The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis

Exclusive: Given the very high stakes of a nuclear confrontation with Russia, some analysts wonder what’s the real motive for taking this extraordinary risk over Ukraine. Is it about natural gas, protection of the U.S. dollar’s dominance, or an outgrowth of neocon extremism, asks Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A senior U.S. diplomat told me recently that if Russia were to occupy all of Ukraine and even neighboring Belarus that there would be zero impact on U.S. national interests. The diplomat wasn’t advocating that, of course, but was noting the curious reality that Official Washington’s current war hysteria over Ukraine doesn’t connect to genuine security concerns.

So why has so much of the Washington Establishment from prominent government officials to all the major media pundits devoted so much time this past year to pounding their chests over the need to confront Russia regarding Ukraine? Who is benefiting from this eminently avoidable yet extremely dangerous crisis? What’s driving the madness?

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, speaking to Ukrainian and other business leaders at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2013, at a meeting sponsored by Chevron.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, speaking to Ukrainian and other business leaders at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2013, at a meeting sponsored by Chevron.

Of course, Washington’s conventional wisdom is that America only wants “democracy” for the people of Ukraine and that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked this confrontation as part of an imperialist design to reclaim Russian territory lost during the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. But that “group think” doesn’t withstand examination. [See’s “Who’s Telling the Big Lie on Ukraine?”]

The Ukraine crisis was provoked not by Putin but by a combination of the European Union’s reckless move to expand its influence eastward and the machinations of U.S. neoconservatives who were angered by Putin’s collaboration with President Barack Obama to tamp down confrontations in Syria and Iran, two neocon targets for “regime change.”

Plus, if “democracy promotion” were the real motive, there were obviously better ways to achieve it. Democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych pledged on Feb. 21 in an agreement guaranteed by three European nations to surrender much of his power and hold early elections so he could be voted out of office if the people wanted.

However, on Feb. 22, the agreement was brushed aside as neo-Nazi militias stormed presidential buildings and forced Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives. Rather than stand behind the Feb. 21 arrangement, the U.S. State Department quickly endorsed the coup regime that emerged as “legitimate” and the mainstream U.S. press dutifully demonized Yanukovych by noting, for instance, that a house being built for him had a pricy sauna.

The key role of the neo-Nazis, who were given several ministries in recognition of their importance to the putsch, was studiously ignored or immediately forgotten by all the big U.S. news outlets. [See’s “Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Reality.”]

So, it’s hard for any rational person to swallow the official line that the U.S. interest in the spiraling catastrophe of Ukraine, now including thousands of ethnic Russians killed by the coup regime’s brutal “anti-terrorist operation,” was either to stop Putin’s imperial designs or to bring “democracy” to the Ukrainians.

That skepticism combined with the extraordinary danger of stoking a hot war on the border of nuclear-armed Russia has caused many observers to search for more strategic explanations behind the crisis, such as the West’s desires to “frack” eastern Ukraine for shale gas or the American determination to protect the dollar as the world’s currency.

Thermo-Nuclear War Anyone?

The thinking is that when the potential cost of such an adventure, i.e. thermo-nuclear warfare that could end all life on the planet, is so high, the motivation must be commensurate. And there is logic behind that thinking although it’s hard to conceive what financial payoff is big enough to risk wiping out all humanity including the people on Wall Street.

But sometimes gambles are made with the assumption that lots of money can be pocketed before cooler heads intervene to prevent total devastation — or even the more immediate risk that the Ukraine crisis will pitch Europe into a triple-dip recession that could destabilize the fragile U.S. economy, too.

In the Ukraine case, the temptation has been to think that Moscow hit with escalating economic sanctions will back down even as the EU and U.S. energy interests seize control of eastern Ukraine’s energy reserves. The fracking could mean both a financial bonanza to investors and an end to Russia’s dominance of the natural gas supplies feeding central and eastern Europe. So the economic and geopolitical payoff could be substantial.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ukraine has Europe’s third-largest shale gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic feet, an inviting target especially since other European nations, such as Britain, Poland, France and Bulgaria, have resisted fracking technology because of environmental concerns. An economically supine Ukraine would presumably be less able to say no. [See’s “Beneath the Ukraine Crisis: Shale Gas.”]

Further supporting the “natural gas motive” is the fact that it was Vice President Joe Biden who demanded that President Yanukovych pull back his police on Feb. 21, a move that opened the way for the neo-Nazi militias and the U.S.-backed coup. Then, just three months later, Ukraine’s largest private gas firm, Burisma Holdings, appointed Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors.

While that might strike some of you as a serious conflict of interest, even vocal advocates for ethics in government lost their voices amid Washington’s near-universal applause for the ouster of Yanukovych and warm affection for the coup regime in Kiev.

For instance, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, dismissed the idea that Hunter Biden’s new job should raise eyebrows, telling Reuters: “It can’t be that because your dad is the vice president, you can’t do anything,”

Who Is Behind Burisma?

Soon, Burisma a shadowy Cyprus-based company was lining up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures.

As Time magazine reported, “Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.”

According to investigative journalism in Ukraine, the ownership of Burisma has been traced to Privat Bank, which is controlled by the thuggish billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed by the coup regime to be governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a south-central province of Ukraine. Kolomoysky also has been associated with the financing of brutal paramilitary forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Also, regarding this energy motive, it shouldn’t be forgotten that on Dec. 13, 2013, when neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” she was at a conference sponsored by Chevron. She even stood next to the company’s logo.

