Putin Says US Imperial Footprint Unmatched: ‘Draw a Map and See’

Despite US military dominance, Obama accuses Russian leader of attempting to ‘recreate Soviet empire’

By Lauren McCauley

Responding to ongoing brinkmanship between the United States and his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin dared reporters to publish a map of the two nations’ global military footprints and then “see the difference.”

The comments came over the weekend as G7 leaders assembled in Bavaria, Germany—a meeting which, prior to the recent upheaval in Ukraine, would have also included Russia. On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama closed the summit by saying that the Russian leader was aiming to “recreate the Soviet empire.”

G7 leaders stood united in their threat to increase sanctions against Russia if the conflict in Ukraine escalates.

“Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire?” Obama asked in his closing remarks. “Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?”

However, Obama’s accusations of Russia violating the “sovereignty of other countries” are striking in light of the United States’ own military strategy, which Putin highlighted days earlier in a Saturday interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“U.S. military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together,” Putin said. “The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note—10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation.”

Outside of what he described as the “remnants” of Soviet-era armed forces in Tajikistan, Armenia, and zones with high terrorist threat such as the Afghanistan border and Kyrgyzstan, Putin said that “Russia has virtually no bases abroad.”

“We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on,” he said.

And despite statements about Russian aggression, this draw-down highlights a policy that “in this respect is not global, offensive or aggressive.”

“I invite you to publish the world map in your newspaper and to mark all the U.S. military bases on it,” Putin continued. “You will see the difference.”

Amid the verbal sparring match, the U.S. military also took steps to increase pressure on the ground.

On Friday, U.S. Strategic Command announced that three nuclear-capable B52 bombers were being deployed in addition to two B2 bombers to the United Kingdom for exercises to demonstrate “the United States’ ability to project its flexible, long-range global strike capability” in training missions over the Baltic states and Poland.


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  1. Alice X
    June 9, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    The Soviet Union at its peak never exceeded twenty per cent of the GDP of the US.

    Counter Intelligence

    from Metanoia Films – highly recommended.

  2. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    That article at Truth Dig (referenced by Brandon) puts a good deal of this in a new light. There are some who believe central Eurasia controls the future. To that end China has been spending billions, maybe trillions on infrastructure like railroads and pipelines crisscrossing the continent. Seems they feel it will render much of our air and sea power impotent. So when Obama says Russia’s greatness does not depend on conquest he ain’t kidding and Putin knows it. So maybe he is mocking us on our defense spending since it may not be useable. We may be looking at a new strategy for the dominant world empire.

  3. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    maybe Putin and China are recreating a world empire, land based in Eurasia at that.

  4. June 9, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I highly recommend this excellent TomDispatch post, bd…! 😉

    Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Washington’s Great Game and Why It’s Failing

  5. June 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    In notable news on the G-7 summit in Garmisch, from Euronews…

  6. June 9, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that the Chinese is investing billions in other countries’ infrastructures around the World, meanwhile we’re investing billions in destroying the infrastructures around the globe…? 8-(

  7. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    That appears to be the same as what I noted. It would appear though the game has changed with Russia and China linking the land mass. Our sea power and air force have limited use. Some think China is even planning to breach the containment in the gulf and south china sea. But they are in no hurry. Meanwhile we spend ourselves drunk on air and sea forces and ignore our own infrastructures.

  8. June 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Eggs-actly, bd…! 8-(

    Time for us to wake the f*ck up and shore up our own crumbling infrastructure/ domestic affairs…!

  9. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    “The Geopolitics of American Global Decline: Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century”
    Same article at NC.

  10. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Yes, they are interested in their economy with the side benefit of building an empire. Our infrastructure goes to hell and we allow unemployment and poverty to go on and on and on. Who would you bet on?

    But we got smart alec and tough talking on our side.

  11. June 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    The Chinese are certainly winning the ‘Hearts and Minds’ war…!

    Domestically, I’m betting on Bernie to right our Ship of State in ’16…! 😉

  12. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I hope you are right. I fear Hillary will just continue with the old containment policy and maybe even try to take Iran (called a keystone) so we can all enjoy war some more.

  13. June 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Btw, have you read that MintPress News translation of Putin’s lengthy interview…? I’d tried to obtain the permissions to republish it here in it’s entirety yesterday, but, couldn’t get it before this Common Dreams article had posted today…! 😉

  14. June 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Incidentally, I’ve stayed at our AFRC ‘hotel’ in Garmisch during my tour in Germany…! 😉

  15. Bluedot
    June 9, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I just looked at it. That was a wide ranging interview. He seems quite informed and open

  16. June 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    *heh* Any wonder why he’s so popular in Mother Russia…? 😉

    As he stated flatly his first priority was Mother Russia…! Fancy that, eh…? 😉

  17. dubinsky
    June 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    zero for 2

    Chinese state capitalism is ruthlessly exploitative

    and Bernie ain’t going anywhere

  18. June 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Goddamn Nuland’s minion, ‘Yats’… Kiev hopes to sell state-run companies to US investors – PM

    The Kiev ‘putsch’ has already stopped all payments on all public pensions to veterans and retirees, wtf…?

