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Ukraine’s Broader Impact

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Anyone who has witnessed European farmers drive their tractors into the center of Brussels and dump crops in front of EU headquarters, knows the hold they have on legislators. Much of European agriculture takes place on family farms and the EU has had to create special rules and subsidies to keep its food producers happy.
Ukraine!
Since 2008, the US has caused immense suffering across the EU by allowing Wall Street a free rein, and as I’ve written before, I believe this is partly a deliberate attempt to eliminate the welfare state. For information about its benefits are finally seeping through decades of media silence, making American workers wonder why they can’t have one too. The latest installment in America’s use of the EU for its own purposes consists of getting it to impose sanctions on Russia, with which, since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has developed close commercial ties.

Washington succeeded in getting the individual EU leaders, notwithstanding their better judgement, to vote together in Brussels to impose sanctions on Russia, by claiming that Russia ‘took over’ Crimea, a land that had historically been part of Russia except for a few decades after a Soviet leader gifted it to Ukraine, and whose inhabitants, largely ethnic Russians, voted in an internationally monitored referendum to rejoin the mother country. The accusation makes a mockery of US interventions around the world to impose hand-picked rulers, however it had fifty years of fear-mongering behind it: since the end of World War II, Western Europe has lived under a constant barrage of   propaganda warning that Soviet tanks are about to take it over, with the countries of Eastern Europe held up as hapless examples, in a rewrite of large pages of history. (The Yalta agreements on spheres of influence and the fact that those countries, still living under more or less feudal regimes, had significant communist and socialist parties.) During the entire Post-War period up until the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. diplomates, aided by a powerful propaganda apparatus (Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, etc.), continued to warn European leaders that Russian tanks were poised to overrun their defenseless lands, justifying American-manned bases and NATO.

Not only is Washington still living those bygone days, its chosen ally in Kiev is imitating the enemy it’s trying to defeat, an imaginary Russian Communism, by adopting legislation reminiscent of the Iron Curtain, banning Russian broadcasts into Ukraine, and now, declaring that a fleet of 280 aid trucks carrying 2,000 tons of aid, including grain, sugar, medicine, sleeping bags and power generators, will be denied entry to assist the victims of its aggression in the east of the country. In what seems eerily like a vindication of all those Cold War warnings of an imminent Russian takeover of Europe, the drumbeat is as absurd now as it was then. According to The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/russia-aid-convoy-reach-ukraine-within-hours);

“On Monday, NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said there was a ‘high probability” of a Russian attack which might happen under the guise of a humanitarian operation’…. Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said in a statement on Wednesday that ‘no humanitarian convoy from Putin will be let through the Kharkiv region…A provocation by a cynical aggressor on our territory cannot be allowed’, he said.” On Tuesday, the French president, François Hollande, told Putin in a phone call that he had ‘grave concerns’ about Russia’s ongoing unilateral mission in Ukraine…..and “Andrei Illarionov, a former economic policy adviser to Putin who is now a fellow at the conservative Cato Institute in Washington, told the Ukrainian publication Gordon on Monday that any humanitarian convoy to Ukraine would be a sign of Russian aggression aimed at supporting the separatist cause.”

It seems clear to me – and probably to many others whose vision is not clouded by propaganda – that Kiev’s aim is to rid eastern Ukraine of its Russian inhabitants, and that Moscow, understanding that this is the lesser of all evils, welcomes them to Russia instead of starting World War III. And yet, in a move that should provoke international outrage, but hasn’t, Kiev has banned Russian broadcasts into Ukraine, contradicting everything liberal democracy is supposed to stand for.  (The almost irrelevant OSCE did say TV ban needs to be reversed.) In another demonstration of its ridiculous behavior, the Ukrainian parliament voted to freeze all Russian assets, ban Russian internet activity, prevent Russian goods from entering the country, threatening to also block entrance by Russian citizens and giving Security personnel the right to shoot without warning.

Such behavior is explained by the presence, within the ruling coalition, of self-proclaimed Neo-Nazis. (Though they shout their beliefs from the rooftops, the Western does not report them.) Recently, Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov special battalion, who in June described Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to cease fire in the east of Ukraine as a strategic mistake, declared in a commentary titled:  “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen,” that “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival.” A former history student and amateur boxer, Mr Biletsky also heads the Ukrainian parliamentary group called The Social National Assembly (for Social National, read National Socialist…).

