Why There Will Be War in Ukraine By Sergei Markov by Global Research News

The current crisis is not about Crimea. It is about the rights of Russian-speakers throughout Ukraine whom the Kremlin wants to protect from violence and discrimination. Russia does not want a military intervention in Crimea and does not want to take Crimea from Ukraine.
There is a political solution to this crisis.
First, create a coalition government in Kiev composed of all parties, including those from the east and south of the country. The current government is dominated by anti-Russian extremists from western Ukraine.
Second, Ukraine needs to draft a democratic constitution that has guarantees for Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population that would grant official status to the Russian language and establish the principle of federalism.
Third, presidential and parliamentary elections must be held soon. Independent election observers must play an active role in ensuring that the elections are free and fair. There is a real danger that they will be manipulated by the neo-Nazi militants who de facto seized power in a coup.
If these democratic and peaceful solutions to the crisis in Ukraine are rejected by the opposition forces that have seized power in Kiev, I am afraid that Russia will have no other choice but to revert to military means. If the junta leaders want to avoid war, they need to adopt Moscow’s peaceful and democratic proposals and adhere to them.
Those currently in power in Kiev are carrying out a political strategy that is not so much pro-European as it is anti-Russian, as evidenced by the surprisingly heavy-handed tactics the U.S. and European Union  have employed in Ukraine. In the end, a minority executed a violent coup that removed the democratically elected and legitimate president of Ukraine.
The Kremlin believes that the current Ukrainian leadership will manipulate the elections planned for May 25 to install a single leader or coalition government functioning much as former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili did in Tbilisi. A ”Ukrainian Saakashvili” will unleash an even more repressive campaign of intimidation against Russian-speakers, one that over several years would stoke anti-Russia hysteria among the general population.
After that, Kiev may evict Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol and purge Crimea of any Russian influence. Ukraine could easily become a radicalized, anti-Russian state, at which point Kiev will fabricate a pretext to justify taking subversive action against Moscow. This looks especially likely considering that ruling coalition members from the neo-fascist Svoboda and Right Sector parties have already made territorial claims against Russia. They could easily send their army of activists to Russia to join local separatists and foment rebellion in the North Caucasus and other unstable regions in Russia. In addition, Russia’s opposition movement will surely want to use the successful experience and technology of the Euromaidan protests and, with the help and financial support of the West, try to carry out their own revolution in Moscow. The goal: to remove President Vladimir Putin from power and install a puppet leadership that will sell Russia’s strategic interests out to the West in the same way former President Boris Yeltsin did in the 1990s.
The official census puts the Russian minority in Ukraine at 16 percent of the total population, although that number was falsified. The actual number is closer to 25 percent. Surveys indicate that 45 percent of the country’s population speak Russian at home, 45 percent speak Ukrainian and 10 percent speak both languages. In the most recent Gallup survey, when asked in which language they would like to be polled, 83 percent of respondents chose Russian. Taking into account the rural population in western and central Ukraine, about 75 percent of the people, probably speak Russian. Of that 75 percent, only about 10 percent are those in Kiev and a few other major cities who supported the protests. This means that only 35 percent of the population are attempting to impose its will on the remaining 65 percent, using a violent coup to achieve their goals.
Putin made the right decision: He did not to wait for that attack and took preventative measures. Many in the West say the Kremlin’s reactions were paranoiac, but Germany’s Jews also thought the same of leaving the country in 1934. Most of them chose to believe they were safe and remained in Germany even after Hitler came to power. The infamous Kristallnacht took place five years later, one of the first early chapters in the “Final Solution.” Similarly, just four years remain until Russia’s presidential election in 2018, and there is a strong risk that subversive forces within and outside Russia will try to overthrow Putin, in part using their new foothold in Ukraine.
If the extremists who seized power  in Kiev do not accept Russia’s democratic proposals, Russia will likely be forced to revert to military means to solve the crisis in Ukraine.
Will there be war in Ukraine? I am afraid so. After all, the extremists who seized power in Kiev want to see a bloodbath. Only fear for their own lives might stop them from inciting such a conflict. Russia is prepared to move its forces into southern and eastern Ukraine if repressive measures are used against the Russian-speaking population or if a military intervention occurs. Russia will not annex Crimea. It has enough territory already. At the same time, however, it will also not stand by passively while Russophobic and neo-Nazi gangs hold the people of Crimea, Kharkiv and Donetsk at their mercy.
Sergei Markov is director of the Institute of Political Studies.
Copyright Moscow Times 2014

Crimea: Putin’s Triumph. Now the Confrontation Moves East to “New Russia” By Israel Shamir

Crimea: Putin’s Triumph. Now the Confrontation Moves East to “New Russia”

