New Eastern Outlook
by Caleb Maupin
On July 15, the United States military began practicing “counterinsurgency” warfare in the southwestern regions of the country. In nine different states, the Army Green Berets, Navy Seals, US Marines Special Operations Command, and Air Force Special Operations Command have been practicing scenarios involving “insurgents” within the domestic United States.The mainstream media assures us that such drills are routine, while some more alarmist elements speculate that it is based on fears of a foreign invasion. However, anyone who is paying attention should know what these drills — mysteriously called “Operation Jade Helm” — are really about.People in the United States are not happy. Incarceration and police brutality are rising, and good-paying jobs are becoming increasingly rare. Neighborhoods throughout the midwest are a mess of foreclosed homes and unemployment. Food banks across the country are reporting a record demand amid a continuing episode of mass malnutrition, here in the so-called “richest country in the world.” The NSA is listening to our phone calls and reading our e-mails, and practices by police and military that were once considered torture are becoming more routine and accepted.
The United States is moving toward a kind of high-tech dark ages, with poverty increasing along with heavy police-state repression.In this context, should we be surprised that the US government is rehearsing for an armed uprising among the population?In terms of domestic counterinsurgency, the US government has actually proven to be a little behind in the last five years. The US Department of Homeland Security was almost in a scrambled panic as it coordinated the smashing of Occupy protest camps in November 2011.In 2012, a single former police officer with a vendetta caused a massive security crisis in the state of California. The media was shocked when African-American Chris Dorner became a kind of internet folk hero for his killing spree targeting police officers. As Dorner died in a hail of bullets and flames, the owners of Facebook closed down many pages dedicated to cheering him on.
More recently, Ferguson and Baltimore became the site of domestic uprisings. The population of these impoverished areas did not restrict themselves to peaceful protests blocking highways. Rather, they began actively confronting the police in nightly street battles, striking back after they were met with teargas and rubber bullets.
Learning from Ukrainian Nazis?
“Operation Jade Helm” is the US military attempting to tune up on tactics of repression, in order to better contain the rising anger of the domestic US population. The CIA analysts who have studied “counterinsurgency situations” for generations around the world, and managed the use of brutal force to defeat armed uprisings in places like Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, or Indonesia, are reluctantly recognizing that their own homeland could soon be the next battlefield. The textbook conditions for a rise in left-adventurism, rightist putschism, armed messianic religious movements, and other forms of violent political unrest are ripening.
The military drills taking place in the southwest are even more interesting when taking into account recent statements from US military advisors in Ukraine.
The US military is currently training and advising the Ukrainian national guard as it battles resistance forces in East Ukraine. The chief of the army training staff in Ukraine, General Ray Odierno, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, “This training is shared training… It is American forces training Ukrainian forces, and its Ukrainian forces training American forces.” According to General Odierno, the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US army, a division of the biggest and most well-funded military in the world, is actually getting lessons and taking notes from the Ukrainian National Guard.
Let’s examine the frightening implications of this statement. The Ukrainian National Guard is not a normal military organization. Since the US-backed overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in 2014, the new Kiev government has been engaging in what it calls an “anti-terror operation” against the eastern-region Ukrainians who have rejected it. In Eastern Ukraine, armed resistance forces led by communists and Slavic nationalists have formed the People’s Republic of Donetsk, the People’s Republic of Luhansk, and other local governments federated into “Novorossiya.” These self-declared independent states are protected by armed groups against the new, explicitly anti-Russian regime in Kiev.
Since the fighting in the east began, many Ukrainians are simply not excited about the prospect of killing their Russian-speaking countryfolk in the east. In the context of mass defections from the Ukrainian army, the Kiev junta has become dependent on highly political elements to carry out its “Anti-Terror Operation” and crush the resistance in Novorossiya.
The Right Sector and other fascist organizations have become very prevalent since the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government. These self-proclaimed Nazi groups carried out the horrendous Odessa Massacre on May 2, 2014. Forty-two people were killed as they not only lit a trade union house on fire, but used baseball bats to attack all who attempted to flee the burning building.
Dmytro Yarosh, an open admirer of Nazi Stepan Bandera, is now an official advisor to the Ukrainian military. The Right Sector, a coalition of neo-Nazi organizations, has been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard as an independent fighting force.