  19. Doom Sternz
    June 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    The hypocrisy and recklessness of Obama and his G7 counterparts is breathtaking. They are denouncing Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, which they plunged into civil war by backing a fascist-led putsch last year that toppled a pro-Russian government. Now, as US and NATO armed forces are conducting air, sea and ground exercises all along Russia’s borders. In Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea, the US and its allies are rehearsing the opening stages of an all-out war with Russia.

    Last week, US defense officials testifying before the US House of Representatives indicated that the Pentagon is considering launching pre-emptive strikes against Russian targets, including with nuclear weapons. Russian leaders have already warned that they are on alert for signs of an imminent first strike by NATO and are holding Russian nuclear forces ready to respond to such an attack, should it come.

  20. jo6pac
    June 9, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    bernie I like him but his stance on israel and war isn’t my cup of bad tea. Thanks for the news:)
    Yes, Russia and China win the long fight and I have no problem with that they have playing the game for thousands of year and the New Amerika?
    The same goes for Iran and Syria
    Thanks CT

  21. jo6pac
    June 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    He and others round him are Russian first he still has a small fifth western column he needs to deal with. I’m all for them removing the ngos and the 5th column. I can’t even write more on this subject:(

  22. June 9, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    It’s f*cking sad how desperate our Western elite have become, doom…! 8-(

    As Col. Lang and numerous sane DoD individuals keep screaming daily, Don’t prod the Bear…!

  23. June 9, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    As Aristotle noted long ago, jo… To perceive is to suffer…! 8-(

  24. June 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    From The Twisted Genius at Sic Semper Tyrannis…

    Skipping into Oblivion – TTG

  25. dubinsky
    June 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    and RUssia’s is now about 13% of the US’s

  26. June 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Once again you chime in with an inane quip, dub…! Certainly par for the course…! *gah*

    And our ‘State’ Capitalism is much less exploitative how so, again…?

  27. June 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    And your point would be, dub…?

  28. dubinsky
    June 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    my point is that Russia’s GDP is 13% of that of the US.

    what don’t you understand about that?

  29. dubinsky
    June 9, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    what’s wrong with you?

    it’s not a quip.

  30. June 9, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    While you’re comparing apples to oranges, as usual, whom might be the determiner’s of GDP, eh…? Arthur-Anderson, the IMF, the WB, or even some other Western-financed institution…?

  31. Hugh
    June 9, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    What Putin has said in the past is that he regretted the break up of the USSR. Yeltsin, a Russian nationalist, ended the USSR for straightforward demographic reasons. Ethnics Russians were about to lose their majority. By cutting the old SSRs loose, Yeltsin was able to establish a large majoritarian Russian state. Putin, on the other hand, has tried to increase Russian control over the old SSRs. In Central Asia, this has meant forging ties with the local corrupt ruling oligarchs and using Gazprom as a mediator sitting between them and their natural gas markets in Europe. Putin, when discussing Russia’s footprint, seems to forget the Russian naval base at Tartus in Syria, and the Russian troops “protecting” a small enclave of ethnic Russians in Moldova, Russian and ethnic Russian forces occupying the northern third of Georgia, and of course, the Russian troops and Russian supported militias currently operating in eastern Ukraine.

    We should always understand that while the US may be the hegemon, there are still states, like Russia, China, Israel, even ISIS, who are pursuing imperial ambitions in their own corners of the world.

    We should remember too that the US has no monopoly on hypocrisy. Putin is all for self-determination and championing the “aspirations” of ethnic Russians when they are living in somebody else’s country, but he brutally crushed the self-determination and aspirations of Chechens when these occurred within Russia itself.

    The current series of military exercises are mostly what goes under the rubrique of “reassurance”. The Poles and Baltics remain deeply distrustful, fearful, and hostile toward Russia and any resurrection of Russian imperial pretensions. It says a lot when even the Finns are unsettled. They want a strong US and NATO presence in Eastern Europe. I said this a while ago: Putin could get away with invading and annexing Crimea. He had history and demographics on his side, just not international law. But anything further, as in what has happened in Donetsk, was going to result in a permanently hostile Ukraine and indeed increased tensions along the whole western Russian periphery, excluding Belarus.

    Whatever you think of US and Western European policy, you should be at least as cynical of Putin and Russia’s.

  32. June 9, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    I totally agree with your astute analysis, hugh, always have too…! Putie is the veritable LOTE on the global chessboard, and why we’re prodding the Bear so provocatively is completely asinine…! 8-(

  33. dubinsky
    June 9, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    apples to oranges????
    GDP to GDP is not apples to oranges
    now you’re just writing twaddle.

    ( I used the UN figures, puka-clutcher)

  34. June 10, 2015 at 12:54 am

    “Whatever you think of US and Western European policy, you should be at least as cynical of Putin and Russia’s.”

