Caitlin Johnstone: ‘US Interests’ in ‘Unprovoked War’

The first official imperial position — (A) “We hate this war and never wanted it” — is discredited by its second, simultaneous position — (B) “This war benefits us tremendously.”   

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledging applause from a joint session of U.S. Congress on Dec. 21. (C-Span still)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

One of the most illustrative examples of how the mainstream worldview is based on narratives rather than facts is the way Republican officials such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been branded servants of Russia despite consistent track records as virulent Russia hawks.

“Moscow Mitch,” as Democrats absurdly titled him during the height of Russiagate hysteria in 2019, gave a speech on the Senate floor last week arguing that the primary reason to back Ukraine in its war against Russia is because doing so serves U.S. interests.

“President Zelensky is an inspiring leader,” McConnell said in his speech ahead of the Ukrainian president’s visit to Washington.

“But the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests. Helping equip our friends in Eastern Europe to win this war is also a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies and contest our core interests.”

McConnell argued that backing Ukraine “will massively wear down the arsenal that is available to Putin for future efforts to use bullying and bloodshed,” taking a stab at the Biden administration for not requesting more money for this immensely useful proxy war.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Dec. 21 calling the war in Ukraine “a direct investment in reducing Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies and test our core interests.” (C-Span still)

“So I’ll say it one more time. Continuing our support for Ukraine is morally right, but it is not only that. It is also a direct investment in cold, hard, American interests,” McConnell said. “That’s why Republicans rejected the Biden administration’s original request for Ukraine assistance as insufficient.

“Finally, we all know that Ukraine’s fight to retake its territory is neither the beginning nor end of the West’s broader strategic competition with Putin’s Russia,” McConnell concluded. “Increasing the pressure on Putin’s regime can and should be a bipartisan priority.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky receiving a standing ovation from U.S. Congress last week.  (C-Span still)

You see U.S. empire lackeys gushing all the time about how extraordinarily efficient and cost-effective the proxy war in Ukraine is for furthering U.S. interests against Russia, which is funny because they spend the rest of the time talking about how this invasion was “unprovoked” and how horrible it is. The official imperial position is somehow simultaneously (A) “We hate this war and never wanted it,” and (B) “This war benefits us tremendously.”

[Related: Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War, Consortium News.]

The only way to reconcile these two positions is to believe that Vladimir Putin acted against the interests of Russia in the service of the United States by invading Ukraine, for no other reason than because he is too stupid and evil to do otherwise. The other choice is to do what most empire loyalists do and simply not think very hard about those obvious contradictions.

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Alternatively, you can consider the possibility that Putin was pressured into choosing between two bad options by the many aggressive provocations the empire has been making for years. Empire apologists claim that Western provocations had nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine, but if that’s true then why did so many Western experts spend years warning that Western provocations would lead to an invasion of Ukraine?

Plainly the claim that the U.S. is just an innocent bystander helping its good buddy Ukraine because it loves freedom and democracy is discredited by the claim — often made by those very same claimants — that this war serves U.S. interests. But you hear them bounce seamlessly between the two all the time.

There’s a viral thread making the rounds on Twitter by a historian named Brett Devereaux that exemplifies this perfectly. In the first tweet in the thread he’s enthusing about how “for just 5% of the US military budget, we’ve disabled 50% of Russia’s military power,” then in the very next post in the thread he’s weeping about what a humanitarian crisis the war is and how we just want peace, and then in the very next post after that he’s saying “from a pure realpolitik perspective, Putin’s war was a massive blunder that has strengthened the US global position, degrading Russian capabilities (which frees up resources for other threats) and strengthening our alliances.”

California Rep. Adam Schiff, who has been calling this war “unprovoked” since the invasion, was saying all the way back during the Trump impeachment hearings of 2020 that “the U.S. aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Another congressman, Dan Crenshaw, said on Twitter in May that “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”

“It is in America’s interests to help Ukraine defeat one of our most powerful foes,” tweeted The Atlantic’s David French in the wake of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s PR appearance in Washington.

“It is in America’s national security interests for Putin’s Russia to be defeated in Ukraine,” tweeted warmongering Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Statements like these should fully discredit the official narrative that the U.S. is helping Ukraine fight off an unprovoked attack by a reckless tyrant. These are mutually contradictory positions; either it’s a completely unprovoked invasion that Washington didn’t want, or it’s an excellent way of getting Washington everything it wants. It’s nonsensical and naive to believe both.

