Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis?

(By Robert Parry)

President Barack Obama has been trying, mostly in secret, to craft a new foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tamp down confrontations in hotspots such as Iran and Syria. But Obama’s timidity about publicly explaining this strategy has left it open to attack from powerful elements of Official Washington, including well-placed neocons and people in his own administration.

The gravest threat to this Obama-Putin collaboration has now emerged in Ukraine, where a coalition of U.S. neocon operatives and neocon holdovers within the State Department fanned the flames of unrest in Ukraine, contributing to the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and now to a military intervention by Russian troops in the Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine that historically was part of Russia.resident Barack Obama discusses the crisis in Ukraine for 90 minutes on March 1, 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

Though I’m told the Ukraine crisis caught Obama and Putin by surprise, the neocon determination to drive a wedge between the two leaders has been apparent for months, especially after Putin brokered a deal to head off U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer and helped get Iran to negotiate concessions on its nuclear program, both moves upsetting the neocons who had favored heightened confrontations.

Putin also is reported to have verbally dressed down Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan over what Putin considered their provocative actions regarding the Syrian civil war. So, by disrupting neocon plans and offending Netanyahu and Bandar, the Russian president found himself squarely in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.

If not for Putin, the neocons – along with Israel and Saudi Arabia – had hoped that Obama would launch military strikes on Syria and Iran that could open the door to more “regime change” across the Middle East, a dream at the center of neocon geopolitical strategy since the 1990s. This neocon strategy took shape after the display of U.S. high-tech warfare against Iraq in 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union later that year. U.S. neocons began believing in a new paradigm of a uni-polar world where U.S. edicts were law.

The neocons felt this paradigm shift also meant that Israel would no longer need to put up with frustrating negotiations with the Palestinians. Rather than haggling over a two-state solution, U.S. neocons simply pressed for “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries that were assisting the Palestinians or Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Iraq was first on the neocon hit list, but next came Syria and Iran. The overriding idea was that once the regimes assisting the Palestinians and Hezbollah were removed or neutralized, then Israel could dictate peace terms to the Palestinians who would have no choice but to accept what was on the table.

U.S. neocons working on Netanyahu’s campaign team in 1996, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, even formalized their bold new plan, which they outlined in a strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The paper argued that only “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries could achieve the necessary “clean break” from the diplomatic standoffs that had followed inconclusive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In 1998, the neocon Project for the New American Century called for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but President Bill Clinton refused to go along. The situation changed, however, when President George W. Bush took office and after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, the neocons had a Commander in Chief who agreed with the need to eliminate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — and a stunned and angry U.S. public could be easily persuaded. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

So, Bush invaded Iraq, ousting Hussein but failing to subdue the country. The U.S. death toll of nearly 4,500 soldiers and the staggering costs, estimated to exceed $1 trillion, made the American people and even Bush unwilling to fulfill the full-scale neocon vision, which was expressed in one of their favorite jokes of 2003 about where to attack next, Iran or Syria, with the punch line: “Real men go to Tehran!”

Though hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney pushed the neocon/Israeli case for having the U.S. military bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities – with the hope that the attacks also might spark a “regime change” in Tehran – Bush decided that he couldn’t risk the move, especially after the U.S. intelligence community assessed in 2007 that Iran had stopped work on a bomb four years earlier.

The Rise of Obama

The neocons were dealt another setback in 2008 when Barack Obama defeated a neocon favorite, Sen. John McCain. But Obama then made one of the fateful decisions of his presidency, deciding to staff key foreign-policy positions with “a team of rivals,” i.e. keeping Republican operative Robert Gates at the Defense Department and recruiting Hillary Clinton, a neocon-lite, to head the State Department.

Obama also retained Bush’s high command, most significantly the media-darling Gen. David Petraeus. That meant that Obama didn’t take control over his own foreign policy.

Gates and Petraeus were themselves deeply influenced by the neocons, particularly Frederick Kagan, who had been a major advocate for the 2007 “surge” escalation in Iraq, which was hailed by the U.S. mainstream media as a great “success” but never achieved its principal goal of a unified Iraq. At the cost of nearly 1,000 U.S. dead, it only bought time for an orderly withdrawal that spared Bush and the neocons the embarrassment of an obvious defeat.

