Insouciant Malevolence: The Dangerous Fantasies of US Diplomacy

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A STUDENT EDITOR allows one of his more incendiary contributors to pen an editorial condemning Israel’s “illegal” occupation of the West Bank. The editorial is duly published in the student newspaper of an obscure mid-western university. The year is 1975.

Nearly forty years later, that same student editor, now a US Senator, is his new President’s nominee for Secretary of State. Everything is going well until his enemies release that unsigned 1975 editorial to the press.

With the rolling of the presses, everything suddenly stops going well.

Yes, you’re right, this is the plot of Episode 2 of the American re-make of the excellent British television series,House of Cards.

And, yes, you’re right again – it is a work of fiction. But House of Cards would not be the runaway success it has become in the United States if its fictional characters and Machiavellian plot-lines were not so firmly anchored in the brutal facts of American political life.

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One of those brutal facts is that no senior US politician can tell the truth about Israel and survive. The Israeli lobby in Washington is so powerful that a 40 year-old editorial condemning the State of Israel would indeed be enough to derail a Senator’s bid to become Secretary of State.

And yet Israel’s occupation of the West bank does contravene both UN Resolution 242 and international law – it is “illegal”.

Israel is also in possession of an estimated 250 nuclear weapons – along with the means of delivering them to practically any target in the Middle East. That the Israelis were developing their own nuclear deterrent was, of course, known to the US Government almost as soon as the programme began. What did they do with this crucial intelligence? Nothing. They turned a blind eye.

Compare the US reaction to Israel’s nuclear programme with its reaction to Iran’s openly declared intention to develop its own nuclear energy industry. Not only has the US imposed economic sanctions on the Iranians but they have also denounced it as belonging to an “Axis of Evil” and designated it a “rogue state”.

And yet, since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not repeatedly attacked its neighbours, violated international borders or been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. Yes, it did spend eight years fighting a war with Iraq. But that was a war of self-defence against the American-backed regime of Saddam Hussein whose armed forces violated Iran’s territorial integrity on 22 September 1980.

Cited as one of the most vicious conflicts of the twentieth century, the Iraq-Iran War cost the lives of between 250,000 and 500,000 soldiers and at least that many civilians. For the first time since World War I poison gas was deployed on a conventional battlefield – not by the Iranians, but by the US-backed Baathist regime.

The same cannot, of course, be said of the State of Israel which has, since its founding in 1948, and in marked contrast to the “rogue” Iranians, violated the territory of its neighbours on multiple occasions. Most notably in its preventive strike against Egypt and Syria in 1967 (“The Six-Day War”) and in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people is an even more tragic story of illegality, terror and unjustified killing.

But none of these facts can be acknowledged in the mainstream of American politics. For a Republican of Democratic Party Senator or Congressman to draw attention to Israel’s historical crimes and misdemeanours would amount to political suicide.

This refusal to face facts: be they facts pertaining to the conduct of America’s allies, or facts relating to the role of the United States itself in world affairs; renders a reality-based American foreign policy impossible. Instead the United States pursues a fantastical foreign policy in which America and her allies stand as the resolute and morally unimpeachable defenders of all that is right and true.

In this fantasy world, the US was never the backer of Saddam Hussein’s murderous aggression against Iran. So how could its diplomats possibly anticipate how a dictator whom they had urged on against the Ayatollahs might respond when he discovered the Kuwaitis siphoning-off his country’s oil? In the fantasy-world of American foreign policy allies like Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein can be a heroic defender of freedom one day and a second Adolf Hitler the next.

If only America was caught up in these fantasies it would be bad enough, but it is the United States’ insistence that every one of its allies – especially the Anglophone states – endorse its make-believe diplomacy that makes the rest of the world shake its head in disbelief and despair.

The crisis gripping Ukraine throws all of these American failings into sharp relief.

With one hand the Obama Administration raises up a diplomat like Victoria Nuland. According to the Wall Street Journal’s former Associate Editor, Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of State Nuland:

“In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be ‘helped’ by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy.”

Meanwhile, the other hand, closed in a fist of indignation, is being shaken in the face of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, by Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry. He has condemned Putin’s deployment of troops to the Crimea as “an incredible act of aggression”.

So, just to be clear, spending $5 billion to subvert the democratically elected government of Victor Yanukovych is not “an incredible act of aggression”. But Russia’s swift action to protect both its own interests and the rights of ethnic Russians, is.

And, naturally, violating the territorial integrity of a UN member state in blatant contravention of both international law and the UN Charter – as the United States and its allies did in Iraq – in no way warrants the description: “an incredible act of aggression”. Got that?

Like the fictional editor in Episode 2 of House of Cards, John Kerry was once an anti-Vietnam War activist: a fighter in the great struggle to make the United States see the world as it is – not as it would like it to be. But that was a long time ago, back in the early-70s. Clearly, Kerry never earned the enmity of a man like Francis Underwood.

