Ukraine Is the Latest Neocon Disaster

If Europe has any insight, it will separate itself from these U.S. foreign policy debacles, writes Jeffrey D. Sachs.

President Joe Biden delivering “stand with Ukraine” remarks on May 3 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Common Dreams

The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement.  The Biden administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the U.S. wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The neocon track record is one of unmitigated disaster, yet Biden has staffed his team with neocons. As a result, Biden is steering Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union towards yet another geopolitical debacle. If Europe has any insight, it will separate itself from these U.S. foreign policy debacles. 

The neocon movement emerged in the 1970s around a group of public intellectuals, several of whom were influenced by University of Chicago political scientist Leo Strauss and Yale University classicist Donald Kagan. Neocon leaders included Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan (son of Donald), Frederick Kagan (son of Donald), Victoria Nuland (wife of Robert), Elliott Cohen, Elliott Abrams and Kimberley Allen Kagan (wife of Frederick).  

The main message of the neocons is that the U.S. must predominate in military power in every region of the world and must confront rising regional powers that could someday challenge U.S. global or regional dominance, most important Russia and China.  For this purpose, U.S. military force should be pre-positioned in hundreds of military bases around the world and the U.S. should be prepared to lead wars of choice as necessary. The United Nations is to be used by the U.S. only when useful for U.S. purposes. 

Wolfowitz Spelled It Out 

This approach was spelled out first by Paul Wolfowitz in his draft Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) written for the Department of Defense in 2002. The draft called for extending the U.S.-led security network to Central and Eastern Europe despite the explicit promise by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher in 1990 that German unification would not be followed by NATO’s eastward enlargement. 

[Related: The New York Times’ Shift on Victory in Ukraine]

Wolfowitz also made the case for American wars of choice, defending America’s right to act independently, even alone, in response to crises of concern to the U.S.  According to General Wesley Clark, Wolfowitz already made clear to Clark in May 1991 that the U.S. would lead regime-change operations in Iraq, Syria and other former Soviet allies. 

Oct. 2, 1991: Paul Wolfowitz, on right, as under secretary of defense for policy, during press conference on Operation Desert Storm. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in center, Gen. Colin Powell on left. (Lietmotiv via Flickr)

The neocons championed NATO enlargement to Ukraine even before that became official U.S. policy under President George W. Bush, Jr. in 2008. They viewed Ukraine’s NATO membership as key to U.S. regional and global dominance. Robert Kagan spelled out the neocon case for NATO enlargement in April 2006:

“[T]he Russians and Chinese see nothing natural in [the ‘color revolutions’ of the former Soviet Union], only Western-backed coups designed to advance Western influence in strategically vital parts of the world.  Are they so wrong? Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union — in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?”

Kagan acknowledged the dire implication of NATO enlargement. He quotes one expert as saying, “the Kremlin is getting ready for the ‘battle for Ukraine’ in all seriousness.”

The neocons sought this battle. After the fall of the Soviet Union, both the U.S. and Russia should have sought a neutral Ukraine, as a prudent buffer and safety valve.  Instead, the neocons wanted U.S. “hegemony” while the Russians took up the battle partly in defense and partly out of their own imperial pretensions as well.  Shades of the Crimean War (1853-6), when Britain and France sought to weaken Russia in the Black Sea following Russian pressures on the Ottoman empire. 

Kagan penned the article as a private citizen while his wife Victoria Nuland was the U.S. ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush, Jr. 

Nuland has been the neocon operative par excellence.  In addition to serving as Bush’s ambassador to NATO, Nuland was President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs during 2013-17, when she participated in the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and now serves as Biden’s undersecretary of state guiding U.S. policy vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine. 

The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the U.S. military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world.  It is a position of both remarkable hubris and remarkable disdain of evidence.

May 16, 2015: Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at the police patrol training site in Kiev, Ukraine. (U.S. Embassy Kyiv)

Since the 1950s, the U.S. has been stymied or defeated in nearly every regional conflict in which it has participated. Yet in the “battle for Ukraine,” the neocons were ready to provoke a military confrontation with Russia by expanding NATO over Russia’s vehement objections because they fervently believe that Russia will be defeated by U.S. financial sanctions and NATO weaponry. 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a neocon think-tank led by Kimberley Allen Kagan (and backed by a who’s who of defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Raytheon), continues to promise a Ukrainian victory. 

Regarding Russia’s advances, the ISW offered a typical comment:

“[R]egardless of which side holds the city [of Sievierodonetsk], the Russian offensive at the operational and strategic levels will probably have culminated, giving Ukraine the chance to restart its operational-level counteroffensives to push Russian forces back.” 

The facts on the ground, however, suggest otherwise. The West’s economic sanctions have had little adverse impact on Russia, while their “boomerang” effect on the rest of the world has been large. 

Moreover, the U.S. capacity to resupply Ukraine with ammunition and weaponry is seriously hamstrung by America’s limited production capacity and broken supply chains. Russia’s industrial capacity of course dwarfs that of Ukraine’s.  Russia’s GDP was roughly 10X that of Ukraine before the war and Ukraine has now lost much of its industrial capacity in the war. 

The most likely outcome of the current fighting is that Russia will conquer a large swath of Ukraine, perhaps leaving Ukraine landlocked or nearly so. Frustration will rise in Europe and the U.S. with the military losses and the stagflationary consequences of war and sanctions.

The knock-on effects could be devastating, if a right-wing demagogue in the U.S. rises to power (or in the case of Trump, returns to power) promising to restore America’s faded military glory through dangerous escalation. 

