Sunday, August 29, 2010

USRAEL’s Sword of Damocles on Iran-A Battle of Nerves

USRAEL's Sword of Damocles on Iran-A Battle of Nerves

Ever since the George Bush Administration clubbed Iran with Iraq and North Korea as the axis of evil and the 2003 US led illegal invasion of Iraq, Tehran has been in Washington's crosshairs as the next victim, with all options on the table, including use of tactical nuclear bombs ,with neo-cons , Israel and its supporters cheerleading as in the case of the invasion of Iraq. Pyongyang's nukes and missiles deter US and its allies from attacking North Korea, thus sending a clear message to the world –have nukes ; deter invaders ,even USA.

The Gang of Five nuclear armed powers with veto powers to boot in UNSC , have not fulfilled their NPT obligations in spite of a UNGA vote and an advisory from the ICJ and regularly blackmail non- nuclear states, threatening even preventive nuclear strike and forbid others from even enriching Uranium for power generation , which is permitted under the NPT .The five have thus created an apartheid system of nuclear haves and have-nots , the latter at the former's mercy . The white Christian nations, who have colonized and exploited the rest of the world since 18th century and honorary (yellow –almost ) white China want to maintain the hegemony. China shows increasing imperialistic propensities by its claims in South China sea and territories of its neighbours .China's claims that the McMahon line was an imperial creation , as if Tibet and Xinjiang joined the Chinese empire by self-determination. Beijing is already outpacing Washington in hypocrisy and imperialist behavior .

Nuclear Armed Bullies and NPT Review

The five by making propaganda against Iran and North Korea have diverted attention from their not fulfilling NPT obligations .

But there are signs of revolt against the rule of the five gangsters ( Do we not call blackmailers and extortionists gangsters). The support given to Iran for its rights under NPT by Turkey and Brazil is the first incipient resistance by the have-nots against the rule of gangsters .Ankara which voted against sanctions in UNSC is not abiding by them and tradimg with Tehran , while trying to find a solution with Washington by back channels .Majority of the countries in the world oppose the apartheid system which has evolved since NPT was specially put into place after India breached the nuclear arms monopoly. India was punished and remains under duress and forced to sign an unequal treaty with US to obtain nuclear fuel and open itself to US intervention in India's internal security and strategic matters.

This has been facilitated by Indian pensioners of Washington Consensus organizations  like IMF and the World Bank, which protect and promote US interests ,in key decision making positions in New Delhi. Indians can be easily bribed , like many of the politicians. The newly empowered Indian business and industrial community which has profited from pro-corporate policies at the expense of the 'aam aadmi' (common man) , flaunt ,$2 billion mansions , personal aircrafts and yachts acquired in a generation ,are the greedy collaborators .India is lurching towards being a Banana Republic with little rule of law and spreading chaos. Seventy percent of Indians live on half dollar a day and their misery and deprivation exceeds that in sub-Sahara regions . Following USA's now discredited and failing system , the Washcon Syndrome have created unbridgeable inequalities in India.

For corruption in India see Commonwealth Games Unveil India's Culture of Corruption

The resistance by India's tribal population and farmers , whose lands are acquired almost forcibly by the government at throw away prices and handed over to the rich , with profits shared between the politicians, corporate houses , officials and middlemen has given birth to the Maoist led rebellion in Indian states across the mineral rich belt , from where the tribals have been thrown out or deprived of livelihood .One of the reasons for the alienation in Kashmir is Delhi's  reliance on 3 or four dynasties in Kashmir , unlike the rest of India ,where Yadavs, Lals or Reddys dynasties have grass roots origins. Recent disclosures unveiled how the J&K ministers spent tens of millions in renovation of their kingly residences .Unlike Dalits and other backward classes ,interests of poor Muslim converts from these castes has not been taken care of .Muslims have become the new Dalits in India .Apart from other reasons Kashmiris people have little faith in the promises made regularly and have little stake in the system.

Tehran's Crime

How dare a third world country people dare oust the Shah of Iran, Washington's gendarme in the Middle East , so Tehran must be taught a lesson .The Khomeini led 1979 Shia revolution , upset Washington's ring of alliances around the Soviet Union and its allies .And the crime of the crimes ,the Iranian revolutionaries then had the temerity of taking over the US embassy and imprisoning US diplomats and staff.

Every six months or so ,Western  leaders and its subservient corporate media ratchet lies and cooked up imminent or the so called ' existential' threat to Israel from Iran's nuclear threat –this time frame of Tehran going nuclear remains a constant ( two/three years since 1996) in spite of USA's own intelligence assessment and IAEA 's reports to the contrary. Israel has hundreds of nukes, while Iran has none .The former's defense outlay is US$ 13.4 billion while Tehran's is US$7.4 billion (both 2009 figures).US outlay for the current year is over US$ 700 billion.

Since months serious writers and analysts have been warning of a possible attack by USA and /or Israel ,to warn and deter such stupidity. It includes an old campaigner Scot Ritter ,a former UN arms inspector in Iraq , who disgusted with Washington's duplicity ,exposed US plans to attack Iraq . Noam Chomsky and Fidel Castro among others have expressed their opposition and dismay .Fidel believes that an attack on Iran will lead to great upheaval , even a nuclear war and could initiate WWIII.

The ammunition for the current upsurge for an attack on Iran in media was triggered by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly , a journalist influential in U.S. pro-Israeli circles, with access to Israel's corridors of power. He was also one of the leaders of the pack which promoted US led illegal invasion on Iraq in 2003 along with other neo-cons , who still occupy media and think tanks space in USA .This despite their disastrous advice ,plans and implementation of the imperialist and racist sounding -Operation Iraqi freedom ie freedom to destroy Iraq , a state and its people beleaguered  since 1980s , based on palpably false and blatant lies uttered  by top US and UK leadership and echoed by the corporate media and BBC (this 'pristine' media outlet gave 98% time to warmongers ).The crimes of Western leadership justify a Nuremberg style Tribunal .Many jurists and others are trying them in Brussels ,Spain and Kuala Lumpur. Remember it took time but Gen Pinochet was finally cornered in UK .Times are getting less favourable to get away now.

I had analyzed the situation regarding a possible US/Israel attack on Iran some time ago and come to the conclusion that it was a game of nerves to , a) browbeat Tehran into submission, b) bring about a regime change or finally c) even engage with Tehran.  The third possibility is gaining traction now in spite of all the bluster.

Texan Poker Bluff and Persian Chess Moves   21 January, 2007                                           By K Gajendra Singh ,       Kuchinck and US party bolgsICF,AJInfo,Uruknet, Boloji ,Ziopedia , Chowk ( around hundred websites and blogs)                                                     

"The arrogance of military power has led to a grave crisis - and to a decline of the United States' role and influence." Mikhail Gorbachev.
"The president is living in a dream world,'' US Sen. Barbara Boxer.

On Iran , US Administration has reached the pre-Iraq invasion rhetoric level of 2003 , when against the UN Charter and world opinion ,President George Bush decided to invade Iraq after having assembled a naval armada and air and land forces in the region ,cheerlead by a subservient US media . Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are accusing Tehran of developing nuclear weapons and exporting terrorism, just as Saddam Hussein was allegedly doing. Iran is also not abiding by U N resolutions on its nuclear weapons program, which, like Iraq then, it denies it has. UN Nuclear Agency in Vienna has found no proof of a weapons program .Neither there was one in Iraq in 2003. Almost all accusations made by US President , his deputy and others , exaggerated by US corporate owned media proved to be false.

But after 4 years of blunders and stupidity, the situation is unlike March, 2003 , with an isolated Bush administration now under siege having become unpopular and discredited at home and with allies abroad .In Iran it faces a people with a long history of survival beginning with Alexander and his uncouth Macedonian hordes , Arabs ,Turks , Mongols and others. And they succeeded in civilizing most of them. 

