The True Malignancy of US Empire

by lizard

In Ukraine, the new government that came to power through a western-backed coup is trying to exert its power from Kiev through lethal violence:

As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss” and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine.

That report comes from Stephen Cohen, one of the few journalists trying to counter the US propaganda surrounding these escalating events. Here is how Cohen described the lead up to this crisis on Democracy Now a few days ago:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Stephen Cohen, it was just a few weeks ago when we had you on, as the crisis was beginning to unfold in Ukraine, and a lot of what you said then turned out to be true, which was that you feared that there would be a split in Ukraine itself between the east and west. And obviously Crimea was just developing then. But it seems that all of the emphasis in the coverage here is as if the crisis started with Russian aggression, not with the earlier period of what was NATO and Europe’s involvement in Ukraine before the deposing of the elected president.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I think you’ve emphasized the absolute flaw in at least the American—because I don’t follow the European press that closely—the American media and political narrative. As a historian, I would say that this conflict began 300 years ago, but we can’t do that. As a contemporary observer, it certainly began in November 2013 when the European Union issued an ultimatum, really, to the then-president, elected president, of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, that “Sign an agreement with us, but you can’t have one with Russia, too.” In my mind, that precipitated this crisis, because why give a country that has been profoundly divided for centuries, and certainly in recent decades, an ultimatum—an elected president: “Choose, and divide your country further”? So when we say today Putin initiated this chaos, this danger of war, this confrontation, the answer is, no, that narrative is wrong from the beginning. It was triggered by the European Union’s unwise ultimatum.

Now flash forward to just one month ago, about the time I was with you before. Remember that the European foreign ministers—three of them, I think—went to Kiev and negotiated with Yanukovych, who was still the president, an agreement. Now, the Russians were present at the negotiation, but they didn’t sign it. But they signed off on it. They said, “OK.” What did that agreement call for? Yanukovych would remain president until December—not May, when elections are now scheduled, but December of this year. Then there would be a presidential election. He could run in them, or not. Meanwhile, there would be a kind of government of national accord trying to pull the government together. And, importantly, Russia would chip in, in trying to save the Ukrainian economy. But there would also be parliamentary elections. That made a lot of sense. And it lasted six hours.

The next day, the street, which was now a mob—let’s—it was no longer peaceful protesters as it had been in November. It now becomes something else, controlled by very ultra-nationalist forces; overthrew Yanukovych, who fled to Russia; burned up the agreement. So who initiated the next stage of the crisis? It wasn’t Russia. They wanted that agreement of February, a month ago, to hold. And they’re still saying, “Why don’t we go back to it?” You can’t go back to it, though there is a report this morning that Yanukovych, who is in exile in Russia, may fly to eastern Ukraine today or tomorrow, which will be a whole new dimension.

But the point of it is, is that Putin didn’t want—and this is reality, this is not pro-Putin or pro-Washington, this is just a fact—Putin did not want this crisis. He didn’t initiate it. But with Putin, once you get something like that, you get Mr. Pushback. And that’s what you’re now seeing. And the reality is, as even the Americans admit, he holds all the good options. We have none. That’s not good policymaking, is it?

In the constant attempt to justify western interests, you can count on the Polish Wolf. When I quoted an excerpt from Cohen’s Democracy Now interview from the quote above, this was part of PW’s response:

As to the EU ultimatum, I don’t think people understand how the EU works. It is a trade and customs union. If Ukraine signs a trade and customs deal with the EU, and with Russia, the EU is inadvertently in a trade relationship with Russia that it’s membership doesn’t want to be in. And anyway starting a discussion of who started the crisis in 2013 is foolish indeed – you have to look as well at Russia’s willingness to wreck havoc with Ukraine’s economy, via border and gas controls, just to destabilize Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, and you’ll see why the EU proposed what they did.

No one is arguing that Russia is some benign trade partner with Ukraine. Both Russia and the EU offered their respective deals, and the elected president of Ukraine chose Russia’s deal over the EU. And because of that choice, the 5 billion dollar investment to “build democracy” Victoria Nuland cited was ratcheted up into a full blown overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

Instead of talking about a sensible off-ramp to a military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, we have nutjobs like James Jeffrey in a Washington Post op-ed saying the US should send troops to quell the crisis:

The best way to send Putin a tough message and possibly deflect a Russian campaign against more vulnerable NATO states is to back up our commitment to the sanctity of NATO territory with ground troops, the only military deployment that can make such commitments unequivocal. To its credit, the administration has dispatched fighter aircraft to Poland and the Baltic states to reinforce NATO fighter patrols and exercises. But these deployments, as with ships temporarily in the Black Sea, have inherent weaknesses as political signals. They cannot hold terrain — the ultimate arbiter of any military calculus — and can be easily withdrawn if trouble brews. Troops, even limited in number, send a much more powerful message. More difficult to rapidly withdraw once deployed, they can make the point that the United States is serious about defending NATO’s eastern borders.

This is insanity, and further proof of the delusional propaganda being deployed to establish the psychological foundation for a military confrontation with Russia.

America has lost its shit. Who is going to fight WWIII for the .01%? Our military does not currently project strength, despite the fact this country accounts for over 40% of what the entire world spends on “defense”.  US troops are exhausted, over-extended, and literally killing themselves at record rates.

The US, with its post-9/11 crusade to police the world, has inched geopolitics back to a point of tension where we have to think about Mutually Assured Destruction. Non-proliferation can’t happen when countries that give up their weapons of mass destruction get regime-changed, like Iraq and Libya.

