Monday, 10 December 2007

Why the Council On Foreign Relations Hates Putin

By Mike Whitney

Vladamir Putin is arguably the most popular leader in Russian history, although you'd never know it by reading the western media. According to a recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Putin's personal approval rating in November 2007 was 85 per cent, making him the most popular head of state in the world today. Putin's popularity derives from many factors. He is personally clever and charismatic. He is fiercely nationalistic and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of ordinary Russians and restore the country to its former greatness. He has raised over 20 million Russians out of grinding poverty, improved education, health care and the pension system, (partially) nationalized critical industries, lowered unemployment, increased manufacturing and exports, invigorated Russian markets, strengthened the ruble, raised the overall standard of living, reduced government corruption, jailed or exiled the venal oligarchs, and amassed capital reserves of $450 billion.

Russia is no longer up for grabs like it was after the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin put an end to all of that. He reasserted control over the country's vast resources and he's using them to improve the lives of his own people. This is a real departure from the 1990s, when the drunken Yeltsin steered Russia into economic disaster by following Washington's neoliberal edicts and by selling Russia's Crown Jewels to the vulturous oligarchs. Putin put Russia's house back in order; stabilized the ruble, strengthened economic/military alliances in the region, and removed the corporate gangsters who had stolen Russia's national assets for pennies on the dollar. The oligarchs are now all either in jail or have fled the country. Russia is no longer for sale.
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In the early years of his presidency, it was believed that Putin would comply with western demands and accept a subordinate role in the US-EU-Israel centric system. But that hasn't happened. Putin has stubbornly defended Russian independence and resisted integration into the prevailing system. .

The triumphalism which swept through Washington after the fall of the Berlin Wall has been replaced with a palpable fear that Russia's power will grow as oil prices continue to soar. The tectonic plates of geopolitical power are gradually shifting eastward. That's why the US has joined in The Great Game and is trying to put down roots in Eurasia. Still, it's easy to imagine a scenario in which America's access to the last great oil and natural gas reserves on the planet--the three trillion barrels of oil and natural gas located in the Caspian Basin---could be completely blocked by a resurgent Russian superpower.

The most powerful of the Washington think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations, recognized this problem early on and decided that US policy towards Russia had to be reworked entirely.


Whitney goes on to describe the negative western media campaign running against Putin and how the US Council on Foreign Relations organisation has fueled much of the anti-Putin sentiment describing him as anti-democratic, authoritarian etc etc.

Although not without criticism, Putin has dragged Russia out of the economic mess it faced during the 1990s. The Russian President has done much to save his country from being completely plundered by private interests. He is not the villian we have been told about in the western media.

One must remember that when the US government and its proxies (corporate media & think tanks) speak forcefully about promoting "democracy" they are only ever talking about the opportunistic furthering of US business or strategic interests. Atrocities in the Congo, Burma, and oppression in many other countries are of minor concern to these groups since there is no immediate benefit to the US "establishment" in these areas.

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