So let us leave the last word to Nikolai Ryzhkov, a veteran of Soviet-era politics and now a Russian Senator. In debating the resolution to authorise the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine, Ryzhkov warned his colleagues that the West would be sure to “unleash their dogs” on the Russian Federation.

“They ruined Yugoslavia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, all in the name of western democracy. It’s not even double standards, it’s political cynicism.”

Would that it was! Political cynicism would at least impart to US foreign policy something of the spine-chilling introspection that Kevin Spacey brings to Francis Underwood’s Shakespearian villainy. The truth, however, is that the American political system lacks the self-conscious calculation required of true evil.

What makes the United States’ foreign policy so frightening is its capriciousness, its narcissism, its fatal addiction to the politics of make believe. America’s is not an old and adult evil like the Russian Federation’s. The harm that the United States inflicts upon the world flows from the insouciant malevolence of a spoiled and angry child.

121 COMMENTS

  1. You have a difficult argument Chris. US diplomacy has been irrevocably tainted since Dulles and later Kissinger got involved. Nevertheless the man responsible for the Zachistka system in Chechenya, and the deaths in the Moscow Theatre gassing is the worst kind of murderous thug. Politskaya did not die by accident, nor was the Russian election rigged by accident, nor the circumvention of presidential term limits.

    Obama, though a disappointing mediocrity who has broken every promise he ever made, has relatively clean hands compared to Putin. It is no surprise the Ukraine want to be rid of him

    • @ Stuart Munro: “Politskaya did not die by accident”

      A group of men were tried and acquitted of her killing. Subsequently, another man was tried and convicted. It turns out he was paid to organise the murder; the mastermind is thought to have been Boris Berezovsky.

      “Obama, though a disappointing mediocrity who has broken every promise he ever made, has relatively clean hands compared to Putin.”

      Tell that to the families of the innocents killed by drone strikes in the border territories of Pakistan and Afghanistan, East Africa, Yemen. Obama is a pusillanimous nonentity whose hands are anything but clean.

    • Dont forget the Moscow apartment bombings or that school where they assaulted a hostage situation with tanks and flamethrowers.

      I would suggest “Neither Washington nor Moscow’

  2. An acquaintance recently passed on to me John Pilger’s book, Distant Voices.

    I immediatly flipped to the chapter on East Timor, Born in tears. (Being in our “back yard” and all that.)

    I haven’t gone half-way, and it is stomach turning.

    It is, basically, a story about the West turning it’s back on East Timor to appease Indonesia and it’s client-government…

  3. C’mon Stuart! The oil fields of the Caucasus have been a target of western desire since the day the Admirals of the Grand Fleet decided to bunker their ships with oil instead of coal.

    UK and USofA have tried to get there via Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, and they are having a last shot through Ukraine and the Crimea. But they’ve come up against a stronger man, and they’ve blown their money.

    Problem is that the west – as the political debacle of Syria shows – is no longer a powerful force to be reckoned with, and it is very unlikely that Russia will allow itself to be subjected to another humiliating defeat at Balaclava.

    And I would not want to be in Obama’s shoes (or even in his bunker!) if he was silly enough to order a drone strike on a target of interest that was under the protective wing of the charming host of the Winter Games; things could go ballistic, in all sorts of bad ways.

    With Mother Russia’s hand firmly on the valve controlling Europe’s gas supply the chances of any effective western response to the now-expected minor boundary adjustment, in what many view as a remote corner of a country already in ruins, are vanishingly small.

    We may as well get out the scruffy old atlas and tin of paints and slosh some red wash over the bit of Crimea now, get used to it and save ourselves and the bemused inhabitants a lot of angst.

    Should the citizens of all the states of Ukraine be allowed the ‘democratic’ right to determine their own future form of government? Of course they should – in a perfect world. But the USA’s $5Bn has already swung the pendulum one way, and Mr Putin is kicking it back the other.

    If you don’t like that little balancing act, then what do you suggest?

    • Irrespective of the crimes committed by the US – and there are plenty – Putin’s Russia is not on a mission civilatrice in the Ukraine.

      Ultimately the issue is for the residents of the region to determine. A solution imposed by Russian armed forces will not be a good outcome for them. Talk to some Chechens or Georgians before you fall in behind this monster.

          • More to the point is why is NATO in the region when many thought it would be disbanded after the Berlin Wall came down.

          • You really are a moron aren’t you Gosman?

            NATO is an organisation made up of a number of countries. It is also an organisation that the US promised not to extend into Eastern Europe – a promise which they subsequently broke. Most important though is that NATO is a military arm of the US which has no legitimate reason for being in the area of the Ukraine.

            Russia, on the other hand, has territory there.

            • I’m calling BS on that promise not to expand NATO DTB. Where is the evidence that a binding agreement was made?

