Peter Lavelle, Scum of the Earth
On Monday evening, visitors to the Moscow Times newspaper's website got a rather unpleasant shock. Not only did they discover what appeared to be a truly godawful makeover (all the color was gone, and opinion pieces were displayed without the author's name visible, much less a synopsis as used to be the case -- the whole thing was gone by Tuesday morning, thank heavens), but mixed in with the news stories at the top of the page, without being marked as opinion, was a propaganda diatribe from the loathsome little maggot Peter Lavelle, one of the few Westerners with so little morality that he joined the staff of the Kremlin's contemptible propaganda campaign known as Russia Today. Thankfully, that feature too was gone by Tuesday morning, and Lavelle's outrageous screed was by then properly marked as op-ed.
But in what we consider a gross lapse, the Moscow Times failed to identify "Russia Today" as being a state-operated propaganda entity -- leaving lay readers clueless as to his (and its) deep-seated biases. As longtime readers and admirers of the paper, we can't remember having been more disappointed to see something in the paper's pages. It's like coming across a rodent dropping in your nice bowl of Raisin Bran.
The MT routinely gives voice to the psychopathic Russophile set, and often one can make the argument that they are performing a useful service, giving us a window into how these nasty pieces of filth "think" and how they plan to attack us. Letting them embarrass themselves, in some cases, can be said to be a more effective way of defeating their argument than any actual opposition argument could ever be.
But the MT degrades itself by publishing Mr. Lavelle's malignant flatulence (search him out in our pages if you want to know the full scope of the odious outrage he represents), and to do so without a a clear warning of who and what he is most unfortunate. Let's take a little spin through the "points" (numbered and in italics) he claims to be making and you can gape at the carnage for yourself as we refute them (in boldface).
At the outset, we should make note of the reason for Mr. Lavelle's interest in writing at this time. The Kremlin has dispatched its propaganda minions because of the picture above, which shows U.S. President Bush in Kiev on Tuesday warmly greeting Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko, whose face is disfigured after surviving a Kremlin assassination attempt via Dioxin poisoning. The American leader proclaimed unequivocally to his Ukrainian counterpart: "Your nation has made a bold decision and the United States strongly supports your request. In Bucharest this week, I will continue to make America's position clear: we support MAP for Ukraine and Georgia. My stop here should be a clear signal to everybody that I mean what I say: It's in our interest for Ukraine to join."
As the brilliant Anders Aslund notes in a column we publish below, the Kremlin's foreign policy has been a total failure on every front, and Putin is just now waking up from his bender to realize that Russia stands utterly alone (Aslund notes that Putin recently compared the United States of America to Nazi Germany). But Ukraine moving into NATO is surely Putin's lowest moment ever. It's a catastrophic failure for the Putin regime, and not even his greatest fans can deny that. They thought the American president was a patsy, and they thought the world was trembling before Russia's "resurgent" might. Instead, it's clear that Bush has finally been listening closely to the crazy, unhinged rhetoric that has been flying out of Putin's mouth recently, and taken the necessary countermeasures.
Those with weak stomachs, turn away now. Here comes the Kremlin's frenzied, desperate "answer" to Bush.
(1) Bush may want to make a deal with Putin over missile defense, a deal that could be "the single foreign policy success of Bush's presidency." (2) Bush's " neocon handlers" have no desire whatsoever for a deal with Putin, they just want to get rejection so they can push forward regardless of his wishes but with convenient cover.
So, in other words, Mr. Lavelle has no idea why Bush is coming to see Mr. Putin. Don't forget about this, because it's important when you get to point #8 below. How can drivel like this possibly makes its way into the pages of a respectable newspaper?
(3) "Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul. Bush has since been ridiculed as naive for making the statement, but maybe his words were a kind gesture of pity to the leader of a country on its knees."
So, in other words, Mr. Lavelle has no idea what Bush's attitude towards Mr. Putin is. You only see this kind of psychotically unhinged inconsistency from those who are not being edited because truth has no significance in their activities (and, of course, from very young and mindless children). Essentially, those who produce Russia Today know that nobody in the West is going to fall for this load of crap, so they just churn out whatever they can to make their taskmasters happy -- just like in Soviet times. What else would explain their hiring a totally uncredentialed and pathetic loser like Lavelle instead of somebody who actually knows something?
(4) "Just eight years ago, Russia was a country that did not matter anymore. The former superpower was broke, in chaos and almost absent on the international scene. It did not take much time for Putin and Russia to show Bush and the world that the Kremlin was not interested in pity, hand-outs or being Washington's junior partner."
Yes, by all means, no need for any handouts to Russia's male population, which lives nearly 20 fewer years than their American counterparts. Russia is in the top 25 world nations for mortality and outside the top 100 for male adult lifespan. Its citizens work for a pathetic average hourly wage of $4 and are facing a massive AIDS crisis. Its per capita purchasing power parity GDP is not in the world's top 50. And yet it doesn't want or need anyone's help. Rather, it feels it has a right to be treated as an equal -- even though it doesn't treat nations like Georgia or Ukraine that way.
