Category: Vietnam
America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China
worker | April 28, 2021 | 8:20 pm | China, struggle against imperialism, Vietnam | Comments closed

America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China

Tom Fowdy
Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

America is deluding itself if it thinks Vietnam will provide it with missile bases, or help it at all, in any conflict with China
Hanoi may have its differences with Beijing, and be wary of its powerful neighbour, but a high-level meeting this week has demonstrated that it won’t ever join the West’s anti-China alliance.

Despite their shared ideology, anti-imperialist worldview, and Mao’s historical support for North Vietnam in its long struggle against the United States between 1955 and 1975, China and Vietnam aren’t allies. In fact, the longstanding enmity between the two countries is huge.

For thousands of years, Vietnam has perceived Beijing as a dominant regional neighbour that has increasingly sought to subjugate them to their rule. From once being a part of the Han dynasty to being a ‘tributary state’ of the Qing dynasty and to being invaded by China in 1979 as part of Deng Xiaoping’s strategy to eliminate the influence of the Soviet Union in South East Asia, Hanoi has many real reasons to feel wary of Beijing.

There have also been tensions between the two countries over the South China Sea, where they have overlapping territorial claims.

With this backdrop, it is no surprise that the United States, aiming to galvanise countries against China and militarily encircle them, has perceived Vietnam (despite the destruction it once wrought on the country) as a potential chess piece in their ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy, to the point of believing Hanoi could be persuaded to allow the US to base missiles there.

One former senior US defence adviser told the Military Times last year that Vietnam was a potential key partner in any fight against China because the country, which shares a 1,300-kilometre border with its northern neighbour, “has some wonderful geography. You can have good exterior lines versus the Chinese.” He added: “If you’re in Vietnam and the Philippines, suddenly you’ve got the Chinese in the South China Sea pretty badly surrounded.”

An elusive recent investigation by the Grayzone sets out in detail the extensive efforts Washington has taken to attempt to bolster ties with Hanoi in order to oppose Beijing. This has included visits by Mike Pompeo (he didn’t seem to mind ‘these’ communists) and an end to a US arms embargo by Barack Obama. US strategists have also pitched it as an alternative to China in supply chains.

But any lingering hopes this might persuade the country to join in America’s anti-Chinese push have been all but extinguished this week.

ALSO ON RT.COMThe cynical hypocrisy of the world’s No1 propagandist: US pledges $300mn to fund massive global anti-China media machineOn Monday, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe travelled to Vietnam and met with the general secretary of the country’s ruling Communist Party Committee, Nguyen Phu Trong, as well as President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in Hanoi. During his visit, Chinese media outlet Xinhua stated that Phuc commented that Vietnam “will never follow other countries in opposing China.”

As the Grayzone article notes, Pentagon officials and its supporting think tanks were living in dreamland in thinking that they could shift the country’s non-aligned stance and position US troops and missiles there in an attempt to encircle China.

Vietnam’s foreign policy strategy has consistently centred on ‘three nos’: no military alliances, no aligning with one country against another, and no foreign military bases on Vietnamese soil. But the US has blithely ignored these strictures, hoping that it could exploit the region’s territorial disputes to bring it on side.

Despite such disputes, and the obvious inequality of power between China and Vietnam, Hanoi ultimately remains non-aligned and it is very much in its interests to remain that way. Why so? Vietnam does not want to be controlled or dominated by Beijing, but ties with the PRC also remain strategically beneficial and important. The ideological survival and success of the PRC is a safe haven for that of Vietnam’s political system as a fellow communist state undergoing a path of economic reform.

In a world without communism in China, Vietnam would be ideologically and strategically vulnerable to the influence of the West, which is presently happy to utilise Hanoi as an ambiguous strategic asset precisely because it is not a formal ‘ally’ of Beijing, even if it will not team up against them. For the Vietnamese, sitting on the fence is a ‘win-win’ strategy.

Vietnam is sometimes even touted as a new member of the ‘Quad’ grouping against Beijing by the US, but the reality is far more nuanced and less promising for Washington. Hanoi is balancing a number of priorities – the survival of its own regime and communist system among them – while also aiming to sustain “strategic independence” from Beijing. It’s a very difficult tightrope and inasmuch, Washington shouldn’t expect too much, not least the bizarre nature of attempting to transform a country it once utterly destroyed into a military ally.