No one can deny that the Ukrainian National Guard is full of Nazis. An all-Nazi unit called the “Azov Battalion” has been formed. The Azov Battalion uses the Wolfsangel, a Nazi symbol used by Hitler’s troops as their official insignia. The leader of the Azov Battalion is Andriy Biletsky, who describes himself as a “white nationalist.”
Austerity Terrorism in Ukraine
Neo-Nazis openly paraded through the streets of Kiev last week, calling for all-out declaration of war against the Russian Federation.
While the neo-Nazis are a big part of the official Ukrainian government, the Communist Party of Ukraine has been officially outlawed. New laws not only outlaw communist organizations, but also the symbols and ideology of communism. Leftists and dissidents in western Ukraine have been arrested and tortured by the new government which embraces Nazis. Many dissidents in western Ukraine have fled to the regions controlled by the rebels, in order to avoid being prosecuted for their political beliefs.
The fact that the US army is training Nazi death squads is scandalous enough. General Ordierno’s remarks, however, raise even more questions: What does Odierno think the US military needs to learn from these elements? What kind of “training” are US soldiers receiving from the Ukrainian neo-Nazis?
The violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government was carried out by rightists who used anti-Russian imagery and rhetoric about Ukrainian independence from “Russian national chauvinism.” However, behind the conflict in Ukraine is economics.
Under Yanukovich, Ukraine was moving economically closer to Russia, and further away from neoliberalism and the European Union. Since the ouster of Yanukovich, Ukraine has joined the European Union and signed on to loans from the International Monetary Fund.
The new regime in Ukraine has accepted the austerity and privatization policies mandated by the western-controlled international banking institutions. The old-age pension in Ukraine has been cut by 50%. The price of heating oil has doubled. Ukraine’s most valued resource, natural gas, is now privatized and under the control of US corporations.
Russia is now a big part of the global axis of resistance. Like China, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, and every other country demonized in the US media, it upholds an economic model based on public control of natural resources along with accountability and oversight of economic institutions by the state.
The actions of Nazis on the streets of Kiev were not really about defeating communism or Russia, “bringing glory to the white race,” or “restoring the Ukrainian nation.” The Ukrainian far right, with all its conspiracy theories and racism, is simply the muscle being utilized by Wall Street and London to enforce austerity. Because the elected Yanukovich would not carry out the bankers’ program, his regime was deposed. The program of privatizations and cutbacks to secure western economic control was adopted by brute force.
Plans for American “Euromaidan”?
As it is announced that US troops are being “trained” by these Nazis, and the US military begins rehearsing counterinsurgency tactics on US soil, we should be deeply concerned about what is in store for the working families of the United States in the upcoming period.
In the age of austerity, the Randist-Friedmanist ideologues are aiming to eliminate social security, Medicare, food benefits, and every economic program benefitting the poor. The hardline faction of “free market” extremists is determined to utilize the current crisis to build their “unknown ideal” of completely deregulated capitalism. They are willing to starve as many as possible to make the fantasy on the pages of “Capitalism and Freedom” come true.
Furthermore, these forces are also willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of their grand design for creating a free-market utopia. The gap between US leaders and the population continues to grow. The US public now rallies around figures like Bernie Sanders who speak in populist language claiming to oppose austerity cuts. In the context of increasing anti-austerity and anti-capitalist sentiments, “democratic liberties” — so often bragged about by leaders of the United States — may be in question.
The revelation that US troops in Afghanistan were displaying Hitler’s SS insignia came as a shocking scandal to many in the United States. Now, as the US army is mingling and engaged in mutual training with Ukrainian neo-Nazis, more questions must be raised.
Is there a plan for a US version of the “Euromaidan” events? Could a US version of the Kiev junta, backed by armed racist thugs, be installed in Washington, D.C.?
Historical precedent for such conspiracies exists. In 1934, US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler exposed the “Business Plot.” The American Legion and a few Wall Street bankers had approached him about deposing Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a military coup. Congress heard testimony from a decorated leader of the US Marine Corps about an actually existing plot to install an austerity terrorist regime in 1934 — as the US faced an economic crisis.
In the context of the global economy, events in the Ukraine cannot be ignored by people in the United States. The political forces involved in world events can have a direct impact on our lives, even if we are not aware of it. With the US armed forces rehearsing for “counterinsurgency” on US soil and hobnobbing with Nazis in Ukraine, we should all be quite concerned.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.