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Pepe Escobar: Welcome to the new Cold War

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PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST: Whatever happened to the fight against al-Qaeda and radical Islam? That’s so old news. Welcome to the new, new Cold War.

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER USSR PRESIDENT (VOICEOVER TRANSLATION): I think the signs of a Cold War are present, but we still have time to prevent it.

ESCOBAR: These last few days, the Persian Gulf became a sideshow. Exit evil Iran and a phantom al-Qaeda; enter the remixed Evil Empire—Russia, a real-life superpower complete with nuclear weapons. The US establishment for years gloated about the end of the Cold War and treated Russia like Wiemar Germany. In February 1990, Bush Sr. and his secretary of state, James Baker, promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move eastward. This is what Gorbachev wrote after Clinton start pushing NATO eastward: “The issue is not just whether Czechs, Hungarians and Poles join NATO. The problem is more serious: the rejection of the strategy for a new, common European system agreed to by myself and all the Western leaders when we ended the Cold War. . . . I feel betrayed by the West. The opportunity we seized on behalf of peace has been lost. The whole idea of a new world order has been completely abandoned.” (Mikhail Gorbachev, quoted by Hang Separately by Leon V. Sigal, 2000.) So, obviously, Gorbachev nailed what happened in Georgia, writing in the Washington Post that, “By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ‘national interest,’ the United States made a serious blunder.” Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former Soviet republics are now part of NATO. Bush, Cheney, and McCain badly want Ukraine and Georgia as part of NATO. Now, imagine if Moscow had annexed Western Europe to the Warsaw Pact, set up military bases in Mexico and in Central America, set up a missile defense system in Cuba, and built a pipeline with China to send Venezuelan and Mexican oil to a port in the Pacific and then to Asia, in all of this bypassing the US. That’s exactly how the US treated Russia. And this, this is what the American establishment wants. John McCain’s chief foreign policy advisor is neocon ultra-hawk Randy Scheunemann, until recently a lobbyist for Georgia, and also a key player in fabricating fake intelligence for the Iraq War. Robert Scheer of advanced the possibility that this latest war was started by Georgia to boost McCain’s profile, as in fact it did. While McCain was virtually declaring war on Russia,—


ESCOBAR: —Obama was bodyboarding in Hawaii. Scheunemann, the lobbyist who advised his close friend Saakashvili in Russia, then he advised McCain to demonize Russia. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s a neoliberal hawk, informal foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama. Henry Kissinger, another realist, by the way, he advises John McCain. It was Brzezinski, the Cold Warrior supreme—he’s a Polish, fanatical rusophobe, was Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy advisor—lured the Russians into Afghanistan in 1979. Brzezinski would have liked Georgia to be the new Afghanistan. The Brzezinski doctrine is all here in this book, The Grand Chessboard, published in 1997. His point is that Eurasia is the ultimate prize. To control Eurasia, one has to control the so-called Eurasian Balkans, and that’s where Georgia is. On page 125 of his book, Brzezinski writes that “. . . the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.” But the clincher is in fact an introduction to Brzezinski book, where he says, “It’s imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.” McCain, in his speeches, ties Georgia to Afghanistan—that’s pure Brzezinski. But it was up to Brzezinski himself in an interview to a German daily to compare Putin with Hitler. Meanwhile, on the other side, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who migrated from Camp Clinton to Camp Obama, she was repeating the same message over and over.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it is important to make clear to the Russians directly that this is unacceptable behavior.


Courtesy: NPR
August 14, 2008

ALBRIGHT: We have to let the Russians know directly that we think this is not acceptable behavior for the 21st century.

ESCOBAR: But wait—didn’t John McCain say that?

MCCAIN: But in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.

ESCOBAR: Still on Camp Obama, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, a key Clinton player in the fragmentation of the Balkans in the 1990s, was peddling false information.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: The Russians were funding and supporting Ossetian separatists, who were in turn goading the Georgians. The Russians deliberately provoked this and timed it for the Olympics.

ESCOBAR: The realist conservative Put Buchanan, as well as the geopolitical website, they admitted that, in fact, the Georgians timed it for the Olympics.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? . . . Georgia’s move was deliberate. . . . It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against US wishes.

ESCOBAR: In a few days later, while everyone was still watching the Olympics, the US and Poland signed an agreement to deploy US interceptor missiles in Poland—the worst nuclear red alert since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Would a President Obama end such US and NATO provocations? Not if he keeps doing what he’s doing, listening to Brzezinski. And it runs in the family. His son, Ian Brzezinski, who is the current US deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO affairs, Brzezinski’s crystal ball even guessed what would happen in Georgia. Last June, in a hearing at the US Senate, Brzezinski said “that Russia was trying to destabilize Georgia to take control of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the BTC.” He forgot to say that he personally sold BTC in Baku in 1995—that’s his baby. But he did spell out the US strategy: pressing for the construction of a pipeline from Central Asia, via Afghanistan to the south, which will maximally expand world society’s access to the Central Asian energy markets. So the neocon line “Russia should be punished” and the neoliberal realist line, which is also the State Department line, “Russia should be isolated, in Eurasia especially,” somehow merge. For Brzezinski, Holbrooke, and Albright, the so-called realists, it’s all about Brzezinski’s full-spectrum dominance over Eurasia. And that’s where McCain and Obama merge. There’s no way this US plan of strategic encirclement of Russia would work. St. Petersberg is now only 60 miles away from NATO—Estonia is a NATO member. Putin’s counterpunch is to reestablish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union. Didn’t anybody listen to his landmark speech in Munich last year? McCain was there. Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, ex-Kremlinologist, he was there. Putin said that Russia would not accept American hyper-power any longer. Putin said, “What is a unipolar world? It refers to one type of situation, one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. This is pernicious . . . unacceptable . . . impossible.” So is this a war of empires? Yes, it is. Russia has been a supra-ethnic empire for centuries. This is not about Georgia and South Ossetia; this is about the US pushing NATO and missile defense right up to Russia’s borders—a supreme threat to its national security.

GORBACHEV: The United States should not think that the attempt to decide every issue militarily will work.

ESCOBAR: But will the US renounce Brzezinski’s control of Eurasia, which is in fact the blueprint for the war on terror? Not likely. McCain and Obama are on the same wavelengths. What the US establishment wants, no matter who was elected in November, is still full-spectrum dominance.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.