Global Research, March 21, 2014
Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick victory.
They watched when President Yanukovych escaped to Russia to save his skin. They watched when the Brown bands moved eastwards to threaten the Russian-speaking South East. They patiently listened while Mme Timoshenko, fresh out of jail, swore to void treaties with Russia and to expel the Russian Black Sea Fleet from its main harbour in Sevastopol.
They paid no heed when the new government appointed oligarchs to rule Eastern provinces. Nor did they react when children in Ukrainian schools were ordered to sing “Hang a Russian on a thick branch” and the oligarch-governor’s deputy promised to hang dissatisfied Russians of the East as soon as Crimea is pacified. While these fateful events unravelled, Putin kept silence.
He is a cool cucumber, Mr Putin. Everybody, including this writer, thought he was too nonchalant about Ukraine’s collapse. He waited patiently. The Russians made a few slow and hesitant, almost stealthy moves. The marines Russia had based in Crimea by virtue of an international agreement (just as the US has marines in Bahrain) secured Crimea’s airports and roadblocks, provided necessary support to the volunteers of the Crimean militia (called Self-Defence Forces), but remained under cover. The Crimean parliament asserted its autonomy and promised a plebiscite in a month time. And all of a sudden things started to move real fast!
The poll was moved up to Sunday, March 16. Even before it could take place, the Crimean Parliament declared Crimea’s independence. The poll’s results were spectacular: 96% of the votes were for joining Russia; the level of participation was unusually high – over 84%. Not only ethnic Russians, but ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars voted for reunification with Russia as well. A symmetrical poll in Russia showed over 90% popular support for reunification with Crimea, despite liberals’ fear-mongering (“this will be too costly, the sanctions will destroy Russian economy, the US will bomb Moscow”, they said).
Even then, the majority of experts and talking heads expected the situation to remain suspended for a long while. Some thought Putin would eventually recognise Crimean independence, while stalling on final status, as he did with Ossetia and Abkhazia after the August 2008 war with Tbilisi. Others, especially Russian liberals, were convinced Putin would surrender Crimea in order to save Russian assets in the Ukraine.
But Putin justified the Russian proverb: the Russians take time to saddle their horses, but they ride awfully fast. He recognised Crimea’s independence on Monday, before the ink on the poll’s results dried.  The next day, on Tuesday, he gathered all of Russia’s senior statesmen and parliamentarians in the biggest, most glorious and elegant St George state hall in the Kremlin, lavishly restored to its Imperial glory, and declared Russia’s acceptance of Crimea’s reunification bid. Immediately after his speech, the treaty between Crimea and Russia was signed, and the peninsula reverted to Russia as it was before 1954, when Communist Party leader Khrushchev passed it to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.
This was an event of supreme elation for the gathered politicians and for people at home watching it live on their tellies. The vast St George Hall applauded Putin as never before, almost as loudly and intensely as the US Congress had applauded Netanyahu. The Russians felt immense pride: they still remember the stinging defeat of 1991, when their country was taken apart. Regaining Crimea was a wonderful reverse for them. There were public festivities in honour of this reunification all over Russia and especially in joyous Crimea.
Historians have compared the event with the restoration of Russian sovereignty over Crimea in 1870, almost twenty years after the Crimean War had ended with Russia’s defeat, when severe limitations on Russian rights in Crimea were imposed by victorious France and Britain. Now the Black Sea Fleet will be able to develop and sail freely again, enabling it to defend Syria in the next round. Though Ukrainians ran down the naval facilities and turned the most advanced submarine harbour of Balaclava into shambles, the potential is there.
Besides the pleasure of getting this lost bit of land back, there was the additional joy of outwitting the adversary. The American neocons arranged the coup in Ukraine and sent the unhappy country crashing down, but the first tangible fruit of this break up went to Russia. 
A new Jewish joke was coined at that time:
Israeli President Peres asks the Russian President:
-          Vladimir, are you of Jewish ancestry?
-          Putin: What makes you think so, Shimon?
-          Peres: You made the US pay five billion dollars to deliver Crimea to Russia. Even for a Jew, that is audacious!
Five billion dollars is a reference to Victoria Nuland’s admission of having spent that much for democratisation (read: destabilisation) of the Ukraine. President Putin snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and US hegemony suffered a set-back.
The Russians enjoyed the sight of their UN representative Vitaly Churkin coping with a near-assault by Samantha Power. The Irish-born US rep came close to bodily attacking the elderly grey-headed Russian diplomat telling him that “Russia was defeated (presumably in 1991 – ISH) and should bear the consequences… Russia is blackmailing the US with its nuclear weapons,” while Churkin asked her to keep her hands off him and stop foaming at the mouth. This was not the first hostile encounter between these twain: a month ago, Samantha entertained a Pussy Riot duo, and Churkin said she should join the group and embark on a concert tour.
The US Neocons’ role in the Kiev coup was clarified by two independent exposures. Wonderful Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek showed that the anti-Russian campaign of recent months (gay protests, Wahl affair, etc.) was organised by the Zionist Neocon PNAC (now renamed FPI) led by Mr Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria “Fuck EC” Nuland. It seems that the Neocons are hell-bent to undermine Russia by all means, while the Europeans are much more flexible. (True, the US troops are still stationed in Europe, and the old continent is not as free to act as it might like). 
The second exposé was an interview with Alexander Yakimenko, the head of Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU) who had escaped to Russia like his president. Yakimenko accused Andriy Parubiy, the present security czar, of making a deal with the Americans. On American instructions, he delivered weapons and brought snipers who killed some 70 persons within few hours. They killed the riot police and the protesters as well.
The US Neocon-led conspiracy in Kiev was aimed against the European attempt to reach a compromise with President Yanukovych, said the SBU chief. They almost agreed on all points, but Ms Nuland wanted to derail the agreement, and so she did – with the help of a few snipers.
These snipers were used again in Crimea: a sniper shot and killed a Ukrainian soldier. When the Crimean self-defence forces began their pursuit, the sniper shot at them, killed one and wounded one. It is the same pattern: snipers are used to provoke response and hopefully to jump-start a shootout.
While Crimea was a walkover, the Russians are far from being home and dry. Now, the confrontation moved to the Eastern and South-Eastern provinces of mainland Ukraine, called Novorossia (New Russia) before the Communist Revolution of 1917. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his later years predicted that Ukraine’s undoing would come from its being overburdened by industrial provinces that never belonged to the Ukraine before Lenin, – by Russian-speaking Novorossia. This prediction is likely to be fulfilled.
Who fights whom over there? It is a great error to consider the conflict a tribal one, between Russians and Ukrainians. Good old Pat Buchanan made this error saying that “Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethno-nationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.” Nothing could be farther away from truth: perhaps only the outlandish claim that Putin is keen on restoring the Russian Empire can compete.
