Ukraine: Is Obama Channeling Cheney?

In this Real News Network report, Michael Hudson discusses the news blackout in the US as far as critical developments in the Ukraine are concerned, and how the distortions and gaps in reporting exceed those in the runup to the Iraq War. From the top of the interview:

Late last week, the German television program ARD Monitor, which is sort of their version of 60 Minutes here, had an investigative report of the shootings in Maidan, and what they found out is that contrary to what President Obama is saying, contrary to what the U.S. authorities are saying, that the shooting was done by the U.S.-backed Svoboda Party and the protesters themselves, the snipers and the bullets all came from the Hotel Ukrayina, which was the center of where the protests were going, and the snipers on the hotel were shooting not only at the demonstrators, but also were shooting at their own–at the police and the demonstrators to try to create chaos. They’ve spoken to the doctors, who said that all of the bullets and all of the wounded people came from the same set of guns. They’ve talked to reporters who were embedded with the demonstrators, the anti-Russian forces, and they all say yes. All the witnesses are in agreement: the shots came from the Hotel Ukrayina. The hotel was completely under the control of the protesters, and it was the government that did it.

So what happened was that after the coup d’état, what they call the new provisional government put a member of the Svoboda Party, the right-wing terrorist party, in charge of the investigation. And the relatives of the victims who were shot are saying that the government is refusing to show them the autopsies, they’re refusing to share the information with their doctors, they’re cold-shouldering them, and that what is happening is a coverup. It’s very much like the film Z about the Greek colonels trying to blame the murder of the leader on the protesters, rather than on themselves.

Now, the real question that the German data has is: why, if all of this is front-page news in Germany, front-page news in Russia–the Russian TV have been showing their footage, showing the sniping–why would President Obama directly lie to the American people? This is the equivalent of Bush’s weapons of mass destruction. Why would Obama say the Russians are doing the shooting in the Ukraine that’s justified all of this anti-Russian furor? And why wouldn’t he say the people that we have been backing with $5 billion for the last five or ten years, our own people, are doing the shooting, we are telling them to doing the shooting, we are behind them, and we’re the ones who are the separatists?

I strongly suggest you watch the interview in full, or read the transcript here.

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  1. readerOfTeaLeaves

    If Hudson is even 1/4th accurate, this is an unmitigated disaster.
    I anticipate the BRICs going off the dollar as a reserve currency any day now; we are making ourselves pariahs.

    If it is true that Victoria Nuland of the US Dept of State — recorded helping to set up the current puppet President in Ukraine — previously worked for Dick Cheney, we are screwed. How on earth Obama is letting the neocon (and oil company) holdovers run the show is both baffling and terrifying.

    Here’s hoping the US military has more sense than the politicians.

    I don’t know what to believe, but the level of confrontation Hudson describes is insane. The economic consequences seem pallid compared with the risks he implies.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis has become essential reading these past weeks.

    1. Brindle

      “How on earth Obama is letting the neocon (and oil company) holdovers run the show is both baffling and terrifying. ”
      Obama is a neocon. His whole political career has been based on duping liberals to make them feel he is one of them. Obama left so many Bush/Cheney holdovers in office because he basically agrees with them.

      1. RUKidding

        Yes. Obama is both a NeoLiberal & a NeoCon. I’ve come to see that those are not mutually exclusive. Obama left a huge number of BushCo appointees littered throughout the Fed Agencies, and actually Obama fired Carol Lam, the US Attorney in San Diego, who managed to put the crooked Republican Representative, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, in jail. Lam was working on other corruption cases, and Obama pulled the plug on her quick-smart, and those corruption cases went down the plug hole.

        Obama has been mentored by Dick Cheney, although I believe at one time that Obama denied that. Why a putative “liberal” Democrat would have to deny being mentored by such a scourge as Cheney is one for the books.

        1. Cynthia

          Obama has been described as “neocon light” and I think that this is correct. The older group of neocons like Cheney and Rumsfeld are indeed trying to do him in, but both groups believe in American imperialistic domination of the entire planet.

          I also believe that, aside from traditional neocon considerations, Obama is indeed out for personal revenge for the humiliation that he suffered at Putin’s hands, first in Georgia and then in Syria. I think that this little worm is about to suffer his third humiliation in the Ukraine and that is really something to worry about. Losing face can cause power driven fools like Obama to engage in increasingly risky behavior.

        2. just me

          RUKidding? Carol Lam resigned in February 2007. The US Attorneys scandal was a Bush scandal. Not Obama. The unindicted, unprosecuted co-conspirators were all Bush admin. Not that I’m sure it makes a difference, but keep the perps straight.

          February 15, 2007 – Lam resigns as U.S. Attorney for San Diego just days after filing indictments in public corruption case..

          1. backwardsevolution

            just me – “Carol Lam resigned…” Is that sort of like Brooksley Born’s resignation? A forced-out resignation? Kinda looks that way.

            ““In the booming economic climate of the 1990’s, Born battled other regulators in the Clinton Administration, skeptical members of Congress and lobbyists over the regulation of derivatives, warning that unregulated financial contracts such as credit default swaps could pose grave dangers to the economy. Her efforts brought fierce opposition from Wall Street and from Administration officials who believed deregulation was essential to the extraordinary economic growth that was then in full bloom. Her adversaries eventually passed legislation prohibiting the CFTC from any oversight of financial derivatives during her term.”


      2. Chris

        You said it. A neocon with better PR skills.

        >Obama is a neocon

        And a neoliberal too. Not a liberal in the US sense, a neoliberal. BIG difference.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ve been frothing about how we elected a Manchurian Basketballer-in-Chief Bush III ever since Obomba kept Geithner in place…before his inauguration. How satisfying, but ultimately depressing it has been to be proven right at each and every turn. And even more depressing, to see the supine Vichy Left, unable and unwilling to see the monster they embraced.
          While I’m at it…Lord save us from Hilary. I’ve voted Dem in every election since McGovern, and she is a business-as-usual fascist monster. Rupert Murdoch endorsed her the other day…um hello what other clue could you possibly need?

    2. Banger

      So far most senior officers are skeptical of civilians that use war to distract the people from their troubles. Many have been instrumental in nixing plans to invade Iran (twice) when civilian leadership (both Bush and Obama) wanted to create an “incident” they nixed it. Similarly, the Syria plan of carpet bombing Syria was nixed as this extremely silly adventure will be nixed, God willing.

      The problem at this time is that the war-coalition has fully infiltrated the media how strong that coalition remains no one can tell.

      1. Cynthia

        The US seems intent on ratcheting up the tension in spite of logic and reason, which leads me to believe that it currently has a tenuous grip on sanity. Putin cannot afford to let the US get a foothold in eastern Ukraine, it’s worse than bedbugs and much more dangerous.

        The US has consistently sidestepped the UN, there is not much reason to think that it will change behavior. It also spent considerable effort to get this mess started, far more than in Syria. The US, like the good Capitalist it is, likes to get a healthy ROI.

        The threat to the petrodollar, and dollar in general, is very real. I’m sure that the BRICS always had designs on moving away from the dollar, but the US pushed their hand. Financial chaos benefits no one, I think that the BRICS and particularly China because of their dollar exposure, would have preferred to guide the dollar to a soft landing.

        Market turmoil could be weeks, months, possibly even a couple years away depending upon how many fingers the FED grows to plug the dike. But it is coming and it won’t be pretty. The sad thing is that this could have been managed and maybe avoided if the US were even halfway reasonable.

        I think the US wants to keep the possibility of military intervention in their back pocket for use as distraction if there is a sudden interruption to the American Dream. UN intervention might keep the dogs of war at bay for a bit, but the US seems to only cooperate until it’s not convenient anymore. Devious thinking, but I would rule out no such possibility for the current administration.

        I really hope I’m wrong, but that is reality as I see it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s reminiscent of the Suez seizure by Europe as their colonial empires crumbled and their subjects wanted domestic changes. It made no sense except to people who couldn’t let go.

          1. ohmyheck

            History and the Suez. If I am correct, there is a link to what Great Britain did in the Suez in the ’50’s and the replacement of Sterling as the reserve currency. Cue petrodollar….

