Nuestra lucha no se trata de una mera elección estrecha entre opciones electorales dentro del actual régimen, sino de apostar por formas de organización económica y espiritual, cualitativamente superiores a la civilización burguesa, donde se garantiza la emancipación del proletariado y la democracia real. Es la lucha popular por la conquista de la civilización socialista, partiendo del estudio científico de las bases materiales que lo posibilitan y con el objetivo último del comunismo.

[Automatic translation: EN]
[Traduction automatique: FR]

7 de abril de 2006

EL COMPLEJO CONFLICTO CHECHENO


Las simplificaciones son aliadas de la desinformación y la manipulación. No hay nada más dañino que no ver la multiplicidad de factores y matices, es decir, la complejidad, que afecta a cualquier conflicto.

La tragedia de la Escuela Número 1 de Beslan, en la República rusa de Osetia del Norte, y las reacciones que ha provocado recurren a diversas simplificaciones que evitan una visión dialéctica del conflicto ruso-checheno en toda su complejidad. Estamos cegados por el efectismo que nos transmiten los medios de comunicación, ya sea por la visión de una Grozny destruida y en ruinas debido a los terribles e inhumanos bombardeos y saqueos de las tropas rusas, o ya sea, por los métodos indiscriminados y sangrientos de los independentistas chechenos. Es normal. Pero, a pesar de ello, debemos hacer el esfuerzo por intentar conocer realmente no solo qué pasa en Chechenia, sino en toda la convulsa región del Cáucaso. Descubrir qué intereses defiende cada cual en este sangriento conflicto, qué se nos oculta, y por lo primero que debemos empezar es por aproximarnos históricamente al conflicto ruso-checheno.




Raíces históricas del conflicto ruso-checheno

De origen desconocido y antiguo, como la mayoría de los pueblos del Cáucaso, el pueblo checheno se suele denominar a sí mismo como “najcho”, ya que el nombre “checheno” les fue impuesto por la invasora Rusia zarista.

La islamización del pueblo checheno tuvo lugar en el siglo XVII culminando aproximadamente cien años más tarde, el Islam a partir de entonces jugaría un papel fundamental como elemento cohesionador de la identidad chechena, a pesar de que aún en nuestros días la pertenencia al clan sea más fuerte que la pertenencia a la nación, sobre todo cuando el Zar Pedro el Grande incorpora Daguestán y la propia Chechenia al imperio zarista ruso en 1722. La resistencia al imperio ruso será dirigida por la cúpula político-religiosa islámica, es decir, por clérigos.

La legitimidad nacional del Islam se fortalecerá aún más cuando en 1816 se recrudece la guerra de ocupación con el nombramiento del General A. P. Yermolov como jefe militar supremo del ejército ruso en el Cáucaso por el Zar Alejandro I. Pero durante los siglos XVIII y XIX, Rusia no solamente luchó contra el grupo étnico de los chechenos, sino que tuvo que enfrentar una dura resistencia del frente conjunto planteado por los diferentes pueblos del Cáucaso, este frente estaba compuesto por cherkeses, osetios, abjazios, ávaros, armenios, georgianos, etc. Oficialmente, la conquista rusa terminó en 1859, a pesar de que en las montañas resistían “zonas liberadas” sólo ocupadas temporalmente por el ejército ruso.

La Revolución de Octubre de 1917 fue acogida con grandes esperanzas por los pueblos del Cáucaso que veían una oportunidad única para deshacerse de la bota imperial zarista. En 1918, el Gobierno Revolucionario proclamó: “Musulmanes de Rusia, Tártaros del Volga y de Crimea, Kirgizos y Kazajos, Turcos y Tártaros de Transcaucasia, Chechenos y Montañeses de Ingushetia y todos cuyas mezquitas y centros de oración han sido destruidos, cuyas creencias y costumbres han sido pisoteadas por los zares y los opresores de Rusia: vuestras creencias y vuestras costumbres, vuestras instituciones nacionales y culturales son desde ahora libres e inviolables. Organizad vuestra vida nacional en la más completa libertad”. En 1919, el General contrarevolucionario Denikin ocupa el Cáucaso con el apoyo de navíos franceses y británicos que se hacen con los principales puertos del Mar Negro, pero los contrarevolucionarios serán pronto derrotados por el Ejército Rojo, acogido en Chechenia, así como en otros pueblos caucásicos como libertadores y defensores de sus derechos nacionales; de nuevo, en 1920, el Ejército Rojo se vuelve a granjear una gran popularidad en la zona al intervenir en defensa del pueblo armenio, invadido y brutalmente masacrado por Turquía.

Sin embargo, pronto surgieron las tensiones y la incomprensión nacional en el Cáucaso, y en Chechenia en particular; por una parte, el Islam gozaba, como hemos señalado anteriormente, de una legitimidad nacional al haber servido de cohesionador nacional frente a la opresión zarista, y esto no fue siempre entendido por la dirigencia soviética, a pesar de las serias y repetidas advertencias de Lenin de respetar escrupulosamente los sentimientos nacionales y religiosos de los pueblos no rusos que formaban la Unión Soviética, para no dar lugar a ningún tipo de chovinismo o desigualdad; por otra parte, la cúpula religiosa más reaccionaria pronto empezó a recelar de una Revolución que ponía en serio peligro sus privilegios políticos y económicos, y por tanto, comenzó a actuar abiertamente contra la Revolución. Especialmente mal sentó en esas capas la igualdad de derechos de las mujeres que propugnaba la Revolución soviética, que se tradujeron en actos como el arrancamiento de velos que protagonizaron las delegadas caucásicas y de Asia central en 1921 durante la II Conferencia Internacional Femenina de la Internacional Comunista, o la quema masiva de velos protagonizadas por mujeres de la región durante las celebraciones del Día Internacional de la Mujer. Toda esta situación se agravó aún más con las colectivizaciones del periodo de Stalin, que atacaban todavía más directamente los privilegios de las elites religiosas islámicas chechenas poseedoras de tierras. Sin embargo, estas elites supieron sacar buen provecho de la falta de respeto nacional de la dirección soviética, del chovinismo gran-ruso de numerosos funcionarios soviéticos insensibles a las peculiares características de los pueblos caucásicos y a su largo sufrimiento bajo el yugo zarista, entre ellos, el pueblo checheno.

A pesar de todo, a finales de 1922 se constituye la Provincia Autónoma de Chechenia; en 1934, Chechenia e Ingushetia se fusionan, declarándose en 1936 la República Autónoma de Chechenia-Ingushetia, dentro de la RSFR (República Socialista Federativa de Rusia).

Al estallar la II Guerra Mundial, uno de los objetivos declarados de Hitler era controlar los valiosos recursos energéticos del Mar Caspio, y de la región caucásica en general, como ya pretendieron diversas potencias occidentales anteriormente, vitales para llevar a cabo sus planes expansionistas. No olvidemos que Grozny, la capital chechena, está situada a pocos kilómetros del Mar Caspio. Así pues, en plena invasión nazi de la URSS, numerosos reaccionarios chechenos colaboraron abiertamente con los nazis provocando una situación muy peligrosa no solo para la propia existencia de la URSS, sino también para aniquilar a la amenaza nazi, ya que el poder que le hubiese dado a Hitler el control de los recursos energéticos del Caspio habría sido determinante para el desarrollo de la guerra. Consciente de ello, Stalin tomó una decisión que, aunque determinada por las duras y excepcionales circunstancias que no daban lugar a ningún tipo de vacilación o indecisión, fue extremadamente drástica: la deportación de más de 850 mil chechenos, de los que medio millón, aproximadamente, morirían debido a las terribles condiciones, para evitar la creación de un segundo frente que atacara por la espalda al Ejército Rojo. Ya en 1957, el dirigente soviético Nikita Khrushev autorizaría el regreso de los chechenos.

La evolución de los múltiples conflictos nacionales en la antigua URSS era inseparable de la evolución global de la crisis del modelo de socialismo soviético desde los años 50 en adelante, es decir, consustancial al desarrollo de una burocracia instalada en el Partido Comunista, el Estado, las Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas, y las empresas públicas, deseosa de aniquilar todos los elementos socialistas tan duramente conquistados en los años anteriores en la política, en la economía y en la cultura. Mientras, los pueblos y la clase obrera en particular se encontraban desmovilizados y despolitizados, obnubilados con el “modo de vida occidental” con todo su “derroche” y su “lujo”, el ideal de la construcción del socialismo había muerto prácticamente. El ascenso al poder de Mikhail Gorbachov, a mediados de los 80, y la crisis, dio alas a la burocracia más pro-capitalista y pro-occidental, aliada a las diferentes bandas mafiosas, entre ellas bandas chechenas, que en 1991 conseguiría definitivamente su objetivo: la disolución de la URSS. Más tarde, con Yeltsin ya en el poder, resucitarían con gran fuerza los viejos fantasmas del ultranacionalismo ruso, las “grandezas” del imperio zarista, y toda la mitología reaccionaria y xenófoba gran-nacional rusa.

Tampoco podemos olvidar los elementos externos en la evolución de los conflictos nacionales en la antigua URSS, es decir, los intereses imperialistas por provocar conflictos nacionales con el fin de desmembrar la URSS. Por ejemplo, la Guerra de Afganistán no pretendía únicamente desplazar del poder al gobierno progresista del PDPA (Partido Democrático del Pueblo Afgano), sino extender el conflicto étnico-religioso hacia el Asia central soviética y el Cáucaso, tal como fue planeado por el asesor del Presidente norteamericano Carter, el fanático expansionista Z. Brzezinski, con el fin de desmembrar la URSS. La situación geoestratégica y los valiosos recursos energéticos de la zona del Caspio y el Cáucaso siempre han sido un objetivo fundamental de las potencias imperialistas y sus multinacionales.

Con el apoyo del General de origen checheno, y por aquella época aliado de Yeltsin, Dudayev, se independizan las Repúblicas Bálticas (Letonia, Estonia, y Lituania). En 1991, Chechenia declara la independencia, pero no será hasta 1994 cuando intervenga el ejército ruso; la guerra terminará en 1996 con una humillante derrota del ejército ruso, causando alrededor de 70.000 muertos, la mayoría provocados por los bombardeos rusos. En 1997, el Presidente checheno Aslan Maskhadov firma un armisticio, apareciendo en escena un oscuro señor de la guerra, Shamil Basayev, curtido según diversas fuentes en los campos de entrenamiento de la CIA para combatientes islámicos, que exigirá la dimisión de Maskhadov.

En agosto de 1999 el conflicto da un nuevo giro, Basayev y sus seguidores invaden la vecina Daguestán con el objetivo de establecer una “república islámica”. En octubre del 99, el ya Presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, lanza una terrible y devastadora ofensiva sobre Chechenia. En el armisticio del 97, se establecía un periodo de 5 años para decidir definitivamente el estatus político de Chechenia, pero el Presidente Maskhadov fue incapaz de detener a los diversos señores de la guerra radicales islámicos, como Basayev, o el integrista wahabita saudí (de los wahabita se dice que son el “Opus Dei” del Islam) Khattab, muerto por los rusos en el 2002.