Putin is not an empire-builder at all (to great regret of Russia’s communists and nationalists). Even his quick takeover of Crimea was an action forced upon him by the strong-willed people of Crimea and by the brazen aggression of the Kiev regime. I have it on a good authority that Putin hoped he would not have to make this decision. But when he decided he acted.
The ethno-nationalist assertion of Buchanan is even more misleading. Ethno-nationalists of Russia are Putin’s enemies; they support the Ukrainian ethno-nationalists and march together with Jewish liberals on Moscow street demos. Ethno-nationalism is as foreign to Russians as it is foreign to the English. You can expect to meet a Welsh or Scots nationalist, but an English nationalist is an unnatural rarity. Even the English Defence League was set up by a Zionist Jew. Likewise, you can find a Ukrainian or a Belarusian or a Cossack nationalist, but practically never a Russian one.
Putin is a proponent and advocate of non-nationalist Russian world. What is the Russian world?
Russian World
Russians populate their own vast universe embracing many ethnic units of various background, from Mongols and Karels to Jews and Tatars. Until 1991, they populated an even greater land mass (called the Soviet Union, and before that, the Russian Empire) where Russian was the lingua franca and the language of daily usage for majority of citizens. Russians could amass this huge empire because they did not discriminate and did not hog the blanket. Russians are amazingly non-tribal, to an extent unknown in smaller East European countries, but similar to other great Eastern Imperial nations, the Han Chinese and the Turks before the advent of Young Turks and Ataturk. The Russians did not assimilate but partly acculturated their neighbours for whom Russian language and culture became the gateway to the world. The Russians protected and supported local cultures, as well, at their expense, for they enjoy this diversity.
Before 1991, the Russians promoted a universalist humanist world-view; nationalism was practically banned, and first of all, Russian nationalism. No one was persecuted or discriminated because of his ethnic origin (yes, Jews complained, but they always complain). There was some positive discrimination in the Soviet republics, for instance a Tajik would have priority to study medicine in the Tajik republic, before a Russian or a Jew; and he would be able to move faster up the ladder in the Party and politics. Still the gap was small.
After 1991, this universalist world-view was challenged by a parochial and ethno-nationalist one in all ex-Soviet republics save Russia and Belarus. Though Russia ceased to be Soviet, it retained its universalism. In the republics, people of Russian culture were severely discriminated against, often fired from their working places, in worst cases they were expelled or killed. Millions of Russians, natives of the republics, became refugees; together with them, millions of non-Russians who preferred Russian universalist culture to “their own” nationalist and parochial one fled to Russia. That is why modern Russia has millions of Azeris, Armenians, Georgians, Tajiks, Latvians and of smaller ethnic groups from the republics. Still, despite discrimination, millions of Russians and people of Russian culture remained in the republics, where their ancestors lived for generations, and the Russian language became a common ground for all non-nationalist forces.
If one wants to compare with Israel, as Pat Buchanan did, it is the republics, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Estonia do follow Israeli model of discriminating and persecuting their “ethnic minorities”, while Russia follows the West European model of equality.
France vs Occitania
In order to understand the Russia-Ukraine problem, compare it with France. Imagine it divided into North and South France, the North retaining the name of France, while the South of France calling itself “Occitania”, and its people “Occitans”, their language “Occitan”. The government of Occitania would force the people to speak Provençal, learn Frederic Mistral’s poems by rote and teach children to hate the French, who had devastated their beautiful land in the Albigensian Crusade of 1220. France would just gnash its teeth. Now imagine that after twenty years, the power in Occitania were violently seized by some romantic southern fascists who were keen to eradicate “800 years of Frank domination” and intend to discriminate against people who prefer to speak the language of Victor Hugo and Albert Camus. Eventually France would be forced to intervene and defend francophones, at least in order to stem the refugee influx. Probably the Southern francophones of Marseilles and Toulon would support the North against “their own” government, though they are not migrants from Normandy.
Putin defends all Russian-speakers, all ethnic minorities, such as Gagauz or Abkhaz, not only ethnic Russians. He defends the Russian World, all those russophones who want and need his protection. This Russian World definitely includes many, perhaps majority of people in the Ukraine, ethnic Russians, Jews, small ethnic groups and ethnic Ukrainians, in Novorossia and in Kiev.
Indeed Russian world was and is attractive. The Jews were happy to forget their schtetl and Yiddish; their best poets Pasternak and Brodsky wrote in Russian and considered themselves Russian. Still, some minor poets used Yiddish for their self-expression. The Ukrainians, as well, used Russian for literature, though they spoke their dialect at home for long time. Nikolai Gogol, the great Russian writer of Ukrainian origin, wrote Russian, and he was dead set against literary usage of the Ukrainian dialect. There were a few minor Romantic figures who used the dialect for creative art, like Taras Shevchenko and Lesya Ukrainka.
Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Even ethnic-Ukrainians do not use and do not know Ukrainian. In order to promote its use, the Ukrainian government bans Russian schools, forbids Russian TV, even librarians are not allowed to speak Russian with their readers. This anti-Russian position of Ukraine is exactly what the US wants in order to weaken Russia.“
Putin in his speech on Crimea stressed that he wants to secure the Russian world – everywhere in the Ukraine. In Novorossia the need is acute, for there are daily confrontations between the people and the gangs sent by the Kiev regime. While Putin does not yet want (as opposed to Solzhenitsyn and against general Russian feeling) to take over Novorossia, he may be forced to it, as he was in Crimea. There is a way to avoid this major shift: the Ukraine must rejoin the Russian world. While keeping its independence, Ukraine must grant full equality to its Russian language speakers. They should be able to have Russian-language schools, newspapers, TV, be entitled to use Russian everywhere. Anti-Russian propaganda must cease. And fantasies of joining NATO, too.
This is not an extraordinary demand: Latinos in the US are allowed to use Spanish. In Europe, equality of languages and cultures is a sine qua non. Only in the ex-Soviet republics are these rights trampled – not only in Ukraine, but in the Baltic republics as well. For twenty years, Russia made do with weak objections, when Russian-speakers (the majority of them are not ethnic Russians) in the Baltic states were discriminated against. This is likely to change. Lithuania and Latvia have already paid for their anti-Russian position by losing their profitable transit trade with Russia. Ukraine is much more important for Russia. Unless the present regime is able to change (not very likely), this illegitimate regime will be changed by people of Ukraine, and Russia will use R2P against the criminal elements in power.
The majority of people of Ukraine would probably agree with Putin, irrespective of their ethnicity. Indeed, in the Crimean referendum, Ukrainians and Tatars voted en masse together with Russians. This is a positive sign: there will be no ethnic strife in the Ukraine’s East, despite US efforts to the contrary. The decision time is coming up fast: some experts presume that by end of May the Ukrainian crisis will be behind us.

