The Ukrainian government has stretched the truth beyond credibility on more than one occasion: those snipers in the Maiden who started firing on both sides during the “revolution” turned out not to have been soldiers loyal to the Yanukovich regime. With billions of US tax dollar going to subsidize what may be the most corrupt government on earth, the Ukrainians contend they’re as pure as the driven snow. That’s disingenuous, to say the very least: lying through their gritted teeth is more like it. And now once again they have proven how dicey they are, with their make-believe “government” ruled over by grasping oligarchs, their disorderly country roiling with neo-Nazi thugs out to kill Jews, homosexuals, and leftists, and their distinctively un-European penchant for political murders, rampant thuggery, stealing as a way of life, and untrammeled aggression against their own people.
I’m talking about the faked death of Russian anti-Putin activist Arkady Babchenko, which was staged by the SBU – the Ukrainian political police – supposedly in order to prevent Babchencko’s actual assassination by sinister Russian agents. They claim one of these Bad Guys has been captured, but we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of him, and probably won’t. Indeed, the whole story is likely a lie: this was simply yet another propaganda campaign designed to blacken the name of Putin and his regime. The pattern is clear: the Skripal fraud, the Russia-gate hoax, and the list of provocations – all the way back to Viktor Yushchenko’s acne – goes on. This is Cold War II, folks, and don’t you forget it.
I love how all the Usual Suspects immediately decided that Putin was the culprit: Little Marco Rubio, professional Russophobe Anders Aslund (“the obviously Russian murder”), Euro-weenie Carl Bildt, anonymous Mensch-bot “Caroline O”, Guardian “reporter” Shaun Walker – who is normally a shill for Kiev, and is awfully mad about this deception (as he should be) – the evil Natasha Bertrand, a reporter for a business publication whose hatred of Putin is only a little less than her hatred of our President, the ridiculous Daily Beast, which under Noah Shachtman’s tutelage has turned into the neocon version of the News of the World. And of course embittered Russian immigrant Julia Ioffe, who once accused Trump of having sex with his own daughter, fell for it and then freaked out when the truth came out. All the major media outlets fell for it, reporting the “murder” – complete with sketchy accounts of Putin’s other alleged crimes – with a straight face. All joined in an orgy of confirmation bias:
Everyone in the “respectable” media fell for it and published it as the truth because it fit right in with their preexisting views: the Western media sees events involving Russia and its periphery though the fog of confirmation bias, and they make no bones about it. Accounts of the fake “murder” were padded with speculative descriptions of Russian journalists and “dissidents” who met an untimely end, either in Russia or abroad: the clear implication being that Putin personally ordered their deaths.
Evidence? Oh, our “news” media has long since dumped that former necessity overboard.
That’s why the English-speaking media has been so eager to trumpet the Ukrainian’s every absurd claim: because virtually everything that comes out of Kiev is a fabrication, starting with the origins of their Western-backed coup d’etat, and extending to their explanation for the war in the Eastern part of the country. And that suits Western reporters just fine. After all, who but a few honest bloggers are challenging them? It’s only when the brazen dishonesty of Kiev’s shills is thrown in their faces, as in the case of Babchenko’s deception, that their indifference to truth comes out.
The Ukrainians never had much credibility to begin with: they always exaggerate or else completely make up their propaganda points, and one always had to fact check them within an inch of their lives to get an approximation of the truth. Now their credibility is utterly nonexistent: never again will we take what they say with anything but several very large grains of salt. Certainly, from this point onward, no reliable news organization will take them at their word.
Indeed, the entire picture of Ukrainian society that we have been fed by the mainstream media, ever since the “revolution” that overthrew democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovich, has been a lie. We were told it is a nation of “freedom fighters” struggling to get out under the thumb of retro-Soviet Russians: its long-suffering people are really committed democrats who just want a taste of freedom for once. The reality is quite the opposite: Ukrainian civil society is a mass base of ultra-nationalist fanatics who have no use for democracy and are infected with a neo-Nazi bacillus that keeps popping up everywhere: in government, in the military, and in the streets, where the fascists attack gays, political opponents, and anybody they don’t like.
The lesson of the Babchenko fraud is that we can’t trust the Ukrainians to tell the truth about anything. Their constant claims of Russian “aggression” – when it’s their own people who are rebelling against the tyranny of Kiev – are false. The claims of poverty – when their greedy oligarchs are sucking up cash, courtesy of the US taxpayers, at a rapid rate – are disingenuous. The charge that the rebels, and the Russians, rather than they themselves, are violating the Minsk accords – it’s all lies, told with a straight face, and one wonders if our government officials even pretend to believe them.
Ukraine is a dagger pointed at the very heartland of Russia: our troops training their soldiers a few miles from the Russian border is a provocation that could easily lead to a showdown between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump disdained getting involved in the region: where, he wanted to know, is the American interest? After winning, he was pressured into approving lethal aid to Kiev, and as a result the war has gotten predictably bloodier, and more intractable.
Ukraine is an albatross hung ‘round our necks, an “ally” without value or credibility: a government of liars and manipulators, who intervened directly in our 2016 election on Hillary Clinton’s behalf, and who now have the nerve to ask the Trump administration for support.
Ukraine is one big tripwire that could get us into a major conflict with Russia: that, of course, is what the War Party wants. The Democratic party, which has made hatred of Russia its top talking point, is committed to a policy of provocation that can only lead to war. Trump, who has said he wants to get along with Russia, has been stymied by his own staff, and by the permanent government, which is pushing a new cold war along with their shills in the mainstream media.
Many were fooled by the public relations campaign which sought to depict the coup leaders in Kiev as the heirs of the old Soviet dissidents: they are nothing of the sort, and their latest caper – an exercise in brazen deception – underscores just how phony they really are.
What’s needed is an end to US aid to Ukraine, the withdrawal of our troops from Ukrainian territory, recognition of Crimea as a Russian province, and a strict enforcement of the Minsk accords, which Ukraine refuses to honor. That is the key to peace in the region, and the only policy that serves American interests.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.