So, instead of a major personnel shakeup in the wake of the catastrophic Iraq War, Obama presided over what looked more like continuity with the Bush war policies, albeit with a firmer commitment to draw down troops in Iraq and eventually in Afghanistan.

From the start, however, Obama was opposed by key elements of his own administration, especially at State and Defense, and by the still-influential neocons of Official Washington. According to various accounts, including Gates’s new memoir Duty, Obama was maneuvered into supporting a troop “surge” in Afghanistan, as advocated by neocon Frederick Kagan and pushed by Gates, Petraeus and Clinton.

Gates wrote that Kagan persuaded him to recommend the Afghan “surge” and that Obama grudgingly went along although Gates concluded that Obama didn’t believe in the “mission” and wanted to reverse course more quickly than Gates, Petraeus and their side wanted.

Faced with this resistance from his own bureaucracy, Obama began to rely on a small inner circle built around Vice President Joe Biden and a few White House advisers with the analytical support of some CIA officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Obama also found a surprising ally in Putin after he regained the Russian presidency in 2012. A Putin adviser told me that the Russian president personally liked Obama and genuinely wanted to help him resolve dangerous disputes, especially crises with Iran and Syria.

In other words, what evolved out of Obama’s early “team of rivals” misjudgment was an extraordinary presidential foreign policy style, in which 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.”]

Unorthodox Foreign Policy

Obama’s unorthodox foreign policy – essentially working in tandem with the Russian president and sometimes at odds with his own foreign policy bureaucracy – has forced Obama into faux outrage when he’s faced with some perceived affront from Russia, such as its agreement to give temporary asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

For the record, Obama had to express strong disapproval of Snowden’s asylum, though in many ways Putin was doing Obama a favor by sparing Obama from having to prosecute Snowden with the attendant complications for U.S. national security and the damaging political repercussions from Obama’s liberal base.

Putin’s unforced errors also complicated the relationship, such as when he defended Russian hostility toward gays and cracked down on dissent before the Sochi Olympics. Putin became an easy target for U.S. commentators and comedians.

But Obama’s hesitancy to explain the degree of his strategic cooperation with Putin has enabled Official Washington’s still influential neocons, including holdovers within the State Department bureaucracy, to drive more substantive wedges between Obama and Putin. The neocons came to recognize that the Obama-Putin tandem had become a major impediment to their strategic vision.

Without doubt, the neocons’ most dramatic – and potentially most dangerous – counter-move has been Ukraine, where they have lent their political and financial support to opposition forces who sought to break Ukraine away from its Russian neighbor.

Though this crisis also stems from the historical division of Ukraine – between its more European-oriented west and the Russian-ethnic east and south – neocon operatives, with financing from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. sources, played key roles in destabilizing and overthrowing the democratically elected president.

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.

But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine’s economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych’s decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country’s western and more pro-European region.

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.

With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives.

With these neo-Nazis providing “security,” the remaining parliamentarians agreed in a series of unanimous or near unanimous votes to establish a new government and seek Yanukovych’s arrest for mass murder. Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as interim prime minister.

Yet, the violent ouster of Yanukovych provoked popular resistance to the coup from the Russian-ethnic south and east. After seeking refuge in Russia, Yanukovych appealed to Putin for help. Putin then dispatched Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea. [For more on this history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine.”]

Separating Obama from Putin

The Ukraine crisis has given Official Washington’s neocons another wedge to drive between Obama and Putin. For instance, the neocon flagship Washington Post editorialized on Saturday that Obama was responding “with phone calls” when something much more threatening than “condemnation” was needed.

It’s always stunning when the Post, which so energetically lobbied for the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the false pretense of eliminating its (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, gets its ire up about another country acting in response to a genuine security threat on its own borders, not half a world away.

But the Post’s editors have never been deterred by their own hypocrisy. They wrote, “Mr. Putin’s likely objective was not difficult to figure. He appears to be responding to Ukraine’s overthrow of a pro-Kremlin government last week with an old and ugly Russian tactic: provoking a separatist rebellion in a neighboring state, using its own troops when necessary.”

