Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3: Leading observers rate Ukraine the crisis of the century....

.... so the Tand T gives us a story of twelve paragraphs of lies by foreign secretary John Baird - and it gets Baird's name wrong in the headline!

And when I call this twelve paragraphs of lies, I am not calling names. Baird is either lying or he's stunningly ignorant. So I do him the courtesy of assuming he is not ignorant - or at least not stunningly so.

On Feb. 7, very reputable news organizations like The Guardian and the BBC broke the story that Victoria Nuland, US assistant-secretary of state, had admitted the US had spent 5 billion dollars over a period of twenty years to encourage anti-government elements in Ukraine to revolt, overthrow the government, and replace it.

She said this in a phone call in which she also said the European Union was dragging its feet on developing a rebellion in Ukraine. To that, she added a maidenly "F--k the EU."

But a third person was listening - and made a tape of the call.

European countries call the Russian response of moving troops into Crimea a clear violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. So it is.

But what the hell do they call spending 5 billion dollars to encourage rebels to overthrow the government?

That, too, is a profound violation of international law which we and the US and Britain and all those other hypcrites long ago agreed to uphold. Financing a rebellion to overthrow the government is, under law, exactly the same as invading. It is an act of war.

Nor is it the first one for the US or Britain or France or Germany. The US has violated the sovereignty of so many countries - Libya (Yep. Canada was a part of that violation), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan - in fact, so many that nobody has a count. Britain, in building its empire violated the sovereignty of a quarter of the world.

What happened here is that is that Putin didn't back off. He played the same game as the west - but played it much,  much better.

Incidentally, the claim that the US  was intervening to help people who wanted democracy and freedom has nothing to do with it. The law is you cannot intervene. Period.

In any case, it's a lie. Nobody spends five billion to encourage freedom and democracy. That sort of talk might impress the yokels. But the reality is that the US has almost never encouraged freedom and democracy. It has installed dictators all over Central America. When they intervened to defend the government of South Korea, it was a dictatorship run by people who had been Japanese collaborators. When they left, it was still a dictatorship. Ditto for Vietnam.

In any case, we have no idea who the people are that we were assisting. There are lots of claims that they want freedom and democracy. But I have seen no evidence at all. Nor have our news media suggested any.

I have seen numbers of claims that they are neo-naziis - and that would certainly fit the history of Western Ukraine - but, again, I have seen no evidence. We really have no idea what these "rebels"  want.

Baird also huffs and puffs that we will not take military action - but we will condemn Russia in the strongest language. Well, that should scare the wits out of Putin.

But in that statement is the key to what has happened - though not a word in the Irving press has ever indicated it.

We have suffered a major defeat. And it does not argue well for the future.

Obama tried an extremely foolish bluff whose intention was to weaken the Russian position. And he lost. This may be - probably is -a major turning point in world history.

The US has lost its military power to dominate. And it almost certainly ain't coming back.Corruption and greed have destroyed the American ability to improve or even sustain its military power. In the eyes of the world (if not of the North American news media), the US has been humiliated. It was a dreadful blunder.  And talking tough to the Russians is exactly the wrong thing to do.

We have to be realistic. We cannot dominate militarily any more - not unless we go nuclear, in which case our dominance will last as long as it takes us to die. We have to talk. We have to talk to Russia. We have to talk to China.

Another reason we h ave to talk - and now - is that it is quite possible that the new government the US has installed in Ukraine will start its own civil war. Then that will become the new crisis of the century.

Closer to home, the big question is why most of the information above has never appeared in the Irving press.It was appearing in highly respected news media a month ago. But not in the Irving press. We haven't even had articles about what some of the terms in this mean.

What constitutes interfering in the affairs of another country? If it is overthrowing a government, or invading. or sending drones over it or sending in assassination squads, then how comes the US is allowed to do it but nobody else is?

In fact, the Irving press showed no awareness even that something was happening until the middle of last week.

Is the Irving press simply acting as a propaganda agent for the John Bairds of this world?

I don't think so.

I've often noted that the NewsToday section of the paper seems to be put together sloppily and lazily. It's coverage of the Ukraine crisis gives us a clue to why this is so. In this whole news organization that covers the province, there is nobody who has a clue what world or even national news is all about. And that must be particularly true of the editorial staff.

Whatever may happen, this crisis is still dangerous in the short term. In the long term, it's a blunt warning that we had better take seriously. The world has changed. "The New American Century" is over in less than twenty years from its start. We will either adjust to the new world, or die with the old one.


  1. Looking for a credible source about the 5 billion $. Only some dodgy blogs seem to mention it. Can't find anything about it on the Guardian..

    The Fuck the EU however is everywhere..

  2. I was surprised at your post because I remembered seeing the reference from The Guardian. (And, like you, I had been doubtful of the other sources.)

    So I have just spent an hour plodding through google. The Guardian source is not there any more. And, as you say, most of the rest are dodgy. Then I hit a different gold.

    There is The American Conservative - which is not in any way pro-Russian. On Jan. 24, it reports on a meeting of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which both Nuland and a co-worker tell the senators about the five billion.

    I cannot even imagine the The American Conservative would lie about this. (It's well, well to the right.) And it would be very hard for anybody to get away with reporting falsely on a meeting of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    No, I think the American press covered this up. Remember, th is was part of a long phone conversation. The "fuck the European Union" comment was a very small part of it. So why didn't the press give some hint of the rest of it? There's nothing - just a silence.

    In addition, the US immediately came to the side of the rebels - and recognized their new government. If Liberals who live in Ottawa were to riot, overthrow the Harperites, appoint their own people as PM, etc., Would the US recognize the new government?

    Would they if the NDP did it?

    What happened is a government was overthrown by force - and a force which did not represent the whole country. In fact, we don't know who or what it represents.

    This only makes sense if the US was in on it from the start.