      • Consider that Ukraine and Crimea have been Russian since the United States seceded from the British Empire.

    • Unfortunately, I agree with you. Russia will kick the borders in on the Ukraine and the West won’t be able to do a damned thing about it. Its generally what happens to dying empires.

      • Yup – I discussed it extensively with a policy analyst mate and we came to the conclusion that it’s time to bring out the big guns. It’s time to appoint Chuck Norris as bodyguard to Yulia Tymoshenko, and stop Putin and his oligarchs in their tracks.

        • Gung ho, Staurt, you are giving me nightmares! Chuck Norriss, oh please, will he put an outboard motor on his total-gym?
          I know this is not a joking matter but if I remember correctly, approximately six days ago there was a window of time when unidentified gunmen had seized the Ukraine parliament- nobody was in control or knew what to do.
          How about hanging fire on the big boys toys all round?
          (James May’s report on Top Gear on the withdrawal of british military vehicles from Afghanistan showed a massive armoury of customised rolling stock being shipped off in enormous air freighters. One couldn’t help wondering stuff like: how many refugees could fit into one of those planes? the cost of stripping down, detailing and filing a 130 odd page certificate to be signed off on each gargantuan machine?)

          • Chuck is a better solution than ordnance.

            But allowing Russia to unilaterally impose martial law to reinstate their puppet is not a desirable outcome.

            The US ignored Chechnya because they were brown-skinned muslims, and the US was itself up to no good at the time.

            The timing is curious however: Obama had just anounced the largest military cuts in a generation. Does the military industrial complex have so much clout that they can precipitate these events? I guess we’re going to find out.

            • More wacky conspiracy theories coming to the fore. Care to tell me how the military industrial complex in the West caused Victor Yanukovych to turn away from trade deal with the EU which was the catalyst for the movement that eventually ousted him?

              • Nothing wacky about it.

                Putin tells his puppet what to do. Doesn’t favour closer ties to the west hence he discourages EU links.

                Back when the cold war was at its height both militaries cooperated in overstating threats – it got them more funding.

                The legendary status of Soviet fighter aircraft was symptomatic – the foxbat myth was that it was ahead of US tech. Russian SAMs were but their fighters probably weren’t.

                • @ Stuart Munro: “Putin tells his puppet what to do. Doesn’t favour closer ties to the west hence he discourages EU links.”

                  Yanukovich was originally pro-EU, and turned to it for assistance to save the struggling Ukraine economy. Unfortunately, the deal offered would’ve destroyed the economy, and required the citizens of the Ukraine to pay for the privilege. At that point, he rejected the deal and asked Russia for help.

              • Face it: NATO’s Yanukovych Pusch backfired and Putin got to Crimea “firstest with the mostest.” Why is NATO still around, anyway? Every time Gorbachev visits Germany he reminds us that Washington agreed to disband NATO when Moscow disbanded the Warsaw Pact.

  4. Well, all those arguments about the hypocrisy of the US may be justified, but be honest, Chris, you have a slight pro Putin and Russian bias.

    I remember well how the Russians went into Chechnia and some other places, to brutally and ruthlessly squash any rebellion or serious dissent.

    As a former KGB agent and with a questionable track record, also not afraid to lock away or have killed dissenters, he is hardly worth that much respect.

    We should point the finger at all injustice, not just selectively.

    As for those 5 billion for subverting the former Ukraine government, maybe it was more boasting than fact. Where is your proof for that?

  5. Israel is not party to the NPT unlike Iran. Israel also does not call for the destruction of another state or refuse to recognise another country’s right to exist.

    • “Israel also does not call for the destruction of another state or refuse to recognise another country’s right to exist. ”

      Are you really that naive?!

      So let me put it this way; unless a government actually states in black and white, “We intend to destroy XYZ, you won’t take it as genocide”?

      Genocide doesn’t exist unless the perpetrator puts it in writing in his diary?

      Surely no grown adult can be that naive?

    • Gosman,
      Israel may not be a party to the NPT, perhaps they should be like Iran, which may then make it more difficult for the U.S. to totally ignore the fact they have a nuclear arsenal. Iran does not have a similar arsenal and it’s perfectly legal under the NPT for them to develop a nuclear power program.
      When you say “refuse to recognise another country’s right to exist”, I suspect you are referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famous misquote for Israel to be “wiped off the map” . Most informed people know he never said those words. Here’s one of many sites that state this… http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-wiped-off-the-map-the-rumor-of-the-century-fabricated-by-the-us-media-to-justify-an-all-out-war-on-iran/21188

    • The NPT allows, and in fact encourages, states to develop nuclear power from enrichment to working nuclear reactors. Iran has been punished for doing this. Israel has been allowed to do whatever it likes including building nuclear weapons. The hypocrisy of the US and the rest of the world in this matter is truly astounding.