    I think that the cynicism should be directed at capitalism, first and foremost.

    Somewhere below Tuttle linked to an truly excellent article at Tomdispatch, regarding historically contextualized current geo-strategic power relations, to which Pepe Escobar has been alluding in more editorial terms, especially since the Ukrainian putsch.

    Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Washington’s Great Game and Why It’s Failing

    I think that the hysteria of the Baltic states is just that. Putin, as much as China and the US, under neoliberalism, has no interest in physical land-grabs.

    The US also exists in somebody else’s country, if you will… “International law” appears to be what the US, with her client states’ support deems to be lawful, at any given moment in time. It’s as much an illusion as domestic law which let’s banksters off the hook while disproportionately incarcerating minorities for breaking bullshit laws.

  35. Doom Sternz
    June 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Ukraine’s far-right government, backed by Washington, launched a new military offensive against the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on the night of June 2-3.

    The Donbass people’s militia responded quickly, first sending Kiev’s forces scurrying in panic, and now digging in for the hard battle for control of Marinka, a city southwest of Donetsk’s capital, against a Ukrainian military increasingly funded by the U.S. and armed with NATO weaponry.

    US and NATO are funding the mass murder of civilians in Donbass, ethnically cleansing Ukraine of voters that refuse to vote as demanded by the neo-liberal Americans. This will ensure the pillage of Ukraine can continue unabated.

  36. Doom Sternz
    June 10, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Ukraine is an instrument used to weaken Russia, an instrument that is being used by the West which is busy escalating the conflict and supplying arms. Ukraine’s provocations will continue and one must note the situation in 1941, when Stalin forbade any reaction to German provocations aimed at USSR, which of course led to War.

    There then remains the possibility that, if Minsk-2 is buried, Russia renounces the preamble to the Minsk Agreements, namely the guarantee of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and its military intervenes.

    Poroshenko’s statements are provocations and a direct threat to Russia. The problem is that those are statements by an irresponsible politician who should be condemned within the framework of international law for his genocidal actions and crimes against humanity. The only just and available punishment is lifetime imprisonment.

  37. June 10, 2015 at 4:30 am

    How novel, eh doom…? U.S. considers Cold War-style containment for Putin

    Obama administration officials are considering Cold War-style
    containment to rein in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tightening
    grip on Eastern Europe, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    The updated containment strategy would call for strengthening the
    militaries of several North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, as well
    as rooting out corruption in countries bordering Russia. Administration
    officials believe corrupt bureaucrats may be behind Putin’s increased

    Some Obama administration officials have also called for an expansion
    of NATO in efforts to limit Moscow’s influence. While Ukraine and
    Georgia, both countries that border Russia, cannot join NATO, some
    Pentagon and administration officials are quietly lobbying for
    Montenegro’s admittance to the alliance. This would show Putin doesn’t
    have a veto over alliance expansion.

    The statements of these anonymous Obama officials to the Wall Street
    Journal come as President Obama meets with the G-7 country leaders in
    Germany. His talks are expected to include discussions on how to combat
    climate change, and how to combat full-scale war in Ukraine.

    Yeah, that’ll do the trick…! *gah*

  38. Doom Sternz
    June 10, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Its against international law, multiple human rights abuses and many crimes against humanity, the ends justifies the means right. Hitler had the same views.

    The black Hitler will face war crimes tribunals.

  39. JamesJoyce
    June 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Our political leaders suck! Meddlesome…..
    A society tantamount to being “drug addict,” should focus on our own shortcomings and issues instead of fucking in the affairs of others and perpetuating dysfunction.

    More troops to Iraq?? WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is not isolationism. Dealing with our dysfunction should be the first concern. America is being played by a corptocracy addicted to money like a crack head is to crack.

  40. JamesJoyce
    June 10, 2015 at 6:18 am

    We invest in war…. Look at our budget and footprint????

    Ike was right on April 17th 1961. His warnings like other PRESIDENTS, has simply been ignored by those who feed off the tit of the taxpayer, via a MICC.

    Ike was not the only one concerned with the “Military Expenditures” All the founders were concerned about, standing armies….

    My republic is fucked in the head at the moment. I don’t know if it can be fixed given the constant propaganda from MSM, our collective historical ignorance, compliance with garbage and money deemed speech.

    America is “drunk with power,” like those in a one time republic.

    If “Ike” feared, “corporate fascism,” taking hold of a republic in the form of a MICC and attached energy interests, I fear it also.

    In fact, my critical reasoning skill tell me, I’m living it.

  41. June 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Emperor Peace Prize the full on Neocon on steroids. Please have some self respect and mail your medal back to Norway.

  42. montymarket
    June 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm
  43. dubinsky
    June 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    have you always been delusional or is “lifetime imprisonment” your idea of merriment?

  44. dubinsky
    June 10, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    “black Hitler”?

    you really are pathetic and enfecalated.