But of course, they do not discredit the official Ukraine narrative in the eyes of the public, because the U.S. has the most effective propaganda machine that has ever existed. The many glaring inconsistencies and misdeeds of the empire are simply airbrushed away with a little spin and sweet talk.

If it weren’t for the imperial spin machine, nobody would believe the U.S. just coincidentally stumbled its way into a lucky proxy war that happens to help it advance its agendas of global domination.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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

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20 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: ‘US Interests’ in ‘Unprovoked War’

  1. Nobody
    December 30, 2022 at 23:01

    Thank you CN for publishing another excellent article by Caitlin Johnstown.

    Does anyone happen to know what’s going on with the comments section on her website? It seems that the comments haven’t been working for over a month now.

  2. LeoSun
    December 29, 2022 at 13:16

    + ”Can we roll the tape back for a sec?

    ??? Did Biden say, he’s “convinced Putin will invade” or that he’s “convinced Putin to invade?” Jeffrey St. Clair

    March 2022, “In fact, we started our assistance to Ukraine before this war began.” Joey Biden

    EVERYBODY, knows, “Joey Biden, as a leading Senate voice on foreign policy, as vice president tasked by Obama with running Ukraine policy; and, NOW as president, is deeply implicated in this long-running operation.”

    “Let’s go, Brandon; BUT, we know what they say’n”

  3. peter mcloughlin
    December 29, 2022 at 05:56

    It’s correct that supporting Ukraine is deemed to serve US interests – all wars are executed for interest, i.e. power. Winning is the objective: but defeat (for all) is the ultimate consequence. Every empire in history has eventually faced the conflict it was trying to avoid. Unless our course is altered, humanity is facing WW III.

  4. TonyR
    December 29, 2022 at 02:57

    American here… Yes we’re fV€kkd… The majority of Americans want peace but what we get is the proxy war with Russia and soon with China… But hey Lockheed and Raytheon are getting theirs. We are now between a rock and a hard place. Ukraine leadership apparently wants to fight until there isn’t much left to fight for. I believe Russia is weakened more militariky than most of the people writing and reading on this website. I also believe as many here do that the mainstream media is completely full of crap. I can’t believe how Europe has rolled over on this and became a little compliant robin to our batman how does it end? It’s a bit too late to give Russia control over everything they want but we should probably give them control over parts of eastern Ukraine and call it a day. Unfortunately peace is a weak bet on our side so we keep pushing with the suicidal Ukraine leadership rocking on until the bitter end … Give peace a chance… Should be more than just an old song

  5. robert e williamson jr
    December 28, 2022 at 21:31

    I cannot think and anything that speaks more to the state of American politics than Trump and Georgie-porgie Santos getting elected to office.

    Unless of course it would be the contrived war between Ukraine and Russia with the unequivocal support of NATO and the U.S. Government’s Biden administration.

    I have to wonder if CIA has been adding LSD to the water in the swamp because these people are obviously not in a normally lucid state of consciousness.

    For instance Mark Meadows, burning documents in White House fireplaces. Beau of the Fifth Column News was on the youtube today the episode title “Lets talk about Hutchinson, theories and fireplaces”, youtube search the story. If you don’t know about this guy, Beau, suffice to say he is a voice of reason in a country ran by totally unreasonable morons. Present company in both houses of congress, WH included.

    I mean these fools each and every one, should have learned something from the Truimpites, Trumpism.

    He points out the staff has a legit means of destroying sensitive documents, using official designated burn bags, which begs another question, but regardless you really have to wonder about these lunatics.

    As the “dude in the shed” would say, it’s just a thought.

    Thanks CN

  6. lester
    December 28, 2022 at 20:03

    When I was a boy in the ’50s and ’60s, we were fighting Communism and especially the Soviet Union. Then the Soviet Union was defeated and disappoeared. Our Fearless Leaders in DC decided we had to fight Radical Islam. Recently, we got tired of that and decided to fight post-Communist Rossia and Post-Communist China. Why? “American Intersts”, I’m told. Apparently Russia and China are not submissive enough. Maybe not poor enough.