Ante la brutal ofensiva rusa, el Presidente Maskhadov en octubre del 99 reclamará la intervención de la OTAN, según sus palabras, “en base al Nuevo Orden Internacional”.

El petróleo

Las primeras perforaciones en busca de petróleo en Chechenia comenzaron en 1887, produciéndose anualmente ya para esa misma época alrededor de 1600 toneladas de crudo. En ese mismo año, se instalan refinerías de capitales franceses, ingleses y holandeses. Para la década de 1880 a 1890, se construyen en Grozny los primeros oleoductos y gasoductos y se tienden las primeras líneas férreas. Este desarrollo provoca una fuerte migración y un gran auge poblacional en la capital chechena, que pasa de 12.000 trabajadores en 1906 a 22.000 en 1922. Para esta época de principios del siglo XX, el petróleo del Cáucaso comenzaba a ser visto por las potencias mundiales dominantes como un botín internacional. Los intereses extranjeros en la producción rusa eran considerables, constituyendo más de la mitad de las inversiones: se calcula que antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial, el total invertido era alrededor de 214 millones de dólares, de los cuales 130 millones correspondían a capitales extranjeros. De esa suma total Gran Bretaña poseía un 60%, controlando el 90% de la producción en Emba y el 50% de la de Grozny. Todo ello, lógicamente, antes de la Revolución de 1917.

Entre los analistas hay discrepancias en cuanto en cuanto al nivel de reservas en el subsuelo caucásico, pero en lo que sí coinciden es en destacar a Grozny como el centro neurálgico del oleoducto que une el puerto de Bakú (Azebaijan), en el Caspio, con el importante puerto ruso de Novorossisk, en el Mar Negro, que comercializa directamente con los mercados occidentales. Además, a lo largo del territorio checheno existen alrededor de 493 refinerías. Chechenia es un corredor de petróleo y gas proveniente del Caspio, de ahí su importancia estratégica.

Por eso el ex Presidente ruso Yeltsin dijo lo siguiente: “Es muy evidente que los energéticos del Caspio son un tema candente en los países occidentales, y algunos de ellos buscan excluir a Rusia del juego y socavar sus intereses. La `guerra del oleoducto' es parte del juego”, o que el analista del National Journal, Paul Starobin dejara caer sarcásticamente: “Nota a los maestros: Ubiquen el Caspio en el mapa y márquenlo para los niños, pues en unos 20 años, quizás en 10, es posible que se encuentren desplegados ahí”. Pero más explicito y descarado es aún el citado anteriormente Z. Brzezinski, que, muy curiosa y sospechosamente, es el Presidente del “Comité Americano para la Paz en Chechenia”, y ¡casualidad sin importancia!, es también consejero de la sociedad petrolera BP Amoco, con reconocidos intereses en la zona: “Eurasia es el tablero sobre el que se desarrolla el combate por la primacía global (...). La tarea más urgente consiste en velar para que ningún Estado o reagrupamiento de Estados tenga los medios para expulsar a los Estados Unidos de Eurasia o debilitar su papel de árbitro”. Brzezinski es partidario de la partición de Rusia en tres: la Rusia “europea”, la Rusia de Siberia, y la Rusia “del extremo oriental”, con vistas a debilitarla en el combate por la “primacía” de ese “tablero euroasiático”. Chechenia, y el Cáucaso, son piezas fundamentales de ese “tablero” que describe Brzezinski, en el que EEUU ya controla Georgia (que ha dado su apoyo en numerosas ocasiones a los independentistas chechenos, a pesar de que históricamente las relaciones entre georgianos y chechenos han sido tensas) y Azebaijan.

Según diversos análisis, extraer petróleo del Caspio es mucho más caro que extraerlo de Kuwait, para abaratar costes se requieren fuertes inversiones, pero ahí reside la oportunidad: quien realice esas inversiones, quien construya oleoductos y gaseoductos (no podemos olvidarnos tampoco del gas), a la larga, conseguirá importantes beneficios y rentabilizar espectacularmente sus inversiones.

Que duda cabe que la actual Rusia capitalista, como en su momento la URSS, estorba en una zona reconocida como vital por los propios Estados Unidos y sus petroleras, que pretenden ya sea sabotear el oleoducto checheno, en manos rusas, o construir un costosísimo oleoducto paralelo que evite pasar por territorio ruso: el oleoducto Bakú-Ceyhan, que iría de Azebaijan a Turquía, siempre rodeando territorio ruso sin tocarlo. Pero en Eurasia, no solo estorba Rusia a los intereses norteamericanos, también Irán, y sobre todo la República Popular China.

Si alguien pretende analizar el conflicto checheno olvidándose de este choque de intereses entre Rusia y los EEUU, olvida lo fundamental. La aparente coincidencia de Bush y Putin en luchar contra el “terrorismo” es solo eso, aparente, detrás se oculta el control en este caso del petróleo del Caspio, y su distribución (oleoductos), que EEUU pretende y Rusia no está dispuesta a entregar, el futuro del joven y corrupto capitalismo ruso está en juego, y como hemos visto, a Putin no le tiembla la mano a la hora de defenderlo.

Basayev, Arabia Saudí, la CIA, y..., Al-Qaeda

Un grupo comunista de Osetia del Norte hacía el siguiente análisis allá por septiembre de 1999: “Esta guerra llevada a cabo por una formación islámica de 30.000 combatientes, quiere crear un Estado islámico. Algunos avanzan que la guerra se ha desencadenado porque el saudí Ben Laden financia a los combatientes chechenos. Pero ni Ben Laden, ni Arabia Saudí, ni Turquía pueden actuar por su cuenta en una región considerada como vital por los Estados Unidos”.

Shamil Basayev ya convertido en 1994 en líder guerrillero checheno recibió, según escribía hace poco el analista Rodrigo Guevara, entrenamiento militar en campamentos de la CIA en Afganistán y Pakistán. Para muchos analistas, la guerra de Chechenia sería una continuación de las operaciones en cubierta norteamericanas ya realizadas con éxito durante la Guerra de Afganistán. Debemos tener presentes las palabras del antiguo Secretario norteamericano James Baker: “Solo en la medida de nuestros intereses debemos oponernos al integrismo”. Recordemos, como se ha señalado anteriormente, que la Guerra de Afganistán iba más allá de expulsar a las tropas soviéticas y eliminar al gobierno progresista afgano.

En 1991, Basayev estuvo del lado de Yeltsin durante los convulsos sucesos de aquel verano que le encumbraron al poder y llevó a la disolución de la URSS; durante su estancia en los campos de entrenamientos de la CIA, Basayev recibió la visita de los ministros pakistaníes Aftab Shahban Miran y Nazerrullah Babar, más el jefe de los servicios secretos, Javed Ashar, conocidos colaboradores de la CIA desde la época de la guerra de Afganistán, cuando el ISI (servicios secretos pakistaníes) servía de puente entre la CIA y los combatientes islámicos afganos.

Por otro lado, EEUU ha concedido asilo político a Ilyas Ahmadov, acusado de crímenes de guerra y ayudante del independentista Aslan Maskhadov. Ahmadov ha sido contratado por la organización “National Endowment for Democracy”, donde participan el sionista Paul Wolfowitz (Defensa), Frank Carducci (antiguo Director de la CIA) y el General Wesley Clark (antiguo Comandante en Jefe de la OTAN).

El apoyo de la rama más fanática e integrista del Islam sunní, los wahabitas saudíes, al independentismo checheno es bien conocido, el máximo exponente de ese apoyo fue el saudí Khattab, anteriormente citado, además de la presencia de numerosos combatientes saudíes en las filas de la guerrilla chechena, siempre, supuestamente, vinculados a la fantasmagórica Al Qaeda, y, sin olvidar, el nutrido apoyo financiero recibido desde este país. ¿Apoya Arabia Saudí, ya sea como estado, o a través de prominentes y religiosos “hombres de negocios” al independentismo checheno sin el conocimiento o consentimiento de los Estado Unidos? Posibilidad poco probable.

Algunas consideraciones

No es nuevo que existan movimientos nacionales que sean utilizados como piezas de ajedrez por las grandes potencias imperialistas según convengan a sus intereses, y por los datos de que disponemos, parece que el movimiento independentista checheno pertenece a esa categoría de movimientos.

El derecho a la autodeterminación y a la soberanía nacional es un principio irrenunciable y profundamente legítimo al que ningún pueblo ha de renunciar. Chechenia tiene todo el derecho a ejercer su libre autodeterminación nacional, los sentimientos nacionales del pueblo checheno han de ser respetados, y tenidos en cuenta, y la burguesía imperialista rusa no es quien para pisotearlos con sus intereses petroleros y su chovinismo. Pero, también, hemos de preguntarnos honradamente a cerca del proyecto de país que poseen los independentistas chechenos, tanto Basayev como Maskhadov, alejado de cualquier esquema minimamente progresista y democrático. ¿Es legítimo apoyar la creación de un estado islámico reaccionario en Chechenia o una “república bananera-petrolera” dirigida con mano de hierro por un autócrata mafioso y corrupto, como ocurre en el Asia Central ex soviético? ¿No querrán algunos independentistas chechenos expulsar a los rusos para entregar el petróleo a las multinacionales norteamericanas y llenarse los bolsillos con la operación? ¿Los independentistas chechenos sirven realmente a los intereses del pueblo checheno o a intereses ajenos? ¿Cuáles son las conexiones entre la mafia chechena, los independentistas, y los capitalistas rusos pro-occdentales contrarios a Putin como el oligarca Khodorkovski? Estas son también preguntas legítimas e irrenunciables que debemos hacernos.


Antonio Torres, “Antón”. Civilización Socialista.

Fuentes:

Collon, Michel, Monopoly. La OTAN a la conquista del mundo, Hiru, Hondarribia (Gipuzkoa), 2000.

Collon, Michel, La guerra global ha comenzado, en Sediciones nº 19, Hiru, Hondarribia (Guipuzkoa), 2002.

Chechenia: la lucha de liberación nacional del pueblo najcho, Boltxebike, 1995.

La antigua/nueva guerra en el Caucaso: continuidades y rupturas en el actual conflicto en Chechenia, por Gonzalo Pablo Iraolagoitia, Observatorio de Conflictos (
www.nodo50.org/observatorio), 2002.

Oleoducto de avaricia. El imperialismo yanqui y el petróleo del Mar Caspio, Obrero Revolucionario nº 1035 (Partido Comunista Revolucionario, EEUU), 1999.

El petróleo y la guerra de Afganistán, Obrero Revolucionario nº 1126 (Partido Comunista Revolucionario, EEUU), 2001.

La conexión Bush-Al Qaeda-terrorismo checheno, por Rodrigo Guevara,
www.iarnoticias.com, 2004.

La guerra por el petróleo, por Lisandro Otero, en
www.rebelion.org, 2004.

