Why We Fight

A hundred years since what everyone thought would be a short, victorious war left Europe broken and ruined, statesmen and policymakers of the West have demonstrated they have learned nothing – and regretted nothing – since. While the shooting remains localized so far, fighting on the economic, propaganda and political fronts is in full force. There is no doubt any more: this is war.

Empire Forever

It all began in the Balkans, where the Atlantic Empire (what was once the American Republic, and its EU and NATO vassals) learned the wrong lesson of the 1990s and came to believe it could redefine reality. The apparent success of the first "color revolution" in Serbia (October 2000), which eventually resulted in an outright quisling regime in Belgrade fulfilling all Imperial demands – no matter how suicidal – has encouraged Washington and Brussels to march eastward.

For all the political enmity between the "neocons" and "neoliberals" in Washington on, the one thing they agree on is that America ought to be an empire, and dominate the world. And while the "neocons" Kagan and Kristol laid out a vision of "neo-Reaganite" world domination in 1996, it was the "liberal" Zbigniew Brzezinski (and his disciples, such as M. Albright) that imposed their belief that such dominion could only be achieved by crushing Russia. The key to this, in Brzezinski’s own words, was Ukraine.

Ukraine Burning

In November 2013, the government of Ukraine balked at signing a pact with the European Union that would have bankrupted the country in exchange for promises of eventual membership. Washington then backed "peaceful protests" that set the country ablaze, using the assets and activists bought by a $5 billion "democracy promotion" effort over the past two decades. But the thing it actually promoted was a bigoted, Russophobic brand of identity politics, proud of its roots in Nazi and Austro-Hungarian ethnic engineering.

At the end of February, Washington’s "democrats" had overthrown the government in a violent coup. Within weeks, Ukraine was falling apart: Crimea had seceded, and was received back into the Russian Federation. In Odessa and Mariupol, militants loyal to the coup government massacred protesters opposed to the coup. Two eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk likewise declared independence. Having learned the lessons of Yugoslavia, Moscow was fighting back.

The Empire responded with a hysterical propaganda campaign, accusing Russia of "aggression" and "19th century behavior." When Moscow pointed out that the Empire had a sordid recent record of aggression, invasions and occupations, Washington responded with "it’s different when we do it."

Outright lies and fabrications about the conflict in Ukraine ranged from Emperor Obama inventing a referendum in Kosovo, allegations of "Russian invasion" of Ukraine on thirty-some separate occasions, and a monstrous lie that Russia was somehow responsible for the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over the combat zone in July, though all actual evidence has pointed to the Kiev regime.

Convinced of Washington’s backing, the Kiev junta launched a "punishment expedition" against the rebel regions. Despite initial successes, by early September the "punishers" had suffered a series of crushing defeats. The ceasefire signed at that point is officially holding, though in practice the junta has continued to bomb rebel areas. Thousands have died, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Desperate Delusions

The conflict has inevitably invited parallels with the spiral of violence in 1914: just as Germany and Austria-Hungary launched wars against Russia and Serbia (respectively) wishing to stop the potential threat (as they saw it) before it got too big to handle, so is the Atlantic Empire using Ukraine to attack Russia before it gets strong enough to challenge Washington’s hegemony. It is such an obvious ploy, one science fiction author predicted it 20 years ago.

But while the West has learned all the wrong lessons (or none at all) from "Europe’s last summer", Russia appears aware of the existential nature of the conflict. While Western policymakers and pundits deal with virtual realities they believe they can manipulate at will, Russia has a history of fighting and winning clashes of civilizations.

As 2014 draws to an end, the Empire is engaged in a full-on economic attack on Russia, artificially depressing the price of oil and trying to destroy the Russian currency. But while these moves are causing some harm in Russia, they are also wrecking the all-too-fragile economies of the West.

Meanwhile, in the Balkans

To understand the kind of "democracy" and "prosperity" the Empire is determined to impose on everyone, it is enough to look at the Balkans. EU membership has done nothing to revive the moribund economies of Croatia and Slovenia. When unprecedented floods struck Bosnia and Serbia in May, Brussels and Washington promised much help – then delivered precisely none. Instead, American officials tried to interfere in the Bosnian elections in October, blaming the local authorities for embezzling the (nonexistent) Western flood aid! And that was just one episode from the campaign that alternated madly between grim and humorous.

Ritual humiliations of Serbia only got worse under the "Progressive" regime that has turned out more repressive than any in recent history. Downtown Belgrade was shut down in September for a "Pride Parade," led by Western ambassadors. Three weeks later, Russia’s president Putin reviewed what little was left of Serbia’s military, as the government shamelessly attempted to claim patriotic credentials by holding the first military parade in 30 years to mark the anniversary of the Soviet-led liberation of Belgrade from the Nazis. This could not stand: didn’t they know it was Private Ryan, not Soldier Ivan, who liberated Europe for democracy and "universal human rights" (as per Emperor Obama at the ceremony in Normandy)? So the Empire sent a few messages to Belgrade.

First was the complete whitewash of the Albanian atrocities in Kosovo, conjured by the U.S. "investigator" on behalf of Brussels. Published in August, the findings of Clint Williamson claimed simultaneously that the murders, organ-harvesting and other atrocities were "not the acts of rogue individuals acting on their own accord" but rather "individuals within distinct groups" but under no circumstances "the KLA as a whole"!

Another message was a drone that disrupted the Serbia-Albania soccer game, just two days before Putin’s visit, no doubt launched by "individuals within distinct groups" that just so happened to have US passports and were related to Albania’s PM. When he arrived in Serbia two weeks later, he repeated the message, insulting the hosts and publicly endorsing Albanian separatists.

News in early December that Russia was canceling the South Stream pipeline due to (US-engineered) obstruction by Bulgaria was celebrated in the West as a great triumph – even as Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary were robbed of millions in badly needed revenue. Meanwhile, Moscow was making overtures to the formerly crucial ally of the Empire – Turkey…

True Colors

One would be remiss not to mention here the bloody rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – a toxic byproduct of Washington’s attempt at "regime change" in Damascus – or the fiasco with USAID’s attempts at regime change in Cuba.

The latter actually prompted the Imperial leadership to purge USAID’s top officials, and announce the lifting of the Cuba embargo. Rest assured, though, that Washington still wants regime change in Havana, just seeks other means of doing so. Even as he denounced the embargo as "outdated" and "ineffective" in case of Cuba, Obama was signing a new act embargoing Russia…

Like individuals, governments ought to be judged by their fruits. Throughout 2014, the world has had a chance to see the fruits of Empire’s labors: discord, misery and devastation. It is these lords of chaos destroying the very world order they claim to champion, while Russia, China and other "rogues" seek to preserve it.

And that’s what the current war is all about.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.