Handshakes and diplomacy belie America’s new Cold War

Handshakes and diplomacy belie America’s new Cold War

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Russia seems to herald renewed cordial relations between the former archrivals of Washington and Moscow.

The agreement to broker a peace conference on Syria appeared to signal that the two powers were prepared to bury the hatchet over a major geopolitical conflict. But, beneath the patina of diplomatic smiles and handshakes conveyed by Kerry to President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the ominous signs are that Washington is in fact ratcheting up a new Cold War of antagonism.

Within days of leaving his Russian hosts, Kerry was already undermining the supposed peace proposal on Syria. While the initial agreement in Moscow talked about convening a conference between the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad and various opposition groups to chart a transition from that country’s 26-month-old conflict, Kerry is now telling other world leaders and media that Assad cannot be part of any solution.

For a start, who is Washington to dictate anything about the sovereign internal affairs of Syria? Especially given its genocidal warmongering credentials newly minted from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

But that basic moral point aside, the immediate backsliding by America over Syria to set up stumbling preconditions is a disturbing echo of the Geneva accord signed by all members of the UN Security Council last June, which also called then for a transition process involving the participation of Assad; the Americans promptly reneged on that deal, thus fuelling months of more violence.

This American duplicity over Syria, no doubt reinforced by British premier David Cameron’s follow-up sniveling visit to Russia, should sound alarm bells about the supposed renewed cordial relations between Washington and Moscow.

Recent events need to be interpreted in a bigger historical picture in order to fully appreciate the underlying dynamic of diplomatic overtures.

Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing last month, one apparent positive outcome from the mayhem was the reported cooperation between Russian and American security intelligence over the incident.

That outcome was partly because the two suspected bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers, were reportedly of Chechen origin and were being linked in much Western media coverage to Chechen militant groups. Moscow has been battling Chechen armed separatists in its Caucasus region on and off for more than two decades. Thus it appeared that the US and Russia were finding common cause in the much-vaunted «war on terror». In gratitude for Russian intelligence cooperation, US President Barack Obama said that «old suspicions» between the rival powers were giving way to a new era of mutual assistance.

The precise motivation of the alleged Boston bombers is not known. They could well turn out to be unwitting pawns in an elaborate false flag event masterminded by the CIA, FBI and so-called Homeland Security to justify further police-state powers in the US.

However, in the fallout from Boston, Washington seems to be using that event and alleged Chechen circumstances to inveigle Moscow into warmer diplomatic relations. The purpose for those warmer relations would appear to be Washington attempting to undermine Russia’s alliance with Syria and to isolate the Assad government in Damascus. That objective has taken on greater urgency especially since the US-led criminal proxy war in Syria seems to be foundering in its aim for regime change.

But let’s step back a bit. The purported rationale of renewed US cooperation with Russia as a result of alleged Boston terrorism does not bear up to closer scrutiny in the light of more ominous developments – developments that indicate that Washington, far from trying to bury a hatchet with Russia, is in reality embarking on a new Cold War of hostility.

Firstly, separatist groups in Chechnya swiftly denied any involvement in the Boston atrocity. Secondly, what we do know is that any putative «Chechen connection» to the Boston bombings, at least in the superficial «war on terror» notion, defies logic and historical evidence. This is because one of the main foreign sponsors of the Chechen Jihad against Russian authority since the early 1990s has been and continues to be Washington. The denial by Chechen separatists of involvement in the Boston bombings is consistent with the perspective of Washington being a foreign partner.

As other analysts have documented, notably Sibel Edmonds and Michel Chossudovsky, the violent campaign for Chechen secession following the collapse of the Soviet Union was assiduously adopted by the Washington establishment. The fomenting of the Chechen Jihad against the newly formed Russian Federation was a direct continuation of America’s sponsorship of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the 1980s against the Soviet Union. Mujahideen leaders, such as Ibn Al Khattab, moved seamlessly from Afghanistan to the new front against Moscow in the southern Caucasus region. American-backed Saudi cash-flow into Afghanistan and the Caucasus is another common denominator, indicating common purpose.

High-profile figures in the Washington establishment, including Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams and former CIA director James Woolsey, were and continue to be staunch backers of the «Free Chechnya» cause. The use of terrorist violence by the Chechen Jihadists, such as the murderous sieges of a Moscow theatre in 2002 and the Beslan school in 2004, has not restrained the American support, despite the latter’s «war on terror» rhetoric.

Although the Chechen armed struggle has since subsided, nevertheless the signals are strong that Washington has expanded its efforts to destabilize the Caucasus region using secessionist political networks.

A major conduit for this geopolitics is the US funneling money into the Caucasus via the breakaway republic of Georgia. Funding through CIA-connected groups such as USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Jamestown Foundation is being used to promote secessionist causes throughout the Southern and Northern Caucasus, including Chechnya.

As Wayne Madsen points out, the appointment last year by the Obama Administration of hawkish figure, Michael McFaul, as the US ambassador to Russia is another clear sign that Washington is pursuing an agenda of destabilizing the border region of southern Russia.

