Matt McCarten starts his HoS column today with arguably the biggest understatement since Noah said, “Looks like rain today”:
“In the United States, it seems the mainstream media fall in line frequently with their government’s spin over international events.”
Matt’s disturbed by “how jingoistic and partisan the US news coverage is over the Georgia conflict.” This is important, he says, as the US is the world’s most powerful nation, and, because of the role played by the US news media in filtering the western world’s news. (For an example of the latter, just try TV3 news.)
He points out that most people in the US would have little idea that it was the Georgians who kicked off the current conflict there, with the slaughter of Russian peacekeepers and Ossetian civilians.
Instead they hear that, “the small, feisty and free democratic state of Georgia has been ruthlessly invaded by Russian thugs who are carrying out genocide and mass destruction. It’s … a fight between good and evil.”
We in NZ still have a range of views presented by our news media, and probably have a better understanding of events in Georgia than most Americans, Matt believes. He’s probably right.
Chris Trotter in Friday’s DomPost provides a graphic description of the “brigand’s strategy” pursued by the Georgian government, the human carnage and the sheer, breath-taking stupidity of poking the Russian Bear sharply in the eye. Especially, as Chris points out, when it has stationed masses of huge Russian battle tanks decked out in explosive reactive armour just across the border in North Ossetia.
He dwells — and rightly so — on the monumental irony of the likes of Bush and McCain deploring the violation of sovereign territory:
“Tell it to the Yugoslavs, Uncle Sam. Tell it to the Iraqis and the Afghans and the Nicaraguans, and every other unfortunate nation that has ever found itself in the cross-hairs of American foreign policy. Tell it to the Serbs, forced to watch helplessly as the Western powers carried off their province of Kosovo.”
Well put. Historically the US has maintained an interest in the Americas that almost saw the end of the world when the Soviets tried to station some missiles there, most notably. But there are few Latin American countries in whose affairs the USA has not interfered many times, if not invaded.
The US neocons seemed to have missed the point that their encouragement of Saakashvili is the equivalent of the Russians talking to Mexico about an alliance, and then encouraging them to lay waste to would-be break-away state of Baja California, immediately on the border with California, killing many Americans. What would you expect the Americans to do faced with that?!
That Dubya and his buddy John McCain can pronounce on territorial integrity, the acceptability of “bullying and intimidation” and how “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations” without being howled down simply underlines Matt’s point.