So, clearly energy resources and the billions of dollars that go with them should be factored in when trying to solve the mystery of why Official Washington has gone so berserk about a confrontation with Russia that boils down to whether ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine should be allowed some measure of autonomy or be put firmly under the thumb of U.S.-friendly authorities in Kiev.

There’s also the issue of Russia’s interest in exploring with China and other emerging economies the possibility of escaping the financial hegemony of the U.S. dollar, a move that could seriously threaten American economic dominance. According to this line of thinking, the U.S. and its close allies need to bring Moscow to its geopolitical knees where it was under the late Boris Yeltsin to stop any experimentation with other currencies for global trade.

Again, the advocates for this theory have a point. Protecting the Mighty Dollar is of utmost importance to Wall Street. The financial cataclysm of a potential ouster of the U.S. dollar as the world’s benchmark currency might understandably prompt some powerful people to play a dangerous game of chicken with nuclear-armed Russia.

Of course, there’s also the budgetary interest of NATO and the U.S. “military-industrial complex” (which helps fund many of Washington’s “think tanks”) to hype every propaganda opportunity to scare the American people about the “Russian threat.”

And, it’s a truism that every major international confrontation has multiple drivers. Think back on the motives behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Among a variety of factors were Vice President Dick Cheney’s lust for oil, President George W. Bush’s psychological rivalry with his father, and the neocons’ interest in orchestrating “regime change” in countries considered hostile to Israel. [See’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

There are also other reasons to disdain Putin, from his bare-chested horseback riding to his retrograde policies on gay rights. But he is no Stalin and surely no Hitler.

The Neocons’ ‘Samson Option’

So, while it’s reasonable to see multiple motives behind the brinksmanship with Russia over Ukraine, the sheer recklessness of the confrontation has, to me, the feel of an ideology or an “ism,” where people are ready to risk it all for some larger vision that is central to their being.

That is why I have long considered the Ukraine crisis to be an outgrowth of the neoconservative obsession with Israel’s interests in the Middle East.

Not only did key neocons the likes of Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. John McCain put themselves at the center of the coup plotting last winter but the neocons had an overriding motive: they wanted to destroy the behind-the-scenes collaboration between President Obama and President Putin who had worked together to avert a U.S. bombing campaign against the Syrian government a year ago and then advanced negotiations with Iran over limiting but not eliminating its nuclear program.

Those Obama-Putin diplomatic initiatives frustrated the desires of Israeli officials and the neocons to engineer “regime change” in those two countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even believed that bombing Iran’s nuclear plants was an “existential” necessity.

Further, there was the possibility that an expansion of the Obama-Putin cooperation could have supplanted Israel’s powerful position as a key arbiter of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Thus, the Obama-Putin relationship had to be blown up and the Ukraine crisis was the perfect explosive for the destruction. [See’s “Why Neocons Seek to Destabilize Russia.”]

Though I’m told that Obama now understands how the neocons and other hardliners outmaneuvered him over Ukraine, he has felt compelled to join in Official Washington’s endless Putin-bashing, causing a furious Putin to make clear that he cannot be counted on to assist Obama on tricky foreign policy predicaments like Syria and Iran.

As I wrote last April, “There is a ‘little-old-lady-who-swallowed-the-fly’ quality to neocon thinking. When one of their schemes goes bad, they simply move to a bigger, more dangerous scheme. If the Palestinians and Lebanon’s Hezbollah persist in annoying you and troubling Israel, you target their sponsors with ‘regime change’ in Iraq, Syria and Iran. If your ‘regime change’ in Iraq goes badly, you escalate the subversion of Syria and the bankrupting of Iran.

“Just when you think you’ve cornered President Barack Obama into a massive bombing campaign against Syria with a possible follow-on war against Iran Putin steps in to give Obama a peaceful path out, getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and Iran to agree to constraints on its nuclear program. So, this Obama-Putin collaboration has become your new threat. That means you take aim at Ukraine, knowing its sensitivity to Russia.

“You support an uprising against elected President Viktor Yanukovych, even though neo-Nazi militias are needed to accomplish the actual coup. You get the U.S. State Department to immediately recognize the coup regime although it disenfranchises many people of eastern and southern Ukraine, where Yanukovych had his political base.

“When Putin steps in to protect the interests of those ethnic Russian populations and supports the secession of Crimea (endorsed by 96 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum), your target shifts again. Though you’ve succeeded in your plan to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin, Putin’s resistance to your Ukraine plans makes him the next focus of ‘regime change.’

“Your many friends in the mainstream U.S. news media begin to relentlessly demonize Putin with a propaganda barrage that would do a totalitarian state proud. The anti-Putin ‘group think’ is near total and any accusation regardless of the absence of facts is fine.”

Yet, by risking a potential nuclear confrontation with Russia — the equivalent of the old lady swallowing a horse — the neocons have moved beyond what can be described in a children’s ditty. It has become more like a global version of Israel’s “Samson Option,” the readiness to use nuclear weapons in a self-destructive commitment to eliminate your enemies whatever the cost to yourself.

But what is particularly shocking in this case is how virtually everyone in U.S. officialdom and across the mainstream media spectrum has bought into this madness.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.


59 comments for “The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis

  1. Abe
    September 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Is there still hope for peace in Ukraine?
    By Patrick Boylan

    Internationally, neocons (and their influential and well-heeled sponsors) have not been happy with the gradual rapprochement taking place between Europe and Russia these past few years, as seen by the increasing number of oil and gas pipelines “sewing” the two land masses together, by the increasing number of Euro-Russian trade and financial agreements stipulated, by the increasing number of joint research projects for developing new technologies, and so on. Because all this can only lead to genuine multipolarity in the world, i.e., a world in which a future Euro-Russian block will have the same weight and punch as China or as… the United States of America. Goodbye U.S. primacy.

