Sputnik’s short write-up is good. It does not include, though, an aside by Ray to show the depth of the neocons’ hatred for Julian Assange and his infuriating, magician-like wizardry in continuing to expose neocon antics via WikiLeaks – still orchestrating it all from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, right under the noses of the satraps of Washington’s favorite vassal state!
The subject is UKRAINE. Perhaps it is worth a more detailed refresher.
Ray refers to the WikiLeaks release (hat-tip to Chelsea Manning) of a cable from Embassy Moscow (08MOSCOW265), in which the Russians gave U.S. Ambassador William Burns a VERY LOUD NYET to any thought of Ukraine joining NATO. On February 1, 2008, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, explained to Burns precisely what the U.S. should expect from Russia were NATO to move to incorporate Ukraine. (To his credit, Burns played it straight, titling his cable “NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES,” and sent it to Secretary Condoleezza Rice at the State Department with IMMEDIATE precedence. Here is Burns’s introductory summary of his discussion with Lavrov:
“Summary. Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO membership action plan at the [upcoming] Bucharest summit, Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.
“In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.” (emphasis added).
Ambassador Burns continued: “Russia has made it clear that it would have to ‘seriously review’ its entire relationship with Ukraine and Georgia in the event of NATO inviting them to join. This could include major impacts on energy, economic, and political-military engagement, with possible repercussions throughout the region and into Central and Western Europe.”
Burns closed with this comment: “Russia’s opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia is both emotional and based on perceived strategic concerns about the impact on Russia’s interest in the region. … While Russian opposition to the first round of NATO enlargement in the mid-1990s was strong, Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully to what it perceives as actions contrary to its national interests.”
Being Exceptional, Though …
But, alas, “indispensably exceptional” countries – and exceptionally tough guys – and tough women – like today’s Hillary Clinton and Dick-Cheney-protégé Victoria Nuland – need pay no heed to such warnings. And so, a NATO summit in Bucharest two months later declared (on April 3, 2008) that Ukraine (and Georgia) “will become members of NATO.” We are now living “the rest of the story.”
On January 23, 2008 – a week before Foreign Minister Lavrov read the riot act to Ambassador Burns in Moscow – former Sen. Bill Bradley voiced a truly sad cri de coeur regarding NATO expansion. Bradley, George Kennan (and virtually everyone else who knew anything about Russia) were voicing strong opposition, but the hacks brought in by Bush and Cheney, convinced of U.S. exceptionalism, knew better. They decided to follow not only the advice of neocon hacks, but also the example set by President Bill Clinton in “damning the torpedoes” and moving NATO east.
The thought was that it could be a cakewalk to get Ukraine into NATO; the West just had to get rid of the elected government by mounting a Putsch, which of course it did on February 22, 2014. Here’s Bradley speaking on the “blunder” of NATO expansion (the clip is well worth six and a half minutes).
No need to fudge how this all went down. Nuland discussed the planned coup, including the main players “approved” for the new government, with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on an open telephone line just three weeks before the coup, and the U.S. extended formal recognition in what seemed to be record time. The remarkable Nuland-Pyatt telephone conversation was posted on YouTube on February 4, 2014. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxaa-67yGM
Sorry About Using the “F-Word”
Acknowledging the authenticity of the intercepted conversation, Nuland apologized quickly for her dismissive comment, “F— the EU,” but (surprise, surprise) not for orchestrating the Putsch. STRATFOR’s President George Friedman described it as “the most blatant coup in history.” But why did Nuland and her neocon friends see it as necessary? Because the duly elected Ukrainian government had turned down a U.S./EU-promoted austerity-laden deal that would have made the Ukraine an economic basket case – like Greece. The Russians had prevailed with Kiev by offering much more attractive terms.
Coups need to be well financed, of course. Nuland has bragged openly that this one, in effect, cost $5 billion. Here’s what she told the “U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference” at the State Department on December 13, 2012:
Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.