            Here is an interesting observation:
            “These externalities also suggest a tipping point or landslide effect should one major creditor begin to switch reserve assets, so that the transition from one reserve currency to another could be catastrophic rather than a gradual retreat. The case of sterling in the post-war period helps to explore the determinants and timing of shifts from one major reserve currency to another. Like the dollar today, the demise of sterling was widely predicted but the process was more gradual than was anticipated at the time – a dignified retreat rather than a rout. Does this suggest that we can expect a similarly benign exit for the dollar?”


            In other words, the world did not come to an end 50 years ago, when the dollar became the reserve currency, and it doesn’t necessarily have to now, either. I m sure there are those who highly disagree.

            I agree with Cynthia on the BRICS hand being forced. If their financial infrastructure is not ready to step up, then it doesn’t matter.
            Do the Petro-Dollarists have weapons of mass financial destruction loaded to take out the BRICS before they make a move? It would make sense that they have plans drawn up, possibly being implemented, who knows, but it doesn’t make sense that “they” are not going to do anything to prevent losing reserve currency status.

            Oh wait… I am giving irrational, insane, psychopathic organisms the benefit the doubt…that they are logical. My Bad.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              It may not be moving off the petrodollar that is the issue for the empire. A bigger issue is GE/IBM/Boeing/etc.’s contracts. American companies have already lost contracts because of US imperialism, but if the US is worried about Russian air defenses in the Syria war zone, the market for US fighters will dry up.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Merkel’s language has changed after a meeting with Germany industry leaders. The multinationals that operate here will panic if the public turns against them. Nativist and buy local campaigns are popping up which spells bad news for US conglomerates. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to rein in the White House.

                1. Synopticist

                  This was always going to be the wall which the neocons were going to run into.
                  No way would Germany’s industrialists give up their Russian markets and raw materials, or their gas. No chance.

        2. Banger

          The policy is very sane and is in line with long-standing goals in the region. The policy has been a success so far–they have installed a puppet government in Kiev which, at minimum will rule the west. Even if the U.S. Agrees to a loose confederation they will still all be subject to IMF austerity measures even in the east.

          1. OIFVet

            It is amazing what passes for ‘sane’ these days. I think that the success you speak of is the very definition of Pyrrhic victory in the long run.

        1. just me

          I think I just did. You made me laugh eruptively.

          (hey! I just remembered old joke. (almost wrote choke) When Princess Di was pregnant people were betting on names for the baby. One was Up. So the royal family would be Up Chuck and Di. :-)

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      According to Seymore Hersch, the Joint Chiefs as a group through Dempsey told the President they were opposed to a strike on Syria.

      1. ohmyheck

        Thanks for bring up the Sy Hersch article.
        Things about Obama that I picked up on, and seems to be completely ignored by just about everyone…because Turkey.

        “From the beginning of the crisis, the joint chiefs had been skeptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt….”

        “Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – – would be a military blunder…The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course.”

        “…many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’”

        “… ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’:”

        That sound likes a Class-A War Mongerer. Channeling Cheney, or any other psychopathic NeoCon chickenhawk, armchair-warrior you choose.

        And this doesn’t sound comforting-

        -“‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president,..”

        Bubble-living has its downsides.

        But then we have this Catch-22-

        ” Although the strike plans were shelved, the Obama administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ … ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’

        Sheesh. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

        But this…this. Until I read Hersch’s article and these following quotes, I had some small hope that ObamaBot Apologist explanations were possibly correct. I cannot stand Obots, yet a stopped clock, blahblahblah…but I was wrong:

        “the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.”

        The President of The United States did NOT know what he was going to start World War 3?! Well out here past that nice bubble, LOTS of people were more than aware of this fact. No words.

        1. Wayne Reybolds

          As Nikita Krushchev once said in reference to Mao Zedong, and could now equally be attributed to the idiots in power in Washington, “Some people say that it is possible to build a new society on the dead bodies and ruins of the world. Do these men know that if all the nuclear warheads were touched off, the world would be in such a state that the survivors would envy the dead.” There are now 17,300 nuclear armed weapons on the planet. There will be no survivors.

          1. Chris

            Its estimated that even if there was only a “small” nuclear war that was limited to, say between India and Pakistan. at least a billion people would die of starvation all around the world, due to a huge rise in food prices. Most of those people would be children. Most of them would be far removed from the combatants.

    4. Benedict@Large

      Putin has to be isolated from Obama so he can’t interfere with the Neocons’ plans for carpet bombing Iran, as their first loyalty has commanded. Hilary seemed to be able to keep this under control. Kerry just seems like a dumbass being blindsided at every turn, and completely unable to protect his boss. Kerry needs to be shown the door.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary? Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Afghanistan disagree with you. The major difference is the local colonial overseers are questioning whether they are more afraid of local populations or a US police mechanism which is dependent on local infrastructures to maintain.

        It’s very much like the decline of the European colonies. Egypt powers that needs us, and places in the shadow of China and Russia might think they do. Brazil, India, South America, stable African countries, and countries who are experiencing the softer colonialism of China which the US once provided are moving out of the sphere. Hell, even Merkel changed her tone on Putin after a meeting with the head of Siemens.

        The Empire is in decline, and Americans don’t care or are applauding despite the increasingly shrill accusations from Versailles. This is part of why Kerry looks like he is off the rail, he can’t get away with lies which were good 3 or 4 years ago. Remember Americans don’t care despite almost a year of Vladimir is a neo-hitler with crummy plumbing propaganda.

        1. susan the other

          Which serves as a lightning bolt of insight: We have gone into this neo-war in an attempt to force NATO to shore up all of Europe’s old imperial stakes, mostly in Africa, and we have finally reconfirmed our old contracts with the Saudis. And we have done a very bad job of preserving old capitalism; maybe intentionally.

  2. OIFVet

    Obama and the neocons are hellbent on starting a World War 3. They seem to think that a nuclear war can be won due to the ballistic missile shield which is now close to being operational (see Paul Craig Roberts in Counterpunch,, with radar in Turkey, missile sites in Romania and Poland, and command center in Germany. In fact, the incident with the Russian fighter harassing the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea the other day is not an ordinary saber rattling by the Russians at all. The Donald Cook is the first of four missile destroyers to be modernized with the latest iteration of the Aegis radar system and SM-3 missiles capable of shooting down ballistic missiles which are to be based in Rota, Spain. As such her presence in the Black Sea is not a coincidence and represents a direct threat to Russia. The Russians were obviously on an ELINT gathering mission, trying to provoke the Cook into revealing as much about the new Aegis iteration as possible so that they can try to figure out exploitable weaknesses. So the Russians are taking this quite seriously and I would wager that they have good enough intelligence to warrant a serious concern. I am truly afraid that surrealpolitik is in fact too mild of a description of the US actions, insanepolitik might be a more accurate moniker.

    1. susan the other

      Insanepolitik is right. The truth must be protected with a “bodyguard of lies.” Thanks Winston for that coffin nail. If you look at the map, it really looks like the entire spat is about Caspian oil. Why else would the Black Sea be important enough to deploy 5 destroyers, or whatever they are called.

        1. OIFVet

          They are going into both. The US is somewhat constrained by geography and treaties wrt the Black Sea since it is a trap and a treaty exists which limits the naval presence of non-Black Sea countries to 21 days, but the past two months have shown what I believe is a future pattern of rotating the ships in and out. The first ship overstayed its welcome by a week, will see about the Donald Cook. The fact that the navy is sending its most advanced DDGs there speaks volumes about US intent IMO.

    2. Chris

      Narcissists aren’t known for being good judges of their strengths and weaknesses in a war. Their perception that the whole world revolves around them makes them blind to certain things.

  3. BigRed

    To add some nuance, because Mr. Hudson unfortunately messed up:

    1) Monitor doesn’t claim that shots were only from the hotel but that there also shots fired from the hotel, additionally to government buildings.
    2)The doctor they talk to, who they claim was treating victims from both sides, says that the victims had been hit by the same type of bullets, which Monitor uses to argue that those shots were probably not fired by police since they wouldn’t have shot their own guys. Since he’s not the only one who treated demonstrators, this doesn’t allow to draw further conclusions.

