For Barack Obama, the G20 summit in St. Petersburg will be a tough face-to-face encounter with Mr. Putin, the first since the chemical weapon attack in Damascus. One of these gentlemen blinked; the other one remains very focused. Guess who blinked?
This will be the first meeting between Obama and Putin since their ongoing stand-off over Syria began after the chemical weapon attack in Damascus on August 21. Perhaps the Syria crisis could have been mitigated (even avoided altogether) had the presidents met, as long planned, in a one-on-one summit in Moscow last August. But Obama canceled it.
According to The Washington Post (August 7, 2013) that was “a rare, deliberate snub that reflects the fresh damage done by the Edward Snowden case [the young National Security Agency contractor given political asylum last month by Russia] to an important relationship already in decline…. With that announcement, Obama effectively wrote off more than a year of effort to build cooperation with Putin.”
At the time, White House press secretary Jay Carney explained: “Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia summit in early September.”
Political hindsight now shows that there are either a) Very serious flaws in the White House’s decision-making process; b) The escalation process leading to (what they hoped would be) war on Syria was then already firmly on the US-UK agenda, so that Obama had better not get himself embarrassed by having a smiley-smiley meeting with Putin just days before a Syria strike; or c) Worse still, “somebody else” is calling the shots at the White House and in the State Department.
Whatever the reasons, last week was a bleak one indeed for the US, UK and Israel alliance’s endeavors to get themselves into war with Syria so that they could apply that old black magic learned so well in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Libya.
After the Damascus chemical weapons attack, the White House and Downing Street began a threat escalation fury saying they were “ready to attack Syria.” US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave notice to the world that “the US military stands ready to heed Obama’s attack order at a moment’s notice,” and even President Francois Hollande made France join the saber-rattling party.
But then it all began falling apart. First, on August 29, Britain’s House of Commons said “No,” to David Cameron’s plea to authorize British bombing of Syria together with its US ally.
Then UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon said his inspectors had confirmed that the attacks
took place, but it would be several weeks before we could know
who the culprits were…
The always obliging mainstream media tried to whip up a war frenzy, going so far as to say that Saturday, August 31 would be “D-Day.” But Saturday came and all we got was an Obama speech saying something like “the US is ready to attack Syria, but we’re not quite sure when: it could be one day from now, or one week, or one month…” (How about two years from now?)
Even France’s Hollande had to backtrack when confronted with his countrymen’s overwhelming opposition to attacking Syria, a former French colony, demanding that at least France’s deputies have a say. After all, France too is supposed to be “democratic…”
But what really seems to have made all the difference were those common sense statements coming out of the Kremlin in Moscow, some of them quite personal from president Putin to president Obama…
Putin began by stating that the horrific Damascus chemical weapons attack was being used by the Western allies as a scapegoat to attack Bashar al-Assad, adding: “I am sure this was no more than a provocation by those looking to drag other countries into the conflict and obtain the support of powerful international players, particularly the United States.”
He also shrugged off the West’s accusations, pointing out that “claims that the proof exists but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody are beneath criticism,” whilst he challenged Mr. Obama to come clean once and for all: “If the US has proof that the al-Assad regime is responsible for that attack, then submit that evidence to the UN Security Council.” Which would then, no doubt, take a unanimous decision. Obama did not reply…
Common sense points to the perpetrators being that wide assortment of criminal fighters wreaking havoc inside Syria, which include the Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra, (aka “Syria Freedom Fighters” and Syrian National Council), armed, funded and trained by the US. Putin added: “In such conditions, to give a trump card to those who are calling for foreign military intervention is foolish nonsense.”
In addressing his comments to Obama, Putin said he was speaking to him not as the US president, but as a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize. “We need to remember what's happened in the last decade, the number of times the United States has initiated armed conflicts in various parts of the world. Has it solved a single problem?" Afghanistan, Iraq ... There is no peace there, no democracy, which our partners allegedly sought."
