Category Archives: Kissinger

Putin – “the new Stalin” – to build a museum denouncing the former Stalin

When a licensed hawk like Dr. Henry Kissinger persistently argues that the present demonizing of Vladimir Putin in the West is not just bad policy, but even lack of policy, one could expect that at least those less right-wing than him had taken some notice. And when he with the same determination claims that Russia’s security interests near its borders must be recognized by USA and EU, he cannot be suspected to be Putin’s tool. A plausible conclusion is instead that western conservatives and liberals along the line have run amok in Russophobe frenzy.

The uniform narrative on the Russian issue, spread all over western mainstream media, is embarrassingly ignorant and naïve or – more exactly – mostly outright stupid. It’s as if the old format from the blatant anti-communist propaganda in the first cold war has been recovered from the archives and recycled. It’s not just one-sided, like all propaganda, it’s also deliberately misleading (or, as Paul Craig Roberts would say: it’s all lies).

(One hour ago I heard a segment in the Swedish public service radio, to take just a minuscule example. It has been reported today that Poroshenko will put forward new legislation that will permit some kind of autonomy for the break-away regions in eastern Ukraine. The “public service” reporter supposes that Poroshenko is under pressure from Germany and France (to get financial support), and then he devotes most of the time to an interview with some unknown Ukrainian nationalist who is allowed to thoroughly describe his opposition to the legislation. Not a word is said about the central fact: that the autonomy in question is a fundamental clause in the Minsk accords.)

According to our propaganda the civil war in Ukraine is “Putin’s war” although Russia had pushed harder than anyone else for a negotiated solution. “Putin wants to conquer Ukraine” (a lie by Yatsenjuk and others) although Russia has put forward a resolution to the UN Security Council, guaranteeing Ukraine’s integrity and secure borders. “Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union” (McCain et.al.), “Putin is a new Hitler” (Clinton) etcetera.

A completely different event concerning Putin has been announced by Professor Stephen Cohen in The Nation recently. No president in Russia before Putin has managed to push through the establishment of a museum commemorating all the victims of Stalin’s reign of terror. Now he has done that, probably in defiance of a large part of Russians that consider Stalin to be a great nation builder and a war-winning marshal. We now just have to wait and see how our media will distort the building of this museum to match the demonizing of Putin (if they can’t manage that, they can be expected to be dead silent). The museum will be inaugurated in October this year.

More about this issue can be listened to via The Nation’s web edition where Stephen Cohen discusses with John Batchelor.

Circle of violence – is it eternal?

One week in 1988 I happened to be in New York. This was the year of the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish colonizers landing in Wilmington, Delaware. As part of the celebrations the Swedish Royal Couple held a luncheon in Waldorf Astoria for prominent Americans with some connections to Sweden.

By coincidence I stayed at the same hotel that day, now waiting in the lobby for a friend who had attended the Royal lunch. When the doors opened a stream of celebrities walked by, among them Henry Kissinger with a newspaper stuck under his arm. He walked in a relaxed manner straight on to Park Avenue, catching a regular yellow cab. No lifeguards, no company whatsoever.

My first reflection was how things can change in politics. Kissinger was a key player in Nixon’s administration when the tensions with Sweden were the gravest ever. Olof Palme had expressed intense critique of USA regarding the Vietnam War, and had gained support from people all around the world. Now Kissinger had become a guest of honor to a country once treated almost like an enemy.

My second reflection was naturally how this man could move around without protection; he was after all by many considered one of the most culpable war criminals alive. One could expect there to be millions of people in Indochina with a fair reason to revenge the death of innocent relatives or friends. All it would take had been for a single one of those to be on Park Avenue with a gun at the right time.

Naturally this came to mind again after 9/11. USA had challenged countries and people for decades, relying on its strength for protection. At the same time it had been an open society vulnerable for all kinds of attacks. The question was rather why it had taken so many years for an atrocity like 9/11 to happen, than why it had happened at all.

Since 2001 security has been upgraded considerably in the West, but there is no ultimate protection in societies like ours. We are reminded of this by an article in New York Times yesterday, reporting about an online threat by the Islamic State to kill 100 US service members whose names, photos and purported addresses are posted on its website. Knowing that ISIS is recruiting fighters in countries all around the world, also in the West, threats like these are obviously not to take easily.

If one wants a definition of a vicious circle it must be this: Imperialist violence created violent resistance, generating even more repressive violence, boosting more counter violence etc., on an ever growing scale. When will we ever learn that the only way to break this circle is to cut it off? And that we are the once obliged to initiate the peaceful way? (Provided the masters of mankind really want the violence stopped, which regrettably can be put in question.)