Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Bashing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Moscow Visit

Bashing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Moscow Visit

by Stephen Lendman

Media scoundrels are relentless. So are Western officials. 

Tsipras arrived in Moscow Tuesday night ahead of his Wednesday meeting with "Kremlin strongman" Vladimir Putin, some reports headlined.

The Wall Street Journal said he didn't come for money. He's feigning an independent streak.

He's playing to the home crowd. He's faking defiance of EU/IMF creditors.

So far he's saying one thing and doing another. He's business as usual masquerading as a populist leader.

"Analysts say Mr. Tsipras’s trip is unlikely to yield any tangible benefits but risks augmenting the mistrust between Athens and other EU capitals, including Berlin," said the Journal.

Putin stands to gain more by "show(ing) cracks in the West's front against Russia's policy in Ukraine," it added.

Greek analyst Constantinos Filis believes Tsipras won't risk European alienation over Russia. Any big announcement from Moscow would be provocative, he added.

His EU criticism is more rhetorical than real. He declined Putin's invitation to participate in May 9 Victory in WW II commemorations to be held in Moscow.

London's Guardian called his visit "controversial." Saying "the defiant leader flew into Russia on Tuesday amid speculation that president Vladimir Putin might make an offer of financial help he would find hard to resist."

A Tsipras administration statement called his visit "politically friendly and economically promising."

The Guardian said expect "an array of accords" to be signed - "including a three-year plan to strengthen economic and commercial ties." 

Expect no blockbuster announcements. At the same time, it's no secret Tsipras wants Russian sanctions relief - to restore lost trade, especially in agricultural products.

He hopes Russia will agree to deliver natural gas at lower prices. Gazprom supplies 60% of Greece's needs.

Western officials accuse Putin of exploiting Athens to disrupt EU unity. 

Russian economist Vasily Koltashov says "for Moscow, it's very important that Greece adopts a harder position in relations with Brussels over the sanctions with Russia."

Western officials claim Tsipris is playing "a dangerous game of brinkmanship" at a very sensitive time.

New York Times editors are relentless Putin bashers. An embarrassment of Big Lies blast out daily.

They headlined "Greece Should Be Wary of Mr. Putin." Ludicrously saying it would be "misguided (for) Tsipris to seek financial or other support from President Vladimir Putin."

They criticized Tsipras calling sanctions "a road to nowhere." They ignored their blatant illegality.

They called Tsipras' comment "seriously harmful because the sanctions are having an impact on Russia and should be maintained."

"(T)hey have to be renewed periodically and all members of the European Union - including Greece - have to agree to extend them."

Fact: Lawless actions should be universally denounced.

Fact: No nation or political union may impose sanctions on other countries legally.

Fact: Security Council members alone may do so. No such action was taken - nor will it.

Times editors never quit.  One irresponsible Putin accusation follows others.

"Mr. Putin has shown a keen interest in exploiting divisions within the European Union for his own gain," they said.

His legitimate interest in wanting cooperative relations with all nations is called "exploit(ive)."

His all-out efforts to resolve conflict in Ukraine diplomatically is considered disruptive. Irresponsible charges of nonexistent “Russian aggression” persist.

Eurozone straightjacket rules bankrupted Greece. Its debt burden is unrepayable. 

Force-fed austerity makes things worse. Not according to Times editors.

They absurdly claim what bankrupted Greece will help "revive (its) economy." 

They support paying bankers first at the expense of long-suffering Greek people.

"…Mr Tsipras should be careful not to let himself be used to undermine (irresponsible anti-Russian) European unity," they stress.

They prove their uncompromising fealty to wealth, power and privilege daily - at the expense of equity and justice for all.

The Financial Times headlined "Alexis Tsipras' soft fruit ploy with Moscow set to antagonise EU."

Saying he hopes for relief from Russia's embargo on EU agricultural products in response to opposing sanctions imposed on Moscow.

"(W)hat worries European diplomats is that the Putin-Tsipras gladhanding amounts to something more significant than fruit trade," said the FT. 

"The big fear, in the words of one suspicious senior official, is a 'Trojan horse' plot, where Russia extends billions in rescue loans in exchange for a Greek veto on sanctions - a move that would kill western unity over Ukraine."

An announcement this week is unlikely - maybe none at all given Greece's stated commitment to pay bankers first, honor all its EU/IMF financial obligations, its NATO ones, and maintain good European relations no matter the harm to its economy and people.

Berlin-based Greece/Russian relations expert Theocharis Grigoriadis says Tsipras "has no intention of making Greece a Russian satellite."

"The Russians know that. The Germans know that. It is pure theatre, a Greek game, and I’m afraid it looks like a poodle trying to scare a lion."

Tsipras so far is all talk and no bite. He's committed to continue same wrongheaded policies he vowed to end - business as usual harming millions of Greek people.

How long they'll put up with it remains to be seen. It bears repeating. Expect no blockbuster announcements from Tsipras' Moscow visit.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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