Part of this was originally posted in 2014 but remains relevant, with some updates/elaborations, as noted.
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).
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.
Added: Victoria Nuland is currently the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the Biden State Department and was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State in the Obama administration. She is no doubt playing a very important role during the current crisis. Her husband is Robert Kagan, “a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has been an advocate for just about every U.S. foreign policy blunder over the past two decades. He was an advocate for the war in Iraq and a muscular approach to Syria. The New York Times reported that his father, Donald Kagan, “a historian of ancient Greece, is a patriarch of neoconservatism.”
There is awareness of Nuland’s role in some conservative circles; on February 25, Tucker Carlson mentioned her in talking about the main promoters, as did Pedro Gonzalez of Chronicles in a separate segment. But of course they won’t discuss that she is Jewish and deeply involved in rabidly pro-Israel and globalist foreign policy circles.
… 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. As I noted:
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“)
Putin basically prevented a takeover of Russia by oligarchs with globalist, Western values. 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 in an internationally supervised election, and neocons (and the U.S.) 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 supporting Saudi aggression in Yemen]) 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 [one-time] 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 failure of the oligarchs to seize control of Russia, and Israel.
Added, February 27, 2022:
I recently posted a lecture by Prof. John Mearsheimer which, as I tweeted, is “obviously compelling” and where he provides a solution—a neutral Ukraine—that would have avoided war. Note that Philip Giraldi pointed out that the Yanukovych government was effectively neutral. This was unacceptable to the neocons, and hence the 2014 Maidan uprising that replaced Yanukovych—a revolution that Nuland and other elements of the U.S. foreign policy establishment were deeply involved.
Mearsheimer's analysis is so obviously compelling it amazes me how so many people–entire left and most conservatives–ignore it. A neutral Ukraine would have satisfied Russia's legitimate interests and wouldn't hurt Ukraine. No war.
Longer version here: https://t.co/0ijBkiZAXJ https://t.co/byY2ByVG4b
— Kevin MacDonald (@TOOEdit) February 25, 2022
But of course, this solution never happened. And we have to ask why the U.S. is so committed to hostility toward Russia—determined to surround Russia’s Western border with a military alliance that the U.S. would never tolerate in North America (as it piously recites the Monroe Doctrine; remember the Cuban missile crisis?). As Mearsheimer suggests, the U.S. is the instigator here, pressuring Ukraine or at least encouraging it to insist on joining NATO.
Here is Mearsheimer on the current crisis. In the first 25 minutes he lays out the historical background in great detail. Key points amply illustrating the aggressiveness if the West.
- 2008: NATO declared Ukraine will be in NATO; Russians are angry but that’s as far as it goes.
- 2014: Western (U.S. State Department, neocon, CIA) coup installed a pro-Western government which results in civil war in Ukraine and Russia seizing Crimea;
- Trump [with anti-tank weapons but not air defense weapons] and now Biden (but not Obama) arm Ukraine, making it a “de facto” NATO member;
- a number of provocative NATO military incursions into Russian territorial waters [although these claims are denied by the U.S. and Britain].
This is a very cynical game. Mearsheimer predicted in 2015 that Russia would destroy Ukraine rather than allow it to be part of NATO, and it is in the process of being destroyed now, with immense suffering and unknown loss of life.
So fundamentally, we have to ask why our elites hate Russia. As noted in my 2014 article, a major reason — and indeed by far the most important reason at this point — is Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East in support of Iran and Syria (where Russia’s support turned the tide in favor of the Assad government against the U.S.- and Israel-backed rebels). A Russian defeat in Ukraine would dramatically change the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of Israel and its client state, the U.S..
So why should that matter to Russia? Certainly, there’s no evidence that Putin is anti-Jewish or hostile to Israel. I suspect that Putin sees the Middle East in the same way he sees Europe—as having the potential for further encirclement of Russia by Western-dominated governments. Recall: neocons also want regime change in Iran and were enthusiastic supporters of the anti-Assad forces in Syria. Interestingly, Trump resisted pressures to attempt regime change in Iran advocated by his neocon advisers John Bolton (uber-hawk installed at the insistence of Sheldon Adelson, a pro-Israel fanatic and Trump’s largest donor) and Mike Pompeo.
