By Hans Vogel
According to a Reuters item dated January 31 ("U.S. envoy warns against Russian base in Abkhazia"), Matthew Bryza, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, has expressed concern about possible Russian bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Bryza was quoted as saying "deployment" of such bases would be "moving in the wrong direction," further alleging Russia had broken promises to reduce its military presence in the region and "deploying a naval base would be another violation."
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs blamed Russia for not cooperating towards a settlement under UN auspices and accused Russia of jeopardizing "the safety of energy supplies" (for the West, that is) that run through Georgia. Russia had been causing similar fears by cranking up a gas dispute with the Ukraine, the US official asserted. However, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs announced there was a glimpse of hope for shivering Europeans yearning for Russian gas: the US was considering putting its weight behind a new $800 million pipeline to bypass bottlenecks.
These are truly amazing statements. How come, one wonders, a US diplomat makes utterances like the above? Why would Russia not be entitled to support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by establishing military bases there? After all, this is exactly what the US has been doing since the 1990s in the Balkans. Why would the US be authorized to do things while at the same time it attempts to prevent others from doing the same thing, invoking "international law?"
By establishing miltary bases in Bosnia Herzegovina, the US has helped support the fragile, dubious independence of this region. Then the US moved on to mineral-rich Kosovo, setting out to turn this province of Serbia into a US client state, or protectorate if you will. This could not have been done without massive military support: indeed "Camp Bondsteel" is now one of the biggest US military bases in Europe, covering 36 hectares and holding some 7.000 troops.
But other than that, Europe is studded with US military bases, from Norway to Greece and from Spain to Bulgaria. And as for Great Britain, it is in fact no more than a US aircraft carrier moored just off the coast of Europe. Does Europe need this massive and oppressive, humiliating US military presence? Of course not, only the US desperately needs the bases in Europe for carrying out its wars of aggression against poorly armed, weak nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. Is this military presence required for the "defense of Europe?"
Of course it is not. Europe is not under military threat from any nation but from the US. Moreover, the US bases in Europe are used by the CIA for carrying out its so-called rendition flights, in clear violation of every tenet of international law. One should say that given the military presence on European soil of such a violent rogue state as the US (no matter who happens to be the occupant of the White House), Russia would be entitled to protect itself and its friends from any further encroachment. As for the statements of the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs on the energy question, these are as preposterous as the rest of what he asserted. Representing a bankrupt country, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs pledged US support for a substantial investment in order to help the poor, freezing Europeans! Pure, hollow propaganda to give Europeans the impression the US cares for them.
The US probably also needs Russian gas to heat its military bases in Europe! The Pentagon must be afraid its valiant warriors-so proficient at killing innocent unarmed civilians in Third World countries-will be suffering from the cold whilst on leave in Europe. That is why the US is supporting the construction of a new pipeline, paid for, obviously by others, but nonetheless putting its weight behind the effort. How awfully nice of the US government!
How come the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs makes statements like the above? Is it because he is a US citizen? Or perhaps because he is a diplomat? Maybe because he holds a master's degree in international relations from a US institute of higher learning?
Let us first take a look an the official biography of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (a job Bryza obtained in 2005), highlighting his main responsibilities. Matthew Bryza: is responsible for policy oversight and management of US relations with countries in the Caucasus and Southern Europe leads US efforts to advance peaceful settlements of the conflicts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia coordinates US energy policy in the regions surrounding the Black and Caspian Seas works with European countries on issues of tolerance, social integration, and Islam One is struck by the high-sounding terms "peaceful," "tolerance," and "social integration," and puzzled as to why on earth Europe should need US assistance or cooperation on issues of tolerance, social integration and islam! One thing, however, is certain: the US is not interested in any peaceful settlement in Europe or anywhere. It wants natural resources and profits and war is the means to get these. As for the major accomplishments of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, these include: a tour of duty as a US diplomat in Poland (1989-1991), "where he covered the Solidarity movement, reform of Poland's security services, and regional politics." a tour of duty at the US embassy in Moscow (1995-1997), "covering" Dagestan and the North Caucasus.
A true US diplomat, indeed! Many US diplomats are no more than thugs, specializing in fishing in troubled waters, sowing discord, bribing, intimidating, intriguing and generally stirring up trouble in countries that have not been fully brought under US control or otherwise made subservient to US interests. During and after Bryza's stint in Moscow, Dagestan became a hotbed of terrorist activity and destabilization. As for Poland, its politics were messed up after its transition from Stalinism to robber baron capitalism, no doubt due to the help given by young Bryza and his cronies.
US diplomats are definitely not known for subtlety of thought. Years ago, someone in the know told me there were three categories of candidates to be prevented from entering the US diplomatic service: 1) "leftist weirdoes" (understandably, given the nature of US politics), 2) "artsy fartsies" (also understandable since such people tend to lack a sense of realism), and 3) "thinkers". Quite obviously, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs does not belong to any of these three categories.
The man's utterances might be attributable to an incapacity to think logically or clearly. Nor has the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs received an academic education that would enable him to develop a capacity to think logically, or even to develop any independent insights into the workings of international policy. The academic field of international relations is merely a minor subfield of history (at least it should be under normal circumstances), that in the US teaches students to believe in force of arms, intimidation and blackmail as legitimate forms of diplomacy. Not, as one would be inclined to think, in the power of dialogue and polite persuasion.
Whatever may be said further of the US diplomatic service or the training grounds preparing prospective diplomats, I believe the words of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs are best explained by his nationality: he is a US citizen, and a fanatical and dedicated one at that, otherwise he would never have made it to the post he now holds. Since he hails from the US, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs has no sense of history, because no one in the US has. After all, the US has been founded by European settlers wishing to escape from history. Since then they and their descendants have always tried to isolate themselves from history.
Therefore US public officials and politicians only seemingly have a sense of history, since they cannot refrain from invoking the US constitution whenever it seems appropriate and whenever it is not. In fact, they do so much like fanatical Muslims or Christian fundamentalists who refer to the Holy Koran or the Holy Bible respectively, at every instance.
We all know it is impossible to have a meaningful and open dialogue with a fanatical believer in anything, be it the Bible, the Koran, the US constitution or any other Holy Writ. Religion being essentially an acquired taste, one ought to bear in mind the ancient Roman exhortation: "de gustibus non disputandum." Religion may be useful to explain the hilarious statements made by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, as well as his fuzzy logic and lack of realism the man cannot help it. In these days of sharp, unstoppable, but well-deserved US decline, we might as well be a little lenient toward that country and Obama's boy in the Caucasus. To paraphrase Jesus Christ, worshipped by Obama and most of his predecessors: "forgive him, he does not know what he is saying!"