As of this writing, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is hunkered down in his bunker somewhere in Kiev, as the sound of the encroaching war gets closer and closer. A grim scene, to be sure.
All the US and EU kisses and roses leading up to this end have turned to dust and barbed wire, as a no-doubt deeply bitter Zelensky has nothing left but to cry out in anger:
Zelensky earlier: "Who is ready to fight with us? I do not see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid."— ASB News / MILITARY?? (@ASBMilitary) February 25, 2022
The chips are down, as much of the US-equipped and backed Ukrainian military appears to have turned and ran as Russian forces approached. That is not to say that there has not been death and destruction on both sides. The battle for Kherson was brutal, with plenty of Russian losses. But nevertheless, as of this writing, it has fallen to Russian control.
Kiev in the main may well fall within the next 12-24 hours. Russian troops are already in the city. And Zelensky is in his bunker with fewer and fewer to take his calls. The cavalry he believed was promised him will not be coming to rescue him. Ukraine will be de-militarized and Ukraine will be neutral. Once held up as a great ally of Washington and Brussels, Zelensky is alone.
It brings to mind that great quote I often recycle from Ron Paul Institute academic advisor John Laughland, written as the early US-backed color revolutions rampaged through the former Soviet world in the early 2000s:
It is better to be an enemy of the Americans than their friend. If you are their enemy, they might try to buy you; but if you are their friend they will definitely sell you.
The bitter truth is that Washington’s foreign policy establishment never actually considered Zelensky – or his predecessor Poroshenko – to be allies or partners of the United States. Overflowing with a toxic mix of ignorance, arrogance, and extreme cynicism, Washington’s elites have always viewed Ukraine as a tool to “regime-change” a Russia that, after its post-Yeltsin recovery, would no longer take its direction from them.
The false gods of American exceptionalism are jealous ones indeed.
The American foreign policy establishment wanted a perpetual “Yanks to the Rescue” Russia, whereby US “consultants” and spooks would ensure that the most obsequious candidate would continue to win and rule. A string of Russian presidents who would, à la Shevardnadze and a whole string of other post-Soviet leaders, run the country like a family business: lots of biznis deals for family members…and maybe 10 percent for the “big guy.”
Americans are victims (willing or not) of a mass media system as propagandistic as any that existed during Soviet Communism. The “party line” is established and it is unwaveringly followed whether the favored flavor is Fox or MSNBC. When it became obvious that Yeltsin’s one-time understudy, Vladimir Putin, wasn’t going to play that way, the party line came down that he must be demonized.
Not carefully studied and where appropriate opposed (on the basis of actual US interests), but rather Putin had to be demonized and, ultimately, “regime-changed.”
Discourse in the US is so infantile that just writing this objective truth will no doubt land this author in the “Putin’s puppet” purgatory. Not for the first time.
Most Americans will not have heard – and those who have likely do not care – that twice when the Ukrainian people elected a president who was in favor of maintaining good relations with its Russian neighbor the US intervened and overthrew the government. First time in the 2004-5 “Orange Revolution” and then the fateful 2014 “Maidan” revolt, which was explicitly and overtly supported by senior US government officials on the ground in Kiev including Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland and the late neocon warmonger Sen. John McCain.
In the meantime tens of millions of dollars flow from the US taxpayer to favored think tanks, civic organizations, and media outlets via the National Endowment for Democracy (sic) and numerous US-funded related organizations. The goal is the same: manipulate Ukraine so that it remains on Washington’s preferred path (toward conflict with Russia).
It is fashionable – particularly over the past two days – for even antiwar and “restraint”-promoting scribblers and jaw-boners to fall into tune with the warmongers’ songbook of “Russian aggression” as the sole cause of recent bloodshed and destruction.
While anyone with an ounce of decency deeply regrets and opposes the use of such massive military force as we have seen recently in Ukraine, if there is one lesson to be learned from this entire miserable chapter (and by “chapter” I mean the entirety of post-Cold War US foreign policy) it is this: There are consequences that come with the belief that the key to peace and prosperity is to remake the world in your own image through the use of overt and covert, violent and nonviolent means. That lesson should have been learned with the fall of Soviet communism itself, but the “victors” were too full of hubris to pause for a moment of humility.
Wishing reality was one thing and accepting that it is another are two very different things. The distinction must be made or the mass mental illness of “American exceptionalism” can never be cured. Otherwise the consequences next time the tectonic plates shift may be far closer to home.
Whether America and the EU like it or not, the era of ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality” is well and truly over. Its end is not to be mourned but to be celebrated. The only pro-America foreign policy is non-intervention in the affairs of others.
Ukrainian President Zelensky is unlikely to survive his turn being America’s cat’s paw to wrong-foot Russia. While he sits in his bunker contemplating his fate, he may well be visited by the ghosts of Saddam and Gaddafi and all those who preceded him in this position. God help him.
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.