Even more than the horrific pictures of the Ukraine tragedy circulating on the web, declarations such as these – and there have been many since the early days of the coup – show that Ukraine is not only not part of Europe, it is not even part of the 21st century: its ‘liberals’ have accepted to rely on the extreme-right’s thugs, failing to realize that even those in the West who agree with them would not publicize the slogans of Nazi Germany.

Meanwhile, a few more cracks are appearing in the sacred Atlantic Alliance: Latin America, Washington’s ‘backyard’, is stepping into the sanctions breach, ready to sell the foods Russia can no longer buy from the EU.  And as Poland and Lithuania get ready to sue the EU for their export losses, Putin is negotiating a free trade zone Egypt’s new president, former General Al-Sisi – a good example of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ that is sure to cock a snoot at Washington, not least because it suggests that Putin’s planned Eurasian Community could also be open to the Arab world.
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The New Yorker on Ukraine: Instead of Sy Hersh, Keith Gessen

6:27 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

As the world anxiously awaits the next chapter in the tug of war between Russia and the West over Ukraine, I deconstruct a lengthy article in the May 12th New Yorker that shows how investigative reporting has been replaced by sugar-coated bias.
Ukraine!The print media can be divided into roughly three categories:  corporate local dailies that cover major US cities, the so-called liberal press such as the NY Times, the Washington Post, and journals such as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and the progressive press, that includes The Nation, Mother Jones, Yes! and many smaller titles.  Alas, the difference between the mainstream media and the liberal media appears to grow smaller by the day, while the so-called progressive media increasingly resembles what used to be the liberal media.

This alarming trend is illustrated by the fact that, after contributing regularly to The New Yorker since 1993, America’s foremost investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh no longer writes for that magazine. A lengthy article on Ukraine by Keith Gessen indirectly explains Hersh’s disappearance, and The New Yorker’s abandonment of any progressive pretense.

Keith Gessen is the brother of Masha Gessen, who recently published “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin”, a much publicized take-down of the Russian president.  Although she resides in the U.S., she is listed on Wikipedia as a member of the Russian democratic opposition, and is an ideal US talk show guest in these days of rising tensions with Russia.  Keith is her younger brother, the editor of a magazine with literary pretensions and author, at 38, of one novel. Keith went to Ukraine last winter and the style of his New Yorker piece perfectly illustrates a comment about him by Jonathan Franzen: “it’s so delicious the way he writes.” Gessen’s is an ideal style for delivering a sugar-coated nasty message.

The piece begins ominously: “The Russian border is a two-hour tank drive from Kiev” – where the writer is sipping tea in a cafe.  “‘Little green men’ is how people described Russian soldiers when they first showed up, unmarked and unannounced, in Crimea.”  Aside from the fact that most people would not describe Russians as ‘little’, under a 1997 Treaty between Russia and Ukraine

“The two countries established two independent national fleets, and divided armaments and bases between them.[2][3] Under the treaty Russia maintained the right to use the Port of Sevastopol in Ukraine for 20 years until 2017.[4] …The treaty also allowed Russia to maintain up to 25,000 troops, 24 artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles, and 22 military planes on the Crimean peninsula.”

President Putin has repeatedly referred to this treaty with reference to the popular vote that returned Crimea to Russia in March of this year, finally admitting that Russian troops normally confined to barracks had been sent out onto the streets, where as videos on the MSM show, they merely stood around. Hardly an invasion, and impossible to consider on the same level as the weeks of violence precipitated and orchestrated by trained fighters of the Neo-fascist organization Right Sektor in Kiev’s Maidan square, as boasted in Time magazine interview and that resulted in the flight of an elected Ukrainian president.

Gessen says Kiev’s anti-government protesters were armed with bats and sticks and Molotov cocktails.  Apparently, he has never seen pictures of Right Sektor fighters in uniforms with swastika-like insignia (known as Wolf angels) carrying long metal clubs and shields.  Describing the protesters’ tents on the Maidan he does mention ‘an exhibit of helmets, home-made cannons, shields, Molotov cocktails’. When it’s just an exhibit, it seems harmless….

