Last week, the Obama Administration announced it is sending troops to Ukraine to "train" the Ukrainian National Guard. The folly of this move -- which, as later stories showed, is only the beginning of a much larger U.S. military involvement in Ukraine -- is so astounding and appalling as to defy comprehension.
What it amounts to, in essence, is deliberately provoking a crisis that will bring the world closer to a nuclear war than it has been since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, all for the sake of a territorial and political dispute in one corner of Ukraine. In following this insane policy, Obama is backed by the full weight of the entire bipartisan political establishment -- and by the media establishment, which is eagerly pushing a maniacal anti-Russianism unseen since the McCarthy era.
Nowhere is the latter more true than among many "progressive" writers -- people who easily saw the catastrophic danger of the push to war with Iraq, but are now championing an identical advance to an unnecessary war. Whereas before they rightly resisted the primitive "humanitarian intervention" argument that "Saddam is bad, therefore the war is good" -- even it is carried out by a transparently rapacious imperial system which had already killed, by its own admission, more than half a million Iraqi children through years of murderous, senseless sanctions -- now they swallow that specious argument whole: "Putin is bad, ergo we must now trust that same transparently rapacious imperial system to pursue the same policies and propaganda and demonization against Putin and Russia that it did against Saddam and Iraq -- but this time, everything will turn out fine! This time, we'll be the good guys! This time, we'll be on the right side of history!"
In many cases, the demonization of Putin seems to surpass that of Saddam. For our new-style Liberal war hawks, it is not enough that Putin is ruthless, authoritarian and heedless of law and morality in his exercise of power; he must be an inhuman monster, a "psychopath," mentally unstable, impossible to deal with in any rational manner, fit only to be gotten rid of, like a rabid dog. Yet in being ruthless, authoritarian, heedless of law and morality, Putin is exactly like his counterparts in the West -- especially the "leader of the free world" who meets with his security bosses every single week and ticks off names on a list of people to be assassinated without mercy, outside all legal process. Putin's regime also assassinates arbitrarily designated enemies, but on a scale and with a frequency that is several orders of magnitude below that of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in the White House.
But wait; Putin is notoriously corrupt, right, running the country for the benefit of a few well-connected oligarchs? That's bad! Yes, he is, and yes, it is. But even the Kremlin's epic corruption can hardly match that of Washington, which has given $14 trillion in bailouts and "guarantees" to the few well-connected oligarchs who run Wall Street. Trillions more have gone to the war profiteers who have benefited from the gargantuan corruption in the War on Terror's military operations. Likewise, Putin's repressive domestic regime finds strong echoes in America's militarized police forces, who routinely -- almost every week -- kill innocent people without any consequences. The Kremlin stifles dissent, cracks down any protest not specifically authorized by law; this is shocking, but -- where are America's "Occupy" encampments today? What happened to them? Where are the mass, permit-less protests, like those which evoked such furious repression in Russia? They don't exist in America either; protest is limited to specially designated, heavily policed "free speech zones." Anyone straying outside these strict limits risks a bashed head and a spell in stir.
None of these parallels excuse atrocious behavior on either side. The fact that the United States government has killed hundreds of thousands more innocent people than the Russian government has in the last 12 years does not make Putin a moral exemplar, or make him any less culpable for crimes carried out by his regime. But it does mean that all those who declare that Putin is a "psychopath" who cannot be reasoned with and who can only be resisted by military force must also apply those same epithets and approaches to the leaders of the West, especially the United States. But I see nothing of that among the liberal demonizers. At most, you might see a criticism or two of Obama, offered more in sorrow than in anger, and always mitigated with anecdotes about some cool thing he did, or some cool dig he made at the nasty Republicans -- who are, of course, entirely to blame for any bad thing that Obama might have been "forced" to do. (Oh, that awful Ted Cruz, breaking into the Oval Office every week and forcing Obama to murder people all over the world! Oh, that evil John Boehner, literally putting a gun to Obama's head and forcing him to prosecute people who reveal government crimes and to protect torturers and war criminals from any harm! And oh my god, that beastly Sarah Palin, who stuck Obama with a cattle prod and made him save the criminal bankers instead of the millions of people they ruined! O that poor man! O that poor, sweet, helpless man, who only wanted to do good!)
But enough of that for now. The folly of arming the Ukrainian National Guard is compounded by the prominent role played in that organization by avowedly neo-fascist groups like the Azov Battalion. I wrote recently of the disturbing neo-fascist elements now in ascendance in Ukraine; Chris Ernesto at Antiwar.com focuses on the Azov Battalion in particular. These are the people that American taxpayers will soon be funding and arming and training:
According to the BBC, Azov’s aims are stated in one of their online publications: "To prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital," and "to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man."
"Run by the extremist Patriot of Ukraine organization, which considers Jews and other minorities "sub-human" and calls for a white, Christian crusade against them, it sports three Nazi symbols on its insignia: a modified Wolf’s Hook, a black sun (or "Hakensonne") and the title Black Corps, which was used by the Waffen SS," stated the BBC.
…Vadim Troyan, an Azov deputy commander was appointed as Police Chief of Kiev Oblast (Region). "If they are appointing people like this to positions of such importance and power it is a very dangerous signal to the Jewish community of Ukraine," said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office. "This is a very strange way of convincing the justifiably concerned Jewish world that there is no intention to encourage fascist sympathies or neo-Nazi activities."