Hanoi is smarter than to become a ‘new Tito’ – a small communist state which aligns with the West, only to be carved up as and when the bigger communist foe is defeated. The Vietnamese strategy is all about staying calm, staying quiet, and finding space for itself.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

George Padmore interviews Ho Chi Minh in Paris (1946)
worker | September 30, 2017 | 8:31 pm | African American history, class struggle, George Padmore, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam | Comments closed


The United States of… False Flags
worker | April 25, 2017 | 8:17 pm | Afghanistan, Analysis, Donald Trump, DPRK, Iran, Russia, Syria, Vietnam | Comments closed
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner in Washington, US, March 21, 2017.

The United States of… False Flags

© REUTERS/ Carlos Barria

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Finian Cunningham

The United States government is the world leader in purveying false flags and propaganda stunts. Or, more generally, downright, systematic lies. To justify the outrageous violation of international law, wars and aggression.

Current president and Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump, is himself the object of fraudulent US intelligence, accused of “collusion with Russian agents.” In a rare admission, the Washington Times this week described the US intel dossier against Trump as “riddled with fiction.”Yet, ironically, Trump, in turn, serves as a shameless conduit for US propaganda to fuel conflict with Syria and North Korea.

In the latter case, a world war could break out at any moment as a result of insane American goading. The dispatch of a US nuclear-powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula this week is just another reckless provocation by Trump.

On Syria, the Trump administration has slapped on more economic sanctions over an alleged chemical weapons incident earlier this month. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the “sweeping sanctions” were because of “Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent men, women and children.”Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the latest US sanctions were “unfounded” since there is no proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Idlib Province on April 4.

Indeed, several respected international authorities, such as American professor Theodore Postol, a weapons expert at MIT, have dismissed official US claims about the chemical incident. The only “proof” provided by the US government and Western media are videos of alleged victims. That is, videos supplied by al Qaeda-linked terrorists and their media agents known as the White Helmets. This terror nexus is a creation of US, British and French military intelligence, financed with Saudi and Qatari money.

Thus, the April 4 chemical incident in Idlib was plausibly a “false flag” staged by Western-sponsored terrorist proxies to elicit American military attack on Syria. In other words, innocent people, including children, were murdered with lethal chemicals, and the whole macabre spectacle videoed for dissemination by the Western news media. It would not be the first time. The August 2013 “chemical weapons” incident near Damascus was probably also another macabre set-up by the terror groups.So, here we have an American president citing a false flag orchestrated by his own intelligence agencies to justify his subsequent order for a missile strike on Syria on April 7. And now we see the US government slapping punitive sanctions on Syria as a further warped response.

Of huge significance is the fact that the US, Britain and France have blocked Russian, Iranian and Syrian demands for an impartial on-site investigation to be carried out in the town of Khan Shaykhun where the chemical incident allegedly happened. As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out, the Western powers do not want to find out what really happened because that would interfere with their agenda for regime change in Syria.By way of shoring up the false narrative on Syria, this week US media carried “reports” alleging that North Korea has been supplying the Syrian government with chemical weapons technology. As usual, no verifiable evidence is presented, just more bombastic assertions and concocted claims.

But we can see where this is going. US intelligence, mouthed by its president and controlled media, are laying down dots to entice the Western public to join up with false logic and prejudice, all so that the US authorities can give themselves a legal, moral mandate to justify aggression. Conveniently, the contrived North Korea-Syria connection allows for two birds to be hit with one stone.

US Interventions in World Politics: Infographic

The pattern of deception here by the US government, aided and abetted by propagandizing “news services,” is classic modus operandi. Time and again, down through history, the US ruling class have used false flags, distortion and outright lies to promote their hegemonic desires of inciting war, conflict and aggression.For a country like the United States, which has been waging war on other foreign nations for over 95 per cent of its history since its foundation as a modern state in 1776, it only stands to reason that such an astounding record of belligerence, decade-after-decade, must inevitably require a concomitant warmongering propaganda system in order to make it all possible.

We could mention, for example, the deliberate sinking of one of its own warships, the USS Maine, in Havana Harbor in 1898, which was used to instigate the Spanish-American War. That war was key to the US emerging as an imperial power in the Western Hemisphere.

