By Ben Schreiner
February 7th, 2012
To Washington’s great chagrin, the attempt to impose “regime change” in Syria under the auspices of a United Nations Security Council resolution fell apart Saturday, thwarted by the double veto of Russia and China.
Speaking Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Russian and Chinese veto a “travesty,” while labeling the Security Council “neutered.” American Ambassador Susan Rice, meanwhile, stated that she was “disgusted” by the veto.
On NBC Nightly News (2/4/12), Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell called the Security Council vote “just a terrible day for the United Nations and diplomacy.” (“Diplomacy” in Washington speak, we see, entails strictly toeing the U.S. line.)
Not content with merely condemning the Security Council, the U.S. also began to plot an alternative means for intervention.
Secretary of State Clinton reassured that the U.S. would work with the Arab League to continue applying “immense pressure” on Syria, while adding pointblank that, “Assad must go.” President Obama added much the same on Saturday, arguing that Mr. Assad had “lost all legitimacy to rule.” (Apparently, the revealed targeting of funeral mourners in the C.I.A.’s drone campaign does not constitute the grounds on which one loses legitimacy.)
Such rhetoric, one will recall, mirrors that which presaged the NATO orchestrated demise of Gaddafi. Of little surprise, then, that the Mossad connected Debkafile reported over the weekend that in the face of growing Russian resistance to foreign intervention, “The United States, the Europeans and the Gulf Arabs are likely to redouble their efforts to unseat Bashar Assad.” And as if summoned on cue, the proverbial hawk Joseph Lieberman emerged on Sunday to float the idea of providing direct military support to the Free Syrian Army.
But as their plans to turn Syria into Libya 2.0 were initially impeded over the weekend, the pouting Washington elite quickly pivoted, directing their bitter ire towards a long favorite foe: Russia.
In the immediate wake of the Security Council vote, Ambassador Rise preceded to openly berate Russia on the Council floor for continuing to supply arms to the Syria government. As she later told CNN, Russia and China “will have any future blood spilt on their hands.” (Ms. Rice has no qualms with the blood spilt in U.S. client states like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and so on. Nor, needless to say, does the U.S. have any reservations about Israeli apartheid.)
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the other hand, argued on Monday, ahead of his Tuesday visit to Damascus, that such outbursts sounded “indecent and perhaps on the verge of hysterical.” So much for that U.S.-Russia “reset.”
Of course, always eager to parrot the official U.S. line, the American media also quickly cast its scorn toward Russia.
As New York Times imperial messenger Thomas Friedman wrote (2/4/12), “The more Putin throws his support behind the murderous dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the more he looks like a person buying a round-trip ticket on the Titanic — after it has already hit the iceberg.” (Friedman is the same man who, as President Bush searched into Putin’s very soul, encouraged his readers to “keep routin’ for Putin.”)
Yet amidst all this public sulking at its U.N. rebuff, the U.S. was ultimately able to extract a measure of revenge for Russia’s diplomatic intransigence. For as massive protests broke out onto the streets in Russia on Saturday, the U.S. press pounced.
As NBC Nightly News (2/4/12) eagerly reported, a hundred thousand hit the streets of Moscow on Saturday calling for the “end of Putin’s rule.”
While on CBS Evening News (2/4/12), Elizabeth Palmer reported from Russia on the “tens of thousands protesting against Putin and a legacy of corruption.”
And as the Washington Post adoringly wrote on the protests (2/4/12): “The temperature was below zero, which only made the crowd more joyful as well as forceful, as if mere weather could prevent them from showing their disdain for Putin.”
Completely omitted from the network news broadcasts (in addition to many stalwart liberal sources, such as Democracy Now!), was the fact that tens of thousands also turned out in support of Putin. For as the Los Angeles Times (2/4/12) critically noted, Putin continues to enjoy more than 50 percent support within the country, “especially among the working class outside Moscow.”
Yet unwilling to acknowledge (or perhaps unable to comprehend) that people would actually be willing to hit the streets on their own volition to support Putin, the American press posited ulterior motives.
Typical of the discrediting of the pro-Putin protesters, the Washington Post wrote:
The post office brought in busloads of its workers for the counter-rally, and teachers were recruited from points nearby.
One who chose not to show up was Yulia Konstantinova, a math teacher who turned down a request from her principal and joined the anti-Putin Bolotnaya march instead. “We’re sick and tired of pretending everything is fine,” she said. “It’s not true.”
Predictably enough, as the American press dutifully reported on the political division in Russia, and swooned over those voicing their dissent with Putin, it employed a universal blackout of coordinated protests in dozens of U.S. cities called in opposition to American policy towards Iran. A bit hard to furnish war, I suppose, if one reveals any degree of popular discord.
But with the U.S. now openly lusting not only for Damascus, but Tehran as well, one ought to expect the blackout of internal U.S. dissent to continue. Moreover, the swift and coordinated discrediting campaign levied against Russia for bucking Washington assures that the U.S. power elite remains firmly fixated on its anticipated imperial spoils. Any and all obstacles will simply not be tolerated. American imperial ambitions do not die easily.
Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.