Surprised to find the encampment still occupied weeks after the end of fighting, Gessen muses: “It was clear that some of the men had nowhere to go, or certainly, no place better than this. Here they were heroes, back home they were not.”  Touching human interest note about Neo-Nazi thugs. Gessen also admits that the revolution merely brought another set of standard politicians to power “Men in black suits emerged from gleaming black Mercedeses to attend sessions of parliament.”  Meanwhile, the activists were preparing for war, signing up men for the National Guard, Gessen muses, like students do for credit cards on US campuses.  “The idea of the Guard was to get aggressive young people off the Maidan, but it was also an attempt to raise some fighting forces, in the event of a Russian invasion….The Ministry of Defense was asking people to text it money.” (Another touching note about a regime backed by the most powerful nation on earth.)

Gessen obviously identified with the young people in the Maidan where “there was an openness to the political life of the country, a willingness to experiment, a desire to communicate that was rare anywhere, but especially rare in the cynical, impoverished post-Soviet space.”… Alas, he fails to mention – or perhaps doesn’t realize – that these people did not win the revolution – and those that did are not interested in ‘openness’ or ‘experiments’, but are muscular men who love violence.  Continuing: “The new Minister of the Interior wrote long updates on his Facebook page. Everyone was equal and anything was possible.”  Gessen obviously hasn’t a clue as to who this man, Arsen Arkov is. According to Voice of Russia.com:

“Russia’s Investigative Committee has issued a resolution to indict the governor of Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk Region, Igor Kolomoysky and parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov on charges of using prohibited means and methods of warfare,” IC spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass.

“Under the criminal case… of first degree murder, interfering with the professional activity of journalists and kidnapping, a notice has been given of charges against Igor Kolomoyskyi and Arsen Avakov,” he said in a statement.

The charges refer to the kidnapping of Zvezda television channel journalists and the preceding illegal detention of journalists from the same channel, as well as several other Russian journalists.  The release went on to say that the government sought to identity the commanders and rank-and-file of the Ukrainian Armed forces, the National Guard of Ukraine and Right Sector militants who have participated in the military operation against civilians in the southeast of Ukraine. Markin said that nearly fifteen hundred people have been recognized as victims of prohibited acts of war in Ukraine.

For example in Odessa: In the final paragraph of his article, Gessen tosses off a reference to the events of May 2 which left over a hundred dead. Major press outlets reported that pro-Russian demonstrators had erected a tent in front of the Odessa Trade Union headquarters, and that when Right Sektor thugs came and set the tent on fire, protesters took refuge in the building.  The Right Sektor then threw Molotov cocktails through the windows, setting the building on fire, and beating to death protesters who jumped from windows.  Gessen’s version of events: Read the rest of this entry →

Icing the Chocolate King

7:26 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Editor’s Note: Discuss Deena Stryker’s Lunch With Fellini, Dinner With Fidel on August 2nd at the FDL Book Salon.

Petro Poroshenko in a suit and tie

Deena Stryker helps us unravel Time’s attempt to defend Poroshenko’s violent actions in Ukraine.

As the world anxiously awaits the outcome of Ukraine’s overtures to its rebellious Southeastern regions, in its June 23 issue Time magazine presents Petro Poroshenko as “Man in the Middle.” In order to justify that title, it is forced to go through extraordinary contortions between the facts and Washington’s versions thereof.

It starts by asserting that when Poroshenko met Vladimir Putin at the D-Day commemoration in France, he had to ‘control his temper’ because three months earlier Russia had ‘taken over’ Crimea. In reality, Russia accepted the results of a popular referendum in Crimea and welcomed that region back where it had been except for the last sixty years of modern history. The Crimean peninsula has been home to the Russian Black Sea fleet since the late eighteenth century, and is inhabited mainly by ethnic Russians. In a magnanimous gesture toward the land in which he grew up, Khruschev gave it to Ukraine in 1954, but once the Soviet Union was dissolved, that created a potentially awkward situation. Never mind, for Time and the rest of the MSM, the referendum papered over a ‘land grab’, which President Obama declares he will never accept.

Anyway, according to Time, Poroshenko ‘gritted his teeth’ during the tête-a-tête and told Putin he would get Crimea back eventually. But then it becomes clear that what Time reported as fact, was actually second hand information: “Poroshenko recounted his meeting with Putin a few days later during an interview with Time in his office in Kiev.  He wouldn’t say how Putin had responded, but insisted the President’s response was of little importance to him. ‘To be honest’, he told Time, ‘I’m not interested in what citizen Putin thinks of my state.’”

