Sometimes you need to call a spade a spade, and Tuesday’s testimony before Adam’s Schiff Show by former NSC official Tim Morrison is just such an occasion. In spades!
In his opening statement, this paranoid moron uttered the following lunacy, and it’s all you need to know about what is really going on down in the Imperial City.
“I continue to believe Ukraine is on the front lines of a strategic competition between the West and Vladimir Putin’s revanchist Russia. Russia is a failing power, but it is still a dangerous one. The United States aids Ukraine and her people so they can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.
Folks, that just plain whacko. The Trump-hating Dems are so feverishly set on a POTUS kill that they have enlisted a veritable posse of Russophobic, right-wing neocon cretins – Morrison, Taylor, Kent, Vindman, among others – to finish off the Donald.
But in so doing they have made official Washington’s real beef against Trump crystal clear; and it’s not about the rule of law or abuse of presidential power or an impeachable dereliction of duty.
To be sure, foolish politicians like Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and the Clintonista apparatus at the center of the Dem party are so overcome with inconsolable grief and anger about losing the 2016 election to Trump that their sole purpose in life is to drive the Donald from office. But that just makes them "useful idiots" or compliant handmaids of the Deep State, which has a far more encompassing and consequential motivation.
To wit, whether out of naiveté, contrariness or just plain common sense, the Donald has declined to embrace the War Party’s Russian bogeyman and demonization of Putin. He thereby threatens the Empire’s raison d’être to the very core.
Indeed, that’s the real reason for the whole concerted attack on Trump from the Russian Collusion hoax, through the Mueller Investigation farce to the present UkraineGate and impeachment inquisition. The Deep State deeply and profoundly fears that if Trump remains in office – and especially if he is elected with a new mandate in 2020 – he might actually make peace with Russia and Putin.
So in Part 1 we advert to the basics. Without the demonization of Russia, Ukraine would be the no count failed state and cesspool of corruption it actually is, and not a purported "front line" buffer against Russian aggression.
Likewise, it would not have been a recipient of vast US and western military and economic aid – a condition that turned it into a honeypot for the kind of Washington influence peddling which ensnared the Bidens, induced its officials to meddle in the 2016 US election, and, in return, incited Trump’s justifiable quest to get to the bottom of the malignancy that has ensued.
So the starting point is to identify Russia for what it actually is: Namely, a kleptocratic state sitting atop an aging, Vodka-chugging population and third-rate economy with virtually zero capacity to project 21st century offensive military power beyond its own borders.
That truth, of course, shatters the whole foundation of the Warfare State. It renders NATO an obsolete relic and eviscerates the case for America’s absurd $900 billion defense and national security budget. And with the latter’s demise, the fairest part of Washington’s imperial self-importance and unseemly national security spending-based prosperity would also crumble.
But in their frenzied pursuit of the Donald’s political scalp, the Dems may be inadvertently sabotaging their Deep State masters. That’s because the neocon knuckleheads they are dragging out of the NSC and State Department woodwork are such bellicose simpletons – just maybe their utterly preposterous testimony about the Russkie threat and Ukrainian "front line" will wake up the somnolent American public to the absurdity of the entire Cold War 2.0 campaign.
Indeed, you almost have to ask whether the bit about fighting the Russkies in the Donbas rather than on the shores of New Jersey from Morrison’s opening statement quoted above was reprinted in the New York Times or The Onion?
The fact is, the fearsome Russian bogeyman cited by Morrison yesterday – and Ambassador Taylor, George Kent and Lt. Colonel Vindman previously – is a complete chimera; and the notion that the cesspool of corruption in Ukraine is a strategic buffer against Russian aggression is just plain idiocy.
Russia is actually an economic and industrial midget transformed beyond recognition by relentless Warfare State propaganda. It is actually no more threatening to America’s homeland security than the Siberian land mass that Sarah Palin once espied from her front porch in Alaska a decade ago.
After all, how could it be? The GDP of the New York City metro area alone is about $1.8 trillion, which is well more than Russia’s 2018 GDP of $1.66 trillion. And that, in turn, is just 8% of America’s total GDP of $21.5 trillion.
