February 10, 2014
“F….Europe!” Such were the words used in Kiev, Ukraine by Victoria Nuland, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe.
Nuland was referring to the European Union’s reluctance to get too deeply involved in Ukraine’s current strife or to impose sanctions on the former Soviet republic. But Nuland perfectly captured Washington’s sneering view of Europe as a collection of feeble and irrelevant banana republics.
Nuland is a prominent American neoconservative. Like her fellow neocons, she disdains Europe for being unwarlike, mildly critical of Israel, and often insufficiently responsive to Washington’s demands – or even insubordinate, like the awful French.
How delicious was it that Nuland’s pithy reference to Europe and her plans for a new western-confected government in Ukrainian – where the US insists it is not at all interfering – were picked by Russian electronic intelligence and played to the world. How dim for Madame Nuland to speak so thoughtlessly on her cell phone.
Of late, Nuland and other senior US officials have been blasting Moscow for “meddling” in Ukraine. The leaked phone recording has Nuland telling the US ambassador to Kiev which of the three opposition candidates Washington wants to run Ukraine.
Nuland’s plans for regime change in Kiev have been a godsend to Moscow, which claims the US and EU are behind the uprising in Ukraine. She has just undermined the democratic Ukrainian opposition by making them look like American puppets.
Score one for Russia’s spooks. All Nuland could do was splutter about how Russian intelligence had intercepted her cell phone. This after the US National Security Agency was revealed to be bugging the phones and email of most of Europe’s leaders. What goes around comes around.
The loud-mouthed Nuland should resign.
All this was most amusing – except that it highlighted the growing US-Russian confrontation over Ukraine that risks turning very dangerous.
A senior Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin just warned Washington to butt out of Ukraine – or else. Europe is rightfully fearful that the Ukraine crisis could cause a head-on clash by Washington and Moscow – just as the little Russia-Georgia War over Ossetia almost did in 2008.
Interestingly, during that crisis, the US rushed warships to the Black Sea. This time, US Navy warships are back again in the Black Sea under the laughable excuse they are on station to evacuate US tourists to the Sochi Olympics if violence occurs.
Day by day, we see growing rancor between the US and Russia. Most of it is unfair criticism and childish spats, but the overall effect is creating the basis for war fever. The same bickering, cheap criticism and manufactured anger created the psychological basis in Britain for the utterly catastrophic World War I. Three years later, it was repeated in the United States to whip up anti-German fever.
The US media is barraging Russia and Putin with a drumfire of negative stories. The Sochi Olympics have come in for relentless, petty attacks and low-minded carping.
Anyone who knows Russia should be in awe that the normally bumbling, disorganized Ruskis managed to get their Olympic sites finished more or less on time – and that they still remain standing. Russians usually lose a lot of early battles, but they usually end up winning wars.
So what if Russia spent billions on the Sochi Olympics. Who is Washington to criticize Moscow after pouring over $2 trillion into the stupid wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Syria, with nothing to show but huge debts, armies of refugees, and graveyards?
America’s national security establishment – what used to be known in Britain as imperialists – is now turning its guns on Russia, aided by the US corporate media. Vlad Putin’s Russia has re-emerged as America’s number one enemy. Muslims are out. At times, the Cold War seems to be inching back. The US narrowly escaped a dangerous military clash over President Barack Obama’s intemperate rush to war over Syria.
Nuclear powers must not indulge in such school-yard squabbles. World War I, whose 100th anniversary comes this fall, began just this way.
Putin’s Russia is no Utopia, but do we really want angry, expansionist Russians again on our eastern borders? Better they focus on Olympic games and shopping sprees. Unlike us, they have not started any wars lately.
copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014