Elected following the violent overthrow of his predecessor, Poroshenko refuses to recognize the regularly elected President of one of the most powerful states on earth, and Time simply reports ‘the fact’ of this bizarre behavior without comment. However, in the following paragraph, the magazine which is to the weeklies what the New York Times is to the dailies, admits lamely: “Poroshenko does not in truth have that luxury.” The leaders of the West made it clear during those three days of meetings that he can publicly call Russia an agressor but he has to accept his powerful neighbor as a negotiating partner. All he can do is grudgingly (Time’s word) complain that Ukraine does not have Canada or Sweden for a neighbor….

Now the writer moves from Poroshenko to Putin: “Putin’s Crimean conquest has won [him] adulation at home.” (Conquest? Via a locally organized referendum?) “Signalling that he’d had his fill” (as in a Russian bear eating honey?) “for now, Putin ordered his army away from Ukraine’s border.” Not only does Time fail for the second time to mention the referendum, it again suggests — without actually saying so — that the region was annexed by military force. At the time of the referendum, military personnel from the Sevastopol Naval Base were seen about, however international observers widely confirmed the vote’s authenticity, and only a thoroughly indoctrinated fourth estate that moves seamlessly between outright lies and innuendo could express doubt about it:

“None of this” (this what?) “means Russia will leave Ukraine or any of its other neighbors alone. Pro-Russian militants” (which presumably should not be confused with Russian military), “are still fighting Ukrainian troops in Eastern Ukraine, with new fighters pouring in from across the border.” Notice how Time refers to ‘new fighters,’ not ‘Russian troops.’ And even though the phrase ‘pouring in’ more correctly suggests volunteers, it can also — and more ominously – suggest an unstoppable invasion…. Indeed: “The Crimean peninsula is still, in Russia’s eyes, a legal part of Russia.” (still?) “And Putin still has the permission of his legislature to invade Ukraine whenever he sees fit.”

In a surprising lapse of style, the article continues without identifying the subject as Poroshenko: “It is no longer a question of Ukraine’s security,” he says, insisting that Russia is a threat not only to Ukraine but also to the global balance of power. (Russia: a country whose president he calls mister and whose opinions leave him indifferent…..). Clashing with his usual diplomatic style, Poroshenko’s declaration: “I want you to understand that Ukrainian soldiers are fighting today for peace in the region, peace in Europe and peace in the world” — has to be straight out of Washington’s handbook.

And yet, after all that anti-Russian rhetoric, the rules of the craft oblige the article’s (anonymous, according to Times tradition) staff writer to confess: “The Ukrainian military did not wait long after Poroshenko’s election before attacking the rebels with a ferocity it had avoided during the presidential race.” (In the misguided hope the Eastern Ukrainians would welcome back Neo-Nazi rulers.) After describing a bloody assault by helicopter gundships and planes as if it were referring to a game, or a film, Time tells us this was “a high risk ‘gamble’:” the rebels’ hope and Ukraine’s fear was that the Russian military would back up the militants. That didn’t happen and Poroshenko believes the assault helped the Kremlin see reason:

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When Is a Rose Not a Rose?

7:43 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Editor’s Note: Deena Stryker joins FDL Book Salon on Aug 2nd to discuss Lunch With Fellini, Dinner With Fidel.

A soldier leans against a tank in Tahrir

Obama’s riddle: When is a coup not a coup?

You may be noticing the slightly confused expression on Obama’s face when he talks about the foreign affairs these days: he almost seems to be apologizing for contradictions that are obvious to even the most casual observers.

Here’s a sample:

  • Egypt first had a revolution, then a coup: after the revolution there was an election and the Muslim Brotherhood won. After the coup, carried out by the army, there was eventually another election and the head of the army won. Although officially we don’t support governments who come to power through a coup.  Egypt is so important (mainly to Israel) that all we did was hold back a few jets.
  • The Russian speaking inhabitants of Crimea, which was formerly a part of Russia, held a referendum in which they overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia: According to Obama, the referendum was not legal: Russia is fomenting separatism.
  • Scotland has scheduled a referendum for later this year, holding fast to its decision to do so in the face of Great Britain’s assertion that it would be illegal: Obama concedes it’s up to the Scots to decide their future.

