Donbass and the Ukrainian conflict
by Paul Craig Roberts on 12 Feb 2015 1 Comment
Q: What is your viewpoint about the situation in Donbass region? Could you give us some prognosis of further development of the Ukrainian conflict?


For centuries Ukraine was part of Russia and then the Soviet Union.  When the Soviet Union collapsed, Washington insisted on breaking Ukraine apart from Russia. This separation was required both by the Brzezinski doctrine and by the neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony. The creation of an independent Ukrainian state did not in itself succeed in breaking Ukraine from Russia. The southern and eastern provinces are inhabited by Russians. There is much intermarriage, with relatives in both countries. And long integration within Russia had integrated the Ukrainian economy with Russia. Also, these historic connections resulted in favorable economic standing for Ukraine in trade with Russia.


When the Washington-financed and orchestrated “Orange Revolution” failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands, Washington spent $5 billion dollars over the next decade cultivating and grooming Ukrainian politicians and creating Washington-funded NGOs capable of organizing mass protests in Kiev. 


When Russia used diplomacy to block Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran, Washington realized that a New Russia had appeared, beyond Washington’s control, that was capable of blocking Washington’s intentions. Consequently, suddenly Washington’s focus shifted from the Middle East to Russia. The groomed Ukrainian politicians were assembled. The NGOs put the demonstrators in the streets. The democratically elected Ukrainian government was overthrown, and Washington’s chosen puppets were put in office as per the intercepted telephone call between Victorian Nuland the US ambassador in Kiev.


Now Russia has an Ukrainian problem, brought to Vladimir Putin courtesy of Washington.
Washington hoped that its grab of Ukraine would result in Russia being evicted from its naval base in Crimea, but this hope was frustrated by the Crimean people, who voted overwhelmingly to reunite with Mother Russia. This enabled Russia to retain its warm water port.


The Russian provinces of eastern and southern Ukraine made the same vote and request, but the Russian government refused the request. Possibly the Russian government was under too much pressure from the West. Alternatively, perhaps the Russian government hoped to retain a Russian population within Ukraine in order to regain a political lever over Kiev. It is not in Russia’s or Ukraine’s interest for there to be conflict between the two.


Statements from Washington’s puppet government in Kiev about killing Russians and prohibiting the official use of the Russian language, together with the destruction of Soviet war memorials in memory of the Red Army’s liberation of Ukraine from Hitler’s Wehrmacht, made the Russian populations of Ukraine feel threatened. These threatened people organized military forces to defend themselves from the attacks from Kiev and formed independent republics. So far the Kiev forces have been unable to subdue the so-called “break-away provinces.”


In my opinion, the Russian government believed that Europe had more sense and more independence from Washington than it possesses. Russia thought that Europe would want to avoid the conflict that Washington was preparing for them and, therefore, would be reassured by the Russian government’s refusal of the break-away provinces’ requests and Russia’s lack of provocative action. Russia is not the problem, Putin kept telling the European vassals of Washington.


As it turned out, Europe is more firmly under Washington’s thumb than the Russian government realized. European politicians are even willing to harm the interests of their own countries in order to serve Washington. The Russian government now understands that Europe lacks political independence. Putin has publicly acknowledged this fact. This improved understanding of the situation that Russia faces requires a rethinking of the situation in Ukraine.


Of the break-away provinces to unite with Russia, civil war in Ukraine is almost certain.  Washington is already moving to arm and to train the weak and disorganized Ukrainian military.  The longer Russia waits, the more formidable will be the opponent that Washington creates for Russia. Moreover, Washington might move missile bases into Ukraine, both offensive nuclear missiles and anti-ballistic missile defensive missiles that reduce the credibility of Russia’s nuclear forces.


The longer Russia tolerates the extreme propaganda against Russia, setting Russia up as a threat to the West, while Russia is surrounded with more powerful and threatening US and NATO military bases, the harder it will be for Russia to retain an independent policy and its sovereign existence.


