 in which he compared Russia’s actions toward Ukraine to Peter the Great’s actions towards Sweden in the 1700s. Putin is quoted, “‘Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia’s).’” “‘Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia’s) and strengthen (the country).[14]
Putin is making a parallel to demonstrate the idea that what may look like taking land may really be regaining land that was legitimately one’s own to begin with. If you read about the Great Northern War, you learn that certain regions of Russia now bordering Finland, including Karelia, had previously been taken from Russia by Sweden in the Treaty of Stolbovo in 1617. Much of the land of Karelia had been Russia’s for hundreds of years prior to that treaty.
Jumping to current times, we’re experiencing an attempt by US policymakers to push Russia out of Europe’s energy market in order to give that market to US corporations. This has been a US policymaker mission for years prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so it’s not a punitive, disciplinarian, or moral action but one, I believe, of pure avarice. Back in the 1600s, Sweden had a similar goal and tried to gain control of Russia’s trade with western Europe. It seized from Russia the lands of Karelia and Ingria, which cut off Russia’s access to the Baltic Sea. Not only that, Sweden then claimed the Russian throne for Sweden’s Prince Charles Philip. According to the terms of the 1617 treaty, Sweden had to give up the throne claim, but Russia still lost the land and access to the Baltic Sea.
About a hundred years later, Russia, Denmark-Norway, and Saxony-Poland, all angered by Sweden’s expansionism, teamed up and challenged Sweden’s supremacy in the Baltic area in the Great Northern War (1700–1721) during the time that Peter the Great was ruler of Russia. In the 1721 treaty, Russia gained Karelia back. The region’s been a source of conflict not only between Russia and Sweden but also between Russia and Finland, with different nations laying claim to various parts of the region.[15] I would guess that perhaps Sweden and Finland, in joining NATO, may have hopes to gain more power, trade, and land from Russia again.
This information is all online on the Encyclopaedia Britannica website, and the parallel, of course, is between Russia’s taking Karelia back from Sweden and Russia’s taking Crimea back from Ukraine as well as recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Yet, instead of grasping this obvious parallel, US “experts” instead impose upon Putin’s statement their own cynical interpretation with another caught-you-red-handed “ah-ha” moment!
On the BBC’s website, Sarah Rainsford, who’s been banned from Russia, writes:
“Vladimir Putin’s admiration for Peter the Great is well known, but he now seems to have ideas of ‘Great’—ness himself.
“He has openly compared himself to the Russian tsar, equating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine today with Peter’s expansionist wars some three centuries ago, and making his strongest acknowledgement yet that his own war is a land grab.”[16]
With similar conclusions that leap logic, Anton Troianovksi writes in the New York Times:
“His view of himself as being on a historic mission to rebuild the Russian Empire has always loomed large. On Thursday, Mr. Putin went further, comparing himself directly to Peter the Great.
“It was a new, if carefully staged, glimpse into Mr. Putin’s sense of his own grandeur.”[17]
In both their minds, Putin is comparing—not his land re-acquisition—but his persona and position to that of Peter the Great and, by illogical extension, since Peter the Great was an emperor, and since Putin compared his actions to Peter’s, that adds up in their minds to “proving” that Putin wants to have an empire.
No doubt, US “experts” are especially distracted by those words “the Great.” To suspicious US expert-sleuths on the prowl, Putin’s paralleling his action to that of Peter THE GREAT is a giant clue, a real giveaway, that Putin is building himself up in the image of an imperial tsar!
In The Guardian, Andrew Roth with Reuters’ contributions writes:
“After months of denials that Russia is driven by imperial ambitions in Ukraine, Putin appeared to embrace that mission, comparing Peter’s campaign with Russia’s current military actions. . . .”
Guess what. Comparing Peter’s action with Russia’s current action does not prove imperial ambitions. But then again, US foreign policy is so entirely illogical that it should come as no surprise that the so-called US “experts” are completely floundering in their struggle to adhere to logic. Roth/Reuters further writes:
“Critics said Putin’s remarks proved that his complaints about historical injustice, eastward NATO expansion, and other grievances with the West were all a façade for a traditional war of conquest.”
Perhaps critics did say that, but, once again, their logic is off. I’m sure Western politicians would desperately like to prove wrong Putin’s accusations of a US-supported 2014 coup in Ukraine, an inhumanitarian eight-year civil war fueled by US and NATO weapons, Western complicity with neo-Nazis and other ultranationalists, provocative NATO expansion, and Western use of Ukraine to serve Western purposes of profit and aggression against Russia. However, Putin’s comparing the return to Russia of Russian land during his rule to the return of Russian land during Peter the Great’s rule does not magically cancel out or prove his accusations to be wrong. Frankly, the stupidity of these arguments is both enraging and pathetic.