President Trump appeared to dash the hopes of his neoconservative foreign policy advisors when he explicitly rejected a strategy of regime change for Iran on Monday. … “We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear… No one wants to see terrible things happen.”
The President specified that his driving principle was to prevent Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, as opposed to a utopian ideal of imposing a western-style ‘liberal democracy’ upon the Islamist state.
But with the senile, incompetent Biden (described by Pepe Escobar as “the senile President of the United States [who is controlled] by earpiece/teleprompter [and] was never accused of being the brightest bulb in the room – any room”) reading lines written by the likes of Nuland and with Obama (who rejected arming Iran) and Trump out of office, it’s a new ballgame.
So let’s look at a map of Eurasia from Putin’s point of view:
The West has already shown its intentions in the Middle East and Afghanistan (the latter a miserable failure). But it’s clear they also want regime change in Kazakhstan, where just last month there was an attempt at a “color revolution.” This story did not make much of a dent in Western media, but “In Moscow, it [received] 24/7 news coverage, like it’s an apocalyptic threat to Russia’s security.” It failed when the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Belarus) sent in troops. The attempted revolution was widely believed to be have been aided by the Western powers.
Russia obviously saw the attempted revolution as an existential threat and sees Ukraine, already close to being a de facto NATO member, in a similar manner. Russia would be effectively surrounded. From Russia’s perspective, an invasion of Ukraine was the only possible response to all this.
The big picture is that in the end it’s all about Western hegemony and “Western values” being imposed on the rest of the world, and this has been explicitly expressed by the U.S. State Department just last Thursday:
State Department spokesman Ned Price made a stunning admission regarding what this war is really all about.
According to Price, Russia and China “also want a world order”, but he warned that if they win their world order “would be profoundly illiberal”…
China has given “tacit approval” for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest invasion of Ukraine, in the judgment of U.S. officials, as part of a joint effort to undermine the institutions that American and allied leaders established to minimize conflict in the decades following World War II.
“Russia and the PRC also want a world order,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday. “But this is an order that is and would be profoundly illiberal. … It is an order that is, in many ways, destructive rather than additive.” (emphasis in original)
In other words, “making the world safe for democracy”—and replacement-level immigration and LGBTQ+ gender ideology, and the cauldrons of ethnic conflict that Western societies have become. Neither China nor Russia want that; nor do many people in the West, and certainly including several Eastern European governments and a large portion of their people.
And note the inclusion of China, another non-democratic government not at all committed to “Western values.” After the fall of the Soviet Union, the neocons led the chorus of those celebrating a unipolar world dominated by the U.S. as hegemon, the result being repeated attempts at regime change throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. What’s going on now is essentially some serious pushback against that—an attempt to establish a multipolar world. China’s support for the Russian invasion is part and parcel of this and is sure to have been on the mind of the State Department in issuing their statement. But what this means is that the status of the U.S. and its Western partners as world hegemon is in serious jeopardy. It’s an Armageddon-like moment: neither side sees losing as an option.
Lastly, one wonders whether Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Jewish identity has a role in understanding the Ukrainian response. JTA:
Zelensky has not elaborated on the details of his Jewish upbringing, or his religiosity, but he also hasn’t shied away from expressing an occasional message of Jewish pride and a strong sense of solidarity with Israel. And that Jewish identity has been repeatedly seized on by enemies and rivals, and celebrated by Jewish supporters around the world.
Would a different president have been more open to rejecting NATO status and all that implies for Western the expansion of the Western imperium? More willing to avoid the destruction of his country and unspeakable suffering for the Ukrainian people? Unlikely we’ll even know.
As I write this, the war continues to escalate and there are widespread reports that Ukrainians, encouraged by Zelenskyy, are putting up significant resistance and frustrating the Russian advance. Russia can hardly be expected to back off at this point. Given the Armageddon-like stakes in this battle, it’s likely the West will also escalate, heading the entire world into completely uncharted territory.