Moreover, Russia’ dwarf economy is composed largely of a vast oil and gas patch; a multitude of nickel, copper, bauxite and vanadium mines; and some very large swatches of wheat fields. That’s not exactly the kind of high tech industrial platform on which a war machine capable of threatening the good folks in Lincoln NE or Worchester MA is likely to be erected.
And especially not when the Russian economy has been heading sharply south in dollar purchasing terms for several years running.
GDP of Russia In Millions of USD
Indeed, in terms of manufacturing output, the comparison is just as stark. Russia’s annual manufacturing value added is currently about $200 billion compared to $2.2 trillion for the US economy.
And that’s not the half of it. Not only are Russia’s vast hydrocarbon deposits and mines likely to give out in the years ahead, but so are the livers of its Vodka-chugging work force. That’s a problem because according to a recent Brookings study, Russia’s working age population – even supplemented by substantial in-migration and guest worker programs – is heading south as far into the future as the eye can see.
Even in the Brookings medium case projection shown below, Russia’s working age population will be nearly 20% smaller than today by 2050. Yet today’s figure of about 85 million is already just a fraction of the US working age population of 255 million.
Russia’s Shrinking Work Force
Not surprisingly, Russia’s pint-sized economy can not support a military establishment anywhere near to that of Imperial Washington. To wit, its $61 billion of military outlays in 2018 amounted to less than 32 days of Washington’s current $750 billion of expenditures for defense.
Indeed, it might well be asked how Russia could remotely threaten homeland security in America short of what would be a suicidal nuclear first strike.
That’s because the 1,600 deployed nuclear weapons on each side represent a continuation of mutual deterrence (MAD) – the arrangement by which we we got through 45-years of cold war when the Kremlin was run by a totalitarian oligarchy committed to a hostile ideology; and during which time it had been armed to the teeth via a forced-draft allocation of upwards of 40% of the GDP of the Soviet empire to the military.
By comparison, the Russian defense budget currently amounts to less than 4% of the country’s anemic present day economy – one shorn of the vast territories and populations of Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and all the Asian "stans" among others. Yet given those realities we are supposed to believe that the self-evidently calculating and cautious kleptomaniac who runs the Kremlin is going to go mad, defy MAD and trigger a nuclear Armageddon?
Indeed, the idea that Russia presents a national security threat to America is laughable. Not only would Putin never risk nuclear suicide, but even that fantasy is the extent of what he’s got. That is, Russia’s conventional capacity to project force to the North American continent is nonexistent – or at best, lies somewhere between nichts and nothing.
For example, in today’s world you do not invade any foreign continent without massive sea power projection capacity in the form of aircraft carrier strike groups. These units consist of an armada of lethal escort ships, a fleet of aircraft, massive suites of electronics warfare capability and the ability to launch hundreds of cruise missiles and other smart weapons.
Each US aircraft carrier based strike group, in fact, is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, at least one cruiser, a squadron of destroyers and/or frigates, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft. A carrier strike group also sometimes includes submarines and attached logistics ships.
The US has eleven such carrier strike groups. Russia has zero modern carrier strike groups and one beat-up, smoky old (diesel) aircraft carrier that the Israeli paper, Haaretz, described as follows when it recently entered the Mediterranean:
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, a leftover from the days of Soviet power, carries a long history of mishaps, at sea and in port, and diesel engines which were built for Russia’s cold waters – as shown by the column of black smoke raising above it. It needs frequent refueling and resupplies and has never been operationally tested.
Indeed, from our 19th floor apartment on the East River in NYC, even we could see this smoke belcher coming up Long Island Sound with an unaided eye – with no help needed at all from the high tech spyware of the nation’s $80 billion intelligence apparatus.
Yet Morrison had the audacity to say before a committee of the U.S. House that we are aiding Ukraine so we don’t have to fight Russians on the banks of the East River or the Potomac!
For want of doubt, just compare the above image of the Admiral Kuznetsov belching smoke in the Mediterranean with that of the Gerald R. Ford CVN 48 next below.
