Monday, March 10, 2014

Chrystia Freeland Blows It On Russia And The Ukraine

Communist party member in Kiev beaten by fascists to within an inch of his life. Jews are being thrashed as well because they're linked to "communists"

First, let me say Chrystia Freeland has been one of my favorite authors as well as commentators. Her book from 2012, ‘Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.  ought to be required reading for every self -professed liberal or progressive concerned about inequality. Her valid point was that Über Plutocrats  no longer feel any civic allegiance or social obligation to the average citizen. While in decades past, the massively wealthy acknowledged on some level the need to contribute to the welfare of the whole society via just taxation, they no longer believe so.  This fact, coupled with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision – that allows corporate entities to give as much as they want to specious election fronts to undermine votes, is part of why the Neoliberal state has tightened its grip on the rest of us. It can do so by the venal pay to play rubric that allows the wealthy to buy congress critters- and “laws” – wholesale.

 Which makes one wonder why this doesn’t extend to Freeland’s grasp of what’s happening in the Ukraine, wherein a Neoliberal fascist state is making a bid (with the help of the Neoliberal West)  to justify its egregious existence predicated on some nominal “democracy”.  In reality, it's bare-faced fascism backed unwisely by U.S. Neocons (in the National Endowment for Democracy) and their hangers on and fellow travelers.

 In her Sunday New York Times piece, ‘Russia Has Already Lost the War’, Freeland indeed exhibits and displays all the misplaced tropes and disinformation one can hear and see on FOX News every day. Including that Putin is the “big bad guy” who started it all, never mind – as Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) pointed out a week ago on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show, the West and the U.S. brought this disaster on themselves by recklessly expanding NATO to the east, and also staging a coup – compliments of the neocons like Victoria Nuland- in Kiev.

Now, with ever more information coming out on the fascist connections to this “new Ukraine” – see e.g.
It is inexcusable for someone with the gravitas and keen intellect of Freeland to fall pell mell into the same memetic tripe. But she has!    To catalog all her errors would take a dozen blog posts so let me concentrate on the primary ones, starting with:

No matter what happens over the next few months, or even years, Mr. Putin and his vision of an authoritarian, Russian-dominated former Soviet space have already lost. Democratic, independent Ukraine and the messy, querulous (but also free and law –abiding) European idea have won.”

Which makes one wonder what the hell she’s smoking. It’s got to be more powerful than anything offered here in Colo.  In that one paragraph are embodied nearly all the misbegotten  canards we’ve heard the past two weeks from the Western, Neoliberal, corporate-owned and operated press. Including an abysmal lack of the knowledge of Russia’s history and the claim that the “law abiding European idea has won.” No it has not. It's been disguised in gutter fight tactics fomented by shameless neoncons seeking only power, and disruption of the Obama-Putin cooperative  alliance. An alliance that had worked well to stave off conflicts in Syria and Iran.

Even Col. Wilkerson at least understood enough Russian history to know that Putin would not tolerate a NATO client state set up on his very border via a coup. Indeed, Wilkerson even said flat out on Chris Hayes’ program that if he were Putin, he’d have done the same thing!  This after Gorbachev and Russia were PROMISED by Bush Sr. that NATO “would not move one more inch to the east”.

And then to foment a coup on Russia’s doorstep? I am afraid that Ms. Freeland has it all wrong, every last bit!  Putin’s vision is not of a “Russian-dominated former Soviet space” but of protecting his nation’s security at its borders – in this case from a growing fascist state- the same damned way the U.S. would if Russians launched a massive Naval Base in Cuba and attempted to annex Guantanamo Bay!  So  WHO is she trying to fool anyway?

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson himself made plain what the deal is, in his own words:

“Anyone who knows Russian history .....could have guessed that  President Putin would move into the Ukraine once we had formed a group there, led by the NED and its affiliates - which effectively pulled off a coup".
This take was fully reinforced by Dimitri K. Simes, President of the Center for the National Interest quoted in the Sunday NY Times (p. 10):

The new pro-Western government in Kiev lacks legitimacy because it came to power by toppling a democratically –elected President. “

In other words, while Ms. Freeland portrays Putin’s moves as predicated on offense, they are in fact defense, and of the same kind the U.S. would employ if its own border security was threatened – say by a still existing Warsaw Pact or Russia – building extensions in this hemisphere.. What gives the U.S. the right to dictate the extent of its national security and not the Russians? And btw, this isn’t any case of “choosing sides” here – as some liberal websites have gotten themselves into a twist over via dozens of specious, sterile  ‘debates’, but of adjudging fairness for any given nation to exert self-interest in matters of security. Also, to accept and define that the same security standards must apply to all nation states, no exceptions!

The claim about being “law abiding” is also foolishness. Says who? Did Ms. Freeland receive a signed and sealed affidavit from her uncle,  who apparently lives there? Did he attest -  like the other Neoliberal blowhards at the WaPo  and FOX- that ‘there ain’t no sign of any disruptions'?