What about a state’s right to hang on to territory?

  • NATO reduced parts of Serbia to rubble because it wanted to hang on to Kosovo (albeit in the name of a hundreds of years old incident); with NATO’s help, Kosovo, a majority Albanian speaking province, became independent.
  • Two decades later, NATO accuses Russia of fomenting separatism, violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity by recognizing the majority Russian speaking province of Crimea’s referendum to join Russia, and Obama accuses Russia of being a big country that imposes its will on a smaller one.
  • In the same vein for the seccessionist referenda held in Eastern Ukraine, Obama tells Russia it has an ‘obligation of influence:’ that it can only prove its good faith by convincing anti-fascist Ukrainians to accept a government that was brought to power by a fascist-led coup. Since when are leaders responsible for influencing outcomes?

France 24’s journalists were calling for Putin to recognize Petro Poroshenko as the legitimate president of Ukraine while knowing full well that even before the election he repeatedly declared his intention work with whoever was elected. Recently he noted that Poroshenko didn’t have blood on his hands (how long it will be possible to say that is not certain) and that he was ready to work with him. Putin emphasized that the Ukraine crisis had to be resolved through negotiations, which is what he says about every international conflict, as opposed to American leaders who invariably call for punitive measures and ‘leave no option off the table’.

Finally, there’s the issue of ‘killing one’s own people:’ Assad in Syria has been hammered relentlessly for this, although he is facing a foreign invasion; Egypt’s Al Sissi gets a pass. As for Poroshenko, he is doing the same in Eastern Ukraine, having declared he wanted the area ‘pacified’ before his inauguration, which is imminent! (At least he didn’t yell that they had to be ‘eliminated’ as two other presidential candidates, Right Sektor boss Dmitry Yarosh and Julia Timoshenko did.)

What all this boils down to is that if democracy is to political science what roses are to flowers, whatever its original attractiveness, when it fades, it doesn’t smell very good.

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Europe: Copycats and the Arrow of Time

7:25 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Closeup of 6 o'clock portion of an antique clock face, with hour and minute hands at 4:30.

Time’s arrow pulls Europe forward.

I’ve often written about the application of the modern physics principle — that the arrow of time is irreversible — to world affairs and politics in general. Today it is combined with copycat behaviors, thus becoming all the more important to understand

As Ukrainians pursue the historically-dictated split of their country, the West once again joining with Poland while the largely Russian-speaking East either becomes independent or joins again with Russia, using popular brute force not seen in Europe since the Second World War — or perhaps the Russian Revolution — European demonstrators fed up with Brussels and IMF imposed austerity are obviously thinking ‘We can do that, too!’

Ever since the end of World War II, in which Communist and Socialist parties across Europe played a major role in resisting and undermining German occupation, trade unions have provided the left with a strong backbone, allowing workers to demand and obtain benefits American workers cannot even imagine. Their resilience continues to be seen every day on images of demonstrations across the European continent against levels of unemployment that hitherto had not existed in the welfare states.

European workers are also well aware of the role militarism plays in diminished social welfare, as EU countries have allowed themselves to be increasingly co-opted by Washington since 9/11. Although Vladimir Putin correctly noted the similarity between Kosovo’s right to independence and that of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine is different from the nineteen-nineties war in Serbia.  Serbia lay in the heart of a Europe that was merely in the process of becoming united. Ukraine’s only claim to belong to a united Europe lies in its long history of being part of Poland; but it has an even longer history of being part of Russia. As for today’s Europeans, the fact that Ukraine looms as a putative relative inevitably dares them to show that they are just as capable of putting their bodies where their convictions are.

So much for the copycat aspect of the situation. As for the irreversibility of the arrow of time, this refers to the fact that once a trend is set in motion, it continues until it reaches a bifurcation point, when it can ‘dissipate’ (in the language of physics) to something different. What direction bifurcations take is unpredictable, but is usually influenced by previous history. Translated, this means that as revolts gather steam, the likelihood of them being stopped through negotiation or compromise is slight because each side is propelled inexorably forward. Revolutions and wars are the most obvious examples of bifurcations.

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Obama In Chocoate Factory Earning his Keep

9:02 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

 

Yesterday I happened unto France 24 just as it was airing President Obama’s speech to a select group of Belgian students in the presence of the king and queen and government officials at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, a fancy theatre. He started by saying: ‘What’s not to like in a country famous for its chocolate and beer?”