      Israel effectively refuses to recognise the existence of Palestine and actively works to destroy it as it take more and more territory for its illegal settlements.

    • Gosman – read something (anything) by John Pilger. Try “Distant Voices” first.

      Basing your worldview on the 6PM News on tv is a dangerous way to form opinions.

      • Are you stating the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Libya were better off before Western military intervention?

        • Gosman says:
          March 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

          Are you stating the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Libya were better off before Western military intervention?

          Uh oh… Gosman is in his debate-by-inane-question mode…

          • Syria is much worse off without Western military intervention compared to Libya which did have the West active involvement. If you disagree please explain why.

            • Libya has been ripped apart and is now under control of competing warlords. The place is a total mess – just like Iraq and Afghanistan. What the West touches confers the kiss of death!

              • All those nations are infinitely better off than under the regimes they were previously under and all have now the opportunity to control their own destiny democratically.

                  • Are you stating those places were top of the holiday destinations list for people when they were under the rule of Saddam, The Taliban and Gaddafi?

                    Just because they have security concerns still doesn’t mean they are not better off than under the brutal rule of the people and groups that ran them before.

                    Try telling the majority Shia in Iraq that Saddams regime was better. Do the same for the Berbers in Libya with Gaddafi. Don’t forget the girls in Afghanistan now receiving an education that the Taliban denied to them.

        • I am. The countries of the former Yugoslavia and Libya were better off before Western military intervention.

    • I guess Gosman missed all the TV footage of the U.S. run NATO bombing blitz on these countries, perhaps he was too busy watching “Shortland Street” with IV!

      • Yes and I also saw the brutal regimes and vicious wars being waged in these countries stopping shortly after western military intervention as well. Compare that to Syria where a brutal civil war is still continuing.

  6. The claims about the US spending $5 billion to subvert the previous government of the Ukraine is a gross distortion of the facts.

    • “The claims about the US spending $5 billion to subvert the previous government of the Ukraine is a gross distortion of the facts. ”

      And…?

      Well… go on.

      You stated Chris’s comments are “a gross distortion of the facts “.

      What alternative facts do you present? (Facts – not your bizarre opinions – facts.)

      • Mr Trotter stated the following:

        “So, just to be clear, spending $5 billion to subvert the democratically elected government of Victor Yanukovych is not “an incredible act of aggression”. But Russia’s swift action to protect both its own interests and the rights of ethnic Russians, is.”

        The implication being that the US has recently spent 5 Billion US dollars funding groups and actions against Victor Yanukovych since he became President of Ukraine in 2010 thus subverting the results of a democratic election. This is not correct.

        Mr Trotter has taken a quote from a speech by Victoria Nuland (who is a US Assistant Secretary of State) and twisted it entirely out of context. In her speech Ms Nuland mentions the US has spent $5 Billion dollars supporting the development of democratic and civil society in Ukraine SINCE 1991. This is not funding to subvert any elected government at all and certainly it has not been spent since 2010.

        As for whether the US should provide aid for these sorts of things, countries such as New Zealand and Scandanavian nations provide aid in this area all the time.

        • Oh, Gosman, your naivete is jaw-dropping…

          In her speech Ms Nuland mentions the US has spent $5 Billion dollars supporting the development of democratic and civil society in Ukraine SINCE 1991. This is not funding to subvert any elected government at all and certainly it has not been spent since 2010.

          And just what was that $5 billion spent on?

          Can you let us know what “the development of democratic and civil society” entailed?

          You can close down this debate with simply sharing that information with us: what was the $5 billion spent on?

          As for whether the US should provide aid for these sorts of things, countries such as New Zealand and Scandanavian nations provide aid in this area all the time.

          When is the last time New Zealand or a Scandinavian nation invaded another country or toppled it’s government?

          By comparison, when is the last time the US invaded another country?

          Or helped topple a government?

          • I note you don’t dispute that $5 billion was NOT spent trying to topple Victor Yanukovych as implied by Mr Trotter.

            As for US motivation in spending money promoting democracy and civil society you can think what you like. I am not a virulent anti-American like you so I have a different opinion.

              • I’m not making the claim that it was spent on toppling Yanukovych which Mr Trotter did. It is Mr Trotter who is claiming where the money was spent, not I. I am merely pointing out that his spin is complete and utter nonsense.

                  • Not evasion. Pointing out that it was Mr Trotter who made the unsubstantiated claim that $5 billion was spent by the US to topple the former Ukrainian President. He basically misused the figure in a quote. I see no purpose giving you a breakdown of figures that is wrong to begin with.

            • And by the way, sunshine, RYCTMe; “I am not a virulent anti-American like you so I have a different opinion.”

              You’re right. I have no love for the hypocrites in Washington.

              Neither do I have any love for the gangsters who rule from the Kremlin.

