Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Ever since 1948, the U.S. Government’s foreign policies have been consistently focused upon breaking up the Soviet Union and turning its Warsaw Pact allies against the Soviet Union; and, then, once that would be (and was) accomplished, turning any remaining allies of Russia against Russia; and, then, once that will have been accomplished, conquering Russia. Since at least 2006, U.S. ‘defense’ policy has been that nuclear war will be an acceptable way to conquer Russia if lesser measures fail to do the job. (Since 2006, the concept that a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would result in “mutually assured destruction,” or “MAD” — a war that both parties to it would lose — has been rejected at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, but continues unchanged as being the policy at the highest levels of Russia’s Government, which are terrified of the U.S. Government’s attempts to develop anti-ballistic missiles and other systems that would eliminate Russia’s defenses — i.e., ability to retaliate — against a U.S. nuclear first-strike attack — terrified at the U.S. Government’s preparations to win a nuclear war.)
When the Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on 26 March 2012 that, “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe”, he was actually stating publicly something that U.S. President Barack Obama secretly agreed with and had been working since day-one of his Presidency to implement — and his State Department had secretly already been drawing up plans since 2011 to overthrow the Moscow-friendly leaders of two nations: Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych. But Obama (who was the most gifted liar in U.S. Presidential history, and really understood how to use truths to demolish even lies that his own policies were secretly based upon — simultaneously criticising bad polices while secretly implementing them) responded to Romney’s statement of March 26th, by saying on 22 October 2012, “Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaida. You said Russia … the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” And Romney replied, “ROMNEY: Excuse me. It’s a geopolitical foe [now he pretended he hadn’t said that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”; he knew that what he had said months earlier would lose him votes, and that Obama was now taking advantage of this], and I said in the same — in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. [What he had actually said there when the interviewer challenged him on his anti-Russia remark was “Of course, the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran. A nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough.” He diverted the issue from “number one” to “nuclear,” so as to mislead viewers as to what the issue here was. He recognized right away that he had let slip a belief that was highly controversial to express in 2012.] Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I’m certainly not going to say to him, I’ll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election, he’ll get more backbone.”
Little did Romney, or the U.S. public — or Vladimir Putin — know that Obama’s own anti-Russia campaign would become publicly unleashed only after Obama’s re-election.
Whereas Democrats lie, when they are not outright deceived, to say that Obama was a progressive; Republicans lie, when they are not outright deceived, to say that Obama wasn’t a conservative. Republicans want a consistently fascist leader, and can’t be satisfied by anything less. Republicans tend to be uncompromising, demanding to conquer the ‘enemy’; Democratic Party voters prefer “bipartisan solutions” — negotiation, instead of confrontation; win-win games, instead of win-lose games; good-faith deals, instead of bad-faith conquests; and so this is how Democratic Party politicians need to present themselves not only to Republican Party voters, but also to their own Democratic Party voters. Republican Party politicians, by contrast, don’t need to appear ‘bipartisan’ in order to retain the support of Republican voters. This is an authentic strategic difference between the two Parties: it stems from the difference — however slight — that exists between conservatism and liberalism. (Each of those two ideologies is both neoliberal and neoconservative — free-market and imperialistic. Progressivism is neither, but Obama and Trump are both. Billionaires want both, and won’t financially back any Presidential candidate who isn’t both.)
In the same TV interview on 26 March 2012 when Romney uttered his charge that Russia is America’s top enemy, he went on to explain: “It is always Russia, typically with China alongside. And — and so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that’s on the Security Council, that has the heft of the Security Council and is, of course, a — a massive nuclear power, Russia is the — the geopolitical foe and — and the — and they’re — the idea that our president is — is planning on doing something with them that he’s not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming.” Romney actually knew that secret negotiations are going on all the time between nations’ leaders. He was simply trying to appeal to the many voters who don’t know this basic fact. But he wasn’t nearly as gifted a liar as Obama was; so, he lost to Obama.
Romney not only damned Russia’s Government, but he damned China’s Government, and he damned Iran’s Government. That’s the neoconservative trifecta; and the current Republican U.S. President is carrying it out. In order to conquer Russia without a first-strike nuclear blitz attack, the only way would be to eliminate, first, both China’s Government and Iran’s Government, because those are the most powerful Governments remaining still as allies of Russia. And Republicans (such as Romney) even blame Russia for having inherited the Soviet Union’s nuclear defense against America’s growing nuclear MADness, which MADness had started with Reagan’s “Star Wars” ABM (also called “BMD” or ballistic-missile defense) dreams.