The later sinking of the civilian passenger ship, the Lusitania, in 1915 off Ireland is another case of deliberate sabotage, to frame-up the Germans, which the US then used to launch itself into the First World War.More recently, the fabricated US claims of Afghanistan sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were invoked to sell American wars of revenge for 9/11 terror attacks in New York, which were themselves most probably propaganda stunts staged by US intelligence.

Another flagrant case of US authorities mounting a false flag was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which served as a pretext for American escalation of the Vietnam War. In 1964, communist North Vietnam was framed up for allegedly firing on a US navy vessel. That incident allowed the US government to dispatch conventional armed forces to Vietnam. Some 50,000 US troops were killed in that 10-year war, as well as three million Vietnamese. The only beneficiaries were US corporations and the Pentagon war machine.

Of course, the US is not unique in using false pretexts to cover for acts of war and criminality. But there can be little doubt from any objective study of history that the US stands out – without any compare – as the biggest purveyor of false flags, lies and propaganda to promote its warmongering. Warmongering that has destroyed dozens of countries around the world and inflicted tens of millions of deaths.Today, we are on another cusp of US-led war. Syria has been set up with a brazen false flag over chemical weapons, which in all probability is a sickening charade by Western-sponsored terror groups.

Russia and Iran, by extension, are smeared as part of an “axis of evil” by the US propaganda system owing to their otherwise principled alliance with Syria to defeat Western-backed terrorist proxies.

Most alarming is the US false flag effort against North Korea. This small, independent nation, which is not at war with anybody, is, in fact, a victim of American aggression – an aggression involving the sailing of nuclear-powered submarines and warships to its coastal waters.And yet US President Trump, whose country has thousands of nuclear weapons enough to destroy the entire planet, is labeling North Korea as the “world’s number one threat.”

The United States is the most dangerous terrorist force on Earth, largely because it is run by rulers who forge lies all the time for waging wars and obliterating humans. The supposed Commander-in-Chief President Donald Trump is himself a target of US lies. Can you get any more deranged than that?

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Trump’s State of the Union: US imperialism is at an impasse

The important conclusion from president Trump’s speech to Congress is this: Not fighting Russia provides a breathing space to strengthen the popular movements in the U.S. (especially unions!), so they can unite and act around a genuine program to create jobs and prevent war.

The message underlying Trump’s speech continued the theme that propelled him to the White House: The United States is wounded and needs to heal itself.

The U.S. people themselves, voters and nonvoters alike, believe that message.

U.S. voters rejected Clinton’s effort to spray odor eater over the entire country.

In essence, Trump told the world to obey while he ‘repairs’ the home economy.

But as anyone familiar with Marxist political economy knows, Trump can and will never create jobs or provide a better future.

Trump has no genuine policies to accomplish those aims.

Fighting Mexicans and appeasing extreme-right groups won’t help.

Infrastructure spending will be as corrupt and fruitless as U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq with companies like Halliburton.

Increased military spending is intended to swing the military corporations to protect his back and make a bigger club should countries resist U.S. domination.

Like the period of Détente in the 1970s, U.S. imperialism is at an impasse.

At that time, the U.S. had witnessed a decade of global anti-colonial struggle and defeat in Vietnam. Socialism was a popular idea.

Détente – peaceful relations with the socialist countries – was a plea by U.S. imperialism not to change – to freeze the world – as it worked to reduce the fire danger at home.

In the end, under president Reagan, U.S. imperialism cracked down on the world, extracting increased profits from abroad and from a more compliant working class at home.

This prolonged the life of capitalism another 40 years.

The present impasse is more serious, because the U.S. has siphoned about as much as it can from the working class at home and abroad.

The only positive part of Trump’s agenda is that he appears determined to thwart the ‘war now’ faction in the U.S. oligarchy, the Clinton-Obama Democrats and the McCain Republicans.

Trump is arguing that the U.S. can no longer dominate abroad and at home “as before,” in the old way.

Like Hitler, he realizes that the military needs refurbishing.

His anti-NAFTA message clearly resonates with some elements of monopoly-finance capital who suffered under NAFTA and the hollowing out of the U.S. economy (the petit-bourgeoisie and weaker elements of monopoly), as a result of the centralization and export of capital.