I had gone deep into central Asia history to find a parallel. If like Khwarezmian empire which ignited the anger of the Mongols led by Changez Khan , USrael attacked Iran, Muslims in general and Shias in particular will go after Western interests everywhere . Unlike western propaganda , Arab masses are quite happy to live with a nuclear Iran. Their concern is Israel's hundreds of nukes .

 Read on,

War Over Silk Routes and Petro-Bourses: Would History Repeat Itself ? By K Gajendra Singh                                                                                                                     Al-Jazeerah,

The Khwarezmian Empire, also spelt as Chorasmia , based on the Amu Darya (Oxus) delta, south of the Aral Sea coast, an entrepot for exchange of goods between Slavic lands in the West , Muslim states in South and China in the East , began as a part of the Ghaznavid empire .Its founder, Anushtegin , a slave , was appointed governor of Khwarezm around 1077 by Sultan Malik Shah of the Seljuqs , who had replaced the Ghaznavids as the new warlords in the region. Anushtegin's descendants governed Khwarezm on behalf of the Seljuqs but , the 1141 defeat of Seljuq Sultan Sanjar by Buddhist Karakitai (Qara Khitay) confederation of northern China, forced Anushtegin's grandson Atsiz to acknowledge the overall sovereignty of the Karakitai. ---                                                    

Conclusion ; The collapse of the Karakitai in Transoxiana, engineered by Muhammad II, was fraught with dangers of which the latter was probably ignorant. The Persian historian of the Mongols, Juvaini, aided by the perspec­tive of years, put into the mouth of the dying Atsiz the injunction to his sons not to fight the Gur Khan because "he was a great wall behind which were terrible foes." The pre-vision of Atsiz may be doubted, but the prophecy, even if invented post facto, was true enough.

The collapse of secular Saddam regime like the Buddhist Karakitai has been engineered by George W. Bush . His father , President George H.W. Bush whose military chief during the 1990 war on Iraq , Gen Colin Powell demanded that clear objectives be defined ( and left having been lied to by the CIA Chief and made irrelevant by the current US Administration ), was wise enough not to demolish the Saddam Hussein's secular regime and open a Pandora's box .

Let not Ariel Sharon of Israel and George W. Bush behave like Otrar's Governor Inalchik and Mahmood II --  End

Incidentally , Iran , despite plans is yet to begin operating a petro-bourse ie sell its oil denominated in currency than dollars . But many countries are taking steps to trade in currencies other than the US dollar , a reserve currency since 1944 Breton Woods conference .Washington went back on its promise to give an ounce of gold for $35 .US foreign debt amounts to over $ 10 Trillion. In reality US dollar will sooner or later fall. 

Many friends and writers on likely hood of attacks on Iran elicited my views from time to time . After the Iraqi quagmire, to escape from which with some dignity ,Washington needs Tehran's cooperation as it would, even in Afghanistan, if Taleban took over as many people believe or at least that is western propaganda .

After the Wikileaks and US double agent Headley,s interrogation, it is clear that Washington knew about 2611 in advance .Who needs enemies with friends like Washington .India should make up with Tehran .India ( and others ) along with Iran might have to revive  the northern Alliance .New Delhi also needs Tehran for its energy needs and to reach West/North Afghanistan , Central Asia  and even Russia via Iran and the Caspian . But the current Indian government is behaving like a US poodle . Just look at the debates on the Nuclear liability bill just passed .

In terms of cold hard strategic logic, there is no country on earth so much adversely surrounded by enemies as Iran. The US Imperial Armies are camped out on its Afghanistan  and Iraq borders. To the North are oligarchic US allies & to the South are the decadent, dynastic & despotic Arab regimes - all in utter dread of the very notion of the Islamic republic of Iran with nukes .Of course in the region , Israel is a Nuclear Power of the First Order. In this context, one may say that the Iranians will ssoner or later endevour for the "Mutually Assured Destruction" by way of a deterrent - MAD as it is described. It was successful during the Cold War. But despite all threats ,funding of subversive elements against Iran openly , as if it is Washington's birth right, Iranians , a patriotic and proud people have stayed united. Western threats only unite them further.

Stability in Iran is of paramount importance for West , Central and South Asia , including India to counter Taleban and Sunni Pakistan under possibly various kinds of regimes , which might emerge.

See Confusion at the End of Afghanistan Tunnel!

An excellent and sensible article from the mainline US media on the question for Usrael's 'to attack or not to attack Iran' propaganda. It is reassuring .

Deluded About Iraq, Clueless About Iran


In this piece an analyses and riposte to the Goldberg article has been provided by Tony Karon a senior editor at in TomDispatch .


Tony Karon says that after America's march to a disastrous war in Iraq, a similarly flawed media conversation on Iran is gaining momentum. Last month, TIME's Joe Klein was deep briefed that Obama administration had the bombing Iran's nuclear facilities "back on the table."  Former CIA director Admiral Mike Hayden told CNN of an "inexorable" dynamic toward confrontation, claiming that bombing was a more viable option for the Obama administration than for George Bush. 'The pièce de résistance 'in the most recent drum roll of bomb-Iran alerts, however, came from Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly.'  ,who claimed that since sanctions were unlikely to force Iran to back down on its uranium enrichment project, -- there was a more than even chance Israel would launch a military strike on the country by next summer. He gave vivid descriptions of the Israeli battle plan, and painted Iran as a new Auschwitz .But added that many of his top Israeli sources simply didn't believe Iran would ever launch nuclear weapons against Israel, even if it acquired them. "Nonetheless, Goldberg warned, absent an Iranian white flag soon, Israel would indeed launch that war in summer 2011, and it, in turn, was guaranteed to plunge the region into chaos. The message: the Obama administration better do more to confront Iran or Israel will act crazy." ( Asia Times also carried out pieces recently about how the Israeli bombers will escape detection from now not so friendly Turks and even acquiescence from Riyadh .)

Goldberg continued that "such an attack would have limited hope of doing more than briefly setting back the Iranian nuclear program, perhaps at catastrophic cost, and so Israeli leaders would act only because they believe the "goyim" won't stop another Auschwitz. Or as my friend Paul Woodward, editor of the War in Context website, so brilliantly summed up the Israeli message to America: 'You must do what we can't, because if you don't, we will.'" Goldberg pretended that he was merely initiating a debate about how to tackle Iran and that the debate was already underway .

At the same time "the New York Times reported that the Obama administration had convinced Israel that there was no need to rush on the issue.  Should Iran decide to build a nuclear weapon (which it has not done), it would, administration officials pointed out, quickly make its intentions clear by expelling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who routinely monitor its nuclear work, and breaking out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  After that, it would still need another year or more to assemble its first weapon. " Thus there's no urgency about debating military action against Iran. Perhaps, after all these years of obsessive Iran nuclear mania, what about asking three crucial questions.

1. Does the U.S. have a right to launch wars of aggression without provocation, in defiance of international law and an international consensus, simply on the basis of its own suspicions about another country's future intentions?

Does the U.S. have the right to attack Iran and to take such a catastrophic step based on the fevered imaginations of Biblically inspired Israeli extremists -- Goldberg has previously suggested that Prime Minister Netanyahu believes Iran to be the reincarnation of the Biblical Amalekites, mortal enemies the ancient Hebrews were to smite -- or simply to preserve an Israeli monopoly on nuclear force in the Middle East is as bizarre as it is reckless. Even debating the possibility of launching a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities as a matter of rational policy, absent any Iranian aggression or even solid evidence that the Iranian leadership intends to wage its own version of aggressive war, gives an undeserved respectability to what would otherwise be considered steps beyond the bounds of rational foreign policy discussion.

" in Goldberg's world, Arabs and Iranians never get to speak. The Arabs, we are told, secretly want Israel or the U.S. to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities out of fear that the acquisition of nuclear weapons would embolden their Persian rivals.  They are, so the story goes, just not able to say so in public. Of course, when Arab leaders do publicly express their opposition to the idea of another war being launched in the Middle East, they are ignored in the Goldberg-led debate.

