UK media demonizing Russia as ‘guilty’ of daring to resist US Empire

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky)
The demonization of Vladimir Putin and Russia by the British political establishment and media has never been as intense as in the wake of the recent Ukraine peace talks in Minsk.

Rather than preparing British public opinion for peace and a negotiated settlement to a conflict which thus far has cost the lives of over 5,000 people and seen over a million displaced, the opposite has been evident: British public opinion is being prepared for a continuation and intensification of the conflict.

The characterization of the Russian leader has been so off the scale it is hard to imagine anyone being naïve enough to take it seriously. When he’s not being compared to Hitler, an especially offensive caricature for historical reasons, he is being accused of harboring ambitions of forging a ‘Russian Empire’.

That such accusations stem from a nation whose government has played a key part in reducing Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya to a state of chaos in recent years, a consequence of the UK’s attachment to Washington’s brutal and disastrous assault on the Arab and Muslim world, only makes them all the more hypocritical if not downright noxious.

But then this should come as no surprise, as we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Remember when Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was being similarly demonized and held up as a dictator? His crime when he came to power and remained there on the back of numerous democratic elections was his refusal to allow Venezuela’s wealth to continue to be shipped out of the country, as it had been for decades, by a small group of Western-supported oligarchs.

What the crisis and conflict in Ukraine has done is remind us that we live in a unipolar world in which the West’s interests and rights are the only ones deemed legitimate. This is what drives the repeated attempts by Washington and its allies, especially the UK, to push a hegemonic agenda. And whether in the Middle East or in Europe, it is this agenda that has been the root cause of instability, conflict, and human suffering across the world that we have seen unfold in recent times. And this is without taking into account the decades of mayhem that has ensued before that.

The US is a global hegemon. With over 1,000 military bases covering the planet, 11 navy battle carrier groups, and a military budget currently exceeding that of every other major industrialized nation combined, the challenge facing the world is how to resist a US Empire that, to paraphrase the Roman historian Tacitus, is intent on making a desert and calling it peace.

The British political class and its media allies have made a virtue out of attaching themselves to the US Empire’s coattails. It is a sordid and eminently dishonorable relationship that has allowed the UK to parade itself as a first rate power when in truth it hardly qualifies as third rate. While Britain may no longer have an empire, an empire attitude towards the rest of the world continues to poison the minds of its leaders and proponents of the ideology of ‘democratization’, which is not to be confused with democracy.

Vladimir Putin and Russia’s crime is to dare to resist this US Empire, taking a stand against the hypocrisy, double standards, and complete lack of respect for other countries, cultures, and values it represents. The concerted attempt to expand NATO and an ever more militant EU all the way up to Russia’s border has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with the projection of imperial power masquerading as democracy.

An escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine benefits no one, least of all Russia. But the principle at stake is one that must be upheld – namely an end to the West dictating orders to the rest of the world and thereby spreading destabilization rather than peace, war instead of peace, and chaos at the expense of order.

At some point a viable political solution to the Ukrainian crisis will have to be agreed. But only equals can reach such an agreement, which will require an end to the infantile Russophobia that has become a feature of political discourse in the UK. Russia is not an enemy of the British people. The irresponsible and reckless disregard for European stability based on mutual respect is.

The UK has long been the cat’s paw of Washington within Europe. When the US sneezes it is ready with a handkerchief to blow its nose. In fact it would be more apt to replace the word ‘alliance’ in Atlantic Alliance with ‘dependence’.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the British press, the poet Humbert Wolfe said it best: “You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God, the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.