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky "Regime Change in Ukraine and the IMF’s Bitter “Economic Medicine”

Regime Change in Ukraine and the IMF’s Bitter “Economic Medicine”

Global Research, March 24, 2014
Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk meets President Obama at White House, March 2014 (White House photo)
In the days following the Ukraine coup d’Etat of February 23, leading to the ousting of a duly elected president, Wall Street and the IMF–in liaison with the US Treasury and the European Commission in Brussels– had already set the stage for the outright takeover of Ukraine’s monetary system. The EuroMaidan protests leading up to “regime change” and the formation of an interim government were followed by purges within key ministries and government bodies.
The Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Ihor Sorkin was fired on February 25th and replaced by a new governor: Stepan Kubiv.[right]
Stepan Kubiv is a member of Parliament of the Rightist Batkivshchyna “Fatherland” faction in the Rada led by the acting Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk (founded by Yulia Tymoshenko in March 1999). He previously headed Kredbank, a Ukrainian financial institution largely owned by EU capital, with some 130 branches throughout Ukraine. Ukraine Central Bank Promises Liquidity To Local Banks, With One Condition, Zero Hedge, February 27, 2014).
Kubic is no ordinary bank executive. He was one of the first field “commandants” of the EuroMaidan riots alongside Andriy Parubiy co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda) and Dimitry Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector Brown Shirts, which now has the status of a political party.  
Kubiv was in the Maidan square addressing protesters on February 18, at the very moment when armed Right Sector thugs under the helm of Dmitry Yarosh were raiding the parliament building.
A few days later, upon the establishment of the interim government, Stepan Kubiv was put in charge of negotiations with Wall Street and the IMF.
The new Minister of Finance Aleksandr Shlapak [left] is a political crony of Viktor Yushchenko –a long-time protegé of the IMF who was spearheaded into the presidency following the 2004 “Colored Revolution”. Shlapak held key positions in the office of the presidency under Yushchenko as well as at the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). In 2010, upon Yushchenko’s defeat, Aleksandr Shlapak joined a shadowy Bermuda based offshore financial outfit IMG International Ltd (IMG), holding the position of Vice President. Based in Hamilton, Bermuda, IMG specialises in “captive insurance management”, reinsurance and “risk transfer.”
Minister of Finance Aleksandr Shlapak  works in close liaison with Pavlo Sheremeto, the newly appointed Minister of Economic Development and Trade, who upon his appointment called for “deregulation, fully fledged and across the board”, requiring –as demanded in previous negotiations by the IMF– the outright elimination of subsidies on fuel, energy and basic food staples.
Another key appointment is that of Ihor Shvaika [right], a member of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, to the position of Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food. Headed by an avowed follower of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera [see image below], this ministry not only oversees the agricultural sector, it also decides on issues pertaining to subsidies and the prices of basic food staples.  
The new Cabinet has stated that the country is prepared for socially “painful” but necessary reforms. In December 2013, a 20 billion dollar deal with the IMF had already been contemplated alongside the controversial EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Yanukovych decided to turn it down.
One of the requirements of  the IMF was that “household subsidies for gas be reduced once again by 50%”.
“Other onerous IMF requirements included cuts to pensions, government employment, and the privatization (read: let western corporations purchase) of government assets and property. It is therefore likely that the most recent IMF deal currently in negotiation, will include once again major reductions in gas subsidies, cuts in pensions, immediate government job cuts, as well as other reductions in social spending programs in the Ukraine.” (voice of russia.com March 21, 2014)
Economic Surrender: Unconditional Acceptance of IMF Demands by Western Puppet Government

Shortly after his instatement, the interim (puppet) prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk casually dismissed the need to negotiate with the IMF. Prior to the conduct of negotiations pertaining to a draft agreement, Yatsenyuk had already called for an unconditional acceptance of the IMF package: “We have no other choice but to accept the IMF offer”.
[Neo Nazi Svoboda Party glorify World War II Nazi Collaborator Stepan Bandera]
Yatsenyk intimated that Ukraine will “accept whatever offer the IMF and the EU made” (voice of russia.com March 21, 2014)
In surrendering to the IMF, Yatsenyuk was fully aware that the proposed reforms would brutally impoverish millions of people, including those who protested in Maidan.
The actual timeframe for the implementation of the IMF’s “shock therapy” has not yet been firmly established. In all likelihood, the regime will attempt to delay the more ruthless social impacts of the macroeconomic reforms until after the May 25 presidential elections (assuming that these elections will take place).
The text of the IMF agreement is likely to be detailed and specific, particularly with regard to State assets earmarked for privatization.
Henry Kissinger and Condoleeza Rice, according to Bloomberg are among key individuals in the US who are acting (in a non-official capacity) in tandem with the IMF, the Kiev government, in consultation with the White House and  the US Congress.
The IMF Mission to Kiev

