In an insightful geopolitical speech this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of instigating global instability and insecurity.
As if to underline Putin’s point was the backdrop of major news stories during recent days: the national security alert that gripped Canada over the killing of two military personnel in Ottawa and Quebec; the near panic in New York City over an Ebola disease outbreak; and the Swedish hunt for a mystery submarine in its territorial waters.
To say that there was over-reaction in each instance is an understatement. But the disproportionate public response reflects the atmosphere of global insecurity that the US and other Western governments have engendered. The stoking of insecurity has partly been cynical as a way of manipulating the public into accepting greater state control measures or to promote a geopolitical agenda.
This was clearly the case in Canada, where the rightwing government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper framed the two deaths as a full-blown national terror alert, thus invoking more state powers over the public while at the same time justifying the recent deployment of Canadian military forces in the illegal US-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.
When the public has been whipped up into a fervour of insecurity, all sorts of irrational reactions can then become possible, as in the widespread anxiety over the Ebola disease that has broken out in West Africa. One or two cases of infection in the US and Europe has created a stampede-like fear of a pandemic – despite the fact that patients, such as the Dallas nurse, can be successfully treated with adequate medical care.
That stampede also obscures credible claims by Liberian plant pathology Professor Cyril Broderick that the disease may have originated from clandestine American military bio-warfare experiments that were being funded by the Pentagon in Sierra Leone involving the development of hemorrhagic viruses.
Then there was the Swedish navy “hunt for Red October” – the presumed Russian submarine that had allegedly entered Sweden’s territorial waters in the Baltic Sea earlier this week. The Stockholm government did not name Russia, but that did not stop Western media pointing the blame at the Kremlin. Why that anti-Russian drama should take off – on the basis of no evidence – is due to months of non-stop US-led Western media narrative that attributes the crisis in Ukraine to “Moscow’s aggression.”
US President Barack Obama, the State Department and Pentagon have been continuously warning Europe of imminent Russian expansionism and threat to their sovereignty. And spineless European leaders have gullibly bought into it, hook line and sinker, increasing military expenditure on the US-dominated NATO alliance and slapping economic sanctions on Russia, thus creating the worst standoff in relations since the end of the Cold War. Any rational person can see this to be a fiction at odds with the reality of US and European meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine, which culminated in an illegal coup d’état in February this year and has resulted in all subsequent unrest.
In the end, the Swedish government called off its weeklong inconclusive submarine search that cost its taxpayers a couple of million euro. Russia’s defence ministry had earlier denied that any of its vessels were in the vicinity. Moscow somewhat cheekily said that it could save the Swedish taxpayer money by advising Stockholm to simply make a phone call to the Dutch navy, which, Russia disclosed, did have a submarine performing diving drills in the offending territory.
Who knows? Perhaps the Netherlands submarine was on a NATO mission to wind up non-NATO member Sweden into a Russia phobia. The Western media certainly seemed to be working according to a script, with lurid reports of the mystery maritime chase being reminiscent of the “evil Soviet” Cold War days.
Perhaps this whole farrago was a little revenge on the newly elected centre-left Swedish government for its defiance of US foreign policy earlier this month when it voted to recognize the Palestinian state.
Just before Sweden wound down the apparently fruitless submarine hunt, it was reported that its navy had made contact with the elusive vessel. But there were no further details or reports about the identity. That suggests that the submarine was not Russian after all – just as Moscow had said – because if it was we can be sure that a media hoopla would have ensued, vilifying Putin for more “aggression” against America’s “European allies.”
All in all, President Putin is right. The world has become a fearful, nervous place seemingly on a hair-trigger for over-reaction and irrational panic. This state of insecurity has, as Putin says, been brought on by years of lawless conduct by the US and its Western allies. The criminal wars of Iraq and Afghanistan – with millions of innocent victims – have multiplied and mutated into more and more illegal interventions and malignancies, such as the extremist ISIL network that is destabilizing Syria and the wider Middle East region.
The system of international law – never fully complied with anyway – has now been smashed into pieces by the openly predatory behavior of US imperialism and its rogue Western partners. Countries from as far apart as Argentina, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Russia and China are all simultaneously feeling the costs of American state gangsterism.
In this climate of Washington’s lawlessness and unilateral resort to violence, it is no wonder that global insecurity and instability has reached a crescendo.
Yet, this week, Wendy Sherman, the US lead negotiator at the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran, had the brass neck to demand that Iran must reassure the “international community” of peaceful intent before American-led trade sanctions will be lifted. These people have no shame.
By: Finian Cunningham. He is columinidy on international affairs, with articles published in several languages