    Somehow, the more we fight, the poorer that average American gets. More and more of us are becoming homeless. Those ar5e my American instorests. How is war-war-war helping prosper, or even stay out of the homeless shelter? Will one of the war fans tell me?

  7. robert e williamson jr
    December 28, 2022 at 18:31

    Great take here Caitlin, “If it weren’t for the imperial spin machine, nobody would believe the U.S. coincidentally stumbled it’s way into a lucky proxy war that happens to help it advance its agendas of global domination.” Truer words have never been written.

    Backed by your earlier statement addressing the issue of whether or not Putin’s moves were provoked. My understanding of the facts of the last thirty years is the provocations have been ratcheted up in frequency and intent during the last twenty two of those thirty. The last eight years being especially intense.

    The exasperating factors that continue to haunt me is the obvious uncaring posture displayed by this governments apparent loss of interest in redeeming those locked in the hell of being at the bottom of the social hierarchy here at home.

    Prisons are full, many of those occupants could likely be freed but no one seems to care about incidents such as those described by ProPublica’s Brett Murphy. The title being “They Called 911 for Help. Police and Prosecutors Used New Junk Science to Decide They Were Liars”, Tracing the fallacy of 911 call analysis through the justice system from Quantico to the courtroom. Unbelievable but true!

    Check this one out it should give us all night terrors.

    The homeless and others suffering from murderous inflation and brutal weather. I’ll get to Southwests Airlines problems some other time, a word to the wise, if you don’t qualify for some unlimited gold card you might want to reconsider flying anywhere.

    Considering the money our defense department pisses away and the gargantuan size of the defense budget my blood boils that all that money is earmarked for the war machine and the nation’s government can’t find within it’s trillion dollar expenditures the money to relieve some of the suffering here at home.

    The Ukranians and the Russians are caught in a death grip and the U.S. shares some of the blame, some would argue most of the blame. I’ll argue those Super Wealthy Elitist, the Sweats, are The culprits!

    Thanks CN

  8. shmutzoid
    December 28, 2022 at 18:12

    A short summary of events/issues———–> In reaction to its economic decline, the US has turned increasingly over the years to militarism. After years of planning and provocations, the US/NATO finally got the war it wanted with Russia, whose years of appeals to the West about their security concerns fell on deaf ears.

    The US initial goal is to do to Russia what it did to Yugoslavia. This would cleave Russia away from China, the ULTIMATE target of US imperialism. ———————- China and Russia have been leading the way to a new global economic system which would eventually skirt SWIFT and de-dollarize. BRICS, BRI, SCO and other organizations have facilitated this expanding global trade.

    The US simply is unwilling to accept a multi-polar world. And THAT is why the US is waging war on Russia.

  9. Richard J Bluhm
    December 28, 2022 at 17:35

    This is simply organized crime on a global scale. Its theft, murder, gangs, extortion, lies, prostitution, torture …

    • Common Sense
      December 29, 2022 at 16:57


      Thinking since a long time, that it all looks like most evil mafia- style acting.

      Too bad, that it looks like no one is going to be held accountable for their massive crimes.

  10. evelync
    December 28, 2022 at 13:36

    Maybe this warmongering policy against Russia will miraculously backfire on the NEOCONS
    Think the US economic expansion after WWII perhaps.
    The sanctions of these idiots backfired….
    One can hope….
    There’s a multipolar world waiting, for now,
    A world that respects all countries equally and cooperates to benefit all. A win/win/win/win…
    Most of us would welcome that. We’re so sick of the COUPS the mayhem the greed and the hubris and the selfishness of the White Supremacist, racist Sinophobic Russophobia chicken hawk hangers on who run ….errrr….ruin this place.
    We need better before they explode the planet or stifle it with green house gasses.

  11. December 28, 2022 at 13:12

    What irks my ass is that “American interests”, which are not the interests of the average American, trump American security, and that the average American and his children and grandchildren will be paying for those “American interests” for uncountable generations to come.

    The sad truth is that the so-called “American interests” are nothing more than the financial benefits to the military and intelligence industrial complex and its political accomplices reaped from American taxpayers. I don’t benefit one whit from all our wars and neither does anyone in my family or my circle of acquaintances – but I can tell you the names of people who do.