Immediately upon the instatement of the new Finance Minister and NBU governor, a request was submitted to the IMF’s Managing director. An IMF fact finding mission headed by the Director of the IMF’s European Department Rez Moghadam was rushed to Kiev:
“I am positively impressed with the authorities’ determination, sense of responsibility and commitment to an agenda of economic reform and transparency. The IMF stands ready to help the people of Ukraine and support the authorities’ economic program.” Press Release: Statement by IMF European Department Director Reza Moghadam on his Visit to Ukraine
A week later, on March 12, Christine Lagarde, met the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk at IMF headquarters in Washington. Lagarde reaffirmed the IMF’s commitment:
“[to putting Ukraine back] on the path of sound economic governance and sustainable growth, while protecting the vulnerable in society. … We are keen to help Ukraine on its path to economic stability and prosperity.”(Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Ukraine
The above statement is wrought with hypocrisy. In practice, the IMF does not wield “sound economic governance” nor does it protect the vulnerable. It impoverishes entire populations, while providing “prosperity” to a small corrupt and subservient political and economic elite.
IMF “economic medicine” while contributing to the enrichment of a social minority, invariably triggers economic instability and mass poverty, while providing a “social safety net” to the external creditors. To sell its reform package, the IMF relies on media propaganda as well as persistent statements by “economic experts” and financial analysts which provide authority to the IMF’s macroeconomic reforms.
The unspoken objective behind IMF interventionism is to destabilize sovereign governments and literally break up entire national economies. This is achieved through the manipulation of key macroeconomic policy instruments as well as the outright rigging of financial markets, including the foreign exchange market.
To reach its unspoken goals, the IMF-World Bank –often in consultation with the US Treasury and the State Department–, will exert control over key appointments including the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank governor as well as senior officials in charge of the country’s privatization program. These key appointments will require the (unofficial) approval of the “Washington Consensus” prior to the conduct of negotiations pertaining to a multibillion IMF bailout agreement.
Beneath the rhetoric, in the real World of money and credit, the IMF has several related operational objectives:
1) to facilitate the collection of debt servicing obligations, while ensuring that the country remains indebted and under the control of its external creditors.
2) to exert on behalf of the country’s external creditors full control over the country’s monetary policy, its fiscal and budgetary structures,
3) to revamp social programs, labor laws, minimum wage legislation, in accordance with the interests of Western capital
4) to deregulate foreign trade and investment policies, including financial services and intellectual property rights,
5) to implement the privatization of key sectors of the economy through the sale of public assets to foreign corporations.
6) to facilitate the takeover by foreign capital (including mergers and acquisitions) of selected privately owned Ukrainian corporations.
7) to ensure the deregulation of the foreign exchange market.
originalWhile the privatization program ensures the transfer of State assets into the hands of foreign investors, the IMF program also includes provisions geared towards the destabilization of the country’s privately owned business conglomerates. A concurrent “break up” plan entitled “spin-off” as well as a “bankruptcy program” are often implemented with a view to triggering the liquidation, closing down or restructuring of a large number of nationally owned private and public enterprises.
The “spin off” procedure –which was imposed on South Korea under the December 1997 IMF bailout agreement– required the break up of several of Korea’s powerful chaebols (business conglomerates) into smaller corporations, many of which were then taken over by US, EU and Japanese capital.. Sizeable banking interests as well highly profitable components of Korea’s high tech industrial base were transferred or sold off at rock bottom prices to Western capital. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 22).
These staged bankruptcy programs ultimately seek to destroy national capitalism. In the case of Ukraine, they would selectively target the business interests of the oligarchs, opening the door for the takeover of a sizeable portion of Ukraine’s private sector by EU and US corporations. The conditionalities contained in the IMF agreement would be coordinated with those contained in the controversial EU-Ukraine Association agreement, which the Yanukovych government refused to sign.
Ukraine’s Spiraling External Debt
Ukraine’s external debt is of the order of $140 billion.
In consultations with the US Treasury and the EU, the IMF aid package is to be of the order of 15 billion dollars. Ukraine’s outstanding short-term debt is of the order of $65 billion, more than four times the amount promised by the IMF.
The Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves have literally dried up. In February, according to the NUB, Ukraine’s foreign-currency reserves were of the order of a meagre US$13.7 billion, its Special Drawing Rights with the IMF were of the order of US$16.1 million, its gold reserves US$1.81 billion. There were unconfirmed reports that Ukraine’s gold had been confiscated and airlifted to New York, for “safe-keeping” under the custody of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
Under the bailout, the IMF –acting on behalf of Ukraine’s US and EU creditors– lends money to Ukraine which is already earmarked for debt repayment. The money is transferred to the creditors. The loan is “fictitious money”. Not one dollar of this money will enter Ukraine.
The package is not intended to support economic growth. Quite the opposite: Its main purpose is to collect the outstanding short term debt, while precipitating the destabilization of Ukraine’s economy and financial system.
The fundamental principle of usury is that the creditor comes to the rescue of the debtor: “I cannot pay my debts, No problem my son, I will lend you the money and with the money I lend you, you will pay me back”.
The rescue rope thrown to Kiev by the IMF and the European Union is in reality a ball and chain. Ukraine’s external debt, as documented by the World Bank, increased tenfold in ten years and exceeds 135 billion dollars. In interests alone, Ukraine must pay about 4.5 billion dollars a year. The new loans will only serve to increase the external debt thus obliging Kiev to “liberalize” its economy even more, by selling to corporations what remains to be privatized. Ukraine, IMF “Shock Treatment” and Economic Warfare By Manlio Dinucci, Global Research, March 21, 2014
Under the IMF loan agreement, the money will not enter the country, It will be used to trigger the repayment of outstanding debt servicing obligations to EU and US creditors. In this regard, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)”European banks have more than $23 billion in outstanding loans in Ukraine.” Ukraine Facing Financial Instability But IMF May Help Soon – Spiegel Online, February 28, 2014
What are the “benefits” of an IMF package to Ukraine?
According to IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde the bailout is intended to address the issue of poverty and social inequality. In actuality what it does is to increase the levels of indebtedness, while essentially handing over the reins of macro-economic reform and monetary policy to the Bretton Woods Institutions, acting on behalf of Wall Street.
