Streetwise Professor

April 13, 2010

“Your Humble Servant” Lied. As Gomer Pyle Would Say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 1:36 pm

Kyrgyzstan’s self-anointed new government acknowledges that Russia provided support in its overthrow of the Bakiyev government/regime:

Omurbek Tekebayev, a former Kyrgyz opposition leader who took charge of constitutional matters in the new government, said that “Russia played its role in ousting Bakiyev”. (From the Telegraph.)

. . . .

Kyrgyzstan’s self-proclaimed new leadership said on Thursday that Russia had helped to oust President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and that they aimed to close a U.S. airbase that has irritated Moscow. (From the Globe and Mail.)

The most public evidence of support was a propaganda offensive by state controlled Russian media against Bakiyev in recent months.  What additional support was provided can only be surmised, but the confirmation from the new government/regime makes it more than likely that Russian complicity didn’t start and end on TV.

All of which means that Putin’s (excuse me, “your humble servant’s”) denial of any Russian involvement was a transparent lie.

And, it was likely intended to be a completely transparent lie.  Putin, domestically, in the near abroad, and the further abroad (e.g., Washington, DC) wants it known that Russia is playing for keeps in the Great Game.  The non-denial denial is just the way that game is played.

The response of the US administration seems even more halting and clueless than usual.  I know the administration has been criticized for it turning a blind eye to Bakiyev and thereby setting itself up for this problem.  But what was the alternative?  I ask that question seriously: before judging I’d like to know what the choices were.  This is a part of the world where “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” is a daily reality, rather than just a line from a rock anthem. Moreover, there is no doubt that Russia definitely has home field advantage in that part of the world, and if the US was less than pristine in its dealings with the Kyrgyz government, Russia is clearly willing to use even dirtier gambits to get its way.

That said, the administration should have been better prepared.  It’s not like this should be a bolt from the blue.  But it seems that there is genuine surprise.  It certainly seems that there is no coherent response or countermove.

It is particularly telling that at the very time that Medvedev and Obama were playing BFFs in Prague, a member of Medvedev’s entourage stated that Russia expected that Manas would be closed.  The response from the administration?  [Crickets chirping.]  I bet they howl in Moscow about what a chump Obama is.

And Russia is playing him perfectly.  Medvedev (who doesn’t matter) slobbers over Obama, playing on his constant need for narcissistic reinforcement.  While Obama is thereby manipulated into believing that he and Medvedev are pioneering new achievements in Russia-US relations, Putin, who does matter, is relentlessly implementing his vision of Russia’s national interest.

Can we get Jimmy Carter back?  I say that only partly in (mordant) jest.  At least Jimmah wised up eventually.  This lot?  Such a revelation is not in immediate prospect.

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  1. Putin and Medvedev will unquestionably continue to play Obama as being in far over his head until Obama does something to push back. Unfortunately, I don’t think Obama has any idea what it takes to push back. It makes me wonder just how bad things will get before the American people start standing up for our national interests and the interests of our allies in general.

    Comment by charles — April 13, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  2. Human rights wise, if the new government in Kyrgyzstan is better, the neocons are in an interesting analytical predicament.

    What if more democratic and pro-Russian forces were to successfully change the Belarusian presidency?

    Comment by Mr. Y — April 13, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  3. It’s possible, but . . .

    Like a Navy chief I knew used to say: “If frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bounce around on their asses.”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 13, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  4. I don’t understand this obsession with the POTUS persona. He’s got a bunch of old WASP handlers to keep him in check. Reagan was practically senile in his second term. Yet according to some he was the bestest president ever.

    Comment by So? — April 13, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  5. Actually Kyrgyzstan had severe problems well before the revolution. Not just the corruption / nepotism / cronyism / regional clannishness that is standard fare in any of the Central Asian republics, but also problems with drought (food availability), electricity (hydroelectric dams working below capacity due to said drought), and returning gastarbeiter from Russia (drop in remittances, more unemployment).

    So really the entire structure was rotten, and didn’t need much of a push to get it to collapse. I suspect Russia’s involvement was about the same as that of the US in the Orange Revolution, i.e. very indirect, and limited to unofficial advising and covert funding of the opposition.

    Anyhow, like Mr. Y, it is very interesting seeing how the neocons are spinning this. At worst, the new government will be no more authoritarian than Bakiyev – and certainly more supportive of women’s rights! (Isn’t Roza Otunbayeva the first female Central Asian head of state?).

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — April 13, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  6. Russia successfully schemed to overthrow a U.S.-supported government. Through canny manipulation, it fortified its power position over the U.S. considerably and could now seek to tighten the screws on America’s supply lines to Afghanistan. Washington got badly outmaneuvered. (And, heightening the humiliation, this is the nation with which President Obama just signed a new nuclear disarmament treaty that will save the Russians hundreds of billions of dollars.)

    Watch. This summer, we may see Russia allow the U.S. to continue using Manas to fight the Taliban (one of its own enemies, after all) in order to extract even more precious concessions from a weak-willed White House, such as in Eastern Europe. Whichever way it chooses to do so, expect Moscow to exercise its increased leverage against America to accelerate its former archenemy’s already rapid loss of influence in the world. •

    Comment by Boris — April 14, 2010 @ 6:22 am

  7. So?–well, personality matters. Re Reagan, 2d term was not glorious, the 2d half of his second term anyways–which was when his mental acuity slipped.