              Both are as bad as each other. The Yanks simply make better movies showing how heroic they are.

              You, on the other hand, are a good, unquestioning, blindly-following little foot-soldier. No doubt there is a Russian version of you, arguing the same pathetic points, in Russia.

          • It is nothing new that the US government, also with certain key industrial players, are constantly spreading “their” version of “freedom and democracy”, which we know about as being a flawed and dishonest one.

            Bring in the US corporations like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple and others, who are right here and now “harvesting” your and my date 24/7 for commercial advertising purposes, and it shows you how far reaching it can get. I am not even raising the activities of the NSA, gathering masses of metadata and other date (email correspondence even), to store for decades to come in a newly built huge “data warehouse” in Utah.

            We know from the past that the US government and their key corporations interested in gaining access and even control of new and existing “markets”, and they do their bit to “facilitate” this, which is often done under the guise of “aid” and “loans”. I do not even doubt that many in the US think that this is genuine support and help, but of course the business sectors their make sure they get their priorities right.

            But with all that, look at the corrupt set up in Russia, where Putin basically pulls the strings, which companies, corporations and owners of them, are allowed to do business, and which not, which are locked up, or even killed, and the picture does not get any nicer.

            What we have in Ukraine is NOT really about protecting Russian lives, about freedom of democracy, it is about POWER and INFLUENCE, and that may be at various levels. The US has only so far had very little to moderate influence in Ukraine, so Russia is extra sensitive to lose old spheres of interest. Russia is, like China, seeing all this as being increasingly “surrounded” and “encircled” by competing powers and their “friendly” allies.

            Russia wants to keep the Crimean Peninsula, and they will make sure that it will in effect be no longer part of what we call Ukraine. The revolution in the Ukraine was as justified as any other revolution, and it was only fractions that make up the ultra nationalists (or supposed “neo nazis”) there. Ukraine wants more independence, but the ethnic Russians in the East have been increasingly indoctrinated from Russia, and hence they will now ensure they become part of Russia.

            The challenge for all is, to accept that Ukraine will no longer be one country as it was, it will need to be split.

            This is about strategic interests for Russia, more than for the US, as the US is there just doing what it does everywhere.

            All this shows also, where ultimately POWER lies, and that has still a lot to do with arms and men or women carrying and operating them, apart from business and trade. And all other talks is now prone to lies and manipulations (propaganda), as the truth is the first victim of such conflicts.

            It shows how insignificant little NZ is, even how compromised the EU is, as they have not that much military power, apart from business and assets. Russia will do all to keep the Crimean Peninsula (officially still part of Ukraine) – the home of their absolutely important Black Sea Fleet, and any blood will be spilled to keep it there.

    • Unless you have links to the CIA and other intelligent (oxymoron alert!) services, its unlikely anyone will access to any facts anytime soon.
      I suspect the $5 billion figure Mr. Trotter quotes went to organisations closely aligned with U.S. government goals, however, the author will have to quote his sources if he so wishes.
      In the mean time it would be helpful if you could quote your sources for your claim that this “is a gross distortion of the facts.”

          • Nowhere does he quote Ms Nuland directly. He quotes someone elses take on what Ms Nuland stated. He then takes it as given that the US has spent $5 billion attempting to replace Victor Yanukovych. This is a blatent falsehood. It is completely unsupported by the facts and was not what Ms Nuland mentioned in the speech that he himself references.

  7. This is the source on the $5b figure. It actually reads:

    US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Nuland said: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government – all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine’s European. We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. ””

    Conspiracist cranks took the number and ran with it, totally ignoring any and all context.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

      • Before thanking “Anton” perhaps you should have taken the time to read the whole article, Gosman, here’s an excerpt…

        “But, thanks to the Nuland’s foul-mouthed indiscretion, the truth is out. Washington, from her own admission, is acting like an agent provocateur in Ukraine’s political turmoil. That is an illegal breach of international rules of sovereignty. Nuland finishes her phone call like a gangster ordering a hit on a rival, referring to incompetent European interference in Ukraine with disdain – “F…k the EU.”
        What we are witnessing here is the real, ugly face of American government and its uncouth contempt for international law and norms.”

        • I did read that. That doesn’t mean the US spent $5 billion trying to replace the previous regime in the Ukraine.

          • This “regime” was democratically elected by its citizens in an election widely reported at the time by observers as fair and uncorrupted. The removal of same, touted by the west as getting rid of an undemocratic tyrant is total b.s. Amerika, land of the brave/home of the free! Now who thought that joke up?

            • The West did not remove the regime. He left as a result of pressure from a portion of his own people.