The bailout agreement will include the imposition of drastic austerity measures which in all likelihood will trigger further social chaos and economic dislocation. It’s called “policy based lending”, namely the granting of money earmarked to reimburse the creditors, in exchange for the IMF’s “bitter economic medicine” in the form of a menu of neoliberal policy reforms. “Short-term pain for long term gain” is the motto of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions.
Loan “conditionalities” will be imposed –including drastic austerity measures– -which will serve to impoverish the Ukrainian population beyond bounds in a country which has been under IMF ministrations for more than 20 years. While the Maidan movement was manipulated, tens of thousands of people protested they wanted a new life, because their standard of living had collapsed as a result of the neoliberal policies applied by successive governments, including that of president Yanukovych. Little did they realize that the protest movement supported by Wall Street, the US State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was meant to usher in a new phase of  economic and social destruction.
History of IMF Ministrations in Ukraine
In 1994 under the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, an IMF package was imposed on Ukraine. Viktor Yushchenko –who later became president following the 2004 Colored Revolution– had been appointed head of the newly-formed National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). Yushchenko was praised by the Western financial media as a “daring reformer”; he was among the main architects of the IMF’s 1994 reforms which served to destabilize Ukraine’s national economy. When he ran in the 2004 elections against Yanukovych, he was supported by various foundations including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). He was Wall Street’s preferred candidate.
Ukraines’ 1994 IMF package was finalized behind closed doors at the Madrid 50 years anniversary Summit of the Bretton Woods institutions. It required the Ukrainian government to abandon State controls over the exchange rate leading to an massive collapse of the currency. Yushchenko played a key role in negotiating and implementing the 1994 agreement as well as creating a new Ukrainian national currency, which resulted in a dramatic plunge in real wages:.
Yushchenko as Head of the Central Bank was responsible for deregulating the national currency under the October 1994 “shock treatment”:
  • The price of bread increased overnight by 300 percent,
  • electricity prices by 600 percent,
  • public transportation by 900 percent.
  • the standard of living tumbled
According to the Ukrainian State Statistics Committee, quoted by the IMF, real wages in 1998 had fallen by more than 75 percent in relation to their 1991 level.(http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft /scr/2003/cr03174.pdf )
Ironically, the IMF sponsored program was intended to alleviate inflationary pressures: it consisted in imposing “dollarised” prices on an impoverished population with earnings below ten dollars a month.
Combined with the abrupt hikes in fuel and energy prices, the lifting of subsidies and the freeze on credit contributed to destroying industry (both public and private) and undermining Ukraine’s breadbasket economy.
In November 1994, World Bank negotiators were sent in to examine the overhaul of Ukraine’s agriculture. With trade liberalization (which was part of the economic package), US grain surpluses and “food aid” were dumped on the domestic market, contributing to destabilizing one of the World’s largest and most productive wheat economies, (e.g. comparable to that of the American Mid West). Michel Chossudovsky IMF Sponsored “Democracy” in The Ukraine, Global Research, November 28, 2004, emphasis added)
The IMF-World Bank had destroyed Ukraine’s ‘bread basket”.
By 1998, the deregulation of the grain market, the hikes in the price of fuel and the liberalisation of trade resulted in a decline in the production of grain by 45 percent in relation to its 1986-90 level. The collapse in livestock production, poultry and dairy products was even more dramatic. (See http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2003/cr03174.pdf). The cumulative decline in GDP resulting from the IMF sponsored reforms was in excess of 60 percent  from 1992 to 1995.
The World Bank: Fake Poverty Alleviation
The World Bank has recently acknowledged that Ukraine is a poor country. (World Bank, Ukraine Overview, Washington DC, updated February 17, 2014):
“Evidence shows Ukraine is facing a health crisis, and the country needs to make urgent and extensive measures to its health system to reverse the progressive deterioration of citizens’ health. Crude adult death rates in Ukraine are higher than its immediate neighbors, Moldova and Belarus, and among the highest not only in Europe, but also in the world.”
What the report fails to mention is that the Bretton Woods institutions –through a process of economic engineering– played a central role in precipitating the post-Soviet collapse of the Ukrainian economy. The dramatic breakdown of Ukraine’s social programs bears the fingerprints of the IMF-World Bank austerity measures which included the deliberate underfunding and dismantling of the Soviet era health care system.
With regard to agriculture, the World Bank points to Ukraine’s “tremendous agricultural potential” while failing to acknowledge that the Ukraine bread-basket was destroyed as part of a US-IMF-World Bank package. According to the World Bank: “This potential has not been fully exploited due to depressed farm incomes and a lack of modernization within the sector.”
“Depressed farm incomes” are not “the cause” they are the “consequence” of the IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment Program. In 1994, farm incomes had declined by the order of 80% in relation to 1991, following the October 1994 IMF program engineered by then NUB governor Viktor Yushchenko.  Immediately following the 1994 IMF reform package, the World Bank implemented (in 1995) a private sector “seed project” based on “the liberalization of seed pricing, marketing, and trade”. The prices of farm inputs increased dramatically leading to a string of agricultural bankruptcies. Projects : Agricultural Seed Development Project | The World Bank, Washington DC, 1995.
The IMF’s 2014 “Shock and Awe” Economic Bailout
While the conditions prevailing in Ukraine today are markedly different to those applied in the 1990s, it should be understood that the imposition of a new wave of macro-economic reforms (under strict IMF policy conditionalities) will serve to impoverish a population which has already been impoverished. In other words, the IMF’s 2014 “Shock and Awe” constitutes the “final blow” in a sequence of IMF interventions spreading over a period of more than 20 years, which have contributed to destabilizing the national economy and impoverishing Ukraine’s population.
Preliminary information suggests that IMF bailout will provide an advance of $2-billion in the form of a grant to be followed by a subsequent loan of $11 billion. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide another 2 billion, for a total package of around $15 billion. (See Voice of Russia, March 21, 2014)
Drastic Austerity Measures
The Kiev government has announced that the IMF requires a 20% cut in Ukraine`s national budget, implying drastic cuts in social programs, coupled with reductions in the wages of public employees, privatisation and the sale of state assets. The IMF has also called for a “phase out” of energy subsidies, and the deregulation of the foreign exchange markets. With unmanageable debts, the IMF will also impose the sell off and privatisation of major public assets as well as the takeover of the national banking sector.