…Azov’s founder, Andriy Biletsky, who also heads two neo-Nazi political groups, was elected to serve in Ukraine’s parliament while the battalion itself has been integrated into the country’s National Guard, according to Sky News’ Kemp.
Biletsky, who was given an "Order For Courage" award by Poroshenko, recently wrote, "The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led sub-humans. The task of the present generation is to create a Third Empire."
This is the mentality that American money is empowering in a region that has become the most volatile and dangerous place on earth. These are the people acting as America's proxies in what is increasingly becoming a direct military confrontation between the world's two largest nuclear arsenals. This is an act of monstrous, murderous, mind-boggling folly.
It precisely parallels the creation of the international jihadi movement by the United States and Saudi Arabia in order to goad the Kremlin in Afghanistan. We are still dealing with the ever-worsening consequences of that moral insanity more than 35 years later. The latest ISIS atrocity is a direct result of that policy, which originated in the Oval Office of yet another Nobel Peace Prize-winning "centrist" Democrat, Jimmy Carter. Now we are planting the seeds of another generation of evil, arming and funding violent extremists -- and for the same reason: to goad the Kremlin! -- who, like the jihadi "freedom fighters" of yore, will go on to pursue their own agendas.
Patrick Smith continues to write with depth and fervor on the West's drive to war with Russia. His latest piece gives a sharp and disturbing look at how the warmongers in Washington are working in happy tandem with the media -- particularly the New York Times -- in the Potomac Empire's latest Drang mach Osten:
As of Monday—as of Monday’s New York Times, to be precise—we are now on notice. In all probability, in a matter of months the U.S. will begin sending lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military. Those named as part of the deliberations for this turn in policy include Secretary of State Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Defense Secretary Hagel, Joint Chiefs chairman Martin Dempsey, and Philip Breedlove, the American commander of NATO’s military forces.
Look at the list. Two soldiers, who by training and tradition think in terms of military capability alone, a Vietnam veteran turned Republican hawk who is not noted for his field of vision, and two Democrats of the breed lately achieving egregious prominence, the liberal interventionists. The take-homes here are two: One, be on notice, too, that there is little consequential opposition, if any, as Washington once more reiterates America’s right to pursue the providential mission in every corner of the planet. Two, this is not about Ukraine: It is about a greatly craved face-off with Russia with a long history behind it.
I stand astonished we are hurtling toward armed confrontation at this speed, with no one in sight to check what starts to look like an obsessive-compulsive addiction to some kind of regeneration through violence.
“The U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism,” Mikhail Gorbachev, whose subtle grasp of the divide between East and West is second to nobody’s, said in an interview last week. “Where will that lead all of us? Have they totally lost their heads?”
On this side of the concertina wire, we are amid a propaganda campaign that exceeds itself as we speak. The latest is an old Pentagon “study” leaked to the networks Wednesday —and dutifully reported in grave tones—purporting to establish that Vladimir Putin suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. Any younger reader who does not understand why this column brays regularly about a return to the suffocating absurdities of the 1950s, now you know. Future generations will laugh, but we cannot now.
Along with the above-named officials, eight others gathered separately to publish a report urging—you will never guess—arming Ukraine against its rebellious population in the East and countering the yet-to-be-demonstrated Russian presence behind them. Here we have a retired Air Force general, a retired admiral, two former ambassadors to Ukraine and one to NATO, two former Pentagon officials (Michèle Flournoy could be defense secretary were Hillary Clinton to win in 2016), and Strobe Talbott, Bill Clinton’s deputy defense secretary. Talbott now presides at the Brookings Institution, one of three think tanks to issue the report. ...The report recommends the U.S. send Ukraine $3 billion worth of anti-armor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored vehicles and radar systems to identify the source of rocket and artillery fire.
The choreography at work in the Times report is remarkable even for a paper accustomed to doing what it is told. Michael Gordon, a long-serving defense and security correspondent noted for his obedience, reported the deliberations in Washington (without naming a single source) the same day the Brookings report appeared (and in the same story).
First, anyone who continues to mistake a clerk such as Gordon for a journalist must by now be judged irredeemably naive. … Second and more important, the careful coordination of the disclosures spoon-fed Gordon suggests very strongly that a) public opinion is now being prepared for a new military intervention and b) planning for this intervention is in all likelihood already in motion.
And here we go. On Wednesday the defense secretary-designate, Ashton Carter, testified at his confirmation hearings that arming Ukraine would be fine with him. On Thursday Secretary Kerry arrived in Kiev to confer with the Poroshenko government. It will be interesting to read the reporting on this curiously timed visit in light of the artlessly artful manner in which we seem to be advised of our next war in the making.
It will also be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from the summit between Putin, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande who are meeting today (Friday) to discuss a peace plan. Will the Europeans be able to derail -- or at least delay -- the American drive for confrontation? Or has the bloodlust gone too far, as it did with Iraq? (You might recall the fate of the many diplomatic initiatives that tried to avert that war -- including Saddam's complete capitulation to all terms for unbridled inspection by the UN.) Either way, with the entire American power structure now lined up for more conflict with the "psychopath" in the Kremlin, we have a treacherous path ahead of us.