Beslan, la guerra oculta contra Rusia en el Cáucaso, por Peter Franssen, en
www.solidaire.org,
en castellano en
www.refundacioncomunista.tk, 2004.
Chechenia: final del segundo acto, Soviet nº 5 (Corriente Leninista Internacional), 2000.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anónimo said...

Los chechenos fueron invadidos por el imperialismo ruso y cuando llegaron las tropas nazifascistas vieron en ellos a los únicos que les podían hacer frente a los imperialistas rusoviéticos por eso se unieron a los nazis , no por ser reaccionarios ni niños muertos , lo mismo que hicieron los ucranianos.

Los ucranios y georgianos ven en unirse a la OTAN su salvavidas frente al imperialismo ruso que los quiere reconquistar.

Aquí se habla mucho del imperialismo occidental pero leed esto:
LA DESCOLONIZACIÓN DE LOS IMPERIOS

En el S.19 España perdió su imperio.Turquía , lo perdió después de la 1ª Guerra Mundial , al igual que Austria y Alemania.Después de la 2ª Guerra Mundial hasta los '80 desaparecieron la mayor parte de colonias de los imperios portugués , francés , japonés(éste , con el italiano durante la 2ª Guerra Mundial) , Holandés y Belga.Los '90 dieron origen a la caída de otro imperio mundial:La U.R.S.S.

Al caer este imperio los países comunistas del mundo entero se libraron de este imperio europeo.Además las 15 repúblicas que componían la U.R.S.S.,incluída Rusia se separaron.

Serbia que desde su capital, Belgrado,dirigía el país artificial y ahistórico que era Yugoslavia de hecho tenía un miniimperio que con la independencia montenegrina desapareció como tal.

El imperio soviético y yugoslavo cayeron en los '90 , pero también en esa década se devolvieron el Canal a Panamá, Hong-Kong y Macao a China.

En la primera década del siglo 21 hemos visto la independencia de Timor Oriental(ex-colonia portuguesa)de Montenegro en 2006 y de Kosovo en 2008.Los países de Europa Central , que de alguna forma eran colonias soviéticas ya hemos comentados que , junto con otros por medio mundo , se libraron de la U.R.S.S. en los '90 aunque fueran teóricamente independientes.Pues bien , con las Revoluciones de Colores acontecidas en Ucrania(2004) , Georgia(2003) y Kirguicistán(2005) estos países se unieron a Estonia , Letonia y Lituania en su plena independencia de Rusia y democracia.De todas formas podemos unir a esta lista Acerbayán y Moldavia que no han conseguido democratizarse , pero tienen independencia política de Rusia y rivalidad con ella.

Todavía quedan países como la Samoa Americana ,Guayana Francesa , Chechenia ,las Islas Cook o Groenlandia , entre otros , que deberían descolonizarse.

YUGOSLAVIA , EL ÚLTIMO IMPERIO SERBIO

En el siglo 13 , antes de ser conquistada por los turcos Otomanos , Serbia fue un miniimperio que rivalizaba con el Bizantino.

Cuando se independizaron los Balcanes del imperio Otomano en el siglo 19 , después de un tiempo , en 1918 fundó con croatas y eslovenos un reino llamado de serbios croatas y eslovenos.En la 2ª Guerra Mundial quedó sometida a las potencias del Eje.Su rey y gobierno huyeron a Londres.

Durante la 2ª Guerra mundial los comunistas de Tito se hicieron con el poder del país nombrándolo República Democrática Federal de Yugoslavia.

En 1980 el dirigente del país , Tito , murió.Con ello las tensiones entre las diferentes nacionalidades crecieron.

Tras la asunción de partidos nacionalistas al poder en Serbia, dos de sus repúblicas constituyentes: Eslovenia y Croacia declaran su independencia, a las que seguirían Macedonia y Bosnia-Herzegovina, no sin resistencia por parte de Serbia. En 1991 la tensión entre las diferentes repúblicas derivó en el sangriento conflicto conocido como Guerra de Yugoslavia.

Las repúblicas que decidieron permanecer en la federación reemplazaron en 1992 la difunta República Federal Socialista de Yugoslavia por la nueva República Federal de Yugoslavia integrada ya sólo por Serbia y Montenegro.

La mayoría albanesa de Kosovo fue también fuente de tensión, y ante los enfrentamientos con la guerrilla del Ejército, la ONU se hizo cargo del territorio de forma temporal. El 21 de mayo de 2006, tras la victoria independentista en un referéndum, Montenegro se escindió. Y posteriormente el 17 de febrero de 2008 la provincia de Kosovo se autodefinió como independiente, con la oposición de Serbia.

Como podemos observar Yugoslavia fue un estado artifial sin apenas historia por lo que era normal su estallido en varios estados con más historia cada uno por sí solo.También era evidente que la que dominaba , no la que dirigía como otra más , era Serbia.

"Los Tres imperios" (China , Irán y Rusia)

La mayoría de la gente no considera a China , Irán y Rusia como imperios.Sin embargo si uno echa un vistazo a los mapas históricos de principios del siglo 20 y anteriores podrá comprobar que al mismo territorio o incluso menor que el territorio actual se le llama respectivamente Imperio Persa (a Irán) , Imperio Chino (a China obviamente) e Imperio Ruso a la actual Federación Rusa.

Irán es llamado Imperio Persa Sasánida hasta que es derrotado por los árabes que instauran el Islam en Persia.En le siglo 16 recobra la independencia.En ese momento se llama Persia a secas aunque ocupaba un territorio que antes se denominaba imperio.

Durante la 2ª Guerra Mundial fue ocupada Persia por la U.R.S.S. y el Reino Unido.
Con el tiempo , pasada la 2ª Guerra Mundial , pasa a tener monarca : el Sha de Persia.

En 1979 un movimiento fundamentalista islámico lo depone al Sha con lo que se denomina la República Islámica de Irán.

Irán además de ser un país inmenso , es multiétnico , o , ¿deberíamos decir plurinacional?Además de los mayoritarios persas que se extienden hasta dentro de Afganistán y Tayiquistán , tiene las siguientes nacionalidades : kurdos , baluches , azeríes , turkmenos , árabes , armenios, judíos y asirios , entre otros.

China hasta el año 1911 , que fue derrocada la dinastía Qing fue llamada Imperio Chino.En ese momento por primera vez se le denominó República China.Cuando en 1949 el Gobierno del Kuomingtang perdió la Guerra Civil frente a los comunistas , se pasó a lla mar República Popular China.China no había perdido ningún territorio(excepto Taiwán que nunca ha sido propiamente independiente) y , sin embargo , abarcaba el mismo territorio que cuando se llamaba imperio.Incluso el territorio chino se agrandó con la conquista en 1950 del Tíbet.

China es multinacional componiéndose de las siguientes minorías nacionales de etnia no china (han): tibetanos, uigures, mongoles, hui y zhuang , entre otras.Los Uigures son turcos y musulmanes como los países de Asia central.

Rusia ha tenido más reciente la denominación imperial que sus colegas imperiales iraní y chino.De hecho perdió el nombre de imperio ruso cuando se derrocó al zar en la revolución comunista de 1917.

Además de los predominantes rusos en rusia hay :Ucranianos , armenios , bielorrusos , alemanes , osetios , rumanos , moldavos , tayikos , griegos , polacos , lituanos , búlgaros , letones , turcos , tártaros , baskires , chuvasos , kazajos , aceríes , chechenos , ingushes , calmucos , mordivinios , udmurtios
mongoles , yacutios , komis , evenquios , chukchos , jantimansis , nenets , yamalos , pueblos semíticos , coreanos , y un largo etcétera.

Aunque la Federación Rusa se ha quedado mucho más pequeña que en tiempos de la U.R.S.S. , es mucho mucho más grande de lo que fue la primera vez que se le llamó imperio.

Ahora que he expuesto las razones por las que llamo imperios a Rusia , Irán y China , me gustaría explicar qué hace que los llamé "Los Tres Imperios" Desde luego es más que obvio que ninguno de los 3 tiene democracia ya que la oposición es reprimida , encarcelada e , incluso asesinada.Los derechos Humanos no es el fuerte de ninguno de los tres.

Además Rusia y China han creado una alianza económica y militar: La Organización para la Cooperación de Shanghai(O.C.S.).En esta alianza se han puesto de acuerdo de echar a Europa EE.UU. y Japón de Asia Central , rica en hidrocarburos (gas y petróleo).Irán es miembro observador de la misma , pero a nadie se le escapa que es algo más que un mero observador.De hecho cuando hay que ponerle sanciones a Irán por su programa nuclear , China y Rusia suavizan las iniciativas.

Parece ser que quieren hacer con los otros miembros de la O.C.H.(los países de Asia Central sin Turkmenistán) un cártel del gas a semejanza de la O.P.E.P. para monopolizar esta energía junto a , posiblemente , Argelia y Libia.

Estos regímenes son amigos , por supuesto de la Venezuela de Chávez , la Bolivia de Morales , la Nicaragua de Ortega , Sudán , la Bielorrusia de Lukashenko , de las F.A.R.C. de Hamás , el ejército del Madi de Irak , de la Junta militar de Myanmar , de Cuba , de Siria en la cual Rusia proyecta poner una base en su costa mediterránea , también de la guerrilla Hizbulá.

Irán de hecho controla a buena parte de chiítas desde el Líbano a Qatar o kuwait , pasando por Iraq , entre otros países.

Algunos de los grupos mencionados no son amigos directos , pero son amigos de sus amigos , que no es muy diferente.

Por todas estas cosas y más considero que el Imperio Iraní , el Imperio Chino y el imperio Ruso son Los Tres Imperios.

EL COMIENZO DE LA HEGEMONÍA DE LOS EEUU EN EL MUNDO

Entre los años 1989 y 2001 , el mundo oocidental no sólo ha asistido al desmoronamiento de 2 de sus construcciones más emblemáticas y significativas-el Muro de Berlín y las Torres Gemelas- sino también a la edificación simbólica del nuevo imperio del mundo por parte de EE.UU.

Los 12 años que transcurren entre la caída del Muro de Berlín y el derrumbe de las Torres Gemelas de Nueva York destacan por resultar bastante opacos para la intelectualidad europea y por el constante avance de las tesis llegadas desde el Nuevo Mundo.

Sin duda , tras la caída del Muro de Berlín se empieza a extender por europa un estado de incertidumbre y perplejidad.

El extraordinario corrimiento de tierras políticas(rollback para Rusia)que se produce tras la caída del Muro provoca que todo tenga que replantearse de nuevo.Por supuesto , también los insignes miembros de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española se ponen de inmediato en marcha en una rápida tarea de actualización.Así 3 años después de la caída del Muro de Berlín se publica el nuevo Diccionario de 1992 , en el que se liquidan las anteriores connotaciones asociadas con la percepción de Occidente del anterior manual , y se vuelve a definir este concepto bajo 2 nuevas acepciones : <<1.Conjunto de naciones de la parte occidental de Europa.2.Conjunto de países de varios continentes , cuyas lenguas y culturas tienen su origen principal en Europa.>>

Sólo es necesario fijarse en esta nueva definición del concepto de Occicente para poder percatarse de que ni los académicos españoles ni el resto de los europeos parecían ser en ese mismo momento , plenamente conscientes todavía de la creciente supremacía que había llegado a alcanzar EE.UU. tras su victoria en la Guerra Fría.