    But by engineering the coup in Ukraine to undermine Russia on its western border, the neocons (and their sponsors) managed to provoke Putin’s counterattack and thus a fight. This permitted them, in turn, to denounce Russian “aggression” and to call for measures to castigate Russia – measures having the end effect of crippling Euro-Russian rapprochement, the neocons’ real goal. The beauty of this strategy is that it got Europeans to punish themselves , as well as the Russians, thus permitting the U.S. to rake in a profit off the sanctions. Specifically, EU countries were induced to:

    • freeze part of their joint economic and technological exchanges with Russia, thus making it necessary to compensate by increasing their trans-Atlantic exchanges with the U.S. under the conditions spelled out in the forthcoming TTIP agreement. (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, still top secret, is a free trade agreement that will give U.S.-based multinational corporations a stranglehold on European industries; it is due to be approved this year);

    • throw a wrench in their joint oil/gas pipeline projects with Russia (or multiple wrenches as in the case of the South Stream project), thus making it necessary to compensate their energy losses by importing liquified gas from the U.S. – which, it is claimed, is now produced sufficiently in excess, thanks to fracking, to pick up the EU slack. In other words, besides economic and military dependence, Europe will now be dependent on the U.S. for much of its energy and thus, more than ever, a vassal.

    All this is a textbook lesson in how to create empire without firing a shot.

    The neocon international strategy therefore rejects multipolarity and redivides the world into two blocks, and the dividing line goes right along the eastern border of Ukraine. One block consists of Russia, Iran and China, the backbone of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) which seems destined to become the new “Axis of Evil”. The other block, called “the West”, consists of all the other countries in the world, aligned behind the United States of America which shields them from Evil, that is, from the SCO.

  2. dennis morrisseau
    September 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    These two articles encompass all that I have been able to see, with the
    Samson Strategy as a throw-in, but yes, I consider that possible too.

    The only way i can think of that we the people can have a say in all this
    and maybe a shot at turning away from this reckless gathering maelstrom
    is right here……[we have to flood our domestic politics for the next 2 months
    with our very strong effort to remove every sitting Congressman who is running
    for reelection] [12 min to end]

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] retired. Political Scientist. 802 645 9727 POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775

    • Yaj
      September 4, 2014 at 11:21 am


      Throwing the bums out, just means that one set of bums can replace the bums formerly in Congress.

      Also the Senate is part of the Congress, and not all of the Senate is up for election/re-election in Nov. 2014.

      And I speak as someone who plans to vote against my long serving representative in the House, since he, a liberal democrat, went out of his way to pretend that the Assad regime used Sarin year ago and that the Russian separatists in Ukraine were behaving like Nazis. (Both entirely belied by facts, and this fool representative put himself on the side of actual Nazis in Ukraine–and did so on his House webpage.)

      It’s sort of like the cut taxes calls. Okay then, what services are you going to give up? Specify today.

      In the case of your Vermont representative, of course you’re free to vote against him, but what would his removal from office take away from your experience of living in Vermont? And is that something you can do without?

      • Chris T.
        September 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

        “throw the bums out”

        first reply has it right, doesn’t matter who it is, they’re all the same.
        You don’t get through the door if you weren’t

        People should finally realize that voting is not a duty, if anything NOT voting is the civic duty of every American who wants to uphold the constitution.

        Because the only thing this system needs from the “voters” is legitimacy.
        Even in our low-turn out country, voting rates of 20% would put that claim to rest.

        It’s not like the “other side”, the one you didn’t vote for this time, will be any worse than the one you would’ve picked if you had gone (see above)

        This is not just speculation, just look at the voting behind the former Iron Curtain, this was not just for western consumption, even if most knew the farcical nature of it all.
        Here though, people are simply unwilling to see the farce that it is.

  3. Zachary Smith
    September 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I can’t deny that I’ve not been able to sort out all the goings-on in the Ukraine, but my ‘gut’ feeling is that the Dollar issue is one of the biggies.

    There’s also the issue of Russia’s interest in exploring with China and other emerging economies the possibility of escaping the financial hegemony of the U.S. dollar, a move that could seriously threaten American economic dominance.

    Not that the other listed items aren’t important: I believe they are. Israel’s rage about Russia’s role in defending Syria and Iran is bound to be driving the situation as well. But any threats to Dollar Dominance are bound to provoke a ferocious reaction from BHO’s controllers, and that provides openings to the others.

    This was an excellent and thought-provoking piece, and I congratulate the author.

    • Sten
      September 4, 2014 at 1:35 am

      Ending the dollar’s dominance doesn’t exactly rise to the level of existential threat~ergo nuclear Armageddon. However, an intergrated, pan-EurAsian/African economic block, couldn’t be anything else but.

  4. Jonny James
    September 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Not much for me to add to the article and the great comments here. I agree that there are likely multiple drivers and interests at work.
    The continuation of the trend to expand NATO and surround Russia is in play.

    Control of energy distribution and pipeline networks in Ukraine, which are now owned by the state, could also be in play. Part of IMF “conditionalities” is to sell-off public assets (part of austerity) to private interests. I haven’t researched this myself but, rumors have been floated that Chevron and Burisma may be part of the plans privatize pipeline networks. Already proposals for this have been introduced in the (illegitimate) Ukraine parliament. Fracking rights reportedly go to Chevron, some claim that they are already bringing in equipment. Not only gas production is at stake but the gas pipeline network as well. If western interests controlled both production and distribution pipelines, this would have clear affects on Russian gas going through Ukraine as well as Russian gas sales to the EU members.

