NATO was the aggressor and got Ukraine wrong. Many months later, the media has eventually figured out the truth
Washington, it is now openly stated, has been wrong, wrong, wrong all along. The commentaries to be noted do not take on the media, but I will, and in language I use advisedly. With a few exceptions they are proven liars, liars, liars — not only conveying the official version of events but willfully elaborating on it off their own bats.
Memo to the New York Times’ Moscow bureau: Vicky Nuland, infamous now for desiring sex with the European Union, has just FedExed little gold stars you can affix to your foreheads, one for each of you. Wear them with pride for you will surely fight another day, having learned nothing, and ignore all ridicule. If it gets too embarrassing, tell people they have something to do with the holidays.
O.K., gloat concluded. To the business at hand.
We have had, in the last little while, significant analyses of the Ukraine crisis, each employing that method the State Department finds deadly: historical perspective. In a lengthy interview with Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, none other than Henry Kissinger takes Washington carefully but mercilessly to task. “Does one achieve a world order through chaos or through insight?” Dr. K. asks.
Here is one pertinent bit:
Interesting. Looking for either insight or honesty in Obama’s White House or in his State Department is a forlorn business, and Kissinger surely knows this. So he is, as always, a cagey critic. But there are numerous things here to consider, and I will come back to them...KISSINGER. … But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.SPIEGEL. What was it then?
KISSINGER. One has to ask oneself this question: Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine. So one has to ask oneself, Why did it happen?
SPIEGEL. What you’re saying is that the West has at least a kind of responsibility for the escalation?
KISSINGER. Yes, I am saying that. Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia. This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate.
....we have indirect admissions of failure. It is highly significant that Foreign Affairs and the Washington Post, both bastions of the orthodoxy, are now willing to publish what amount to capitulations. It would be naive to think this does not reflect a turning of opinion among prominent members of the policy cliques.
I had thought for months as the crisis dragged on, this degree of disinformation cannot possibly hold. From the Nuland tape onward, too much of the underwear was visible as the trousers fell down, so to say. And now we have State and the media clerks with their pants bunched up at their ankles.
State Dept Official Caught on Tape: ‘Fuck the EU.’A YouTube video uploaded by an anonymous user has publicly revealed a private conversations between Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.
The Foreign Affairs piece is by a scholar at the University of Chicago named John Mearsheimer, whose publishing credits include “Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics” and “The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy,” the latter an especially gutsy undertaking. He is a soothsayer, and you find these people among the scholars every once in a while, believe it or not.
Mearsheimer was writing opinion in the Times with heads such as “Getting Ukraine Wrong” as far back as March, when the news pages were already busy doing so. In the Foreign Affairs piece, he vigorously attacks NATO expansion, citing George Kennan in his later years, when Dr. Containment was objecting strenuously to the post-Soviet push eastward and the overall perversion of his thinking by neoliberal know-nothings-read-nothings. Here is a little Mearsheimer:
The United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine—beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004—were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president—which he rightly labeled a “coup”—coup—was was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
Whatever one may think of Russia under Vladimir Putin, it is secondary at this moment — and more the business of Russians than anyone else — to something larger. This is a non-Western nation drawing a line of resistance against the advance of Anglo-American neoliberalism across the planet. This counts big, in my view. It is an important thing to do.
Some readers argue that Putin oversees a neoliberal regime himself. It is an unappealing kind of capitalism, certainly, although the centralization of the economy almost certainly reflects Putin’s strategy when faced with the need to rebuild urgently from the ungodly mess left by the U.S-beloved Yeltsin. See the above-noted piece by Stephen Cohen on this point.
For the sake of argument, let us accept the assertion: Russia is a neoliberal variant. O.K., but again, this is a Russian problem and Russians, not Americans, will solve it one way or the other — as they like and eventually. Important for us is that Putin is not pushing the model around the world, chest-out insisting that all others conform to it. This distinction counts, too.....
A huge mistake has now been acknowledged. Now it is time: Instead of complaining about Putin and what he is doing to Russians every prompt given, like trained animals, now we must complain about what America proposes doing to the rest of the world, limitlessly.
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