The Russia-UK Standoff: When the Underlying Crime No Longer Matters. . .

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putin5.jpg
The bleat of many Scooter Libby supporters in the Valerie Plame CIA-outing scandal is that there was “no underlying crime.” They tried to sidestep the obstruction crime that Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff was found guilty of.
Something similar is going on in the UK-Russia standoff over the extradition of former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoy to face charges for the Le Carre-esque murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Well, there is an underlying crime here of course — a murder.
But that has little to do with the diplomatic dance that the UK and Russia are now engaged in. Both sides are escalating the costs to the other over the standoff — in ways that have little to do with the issue of justice in Livinenko’s death.
The Russians are not only meeting Britain’s expulsion of four Russian diplomats with an expulsion of the same number of British foreign ministry personnel, but are now suspending cooperation in anti-terrorism.
According to the Times Online:

Lamenting the breakdown in relations, Mikhail Kamynin, a foreign ministry spokesman, added: “To our regret, co-operation between Russia and Britain on issues of fighting terrorism becomes impossible.”

The Russians wouldn’t blur such lines between a high-profile murder case and major national security issues unless they wanted to communicate that the institutionalized, post-9/11 cooperation among Europe, the US, Russia and other nations against Islamic terrorism was over.
Russia is telegraphing that it sees an American-British colonization of the international security and intelligence apparatus that it either wants to help control as well — or wants to defect from given the clear failure in any case of the stronger Western powers to control or confine Islamic terrorism.
For Russia, the extradition standoff over Lugovoy is a convenient trigger to assert its national ego and position — and to undermine to some degree America and the UK’s standing in counter-terrorism politics.
Russia is back — and the price for collaboration with Russia on common efforts ranging from global warming to containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions has just gone higher.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

18 comments on “The Russia-UK Standoff: When the Underlying Crime No Longer Matters. . .

  1. women politics says:

    “Russian President Putin said “the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model that had become “archaic, undemocratic and unwieldy.””
    Unlike Russia?

    Reply

  2. Elizabeth Dropinski says:

    Russian President Putin said “the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model that had become “archaic, undemocratic and unwieldy.”
    Thanks to god this is his last mandat.political candidates

    Reply

  3. Sandy says:

    Yep, Britt, we got it.
    And, we have it….right here….in the good ole U.S. of A.

    Reply

  4. Britt says:

    Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
    by
    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Reply

  5. Britt says:

    Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
    by
    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Reply

  6. Britt says:

    Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
    by
    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Reply

  7. Britt says:

    Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
    by
    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    Expect Israel to declare Russia an existential threat any time now…
    Posted by JohnH at July 19, 2007 11:40 AM<<
    the media has been doing the job for them since this guys death…they don’t need to!
    paint russia out to be the evil mpire… forget about all the backdrop to this story, and only tell one side of it…
    stve you raise some good points that are a byproduct of it.

    Reply

  9. SmellaRat says:

    From the article referenced by JohnH:
    “…Russian scientists are hard at work trying to prove that a big chunk of the Arctic Ocean — and the billions of tons of oil underneath it — belong to them. The U.S. could counter this claim, but it doesn’t have standing to do so because this nation hasn’t ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea….”
    Maybe, some insight as to why, as posted several times in the past by Steve (re: Law of the Sea), there has been renewed interest to ratify: Oil.

    Reply

  10. Dick Fitzgerald says:

    Re the US missiles in Poland-Czech: how wd. we feel about the same from Russia on the Canadian border?

    Reply

  11. Dude says:

    Steve,
    I think you hit the nail on the head with your observation about the rising price of Russian cooperation- and not only in the arena of anti-terrorism.
    According to the FT: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a77af2ba-177c-11dc-86d1-000b5df10621.html
    Russian President Putin said “the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model that had become “archaic, undemocratic and unwieldy.”
    The days of Anglo hegemony over the world are numbered. Let’s hope we manage the transition gracefully and hold on to what we can.
    best regards,
    The Dude

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Yes, Russia is back.
    Been saying that for some time.
    And they will not make the same mistakes this time….the US will.

    Reply

  13. Matthew says:

    It’s not like we are using the GWOT to cynically advance our own strategic interests, is it?

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    The Chechen situation is interesting. The West has discovered Russia’s soft underbelly: a major Russian major pipeline, carrying natural gas from the Caspian to Europe, runs through Chechnya.
    The quid pro quo seems to be that the West will not interfere in Chechnya and in return Russia will not interfere in the West’s vast, soft underbelly: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Wests’s Baku to Ceyhan pipeline route.
    While the Western media chooses to report only on the Litvinenko affair, there’s lots more going on, including Putin’s proposal to displace the dollar with the ruble as a reserve currency:
    http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_2198.shtml

    Reply

  15. David N says:

    I think JohnH has made some very insightful points. For Bush and Cheney, nothing matters except wealth — oil.
    For the Russians, their cooperation in whatever we’re doing that’s called the WOT has never been about anything but getting what they can out of it. Bush handed them a free hand to do whatever they wanted in Chechnya. They took it, and for them, there is no quid pro quo. They take, we give, period.
    That’s what this case is about from the IR point of view. What this case means in terms of Russian governance is that — just as in the Bolshevik revolution, one type of tyranny has been replaced with another. In its essentials, the Russian government has changed in name only.

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Once again we are witnessing a proxy dispute: the UK-Russia standoff over the extradition of former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoy to face charges for the Le Carre-esque murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
    As in the Iran nuclear dispute and the Iraq war, the underlying issue is really about oil and natural gas:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6344
    The Litvinenko case, while reprehensible, is being publicized as one way to demonize an major oil supplier that refuses to submit to US domination. Of course, this particular supplier already has nuclear weapons, so intimidation is more difficult.
    It’s amazing how times change. In 2001 Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul. At that press conference, Putin remarked that he noticed that the US had a great interest in oil. Putin apparently indicated that Russia would be pumping huge quantities of oil, which would stave off impending shortages, making Bush happy. They agreed to pursue ways to jointly develop Russian resources.
    Then Putin saw the US invade Iraq and realized how the US intended to play the game. So the US got shut out of future investment in Russia. Still to be decided is the ownership of reserves under the Arctic: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0714edit3jul14,1,4878567.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
    Expect Israel to declare Russia an existential threat any time now…

    Reply

  17. Salmo says:

    Russia will cooperate when it is clearly in their interest to do so. They will stall and obfuscate otherwise. I would be very surprised if someone could show that this is new. What they say as part of this diplomatic struggle should matter to no one. On the other hand, attention to crimes in the UK and the USA do matter to us. So, the British have this right.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “When the Underlying Crime No Longer Matters. . .”
    Yeah, well, that would be here, in the United States.

    Reply

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