With rising anti-Russia propaganda from the West, it is very rare to find any literature from the West that scrutinises the real intentions of Western foreign policy towards Russia.
Last week, I stumbled across a rare book by British scholars titled: What your media and professors don’t tell you about Anglo-American foreign policy authored by two professors, John Coles and Mathew Alford who give an inspirational debate on Anglo –American attitude towards the Russians.
The authors asked some questions on Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It’s also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there’s lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain’s status.
In fact, there is European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin’s Russia presents an “ideological alternative” to the EU. And that’s dangerous.
Britain and US policy elites have considered Russia a significant enemy for close to a century. The big question is what sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-“free market” President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn’t like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations.
That’s the real threat. But you can’t tell the public that: that Russia is hated because they aren’t doing what the West say. If you look through the military documents, the authors point out, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that “security” means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia’s nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed “to counter US forces and weapons systems.”
The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open “free markets” that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government like they claim.
The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, “to protect US interests and investment.”
But this cannot be done if you have “economic nationalism,” like China had until the “reforms” of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren’t military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.
What about military threats? The authors say the best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse’s mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they’re talking about.
There’s a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don’t talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation.
If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don’t discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it’s for “containment,” the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia’s not expanding, except when provoked.
But the biggest player is the USA.
It’s using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it’s to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it’s pointed at Russia. It’s a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: “NATO provoking Russia.”
Coles posits that there’s no morality involved in these actions as states are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation.
As for invasion, the two won’t invade Russia as Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that’s not the point. So while it’s not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia’s “national interests.” Russia’s “national interests” are the same as the elites’ of the UK. National interest doesn’t mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations.
So for its real “national interest,” Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia’s export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It’s already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn’t paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia, hence all the anti-Russia rhetoric.