Denying as "utter nonsense" the idea that Assad's forces would use chemical weapons when they were winning the civil war, Putin looked steely and confident. After months of pressure to abandon Assad, Putin sent the West a strong message: he is ready to fight over Syria in the St. Petersburg G20 Summit.
He added that "of course, the G20 is not a formal legal authority. It's not a substitute for the UN Security Council; it can't take decisions on the use of force. But it's a good platform to discuss the problem. Why not take advantage of this? Is it in the United States' interests once again to destroy the international security system, the fundamentals of international law? Will it strengthen the United States' international standing? Hardly."
Putin said the attack may have been a provocation by rebels fighting Assad, intended to hasten US military intervention.
A senior US administration official in Washington said that Russian officials “and certainly the Russian media” (I wonder who?) are continuing to say that the United States has an agenda focused on regime change in Syria, and that “the United States is driving tumult in the Middle East for its own ends."
Twenty heads of state will be meeting for the two-day summit. President Putin’s official welcome says that “the forthcoming Leaders' Summit in St. Petersburg will reaffirm the G20's role as an efficient mechanism for coordinating the world's leading economies' policy approaches to global economy and finance.” Sure, why not?
But to really understand the world of the 21st century, we must begin by shedding many 20th century paradigms that still distort our world view. For instance, the one that insists that the economy reigns supreme over all mankind, as explained by former US president Bill Clinton’s famous 1992 campaign slur against George Bush Sr. “It’s the economy, stupid!” got Slick Willy into the White House for eight full years, by the way.
But that was in the 20th century. Not any more… The 21st century is no longer just about the economy. Actually, it’s much more about anything BUT the economy and, as Slick Willy would say, you’d have to be really stupid to think otherwise.
People are starting to realize that if you really want to tackle the economic problems of the G8, G20 or G179, then world leaders would be very well advised to first and foremost tackle one fundamental hideous problem: the global mega-bankers’ power to consistently rip off the entire planet by getting governments to bail them out every time their criminal shady business deals grow sour.
That’s when grabbing taxpayer money, the Fed’s hyperinflationary Quantitative Easing I, II and III come in: workers lose their jobs, countries go into debt defaults, and the specter of (hyper)-inflation starts to loom on the horizon.
If these summits do not address this key issue, then it’s like the proverbial Emperor with No Clothes. If you avoid addressing the obvious, all you get in the end is more business as usual. Some hollow end-of-global-summit statements; some wishful thinking statements, and it’s “Bye, see you at next year’s G8, G20 or G179 meeting…”
Why then are these issues never ever on any economic agenda? Because the mega-bankers are too damn powerful, too damn strong and too damn threatening to government leaders. Only a very few dare to take action to force them to behave properly, ethically, morally and peacefully. That’s what true sovereignty is all about…
Banksters need the war system; they thrive upon it. Ever since the days of bankster founding father Meyer Amschel Rothschild, they need a perpetual war system to survive. They always have…
You see, there is no such thing as a “bank too big to fail” – whether it’s Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, Wells-Fargo, Bank of America or HSBC. What we see are banks that are too powerful to fall; which means that their power, leverage and control reach all the way up to the White House, 10 Downing Street and the Palais D’Elysee.
If any government or parliament does not bow to their demands, well… the banksters have the global mechanisms to make sure that government or parliament does not survive too long…
In short, the real agenda behind this week’s G20 Summit is how the ongoing Superpower Geopolitical tug-of-war plays out.
Meanwhile, let the blind lead the blind: let the other G20 presidents and ministers – Rouseff of Brazil, Kirchner of Argentina, Mexico’s Peña Nieto, Indonesia’s Bambang, Italy’s Letta, Australia’s Rudd, Canada’s Harper et al – talk about “the economy” and blah, blah, blah… Let the mainstream media put that on their headlines and news flashes…
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin will continue to stare at Barack Obama who will continue to blink, whilst no doubt China’s Xi Jinping will join them with a typical enigmatic Chinese smile.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.