    There’s obvious need to counteract the pro-EU/NATO propaganda. But by overstating claims, TRNN leaves itself open to justified attacks that undermine the larger issue.

    Transcript of the Monitor report in German is here:

    1. mf

      correction: Hudson did not mess up. He is showing his true colors.

      There is much that is wrong with the US, US democracy, and the world economy. A good portion of what is wrong has to do with exploding population worldwide. The oil based economic globalization might have worked in the world I was born into, it no longer works in the world I will die in. It is a social and technological conundrum that future generations will have to cope with.

      However, favoring an obvious outbreak of aggressive fascism over US democracy, such as this democracy is today, is either taking leave from reality, or showing your true colors. Make a pick for Mr Hudson.

      1. OIFVet

        ” obvious outbreak of aggressive fascism over US democracy, such as this democracy is today”

        Leave it to poles to crap themselves every time the bear yawns and run right into the arms of an even more efficiently ruthless master.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Wasn’t his remark about warships in Black Sea also off-base? Aren’t they going to the Baltic Sea?

  4. steviefinn

    It’s a re-run of ‘ The Noble Lie ‘. ”

    The Office of Special Plans of 2002-3 was headed by Donald Feith, a Wolfowitz appointee whom Gen. Tommy Franks once famously called “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet.” It included Abram Shulsky, Wolfowitz’s college roommate at the University of Chicago and fellow student of the philosopher Leo Strauss, and implemented Strauss’s principle that since the masses are intrinsically foolish and will not always approve heroic action when necessary, the “Wise” must employ “noble lies” to convince them. These are to be presented through “gentlemen” who are not too bright but malleable and enjoy credibility. Political science professor Shadia Drury, in her Leo Strauss and the American Right (1999), contends that Strauss believed that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.”

    1. Brindle

      —-Strauss believed that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.”—

      Sounds like something Cass Sunstein would say, although he would use updated language for our time. He’s another University of Chicago guy, IIRC.

      1. Banger

        These ideas go back a long way–in the U.S., we can trace it to the Creel Committee and its chief ideologue Walter Lippmann. Lippmann was liberal who believe, however, that the contemporary world was too complex for the normal citizen to grasp and therefore journos should not focus on the truth–but on digesting events for the public. Both Lippmann and Strauss feared the public and democracy as an idea. Those of us who were students in the 1960s knew this and we rebelled against this cynical POV–we were more optimistic–we actually believed in democracy unlike the “liberals” who led the country into perpetual war.

        1. readerOfTeaLeaves

          Lippman believed that because the modern world (circa early 1900s) was becoming so complex, it was necessary to educate and have ‘experts’ in government. He was extremely interested in Public Opinion, but he also had a high regard for expertise.

          Strauss believed in obsessive textual analysis of a single document – say, the Niger forgeries – at the expense of collecting information from a variety of sources. Interesting background on how the Straussians went wrong:

  5. Andrea

    Hudson is right to denounce the US media silence about what happened in Maidan. German TV even had a ‘humor’ show where the snipers in Maidan (as being from the protestors, puchists, separatists, Svoboda, Pravy Sektor etc. in cahoots with their backers, i.e. the US plus EU) were just taken as a ‘fact.’ – Very Gruesome but the obedient audience laughed.

    Mind you a similar MSM cover-up is taking place in France, even worse imho than in the US, as the country is smaller, the media outlets less varied and more controlled.

    History Hudson didn’t mention.

    Delegations from the EU, the US, Russia, Yanukovitch (then president) and some opposition leaders signed an agreement on Friday Feb 21 in Kiev – announced by Yanukovitch in the early afternoon (from press etc.), after lengthy negotiations.

    It was piloted by Germany, F. W. Steinmeier (Foreign Min). Stipulated early elections, a return to the 2004 constitution, plus other such as freeing Timoshenko, amnesties, etc.

    for ex Guardian

    for ex RT video

    The sniping began the day before, on Thursday, while the negotiations were ongoing. The actors behind the scenes were determined no compromise be effected, no deal be agreed. And so it was. Yanukovitch fled on Saturday, the morning after the deal was signed. The deal died before it was signed…

    Steinmeier says he doesn’t regret it – “you have to try.”

    1. Cynthia

      The US MSM has been duplicitous for so long now that only blinkered fools would look to it for factual information. I ceased reading or watching the MSM a good ten years ago. The thing that set me off was the lack of coverage of the Downing Street Memos. Every other media in the World had coverage except the US. That was too much for me, I cut the MSM out of my life.

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    I’m not sure I would pick Cheney. Obama’s narcissism is driving our actions or at least reactions to the neoconservative backed coup. Putin one upped him, and I doubt Obama can handle being publicly embarrassed. For Obama, this is revenge. I’m sure he has a justification like any Obot, Obama is not merely limited to being the object of Obot programming but is one himself.

    Kerry adds to the foul mood, but I think Kerry is legacy shopping and needs activities to justify his Iraq War support and complaints about conduct of the war instead of recognizing war plans go to he’ll before the war starts. Kerry needs a success story of the war he envisioned.

    Powers is a run of the mill lunatic obsessed with imperial power, and I suspect Rice just props up Obama’s ego.

    1. Banger

      I don’t quite agree–I’m sure vanity is involved, but my observation of this President indicates that he is merely reacting to the internal power struggles within his administration that are, in turn, influenced by deep political divisions within the Washington community of lobbyists, contractors, politicians, and the full panoply of what I will call “hustlers” that surround DC. The conflict is between the neoneocons (now made up of liberal but fanatical “humanitarian interventionists” like Samantha Power and her circle) and realists and the neoneocons are winning the internal struggle–why? Because of the state of the mainstream media which backs the new neocon agenda of world domination for a variety of reasons.

      Obama is a “weak” President because he has never had a real power-base in Washington. He was always dependent on his handlers and their connections. He knows very well what happened to Jimmy Carter who was thoroughly f–ked by the Washington power-elite every which way. His Presidency was sabotaged systematically by every operative and mandarin in Washington. I’m not sure Carter, to this day, fully understands what they did to him. Obama was well aware of who is in power and who put him in power–no matter what he personally believes, he has to go along with the consensus that is presented to him.

      I think what people on the left often miss is how serious these power-games are and the nature of the forces at work here both in terms of foreign and domestic politics. These guys don’t mess about to get what they want–they don’t play fair–those that play fair have been weeded out long ago only adept Machiavellians survive for long in Washington–even someone like Liz Warren has to use those skills or have someone close to her who does.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Not sure that a comparison to Jimmy Carter is valid. Obama is not well into his second term. I don’t think this “weak” President is too concerned about being “sabotaged”. He was meant to be weak, he was kept weak, and he accepts being weak.

        I’m sorry, but once again I have to say that I see no “conflict” among neocons and realists. At the top, neocons and neolibs are united. A similar faulty analysis would say that there is a “conflict” between executives and reformers on Wall Street. No. There is pleading and cajoling, and moralizing about outrageous behavior by some lower ranks and outsiders but the executives and their lobbyists are fully in control. The only way anything will really change is if the public gets angry enough for mass demonstrations and resistance until there is fundamental reform.

        1. Banger

          In a sense you are right–but as a practical matter they differ quite a lot. Realists want a relatively quiet front and a slow increase in influence with no dramatic or public conflicts. Since I’ve known some of these people I can assure you they think there is a difference.

      2. John Jones


        Can you tell us the variety of reasons for why the mainstream media backs the neocon agenda?

      3. Dan Kervick

        It seems to me that a key background factor is that Obama is an extremely weak figure heading a failed administration and poised to lead his party into another mid-term shellacking at the hands of the most crackpot and unserious opposition a halfway competent politician could ask for. It’s amazing. Now he has gotten his manhood invested in another head-to-head standoff with the tough guy Putin, after Putin already humiliated him last year over Syria, and has no idea how to climb down without looking like Putin’s abject bitc*.

