Gifting Russia ‘Free-Market’ Extremism

Exclusive: Official Washington’s Putin-bashing knows no bounds as the Russian president’s understandable complaints about U.S. triumphalism and NATO expansion, after the Soviet collapse in the 1990s, are dismissed as signs of his “paranoia” and “revisionism,” writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

If the Washington Post’s clueless editorial page editor Fred Hiatt had been around during the genocidal wars against Native Americans in the 1870s, he probably would have accused Sitting Bull and other Indian leaders of “paranoia” and historical “revisionism” for not recognizing the beneficent intentions of the Europeans when they landed in the New World.

The Europeans, after all, were bringing the “savages” Christianity’s promise of eternal life and introducing them to the wonders of the Old World, like guns and cannons, not to mention the value that “civilized” people place on owning land and possessing gold. Why did these Indian leaders insist on seeing the Europeans as their enemies?

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

But Hiatt wasn’t around in the 1870s so at least the Native Americans were spared his condescension about the kindness and exceptionalism of the United States as it sent armies to herd the “redskins” onto reservations and slaughter those who wouldn’t go along with this solution to the “Indian problem.”

However, those of us living in the Twenty-first Century can’t say we’re as lucky. In 2002-03, we got to read Hiatt’s self-assured Washington Post editorials informing us about Iraq’s dangerous stockpiles of WMD that were threatening our very existence and giving us no choice but to liberate the Iraqi people and bring peace and stability to the Middle East.

Though Hiatt reported these WMD caches as “flat-fact” when that turned out to be fact-free, there was, of course, no accountability for him and his fellow pundits. After all, who would suggest that such well-meaning people should be punished for America’s generous endeavor to deliver joy and happiness to the Iraqi people who instead chose to die by the hundreds of thousands?

Because Hiatt and his fellow deep-thinkers didn’t get canned, we still have them around opening our eyes to Vladimir Putin’s historical “revisionism” and his rampaging “paranoia” as he fails to see the philanthropic motives of the U.S. free-market economists who descended on Russia after the end of the Soviet Union in the 1990s to share their wisdom about the unbounded bounty that comes from unrestrained capitalism.

That many of these “Harvard boys” succumbed to the temptation of Russian girls desperate for some hard currency shouldn’t be held against these selfless business “experts.” Nor should the reality that they sometimes shared in the plundering of Russia’s assets by helping a few friendly “oligarchs” become billionaires. Nor should the “experts” be blamed for the many Russians who starved, froze or suffered early death after their pensions were slashed, medical care was defunded, and their factories were shuttered. Just the necessary “growing pains” toward a “modern economy.”

And, while these U.S. economic advisers helped put Russia onto its back, there was also the expansion of NATO despite some verbal promises from George H.W. Bush’s administration that the anti-Russian alliance would not be pushed east of Germany. Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shoved NATO right up to Russia’s border and touched a raw Russian nerve by taking aim at Ukraine, too.

But Russian President Putin simply doesn’t appreciate the generosity of the United States in making these sacrifices. The “paranoid” Putin with his historical “revisionism” insists on seeing these acts of charity as uncharitable acts.

‘Mr. Putin’s Revisionism’

In Tuesday’s Post, Hiatt and his team laid out this new line of attack on the black-hatted Putin in an editorial that was headlined, in print editions, “Mr. Putin’s revisionism: His paranoia shouldn’t blot out the good the West tried to offer,” and online as “After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians.” The editorial began:

“President Vladimir Putin recently was interviewed for a fawning Russian television documentary on his decade and a half in power. Putin expressed the view that the West would like Russia to be down at the heels. He said, ‘I sometimes I get the impression that they love us when they need to send us humanitarian aid. . . . [T]he so-called ruling circles, elites, political and economic, of those countries, they love us when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand. As soon as we start declaring some interests of our own, they feel that there is some element of geopolitical rivalry.’

“Earlier, in March, speaking to leaders of the Federal Security Service, which he once led, Mr. Putin warned that ‘Western special services continue their attempts at using public, nongovernmental and politicized organizations to pursue their own objectives, primarily to discredit the authorities and destabilize the internal situation in Russia.’”

That was an apparent reference to the aggressive use of U.S.-funded NGOs to achieve “regime change” in Ukraine in 2014 and similar plans for “regime change” in Moscow, a goal openly discussed by prominent neocons, including National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman who gets $100 million a year from Congress to finance these NGOs.

But none of that reality is cited in the Post’s editorial, which simply continues: “Mr. Putin’s remarks reflect a deep-seated paranoia. Mr. Putin’s assertion that the West has been acting out of a desire to sunder Russia’s power and influence is a willful untruth. The fact is that thousands of Americans went to Russia hoping to help its people attain a better life. It was not about conquering Russia but rather about saving it, offering the proven tools of market capitalism and democracy, which were not imposed but welcomed. The Americans came for the best of reasons.”