If the popular forces in the U.S. are to prevail, they must take advantage of the divisions in the U.S. ruling class, the ‘oligarchy’ – a term used by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

The U.S. oligarchy is divided on the issue of free trade (how to repair the home market) and immediate war with Russia.

Building alliances for a peoples’ agenda among the popular movements of the U.S., Mexico and Canada will be the best guarantee to create jobs and to prevent a serious war.

The communist and workers’ parties of this continent, Central America included, need to be part of this effort.

Let us use this breathing space.

IT’S CAPITALISM, STUPID: Just eight men own same wealth as half the world
worker | January 17, 2017 | 6:42 pm | Analysis, class struggle, Economy, Vietnam | Comments closed

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

IT’S CAPITALISM, STUPID: Just eight men own same wealth as half the world

According to the latest report published by Oxfam eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Oxfam’s report ‘An economy for the 99%’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared.

More specifically:

  • Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
  • Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
  • The incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.
  • A FTSE-100 CEO earns as much in a year as 10,000 people in working in garment factories in Bangladesh.
  • In the US, new research by economist Thomas Piketty shows that over the last 30 years the growth in the incomes of the bottom 50% has been zero, whereas incomes of the top 1% have grown 300%.
  • In Vietnam, the country’s richest man earns more in a day than the poorest person earns in 10 years.

Oxfam’s overall conclusions are misleading – CAPITALISM IS THE ACTUAL SOURCE OF INEQUALITY.

There is no doubt that Oxfam’s statistics are reliable and a valuable source. However, the conclusions made by Oxfam about the reasons of extreme global inequality- and the needed solution to the problem- consist a misleading message to the people. The misleading message is that the capitalist system can be improved and change towards a… “human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few”. 

Oxfam points out some actual issues, such as the tax dodging by corporate companies which drive down the wages of the workers in order to maximize profit, the use of tax heavens etc. However, the heart of the problem cannot be found in theories such as the “super-charged shareholder capitalism” or “casinocapitalism”. The heart of inequality the capitalist system itself- the capitalist mode of production is the root of all problems. 

When Oxfam refers to the need for the creation of a “human economy”, it hides the simple fact that, within Capitalism, an economy for the majority, for the working people, for the masses, isn’t possible. It is also quite hypocritical from the side of Oxfam to keep calling on business leaders to play their part in building a human economy – the only part the bourgeoisie can play in Capitalism is the role of the oppressor.

The only solution for humanity lies on the total overthrow of the capitalist system. The working people, the masses in every country, must not have illusions about a supposed “human economy” within Capitalism, because Capitalism cannot be humanized. The only way out of the misery and the huge inequalities is the struggle against the capitalist exploitative system, for a new society, where the people will be the real masters of the wealth they produce.


Posted by In Defense of Communism

On Contact: The Hidden Tragedy of the Vietnam War with Nick Turse
worker | January 15, 2017 | 2:37 pm | Analysis, Imperialism, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam | 1 Comment

Meddling in Presidential Elections: Two Cases

13:55, January 13, 2017

By Markar Melkonian

Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States!  How unprecedented!  How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!

In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.”  (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”

But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections of other countries?  Our friends in South America might have insights here—hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination,and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders.  So too in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.), north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), and dozens of other countries on five of the six inhabited continents. (Joshua Keating, “Election Meddling Is Surprisingly Common,”, 4 Jan., 2017; Tim Weiner, CIA:  Legacy of Ashes, 2008; Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, 2006.)

In the welter of red-faced indignation, the torrents of denunciations from Senate hearings and press conferences, talk shows and podcasts, one might have expected someone to pose the rather obvious question whether American agencies have ever meddled in Russian presidential elections.  And yet (surprise surprise!) America’s corporate-owned press of record, an institution that constantly flaunts its “objectivity,” has failed to raise that straightforward question.

So, let us raise it here:  Has the USA engaged in this sort of meddling?  And if so, what effect has it had on Russia?

The answer to the first question, of course, is a resounding Yes.  Even as you read these words, you can bet that one or more of seventeenFederal agencies of the United States are busy hacking Russia.  (It is a safe bet that other countries are engaged in cyber espionage against Russia and the United States, too, including China and Israel.)