        1. different clue

          Democratic Representatives in the House could have killed Ocare and destroyed Obama’s presidency at several different times. It would have saved us a lot of grief.
          They chose to support their President instead. They will get the defeat they deserve.
          They may not be trusted to return to fix whatever damage the Rs add to the Obamacrat damage.

      4. Andrea

        late in the day…dead thread? Banger, a bang-on sentence from you:

        “I don’t quite agree–I’m sure vanity is involved, but my observation of this President indicates that he is merely reacting to the internal power struggles within his administration that are, in turn, influenced by deep political divisions within the Washington community of lobbyists, contractors, politicians, and the full panoply of what I will call “hustlers” that surround DC.”

        US foreign policy is so confused because of different factions trying to carve out advantage, be it commercial, ideological, military strategic (which is both at once) very long term, or just against some local enemy, competitor, etc. Chaos. In such a situations, it tends to be a rule that the more radical, powerful, noisy, and ‘moving forward’ factions, those that are for ‘actions’ and not holding-back, analysis, or diplomacy, prevail.

  7. Banger

    As I’ve said many times there is a more or less open conspiracy in Washington to create a “strategy of tension” throughout the world in order to impose authoritarian political order on the entire world–or to put it crudely, this group of people intend to dominate the world through one kind of force or another to create a New Rome. I broadly call these people neocons but this is a new neoconservative movement or neoneocons I gues that involves people like Samantha Power who believe in “humanitarian intervention” but are, in fact, just plain ole American Exceptionalist imperialists which is not too far from Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney just with different makeup.

    The neoneocons believe that the world will do better with a solid order than without it and European elites seem to agree to this agenda. They fear a world dominated by China/East Asia and Russia is the link between US/EU and Asia. Putin, unlike Yeltsin will not play ball with this agenda–he has his own vision of what society should be, as he’s declared many times, and it is not on the Western model. He believes, and he’s taking an enormous risk, that he can be successful in brokering power between East and West and insure a “place in the Sun” for Russia long-term–or something to that effect.

    For me, the chief problem is not Ukraine or the illegal US/EU engineered coup (very similar to other coups carried out by the CIA throughout the world over many decades) but the state of the mainstream media. This drift towards war can only exist because the mainstream media as a whole is one big USG Propaganda Ministry–as with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and smaller wars the mainstream media is one big PR firm for War. The press has even been able to silence people like Sy Hersh who is one of the few reporters that senior dissident military and itel people trust to tell their side of the story. He now cannot publish their concerns in the U.S. media.

    Some years ago the CIA had Operation Mockingbird, CIA director George Bush I announced that the operation (after its exposure by the Church Committee) would no longer pay journalists to disseminate U.S. propaganda. The CIA probably did stop this but, as everyone in Washington knows, the CIA shifted its operations to other organizations often private led by “former” CIA agents and others public like the National Endowment for Democracy. I believe that forces in Washington both bribe and coerce editors (editors always determine content) to stick to the Washington Consensus on what is and is not real–at this point they don’t have to push very hard since the press corps is completely manned and womanned by “presstitutes” interested primarily by having a “seat at the table” and a career–they know if they stray from the Party line they will be driving a cab somewhere. Some, like Chris Hedges or Russ Baker, can create alternative careers but it aint easy even for them.

    The enemy, we like to think, are the corporations, the banksters, the authoritarians in government, the NSA and so on. I submit that the enemy is the mainstream media and they must be always attacked and undermined–they lie systematically about everything including history. All members of the mainstream media whether on TV, radio, newsprint, glossy magazines are government bureaucrats or courtiers (Washington press corps). They should be exposed at all costs. Operation Mockingbird bloomed more after Bush stated that it would stop than before–we remained in Vietnam, btw, for longer than necessary because of Mockingbird because the truth was known from 1963 onward by everyone in government and that I can guarantee you, not just from the Pentagon Papers but through oral accounts of the people at the center of those decisions. Some in government had their careers ruined by opposing that war and those that favored it–one hopes that those in government who are dissenters can survive but they must have access to somebody in the press.

    1. Ulysses

      Fantastic comment! The rare moments when truth breaks out in the MSM are always followed by well-funded, slick attempts to muddy the waters and damage the credibility of the truth-tellers.

    2. Cynthia

      Let’s state right out front what this really is all about. This all comes down to the latest chapter in the IMF’s economic destabilization of Ukraine, in order to allow the western banks to plunder Ukraine, just like it has every country that ever was unlucky enough to have any dealings with the IMF and World Bank. One merely has to go to Counterpunch or GlobalResearch to find articles on how this is done in country after country, and the damage the IMF has already caused there. What is happening is a crime against the Ukrainian people. They have already bankrupted Ukrainian agriculture, and they are going to destabilize the currency by forcing them to float it so it can be shortsold, and the vultures can descend and take everything of value there.

    3. susan the other

      I think the enemy is capitalism. It runs rampant against any force that opposes it and does so without nuance, without even trying to be subtle. I honestly believe that capitalism, or financialism as it is practiced today, is the most destructive force on the planet because in a world of diminishing resources and diminishing returns, capitalism does not even seek to understand equitable distribution of wealth but instead goes to war, even nuclear war, to preserve the extreme wealth controlled by those obviously uninspired oligarchs at the top. And for what?

      1. Banger

        Maybe… But don’t you think that a non-propaganda media might offer alternative views so people could decide for themselves?

    4. Jackrabbit

      Seems like tilting at windmills, Banger.

      The enemy is money in politics. PACs, SuperPACs, and now the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited political contributions (contributions as freespeech / vote with your money) Exposing the corruption and shady dealing that results is most important, IMO. The corporate owned press knows how the system works and acts accordingly.

        1. Jackrabbit

          But its a better simplification than: capitalism. The problem is more “crony capitalism” => undue political influence => crony capitalism, and so on. These circle jerks inevitably grind everyone else down.

          1. BigRed

            But money in politics is an inevitable consequence of capitalism, as is “crony” capitalism. Capitalism is by design anti-democratic and money is its lever.

    5. TimR

      Yes fantastic comment, but please… I hope to god this horrid neoneologism doesn’t take root… Please Banger find some other word than “neoneocons”… My eyes are already bleeding, I can’t take any more neo’s… it’s enuff… please… sniff..

      Btw, tell me this Banger, one thing I don’t get — after Russia lost the Cold War, can’t we assume that their true-blue nationalists, at least among the ruling elites, became co-opted to some degree into the Western globalist system? Haven’t I read that Putin’s money is in Western banks, or outside of Russia? And the other Russian oligarchs, aren’t they “globalists” to some degree or another? Is there really a “Russia” as there used to be, or is there just a host being sucked and bled by a comprador (if that means what I think it does) elite?
      I just don’t feel I have a real sense of the underlying power struggles in this situation.. What is real, what is just part of the Strategy of Tension?
      Hudson is great, but seems rather b&w and rushed in his commentary.. People seem able to point out where he glosses over things and (speaking charitably) simplifies matters.
      Maybe Putin is *both* a globalist and a nativist, i.e. in some kind of gray zone? Or am I in way over my head to even speculate?

      1. Banger

        We are all in over our heads but we can speculate and we must. Russians do have a strong sense of their culture and Putin has managed to bring some spine into that feeling after a humiliating defeat–not so much from the USG but from the contractors and criminals who looted Russia under Yeltsin, the American puppet. Russians understand what happened to them during that period.

        As for whether Putin is authentic or not–who knows? I do know that the Russian state is alarmed at the Ukraine operation which was about as obvious a Western-managed coup as any one of the many we’ve seen in modern history. The strategy of tension is the American policy–the Administration doesn’t care if Ukraine survives as a country or not as long as there is chaos there and anywhere. It is the USG that is somewhat inscrutable–it now appears to me that the entire point of the Iraq War was to create chaos and pain as well as shock and awe. But why? Rumsfeld’s strategy was flat-out stupid–it’s almost as if the US wanted to fail. In Afghanistan the situation was much the same–why pursue policies that could not under any circumstances ever work? This was, btw, obvious then and now. We’ve been through this in Vietnam and the same pattern emerged. Everyone with half a brain knows this–so why did the USG pursue these policies? It isn’t stupidity–those people aren’t all stupid–you don’t get where you are in Washington through stupidity–you have to be one f—ing stud to get to the top there.

