By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Don Feder’s timing on his column, “Putin Doesn’t Threaten Our National Security, Obama Does,” was a little off. Less than two weeks later, Russian television anchor and Putin mouthpiece Dmitry Kiselyov said in a commentary that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the USA into radioactive dust.” He delivered these comments with a picture of a mushroom cloud behind him.
“Putin is a power player who cares more about Russia’s national interests, and Russian minorities in his near abroad, than in that mythical force known as world opinion,” Feder had written. “Would that America had a president who cared more about our interests than in promoting globalism and the left’s social agenda.”
But conservatives opposed to Obama’s agenda do not have to ignore, excuse, or rationalize Russian aggression in Ukraine. (Feder represents the World Congress of Families, a group that has scheduled a conference in Moscow in September, in order to honor the Russian regime’s supposed commitment to family values.)
“It takes a truly fevered imagination to see Russian forces in the Crimea as a prelude to Russian tanks rolling across Europe toward Berlin and Paris,” Feder wrote, trying to play down the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. However, the Russian threat not only to Ukraine but the world has just been dramatized by the Russian TV personality labeled as “The Kremlin’s New Chief Propagandist” by Moscow News. Kiselyov is considered a “militant anti-Westerner” and is the head of Rossia Segodnya, or Russia Today. He was put in his job by Vladimir Putin. (Note: this Russia Today is a different entity than the one broadcasting into the U.S. in English, although they are both funded by Moscow.)
An AFP story said, “Kiselyov also made great play of Russia’s so-called ‘dead hand’ capability to fire nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles automatically in the case of attack. The system, also known as Perimeter, was in use during the Cold War, but its use in post-Soviet Russia is not officially confirmed.
But Kiselyov appeared to claim it remained active, giving Russia the chance to strike back even if its main command positions were taken out in a strike by the West.”
The comments reflect his special access to the Kremlin regime and knowledge of its war plans.
Ignoring the threat posed by the Russian nuclear arsenal, Don Feder’s column ridiculed the idea of “territorial integrity” for Ukraine, even though Russia in 1994 had signed an international document respecting the nation’s territorial integrity. The document, known as the Budapest Memorandum, was made in response to Ukraine giving up its Soviet nuclear weapons and returning them to Moscow. At the time, Newsweek noted, Ukraine had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. “The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor,” the publication reported.
Then-Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) had traveled to Russia and Ukraine in 2005, urging Ukraine to destroy its conventional weapons stockpiles as well.
With the abandonment of its nuclear weapons and destruction of many conventional weapons, Ukraine was ripe for the Putin invasion and now stands essentially defenseless.
Faulting Obama’s weak response to the naked aggression, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) commented that Putin “has invaded a sovereign country and annexed part of its territory with little more than verbal protest from the United States and Europe in response.” He adds, “Ukrainian officials reportedly are begging the U.S. for military aid, probably the minimum step Putin would take seriously. We could arm Ukraine without putting a single American soldier at risk, but after nearly three weeks of Russian aggression there, the U.S. has yet to grant the aid request.”
Gingrich says the U.S. has “responded with meaningless gestures—slapping sanctions on the U.S. assets of just seven individual Russian officials. This for invading a European country. As the New Yorker joked, if Putin isn’t careful, we might even freeze his Netflix account next. Barring Russian officials from visiting Disney World is pretty pathetic.”
Asked recently to explain Putin’s mindset and his next moves, Bill Gertz, recently honored with the Reed Irvine Award for Investigative Journalism for his career accomplishments as a national security columnist, said that Putin is a “KGB thug, pure and simple.” He said that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations “vastly misunderstood” what is going on in the former Soviet Union. “Putin wants to restore Soviet hegemony in that part of the world. They are trying to re-establish a Soviet-style system.”
Gertz, who writes for The Washington Free Beacon and The Washington Times, indicated that the situation is somewhat confusing because Putin and his cronies have dropped the Marxist component of Marxist-Leninism while retaining the Leninist aspect. They realized, he said, that Marxism as an economic theory didn’t work. The term Leninism refers to the ideas of Vladimir Lenin, the preeminent figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917 who taught the supremacy of the Communist Party.
In Ukraine, the revolution has been decidedly anti-communist in character, with dozens of Lenin statues and monuments being toppled in various cities.
Toby Westerman, a columnist for the Renew America website, believes Putin is still “a true believer” in communism and that his invasion of Ukraine reflects fear of the “pro-freedom movement” in the country which removed the Putin puppet, Viktor Yanukovych. Westerman writes that this development “was not merely a localized rejection against Russian dominance and world-class corruption; it also represented a direct threat to the existence of the Moscow political elite.” What Moscow fears most, he writes, is “a revolution by its own people.”
Westerman, editor and publisher of International News Analysis Today, says, “For all the pro-Soviet propaganda and political manipulation after the collapse of the USSR, there still exists within the Russian people a desire for true human freedom. The Russian political elite know this, and live in fear of it.”