The host (Michelle Norris or Melissa Block) of ATC introduces the story on Russia's new assertiveness by stating, "Fifteen years after the collapse of what President Reagan called 'the Evil Empire,' the Russian bear is growling again...." She's not being facetious!
Gregory Feifer then picks up the ball and runs with it. We hear that "Russia's new aggressiveness was also starkly evident at a recent defense and security conference in Munich. President Vladimir Putin shocked the West by lashing out against Washington, helping to plunge relations between the United States and Russia to their lowest level since the Cold War." Now, what was the "new aggressiveness?" Did Russia preemptively invade a country, back a coup in South America, or threaten to use "bunker busting" nukes?
According to NPR, what Putin said was, "One state's rule has overstepped its national borders in all areas, in economics, politics and the humanitarian sphere, and is trying to force itself on other states--well, who would like that?" Those are the words that NPR labels as aggressive and lashing out; that's odd - to me they sound like stating the obvious.
Feifer then turns to Sarah Mendelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pro-US government think tank, for input on Russia. According to Feifer, Mendelson claims that Russia "has reverted to Soviet-style obstructionism in international forums, such as the United Nations Security Council, where Russia has veto power."
Mendelson claims that "Time and time and time again, the Russians are voting with the Chinese on a variety of issues, often having to do with human rights, that are simply meant to put a spoke in the wheel as the international community is trying to do something about gross human-rights violations. And that is very much a legacy of the Soviet Union, and it's very disturbing." Not like the US, which never obstructs international consensus on the Israel-Palestine issue, or on Kyoto, or on the International Criminal Court, or on the Land Mine Treaty, or....
Really the only offense one can lay at Russia in this story is that they have dared to name the policy of global domination that underlies US foreign policy. You don't exactly have to have a full deck to come to that conclusion! Furthermore, I've commented before how whenever NPR covers Russia, its reporters show a perverse inability to see how much the faults they find with Russia mirror those in the US. A choice moment in this story comes when Feifer cites Nemtsov, a Russian pro-Western reformer, who says that "Putin and his allies think other countries are run just like Russia, and that in a powerful country like the United States, the government must have control of the judicial system and the media."
Nemtsov says, "No independent court system, no opposition, no independence of press. This is special cynical game against Russia. He [Putin] believes in that.’ Gee what could possibly lead Putin to think that the US has a weakened judiciary, a lapdog press, and a pseudo-opposition party? Those crazy Russians!