    Surely you jest if you refer to the folks around Obama as WASPs. Axelrod? Emanuel? Unless by “WASPs” you mean White Alinksyite Semitic Politicians.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 14, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  8. I am waiting to see the actions the new government of Kyrgyzstan takes, then I will know qui bono. Until then the situation looks hazy, with very wacky and dubious theories floating around. I will let the dust settle for a while and then I will be wiser to talk about what actually happened. 😉

    Comment by Leos Tomicek — April 14, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  9. Good point Leos regarding the lasting power of the new Kyrgyz government and how it develops its relationship vis-a-vis Russia and the West.

    Meantime, the zero sum game thinking (Russia versus West) especially lingers on with some.

    Comment by Mr. Y — April 14, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  10. The worst part of it is not who Putin is, or what he does, the worst part of it is that this person, with all his cruelty and his anti-national policy, meets a need of Russian society. That is the really depressing thing. It is only now that some glimmer of understanding has started to appear – a glimmer of understanding about what this man is doing to Russians, to Russia, to the Russian state. Maybe something will start changing now.

    But, unfortunately, to this day he has met a need of Russian society – the ratings, even if they were exaggerated, show this. The self-censorship that journalists have subjected themselves to…Of course, it is fear – it cannot be explained otherwise. But the Russian public cannot cope on their own with this phenomenon, with Putinism. And the West as usual is not ready to help or even to give moral support to those who are trying to oppose this phenomenon. There is nothing new in this either – it was the same in Soviet times too. The West strengthened Stalin, and the regimes that followed were also supported by the West.

    And today with this oil and gas… Europe is always in need of something. It will always need something from Russia. But the thing is that as long as they are going to play along to the tune of these regimes and give them nourishment, the problems Europe has, instead of being resolved, will only become more acute. This is something the West does not understand. As long as the problem of the Russian regime is not solved, the problems in other parts of the world will not be solved either – be they in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, with Al-Qaida or in the North Caucasus.

    Comment by Boris — April 14, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

  11. Surely you jest if you refer to the folks around Obama as WASPs. Axelrod? Emanuel? Unless by “WASPs” you mean White Alinksyite Semitic Politicians.

    Hmmm… Whenever I think of Obama, I picture Clinton, Gates and Biden pulling the strings. Just looked up the rest. My condolences.

    Comment by So? — April 14, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  12. Clinton? Hah! An irrelevancy. Biden? A joke. You think those two are pulling strings? You are dreaming. Actually, they are probably pulling strings in THEIR dreams–and only there. Gates. Soldiering on, but hardly Obama’s puppeteer.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 14, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  13. Oh, and Biden isn’t a Protestant anyways. So not a WASP. And I left out Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American, because she didn’t fit in my redefinition of WASP. But she is a major force in the White House.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 14, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  14. Boris–I agree. As a revisionist power, with a chip on its shoulder, and a leadership that lives in the past, nursing grudges and dreams of imperial glory, Russia is a source of instability.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 14, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  15. Meantime, some other country was very much involved with massive armed operations in Yugoslavia (1999) and Iraq (2003), while feeling that it’s perfectly okay for it to have military influence elsewhere as well.

    In contrast, Russia seems more reserved to stay within its hood.

    “Instability” is enhanced when a major power has some misguided perceptions on disputes abroad.

    That said, I sense an increase in a more reasoned approach among American foreign policy eilites with clout.

    Especially when staying off the topic of Russia, Brzezinski can make some reasonable observations – thereby making his comments on Russia appear contradictory at times. Brzezinski has said that the US needs to understand and show greater respect for the views of others – due in good part to the US having power projection limits.

    Comment by Mr. Y — April 14, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

  16. Vladimir Putin LIED.

    He lied openly, publicly, repeatedly and in the course of his official duties as prime minister.

    He has been exposed, and he has not apologized.

    The Russophile FILTH who comment on this blog would like to simply ignore all this, and go on contending that Putin’s word can be trusted. They don’t offer one single word of criticism for Putin’s mendacity as head of government.

    That is as insane as it gets, my friends. This is why Russia doesn’t rank in the top 100 nations of the world for adult life expectancy. It’s that desperately screwed up.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 15, 2010 @ 6:46 am

  17. The followiong doesn’t fully substantiate the claim that some are making:

    Omurbek Tekebayev, a former Kyrgyz opposition leader who took charge of constitutional matters in the new government, said that “Russia played its role in ousting Bakiyev”.

    “You’ve seen the level of Russia’s joy when they saw Bakiyev gone,” he told Reuters. “So now there is a high probability that the duration of the U.S. air base’s presence in Kyrgyzstan will be shortened.”


    Russia has reasons to not be happy with Bakiyev. So do many Kyrgyz. Russia chose not to support Bakiyev when the protests against him became high profile. Instead, Russia recognized the anti-Bakiyev political forces, after they gained control over the Kyrgyz capital and much of the rest of Kyrgyzstan.


    What’s “desperately scwewed up” are some of the posted selections at inoSMI and elsewhere.

    Comment by Mr. Y — April 15, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  18. And LR is an apologist for TERRORISM, so long as the victims are Russians. “Brutalized Women of the Caucases Strike Back”? That’s “her” term for female jihadi suicide bombers? Even the host of this site backed off several threads ago when he started sounding like the lefty moonbats he despises, talking about ‘blood for oil’. How about poor little things, brutalized Saudi men fight back on 9/11? Doesn’t sound so good, does it?

    Comment by Mr. X — April 15, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

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