[Marxism] [Pen-l] Stephen F. Cohen is not the man he used to be | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 2 17:42:57 MDT 2014

On 5/2/14 7:27 PM, Michael Smith wrote:
> There was an earlier Crimean War, you know.

That's true but there was a war between France and Prussia around the 
same time, as well as one between Russia and Japan in 1905. Russia only 
became a permanent bogeyman after 1917. Under Czardom, it made alliances 
on an ad hoc basis depending on which state served its immediate 
strategic goals. It aligned itself with Britain in 1914 despite what 
took place beforehand in Crimea.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Putin doesn't care about 
American bases on his doorstep as long as they are used to keep the 
jihadists at bay. It is only when they threaten his control over the 
Ukraine, a nationality that never really existed according to Badiou, 
that he gets all hot and bothered.

Why Putin Wants U.S. Bases in Afghanistan
By Michael Bohm

On May 9, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced he would allow the 
U.S. to keep nine military bases in Afghanistan after direct U.S. 
participation in the Afghan war ends in 2014. How has President Vladimir 
Putin responded to the possibility that Afghanistan may turn into “one 
giant U.S. aircraft carrier,” as Kremlin-friendly political analyst Yury 
Krupnov recently put it?

After Karzai’s announcement, you might have expected the Kremlin to 
offer its usual bluster about how the U.S. and NATO are trying to create 
a suffocating “Anaconda ring” around Russia — from the Baltic states, 
Poland, Romania, Georgia and Turkey to Afghanistan, South Korea and 
Japan. You might even have expected a dose of the anti-U.S. demagoguery 
about the U.S. government using Afghan bases to run a lucrative 
narcotics-export business, including daily flights of U.S. cargo 
aircraft filled with heroin destined for Russia and Europe. Or that U.S. 
bases in Afghanistan could be used for an attack on Russia. After all, 
Yury Krupnov and other conservative, pro-Kremlin analysts are 
particularly fond of reminding Russians that a U.S. nuclear missile 
could reach Moscow from the U.S. airbase in ­Bagram, Afghanistan, in 
less than 20 minutes.

Yet the Kremlin was conspicuously silent about Karzai’s recent 
announcement on U.S. bases. At the same time, however, this restraint 
was consistent with Putin’s general position on Afghan security, which 
he first articulated in February 2012 during a speech in Ulyanovsk, the 
home of a joint U.S.-Russian transit center to transport U.S. war 
materiel out of Afghanistan. During his speech — given to a group of 
elite Russian paratroopers, no less — Putin offered clear support for 
the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

“We have a strong interest in our southern borders being calm,” Putin 
said. “We need to help them [U.S. and coalition forces]. Let them fight. 
… This is in Russia’s national interests.”

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