Romney was there regretting that the U.S. can’t remove and replace the international arrangements that the great American progressive President FDR had instituted at the U.N. with its inclusion of the Soviet Union on the U.N. Security Council. Republicans now damn Russia for having inherited that U.N. seat, too. They want to un-do all of FDR’s great progressive legacy; they’re not satisfied merely to have worked with the post-Reagan Democratic Party (today’s Democratic Party) and so eliminated almost all of it (Glass-Steagall and almost all of the rest). They want war, global conquest. Whereas Democrats on the national level, as exemplified by Obama, want to conquer Russia gradually, Republicans on the national level don’t have the patience, but rush toward World War III: “brinksmanship.” The Democratic Party’s voters are satisfied merely with continued liberal hypocrisy, such as Obama and the Clintons exemplified — it’s a Party that needs to be replaced, because it leaves the country with no progressive alternative, much like the hypocritical Whigs were replaced in 1860. (But, if some assassin’s bullet then quickly ends that new progressive Party, too, such as happened in 1865, the only progressive alternative remaining will, as a consequence, be outright revolution — if World War III doesn’t come before then.)
The turn away from FDR was gradual between 1945 and 1948, but the future American direction was made clear in 1948 when the U.S. CIA became established finally upon the dual basis of hating Russians and of becoming financially addicted to the international narcotics trade so as to have enough money (in addition to the on-the-books type, from the U.S. Treasury) to expand into and take over America’s Deep State and thus the country, on behalf of America’s international corporations, such that even the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is now very reasonably attributed by many well-informed Americans to JFK’s growing turn away from the CIA’s obsession to destroy Russia. Already, the CIA had brought over into the United States many key German Nazis (a very bad sign that post-FDR America was going to have a rotten core), and the CIA helped other Nazis to become safely established in Argentina and other countries. JFK had become increasingly disillusioned with the U.S. Deep State that he found himself surrounded by, and he was expecting to implement its ouster from power in his second term, which never came.
Then, on the night of 24 February 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush secretly established the U.S. policy for the U.S. and its allied governments to adhere to for the future (after the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact and its communism all ended peacefully in 1991), for America’s equivalent of the Soviets’ Warsaw Pact military alliance — NATO — to continue on afterward, against the now lone nation of Russia, and to take into NATO the formerly Russia-allied nations, so as to create the way, by thus expanding America’s military empire, to surround Russia and finally take over ultimately Russia itself. His successors in the U.S. White House have all adhered to this secret policy of surround-and-capture. Obama entered office intending to eliminate Russia’s ally in Syria, Bashar al-Assad; and, even more importantly, Obama started planning in 2011 to eliminate Russia’s neutralist next door to Russia in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych — thus setting up the basis of lies on which Obama’s sanctions against Russia, and NATO’s massing of troops onto and near Russia’s borders, are ‘justified’.
U.S. President Donald Trump continues this policy, against both Syrians and Ukrainians, with the aim of completing what Obama had only started (but had amplified from his predecessors). First, here, will be discussed Ukraine; then, Syria:
On January 18th, the AP headlined “Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia”, and reported that the Minsk peace accords that Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, and Vladimir Putin had worked out (contrary to Obama’s intentions), and that had been accepted and signed by both the Ukrainian Government and Russia, as well as by the separatist far-eastern region Donbass, in order to establish a peaceful method for re-integrating into Ukraine the separatist formerly Ukrainian region in Ukraine’s far east, called Donbass, were now officially being reneged-upon and rejected by the Ukrainian Government; and Ukraine also now is committing itself to conquering the Crimean region in the former Ukraine’s far south, which had voted over 90% to rejoin and become again a part of Russia, and Russia did reintegrate Crimea, as the residents there overwhelmingly wanted. Ukraine’s Government has thus now established, as its official policy, that only war and conquest of its former far-eastern portion, and also of its far-southern portion (now again a part of Russia), is acceptable. Ukraine had never complied with the Minsk accords’ requirement for Ukraine to accept the far-eastern region (Donbass) peaceably back into Ukraine. However, the U.S. Government and its allies blamed only Russia and not the Ukrainian Government (which is vastly more to blame) for the failure of the Minsk accords to be implemented, and Obama’s economic sanctions against Russia were constantly being renewed upon that fallacious, clearly counter-factual, anti-Russian, basis. Most of the Minsk accords were simply ignored by Ukraine. For example, here are the final two paragrahs, and they were totally ignored and violated constantly by Ukraine:
• Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
• Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with the new Constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the footnotes, by the end of 2015.