It was the old Obama, the one we loved and admired when he ran for his first term, the Obama of Dreams From My Father, a brilliant intellectual who knows where the major capitals are – yet caring, and funny. You could tell he was happy to once again be in front of a young audience that could respond to his message with enthusiasm. It was a message that glossed over centuries of strife to emphasize the noble documents they spawned but did not always follow, giving rise to the most powerful military alliance the world has ever known.

Here in the capital of EuroNatoLand, he lectured the next generation of leaders about the meaning of freedom and democracy, and the need to defend those values lest they be taken away by — essentially — the same country their parents were taught to fear all during the Cold War.

But the only enemy tanks Belgium and the rest of Western Europe have known were not Russian, but German, and every European youth has been taught what that meant. And because of that history, European youth is largely pacifist (unless you count the resentment, among the lower classes, of Muslim immigrants).

Of course this lengthy speech was not broadcast in the United States, but you can read it here and still catch the French debate that followed online. The French channel also documented the enormous number of security vehicles and personnel accompanying the president on the American taxpayers’ dime, conjuring up a Hollywood rendition of Cleopatra’s trip to Rome.

Here are some of the more outrageous claims the President made, perhaps thinking that Europeans are as ignorant as Americans of world events:

We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain (sic). Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.

Never mind that Al Qaeda was not in Iraq before we invaded, while now it controls parts of the country, together with parts of Syria.

NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.

NATO bombed Serbia without a UN mandate, while Obama accuses Russia of not getting UN permission to hold a referendum in Crimea.

We are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way — that recycled maxim that might somehow makes right.

Give a Professor of Constitutional Law a little chocolate and beer and he’ll say anything to earn his keep.

Obama ended his speech by linking individual and national responsibility in a magisterial sweep from respecting gay rights to being strong in the face of conflict and corruption, calling for freedom to triumph over tyranny, “for that is what forever stirs in the human heart.”

Such an ending could not fail to stir enthusiastic applause. But I could find no mention of the speech today in either the Belgian or French press.

Ukraine via The Chicago School

10:29 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Some American commentators close to the Obama administration are touting the coup in Kiev as a successful tit for tat for Russia’s obstruction of U.S. war plans against Syria and its broader imperialist agenda. However, the Europeans, who get a lot of their gas from Russia, are split over joining ‘a coalition of the willing’. At the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Feb. 26, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen insisted that a solution could be found through cooperation with Moscow. She was echoed by the German business community.

Ukraine!In contrast, as reported Feb. 26 by the European Policy Centre in Brussels, British neoconservative policy advisor Amanda Paul demanded the EU adopt a tougher line against Putin. The conservative daily Die Zeit agreed, noting that “although reason, caution and compromise are good virtues, Europe have to learn power politics. We believe that the world is rational, with lots of compromise and consideration. In reality, Man is not a moral animal, but an animal of power.”

It is no coincidence that this quote should come from the German business community, for it expresses an ideology that is deeply rooted in that country, and which has gained significant influence, albeit under the radar, in the U.S., although it constituted the philosophical basis of the Nazi state.

To make this point I will turn to a surprising source: British former diplomat Alastair Crooke’s 2009 book Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution. Unlike NY Times bestsellers that deal with Islam, it introduces the reader to analyses of Western ideology by Islamist scholars, revealing knowledge ignored by most American college graduates.

During the Vietnam War, the well-known conservative philosopher Alan Bloom accused liberalism of undermining American values and in particular patriotism. He claimed that one of liberalism’s founders, John Locke, who influenced both the French and American revolutions, extended Hobbes’ ideas about liberal government, rights, the ‘self-aware Self’ and innate human goodness. Bloom and other Chicago School philosophers and economists, starting with Leo Strauss, were convinced that liberalism had thus led to nihilism, a ‘defining modern disorder’ that discourages citizens from sacrificing themselves for the State. The idea of nihilism had been laid out by Heidegger and Nietzsche, and led to the path taken by Nazi Germany. It was elaborated by their disciple, Carl Schmitt, who was none other than Leo Strauss’s friend and mentor.

