The Winners of Putin’s Aggression: The U.S. Military-Industrial Complex and Big Oil

There's a bear in the woods ...

There’s a bear in the woods …

W.J. Astore

There’s a new bear in the woods and his name is Vladimir Putin. Remember that Reagan campaign ad from 1984 that showed a menacing, obviously Soviet, bear patrolling the woods, with ominous music in the background? Fast-forward thirty years and a bare-chested Putin is that new bear, marauding in the Crimea and threatening Ukraine.

Our mainstream media has entered a time warp and we’re back to 1984.  No, not the 1984 of George Orwell and of constant monitoring by Big Brother – our media is not concerned by that.  Instead, they’re concerned with a revived Soviet Union, a new Cold War, and the notion that America is unprepared and weak.

The big winner of this collective (and selective) exercise in time travel is obvious: the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex as well as Big Oil and Gas.  We can’t make significant cuts to “defense” spending now that the Russian bear is on the loose again.  Right?  And the best way to neutralize the bear’s threats of cutting off gas shipments to Europe is by surging oil and gas drilling in the U.S., chiefly by hydro-fracturing or fracking.  Right?

Never mind concerns about rising CO2 levels and global warming.  It’s 1984 again, not 2014.  We need to corral that Russian bear before he emasculates us.  Deploy our military!  Drill baby drill!  Show the Russkies who’s boss!  Before they go all “Red Dawn” on us.


And when was the cheesy “Red Dawn” originally released? You guessed it: 1984.

11 thoughts on “The Winners of Putin’s Aggression: The U.S. Military-Industrial Complex and Big Oil

  1. I have previously observed in this space the convenient timing of Putin being elevated to the US’s World Public Enemy Number One. Mr. Putin needs to be aware that one Saddam Hussein was a previous proud bearer of this designation. The mainstream wisdom was already that Chuck Hagel’s trial balloon of reducing the ranks of the Army would be DOA in the halls of Congress; these latest developments absolutely seal the deal (or, the coffin, to stay on metaphorical theme). Biden has made the pilgrimage to Kiev to pledge US support for the Ukrainian regime. US forces are engaged in provocative “war games” in eastern Europe right now. Obummer (not my coinage, but I even prefer it to my own, previous Obomber) deliberately provokes Putin by dismissing him and his nation as bit players in the world. All we need to see now is Obummer or Kerry (to strictly follow the John Foster Dulles model from Korea) peering through binoculars across the border from Ukraine into Russian territory. Yes, welcome to the New Cold War, with potential for getting quite hot. Hold onto your wallet, America, the Pentagon wants your last pennies.

  2. Just a thought, but the word “Aggression” in the title of this article might better have come enclosed in cautionary scare-quotes and preceded by the always useful disclaimer, “so-called,” as otherwise the casual reader might erroneously infer that the author agrees with the propaganda line coming out of the U.S. government to the effect that Russian President Vladimir Putin has actually committed some form of assault on someone somewhere. Just saying …

  3. Michael beat me to the punch and is much more polite than I was going to be. Putin was PROVOKED into a defensive move to protect Russia against the aggressive encirclement that is the US strategy. To use the term ” Putin’s aggression” in the headline is to endorse the administration’s bellicose rhetoric and support the military reaction. If we are to be truly “contrary” we should use the correct description which is “Putin’s defensive” move which was brought about by our provocation to overthrow an elected, but bad regime, to install an unelected coterie of US proxies and outright fascistic anti Semites and oligarchs .

    This is not too different from our deceit in Egypt where Obama-Kerry failed to label as a coup the military overthrow of the duly elected Morsi. Now they are suppressing the democratic youth n addition to the Moslem Brotherhood and we are rewarding them with fifteen Apache helicopters to rule like Mubarak after the planned faux election to put their general in as ‘president’.
    How about a bit more contrariness!

      • Our parents generation tried to teach us a little healthy skepticism through the use of aphorisms like “You can’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” When I repeated this to Professor Lewis Lancaster (from whom I took some graduate courses in Buddhism) he corrected me. “These days, with Photoshop, you can’t believe anything you see, either.” I find this especially true when it comes to images supplied by the U.S. government intended to frighten gullible and ignorant Americans who don’t know the first thing about important foreign countries like Russia or China.

        In his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell advised us to “never use a word or phrase that you are used to seeing in print.” He meant by this that we should habitually suspect propaganda narratives and think about what other words and images would best convey a meaning more closely approximating the real truth of things. So when the sycophant scribes of the U.S. corporate media start chanting “Putin’s aggression” and begin circulating doctored photos of the Russian president doing one thing which ostensibly purporting to show him doing something else entirely, I automatically substitute words like “defensive response” and mentally picture a bear-baiting entertainment in Elizabethan England or present day Pakistan where a captive bear, chained to a post, finds itself set upon by a pack of ravenous dogs, all for the amusement of some local yokels and the profit of unscrupulous circus owners.

        So, for a contrary perspective, I would have run a picture or graphic of a bear-baiting instead of the one purporting to show Russian President Vladimir Putin riding bareback, bare chested, upon a bear. I think this would have given readers a far more visceral, not to mention, truthful, impression of the forces and motives behind U.S. foreign policy toward Russia at the moment.

      • But the image is perfect for the point I aimed to make: the exaggeration of the Russian threat for the purposes of the military-industrial complex and big oil/gas. Everyone knows Putin isn’t riding bears bare-back. Right?

      • George Orwell (nee Eric Blair) also said: “All propaganda is lies, even if it is telling the truth.” I’m still struggling with that concept. I guess he was referring to the notion of to what purpose one puts truth. At any rate, yes, the US is trying to “surround” Russia and China and actually there are few weak links in the chain. Obummer in Japan today renewed the US pledge to defend Japan against (alleged) Chinese aggression. US troops have been in Japan, of course, since 1945. Additional US warships are steaming toward the Russia/Ukraine region. And of course where there are gaps in US ground-based forces, there are aircraft carriers and airborne fleets of bombers (I wonder where their “fail-safe” points are nowadays?) to be employed. Welcome to the New Cold War!

      • Greg,

        George Orwell said: “Journalism is printing what other people don’t want you to print. Everything else is public relations.”

        William Blake said:

        “A truth that’s told with bad intent
        beats all the lies you can invent.”

        Somewhere in between those two sentiments lies Orwell’s view of propaganda, I think.

  4. That’s because it’s a tame bear.
    US policy to encircle and isolate Russia and China ( the “pivot to the Pacific”) is not a passive policy. Some might even call it “aggressive”. How about calling the Russian move to secure the Black Sea fleets base in Crimea and neuter the coup,s new Ukrainian government an ” aggressive defensive” move on Russias part?

    • I have to laugh at the idea of the U.S. “surrounding” China. How, I ask, can the U.S. surround its principal banker and chief source of consumer products that the U.S. can no longer manufacture for itself? Recently, I read where someone had taken note of China’s long history and observed that the country seemed poised to regain “the position it held for eighteen of the last twenty centuries — on top.” Trying to “surround” both China and Russia will not leave them surrounded, but the United States isolated. What a monumentally moronic excuse for “statecraft.” As my Taiwanese wife says of President Obama calling Russian President Putin gratuitous and insulting names: “He sounds childish.”

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