Let us limit our discussion to one single case.  Readers will recall that in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election in Russia, opinion polls put the pro-western incumbent, Boris Yeltsin, in fifth place among the presidential candidates, with only 8% support.  The same polls showed that the most popular candidate in Russia by a wide margin was the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov. Moved to desperation by the numbers, well-connected Russian oligarchs suggested just cancelling the election and supporting a military takeover, rather than facing a defeat at the polls.  Neocons in the West embraced the idea–all in the name of Democracy, of course.  In the end, though, Yeltsin and the oligarchs decided to retain power by staging the election.

In keeping with Russian laws at the time, Zyuganov spent less than three million dollars on his campaign.  Estimates of Yeltsin’s spending, by contrast, range from $700 million to $2.5 billion.   (David M. Kotz, Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin, 2007) This was a clear violation of law, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In February 1996, at the urging of the United States, the International Monetary Fund (which describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation”) supplied a $10.2 billion “emergency infusion” to Russia.The money disappeared as Yeltsin used it to shore up his reputation and to buy votes.  He forced the Central Bank of Russia to provide an additional $1 billion for his campaign, too.  Meanwhile, a handful of Russian oligarchs, notably several big contributors residing in Israel, provided more billions for the Yeltsin campaign.

In the spring of 1996, Yeltsin and his campaign manager, billionaire privatizer Anatoly Chubais, recruited a team of financial and media oligarchs to bankroll the Yeltsin campaign and guarantee favorable media coverage on national television and in leading newspapers.  In return, Chubais allowed well-connected Russian business leaders to acquire majority stakes in some of Russia’s most valuable state-owned assets.

Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilsoncovertly made their way to the President Hotel in Moscow where, behind a guard and locked doors, they served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for Democracy.  (Eleanor Randolph, “Americans Claim Role in Yeltsin Win,” L.A. Times, 9 July 1996)  Yeltsin and his cohorts monopolized all major media outlets, print and electronic, public, and private. They bombarded Russians with an incessant and uncontested barrage of political advertising masquerading as news, phony “documentaries,” rumors, innuendos, and bad faith campaign promises (including disbursement of back pay to workers and pensioners, stopping further NATO expansion, and peaceful settlement of Yeltsin’s brutal war against Chechnya). Yeltsin campaigners even floated the threat that he would stage a coup and the country would descend into civil war if Zyuganov were to win the vote.

It is now public record that the Yeltsin campaign conducted extensive “black operations,” including disrupting opposition rallies and press conferences, spreading disinformation among Yeltsin supporters, and denying media access to the opposition.  The dirty tricks included such tactics as announcing false dates for opposition rallies and press conferences,disseminatingalarming campaign materials that they deceitfully attributed to the Zyuganov campaign, and cancelling hotel reservations for Zyuganov and his volunteers.  Finally, widespread bribery, voter fraud, intimidation, and ballot stuffing assured Yeltsin’s victory in the runoff election.

The day after his victory, Yeltsin disappeared from the scene and did not reappear until months later, drunk. During Yeltsin’s second term, the “non-ideological” IMF provided another infusion of money, this time $40 billion.  Once again, more billions disappeared without a trace, much of it stolen by the President’s chronies, who placed it in foreign banks.  The re-elected President didn’t even pretend to make good on his campaign promises.

Serious observers, including leading Democrats, agree that even if the recent hacking allegations against Russia turn out to be true, the “dirty tricks” did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election.  By contrast, American meddling and financing of the 1996 presidential election in Russia clearly played a pivotal role in turning Yeltsin from a candidate with single-digit approval at the beginning of the yearinto a winning candidate with an official (but disputed) 54.4% of votes cast in the second-round runoff later that same year.

Let us consider some of the consequences of Yeltsin’s electoral win:

–In the first years of the Chubais-Yeltsin privatization scheme, the life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 65 years to 57.5 years.  Female life expectancy in Russia dropped from 74.5 years in 1989 to 72.8 years in 1999.

–Throughout Yeltsin’s terms as President, flight of capital away from Russia totaled between $1 and $2 billion every month.

–Each year from 1989 to 2001 there was a fall of approximately 8% in Russia’s productive assets.