    Influential senior members of the CFR like Zgig Brzezinski, (Grand Chessboard) have had a geo-stratetgic plan laid out to isolate, surround and eventually break apart the Russia for years now.

    One small bone to pick: the term “neocon” gets thrown around quite a lot. The term originally was used to label the PNAC members and disciples of Leo Strauss. However, people like McCain, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Kerry, HR Clinton, even Zbig himself were not part of this group. Yet their foreign policy differs very little from the “neocons”, at least not in any significant way that I can see. Neocon or no, most politicos and mainstream pundits advocate an Orwellian narrative and a criminal foreign policy.

    Also, imperialist and war criminal behavior has been part of US foreign policy for many decades, long before the ‘neocons’ held sway. The term has become a bit vague and slippery of late, perhaps a more accurate label need be applied.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 4, 2014 at 8:29 am

      I have a name for them…it starts with ‘Evil A ‘ and ends in ‘holes’.

    • KHawk
      September 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

      How about the term used by Ivan Eland?
      “War Heads”

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Okay. ‘Evil A ending in Holes WAR HAWKS…. I’ll go with that! Thanks Khawk

        • Jonny James
          September 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          How bout “necro-phagist parasite” ?

          (parasite who feeds off of dead flesh)

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          Jonny James try this;
          “Necro-Phagist Parasite Evil A hole War Hawks”

          okay, that should please all of us…thanks Joe Tedesky

    • carroll price
      September 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      True neocons such as Leo Strauss, Douglas Feith, Bill Krystal and Paul Wolfowitz (to name only 4 of many) are all Jewish intellectuals. Neocon facilitators and helpers such as Dick Cheney, George Bush, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham are all chicken hawks who worship war due to the money and prestige attached to it.

      • September 6, 2014 at 11:05 pm

        You do have to add NEOLIBS in….and that means “my” Vermont senator–your beloved?–BERNIE SANDERS….
        U. of Chicago classmate of many; and student of Leo Strauss

  5. Jackrabbit
    September 4, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I do not believe that Obama is as innocent as you portray him to be.

    He seemed gung-ho for bombing Syria. He punted to Congress only after the UK Parliament vote NO. And Sy Hersh detailed CIA gun running to Syria in his The Red Line and The Rat Line (he had previously explained neocon plans for the middle east in his 2007 report: The Redirection. It seems unlikely that Obama, who picks drone targets, didn’t know of this.

    Obama has appeared to be very supportive of the Ukraine adventure. Nuland still has a job, Poroshenko has been invited to the White House, and Obama has helped to spread the ‘Russian invasion’ line. And we still haven’t seen US intel on MH-17.

    Lastly, Obama has appointed so many neocons or neocon sympathizers that it seems impossible to believe that he isn’t one himself.

    • jo6pac
      September 4, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Thank You, RP is still in the camp of he isn’t bad. 0 only going to do what he is told so when he isn’t potus he and wife can go live the good life like big dog and hillabilly. The rest of us in the New Amerika are screwed. What 2 party system?

  6. Brendan
    September 4, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Thanks for that very informative article. It didn’t give any definitive answer to the “Why?” of American involvement in Ukraine but the neo-cons in the Obama government don’t seem to know themselves what they’re doing. It can be said, though, that gas does seem to be one of the factors in their intervention. The only plan they seem to have had in the past few years, whether in Libya, Syria or Ukraine, is regime change but they don’t think too much about what is supposed to happen after that.

    Libya is now in a state of anarchy where Islamists have far more influence than the USA does. Regime change didn’t succeed in Syria. Instead it became a training ground for Islamists who formed the Islamic State, thanks to funding from America’s gulf allies and possibly from the US itself.Now the Islamic State has spread deep into Iraq. In Ukraine, Crimea has been lost to Russia, and pro-Russian rebels now have the upper hand in the east where much of the gas reserves are located.

    It’s no coincidence that what those countries have in common is oil or gas. Syria doesn’t have much gas but could be a suitable location for gas pipelines to Europe from either Qatar or Iran.

    • David Ward
      September 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Not anarchy. Chaos. HUGE difference.

  7. Brendan
    September 4, 2014 at 2:16 am

    In April 2014 the White House announced $50 million in aid to Ukraine including help on energy security “to increase conventional gas production from existing fields to boost domestic energy supply. A technical team will also engage the government on measures that will help the Ukrainian government ensure swift and environmentally sustainable implementation of contracts signed in 2013 for shale gas development.”

    Around the same time, US Vice-President Joe Biden gave a speech in Kiev to Ukrainian Legislators:
    “And as you attempt to pursue energy security, there’s no reason why you cannot be energy secure. I mean there isn’t. It will take time. It takes some difficult decisions, but it’s collectively within your power and the power of Europe and the United States. And we stand ready to assist you in reaching that. Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: Keep your gas. It would be a very different world you’d be facing today. It’s within our power to alter that.”

    Less than a month later his son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma Holdings, one of Ukraine’s top gas producers. The biography of Hunter Biden on their website doesn’t show that he has any previous experience in either eastern Europe or the gas industry.

  8. jer
    September 4, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Reason why the 2014 crisis erupted in Ukraine is the exact reason why the U.S. Coast Guard is operating in the Persian Gulf (!), of all places. Warped American exceptionalism.