              • What do you understand the 5 billion dollars was spent on Gosman?

                p.s Please provide links in order to stop wasting everyone’s time on you unfounded fantasies.

                p.s.s There is at least one entire book by William Blum dedicated to describing in great detail how American corporate interests spends its money and time in other countries, on fomenting dissent by finding internal conflicts and widening them for American corporate profits…….so please do provide something substantial that proves this highly researched book completely wrong.

                p.s.s. ….and ‘The Economic Hitman’ also says much the same….

                p.s.s.s…..oh yeah and… Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ does too….

                • p.s.s.s.s. “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn
                  (There’s a graphic novel version called “…..America Empire” which Gosman may prefer)
                  p.s.s.s.s.s. Anything by Noam Chomsky.

          • By the way, Sarah Palin was mocked by US liberals for suggesting that Putin would invade Ukraine during Obama term two.

            Funny we don’t hear much about that now.

            • Sarah would have known, Andy’s, after all she have a view of Russia from her Alaskan front pouch.

    • Thanks ANTON –

      That gives it all a totally different angle and perspective, does it not?

      Yes, Chris is a bit of a historical romantic, seeing the follow up generations of leaders in the former USSR waving red flags with hammer and sickle (or now the patriotically carried Russian national flag), and conveniently ignoring what blood there is at the hands of Putin and his rather undemocratic apparatchiks.

      Go and say in public in Russia that you are homosexual, and you will soon find out, what the largely indoctrinated and poorly informed will think of you (that is if you fall into that category of unfortunate in that country).

      And remember the way Greenpeace activists were treated not long ago, after protesting at an oil platform in the Arctic, and how the crazy girls from Pussy Riot were treated, for their incredible “crimes”!

      And what about that Russian dissident oligarch that lived in London, who was killed with plutonium or a similar radio active substance in food or drink? I suppose such is the Russian version of “collateral damage”.

      No, condemn the US for what they do wrong, and do not get blinded by all that “romantic” revolutionary history of Russia, now replaced with gold and glitter and pomp at the Kremlin and other places where Putin likes to present himself “media effectively” in “ceremonial” style.

      I also have a dim view of the Chinese leadership by the way, and what blood is sticking at their hands.

      • It sounds more like common “development aid” to me, which many more developed countries give to the less developed. So while it may be a way of gaining some “sneaking” bit of cultural, social and ultimately political influence, it hardly sounds like an active subversive agenda to undermine Yunokovich. There were different governments in place since 1991, not just those led by the former leaders of the Orange Revolution.

        So we may also look at what money Russia has invested in Belorussia, Kazakhstan, certain near and middle eastern and other countries, having similar intentions or “agendas”.

      • None of them are lily white – this is power politics on a grand scale and could be seen coming by anyone with half a brain. However, the crass hypocrisy of the US and EU blathering on about international law, when they have been doing the same thing for the last 40 odd yrs or more, doesn’t make it any better. Putin could have played this so much better, but it seems, like the west, might is right takes precedence!

    • I can remember watching Al Jazeera news coverage of the events in Ukraine about two to three months ago while the protests were taking place in Kiev. This particular news item focused on funding for the protests and mentioned about $5 million of funding was provided by businesses. The identity of the businesses weren’t mentioned however.

  8. Putin is trying to restore an empire. He is succeeding. After Crimea and Western Ukraine are done and dusted he will set his sights on another of the countries bordering Russia with a large number of Russian speakers. Latvia, Lithuania, Finland again?
    It will happen. And when it does Chris will again Blame the West.

    • It is interesting too, to read about the extreme nationalist neo-Nazi element that is active in Ukraine, and was a Nazi-sympathiser in WW2

      There are 200,000 Jews in Kiev, and the armed Neo Nazi right wing nationalists are expressing their outlook on the situation – burning synagogues and generally harrassing the jewish population!

      The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.

    • Ukrainian Nazi sympathies should be viewed in respect of the region’s history.

      While the German invasion of the USSR commenced, the Germans were greeted with flowers by many, with many viewing them as liberators. Bear in mind the ten to twenty million Ukrainians who starved to death in the early thirties as a result of a Soviet enforced artificial famine. Also bear in mind that during the Russian Civil War, Ukraine was an Anarchist (Black Army) stronghold, the Red Army finally crushing them after both formed an alliance to attack the White Army. Considering in Russia the Bolsheviks killed many peasants (Green Army) who revolted against both the Red and White Armies, in some cases using poison gas. Many peasants sympathised with other socialist factions in the Provisional Government and revolted against the Bolsheviks’ seizure of their production to support their own in their consolidation of power.

      During the Second World War many Russians/Ukrainians who served with the Russian Liberation Army and other Axis forces did so as a matter of survival, being Soviet prisoners of war, volunteering rather than face certain death from starvation or exposure in the German POW camps. Bear in mind the entire Soviet armies that surrendered in the early stages of the conflict were poorly lead after the purges of the Thirties, demoralised and many filled with contempt toward Soviet rule.

