[A-List] James Petras on Beslan - fire away
Henry C.K. Liu
hliu at mindspring.com
Thu Sep 16 21:01:08 MDT 2004
Michael Keaney wrote:
>War in the Balkans in
>the context of European capital's spread eastwards certainly sounds
>familiar. What is new is the hegemonic role played by the US and the
>absolutely crystal clear desire of various sections of the US ruling class
>to chip away, piece by piece, at Russia, until there is nothing standing in
>the way of Zbigniew Brzezinski's greatest prize, central Asia (as detailed
>in his "The Grand Chessboard"). The latest article by the execrable Richard
>Pipes says it better than Petras possibly could (see below for full
>article). Presumably Pipes feels differently about the US possession of
>Iraq. Or Puerto Rico. Or the British possession of Gibraltar, the Malvinas,
>Give the Chechens a Land of Their Own
>By RICHARD PIPES
>New York Times: September 9, 2004
>Terrorism is a means to an end: it can be employed for limited ends as well
>as for unlimited destructiveness. The terrorists who blew up the train
>station in Madrid just before the Spanish election this year had a specific
>goal in mind: to compel the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. The
>Chechen case is, in some respects, analogous. A small group of Muslim
>people, the Chechens have been battling their Russian conquerors for
>At the close of World War II, Stalin had the entire Chechen nation exiled to
>Kazakhstan for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Khrushchev allowed them
>to return to their homeland but they continued to chafe under Russian rule.
>Because Chechnya, unlike the Ukraine or Georgia, had never enjoyed the
>status of a nominally independent republic under the Communists, the
>Chechens were denied the right to secede from the Russian Federation after
>the collapse of the Soviet Union. And so they eventually resorted to
>terrorism for the limited objective of independence.
It was not "alleged", but proven collaboration with the Nazis.
>A clever arrangement secured by the Russian security chief, Gen. Alexander
>Lebed, in 1996 granted the Chechens de facto sovereignty while officially
>they remained Russian citizens. Peace ensued. It was broken by several
>terrorist attacks on Russian soil, which the authorities blamed on the
>Chechens (although many skeptics attributed them to Russian security
>agencies eager to create a pretext to bring Chechnya back into the fold). A
>second Chechen war began in 1999, of which there seems no end in sight.
>This history makes clear how the events in Russia differ from 9/11. The
>attacks on New York and the Pentagon were unprovoked and had no specific
>objective. Rather, they were part of a general assault of Islamic extremists
>bent on destroying non-Islamic civilizations. As such, America's war with Al
>Qaeda is non-negotiable. But the Chechens do not seek to destroy Russia -
>thus there is always an opportunity for compromise.
Al Qaeda has a very specific objective: US troops out of Saudi Arabia
and the Middle East. Al Qaeda also did not seek to destroy the US, of
drive the US out of the Moslam world.
There are those in the West who nvertheless seek to use Chechnya to
>Unfortunately, Russia's leaders, and to some extent the populace, are loath
>to grant them independence - in part because of a patrimonial mentality that
>inhibits them from surrendering any territory that was ever part of the
>Russian homeland, and in part because they fear that granting the Chechens
>sovereignty would lead to a greater unraveling of their federation. The
>Kremlin also does not want to lose face by capitulating to force.
The West uses confusion between national independence with national
autonomy. The former is used as an disingenous ploy to weaken any enemy
power, the latter is a legitimate aspiration and an utilitarian policy
for ethnic minorities.
>The Russians ought to learn from the French. France, too, was once involved
>in a bloody colonial war in which thousands fell victim of terrorist
>violence. The Algerian war began in 1954 and dragged on without an end in
>sight, until Charles de Gaulle courageously solved the conflict by granting
>Algeria independence in 1962. This decision may have been even harder than
>the choice confronting President Putin, because Algeria was much larger and
>contributed more to the French economy than Chechnya does to Russia's, and
>hundreds of thousands of French citizens lived there.
The French-Algerian situation is totally defferent. Algeria was a colony
of French racist colonialism. Part of Algeria's struggle was against
French racism which structurally prvented any prospect of real
integration based on equality.
At any rate, the US, with its dsigraceful record on Native Americans,
African Americans, its colonialization of Hawaii, Texas, California,
Puerto Rico, etc., is in no postion to lecture anyone.
Hernry C.K. Liu
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