Con la desintegración de la Unión Soviética ,el último imperio de ámbito mundial , EE.UU. se quedaba sola como superpotencia en el mundo.Esta desintegración soviética no sólo hizo que Rusia perdiera colonias interiores de la U.R.S.S. -desde las bálticas , pasando por Ucrania , hasta las de Asia Central , entre otras-, sino que al dejar de lado la ideología comunista perdió sus colonias del exterior de la U.R.S.S.- entre las cuales estaban Polonia , Hungría , Rumanía y Bulgaria , entre otras de media Europa , así como Mongolia , Cuba y otros cuantos países comunistas por todo el mundo.Además dejó de liderar a la izquierda que le seguía y a grupos guerrilleros afines por todo el mundo-Con toda esta pérdida de influencia mundial por parte ruso-soviética la caída de las Torres Gemelas apuntaló a EE.UU. como evidente hegemonía única y blanco de las iras.

TAMBIÉN TENÉIS ESTO EN INGLÉS:

THE AMERICAN NO EMPIRE

from Limes 2/2004
By Lucio Caracciolo

The United States of America do not have an empire. Their borders are those of their republic. In the historical atlases you may admire the maps of the Roman, Chinese or British empires—often colored a lovely pink. You will never find the map of the American empire:
it lacks limes.

The 20th century will have also been the American century. But if in the first half of the last century it triumphed in two world wars; if twelve years ago it liquidated the “Evil Empire” without firing a shot, the US has grown no larger for it. The Americans have no interest in annexing other territories. When they conquer territory, their first thought, in general, is how to leave, maintaining, if possible, an indirect influence. A difference from the Romans, the Chinese or the British, they have neither imperial institutions nor an imperial mentality.
The temper of the democracy does not consent the President of the United States to pursue
long-term strategies. Nor do his constituents have a marked curiosity in the outside world;
they tend if anything to provincialism. When he entered the White House, George W. Bush didn’t have a valid passport and, a few excursions into Mexico aside, had only been abroad twice. Many Americans don’t feel the necessity of knowing the world because for them, the world is America—a multicolored planet that in the last two centuries has attracted millions of people of every race and creed.

And yet many in the world think of the US as an imperialist superpower. If it is true that in life we count not for what we believe ourselves to be but for how we are perceived by others, then the United States is an empire—without possessing one. Consequently, today a few ideologues on the American right have decided to break the taboo in a liberating release resulting however in an disruption of values.

If Yankee imperialism is abhorred by enemies or foreign critics, it is sung in Virgilian verse by the new American imperialists. It is the “empire of the good”. Its aim is not to subjugate other peoples but to liberate them, democratize them, and open them to the global market. Because the Americans, as Herman Melville wrote in 1850, “are the special elected people, the Israel of our times. We bring the ark of universal liberty.”In this they are believers in the precept of the same Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), for whom “all men [not “all Americans”, n.d.r.] are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among which those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

According to the neoconservative theories of the “empire of the good”, the war on terrorism is the grand occasion for its realization. Is it indeed possible for America to construct an empire on measure? Probably not, for reasons which we will here try to set forth.

America is a country-continent blessed with a peculiar idea of itself, oscillating between the desire to tend its own garden and the vocation to redeem mankind. In either case, it is not a nation among others. Whether it is—according to the lazy categories of political science—the “isolationists”, the cultivators, or the “universalists”, its exporters, who prevail, America has never considered itself part of an international system. The choice has always been between withdrawal and domination; remaining preoccupied with itself or seeking to change the international system. Balance of power? No thanks.

After September 11th, it is this last tendency that seems to prevail. The Americans have uncovered a world that, surprisingly, doesn’t love them. “Why do they hate us?”, Bush asked along with many of his fellow citizens. In perfectly good faith, these people don’t understand why their good intentions often appear evil to others. The modern imperialists—British or German, Russian or French, Spanish or Portuguese, Belgian or Italian—have pursued their own interests. Period. With the notable exception of the French, they did not subscribe to the American view according to which that which is good for themselves is automatically good for others. European colonialism was not seeking a better world. Its view of mankind was pessimistic—as ineradicable as the American belief in the perfectibility of human beings. Among the European empires, conflicting strategies were expressed. But to conquer other peoples’ countries or paint over their own colors with the white blots of the terrae incognitae that up to the beginning of the twentieth century stood out on our globes, we had to explore them, taking into consideration other peoples’ designs and cultures, bearing in mind the territory.If still today the intelligence of former imperialists—British in particular—is considered better than that of the Americans, it is hardly due to a superiority of means, but to experience and the capacity to see the terrain before them and understand the minds of other peoples.

The United States is at once the most powerful and least geopolitical country in the world. Geopolitics is based on the analysis of power conflicts within delineated spaces. It calls for various approaches and knowledge of history and geography. It is a line of reasoning about individual cases, not a divining art, much less a science. Americans prefer models. They don’t so much study the case itself as much as its reproducibility. When debating strategy, they adapt individual cases to broader models, concentrating on economic parameters, and that which is quantifiable, in order to reduce complexity to a minimum. Hence they risk sliding outside of time and space or rather, into a space defined solely by Americans. Their history tends to the philosophy of history; a gaze from above, more technological than analytical.
But the ground cannot be understood, much less changed, by satellite photographs, because to descend from the heavens of philosophy to the ground of practice without geopolitical mediation means to proceed through tactical adjustments. Not necessarily a disaster but hardly an imperial modus operandi.

Here then the reasons for the studies on how to adapt the American federal system to Iraq, or on the necessary conditions for repeating in Afghanistan the democratization of Japan, Germany and Italy. Modeling can even serve polemical purposes. So the European reticence to march against Saddam is dubbed the revival of the “spirit of Munich. ”Hitler is the embodiment of absolute evil, except when applying it in turn to Milosevic, Saddam, or any other rival dictators. Chamberlain and Daladier are the illustrations of our cowardice that forces the Americans to save us from ourselves. Thus central Europe of 1938 can become the Balkans in 1995 or Iraq in 2003. Outside of time and space, nothing is irrefutable, everything is possible.

Geopolitics is in the end a contrastive reasoning. It integrates and analyzes the viewpoints of all sides. A territorial project that doesn’t consider the intentions and resources of other peoples is unrealistic—therefore, unrealizable. No grand strategy can, in the long run, replace the solipsistic drift to which the Americans are sometimes inclined. Understood this way one sees how the US armed forces could achieve overwhelming victory in the lightning-war only to become bogged down in the long aftermath. An idea of victory quite different from the European one, not to mention strategic Oriental thought. However, this is not an imperial conception; rather it is an anti-imperial one.

Neil Smith, the author of an original study on Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950), Presidential geographer for Woodrow Wilson and later for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, connects the refusal to integrate other people’s points of view with its own strategy to the “end of geography”—the mode of the nineties. It was the epoch of the “superseding of frontiers”, of the “inevitable decline of nation-states”, of “geo-economics” (no “geo”, all economics). Geography only seemed of interest to the Pentagon, as it assisted their ballistics and perhaps helped to justify errors, if it is true that the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 was the result of an outdated map, as the White House swore.

The lack of geopolitical inclination does not only produce a gap in analysis. Above all, it reduces American power by spreading it throughout an area too vast and far too little analyzed. That American’s lack interest in other peoples’ lands puts into question the security of their own. September 11th was perceived by a great majority of Americans, Bush included, as a malignant strike of lighting from otherwise serene skies. But the collapse of the Soviet Union was not the prelude to a “new world order” (Bush pere). If anything, it emphasized the disorder. In fact, the bipolar world outlined a sphere of American influence: the West as the defense against the Soviet East. The disintegration of the communist empire has called into question the strategic utility of the western alliance and unleashed on the world stage a coterie of disparate and equally ambitious issues. At the same time, it has driven Washington to charge itself almost inadvertently with the management of an enormous territory, originally claimed by the Soviet sphere; a textbook case of imperial overextension—but without empire. The delay in perceiving the danger of this has cost America dearly.

Both those who praise and those who malign the “American empire” overrate it in the end. America is less strong and much less secure than appeared. Each power is relative. It is limited in time and space. No one can order the world alone. If it tries to, it undermines itself. Furthermore, the colossus exposes itself in “imperial” operations far from home, further diluting its power and rendering itself vulnerable.

This is the wager of Osama bin Laden and his followers. The primary objective of Islamic terrorism is to force the United States to expend military force in an ongoing attempt to respond to them. Their dream is permanent “prevemptive war”. As unparalleled as American power is, it loses much of its effectiveness when employed in an asymmetrical contest.Indeed, it becomes counterproductive. Atomic arsenals, bombers and aircraft carriers are of no use against bands of terrorists. The attempt to conventionalize the war, hitting “state sponsors”— or at least the weakest of them—reveals its limits. They lack money and they lack troops. Congress has approved this year the allocation of 400 billion dollars for national defense. By 2013, this continued expenditure will reach 600 billion. The occupation of Iraq alone costs 48 billion a year. Already one sees among congressmen and even in the executive, the tendency to put a cap on these expenses, given the enormous federal deficit.

The American armed forces are essentially limited by their own resources. The United States military today is comprised of 400,000 soldiers and 500,000 reservists. The Pentagon counts nearly 7,000 bases (702 overseas and about 6,000 on home soil). US troops are stationed in over 140 different countries. An impressive array, but insufficient for managing a prolonged occupation of destroyed, hostile territories, without considering the possibility of new campaigns in a war that Bush claims may last decades. The United States should therefore control defense spending—for economic reasons—and marshal more soldiers—as a strategic imperative. How to square this circle? The White House hopes to gain financial and military assistance from available countries. But here they come up against their dogma of the supremacy of American national interests as the independent variable. In the celebrated aphorism of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, “in this war it is not the coalition that defines the mission, it is the mission that will define the coalition”—it was implicit that the United States would stabilize the mission. Conquering Iraq does not require partners, but controlling it demands them. But no one works for free. Possibly the Americans will allow more or less willing “friends” to codetermine the mission; otherwise everyone will interpret it in their own way.

Contrary to the White House’s prediction, the display of overwhelming military power in Iraq has not strengthened the United States’ image. In the first week after the fall of Saddam the other regimes of the Middle East seemed shocked by the exhibition of American power.
Then, one by one, the troops encountered the still untamed resistance and the victory ran aground. While some leaders were rendered more submissive, others among the Islamics rode a wave of anti-American hate.

Here is another paradox. If indeed Bush succeeded in democratizing the Middle East, many of its countries would be left in the hands of fanatically anti-American fundamentalists. According to a recent poll taken by the Pew Research Center in four Islamic countries, Osama bin Laden is more popular than Bush in Pakistan (65% against 7% favorable), Jordan (55% v. 3%) and Morocco (45% v. 8%), while in allied Turkey Bush would prevail by a slim margin (21% v. 11%). Either empire or democracy.