Instead of risking this disaster, the real solution is to end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table, with NATO committing to end its commitment to the eastward enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia in return for a viable peace that respects and protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a university professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also president of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the U.N. Broadband Commission for Development. He has been adviser to three United Nations secretaries-general and currently serves as an SDG advocate under Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Sachs is the author, most recently, of A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2020). Other books include: Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable (2017) and The Age of Sustainable Development, (2015) with Ban Ki-moon.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

57 comments for “Ukraine Is the Latest Neocon Disaster

  1. Carl Zaisser
    July 4, 2022 at 04:17

    The piece has extra value because Jeffrey Sachs, then at Harvard’s Institute for International Development, was THE principal architect of the US government’s ‘restructuring’…i.e., destruction…of the Russian economy during the 1990s. See Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine….” and Joseph Stiglitz’s “Globalization and Its Discontents”.

  2. Ricardo2000
    July 3, 2022 at 18:20

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    Here’s the opinion of Col. Jacques Baud:

    The Postil (April 11, 2022): “The Military Situation In The Ukraine” —

    “The rebels were armed thanks to the defection of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units that went over to the rebel side. As Ukrainian failures continued, tank, artillery and anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what pushed the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Agreements.”

    “In fact, the army was undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoyed the support of the population. According to a British Home Office report, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70 percent did not show up for the first session, 80 percent for the second, 90 percent for the third, and 95 percent for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts did not show up for the “Fall 2017” recall campaign. This is not counting suicides and desertions (often over to the autonomists), which reached up to 30 percent of the workforce in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refused to go and fight in the Donbass and preferred emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the demographic deficit of the country.”

    In fact Ukraine lost this war in 2014 when no military age male Ukrainian was willing to fight with Bandera Nazis, or for corrupt oligarchs. Ukraine is a failed state that hasn’t been able to offer its citizens work, hope and human rights since it was formed. The idea the most corrupt nation in Europe could wage a successful war is laughable. Russia has won this war because they attack, defend, and move their units when and where they please. All the AFU can do is suffer, retreat on foot, and let Bandera Nazis point their weapons at the backs of unwilling conscripts. In “Maneuver Warfare” terms this means victory for Russia.

    Ukrainian defence is based in Switzerland and designed to protect oligarch money. Like all other US-NAYOYO collaborators, constant whining for support is just a way get more money from aid flow ‘skim’ before defeat ends the good times. As the whining gets louder, the war’s end gets closer. This explains Zelenskiy’s begging for more money, and more weapons to sell on the black market.

    Winston Churchill (1944): ”I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the [Nazi] army.”

  3. tonyE
    July 3, 2022 at 17:58

    Unfortunately, the “Never Trump” bias invalidates a big chunk of what would be a pretty good article.

    Trump’s idea of nationalism is precisely what is needed. He himself said that he was NOT “the president to the Whole World”. It is the likes of Trump that are THE clear and present danger to the Neocons and Neoliberals (fascists).

    There is also one fundamental glaring hole in the article. WHO FUNDS the neocons and neoliberals in the US? And in the EU?

    That is the fundamental problem and you can see why the Russians are re-establishing BRICS….

    The answer is the globalists at the Davos Cabal. For them, American Hegemony works fine, even as they really couldn’t care less about the well being of the people themselves.

  4. Anthony Newkirk
    July 3, 2022 at 14:43

    Has Dr. Sachs ever publicly aclnowledged his complicity in the destabilization of Bolvia annd the Soviet Union, among other places in the world a generation ago?

  5. susan mullen
    July 3, 2022 at 01:41

    Jeffrey Sachs’ 1990s activities in Russia are described in articles like 1998’s, “Harvard Boys Do Russia,” The Nation, and 2016’s, “Clinton & Russia: Has US Media Forgotten the 1990s?” New Eastern Outlook. If Jeffrey Sachs now believes he made terrible mistakes in those years or has changed his position, I think he should publicly apologize, first to the Russian people and second to Americans. He should explain in detail what he did that was wrong. As to Donald Trump, he’s still allowed to monopolize the headlines in exchange for his being a Pentagon front man–as I learned from Patrick Lawrence. In spring 2017 Trump learned the Pentagon ignored him, to he pretended it was his decision, publicly announcing that he was turning over all military decisions to the Pentagon and ‘his generals.’ For good measure and more humiliation, in summer 2017 nearly 100% of both House and Senate voted to remove all decisions regarding Russia from Trump and transfer them to the Senate. In 2022 for Trump to brag that he’d do this or that to Putin, to brag that he told Putin “he’d bomb all those pretty turrets in Moscow Square” is just more Pentagon salesmanship from the world’s greatest con man (Trump). As a candidate in 2016, Trump received many votes for promising to normalize relations with Russia. Of course, after he won he did the opposite. He immediately sent tanks to Estonia’s Russian border, sent lethal weapons to Ukraine which even Obama wouldn’t do. He was perfectly hateful to Russia. In 2022 he calls Mr. Putin a “war criminal.” Such statements will make Ivanka forever welcomed in Davos.

  6. July 2, 2022 at 22:31

    Sachs Sachs Sachs. He’s not the first or last word here. Nefarious in many ways including his great reset mentality and sustainable development gulag. Research his overarching theses on what African nations should do (great white savior that Sachs isn’t).