If Ms. Freeland were to avail herself of The Nation, she’d learn the Svoboda Party wants to "ban abortion, gun control, foreigners’ adoption of Ukrainian children", and “the Communist ideology.” (Hell, these rapscallions have already banned Russian!) Svoboda has also organized violent attacks on gay pride events, as well as on those they outed as belonging to any communist group. To get inside the brains of some of these fascist derelicts, check out this BBC video:

Party leader Oleh Tyanhybok, a member of Parliament, routinely trashes “the Kikes” and calls for the liberation of Ukraine from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” He idolizes the OUN. (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists,  founded in 1929 by a man named Stepan Bandera, who latter threw his lot in with the Nazis.)  Bandera solicited and received Nazi money and support for two battalions to be deployed against the Soviet Red Army. One of these was the Nachtigall Battalian, which according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, rounded up around 4000 Ukrainian Jews for the Nazis in Lviv in July 1941

 They did not fear,” he declared in 2004, “but took up their automatic rifles, going into the woods to fight Muscovites, Germans, Jewry and other filth which wanted to take away our Ukrainian nationhood. It’s time to give Ukraine to the Ukrainians.”

Now these renegades are going around beating the crap out of anyone that even looks Jewish (or communist- see graphic above) , intimidating others and defacing property. Much of this behavior can likely be traced to days before the putsch, when Victoria Nuland was observed handing out cookies to the rebels and encouraging them to ‘go for it’.  What, do she and her neocon ilk think the Russians are stupid?

While Svoboda has only received about 10% of the vote in recent parliamentary elections, it was deeply involved in the street violence that toppled Yanukovich, executing a coup. One (anarchist) protestor in Maidan Square told Salon that 30% of the demonstrators were “fascists.” There has been a credible report, based on a leaked phone conversation between EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, that the sniper fire that occurred in Maidan Square, attributed by the opposition to Yanukovich’s security forces in order justify the coup, was actually arranged by neo-fascists. See e.g.
Nuland herself - incredibly -  is a neocon Cheneyite holdover in the Obama administration, a consistent liar who has campaigned for endless war on Iraq, Iran, Libya, etc. Her husband, pundit Robert Kagan and top NED honcho,  is also well-known for his support for wars based on lies.  Nuland was famously recorded discussing with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine plans for regime change in Kiev. In the days leading up to the coup, she dismissed the EU’s advocacy of a role for Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s rival Viktor Klitschko (whose party has in fact been excluded from the present cabinet). “Fuck the EU!” snapped Nuland. More interestingly, also declaring that the newly installed Yatsenyuk needed “Tyahnybok on the outside” and needs to talk to him “four times a week.” See, e.g.

Freeland then goes on to claim:

The reality is that everyone in the country speaks and understands Russian and everyone at least understands Ukrainian”

The subtext being that they can at least all get along and find common cause based on language, since of course, “bilingual discussions are commonplace.”  Her disinfo then is that Ukraine could as well be regarded as a single, unified democratic state – when in fact it is a savagely divided failed state. This is what likely causes her to misconstrue Putin’s vision as “believing Ukraine was Yugoslavia” etc. Nonsense! If she’d have taken the time and trouble to even check former Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock’s website, she’d have read that:

In the 22 –plus years of its independence, it has not yet found a leader who can unite citizens in a shared concept of Ukrainian identity”.

Sadly, it was this lack of national identity that the West’s Neo-conservatives chose to exploit in order to try to set up a NATO puppet state on Russia’s doorstep. As the ‘bear’ she is, protective of her security, Russia bit back and now the West, its Neoliberals- Neocons and others act all surprised at the move, while remaining unctuous to the neo-Nazi street gangs in Kiev and projecting a  self-righteous demeanor to the world.  They  are all hysterical they finally met a nation they can’t bully,  and  increasingly frustrated, they want to push Obama into a stupid, forceful move – which might be the end of it for us all.

Let’s hope those like Freeland see through the charade before it’s too late. And let’s hope Obama takes no precipitous action we may all live to regret! (It's bad enough Russia is likely to halt all nuclear inspections from the START Treaty, thanks to the latest "sanctions" imposed.)

See also:




Wratislavova said...

Thank you for this post. Very good points.

Listening to Freeland's uncontrolled rants regarding the Ukraine, I am extremely disappointed to see her demonstrate that in situations such as this, she is prone to emotional outbursts rather than logical thinking.

In the last month I have listened to Freeland attempt to conduct interviews in Ukrainian and I have watched her on a US news panel where she sat with a smug look but seemed unable to control her head from bobbing and swinging around until her beads finally wrapped themselves around her microphone. She is not a leader and I now deeply regret casting my vote her way. Her comments on the Ukraine are biased and an embarrassment.

Your post allows the reader to walk away with more information and perhaps even the inspiration to research this issue further and then form an opinion based on history and facts. Highly recommended read.

Nice work.

Copernicus said...

"Your post allows the reader to walk away with more information and perhaps even the inspiration to research this issue further and then form an opinion based on history and facts. Highly recommended read.

Nice work. "

Thanks! I believe Freeland's objectivity has been compromised, probably by the fact that her uncle lives in the Ukraine. And who knows how much of what he's related to her is truth and how much is hyperbole.

Freeland provides a cautionary tale to us all of how easy it is to allow emotions and emotional reaction to pollute logic and rationality.

I also do hope my post will energize people to research this issue in more detail because I believe it's not over yet ....not by a long shot!

Unknown said...

Excellent background. (Reposted the article to linkedin to support my claim that Freeland does not understand Europe and is a terrible "politician" for Canada to have sent to seal the CETA deal).