Moreover, Washington has given diplomatic and material backing to Chechen exile groups that have set up in Scandinavia and the former Soviet Baltic countries, including Finland, Latvia and Estonia. The Kavkaz Centre based in Helsinki, which champions the cause of Chechen Jihad and the establishment of an Islamic Emirate in the Caucasus, is understood to be funded by the CIA through USAID, with official Finnish oversight.

Thus, it appears that the US is fostering a pincer movement of destabilization on Russian Federal government authority, from the Caucasus, in the south, to the Baltic northeast.

To appreciate the significance of these developments, a long-term historical perspective of Western-backed border destabilization and indeed terrorism against Moscow is required. 

Russia’s European flank has always been seen by the US and its Western allies as a strategic bridgehead for destabilizing the government in Moscow.  No sooner had Nazi Germany been defeated in the spring of 1945 when American and British intelligence began recruiting new cadres from the defeated German Wehrmacht and its fascist partisans across Eastern Europe. Previously, agreements at Yalta and Potsdam between the war-time allies included the handing-over of captured Nazi war criminals to the Soviets in relevant territories of control. However, with the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Americans and British reneged on such arrangements and, shockingly to the Russians, began recruiting German military assets for what would become the new departure of Cold War hostilities against the Soviet Union.

Major General Reinhard Gehlen was the most senior figure among the many Nazi scientists, militarists and intelligence officers recruited. Gehlen was the head of Germany army intelligence (Abwehr) on the Eastern Front. He was known as «Hitler’s Spy Master».

His vast intelligence on the Soviet Union made him a top asset for the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Gehlen was enthusiastically mentored by John Dulles, a rabid anti-communist, who at the close of the war was head of the OSS in Europe. The OSS would soon evolve into the Central Intelligence Agency and Dulles became its director.

Dulles’ protégé Reinhard Gehlen was given a free hand to form what was to become known as the Gehlen Organisation. The «Org» was effectively the CIA’s «eyes and ears» on the Soviet Union. Gehlen was permitted by his American handlers to fill the ranks of the Org with his former Nazi associates. Some 4,000 personnel were recruited by Gehlen, many of them released from American custody, despite the fact that they were wanted war criminals. Members included former commandos of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, or mobile killing squads, and the Gestapo, who had terrorised civilian populations in the Soviet Union during Nazi Germany’s onslaught of Operation Barbarossa, beginning in the summer of 1941 until 1944.

After the war, the Gehlen Organisation and its partisans operated behind Soviet «enemy lines» in the Baltic countries and the Ukraine. Its remit was to terrorise and destabilize, as well as gather information for the American Cold War against the Soviet Union.

The war-torn Soviet Union was still recovering from Nazi horrors in which up to 50 million people were killed and most of its major cities had been devastated, while in the countryside whole communities had been slaughtered by Einsatzgruppen commandos and Waffen SS.

The deep-chilling effect of this betrayal by the Americans and British towards their erstwhile Soviet ally, emerging ravaged from the Second World War, cannot be overstated. The redeployment of the Nazi war machine by the West against the Soviet Union was a de facto declaration of war by other means. Historical writers, such as Christopher Simpson in his book, Blowback, maintain that this strategic embrace of Nazism by American military intelligence, and ultimately the Washington political establishment, was a major factor in presaging the subsequent five decades of Cold War.

One other deleterious consequence of the American CIA’s collusion with Nazi intelligence in Eastern Europe was the latter’s much exaggerated warnings of imminent Soviet threat towards Western Europe. This faulty intelligence was of course partly self-serving for the Nazi spies and the American military-industrial complex. But the legacy of that arms race, fuelled by Nazi-CIA rabid anti-Sovietism, is still warping international relations and efforts for nuclear disarmament to this day.

The alleged «missile gap» of Soviet superiority and threat that the Gehlen Organisation fabricated and which became doctrinal Pentagon thinking continues to be a major impediment to negotiating balanced nuclear disarmament. This irrational doctrinal belief in Washington forms the basis for why the US refuses to begin withdrawing its tactical nuclear warheads from Europe – a move that Russia sets as a reasonable condition for both sides to begin implementing the long-delayed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. After all, Russia does not have close-range tactical nuclear weapons pointed at America’s head.

Far from withdrawing tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, Washington is set to embark on a $10 billion programme of upgrading and expanding its arsenal of such weapons. This is in stark contradiction of Obama’s earlier pledges in 2009 and 2010 that his administration would not deploy any new nuclear weapons and was committing itself to free the world of such arms. Not only that, but Washington continues to push its policy of extending NATO membership to Georgia in the southern Caucasus and to the Baltic states. That duplicitous policy unmistakably spells an intensification of American nuclear threat towards Moscow.

Putting these two ominous developments in perspective – the continuation of the long historical trend of destabilizing Russia’s borders with violent dissident groups, from Nazi war criminals and partisans to today’s various Jihadist networks, plus the expansion of nuclear threat – one is left with the compelling conclusion that Washington is not serious about fostering mutual relations, but rather is engaging in a new Cold War of hostile intent towards Moscow.

The diplomatic handshakes, smiles and pseudo-agreements are merely window-dressing for what’s really in the American store.

Tags: Caucasus  Russia  Syria  US  USSR  Kerry