The latter is the US Navy’s new $13 billion aircraft carrier and is the most technologically advanced warship ever built.
The contrast shown below serves as a proxy for the vastly inferior capability of the limited number of ships and planes in Russia’s conventional force. What it does have numerical superiority in is tanks – but alas they are not amphibious nor ocean-capable!
Likewise, nobody invades anybody without massive airpower and the ability to project it across thousands of miles of oceans via vast logistics and air-refueling capabilities.
On that score, the US has 6,100 helicopters to Russia’s 1,200 and 6,000 fixed wing fighter and attack aircraft versus Russia’s 2,100. More importantly, the US has 5,700 transport and airlift aircraft compared to just 1,100 for Russia.
In short, the idea that Russia is a military threat to the US homeland is ludicrous. Russia is essentially a landlocked military shadow of the former Soviet war machine. Indeed, for the world’s only globe-spanning imperial power to remonstrate about an aggressive threat from Moscow is a prime facie case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Moreover, the canard that Washington’s massive conventional armada is needed to defend Europe is risible nonsense. Europe can and should take care of its own security and relationship with its neighbor on the Eurasian continent.
After all, the GDP of NATO Europe is $18 trillion or 12X greater than that of Russia, and the current military budgets of European NATO members total about $280 billion or 4X more than that of Russia.
More importantly, the European nations and people really do not have any quarrel with Putin’s Russia, nor is their security and safety threatened by the latter. All of the tensions that do exist and have come to a head since the illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 were fomented by Imperial Washington and its European subalterns in the NATO machinery.
Then again, the latter is absolutely the most useless, obsolete, wasteful and dangerous multilateral institution in the present world. But like the proverbial clothes-less emperor, NATO doesn’t dare risk having the purportedly "uninformed" amateur in the Oval Office pointing out its buck naked behind.
So the NATO subservient think tanks and establishment policy apparatchiks are harrumphing up a storm, but for crying out loud most of Europe’s elected politicians are in on the joke. They are fiscally swamped paying for their Welfare States and are not about to squeeze their budgets or taxpayers to fund military muscle against a nonexistent threat.
As the late, great Justin Raimondo aptly noted,
Finally an American president has woken up to the fact that World War II, not to mention the cold war, is over: there’s no need for US troops to occupy Germany.
Vladimir Putin isn’t going to march into Berlin in a reenactment of the Red Army taking the Fuehrer-bunker – but even if he were so inclined, why won’t Germany defend itself?
Exactly. If their history proves anything, Germans are not a nation of pacifists, meekly willing to bend-over in the face of real aggressors. Yet they spent the paltry sum of $43 billion on defense during 2018, or barely 1.1% of Germany’s $4.0 trillion GDP, which happens to be roughly three times bigger than Russia’s.
In short, the policy action of the German government tells you they don’t think Putin is about to invade the Rhineland or retake the Brandenburg Gate.
And this live action testimonial also trumps, as it were, all of the risible alarms that have emanated from the beltway think tanks and the 4,000 NATO bureaucrats talking their own book in behalf of their plush Brussels sinecures.
And as we will outline in Part 2, that’s what Washington’s Ukraine intervention is all about, and why the Donald’s efforts to get to the bottom of that cesspool has brought on the final Deep State assault against his presidency.
In Part 1 we dispatched UkraineGater Tim Morrison’s preposterous suggestion that Washington is helping Kiev subdue the Donbas so we won’t have Russkies coming up the East River.
Yet his related claim that Ukraine is a victim of Russian aggression is even more ludicrous. The actual aggression in that godforsaken corner of the planet came from Washington when it instigated, funded, engineered and recognized the putsch on the streets of Kiev during February 2014, which illegally overthrew the duly elected President of Ukraine on the grounds that he was too friendly with Moscow.
Thus, Morrison risibly asserted that,
Support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty has been a bipartisan objective since Russia’s military invasion in 2014. It must continue to be.
