April 22, 2014

Divide and Conquer

Commentary for 21 April 2014
I recently asked a Polish journalist friend his ideas regarding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. He gave me a five point answer: (1) The Ukrainians are fighting against Russia’s corrupt version of so-called capitalism; (2) Russia is trying to portray Ukraine as a non-state; (3) Putin is rebuilding the former Soviet Union’s empire, extending Moscow’s influence over specific economic sectors; (4) Moscow’s ultimate goal is to completely push the United States out of Europe, using a new anti-American ideology; (5) Meanwhile, Moscow relies heavily on the West’s readiness to compromise on everything and anything to preserve their access to Russian markets.
There is truth in what my Polish friend says. The key point, above all, is the intention to push the United States out of Europe. This was a Soviet goal prior to 1991, and it remains unchanged to this day. In part, the threat of war in Ukraine is being used to produce a split in Europe. Talk of economic sanctions also has the same effect. While some politicians may wish to support Ukrainian sovereignty, as the United States and Britain are obligated to do in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum, other politicians think it ridiculous to sacrifice their own constituents’ economic interests for a country that has been under Russia’s thumb for centuries. Furthermore, a case is being made that Washington is responsible for stirring up trouble in Ukraine, and that Europe’s interests are more closely aligned with Russia’s. Arguably, this is the immediate objective of Moscow’s push into Crimea: To split Europe, split NATO, isolate America from Europe; and to demonstrate Europe’s need for what Russian officials call – “a new security architecture.”
Perhaps the incident most damaging in this regard, in terms of Moscow driving a wedge between America and Europe, came at the publishing of a phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, which occurred prior to the overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych. From Moscow’s point of view, this conversation between Nuland and Pyatt was made to order. Itgives the impression that American officials were orchestrating the opposition in Ukraine from behind the scenes. Below is an excerpt from the Nuland-Pyatt conversation:
Nuland: What do you think?
Pyatt: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.
Nuland: Good. So I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Pyatt: Yeah, I mean I guess … in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this.
Given the power and influence of KGB structures in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine, it is unlikely that these Naïve American diplomats had any idea what they were doing. They certainly did not consider their phones were tapped. In fact, their every whisper was known to the bosses in Moscow. Such helpless creatures do not orchestrate the overthrowing of presidents. Ukrainian intelligence officials have publicly stated their finding that President Yanukovych did not flee to Russia voluntarily, but that he was kidnapped by the Russian GRU and taken to Russia as a prisoner/puppet.
If this sounds absurd it is only because the reader is unfamiliar with Russia’s political method: that is, provocation. If the Ukrainian Revolution is a Russian provocation, undertaken with the object of splitting NATO, then we should expect to find evidence that the Russians created the Ukrainian Revolution themselves. We should expect to see a crack forming in NATO; for the Russians would never undertake a provocation unless they considered it likely to succeed. So it shouldn’t surprise us when Assistant Secretary of State Nuland tells Ambassador Pyatt (in their recorded conversation) about doing an end run around the European Union through the United Nations. Upon mentioning this, Nuland says: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, fuck the EU.”
I would apologize for repeating Nuland’s obscenity, except it is the statement of a high-ranking U.S. State Department official; as such, it evidences a real and growing divide between American and European officials in relation to the Ukraine crisis. Nuland was obviously upset with EU officials. To use that sort of language, even in private, cannot signify a healthy relationship. The Russian intelligence officials who (most probably) recorded Nuland’s remarks could only congratulate themselves.
Returning to my Polish friend’s thoughts, he offered a general warning against self-appointed Russia experts. This warning would naturally implicate me, though I cannot claim to be such an expert. According to my friend, anyone who talks about a military confrontation with Russia is playing into Russia’s hands. “They are provocateurs,” my friend said. “Their cry happens to be manna from heaven for Russian propaganda, which [makes] every effort to portray [the] West as full of warmongers and irresponsible cowboys.” These provocateurs may be trying to sell books, or they might be writing a blog – as I am doing now. But they are playing into Russian propaganda. It is what the Kremlin wants. For if the West begins to demonize Russia as a country, the Russian people will line up behind the Kremlin bosses. In that case, the dictatorship in Russia will be strengthened instead of weakened.
