It looks like we have plunged so deeply into the theater of the absurd that we now have a case of “Albania don’t want the ball!”.
Our reference, of course, is to the apocryphal football story about a coach repeatedly signaling a play from the sidelines, only to have the quarterback keep breaking huddle while frantically waving his arms and shouting,
“But Leroy don’t want the ball!”
That is to say, Ukrainian president Zelensky, a former television comic, apparently knew all about the 60- year old American story, at least according to the geniuses at CNN who reported it below. That the White House quickly disavowed the “Ukraine” story is undoubtedly your authentication:
A call between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday “did not go well,” a senior Ukrainian official told CNN…… Biden warned Zelensky an imminent invasion is a “distinct possibility”
On the “long and frank call, Biden warned his Ukrainian counterpart……that an invasion was now virtually certain, once the ground had frozen later in February…..
Zelensky, however, restated his position that the threat from Russia remains “dangerous but ambiguous,” and it is not certain that an attack will take place, the official said.
Zelensky urged his American counterpart to “calm down the messaging,” warning of the economic impact of panic, according to to the official.
You might think so. For instance, it is apparently not just president Zelensky who is not seeing the white of those Russian eyes. The country’s defense minister also recently weighed in to that effect. So let’s pierce the fog of hysteria by asking Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov what’s going on:
“I can absolutely say that to date, the Russian armed forces have not created a strike group that could make a forceful invasion of Ukraine.”
It must be comical for Russia to sit back and watch the Keystone Kops at the helm of US foreign policy blunder and bluster, with Biden’s press secretary insisting that a Russian invasion is “imminent” even as the Ukrainians – who are in a position to know and also in a position to benefit if it was true – pour cold water on the Biden war-fear-porn.
Then again, if this purportedly “beleaguered ally” doesn’t see the danger, so what?
The Washington and NATO neocons do – they are literally foaming at the mouth with war fever. Kiev is obviously not aware that the White House, with access to arguably “privileged intel”, is convinced that Russia will invade “any-minute-now”.
So, yes, we can cut to the transcript of the must re-watch Wag the Dog. After all, when it comes to America’s security and prosperity, what’s really the difference between Albania and Ukraine, anyway.
So, as Hollywood was still bold enough back in 1998 to say,
Wait. We can’t afford a war.
We’re not having a war. We’re having the appearance of a war.
We cannot afford it. -What’ll it cost? –
But they would find out.
Who’s gonna find out? The American people? Who’s gonna tell them? What did they find out about the Gulf War? One video of one bombfalls down a chimney.
The building could have been made out of Legos.
You want us to go to war?
That’s the general idea.
I’m working on it. Albania?
What do you know about them?
Precisely. They seem shifty, standoffish. Who knows from Albania? Who trusts Albanians?
What did Albania ever do to us?
What did they do for us? This is why we have to mobilize the B-3 bomber.
You really want to go to war with Albania?
We don’t have a choice. This is what you do to make it real. Get your press office right now to deny it. It didn’t happen.
“There is no report of Albanian activity.”
They have to deny it. It didn’t happen.
Deny. …news from the president on his visit to China.
Another sort of news, however… has emerged from the presidential quarter. We turn to Melissa Gardner at KZAB in Santa Fe… with this breaking news.
Thanks, Richard. Today a local Firefly Girl… accused the president of *** misconduct. This photo of the girl claims that the *** misconduct… occurred inside the Oval Office. Her attorney says there are no plans yet… to hold a press conference.
There you have it. There is no imminent war, threat of war, even tiny specter of war, in the Ukraine. It’s all White House theater, and its about nothing more than–like director Barry Levinson’s “suitcase nukes” from Albania – distracting from Biden’s plunging poll figures.
So it needs be said: Compared to Donald Trump’s statists excesses and pretensions, the Biden team’s disgusting War Movie would have made Dustin Hoffman so proud at the end that they would not have had the gall to kill him with a heart attack!
Unfortunately, however, this goes way beyond Wag The Dog 2.0. It’s not simply that there are no meaningful, historically validated Ukrainian borders to defend – if that made a difference for national security, which it doesn’t. More importantly, however, is that the underlying policy architecture – preserving the rule of law which Washington claims to have scrupulously advanced since, say 1917–is a complete and unmitigated crock.
As we indicated in the previous article, Ukraine is, and always has been, a patchwork of morsels that belonged until recently to different empires – Austro-Hungarian and Russian – as well as several nations, such as Russia, Poland and Romania. It regroups Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and has millions of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers with deep historical, cultural and economic links with Russia.
So Ukraine was a de facto new Yugoslavia.
The fatal mistake committed by Washington in 2014, therefore, was to force Kiev as well as the Ukrainian population as a whole to make an impossible choice between Europe and Russia. Or as Aaron Mate astutely observed,
The inevitable result would have to be Maidan, completely manipulated by American intel, even as Russians clearly saw how the EU switched from the position of honest broker to the lowly role of American chihuahuas.
Russo-phobic U.S. hawks will never renounce the spectacle of their historical adversary bogged down in a slow-burning fratricidal war in the post-Soviet space. As much as they will never renounce Divide and Rule imposed over a discombobulated Europe. And as much as they will never concede “spheres of influence” to any geopolitical player.
Without their toxic imprint, 2014 could have played in quite a different manner.
To dissuade Putin to restore Crimea to its rightful place – Russia – it would have taken two things: for Ukraine to be decently managed after 1992, and not to force it to choose the Western camp, but to make it a bridge, Finland or Austria-style.
After Maidan, the Minsk agreements were as close as possible to a viable solution: let’s end the conflict in Donbass; let’s disarm the protagonists; and let’s re-establish control of the borders of Ukraine while providing real autonomy to Eastern Ukraine.
For all that to happen, Ukraine would have needed a neutral status, and a double security guarantee, by Russia and NATO. And to render the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU compatible with the close links between Eastern Ukraine and the Russian economy.
All that would have perhaps configured a European vision of decent future relations with Russia.
Yet the Russo-phobic Deep State would never allow it. And the same applied to the White House. Barack Obama, that cynical opportunist, was too engulfed by the dodgy Polish context in Chicago and not free from the exceptionalist obsession with deep antagonism to be able to build a constructive relationship with Russia.
Then there’s the clincher, revealed by a high-level US Intel source.
In 2013, the late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski was presented with a classified report on Russian advanced missiles. He freaked out. And responded by conceptualizing Maidan 2014 – to draw Russia into a guerrilla war then as he had done with Afghanistan in the 1980s.
And here we are now: it’s all a matter of unfinished business.
In the meanwhile, here is the spoiler alert for the next article: The idea that what is happening on the Washington orchestrated TV stage has anything to do with standing up to dictators and Munich 2.0 is so blithering stupid that it deserves to be torn asunder limb-for-limb.
Which is exactly what we intend to do.
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.