The ‘Chicago School’, as it is widely known, is presented as being concerned strictly with economics, it’s best-known representative being Milton Friedman. In fact, it has been a major player in the development of the overall Neo-Conservative philosophy. From here I will simply cut and paste a slighted edited version of Crooke’s analysis of Neo-Conservatism’s philosophical background as it appears starting on page 248 of “RESISTANCE”:

The Chicago School and the Essence of Power Read the rest of this entry →

Pusillanimous Europe

1:22 pm in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

It’s hard to know which is worse: a Europe that is still caught in a Cold war stance between the bear and the eagle, or a Europe that allows itself to drift into Fascism, as if World War II had never happened.  Notwithstanding the strength of its economy, Europe is in this position because it never took its place among the other four Eurasian giants: Russia, India, China and the Muslim world, preferring a less challenging role as Washington’s junior partner.

Catherine Ashton’s lack of surprise and horror upon hearing that the government she helped put in place had hired snipers to fire upon both protesters and police reveals the true nature of the West’s campaign to detach Ukraine from Russia: F. William Engdhal’s “Full Spectrum Dominance” is not just about ruling the world; it’s about adopting fascist methods to do so.

During the Cold War, Europe was cowed into supporting the United States by constant warnings of Soviet tanks about rolling across the Danubian plain- or at the very least Europe’s ‘Finlandization’: a peaceful takeover by economic means.  After the fall of the Soviet Union, the EU breathed a sigh of relief and signed up for Russian gas.  Now it has to choose between being warm and becoming part of real war Fascism.

The conflict is still between the left and the right, even if the labels are not exactly the same. Ukrainian demonstrators who pulled down statues of Lenin may have been fighting yesterday’s battle, but I suspect they also reject the socialist ethos that informs many of Putin’s orientations – including the reluctance to use force in Crimea and his request for a special session of the Security Council to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Ultra-Right Reconstructed

9:53 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

The current volatile situation in Ukraine demands clarity with respect to the main forces that brought it about.  The MSM invariably dismisses any suggestion that these right-wing organizations have an unsavory past. And yet, we’re not talking about a bunch of skinheads eager for action who have taken Adolf Hitler as their inspiration; these men have kept alive a hundred year Ukrainian independence movement that allied itself with the Third Reich, with whose worldview it shared.

The new Interior Minister of the Ukrainian government is Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector.  Here are some excerpts from a review he gave during the Maidan to Mustafa Nayyem and Oksana Kovalenko, two Ukrainian journalists (http://seansrussiablog.org/2014/02/07/interview-dmytro-yarosh-leader-right-sector/:

“I’m the founder and leader of the all-Ukrainian organization Stepan Bandera Trident since 1994, holding various positions from commander to chief inspector. Trident is like an order of knights, propagandizing Stepan Bandera’s Ukrainian nationalist ideology, promoting patriotism among Ukrainian youth, and defending the honor and dignity of the Ukrainian nation by all means available. It created Right Sector to coordinate the actions of various revolutionary groups. 

Training takes place at camps throughout Ukraine: Besides military training, we organize events aimed at the de-communization and decolonization of Ukraine.”

Do you coordinate your activities with opposition forces?

“Aside from Self Defense (Samooborona), which we formally belong to with over 1,500 people, for the most part, we have no relations with them because they don’t recognize us.”

Who was this Ukrainian hero, Stepan Bandera? Quoting from Wikipedia:

“Stepan Bandera joined Ukrainian nationalist organizations as a youth. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was created in 1929 in Western Ukraine (which at the time was part of Poland).  Bandera became head of the national executive in Galicia in 1933, and expanded its network in Western Ukraine against both Poland and the Soviet Union.  He was arrested in Lviv in 1934, accused of plotting to assassinate the Polish minister of internal affairs. He was convicted of terrorism but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he was freed in 1939, either by Ukrainians, Poles] or Germans, moving to German-occupied Krakow.

In 1940, the OUN split into two factions. The Melnyk faction (OUN-M), preached a more conservative approach to nation-building, while the Bandera faction (OUN-B) supported a revolutionary approach and sought German military support. In November 1939 about 800 Ukrainian nationalists began training in German military camps, and Bandera tried twice to send directives to Lviv to prepare an uprising.