        1. susan the other

          Well, our jealous behavior now – trying to control oil and keep Europe in our sphere of insane-politik, is like “If I can’t have it, nobody can have it.” It’s a temper tantrum tactic. Just jump in there and make a huge mess of everything so everyone else will tread lightly for many years to come.

        2. Chris

          >*”why pursue policies that could not under any circumstances ever work?”*

          They did that with Obamacare. Clearly, their goal is something completely different than what they say it is.

        1. allcopedout

          The term neo-conservative was about in Critical Theory when I was still dumb enough to read academics as though their text had meaning. Carl Schmitt was a target and he’d actually been a Nazi. Wikki covers the creep quite well. Uncle Carl sounds very similar to (what a difference a K makes) the US neo-cons. In CT the term was a pejorative for Nazi. Photographs of Heidegger strutting on Nazi bedecked stages were passed round. God I’m old.

          We’re all aware of Godwin’s Law, but the neo-cons are Nazi. They have been careful to avoid the term, yet have buried much charismatic leadership dross in the management-political mainstream. Typical examples are;
          1. managers are key players who create reality for others
          2. public scrutiny of management decisions is counter-productive (Judge Leo Strine)
          You’d end up writing a very large book if you went through a standard text on management and organisational behaviour looking for this anti-democratic stuff.

          I don’t care what we call them. They are re-treads from history. In this part of USUK we have terms of reverence like ‘king, queen, duke, earl, baron, noble’ and I can’t find a decent one in history. Education means ‘to make like a duke’. We have a long history of not ‘naming the name’. Chewy bits of meat offal?

    6. different clue

      If NaCap eventually rose to such prominence that it considered the possibility of launching a dead-tree newspaper called The Naked Capitalist Times or some such, would enough people buy it consistently to allow it to succeed in bussiness and afford reporters a middle class career?
      If someone else tried such a thing, does the same question apply?

    7. Dan Kervick

      I don’t think so. I think these clowns just make it up as they go along.

      Samantha Power isn’t a deep strategic thinker. She’s just an unhinged zealot.

      The US has been fumbling and stumbling since 9/11.

    8. Andrea

      Banger wrote:

      “The enemy, we like to think, are the corporations, the banksters, the authoritarians in government, the NSA and so on. I submit that the enemy is the mainstream media and they must be always attacked and undermined–they lie systematically about everything including history. All members of the mainstream media whether on TV, radio, newsprint, glossy magazines are government bureaucrats or courtiers (Washington press corps).”

      I have been pushing such a pov for a long time. However, one has to consider that the MSM – as the information organism – is always dependent on the most powerful and those who pay them, or allow, legislate, etc. the present pay-structures. They are the lynch-pin between Gvmt / Big Corps / the military-ind. complex / other powers and the public. In France and the US (to mention only those two as examples), the public is pretty much brainwashed for now.

      The MSM are handmaidens to power, but hold power over those above them. They can expose secrets, rile ppl up, change tack, etc., and affect situations /opinion / and thus actions etc. in a consequent way in no time at all.

      So the PTB have to bow down to them at the same time. Ergo, the PTB and the MSM are in this gingerly balance of influence (stranglehold, blackmail, subservience, deals, orders, other) where both parties hold threats over each other’s heads and struggle to not let cracks show.

      Smooth blondines announce whatever…and then change their tune…

    1. curlydan

      Very good DemocracyNow! segment. I liked these quotes from Cohen:
      “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?”

      “If we move the forces, NATO forces, including American troops, to—toward Russia’s borders, where will we be then? I mean, it’s obviously going to militarize the situation, and therefore raise the danger of war. And I think it’s important to emphasize, though I regret saying this, Russia will not back off. This is existential. Too much has happened.”
      “the result of this confrontation, East-West confrontation—and I can’t emphasize how fundamental and important it is—is going to set back whatever prospects remained in Russia for further democratization or re-democratization, possibly a whole generation”

  8. ltr

    As for the release of the phone call by Victoria Nuland, even the New York Times only spoke about the intercept of the call and the profane remark by Nuland but never about the conspiratorial content of the call and about the activities of Nuland and the Ambassador in Ukraine in encouraging and directing a coup against the government.

    1. Banger

      Amazing wasn’t it? It’s almost as if those intercepted phone calls were airbrushed from history when they should be a central part of the debate. Any other person would have been forced to resign had they made a phone call going against official policy.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Why do you assume she was “going against official policy”?

        Her tone was one of authority. She offered for VP Biden to appear in Ukraine (and he is expected to go there shortly). And, as you note, there has never been any indication that she has done something that the Administration disagrees with.

        1. Banger

          No, she was probably reflecting administration policy. If someone were to say something that was not policy they would have been under pressure to resign.

    2. RUKidding

      Interesting, isn’t it? US propaganda media only wanted to focus on Nuland’s potty mouth and tsk tsk that Putin intercepted the call and “published” it. One had to go further afield than anything produced by MSM to get the whole story. And almost as soon as the potty mouth story was discussed by the Very Serious People, then it was dropped. And then we got the word incessantly to this day about Putin, who is very bad.

      NYT is nothing more than propaganda from front to back page.

      1. Cynthia

        Yeah, they need a new, new bogeyman. Maybe they’ll have a youtube video of a big burly guy with an AK-47 with Russia on his shirt chasing and catching a young girl with a kitten and then mowing her down while laughing and taking big swigs of vodka. CNN will pick it up and play it 40 times an hour to program the donkeys.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I turned on CNN today to catch Don Lemon reporting on an avalanche in Nepal, and then he noted one place, Asia, has just experienced 3 disasters, the plane, the ferry and an avalanche. He is giving Wolf a run for his money.

        2. OIFVet

          They can borrow the footage from Wag the Dog for the girl with the kitten and add the bad Russkie with CG. Very deficit-friendly too.

    3. Synopticist

      It’s awful to see the west sink this low.

      We’re are using the propaganda of the lie, and the Russian, the f*ckin RUSSIANS, are using truth propaganda. One is far more effective than the other. From as British perspective (we’re all brought up on a diet of truimphalist WW2 stories), the west is trying to use propaganda in the same way the Nazis did, while the Russians are using the old British tactic of making sure you tell the truth at least 90% of the time. And then people beleive you for the other 10% as well, and don’t trust the other lot. To see the BBC abandon that is horrifying.

      1. Synopticist

        This is from the BBC article in the links. It’s from the beeb’s chief diplomatic correspondent…
        “Vladimir Putin’s deep-seated grievances against the West will probably not go away. And after all that has happened, it may be harder to rebuild co-operation with Western partners and with any new government in Kiev than he assumes.”

        So Vlad is the one with the deep seated resentments, but he’s also the one who’s expecting to go back to normal………..Riiight. That makes sense. The chief diplomatic correspondent for the BBC was traditionally an intellectual powerhouse and and the epitome of objectivity. Now, it’s just spin and poor PR.

  9. Bawb le Revelateur

    This is what happens when the CIA is privatized and outsourced to agencies such as Booz-Allen – formerly Eric Snowden’s employer: Accountability diminishes ever closer to zero.

    Respectfully, an Obama-Channeling-Cheney header misleads by presuming Obama’s and Chancellor Cheney’s agenda to be identical. While outcomes may be, the premises are not necessarily so. Am I hair-splitting while a[nother] catastrophe proceeds? Quite likely. OTOH “blaming” Obama – whose 2009 naivete approached Bush43’s – is a bit too easy.

    My point? We the people drank Ronald Reagan’s kool-ade in 1980 and never have quit drinking it through today.

    This nascent tragedy is the newest consequence of that over-indulgence. Unless [until?] the orginal premise is acknowleged and corrected you may as well attribute the consequence to the Administrations of your choosing and continue to “Blame It On The Bossa Nova”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The issue with the CIA is a lack of transparency and oversight. It was a criminal outfit pretty much on day one. The Bay of Pigs wasn’t done by private contractors. LTD experiments. Anything in South America. Missing the fall of the Shah, we’ll pretty much every geopolitical event.

