From Vietnam to Venezuela, the US consistently interferes in the sovereign affairs of nations. Russia, by contrast, simply wants security on its borders.
On February 2014, a United States-sponsored coup was initiated in the Ukraine in which President Viktor Yanukovych was illegally ousted from power. (1) Over three years later, the putsch has done nothing but plunge the Ukraine, a tortured country plundered throughout modern history (by the West), into another abyss. In a 2015 interview with CNN, then US president Barack Obama openly confessed that “we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine”.
Around 10,000 people have been killed in the time since, with the conflict generating 2.5 million refugees who relocated to Russia. The putsch led to Crimea’s annexation a month after the coup, with a 96% vote in favour of joining the Russian Federation – the majority of Crimeans already considered themselves ethnic Russians. (2)
The new Western-backed government, led by billionaire Petro Poroshenko, has been riddled with corruption and sees meagre support from the Ukrainian people. (3) Just 1.9% fully trust Poroshenko personally, according to an unreported survey conducted in June. (4) Poroshenko’s dismal backing is hardly surprising considering the disastrous economic conditions millions are enduring in the country. What’s more, the 2014 coup has led to an unseemly rise in far-right groups.
In contrast, the Russian president Vladimir Putin has an 87% approval rating according to a poll also in June. (5) This makes Putin “one of the most popular leaders in the world”, with even mainstream networks like CNN reporting on his consistently high approval ratings.
Thinking objectively one can quickly identify the enormous pretense at work here. Picture the Western reaction had Russia performed a key role in, say, toppling governments on the US border, in Canada or Mexico. What would the superpower’s reaction be? To adopt CIA lingo, any efforts to install pro-Russian governments on the US frontiers would be “terminated with extreme prejudice”.
Examining Mexico’s case, it’s worth remembering that the US is illegally sitting on half of its territory. (6) After the Mexican-American war in 1848, the US stripped of Mexico lands that later became known as California, Arizona, New Mexico, etc. This is already taking into account the annexation of Texas from Mexico in 1845. Such huge land-grabs have been wiped from memory, except from the minds of Mexicans that is.
The West has acted with seeming abhorrence on what they deem as Russian interference in eastern Ukraine, the majority of whose people view Russia positively. One of the West’s principal goals in initiating the 2014 putsch, was to integrate the Ukraine into NATO – a hostile, expansionist foreign entity receiving three-quarters of its funding from Washington. George Kennan, former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, described NATO enlargement as “a tragic mistake”. (7) Kennan later joined other American statesman in penning an open letter to the White House condemning NATO expansionism as “a policy error of historic proportions”. To no avail.
NATO is simply one arm of American imperialism. Since 1945 the CIA, with US government and military support, has toppled numerous foreign regimes and installed military dictatorships. (8) Around the world, the US has violated international law at will. Right now, for example, the US is conducting aggressive military exercises to intimidate an isolated and threatened North Korea. There are almost 30,000 American troops in South Korea, and another 50,000 in another client state slightly further east, Japan. On top of this is a significant American air and naval presence in south-east Asia.
It seems reasonable to query the presence of tens of thousands of US soldiers situated 11,000 km from Washington. It can be safely called imperialism. With this state of thinking, US military personnel have no qualms about telling China how to behave in the South China Sea, or the East China Sea. (9) The problem being that China is thousands of years old and difficult to intimidate. The West might have reacted differently if, for example, Russia was rebuking Japan for conducting exercises in the Sea of Japan.
US policy towards North Korea can be put under the grill too. What right does the US have to bully a poor, deprived country, and in doing so provoke inevitable responses? North Korea has a duty to protect itself, seeing as it was utterly levelled by the US Air Force during the seldom-mentioned Korean War. This past aggression can largely explain why the North developed nuclear weapons to begin with: as a deterrent against further invasion. Under current circumstances, it seems certain Kim Jong-un and company are glad they have their small nuclear arsenal. After all, the US have never invaded a nuclear-armed country, just weak, vulnerable ones like Vietnam, Iraq or Libya.
It sends a dangerous message to the world: arm yourself with nuclear warheads if you want security from US aggression. Yet, in the Western mainstream, it is North Korea who are continuously portrayed as the villains in all this. The main reason the US are maintaining a presence in south-east Asia, is that it’s one of the richest energy producing areas on earth. (10) To stall their long-declining power, and thwart a rising China, the US wants desperately to retain a presence in this region.
Switching 14,000 km westwards, the US is again inciting conflict in Venezuela, a country with a long troubled history. As the superpower has lost much influence in South America this century, the Trump administration are supporting right-wing groups with the aim of removing president, Nicolas Maduro. The US have imposed various sanctions on a country rich in oil reserves, hence the superpower’s interest. The corporate media are portraying the “dictator” Maduro as the antagonist, much as they did with Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. US military figures like General H. R. McMasterhave voiced concern that democracy is being lost in Venezuela (and reported seriously it appears). (11) As history portrays, American concern for democracy goes down as one of the more grotesque myths mankind has ever conjured.
Shane Quinn is an honor graduate with journalism degree. She is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs.
Pentagon Confirms Its In-House Rebels Defected to the Syrian Army
US-trained, US-armed fighters have taken their training and arms to the Syrian army
Syrian fighters trained, armed and salaried by the Pentagon have indeed defected to the Syrian army. Last week there were reports of two separate groups of “Commandos of the Revolution” fighters, who share the al-Tanf base with the US military in southern Syria, crossing over and joining the loyalist camp. What I hadn’t realized however, is that there was also an official confirmation to that effect from US military spokesmen.
The US military confirmed “a handful of isolated defections” of defections, and also said the defectors were now trying to convince the remaining Revolutionary Commandos to switch sides:
US Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a coalition spokesman, told CNN that one of the defectors was actively attempting to recruit his former comrades and convince them to join the regime but added that those efforts were having no measurable success to date. Dillon would not say whether Russia or the regime were directly behind the recruiting effort.
The official told CNN that the leader of the recruitment effort is a former rebel sub-commander who has criticized the US forces at At Tanf and has promised would-be recruits positions in the regime’s armed forces as they clear their homelands in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. This has has prompted the US military to be concerned about more defections in the future given that the regime has blocked the coalition and its allies from advancing on that same area.
The reason why crossing over to the Syrian army is so tempting is easy to see. Many of these men are from ISIS-held Deir ez-Zor province but the US and rebel forces at al-Tanf are penned in. Since the lightning-fast Syrian advance to the Iraqi border on June 9th they no longer share a border with ISIS-held territory. Thus the fastest, and most realistic way for these men to return to their homes in eastern Syria is now with the Syrian army, rather than the Americans.
The Pentagon for its part fears further defections would undermine its already exceedingly shaky rationale for its unlawful presence in southern Syria:
He added the regime’s recruitment effort was assessed to have two objectives, building a force of local fighters and driving the coalition out of key real-estate in southern Syria.
The second objective involves an attempt to weaken the coalition’s rationale for occupying At Tanf, allowing Moscow, Damascus and Tehran to pressure the US and its allies to leave the strategically valuable area.
By poaching leaders of the rebel group, the regime and its Russian and Iranian allies would be able to better pressure the US and coalition troops to vacate the strategic tri-border area near At Tanf, a US official familiar with the development told CNN.
For the record: unlike what the US official the CNN spoke to claims, there is nothing “strategic” about the part of southern Syria the US holds. Except for one refugee camp on the Jordanian border, it is uninhabited, and is separated from ISIS-held territory the US once planned to advance into by more than 150 kilometers of Syria held by its government.
Featured image is from the author.