The Deadly Mix of Hysteria and Defense Budget Politics
by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY, COUNTERPUNCH, WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 7-9, 2014
This report/analysis by Emmanuel Dreyfus provides a background on the rise of far right — some would say neo-fascist — politics in Ukraine. It is well worth careful reading
Bear in mind, the Le Monde report was written before the stunning conversation between EU foreign policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet was leaked to youtube. Paet told Ashton that there was evidence that the snipers in Kyiv (aka Kiev) were firing on “people from both sides” and that there were suspicions that someone from the “new coalition” might have been behind the shootings. The links to youtube recording of this conversation can be found on Russia TV (RT) here and the complete conversation here.
According to this report in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Estonia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the authenticity of the youtube recoding.
The information in the Le Monde analysis helps us to understand questions of why and how some Ukrainian factions might benefit from indiscriminate killing that ratchets up general hysteria, creating particularly a parallel incitement of hysteria in the foreign media. Such uniformed hysteria in the mainstream media is by no means a new phenomena when it comes to Ukraine; over 10 years ago, John Laughland penned this analysis of Ukraine’s 2004 election. Laughland’s 2004 essay provides a description that, with a few changes, would apply today. Of course, none of this denies the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin benefits from, and may in fact be the ultimate source of, the hacking operation that culminated in the youtube leak — but that does not obviate the fact of the conversation itself.
I want to stress — the forces driving the evolving situation in Ukraine and the Crimea (and Russia’s role in the crisis) remain very murky. The American National Endowment for Democracy, a front for the CIA and an engine for US meddling in other peoples affairs, is clearly stoking the fires of the regime changing revolt in Ukraine, although the extent of NED’s involvement is not clear and there is nothing (yet) to link the operations of the NED to the shootings.
Nevertheless, one thing is clear: the dominant black and white narrative fueling the near-hysteria in the mainstream media in the U.S. and among the U.S. political class is really an expression of our fractious domestic politics, where our political protagonists are engaged in a foodfight that both misrepresents and vastly oversimplifies a dangerous evolving situation — a situation that, conveniently, is taking place in a distant country with a complex history about which the vast majority of Americans know almost nothing.
Given that the China threat is not quite cutting it politically, there is an elegant symmetry in this Ukraine hysteria. The timing for a foreign policy crisis with the hated Russia over freedom-loving Ukraine is coincidentally covenient, coming as it does with the Pentagon’s release of its greedy sequester-dodging Pentagon budget plan (see page 3) – especially when coupled with the growing awareness that the only way to feed the voracious appetite of the Miitary – Industrial – Congressional Complex will be to declare war on social programs like Medicare and Social Security — see The Biggest Threat to the Pentagon’s Budget Is Entitlement Spending. This war on social programs has been in the works for a long time , for reasons I explained in this 5 September 2000 op-ed, and now that the war of terror in winding down, a new cold war is just the ticket needed to win the real war at home.
Who knows, with a little luck, maybe the MICC can start a new Cold War with our old adversary and restore the comforts of business as usual.
Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press.