The American anti-geographical ideology hardly excludes expansionism. Indeed it precipitates it. Only, it represents itself not as the occupation of physical space but as the opening of new markets . The fundamental interests of the United States are based in access to other people’s markets, in view of the formation of a truly global market. This is its condition for the extension of liberal democratic values—understood in the American sense—to as many peoples and countries as possible. In the vision of the most unrestrained neoconservatives, like Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the ideal world is a great America acting as the hinge of an archipelago of little Americas; the reproduction on a global scale of the operative force on the American continent. Because according to the neoconservatives if each one of us was free to choose, they would become American. Today the Americans are discovering that a great many other peoples don’t think so at all. Globalization is not synonymous with homogenization nor with Americanization, as the followers of Third Worldism cry. The globalization of America is a far more realistic scenario than the Americanization of the world.

The principle symbol and instrument of US economic primacy is the dollar. In order for the Americans to allow themselves to live beyond their own means, with an apparently structural foreign debt, they must combine overwhelming military power, technological primacy, economic performance, and monetary hegemony. The unbridgeable gap between their military potential and that of all the other powers put together induces in the Europeans, the Japanese, and by now the Chinese as well, the propensity to utilize the US strategic umbrella. Besides, its unique status as the currency of world reserve makes the dollar a significant expression of American supremacy.

We see here yet another paradox, between economics and geopolitics. The ability of the dollar to sustain the American economy derives today from its relative loss of value. If the dollar is to be a power factor, it must tend to depreciate towards other important currencies. But not too much; just enough to induce others—the Asian Tigers in particular—to buy dollars without, however, risking its privileged position as the only reserve currency. It is not the fall, but the threat of the fall of the dollar that is of use to Bush. We’ll see why.

The economic model of this administration is very simple: public spending for the
military-industrial complex (and not just them), and tax cuts, geared towards savings for the American family. In short, it works. In 2003 the American economy grew at 3.5%; this year it could reach 4.5%. But the United States must manage the enormous deficit in its exchanges with the rest of the world (541 billion dollars in 2003, about 5% of the GDP), at dimensions almost analogous to the hole in the federal budget, as a result, following September 11th, of the drastic upsurge in defense spending and of the diminution of fiscal revenues. To sustain the economy, the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to the point of risking new speculative bubbles. Above all, it has backed the depreciation of the dollar, to limit the “red” with foreign countries. America has to sell more and buy less.

The administration has concealed this operation through ambiguous rhetoric. It has reaffirmed the policy of the “American national interest in the strong dollar,” while proclaiming just the opposite—the liberalist benign neglect for which the markets and not the United States are to fix monetary value. The result: since 2002 the dollar has lost almost 30% on the euro, less on the yen. The US treasury has pretended to want to manage this decline, but hasn’t given the markets the impression of taking terribly seriously the defense of its own currency.
The European export has suffered, and yet the US foreign debt has not decreased, also because it is intrinsic to the model of Bushian development: stimulus packages and financing the economy, so that the American citizen need not confront the reality—that they must save more, because one can not always live beyond one’s own means.

So here is the paradox or, more accurately, the calculated risk. On the Atlantic side, the problem is not so much the commercial deficit as much as the risk that a further collapse of the dollar against the euro draws the “single currency” to its true goal: the title of reserve currency. On the Pacific side, where the exposure in the exchange is much more accentuated, it allows itself to buy up necessary assets in dollars in order to avoid too great a fall in the dollar.In 2003, Japan and China both bought approximately 300 billion dollars for yen and yuan (primarily out of obligation to the American treasury) to save the competitiveness of their exports towards America, curbing the US currency’s loss of value. This creates clear financial consequences and more subtle geopolitical fallout. The ongoing Asian question of shares in US debt keeps interests rates low on American loans with a deadline of between 3 months and 30 years. And America, but in effect the whole world, can continue to run up debt at an unrealistically low price.So functions the policy of the weak dollar—though not very well.

Besides, the Japanese and Chinese do this to finance US defense spending.Neither Tokyo nor Beijing has any interest in an excessive geopolitical weakening of the United States.
The Japanese rely on US assurances in regards to a future Chinese menace. For China, the longer the war on Islamic terrorism lasts, so much the better.Washington, distracted by jihadists, has less time to concern itself with Beijing, which many continue to see as the sole possible obstacle to a second American century.

Once one puts the facts to the test and dispenses with neoimperialist utopias, Washington’s approach essentially aims to perpetuate the American way of life. It is necessary to extract crucial resources from the external environment, to begin with: energy. The United States are not self-sufficient. Rather, their thirst for oil increases all the time because they always consume more and produce less. And instead of diversifying, they insist on the crude. By 2025, they should import 70% of the oil demand. All the more that one begins to doubt the effective consistency of domestic reserves. Alaska is less promising than expected, offshore of the northern Gulf of Mexico is more and more costly and demanding. Hence, the heightened search for new areas for supplies, even more so after September 11th, Bush having made energy an imperative of national security.

The geographical diversification of energy sources is one of the fundamental criteria for the response to terrorism. In the first place, it reinforces the pan-American dimension of the importation of oil and gas. Furthermore, it attempts to reduce the dependence on Riyadh: by the end of the year, imports from Iraq should effectively equal those from Saudi Arabia.
So this year the five fundamental countries supplying the United States are Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The problem is that the last three countries remain unappealing prospects for various reasons, all of which are tied to American strategy.Venezuela is a risk due to Chavez. Saudi Arabia fears the fundamentalist implosion. The state of Iraq is still in question. This insecurity pushes the American to increase to excess the strategic supply of crude oil—certainly an imperial strategy. Bush is engaged in an extremely short term policy. Until the paradox of penalizing Saudi imports while uselessly praying to ‘Abdallah to counteract the Opec “hawks” that want to cut production is revealed.

The narrowness of their strategic horizons is also reflected in the war on terrorism.

The Americans can’t seem to find a winning strategy due to the clouded vision of the neo-imperialists. The United States are unable to define a connecting link between the philosophy of history and the tactics of combat. They are not successful in individuating the right scale for defeating their enemy. They don’t have the imperial geography, based on knowledge of their own limits. They confuse the possibility of projecting their force anywhere with the capacity to control territories, which demands knowledge and the ability to manage them. By this logic, the anti-Saddam campaign could resolve itself in the permanent entrenchment of tens of thousands of American soldiers in 14 Mesopotamian bases.

On the ground, the war against terrorism hinges today on Pakistan and Israel; two very different and increasingly problematic allies. Musharraf’s regime can fall from one moment to the next, crushed between American demands and imminent fundamentalism; 150 million Pakistanis, sitting on the atomic bomb and the most violent Madrassas in the Islamic world.
As far as Israel is concerned, Sharon seems to recognize only the need to fight fire with fire, whatever the cost. Convinced—with excellent reason—that the Muslims want to throw the Jews into the sea, he accepts the logic of total and permanent opposition. The Americans mumble, but in the end they defend Israel—not so much its policies as its very existence.
They understand and perhaps accept Sharon’s logic. But identification with the Israeli leader’s policies is incompatible with the slogan of the “Greater Middle East,” recently discovered by Bush.

The idea of remaking the Middle East on the basis of a UN report manufactured by Arab experts brought up in America and recovering the wreckage of the “Barcelona process”—that shining example of Euro-Mediterranean rhetoric—doesn’t convince the interested parties. This returns to the tendency to reason on unbounded, imaginary scales. What possibly unites Mauritania and Pakistan, Tunisia and Afghanistan, Iran and Israel? How can one propose the same prefigured package of democracy, security and development for extremely heterogeneous peoples, regimes and cultures, without even consulting them? After having failed in nation building—Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Haiti, and finally Afghanistan and Iraq—the White House invents transcontinental building; from tragedy to farce.

The sole positive and, for us Europeans, attractive aspect of the “Greater Middle East” is the possibility of reinterpreting it as a sleight of hand for feigning a Euro-American agreement and finding a new occupation for Nato.

After Madrid, rational self-interest should push us Italians and the other Europeans to truly collaborate with the Americans for common security. The United States are in difficult straits; so too are we. If it is not always true that that which is good for America is good for everyone else, it is certain that that which is bad for America is not good for us. Our destinies are intertwined, in the struggle against Islamic terrorism as in financial and economic fields. Europe is in no way protected from American problems. Indeed our long term indicators—demographic, economic and cultural—are in decline. The difficulties of empire without empire flow first and foremost to the periphery: to us (and Japan).

We Europeans have an American complex—whether of superiority or inferiority is of little importance. We oscillate between servility and malicious joy in the degree of their troubles.
We are often reasonable in our criticisms, almost never concrete in proposing alternatives.
We are unsuccessful in communicating clearly with the Americans. Even with those—and there are more and more—who recognize the fragility of the pseudo-imperial dream.
A utopia that has placed them in contradiction with their own principles, it has exposed them to psychological dangers more destabilizing than Soviet missiles, and has rendered them incomprehensible and alien even to their few friends. Now or never again, if for no other reason than necessity, Americans and Europeans should listen to one another. Not to invent new rhetoric for media use but to construct together the victory against Islamic terrorism, prefiguring a less unstable geopolitical and economic order.

Rather than theorize a “Greater Middle East”, we Europeans can offer wisdom and propose alternatives, while assuming, in accord with the Americans, a direct responsibility for a few “hot” areas. Those closer and that we know better: the Balkans and northern Africa, where we Europeans can assume a leading role; Israel/Palestine along with Syria and Lebanon, but also Iraq and Iran, where we count for little but can do more. Here we should coordinate a common approach of the three great countries (France, Great Britain, Germany) and of the other two major ones, both situated in the Mediterranean (Italy and Spain). The European Union can serve as an introduction, though certainly not as a place for defining geopolitics too important to be entrusted to something so irregular and ineffectual.

In the Balkans we should first and foremost take on the serious American aversion to the International courts, closing the inglorious experience of the Tribunal of the AIA. Beyond its questionable judicial performance, that forum has put the processes of democratic transition in Croatia and Serbia in states of crisis. So, we can come to an agreement with the Americans on the basis of a reasonable exchange: the necessity of relieving their troops can be guaranteed only by the stabilization of the key European region.This is possible only through agreeing upon a new geopolitical order for the Balkans: to deal with the unresolved questions of Bosnia and Kosovo, liberating them from the icon of Dayton (Bosnia) and from UN Security Council resolution 1244 (Kosovo), that have produced two dangerous black holes, exploited by criminal organizations and Islamic terrorists.

