Friday, March 14, 2014

How and Why Obama Was Led Astray on the Ukraine

Bush - after neocons got done with him
Bush, aka Gee Dumbya, ca. 2007-08

It ought to go without saying that instead of bad mouthing or threatening Vladimir Putin, Obama and his White House ought to be glad-handing him for running interference the past two years  - and keeping the U.S. out of two more unnecessary occupations - and thousands more deaths. That refers to Mr. Putin stepping in with the Iran crisis, and then the Syrian crisis. While neocons had boners  to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, and later firing thousands of cruise missiles into Damascus - likely triggering a massive war in either case, Putin's solutions helped put those on the back burner and avert calamity.

In any case, it was incredible to me that a nation that still had 44 million uninsured, and 27 million under -employed or unemployed, with 15.6 million kids who go to bed hungry every night,  and a massively crumbling infrastructure, could remotely contemplate getting involved in two more "wars"-occupations. Had we not had enough, what with 12 year (going on 13) in Afghanistan and ten years in Iraq? No, not by a long shot, not according to the Bushite Neocons. Not according to "National Endowment of Democracy" weasels and their honchos like Robert Kagan.

They and their cheerleaders  have incessantly demanded "regime change" in assorted nations as part of national policy, never mind the costs in blood and treasure. They started with Iraq, and have wanted Syria and Iran to be included too. Putin's "interference" upended their ambitions and they got pissed, then concocted a way to get even - inciting instability right on Putin's doorstep - in the Ukraine. Kagan's wife Victoria Nuland, along with other 'cons, egged on Ukrainian nationalists who took matters into their own hands, to arouse public anger and even fueled it  further by using snipers to shoot over two dozen of the protestors themselves.  See e.g.

Other commentators (e.g. Patrick Smith on, Robert Parry on have noted Obama’s weakness in his willingness to assemble a “team of rivals” but who are mainly neocons who’ve taken over his foreign policy. But there is more to it than that.

Robert Parry in a recent blog (‘How Looking Forward Tripped Up Obama’ ) observed:

A similar question arises over the Ukraine crisis in which neoconservative holdovers, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, and the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy were allowed to spur on the violent coup that overthrew democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and precipitated a dangerous confrontation with Russia.

This Ukraine “regime change” served neocon interests by driving a wedge between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, disrupting their behind-the-scenes relationship that has proved useful in averting U.S. wars in Syria and Iran, conflicts that the neocons have long wanted as part of their grand plan for remaking the Middle East.

Nuland’s husband, former Reagan administration official Robert Kagan, was a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, which in 1998 called for the first step in this “regime change” strategy by seeking a U.S. invasion of Iraq. After the neocons gained control of U.S. foreign policy under President Bush, the Iraq invasion went ahead in 2003, but the occupation proved disastrous and put off the next stages, “regime change” in Syria and Iran.

Barack Obama’s election in 2008 was, in part, driven by public revulsion over the bloody conflict in Iraq and revelations about the torture of detainees and other crimes that surrounded Bush’s post-9/11 “war on terror.” Yet, after winning the White House, Obama shied away from a clean break from Bush’s policies.

Parry goes on to conjecture it was likely Obama’s “timidity” that prevented him from cleaning house and getting rid of the Bushie Neocons. (Parry suspects he was loathe to be blamed for any attacks that might come on his watch and if he ditched the cons this would more likely happen)

Going back through files the past two years some answers appear to emerge. It seems that in fact -  incredible as it sounds -  Kagan and his neocon cohort had Obama's ear almost from the time he entered office.

As long as two years ago, sources observed that “as a living embodiment of Washington’s bipartisan foreign-policy consensus, Robert Kagan has few peers.”   They noted his authorship of the best-selling book “The World America Made,”  and most noteworthy:

“He  pulled off the neat trick of impressing the only two men on the planet who have a realistic chance of serving as president of the United States any time soon.”

