Political scientist Seraphim Melentyev on what Russia should do to score a diplomatic victory over the West
“You can kill an elephant with a needle if you find the deadliest place to stick it. … International tribunals for Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq should be formed. I feel sorry for Obama, but these investigations are necessary to protect the world from the geopolitical adventurism of exceptionalist Western elites who have gone unpunished, and to prevent them from interfering with Russia as it builds a great new country, developing itself and helping friends and neighbors do so as well. … The world needs a good empire, and Russia has every chance and basis for quickly becoming one.”
Alexander Zinoviev, an outstanding Russian sociologist, once opined on how to “kill an elephant with a needle.”
Zinoviev told a story from his childhood, when gangs of children formed in the schoolyards of 1930 Moscow and beat up other children to take their money and things. One day Zinoviev walked out of a shop, where he had purchased a drawing compass – the one with the pointy leg.
Surrounded by members of one such gang, more than ten of them, all were older and stronger. They demanded he turn out his pockets out threatened to beat him. Zinoviev took out his drawing compass, showed it to them, and said that he would pierce the eye of the first who touched it.
The oldest and stronger kid took a step back, and the gang let Zinoviev pass through. After that, rumors spread about ten-year-old Alexander Zinoviev was a fierce gangster associated with adult criminals. He lived in the area for six more years and no one ever harassed him again. They were afraid.
In the spring of 2014, tectonic shift occurred in Russian politics. I refer to President Vladimir Putin’s speech in the Kremlin’s St. George Hall on the return to Russia of Crimea and Sevastopol [watch below]. In his speech, President Putin, who has called the collapse of the USSR, “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of 21st century,” publicly acknowledged for the first time the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the Soviet Union’s collapse.
And the word “Russian” is mentioned 24 times.
The cost was high. Accepting responsibility for the collapse of a great country, and Putin used this phraseology three times, will lead us to the mission of building a new nation based on historical Russia. Putin expressed his intentions in this regard a long time ago – in most detail in an October, 2011 pre-election column in Izvestia.
In examining the West’s initial reaction to the lightning “Crimean initiative,” one might miss what is most important. Back in 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States would not permit Eurasian reintegration [i.e.: greater integration of the Commonwealth of Independent States], because that would mean, under the guise of economic integration, that the Kremlin would begin a “re-Sovietization.”
Clinton urged the international community “not to make a mistake” because “It’s not going to be called that … It’s going to be called a customs union; it will be called the Eurasian Union and all of that. But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow it down or prevent it.” If Clinton would make such a bellicose statement, we can only imagine how energetically and with what terms the actions of Russia are eliciting from U.S. Republicans and neocons.
But back to Zinoviev. His thesis is that you can kill an elephant with a needle if you find the deadliest place to stick it. In our case – to disarm the West, deprive it of the initiative and bind its hands and feet.
Such a needle is hidden in the history of Western foreign policy for the past 15 years, and which, by the way, Vladimir Putin reminded us about in his March 18 speech. With no lack of irony, the president thanked Western heads of state and diplomats for at least sometimes remembering international law, even if they trampled on it in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
A reminder to the president: Russian diplomacy should use Zinoviev’s needle to jab the “Western elephant” so it doesn’t interfere with Russia as it fills its historic space and becomes a world power.
March 24th marked the 15th anniversary of the start of NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia. For three months, without any reflection about international law and the U.N. Charter, the United States and NATO destroyed a sovereign state, killed several thousand people including 800 children, and caused about $100 billion in damage to the country.
It would be symbolic if Russian diplomacy, in the form of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin marked the anniversary by putting forward a resolution establishing a United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Kosovo and the former Yugoslavia. Peace and international law demand an investigation into this “humanitarian” crime and prosecute those responsible for it.
Also, October 7 is the 13th anniversary of the U.S. and NATO invasion of Afghanistan, so an International Tribunal for Afghanistan can also be initiated. The ongoing American operation “Enduring Freedom” deserves a detailed analysis, since one of its most striking consequences has been the planet-wide phenomenon of Afghan drug production. Heroin production in Afghanistan has risen 44 fold, while over the last decade, the number of global deaths amounted to almost a million people. Why is this not an international crime against humanity?
At the tribunal for Afghanistan, a question should be raised: Who is responsible for giving NATO command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which occurred in August 2003? That way, it becomes possible to end the substitution of NATO for the United Nations, which poses a threat to the security of all countries and peoples. The main goal -rather than to share a smoke with the Americans on their mega bases, the purpose of which is demonstrably not to create stability – would be to force the U.S. and NATO to finance alternative development programs in Afghanistan to drastically reduce drug production.
Next. In March 2015, the question of an International Tribunal for Iraq should be raised. Remember Colin Powell’s test tube [of anthrax] and other “facts?” It is time to make those who initiated the Iraq War answer for the millions of Iraqi dead.
Finally, an appropriate international investigation into the Libya intervention should once and for all put an end to the doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” that in March 2011, as prime minister, Vladimir Putin, during a conversation with workers at a Votkinsk factory, called a “crusade.”
This proposed series of Russian diplomatic initiatives would turn the remainder of Barack Obama’s term into a daily nightmare.
Of course, I feel sorry for Obama, but these investigations are not necessary if we are to break the psychological balance of power held by Western leaders. These investigations are needed primarily to protect the world from the geopolitical adventurism of exceptionalist Western elites who have gone unpunished, and to prevent them from interfering with Russia as it builds a great new country, developing itself and helping friends and neighbors do so as well.
The world needs a good empire, and Russia has every chance and basis for quickly becoming one.