North Africa matters for its labor capital and its energy resources. Also, here it is necessary to separate reality from imagination; to see the actual regimes—anything but democracies—and their people as they are and not simply as we might like them to be; leaving Mediterraneanism—Barcelona and other rituals—behind, to construct a truly communal Mediterranean region. The reasons for exchange between the North and South shores are very concrete. The stabilization of the Mediterranean in European style offers to the Americans, among others, a secure outlet for oil and gas coming from the Middle East, from the Caspian and the Caucasus directly to the United States; a concrete support for their strategy of diversification of supplies. Naturally, Washington should avoid destabilizing West Africa in the meantime, producing turbulence near the Maghreb.

We are entering at last the eye of the storm. Terrorism rages from Jerusalem to Baghdad.
For the White House, the central theater of the war today is Mesopotamia. At a minimum, the Americans would like to demonstrate that Iraq is a success. Immediately after the liquidation of Saddam, Bush thought—pushed also by the Israelis—that to control Iraq he had but to threaten its neighbors, from Syria to Iran. This has instead had the opposite effect. It seems now that Washington understands its error. At least with Iran, it is in fact seeking a dialogue. To the Europeans, having long engaged in trafficking with the Iranians, the exercise is to raise their sights, seeking a compromise with the US to bring Teheran back in the comprehensive equation of Middle Eastern security; if for nothing else, because the Persians possess the key to Iraq, now that the local Shiites are approaching the heights of command.

We Europeans have a special historical responsibility to Israel, especially now that it seems to have lost its compass. We should not involve ourselves only to draw away from the American hindrance, but to offer to the Israelis a European option; a hope of cohabitation and integration into the Euro-Mediterranean area—their and our area— through admission into the European Union. The ideal would be to open the doors together to Turkey and Israel—a psychological coup, but also a geopolitical and commercial one, since it would involve the two major military and economic powers in the eastern Mediterranean. American protection is vital for Israel, but it remains far-off. From a strategic perspective, the added security that can derive from membership in this community can help it to escape its nightmares. European integration would involve for Israel the assumption of European logic. It would not be left alone anymore—with the policy of the US—to face the Arabs . It would make part of a vast engaged deployment to construct a network of complementary interests with the Arab world, in the first place with the neighbors of the Jewish state—Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. From this perspective, the Israelis could finally accept the deployment of Nato troops—as should take place in the short-term in Iraq—as a force of interposition along the borders of Jordan.

It is truly an irony of history, that the lessons of the exhausted, old-continent imperialism, inclined to spheres of influence and reading territorial limits, can today help the empire without empire to protect its Achilles heel and the Europeans without Europe to recover the pride of collective responsibility, provided that on both sides of the Atlantic, there prevails a sober conviction that the West is not a historical remnant, but the best of all possible worlds.

RUSIA DICE QUE EEUU MINTIÓ EN NO AMPLIAR LA OTAN , PERO RUSIA DIJO QUE SACARÍA SUS TORPAS DE EUROPA.¿QUIÉN MINTIÓ?/RUSSIA SAYS THE USA LIED FOR EXTENDING NATO , BUT RUSSIA SAID IT WOULD TAKE ITS TROOPS OUT OF EUROPE.WHO LIED?

Rusia dice que EEUU mintió en no ampliar la OTAN,pero Rusia dijo que sacaría a sus tropas de Europa.¿Quién mintió?
Supuestamente EEUU se comprometió a no ampliar la OTAN cuando cayó la Unión Soviética , pero Rusia también se comprometió a sacar sus tropas de Europa y no lo hizo ya que todavía tiene tropas en Bielorrusia (También llamada Belarús) , Ucrania , Moldavia (Igualmete conocida como Moldova) , Georgia , Armenia , además de un radar en Azerbayán hasta 2012.Esto sin contar con el que muchos no saben que también es en parte europeo Cazajistán que además de tropas rusas tiene la base espacial rusa de Baikonur.

Partiendo del hecho de que EEUU no dijo la verdad de no ampliar la OTAN ya que ha sido megaampliada al este , incluso a las puertas de Rusia , podemos decir que EEUU ha traicionado su promesa a Rusia.Sin embargo un tarto requiere del cumplimeiento de las partes implicadas y al no cumplir Rusia su parte de sacar sus torpas de Europa , EEUU quedó libre de cumplir su parte.A día de hoy todavía Rusia mantiene tropas en los citados países , o en todo caso instalaciones controladas por Rusia.

Suppossedly the USA commited in not extending NATO when the Soviet Union fell down , but Russia also commited in taking troops out of Europe & didn't do it since still has troops in Byelorussia (Also called Belarus) , UKraine , Moldavia (As well called Moldova) , Georgia , Armenia , furthermore has a radar in Azerbaijan till 2012.This withou counting with the country many don't know is also in part european Cazakhstan that as well as Russian troops it has the Russian Space Base of Baikonur.

Starting from the fact tha the USA didn't tell the truth for extending NATO since it has been megaextended toward East , including to the doors of Russia , we can say the USA have betrayed its promise with Russia.Nevertheles a pact requires acomplishment from all signing parts & since Russia didn't take out troops of Europe ,the USA were freed from keeping its part.Today Russia still has troops in the cited countries , or anyway installations controlled by Russia.

RUSSIA NEVER WAS SO WEEK BUT SO STRONG

(Went weaker but comes back stronger)


In Stallin’s time Russia within the USSR controlled not just the USSR republics but the “Warsaw Pact” states thru out the World. As well at 1st China was in its Sphere of influence , for being also Communist , but they sign up for an association nor for cooperation agreement.

This friendship between the USSR (handled by Russia) & China broke up a little later. As well the once being a World potence (Power) with influence in countries all over the World (Outside the Pact of Warsaw) like Cuba , North Korea , Vietnam , Libya , Ethiopia & others , Russia lost all of it with the collapse of USSR plus 14 internal republics of Soviet Union(The Evil Empire) . This was confirmed with “Color Revolutions” in Ukraine (2004) , Georgia (2003) & Kyrgyzstan (2005) . Also with approaching the West by Azerbaijan & Moldova plus joining NATO Estonia , Latvia , Lithuania , Poland , Czekia , Slovakia , Slovenia , Hungary , Romania & Bulgaria .

These loses for Russia were big ones but at the same time were ballast (Since Russia had a big load for maintaining troops , bases and supporting in part their economies) dropped by Russia. In this way Russia was freer economically since incomes were almost totally for recovering itself. And how it did it!

Russia now is recuperating its economy , modernizing its army , elevating its population life level & improving in technologies & weappons. It has missiles able to destroy the American anti-missile shild (The one the USA is projecting to install in Poland Czekia & maybe in Lithuania) . I wonder why does Russia wines at the USA.

Now it has , since 2005 , a consolidated alliance with China & $ Central Asian countries called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in which Iran is an observer (For sure is leading member like China & Russia , since they don’t press harder in the Security Counsel of UN toward Iran for its nuclear program )

China has “secret” hidden Nuke bases in the depth of the see next to Hainan Island. China is also about to build in Iran & in Ecuador (In 2009) when the Americans leave its base in the Ecuadorian city of Manta. In the Asian South East countries there is a big Chinese diaspora thru which China manages in part these goverments. China is also a new actor in Africa competing with the West countries in dominating it & its resources .

China is a really strong economy in the World backwards than it was during Mao’s times. China is also very updated in weappons & computer technologies .

Iran is about to have nuke weappons (If don’t have them already). Is a big influence in the Great Middle East countries especially thru Shiites . Countries like Qatar , Iraq , Lebanon , Syria & Palestine thru Hamas or even Afghanistan. It’s also a giant gas producer as well as oil producer. The S.C.O. countries want to balckmail the West with their future gas cartel like OPEC is for oil.

Never Iran nor China were so strong in so many fields: military , economic , technologic …

Russia never was so powerful itself & since its new allies within the SCO are so storng as much as are tge Westerners while in Soviet times they were not allies (Just Iran a little bit but not as much as is inside SCO) Neither were able to really counter West countries .

Russia is also friend with the very armed Belarus (The last dictatorship of Europe according to the USA & the European Union) , the very armed Venezuela (Rich in oil) , Bolivia (Rich in gas) , Ecuador (Rich in oil) & Cuba. These countries are friends with F.A.R.C. which is friends with E.T.A. & with Nicaragua & Dominica. Cuba , Venezuela , Nicaragua , Bolivia & Dominica Form an anti-American alliance (All of them are extreme leftists) . This alliance is called Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (B.A.P.O) or A.L.B.A.( Alternativa Bolivariana para América Latina y el Caribe , which also means 'dawn' in Spanish) .

As i said many times before , I call the alliance between SCO members “The Evil Alliance” but the ALBA is another evil alliance.

In fact we can say Russia gets along with 2 anti-American alliances: The SCO in the East (Asia & part of Europe) & the ALBA in the West (The Americas) .

Because of the many things I said above & other agreements Russia & its allies have in the World , we can say without any doubt Russia & its allies are more powerful than never before in history in most of matters , at least in most of influenciable ones.

RUSSIA'S POST-ORANGE EMPIRE

Ivan Krastev

Ukraine’s orange revolution was Russia’s 9/11, and its result is to convince Moscow that the European Union is its major strategic rival, argues Ivan Krastev.20 - 10 - 2005


“The political personality of Soviet power as we know it today”, George Kennan wrote in his now famous “Mr X” long telegram of February 1946, “is the product of ideology and circumstances.” The political personality of Russian power as we know it today, in October 2005, is the product of a lack of ideology and…circumstances. The devil is in the circumstances.

The “orange triumphalism” in the west that followed the regime changes in Georgia and Ukraine perceives the decline of Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet space as irreversible. The only relevant questions for the democratic triumphalists nowadays are how many more weeks Alexander Lukashenko can survive in power in Minsk and where the next “colour revolution” will take place.

Ivan Krastev is chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria. He served as the executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans, chaired by Giuliano Amato

Also by Ivan Krastev in openDemocracy:

“We are all Britis today: Timothy Garton Ash’s Free World” (September 2004)

“Ukraine and Europe: a fatal attraction” (December 2004)

“The European Union and the Balkans: enlargement or empire?” (June 2005)


If you find this material valuable please consider supporting openDemocracy by sending us a donation so that we can continue our work and keep it free for all
In my view this single-scenario approach is an exercise in wishful non-thinking that underestimates the vulnerability of the newest “new democracies” and neglects Russia’s strategic drive to transform itself from a status-quo power into a revisionist power on the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Could it be that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will emerge as the greatest beneficiary of the colour revolutions and “new Europe” is the biggest loser in the mid-term? There are convincing signs that Russia is adopting a “support for democracy” approach and has begun investing in the development of an NGO infrastructure as the major instruments for destabilising pro-western governments and regaining influence in places like Ukraine.

Three factors contribute to the emergence of a dramatically new situation in the post-Soviet space, composed of three elements:

high energy prices, especially oil

the crisis of the European Union’s “soft power” in the aftermath of the French and Dutch rejections of the European constitution

the impact of Ukraine’s orange revolution on Russia’s political thinking.
First, the current energy crisis creates a perfect opportunity for Russia to transform itself from a defunct military superpower into a new energy superpower. Moscow’s favourable oil prices have given the Russian government the financial resources and international influence to launch an active foreign policy in its blizhneye zarubezhiye (“near abroad”).