In a much-noted passage in his State of the Union address in 2012, Obama echoed Kagan’s daft argument that America, despite a decade of war and a near-bankrupt economy, was not a declining or foolish power but the world’s indispensable nation.
Anybody who says America is in decline doesn’t know what they’re talking about,”
Of course, this is abject nonsense, and as I pointed out last year,  it is Obama who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  "Indispensable" nation? Horse manure!  NO nation is, since any nation can be wiped off the map in a nuclear war- so no nation wins!  Hence, none persists,  so none is "indispensable". This nation IS in decline and has been so since the end of the Reagan years – with over $2.1 trillion squandered on specious defense projects (like 'Star Wars')  turning us into a first class debtor with most of our bonds now owned by China. If Obama didn’t know this, one wonders how he ever became President.  See e.g.
Make no mistake, it is one thing to assert a falsehood, it is another to believe it, so one must question why Obama evidently believes Kagan's codswallop.    More worrisome: Obama declared,  after letting Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin know he had recommended Kagan’s thesis (as excerpted in the  mesage) to his advisors.  Kagan also served on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, whose agenda is “shaped by the questions and concerns of the Secretary.”
In other words, as long as two years ago, Kagan and his neocon poison were infiltrating the administration like earlier with the Bushies.  Did Obama not know of Kagan's history?  Did he not really mean "hope and change" as delivered in his '08 campaign rhetoric, which surely millions of people took as his solemn word? And that meant NO new Bushite, para-Nazi invasions or occupations or starting coups in other places.
We also know there's no excuse for any ignorance!
At the same time that Obama commended Kagan's thesis to his advisors, Kagan’s bona fides as a Republican hawk were indisputable. Only a bozo, a hollow man with no compass or center,  or a historically ignorant person couldn't be aware of them.  We know Kagan got his start in the State Department under Reagan and wrote with Bill Kristol in 1996 “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” the foundational document of modern Republican foreign policy. Unsurprisingly, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. He serves on the board of directors of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative think tank that routinely finds fault with Obama’s leadership. (Kagan advised Romney, saying he had met regularly with the candidate over the years, and doubtless had Romney been elected in 2012, we'd have had to add Syrian and Iranian conflicts to the list at an added cost of trillions. Still Kagan's influence persists, as the Ukraine coup discloses.)
Most interesting, in an interview with Salon in 2012, we learned from Kagan:
“I actually believe in a bipartisan foreign policy, not for its own sake, but because I think there actually is a bipartisan consensus on foreign policy. There are plenty of neoconservatives in the Obama administration and there were plenty in the Clinton administration, if you would define ‘neoconservative’ as I would. What’s lost on people not in Washington is how close this community really is.”
Really? How close they really are? Shit, no wonder wars, invasions, occupations, and attacks accompany each new administration, whether Dem or Repuke. It makes no difference! Both are eating from the same poisoned trough - of the Neocons.  So now we know that Obama allowed these vermin into his administration.  He didn't need to have his arms twisted. He did it knowingly and willingly, even passing Kagan's absurd essay on the myth of American decline to advisors! Therefore, he ought to have known that they'd stage a coup at some point as they have in Ukraine, under the cloak of "fighting for freedom". (Funny, because the same freedom- bloviating scumballs have no problem using voter suppression and gerrymandering in the U.S. whenever they desire, especially for black folks!)
Kagan in the same interview confirmed this, noting that military interventions have occurred “under Democratic presidents, Republican presidents, idealist realists, you name it,”
So,  in other words, the toss away terms "hope and change" were always a crock of shit. Pabulum for the masses. Tell 'em anything!  As Kagan went on to say:
America keeps returning to these policies. People may be sick of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but polls show support is high for an attack on Iran."
BUT why was support high? Could the American people - at least so many as suggested to be 'high' in support of wars- be THAT fucking stupid?  Do they not tie in the decline of the nation to the waste of its resources in futile wars and occupations? Do they not connect the dots between the ongoing wars, occupations and military expansion (including the volunteer army) with a side "jobs program" that implies a decline in the private job market?  And why are they not looking deeper at exactly who are enriching themselves - as on Wall Street- as a result of this regular interference? Are they afraid those interests may somehow turn up in their 401ks?
Kagan continues:
"So even as the American people tire of one war, they’re getting ready for the next one, If this system is warlike, it’s the tendency that flows from the public.”
So, in other words, the blame is on us, according to Kagan! We are the war mongers! If we'd only cease supporting them our noble, saintly leaders wouldn't hurl us into them. TO which I call out HORSE shit and Bull  Pockey!  It is the leaders in congress who are supposed to be able to discern circumstances to justify entry into conflicts that will cost blood and treasure.  That is precisely why the DECLARATION of WAR was invested in congress!  But what our leaders, namely the executive branch,  have done -  is arrogated to themselves the right to start conflicts  - damned the congress  and separation of powers!   What were those infamous words of Nazi honcho Hermann Goering, rendered at Nuremberg in 1946 before the Nuremberg Tribunal?
" Why of course the people don’t want war...But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” -
Take that and shove it up your ass, Kagan! 
And then this disgusting tool has the nerve to add this, in a PNAC  article co-authored with  neocon nut William Kristol (check out his recent appearance on Real Time):
It is precisely because American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality that other nations find they have less to fear from its otherwise daunting power,”
But I skewered this notion of a unique "American morality" in a blog post last year:
Here, in a nutshell, is how fucked up this country (by which I mean the system that runs it) is:

In Robert Kagan’s reading of U.S. foreign policy, the anti-interventionist tradition is, by definition, outside of the “mainstream” even when, as is the case of Iraq, the mainstream itself came to repudiate the war.

Not even a fiasco of an invasion launched on a false premise (that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction) can disturb his comforting notion that military intervention is an expression of America’s essential benevolence.

Even when America is wrong it is right. As it is now, seeking to deny any Russian security interests in its own borders.

This way insanity lies. And moreover, this is the wall that the Neocons (and Obama if he buys into their horse shit) dare not cross.  Because unlike Iraq, Iran or Syria, the Russians will employ every last nuke they have before they let the U.S. Neocons drive them out of the Crimea, OR - attempt to deny them exercise of their legitimate interests in the Ukraine - especially after a coup.

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