“The Western press never supported the real opposition in Russia,” my friend noted. This also applies to Ukraine where freedom activists have fought a lonely battle. Even the supposedly free states of Poland and the Czech Republic are not entirely free of pro-Russian neo-Communist forces (largely in control of the economy, bureaucracy, and government). Of course, in all of this, the Western media pays no attention. The West has merely exported cheap and stupid entertainment into Poland and other “former” East Bloc countries, ignoring the ongoing struggle waged by Moscow to retain a degree of control. And so we have been fooled about the fall of Communism. We have not defeated the Soviet empire. As my friend stated: “It is worthy to remember that whatever Ukraine achieved was against the political will of the Western experts and politicians.” He further added, “Russia is not going to wage war against Europe or [the] United States. It is only exploiting intellectual poverty and strategic weakness … or relying on the West’s inclination to compromise.”
I am not sure why he says, “Russia is not going to wage war….” Such a war seems perfectly inevitable to me – and I am neither a provocateur, nor a warmonger. Yet it is nonetheless alarming when, of a sudden, Russia’s useful idiots in the West are taking a more belligerent position against Russia than the conservatives. No doubt, it is the Left’s concern for homosexual rights that partly motivates them. Or are we cynical enough to believe the whole homosexual issue is a red herring – a weapon with which to split the Right into two hostile camps? Isn’t this the reason that economic conservatives and religious conservatives are annoyed at each other and no longer work together as they once did? And if we consider how the victorious Left has bankrupted America, and how this bankruptcy facilitates American disarmament, shouldn’t we regard the whole political direction of Left and Right as advantageous to Moscow?
If anyone realizes the true significance of the campaign for homosexual rights, or the campaign to stop global warming, or the struggle for feminism, as anything but an orchestrated war of strategic sabotage against the defense potential of the West, then they have understood nothing, and are strategic imbeciles. Furthermore, the point of all this sabotage – which was originally envisioned by the Communists – is not to make fools for the sake of fooling. When the intermediate step is to weaken military capability, the final step is to wage war; and when you wage war, you want the other side to be blamed for the immediate outbreak of hostilities.
Previously the Kremlin wanted everyone to rate them as harmless. Why should Vladimir Putin now, purposely, excite alarm while posturing as a defender of “conservative” or “traditional” values? The ingenuity of this bait-and-switch should be obvious. Everyone is disoriented at one and the same time. Of course, again, the Russian strategy is to split NATO as well as the conservative movement. What does it matter if the Left suddenly wants to demonize Putin? Let them do so! By all means! Yet this strategy must involve a very real danger. When we think back to President Obama’s desire to commit military aggression in Syria last fall, and how this was avoided through the reluctance of our admirals and legislators, we may get a better sense of what Russia now wants to provoke. They want us to be the aggressors, justifying some kind of armed response. Again, this suggests a desire to wage war.
There is a law of unintended consequences at work in history which makes war inevitable. According to sound strategic principles, statesmen should only wage war when they are sure to win, and victory is relatively bloodless. Yet history shows us wars in which tens of millions have died amid universal ruin and economic collapse. Only if we admit that men miscalculate, and situations easily get out of control, can we explain the facts of history. In this context it is not the Swedes who are intentionally provoking a split in Europe by warning of Russian war preparations against Sweden. At this juncture, all who warn of Russian military intentions are not provocateurs. Official reports of Russian preparations to invade Sweden involve the valid observation of a very real phenomenon; for the Russian strategists always dream of war, prepare for war, and believe in war. Russia has attacked and swallowed its neighbors again and again. How else did Russia become the largest country on earth? Certainly this did not happen by a peaceful process. Anyone who thinks so, quite frankly, is ignorant of history. The danger from Russia is not imaginary, and Russia’s past emphasis on information warfare does not signify a neglecting of kinetic warfare. The Kremlin attacks its enemies on every level, using every possible avenue – economic, informational, religious, sociological, cultural and even parapsychological. But always, and above all, the Russians believe that military power is the foundation of all. Without military power their information warfare can be nothing more than a childish series of pranks. Only when backed by military power is information warfare truly effective; for you cannot use information warfare as a force multiplier unless you have forces to multiply.  


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