      After the Second World War, my father served in one of three regiments of the Polish Army that was deployed to combat the Ukrainian Insurrection that erupted in Western Ukraine. My father said it was a brutal guerrilla war where the enemy (Ukrainian Nationalists) were practically indistinguishable due to the fluency in the language and appearance. The Ukrainians were excellent at infiltrating units disguised. Strongholds in the forests took weeks to capture, often the foe wore Waffen-SS uniforms which indicated their service during the war.

      What struck my father was how backwards the region was. The windows on many houses didn’t have glass but stretched dried pigs bladders. He suspected the conflict had wider motives behind it, as after many engagements the same combatants would be captured, which he suspected the Russians were releasing to further fuel the conflict to displace the Poles living in the region to settle in present western Poland. My father ended up being arrested as he refused to carry out orders which he believed would only terrorise the local populace. He understood the grievances the Ukrainians held after befriending some of the locals. Areas of present western Ukraine that were part of Poland before the Second World War; the Poles often mistreated the Ukrainians there.

      Ethnic animosity is commonplace in Eastern Europe; with Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, Russians, Gypsies, amongst others, hostile to each other. It was this animosity that inspired the creation of Esperanto by a Polish Jew who sought a way to bring peace and harmony by creating a common language. This effort afterwards viewed as part of the international Jewish conspiracy by Bolshevik and Fascist alike. Never mind that many ethnic groups have a common ancestry or extensively mixed with each other over time. Modern Russia originated from Kievan Rus, Kiev being a major Viking trading centre just as European Russia was formed into a state by Viking traders. Often the identities people hold exist in their heads rather than genes. There’s a legend my father told me when I was young that the modern Slavic states were founded by three brothers; Lech, Czech and Rus. Lech travel west and founded Poland, Czech travelled south and founded the area of the modern Czech Republic and Rus travelled east and founded Russia (the area including Belarus and Ukraine as well). Yet the descendants of these brothers treat each other as if they were aliens from opposite ends of the universe.

      Anyway there’s been a rise in the Far-Right across Europe since the Global Financial Crisis. The Russians have their own major problems with various Far-Right movements since the fall of the USSR.

      • ANDY K – Many thanks for taking the time to share your family experiences with us. My mothers family were “liberated” by the Russians in Prague. They were interned in camps and several members of the family died during this time.

        I am only here because my mother was a refugee and fled to England at aged 12.

  9. Thank you Mr Trotter for SPEAKING THE UNADULTERATED TRUTH. I have just read all comments here and it seems your writing seems to have attracted sheeple and right wing liars from far and wide. Anyone who can still look at the United Sates of Israel and still see them as the hero rescuers of this world are either brain dead or liars. The fact that the states are condeming Russia for doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID IN IRAQ is almost laughable, except the world seems to be full of brain dead zombies who actually can’t see it. Scary!!

    • You, Avenging Angel @1.23pm, NZ Native @2.18 pm, Country Boy @ 3.00pm and Aaron @ 3.21pm just gave me a great deal of relief and refreshed my faith in the intelligence of at least some NZers, after having become quite glum reading some of the comments on this thread. Thank you 🙂

      • Are you serious? This is some guy ranting with caps on.

        The situation in Ukraine is a bit more complex than most of us know (including me)

  10. The Crimea is too important to Russia strategically to allow a government hostile to them to control it, and Putin has the support of his government to do exactly what he is doing. He is determined and the west knows it. The US are weary of war and bankrupt and are unlikely to get involved in a military way. In my opinion this was always going to happen, Putin was just waiting till the olympics were over. It will be interesting to see how much territory Russia tries to control, my prediction is Russia wont move very far into the Ukraine once the Crimea is secure, but who knows? Not about east vs west but about resources and the control of them, as usual.

    • I think Crimea was originally a part of Russia. Khruschev gifted parts of Russia to Ukraine. One possible reason was that he was drunk at the time, the other was that he wanted to dilute the nationalist extremists that were and still are operating in Kiev.

      Needless to say, Ukraine is a very complex situation and we are a very long way from figuring out what is actually going on there

  11. The u.s.a is supporting neo-nazi’s to topple a democratically elected government ( who the yanks dont like )

    of course gosman and other right wing nut jobs like this.

    ….. Israel is determined to permanently destroy/eradicate Palestine

    And the U.s.a will invade or bomb whoever it likes in the name of freedom …..

    • The USA is NOT supporting neo-Nazis

      The neo-Nazis are in a position of power in Kiev because the Americans completely misread the situation and stuffed the whole thing up.

      • The US always chooses to support the Nazis – from Prescott Bush’s business links to Dulles recruiting Gestapo to found the CIA, the funding of the contras and the school of the Americas, and the falangites in Lebanon.

        Ukrainian democrats won’t want US bases any more than they want Russian ones. If the CIA are involved they’ll have signed up the local militaristic fanboys – here they’re neo-Nazis.