The new government pressured by the IMF and World Bank have already announced that old aged pensions are to be curtailed by 50 %. In a  timely February 21 release, the World Bank had set the guidelines for old age pension reform in the countries of “Emerging Europe and Central Asia” including Ukraine. In an utterly twisted logic,  “Protecting the elderly” is carried out by slashing their pension benefits, according to the World Bank. (World Bank, Significant Pension Reforms Urged in Emerging Europe and Central Asia, Washington Dc, February 21, 2014)
Given the absence of a real government in Kiev, Ukraine’s political handlers in the Ministry of Finance and the NUB will obey the diktats of Wall Street: The IMF structural adjustment loan agreement for Ukraine will be devastating in its social and economic impacts.
Elimination of Subsidies
Pointing to “market distorted energy subsidies”, price deregulation has been a longstanding demand from both IMF-World Bank. The price of energy had been kept relatively low during the Yanukovych government largely as a result of the bilateral agreement with Russia, which provided Ukraine with low cost gas in exchange for Naval base lease in Sebastopol. That agreement is now null and void. It is also worth noting that the government of Crimea has announced that it would take over ownership of all Ukrainian state companies in Crimea, including the Black Sea natural gas fields.
The Kiev interim government has intimated that Ukraine’s retail gas prices would have to rise by 40% “as part of economic reforms needed to unlock loans from the International Monetary Fund”. This announcement fails to address the mechanics of full fledged deregulation which under present circumstances could lead to increases in energy prices in excess of 100 percent.
It is worth recalling, in this regard, that Peru in August 1991 had set the stage for “shock treatment” increases in energy prices when gasoline prices in Lima shot up overnight by 2978% (a 30 fold increase). In 1994 as part of the agreement between the IMF and Leonid Kuchma, the price of electricity flew up over night by 900 percent.
“Enhanced Exchange Rate Flexibility”
One of the central components of IMF intervention is the deregulation of the foreign exchange market. In addition to massive expenditure cuts, the IMF program requires “enhanced exchange rate flexibility” namely the removal of all foreign exchange controls. Ukraine: Staff Report for the 2012 Article IV Consultation, See also http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr12315.pdf.
Since the outset of the Maidan protest movement in December 2013, foreign exchange controls were instated with a view to supporting the hyrvnia and stemming the massive outflow of capital.
The IMF sponsored bailout  will literally ransack the foreign currency reserves held by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). Enhanced exchange rate flexibility under IMF guidance has been endorsed by the new NBU governor Stepan Kubic. Without virtually no forex reserves, exchange rate flexibility is financial suicide: it opens the door to speculative short-selling transactions (modelled on the 1997 Asian crisis) directed against the Ukraine’s currency, the hrynia.
Institutional speculators, which include major Wall Street and European Banks as well as hedge funds have already positioned themselves. Manipulation in the forex markets is undertaken through derivative trade. Major financial institutions will have detailed inside information with regard to Central Bank policies which will enable them to rig the forex market.
Under a flexible exchange rate system, the Central Bank does not impose restrictions on forex transactions. The Central Bank can however decide –under advice from the IMF– to counter the speculative onslaught in the forex market, with a view to maintaining the parity of the Ukrainian hryvnia. Without the use of exchange controls, this line of action requires Ukraine’s central bank (in the absence of forex reserves) to prop up an ailing currency with borrowed money, thereby contributing to exacerbating the debt crisis.
[the graph below indicates a decline of the hryvnia against the US $ of  more than 20% over a six months period] 
USD- UA Hryvnia Exchange Rate  (120 days)
It is worth recalling in this regard that Brazil in November 1998 had received a precautionary bailout loan from the IMF of the order of 40 billion dollars. One of the conditions of the loan agreement, however, was the complete deregulation of the forex market. This loan was intended to assist the Central Banking in maintaining the parity of the Brazilian real. In practice it spearheaded Brazil into a financial crash in February 1999.
The Brazilian government had accepted the conditionalities. Marred by capital flight of the order of 400 million dollars a day, the money granted under the IMF loan –which was intended to prop up Brazil’s central banks reserves– was plundered in a matter of months. The IMF loan agreement to Brasilia enabled the institutional speculators to buy time. Most of the money under the IMF loan was appropriated in the form of speculative gains accruing to major financial institutions.
With regard to Ukraine, enhanced exchange flexibility spells disaster. Contrary to Brazil, the Central Bank has no forex reserves which would enable it to defend its currency. Where would the NBU get the borrowed forex reserves? Most of the funds under the proposed IMF-EU rescue package are already earmarked and could be used to effectively defend the hrynia against “short-selling” speculative attacks in the currency markets. The most likely scenario is that the hrynia will experience a major decline leading to significant hikes in the prices of essential commodities, including food, fuel and transportation.
Were the Central Bank able to use borrowed reserves to prop up the hrynia, this borrowed money would be swiftly reappropriated, handed over to currency speculators on a silver platter. This scenario of propping up the national currency using borrowed forex reserves  (i.e. Brazil in 1998-99)  would, however, contribute in the short-term to staving off an immediate collapse of the standard.
This procedure provides “extra time” to the speculators, who are busy plundering the Central Bank’s (borrowed) currency reserves. It also enables the interim government to postpone the worst impacts of the IMF’s “enhanced exchange rate flexibility” to a later date.
When the borrowed hard currency reserves of the Central Bank run out –i.e. in the immediate aftermath of the May 25 presidential elections–  the value of hrynia will plunge on the forex market, which in turn will trigger a dramatic collapse in the standard of living. Coupled with the demise of bilateral economic relations with Russia pertaining to the supply of natural gas to Ukraine, energy prices are also slated to increase dramatically.
Neoliberalism and neo-Nazi ideology join hands: Repressing the Protest Movement against the IMF
With Svoboda and Right Sector political appointees in charge of national security and the armed forces, a real grassroots protest movement directed against the IMF’s deadly macroeconomic reforms, will in all likelihood be brutally repressed by the Right Sector’s “brown shirts” and the National Guard paramilitary led by Dmitri Yarosh [left image, center with the microphone], on behalf of Wall Street and the Washington consensus.  In recent developments, Right Sector Dmitry Yaroch has declared his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections. (Popular support for the Yaroch is less than 2%).
“Russia put Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism after he urged Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to launch attacks on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict. The ultra-nationalist leader has also threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.” (RT, March 22, 2014)
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s State prosecutor who also belongs to the Neo-Nazi faction, has implemented procedures which prevent the holding of public rallies and protests directed against the interim government.

