Like cockroaches, neocons are everywhere, especially when there’s a chance for the US to flex its military power and especially when it comes to Israel.
Robert Parry has written a must-read article, What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis, in which he describes the neocon connection to Ukrainian events.
First, Parry reports how neocon organizations, like ” National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. sources, played key roles in destabilizing and overthrowing the democratically elected president.” Parry describes:
NED, a $100 million-a-year agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states, lists 65 projects that it supports financially inside Ukraine, including training activists, supporting “journalists” and promoting business groups, effectively creating a full-service structure primed and ready to destabilize a government in the name of promoting “democracy.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Shadow US Foreign Policy.”]
State Department neocons also put their shoulders into shoving Ukraine away from Russia. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan and the sister-in-law of the Gates-Petraeus adviser Frederick Kagan, advocated strenuously for Ukraine’s reorientation toward Europe.
Last December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S. goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves,” by which she meant into the West’s orbit and away from Russia’s.
… Nuland was soon at work planning for “regime change,” encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn’t seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.
“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. “He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know.” By “Yats,” Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister — and who was committed to harsh austerity.
As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera’s anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.”
Parry observes that Obama has actually had a very positive, productive relationship with Putin in spite of having made the massive mistake of building his “team of rivals,” which included way too many neoncon high level members of his administration, including Robert Gates, David Petraeus, necon-lite Hillary Clinton,.
These neocon Obama appointees have, as I interpret Parry’s article, expended major efforts to sabotage Obama’s relationship with Putin, especially since Putin effectively slammed the neocon supported efforts to start the USA’s next big war after Afghanistan and Iraq– in Syria and helped broker the deal with Iran that outraged Israel’s Netanyahu and AIPAC.
” Obama developed and implemented much of his approach to the world outside the view of his secretaries of State and Defense (except when Panetta moved briefly to the Pentagon)”
Even after the eventual departures of Gates in 2011, Petraeus as CIA director after a sex scandal in late 2012, and Clinton in early 2013, Obama’s peculiar approach didn’t particularly change. I’m told that he has a distant relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry, who never joined Obama’s inner foreign policy circle.
Though Obama’s taciturn protectiveness of his “real” foreign policy may be understandable given the continued neocon “tough-guy-ism” that dominates Official Washington, Obama’s freelancing approach gave space to hawkish elements of his own administration.
For instance, Secretary of State Kerry came close to announcing a U.S. war against Syria in a bellicose speech on Aug. 30, 2013, only to see Obama pull the rug out from under him as the President worked with Putin to defuse the crisis sparked by a disputed chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. [See Consortiumnews.com’s ” How War on Syria Lost Its Way .”]
Similarly, Obama and Putin hammered out the structure for an interim deal with Iran on how to constrain its nuclear program. But when Kerry was sent to seal that agreement in Geneva, he instead inserted new demands from the French (who were carrying water for the Saudis) and nearly screwed it all up. After getting called on the carpet by the White House, Kerry returned to Geneva and finalized the arrangements.[See Consortiumnews.com’s ” A Saudi-Israel Defeat on Iran Deal .”]
Parry reports that neocons on the ground in Ukraine repeatedly ignored neo-nazi right wing extremists while gleefully supporting the protests.
Paul Pillar, now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies, who in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts, writes in the online publication National Interest that neocons and their ilk have been wallowing in ” the theme that the United States is in retreat, that it is insufficiently assertive, and that this lack of assertiveness is having awful consequences around the world.”
Pillar ties the Ukraine/Crimea situation to Israel and Iran and neocons:
The global, indiscriminate hard-line approach lends itself to exploitation for other purposes that also do not advance U.S. interests. The theme about American retreat is, of course, an old stand-by for politically attacking Barack Obama.
An example of another kind of exploitation is Elliott Abrams arguing that the Crimean crisis is somehow a reason for passing the Kirk-Menendez bill to slap more sanctions on Iran. Never mind that his argument shows no cognizance of what is most needed at this juncture to keep the Iranians negotiating seriously. In fact, never mind the argument at all, because it is delivered not to improve the chance of reaching an acceptable agreement with Iran but instead to prevent any such agreement.
Just savor the inventiveness necessary to contend that a proper response to a Russian military move in Crimea is to bash Iran with more sanctions. That makes about as much sense — unsurprisingly, given the neocon source — as saying that a proper response to a terrorist act by an Afghanistan-based group is to launch a war against Iraq.
Now, neocons, including neocon newspaper, the Washington Post, using the situation in Ukraine, are aiming for Putin, as Parry describes:
” The madness of the neocons has long been indicated by their extraordinary arrogance and their contempt for other nations’ interests. They assume that U.S. military might and other coercive means must be brought to bear on any nation that doesn’t bow before U.S. ultimatums or that resists U.S.-orchestrated coups.Whenever the neocons meet resistance, they don’t rethink their strategy; they simply take it to the next level. Angered by Russia’s role in heading off U.S. military attacks against Syria and Iran, the neocons escalated their geopolitical conflict by taking it to Russia’s own border, by egging on the violent ouster of Ukraine’s elected president.
The idea was to give Putin an embarrassing black eye as punishment for his interference in the neocons’ dream of “regime change” across the Middle East. Now, with Putin’s countermove, his dispatch of Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea, the neocons want Obama to further escalate the crisis by going after Putin.