No first use is an interesting concept that will unfortunately never gain traction in our current political environment:

No first use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. Earlier, the concept had also been applied to chemical and biological warfare.

As of October 2008, China has publicly declared its commitment to no first use of nuclear weapons.

As of 2010, India has signaled a shift from no first use to no first use against non-nuclear weapon states.

NATO has repeatedly rejected calls for adopting NFU policy, arguing that preemptive nuclear strike is a key option. In 1993, Russia dropped a pledge given by the former Soviet Union not to use nuclear weapons first. In 2000, a Russian military doctrine stated that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons “in response to a large-scale conventional aggression”.

De-escalation doesn’t seem possible now, not when the information war is blazing hot and US troops are beginning to be strategically deployed.

Benevolent voice of benign empire? Purity of purpose? Nope, that brand of delusional thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth.

America is out of control.

  1. JC

    “America is out of control.”

    I’d have to disagree. I think that america is in the control of forces that are not accountable to the american people. It just appears out of control to people who look through the propaganda without acknowledging that greater forces are at work than those we are presented with by the corporate media.

    “There are times when statesmen must have the courage to do something unpopular. But their unpopular actions must be properly prepared, and must be put in the proper form, so that people will understand. The man on the street is usually not as unreasonable as some think. Since it is he who usually has to bear the heaviest burdens that result from unpopular policies, he at least has a right to know why things are being done this way and not that way. All practical politics depends on its persuasiveness. It is no sign of wise leadership to acquaint the nation with hard facts from one day to the next.

    Crises must be prepared for not only politically and economically, but also psychologically. Here propaganda has its place. It must prepare the way actively and educationally. Its task is to prepare the way for practical actions. It must follow these actions step by step, never losing sight of them. In a manner of speaking, it provides the background music. Such propaganda in the end miraculously makes the unpopular popular, enabling even a government’s most difficult decisions to secure the resolute support of the people. A government that uses it properly can do what is necessary without running the risk of losing the masses.

    Propaganda is therefore a necessary life function of the modern state. Without it, seeking great goals is simply impossible in this century of the masses. It stands at the beginning of practical political activity in every area of public life. It is its important and necessary prerequisite.”
    –Joseph Goebbels, “Goebbels at Nuremberg” — 1934

    • lizard19

      the degree of control is certainly open to interpretation.

      in thinking about control, I think more specifically America is getting close to losing control of the petrodollar partly because of how seemingly out of control our foreign policy has become, post-9/11.

      is it all coordinated by the .01%? I think we often give them too much credit. they are fighting each other as much as they are trying to control their respective populations.

      also, if they were confident in their mechanisms of control, they wouldn’t keep investing massive amounts of our tax money to build a better police state.

      but I take your point, and agree there is covert control of forces unaccountable to the American people.

      maybe the White House outing Brennan in Kiev is a play by the angels against the cowboys. That’s a not-so-obvious reference to Tom Robbins’ work of fiction, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, described thusly by wikipedia:

      Robbins has stated in numerous interviews that in this book he was trying to deal with contradiction, but rather than eschewing his contradictory nature, as is typical Western practice, Switters embraces it. He’s a CIA agent who hates the government. He’s a pacifist who carries a gun. He’s as much in love with his seventeen-year-old stepsister as he is with a forty-six-year-old nun. Switters feels that the core of the universe, the heart of existence, is light and dark existing together. One is not separate from the other; they just exist. This is the core of “Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates”, along with an interest in the Lady of Fatima and a squawking parrot. The title of the novel comes from Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell, in which he daydreams about becoming one of “… ces féroces infirmes retour des pays chauds.”

  2. steve kelly

    Manifest Destiny never ended. After the additions of Hawaii and Alaska, expanding the the United States went global. This has always been a cultural war driven by the quest for more lands suitable for cultivation and to impose slavery upon the people of the regions under our control. Whether taken by economic or military means, this is our history, we are takers. Our taking is rooted in, and rationalized by, religion, capital, race, nationalism, and (a)morality. Manifest Destiny.

    • Big Swede

      I find your comment interesting considering we’re just a day away from the anniversary of The Battle of Lexington.

      “April 19, 1775, was a quiet day in America’s Thirteen Colonies—except for a deadly encounter in Lexington, Mass., between about 80 militiamen and 700 British regulars. Neither side had been expecting a fight, and no one knows who really fired the first shot. But accident or no, it set off one of the greatest social and political experiments in history.
      The Battle of Lexington was also the inspiration behind one of America’s best-known poems, the “Concord Hymn” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Even those unfamiliar with the poem will recognize the line: “Here once the embattled farmers stood/ And fired the shot heard round the world.”

    • mike

      You seem to be a delusional progtard with no real understanding of history, trying to simplifly the many factors that are involved in historical happenings.

      It also seems you hate this country. Here’s a question, why do people from all over the world risk life and limb to get here and better their lives and many do just that?

      The irony is sweet, millions seek to come here for opportunity and you spout propaganda . I’d guess you are a student pining for a teacher who knows the way to ensure social justice and lead the proletariat to a perfect society.

      Real life remains and statist fucks like you usually fail and that is a good thing.

  3. Big Swede

    Any aggressive act of US troop movements are merely acts of symbolism. Wake me when our troops are locked and loaded.

    How’d you guys miss this? After all its from the Russian Times.

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