In fact, based on all I have read about current events, about Putin’s words and actions, and about the history of US foreign policy, far from invalidating Putin’s accusations, I strongly believe that it is precisely because of the points made in his accusations that Putin is so concerned about this entire Ukraine conflict. It is the injustice of the undemocratic 2014 coup, the inhumanity of the civil war and ultranationalist violence, NATO expansion into Ukraine itself, and the opportunistic takeover of Ukraine’s politics and economy that is alarming to Putin and that has provoked Russia to invade Ukraine.
As usual, Western media, with its tunnel-vision approach to truth, makes no attempt to understand the Russian perspective and quotes only those people who have something harsh to say about Putin. The Andrew Roth/Reuters article in The Guardian quotes “Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, [who] called Putin’s desire to take back lands claimed by Russia a ‘recipe for years of wars.’”[18] But this statement is based on the false assumption that Putin is categorically seeking to take back all lands that were once part of the Russian Empire! It’s as if Putin were going to continually grab land in war after war! Bildt seems to be in denial of the fact that Putin is responding to a very precise situation based upon precise provocations: he’s motivated to act by injustice, inhumanity, and the Western opportunistic, covert conquest of Ukraine!
If US policymakers don’t want Russia to get militarily involved in other lands, then perhaps US policymakers ought to stop seeking to provoke: stop economically taking over other lands, stop seeking to manipulate, intimidate, bribe, and change the political leadership in other lands, and stop seeking to expand NATO—the military arm of those out to conquer more wealth from more lands. If US policymakers continue to provoke and grab, then that is a “recipe for years of wars,” which is, in fact, what the US has been experiencing for most of its existence since the first wars with Native Americans. Blaming Russia for “years of wars” would be as bad as blaming the Native Americans for four centuries of North American wars with European and American conquerors.
US policy and media makers continually force upon our imaginations this false drama, this false cultural script of an innocent angel vs. evil persecutor. US policymakers make themselves and their allies angelic by hiding their own methods of conquest: covert coups, hidden economic deals—largely for fossil fuels and pipelines, forced manipulation of other nations’ governments, and weapon shipments for proxy wars. US foreign policy towards Russia’s southern neighbor Georgia is a case in point which we’ll examine in a later essay.
To make the good vs. evil drama more believable, US policy and media makers then proceed to trivialize all of Putin’s concerns, not only to “prove” that the West is spotless and innocent, but also to paint Putin’s motives as malicious rather than understandable or legitimate. Incessantly, US “experts” use Putin’s own words to “prove” that he’s a menace who actually wants empire. But it is my strong belief based on research that Putin is not driven by some snarling desire for land and conquest. He is fighting against a Western takeover of Ukraine, a Western takeover that craves, amongst other things, access to the Black Sea and its massive fossil fuel deposits, and takeover that threatens to put NATO weapons, even nuclear weapons, on Russia’s border in Ukraine.
It must be frustrating for Putin to try to explain anything to US “experts” who use his words as ammunition by twisting everything he says and expecting us to follow their shameful attempts at logic. To support the I-wanna-be-Peter-THE-GREAT theory, Reuters quotes a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Andrei Kolesnikov, who claims that Putin “wants to be seen as a Peter [the Great]-style modernizer, even though he will go down in history as a cruel ruler more like Ivan the Terrible.’”
It’s absolutely amazing that these flip, inaccurate remarks can be made. There are so many falsehoods being spit out as if they were truths, that it’s hard to keep up with them, and I won’t even try.
Since we’re talking about cruel rulers, does anyone care to discuss Bush Jr. and the 800,000 Middle Easterners directly killed in the War on Terror since his reign began? Anyone care to talk about Reagan’s policies that destroyed Latin America and fueled immigration north into the US? Or the decades of brutality ushered in by US coups in multiple nations worldwide? Why not talk about Nixon and Kissinger’s support for the Dirty Wars of Latin America’s right-wing brutal dictatorships, armed and funded by the US?
Would those terrorized by Obama’s drone wars consider him comparable to Ivan the Terrible? What did Afghans think about the 30-foot long, 21,600-pound bomb dropped by the Trump administration onto Afghanistan in April 2017?[19] Or were none of these actions cruel because they were all ostentatiously performed for the secular god, Freedom?  