–From 1990 to 1999 the percentage increase of people living on lessthan $1 a day was greater in Russian and the other former socialist countries than anywhere else in the world.

–The number of people living in poverty in the former Soviet Republicsrose from 14 million in 1989 to 147 million in 1998.As a result of the 1998 financial collapse and the devaluation of the ruble, the life savings of tens of millons of Russian families disappeared over night.  Since then, the Great Recession and low oil pries have only made matters worse.

–In the period from 1992 to 1998 Russia’s GDP fell by half–something that did not happen even under during the German invasion in the Second World War.

Under Yeltsin’s tenure, the death rate in Russia reached wartime levels.  Accidents, food poisoning, exposure, heart attacks, lack of access to basic healthcare, and an epidemic of suicides—they all played a role.  David Satter, a senior fellow at the anti-communist, Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, writing in the conservative Wall Street Journal, described the consequences of this victory of Democracy:  “Western and Russian demographers now agree that between 1992 and 2000, the number of ‘surplus deaths’ in Russia–deaths that cannot be explained on the basis of previous trends–was between five and six million persons.” (Accessed 8 April 2015.  American sociologist James Petras has given a figure of 15 million surplus deaths since the demise of the Soviet Union.)

NATO continued its expansion east. Yeltsin turned the Chechen city of Grozy into a field of rubble, and he quickly became the most reviled man in Russia.  But as one observer put it at the time, “Yeltsin didn’t seem to notice, which is hardly surprising, since he was drunk for most of his tenure in office.”By the time he left office, the American-approved President of the Russian Federation had an approval rating of 2%.  (CNN, 2002)   But by that time it didn’t matter:  the kleptocrats were safely installed in power, and American-imposed Democracy had achieved its aims in Russia’s “transition.”

Yeltsin died in 2007, celebrated as an anti-communist hero by the neocons in Washington and New York, but hated by the vast majority of Russians.  Four years later, Dmitri Medvedev, then-President of Russia, eulogized Yeltsin for creating “the base of a new Russian statehood, without which none of our future successes would be possible.”  But a Time magazine writer reported that, despite Medvedev’s public praise, the story he told privately was quite different.  On 20 February 2012, he reportedly told attendees at a closed-door meeting:  “Russia’s first President did not actually win re-election in 1996 for a second term.  The second presidential vote in Russia’s history, in other words, was rigged.”  (Simon Shuster, “Rewriting Russian History:  Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Presidential Election?” Time online, 24 Feb. 2012.)

Some readers, perhaps, do not see the point of reminding ourselves of America’s role in the election of Yeltsin and America’s responsibility for the resulting misery and mass death.  But let us remind ourselves that the recent hacking accusations are just one element of a full-on media assault against Russia, led by Washington.  From supposed Russian war crimes in the fight against the murderous jihadi occupiers of Syria to Russia’s re-annexation of overwhelmingly pro-Russian Crimea and the doping of Olympic athletes, America’s neocons are engaged in a propaganda blitz with high stakes.

Armenia is one of many frontline positions in Washington’s escalating media campaign against Russia.  Yes, the Russian Federation is an imperialist state, in V.I. Lenin’s technical sense of the term.  And yes, Russia wields undo influence in Armenia.  But by now it is clear that greater sovereignty for Armenia is not what is at stake when it comes to the Russophobe opposition.  After all, the Russia haters do not seem to have much problem with the idea of giving up sovereignty to the American imperialists and their regional surrogate, the Republic of Turkey. More importantly, the cause of greater national sovereignty will be harmed if the Russia haters have their way.  They only confirm the pervasivesense of vulnerability, economic isolation, and military encirclement among Russians, a people who have endured three decades of enormous destruction and humiliation, after a century of invasion and wars that claimed the lives of tens of millions of their compatriots.

Let us remind ourselves that the loudest of Yerevan’s Russia haters are the same fanatics who led Armenia to its present state of ruin.  After so much failure and disaster, they continue to hawk the old dangerous fantasy of Uncle Sam as Armenia’s savior. They are unrepentant, and like Yeltsin, they take their marching orders from Washington.

Markar Melkonian is a teacher and an author. His books include Richard Rorty’s Politics:  Liberalism at the End of the American Century (1999), Marxism: A Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, 1996), and My Brother’s Road (2005).