    2. jrs

      The CIA doesn’t need to be de-privatized (the CIA doesn’t need to be privatized). The C.I.A. needs to be eliminated. Period.

      And yea the CIA up to no good way predates Reagan. We got terrorist right here in the U.S.A.,. the big C.I.A., the crips and the bloods and the KKK.

  10. TarheelDem

    Obama is channeling Victoria Nuland, her Kagan husband and in-laws, Ambassador Pyatt, and John Brennan. Guess why the Senate’s Report on CIA Torture is so important in domestic politics relative to foreign policy? You have to go into the politics that allowed Victoria Nuland to become Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State to understand who exactly from the the Democratic Party side Obama is channeling. Obama doesn’t form his own foreign policy vision; it seems to be a consensus vision of people he thinks are experts and who have their own political power bases already in DC. Nothing shows more the community organizer side of him than the way he manages his community of foreign policy experts and world leaders with regard to identifying goals, strategies and supervising implementation. The impact of Obama is in the immediate reconciling of differences among those folks and pronouncing the President’s decision of the moment. And the Churchillian determination not to preside over the decline of the American empire.

    1. Jackrabbit

      I’m not convinced that Obama coordinates, manages and controls FP anymore than he did so with BP (after the Gulf disaster) or Wall Street.

      1. Jackrabbit

        . . . or NSA spying, or any of dozen other things.

        He is informed, briefed, etc. But . . .

    2. curlydan

      Agree. Obama’s foreign policy, especially crisis control, is a disaster as evidenced in Syria where Putin basically saved the day after Obama let Kerry and Kerry’s 800lb ego run wild with bombing visions. There’s a face-saving solution of a federation of East and West Ukraine, but the neocons with their rapacious appetite for imperial power and oil/gas control will again push us to the limit. Only then does it seem like Obama might think of a relatively safe long-term solution.

    3. Dan Kervick

      I agree. Obama isn’t capable of strategic thinking or from-the-front leadership. He just tries to manage and resolve conflicts in his “team of rivals.”

  11. ambrit

    As for snipers firing into the crowd from adjoining buildings, well, that’s SOP. The Mexican government did exactly that at Tlatelolco Square in 1968 in order to break the student movement prior to the ’68 Olympics. The then MSM also did a disappearing job on the truth. The real events were uncovered only after forced release of documents from Mexican and U.S. sources over thirty plus years later. As in Ukraine, sanctioned violence was used to stifle democratic dissent and impose authoritarianism. In Mexico, it was determined that the ‘snipers’ were members of the elite Olympic Brigade, formed from elements of the Mexican police and Presidential Guard. Ukraine looks to be more of the same. I’m patiently waiting for it to happen here, for real. Police crackdowns on Occupy sites and ineffectual murder plots against internal dissidents as in Texas are the appetizers. When the main course comes on, I fear that some unit like the Tenth Mountain Division will be involved. Then the gloves will come off.

  12. Michael Hudson

    The job of a Community Organizer is to make fortunes for real estate investors gentrifying. That is what Obama did in Chicago (See Yves’ reprint of Bob Fitch’s study some years ago), and that is just what he’s doing in Ukraine. Cargill is angling for land rights, and other investors are anticipating a really, really cheap labor force as Ukraine’s currency plummets. Obama is simply working with his backers, asking them what they want him to do. His job is to deliver his constituency.

    1. Brindle

      I’ve come the conclusion that Obama hasn’t had a single original thought in his head when it comes to ideas, policies etc.
      He isn’t lacking in intelligence, he just is very content in being a follower, one who uses his savvy media skills to implement the designs of others,

      1. Jim Haygood

        I’ve come to the conclusion that Obama is a genetically-engineered CIA test-tube baby, whose entire persona was batch-downloaded from a classified file.

        Who’s yo daddy?

    2. susan the other

      Currency is either flexible or inflexible. If Ukraine has an inflexible currency, a currency that is co-opted before it can rethink what it wants to be, then all the poor people will bear the brunt of devaluation and virtual depression, but the rich will make out like the bandits they are; if the currency is flexible, i.e. sovereign, it can mitigate this onslaught against it by the capitalist protiteers – whose only motto is profit first and beyond all social reason – by imposing social justice. Who in their right mind would choose inflexible currency?

    3. Chris

      I had heard that too. That he was involved in gentrification – “slum clearance”.

      The linked speech is no longer online. I’d like to listen to it.

  13. jfleni

    While Neocons are not totally monolithic, there is an agenda: A posse of crypto-traitors, fully faithful to and even more extreme than BiBi-the-effing-mad and friends, including Sewer-mouth-Vicky, “Sammy” Power the red-headed nut, Rice, probably Hillary herself, and a multitude of shills, supporters and connected spouses, who are out of control and destructive to our real interests. Whether Congress and their natural enemies can halt this lunacy is unknown right now; it may take a severe and catastrophic military confrontation.

    I remember when Ukraine and Russia were squabbling twenty years ago about who would get the Black Sea fleet, a bunch of broken down rusty tubs that nobody else would ever want. The bad feeling and enmity never went away, and didn’t start just recently. What’s new is the gusto of the NEOCONS to stir the pot. It is crazy and must be stopped, especially since solving our real problems play third fidddle to this neocon nonsense.

  14. par4

    Yves, ever think of starting another site called naked communism? I would hope people posting comments there would know that the U.S. has never been a “democracy” and that liberals aren’t “of the left”.

  15. Jagger

    Maybe if we can get WW III going, we can solve a lot of pressing problems such as overpopulation, peak oil and climate change. Bearing in mind that WW II only took out 60 million, which is only a drop in the bucket with a current population of 7 billion, we would need to do better this time. If we can get the population down to 2-3 billion, we could strech out our remaining natural resources substantially. And of course, a nuclear winter should nicely counteract global warming. Got to look at the positives when you are Washington neocon operative selling a concept.

    Of course if we all stopped having babies for a few decades, we could achieve exactly the same thing without all the mess.

    1. Lord Koos

      My father used to donate money to an organization dedicated to zero population growth (ZPG). The whole idea of limiting population growth on the planet was something that you heard about occasionally in the media at that time (the 1970s) and it was a subject of debate. These days the subject must be practically taboo for all the mention it gets and yet it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Of course in my view, fossil fuel conservation as opposed to fracking is fairly obvious too, but then my ideas aren’t so profitable.

      1. jagger

        I am not sure zero population growth would do the job today. I suspect we need a substantial reduction of total population. But that isn’t going to happen at the scale needed voluntarily. And as you say, we hear absolutely nothing about the concept today.

        Yes and I agree, fossil fuel conservation makes all the sense in the world as well. If we are marooned on a boat at sea, do we ration our limited water and hope for rescue or just drink it up as fast as we can because we have water at the moment? It is just insanity amonst our so called power elites. Unfortunately, everyone will pay the price.

        1. susan the other

          We should think of humans as filters. Each person can filter what it eats into extremely rich manure and all the liquid it drinks into sterile, urine containing urea which is, or should be, an expensive commodity. And etc. Not even mentioning that our brains turn totally irrational realities into possible rational ones.

      2. Chris

        As soon as countries become literate birth rates fall. Its happening all around the world. I’m sure that population growth will level off and start falling, probably around the same time as we have the first self aware computers.

  16. allcoppedout

    I don’t see US foreign policy as being as crude or benevolent as Michael suggests. More likely the intent is to trap Putin into invasion of Ukraine. The country has deep, hateful memories of Russians and Soviets – hundreds of years. A few arms donated to the resistance would keep a cracking little war going and force European competitors to spend a lot on military security against Putin. Russian gas would not travel west, costing Putinania revenue and making the energy costs of manufacture in Germany much higher. USUK are obvious beneficiaries in this scenario, especially if war in the Ukraine disrupts grain harvests.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Um, you do realize there isn’t an alternative to Russian gas. It’s not a case of higher prices, and sanctions tend to strengthen the targeted regime. A popular Putin would beat the cap out of unpopular and coalition leaders after divisive elections in the West if a sanctions game starts.

