New Eastern Outlook
by F. William Engdahl
I recently received a sharp complaint from a reader about an assumed anti-American pro-Russian bias in my writings. The complaint gives a very good opportunity to address questions on the minds of many in the West confused by an extremely biased pro-Washington, anti-Russian bias in mainstream media coverage of Ukraine and Russia as the new demon to be fought.
Here is my translation from the German of the gist of the complaint:
“I am increasingly angry about the anti-American bias in the articles I read regularly from you. Now supposedly the USA are the evil ones and the eternal Cold Warrior Putin is the golden hero? You have not the slightest idea how it is today in Russia or Ukraine. My wife comes from there are she says the Russians are the aggressors…Did you ever ask yourself the question when Putin annexed Crimea why he didn’t do that in 1999 when he first became President? Oh yes, he didn’t then because he had to march into Chechnya to blow up shops of extremists…
Or possibly in 2000-2004 during his first term why he didn’t annex Crimea? Oh, sure, then he had to put (Yukos oil oligarch) Khodorkovsky in prison. That’s all crap! …I admit that the Americans are not without their own dirty laundry, whether Operation Condor in the past or the war in Iraq or the backing of rebels in Syria, which is a failure of the entire West, which just strengthened the extremists. No argument.
Even so, I find the Americans a thousand times more preferable to the Russians…”
Signed: Mr Schneider
First, Mr. Schneider, let me say I am an American and I am definitely not anti-American. I love my country and my fellow Americans.
What I do not love is the clique of very rich who—especially over the past three decades since the time of Reagan and Bush Senior—have step-by-step subverted the American Constitution and its guarantees of citizen rights, have destroyed prudent regulation of the health and safety of American citizens by easing safety rules of the Environmental Protection Agency to benefit companies like DuPont or Monsanto at the expense of the public.
What I do not love is how those very rich circles around David Rockefeller, George Soros, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, George Bush Sr and son and now Jeb Bush, have used their fortunes to buy Congressmen who pass their laws against the general welfare.
What I do not love is the Wall Street banks who financed Congressmen who agreed to vote to remove banking laws enacted after the 1929 stock market crash to control banking abuses. What I do not like is when the US Government—George W. Bush as well as Barack Obama—use hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars to bailout criminal corrupt big banks—Too Big To Fail we are told. At the same time they let ordinary Americans rot in unemployment, homelessness, send the jobs to China or Romania or Mexico for cheap labor.
I’ve spent more than three decades as an economist, economic historian, as a journalist researching what went “wrong” with my country, the United States. If you are an honest person genuinely in search of the truth I can recommend reading several of my books available from my website on www.williamengdahl.com.
It’s difficult, therefore, for me to respond to your very broad and black-white rhetorical method of formulation that I write that America is “the evil one and the eternal Cold Warrior Putin is the golden hero.” For me I find it important and essential to any serious analysis to be very concrete and as precise as possible. So I will take your examples about Russia.
First, were I President of Russia after 1999 I believe I would have done very much as Vladimir Putin had. At that point Russia and Ukraine had a treaty agreement signed by both governments in 1997 that gave Russia the right to use the Port of Sevastopol in Ukraine for 20 years until 2017 for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, an agreement of strategic importance to Russian defense. In 1999 it was inconceivable that Russia and Ukraine would ever come to war. I have many Ukrainian friends who when you ask them where they are from automatically reply, “Russia.” Ukraine itself, since independence in 1991, has been a failed state looted by immoral Ukrainian oligarchs, literal gangsters like Leonid Kravchuk, criminals like Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko, Yulia Tymoschenko.
However, in 1999 the security of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea was not at all worrisome to Moscow. What was of national security importance however was the CIA war in Chechnya, where the CIA was using imported Mujahideen that they had trained along with Osama bin Laden in the Afghan Soviet war in the 1979-1989 years.
US policy under George Bush Sr, and later Clinton-Gore was to destroy Russia after the end of the Cold War as a functioning nation, much as Washington is destroying Ukraine today. It was Washington and Bush Sr. who told the G7 in 1990 that all economic reform in Russia would be run by the (US Treasury-controlled) IMF.
George Soros and the Harvard “shock therapy” economists Jeffrey Sachs and Anders Aslund came in to work with criminals like Yegor Gaidar or Anatoly Chubais to literally privatize Russia’s crown jewels, her aluminum, aerospace industries, oil and other assets. All was done in the name of “free market efficiency.” Under Yeltsin-Chubais-Gaidar pensions went unpaid while a handful of unscrupulous would-be oligarchs close to the gangster Yeltsin family became billionaires.
Here enters Mikhail Khodorkovsky who by 2004 had become the wealthiest man in Russia, and was in the process of buying the Duma in order to change the law banning private mineral rights ownership and was working with London banker, Jacob Lord Rothschild and Henry Kissinger in his Open Russia Foundation, to buy the Russian Presidency using his wealth from Yukos Oil, a company he got by illegal manipulation of the state privatizations.
This is not pro-Putin propaganda. In the respected US journal Foreign Affairs, organ of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Lee Wolosky, a former counterterrorism official under the Clinton administration, detailed how Yukos “managed to siphon off some $800 million during a span of approximately 36 weeks” in 1999 through transfer pricing. Wolosky also described how Khodorkovsky had engaged in massive asset stripping of Yukos subsidiaries following the 1998 financial crisis. Khodorkovsky was, and most likely today in Switzerland as a wealthy exile, is a gangster.
I’m sorry, Mr Schneider, but your comments and chronology about Crimea and Ukraine are very unclear and make it impossible to reply directly. Let me then say with the February 22, 2014 US-orchestrated Coup d’etat in Kiev that placed a hand-picked gaggle of criminals and literal anti-semitic neo-Nazis into power such as Svoboda Party, Pravy Sektor and others, anyone with eyes could see that NATO membership for Ukraine would come next.
The new unelected Kiev regime began preparing anti-Russian language decrees and other moves hostile to any ethnic Russians in the country, which means Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Washington played an incredibly open role in the February coup, notably Senator John McCain and Assistant State Secretary Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland. It came one day after Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the foreign ministers of Poland and France had won a peaceful compromise of all parties in Kiev that could have avoided war.
George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, an intelligence consultancy whose major clients include the CIA, Pentagon and State Department, stated in December, 2014 interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant that Ukraine in February 2014 was, “a coup d’etat organized by the United States. And it truly was the most blatant coup in history.”
It became immediately clear in Moscow that Crimea could become a NATO base under the US-controlled Kiev putschists. A referendum was held where more than 90% of Crimea citizens voted to be independent from Kiev and voted to request annexation by Russia. Even Washington could not deny that a democratic majority had voted for Russia so they ignored it, and claimed Russian guns had forced the vote. I know people who were there and that never happened. There was an attempt however by a CIA-organized Tatar terrorist group with ties to Turkish intelligence to start an ISIS-style violent anti-Russian protest. It flopped.
As to your comment that you find Americans a thousand times more preferable to Russians, that is your preference and you are entitled to it. I have my preference as well and I am entitled to it.
Thank you for your comments once more. In closing, in my more than thirty years as a professional journalist I have seen the corruption of the mainstream USA and European media that you could perhaps not imagine. When we fear to allow alternative views to our mainstream media, whether we agree or not, we open the door to government or oligarchic thought manipulation. Be happy we still have the ability to read different views online or in other media. I never ask anyone to agree with my views. If you find fault, I am open to be proven wrong and have been.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.