[dehai-news] Cold War Hawks Hovering Around Obama

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From: wolda002@umn.edu
Date: Mon Nov 17 2008 - 21:57:18 EST

Cold War Hawks Hovering Around Obama
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Posted on November 12, 2008, Printed on November 17, 2008

So, Vladimir Putin was right: It was Georgia that started the war with
Russia, and once again it was President Bush who got caught in a lie. As
the New York Times reported last week, "Newly available accounts by
independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia
and Russia this summer call into question the long-standing Georgian
assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian

The Bush White House knew -- but kept from the American public -- facts
concerning provocation by Georgia's U.S.-trained forces, which killed
civilians in the capital of South Ossetia before Russian troops crossed the
border. The provocation has also been documented in a BBC investigative
report and by a growing consensus of other reliable sources.

No surprise, but it is a reminder of just how eager some are for a new Cold
War and how indifferent they are to the truth of the matter. The career
hawks are influential in both political parties, as was evidenced by the
knee-jerk response of both presidential candidates, who claimed that the
Russians had launched a totally unprovoked attack.

Sen. John McCain, whose top foreign policy adviser had been a paid lobbyist
for Georgia, was most eager to confront the Russians, while Sen. Barack
Obama was a bit more cautious. But as recently as in his Oct. 29
infomercial, Obama promised to "curb Russian aggression," which hardly
suggests the change we need from the unilateral belligerence of the Bush
foreign policy.

The result of that policy has been increased estrangement from the one
country whose cooperation is totally indispensable in the effort to control
the spread of nuclear weapons, given that Russia possesses roughly half of
the world's nuclear arsenal and the ready means to build more nuclear arms.
Yet instead of putting up a common front against nuclear proliferation, and
even before the Georgia fracas, the Bush administration insisted on placing
missiles on Russia's borders in a deal-breaker with Putin, whom President
George W. Bush had previously embraced.

Improved relations with Russia are critical to the change toward a more
peaceful world that Obama has promised, but it is disquieting in the
extreme that some of his closest advisers are inveterate hawks with a
history of needlessly provoking tension with the Russians during the Cold
War days. Key among them is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, as President Jimmy
Carter's national security adviser, engineered the U.S. involvement on the
side of Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan.

Of course, the official story line at the time was that the Soviets had
invaded Afghanistan to support their ally, which happened to be the
governing power in Kabul, against the fanatic mujahedeen rebels, whom
President Ronald Reagan would later officially embrace as "freedom
fighters." Those freedom fighters came to be united by our CIA with the
likes of Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the
9/11 attacks.

It was decades later that the truth came out that the Soviets invaded only
after being deliberately provoked by U.S. hawks. One of them was Robert
Gates, who worked for Brzezinski in the Carter administration and who is
currently the secretary of defense; President-elect Obama is now reported
to be considering retaining Gates in that position. A 1996 press release
promoting Gates' memoir promised the revelation of "Carter's
never-before-revealed covert support to Afghan mujahedeen -- six months
before the Soviets invaded."

The Gates revelation prompted an interviewer for the French publication, Le
Nouvel Observateur, to ask Brzezinski in a 1998 interview whether he
regretted "having given arms and advice to future terrorists," and
Brzezinski replied: "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent
idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and
you want me to regret it? ... What is most important to the history of the
world? ... Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and
the end of the Cold War?"

That was three years before those "stirred-up Muslims" attacked us on 9/11,
but Brzezinski has not lost his nerve for escalating wars. While advising
Obama, he gave interviews hyping the Russian "invasion" of Georgia as the
occasion for a new global conflict, telling journalist Nathan Gardels that
Putin's action "was ominously similar to Stalin's and Hitler's in the late

I know, Obama is not yet in office. I voted for him with enthusiasm in part
because he does seem to have transcended the preoccupations of the Cold
War. But as a buyer, I have to beware of those unrepentant Democratic hawks
now hovering.

Robert Scheer is Editor in Chief of Truthdig and author of a new book, The
Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.

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