The fact is, when the Maidan uprising occurred in February that year there were no uninvited Russian troops anywhere in Ukraine. Putin was actually sitting in his box on the viewing stand, presiding over the Winter Olympics in Sochi and basking in the limelight of global attention that they commanded.
It was only weeks later – when the Washington-installed ultra-nationalist government with its neo-Nazi vanguard threatened the Russian-speaking populations of Crimea and the Donbas – that Putin moved to defend Russian interests on his own doorstep. And those interests included Russia’s primary national security asset – the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea which had been the homeport of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for centuries under czars and commissars alike, and on which Russia had a long-term lease.
We untangle the truth of the crucial events which surrounded the Kiev putsch in greater detail below, but suffice it here to note the whole gang of neocon apparatchiks which have been paraded before the Schiff Show have proffered the same Big Lie as did Morrison in the "invasion" quote cited above.
As the ever perspicacious Robert Merry observed regarding the previous testimony of Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, the Washington rendition of the Maidan coup and its aftermath amounts to a blatant falsehood:
The Taylor/Kent outlook stems from the widespread demonization of Russia that dominates thinking within elite circles. Taylor’s rendition of recent events in Ukraine was so one-sided and selective as to amount to a falsehood.
As he had it, Ukraine’s turn to the West after 2009 (when he left the country after his first diplomatic tour there) threatened Russia’s Vladimir Putin to such an extent that he tried to “bribe” Ukraine’s president with inducements to resist Western influence, whereupon protests emerged in Kyiv that drove the Ukrainian president to flee the country in 2014. Then Putin invaded Crimea, holding a “sham referendum at the point of Russian army rifles.” Putin sent military forces into eastern Ukraine “to generate illegal armed formations and puppet governments.” And so the West extended military assistance to Ukraine.
“It is this security assistance,” he said, “that is at the heart of the [impeachment] controversy that we are discussing today.”
Taylor’s right that this narrative is at the center of UkraineGate, but there is not a shred of truth to it. Nevertheless, defense of this false narrative, and the inappropriate military and economic aid to Ukraine which flowed from it, is the real reason this posse of neocon stooges took exception to the Donald’s legitimate interest in investigating the Bidens and the events of 2016.
As Morrison put it Tuesday and Vindman said last week, their interest was in protecting not the constitution and the rule of law, but the bipartisan political consensus on Capitol Hill in favor of their proxy war on Putin and the Ukraine aid package through which it was being prosecuted.
As I stated during my deposition, I feared at the time of the call on July 25 how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate. My fears have been realized.
Not surprisingly, the entire Washington establishment has been sucked into this scam. For instance, the insufferably sanctimonious Peggy Noonan used her Wall Street Journal platform to idolize these liars.
As she portrayed it, bow-tie bedecked George P. Kent appeared to be the very picture of the old-school American foreign service official. And West Pointer Bill Taylor – with a military career going back to (dubious) Vietnam heroism – was redolent of the blunt-spoken American military men who won WW II and the cold war which followed.
As Robert Merry further noted,
She saw them as “the old America reasserting itself.” They demonstrated “stature and command of their subject matter.” They evinced “capability and integrity.”
What they evinced was nothing more than the self-serving groupthink that has turned Ukraine into a beltway goldmine. That is, a cornucopia of funding for all the think tanks, NGOs, foreign policy experts, national security contractors and Warfare State agencies – from DOD through the State Department, AID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Board for International Broadcasting and countless more – which ply their trade in the Imperial City.
But Robert Merry got it right. These cats are not noble public servants and heroes; they’re apparatchiks and payrollers aggrandizing their own power and pelf – even as they lead the nation to the brink of disaster:
But these men embrace a geopolitical outlook that is simplistic, foolhardy, and dangerous. Perhaps no serious blame should accrue to them, since it is the same geopolitical outlook embraced and enforced by pretty much the entire foreign policy establishment, of which these men are mere loyal apparatchiks. And yet they are playing their part in pushing a foreign policy that is directing America towards a very possible disaster.
