What TV Won’t Tell You About Ukraine
While many waited in front of their TV sets for the Oscars show to start, yesterday, Russian troops were moving into positions in Crimea, Ukraine. Now, admittedly, the Oscars show was more intriguing. If I’m not mistaken – I could be, since I’m not an expert on it – they give awards to the best dressed actresses, but, as I said, I’m not sure. I do know, however, that the Russian troop movement was not about a contest to see who’s the best dressed, since they all were wearing military fatigues. And, maybe that’s what makes it uninteresting. These two events did have one thing in common, though: they both were anticipated and expected to take place.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, which began in 1989 and ended in its total dismantling by 1991, the US has been trying, with various degrees of success, to take over and bring the republics that surround Russia and made up the former Soviet Union into its sphere of influence and control. Not only are these smaller and less developed nations, such as Azerbaijan and other Caspian Sea states South of Russia and North of Iran and Afghanistan, a big source of natural resources, including oil, that could be put in the hands of US corporations with the potential for huge profits, but, they are all ideally situated, right at the borders of Russia, which, believe it or not, is itself within the long term plans of the Empire to get control over, which would open a vast new source of cheap resources and labor, and of course market, for American multinational corporations. As they win over or manage to change regimes in these republics, they bring in heavy weaponry and literally point them at Russia. A quick glance at the map of the region reveals how they already have Russia surrounded, with increasing number of bases at their doorstep. Their insistence on placing the so-called “missile shield”, in countries like Poland and Romania, was part of that long term strategy and was meant to give NATO a nuclear first-strike capability and intercept as many of their retaliatory missiles as possible, which would be fired in response to a US first strike. A war with Russia was thus anticipated long before, and they’ve been actively preparing for it ever since. Ukraine was always a big piece of that strategy.
In 2004, the so-called “Orange Revolution” gave them the opportunity they had been waiting for: a chance to add Ukraine, which is a sizable country with a long border with Russia, to their list of victories and bring it into NATO and arm it against Russia. The government that came out of that revolution, however, was soon discredited, lost popularity and corruption charges were brought against its president. The country, as it happened to others, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, was at the verge of bankruptcy when Victor Yanukovych became President in 2010 elections. European Union extended a loan offer to him, through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in years past, has been the vehicle of neoliberal policies of imperialism, imposing on such nations austerity measures, which burden them with loans they have a hard time paying even their interest, impoverishing them further for the benefit of the creditor nations’ multinational banks. In the case of Ukraine, the offer, in addition to the usual economic and austerity conditions and giveaways, came with – any guesses? – conditions that would give NATO certain rights in the country. The US stamp was all over it. Being in debt to European allies of the US would not come without military and strategic benefits to NATO, especially in light of Empire’s long term plans in the region.
While the offer was being contemplated by Kiev, and seeing what was going on, Russia made a competing offer – a better offer, from what we can tell. It included purchase of $15 billion of Ukraine’s government bonds and cutting the price of natural gas that Ukraine buys from Russia, by about a third.
As this push-pull over Ukraine was beginning to heat up, US media began a relentless propaganda against Russia, in general, and President Putin, in particular, including ridiculing him for his shirtless horseback ride, focusing on their discriminatory anti-gay law and mocking their Winter Olympics failures (coincidence?). Putin was being introduced to the American public as a “brutal dictator” and a “gulag”, reminiscent of the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq when the airways were filled with anti-Saddam propaganda and ridicule. The point isn’t whether such representations of such leaders are accurate or not; they may very well be and often are. Saddam was a brutal dictator. Putin is anti-gay and does have anti-democratic tendencies. The point, rather, is that they choose to focus on such issues whenever they want to prepare us for a military intervention. They knew Saddam was a brutal dictator in early 1980’s when they were giving him chemical weapons. They even knew that he was using those chemical weapons against Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. If Putin were to accept US hegemony and play by Washington’s rules, he’d too become their close and good friend as Saddam once was and as the brutal misogynist and anti-gay Saudi sheiks are with whom they have such cozy relations. Have you ever seen or heard any TV commentators criticize those sheiks, let alone demonize them? And, if being dictatorial qualifies such demonization as they do against Putin, they don’t have to go far. President Obama signed a law on 31 December, 2011, called National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which gives him the right to order anyone detained indefinitely and without any charge or due process, on his sole say-so. He also picks individuals, including US citizens from his “kill list” and orders them assassinated. His Administration also does warrant less spying and wiretapping on all citizens. He also goes to war without authorization from Congress. At least, Putin obtained Russian Parliament’s approval to send troops to Crimea, where the majority are Russians. And what if Russia were to take over smaller nations bordering the US and place military bases in them directed at the US, as is being done against Russia?
The first signs of what was being planned for Ukraine by the US came when Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State, bragged in a US-Ukraine conference in Kiev, on 5 December, 2013, that the US had invested $5 billion on civic organizations in Ukraine. Then, right before the protests that ended up toppling the government, she told US Ambassador to Ukraine, in a conversation that was intercepted and recorded, who their chosen “guy” was for the position of Prime Minister: “Yats is the guy”, she said. “He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know. Yats will need all the help he can get to stave off collapse in the ex-Soviet state. He has warned there is an urgent need for unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments before Ukraine can improve.” The “guy” she was talking about is, of course, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whom she calls Yats, who has served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister. And, the “unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments” she attributes to him are the austerity measures that come with IMF loans, along with other conditions, which their loyal “guy” is on board with. He was their choice to become Ukraine’s Prime Minister when she, accompanied with Senator McCain, was handing out cookies to the protesters at Kiev’s Maidan Square, protesters who had amongst them neofascist and Nazi elements and, if history is any indication, must have gotten much more than cookies from the CIA. You have to give it to them for their steadfastness. When they plan something, they don’t let minor details like working alongside fascists some of whom go back to having a direct role in Nazi atrocities, in the case of Ukraine, or Al Qaeda terrorists, in the case of Syria, derail their plans. And, guess who became the Prime Minister when the government was overrun? That’s right: their guy, Yats.
Incidentally, after the European Union negotiated a truce between the protesters and the government, ostensibly, to prevent more bloodshed, and Yanukovych’s government promised to hold early elections and pull back from protesters’ positions, they saw the opportunity to rush into government offices and occupy them, which decapitated the government and left the President with no choice but to flee. If this putsch was not a coup d’état, it was as close to one as one can imagine.
So, you see, often, such events don’t happen out of the blue, although, we’re led to believe they do, that suddenly, there is a revolution for democracy, a tyrannical government is overthrown by people hungry for democracy and the Russians invade. John Kerry said it was “stunning” that a country would invade another country. Obama said invading another country is “against international laws”, as if they were the leaders of a government that has never invaded any country. I often wonder if they ever themselves catch the humor in their statements.
TV pundits ridiculed President Yanukovych for not waiting in his palace to meet his fate. That would have made for a good story; wouldn’t it? Maybe as good as how Gaddafi met his fate! But, you’d think the fact that the protesters brought down the monument that was dedicated to the Ukrainian soldiers who died defending their country against Nazis would be a good story, too, which they could show repeatedly, as they did the dismantling of Saddam’s statue after he was deposed. But, that would mean they’re not in sync with the Pentagon and the White House. Wouldn’t it?
It’s been said that the reason the Empire doesn’t have an embassy in the US is because they’re not planning on occupying the US. But, that’s only because they already have.