While George H. W. Bush called for a 'New World Order' at the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia just wants the World Order of sovereign equal states promised in the UN charter
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
David Johnson’s January 4th Russia List offers several reviews of the Russian documentary World Order released in Russia on December 20th, all using similar rhetorical devices to ensure either that the reader will forego watching the film or will interpret it negatively.
Apparently, anyone who believes such a film would help Americans realize how dangerous their government’s foreign policy is delusional: the commentariat makes sure the public sees what it wants them to see and takes any positive foreign behavior with a healthy dose of skepticism.
In a draft roughed out a few days ago I took issue with an article in JRL by Robert Manning. After dismissing as irrelevant NATO’s advance, contrary to promises made after the fall of the Soviet Union, right up to Russia’s doorstep, Manning suggests that all would be well between Russia and the West if only Putin would call Chancellor Merkel promising to behave in Ukraine. Quoting Putin speeches, I proposed to show that he has gone far beyond what is demanded, but after reading these recent JRL contributions, I realize that links and quotes would be subject to similar distortions.
Dominic Basulto, who writes for the Washington Post, admits that former President George HW Bush referred to ‘a new world order’ back in 1991, but implies that the Russian government’s documentary outlining a World Order in the spirit of the United Nations Charter is unacceptable. …..Adding insult to injury, Basulto claims that since the demise of the Soviet Union we have been living in a multi-polar world - while most people around the world agree with the Russian President that the United States sees itself as the undisputed leader of a unipolar world.
A time-honored technique is to mention embarrassing facts in dismissive terms, for example when political and cultural icons participate in Putin’s film:
“Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica explains why refugee flows into Europe are so dangerous. Shimon Peres explains how he and a longtime rival-Yasser Arafat-eventually came to the negotiating table, something the U.S. has refused to do with Russia. DSK explains how the powers that be will stop at nothing - including a potential frame-up in New York-to quash any efforts to supplant the U.S. dollar as the underpinning of the global financial system. Assange even suggests that the U.S. drops surveillance nets over the UN in New York in order to monitor and prevent dissenting opinions.”
Having admitted that “Putin actually comes off as one of the most rational actors on the world stage”, Basulto resorts first to dismissive humor: “(OK, OK, so that's how these propaganda films work, eh?)”, than to a contradictory sentence that suggests a world-ending threat:
“Massive refugee inflows into Europe and the rise of ISIS are two events that probably nobody predicted 25 years ago,” (never mind that they are the result of US policies) “but now they're here, and Russia is proving the more willing and agile of the two former superpowers to create a New World Order.” Wow, but then:“Until someone treats Russia as an equal, it will continue to rage against the machine.” (What machine?) “That might not sound so terrible, except for one very terrifying detail: Russia still has nukes and isn't afraid to use them.”
Similarly, almost two years after the facts, Jeffrey Tayler who writes for the Atlantic, gives a glimpse of Vladimir Putin's philosophy. He wonders why the Russian President refers to the violent overthrow of the elected President of Ukraine in 2014 by club -wielding neo-fascist mobs as a coup, when this was merely an “uprising that brought the ouster of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. “
Why all these contortions? Because seventy years after FDR’s dying efforts to ensure the cooperative world order that Vladimir Putin is calling for, Washington insists on a ‘dictatorship of the exceptional’.
As Saudi Arabia gears up for war with Iran, and the melting of the polar ice caps accelerates, to dismiss the prospect of joint US-Russia action that alone would be effective with clever semantics is not only intellectually dishonest, it is irresponsible.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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