Contrary to the reasons being presented, the recent bouts of saber rattling between the UK and Russia have nothing to do with the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.
Besides, who is going to believe that the British government has taken a sudden interest in the death of a former-KGB agent? Heck, the Brits kill more Iraqis in a day around Basra then anyone in the Kremlin kills in a year. The whole thing stinks of political opportunism much like the investigation of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The demands by the US and Britain for Russia to extradite a Russian national prove once again that US and British politicians are legendary when it comes to hubris and hypocrisy.
Britain has refused to honor 21 requests from Russia to extradite gangster-oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev, who currently live in London. As Deputy foreign minister Alexander V. Grushko said, “If Russia used the same formula, the British embassy would be short about 80 diplomats now.” The hypocrisy is shocking to say the least.
Similarly, the US has blocked efforts to extradite Louis Posada Carriles to Venezuella for the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, though that didn’t stop Condi from indulging in her signature moralistic grandstanding.
What has not been mentioned by the media is that 48 hours before four Russian diplomats were expelled from Britain, a meeting took place between Putin and a US delegation compromising Henri Kissinger, George Schultz, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, former Special Representative for Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., former Senator Sam Nunn and Chevron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David O’Reilly. In other words, the A team of big business and go to men of chaos and destruction.
Apparently, the meeting didn’t go so well.
He (Kissinger) said to one reporter, “We appreciate the time that President Putin gave us and the frank manner in which he explained his point of view.”
In diplomatic phraseology, “frank” usually means that there were many areas of strong disagreement. Presumably, the main “bone of contention” is Putin’s insistence on a “multi-polar” world in which the sovereign rights of other nations is safeguarded under international law. Putin is ferociously nationalistic and he will not compromise Russia’s independence to be integrated into Kissinger and Co.’s wacky the new world order.
While details of the meeting were not released, it stands to reason that the topics most likely discussed had to have covered oil and gas, Iran, missile defense, and Kosovo, to justify such a high profile delegation.
Russian/US relations are the most strained since the end of the Cold War and Putin has proven to be a major foil for Washington’s designs on control of energy and geopolitical assets.
“As far as natural resources are concerned Russia’s hand is very strong: It holds 6.6 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves and 26 percent of the world’s gas reserves. In addition, it currently accounts for 12 percent of world oil and 21 of recent world gas production. In May 2007, Russia was the world’s largest oil and gas producer.
As for national champions, Putin has strengthened and prepared Gazprom (the state-controlled gas company), Transneft (oil pipeline monopoly) and Rosneft (the state-owned oil giant). That is why in 2006 Gazprom retained full ownership in the giant Shtokman gas field (7) and took a controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 natural gas project. In June 2007, it took back BP’s Kovytka gas field and now is behind Total’s Kharyaga oil and gas field.” (“Vladimir Putin’s Energystan and the Caspian” Today’s Zaman)
He has collaborated with the Austrian government on a huge natural gas depot in Austria which will facilitate the transport of gas to southern Europe. He has joined forces with German industry to build an underwater pipeline through the Baltic to Germany (which could provide 80% of Germany’s gas requirements) He has selected France’s Total to assist Gazprom in the development of the massive Shtokman gas field. And he is setting up pipeline corridors to provide gas to Turkey and the Balkans. Putin has very deliberately spread Russia’s influence evenly throughout Europe with the intention of severing the Transatlantic Alliance and, eventually, loosening America’s vice-like grip on the continent.
As a staunch nationalist, Putin continues to be a major foil to Washington’s designs on carving up Eastern Europe, the Middle East and cementing unchallenged Western dominance. The demonization of Putin will escalate in the Western media, nevertheless he has become the antithesis of predecessor Boris Yeltsin. While Yeltsin was highly regarded in the West, he was widely disrespected at home. Under Yeltsin, who adopted a disastrous foreign prescription for Russia’s economy, Russia became a basket case. Under Putin, who enjoys overwhelming approval at home, Russia is enjoying increased prosperity and international prestige and influence.
The West has little choice but to learn to live with it.