What caused Ukraine to opt for war against Russia, and to turn away from the Minsk accords, is that U.S. President Trump had decided to sell to Ukraine even weapons that Obama had thought would be too likely to bring about a U.S.-Russia war too quickly; Trump is apparently even more eager for a U.S.-Russia war than Obama was. So, now, the fascist regime that Obama had installed in his 2014 coup in Ukraine will be given even greater sway than it had under Obama. They will go back to doing as they had been doing during the first months after Obama had installed this regime: killing the residents in the areas of Ukraine that had voted over 90% (in Donbass) for the man whom Obama had overthrown, and over 75% (in Crimea) for him. Unless those voters can be either killed or forced to emigrate into Russia, the fascist regime that Obama had installed on Russia’s doorstep would be voted out of power in the next general election. Evidently, Trump is at least as dedicated to continuance of that fascist regime as was his predecessor, who had installed it.
Regarding Syria, the Trump regime is likewise continuing the Obama regime’s policies. Obama supported Al Qaeda (called in Syria “Jabhat al-Nusra”) against Syria’s Government, and so does Trump. Even the leading neoconservative propaganda-sheet, the Washington Post, once goofed and included the scandalous reality that the big hang-up between the U.S. and Russia that was preventing a cease-fire and blocking a stop in the bombing in Syria by both the U.S. and Russia, was: “Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire.” Russia insisted upon continuing the bombing of both ISIS-controlled and Al Qaeda-controlled areas, even during the general cease-fire, but America would allow only continuation of the bombing against ISIS-controlled areas. Without Al Qaeda (Nusra), the U.S. invasion of Syria would have had no boots-on-the-ground leadership for the many other jihadist groups that the Sauds had recruited worldwide and financed to fight there. Protecting Syria’s Al Qaeda was crucial to America’s entire war-effort in Syria. And Trump — who had campaigned against “radical Islamic terrorism” — is continuing Obama’s policy there, too: supporting radical Islamic terrorism, against Syria’s Government.
Brett McGurk, who ran Obama’s Syria-policy, is likewise running Trump’s Syria-policy; and he hasn’t had to change the policy at all: it relies upon Al Qaeda in the Arab-majority areas, and upon Kurds in the Kurdish-majority areas. As that WP article, which was dated 19 February 2016, noted “The U.S. team, headed by senior White House adviser Robert Malley and State Department envoy Brett McGurk,” were negotiating with the Russians about the conditions for a cease-fire in Syria while Obama was in power. (They were the people working to protect Al Qaeda in Syria.) And McGurk still is, and hasn’t changed. (As for Malley — co-authoring there at the neoconservative-neoliberal The Atlantic magazine — he’s with the U.S. and NATO billionaires-funded neoconservative International Crisis Group, which pontificates about being kind and humanitarian in wars, so as to be able to sell more of them to liberals around the world. But McGurk has been the real operator, no such mere “front man” for the war-industry.)
Obama himself would probably be surprised at the extent to which Trump is adhering to Obama’s foreign-policy thrust of placing hostility against Russia and Russia’s allies, above hostility against jihadists and jihadists’ allies. On 10 November 2016, just two days after Trump’s election as President, Obama did a sudden about-face, seemingly in order to avoid the embarrassment of having his successor publicly condemn him for having been depending so heavily upon the hated Al Qaeda: the WP bannered “Obama directs Pentagon to target al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria” and reported that, “President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that the administration had largely ignored until now and that has been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government.” (The clause “at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government” was yet another rare peep in that neocon newspaper, which enabled a perceptive reader to get a glimpse of the broader reality, that America was in Syria not in order to defeat jihadists, but in order to defeat Syria’s Government.) Nominally, Obama on 9 September 2016 had finally allowed his Secretary of State John Kerry to sign with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a cease-fire agreement that accepted Russia’s demand that both ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria continue to be bombed; but, on September 17th, just five days later, Obama’s Air Force bombed Syrian Government troops in the key city of Deir Zor and thus enabled ISIS to take control of that city, which bombing by the U.S. violated and thus ended that same agreement, and finally ended Russia’s trust in anything it might sign with the U.S. Government. Russia promptly set up its own peace-negotiations for ending the Syrian war, and excluded the U.S. Government from it; the process involved instead Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and it made more progress, in much shorter time, than the U.S.-backed peace-process under U.N. auspices ever did; so, when Obama gave that order, on November 10th, finally to start bombing Al Qaeda in Syria, he probably was trying to accommodate the fundamental change-of-policy on Syria, that Trump had campaigned and won on. Perhaps only later did Obama come to recognize that Trump’s promises didn’t mean anything more than Obama’s own promises did.