(5) Today Russia is back on its feet. Its foreign policy interests are legitimate, and the Kremlin will go to great lengths to defend them. Any other country in the same position would do the same. This is why the West today simply doesn't "get Russia" and is often intensely negative toward Putin.
Back on its feet? The only nations of the world that Russia can count as friends are pariahs like Venzuela, Iran and Syria. Russia will go to great lengths to defend Iran? Yes, we know all about what General Yuri Baluyevsky said about not hesitating to be the first to use nuclear weapons in battle. And apparently, Mr. Lavelle is pleased about that. It's apparently "legitimate" to send money and guns to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, as Russia is doing, in his view.
Is this blathering dolt really the best the Kremlin can come up with? If so, that's probably the most damning evidence imaginable of its total failure.
(a) What annoys most Russians is how the West -- both the politicians and the media -- deny that Russia has it own foreign policy interests. What goes on in Russia's backyard obviously concerns the Kremlin. Former Soviet republics like Georgia and Ukraine wish to move closer to Western institutions. That is fine. But NATO's continued desire to expand is a legitimate Kremlin concern. Any country in Russia's position, watching a military alliance move closer to its borders, would be worried.
Stalin had "foreign policy interests." So did Hitler. Apparently, Mr. Lavelle feels that Russia was obligated to respect and recognize Hitler's "foreign policy interests" just like Neville Chamberlain and Josef Stalin did, apparently he feels Stalin's pact with Hitler was a good idea. Do you notice how he doesn't say one single word of criticism regarding the possibility that Georgia and Ukraine may have "legitimate" security concerns about Russia that Putin is flouting or ignoring, concerns which push them predictably towards NATO? Is he really saying that Russia's concerns about NATO are legitimate but Georgia and Ukraine's concerns about Russia are not? Can he be that fully neo-Soviet? You better believe he can. And that, of course, is why Russia Today hired this vicious freak.
(b) And what about Washington's missile-defense system for Eastern Europe? Once in place, this security gambit will pose a threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent. Because of this, the Kremlin has no choice but to respond to the plan with a large dose of skepticism. I sense, however, that the Kremlin is open to a deal that will safeguard its security.
There is only one way a "missile defense system" can be a threat to Russia, and that's if Russia is planning to fire missiles at the countries it protects. Apparently, Mr. Lavelle is confirming Russia has such plans, and demanding the right to proceed with them unimpeded. Those are the words of a true psychopath.
(6) Today, the United States has a long and serious list of complaints about Russia, perhaps topped with its concerns that the Kremlin might use energy as a political weapon. This notion is simply ridiculous. Russia and its energy companies merely want to be paid world prices for energy. Period. Ukraine and Belarus are not victims of Kremlin bullying. It is these two countries, not Russia, that serve as the barriers that must be overcome before Russia and its energy customers can attain energy security. Furthermore, Russia's energy resources are its own. The state alone will decide how foreign companies profit from its natural resource endowment. This applies to companies including Shell and BP and their trials and tribulations in Russia's oil and gas patches.
So let's see if we understand. Russia's concerns about America are "legitimate" but America's concerns about Russia are "ridiculous." Have we got that right? And it's the Americans who fail to treat Russia with respect, correct?
This man is a maniac!
(7) The issue of Russia's democracy also is often used to lecture Russia. The fact is that Russia's democracy is very young. Only now are meaningful political parties coming into being. Campaigns and elections have a very long way to go, but make no mistake: Today's parties and elected officials reflect citizens' preferences like never before. Thoughtful commentary on democracy's progress is needed, but lecturing is not.
Well that sure seems strange. Didn't he say in point #4 that Russia wasn't interested in being a "junior partner"? Didn't he say Russia needed to be treated fully as an equal? So how come now when democracy is the issue, Russia is "young" and can't be expected to meet the West's advanced standards. In addition to that jaw-dropping hypocrisy, he's lying too (of course). Russia has held five presidential elections. By the time of America's fourth presidential election, John Adams and the first party of power had already lost power to rival Thomas Jefferson and his opposition party, and Adams stepped aside to let an entirely new type of ruler have power.
(8) Bush will be going to Sochi with his hat in his hand. Putin will not. Putin has already built a legacy -- that Russia counts in the world. Bush's eagerness to meet in Sochi speaks volumes about the state of Russian-U.S. relations and the myths that need to be dispelled.
Didn't he say in point #2 that Bush might be going as part of a neocon plot to set up Putin for a big fall? If he's so sure he's going with his hat in his hand, why didn't he say that in the first place. Stalin also "built a legacy." Many Russians are proud of it. Is Lavelle also tickled? Apparently so. This is the psychotic, dangerous rambling of an evil lunatic, helping Russia to do all it can to destroy his native land. He's a traitor, and the only thing that saves us from him is his own stupidity and incompetence. Russia attracts such people like a flame attracts moths in the dark of night.
Mr. Lavelle, as a sycophant, doesn't face arrest or persecution like Russians such as Oleg Kozlovsky, so he has no idea what real life is like on Russia's mean streets -- nor does he have any idea how it feels to be a Georgian, Ukrainian or Estonian being menaced by Russian energy warfare, or an American or Briton being buzzed by Russian strategic bombers.
He's just plain treacherous and evil -- and that's the long and the short of him.