Where is the alternative press’s usual righteous indignation over censorship, imperialism and unjust war? Why so many apologists for Imperial Putin?
I am deeply troubled by what I see in the alternative media in the US right now. It looks to me like loathing for the US government has become so blinding in its white-hot heat that almost all writers (and maybe readers?) on the alt-right give Putin a free pass and even act as his apologists for an invasion he promised he wouldn’t do against a country that never invaded Russia. I am deluged daily by articles that wrongly claim the US started all of this and, so, is almost fully responsible for Putin’s invasion. I’ve even had my own readers upbraid me for calling it “Putin’s War,” as if Vlad the Invader didn’t start this war entirely on his own volition.
I’ve decide to explore those arguments in a short series because they are not without some basis, for America and the rest of the West have certainly failed at living up to all they led Russia to believe they would do. Much of that failure has been due to Neocons like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz, whom I have always held to the fire for their never-ending warmongering ways.
For people like that and their duplicitous dealings, the West is to be criticized. However, like so many arguments that are based on some truth without the balancing truth, the arguments how made in sympathy with Putin are deeply distorted by what appears to me to be American self-loathing or cynicism that leads people to blame their own government entirely for the vilest acts perpetrated by other governments and by a character who makes the Warmongers of West look almost justified. Putin, to put things back in perspective, is a better justification for the overreach of the Boltons and Wolfowitzes than they are for the overreaches of Putin. I think some people just prefer a black-and-white world where US, bad / Russia, good to maintain their sense of clarity and because they would hate to give any credibility to the US government.
You see, as much as it is true that the West has treated Russia rudely and has advanced NATO where it said it would not, Russia has not lived up to much of what it has said either, and that part gets left out entirely by Russia and Putin’s apologists. Russia’s leading spokesmen have lied through their teeth many times. Russia has a long and extremely dark history of attacking Europe ruthlessly and relentlessly, which means it does not earn automatic trust, such as would be required for NATO to simply back down as Russia demands when it Russia claims Russia is no threat. Russia now tires to separate itself from its self-created Soviet past as if it should not be held responsible for the manifold Soviet crimes against humanity because it doesn’t want to live with its own dark shadow; but that shadow is a reality that will follow it everywhere for years to come, just as Naziism has bedeviled Germans, who are, at least, making a concerted effort to deal with that past, rather than deny responsibility for it, as seems to be Putin’s preference. In fact, the only thing Putin blames the Soviet past for it what it did to Russia, which I will be coming to in this short series.
What bothers me is that those same writers are not holding Russia to the same exacting standard they are holding America, and I hate double standards. Their position is worse than thinking Russia just cannot help itself because, well … US bad! They write as if Russia has no obligation to do better, can’t be blamed for constantly threatening nuclear war; and they clearly believe Putin’s ennobling lies regarding his ambitions with Ukraine, which I am going to lay bear because I’m just that sick of the fog of lies we are all sweltering in right now.
I’m also going to go celebrate US independence today because I LOVE America. I make no bones about it. I’ve loved it all my life. I make no apologies for it because America has many noble qualities and many noble people, in spite of sharing the same flaws that all powerful nations throughout history have exhibited. And I do mean, without any reservation, “ALL.” America is no worse than any other powerful nation in history, and power must always be restrained in this world or it runs over people and justifies itself as it does (as Putin is doing everyday now).
So, while I will continue to try to hold and encourage my own country toward more humble actions in this world, I will not blame it for the ignominious actions of others who can own full responsibility for their own actions and who are equally imperious in their ways. I hope for a humbler, but powerful America that truly honors its ideals, rather than uses them to justify expansionist wars it has no business in just as I hope someday Ukraine can finally celebrate its independence, which Russia guaranteed and is now violently taking back. I hope for this in spite of Ukraine’s corruption, too, for it is no more corrupt than Russia and just as corrupt as the US. I hate corruption. I will give America the blame it deserves where it deserves it, but give Russia the blame it fully deserves right now. I’m not going to let poor Putin play the victim. He’s far from it!
Many writers in the alternative space have raised Putin to almost hero status as some sort of demi-saint doing the dark work that has to be done in a situation forced upon him to stand against the all-evil US. One would think that the US and NATO are the sole villains to blame for every atrocious choice that Putin now makes as he reconquers parts of Europe, as if he needs bear no responsibility for his own actions. That’s what I don’t like because he can just as wholly own his own evils as the US can own its evils. I don’t hold the US to a higher standard or Russia to a lower standard as if it just can’t help itself in light of what America has done, which in my view in the present situation (emphasize present situation) pales compared to what Russia has done for the past ten years (not just this invasion) in Ukraine. Russia has a long an ugly history in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and I’m going to dig into some that.
What I’m not talking about in this series, to be really clear, is whether the West’s sanctions make sense as a way of fighting Russia and supporting Ukraine, whether they are more destructive to the West than to Russia, or even what level of military support, if any, the West should give to Ukraine. This series is about the sheer vileness of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its own blame in creating this situation, regardless of what our response should be. Russias wrongs in Ukraine go far beyond the United State’s wrongs, which certainly and wrongly added to the conflict, by which I mean particularly the (yes) US-sponsored coup during the Maidan revolution.
Bona fide objective criticism of the US and impartiality toward Russia
I’m laying out the following “credentials for laying criticism” because I know the first lame counterpoint I’ll hear (because I hear it a lot when I write comments on other sites about this) is that I just defend my own nation or I am Russophobic. I, for a verifiable fact, have a history that says that is completely opposite of the truth.
I have spent the last decade criticizing the US almost every week on The Great Recession Blog in one way or another — Hillary Clinton, Trump, Biden, Fauci, the CDC, the Federal Reserve, corporate greed, banksters, et. al. I have no reluctance whatsoever about criticizing my own country wherever and whenever criticism is due. I also wrote for RT.com — Putin’s well-known and US-denigrated right-hand media arm, which aims to present Russia in a positive light. I wrote for them off and on a couple of years, and they were a great bunch to work with. Other than censoring me (and everyone else) on the anti-Fauci Covid theme — apparently because Putin is a big believer in vaccines and quite paranoid about Covid — they gave me a pretty free hand … so long as I was proposing things that made the US look bad. I never once wrote a story for them that made the US look good or Russia look bad. So, we got along just fine.
That was easy for me, even though I love my country, because the US is a big country; and all big country’s have plenty of things going on that are bad at any given moment. They always have people who would usurped the power of there nation toward their own unjust empowerment. However, my goal is to make the US look better solely by helping becoming better, which really means just helping it return to being more of what it once was. That is the only reason I criticize what is wrong within the US as it is losing its way in many ways. In its core documents it is noble — not perfect, but reaching for the light in human freedom — and I’ll celebrate that this Independence Day, too. To me, those documents reached so high for their time and for all time that I feel they may have been divinely inspired. There is an unusual nobility in them, even if they are not perfect. They created the space to build toward a more perfect union.
To be clear, I live in a small, rural, scarlet-red, almost crime-free, friendly, multi-racial, but originally Dutch farm town with far more churches than bars that ran under blue laws until just a decade ago, which has only one known Democrat (and that’s not me, as I am determinedly independent of both parties, believing both of them to be more about their own power than their country, placing party over country at every turn). To the best I am aware, the sole Democrat gets treated with respect, God help him, and many of us are flying flags this weekend. Some neighbors fly them year-round. Nevertheless, I criticize my country’s wrongs in almost every article I write — both by Democrats and Republicans.
I quit RT because I also have no desire at this time to help Russia look good by making the US look bad. I deeply believe in the principles this nation espoused throughout the truly dark ages of the Russian Soviet empire, and I have felt quite patriotic about those ideals since the time I was a child. It’s just that I do not love the bad things people are doing to it as a nation or within it, especially from the top, nor the disintegration of the culture I grew up in for the mess we have today that displeasures all people equally because of those who focus on our differences as a source for divisions (especially along party lines), rather than try to develop our common interests and a common culture.
I do not like it when our nation deals unfairly in treaties with Native Americans or with Russia. I will hold it to higher standards of truth in its actions with others. I don’t like it when it falls back on its word, and there is not doubt it has led Russia to believe it would do things in Eastern Europe that it didn’t do and that it would not do certain things that it did do. So, I don’t blame Russia for not trusting America.
However, I also don’t blame America or Europe for not trusting Russia after years of Soviet abuse. Russia lies every time it turns around, and I’m about to lay out a lot of Putin’s lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations employed in support of PUTIN’S WAR in Ukraine. Putin speaks and acts as if the only party that cannot be trusted is the US, which is absurd in light of is own actions and all of Russia’s history. Since I spend the vast amount of my time criticizing the wrongs of the US or in the US, this article is going to focus the same objectivity entirely on Russia.
You see, I love truth more than I love this nation, and I love for this nation to be true — true to its founding ideals, true to its own people and true to other nations and people; so, I won’t cotton to any lie told to make this nation look good or cover for its wrongdoings, but I also won’t cotton to any lie told to make any other nation look good or to cover for any other nation’s evils. That is why I have stated I am an equal-opportunity critic of both Republicans and Democrats at the top-left corner of my blog since its beginning a decade ago. It’s all about truth with me. By that, I am not saying I always find the truth; but just that I am always seeking it and putting aside favorites and preconceptions to find it.
I believe Putin is as corrupt as any national leader out there and as imperialist as the worst of them and certainly as addicted to power, given how he manipulated his nation’s constitution to assure himself unlimited time in office — something I’m pretty sure none would be too happy with if attempted in the US.
The reason I wrote for RT was to make my own nation face the truth because many US citizens read and watch RT, and RT was willing to publish the criticism the US needs to hear for its own good, while Mainstream media in the US wouldn’t give one word of space to what I have to say. I couldn’t pay major media in the US to publish me, but Russia gladly paid me to be published on RT.
It wasn’t about the money, however, and the proof of that is I quit when the money was at its best and the writing opportunities were expanding into television appearances, which I had never had prior to RT. It was about the opportunity to be heard. In fact, RT became my replacement job when I was terminated for refusing “the vaccine” due to the the autocratic mandates of the Biden administration, which tried to force needles into my arm against my will. I’ve written volumes against Amerika’s authoritarian and austere destruction of freedoms during the Covid pandemic, and I have been censored on that subject a number of times, including at RT. For awhile RT gave me the space to do that, which could not be found in Amerika with all its censorship that was becoming as bad as the Soviets and as Putin (hence the “k” there in “Amerika”). I quit shortly after RT began censoring that topic and just as I was getting to the point of replacing about half my lost income, putting myself right back into the realm of being unemployed.
The kind of autocracy that forces such illegal mandates (as they were eventually declared) is exactly the kind of thing in the US I write and speak against because it is anti-everything-the-US-stands-for. It is, however, something Putin would be right at home with. It is anti-freedom, while the repeated censorship I faced when pointing out problems with the vaccines is anti-truth. (Not because I am certain beyond any question that the things I am inclined to believe about the vaccines are gospel truth, but because open discussion and free speech are how we seek the truth and how we speak truth against power.) Those values to me are what the US is about at its core. They are what I celebrate about my nation on the Fourth of July. The corruption of those values I despise.
I am also well aware of what the US did in Ukraine, as it often does in interfering via its nation-building — something I do loath. True to the US NeoCon (and NonCon Democrat) agenda around the world, the US sponsored a coup to put the people in power that it wanted in power. I have spoken out against the coup since the first day Obama showed he was behind the coup by immediately embracing its leaders. (You just don’t do that if you don’t thoroughly know those leaders in advance from experience with them.) And, while that upset Russia, there is MUCH more to Russia’s involvement there than I ever read about in the alternative press, which is presenting a one-side picture of its own because it hates the US government that much.
I wish my nation would get out of the oil-slurping, democracy-when-it-suits-with-us, nation-building enterprise entirely. That is why I wrote two articles based on Obama-era US State Dept. documents that I gained access to via Wikileaks, laying out how evil and war-mongering US actions were under Hillary Clinton’s state house in creating wars the US did not have any basis for creating. Those articles even attacked Clinton over her deplorable diplomacy with Russia where her infamous “restart button” for Russia relations looked more like a nuclear launch button. (See “HILLARY’S WARS (Pt. 1): Clinton Reset Button with Russia Goes Nuclear” and “HILLARY’S WARS (Pt. 2): Wikileaks Proves Syria about Iran & Israel.”)
I’ve waited for several months to speak up about what I will continue to call Putin’s War because I fully realize I am out of sorts with most of the alternative media on this one; but I finally decided I would not be a person of truth if I left such great atrocity go without comment just because I was afraid to lose a lot of readers or a lot of publishers. So, now I am going to speak out, whatever the cost, because I think I’ve earned that right by being willing any and every time I see wrong in the US to speak out against what the US is officially doing or what my fellow citizens are doing to the US to contravene its liberties and its historic culture. Why should I be free with my fingertips to criticize my own nation and its leaders ALL THE TIME and then treat Russia and its atrocities with kid gloves? No double standards, remember?
And my reason for quitting RT? Putin’s war! Plain and simple. So, what good did it do to quit RT if I am not going to write out against Putin’s atrocities in the same brazen way I would (and have) when the US was invading another nation? I chose a return to unemployment (without any unemployment benefits) over doing anything that would in any way support Putin or Russia during Putin’s War because I fully intended to criticize him and not take his money while doing it.
Putting Putin in his place
While the US has played its role of interference here, the US is not by a long shot the main bad guy in the present circumstances and that Russia clearly is. I agree that the US’ hands were not clean at the start, but neither were Russia’s (even before the 2014 coup as I’ll lay out in this short series). The difference between the two sides for their wrongs in the present conflict is VAST.
The only references I read throughout the alternative press to wrongs involving Russians have been the wrongs being done TO them by Ukrainians who were reportedly executing them or by the West that dares to defend Ukraine when Russia would, ostensibly, never be attacking Ukraine for imperial reasons and is only doing so because the West poked the bear and forced Putin’s hand.
First, whoever said the bear deserves to have what the bear wants just because the bear is big and the bear wants it? If nations want to join NATO that is entirely their right to decide on their own. Even Putin once said that. If nations want to join NATO that is their sole business, and if Putin were truly such a good neighbor there would not be so many begging to join! Of course, I realize that serves the USMIC, which Ike warned us to beware of; BUT it is their right to choose to join, and one is strong-arming them into doing so. In fact, thanks to Putin, they are now running for the opportunity to sign up! That’s just a fact. It’s their right, and they’re doing it, and the only pressure is coming from Putin.
What about all the Ukrainians who are being killed just for defending their homes? Do they have no right to defend themselves “to the last man or woman standing” just because the US sponsored a coup, which the Ukrainians by and in-large went along with in the end and which came AFTER the Ukrainians started their own Maidan revolution, though it was culmination of the revolution. That part of the greater Maidan rebellion against Russian interference was opportunistically instigated and aided by the US. I never hear anyone talking about what the Ukrainians want.
Why does Russia have a right to slaughter them by the tens of thousands just because they won’t stop defending their homes. In fact, reading many articles it almost sounds as if the Ukrainians are reprehensible for thinking they have a right to defend themselves or certainly that the West has no right to help Ukrainians defend themselves. (Whether it should or not may be another matter, but it has been earnestly and repeatedly invited by the now democratically elected Ukrainian government to join in their defense, so it has every right to help out. And, no, that government was not installed by the coup, which is now almost ten years past. There have been multiple elections since then.)
I read numerous articles in the alternative press everyday about Europe and the US being evil for helping Ukrainians defend themselves against an attacker they have never attacked because the only conceivable reason the US would do that is to extend its own imperialism and hegemony. These articles routinely (and falsely) claim the US wants the last Ukrainian standing to die just to wear down Russia. The truth is that the last Ukrainian is WILLING entirely by their own volition to die to defend his or her country, and the US/NATO/Europe are willing to keep giving them arms to keeping enabling their defense of their country for as long as they are willing and able to use them. The Ukrainians have determined for themselves to fight to the last person standing, and they WANT Western weapons to keep flowing. I’m sure, if this has the effect of grinding down Russia, the US is more than glad to see that; but it is Ukraine wanting to stay in the battle to the bitter end and needing weapons to give them some chance of winning in their own defense.
Perversely, this line argument often criticizes the NATO alliance for its actual restraint in not getting directly involved in order to try to prevent turning this into WWIII. That restraint is wrapped around their neck as if they are only meting out the weakest weapons necessary to keep the battle going so that it can never be won just to war down Russia. Yet, if they did get directly involved or supplied fighter jets and bombers and other much more powerful weapons, we know that would likely become a nuclear confrontation; and those same writers would be arguing the West is just trying to turn this into a nuclear war. So, the West cannot win with those writer, no matter whether they take a course of restraint or of much greater power and more direct involvement.
One of the things I value about the US is that it stands by its allies. Or let’s say I value it when it happens. While Ukraine is not an ally, Europe and the VAST majority of Ukraine regard Ukraine as European (which I will provide evidence for in the next article), and those nations along that eastern border of Europe are US allies, and Russia stomping all over that border and bombing towns into ashes provides has every reason for them to feel alarmed. This is so reminiscent of what Russia did decades ago to those countries. There is a meaningful history here that will not simply be forgotten. Whether you believe the US is right to stand by its allies against a hostile invader, I won’t put much emphasis on here; but I will lay out how Russia is just as much at fault for bringing this situation about as the West is for “poking the bear.” I would turn that the other way around and say the bear is poking Europe … right in the tenderloin. In fact, it is biting and tearing with its teeth.
Of course, the risk of nuclear conflict is huge, and I have no problem with people arguing we should not take on the risk or the cause, even though I would disagree. There is plenty of reason to think about that carefully. That argument, however, is much different than trying to blame the US or the West for creating this situation while practically absolving Putin of any blame. We need to keep the finger firmly on Putin.
Foremest, the US is not creating the nuclear risk. Putin is. No one forced him to invade, and Putin is the only party making endless nuclear threats here. While Putin claims he invaded because he sees NATO as a threat or to kill some Nazi’s, that misrepresentation is as bald-faced as his lie that he would not invade Ukraine. The threat he sees in NATO is not that NATO might attack Russia, because NATO has never so much as thrown a rock at Russia because Russia is protected with its own nuclear arsenal even more than NATO is protecting Europe. Putin’s discernible concern is that NATO stands squarely in the way of his imperial vision along Europe’s eastern flank, an argument I will lay out with his own words describing his own reasons for the attack to his own people in the next part of this series.
I haven’t heard a word in the alternative media about the right and need of Ukrainians to defend themselves. I certainly haven’t heard a word about the noble courage of other nations that will help them defend themselves. It is almost as if many in the alternative press think Ukraine is evil to even think of defending itself against poor Russia, as if it should just roll over and give up. It is as if poor Russia had no choice but to attack in order to stop the cancerous spread of NATO. (Could it not have turned off Europe’s gas to get NATO’s attention?) All I hear about is how Ukraine is a nation full of NAZIs that Putin had to expel.
So, let’s look at that truth for the nonsense that is made out of it. Yes, there are clusters of Nazis in Ukraine. That much is true. There are, however, many more clusters of Nazis in Russia and clusters of Nazis in the US and clusters of Nazis in Germany, etc., as I’ll lay out in my next article. And never mind that most of Zelensky’s own family died in battles fighting Nazis. Sure, he’s worked with Nazi’s (albeit, reluctantly), so he must be one … even if he is a Jew. It’s absurd. If you watch videos of Z’s interaction with Nazi leaders, you can plainly see it is a very uncomfortable alliance — an accommodation such as the US and Russia once had to battle Nazis in Germany. This time it is an accommodation to battle Russians invading Ukraine.
As you’ll see in the next article, that invasion did not start this year. It’s been going on for, at least, ten years in a variety of clandestine ways.
Who’s the Nazi now?
Putin painted Z’s for Zelensky like swastikas all over his military equipment to make it absolutely clear from the outset he was gunning for Ukraine’s leader, yet Zelensky is one of the most anti-Nazi people in Ukraine! Zelensky began working reluctantly with Nazi groups only because Putin is attacking the Ukraine government in regions where the Nazis hold some power, and Z needs all the help he get, a fact that predates the present invasion by years. It is PUTIN who has practically driven Zelensky into the hands of Nazis in Ukraine — first in Donbas, prior to this invasion, and now especially as Putin focuses on bombing the hell out of those regions of Ukraine where Nazis exist and are willing to fight. Who else is going to fight harder there on Ukraine’s behalf than the people who live there, including all the Nazis who live there? Putin knows most of the world, and especially Russians, hate Nazis.
What is Zelensky supposed to do? Take on the Nazis within his nation that are fighting Putin even has he has to fight Putin to save Ukraine from Putin’s invasion? That’s absurd. A house divided against itself cannot stand — especially when fighting a much larger house that is invading it. What you see in Z’s tolerance of Nazis right now is nothing other than the playing out of the old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Z knows full well he needs any friend he can get. Ironically, Putin has driven the two together. It’s an unholy alliance, but you take what you are given to work with to defeat a far larger adversary.
Z clearly has every reason in the world to hate Nazis, being a Jew and being from a family killed by Nazis. So, if Putin’s interest were truly getting rid of Nazi’s, he’d be strengthening Z’s hand in fighting Nazis, not pressing him to work with them. That tells me there is something much different in Putin’s ambitions than becoming the Nazi slayer. Nazis just serve Putin as a potent rallying cry because Russia has a deep loathing for Nazis due to Nazi Germany’s devastating invasion of Russia more than half a century ago … and so does the rest of the world. (I’ll have more to say on Putin’s own involvement with Nazis after we listen to his speech in the next article in which he declared the independence of Donbas from Ukraine and laid out his justifications for that declaration.)
I also get that Ukrainians, whether Nazi or not, are not as pure as the driven snow, any more than anyone else on this planet. In fact, there is a lot of corruption in Ukraine, but there is also a lot of Russian-mafia style/oligarch corruption throughout Russia, particularly in its government. So, if Putin’s aims were really expunging Nazis as he claims, he would certainly start at home where he has more than enough work cut out for him; but he has made no such efforts.
I think it is important to keep at the forefront of the conversation the fact that Putin is the sole person who made this decision to drag the region into all-out war while outright lying by claiming it is not a war and sentencing anyone to the gulags of Northern Siberia in the old KGB style he was so long a part of, if they dare contradict him and use the word “war.”
That is not about truth. That is exactly the kind of anti-truth I hate. Where is the deep concern about that destruction of free speech in the alternative press right now, which practically exonerates Putin even though it normally loathes censorship of free speech whenever the US government seeks to apply it to the alternative press? I have not read a single article in the alternative media that was truly outraged by Putin’s censorship at the total cost of human liberty right down to outlawing a specific word! Now, that’s acting like Nazi Hitler. (Such articles may be out there, but they are buried in a surplus of articles that run the other way, defending poor, hapless Putin.)
Putin is also the only entity constantly flapping his silo doors and threatening nuclear attack and now has frequently had his lapdog Lavrov saying the West seriously needs to “fear” those threats as being real more than we are fearing them. Yet, the US and NATO get blamed in alternative media as being the ones fomenting nuclear war, against which poor Putin, who is helpless and just doing what he has to protect his nation from NATO’s nuclear missiles. So, Putin, the sole ACTUAL nuclear aggressor on a weekly basis, gets a free pass every time he makes another serious nuclear threat and has his diplomats tell us we had better be very afraid because he’s really serious about nuking us if we stand in the way of his ambitions for Ukraine, noble as he presents them to be.
Ukraine may have gotten carried away in defending itself and done some atrocities that should not happen (not proven to my satisfaction, although claimed by Russia). But everything being done to them by Russia — EVERYTHING — is an atrocity because Ukraine did not attack Russia EVER, and the civil war in the Donbas was constantly baited into being by Putin who did everything he could to entice the Russian-speaking people into seceding from Ukraine and delivering those rich lands into Putin’s hands, whether via a Russian-friendly, puppet government or by actually becoming part of Russia.
With the US, critics would say, “It’s all about the oil.” Well, did no one notice much of the land Putin is stomping all over has massive energy reserves under it, and much of it has great farmland on top, and nearly all of that is lined by warm subtropical seas with deep sea ports and great recreational locales? So, why isn’t the same criticism laid at Putin’s feet? That’s the double-standard I’m talking about. No one in the alternative press seems to think Putin might be lusting after all that lucre for Russia. That’s apparently impossible because Putin is the new purportedly Christian saint. (Not by my view of what makes a Christian, but he has certainly donned the mantle, and the Russian Orthodox Church has been glad to lay it on him, as I’ll also lay out.)
No, supposedly Putin isn’t interest in imperial acquisition of rich lands at all! He just wants to help the besieged Russophones of Ukraine avoid genocide. Another noble goal of Putin. Never mind that, had he not supplied them with weapons for years and constantly promised them sugar plums if they vote to secede, Ukraine wouldn’t be fighting a civil war in Donbas and Crimea in the first place. From its onset, the Donbas conflict has been a war by separatists that Putin instigated and funded!
If the US sponsored a rebellion like that inside of another nation, the alternative press would be (rightly) incensed about it, calling out the United States’ nation-building imperialism. There, again, the double standard. The US certainly has done that. As noted above, I’ve called it out and been incensed myself. But that is not what is happening here, in spite of how one constantly reads that it is. Russia has ALWAYS been every bit as imperial as the US, and you can hear it in Putin’s speech in the next article. Russia has a long imperial history that did not end when Putin came to power — former Soviet KGB guy that he is to the core of his being.
Putin has no right to encourage people to secede or strip away land on the basis that the current government is not legitimate due to the US coup, as you’ll hear him claim in that video. The coup was almost a decade ago and many elections ago. His claim that Ukrainians have a right to vote themselves into a separate nation and that Ukraine should or must honor that vote is also as internationally bogus as anything ever said. That has never been a recognized principle of international law.
How many nations have EVER allowed their people to vote themselves out of their own nation and into joining another nation or becoming an independent nation, taking the land with them without a civil war? Precisely none that I can think of. Something worth remembering this Independence Day is that, even the US fought a civil war to gain separation from England, for that is what the Revolutionary War really was. England did not let the US just vote itself into independence or declare independence, an act we celebrate today as something won by war at great cost. At the time, the US was English, and the English colonists were fighting their government to gain independence. So, if Donbas puts up such a fight and wins, I guess that decides it; however, Russia should not only stay out it, but is absolutely reprehensible for luring people to believing they can just vote themselves into being another nation.
Besides, if Putin really believed the people in Ukraine have a right to decide their independence by a mere vote and that their nation has some sort of moral responsibility to accept that, he should respect the vote they already made when the USSR collapsed in 1991, when Ukrainians were given that opportunity to vote (by Russia’s agreement), and 92% of Ukrainians voted for independence from Russia! (But it gets a lot richer than that when you look at where those Ukrainians stand today on that issue.) You can have that right IF the nation you are a part of agrees to give it you, but Russia already did that, and the people already chose. The newly independent nation is not obligated to keep doing the same just because Russia did when the Soviet Union collapsed from its own internal rust and flawed design (as even Putin will admit in the video to come) so that it no longer had the power to force its union upon Ukraine.
Similarly, when Ukraine’s Russia-friendly government voted not to join the European Union in 2013 in favor of Putin’s huge enticements to move toward Russia, instead, the Maidan revolution sprang up organically because of the many Ukrainians who hated the government’s move and who thought the existing government was illegitimate (just as many in the US now believe the Biden government is illegitimate). While the US fed and supported a coup out of that revolution, the revolution already had massive support across the nation, overthrowing the Russia-friendly leader, and there is as much reason to believe Putin funded that president’s election as there is to believe the US funded the subsequent coup against him (which we’ll also come to).
So, Putin’s repeated claim that people have a right to vote themselves into independence from Ukraine is patent nonsense from any basis in Ukraine’s history (which we’ll go over, too) or basis in international law, but it mostly skirts the fact that an overwhelming number of Ukrainians already voted to be independent from Russia in ’91! Then, later in 2013, they overthrew what may have been nothing more than a Putin-Puppet government backed by millions of dollars in financing from Putin (with US help). One would think a nation that celebrates its own war for independence would be highly sympathetic to the desire of Ukraine to be free from Russia. I know I am. I hope others will be, too, because Russia truly is the imperial force here, seeking its own greater hegemony.
Who was the campaign manager of Putin’s favorite Ukrainian leader just before the 2013 Maidan revolution? None other than Paul Manafort, the infamous money launderer, who was also hired at one point by Donald Trump. Manafort is a man who doesn’t come cheap by any means and who could capably launder any money that did come from Putin. Yes, it appears the coup was also backed by millions of dollars from the US, but the overthrow was carried out by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian hands, and it does not appear to me either side has proven the other side funded the interference that it appears both sides did, indeed, fund.
What I am saying is the US was involved back then. So what Putin! And the standard of proof or evidence should be the same for both. Note that the following video was produced a month prior to Putin’s invasion, so what it says about Putin’s troops in Donbas predate the current “special military operations” as well as the outright Russian lies that they “had no intention of ever invading Ukraine,” calling to question for me anything they say about their intentions with Ukraine:
Putin denies any role in the election of a Russian-friendly government just before the coup. However, as a lifelong paid liar specifically installed by the Soviet Union in charge of the KGB’s disinformation wing, Putin is one of the most consummately skilled and trained and practiced liars on the earth. He lied to all of us about the invasion and sounded totally convincing. So, why would you give him the benefit of the doubt on anything? He is, for a fact, a liar by training! There may be no clean hands in the either the election just before the Maidan or the subsequent coup that overthrew the elected leader.
When Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to be independent of the newly forming Russian Federation in 1991 that was to replace the USSR, it was because the government that had subjugated them collapsed, and the they voted not to be part of the new government that was forming. They had an opportunity for self-determination, and they seized it. Surely, the US as a nation that began the same way should have some sympathy with that kind of self-determination as well as the will to keeping holding what they grasped and to form the alliances they want to form. Putin, however, states in many speeches that he sees that as the greatest catastrophe in Russian history!
He said nothing back when Ukraine made that vote for independence from Russia about people having that right to vote their independence, nor does he now accept what they voted for; so, it is only a “principle” he holds up when he believes he can manipulate enough of the people to voting a different way but at a time when they don’t have that right — the difference being there was no standing government when they made that vote in ’91 because the government had failed entirely on its own demerits, not by some rebellions by Ukraine. (Moreover, as you’ll see in the later history, Russia gave Ukraine the right of total sovereignty clear back when the Soviet Union formed.)
Do you think Idaho can vote to become part of Canada and just pull that land out of the US or vote to become its own sovereign nation? I seem to recall from history a great number of states trying to do that, and it was a bloody mess, far worse than anything seen in Ukraine’s civil war in Donbas. So, Putin is blowing smoke up everyone’s kazoo when he tries to use that as argument to legitimate seizing Crimea and now Donbas … and what next? We thought it would stop with Crimea. It didn’t.
Ukraine stands where Putin fails
The government of Ukraine is never going to let that region secede and, thus, lose that extremely valuable land with all of its resources for the benefit all Ukrainians, anymore than the Lincoln let the South secede. No nation ever tolerates that! No nation ever has that I am aware of. Yet, I don’t hear any blame from the alternative press for Putin stirring that conflict up for years! And, of course, Ukraine will fight to the last person standing to prevent that. That isn’t the United State’s fault. What nation wouldn’t?
The loss of those lands would be a massive blow to Ukraine forever. So, the US does not need to bait them to fight a proxy war of attrition against Russia, even if that is what the US hopes will happen. Ukraine is going to fight this war to the last person standing with or without US/NATO/European support, but that support is their only hope that they will BE the last man or woman standing. The alliance does not have to bait them into doing what their elected government is fully resolved to do on the basis that it is their land!
I am also fully aware that land has been bandied about for centuries. So what? All land has been taken and given and retaken for centuries … from someone … to someone else. All of Europe has been nothing but pieces moves all over the map and the source of endless new maps. Same with the rest of the world. At what point do we just say, “These are the boundaries we now have. Stop!” Ukraine is not about to give up those boundaries. Europe is not about to let Russia again start moving the pieces or eating off its eastern flank as it has done so many times in the past. That’s not going to happen! It is naive to think that is even a reasonable possibility.
Bottom line, I agree that the US was wrong to instigate a coup in Ukraine, but then Russia is just as wrong to instigate a coup in Donbas and to seize Crimea just because (in truth) IT WANTS IT. There was no genocide happening against Russophones in Crimea! Cultural clashes, linguistic animosities between people? Sure. Welcome to the US … and Canada. Every nation has those. On that basis, France should try to conquer Quebec. The so called “genocide” began when Russia enticed people in that area to fight to separate from Sovereign Ukraine (a sovereignty Russia enshrined in its constitution from the start of the Soviet Empire to get Ukraine to join, but never lived up to).
After all, what is an attempt to abolish the Ukrainian governance over Donbas but a coup? It is an armed attempt by those born and raised in Donbas to say to Kiev, “You are not our government.” It is no different than if Idaho decides to declare Washington is not its government. No government would let that happen without a fierce fight.
I will give Putin no more latitude for his interference than I do the US, and I will not blame the US for Putin’s wrong when he does the same kind of thing the US does that the alternative press rightly hates. No double standards.
Russia has no more right to involve itself in Ukraine’s civil conflict in the Donbas or any other region of Ukraine, just because many of the people in that region speak Russian, than the US would for involving itself in a civil war in Canada if Quebec decided to secede. The US could claim it was standing up against the genocide of the minority English-speaking populace of Quebec, but frankly it’s not our fight. Russia should have stayed out just as the US should stay out of other people’s civil wars. (If invited in by the established government, then it is your right to join in that defense if you choose.)
I refuse double standards. The US has been wrong for getting involved in civil wars in Syria and Libya, which is why I wrote against Hillary’s wars, but I will never use those wrongs, as many now do, as justification for Putin doing exactly the same thing. That kind of involvement is rarely about helping certain groups of oppressed people out as claimed. It’s about regime change — installing regimes that are friendly to and work with the US. What on earth do people think Putin is doing in Crimea and Donbas? It is all about regime change — ending the Zelensky regime’s governance of those areas and putting in place Russian-friendly governments.
I’d like to see those who hate the US involvement in other nation’s wars, just as I do, go after Putin with all the same animosity for his imperialism because Putin clearly seeks to make sure that all the nations around Russia are squarely under his thumb as he slaughters tens of thousands of men, women and children on the pretext that he hates Nazis and that he has to protect Russian-speaking people from genocide. I call bull crap! And I’ve heard many Russian-speaking people in Ukraine say they hate what Putin is doing. I also heard many Russian-speaking people in Russia saying they hated what Putin was doing until he started silencing them by putting them in gulags.
However, DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR ANY OF THIS. Listen to what Putin has to say in the next article in a video put out by Putin and by his own government mouthpieces regarding Putin’s and Russia’s real ambitions with Ukraine…
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Great Recession Blog