Saturday 27 August 2022

Ukraine and the neo-cons

This is very interesting and,  if true, is very important. It's from an article written by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, an economist and well-known expert on sustainable development and the fight against poverty.

The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement. The Biden Administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the US wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine....
This approach was spelled out first by Paul Wolfowitz in his draft Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) written for the Department of Defense in 2002. The draft called for extending the US-led security network to the Central and Eastern Europe despite the explicit promise by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher in 1990 that German unification would not be followed by NATO’s eastward enlargement. Wolfowitz also made the case for American wars of choice, defending America’s right to act independently, even alone, in response to crises of concern to the US. According to General Wesley Clark, Wolfowitz already made clear to Clark in May 1991 that the US would lead regime-change operations in Iraq, Syria, and other former Soviet allies.
The neocons championed NATO enlargement to Ukraine even before that became official US policy under George W. Bush, Jr. in 2008. They viewed Ukraine’s NATO membership as key to US regional and global dominance. Robert Kagan spelled out the neocon case for NATO enlargement in April 2006:
'[T]he Russians and Chinese see nothing natural in [the “color revolutions” of the former Soviet Union], only Western-backed coups designed to advance Western influence in strategically vital parts of the world. Are they so wrong? Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union—in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?'
Kagan acknowledged the dire implication of NATO enlargement. He quotes one expert as saying, “the Kremlin is getting ready for the ‘battle for Ukraine’ in all seriousness.” The neocons sought this battle. After the fall of the Soviet Union, both the US and Russia should have sought a neutral Ukraine, as a prudent buffer and safety valve. Instead, the neocons wanted US “hegemony” while the Russians took up the battle partly in defense and partly out of their own imperial pretentions as well. Shades of the Crimean War (1853-6), when Britain and France sought to weaken Russia in the Black Sea following Russian pressures on the Ottoman empire.
Kagan penned the article as a private citizen while his wife Victoria Nuland was the US Ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush, Jr. Nuland has been the neocon operative par excellence. In addition to serving as Bush’s Ambassador to NATO, Nuland was Barack Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs during 2013-17, where she participated in the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, and now serves as Biden’s Undersecretary of State guiding US policy vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine.


General Wesley Clark, interviewed by John Florescu, strongly backs Ukraine in the war, says the Russians are responsible for the worse genocide since the holocaust and wants Crimea to be taken back, but he is or was very opposed to the neo-cons. In October, 2007, he gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in which he denounced "a policy coup" engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11 and recounted a conversation he had had with Paul Wolfowitz in 1991 in which, after criticising Bush the Elder for not toppling Saddam, he told Clark: 

"But one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the region - in the Middle East - and the Soviets won't stop us. And we've got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet regimes - Syria, Iran, Iraq -- before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us." 

I am not writing to justify in any way the Russian invasion, which is appalling, but the ideas of Paul Wolfowitz, who in 2001 was the third most senior person in the Pentagon, do explain the background to US State Department thinking about Ukraine fifteen years ago.


1 comment:

  1. These things only ever come out when it's already too late.