"Similarly, their rejection of Washington's long-held premise that Israel's special security must be exempted from any discussion of the creation of a nuclear-free Middle East remains outside the bounds of the Iran-debate story. " And no mention of the authoritative University of Maryland annual survey of Arab public opinion which recently reported that, contrary to claims of an Arab world cowering under the threat of Iranian nukes, 57% of the Arab public actually believe a nuclear-armed Iran would be good for the Middle East! "

"The idea that Iran's regime might exist for any purpose other than to destroy Israel is largely ignored as well. -- So, too, is every indication Iran's leaders have given that they have no intention of attacking Israel or any other country."


 2. Even if Iran were to acquire the means to build a nuclear weapon, would that be a legitimate or prudent reason for launching a war?

"If Iran is actually pursuing the capability to build nuclear weapons, its leaders would be doing so in response to a strategic environment in which two of its key adversaries, the U.S. and Israel, and two of its sometime friends/sometime adversaries, Russia and Pakistan, have substantial nuclear arsenals. By all sober accounts, Iran's security posture is primarily focused on the survival of its regime. Some Israeli military and intelligence officials have been quoted in Israel's media as saying that Iran's motivation in seeking a nuclear weapon would be primarily to head off a threat of U.S. intervention aimed at regime change.

"Most states do not pursue weapons systems as ends in themselves, -- to protect, enhance, or advance their own strategic position, or up the odds against more powerful rivals. In other words, the conflicts that fuel the drive for nuclear weapons are more dangerous than the weapons themselves, and the problem of those weapons can't be addressed separately from those conflicts.

"An Iran that had been bombed to destroy its nuclear power program would likely emerge from the experience far more dangerous to the U.S. and its allies over the decades to come than an Iran that had nuclear weapons within reach. The only way to diminish the danger of an escalating confrontation with Iran is to address the conflict between Tehran and its rivals directly, and seek a modus vivendi that would manage their conflicting interests.

"Unfortunately, such a dialogue between Washington and Tehran has scarcely begun, even as, amid alarmist warnings, Goldberg and others insist it must be curtailed so as to avoid the Iranians "playing for time."

3. Is Iran actually developing nuclear weapons?

"No, it is not. That's the conclusion of the CIA, the IAEA, whose inspectors are inside Iran's nuclear facilities, and most of the world's intelligence agencies, including the Israelis.  U.S. intelligence believes that Iran is using a civilian nuclear energy program to assemble much of the infrastructure that could, in the future, be used to build a bomb, and that Iran may also be continuing theoretical work on designing such a weapon.

"Washington's spooks and its defense establishment do not, however, believe Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons, nor that its leadership has made the ultimate decision to do so. In fact, the consensus appears to be that Iran will not weaponize nuclear material, but will stop short at "breakout capacity" -- the ability, also available, for instance, to Japan, to move relatively quickly to build such a weapon. Currently, as the New York Times reported, the time frame for "breakout," if all went well (and it might not), would be about a year, after which Iran would have enough fissile material for one bomb.  (The Israelis, by comparison, are believed to have 200 to 400 nuclear weapons in their undeclared program, the Pakistanis between 70 and 90, and the United States more than 5,000.)  In addition, a credible nuclear deterrent would require the production of not one or two bombs, but a number of them, which would allow for testing.

"For ex-CIA Director Hayden, such a breakout capacity would be "as destabilizing as their actually having a weapon."  His is a logical leap that's hard to sustain, unless you believe that it's worth launching a war to prevent Iran from, at worst, acquiring a defensive trump card that might prevent it from being attacked.

"Iran's enrichment activities are, of course, a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions backed by sanctions. Those were imposed to demand that Iran suspend its enrichment program until it satisfied concerns raised by IAEA inspectors over its compliance with the disclosure and transparency requirements of the NPT -- especially when it came to aspects of its program which have been developed in secret, raising suspicions over their future use.

Unlike North Korea which when in a position to test a nuclear weapon, withdrew from the NPT and kicked out IAEA inspectors. "Iran remains within the treaty. Even as the standoff over its nuclear program continues, renewed efforts are underway to broker a confidence-building deal to exchange Iranian enriched uranium for fuel rods produced outside the country to power a Tehran reactor that produces medical isotopes.( brokered by Turkey and Brazil)

" Washington wants Iran to forego its treaty-guaranteed right to enrich its own uranium because that also gives it the potential means to produce bomb materiel; Iran has no intention of foregoing that right. Such longstanding pillars of foreign policy sobriety as Senator John Kerry  and Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State, have publicly deemed the U.S. position untenable.

"The premises of the debate just initiated by Goldberg's piece are palpably false.  -- Goldberg is just the present vehicle for an American conversation initiated by others, among them those known in the Bush years as neo-cons, who have long been dreaming of war with Iran and  are already, as Juan Cole recently indicated, planning for such a war under a future Republican administration, if not sooner.

" Prime Minister Netanyahu  believes that Americans are politically feeble-minded; he said as much to a group of Israeli settlers in a video that surfaced recently: "I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in [our] way." Through Goldberg, the Israeli leader and his aides are seeking to "move America in the right direction" with dark tales of Auschwitz and Amalekites—Many , including Netanyahu, don't believe Iran would attack Israel. Instead, they warn that an Iranian nuclear weapon would embolden Hamas and Hizballah, although the logic there is flimsy indeed.  After all, if Iran would not attack Israel on its own with a nuclear weapon, why would it do so to defend its insurgent allies?

"Despite Goldberg's panic-inducing prediction, there are plenty of reasons to believe that, for all its bluster and threat, Israel won't, in fact, bomb Iran next year -- or any time soon. But would the Israelis like to see the United States take on their prime regional enemy? You bet they would. Indeed, Netanyahu continually insists that the U.S. has an obligation to take the lead in confronting Iran. It's patently clear in Goldberg's piece that the Israelis are trying to create a climate in which the U.S. is pressed onto the path of escalation, adding more and more sanctions, and keeping "all options on the table" in case those don't work.

"David Kay -- the American who served as an UNSCOM arms inspector in search of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the U.S. invasion -- suggests that:


"Israel is engaged in psychological warfare with the Obama administration -- and it only partly concerns Iran… [B]eyond Iran, of probably greater importance to the current Israeli government is avoiding the Obama administration pushing it into a choice between settlements and territorial arrangements with the Palestinians that it is unwilling to make and permanent damage to its relationship with the U.S. Hyping the Iranian nuclear program and the need for early military action is a nice bargaining counter... if the U.S. wants to avoid an imminent Israeli strike, it must make concessions to Israel on the Palestinian issues."

"Creating a sense of crisis on the Iran front, narrowing U.S. options in the public mind, and precluding a real discussion of U.S. policy towards Iran may serve multiple purposes for various interested groups. Taken together, however, they reduce all discussion to one issue: when to exercise that military option kept "on the table," given the unlikeliness of an Iranian surrender. "

Below is an evaluation by JJ Steinberg, a US expert on scientific, economic and strategic affairs , based on his discussions with very senior intelligence officials in Washington. The core of the U.S. national security consensus is:

"1.  Iran is still well-over a year away from any substantial progress towards weaponization.  There are serious glitches in the Iran program and there is effective and coordinated sabotage and disruption involving the United States, Russia, Germany and others.  There is no imminent deadline for military action, and the Israelis perfectly well know this, too.
2.  The U.S. is resolved to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  So, while there is time for diplomacy, there is a deadline, and the military option is truly on the table.  Just not during 2010.  Revisit the question after March 2011.
3.  Unlike the Bush Administration, the policy of the national security team under Obama is NOT to attempt regime change.  Let the volatile internal dynamics play out, with only very clandestine support for opposition reform factions.  The view is that any factional realignment further postpones the Iranian nuclear weaponization program.
4.  U.S. has congratulated Russia (Hillary to Lavrov) for starting up Bushehr.  This is an important milestone event.  Even Iran is given blessings for moving forward with civilian nuclear power--under international proper supervision.
5.  Israel and American neocons are pushing the button vis. attacking Iran for broader geopolitical reasons.  If Iran gets the bomb, this fundamentally changes the political alignment in the region, and neutralizes Israel's nuclear capability.  Israel's overkill nuclear weapons arsenal was part of the NATO second strike capability versus the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.  Why else would Israel have such a vast arsenal?  Needless for deterrent or even offensive use against Arab countries.  As a deterrent, it has been pretty successful.  No Middle East war against Israel since 1973--the point that Israel verifiably had a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.  Now Israel is a liability for the U.S. in the eyes of a growing number of American strategists.  Even Gen. Petraeus testified at the U.S. Senate that Israel's behavior is making life more difficult for U.S. military forces in the Arab and Muslim world.   The game is changing, gradually, and the power of the Israeli Lobby is diminishing.
6.  War, therefore, is neither imminent nor unthinkable.  2011 is the crucial time frame, and in the interim, there is an enormous amount of wiggle-room for negotiations.  Iran is a potential vital ally for U.S. safe and credible withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.  But diplomacy is a two-way street, and the frustration with Iran's diplomatic zig-zags is deep, in Washington AND Moscow.  Beijing is also coming to see the difficulties in relying on Iran keeping their word, or responding to pressure from true allies.
If it does come down to a war, there will be plenty of blame to go around.  War can and must be avoided, and that will take competent, sustained, patient diplomacy over the next nine months."


Reasons for the Media debate


The media controversy on Iran keeps up tensions like the various wars on terror and exaggeration of Al Qaeda threat , to keep the military-industry complex booming , making huge profits and being subsidized by the US taxpayer , who with onrushing recession is groaning . Who cares for the common man in America .It is an oligopoly , where the corporate interests auction the post of he President .Barack Obama was given about $ 600 million for elections , mostly by the banksters who have brought ruin to US economy , recession which could morph into a depression and further misery for the common man.


Recent Strategic Changes in Eurasia increase Israel's Value for the West

After Ukraine's going back to Russia earlier this year , bashing of Usrael ally Georgia by Moscow (sending a clear message to the countries in the region , specially Azerbaijan ) and an ambiguous US status on the use of Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan , Israel has become more important for US led West , a position it acquired in 1979 ,after the downfall of Shah's regime in Iran , the US gendarme in the region .It lost that position after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Western ingress into Russian strategic space , even into China's across in Xinjiang .

Moscow is playing the game both ways , siding with the Gang to keep nuclear upstarts out and doling out bits and pieces to Iran (There will always be trust deficit between the two). Iran 's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr built with Russian help was activated on Aug. 21.This date was foolishly suggested by warmongering media in the West to attack the power unit with Russians working there , who will continue to remain there .Moscow has also kept on hold supply of S-300 missiles , which it had promised Tehran many years ago ,thus squeezing out concessions from Israel and USA.

29 August, 2010.K.Gajendra Singh Mayur Vihar ,Delhi


K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections on Russia and and the US-Russian Relationship- An American View

Reflections on Russia and and the US-Russian Relationship- An American View

Frank G. Wisner, former US Ambassador to India, 1994-97 ,brought Dr. Thomas Graham. Senior Director, Kissinger Associates to Indian Council of World Affairs , New Delhi , for a lecture "Reflections on Russia and the US-Russian Relationship". Dr.Graham is a former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, U.S. National Security Council. The audience consisted mostly of retired Indian diplomats and research scholars .

His lecture about the changes in Russia post Fall of the Berlin Wall was ok , nothing new ,not very patronizing either .Yes , informative perhaps for the usual seminar attending audience in New Delhi, which briefs itself from uninformed Indian media or Western corporate media , which is mostly owned by military-industry-energy and other corporate interests and works as PR outlet.

I tried to balance the view of the lecture by pointing out how US itself was in decline , with a debt of 8-10 trillion and an annual trade deficit of five/ six hundred billion dollars .With  $708 billion US defense budget for 2011 it is higher than at any point in America's post-World War II history. It is 16 percent higher than the 1952 Korean War budget peak and 36 percent higher than the 1968 Vietnam War budget peak in constant dollars.

It is almost equal to the total defense budget of the rest of the world put together. It is about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran . High defense outlay was one of the reasons for the collapse of USSR .What about USA ! After centuries of warfare between the Roman/Byzantine and Persian empires –Iraq and Syria were the objectives then too of Western and Eastern empires , both empires collapsed and it was easy meat for the Beduin tribes from the arid deserts of Arabia with their new creed .

Regarding Eurasia I also referred to the US franchised street revolutions to put puppets like Victor Yushchenko in Ukraine and regime changes in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan ( it failed in Belarus and Ozbekistan) .The regime changes were financed and organized covertly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Freedom House and George Soros' Open Society Institute, the very entities, which had helped oust Shevardnadze last year. The NED has four affiliate institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). They" provide technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide."

Richard Holbrooke, now AFPK envoy condemned Russia for promoting a pro-Moscow government in neighboring Ukraine, where Russia has centuries of shared linguistic, marital, religious, economic and security ties and declared ' that far-away Slav nation part of "our [US] core zone of security."Some Gall.

Russia was laughed at, ignored and lectured to ,with George Bush even looking even looking into Putin,s eyes and his soul , declared him to be trust worthy. In cut throat strategic world, trust ( but verify) is the last thing. Madeiline Albright even declared Russia's energy resources to be the world resources ( to be exploited by Chevron, BP of oil spill !).

Finally Putin let go at the 43rd annual International Security Conference held in Munich on 10 February,2007 , on the importance of the role of United Nations, U.S. missile defense, NATO expansion, Iran's nuclear program and the Energy Charter. He accused Washington of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions, trying to divide modern Europe and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Since then while Russia has become more confident , Washington has declined in power and influence .Obama has signed new Salt agreement with Medvedev in Prague a few months ago .But the neo-liberals and Neocons who led US into quagmire into Iraq and an unwinnable war in Afghanistan are still making a lot of noise .US politicians so easily manipulated by the Jewish lobby have still not realized that in the new world order , US is just one power and not the hyper power of 1990s and 2000s .  In an essay titled 'Time to Appease ' in the July –August 2010 Issue of 'National Interest' Prof Paul Keneddy  giving a historic survey of European history tries to prepare the Americans to reconcile to the downsizing of US role in the emerging new world order.

After Putin outburst in Munich I had done a long piece detailing the US-Russian relationship post collapse of the Soviet Union .It is still worth perusing as necessary recent historical background .

Cheers  Gajendra Singh 22 August, 2010.

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Russian Bear Growls at US Hypocrisy and Hegemony- Arabs Welcome Putin to Middle East

by K. Gajendra Singh   Uruknet,AJInfo,Boloji etc                                  14 February,2007

"The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions – undermining America 's global legitimacy – collateral civilian casualties, – abuses, – tarnishing America 's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability." Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter.

At the 43rd annual International Security Conference held in Munich on 10 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the importance of the role of United Nations , U.S. missile defense, NATO expansion, Iran 's nuclear program and the Energy Charter. He accused Washington of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions, trying to divide modern Europe and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Ever since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended the cold war in 1989, more out of naiveté than misplaced goodwill which after USSR's collapse the US ruling elite claimed as the victory of the capitalist West over Socialist Russia, this is the first blunt criticism of US unleashed rampant forces trying to coerce the whole world to its will for total domination while using brazen lies and illegal, brutal and inhuman means.

While calling a spade a spade Russian leader Putin was only articulating what a majority of peoples in the world think of US policies. A BBC poll covering more than 26,000 people in 25 countries, including the U.S. , held in November - January, found that 49 % believe U.S. playing "mainly negative" role in the world, compared to 32% who said it was "mainly positive." In 18 countries asked the same question earlier, which had called U.S. influence positive, it fell from 40 % in 2005, to 36 % last year, to 29 % in 2007. In Germany and Indonesia , nearly 3 out of 4 respondents had a mainly negative opinion of U.S. influence while it was 69 % in France and Turkey .