Kolesnikov’s claim that Putin allegedly wants to be seen as a modernizer like Peter the Great just doesn’t make sense. To begin with, Russia is already modern. Secondly, Peter the Great was an extreme Westernizer who liked to force Western culture upon Russia. For him, modernization meant Westernization, and everything Western was to be adopted. Apparently in his mind, everything Western was superior with little need for evaluation of merit, necessity, or consequences. For example, in opposition to the Orthodox Church, he forced men to shave their beards, just because he thought that’s what everyone did in the West. He also encouraged the adoption of European manners and ordered men to shorten their long coats, just to be more like Europeans.[20]
Blindly favoring Westernization and opposing the Orthodox Church is exactly what Putin wouldn’t do. He has spoken up against the West’s “aggressively imposing” its culture and attitudes upon Russia and other nations not only in the sphere of the military, politics, and economics, but also in culture and education. In fact, Putin looks down upon many aspects of US culture for upholding “false values” and for being excessive, all-permissive, and vain in its “American exceptionalism” belief.[21]
Kolesnikov, it turns out, works with the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy and is on the board of the Yegor Gaidar Foundation, which supports the long-term development of Russia’s market economy. This seems to be a feature of the US propaganda pattern. Those who vociferously condemn Putin often tend to be those who are adamantly pro-NATO or gung-ho capitalists. Of interest, Yegor Gaidar is the Russian whom many Russians blame for the extreme economic hardship of the 1990s, including mass poverty and hyperinflation. Kolesnikov also wrote a biography of Anatoly Chubais, the key figure in introducing the market economy to Russia and also a member of the advisory council to the bankers J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.[22]
So Kolesnikov appears to be a fan of two Russians, Gaidar and Chubais, who are deep adherents to capitalism in Russia and whom are not seen in a positive light by many Russians for understandable reasons. Remember, one-third of the entire Russian population fell into poverty due to US-advised shock therapy capitalist reforms in the 1990s.[23] Isn’t it obvious to Reuters that an interview with Kolesnikov about Putin would likely be severely biased for economic reasons? After all, Putin renationalized key sectors of the Russian economy—banking, defense, and energy—which prevents US bankers and other investors from gaining as much wealth and power out of Russia as they like.[24] Putin also put the kibosh on ExxonMobil’s planned purchase of Yukos oil company.[25]
Nonetheless, further developing this emperor theme into a “cruel emperor” theme, Reuters states that Putin “offered cautious praise of Josef Stalin for creating ‘a tightly centralized and absolutely unitary state,’ even as he acknowledges the Soviet dictator’s record of ‘totalitarian’ repression. Putin has a history of praising leaders sharing his conservative views.” Reuters doesn’t explain that Putin’s appreciation for a centralized, unitary state had nothing to do with conservative views but only pertained to his chagrin over the breakaway nationalist sentiments within several Soviet republics—often fueled by the self-interest of nationalist leaders—that caused the break-up of the USSR.[26]
Do US experts think that no decent Russian should ever lament the break-up of the USSR? Would the tightly centralized and unitary US government take it well if the South seceded? Or if the Southwest seceded and reunited with its former owner, Mexico? What about the Northeast? Imagine: those states that seceded would be free to no longer fund the giant US weapon, war, and military machine! Or would US policymakers send out the US military in full force to prevent secession and preserve their source of income? Even if states successfully seceded, US policymakers would most likely quickly impose NATO bases upon the newly seceded lands in the name of “democracy” and “freedom.”
Reuters also makes no mention of Putin’s remark that the “CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] no longer had—thank God—the tools for retaining power and the country itself, tools such as state terror and a Stalinist-type dictatorship.”[27] Instead of pointing out Putin’s repulsion to state terror and the clearly constricted limits of Putin’s appreciation of Stalin, Reuters allows readers’ imaginations to run wild and instead quotes Kolesnikov who provides yet another questionable theory: “‘Putin likes leaders he sees as tough, strong managers.’”
Like so many US “experts,” Reuters not only puts down Putin for allegedly seeking to become an emperor, it also strongly hints that something about Putin is imbalanced, as if his alleged striving to be an emperor is part of his madness, as if his absence in the event of a coup would be for the best, since he’s being portrayed as not mentally healthy anyway. Putin’s interest in history is a favorite target, no doubt due in part to American insecurities and a gang-like scorn for those who are different or academic. After all, Putin’s detailed knowledge of history stands in stark relief to American ignorance about history.