Hiatt and his cohorts do acknowledge that not everything worked out as peachy as predicted. There were, for instance, a few bumps in the road like the unprecedented collapse in life expectancy for a developed country not at war. Plus, there were the glaring disparities between the shiny and lascivious nightlife of Moscow’s upscale enclaves, frequented by American businessmen and journalists, and the savage and depressing poverty that gripped and crushed much of the country.

Or, as the Post’s editorial antiseptically describes these shortcomings: “Certainly, the Western effort was flawed. Markets were distorted by crony and oligarchic capitalism; democratic practice often faltered; many Russians genuinely felt a sense of defeat, humiliation and exhaustion. There’s much to regret but not the central fact that a generous hand was extended to post-Soviet Russia, offering the best of Western values and know-how.

“The Russian people benefit from this benevolence even now, and, above Mr. Putin’s self-serving hysterics, they ought to hear the truth: The United States did not come to bury you.”

Or, as a Fred Hiatt of the 1870s might have commented about Native Americans who resisted the well-intentioned Bureau of Indian Affairs and didn’t appreciate the gentleness of the U.S. Army or the benevolence of life on the reservations: “Above Sitting Bull’s self-serving hysterics, Indians ought to hear the truth: The white man did not come to exterminate you.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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15 comments for “Gifting Russia ‘Free-Market’ Extremism

  1. May 8, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    What a wonderful, very lightly veiled invective. At the end of the piece, the inescapable conclusion is that Fred Hiatt is an idiot, which of course he is.

    What conclusion would any rational person in Russia reach other than the United States is attacking the nation on multiple levels – financially, diplomatically, and, by proxy, militarily. Apparently, among other things, Mr. Hiatt lacks a PhD in the obvious.

    One incredible outcome of the latest neocon bumbling is a situation the United States has sought to avoid for decades – a clear alliance between Russia and China. The irony is that Nixon looks like a visionary compared to the current financial elite and foreign policy establishment.

  2. Boris M Garsky
    May 7, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Obviously, Mr Hiatt slept through the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Midway through the 1990’s, all of Russia’s corporations were in western hands, 100’s of billions or trillions of dollars in Russian resources were whisked from the country by western businessmen and women and the rest was under control of western corporations or their agents. The military was broken apart; it’s weapons were deliberately neglected, the men and women in the military went without pay of benefits, many having to sell their uniforms for food. Medical care was disbanded for all, but the rich. There were countless food shortages. Illegal drugs were smuggled into the country by the west, further eroding the integrity of the nation. Over 100,000 Russian children were forced into sex-slavery( an FBI statistic). Yes, America was too kind to Mother Russia. The tide turned when the Russian mafia, together with the KGB declared that enough was enough! They embarked on a program of assassination (car bombings, shots through the head, unmerciful beatings, and physical intimidation, etc.). To cut to the quick, the Texans skedaddled. At this point, the Oligarchs took control of Russia’s resources and corporations, and then the KGB struck- Putin became President. Mr. Hiatt should research a topic he knows little to nothing about before he dares to write an article on the subject.

  3. Boris M Garsky
    May 7, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Obviously, Mr Hiatt is either delusional or he slept through the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Midway through the 1990’s, all of Russia’s corporations were in western hands, 100’s of billions or trillions of dollars in Russian resources were whisked from the country by western businessmen and women and the rest was under control of western corporations or their agents. The military was broken apart; it’s weapons were deliberately neglected, the men and women in the military went without pay of benefits, many having to sell their uniforms for food. Medical care was disbanded for all, but the rich. There were countless food shortages. Illegal drugs were smuggled into the country by the west, further eroding the integrity of the nation. Over 100,000 Russian children were forced into sex-slavery( an FBI statistic). Yes, America was too kind to Mother Russia. The tide turned when the Russian mafia, together with the KGB declared that enough was enough! They embarked on a program of assassination (car bombings, shots through the head, unmerciful beatings, and physical intimidation, etc.). To cut to the quick, the Texans skedaddled. At this point, the Oligarchs took control of Russia’s resources and corporations, and then the KGB struck- Putin became President. Mr. Hiatt should research a topic he knows little to nothing about before he dares to write an article on the subject.

  4. Gina
    May 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    “He said, ‘I sometimes get the impression that they love us when they need to send us humanitarian aid. . . . [T]he so-called ruling circles, elites — political and economic — of those countries, they love us when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand. As soon as we start declaring some interests of our own, they feel that there is some element of geopolitical rivalry.’”