Nearly 73 % disapproved of Washington 's role in the Iraq war. In Egypt , France , and Lebanon where more than 3 out of 4 respondents "strongly disapproved" , while more than 68 % said the U.S. military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents."

Even in US, 57 % disapprove of their government's handling of the Iraq war and of the Israeli-Hezbollah war; while 60 % disapproved of its handling of Guantanamo detainees; and 53 % believed the U.S. military presence provokes more conflict than it prevents. A plurality of 50 % in U.S. disapprove of the government's handling of Iran 's nuclear program.

"These days the U.S. government hardly seems to be able to do anything right," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland who coordinated the poll.

In last November elections US electorate trashed Bush's policies by trouncing his Republican party in the Senate and the House and disapprove of Bush's policies by 2 to one .But instead of course correction , also recommended by Baker –Hamilton Iraqi Study Group, there is now the so called policy of "surge" in Iraq , with only a massive surge in deaths and destruction in Iraq , specially Baghdad , where the new policy would be implemented.

Then there are multifarious accusations against Tehran without proof and threats to use force , even nuclear weapons .Such an irrational and immoral attack if carried out, most experts and people believe would plunge the world into hell like turmoil for decades. You just have to look at the quagmire in Iraq with daily massacres and almost total destruction of the Iraqi state with a burgeoning civil war triggered by Washington .

Putin's speech marks a new era in Russia's new found confidence after 7 years of his rule which has brought stability and economic strength .He is now visiting Saudi Arabia ,Qatar and Jordan , first ever visits by a Russian head of state. With Middle East in a state of flux and USA bogged down in Iraq with no clear cut exit policy , Saudi Arabia and others in the region are looking elsewhere to counter irrational US policies.

"I see in ... Putin a statesman and a man of peace and fairness," Saudi King Abdullah.

Unlike 1991, when Gorbachev's peace initiative to help resolve the problem of Iraqi occupation of Kuwait , was brushed aside by Washington , Moscow is now better positioned to play a vital and constructive role in the region. Exchange of Presidential visits with Syria two years ago, writing off of old Syrian debts of almost $10 billion and supply of missiles to deter arrogant Israeli jets buzzing the Presidential Palace in Damascus have almost restored the old relationship. Historical enemies Russia and Turkey have made up and have booming economic exchanges.

Moscow is now ready to play a role of reliable and honest broker in Arab Israeli dispute with its excellent relations with Tel Aviv and PLO and even Hamas which was received in Moscow , soon after it was elected to power. Moscow 's strengthened relations with Tehran with its support at the UN, supply of missiles and arms and building of nuclear power plants and possibly create an informal gas OPEC give Russia an important role. And Putin has worked towards it assiduously.

"I see in ... Putin a statesman and a man of peace and fairness," said Saudi King Abdullah according to official Saudi Press Agency. "That's why the kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends a hand of friendship to Russia ." Qatar has the world's third-largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran while Russia is second largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia . They could consult each other on oil and gas prices.

Putin's warm reception in Riyadh , Qatar and Amman is harbinger of Russia 's growing influence in the region and desire of the unnerved states in the region for a bulwark against USA 's destructive policies, which could unleash a terrible Shia-Sunni conflagration in the region and beyond.The Arabs and Muslims have seen through US policies!

Middle East and the Muslim world is learning to trust Putin's Russia It was granted observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2005, and in 2006 the Russia-Muslim World Strategic Vision Group was established.

Before embarking on his tour of the Middle East, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, extremely popular in Arab and Islamic world, Putin said that the new U.S. strategy in Iraq will work only if a date for withdrawal of foreign military forces was agreed upon. The U.S. has officially declared that it plans to hand over full authority, primarily in the law enforcement and security areas, to Iraqi agencies.

Putin said, "But I think this won't work if we don't decide beforehand when the foreign contingent should be withdrawn. Because, as it happens in any conflict and in any country, people should know that they have to be prepared to take on full responsibility inside the country by a certain date. When they do not have a definite date and when it is unclear when the maturity of relevant organizations in this country should reach a certain appropriate level, then everything is shifted off to the foreign contingent."

Putin's Munich Discourse;

Putin's audience in Munich comprised of dozens of Western ministers and policy makers ,including the new US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, and the hawkish Republican Presidential contender, Senator John McCain.

Putin stated; "Today we are observing unrestrained, hypertrophied use of force in international affairs, a force that plunges the world into an abyss of recurring conflicts." "I am convinced that the UN Charter is the only legitimate decision-making mechanism for the use of military force as a last resort," he said.

"The UN must not be replaced either by NATO or the European Union," declared Putin.

On NATO's eastward expansion, Putin said that it has nothing to do with its modernization and would affect Moscow 's relations with the Alliance .

{ Romania , Slovakia , Slovenia , Bulgaria , and Baltic states - Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania - joined NATO in 2004. Georgia and Ukraine, which saw US franchised street gangs, financed, trained and supported by Washington and its so called democracy promoting institutions and NGOs, install US puppets in power (both are in trouble now) are being encouraged to join NATO. Russia strongly objects to the deployment of NATO bases on the territory of newly admitted member nations. Reports suggest that Romanian and Bulgarian bases could be used if Iran was attacked.}

"It is evident that the process of NATO expansion has nothing to do with modernizing the alliance or with ensuring security in Europe . On the contrary, it is seriously eroding mutual trust," the Russian leader said. "Why do they have to move their military infrastructure closer to our borders?" Putin wondered, "Is this connected with overcoming global threats today?"

Putin added that the main threat facing Russia , the U.S. and Europe derives from international terrorism, which can only be fought jointly.

"What is a uni-polar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master," clarified Putin.

He stated that deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Central Europe could trigger a new spiral of the arms race. US reasons for deploying a missile defense system in Europe are not convincing enough, since launching of North Korean ballistic missiles against the U.S. across western Europe would be in conflict with the laws of ballistics. " Or, as we say in Russia , it's the like trying to reach your left ear with your right hand," he clarified.

Putin pledged to amend Russia 's military strategy. "All our responses will be asymmetric, but highly effective," he said.

This riposte was in response to US plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interception system in Poland,' to protect itself against a potential threat from Iran.' Recently Washington has also shifted its largest sea-based missile defense radar in the Pacific from Hawaii to the Aleutian Islands, not far from Russia 's Kamchatka Peninsula .

Putin affirmed that Moscow is committed to its obligations on the reduction of nuclear warheads by 2012. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, signed on May 24, 2002 by Putin and Bush in Moscow , and expiring December 31, 2012, limited both countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. The treaty has been criticized for a lack of verification provisions and the possibility of re-deploying stored warheads.

Putin hoped that "our partners will also act in a transparent manner and will not try to stash away an extra couple hundred nuclear warheads against a rainy day."

Moscow has prepared a draft treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space. Putin said, "It will be submitted to our partners as an official proposal in the very near future."

He also called on the international community to resume dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation. " Russia speaks for the resumption of dialogue on this most important issue. It's necessary to preserve stability of the international legal disarmament base, and ensure the continuity of the nuclear arms reduction process," he said.

"We are seeing increasing disregard for the fundamental principles of international law," said Putin. The United States had repeatedly overstepped its national borders on questions of international security, a policy he said had made the world less, not more, safe.

"Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem; they have become a hotbed of further conflicts,"

"One state, the United States , has overstepped its national borders in every way," asserted Putin.

Putin added that force should only be used when the option is backed by the United Nations Security Council. "This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure any more because nobody can hide behind international law," he said.

Putin also said the increased use of force was "causing an arms race with the desire of countries to get nuclear weapons." He did not name the countries but quite obviously these are north Korea , even Iran and many Arab states to counter Israel 's arsenal of hundreds of nuclear bombs and means to deliver them .