OUN-B recruited in Western Ukraine through ‘Mobile Groups’ totaling about 7,000. The intermittently close relationships between Bandera, the OUN and Nazi Germany have been described by historians as “ambivalent, tactical and opportunistic, with both sides trying to exploit the other unsuccessfully.” OUN received 2.5 million marks for subversive activities inside the USSR and Gestapo and Abwehr officials protected its followers.

With the arrival of Nazi troops in Ukraine, on June 30, 1941, Bandera and the OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian State, stating that it would “work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation.”

In 1941 relations between Nazi Germany and the OUN-B soured, Bandera and the Ukrainian president, Yaroslav Stetsko, were arrested and taken to Berlin.  The ambivalent nature of the Nazi/Bandera relationship was illustrated by the fact that after a brief say in a concen-tration camp the Ukrainians were returned to Berlin, where they organized terrorist and intelligence activities behind Soviet lines, with air-lifted arms and equipment.

Unlike competing other nationalist movements in Austria, Russia, Poland and Romania, Ukrainian nationalism saw Russians and Poles as the chief enemy, with Jews playing only a secondary role. However, under the influence of the anti-Semitic climate in Eastern and Central Europe, it claimed that the Soviet Union diverted Ukrainian discontent away from Communism by exploiting anti-Jewish sentiment. In May 1941 the Bandera leadership actively supported the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the western Ukraine. Under a Minority Policy it ordered: “Russians, Poles, Jews who are hostile to us must be exterminated: deport them to their own lands and destroy their intelligentsia in positions of power … Jews must be isolated, removed from government positions in order to prevent sabotage; those deemed indispensable may only work with an overseer… Jewish assimilation is not possible.” Leaflets called for the “destruction of Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Jewry”, and a militia was to “help remove the Jews and protect the population”. In 1941-1942, OUN members took part in anti-Jewish actions, convincing German intelligence that Ukrainian nationalists would opportunistically either kill Jews or help them. However, ‘token Jews’ took part in Bandera’s underground movement and according to a Berlin security report in 1942,  some, probably doctors or skilled workers, were provided with forged passports.  When Bandera was in conflict with the Germans, he urged his members to “liquidate signs of harmful foreign influence, particularly the German racist concepts and practices.” 

So much for the twentieth century.  Several upheavals later, in October 2007, the city of Lviv established the Stepan Bandera Prize and erected a statue that triggered a debate about his role. (Two previously erected statues having been sabotaged, the current one is guarded 24/7.)  In 2009 his 100th birthday was celebrated in several Ukrainian cities and a Bandera postal stamp was issued. This year, his 105th birthday was celebrated by a torchlight procession of 15,000 people in the centre of Kiev and thousands more rallied near his statue in Lviv.The march was supported by the Svoboda party and members of Yulia Timoshenko’s Fatherland party.

A region by region Ukrainian survey of attitudes towards Bandera’s OUN conducted in 2009 produced very mixed results, with ‘very positive’ ranging from 37% in Western Ukraine  to 1% in Eastern Ukraine.

Against this background, it should come as no surprise that the government concocted by Victoria Nuland should have obediently awarded six major ministries to the Banderist Svoboda Party, naming as Secretary of Security and National Defense co-founder Andriy Parubiy, whose masked Right Sector thugs battled riot police in Maidan, organized snipers and bomb throwers. In the interview quoted above, Yarosh, now Parubiy’s deputy and responsible for internal security, revealed that Right Sector members trained for the uprising for more than two years. Svoboda appointees include Oleksandr Sych, a parliamentarian best known for his attempts to ban abortions in Ukraine, including after rape, as deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Svoboda also got Education, Ecology and Agriculture while Oleh Makhnitsky was named prosecutor-general.

I will spare my readers a list of the various far-right groups that are increasingly active in Europe, but those who dismiss events in Ukraine as being on the periphery need to be aware that in response to anti-racism Mulsiim patrols, ultra-right groups in London are organizing anti-Muslim patrols, affirming Britain for the British.  Not entirely unrelatedly, a Ukrainian-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces led about 40 fighters, including several fellow IDF veterans — in violent clashes with government forces in the Maidan.

For those who are confused as to who is on which side of what, the key is this: globalization is being imposed by increasingly fascistic methods, cutting across what had until now been recognizably different national and religious groups.  Vladimir Putin can be counted on to resist that threat, which cost 20,000,000 Russian lives in World War II, when Bandera was on the other side.