Neither man manifested even an inkling of an understanding of what kind of game the United States in playing with Ukraine. Neither gave even a nod to the long, complex relationship between Ukraine and Russia. Neither seemed to understand either the substance or the intensity of Russia’s geopolitical interests along its own borders or the likely consequences of increasing U.S. meddling in what for centuries has been part of Russia’s sphere of influence.
They obviously didn’t get it, but we must. So let us summarize the true Ukraine story, starting with the utterly stupid and historically ignorant reason for Washington’s February 2014 coup.
Namely, it objected to the decision of Ukraine’s prior government in late 2013 to align itself economically and politically with its historic hegemon in Moscow rather than the European Union and NATO. Yet the fairly elected and constitutionally legitimate government of Ukraine then led by Viktor Yanukovych had gone that route mainly because it got a better deal from Moscow than was being demanded by the fiscal torture artists of the IMF.
Needless to say, the ensuing US sponsored putsch arising from the mobs on the street of Kiev reopened deep national wounds. Ukraine’s bitter divide between Russian-speakers in the east and Ukrainian nationalists elsewhere dates back to Stalin’s brutal rein in Ukraine during the 1930s and Ukrainian collusion with Hitler’s Wehrmacht on its way to Stalingrad and back during the 1940s.
It was the memory of the latter nightmare, in fact, which triggered the fear-driven outbreak of Russian separatism in the Donbas and the 96% referendum vote in Crimea in March 2014 to formally re-affiliate with Mother Russia.
In this context, even a passing familiarity with Russian history and geography would remind that Ukraine and Crimea are Moscow’s business, not Washington’s.
In the first place, there is nothing at stake in the Ukraine that matters. During the last 800 years it has been a meandering set of borders in search of a country.
In fact, the intervals in which the Ukraine existed as an independent nation have been few and far between. Invariably, its rulers, petty potentates and corrupt politicians made deals with or surrendered to every outside power that came along.
These included the Lithuanians, Poles, Ruthenians (eastern Slavs), Tartars, Turks, Muscovites, Austrians and Czars, among manifold others.
At the beginning of the 16th century, for instance, the territory of today’s Ukraine was scattered largely among the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Ruthenia (light brown area), the Kingdom of Poland (dark brown area), Muscovy (bright yellow area) the Crimean Khanate (light yellow area).
The latter was the entity which emerged when some clans of the Golden Horde (Tartars) ceased their nomadic life on the Asian steppes and occupied the light yellow stripped areas of the map north of the Black Sea as their Yurt (homeland).
From that cold start, the tiny Cossack principality of Ukraine (blue area below), which had emerged by 1654, grew significantly over the subsequent three centuries. But as the map also makes clear, this did not reflect the organic congealment of a nation of kindred volk sharing common linguistic and ethnic roots, but the machinations of Czars and Commissars for the administrative convenience of efficiently ruling their conquests and vassals.
Thus, much of modern Ukraine was incorporated by the Russian Czars between 1654 and 1917 per the yellow area of the map and functioned as vassal states. These territories were amalgamated by absolute monarchs who ruled by the mandate of God and the often brutal sword of their own armies.
In particular, much of the purple area was known as "Novo Russia" (Novorossiya) during the 18th and 19th century owing to the Czarist policy of relocating Russian populations to the north of the Black Sea as a bulwark against the Ottomans. But after Lenin seized power in St. Petersburg in November 1917 amidst the wreckage of Czarist Russia, an ensuing civil war between the so-called White Russians and the Red Bolsheviks raged for several years in these territories and elsewhere in the chaotic regions of the former western Russian Empire.
At length, Lenin won the civil war as the French, British, Polish and American contingents vacated the postwar struggle for power in Russia. Accordingly, in 1922 the new Communist rulers proclaimed the Union of Soviet Social Republics (USSR) and incorporated Novo Russia into one of its four constituent units as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) – along with the Russian, Belarus and Transcaucasian SSRs.
Thereafter the border and political status of Ukraine remained unchanged until the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 between the USSR and Nazi Germany. Pursuant thereto the Red Army and Nazi Germany invaded and dismembered Poland, with Stalin getting the blue areas (Volhynia and parts of Galicia) as consolation prizes, which where then incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR.