The reality, however, appears to have been that neocon elements from within the U.S. government encouraged the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine via a coup spearheaded by neo-Nazi storm troopers who then terrorized lawmakers as the parliament passed draconian laws, including some intended to punish the Russian-oriented regions which favor Yanukovych.

Yet, besides baiting Obama over his tempered words about the crisis, the Post declared that “Mr. Obama and European leaders must act quickly to prevent Ukraine’s dismemberment. Missing from the president’s statement was a necessary first step: a demand that all Russian forces – regular and irregular – be withdrawn … and that Moscow recognize the authority of the new Kiev government. … If Mr. Putin does not comply, Western leaders should make clear that Russia will pay a heavy price.”

The Post editors are fond of calling for ultimatums against various countries, especially Syria and Iran, with the implication that if they don’t comply with some U.S. demand that harsh actions, including military reprisals, will follow.

But now the neocons, in their single-minded pursuit of endless “regime change” in countries that get in their way, have taken their ambitions to a dangerous new level, confronting nuclear-armed Russia with ultimatums.

By Sunday, the Post’s neocon editors were “spelling out the consequences” for Putin and Russia, essentially proposing a new Cold War. The Post mocked Obama for alleged softness toward Russia and suggested that the next “regime change” must come in Moscow.

“Many in the West did not believe Mr. Putin would dare attempt a military intervention in Ukraine because of the steep potential consequences,” the Post wrote. “That the Russian ruler plunged ahead shows that he doubts Western leaders will respond forcefully. If he does not quickly retreat, the United States must prove him wrong.”

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.

Some leading neocons even see ousting Putin as a crucial step toward reestablishing the preeminence of their agenda. NED president Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.  … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

At minimum, the neocons hope that they can neutralize Putin as Obama’s ally in trying to tamp down tensions with Syria and Iran – and thus put American military strikes against those two countries back under active consideration.

As events spin out of control, it appears way past time for President Obama to explain to the American people why he has collaborated with President Putin in trying to resolve some of the world’s thorniest problems.

That, however, would require him to belatedly take control of his own administration, to purge the neocon holdovers who have worked to sabotage his actual foreign policy, and to put an end to neocon-controlled organizations, like the National Endowment for Democracy, that use U.S. taxpayers’ money to stir up trouble abroad. That would require real political courage.

Mirrored from Commondreams.org

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Related video:

Euronews: “China rejects sanctions as a way to resolve Ukraine crisis”

27 Responses

  1. Great article, but I need to take issue with second paragraph, where it talks about western provocateurs fanning the flames in Ukraine. Such people had little impact.

  2. While the case could have been made for active collaboration between Medvedev and Obama, your premise of one between Obama-Putin relies on its purported secrecy. That is, not much.

    Naturally, Obama will seek to finesse the guy. But I’ve heard any number of prominent second chair diplomates who have, even recently, been in extended sessions with Putin, who would belie what you’re describing. In fact, I hear a consensus that Putin operates by a different perception of the facts, aside from the dark perspective that you’d have to expect from his history.

    The narrative that then unfolds is rational enough, but it’d be better, and more realistically explained, by cynical realpolik on the part of Putin.

    I wouldn’t argue with your conclusions, just how you got there, and it’d be risky to extend such a benign reading of Putin into the future.

  3. Dear Professor Cole

    As far as i can see you are the first person to accurately describe this ongoing problem.

    We Europeans are horrified at the antics of Ms Nuland and State Department in executing the strategy outlined by her husband in “The Revenge of Geography”. Germany depends for its gas on Russia and BP one of UK’s biggest companies is heavily invested in Russia.

    Now that the plan to route Qatari gas through Syria to Europe has failed, we Europeans must logically side with President Putin.

    Following on from this it is time to reconsider the European relationship with US. Having wrecked our economies with casino banking and violated many of the basic tenets of European Law in pursuits of even more extravagant returns for US investors and now trying to drag us into an unnecessary war it may be time to dust off the old slogan from he 1960s and 70s and say ” Yankee Go Home”

    I trust that somehow you will manage to avoid an election in 2016 where both candidates are prisoners or clients of AIPAC and the Neocons

    I should hate to see a rerun of the Carter presidency that brought Ronald Reagan onto the scene.

  4. This crisis add more examples of the Deep State just doing whatever it wants and ignoring the elected officials and the Constitution. After all, Obama will be gone in 26 months, the Deep State will still be there.

    NSA, Pentagon, State, Judiciary, SEC, Federal Reserve; the list goes on and on.

    This is not cost free, by the way. When the next economic down turn comes (2014?), the cohesion of the body politic will be put to the test.

  5. The neocons are beating a dead horse when it comes to the crisis in the Ukraine. The average American voter has had it with any kind of intervention, diplomatic or military, overseas. The marks were conned mercilessly to support two military misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq by the neocon and liberal war hawks inside the beltway bubble and in the MSM. But even the marks have finally woken up to the big con. Issues in foreign affairs are way down on their list of concerns in the upcoming mid-term elections except for the usual couch-potato Rambos, that is, fellow citizens who love war yet always avoid fighting in them. But what else is new?

  6. This is an important and interesting article that shows the profound influence of neocons on various US Administrations. My only observation is that after the Clean Break and President Bush Senior’s decision to leave Saddam Hussein in place, the neocons did not give up. Many of them achieved high positions under President Clinton. It should be remembered that the foreign policy community in Washington is small, everybody knows everybody else, and most of them hold broadly similar views. They are all the products of Washington foreign policy establishment. Victoria Nuland, one of the main authors of the Ukraine crisis, is the wife of Robert Kagan who with his brother Fred Kagan were strong advocates of the Iraq war and the surge, and Nuland herself worked as a foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney. Her husband served as a foreign policy advisor to both Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney at the same time.

    The tragedy was that after all the promises of change President Obama again drew on the same pool of foreign policy hawks to carry out his new vision, and they have created obstacles on his path at every turn. The more hawkish ones are still waiting in the wings to push the next administration to more wars in the Middle East.

  7. This is absurd. Let me get this straight. The neocons orchestrated this coup to drive a wedge between Russia and the US? The almost million people In the streets in Ukraine were because of that? You should know better juan.

    • The role of the Polish foreign minister, a former AEI fellow, in trying to entice Ukraine into European zone of influence does point to a Neocon stragegy

      • I think what it indicates is more that the neocons share the goal of successive US administrations. The neocons and the US have played no different a role here than it has in all past color revolutions. There has always been consistent support for EU accession for post soviet countries, regardless of whether Obama was trying to cooperate with Russia or not. This is really quite obvious. Where was Victoria Nuland in the Rose Revolution in Georgia or even in Ukraine in 2004s Orange Revolution? The whole idea strikes me as conspiratorial. You stayed away when these exact same people tried to say Assad gassed his own people, I urge similar caution now.

      • As you well know, Poland has all sorts of historical reason short of Neocon conspiracy theories to be concerned about the Ukraine. That’s a FOX-worthy claim.

  8. There is absolutely no evidence in this piece to prove causation. Furthermore, If the “coup” was spearheaded by Neo-Nazis, why is a Jew the new prime minister ?

  9. Certainly we have no reason for concern about far-away country between people of whom we know nothing, and as so many of your European commenters have noted, Crimea, or even Ukraine is a small price to pay to keep the gas flowing.

  10. @Farhang. There is no evidence that Nuland was behind this besides the idle speculation offered in this article. As Timothy Snyder said on Democracy Now, all the transcripts do is prove Nuland was not caught up on what was actually happening, and furthermore that her wishes will not be fulfilled as Klitshko is likely to become the next president. The telephone call you mentioned yesterday between Catherine Ashton and the Lithuanian rep also shows nothing besides that there are people like you who think they have “figured it all out,” demeaning in the process the 88 deaths of real Ukranians who gave their lives in a series of protests in which over a million people took part. The conspiracy theories presented here can not hold up in face of the multitude of evidence disproving them, such as that the new prime minister is Jewish (Jewish Neo-Nazis?) and the fact that many prominent foreign policy advisors hostile to neoconservatism such as Brezinski have also wished that Ukraine would move into the Western orbit.

    • smatthew. Thank you for your measured comment, but I believe that the Nuland tape cannot be dismissed as easily as Timothy Snyder does. The tape shows plans not only to install someone who Nuland favored, as happened subsequently, but also how to get the UN involved to “glue this thing, to have the UN glue it”, and how she is so dismissive of the EU, which after all is the main body that Ukraine wanted to join, unless we are also thinking of extending NATO to Ukraine. Also, various neoconservative organizations have been active behind the scenes about how to make Ukraine independent of Russia. In another speech, Nuland speaks of how US has invested $5 billion to bring about change in Ukraine
      link to informationclearinghouse.info

      I also do not wish to demean the 88 deaths of real Ukrainians, both civilians and policemen, who were killed during the demonstrations. But the tape of the conversation between Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign minister alleges that the snipers who killed both demonstrators and policemen were hired by Maidan leaders. This is a very serious charge and it is demeaning to those who were killed not to investigate this matter fully. If the report is true it shows that what happened was a violent coup and not a peaceful uprising. There have been many examples in the past when genuine uprisings by people hoping for democracy have been hijacked by violent elements. There is no contradiction between Neo-Nazis being behind the violence and the fact that the new Prime Minister is Jewish. Initially, the neocons who pushed for war in Iraq were behind Ahmed Chalabi, but as we know things turned out differently and sadly Al Qaeda is still killing hundreds every month in Iraq.

  11. The Syria civil war gridlock has been brought about by the indecisiveness of the Obama administration.

    It has been the neocons, led by John McCain who have been wholehearted and vocal advocates of the Free Syrian Army, the one organization who has, via its Supreme Military Council, adopted an agenda of promotion of democratic principles.

    The Obama administration should be stepping up shipments of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles to the FSA.

    The rebels have recently lost their last Lebanese supply line when the Syrian army seized a border town in heavy fighting with rebels.

    Syrian deaths in the civil war now are at 140,000 out of a population of 22 million. Geneva II was a failure, and the Assad regime is arrogant and defiant with the assistance it has received from Hezbollah, Russia, and China.

    The very limited concession of a plan to divest Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles has not been timely implemented by the Damascus regime and it is doubtful that Assad will fully capitulate with the terms of that agreement.

    U.S.Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford recently resigned his position in the Obama administration and in a speech at Tufts University gave a point-by-point outline delineating the failures and issues facing the international community in addressing the sad state of affairs within Syria. That speech was reported on one week ago in the Christian Science Monitor. Ford had enjoyed a positive relationship with the Syrian expatriate community in the United States that was donating millions of dollars in funding to the Free Syrian Army.

  12. It’s so patronizing and narcissistic to see Ukraine’s struggle for democracy through the lens of whether the US was involved or not. A million people were in the streets, fighting a system where political opponents were jailed on trumped up charged and corruption so endemic as to make Yankuvych’s presumed democratic mandate totally invalid. In this case, imperialism is when people like Parry ignore the actual specifics of Ukraines political situation in order to confirm their preconceived theories.

  13. Why would the neoconservatives come back? They never went anywhere nor did neoliberals. They just switch roles leading and enabling (starters and bench), one want this and the other, that and they get both at the end (loads of internal and external goals, banking, energy, health, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Syria. etc). Their aim is not to conquer nor democracy nor human rights, just to create chaos and keep everyone occupied and off balance. Together with the complicit media they keep this three ring circus side show of criticizing and apologizing entertaining enough so the average automaton has to pick side and think it has an opinion or a choice. like Ginger or Maryann.

  14. Juan, I’d like to thank you for publishing Parry’s article. I’ve been following him a few weeks now on Ukraine and his narrative is the best explanation for the events there. I see two opportunities for Obama to turn this around. The first has to do with the snipers who shot police and demonstrators and provoked the coup’s completion without the necessity of elections. An investigation could be completed and the culprits identified relatively quickly. Surely US intelligence knows the real culprits at this point. This would present an opportunity to shore up Putin’s allegations and his international standing while hurting the neocons. Second is the $5 billion expended and the $1 billion requested. Seems like Obama could make an issue of this expenditure of tax money that would be supported by US citizens (even T party types) And this might give him an opportunity to knock out the neocons who have been promoting both the destabilization agenda and attempts to block the Obama/Putin agenda in Syria/Iran. Obama can turn this around, he just needs to act decisively.

    • China Matters thinks Obama might be trying to turn this around by acting decisively against Putin. Today’s column— “Is President Obama Trying to Break Vladimir Putin’s Political Back in Ukraine?”

      According to the White House read out of the convo with China’s Xi Jinping, Obama stated his overriding objective is “preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine.”

      Interesting read. If what China Matters says about Obama trying to break Putin is true, this whole thing could get very hairy.

      The whole phone convo about the snipers is also on his site.

      A very interesting conversation.

    • If by best explanation you mean most conspiratorial and demeaning to the Ukranian people you would be correct. Color revolutions have happened in multiple post soviet countries over the past fifteen years. Every time the US is accused and the same non-evidence is presented. Now, because Victoria Nuland was in the neighborhood it is actually a “Neo-con” plot rather than just imperialism or whatever. I guess it’s also a. Glenn Greenwald plot because. Pierre Omidyar donated money to the opposition? Besides this borderline anti-semitism (and that’s what it is Juan) it’s an absolutely ludicrous theory with No basis in reality. It requires one to ignore actual Ukranian politics (Orange revolution, Jailing of Tymoshenko, Media Consolidation, West vs East) and see everything through the eyes of the West. It’s self righteous and narcissistic and simply wrong.

      • Simon, I don’t see any “borderline anti-semitism” perhaps you could expand on that. As for the “conspiratorial,” Parry does a good job of explaining why Obama would push for a confrontation with Russia when he seems to have been working closely with Putin on Iran and Syria. Neocon/state department involvement in Ukraine does answer that question — the coup wasn’t Obama’s doing — however ineptly he failed to dump those folks earlier. And with regard to “non-evidence,” it’s hardly happenstance that Nuland’s choice was in fact selected as prime minister is it? And US funding of the Orange revolution does demonstrate a continuation of the pattern of conduct where elected governments in the past have been sabotaged by the US.

        • Umm….Yatsenyuk was head of the largest opposition group in Ukraine, so yes it is no surprise. But you obviously know nothing about Ukraine, right? The orange revolution was not sabotage against an elected government. Kuchma’s government had committed massive fraud in the 2004 election, as documented by numerous international observers. You can continue your Kremlin propaganda as long as Juan gives you a platform, but it’s total nonsense. I guess the neo-cons also told Obama to try and push for a strike on Syria too right?

        • The buden of evidence is on you. You are implicitly assuming that if “Obama didn’t want a confrontation” that he could’ve just told the opposition and the millions of people who supported them to just back off after being attacked by police? Total nonsense.

        • Simon, it’s hardly a secret that the neocons wanted Obama to bomb Syria and they’re opposed to peace negotiations with Iran. Surely you can’t be suggesting that’s not the case. And it’s obvious that the Ukraine coup works to hamper if not derail both the Syrian and Iranian initiatives. The Ukraine coup has neocon written all over it. And of course, the real beneficiary would be Israel.

  15. Dear Mr Parry – Thank for this excellent analysis and assessment. The Neo Cons, aka chicken hawks, are at it again. Ms Nuland should never have been promoted to top representative to the EU and someone needs to seriously clean out and reform ‘A’ Bureau at State, since Mrs Clinton steered clear of that mess in order to preserve her campaign prospects. Ms Nuland was PAO at the US embassy in Kazkahstan and would have had excellent contacts with US gas and oil companies.

    Yet the other day, several American businesses with investments in Russia expressed concern per the Washington Post our politicians got too far ahead of themselves in this conflict and these businesses worried their investments could b jeopardized.

    What’s not clear is — were the neo cons in belief that they could secure Ukraine’s gas sector for their business associates or did they consider the possibility Crimea might break away and that Russia could shut the taps to western Ukraine? Or were they wanting to supply Europe with gas from elsewhere in the world, such as the US with the fracking taking place and don’t really care if the Crimea splits off since that would play into their schemes?

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