      1. susan the other

        So this also raises a question: why are we doing this to Russia when who we actually harm is first Germany and then the rest of Europe?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The simple answer is Versailles is Versailles. It needed a cleansing.

          I believe it’s a side project by neoconservative who think Stalin is in power who found quasiallies in the various bureaucracies of expansionist outfits such as the EU and IMF. The expansion of the EU can’t be contained by unpopular and coalition governments in the West. Eastern European members want to stick it to Russia.

          The last part is the expectation that Yeltsin is the rule for Russia. The Nazis and Napoleon thought Russia was ready to fall. The powers that be haven’t quite grasped that the Russian state has existed for 50 or so years for a reason.

          Who is to say Merkel is on the level? She might think Obama/the American Presidency is credible because magic, and she might have allowed old emotions to cloud her judgement. She is a conservative which at least in my humble opinion means she is mean, idiot in her heart of hearts.

          Obama is clearly a raging narcissist who has failed domestically and is out to be a foreign policy president because he can classify failures or not have to face questioning.

          I think the issue is the complete lack of accountability for the US and UK elite which has prevented competitive forces from getting rid of idiots and creeps. Obama won’t face the consequences of his actions, Ukrainian peasants will, so why should Obama think about German reactions?

        2. Banger

          Some people believe there is an underlying “war” between the City of London/Wall Street and the rest of the financial world particularly Germany.

          1. 1 Kings

            This time I’m rooting for the Germans…

            And in fact it’s obvious that Germany of today learned the lessons we tought them in 1945. We(the U.S.), are the Germans now.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They weren’t that villainous in 1914. Wilson was the worst President. Greater Prussia had higher suffrage rates than France and the UK who were antsy about their local colonial agents making deals with the germans, and German’s lower house controlled the purse strings, not the upper house. The UK still had inherited positions of power.

              The fascists who came later seemed to have no interest in the colonies of other European powers which were basically playgrounds for the elite.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              The strength of the Nazi coalition was in the old Prussian state. We wound up with the Germans who jailed Hitler, and the east Germans assimilated into a country of good germans.

              Churchill didn’t give Europe away to Stalin. He gave Stalin the nazi lovin’ areas. The Soviets did deal with neo nazi groups behind the iron curtain, and they were so afraid they never officially announced what they did with Hitler’s body. The story is they burned and dumped the ashes in a river in 68 or so, but Brehznev wanted the skull. Moscow received a female’s skull. No one wanted to ask if it was meant as a joke, so it was forgotten.

              In a sense, we didn’t teach them anything, and if napoleon III wasn’t so whacky, it’s likely much of West Germany would be relatively independent.

  17. elbbabble

    Banger et al,
    I have been following the Ukraine presentation on NPR. The first thing I noticed was when the word “fascist” was introduced via a comment that Angela Merkel thought that Putin was “in another reality” (paraphrase) for talking that way. I surmised it to be an inoculation for the semi-educated NPR listener, as in “Oh, I heard that crazy story somewhere before, so what?”

    Now, after about a month of alternative internet circulation of information about Svoboda, perhaps the weird idea that the USA supported some nazi thugs has seeped into semi-intelligentsia semi-consciousness. There are a few MSM reports that use the (initially, thus forevermore discredited) term, “neofascist”, referring to elements within the coup regime (never of course acknowledged as a coup regime). Often the “fascist” description is attributed to the Russian view, but it is not simply derisively pushed aside. I hear other bits of real reporting, mainly now from Ari Shapiro (still NPR) out of Ukraine. It is always framed in typical USG/MSM propaganda terms, but if you listen to the actual content, Shapiro has interviewed Eastern Russian-Ukrainians on the street, and they clearly are worried about the fascist thugs coming their way, and not worried about Putin. I doubt most Americans hear the content as much as they hear the ever-repeated frame, but still it is there.

    Is this sort of truth inadvertent, or does it reflect some split within the media, or – now that some bit of alternative “truth” is out – is it another level of inoculation?

    As for: “As for whether Putin is authentic or not–who knows?”
    I have read enough transcripts of his interviews, I am beginning to like him! Worrisome, I know. He is able to think and speak on his own, and he sounds rational, as though there is no need to be anything but. The ethnic Russian-American of Vineyard Saker thinks of Putin as a real statesman. see I hope so. He strikes me as our best hope to avoid war, though I will not be surprised if the pushback gets dangerous at some point. So far, the Russian troops have kept the peace. Had there been less defensive “aggression” by Russia, we would already be seeing overt civil war.

    Finally, on a lighter note, NPR told us today about a wonderful little study from the University of Disaster Capitalism, whose author won the John Bates Clark Medal in Economics. Using the fashionable “Big Data” approach, he determined that “a good deal” of the variability in ideological slant of USA newspapers can be attributed to “us”, the readers. My own estimate is that maybe 70% of the 2% of TPTB-allowed variance (.014% of conceivable semantic space) is due to editors slanting views towards paying eyeballs. Not impressed? Well, the author opined that the variance might be a bigger deal in places like China where the press is not nearly so free, as in our glorious land! So, count on NPR to highlight the small bias that might possibly exist in USA MSM because …
    … markets!

  18. steviefinn

    This is getting scary.

    Is it possible that they are actually contemplating going to war with Russia ? This is a quote from Nuland’s other half taken from an interview for Der Spiegel from 2008:

    “The two rising powers, China and Russia, are autocracies. They are undoubtedly becoming more aggressive and nationalistic. They will shape the entire international system to suit their purposes, unless democratically minded nations join forces and demonstrate their own collective will to shape the world order”.

    I listened to another interview which was mainly blah blah blah in regard to a book he had written which apparently Obama had given the thumbs up to. This was not long after he had been re-elected & Kagan had been an adviser to Mitt Romney. What most struck me about it was when Daddy K talked about his family & in particular how he & Mrs k had developed a relationship at university due to the fact that they both were fascinated by war. He was also proud of the fact that a son of his had also met a girl under the same circumstances. It left me with the certainty that these people were a bunch of nutjobs.

    The fact that most of these Neo-cons appear to be of Jewish extraction made me if maybe, due to the passed down extreme trauma suffered at the hands of the Nazis, that they were a bit like abused children who grow up becoming abusers themselves( I hope this doesn’t sound anti-semitic, it isn’t meant to b – My late wife of 25 yrs was Jewish ). They talk about war as if it’s some type of game that should be perpetual, fought by troops from a country, raised on nationalism & religion who consider themselves to be dispensable for the greater glory of the state. They remind me of those a century ago who from a safe distance forced whole armies through a mincing machine. I imagine also that there is no way these self considered supermen or their children will be on the front line.

    As for Obama, I cannot shake the image of a selfie he & some other guy took the other day of the pair of them almost insanely grinning into the camera. It just struck me as very strange under the present circumstances. Maybe it’s all brinkmanship & someone will step back from the abyss, but if they don’t the shit will really hit the fan. In Afghanistan historically no-one has been able to do more than keep a lid on it despite the overwhelming superiority of the invading force, & I think Russia would also prove consistent to it’s historical precedents in a conventional war – I don’t want to even consider the nuclear option.

    Perhaps the wine has gone to my head & I am letting my imagination run away with me, but no-one could have imagined the consequences of the last 2 world wars before they happened & we seem to have similar lunatics in charge today but with much bigger toys.

    Another image has got stuck in my head – To me it illustrated the bear in Russians when it comes to what they consider to be their Motherland & it also somehow put me in mind of Vasily Grossman’s ‘ Life & Fate ‘. & the Russian film ‘ Come & see ‘.

    Hopefully the above is all bollocks, but if it isn’t, they had better get a move on as it may be sometime away, but winter is coming.