    Jeffrey Sachs is a man with many faces. A celebrated economist and special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he is also no stranger to the world of celebrity, accompanying Bono, Madonna and Angelina Jolie on high-profile trips to Africa. Once notorious as the progenitor of a brutal form of free market engineering called “shock therapy,” Sachs now positions himself as a voice of progressivism, condemning the “1 per cent” and promoting his solution to extreme poverty through the Millennium Villages Project.

    Appearances can be deceiving. Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case of Dr. Shock and Mr. Aid is the story of an evangelical development expert who poses as saviour of the Third World while opening vulnerable nations to economic exploitation. Based on documentary research and on-the-ground investigation, Jeffrey Sachs exposes Mr. Aid as no more than a new, more human face of Dr. Shock.

    Reviews of J. Wilson’s book should intrigue readers of this blog,

    “Once famous for bleeding the economies of Poland, Russia and Bolivia, and now famous for handing out Band-Aids in sub-Saharan Africa while proclaiming a reinvention of development, Jeffrey Sachs is the master of having it both ways. In this excellent, highly readable book, Japhy Wilson dissects the man, his ideas, his context and the damage that Sachs and his ilk have inflicted on so many…Anyone concerned with the crisis of global capitalism should have this book.”

    – Christian Parenti, author of Tropic of Chaos and Lockdown America

  7. Normin
    July 2, 2022 at 16:58

    What we’re still going through in the USA are endless neocon/neoliberal big capitol manipulations to retain power and extreme wealth. Voting is pushed as mainstream media opinions are kept on a tight binary leash. Whoever has the big media megaphone is situated in a superior position of unbridled influence.

    To keep the headlines useful to those in power (very limited examples): false flags-as seen in Syria/ Ukraine, lying- constant 24/7/365, color revolutions- Ukraine/ Venezuela/ USA, fear- Covid/ Russia/ Iran/ WW3, proxies- Nazi’s Azov in Ukraine/ as per Hedges Christian Fascists in US, even abortion issues and viruses are propaganda dreams come true.

    As Malcolm McLaren, rock impresario stated about his method of selling ideas, “Cash from Chaos!” Rahm Emanuel said a similar thing. This is the engine that powers the association of our contemporary politics and mainstream media. Now go out and vote. It’s beyond cynical!

    The Alito decision leak would also serve neocon/ neoliberal politicians and Democrats in particular. Since the Democratic party has just gone from one proven manipulation to another, Syria, Russiagate, Ukraine, Trump shock because Hillary was supposed to win, etc. Then we have endless attempts to keep Trump off the ballot by any means possible. By eliminating the right to an abortion the Democrats can game elections that they may not win by overriding the decision making abortion rights federal law and increasing their chances at the polls.

    The Supreme Court leak was published in Politico, owned by Alex Springer SE a German media company. It’s the largest publishing firm in Europe. This is from Wikipedia. There one can also read in greater depth about Alex Springer SE and Politico. Read about the biases and controversies at each entity on Wiki. Quite a few of these point to neocon/ neoliberal ideological support! We all know Trump wanted better relations with Russia and the EU, as lap dogs of America, follow US Marshall Plan/ NATO orders to the detriment of Europe. This may be plausible and not too far fetched.

  8. July 2, 2022 at 15:39

    The stupidity of sanctions against Russia is monumental. Economic sanctions cannot destroy a nation that is self sufficient. Sanctions may be a nuisance and insulting, but the simple fact is that Russia has all the natural resources and know-how it needs to survive totally independent and without need of international commerce. They proved that during the Soviet period.

    In the meantime, while Russians are not being significantly hurt by the sanctions, Europeans and Americans (and much of the rest of the world) is paying dearly for those sanctions in food shortages and energy shortages.

    • WillD
      July 2, 2022 at 23:34

      Absolutely. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the sanctions were deliberately intended to destroy western economies and make millions suffer unnecessarily.

      The people responsible, the neocons, war mongers and others in the US, UK and EU are committing crimes against humanity. The sanctions will cause extreme suffering in 3rd world countries, leading to many deaths, and in western countries when the northern winter comes and the poor freeze to death or starve to death!

      It could easily be stopped – now, if they wanted to. But they don’t.

  9. Bernd Kulawik
    July 2, 2022 at 14:17

    “Half a truth is a whole lie,” as the saying goes.
    And to the famous economist one would like to repeat the sentence used by the Bill Clinton: “It’s the economy, stupid!” (in the marxist meaning Clinton surely not intended: political developments are nothing more than a function of economics.)

    That an economist (!) stays superficial on this subject and does NOT ask what this securing of global dominance is supposed to serve, which the “neocons” are striving for and which—due to the family relationships around the Kagans—sounds almost like a project of a crazy family clan. Could it be because, that Sachs as “Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network” basically still serves the same economic agenda, only with more peaceful means? The UN Sustainable Development Goals, for all the nice words that are plentifully wasted there, in the sum represent a strategy which is intended to further secure the economic dominance of the West, i.e. the US oligarchy, and of course, regardless of the means used, it has only one goal and (probably never) achieved: to secure the profits for a tiny part of the world population, which is primarily at home in the USA.
    Incidentally (?), this economist also “astonishingly” fails to recognize the “lost” wars of the USA and their “tributary vassals” (Brzezinski) from another—and more important—point of view: in capitalism it is always the goal, core, drive and represents the root of all action: War is pretty much the best business ever for a capitalist! Because the capitalist produces goods (weapons) that he sells at completely fantastic prices to a customer (state) who, thanks to money printing, is almost always solvent and who has NOTHING better to do than to destroy these goods as quickly as possible—in order to then reorder new ones!
    This alone explains why the USA/NATO have unnecessarily prolonged every hopeless war (Vietnam, Afghanistan…) or—now in Ukraine—WANT to prolong it. The officially declared political “goals” of such wars (see Iraq) are almost or actually secondary. Of course, the gas and oil profiteers around the Biden family (could our economist write an article about Hunter Biden and the strange profit-making practices of his family using “reverse gas” for Ukraine?) get wet eyes at the thought of Russia’s mineral resources—but they would still love to fight a war “down to the last Ukrainian” for a long time because the war itself results in hefty profits for their “friends ” and “donor”. What does our economist think where the many billions of “support” for Ukraine end up? (hint: not with the Ukrainian population and the soldiers at the front!)