Reuters remarks on June 9, 2022: “In recent years, Putin’s interest in Russian history has loomed ever larger in his public appearances.” Reuters contributes the same exact sentence to Andrew Roth’s article in The Guardian.[28] So this interest is looming. It’s out-of-control. Something’s wrong. God knows, US presidents don’t talk about history except perhaps occasionally in vague, patriotic, fluffy ways of half-truths and banalities. Even if they were more than remotely aware of it, what would they say that wouldn’t damn US foreign policy for the past 245 years? Would they talk about the conquest of the Native Americans for their land to use for ranches, railroads, and mining? Or the seizure of Hawaii for American sugar companies? Or US military involvement in Cuba for American sugar companies? Or US military involvement in Latin America for a big American banana company and a few American mining companies to boot? Or US torture of Philippinos in the effort to gain access to the resources and markets of China?
And so we come back full circle to where we began this essay, with the hushed-up reality of American Empire, US policymaker greed, and US media maker collaboration. But instead of teaching us truth, US “experts” fill our heads with notions, spun without substance from the webs of their own minds, about Putin the Great, Josef Stalin, admiration of tough, strong managers, looming ideas about history, megalomaniacs, and a mind going mad.
Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She has been a guest with former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter and UNAC coordinator Joe Lombardo on Cynthia Pooler’s program, Issues that Matter, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDlaLNJih7U. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4.  kristinchristman956@gmail.com
 
[1] David Vine, “Where in the World Is the US Military?” Politico, July/Aug. 2015, https://www.politico.com.
[2] Project for the New American Century (PNAC), “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt, Project Co-Chairmen; Thomas Donnelly, Principal Author (Washington, DC, 2000).
[3] Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, “American Empire, Not ‘If’ but ‘What Kind,’” Brookings Institution, May 10, 2003, https://www.brookings.edu.
[4] Carl Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian (New York: Facts on File, 1985), 90-91.
[5] Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian, 109.
[6] Murray Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II (Auburn, AL: Mises Institute, 2005), 208-12.
[7] Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 24.
[8] Gordon W. Allport, The Nature of Prejudice (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1979), 395-408.
[9] Andrew Roth, “Putin Compares Himself to Peter the Great in Quest to Take Back Russian Lands,” The Guardian, June 10, 2022, http://www.theguardian.com
[10] Peter Dickinson, “Putin Admits Ukraine Invasion Is an Imperial War to Return Russian Land,” Atlantic Council, June 10, 2022, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org.
[11] Russia Today, “Donbass Republics Ask Putin for Military Help,” Feb. 23, 2022, https://www.rt.com.
[12] Vladimir Putin, “Address to the People of Russia on the Donbas Problem and the Situation in Ukraine,” American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank, Feb. 21, 2022, https://www.americanrhetoric.com.
[13] Russia Today, “Ukrainian Region Announces Vote on Joining Russia,” Aug. 8, 2022, https://www.rt.com.
[14] Reuters, “Hailing Peter the Great, Putin Draws Parallel with Mission to ‘Return’ Russian Lands,” June 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com.
[15] Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, “Treaty of Stolbovo,” https://www.britannica.com.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Second Northern War,” https://www.britannica.com.
[16] Sarah Rainsford, “Putin and Peter the Great: Russian Leader Likens Himself to 18th Century Tsar,” BBC, June 10, 2022, https://www.bbc.com.
[17] Anton Troianovski, “Putin the Great? Russia’s President Likens Himself to Former Czar,” New York Times, June 9, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com.
[18] Roth, “Putin Compares Himself.”
[19] Craig Whitlock, The Afghanistan Papers: The Secret History of the War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2021), 246-47.
[20] Andrzej Walicki, A History of Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to Marxism, tr. Hilda Andrews-Rusiecka, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1979), 137.
[21] Vladimir Putin, “Transcript: Vladimir Putin’s Televised Address on Ukraine,” Feb. 24, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com.
[22] Carnegie Endowment for Peace, “Andrei Kolesnikov,” https://carnegieendowment.org.
[23] Benjamin Norton, “German EU Official Uses Racist Rhetoric Claiming Russians Don’t Value Life,” Apr. 15, 2022, https://multipolarista.com.
[24] Richard J. Anderson, “A History of President Putin’s Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy,” Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Defense Technical Information Center, Feb. 8, 2008, https://apps.dtic.mil.
[25] Andrew Jack and Carola Hoyos, “Exxon May Offer $25 Billion for 40% of Yukos,” New York Times, Oct. 2, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com.
Seth Mandel, “ExxonMobil’s Role in Oil Tycoon’s Arrest,” May 1, 2012, https://www.commentary.org.
[26] Putin, “Address to the People,” Feb. 21, 2022.
[27] Putin, “Address to the People,” Feb. 21, 2022.
[28] Roth, “Putin Compares Himself.”
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