[While sanctions were passed against India and Pakistan in May, 1998, after they went nuclear, any enquiry forget any action against Israel is regularly vetoed by USA in New York and Vienna .]

Energy Charter;

Russia is already cooperating with European countries on the basis of principles agreed in the Energy Charter, a mechanism for cooperation between Western and Eastern Europe on energy issues and signed at The Hague in 1991. [West now wants its investors free access to Russia's vast oil and gas deposits and export pipelines, but is unwilling to grant similar facilities to now petro dollar rich Russia to invest in European downstream business .Remember how US refused China, which has saved one trillion dollars by over exporting to US, investment in UNOCAL or a Dubai company a contract for handling of US ports. US led West wants only one way freedom in investment. ]

On Energy Charter Putin declared, "We have stated on numerous occasions that we are not against coordinating the principles of our relations with the European Union in the energy sphere. But we find the [Energy] Charter itself hard to accept." He said Russia 's EU partners themselves are not observing the Charter, citing the nuclear materials market, which is still off limits to Russia . "No one has opened it up for us. There are also other issues that I would not like to bring up just now," he said.

Putin stated that Russia-EU energy relations should not be included in a new basic agreement replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. "I do not think we should [include these relations in the basic agreement], as there are other [important] spheres in our interaction with the European Union, besides energy," he said.

Russia and the EU were to begin talks on a new framework at the Russia-EU summit in Helsinki in November 24 last year, but Poland vetoed the negotiations over Russia 's ban on its meat exports and Moscow 's refusal to sign the Energy Charter. [Vice President Dick Cheney accused Moscow of using its energy resources as "tools of intimidation or blackmail." Many members in the Bush Administration belong to the energy interests to which they will revert back and are cheesed off that Russia does not allow freedom to exploit they have in Saudi Arabia , Gulf kingdoms and elsewhere.]

Putin recalled that Germany shortly after the end of the Cold War had sought to reassure Moscow (its historic enemy) that it would never send its military forces outside its borders. Berlin now has troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan . "Where are those guarantees now?" Putin demanded , arguing that Europe was attempting to set up new "virtual" barriers to replace the Berlin Wall.

Rubble from the Berlin Wall was "hauled away as souvenirs" to countries that praise openness and personal freedom, he said, but "now there are attempts to impose new dividing lines and rules, maybe virtual, but still dividing our mutual continent."

Putin rightly dismissed European complaints about Russian threats last year to cut off energy supplies to its neighbors, saying Moscow was only seeking market prices and stable, long-term contracts with countries including Ukraine and Georgia, which in the past had received subsidized supplies. Even friendly Belarus had to agree to market related prices. [US does it every day .It wants India to vote against Iran on the nuclear question and not have an energy security agreement either .Why ! because it is signing an agreement on nuclear power cooperation .India had its first nuclear explosion way back in 1974 and needs nuclear deterrent to protect its 1.1 billion citizens against nuclear blackmail. So does north Korea .And so think many others now that the biggest proliferators and violators of NPT are the 5 nuclear armed NPT members, also wielding veto power in UNSC].

Human Rights;

Putin rebuffed criticism of his country's human rights record by the head of the New York-based Human Rights Watch , who said the world was seeing an "increasingly uni-polar government in Russia , where competing centres of influence are being forced to toe the party line." [ US leaders routinely denounce HRW's critique of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other violations.]

Putin responded that Russia was taking steps to stop foreign governments clandestinely using Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to influence Russian policy.

On the killings of a few Russian journalists during his Presidency, Putin retorted that it was in Iraq that most journalists were killed doing their job.

Kosovo and Serbia ;

Putin declared "Only the Kosovars and Serbs can resolve this." "Let's not play God and try to resolve their problems."

Serbia and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership have failed to reach agreement on the province's future. Serbia demands that the province remain its part, while Kosovo's ethnic Albanians want independence. U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari last week unveiled a proposal, backed by the U.S. and European Union, for an internationally supervised statehood for Kososvo. The plan — which needs U.N. Security Council approval to take effect — does not explicitly mention independence, but spells out conditions for self-rule, including a flag, anthem, army and constitution, and the right to apply for membership in international organizations. Kosovo's Serb minority would have a high degree of control over their own affairs.

Serbia has rejected the plan, while Kosovo's leaders welcomed it.

Moscow has said a solution imposed against Serbia 's consent could serve as a model for other separatist provinces elsewhere in the world. Washington maintains that the Kosovo situation is a "one-off" because the province has been under U.N. rule since 1999, when Serbian forces were ejected after a two month NATO 's illegal war on Yugoslavia , which destroyed its industry and infrastructure. Yugoslavia , a nation of southern Slavs and closer to Russia was broken up by USA and West Europe . Orthodox Serbia has close ethnic and religious affinities with Russia . But West opposes independence for South Ossetia , Abkhazia and the Transdneister.


On Iran , Putin stated that unlike many countries including in Europe, Russia did not pass missile technology to Iran . "I have no evidence to show that Russia , in the 1990s, helped Iran create its own missile technology. Other countries acted there. Technology was transferred through different channels. We have proof, and earlier I passed it directly to the U.S. president," Putin said.

"Technology is coming from Europe , from Asian countries. Russia has nothing to do with this," he said. " Russia supplied much less weaponry there than the U.S. or other countries did," he said, Russia has provided Iran with air defense systems with an effective range of 30 to 50 kilometers. "We did that so that Iran would not feel driven into a corner," he explained.

But Putin clarified that Iran has no missiles that could threaten Europe . "As regards [fears that] Iran has missiles that could threaten Europe , you are wrong. Iran has missiles with a range of 1,600-1,700 km. Calculate how many kilometers it is from the Iranian border to Munich ," he asked.

Iran has been under US led campaign after it resumed uranium fuel enrichment in January 2006, which some Western countries claim is part of a covert nuclear weapons program. Moscow shares the concerns of the Vienna based International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, but the agency has not found a nuclear weapons program. Although Tehran has repeatedly affirmed its program is peaceful, the UN Security Council under US pressure did adopt a resolution in December imposing sanctions on Tehran ,but much diluted under insistence from Russia and China .

Russia , Iran 's neighbor and a key economic partner has consistently supported Tehran 's right to nuclear power under NPT. On February 23, the IAEA would report on the UN resolution on Iran 's nuclear program. IAEA's chief El Bardai has asked all sides 'to take time out' and cool down and revert to negotiations. Bush Administrations accusations have not been taken seriously by newly empowered Democrats and many others , who accuse Bush administration of having used similar ratcheting tactics before invading Iraq , when all its accusations on WMDs, Iraq's connection with Al Qaeda and efforts to obtain Uranium ore were proved to be lies.

During the question period after the address, Putin made some soothing gestures and remarks.

Putin said President Bush had told him that the U.S. assumed the two countries would "never be enemies again, and I agree with him." "I really consider the president of the United States my friend." "He's a decent man, and one can do business with him," Putin said.

Inter-fax quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov telling state Russian TV Channel that the building of a good relations between Moscow and Washington was "not easy-- probably the most difficult partner."

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the President's speech in Munich was not "confrontational" and attributed his blunt words to the sense that the number of conflicts fomented by Washington "was constantly growing" and that international law was being undermined by such actions.

"It is in the interest of the United States , the European Union and other countries that international law is upheld, not further destroyed," Peskov stated.

Before Putin's sermon, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany , which holds the European Union's rotating presidency had praised Russia , saying it would be a reliable energy supplier to Europe . She called for closer relations between the EU and Moscow to enhance stability on the continent.

"How relations between the EU and Russia evolve will have a crucial impact on how security in the region will develop," said Merkel She also said that the international community is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Tehran needed to accept demands made by the U.N. and the IAEA , she added.

On the sidelines of the conference, Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani defended his country's nuclear program as peaceful, saying: "We are no threat to our region or other countries," while indicating a willingness to return to negotiations.

