by Shorty Dawkins
Reuters has published an article, (Putin may have passed point of no-return over Ukraine), that is a perfect example of propaganda, using Saul Alinsky tactics. I will include my comments in [SD], as I point out the grossness of the propaganda.
The article begins:
(Reuters) – Vladimir Putin risks becoming an international pariah over the Ukraine crisis, but the Russian president is battening down the hatches for the gathering economic and political storm.
[SD – This is an interesting first sentence, for it instantly states a goal of the author, which is to paint Russia as a pariah Nation. It is rather blatant in its attempt. Usually the propaganda is a bit more subtle.]
(Reuters) – Instead Putin has stood firm, blamed the crash on his pro-Western protagonists in Kiev and signaled no change in his stance, leaving Russia facing the threat of much tougher international sanctions and economic and political isolation.
With an about-turn all but impossible for Putin after a fierce media campaign that has demonized the West, painted Ukraine’s leaders as fascists and backed the rebels to the hilt, he appears to have passed the point of no-return.
[SD – Here we set up the desired confrontation, East versus West, the new Cold War is beginning. Putin has painted himself into a corner, they say. He can't “about-turn”. The parameters are set, and the “other side” is made to appear unreasonable.]
(Reuters) – “I think our state leadership is very experienced but I don’t think it assessed the West’s mentality properly,” veteran political commentator Nikolai Svanidze told Ekho Moskvy radio.
The deaths of 298 people on flight MH17 on July 17 have hardened the West’s stance, narrowing differences between the EU and Washington over sanctions and, importantly, reducing the resistance of the powerful German business lobby.
Despite this, Putin looks unwilling or unable to change a strategy that has sent his popularity to record highs in Russia, particularly since the annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in February fueled a wave of patriotic fervor.
[SD] – Point out that the “other side” has made miscalculations because they don’t understand our side. Next, point out that “our side” is coming together against “their side”. Putin, of course, is “unwilling or unable to change a strategy”. He must be as stubborn as an ox.
Constant derision of the other side is a usual Alinsky tactic.]
But he came out fighting at a meeting with security chiefs the following day, saying he would use Russia’s influence with the rebels but also launching a diatribe against the West. He said Kiev was to blame because it had resumed military operations after a ceasefire. He neglected to say the rebels had defied the truce.
[SD] – Ah! Putin shows a moment’s weakness! He is not the Superman we were led to believe! But he comes out fighting, and issues a diatribe against the West. Obviously any criticism of the West must be a diatribe.]
(Reuters) – Western leaders would like to believe he is rethinking his strategy and looking for a way out of the crisis after boxing himself into a corner, but opinion polls suggest Russians want Putin to do exactly the opposite.
He is more likely to hold out against what he and state media have depicted as a Western-inspired coup d’etat that toppled a Ukrainian president sympathetic to Moscow and, using a phrase from the Cold War, was intended to “contain” Russia.
[SD] Which is precisely what happened. The proof is out there. The author is trying to portray Putin as a “conspiracy Theorist.]
Political analyst Alexander Morozov said Putin could have headed off the West by distancing himself from the separatists but he saw no political dividends from doing so and it may already be too late for this. He has missed the moment, Morozov said.
New research by the independent Levada Centre polling group shows 64 percent of Russians blame the West for the Ukrainian conflict, 61 percent are not worried by sanctions and 63 percent think Russian media coverage of the crisis is objective.
“Everything so far points to a further hardening in Russia’s stance. Mr Putin has too much invested – both from a geopolitical and, just as importantly, domestic political standpoint – in his standoff with the west to be swayed by sanctions alone,” said Nicholas Spiro, Managing Director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, a London-based consultancy.
“The MH17 crash… is forcing him to harden his anti-Western stance much sooner than he would have liked. Mr Putin doesn’t want to burn his bridges with Europe’s main economies – but he may now be forced to do just that.”
[SD] – Now we get into the heart of the matter. Having painted Putin as stubborn, and a conspiracy theorist, the author says he has no choices left; he’ll have to burn his bridges with Europe. The author has decided Putin has no other options. Obviously the Western sanctions are so onerous and the Western allies are so determined to bring Russia into alignment with their goals, Putin has no options that are viable.]
Putin’s dilemma is that if he adopts a Plan B on Ukraine now he risks looking weak in Russia and could suffer a fall in public support that could damage his chances of re-election for a further six years in 2018.
This could put at risk the improvement in living standards and the financial well-being of many urban Russians, one of the pillars on which Putin built his support during his first spell as president from 2000 until 2008.
It could underline his opponents’ concerns that Putin’s third term as president, which began in 2012, is undoing some of the progress made towards financial stability and Western-style democracy since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Russia’s $2 trillion economy is already teetering on the brink of recession and recorded zero growth in the second quarter of this year. The ruble is shaky and capital flight has accelerated to $75 billion this year.
But, for now at least, Russian business leaders are not speaking out against Putin because alienating the president could cause more damage to their firms than the sanctions themselves. Many back him anyway.
There was, for example, a defiant reaction on Tuesday to a ruling by an international arbitration court in The Hague that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of oil company Yukos, whose former owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky fell out with Putin.
On his radio show “Fifth Argument”, host Vladimir Averin asked whether it was time for Russia to pull out of such international courts in The Hague, Stockholm, London and Vienna. In a spot poll, more than 78 percent of listeners said “yes”.
“I have serious concerns that the escalation of the conflict around Ukraine will be followed by conclusions … that we do not need the world’s best practices,” former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last week. “Such an attitude, of course, inhibits seriously the modernization of Russia.”
As a friend of Putin, Kudrin is almost alone in being able to issue such criticism without paying a political price. But there are also other, clear signs of companies and institutions planning for tough times ahead.
But in a new sign of the looming problems, oil and gas producer BP – by far the largest investor in Russia with its 19.75 percent stake in Rosneft – said on Tuesday further Western sanctions could affect its business in Russia, where it makes about a third of its crude oil output.
“The expansion of personal sanctions … is the most painful answer so far to the actions of the Putin regime,” Boris Vishnevsky, a St Petersburg regional politician, said of the latest list of individuals close to Putin who face asset bans and visa freezes under sanctions.
[SD} – As you can see, the author predicts dire consequences for the Russian economy. Never once does he mention the consequences to the Western European economies. As if they won't be affected.
Consider first, this article from Der Speigel, the German newspaper: The Boomerang Effect: Sanctions on Russia Hit German Economy Hard
The Russians will not be the only ones hurt by the Western powers sanctions. Germany is already being hit hard. France has decided to still deliver the Mistral ships they sold to Russia. Before the sanctions get serious, there are already cracks in the Western alliance.
Which brings me to an article that Jim Willie published. Jim Willie is an economist with a Phd, who produces the Hat Trick Newsletter. The article: Jim Willie BOMBSHELL: It Has Begun- Germany to Break From US/UK, Join Russia/China Alliance!
Before making up your mind as to whether Jim Willie is making any sense, consider that Germany requested the repatriation of their gold from the Federal Reserve. They were told it would take seven years to deliver it. Seven years! Why? It is their gold, being held in trust by the Federal Reserve. They were not even allowed to look at it!
Consider, also, that Germany imports a large percentage of its Natural Gas from Russia. If the supply stopped, Germany would be plunged into economic turmoil. Houses could not be heated. Factories depending on that natural gas would shutter. Currently, Germany is on the brink of recession. Russia is doing alright, thus far, as they are creating friends throughout the world. They are creating a solid foundation with the BRICS nations. The BRICS are even starting their own version of the IMF, though they claim not to dislike the IMF, but rather, want a more equitable distribution of the power structure; something the US has been stone-walling.
Something else to think about, as you read Jim Willie’s article, is the reaction of Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany, to the NSA spying on her, and the subsequent expulsion of several CIA operatives from Germany.
In Part Two of this article, I will delve into why I believe Jim Willie is correct, but that I disagree with the reasons. There is a bigger picture to explore.
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