  9. F. G. Sanford
    September 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

    The biggest growth industry in news media today is…well, apparently it’s debunking the news media. It’s just that so far, nobody has figured out how to make that profitable. And to top it off, telling the truth now takes on a character that has been specifically maligned in recent years as the public has been systematically programmed to see anything critical of “isms” as some sort of deeply evil, low minded affront to humanity. Some of these “isms” should be regarded with suspicion not as they stand, but as if they were carried to their logical extremes. That’s the secret most comedians use to make us laugh. I’m an old guy, and I grew up when there was still in existence an effort to get people to see through propaganda. I’m a little worried about what happens when my generation is gone. Back then, it wouldn’t have been in poor taste to tell a joke that began, “There’s a Pollack, an Italian, a German and an American in a lifeboat…” Without going any further, we all know the outcome will be tragic, but hilarious. Unfortunately, today, we’re seeing that same scenario play out in an organization called NATO, and nobody is willing to crack jokes about it, let alone tell the truth. We’ve got loons like Lindsey Graham and John McCain who want to bomb Syria to get rid of ISIS. Let’s face it, folks, that would be like bombing Mississippi to get rid of the Ku Klux Klan. Where the f&@k do you start? Our leaders say things like, “Russia doesn’t make anything, the Ruble is worthless, and their financial sector is below junk status”. But millions of people who know better are afraid to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire?” Many of us saw the pictures of the vote in the Verkhova Rada to install the coup government, where only 328 of the 450 members were present. Pravy Sector thugs were standing around with Kalashnikovs to make sure, in their own words, “Everybody votes correctly”. The “offer you can’t refuse” used to be the subject of ridicule in America, but now that we’ve embraced Kolomoisky’s Ukrainian mafia, and Joe Biden’s son has been made Consigliere, we’re supposed to pretend, “It’s all good”. To me, the funniest thing is the part about Putin being a “gay basher”. They say that with a straight face, as if entire campaigns by tea-partiers and cross-eyed dingbats like Michelle Bachman aren’t run entirely on that singular issue. Personally, I think the funniest thing in the world is NOT watching two guys in tuxedos exit a church showered by rice who then kiss each other on the mouth, although that’s pretty funny. What’s REALLY funny is watching Steve Doocey’s head explode when they run that video on “Fox and Friends”. Allowed to run its course, that sort of thing will eventually disappear. Carried to its logical extreme, it becomes passé, and actually embarrasses the participants more than the critics. Not so with NATO and the Neocons, who may eventually treat us to a nuclear holocaust. The punchline will be tragic, but not very funny.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      How does a Chicken Hawk cross the road? He doesn’t, he calls in an air strike, then declares mission accomplished.

      I’ll leave you all with that, before I start telling old nun & elephant jokes.

  10. Joseph
    September 4, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I would put more emphasis on the military industrial connection and the old cold war loonies. They’ve been principal instigators of every foreign policy catastrophe caused by the US since WWII. It is likely their employees who supply the more virulent right wing comments on the web. Their pay depends upon conflict, and they yearn for the cold war days. The cold war seniors easily bring amoral young opportunists into the right wing propaganda process, both by controlling their rewards and by surrounding them with false information throughout their lives.
    The US admin is “advised” almost exclusively by militarists. There is no National Humanitarian Council relied upon in foreign emergencies, only the NSC. There are no Joint Chiefs of Justice, only the JCS. There are no secret agencies for humanitarian purposes. Rarely is any concern with democracy or humanitarian issues voiced within the military. Consequently there is no evidence of any concern whatsoever with democracy or humanitarian concerns in US foreign policy since WWII.

  11. September 4, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Yesterday Obama lied yet again, but what else is new?:
    “The protests in Ukraine on the Maidan were not led by neo-Nazis of fascists. They were led by ordinary Ukrainians, men and women, young and old who were fed up with a corrupt regime and who wanted to share in the progress and prosperity that they see in the rest of Europe. And they did not engage in an armed seizure of power.”

  12. Joe
    September 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Thank you for the article Mr. Parry. You have touched on all of the points that I believe are driving the US, and western interests, in Ukraine. Much like Iraq there are multiple reasons for the crisis – defending the US Dollar Reserve Currency Status, business interests in Ukraine and Europe, and expansion of NATO. Frankly the aggressive stance by western nations in a very volatile situation frighten me. I remember the Cold War and the idiocy behind it and it looks like we are moving into another one. I was hoping that we were moving into a world with multiple large powers and the end of superpowers which might bring the world back into some sort of balance. Only time will tell but I hope that we will not come out on top this time because I think that we (the West, NATO etc.) are the largest threat to the world this time around. Only time will tell what will happen but I would say with China on the doorstep of being the largest economy on the planet then I think the balance of power is going to change.

  13. Joe
    September 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    One other thought that I had, after all of the MSM rhetoric that Russia is “invading” Ukraine, is why hasn’t Ukraine then officially declared war on Russia? I would think that if Canada, where I live, was being “invaded” by a foreign country that we would immediately declare war. Also, if this was an “invasion” then why did Ukraine release the 10 paratroopers back to Russia? Wouldn’t they be guilty of something and charged in Ukraine for crimes? I don’t know, this whole “invasion” angle stinks. For me, if Russia was “invading” then it would be unmistakeable and they would not be pissing around in Eastern Ukraine but be marching on Kiev (much as the US did in Iraq when it moved on Baghdad less than 3 weeks into the invasion with Iraqi hospitals reporting 100 patients per hour).

  14. Pat
    September 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Terrific article, Bob. A couple of comments:

    First, when discussing the natural gas angle, we often forget that there are many influential players besides large energy companies such as Exxonmobil and Chevron that are chomping at the bit to get their foot in the door in Ukraine. Someone has to build the infrastructure, and then there are the investment banks. I have to check, but I believe Ukraine law currently stipulates that foreign companies need to work in partnership with domestic companies, although I suppose that could change. I have wondered whether Burisma is positioning itself as a possible partner. Also, I would be willing to bet that there will be money through OPIC, not just for the projects but for the financing of them.

    Incidentally, Burisma created a new spin-off last November called Burisma Investments.

    Second, regarding the media coverage/propaganda, a group of PR executives created a media center for reporters in March to push the Kiev governments agenda – although their stated purpose on the site is “to provide the international community with objective information about events in Ukraine and threats to national security, particularly in the military, political, economic, energy and humanitarian spheres.” The Ukraine Media Crisis Center arranges briefings by various government officials, all from a hotel in Kyiv where reporters can get a cup and file their stories in relative comfort. This is where the military gives its daily media briefings about operations in eastern Ukraine. They even made a special backdrop (initially they were using their own logo). Nuland gave a briefing there in June.

    The execs say they are working strictly on a volunteer basis, although their employers are continuing to pay their salaries. There is no information on the site about who funds this venture, but they have told reporters that George Soros pays the rent and that he’s the only source of funding. I find this highly suspicious. Some of these PR companies are (or are associated with) high-profile global PR firms, which don’t have to reveal whether they are getting outside funding or how much.

    Also, Soros works very closely with USAID and NED on projects in Ukraine that are part of their “mission” of spreading democracy and promoting free speech. The latter might be commendable if not for the fact that the materials coming out of the media center are completely one-sided, pro-Kyiv government and viciously anti-Putin. If you don’t want to wade through their press releases, just check out their FAQ page. Or click on the home page, where you’ll immediately be greeted with a blaring headline, “Malaysian Airlines Crash: Pro-Russian Terrorists Caught Red-Handed.”

    I haven’t taken the time to determine how many reporters are using this “resource” or relying on it entirely, but according to the article in PR week, it has been quite a success.

    • Pat
      September 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Oops, that should have read, “a hotel in Kyiv where reporters can get a cup of coffee and file …”

  15. Abe
    September 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Fascists Units and Regular Army Head for Kiev-Maidan Anti Gov Protests
    By Michael Collins

    If the government falls, what will replace it?

    Right Sector and the other fascist groups represent the worst possible outcome for the people of Ukraine and for the U.S. machinations behind the original protests and coup. A very public spectacle of a violent outcome to this latest foreign adventure and a purely fascist regime would be too much to bear.

    A takeover by the regular military represents the only outcome that might not totally humiliate the White House and rabid factions of Congress supporting this effort. It might allow U.S. war party factions to say, Well, at least the place isn’t run by outright Nazis.

    The good news is that a violent eruption in Kiev and overthrow of the current government would very likely end the deviant and vicious effort of Ukraine’s attack on its own people.

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Watch as NATO “peacekeepers” interoperably deploy to Western Ukraine to liberate the Nazis from the Nazis.

      Right in time for

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Kinda think mebbe this mighta been sorta the plan?

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I can hear Frau Nuland on a leaked recording, talking about UN Security Council approval for permanent NATO peacekeeping, saying: “That would be great I think to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, if you like, fuck Yats and Porko”.

    • Ann
      September 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Here comes the Ukrainian version of Camp Bondsteel.

  16. Bernard Jenkins
    September 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Once again, Mr Parry, you are doing God’s work (take that Lloyd Blankfein!). You are one of the very few people daring to put a monkey wrench into the Wall Street/Washington DC Axis of Evil’s Mighty Wurlitzer Lie Machine when it comes to the Ukraine farcedy. Doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Follow the money/follow the power is the golden rule. I think you have nailed it.
    Keep up the good work.

  17. JWalters
    September 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Robert Parry’s multi-faceted, fact-based analysis should be part of every serious media discussion about the Ukraine situation. His focus on the neocon-MidEast role in the crisis fits perfectly with historical pattern described in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the ‘War on Terror’.

    Further, no Russian president will simply fold before a NATO attempt to take away Russia’s major naval base in Crimea.

  18. Okasis
    September 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Since Putin truly is no Hitler or Stalin, and our only response, other than tons of words, has been to issue sanctions, and more sanctions – Many of which are biting the EU more than Russia – I have a fantastic theory for this stupidity:

    Fidel Castro just had another Birthday. Altho he seems to be in good health for 88, and even has all his marbles, he cannot live forever. Someone has to take his place as biggest Monster of all time. Putin is the perfect patsy. He is intelligent. He prefers reasonable negotiation to invasions. He even participates in weird sports like horse-back riding, kind of like Castro’s enjoyment of SCUBA Diving. Perhaps the CIA put ants in the saddle to damage Putin’s image as a ‘He-man’, and it didn’t work. Of course, none of their rather idiotic plots against Castro worked in over 50 years.

    Then there are the sanctions: They haven’t worked against Cuba and will probably end with the Castro Brothers. That makes Russia the perfect replacement. The 2nd Cold War can continue till we run out of Neo-Cons, or the sanctions miraculously work. I noticed that Sen. Bob Menendez, the arch foe of Fidel, has started damning Putin with similar terms.

    Along with the sanctions, we have also banned various Russians from traveling to the US. Because FIFA has refused to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, we cannot ban ‘all’ tourist travel to Russia. Money is far more important to Neo-Cons than consistency, so banning Russians will have to do.