    “The state is the entertainment department of the military-industrial complex,” as someone put it decades ago who apparently understood more about (political) economy than Mr. Sachs: Frank Zappa.

  10. Westley
    July 2, 2022 at 12:00

    It’s not hard to imagine how beloved pipelines would be and the reaction if withheld.

  11. Jesika
    July 2, 2022 at 11:04

    Would Donald Trump have taken the direction he spoke of in his campaign and inaugural had he not been taken over by neocons? Or Israel, which is a part of the problem? It is the constant propaganda drumming of America as “the greatest nation on earth” that juices up the people by these infernal neocons. We could never get Ron Paul elected as President.

    • Chris
      July 3, 2022 at 12:01

      What path was that, the path of no new wars started despite enormous pressure to do so? Deposed by the very deep state that wanted more wars? Trump was the damn holding the neocon waters at bay. Total mischaracterization.

  12. bonbon
    July 2, 2022 at 10:30

    Mr. Sachs also signed a Ceasefire Now! open letter, in Die Zeit, a major German daily, 29.06.22
    List of prominent signers :
    Jakob Augstein (Publizist), Richard A. Falk (Professor für Völkerrecht), Svenja Flaßpöhler (Philosophin), Thomas Glauben (Professor für Agrarökonomie), Josef Haslinger (Schriftsteller), Elisa Hoven (Professorin für Strafrecht), Alexander Kluge (Filmemacher und Autor), Christoph Menke (Professor für Philosophie), Wolfgang Merkel (Professor für Politikwissenschaft), Julian Nida-Rümelin (Philosoph), Robert Pfaller (Philosoph), Richard D. Precht (Philosoph), Jeffrey Sachs (Professor für Ökonomie), Michael von der Schulenburg (ehemaliger UN-Diplomat), Edgar Selge (Schauspieler), Ilija Trojanow (Schriftsteller), Erich Vad (General a.?D., ehemaliger Militärberater von Angela Merkel), Johannes Varwick (Professor für internationale Politik), Harald Welzer (Sozialpsychologe), Ranga Yogeshwar (Wissenschaftsjournalist), Juli Zeh (Schriftstellerin)

    Tweet from Ukrainian Ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, “Not again, what a bunch of pseudo-intellectual losers you all Varwicks, Vads, Kluges, Prechts, Yogeshwars, Zehs & Co. should finally go to Hell with your defeatist ‘advice’. Bye. Andriy Melnyk to Augstein, Precht and Co.: Schert Euch zum Teufel!”

    This, after calling Chancellor Scholz a weak leberwurst, only a few weeks ago!

  13. Altruist
    July 2, 2022 at 04:21

    Great article.

    Professor Sachs also called out the Syrian intervention correctly. We need people like him to stand on the bully pulpit and climb on the barricades to fight against the Neocons, who have totally hijacked American foreign policy to the great detriment of the USA and American national interests. As Sachs points out – this dates back not just to the Bush jr. administration but to the Clinton administration. with its wars of choice against Serbia.

    With the Democratic-Republican “uniparty” in charge, there has been a seamless continuation of Neocon policy from administration to administration. The long-term plan of regime-changing country after country – revealed to General Clark in 1991 – was famously pursued vigorously by the Bush jr. administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, but was continued equally vigorously by the Obama administration in Libya and Syria, and Ukraine. And, if Gore instead of Bush jr. had been elected in 2000, the situation would likely have been identical, considering that Gore’s vice presidential candidate – Lieberman – was a Neocon hardliner indistinguishable from Cheney.

    With the Republicans the window dressing was “fighting terrorism” and with the Democrats promoting “human rights” and “democracy,” as well as putting increased emphasis on covert operations.

    If anything, this continuation of foreign policy, regardless of elections, regardless of which party is in power, is proof positive of the existence of the deep state, centered in the permanent bureaucracy in the State Department and the intelligence agencies, working with colleagues in the media, think tanks and remaining “MICIMATT.” Which was also shown by the peculiar reaction to the election of Trump – a bumptious outsider not approved by the “hidden government,” who threatened to put an end to the regime-change wars. The reaction was the “Russiagate” campaign – organized by exactly these elements – using propaganda and innuendo to try to derail his campaign and later presidency. The sidelining of Tulsi Gabbard is another example.

    Sachs is right that “the real solution is to end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table, with NATO committing to end its commitment to the eastward enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia in return for a viable peace that respects and protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

    Easier said than done. The current administration isn’t ending any neocon fantasies, but is rather doubling down on them – taking not just Russia but also China into its sights (the final step towards full world domination). NATO is expanding and not ending any commitments to enlargement. And a peace that protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – if we’re talking about Ukraine in its currently recognized borders – is highly unlikely. Russia will not voluntarily return the territories it has conquered militarily – especially not those with majority Russian populations. The dog won’t drop the bone it has grabbed.