originalGlobalization of Poverty and the New World Order

Michel Chossudovsky
In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women.
The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.
 This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.
 In this new enlarged edition – which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction — the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.

Obama's Speech on Ukraine: Propaganda and Lies

Obama’s Speech on Ukraine: Propaganda and Lies

Global Research, March 27, 2014
The speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Brussels Wednesday was a call to arms for a US-NATO confrontation against Russia. With a series of lies and evasions, Obama presented a world turned upside down in which the US and European imperialists, who backed the coup in Ukraine spearheaded by fascistic forces, are the defenders of democracy and peace.
There was little in the speech that could convince working people, either in Europe or the United States, that a policy of open-ended conflict with Russia was in their interests. That was not the purpose of the speech, which consisted of one propaganda lie after another, uttered with the assurance that there would be no serious criticism, let alone opposition, within the ruling elites of the US and Europe or from their media mouthpieces.
Obama sought to elaborate the basis for a major turn in US foreign policy—what one of his foreign policy advisers called a “strategic pivot” towards confronting Russia, deliberately employing the same term that the White House has used to describe its systematic anti-China policy in the Far East.
One aim of this strategy of confrontation is to provide a new political axis for the US-dominated NATO military structure, which has visibly frayed in the absence of the old Cold War framework.
Much of the speech was devoted to rehashing long-discredited claims that American imperialism and its European allies represent democracy, freedom and the popular will. Obama invoked the conflict between democratic ideals and the authoritarian view that “order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”
But the words rang rather hollow coming from a president who has claimed absolute and unreviewable power to order the drone-missile assassination of anyone he chooses, anywhere in the world, and whose government asserts the right to collect and store the e-mails, text messages and telephone calls of the entire human race.
The focus of the speech was an indictment of Russian actions in Crimea, which was annexed last week after a popular referendum in the region. “Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident,” Obama declared, “that in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.”
Of course, these are precisely the principles that successive US governments have trampled on: the 1999 US-NATO bombing of Serbia that resulted in the redrawing of its borders by force and the secession of Kosovo; the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, in flagrant violation of international law; and countless instances in which the US tramples on the rights of “people and nations” to “make their own decisions” when those decisions come into conflict with the interests of American imperialism.
The Russian government of President Vladimir Putin has pointed to the hypocrisy of the US-European outcry over Crimea, citing many of these examples, and Obama sought to rebut Putin’s arguments by employing the technique of the big lie.
He rejected any comparison between Crimea and Kosovo, denying that Kosovo was an example “of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country.” Obama asserted, “NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years,” ignoring the responsibility of the United States and the European powers, particularly Germany, for fomenting the breakup of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. In Kosovo, the US sponsored the gangsters of the Kosovo Liberation Army, who carried out tit-for-tat atrocities against the Serb population, and now, in power, persecute the Roma and other minorities.
“Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy,” Obama continued. “Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well.”
There was no significant debate or democratic discussion in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq. The war was the outcome of a political conspiracy. The Bush administration went to war on the basis of brazen lies about Iraq’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction and its nonexistent alliance with Al Qaeda. The mass demonstrations that showed the opposition of millions of Americans, and a majority of the world’s population, were simply ignored.
After claiming he had opposed the Iraq war, Obama sought to justify its conduct and outcome, claiming, “even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.”
The truth is that the war in Iraq was the greatest crime—up to now—committed in the 21st century. More than a million Iraqis lost their lives as a result of the US invasion and occupation, and Iraq was destroyed as a functioning society. The Bush administration openly declared that the Geneva Conventions and international law did not apply either to the war in Iraq or the previous conquest and occupation of Afghanistan, a position that the Obama administration continues to uphold.
Obama seeks to rally the world against the supposed crimes of Russia in Crimea, in which, as of this writing, two people have been killed (one Ukrainian soldier and one Russian), while opposing any prosecution of the American war criminals responsible for the immense bloodbath visited upon the people of Iraq.
Instead, the US president excused the monumental crimes of his own government with the statement, “Of course, neither the United States nor Europe are perfect in adherence to our ideals. Nor do we claim to be the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong in the world.”
Actually, the US government does claim that role. Administration after administration has declared the United States to be “the indispensable nation,” the sole superpower, the country whose military-intelligence apparatus must be the world’s policeman, and whose leaders are immune from any accountability for their actions.
Obama’s arguments were no less fraudulent when he addressed the specifics of the situation in Ukraine. “Yes, we believe in democracy, with elections that are free and fair, and independent judiciaries and opposition parties, civil society and uncensored information so that individuals can make their own choices,” he claimed.
But in Ukraine, the United States and the European Union rode roughshod over national sovereignty, intervening to foment a coup that overthrew Viktor Yanukovych, an elected president, and installing in power not the “choice” of the Ukrainian people, but the choice of Washington.
This was exposed by the notorious phone calls between State Department official Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they discussed the pluses and minuses of various Ukrainian politicians and made their selection of “Yats”—the newly appointed stooge prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk—as the best option.
Obama dismissed the charge that the US is backing fascists in Kiev with a banal reference to his grandfather serving in Patton’s army fighting the Nazis in World War II, as though this had any significance. The US government has backed countless fascists and authoritarian killers since 1945, from Franco in Spain, to the Shah in Iran, to Pinochet in Chile, to the Egyptian military butchers of today—to name only a few.
Obama made no mention of Egypt in his speech, maintaining a guilty silence over the US support for the junta that has just sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death after a two-day show trial. This was a deliberate and cynical omission, as Obama referred to democratic strivings in “Tunis and Tripoli,” but not in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Russian charges of US collaboration with fascists in Kiev are true. US officials have repeatedly met with leaders such as Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the ultra-right Svoboda party, which is a key component of the Ukrainian cabinet, as well as officials of the neo-Nazi Right Sector, which played the role of storm troopers in the fighting to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. In all, the US State Department and other agencies have expended $5 billion to subvert pro-Russian governments in Ukraine since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Obama’s speech in Brussels was an attempt to justify a policy towards Russia that is aggressive, provocative and incalculably dangerous. The real goal of US actions in this crisis was suggested in the US president’s sneering reference on Tuesday to Russia as merely a “regional power.”
This was not, of course, Obama’s language when seeking to enlist Russian assistance in overthrowing the Assad government in Syria, browbeating Iran or isolating North Korea. But it has been the goal of American imperialism ever since the collapse of the USSR to expand its influence throughout the former Soviet bloc—first in the countries of Eastern Europe, then in former Soviet republics in the Baltics, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and now Ukraine.
Russia is to be reduced not merely to the status of “regional power,” but to a semi-colonial status, dismembered and carved up by the major imperialist powers. In this context, it is clear that when Obama speaks of diplomacy, he means the capitulation of the Russian regime to US and EU demands.
Obama insisted in his speech that Russia’s failure to accept the new arrangements in Eastern Europe established by American and European imperialism be met with ever harsher economic sanctions and political isolation.
In the pursuit of this policy, Washington is turning the regions that border Russia on the west into an armed camp, creating the conditions for any spark or provocation to ignite a military conflagration between nuclear powers. Obama made a point in his speech of invoking Article Five of the NATO charter, which obliges all NATO member states to come to the defense of any single member state that comes under attack—including former East Bloc countries or Soviet republics such as Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. This was an implied threat of military force.
The struggle against imperialist militarism and the threat of US-NATO intervention in the Ukraine crisis requires the independent political mobilization of the working class on an international basis, uniting workers of North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union in a common struggle.

Neocons 'Ukraine -Syria -Iran Gambit

Neocons' Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 14:41
Somalilandsun - You might think that policymakers with so many bloody fiascos on their resumes as the U.S. neocons, including the catastrophic Iraq War, would admit their incompetence and return home to sell insurance or maybe work in a fast-food restaurant. Anything but directing the geopolitical decisions of the world's leading superpower.
But Official Washington's neocons are nothing if not relentless and resilient. They are also well-funded and well-connected. So they won't do the honorable thing and disappear. They keep hatching new schemes and strategies to keep the world stirred up and to keep their vision of world domination -- and particularly "regime change" in the Middle East -- alive.
Now, the neocons have stoked a confrontation over Ukraine, involving two nuclear-armed states, the United States and Russia. But -- even if nuclear weapons don't come into play -- the neocons have succeeded in estranging U.S. President Barack Obama from Russian President Vladimir Putin and sabotaging the pair's crucial cooperation on Iran and Syria, which may have been the point all along.
Though the Ukraine crisis has roots going back decades, the chronology of the recent uprising -- and the neocon interest in it -- meshes neatly with neocon fury over Obama and Putin working together to avert a U.S. military strike against Syria last summer and then brokering an interim nuclear agreement with Iran last fall that effectively took a U.S. bombing campaign against Iran off the table.
Read Complete Neocons' Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq