ROME -- The
old adage according to which time is the great equalizer holds sway in a
special way in contemporary totalitarian America. Unlike the old-horse-beaten-until-it-drops-dead
knows it is being beaten, our people are beaten in such a horrendously clinical
manner that they do not even realize they are being beaten. Though aware of
their mortality, gently beaten human beings, however, have come to resemble the
whipped horse in that they do not seem to realize they are dying from the
blows. The problem is there is little or no public opinion. And that collective
memory is dead.
old horse adage that you can lead a horse to water but you can�t make it drink
no longer applies to Americans. We drink and drink and drink without even
looking up at our tormentors. Without an iota of curiosity even as to who they
are and what they are doing to us.
Putin must have been astounded at how Georgia and its American puppeteers fell
head over heels into the Caucasian trap. Ingenuously, facilely, Saakashvili,
America�s puppet leader of Georgia, sent his US armed troops into South Ossetia
shooting wildly at anything moving and challenging Moscow on its home
territory. What could be crazier? On that first day, European media showed the
Georgian �invasion� of South Ossetia, just as the next day it showed the
crushing Russian response that reduced Georgia to the virtual reality of the US
proxy state it has become.
first time since the collapse of the USSR, Russia went on the offensive. Its
victory accomplished in a few hours rewrote the global balance of power. Yet,
the American public knows little or nothing of these earth-shaking events. The
New York Times and Washington Post, CNN and Fox, speak only of a Russian
invasion of Georgia, a country of wine growers and tourism operators. Don�t
American people even wonder why this sudden outburst of military operations in
peaceful Georgia which all of a sudden decided to challenge powerful Russia and
invade territories inhabited by Russian citizens? Don�t people wonder why and
how come Russian tanks are in no hurry to leave �independent� Georgia?
of these events is that two decades after the fall of Soviet Russia, the heart
of Europe -- I refer to Germany, France and Italy -- despite their warnings to
Moscow to withdraw, have never been closer to Russia. If the most pro-American
European leader, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, must choose between Bush
and Putin, he will unfailingly choose Putin. This European heart is not about
to build the anti-Russian alliance Bush and Cheney dreamed of. Washington
doesn�t grasp the elementary fact that Russia is an integral part of Europe
which today is overflowing with Russian tourists, replacing in many places,
such as Venice, the missing Americans. Maybe this unpleasant combination of
events is why the NYT and Washington Post, CNN and Fox, didn�t tell the people
the reality of the two-day military action -- the first day, the Georgian
incursion into South Ossetia, and the second, the crushing Russian response.
That was the war! Instead, the US media described in Cold War terms the fiction
of an unprovoked Russian imperialist invasion of peaceful Georgia.
America, its tiny allies of the Baltic region, Georgia, to a certain extent
Ukraine and pliable right-wing Poland, believed Russia would do nothing. Poland
and the Czech Republic, and most probably the Baltic states, too, today still
intent on pushing Russian borders back to the gates of Moscow, will soon come
to terms with their European history and their rightful place in it. They will
soon realize that their future is Europe, not the America that considers them
territory for military installations.
between the heart of Europe and these temporary American satellites splits
NATO, the European Union and the West in general. But it draws the heart of
Europe and Russia nearer. The �war� in Georgia makes this tendency explicit. As
soon as Moscow�s victory was evident, French President Sarkozy, also current
rotating president of the European Union, flew to Moscow, then to Tbilisi, as
Europe�s representative. Not a peace mediator, his mission was in effect to
ratify the Russian victory, to recognize its sphere of influence in the
Caucasian region and to seal America�s defeat. Georgia can now forget South
Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as its ambitions for NATO membership. Who wants
America�s satellite in NATO anyway?
Europe of Germany, France and Italy are not what imperialist neocon America
dreamed of. Most certainly New World Order America didn�t count on a
resurrected Russia capable of the reconquest of lost territories of the Russian
Empire and of a new relationship with Europe. Moreover, not even in its worst
nightmare did America dream of exchanging its alliance with real Europe for a
string of powerless satellites on the Baltic or happy-go-lucky, romantic
reactions from Brussels are NATO reactions, that is, US-dominated NATO. And
even NATO words are unexpectedly mild -- �firmness� and demands for Russians
withdrawal. Russia answers facetiously that its peace-keeping mission in
Georgia may last a few more days. Meanwhile in Rome, without haste, Berlusconi
plans a trip to Moscow too, in early September. Georgia is not to interfere
with the vacation period.
is known to be more American than Americans, his nation armed and supported by
the USA. But armed and supported for what? Only for its oil and gas pipelines,
of dubious value and a dubious future? Not at all.
truth for Georgia is that its leader overestimated American support for his
stupid attempt to retake the disputed territory of South Ossetia peopled by
Russian citizens. In a way, this was also a case of the tail wagging the dog,
As if the USA, already bogged down by Iraqis and Afghans, would seriously go to
war with Russia over Georgia! Something about this reminds me of the
American-instigated Hungarian uprising of 1956, crushed then by Soviet tanks.
today is confident. It is not afraid as it was of the multicolored revolutions
in Ukraine and Georgia and NATO�s advance up to its borders. US humanitarian
aid to Georgia or talk of Russia�s exclusion from the G-8 do not disturb Putin.
He now knows he can count on the real Europe. Russia is not about to surrender
to American demands and threats. NATO-USA accuses Russia of invading small
countries, Russia charges NATO for supporting the criminal regime of Georgia.
While NATO and Russia both claim that their relations will never be the same
again, Russian tanks roam around the Caucasus region as they please. Europe has
received Putin�s message to the world loud and clear. The Russians are truly
question is, has the American public, busily drinking from the fount of NYT and
Washington Post, CNN and Fox News, grasped the trap-like situation their
arrogant, unrealistic, self-absorbed, narcissistic leaders have lead them into?
For it is clear as day that a huge bill is falling due and the American people
will ultimately have to pay it.
Gaither Stewart, Senior Contributing Editor for
Cyrano�s Journal/tantmieux, is a novelist and journalist based in Italy. A
longtime student of Russian culture he maintains particular interest in
developments affecting Russia also after the overthrow of Communism. His
essays and dispatches are read widely on many leading Internet venues.