    Yup. All in a nutshell, & this not only towards Russia but globally.

  5. Rogert
    May 6, 2015 at 3:01 am

    You have shown us over the years that most of the woes of the World are rooted in the control by the Zionist, Israel-firsters, war mongering neocons over the suborned Presidents, the Senate and Congress. Is there no legal recourse which can put a stop to the influence and activities of these often dual nationality traitors to American interests, thugs who have brought nothing but disaster, death and destruction to so many countries and people?

    How many of them and AIPAC members have sworn an oath of allegiance to Israel at Jewish summer camps? Surely, such action is sufficient to withdraw their American citizenship and exclude them from interference in US policy-making.

    Highlighting their evil record is all very well but nothing is done to rid America of their treachery.

  6. abbybwood
    May 5, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    http://sputniknews.com/us/20150504/1021693003.html

    I wonder what caused this thaw??

    • Anonymous
      May 6, 2015 at 5:56 am

      My guess would be that, in the Government of any and all “Great Powers”, there are many competing Factions with opposing Ideas and Agendas, who are “arm wrestling” constantly for the “lion’s share” of Influence upon the decision-making apparatus within that Government, thus producing a “tack Left/tack Right” phenomena in the decisions being made. I believe in Conspiracies, but even THOSE Conspirators aren’t all-controlling over everything, down to “what you are going to eat for breakfast this morning”. I believe it is still possible for that Faction standing in for “We The People” can come out on top…at least for awhile, for another “Golden Era”, or “Camelot”, before getting “rolled off the log” again…and so it goes…

      • Brad Owen
        May 6, 2015 at 6:19 am

        Oops. I forgot to fill in the identifying information, so my comment came out as “anonymous”. Sorry.

      • Stefan
        May 6, 2015 at 6:54 am

        Maybe Russia selling Syria to the vampires

        Maybe Iran cutting support to Syria for a better nuclear deal?

        Maybe both the above?

        Israeli demands most probable if the above is correct or relatively close to correct?

        • Brad Owen
          May 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

          Maybe so. May even be something more momentous; a Strategic Retreat, on the part of “the vampires” (I call them The Western Empire of The City & The Street), from their confrontation with the BRICS Bloc. Maybe it’s a “if you can’t beat them, join them…and subvert them from within, a few decades later” Policy. U.K. joined BRICS I think, just recently, along with a few of the other “Big Players” from the Western Empire. Maybe they still have covert Colonial ties with their “Wall Street of the East (Hong Kong)”? “It worked in the USA…why not over there?”…may be what they’re thinking. Don’t know…just have to see how things develop. I read elsewhere they’re ginning up for a new Opium War on the Eurasian Countries of the BRICS Bloc, with new production of strong opium from their sector-of-control in Afghanistan, all to scramble brains and destabilize societies over there …from E.I.R. I think it was.

          • Gina
            May 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

            “Maybe it’s a “if you can’t beat them, join them…and subvert them from within, a few decades later””

            I think Russia will be on the watch, because in the first place she is struggling very hard at the moment to get them out.

    • Gina
      May 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Russia published lately photos of a US spy sattelite, about which the US got very nervious.

    • Om
      May 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      China. Russians are inviting Chinese navy into Black Sea for military games.
      If the thaw is true of course.

    • drwiegageorge@aol.com
      May 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      May the “thaw” have some relations to heating of the Yosemite, and Russian ultimate geological service to help with this, to divert the attention from their affairs into US affairs?

  7. Inshort
    May 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Mr. Parry: Your comparison of American largesse directed at the Russians with American largesse given to the American Indians is very apt. Thanks for this well-argued message re the continued hypocrisy of American leadership now a few centuries after the fact. Plus ca change…

    That aside, what is going on in the Ukraine is frightening in the extreme. Will someone please alert Mr. John Kerry that he has a bunch of severely mentally handicapped people, one of whom should be institutionalized, working in the US State Department?

    OK: That’s obviously not going to do any good. Mr. Hiatt is a case in point, the point being that you can advocate for totally bankrupt policies based upon complete fabrications and next time around, no one has learned anything and/or everyone seems to have forgotten.

    One wants to question whether it is due to the severely shortened attention span of Americans these day or is it that Americans can no longer put two and two together without the help of their technological devices?

    We’re in big trouble, that’s for sure — and we’ll be in bigger trouble if someone doesn’t send in the paddy wagon and haul Ms. V. Nuland off to jail and/or to the nuthouse. If it’s jail, I advocate putting her next to Dzokhar Tsarnaev. Maybe she can, with her fluent Russian, figure out–and then tell us–what actually happened in Boston a few years ago.

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