Philip Giraldi on the Neocons, Ukraine, Russia, and the Oligarchs

Philip Giraldi has a nice column on the continuing power of the neocons, particularly in the Ukraine situation (“Diplomacy is a Four-Letter Word“).

The vitriol unloaded on Russia since the rise of Vladimir Putin and most recently to ridicule almost every aspect of the Olympic Games is astonishing. …

The sustained pressure on the Ukraine over the past several months has likewise been remarkable and, under other circumstances, it would all be difficult to explain but for the fact that it and Russia are essentially two halves of one policy that is being orchestrated by the same group of neoconservatives, some of whom have now, fortuitously enough, attached themselves to the party in power in the White House, which is the Democrats. It was easy enough to do as many neocons are basically liberal Democrats if one excludes their aggressive foreign policy views.

Right. The neocons are too often associated only with the Republicans, but historically the neocons have had a strong position in the Democratic Party and have pulled the Republicans to the left on vital issues such as immigration. Indeed, a very important strand came out of the far left Trotskyist followers of Max Shachtman, a Jewish labor leader who, by the time of his death, had made major inroads in the Democratic Party and whose legacy is still with us today.

The Trotskyist movement had a Jewish milieu as Shachtman attracted young Jewish disciples—the familiar rabbi/disciple model of Jewish intellectual movements. … He became the quintessential rabbinical guru—the leader of a close, psychologically intense group. …

By the late 1950s he moved into the mainstream of U.S. social democracy” with a strategy of pushing big business and white Southerners out of the Democratic Party (the converse of Nixon’s “Southern strategy” for the Republican Party). In the 1960s “he suggested more openly than ever before that U.S. power could be used to promote democracy in the third world”—a view that aligns him with later neoconservatives.  …

In 1972, shortly before his death, Shachtman, “as an open anti-communist and supporter of both the Vietnam War and Zionism,” backed Senator Henry Jackson in the Democratic presidential primary. Jackson was a strong supporter of Israel (see below), and by this time support for Israel had “become a litmus test for Shachtmanites.” (see Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement,” p. 17). 

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So the Shactmanites ended up supporting an aggressive foreign policy, exemplified by Henry Jackson, a cold warrior and the most visible supporter of Israel in the U.S. Senate.  One of Shachtman’s many Jewish disciples was Carl Gershman, who is now head of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) but in his youth was associated with the Young People’s Socialist League and the Social Democrats, USA, both on the far left. Regarding the role of the NED in the Ukraine crisis, Giraldi has this to say:

Remember the pastel revolutions in Eastern Europe that were sponsored by the United States and some western nations but which are now best forgotten? Involvement of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in places like the Ukraine and Moldova sure turned out well, particularly when the biggest baddest NGO of all, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) got involved. When the Russians and others complained about the activities of NGOs interfering in their domestic politics NED was what they were referring to. NED instinctively favored people who called themselves democrats and were able to speak English, polyglot ability somehow demonstrating their political reliability. They turned out to be as corrupt as their predecessors and no less inclined to fool around with the electoral system they inherited. Tinkering in Georgia by Washington and its Israeli surrogates almost led to American involvement in a war with Russia in which Washington had no conceivable interest. Remember John McCain’s “We are all Georgians now?”

After wrecking Eastern Europe NED has gone on to do yeoman’s work relating to the Arab Spring, the results of which are clearly visible in Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq. But now the focus is again on the former Soviet Union with millions of dollars going to opposition parties, this time with the full force of an uncritical mainstream media behind the effort. Easily forgotten are two indisputable facts relating to Russia and the Ukraine. First, before the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, there was an understanding that the US and Europe would not use the situation as an excuse to expand their spheres of influence into Eastern Europe. NED and other groups violated that understanding almost immediately and now Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania and Poland are in the European Union and also in NATO, an organization that has absolutely no raison d’etre apart from serving as a military alliance against Russia. …

Second … The Ukraine is roughly seventy-five per cent Ukrainian ethnically but ten million Ukrainian citizens are ethnic Russians, more than 17% of the population. Many Ukrainians therefore look to Russia as a natural ally and trading partner while those who once were part of Poland tend to look westward, but what is indisputable is that the current mildly pro-Moscow Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych came to power after a free election monitored by international observers in 2010. Yanukovych believes in strong ties to Russia but is also friendly to the European Union and the United States. In spite of that studied neutrality Washington and the Europeans are stirring up unrest and trying to coerce the Ukrainian government into entering into a formal arrangement with the EU that its elected leadership believes to be not in its best interests. Protesters, supported and possibly even trained and equipped by Europe and the US, have responded with violence.

Giraldi then traces Victoria Nuland’s impeccable neocon credentials and her typically neocon hostility toward Russia, concluding:

Like her husband, Nuland, backed by the White House and politicians including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is consistently hostile to Moscow, possibly because the neocon world view favors the predominantly Jewish oligarchs who looted the Russian economy before being brought to heel by Putin.

This is also spot on. I am sure that Russia’s support of Iran and Syria also feed into the mix of neocon motives for hostility to Russia, but there is no question that the neocons have been strong supporters of the oligarchs, doubtless because it would be good for the Jews.

A turning point was the arrest and imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of Yukos, the oil giant. Arch-neocon Richard Perle led the charge against Putin, calling for the ouster of Russia from the G-8 — the  same sort of policy the neocons are proposing in the wake of the invasion of Georgia. Khodorkosky was viewed as without any feeling for Russian nationalism and far too friendly with the United States. (“The Neocons Versus Russia“)

I therefore rather doubt that the NED is really concerned about democracy in the Ukraine, despite its official mission. After all, as Giraldi notes, the government of Ukraine is duly elected, and neocons have a long history of looking the other way when non-democratic governments meet their interests (e.g., overlooking the egregious departures from democracy in Israel) and excoriating democratically elected governments when they do not (e.g., Hamas in the Gaza). Indeed, the classic neocon statement on democracy and human rights, by Gershman’s soon-to-be boss, Jeanne Kirkpatrick (1979), argued that democracy and human rights should take a back seat to other issues, such as the Cold War struggle between the U.S. and the USSR (discussed here, p. 31). (Gershman, along with Joshua Muravchik and Kenneth Adelman, was a deputy to Kirkpatrick when she served as UN Ambassador in the Reagan administration. All were strong proponents of the Iraq war, Adelman writing a famous column “Cakewalk in Iraq.”)

It’s the same now. The real name of the game is not democracy but the neocon crusade against Russia, with a strong dose of Jewish motivation related to Putin, the oligarchs, and Israel.

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