Western Reaction;

Having seen Putin being lectured to even by leaders of piddling Baltic states, now part of EU; US and European leaders were stunned at the candour of his speech .While US officials mostly played it down as empty rhetoric divorced from the real world, (Did not US Sen Barbara say recently, "The president [Bush] is living in a dream world.'') but European leaders are worried and felt that West must square up to a brash and combative new Russia.

"We should take him at his word. This was the real Russia of now, and possibly in four or five years time it could go further in this direction," declared Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in Munich ." We have to have a dialogue with Russia but we must be hard-nosed and realistic. We must stand up for our values."

Karl Schwarzenberg, the new Czech Foreign Minister, said it was none of Moscow 's business whether Prague hosted the radar facilities for the US missile shield. "We have to thank President Putin [who] clearly and convincingly argued why Nato should be enlarged," he quipped to applause. "Some people have not noticed that the Soviet Union no longer exists."

"I do not see how we can negotiate a new partnership pact on this basis," said German Green Angelika Beer, a member of the European Parliament. "We need Russia for energy and Kosovo. He knows that - but perhaps he is going over the top," she said.

The European Union wants to negotiate a new partnership agreement with Russia but its hand is weakened by its dependence on Russian energy supplies. The other alternative is Iran . Any takers!

"This Munich conference is normally about the Americans and Europeans bitching at each other," said Ron Asmus, executive director of the Transatlantic Centre think tank in Brussels . "It will be interesting to see whether Putin actually managed to bring us together."

US & Europe need Moscow 's support in UN to resolve the dispute over Iran 's nuclear question and in securing independence for the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo .

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he was disappointed by Putin's statement that alliance enlargement was "a serious factor provoking reduced mutual trust." "I see a disconnection between NATO's partnership with Russia as it has developed and Putin's speech," he said.

"Who can be worried that democracy and the rule of law are coming closer to somebody's border?" Scheffer asked. [ Yes, de Hoop Scheffer. USA and NATO are spreading democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and international law by illegal invasion of Iraq .]

Putin's Munich growl came a day after a similar speech by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov - a possible successor to Putin ,to his NATO counterparts meeting in Seville , Spain .

"One Cold War was quite enough," US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

Robert Gates sat through Putin's speech stone faced. A former CIA chief , as is the usual US trait when demonizing Putin they refer to his KGB background ( rarely mentioned when George WH Bush , a former CIA chief ,was Vice President or President ) Gates replied next day, "As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday's speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time," He paused for effect before adding, "Almost."

"And, I guess, old spies have a habit of blunt speaking," Gates said. "However, I have been to re-education camp — spending four and half years as a university president and dealing with faculty." His remark drew laughs and applause.

" Russia is a partner in endeavors," Gates added. "But we wonder, too, about some Russian policies that seem to work against international stability, such as its arms transfers and its temptation to use energy resources for political coercion." [ Really, What about invading Iraq to grab energy ?]

"All of these characterizations belong in the past," Gates said, and he listed some of them: "The free world versus those behind the Iron Curtain. North versus South. East versus West, and I am told that some have even spoken in terms of 'Old Europe' versus 'New.'" (It referred to remarks by his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld on Europe ).

"The distinction I would draw is a very practical one — a realist's view perhaps," Gates said. "It is between alliance members who do all they can to fulfill collective commitments, and those who do not." He urged NATO allies to increase their military spending to meet the benchmark of two percent of gross domestic product set by the alliance; only six of NATO's 26 members fulfill that standard.

Digging old ghosts i.e. NATO's success in facing the Soviet threat, Gates stated that "it seems clear that totalitarianism was defeated as much by ideas the West championed then and now as by ICBMs, tanks and warships that the West deployed," Gates said. The alliance's most effective weapon, he said, was a "shared belief in political and economic freedom, religious toleration, human rights, representative government and the rule of law. These values kept our side united, and inspired those on the other side."

Gates added that the interceptor missiles and radar installations planned for Poland and the Czech Republic were not directed against Russia - it offered no protection against the Kremlin's arsenal of nuclear-tipped intercontinental rockets."This umbrella of protection unifies the alliance rather than divides it," he said.

Throughout his reply to Putin's commanding performance , Gates asked how America 's European allies must help rebuild Afghanistan ( There are few takers for South Afghanistan. ) and remain vigilant in the fight against global terrorism. He mentioned Putin only once by name ,to say he had accepted his invitation to visit Moscow .

Gates also referred to China , saying, "Looking eastward, China is a country at a strategic crossroads. All of us seek a constructive relationship with China , but we also wonder about strategic choices China may make. We note with concern their recent test of an anti-satellite weapon."

If the United States and its partners fail in Iraq, and chaos tears the nation apart, Gates warned, "every member of this alliance will feel the consequences" of regional turmoil and terrorism. He acknowledged the damage done to America 's global standing by its conduct in the campaign against terrorism.

Sen. John McCain who was present in Munich described Putin's remarks as "the most aggressive speech from a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War." During his formal remarks later, McCain echoed the sentiments of several Americans in attendance, that Russia appeared to be turning more autocratic and its foreign policy was standing increasingly in opposition to Western democracies.

"Today's world is not unipolar," McCain said, disputing Putin's main theme. "In today's multipolar world, there is no need for pointless confrontation." [Sen. McCain remains a hawk on Iraq war ]

Reaction in Washington ;

US spokesman Kurt Volker said he listened to Putin with a sense of disconnect from reality. "That was like a parallel universe. The rest of us were in there talking about common challenges," he said. Gordon Johndroe, President Bush's national security spokesman was "surprised and disappointed" by Putin's remarks. "His accusations are wrong," said Johndroe. But "We expect to continue cooperation with Russia in areas important to the international community such as counterterrorism and reducing the spread and threat of weapons of mass destruction," added Johndroe.

Stephen Sestanovich, Clinton 's ambassador-at-large to states of the former Soviet Union said ;"Most Americans are not aware of how heated and agitated the Russians' discussions are about their relationship with the West." He added, "It may come as a surprise to Americans, but for the Russians, the rhetoric on these questions tends to be pretty grim, among the experts and regular folks, about the deterioration of the relationship.

"The theme is, 'We're tired of American hegemony, we're tired of being treated like a former superpower doormat, and we're back, and we're mad,' " Sestanovich said.

Prof Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University remarked "It's not just about U.S. foreign policy." "It's also about growing self-confidence in Russia, and Putin's determined effort to conduct a more muscular foreign policy, which is at least in part a byproduct of oil revenue," he said.

Why Russians dislike Washington ;

The Soviet Union's collapse was ruthlessly exploited by US led West when its capitalist controlled media sang praises of economic reforms and democratization bringing economic disintegration and ruination to Russia .The worst kind of depression in modern history with economic losses more than twice those suffered by USSR in World War II. Russian GDP was trimmed to half and capital investment fell by 80 percent. People were reduced to penury and misery, death rates soared and the population shrank. And in August 1998, the Russian financial system collapsed.

Putin was appointed Prime Minister in 1999, then acting president. In the 2000 election, Putin took 53% of the vote in the first round and, four years later, he was re-elected with a landslide majority of 71%. After Putin took charge he arrested the decline, brought stability and security and consolidated the disintegrating core of the Russian state. The rise in energy prices, natural and a consequence of Iraq war has benefited Russia immensely.

Since 1999 Russian economy has averaged 6 to 7% annual growth, its gold and foreign currency reserves are the world's fifth largest. Moscow is booming with new construction, frenzied consumption of Western luxury goods, but over 60% Russians live below the poverty line. Still Putin's rule has brought stability and restored some sense of pride, and he remains very popular.