    Furthermore, the idea that Russia is a military threat to the U.S. is preposterous. The U.S. has twice the population of Russia, spends 10+ times more money on it military than Russia and is protected from any Russian invasion by two very large oceans. Russia’s only military threat to the U.S. is their nuclear capability which they would never use unless they were forced to, knowing full well that to do so would be suicidal.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      December 28, 2022 at 13:50

      Exactly! Well said! But the fact that the lie being told to us is purposely allowed to evolve from “Ukraine fighting the Battle of the Bulge” to its citizens becoming merely the means to our own victory over an “evil enemy” is quite disturbing. We’re the country that disowned all the signed missile treaties enacted over the last thirty years between us and Russia. We’re the ones who left behind international human rights agencies. We’re now in the area that Chris Hedges has called “the willing victims and the unwilling victims.” The operative word, of course, is victims, which means that a cabal of military experts linked to the military industrial complex are choosing the victims they need without fear of the consequences for themselves. And our media supports this, calls it grand, calls it our manifest destiny.

    • evelync
      December 28, 2022 at 21:54

      yes, indeed W.R. Knight!
      The PTB slip American Interests into the sales pitch 4 a costly foreign policy…costly in lives and treasure.
      And NO ONE among the media or in the Congress ever says:
      Please define National Interests or National Security…
      They just get away with this deceptive narrative.
      There’s the subterranean threat underneath this ploy that if you question it you’re unpatriotic….

  12. susan
    December 28, 2022 at 09:33

    Good god, what is the matter with these so called “leaders”? It is all just so sickening, they don’t give a shit about people, they only care about filling their pockets! I hope they all burn in hell!!!!

    • December 28, 2022 at 14:08

      Good god, what is the matter with people who vote for these so-called “leaders”?

      Harry Truman used to say, “The buck stops here”. But that’s not true. In a republic, the buck stops at the people. But the American people have passed the buck back to the politicians to do as they like.

      It’s the American people who have the responsibility and authority to place wise and capable people in public office and when they abdicate that position, we get what we got.

      • TonyR
        December 29, 2022 at 03:08

        Like I mentioned in my other comment we are screwed … We have a choice between corporate owned war mongering party 1 and corporate owned war mongering party 2. Well now we can go with slightly less warmongering but still corporate owned part 2. And if we go with that choice it looks like a vote for faster environmental degradation, degraded human rights and Christian nationalism the vote for something else seems like a weak throwaway protest vote. And don’t forget that the folks in the eu have voted for weak u s. Bootlickers so that’s zero help Idiocracy was sadly not supposed to be a documentary

      • J Anthony
        December 29, 2022 at 06:52

        It’s nearly impossible to get the “right people in power” in the system as-it-is, it simply is not allowed. I agree the onus is on we citizens who bear the brunt of the permanent-war economy, but it seems trying to change anything via the “proper channels” like voting has already been proven futile.

  13. mgr
    December 28, 2022 at 08:17

    Thank you. The projection and dedication to this psych-ops narrative is just amazing. The bottom line is that it is America that is now stuck in the tar-baby, not Russia. The desperation among US elites is becoming palpable even as the narrative is being propped up with anything available including more and more elaborate spectacles like the Zelenski show. The US no longer has an end game. This was supposed end with an economically crippled Russia due to the power of Western sanctions. How dreams die. Now, the Western alliance is just trying to improvise survival one day at a time.

    The US plunged into this conflict based on the ignorant and bigoted assumptions, all wrong, by its heavily politicized intelligence agencies and herded by the necons that run the State Department. What a perfect storm of people who are all “legends in their own minds,” but in reality stupid in direct proportion to their cleverness. They easily discount contrary information as a nuisance to be discarded, or something to be manipulated to fit the narrative. And they may actually believe the narrative they have created. I guess the circle is complete. For them, narrative is the reality and now they are certainly joined to it at the hip. The more implacable rule of reality though is “garbage in/garbage out.” And this garbage is getting really expensive. In reality, rather than on-the-ropes, Russia’s actual position, based on non-narrative-addled experts, is more like, “You’ve got us. Right where we want you.” If and when the American public wakes up from this drunken stupor, like when the WMD bubble finally burst, I suspect that the world’s reaction this time will not be, “Well, shit happens,” but rather, fuck you.

  14. Mikael Andersson
    December 28, 2022 at 07:18

    War is the US business model.

Comments are closed.