Washington is determined to prolong civil war in Ukraine. Russia should frustrate this intention by accepting the requests of the break-away provinces for unity with Russia. Once the Russian government accepts the break-away provinces, a continuation of war means war with Russia. Europe will follow Washington a long way, but not into war with Russia. However, Europe can be gradually eased into war with Russia, which is why Washington intends to prolong the conflict in Ukraine. In my opinion, Russia can stop the civil war immediately by accepting the requests for unification or declaring that the provinces are under Russian protection. Perhaps the model is Russia’s success in South Ossetia.


Q: How the US mass media covers the military conflict in the East of Ukraine?


The US print and TV media do not mention that the Russian peoples in eastern and southern Ukraine are under military attack from the US puppet government in Kiev, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. The reports in the presstitute Western media are that Russian tank columns and Russian troops have invaded Ukraine and are in the process of annexing the eastern and southern regions. Americans are told that Putin wants to restore the Soviet Empire. Polls show that 63% of the US population believes the anti-Russian propaganda and regards Russia as a threat to the US and Europe. The cold war has been restarted in a way that could result in a hot war and the end of life on earth.


There are even reports that Russia is preparing to invade the Baltics and Poland. The hysteria is being whipped to a high pitch. The new head of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andrew Lack, has declared the English language Russian TV program RT to be a terrorist organization comparable to Boco Haram and the Islamic State.


Consequently, Washington is sending tanks, military aircraft, and troops to “defend the Baltics”. Washington is working to incorporate both Georgia and Ukraine into NATO so that the next time Georgia assaults South Ossetia Russia cannot repel the assault unless Russia is willing to go to war with NATO and the US.


Americans have forgot all about the “Muslim threat”. Now it is the “Russian threat”. The Russians are the new enemy that will guarantee massive profits for the military/security complex. Nothing is more important to Americans than money, and Russia is the excuse needed to bleed the taxpayers for the money to “resist Russian aggression”.


Q: How do you assess the current political situation in Greece? Do you admit the possibility of strengthening of the cooperation between Russia and Greece, if we take into account the current political situation in the world?


The way the Western financial system works is this: the private banks get governments into more debt than they can service. John Perkins, one of those responsible, explains the process in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. Read it and you will understand American inequity. Once a country is indebted more than it can pay, in comes the International Monetary Fund. The IMF tells the country, don’t worry we will protect your credit reputation by lending you the money to pay your creditors. 


However, the IMF money is not a gift. It is a loan, and the “rescued country” has to repay the IMF loan by cutting social pensions and social services such as health care, by throwing people out of their government jobs, by lowering the minimum wage, and by selling off valuable public assets such as ports, municipal water companies, and national park lands, such as the protected Greek islands, to clients of the creditor banks.


In other words, the indebted country is looted in order to protect its credit rating. This is the way Western Capitalism works. It is a looting mechanism described in idealistic language by neo-liberal economists and libertarians, mentalities that also flourish in Russia. No country would agree to the conditions if it were independent. However, under the dollar payments system, no country is independent except the US. Countries are propagandized to believe that they are cut off from credit unless they agree to being looted by the clients of their creditor banks. This is the way Western financial capitalism works.


The problem for Greece is that the conditions imposed on Greece are so extreme as to produce depression. The IMF/EU “adjustment program” imposed on Greece has resulted in economic collapse. The simple fact is that the austerity program drives down the economy, thus worsening the burden of the debt. Faced with this challenge, Greeks voted in a new government, but the new government is one with 36% of the vote, a larger vote than its various rivals, but not a convincing majority that allows Greece to stand up to its creditors and to the EU, which is using the “sovereign debt crisis” to destroy the remaining sovereignty of the individual member countries of the EU.


As I explain in my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, Greece is the test case for establishing two new principles:  One is that creditors are not responsible for over-lending or for making bad loans. Instead, the people of the indebted country are responsible. The other is that the tendency of governments to over-borrow means that the EU government takes over their fiscal policy and makes the tax and spend decisions for the EU member countries. In other words, European countries are to be ruled from Brussels just as the 50 American states, despite the US Constitution, are ruled by Washington. If the EU and the private banks decide that they will not accept any renegotiation of the debt conditions from Greece and that the only issue is pay up or else, the new Greek government has the alternative of applying to the BRICS for financial support.


If Greece is faced with Western intransigence, Greece’s alternative is to leave, or be kicked out of, the EU, the euro, and NATO and to ally with support offered by Russia and the BRICS.
Intransigence on the part of the EU and Greece’s creditors could result in Greece turning to Russia and the BRICS. If this were to happen, other EU member countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal, which are threatened with the same horrific consequences of austerity, could also turn to the BRICS. The consequence would be to unravel, the EU, the euro, and NATO, a highly desirable outcome in terms of peace and justice.


Clearly, Russia has handed Greece the trump card. But does the new Greek government dare to play it? From Iran through Africa, South America, and Indonesia, leaders of governments who have diverged from Washington’s policy have been overthrown or assassinated. Stephen Kinzer’s book, The Brothers, provides case studies of the overthrow of governments by CIA Director Allen Dulles and US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. The US even tried to overthrow Chavez in Venezuela whose electoral support was far higher than the new Greek government.


Q: Does the US government face the credibility gap from the American society? If so what measures should be undertaken to overcome this internal political situation?


The American people show conflicting signs. Polls show that there is very little support for President Obama and for the Congress. The majority of the population is disgusted. The question is: what precisely is the public disgusted about, because polls also show that the public, or 63% of it, has accepted the anti-Russian, anti-Putin propaganda put out by Washington and the Western media. 


So this is a paradox. Americans know that the US government lied to them about Saddam Hussein, Libya, Assad of Syria, Afghanistan and the Taliban, Iranian nuclear weapons and a long list of other things. Yet, despite this awareness, the American people have accepted the latest lie that Russia is a threat.

The US does not have an independent media. The print and TV media serve as a Ministry of Propaganda for Washington and the powerful private interests, such as Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, the extractive industries (energy, mining, timber), and agribusiness (Monsanto). For an American to be informed requires much time spent visiting Internet sites and learning which are reliable and accurate. Few Americans, pressed as they are to earn enough to pay their bills with many working two or three part-time jobs, simply have not the time or energy to devote to being informed. 


Q: How do you see the future of the European Union? Do you admit the possibility of the new alignment of political forces in the world and subsequent establishment of the new world order?


The “new world order” means different things to different people. The neoconservatives who control US foreign policy are determined that the ONLY world order is Washington’s hegemony over the world. No other “world orders” are permissible. The question that the world faces is whether this determination on the part of neoconservatives to dominate the planet results in nuclear war that destroys us all. Washington under neoconservative leadership and control is the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced.


Possibly, Western economic collapse and/or a successful reorganization of economic life by the BRICS and associated countries can curtail Washington’s appetite for power as Washington’s power goes into decline. If so, the world could enjoy an era of peace and prosperity. It really depends on how clever Russia, China, and allied nations are at remaking the world.


Q: How the American audience reacts to your works/viewpoints/articles/statements and so on? Whether such political views get a big response in the American society?


On a scale of 1-10, my website has a viewer ranking of 6, which is the highest ever attained by a one-person website. Only large institutions, such as Harvard University and are found among the higher ranking. Moreover, a large number of other websites, both large and small, reproduce my columns. Additionally, my columns are translated into many languages. The translations about which I am informed are Chinese, Russian, German, French, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, and Czech.

I receive many interview requests from alternative media within the US and from foreign countries and many requests to travel to foreign countries to speak at conferences. Although I seem to be one of the most well known “public intellectuals”, only a small percentage of the US population knows who I am. The same was true when I was one of the principle members of the Reagan administration. For the most part, the Americans are an insouciant people. Their grasp of the world in which they live is very limited, and it is this failure that dooms them.


Dr Paul Craig Roberts was interviewed by the Russian analytical magazine Political Education on 4 February 2015;

Dr Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

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