Second, the impact of the European Union constitutional crisis on Brussels’ neighbours is not difficult to predict. The emergence of a de facto post-enlargement EU closed to the membership aspirations of Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldovans or Belarussians creates a space for Russia’s soft power and reduces the attractiveness of the “Europeanisation” option.

Third, and least understood, is that the orange revolution in Ukraine was Russia’s 9/11: it has had a revolutionary impact on Russian foreign-policy thinking.

In pre-orange days Russia tended to view the European Union as a benevolent competitor and a strategic ally in its desire for a multipolar world. In the post-orange reality of today, the EU is Russia’s major rival. This sudden change of heart is easy to explain. The EU is the only great power with unsettled borders. Even more important, the EU – which Moscow previously saw as an instrument to realise Paris-Berlin foreign-policy visions (and thus as an obstacle to the United States’s hegemonic presence on the continent) – is now viewed as an instrument for the realisation of the ambitions of Washington and Warsaw.

Thus, it is not surprising that marginalising the EU as a foreign-policy actor and sidelining “new” Europe will be a major objective of the new Russian policy. Moscow will focus on bilateral relations with the key European powers – Paris, Berlin, Rome and London – and it will do its best to make it impossible to adopt any common European policy towards the post-Soviet space.

The political technologists’ empire

In a remarkable twist of history, political technologists in the form of Gleb Pavlovsky and his circle – people who “screwed it up” in Ukraine – are the greatest beneficiaries of the new post-orange sentiment in Moscow. The “loss of Kiev” catapulted these political technologists to commanding heights in Russia’s foreign-policy-making process.

In March 2005, President Putin created a special department in his administration to promote Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet space. Modest Kolerov, a well-known political technologist and until recently Pavlovsky’s deputy at the Effective Policy Foundation (FEP), was appointed head of the new department. Contrary to all predictions, this group is more influential than ever when it comes to shaping President Putin’s strategy regarding the near abroad and they are the dominant voice in the current public debate on “what Russia should do now”.

The influence of the political technologists on Russia’s near-abroad policy today is comparable only to the influence of the neo-conservatives on American foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11. Pavlovsky and his associates are hated and ridiculed in Moscow’s liberal circles but they have ideas – and their ideas are at the heart of the current post-orange consensus in Russia.

Taking political technologists seriously is imperative for the west when it comes to its Russia policies. In the Kremlin environment dominated by mediocre apparatchiks, KGB-minded civilians, KGB-at-heart officers and ruthless business politicians with murky pasts, political technologists appear people from a different planet.

They come from an intellectual milieu and the world of alternative culture. They read books; they also write books. They are ultimately cynical but also highly inventive (Gleb Pavlovsky played a critical role in introducing the internet into Russian politics). They do not want to “suppress democracy” but simply play it around “using” – and “abusing” – it to serve their own purposes. They are anti-western westernisers, ex-liberals, anti-communists, liberal imperialists and true believers in the virtues and durability of managed democracy defined as a subtle combination of soft repression and hard manipulation.

Most political technologists have had some exposure to western influence and in their current work they have adopted many of the tools they were taught in the west. Their view of politics is totally elitist. It is a strange mixture of French postmodernism, dissident mannerism, KGB instrumentalism and post-Soviet cynicism combined with business efficiency and the traditional Russian pathetic style. They believe in democracy, only their true belief is not in representative but in manipulative democracy. This is the new generation of empire-builders.

Many analysts of the political-technologists phenomenon tend to confine their role either to cynical political consultants devoted to dirty electoral tricks or to the shameless agitprops they generate as cheerleaders for the government’s policies (a truly insightful analysis of the phenomenon can be found in Andrew Wilson’s book, Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, Yale University Press, 2005).

This interpretation is profoundly misleading. These are people, ideas and infrastructure (think-tanks, information agencies, media outlets) that most articulately formulate the new policy to be followed by the Russian government until 2008. The political technologists are not simply the instrument of Putin’s policies: they are the source of these policies. It is their move to the mainstream of Russian policy-making that will determine the new character of Moscow’s near-abroad policy.

The political technologists’ project

In 2003 Anatoly Chubais – once the leading voice in the Russian liberal camp (and not among Pavlovsky’s soulmates) – announced the project of Russia’s liberal empire as the only viable project for securing market and democratic reforms in the CIS. The geography of the empire included primarily Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Moldova, and to a lesser extent the Caucasus republics and the central Asian republics.

The empire was to be built within the institutional framework of the CIS, and Russia’s leading role was to be based not so much on Russia’s military strength as on its soft power: energy, business presence, Soviet-era nostalgia, Russia’s cultural influence and the dominance of the Russian language. The not-so-hidden assumption behind the liberal empire project was that the west would endorse it.

Chubais’s offer to the west was a trade-off – the west would have to recognise Russia’s sphere of influence, and in return would get a free market and the possibility of a democratic (or at least stable) Russia and surrounding region. If the liberal empire project happened to cause hysterics among Moscow’s neighbours, Chubais had his liberal answer ready: “hysterics is best treated with shocks and I have a reputation as a shock therapist”.

The orange revolution destroyed this project. What follows was a new strategy of empire-building where Russia seeks to transform itself from a pro-status quo power to the power of change in the post-Soviet space (The United States undertook a similar transformation in the middle east after 9/11).

Russia, in this vision, will no longer be a hostage of its loyal or semi-loyal clients, the likes of Eduard Shevardnadze and Leonid Kuchma. The new policy inspired by the political technologists liberates the Kremlin from its dependence on the local post-Soviet elites. Moscow is thus free to build a power base of its own founded on the mobilisation of ethnic Russians, Russia’s economic presence, and Russia’s role as a labour market of last resort for the Eurasian societies.
Also in openDemocracy on the “colour revolutions” and Russian policy:

“Caucasus: regional fractures” – articles by Neal Ascherson, Sabine Freizer, Thomas de Waal, Brenda Shaffer, George Hewitt, Nino Nanava, and others

“Ukraine: the orange revolution” – articles by Alexander Motyl, Marek Matraszek, Katinka Barysch & Charles Grant, Krzysztof Bobinski, and others

Alena V Ledeneva, “How Russia really works” (January 2002)

Mary Dejevsky, “The west gets Putin wrong” (March 2005)

Artemi Troitsky, “Alice-in-Wonderland Russia” (March 2005)
Stability and preservation of the territorial integrity of the post-Soviet states is no longer a primary objective of Moscow’s policies. Russia’s new strategy in the making is – in a distorting echo of the “guerrillas without guns” model pioneered by youth movements in countries to its west and south – based on exporting its own version of democracy and building pro-Russian constituencies in the post-Soviet societies. The major objective of this policy is to develop an efficient infrastructure of ideas, institutions, networks and media outlets that can use the predictable crisis of the current orange-type regimes to regain influence not simply at the level of government but at the level of society as well. Russia will not fight democracy in these countries. Russia will fight for democracy – its kind of democracy.

Moscow’s policy places civil society at the heart of its comeback strategy. In the view of one of the leading political technologists, Sergei Markov, the revolutions of the 21st century will be NGO revolutions. They do not have a coordination centre or a single ideology; they are planned and launched in a most public way. “NGO revolutions are revolutions in the age of globalisation and information. It is meaningless to protest against this reality”, Markov writes; “everybody who wants to take part in the politics of the 21st century has to create his own networks of NGOs and supply them with ideology, money and people”.

The creation of Russia-dominated NGO networks – think-tanks, media organisations, development centres – is indeed at the heart of the country’s new policy in the post-Soviet space. Russia is positioning itself as an “exporter of democracy”. Moscow’s policy-makers are making sure that the next revolution – the one to revolt against Viktor Yushchenko and Mikhail Saakashvili – will be Moscow-coloured. And their hopes are not utopian.

The prospect of Putin’s Russia turning into the greatest medium-term beneficiary of the wave of the anti-Russian colour revolutions in Tbilisi and Kiev is not a fantastic option. It is the new reality.

THE NEW COLD WAR WITH RUSSIA

Kim Zigfeld is glad the tide is turning on the Western perception of Putinism. Two new books focus on the menacing signs coming from the Kremlin.


March 9, 2008 - by Kim Zigfeld
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By the third week of January this year, we heard Russia announce that it would not hesitate to be the first to use nuclear weapons in battle, that it would resume this May parading tanks and missiles through Red Square in the Soviet fashion, that it would reestablish the application of double jeopardy in criminal trials and would file criminal charges against former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, in order to stop him from running for president in March.

Back in April of 2006, when I started little blog called La Russophobe with the goal of warning the world that, in my judgment, a neo-Soviet state was rising in Russia, a development that would lead in short order to a new cold war (if not a hot one), and to urge the West to begin preparing to win that conflict (not only for our sake, but that of the Russian people as well). At that time, many thought of me as a crackpot chicken little. The Russian economy was supposedly “booming” and Vladimir Putin was purportedly just a “necessary strongman” as Russia made the “transition to democracy.”

But within six months, both Andrei Kozlov and Anna Politkovskaya had been assassinated in Russia. He was the country’s leading reformer within the Kremlin walls, aggressively investigating corruption at the highest levels, and she was Russia’s leading domestic force for change outside the Kremlin, a journalist confronting the Kremlin on both foreign and domestic issues at every turn. Suddenly, it began to seem that friendly relations with the West and its values weren’t necessarily the Russia’s cup of tea.

Speaking of tea, the next thing you knew, Russia’s most sensational foreign dissident, KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko, had been murdered by radioactive poisoning in London. Then Russia was making military incursions in Georgia, blackmailing Eastern Europe back towards Russia’s sphere of influence by threatening to withhold its energy supply, providing weapons to arch American foes like Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Hamas. Putin declared himself president (or whatever) for life, and started imposing Zimbabwe-like, Soviet-style price controls to keep from being devastated by inflation.

And, quite suddenly, my view was the conventional wisdom.

As if to make it official, not one but two different books by former Russia correspondents of major newspapers have recently appeared under the title “The New Cold War.” One is by a British correspondent for the Economist magazine, Edward Lucas (certainly the most defiantly confrontational and courageous Russia pundit in the MSM), and carries the subtitle “How the Kremlin Menaces both Russia and the West.” In my judgment, it’s the most important book on Putin’s Russia yet published. The other, by Mark MacKinnon, a Canadian correspondent for the Globe & Mail newspaper, is sub-headlined “Revolutions, Rigged Elections and Pipeline Politics in the former Soviet Union.” It seems that MacKinnon has tramped just about everywhere in the former USSR, meeting just about every single person along the way, and now he tells the tale. Both MacKinnon and Lucas also operate well-regarded Russia blogs.

The Commitee to Protect Journalists says there are more than a dozen confirmed cases of Russian reporters having been murdered for political reasons since Vladimir Putin took power, while many others — like Natalya Morar — have been hounded, assaulted, or sent into exile. My own blog currently has nearly 100 posts recording such incidents, just in the past two years, including a complete list of the 211 Russian journalists who have died of unnatural causes since Vladimir Putin became Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff in 1997. Until recently, we might have thought that Western journalists were immune from this kind of terrorism, but Congressional Quarterly recently reported that the shooting several months ago of Kremlin critic Paul Joyal outside his home in Washington DC, which occurred days after he was featured on NBC blaming the Kremlin for the killing of Alexander Litvinenko (a conclusion the British government itself would later adopt), has been linked by some analysts to the Kremlin and remains unsolved.

The books make a neat set. Lucas tells us why and how the new Cold War started, and advises us how to win. MacKinnon doesn’t seem much interested in taking sides, but shows us the consequences of the war on the front lines with scintillating stories, that read almost like fiction, from places like the former Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan, all places he’s spent a great deal of time. For Lucas, Vladimir Putin is at the center of the storm; for MacKinnon he’s crucial, but shadowy figures the public knows little about, most especially financier George Soros, are nearly as important.

Lucas makes the absolutely vital point right in the title of his work: The neo-Soviet Kremlin is just as dangerous to the people of Russia as it is to the outside world, something that has been true of Russia’s government from the beginning and which had its fullest illustration in the cruelty of Joseph Stalin. By taking action now, he argues, the West will not only be helping itself, but the citizens of Russia as well. His plan of action flows organically out of his analysis of the state of the enemy we face. He argues that Russia is not as strong as we fear, but strong enough to pose a serious threat that will exacerbate if left unaddressed, laying out all the data on both sides of the equation in masterful fashion.

And it’s the presence of that plan which makes the Lucas volume so important. The New York Times, for instance, published an editorial on January 30th and savaged Putin for “kicking the corpse of democracy” by banning Kasyanov from challenging his hand-picked successor Dimitry Medvedev for the presidency next month. Yet, the Times didn’t offer a single word of practical advice for dealing with the corpse kicker, and it seemed to have forgotten that on March 26, 2000, just after Putin was elected to his first term, a Times editorial called him a “democrat” who was “impressed by the benefits of liberty and free markets” and noted that “a steady hand in the Kremlin would be welcome.” It stated that “Mr. Putin helped build the beginnings of a capitalist economy in the early 1990’s” — a ridiculous falsehood, because Putin, who holds no economics or business credentials whatsoever, was in those years nothing more than the clueless lackey of a corrupt local politician who used to be his professor — and speculated that he might choose “to advance reform while protecting the newly won liberties of the Russian people” and make “government an effective, honest and compassionate agent of change.” So even if the Times did have some advice, it wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea to listen. Lucas, by contrast, has consistently been warning the world, from the beginning, about the threats presented by the Putin regime

In the body of his work, Lucas gives us all the primer we need to understand the geopolitical imperative. He starts with a concise history of Putin’s rise to power and then outlines the two major battles already underway in the new Cold War, the first to crush dissent within Russia and the second to reestablish the Soviet empire (a topic MacKinnon explores in much greater detail in a series of postcards from the front lines). Lucas then devotes chapters to examining the two key types of weaponry being deployed by Russia to fight the battles (fossil fuels and the money they generate) and the ideological underpinnings of the Kremlin’s action. Finally, he dispels the illusion that Russia’s Potemkin-village military is anything for us to fear, and then urges us to action with a final chapter full of suggestions on how to fight and win.

A third aspect that makes Lucas essential reading is that chapter laying out Putin’s neo-Soviet ideology, something some Kremlin apologists deny even exists. What Putin likes to call “sovereign democracy” Lucas prefers to label “new Tsarism,” and he shows that it has two vital elements: First, revising Russian history consistent with the Soviet model, based on patriotism, to delete anything that might undercut Russian confidence (Lucas shows how this is infiltrating the teaching of history, dismantling a recent textbook). Second, reviving the Orthodox religion (with an undercurrent of pro-Slavic nationalism bordering on racism that shows signs of being Hitlerian in nature). He writes of Putin’s belief that “Russian civilization is based on unique values quite different from those in the West” and shows that, where in Soviet times religion was repressed, in neo-Soviet Russia is co-opted and manipulated to serve the national ideology — indeed, to serve as ideology itself.

In my view, Lucas has separated from his discussion of ideology a section, which deserves inclusion, namely his chapter on imperialism (with attendant xenophobia and outright racism) and militarism, specifically the battle for Eastern Europe. It seems clear to me that it’s a fundamental part of neo-Soviet ideology to reconquer much of the former USSR; indeed, the phrase “Holy Russian Empire” seems the best replacement for “Communism” that can be found. His chapter on the European battlefront will send shivers down your spine. Lucas explains that, for Putin, imperialism and militarism are two sides of the same neo-Soviet coin.

A crucial point about Putin’s Russia, which I think is much overlooked, is that if Putin were to create a healthy, vigorous population, he would be sowing the seeds of his own downfall — so he likely has no intention of doing so. Any independent center of power, no matter how apparently servile, seems threatening (in a classic Stalinesque move, Putin even turned recently on his own youth personality cult, Nashi). In his defense, he may also think he simply can’t afford to do spend serious coin on social problems and still wage a new cold war effectively, something his warped mind probably believes is necessary not only to advance Russian (or even global) interests but also to cleanse Russian honor of its ignominious defeat. But the fact remains: A dynamic, empowered middle class would start asking uncomfortable questions like: “What really happened on Novosyolov Street in Ryazan on the night of September 22, 1999?”

MacKinnon begins his book by answering that question. A platoon of KGB operatives were caught red-handed trying to plant sacks of explosives in the apartment building located at that address (which, by the way, has only six Google hits). The sacks then magically transformed into sugar and the operatives said they were just testing local residents to see if they were properly on their guard in the aftermath of apartment explosions that had already occurred in Moscow and been blamed on Chechnya. Somehow, the entire story then dropped off the West’s radar screen as a parliamentary investigation into the Moscow explosions was quickly derailed. When an independent committee formed to carry on the work its members suddenly started dying, going to jail and getting beaten up in alleyways. Recently, the Telegraph quoted Sir David King, “who as the British Government’s Chief Scientist played a key role in the investigation into Litvinenko’s murder,” stating: “I can tell you that Putin was responsible for the bombings. I’ve seen the evidence.” The MSM ignored this as well.

Even though, as a Russia blogger, I’m well familiar with the Ryazan bombing attempt, I was astonished to read about it — not least perhaps because Ryazan is the city to which the Kremlin transported youth opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky after illegally drafting him into the Army to silence his insistent criticism of the regime. After Pajamas Media first wrote on these pages about Kozlovsky’s persecution, it took the MSM weeks to pick up the story, and even now only two major U.S. papers (the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune) have run it (Lucas has covered it in both the Guardian and the Economist, but other British press have been equally remiss). The result is that now the Other Russia political front is reporting that a second youth activist has receive the same treatment, a pattern we can expect to continue unless Lucas’s warning is heeded.

His book is full of such stories, but at the same time it’s clear that MacKinnon has a certain amount of healthy skepticism regarding our ability to actually deliver on the promise of democracy for the people we purport to defend from Russia’s imperial conquest, people for whom he obviously holds great affection. He closes the book not with his own thoughts or summation but talking to one more player in his cast of thousands, an operative named Sinisa who participated in the pro-democracy agitation in Serbia and then trained leaders in Belarus and Ukraine. MacKinnon wanted to know if Sinisa thought he had been “used” by the CIA. His answer? “Maybe we used them.” But despite this bravado, MacKinnon says Sinisa had “a very European distaste for George W. Bush and his administration” which made them “part of a machine that topples governments that run afoul of Washington” because Bush fails to acknowledge the organic component of the struggle, seeming to claim the local leaders were simply “jumping on a wave of freedom that originated in Washington.” In other words, the Ugly American syndrome.

On February 8th, in an address to his newly-installed rubber-stamp parliament in which not a single true opposition member now sits, Vladimir Putin stated: “It is already clear that a new phase in the arms race is unfolding in the world.” He seems to know there’s a cold war on, even if we don’t yet. A recent article in the Moscow Times shows he’s been preparing for some time now: the KGB has come to dominate Putin’s executive staff, the government and the private sector, and in general occupies 78% of national leadership positions. Aeroflot, Gazprom, Rosneft, and Russian Railways are all run by the KGB. All the key ministries are riddled with the KGB, and Putin’s chain of command from his chief of staff to personnel to communications to the press service are all former KGB honchos. Putin, it seems, is preparing to wage war not only on the USSR’s former enemies, but also on the Russian people themselves.

REFUERZO RUSO FRENTE A OCCIDENTE

· Gazprom amenaza nuevamente a Ucrania con reducir los suministros de gas a partir del próximo 3 de marzo.
· Ya se cocinan nuevos y ambiciosos acuerdos en materia energética con Irán, que tendrán su réplica en el ámbito militar.
· Teherán estudia iniciar la exportación de hidrocarburos en rublos, eliminando la exclusividad secular del dólar -lo ha dicho el Embajador persa en Moscú-. Una medida, ésta, de consecuencias imprevisibles.
· Rusia estrechará sus lazos -seculares- con las regiones secesionistas de Abkhazia y Osetia del Sur. Si la OTAN o Washington dan un paso en falso, podría incluso anunciar el reconocimiento formal de las mismas -lo que ya ocurre de facto- y rubricar un acuerdo de cooperación mútua que incluiría la ayuda militar directa en caso de agresión desde Georgia. El gasoducto Bakú-Ceyhan -el llamado Nabuco- podría entrar en vía muerta durante años. Y con el estancamiento de las obras, se esfumaría también la esperanza europeista de un suministro adicional y confiable [por no hablar de los perjuicios económicos asociados a unas inversiones billonarias, cuya amortización se tornaría casi imposible en el supuesto de una desestabilización en esa atribulada zona del Cáucaso].
· Moscú se volcará más y más en Oriente, donde sus armas, su ingeniería y sus hidrocarburos encuentran mercados devotos e insaciables [nada menos que India y China, entre otros menos relevantes]. Si la demanda aprieta -y apretará-, tendremos que afrontar una nueva crisis como consecuencia de la previsiblemente encarecida oferta rusa e iraní [recuerda que entre ambos países suman el 50% del gas natural que se consume diariamente en el mundo].
· Los presupuestos militares del Kremlin crecerán muy por encima de las cifras oficiales. Desde luego, a mi no me salen las cuentas [las oficiales]. Han sido restablecidas recientemente las patrullas estratégicas aéreas y navales, y haremos bien asumiendo que el Tratado sobre Misiles de Alcance Medio podría seguir la misma suerte del FACE en cualquier momento; circunstancia que desequilibra en favor de Moscú, de un modo razonablemente simple y barato, el balance de fuerzas de alta capacidad destructiva en el continente europeo. Casi todo ese cordón sanitario antedicho irá engrosando por etapas la lista de blancos directos [y digo "irá" por no decir "está ya"].
· Etc, etc, etc.
¡SALUDOS , CAMARADAS!

1:53 p. m.  
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10:11 a. m.  

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