    More likely is that this war will just grind on, like World War I – with the artillery but without the trenches – with Russia methodically taking inch by inch of Ukrainian territory and the economic consequences to the West becoming increasingly severe: stagflation, with massive price increases, particularly of fuel and food – and in Europe potential cut-off of gas deliveries from Russia (which could, for example, shut down the German chemical industry).

    This will continue either until the tide turns militarily for Ukraine – unlikely, as Sachs points out, despite the mega-billions being funneled to the country – or until the next Neocon debacle has fully played out, with the Bidens, Johnsons, Scholzes finally being cashiered by their voters. If the American people are presented with the choice of gasoline at $10 or $15/gal. or throwing Ukraine overboard, we know what the answer will be.

  14. renate
    July 2, 2022 at 00:36

    Biden is one of them, he had a chance to pick better people for his administration, but he did not because he is one of them.
    Now Biden is writing the Requiem and all neo-goons will be the pallbearers when they bury the monstrous hegemon they created.
    The sooner that happens the better.
    Prof. Sachs grew up as a young man since he worked in the Kremlin for Bush, but Biden never grew up. Even after 8 years as VP knowing all about the failures. Delusions of Grandeur and PNAC are his and the goon squads’ problem. Even Iraq and Afghanistan taught President Biden and PNAC goons nothing.

  15. Alex Nosal
    July 2, 2022 at 00:01

    Great comments here. It would appear that everyone is in agreement that Neocons are sociopaths and that they are nothing more than pawns for the MIC (as well as a handful of other powerful conglomerates like Big Oil and Big Agra) and our corporate controlled mainstream media is complicit in the Neocon narrative to wage war for corporate objectives. Yet too many people then make an appeal for “our” government to either sit down and negotiate, change their thinking or “realize” the folly of their policies. However you cannot expect these sociopaths, who owe their entire successful careers to the corporations that support them, to suddenly grow a conscience. Instead, “We the People” need to replace ALL of the sociopaths in government, namely remove both major party’s from the entire political process.
    The Green Party is our best hope at this moment despite being in disarray, under funded, a limited membership and of course no recognition from corporate America and their pliant media that the Party even exists. To expect those rare politicians that are actually not raging psychopaths but are active members of the two illegitimate Party’s, to somehow save us is delusional. To create change from within, like the short-lived Bernie Sanders campaign, is sabotaged every time by the ruling inner hierarchy of either Party.
    Don’t be depressed by previous failed attempts by Ralph Nader or Jill Stein to garner any more than 4% of the vote because the electorate is far more aware than ever before. Censorship is as obvious now to those living in the west, as it was by the citizens of the Soviet Union during Stalin’s era and people don’t like it. The youngest generation is completely rejecting both corrupt Party’s and the “lesser of two evils” argument we hear every four years, but they need a Party to gravitate to if they are to lead us away from the precipice of planetary extinction. Let’s do what we can to help this generation to break the chains of perpetual war and corporate control over our government. It’s the least we can do.

  16. William H Warrick III MD
    July 1, 2022 at 23:57

    This entire idiocracy is based on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s theory he wrote about in “The Grand Chessboard”. He said Russia would be weakened if the Empire occupied Russia’s Borderland which is The Ukraine. It won’t work because too many Russians live in the Ukraine. This is why the East is falling so easily. When Russia and the Newborn Republics get done with the Special Military Operation there be much left of the Ukraine. It will be landlocked and weak.

  17. robert e williamson jr
    July 1, 2022 at 22:17

    Yup! JDS you have hit it right on the nose.

    JDS, naming so many of them and tying in events of the 1970’s, see the activities of one GHW 41 and the cast and crew surrounding G Ford and Ronnie RayGun also. BCCI established 1972.

    I’ll say it again, taking some reward of revelry on this beleaguered county’s $rth of July weekend by exercising my option to do so. Maybe as a form of punishment to those justly deserving of it.

    In my opinion, “These individuals present a clear constant threat of danger to everyone including themselves. ” ” They should be viewed as such and dealt with in the proper manner as any threat of this magnitude to this nation. ”

    Reviewing the years since 1970 we soon notice this countries leadership has been abysmal. In 2001 these same people who had absolutely blown covering their responsibilities with respect to maintaining a safe secure country for Americans this leadership has failed the American people at Every turn.

    Any dumb ass knows that when you shoot yourself in the foot it’s time to stop shooting.

    So whAT GIVES, . . .

    Something is very seriously wrong in D.C.!! The Wolfowitz doctrine is BULLSHIT, it’s a play book for a game other than it appears. Take a close look at the MICIMATT and we learn it’s a major player in the International Corporate Deep State world domination machinations.

    And they sell weapons to all sides. What could go wrong?


  18. Paine
    July 1, 2022 at 21:22

    Could be that neocons objective is seeing President Biden lose the Ukraine war and see the US economy continue to decline, so they win back H of R in the mid-term elections, and follow that up b impeaching President Biden.

  19. Alan
    July 1, 2022 at 19:40

    This analysis omits an important component of the Neoconservative strategy vis a vis Ukraine, and that is the alliance that western nations have forged with neo-Nazis and fascists to pursue the shared goal of weakening Russia. Few westerners are aware of the major role that these factions play in Ukrainian society and politics or of Russia’s determination to “denazify” Ukraine. The war cannot be properly understood without this piece.

