For the second time in a decade, the US foreign policy apparatus has conducted a successful coup against Viktor Yanukovych, the democratically elected president of Ukraine. According to Victoria Nuland, the State Department bureaucrat who appears to be in charge of this effort, we have spent $5 billion on this. Our goals, according to her, are to get Ukraine into Western Europe and away from Russia and to get her into debt with the IMF as quickly as possible. She calls this “democracy.”
An interesting thing about this second episode is the gross incompetence of its execution. As events have unfolded, it is apparent to anyone paying attention that Yanukovych and Putin hold the moral high ground—the moral high ground by the ostensible morality of the liberals, I mean. Yanukovych and Putin have steadily and throughout managed to side with democracy, the rule of law, and negotiated settlements, whereas the US has sided with a violent coup carried out by neo-Nazis, the abrogation of democratic elections, and the abrogation of the negotiated settlement of the rebellion. The brighter precincts of neocondom are aware of this problem and are beavering away manufacturing excuses.
The same pattern is now asserting itself in Crimea. Russia has, throughout this phase of the confrontation, sided with the rule of law and democracy. The “invasion” it is allegedly carrying out is authorized by its treaty with Ukraine—it is permitted to have 25K troops in Crimea. Today, the Crimean parliament voted to join Russia, but not until this decision is confirmed by a referendum. What possible principled objection can the West mount to this plan? What it will do, undoubtedly, is blabber about democracy, treaties, and the rule of law. This in the teeth of the facts that Russia is respecting these things while the US is not.
The dishonesty and hypocrisy of the US and of its servile press are virtually impossible to miss. Events in Ukraine as recounted in retrospect by US officials and US press organs bear only fleeting resemblance to those events as reported at the time. By contrast, events as recounted by, say, Vladimir Putin, bear a much closer resemblance to those events as reported at the time.
Aside from the question of competence, this episode raises the question of goals. Allegedly, US foreign policy is directed at democracy promotion. Since this is obviously false, we can ask what US foreign policy actually is directed at. The answer is not so clear, at least to me. US interests in Ukraine seem pretty non-existent while its interests in not provoking a war with Russia seem self-evident. If we are neither promoting democracy nor serving US interests, then what are we doing?