    This may backfire on us however. Tiny Cuba has withstood its Imperialist Neighbor for over 50 years now. Cuba, and its Comandante have resisted isolation. They has steadily gained the respect of most Countries and many important people. If that holds true for Putin and Russia, we may be stuck in this farce for the next 30 or 40 years.

    Payback may be b*tch, given our Chutzpa. Perhaps it is time to take advantage of Yom Kippur and ask forgiveness for our many sins and mistakes while we still can. Obama could join Netanyahu at the Services. I think Israel’s Leaders needs to beg forgiveness for Gaza, the West Bank, and Palestinians, as much as ours do for Ukraine, the Mid-East, Africa, SE Asia, Latin America… The list is endless.

    I warned you this is a fantasy…

    • Abe
      September 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Just ideas—or disaster—will triumph
      By Fidel Castro

      • Okasis
        September 5, 2014 at 4:38 am

        I read part of this yesterday – an abbreviated translation from Cubadebates. Muchas Gracias for the link to the full Reflection – I collect them, and they are no longer published regularly in the Cuban English Press. I do read and speak Spanish, but not well.

  19. Abe
    September 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    ‘Akin to lunacy’
    F. William Engdahl on Ukraine

  20. Zerge
    September 5, 2014 at 1:26 am

    I guess that NATO sammit answers all “whys” pretty clear.

  21. Abe
    September 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union:
    The U.S. and NATO Are Provoking the Ukrainian Crisis

    “There needs to be an understanding between Russia and the Ukrainians as to how to solve this problem. It is not going to be solved militarily. So the idea that we should be giving more help to the Ukrainian government in a military sense simply exacerbates the problem. And the basic problem is Ukraine is a deeply divided country. And as long as one side tries to impose its will on the other—and that is what has happened since February, the Ukrainian nationalists in the west have been trying to impose their will on the east, and the Russians aren’t going to permit that. And that is the fact of the matter. So, yes, there simply needs to be an agreement.”

    – Jack F. Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991

  22. NoMoreWarsforIsrael
    September 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Bob Parry spot on about the neocons:

    World War III Risk Due to U.S. meddling In Ukraine!

    Additional links at following URL:

    US has a Zionist PNAC ‘neocon agenda’ in Ukraine vs Russia:

  23. Gregory Kruse
    September 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I have been a supporter of CREW and Melanie Sloan, but I am embarrassed by her comment. She seems to be leaving the ethical door open for unlimited nepotism with her remark, “It can’t be that because your dad is the vice president, you can’t do anything”. One might say that the other side of the coin is inscribed, “It can’t be that because your dad is the vice president, you can do anything”.

  24. Abe
    September 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Russia Negotiates Ceasefire In Ukraine:
    NATO Responds With Troops, Warships, and Sanctions

    Putin’s seven point peace plan outline is as follows:

    First, end active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.

    Second, withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.

    Third, allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.

    Fourth, exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.

    Fifth, organise the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions.

    Sixth, open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass – Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.

    Seventh, make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.

    In response to the Russian-brokered peace deal, NATO has responded in a typical confrontational fashion. Only hours after the ceasefire was announced, NATO and the United States announced that dynamic duo of destabilization was going ahead with planned military exercises in Western Ukraine that will see approximately 1,000 troops posted on Ukrainian soil.

  25. Славодар Оцелин
    September 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    The Neocons’ ‘Samson Option’:

    Very observing summary, Robert. How come the “The People” tolerate this?
    It appears that You “The People” are being lied to for decades, now. Since John Lennon was shot in the US, “The People” are afraid to speak up.

    I guess that your own government found a way to deal with you – Fear, Patriotism and of course that “Group Think” propaganda.

    Since You “The People” are not ready/willing to do anything about your “big bully/big mouth” government, we will have to do it for you.

    Братство Славиянское.

  26. Armchair Economist
    September 6, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Good points, but….

    “or even the more immediate risk that the Ukraine crisis will pitch Europe into a triple-dip recession that could destabilize the fragile U.S. economy, too”

    Well, that “triple-dip recession” is coming no matter what.

    Swallowing the mainstream economist cant that “a recession is over” is naive. Economic indicators are currently redlining. ZIRP is not helping. Europe is dead in the water and not going anywhere soon except the next EURO crisis. Russia was entering its next “dip” even before the Ukraine kerfuffle began. The US is set up for a bubble pop and debt unwinding of epic proportions. Just head over to David Stockman’s Contra Corner ( for a look behind the curtain.

    The interesting question is, what kind of deadly war brew will be prepared for us to cover up the failure of economic interventionism that is coming to keep us on enough adrenalin to not string up the “leaders” outright? Better fasten your seatbelts.

  27. delia ruhe
    September 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    All eyes must be made to shift away from the Pacific and the “pivot” — which, if it isn’t going badly (I sense that it is) is certainly going privately. Washington is having trouble organizing Cold War II against its preferred adversary, which just happens to possess zillions of American dollars. Therefore, let’s see if we can’t re-ignite Cold War I. And if that doesn’t work, we’ve got ISIS, just recently treated to the Hitler analogy, which will make it a useful enemy until we can get something truly scary off the ground.

  28. September 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    The first half of the article is good, but I think it goes too far in tying in Israel/neocon issues. I think, rather, this is all about money (EU and US). That plus some kind of generalized evil in the world which seeks to produce chaos.

  29. Chet Roman
    September 7, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    “That is why I have long considered the Ukraine crisis to be an outgrowth of the neoconservative obsession with Israel’s interests in the Middle East.”