  20. July 1, 2022 at 18:23

    Before Wolfowitz spelled it out, the origin was in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), see:


    And it’s a little late to appeal to European sensibilities, because NATO just adopted “Strategic Concept 2022” which parrots the US military strategy, see:


  21. Ksenia
    July 1, 2022 at 17:49

    Not a single mention of what the Ukrainian people want. Don’t they get a say in what kind of country they live in?

    • Marc Bastien
      July 2, 2022 at 09:40

      People have no say in what happens in any conflict in any country in the world. Some may think they do, but the reality is quite the opposite. Actually, we have no say in anything other than to express our views online or in the streets but to no avail.

    • cfmmax
      July 2, 2022 at 10:39

      How would America respond if China were knocking on the door via Mexico?

    • Kave Dave
      July 2, 2022 at 12:31

      Indeed. Those pretending to care about Ukraine’s interests while exhibiting their profound hatred for the US, always manage to leave out what Ukraine’s interests are. They have clearly stated on their own terms — with or without weapons from the West — they intend to fight to the last man and woman standing to hold onto what is theirs. It is Ukraine that is making the endless pleas for more arms from the West, not the West that is shoving them at Ukraine.

  22. Sean Ahern
    July 1, 2022 at 17:10

    It is curious that Sachs omits Richard Perle, the “Prince of Darkness” himself from the list of neo-con leaders.

    • irina
      July 3, 2022 at 03:40

      Or, as I read once, the more politically correct term “Prince of Insufficient Light”.

    • Chris
      July 3, 2022 at 12:10

      whatever you do, do not notice what all of those people, including Perle (and Sachs), have in common

      Sachs lamenting the rise of a “right-wing dictator-type, like Trump” to lead a “military revival” gives the game away. Trump lowered the temperature on large scale war-fighting and even tried to improve relations with countries like North Korea (and likely would’ve w/ Russia w/o years of deep state lying about Russian collusion) but Sachs refuses to give him credit and still believes the populist right wants more wars (when they are the ones who are the most persecuted). Takes a real ivory tower type to ignore all of that in favor of his ethnic biases. I am guessing Sachs doesn’t know his “enemy” like he thinks he does.

  23. Realist
    July 1, 2022 at 16:18

    “In addition to serving as Bush’s ambassador to NATO, Nuland was President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state…when she participated in the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and now serves as Biden’s undersecretary of state guiding U.S. policy vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine.” What better evidence to reveal how both major parties are really a single colluding force to maintain the desired state of perpetual war with Russia which rigidly entrains all foreign policy, enriches the perennial war profiteers and denies any source of funding for much needed social programs in America. All at the expense of what? A few million corpses and displaced refugees from non-Western, no-count poor and backward countries? Pfft! How tedious, say the globalists writing the checks! What is the neocon movement other than a well-oiled mechanism for keeping the plutocracy in, the American people down, and true freedom and democracy out of American governance? America needs a rigorous program of de-neoconisation every bit as much as Ukraine requires industrial strength de-Nazification. Don’t look for any “Democrat” or “Republican” to provide it.

  24. July 1, 2022 at 16:17

    The assumption you can get Russia negotiating, given all that has transpired, seems naive. The urgency, however, of coming up with an alternative to this primitive encounter that could send an interconnected humanity back to the Stone Age, isn’t to be ignored. Ukraine may be the watershed situation that gets us to deal with the seriousness of the need for system change, where we stop resorting to war and create a world where greed doesn’t run the show. Time for a consciousness shift to where we care about each other as much as we care about ourselves. Bring that about and we’ll figure out what to do with all the challenges to our survival that are so serious now. Collect answers to the question I lead with: “If you ran the country, what would you do?”

    • RS
      July 1, 2022 at 16:38

      Writing letters and articles will not work. Excellent writers write but who reads? The powers that be have spent enormous energy mis-informing the public. The best and probably the only solution is mass protests. The Spanish have given us a spark and a pattern in their recent protest of NATO.

      • Brian Bixby
        July 3, 2022 at 23:33

        The PTB have also spent half a century ensuring that people no longer read, and social media has made it difficult for people who still read to encounter information that doesn’t align with their pre-formed beliefs.

    • war is on
      July 1, 2022 at 23:10

      Ukraine’s territorial integrity.What a joke.
      Is this guy serious? No more clever than the neocons.There is nothing to negociate when you win. Just the terms of the total capitulation.It will be the biggest defeat of Nato EU since their creation.
      Western politicos who destroyed their economy(mainly in Europe), will be wiped out of the map by their people, sacrifices for nothing.
      Their credibility like MSM credibility will also be destroyed forever.They invested too much(not only money) in this fake narrative ‘ukraine is winning’.

  25. c
    July 1, 2022 at 16:05

    Jeffrey Sachs, Yeltsin’s economic advisor, was the author of “shock therapy”, which has been called ” one of the most ruthless experiments in neoliberalist politics ever performed.”

    To create a free market economy, State-owned companies were privatized in a chaotic process. Price subsidies ended Jan 2, 1992. Sachs blamed the U.S. and the IMF for the ensuing disaster.

    Neocons and neoliberals have wreaked havoc on Russia.

      July 1, 2022 at 16:24

      That was 30 years ago. Sach has long since changed his position from those days.