Stephen F. Cohen in an article "The New American Cold War " wrote in 10 July 2006 issue of US Magazine ,'The Nation" that since 1990s ,Washington has followed hypocritical policy of "strategic partnership and friendship," with Presidents being on first name basis but underneath, all US administrations have followed a ruthless policy of undermining Russia " accompanied by broken American promises, condescending lectures and demands for unilateral concessions. USA has been even more aggressive and uncompromising than was Washington 's approach to the Soviet Communist Russia."

" A growing military encirclement of Russia, on and near its borders, by US and NATO bases, which are already ensconced or being planned in at least half the fourteen other former Soviet republics, from the Baltics and Ukraine to Georgia, Azerbaijan and the new states of Central Asia. The result is a US-built reverse iron curtain and the remilitarization of American-Russian relations.

" A tacit (and closely related) US denial that Russia has any legitimate national interests outside its own territory, even in ethnically akin or contiguous former republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia." Richard Holbrooke, Democratic a democrat Secretary of State in waiting roundly condemned Russia for promoting a pro-Moscow government in neighboring Ukraine, where Russia has centuries of shared linguistic, marital, religious, economic and security ties and declared ' that far-away Slav nation part of "our core zone of security."

"Even more, a presumption that Russia does not have full sovereignty within its own borders, as expressed by constant US interventions in Moscow 's internal affairs since 1992. They have included an on-site crusade by swarms of American "advisers," particularly during the 1990s, to direct Russia's "transition" from Communism; endless missionary sermons from afar, often couched in threats, on how that nation should and should not organize its political and economic systems; and active support for Russian anti-Kremlin groups, some associated with hated Yeltsin-era oligarchs.

It was even suggested that Putin be overthrown by the kind of US-backed "color revolutions" carried out since 2003 in Georgia , Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan , and attempted this year in Belarus . US corporate media 'increasingly call the Russian President "thug," "fascist" and "Saddam Hussein," one of the Carnegie Endowment's several Washington crusaders assures us of "Putin's weakness" and vulnerability to "regime change." (Do proponents of "democratic regime change" in Russia care what it might mean destabilizing a nuclear state?)

" Underpinning these components of the real US policy are familiar cold war double standards, condemning Moscow for doing what Washington does - such as seeking allies and military bases in former Soviet republics, using its assets (oil and gas in Russia's case) as aid to friendly governments and regulating foreign money in its political life.

"More broadly, when NATO expands to Russia's front and back doorsteps, gobbling up former Soviet-bloc members and republics, it is "fighting terrorism" and "protecting new states"; when Moscow protests, it is engaging in "cold war thinking." When Washington meddles in the politics of Georgia and Ukraine , it is "promoting democracy"; when the Kremlin does so, it is "neo-imperialism."

" And not to forget the historical background: When in the 1990s the US-supported Yeltsin overthrew Russia's elected Parliament and Constitutional Court by force, gave its national wealth and television networks to Kremlin insiders, imposed a constitution without real constraints on executive power and rigged elections, it was "democratic reform"; when Putin continues that process, it is "authoritarianism."

US has attempted by exploiting Russia 's weakness, to acquire the nuclear superiority it could not achieve during the Soviet era. Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, in order to create a system capable of destroying incoming missiles and thereby the capacity to launch a nuclear first strike without fear of retaliation. US coerced Russia to sign an empty nuclear weapons reduction agreement without actual destruction of weapons or verification , but allowing US development of new ones, which Washington has announced.

" The extraordinarily anti-Russian nature of these policies casts serious doubt on two American official and media axioms: that the recent "chill" in US-Russian relations has been caused by Putin's behavior at home and abroad, and that the cold war ended fifteen years ago. The first axiom is false, the second only half true: The cold war ended in Moscow , but not in Washington ."

"The crusade to transform Russia during the 1990s, with its disastrous "shock therapy" economic measures and resulting antidemocratic acts, further destabilized the country, fostering an oligarchical system that plundered the state's wealth, deprived essential infrastructures of investment, impoverished the people and nurtured dangerous corruption. In the process, it discredited Western-style reform, generated mass anti-Americanism where there had been almost none - only 5 percent of Russians surveyed in May (2006) thought the United States was a "friend" - and eviscerated the once-influential pro-American faction in Kremlin and electoral politics."

US leaders and media pretend that Washington has a "well-intentioned Russian policy," but "a Russian autocrat ... betrayed the American's faith." After a decade of broken US promises and Yeltsin's boozy compliance, Kremlin declared four years ago, in a Radio commentary "The era of Russian geopolitical concessions [is] coming to an end." (Looking back, the commentator remarked bitterly that Russia has been "constantly deceived.")

In the undeclared cold war now there are no structures for any substantive negotiations and cooperation, .The "dialogue is almost non-existent ," in regard to nuclear weapons after US's abandonment of the ABM treaty and real reductions, its decision to build an antimissile shield, and talk of pre-emptive war and nuclear strikes which had kept the nuclear peace for nearly fifty years are now open . Reportedly, Bush's National Security Council is contemptuous of arms control as a "baggage from the cold war." US editorial pages are dominated by resurgent cold war orthodoxies, with incessant demonization of Putin's "autocracy" and "crude neo-imperialism". It reads like a bygone Pravda on the Potomac .

So the discourses at Munich should surprise no one except hypocritical US leaders , its media and its Trojan horses in EU like, UK , Poland and the Czechs. Those in the Baltics and East Europe ,who decry past Soviet domination , would they have preferred Nazi victory and rule .In any case USA was not prepared to expend men and material to liberate East Europe and the Baltics from the Nazis. It were the Soviet people and its armed forces which destroyed 80% of Nazi military machine and sacrificed tens of millions of its citizens and military men. Hollywood only makes films of great US victories.

Arabs welcome Putin's Middle East visit;

Arab world has welcomed President Putin's Middle East visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan .Arab experts feel that the primary aim is to "send a message" to the US that Moscow has a key role to play in this vital region and that it is high time for Washington to give up its policies of domination and destruction.

"By carrying out this exceptional trip, I believe Putin is at pains to dispatch a message to the United States that the Middle East is not a backyard for Washington, but a vital area for the whole world," Faisal al-Rofou, head of the political science department at the University of Jordan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. (In Jordan and most Arab countries such comments have the governments' approval)

Al-Rofou remarked that the Russian leader's Munich comments indicated Moscow was "fed up with the domination polices of George Bush. "

"Putin is heir to the legacy of a great state - the Soviet Union - and although Moscow 's role has receded over the past few years, the Russian leader wants to say that it is high time for Moscow to play that great part again in the affairs of the Middle East and the world at large," he said. "Therefore , his Middle East trip seeks to drive the idea home that we are present in this part of the world and the United States should recognize others' interests in the region," he added.

Putin's visit would "add significance" to the agreement concluded in Mecca with Saudi brokerage between the key Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas. (Against Israeli protests Moscow had received a Hamas delegation , soon after it won in a free democratic election.)

"I believe the accord will figure largely in Putin's talks with Saudi leaders and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas," he said. Abbas is scheduled to meet with Putin in Amman on 13 February. Palestinian diplomats expected the Mecca declaration to be high on the agenda during the meeting.

"We count on the Russian support for ensuring a lift of the Western embargo that was imposed on the Palestinian Authority in March" in the wake of the landslide victory scored by Hamas , al-Rofou said.

During the last Mideast Quartet meeting in Washington at the beginning of this month, the Russian delegate urged a speedy end of the boycott of the Hamas-led government which he said came to office through the ballots. [US led West remains opposed to Hamas as only pro-West puppets are acceptable. So much for Western proclaimed love for democracy.] Besides Russia , the quartet also includes the US , the E U and the U. N.

Qadri Saeed, at the Cairo-based al-Ahram Strategic Studies, believes that Moscow "stood a good chance of influencing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through its balanced ties with both Fatah and Hamas on one side and between the Palestinians and Israel on the other".

"In face of the receding US influence in the region due to setbacks in Iraq and other areas, the Russians now feel they can occupy the ensuing vacuum in the region," he concluded.

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan , Romania and Senegal . He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author. E-mail: