A week ago on January 17 at Transcend Media Services, Jan Oberg penned this editorial, best read in the context of my other posts on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in particular this one from last week: Eurasia’s rise is unstoppable.
I am replicating in full, with minor abridgement. Jan Oberg is a source I trust and recommend, in particular his output on the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF).
Ukraine: The West Has Paved the Road to War with Lies
Tension once more rises around the more comprehensive Ukraine conflict formation. Should it blow up in real war – God forbid! – the main reason will be three serious lies disseminated by the NATO side.
Lies are used when some militarist project doesn’t make (common) sense to intelligent people, when the real war motives must be concealed and/or the sociological cancer I call the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, and the elites who run it, try to squeeze even larger military expenditures from taxpayers.
You lie to manufacture an enemy to enrich yourself. With 40+ years of experience in security politics in general and NATO/US policies in particular, I know too much – sorry for the arrogance – to believe that what goes on is for the sake of self-defence, security or peace.
Some quick examples of gross empirically revealed lying to the word – all the liars still at large:
- In the 1990s, Yugoslav President Milosevic was Europe’s new Hitler (Bill Clinton) and planned genocide on the Albanians in Kosovo.
- Saddam Hussein’s soldiers threw babies out of their incubators in Kuwait City.
- Afghanistan had to be destroyed because of 9/11.
- Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
- The US-led Global War On Terror is about reducing terrorism.
- The US/NATO orchestrated regime-change attempt in Syria from 2011 to 2016 was exclusively about Dictator al-Assad’s sudden sadist “killing of his own.”
- Qaddafi was just about to murder all who lived in Benghazi.
- The conflict around Ukraine was started by Putin’s “aggression” on Crimea, nothing preceded it.
- Iran has always plotted and lied to acquire nuclear weapons.
- There are only bad things to say about Russia and China and…
You may continue on your own.
The Three Big Lies Pertaining to Ukraine:
- The West’s leaders never promised Gorbachev and foreign minister Shevardnadze not to expand NATO eastward, and did not say they’d take seriously Russian security interests on its borders. And therefore, each former Warsaw Pact country has a right to join NATO if they so decide.
- The Ukraine conflict started by Putin’s out-of-the-blue aggression on Ukraine, and then his annexation of Crimea.
- NATO always has an open door to new members. It never tries to invite or drag them in, doesn’t seek expansion. It just happens because East European countries since 1989-90 have wanted to join without any pressure from NATO’s side. That also applies to Ukraine.
Lie # 1 – The West never promised Gorbachev not to expand NATO
Listen to or read US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, here on January 7, 2022. He presents a series of accusations and lies about Russian politics and behaviours, his body language and machine gun way of speaking revealing that he knows he is lying. The tame journalists ask only clarifying questions.
These two pieces from the National Security Archive at George Washington University show that Gorbachev was indeed given such assurances by all the most influential Western leaders at the end of 1989 into 1990:
NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev heard
NATO Expansion: The Budapest Blow Up 1994
They cite 48 original documents. This for instance, on then NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner’s view and statement:
Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: “The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.“
Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion – “13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view” – and that he will speak against Poland’s and Romania’s membership in NATO to those countries’ leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Woerner emphasizes that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.
This is just one of the “cascades” of assurances given to the Russians at the time. Over 30 years ago, 13 of 16 members were against NATO expansion because they respected Russia’s crisis and legitimate security interests! Today – 2022 – NATO has 30 members!
Is the U.S. Secretary of State, his advisors and speechwriters unaware of the National Security Archives (next door)? Are we to believe they have no clue as to what took place at the end of the first Cold War? If so, they ought to resign or be fired for incompetence.
If not, then Mr Blinken, his advisors and speechwriters know they lie. 1
Lie # 2 – It all started with Putin snatching Crimea
The second lie is by omission. Blinken and almost all Western politicians, including the NATO S-G and mainstream media, neglect to say the West effected regime change in Kyiv in 2014 and Putin reacted to it by annexing Crimea. 2
The Maidan riots took place in February 2014, the sniper fire on February 20. Russia formally annexed – or accepted self-determination – of Crimea on March 18. The complex Western-instigated and financed turmoil was orchestrated by the EU, US and NATO leadership – see Richard Sakaw’s Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, 3 and the many articles of Stephen Cohen, Henry Kissinger and others.
At issue was the Western attempt at getting Ukraine to break with Russia to join the EU and, later, NATO. One problem would be Russian-speaking minorities. Opinion polls on NATO membership showed a majority not in favour. More importantly, Russia would never accept Ukraine in NATO – only as a neutral state between – nor her military base in Crimea ending up in a NATO country.
This entire regime-change policy under Obama was insensitive and plain foolish idea given the old promises to Gorbachev. But this cannot be admitted now. Rather, the US and NATO must blame the present situation on Russia alone. She annexed Crimea for no good reason – nothing “we” did justifies or even explains that move.
As with the lie about promises to Gorbachev, on this omission of Western regime change in Ukraine we must ask: are they really so desperate/so politically naive as to think we neither remember nor can put 2 + 2 together? 4
Lie # 3 – NATO doesn’t seek expansion, it merely has an open door to all potential new members who qualify.
The third lie is stated repeatedly, and in a larger context, by NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg here:
NATO has vast resources to influence opinions in potential member states. Contrary to his open door talk, NATO’s Charter speaks only about inviting new members, not holding a door open for anyone who might want to join.
It should be well-known, but isn’t, that in the late 1990s, Putin asked to join NATO. But because Russia wanted to be an equal partner, NATO turned down the request. This is related by former NATO Secretary-General, George Robertson, so can’t be dismissed as not credible or just a rumour.
Nor, for that matter, that Putin was not serious.
What a thought: Russia in NATO! But who would Stoltenberg, Blinken and the rest of the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC gravy train have to left to blame? How then legitimate NATO’s permanent armament and a military expenditures twelve times that of Russia? 5
Mr Stoltenberg must know that he lies when saying NATO has an open door. It doesn’t for Russia. It doesn’t even have open ears for Russia’s legitimate security concerns. It would never accept for itself what it requires Russia to accept. This White House remark of January 14, 2022, shows the double-standards of US Exceptionalism:
The US will act ‘decisively’ if Russia deploys military to Cuba or Venezuela.
United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the idea “bluster in the public commentary” and said deployment of Russian military infrastructure in Latin America was not a point of discussion at the recent Russia-US Strategic Stability Dialogue in Geneva.
If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.
For its part RT (formerly Russia Today) notes that:
US opposition to Russian forces in the Americas raises eyebrows in Moscow, which has repeatedly complained of US armed forces near Russia’s western frontier.
Finally, Mr Stoltenberg is proud of NATO’s training and assistance to potential NATO members. Before admission they must implement all kinds of reform and accept practical, military and political support. And what is the real purpose of all that training and generous help? Stoltenberg says it in the video:
…It also makes the societies of Ukraine and Georgia stronger. So resilient, well-functioning societies are also less vulnerable from interference from Russia.
In plain Realpolitik: the goal is to disconnect countries from Russia’s influence, program them for NATO membership then let them “decide” to join. Foreign Policy magazine 6 makes the case here: Ukraine Needs a Clear Path to NATO Membership …
Accumulate expectations. Add a series of lies when Reality intrudes, and we have the perfect recipe for war – Cold, Hot or both.
* * *
- Blinken, like so many of his peers in US, UK and other Western ‘democracies’, has business interests – we might call them a lethal conflict of interests – in the “security” sectors. See my post, written the day after Biden was elected, The King is dead, long live the king!
- It’s worth pointing out two things here: the first hinted at by Mr Oberg; the second not mentioned. One, Crimea’s majority Russian population (which, as with Kazakhstan and other Central Asian Republics, had wanted to stay in Russia after the fall of the USSR) feared a stridently Russophobic Kiev after the US backed Maidan coup of 2014. Two, in one of Russia’s few military bases beyond her borders (the US has over 800) the peninsula houses nuclear weapons at risk of seizure by the fascists of the Azov Batallion or the roving coalitions of armed Bandera-idolisers then strutting eastern Ukraine the way Loyalists did, prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, in Catholic areas of the Six Counties.
- Sakaw’s is the most comprehensive single account I’ve read of a Ukraine few in the West know the first thing about. (Not that regurgitators of the Luke Harding line on ‘Russian aggression in Ukraine’ are held back by anything so flimsy as ignorance.)
- Here I part company with Mr Oberg. My experience says that most of us will indeed “neither remember nor put 2 + 2 together”. In both our amnesia and failure to join the dots we are powerfully aided by overarching narratives spun by systemically corrupt media.
- The power of the West’s military industrial complex, to which Jan Oberg usefully adds media and academia in his MIMAC formulation, is indeed a powerful driver of war. But we should not suppose this is all there is to the West’s endless aggression. Again, see Eurasia’s rise is unstoppable.
- FP serves as mouthpiece for the (neo) liberal wing of the US ruling class.
This latest piece of flim-flam may be intended to distract us from NATO getting its tanks of Russia’s lawn as it has been told to.
I was reading the i the other day (my wife likes the puzzles) and there was a double page propaganda spread about this. Near the end it quoted Dominic Raab saying that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that British troops would be sent to the Ukraine (but we’re also going to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder’ apparently) and that the US would not be sending troops to fight the Russians. The Ukies are on their own then.
I like the “wife likes the puzzles” disclaimer Johnny!
Yes, I too had noted Raab’s remark. There’s a lot of spin going on, of course. Like attributing to Putin demands he never made, so any NATO climb-down – because realistically Ukraine really is “on its own” on this one – can be sold as a victory for stiff resolve in the face of Kremlin blackmail.
Alas, people too propagandised to know it do buy such drivel. But the fact remains, brinksmanship and playing chicken always carry the risk of miscalculation that triggers WW3 even when that wasn’t the intent.
Many thanks for re-posting and for added comments. Like it!
Good of you to “pop in” and say so, Jan. Much appreciated.
(NB – for others reading this, besides being cited on this blog from time to time – see it’s a flying shame – Jan Oberg is a splendid photographer: see Aleppo liberated …)