Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Making Mischief in Ukraine


An important article, entitled Russia needs to defend its interests with an iron fist, appeared in the Financial Times the other day, to wit, March 5th. It is an analysis of the blowup in Ukraine from a Russian perspective. 

The writer, Dr. Sergei Karaganov, makes perfect sense. He is a distinguished academic in Moscow and a leader of Global Zero, the international movement for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Sounds like a great idea and way overdue.

My own outlook is that the imbroglio in the Ukraine was orchestrated by Neoconservative elements in Washington. The Neoconservatives  as you may know, began infiltrating the U.S. Government and the American news media in earnest during the H.W. Bush Administration. They came into glory during the co-consulship of Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush.

In the present instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted in a predictable manner to a situation which the Neocons have brought about in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on the southern flank of Russia. Did the NSC expect Moscow to stand by while Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquartered at Sevastopol in the Crimea was put at risk? Does Washington want a new Cold War? If so, why?

Meddling by Washington in the internal affairs of other nations is certainly nothing new. Such activity must be seen in historical context. It has been the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy since the days of the Spanish-American war in 1898. The immediate consequences have rarely been salubrious for the people on the ground. Under Presidents from both political parties, America became a busybody nation, either looking for trouble or deliberately stirring it up.

Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt are the prime exemplars of outsized trouble-making. Both deliberately lied America into war, while loudly proclaiming that they were trying to keep the country out of war. It is clear in retrospect that Wilson and Roosevelt had serious psychological problems, not the least of which was grandiosity.

In April 1917 Wilson came to the rescue of the gigantic, far-flung British Empire and of its obtuse, myopic leadership in Whitehall. American intervention in the Great War collaterally paved the way for the Soviet Union and handed Palestine, thanks to the Balfour Declaration, over to the Zionists. The outcome of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 is a Pandora’s box that does not quit. The box continues to disgorge its contents to this day.

As for Roosevelt, he was uniquely responsible for the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939. I’m referring to FDR’s rule-or-ruin, sub rosa foreign policy from 1937 onward with respect to the internal borders of Europe, which borders were none of Washington’s business. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, France and Poland became pawns of White House intrigue. The result was a trumped-up crisis involving the German port city of Danzig in the summer of 1939, and the outbreak of war in September.

It took a few more years of machinations for FDR to provoke and maneuver the hapless Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. Using this “back door to war”  America was officially railroaded into the ongoing bloodbath in Europe.

In our own time, post Cold War, outbreaks of chaos, ruination and bedlam, in which Washington has had a hand, have been on a minor scale, when compared to the two colossal world wars of the 20th century. At least so far. For example, at the present moment both Iraq and Syria are self-destructing simultaneously, as a direct consequence of ill-advised U.S. foreign policy decisions.

For Iraq, putting aside the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, it all began with Saddam Hussein’s oil production dispute with the fake state of Kuwait in 1990. In the aftermath of crippling U.S. sanctions and a “shock and awe” invasion, the enterprise of Iraq is ending today in a gruesome, internecine war, waged by car and truck bombings. Oh, the fruits and the joys of Operation Iraqi Freedom!

As for Syria, that beautiful country has long been targeted by the Tel Aviv-Washington axis, because President Assad is an ally of Hezbollah in Lebanon and is on good terms with Iran. Assad also wants a return of the Golan Heights, which Tel Aviv annexed from Syria years ago. Assad has accordingly been placed at the top of Israel’s strategic hit list. Ironically, the project to destroy Syria has been outsourced to crazed Sunni Jihadists.

Tehran is also on the same list. The elaborate economic and financial sanctions now in place against Iran are designed to destroy the Iranian economy. The goal is regime change, pure and simple. Iran’s nuclear program is nothing more than a cover story to justify the sanctions.

There is no Persian Bomb and no Iranian nuclear weapons program. Obama knows this, but he allows the charade to go forward unabated for the simple reason that, being a front man, he has little choice. Were Obama to unmask the charade now, he would call into question U.S. foreign policy going back to 1990, not to mention exposing himself as a charlatan.

Vladimir Putin is also on the hit list, because, among other reasons, he is on good terms with Syria and Iran, and he does not play the game of geopolitics according to the same playbook as Washington and Tel Aviv. He has refused to drink their Kool-Aid.

Moreover, Putin and Russia have been on a roll recently. I am referring to the Sochi Olympics,  to Russia’s second presidency of the G8  and to Putin’s pivotal role (and that of Russia’s able foreign minister Sergey Lavrov) in persuading Obama and Kerry to abandon a cruise missile attack on Syria, which was being justified by a crude false-flag operation. Such an attack would have been madness.

In truth, the know-it-all Neoconservatives and their dupes, camp followers and assorted busybodies in Washington have been stymied by Putin, and almost sidelined. They didn’t like it one bit. But now, thanks to the upheaval they have engineered in the Ukraine with U.S. taxpayers’ money, they are attempting a comeback.

They would love to slap some serious economic sanctions on Russia, just like they have done to Iran, damn the consequences to Europe, the Russian people, or anybody else. Sanctions, like Drones, are in. First destabilize, then destroy. There seems to be little downside. So far, Vladimir Putin has outsmarted the mischief-makers and warmongers, and not lost his cool. Let’s see if he can do it again.

PATRICK FOY is an essayist and short story writer. He graduated from Columbia University, where he studied English literature, European history and American diplomatic history. His work can be found at

PATRICK FOY is an essayist and short story writer. He graduated from Columbia University, where he studied English literature, European history and American diplomatic history. His work can be found at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future