  19. Paul Tioxon

    Michael Hudson is an economist who watches German TV. So, that makes him? One of the most mistaken aspects of Americans in general is that we think we are the axis mundi. That everything we do is the first cause of anything that happens geo-politically, because we are present in every corner of the globe and that there is no interests of other great powers, regional powers and actors who act on their own, using the USA as a resource for their own intentions, without real regard for the outcome for anyone but themselves, much less the US Government, and all of its official foreign policies.

    The London Review of Books published Seymour Hersh’s piece exposing the entire gassing of Syrian rebels as an act instigated and controlled by Turkey, to force Obama to bomb Syria, turning the rebel government that would displace Asaad into a Turkish client state. It would move from being a Russian client state. Obama found out and stopped all military plans to bomb Syrian, which were advancing in scope and certainty of destroying Asaad’s regime.

    Russia has been used to acting in its own interests against the US Government around the world since WWII. We are regarded as their MAIN ADVERSARY. In most nations, they have had their team of agents who act in the national interest of Russia, and we have ours. That is less true today. But on the immediate borders of Russia, in an absolutely critical piece territory that is needed to access the Mediterranean, the Russians have a clear national interest, a clear geopolitical advantage and Russian nationals in their military stationed on the ground in the Crimean portion of the Ukraine by treaty with the Ukraine government. Additionally, there is absent from most American intellectual discussions, the doctrine of irredentism. For all intents and purposes, the Ukraine has had Crimea annexed from it to the nation of Russia. There are so many Russians dispersed in the Ukraine, that the reuniting them to Russia proper is not an outrageous violation of territorial boundaries in a Europe that does not even know what a stable boundary even looks like. And there is nothing any military power can do about it. There is nothing any economic move can do about it.

    The leverage is all in Russia’s favor and the people of the US don’t know, don’t care and will not get bothered about it. 1,000 armed Americans are more willing to die for their right to eat hamburger from Nevada than they are to even watch 10 minutes of TV from Germany, the US or even RT to get informed about a complete non issue that is the Ukraine. This is Putin and Russia taking care of something they want more than we do. For more valid reasons, than we have acknowledged at all. We could use the help of Russia in the Middle East, Iran and other places more than we need the Ukraine for anything at all. I don’t know why Michael Hudson is creating false equivalences with Dick Cheney other than he would look even more ridiculous uttering Hitler and Reichstag Fire. German TV is critical in its approach, but not omniscient. Sorting out East European politics and spycraft is way beyond anyone’s reach for now.

    The US is clearly interfering with the internal politics of the Ukraine, in direct violation of the Budapest Memorandum, signed by Bill Clinton, along with Russia to NOT interfere with the internal politics of the Ukraine by force, economic pressure or other means. But goading the Russians into WWIII is not even a worthwhile conclusion to consider. We have avoided war with them under much worse circumstances and tensions. This has more to do with Russia consolidating its power, what’s left of it, in the wake of the removal of US military from Iraq completely, and nearly complete in Afghanistan. If anything, Obama is channeling benign neglect for a part of the world that means absolutely nothing to us, we are finally retreating from and is not worth losing sleep over, much less launching nuclear weapons. What ever diplomatic moves he makes are necessary for him as the head of state to make it look like he is the head of state and not a radio talk show host with nothing to lose but nick nack sales from his website.

    1. Chris

      Is it reasonable to suspect that health care – the need for a real – not fake healthcare reform, always seems to create a push in Washington to start a war? Or something similarly war-like?

      It seems like whenever there is a logical reason to think about real healthcare reform suddenly, we’re on the edge of a war or a financial crisis.

      Its like clockwork. If you look at the last few years, you’ll see what I mean.

    2. steviefinn

      I sincerely hope you are correct, it just strikes me that US foreign policy is run by a bunch of lunatics & history shows that these situations despite what is perceived as the best laid plans inevitably end up degenerating into chaos. The nuclear stalemate during the cold war is given credit for keeping the peace but in reality we only escaped annihilation due to the actions of 2 Russians, one a submarine commander who vetoed 2 colleagues of 3 submarines under attack by a US destroyer therefore stopping a nuclear strike in response & the other was a man who took it on himself to ignore what fortunately turned out to be false data in regard to an incoming nuclear strike against the USSR.

      The details are buried within this long but fascinating documentary which I think illustrates that we cannot afford to take any more chances within a scenario that could easily spiral out of control with just one false move.

    3. ohmyheck

      “Obama found out and stopped all military plans to bomb Syrian, which were advancing in scope and certainty of destroying Asaad’s regime.”

      Did we read the same Hersch article, Paul? No, Obama did NOT stop the plans. Quite the opposite.

      Here is my comment from upthread. It is a compilation of direct quotes from the article. PLEASE read.

      I am sorry, but what you wrote is just a plain lie. I don’t like calling people liars, but when you spread total disinformation like what you just wrote, I am not going to sit by and let it slide.

      Though there are not alot of comments here, there are alot of readers. What you wrote is just WRONG.

  20. Dennis Redmond

    The Putinist trolls never rest. I’m sorry, but there is ZERO credible evidence that the Maidan demonstrators shot themselves. None. Nada. Zero. I’m not sure what Hudson is thinking, but here are some of the worst howlers in his opinion piece:

    HOWLER 1: “They’ve spoken to the doctors, who said that all of the bullets and all of the wounded people came from the same set of guns. They’ve talked to reporters who were embedded with the demonstrators, the anti-Russian forces, and they all say yes. All the witnesses are in agreement: the shots came from the Hotel Ukrayina.”

    Not true. Some of the casualties were from one set of guns. There were multiple gunshots from multiple locations, but always from places behind police lines. The best evidence we have suggests that the Ukrainian security forces were responsible for the carnage:

    HOWLER 2: “So what happened was that after the coup d’état, what they call the new provisional government put a member of the Svoboda Party, the right-wing terrorist party, in charge of the investigation.”

    There was no coup. Yanukovych (who was a horrid thief and autocrat) packed his loot over three days and simply left the country (check out the mega-mansion he built with the millions he stole from the people of Ukraine here: In response, the elected Parliament impeached Yanokovych with the necessary quorum, appointed an interim President, and will hold free, fair Presidential elections on May 25. Also, Svoboda is a rightwing party, but they are not terrorists or goose-stepping Nazis, and they are not hugely popular in Ukraine (maybe 3% or 4% of the electorate).

    HOWLER 3: “Putin has continually said he has no desire at all for Russia to take part of the Eastern Ukraine.”

    So why did 25,000 Russian soldiers march into Crimea? Crimea is part of Ukraine. It’s true that Crimea is 60% ethnic Russian, and they might want to rejoin Russia. But there was no free and fair referendum or UN-overseen vote. Thugs with guns showed up and announced an amazing 97% victory (not credible, since a quarter of Crimeans are ethnic Ukrainians and 12% are Tatars).

    I respect Hudson’s work as an economist. But when it comes to Eurasian geopolitics or understanding Ukraine’s democracy movement, he is shockingly uninformed.

    1. Vatch

      Hi Dennis. I agree with you that Putin would love to expand Russia to include eastern Ukraine. I also have great doubts that the protesters were behind the Maidan shootings. But my understanding is that there wasn’t a quorum for impeachment. From Wikipedia:

      In the Verkhovna Rada, deputies voted 328:0 (of the 447 deputies) to set the Presidential election date to 25 May. The action did not follow the impeachment process as specified by the Constitution of Ukraine (which would have involved formally charging the president with a crime, a review of the charge by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and a three-fourths majority vote – i.e. at least 338 votes in favor – by the Rada); instead, the Verkhovna Rada declared that Yanukovych “withdrew from his duties in an unconstitutional manner” and cited “circumstances of extreme urgency” as the reason for early elections.

      In effect, Yanukovych resigned his post as president. He may have had valid reasons to fear for his life, but whatever his motivations, he quit. 328 to 0 is a huge margin in favor of impeachment, but there wasn’t a quorum for this particular action. It’s possible that members of Yanukovych’s party stayed away from the parliament that day so that they could prevent a quorum, but that’s just speculation on my part.

      Also, as time passes, I’m becoming less willing to defend the behavior of the Svoboda party members. I was quite disgusted when I saw the video of them throwing punches in the parliament.

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