    With that sentence, I believe that Parry has distilled the essence of our reckless foreign policy. The neocons are at the heart of our destructive policies and all those others, war hawks (McCain, Graham), liberal R2P’s (Powers, Rice), opportunists (Kerry and friends) and the AIPAC corrupted politicians are just “useful idiots” used by the neocons to further Israeli goals. It’s no coincidence that the Ukrainian oligarch, Kolomoysky, who was given the governorship of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, is the controlling power behind Burisma and supported the neo-Nazis in Kiev is a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizen.

  30. Dave
    September 8, 2014 at 7:00 am

    One of the bigger motivations for keeping the dollar on top is that the dollar is Israel’s lifeline.
    If the dollar dies, whose arteries will Israel sink their fangs into for support? China?
    This explains the fervent efforts by TV Jews (Krauthammer, Krystol, etc) to push this demonization of Putin; Israel’s lifeblood & the huge interest generated from the privately owned, Jewish run FED depends upon it.

  31. Steve Pahs
    September 8, 2014 at 7:40 am

    America’s foreign policy is “The Coon Hunter’s Creed”. “Them’s my coon in yer woods”.

  32. norman ravitch
    September 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I am not surprised that the libertarian Right is just as paranoid about conspiracies as the Marxists were and the radical Left usually is. The Old Right, afterall, invented conspiracy theories.

  33. Antonio Germano
    September 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    If this is all a neocon scheme to protect Israel, and Obama didn’t really want to bomb Syria, then what kind of a man is he (Obama)? Can’t he stand up to the warmongers? Is he a closet warmonger? What do we really know about him?

    All the more reason to abolish Statism. Then they can’t get us into any more wars.

  34. September 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

    The real number one reason is what I have called the “Pivot of the Century”:

    The other reasons are ancillary.

  35. Bud Wood
    September 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Yes, the comments regarding the Ukrainian crisis are right on. What seems to be missing is an observation that most dying empires resort to wars in order to rally support for the empire. That could certainly be the primary reason for the USA government’s reaction.

  36. Cyberstax
    September 11, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Interesting, thought-provoking analysis.

    A few recent data points:

    8/14/2014 “Anyone who has been watching Ukraine politics won’t be shocked by Kiev’s latest jab to Russia. This time a natural gas deal that awards the U.S. and Europe. The sanctions have worked.

    According to Russia’s state run RIA Novosti anyway, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law Thursday that allows the government to hand over 49% of the country’s gas transport system to investors from the European Union and the United States. That is quite different from actually doing it, but it opens the door to the West and opens the wound that the Russia-Ukraine political imbroglio has caused since February, when pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from office by extra legal means.

    The law allows foreign operators the right to “the management and/or concession or lease” of the gas pipelines and underground storage facilities, now dominated by Russia. The law also allows Ukraine’s government to establish a company to operate underground storage facilities, in which American and European investors can own up to 49%…”

    9/11/2014 Ukraine Crisis Wipes Billions Off Gazprom’s Q1 Profits

    “Russia’s Gazprom reported a 41 percent fall in first-quarter net profit after cutting prices for gas deliveries to Ukraine, and the gas producer faces more pain this year due to its unresolved dispute with Kiev.

    Ukraine’s “doubtful” trade accounts, a reference to either the non- or slow payment of debts by state gas producer Naftogaz in the first quarter, had forced Gazprom to write off 71.3 billion rubles ($1.9 billion), Gazprom said.

    Russia’s largest gas producer says Ukraine now owes it $5.4 billion for supplies, a debt that will hurt profits further into the year.

    With little sign of any resolution to the pricing dispute with Ukraine, the impact of Russia’s decision to turn off the taps to its neighbor may be felt much longer, analysts said.

    “It doesn’t mean all the write-offs are over. Ukraine’s debt is $5.4 billion — they could write off the whole debt, though it looks unlikely,” Alexei Kokin of brokerage Uralsib said.

    “I think in the third or fourth quarter it will become clearer that they will have to write off more.”…”

    9/11/2014 “UZHGOROD, Ukraine — Keeping Ukraine warm keeps Andriy Kobolev up at night.

    Mr. Kobolev, the head of Ukraine’s state energy company, Naftogaz, is scrambling to keep gas flowing into his country as winter looms. Russia’s energy giant, Gazprom, had provided a little more than half of Ukraine’s total gas supply, but suspended its shipments in June in the face of fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military, citing a price dispute. Europe — itself dependent on Russia but also expanding sanctions on the country — has not been able to fill the gap.

    That means Ukraine will have to cut its energy use sharply or risk running dry, which could lead to more civilian deaths when the weather turns cold, and could further batter the country’s economy…”

  37. Anonymous
    September 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    First of all, I am not at all skeptycal about US being involved in this countries out of their own interests. They have done so repeatedly and Ukraine is just yet another example. However I found this article to be a very biased way to express such matter. No matter what interests US might have on this conflict, treating it in such a “US – guilty, Russia – innocent” fashion is just as wrong and biased as what US media are doing. It is not a coincidence that it was Russia not US who gained control over Crimea. It is also not a coincidence that the conflicts in Donetsk and Lugansk are between a (controversial and US-friendly, we got it) Ukrainian government and Pro-Russian separatists, even though it’s not happening in Russian soil.

    It is known that the current government has been hiring neo-nazis as troops. It is also known that US has their own agenda there. It is also known that they took advantage of the situation and have been manipulating media. Does this mean that the conflict was “caused by the US”? In my opinion Russia has as much right being involved and messing with Ukrainian borders as US do: none!

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