      • Dou Gen
        July 1, 2022 at 22:57

        The same disastrous neoliberal policies that ruined Russia in the 1990s and probably caused 3 million Russians to needlessly die young were also put in place in Ukraine — except that Ukraine has had no one like Putin to stand up to the oligarchs and foreign investors and reestablish a fair amount of state-directed economic planning. Ukraine today has the most corrupt economy and the most authoritarian political system in Europe. It is also now the second-poorest European country. It is going backwards. Since the US-supported, anti-democratic coup in 2014 against the neutral (not pro-Russian) Ukrainian president, a coup spearheaded by Right Sector and other fascist thugs, Ukraine has had elections, but it is de facto controlled by a far-right, anti-Russia deep state — a kind of comprador US client state — that suppresses democracy, controlling both presidents and parliament, and by the IMF’s debt trap. Ukraine has a zombie economy: it has been losing both productivity and workers, while oligarchs systematically pillage lMF and other loans, resulting in a situation in which Ukraine now must borrow just to pay back the interest on its current international debts, which are over 50 billion dollars and rising fast with the coming of war. It will surely never be able to pay back any “lend lease” loans to buy US weapons. Moreover, workers in Ukraine have almost no rights and are massively exploited. Ukraine is a failed state, and US neocons and neoliberals bear a great deal of responsibility for Ukraine’s failure, a failure that is current and not just a matter of history.

        • Donald Duck
          July 2, 2022 at 17:29

          ”It (Ukraine) is also now the second-poorest European country”. Not any more. Even Moldova makes it the first-poorest European country.

          Moldova per capita GDP = $5721 per annum
          Ukraine per capita GDP = $3751 per annum

          Ukraine has a registered population before the war and ended 2020 with a population of 41,418,717. In 1990 Ukraine’s population was 51 million or thereabouts. Ukraine is a disaster area and will not recover soon possibly not at all.

        • Chris
          July 3, 2022 at 12:18

          Nailed it. Only addendum I would add is that this is all part of Victoria Nuland’s portfolio and that the depths of the corruption (Bidens and other oligarchs slurping at the trough) and depravity (40+ DoD chemical labs doing who knows what) have yet to be explored.

      • Eddy
        July 2, 2022 at 00:55

        A Leopard cannot change his spots. Does not matter if 30 0r 1,000 years have elapsed.

        • Tobysgirl
          July 3, 2022 at 15:54

          Thank you, Eddy! I am VERY SUSPICIOUS of people who supposedly change their views after they have participated in terrible deeds. The best thing they could do is stay home and STFU.

  26. Cord Dod
    July 1, 2022 at 13:43

    The only silver lining is the neocon’s inbred incompetence, though millions of lives are being destroyed as they fail. More than if they succeeded? Maybe not a silver lining actually, or at least not in the short term. Sigh.

    BTW, Trump could sure do that but he was antagonistic towards NATO in his first run, at least rhetorically. If it becomes more and more obvious how much of a screwup this is, maybe he (or of course anyone else, Dem challengers, third party, other GOP etc.) could point to Biden and those neocons as the problem, as well as NATO.

    So, there might be a slim hope that the next admin distances itself from this debacle, and deescalates. The US are typical bullies, and will need to save face somehow, as the neocons can never be wrong. If Biden becomes toxic enough, that’s a way.

  27. Thomas
    July 1, 2022 at 13:42

    It has long been obvious that the neo con disasters are criminal but it is also long been obvious that there will be no accountability; thus, let the criminal and bloody disasters roll on! Ka Ching!

  28. July 1, 2022 at 13:19

    An excellent and important article by Jeffrey Sachs. The fact that neocons have captured both the Democratic and Republican parties is tragic and portends that the worst—a potential nuclear war with Russia—is yet to come. The term “neocons” is a euphemism for psychopaths, and as Noam Chomsky stated, “Psychopaths rule the world.”

    • Tobysgirl
      July 3, 2022 at 15:56

      Apparently that term now includes himself as he seems gung-ho to cause Russian suffering. It doesn’t seem as though he has anyone in his life who cares enough about him to get him to be quiet in his dementia.

  29. evelync
    July 1, 2022 at 12:49

    Thanks CN for sharing this article by Jeffrey Sachs! One of several now, thankfully, experts who recognize that the NEOCONS have their way with the national purse and policy. Professor Sachs is a “point guard” analyst who brings his comprehensive understanding of the catastrophic NEOCON wet dreams that have Shanghai’d our foreign policy for far too long speeding up the shift to a multipolar world as they cripple this country’s viability to manage our debts and serve the vast majority of people.

    NEOCON thinking that serves only empire, for profit war spending and their own delusional egos will bring this country down but will never be held to account

    Our own Senate foreign relations ctte, including Chris Murphy, kisses Vitoria Nuland’s ass without taking any responsibility to hold her and her pals accountable:

    At around minute 1:06:00 it’s a shocker to hear Sen Chris Murphy kissing her ample (in size, ignorance, hubris and recklessness) rear end

  30. Carolyn L Zaremba
    July 1, 2022 at 12:47

    The neocons are demented, power-mad and dangerous sociopaths. They have arrogated to themselves the right to dictate to the rest of the world what kind of government to have, bleeding countries white with sanctions or actually invading and destroying them if they refuse to knuckle under to United States dictates. I am ashamed to be an American. My country has been taken over by the neofascists. Human rights and civil rights are being taken away. Social services are being eliminated. All of our tax dollars (along with massive loans) are being directed toward weapons and aggressive war (something that was declared to be a crime at the Nuremberg Trials after WWII), and the madness is spiraling out of control. These maniacs don’t even care if they start WWIII. They somehow believe that they will survive nuclear destruction. Power must be taken out of their hands. Unfortunately, no countries except for Russia and China are fighting this madness.

