Russia pays price for Snowden

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Geopolitical Notes From India
M D Nalapat
WHEN Empress of the Beltway, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was Secretary of State and during the nearly two years of Obama’s second term when her writ among most of the senior denizens of Foggy Bottom was still absolute, more than two hundred employees of that globally consequential department were tasked with using (a) the internet (b) NGOs (c) the media, especially the more prestigious outlets within the Atlantic Alliance and (d) political parties and leaders. The purpose was to ensure the removal of a regime or a politician regarded as inconvenient (ie not responsive to “advice”) and his or her replacement with a substitute who was malleable. Hillary Clinton’s greatest success was the downfall of Hosni Mubarak.
Later, in pursuance of her longstanding view that Wahabbism was the natural order of things within most Muslim-majority countries, especially in the Arab world, Clinton backed Mohammad Morsi over his opponent. The victory of that individual was not the only success that the State Department’s regime change enthusiasts celebrated, there were more, and across the world. However, a geopolitical red line was crossed by the orchestrated overthrow of Viktor Yanukyovich, the Russian-speaking elected President of Ukraine. Eager to ensure the entry of Ukraine into both NATO as well as the EU, considerable effort was lavished on fomenting a Ukrainian version of the Oust Mubarak episode, including through NGOs and other organisations run by billionaires, such as the Omidyar and Soros networks.
Hillary Clinton also signed off on plans to ensure a blackening of the reputation of Vladimir Putin, who was unlike Gorbachev and Yeltsin, in that he believed that Russia was big enough to merit a foreign policy of its own, rather than follow the US line in the manner of Japan and (barring a few instances of contrary behaviour) the Philippines. The Clinton-led Putin-phobic network very soon came into the attention of the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) in Moscow, which inflltrated its own agents into the US State Department’s “Discredit Putin” campaign and thereby was able to fathom the range and depth of the operation. Given the ruthlessness and unforgiving nature of the 65-year old President of the Russian Republic, it is likely that he would not have wished Hillary Clinton to prevail over Donald Trump.
Indeed, Putin himself is being characterised in the largest media outlets in the country as so powerful that some of those elected to office in the US are in effect his puppets, a charge explicitly levelled by Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign. Naturally, the proof for such assertions is shaky and scant. There must have been Russian intelligence intrusion into the 2016 campaign, but probably no more than that of countries that have for decades had substantial networks in Washington and other key cities, countries which include the UK and Israel. For the latter, the US is not just be best but the only external guarantor of its continued existence, an important factor, given the history of genocide of the Jewish people, especially in Europe during the third and fourth decades of the last century.
Given that some very large states still publicly call for the destruction of Israel, there is some basis for the sometimes disproportionate reflexes of the Jewish homeland to some global and regional events and personalities. Since January 20, the day Trump was sworn in, the avalanche of “anonymous but authoritative” abuse has been constant, so much so that the campaign (and not its target, Donald Trump) is hollowing out the ability of Washington to nudge and influence events worldwide, including in the manner favoured by the Beltway establishment, several of whose members and most of whose policies have been embraced by the US President, who has been battered by the constant threat of impeachment and removal, but who still gives evidence of fighting back at his detractors (and sometimes his friends).
What is the explanation for such an intelligence agency driven cannibalisation of the power of diplomatic intervention of Washington? Part of the cause vests in the fact that more than 900 names for consequential positions were selected by the Clinton machine even before the votes were counted, so sure were they of victory. These include several who are still in significant posts, and others with reach into the media and think-tanks, each out to revenge the disappearance of their chances because of the election of Donald Trump. Partly, it is because of the rage felt by hundreds of Republican faithfuls who have been excluded from consideration for top jobs because of their history of bad-mouthing Trump, including sometimes in fora directed by the Clinton machine. These want Vice-President Mike Pence to take over, as he would be unlikely to be as unforgiving of past insults to Trump as the current Head of State is.
However, the most important factor behind the demonization of Russia within the US establishment (including the vast swathes of media comfortably embedded in that entity) is the desire for revenge on the part of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA). They seek to exact a considerable price on Russia (and especially Vladimir Putin) for having given asylum to Edward Snowden, the idealist who took seriously those who claimed that the US was always on the side of freedom and democracy. More than the gifting of Ukraine to the influence of the Atlantic Alliance, it is the return of Snowden to the US that would calm tempers in that city, and lead to the sputtering away of the infowar (or disinfowar) against the Russia led by Putin. The campaigner for freedoms has to be made an example of, something not possible as long as he has the protection of Moscow. Hence the campaign of calumny against Russia, in which President Trump is collateral damage.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.
Email: mgnalapat@gmail.com