The Olympics are over and the Russians won. Let the games begin.
Judging from the howling headlines and breathless blatherings of the Western media and the harrumphing of politicians from Washington to Warsaw in recent days, we are on the verge of World War III (or IV or V if you count Iraq and Afghanistan). But who do you root for in a war between the old Bolsheviks and the new Nazis?? And should we even care?
In the words of the late great Marvin Gaye: What's goin' on? What's goin' on?
Ukraine, orphaned in Eastern Europe by the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, corruption-encrusted and now dead broke, has suddenly become the dry tinder firing up the old Cold War. Or maybe it is just the most recent floundering sovereign state ripe for a big time Shock Doctrine looting?
On February 22nd (a date that was once George Washington's birthday) ongoing protest demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan (Eurosquare), mimicking Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring, but spearheaded by armed and hooded thugs from Ukrainian neo-Nazi organizations and not so secretly egged on by the European Union, the IMF and the Washington/Wall Street Axis of Evil, ran the elected Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, longtime Russian ally, out of Kiev. He was last seen heading for the Russian border. "Revolution", "Democracy" and "Freedom" became the fluffy buzzwords bandied about by its perpetrators to misdescribe this coup d'état-by-crowd.
In fact this latest international version of “regime change” was provoked and stoked by the West, the EU, its bankster cronies and the Obamacons in the White House.
Hapless Ukraine has always been ethnically, culturally and linguistically schizophrenic. Most of the people in the eastern half speak Russian and look to Russia as the old Mother Country. The western half gazes longingly at Europe from its back porch. Despite being politically corrupt and deeply in debt, Ukraine has historically been the "breadbasket" of Russia and is criss-crossed with pipelines pumping vital Russian natural gas to Europe.
Late last year, with the West’s bankster bandits and cannibal capitalists drooling to get their greedy paws on Ukraine’s potential financial assets and its unenlightened, unrepentant Cold Warriors looking to push their political influence right up to the Russian border and drive Putin nuts, the EU dangled an offer to Ukraine of some distant future membership in their Community along with the usual Shock Doctrine debt relief “reforms”. Reduce subsidies and increase gas prices. Cut workers’ pay and pensions. Eliminate tariffs, restrictions and red tape to enable foreign “investments” in agricultural land and infrastructure. Devalue the currency. Privatize industries. In short: Say goodbye to Russia. Say hello to the New Greece.
Washington’s smudgy fingerprints were likewise all over this connivance. The neocon cult of war worshipers, who lied us into the Iraq debacle, hope to keep us in Afghanistan/Vietnamistan until the last dog dies, loved hating the old Soviet Union and still wet-dream about those good old days, quietly cooked up this coup attempt when nobody was looking. Front organizations like the so-called National Endowment for Democracy and USAID greased the skids to the tune of at least $5 billion. But who’s counting?
When President Yanukovych rejected the EU deal he had originally okayed and instead accepted (no doubt under heavy Putin pressure) an $18 billion “bailout” from Russia, the Western coup-mongers turned up the heat on the slow-boiling frog.
In early February a Russian wiretap surfaced (take that, NSA!) revealing a telling conversation between Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, and Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, both longtime neocon fellow travelers. "(Eff) the EU," Nuland told the Ambassador, obviously annoyed that misplayed card had failed to win the pot of gold. She also advised Ambassador Pyatt on which of the Ukrainian political stooges waiting in the wings was best cast to perform leading roles in the ensuing government-as-puppet-theater once the old regime was toppled.
One can easily imagine, judging by the YouTube version of that extraordinary conversation, the high-fiving in the White House and the State Department the night three weeks later Yanukovych hightailed it out of town.
But within a week what had looked like a cakewalk, quickly turned into something more like a pie-in-the face. Revolution as slapstick. Bring on the bear!
The new Ukraine "government" of political opportunists and neo-Nazis nobody elected had barely been assembled for their close-ups when the big bad bear on the border growled: "Not on my watch you don't!! Nyet!!"
Russian President-for-life (?) Vladimir Putin, no Pooty-Poot (W's childish nickname) where Russia's deepest national interests are concerned and when his manly bare-chested tough guy image is challenged (can you say: Pussy Riot?), sent Russian troops and hired goons across the border into the Crimea region of Ukraine. No one should have been surprised.
Never mind the artificially concocted international borders of Ukraine. Crimea is Russia and has been since the days of Catherine the Great. It was the scene of the fateful Charge of the Light Brigade into the mouth of the Russian guns in the Crimean War 160 years ago. It endured the brutal Nazi siege of its port city Sevastopol for 6 bloody months in World War II. Today Sevastopol is the most important city of the Ukraine Crimean region and home port for Russia’s Black Sea Naval Fleet. Indeed, Crimea is the most valuable part of Ukraine and the gateway to Russia. To Putin, the Kiev coup d’etat was a flagrant foul by the other side in the long-running East-West Great Game.
After suffering a momentary dose of the vapors, the Kiev government-without-trousers issued a series of loud but laughable diktats and edicts. “Putin’s a war criminal! Bring him to the Hague!” The perpetually war-mongering old coot John McCain and his faithful sidekick Lyndsey Graham saddled up their pantomime horse and galloped to the teevee cameras. “Bomb bomb bomb Iran…uh…the Russkies,” McCain yelped. “Benghazi! Benghazi!” squealed Graham. Secretary of State John Kerry scurried off to Kiev for a photo op and a blustery Churchill impersonation. “This unprecedented invasion based on lies will not stand!” he bellowed. Did somebody say WMD? Gulf of Tonkin? While Field Marshal Obama, America’s usually most accommodating Commander-in-Chief drew yet another line in the sand. “The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future…There will be costs for violating international law,” he droned, without a trace of irony.
The old Cold War playbook had been hauled out of mothballs and the wall-to-wall media campaign of double-think, propaganda and lies (fine-tuned during the runup to the Iraq War a decade ago) was once again cranked up to speed. The Kiev coup d’état, the casus belli, was flushed down the memory hole and the public noisily prodded to beware of the Commies, the defiers and deniers of “democracy”. It is the Orwellian 1984 dystopian nightmare thirty years on: We have always been at war with Eurasia.
The Russians are now threatening to re-annex Crimea. The West is threatening sanctions on the Russians. Will anyone be surprised when the price of natural gas skyrockets and the Defense Department budget is soon increased by $100 billion? And by the way, whatever happened to the never-ending War On Terror?
To paraphrase philosopher/poet George Santyana: “Those who cannot remember (or refuse to forget) the past are condemned to repeat it.”