  31. Caliman
    July 1, 2022 at 12:33

    As much as I appreciate Professor Sachs’s words here, the so-called Neocons are window dressing. They are part of the last two letters of Ray McGovern’s famous MICIMATT (Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Media Academia Think Tank) complex.

    In other words, they are important; but the critical element is the Complex as a whole, not the yapping propagandizers of it in particular.

  32. M Le Docteur Ralph
    July 1, 2022 at 12:32

    While I agree with the spirit of this article, the implication that there was only an “explicit promise by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher in 1990 that German unification would not be followed by NATO’s eastward enlargement” is simply wrong.

    As former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas has made clear all of the Western powers promised there would be no eastward expansion and indeed the Europeans expected NATO/OTAN to be disbanded. It was only later, after the US had given its promise, that Bush Sr. subsequently proposed turning NATO/OTAN into the world’s policeman.

    How the West promised the USSR that NATO would not expand eastward, by Roland Dumas, former minister (with English subtitles) hxxps://

    Original French website: hxxps://

  33. Robert Emmett
    July 1, 2022 at 11:53

    In dis-honor of the so-called Wolfowitz doctrine that became self-justification for both pre-emptive war & what’s been called uni-lateral war and of all those who have employed & supported it since it was 1st written with Scooter Libby in Dick Cheney’s Defense Department under Poppy Bush in 1992.

    But Poppy pooped-out. (Maybe he couldn’t keep track of all those hyphenated policies.) For whatever reasons, he ix-nayed those two blunder-buss Wolfowitzean claims (preemptive, unilateral) that were made in total support of a U/S might-makes-right regime backed by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Libby & it turns out, Donald Rumsfeld, all 4 of whom later signed the founding neo-con document, Project for a New American Century.

    From the little I’ve read of PNAC’s report Rebuilding America’s Defenses on how to maintain sole superpower status, it sure looks to me like a giant roadmap of what’s occurred from then until now, in large scale.

    So Poppy & his consigns & suck-cessors wielded sole-superpower status (We’re the Cops of the World, Boys, thnx Phil Ochs) ‘til Bush the lesser came along & all hell broke loose.

    Back came Cheney, self-appointed Veep with his sidekick Scooter, while Wolfie cast his neo-in-con-tations from a den in Rummy’s Pentagon. And, oh, but didn’t they have them some fun.

    So, in my view, the staff of dis-honor gets passed along, from Shrub’s debacle & its continuing downcast trajectory for life on Earth, through all the following years with Dick’s balls & Hell’s bells maniacally attached & jingo-ing all the way.

  34. peter tusinski
    July 1, 2022 at 11:14

    I believe this a very accurate portrayal of american or dare I say zionist attitdes regarding foreign policy. Anglo-American-Israeli hegemony over the planet has been around for a long time!

  35. July 1, 2022 at 11:13

    Dr. Sachs query: “The knock-on effects could be devastating, if a right-wing demagogue in the U.S. rises to power (or in the case of Trump, returns to power) promising to restore America’s faded military glory through dangerous escalation. ” is puzzling. Just what does he believe Biden is, or Obama was, or Clinton was???

    • Chris
      July 3, 2022 at 12:14

      Sachs still thinks the religious right is around the corner, ready to ride like the Cossacks with all of its power (in reality, it has none and its adherents are the lowest social class in the country as per the current regime of intersectionality pokemon points). It’s an insane position that has little basis in reality.

  36. Jeff Harrison
    July 1, 2022 at 10:48

    I frequently disagree with Mr. Sachs but here he is spot on. The only thing he misses out on is when he says “for Russia and Ukraine to return to the negotiating table”. Prior to the US/EU fomented coup in 2014 the two halves of the Ukraine co-existed and Russia and Ukraine also co-existed. The changes that must be made are these: the US must let go of its messianic foreign policy and our EU vassals (to include the UK) must break their co-dependence with the US. Cookies Nuland got her very own coup and like everything else (as Mr. Sachs points out), she f**ked it up. Don’t ask Russia to bail the world out. The US/EU needs to fix this since they’re the ones that started it.

  37. Vera Gottlieb
    July 1, 2022 at 10:19

    And this disaster might cost the entire planet to collapse. Our lives being run/ruined by imbeciles.

  38. Mikael Andersson
    July 1, 2022 at 10:14

    Thank you Jeffrey. Voices of sanity and reason are in short supply (endangered, nearing extinction). Russia has already won this war. The USA has already lost this war. As Socrates stated – all wars are about money. Following the money reveals the true story. I see a very sad story when the current USA regime is waging a lost war, and the alternative regime could only make things a great deal worse by escalating. When will the USA produce better than Biden and/or Trump? Is there an American who can “end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table”? Perhaps not in our lifetime.

    • RS
      July 3, 2022 at 20:11

      The question you pose,”When will the USA produce better than Biden and/or Trump?”indicates hope that it’s possible. The answer is that we already have. Henry Wallace who was FDRs running mate until 1940 was just that sort of man. He was immensely popular with the public for his ability and where he stood on the issues. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party glossed him over for Truman in the 1940 race. Truman was no slouch but he wasn’t Wallace either and the direction of the country would have benefitted enormously. These men exist in this country but the political machines call all the shots. Even Batman is among the unemployed.

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