Finally, when Uncle Joe Stalin died and Nikita Khrushchev won the bloody succession struggle in 1954, he transferred Crimea (red area) to the Ukraine SSR as a reward to his supporters in Kiev. That, of course, was the arbitrary writ of the Soviet Presidium, given that precious few Ukrainians actually lived in what had been a integral part of Czarist Russia after it was purchased by Catherine the Great from the Turks in 1783.
In a word, the borders of modern Ukraine are the handiwork of Czarist emperors and Communist butchers. The so-called international rule of law had absolutely nothing to do with its gestation and upbringing.
It’s a pity, therefore, that none of the so-called conservative Republicans attending Adam’s Schiff Show saw fit to ask young Tim Morrison the obvious question.
To wit, exactly why is he (and most of the Washington foreign policy establishment) so keen on expending American treasure, weapons and even blood in behalf of the "territorial integrity and sovereignty" of this happenstance amalgamation of people subdued by some of history’s most despicable tyrants?
Needless to say, owing to this very history, the linguistic/ethnic composition of today’s Ukraine does not reflect the congealment of a "nation" in the historic sense.
To the contrary, central and western Ukraine is populated by ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian (dark red area), whereas the two parts of the country allegedly the victim of Russian aggression and occupation – Crimea (brown area) and the eastern Donbas region (yellow area with brown strips) – are comprised of ethnic Russians who speak Russian and ethnic Ukrainians who predominately speak-Russian, respectively.
And much of the rest of the territory consists of admixtures and various Romanian, Moldovan, Hungarian and Bulgarian minorities.
Did the Washington neocons – led by Senator McCain and Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland – who triggered the Ukrainian civil war with their coup on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 consider the implications of the map below and its embedded, and often bloody, history?
Quite surely, they did not.
Nor did they consider the rest of the map. That is, the enveloping Russian state all around to which the parts and pieces of Ukraine – especially the Donbas and Crimea – have been intimately connected for centuries. Robert Merry thus further noted,
As Nikolas K. Gvosdev of the US Naval War College has written, Russia and Ukraine share a 1,500-mile border where Ukraine “nestles up against the soft underbelly of the Russian Federation.” Gvosdev elaborates: “The worst nightmare of the Russian General Staff would be NATO forces deployed all along this frontier, which would put the core of Russia’s population and industrial capacity at risk of being quickly and suddenly overrun in the event of any conflict.” Beyond that crucial strategic concern, the two countries share strong economic, trade, cultural, ethnic, and language ties going back centuries. No Russian leader of any stripe would survive as leader if he or she were to allow Ukraine to be wrested fully from Russia’s sphere of influence.
And yet America, in furtherance of the ultimate aim of pulling Ukraine away from Russia, spent some $5 billion in a campaign to gin up pro-Western sentiment there, according to former assistant secretary of state for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who spearheaded much of this effort during the Obama administration. It was clearly a blatant effort to interfere in the domestic politics of a foreign nation – and a nation residing in a delicate and easily inflamed part of the world.
Indeed, Ukraine is a tragically divided country and fissured simulacrum of a nation. Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard called Ukraine “a cleft country, with two distinct cultures" causing Robert Merry to rightly observe that,
Contrary to Taylor’s false portrayal of an aggressive Russia trampling on eastern Ukrainians by setting up puppet governments and manufacturing a bogus referendum in Crimea, the reality is that large numbers of Ukrainians there favor Russia and feel loyalty to what they consider their Russian heritage. The Crimean public is 70 percent Russian, and its Parliament in 1992 actually voted to declare independence from Ukraine for fear that the national leadership would nudge the country toward the West. (The vote was later rescinded to avoid a violent national confrontation.) In 1994, Crimea elected a president who had campaigned on a platform of “unity with Russia.”
In short, in modern times Ukraine largely functioned as an integral part of Mother Russia, serving as its breadbasket and iron and steel crucible under czars and commissars alike. Given this history, the idea that Ukraine should be actively and aggressively induced to join NATO was just plain nuts, as we will amplify further in Part 3 (to come).
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.