The Stark Reality Behind Obama’s Russian ‘Statesmanship’ By F. William Engdahl

13 August 2013 — Veterans Today

With a diplomatic attitude more reminiscent of a spoiled brat grabbing his toys and leaving the room, US President Obama has resorted to diplomatic snubs and childish criticisms of Russian behavior as if the Russian leaders were small children.

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By F. William Engdahl, author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

In a press conference Obama described the Russian President as having a “slouch…looking like that bored schoolboy in the back of the classroom.” Yet behind the childish form of the latest White House refusal to meet President Putin before the G-20 St. Petersburg Summit is a grim reality:

Washington is rapidly losing its way to impose its will in the world on multiple fronts and the Putin snub is an impotent reflection of that loss of power. The real issues in US-Russian relations go far deeper.

In July, as the state jet of Bolivian President Evo Morales left Moscow after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, en route back to South America, the plane was subjected to almost unprecedented intervention.

The man who doth protest so much

The man who doth protest so much

Based on a US “suspicion” that Morales was secretly taking US former CIA agent Edward Snowden to Bolivia to grant the US fugitive NSA whistleblower political asylum, Spain, France, Portugal and Italy all denied Morales’ plane landing and refueling rights under reported Washington pressure.

When Vienna finally granted rights and searched the plane, no Snowden was found. Bolivia filed an official protest and Spain openly apologized.

Now, Obama has canceled a planned September summit with President Putin, indicating that Russia’s giving Snowden asylum in Russia was a major factor. Obama did so even though there exists no extradition treaty between Russia and the United States.

Moreover, as Putin pointed out in an earlier press conference, Snowden ended up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on June 23 en route to apparent asylum in Cuba only because the US Government, in a similar intervention to that against Morales, blocked Snowden’s further flight then by pressuring other countries not to let Snowden’s plane land for refueling, forcing him to stay in Moscow.

Respected Princeton Professor (Emeritus) of International Law, Richard Falk, a person of remarkable moral courage, has noted,

“Russia’s grant of temporary refugee status to Snowden for one year was in full accord with the normal level of protection to be given to anyone accused of nonviolent political crimes in a foreign country, and pursued diplomatically and legally by the government that is seeking to indict and prosecute.”

Richard Falk

Richard Falk

Falk went on, “In effect, for Russia to have turned Snowden over to the United States under these conditions would have been morally and politically scandalous considering the nature of his alleged crimes…The media’s refusal to point out that espionage, the main accusation against Snowden, is the quintessential ‘political offense’ in international law, and as such is routinely excluded from any list of extraditable offenses.” [1]

The nature of the events around the Snowden case lead to an inescapable conclusion that Washington wants to use the “Snowden Affair” to embarrass Russia and particularly Putin, who is proving a formidable obstacle to the Washington global agenda in more than one area, and hopefully, in the process, get the world to forget what it was Snowden exposed from the illegal US spying from NSA.

Snowden’s revelations about global NSA cyber-spying on virtually everybody in the world exploded like a bombshell when London Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald made the first NSA revelations based on more than 20,000 documents he says Snowden entrusted to him before fleeing for his life to Hong Kong in June.

This is particularly so as Putin made clear Russia would only grant temporary asylum on condition Snowden not make revelations damaging to US-Russian relations.

Further, as other governments well know, Washington is very selective about extraditing people to other countries and has repeatedly refused extradition of convicted terror bombers, drug lords and murderers.

Real issues


The big spy in the sky

The big spy in the sky

We must conclude that Obama is using the Snowden affair as a diversion from real issues.

First it is an attempt to paint Snowden, a “whistleblower” who shone the spotlight on brazen issues of unconstitutional invasion of citizen privacy, as guilty of espionage, a traitor to his country, but traitor for whom?

Snowden’s revelations blew up in Obama’s face the same day he was meeting China’s new President in California and trying to make the case that China was doing cyber-espionage against the US and US targets. Needless to say the world turned attention to the shocking Snowden NSA revelations instead of China.

However sad and disturbing the fact that Washington brazenly ignores basic principles of international law when it suits her, the real agenda behind the Summit cancellation is something else. Russia, since Putin took over from Medvedev as President in May 2012, has shown a far more determined stand in defending Russian national interests in the world.

Fear of that strong policy turn with the return of Putin is why Washington secretly launched a “preventive” wave of domestic Russian anti-Putin protests, often with hand-picked activists with financial and other ties to the US Government-funded NGOs like National Endowment for Democracy such as Alexei Navanly.

They sought to weaken Putin from the outset. The attempt is far from over as the Snowden business shows.

A line in the Syrian sand

When will it end?

When will it end?

The real issue between Washington and Moscow today is Syria and all that stands behind that vital proxy battle. Putin repeatedly has drawn a firm line in the sand over US destabilization of Bashar al Assad in Syria.

Under Putin, Russia has been joined by a resolute if less vocal China, both blocking UN Security Council ratification of a no-fly zone and military intervention against Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority rule. Washington is in favor of a US-backed Muslim Brotherhood Sunni rule.

Putin thereby has become the major obstacle for Washington’s Greater Middle East Project agenda. That project, first unveiled by George W. Bush at a G7 summit in 2004 after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, called for US-backed regime change across the Islamic world.

Monarchies are slated to fall in favor of more easily manipulable Muslim Brotherhood puppet proxies dependent on Washington for survival.

The vast wealth of the Gulf and other monarchies would be in effect plundered as it is privatized under IMF supervision and sold off to western select “investors,” a la Russia in the 1990s under Yegor Gaidar and the corrupt “Harvard Boys” during the Yeltsin years. Washington clearly would also like a return in Russia to the Gaider years today by all signs.

But there is a larger agenda which the Russian intervention on behalf of Assad’s government blocks. That is the unleashing of a chaos across the Islamic world that would pit Muslim against Muslim, Sunni (Saudi and Qatar and AKP in Turkey) against Shi’ite (Iran, Bahrain, parts of Saudi and Shi’ite-friendly Alawites in Syria and Turkey).

Col. Ralph Peters

Col. Ralph Peters

The blueprint for this revolution within Islam, politicizing Islam into a global Jihadist Salafist movement of destructive force has been around the Pentagon for well more than a decade and half.

In 2006 the US Armed Forces Journal published an article by Colonel Ralph Peters titled Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look.

Peters outlined a map of the transformed region as the Pentagon envisioned.

In 2007, former US General Wesley Clark in a speech before the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco recounted a talk in early 2003 inside the Pentagon with a senior officer acquaintance who told Clark,

“I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

Clark said the aim of this plot was this:

The Plan!

The Plan!

Today, two years and many billions of dollars into the unsuccessful effort by Washington, backed by Saudi and Qatar money, to force regime change in Syria, Washington is losing the war. Syria is clearly a prelude to the transformation of Lebanon and most formidably, Iran as part of the long-term Pentagon agenda described to General Clark back in 2003. Assad is far from defeated, and Washington sees Putin as the key reason, not without ground.

Whereas with Medvedev as President, Obama and Hillary Clinton felt they had a dialogue partner for a “reset,” now with Putin, such reset is off the table. What most of the world forgets is that Clinton’s now-famous “reset” was a signal that Washington was happy to deal with Medvedev and relieved it dealt no longer with Putin as President. The reset was in reference to the Putin presidency.

Washington pretended to put life-and-death security issues for Russia such as US Missile Defense bases in Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey, all aimed at Russia’s nuclear strike force, up for friendly compromise. In reality that was not the case, but the propaganda effect made it seem that Washington was being “reasonable.”

Putin has been playing his cards close to the vest

Putin has been playing his cards close to the vest

Now, Putin, by blocking the fall of Assad, has sent shock waves far beyond small Syria.

He has managed to embolden resistance to the Washington “Full Spectrum Dominance” agenda around the world. Iran has stepped in into Syria with major support on the ground to Assad.

The Egyptian military has ousted the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood would-be dictatorship of Morsi and even the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Emir of Qatar, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani was recently forced to abdicate in favor of his apparently less activist son, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Tamim as Emir immediately fired the pro-Brotherhood Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim.

Qatar had given Morsi’s Egyptian Brotherhood some $8 billion and Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has lived in Doha for decades, using it as a base. Qatar’s government-owned Al Jazeera channel has also been criticized for shifting in recent years from being a respected independent Arab news channel to becoming the partisan voice of the Muslim Brotherhood. [3]

Yet the shock waves from Putin’s determined defense of ally Assad and Syria reach far beyond the Middle East. In his first visit as President, China’s new President Xi made Moscow his priority, to deepen ties with Putin on vital issues of cooperation.

At the recent BRICS South Africa Summit, Putin’s Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, the five emerging economies, which account for over a quarter of global GDP, endorsed a $100-billion contingency reserve arrangement that will be deployed as a last resort in case of a serious crisis afflicting a BRICS country such as a speculative attack on their currency. And the five agreed that they will finalize the plan for the BRICS Development Bank by 2014.

Putin’s Russia is playing a leading role in creation of a multinational counter-pole to Washington’s Sole Superpower global domination agenda. This is the real reason Obama used the Snowden asylum as excuse to cancel his Putin meeting. It would reveal that Barack Obama, the de facto American ‘Emperor,’ has no clothes, as the Danish children’s tale says.


Editing:  Jim W. Dean

[1] Richard Falk, Snowden’s Asylum: ‘It’s the law, stupid,‘ AlJazeera, 8 August 2013, accessed in

[2] Wesley Clark, Speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, October 2007, accessed in×2385414

[3] Simeon Kerr, Fall of Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi is blow to Qatari leadership, Financial Times, July 3, 2013, accessed in

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