  12. See how Gosman is all over this like a fly on stink ? I hope he/she is getting suitably remunerated for trying to force feed the intellectuals here with pro corporate America propaganda . I hope you’re getting a retainer mate / mate-ess because you won’t survive on the commissions .

    Who said ” America is no longer a country , it’s a business . ” ?
    Was it Mark Wahlberg ?
    And as most of us know ; business is business .

    And ‘Business’ will fuck your shit up if you get in the way of the dollar they’re after .

    New Zealand’s relevance in Global Big Boy affairs is inconsequential therefore we must protect ourselves from their tanties and hissy fits by kicking out the Banks and immediately firewall-ing our currency from off-shore manipulations .
    P’shaw , like that’ll happen .

  13. And so… Gosman wins.

    This entire thread has been created by Gosman winding people up! We really should be trying harder not to feed the trolls.

    Quite what the psychology is of someone who immerses themselves in a life of winding people up I don’t know, but those of us actually working to create something purposeful need to stay focused on our jobs and not get distracted by this nonsense.

    Myself, I would just remove him from the site, he’s obviously not here to have constructive debate so what’s the point in letting him use up the internet like this.

    • Maybe GOSMAN stands for something like:

      “National-ACT-Mercenary-Subversive-Operation-Group” (first letters spelled BACK to FRONT to make up the word, just to be more cryptic and confusing)?

      It could be the short name of a group payed by political or spy agency interests to conduct subversive blog-commenting, in order to undermine the efforts of TDB and the likes to offer more independent information.

      Let your fantasies fly, there may be more to it than what it seems!!!

    • Aaron,
      You may well be right in your assessment of Gosman’s motives, however, I would not agree with banning him from the site.
      Apart from the fact that I find the whole idea of censorship abhorrent, he makes us think seriously about what we believe and, if we choose to answer, he forces us to construct arguments to bolster those beliefs. He may not be here to engage in constructive debate, but he gives us a sounding board to express our views to be shared with like minded contributors. It a simple matter to ignore his most outrageous posts.
      In my opinion he’s causing no harm as long as we all don’t take him too seriously.
      (Patronising enough for you, Gosman?)

  14. It’s turning out to be very difficult to get a detailed breakdown of the $5 billion. The situation is complicated by neo-nazi involvement, a relatively straight popular movement, and Russian, US, and Israeli intrigue. Might be a good place for UN mediated ceasefires and disarmament programs.

  15. Since the fall of the USSR and the liberalisation of the economy which saw the rise of a number of prominent oligarchs. It was they who installed Putin, in particular Berezovsky, thinking they had a puppet however the opposite eventuated. They have been tamed or eradicated by Putin, replaced with a new set of oligarchs obedient to Putin if they wish to continue to thrive. Fall out of favour, their businesses are nationalised.

    While in exile, Berezovsky proved to be active in the revolution circuit in the last decade throughout Eastern Europe (Georgia, Lithuania, and Ukraine) funding “freedom” for the people. In the mid-nineties even when the Russian people democratically elected the Communist Party to power, this was ignored in favour of the new status quo.

    After the Global Financial Crisis what has changed? Sarkozy declared the age of Laissez-faire over, many executives make an admission of the fatal flaws in the system. At present, the mega wealthy corporates gained an international welfare state while the rest of us have to tighten our belts and “be responsible”. In many countries the same prescriptions that lead to failure are once again being implemented. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.

    Russia has low levels of debt, while the Western nations are predominantly high. The “Evil Empire” fell partly due to Saudi Arabia over producing oil to lower the price affecting the “Evil Empire’s” profitable export. The “Evil Empire” was no longer accepted in the prevailing age.

    In a dog-eat-dog world where Putin is top dog in his own backyard, in the global neighbourhood he’s a potential meal for a pack of stray dogs with big appetites. For a big appetite, the lure of the bread basket of Europe is irresistible and whatever goodies lay beyond is even better.

    It may be the wishes of the people to chart their own way and they may get drunk on their desires but depending on their antics they have time to sober-up to the empty vessel with whatever label they can call their own, whether it’s intact or in pieces either way the bootlegger profits.

    In the best case, the people of Ukraine will probably end up as fulfilled as ourselves. Here apparently we love some guy who’s selling us out for a rag in return that no one is interested in. In the worst case we may find ourselves repeating nasty events to some degree like a century ago.

  16. It’s rather ironic that our best defence against the US and its Israeli mates is a raging Cold War.

  17. The Ukraine issue is important as ethnic and disabled voices aren’t heard….Before John Key makes any ‘Grand Stand’ he should consult with Maori, who are far better at ethnic mediation than him..or Obama and Putin in their Te Ao Rawa World (Imperialism Materialism…you name it)…long live peace….Doug

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