McGurk likewise has continued Obama’s use of Syria’s Kurds to break off a chunk of Syria, and he is infuriating Turkey’s Government on the hot issue of formation of a Kurdistan, just like McGurk’s comments backing the Kurds against Syria were when the U.S. puppet-leader happened to be Obama. Under Obama, a Turkish newspaper reported on 7 February 2016, that Turkey’s leader Tayyip “Erdoğan directed severe criticism at the visit to the town by Brett McGurk, US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition,” and this was because of America’s support for the Kurds against Syria. Then, the pro-U.S.-regime Arab newspaper in English, Al Monitor, headlined, now during the Trump era, on 1 August 2017, “Turkey in Uproar Over McGurk” and opened, “Turkey’s scapegoating of US special envoy Brett McGurk over the military partnership between the United States and the Syrian Kurds grew crazier today, with one pro-government newspaper labeling him a murderer.”
On January 22nd, the geostrategic blogger who posts his anonymous reports at his “Moon of Alabama” site, pointed out that the Trump Administration tells contradictory lies to different people, and that it thus assures not only defeat, but embarrassment, to the U.S.:
U.S. allied Turkish forces invade Syria to kill and “cleanse” U.S. allied Syrian YPG/PKK Kurds in Afrin. The Trump administration immediately steps in to assure the respective allies of its continued support:
• Today the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, the U.S. diplomat Rose Gottemoeller, visited Ankara to tell the Turkish allies that everything is fine. The U.S. will stand with them.
• Today Commander of U.S. Central Command General Votel and U.S. Diplomat Brett McGurk visited Kobane to tell their Syrian YPG/PKK allies that everything is fine. The U.S. will stand with them.
On January 18th, McGurk had already reaffirmed to the Kurds in Iraq, that the U.S. backs them against Iraq’s Government. It’s all being done so as to increase U.S. weapons-sales to America’s ‘allies’: to the aristocracies that are vassals to the imperial one, America’s. When the U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his 17 January 1960 Farewell Address that “the military-industrial complex” might take over the country, he said it because he knew that it had largely already done so; but, by now, that take-over is long-since a fait accompli.
Not only has this policy destroyed Ukraine, and destroyed Syria, and, before that, destroyed Libya, and destroyed Iraq, and destroyed Afghanistan, etc.; but, the U.S. leaves to Russia’s formerly allied or friendly nations the enormous burdens of repairing the vast harms that the U.S. regime had caused.
For example: At a ‘Defense’ Department press conference, now under President Trump, on 19 May 2017, the “Special Envoy Brett McGurk” said, as he had been saying all along under his former boss, Obama, “We will never work with the Assad regime”; and, “the reconstruction costs of Syria are — are so high in the multiple, multiple billions of dollars” and “the reality in Syria is that so long as — until there’s a credible political horizon, the international community is not going to come to the aid, particularly the areas under the control of the regime.” In other words: the war that the U.S. and Sauds had led and armed and financed against Syria would receive no reconstruction money from the perpetrators unless the given area of Syria where such reconstruction is being done has broken away from Syria’s Government. There is no change, here, too. Even regarding America’s backing the Kurds to grab parts of Syria where they predominate, McGurk-Trump is the same as was McGurk-Obama — and McGurk is infuriating Turkey’s Government on the hot issue of Kurdistan, just like McGurk’s comments backing the Kurds against Syria, and against Iraq, were when the U.S. puppet-leader happened to be Obama.
The reconstruction costs for Syria alone are estimated at upwards of $250 billion.
Trump’s domestic U.S. policies are even more conservative than Obama’s were, but in the field of foreign policies — at least ones that fall under the rubric of ‘national security’ — Trump is continuing Obama’s policies: the neoconservatism continues unchanged, as if ‘U.S. national security’ policies are unaffected by whom the resident in the U.S. White House happens to be. But isn’t that the way it is in any regime? Only the deceit is less skillful now.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.