Chomsky & Kissinger Agree: Avoid Historic Tragedy In Ukraine

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A Ukrainian soldier holds a weapon as people wait on a bus to leave the town of Debaltseve in Artemivsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Since the unrest in eastern Ukraine surged anew in early January, the separatists have made notable strides in clawing territory away from the government in Kiev. Their main offensive is now directed at Debaltseve — a government-held railway junction once populated by 25,000 people that lies between the rebel-held cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. Almost 2,000 residents have fled in the last few days alone. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering sending more weapons to Ukraine — $3 billion worth. The Times reports: “Secretary of State John Kerry, who plans to visit Kiev on Thursday [Feb. 5], is open to new discussions about providing lethal assistance, as is Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officials said.”

This follows Defense News reporting that this spring the United States will be sending troops to train the Ukrainian National Guard and commence the shipping of U.S.-funded armored vehicles. The funding for this is coming from the congressionally-authorized Global Security Contingency Fund, which was requested by the Obama administration in the fiscal year 2015 budget to help train and equip the armed forces of allies around the globe.

Meanwhile, January footage from Ukrainian television shows U.S. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, handing out medals to wounded Ukrainian soldiers.

The slippery slope of U.S. involvement in what is developing into a civil war is based on a great deal ofpropagandistic statements and inaccurate corporate media coverage, and it calls to mind so many wars started for false reasons.

The views of Henry Kissinger and Noam Chomsky on this conflict are quite similar, though it’s difficult to find two more polar opposites regarding U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, Chomsky has been a long-time critic of Kissinger for the bombings in Southeast Asia and the various coups against democratic leaders that occurred during his tenure. Chomsky has said that in a just world, Kissinger certainly would have been prosecuted for these actions. (These were the war crimes that CODEPINK recently protested before the Senate Finance Committee.)

Yet when it comes to Ukraine, Chomsky and Kissinger essentially agree with each other. They disagree with the more hawkish Obama administration and the even more extreme Sen. John McCain — who are both escalating the conflict in their own ways.


“A threatening situation” 

Chomsky has described Ukraine as a “crisis [that] is serious and threatening,” further noting that some people compare it to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. In discussing Russia and Crimea he reminds readers that, “Crimea is historically Russian; it has Russia’s only warm-water port, the home of Russia’s fleet; and has enormous strategic significance.”

Kissinger agrees. In an interview with Spiegel, published in November, Kissinger says, “Ukraine has always had a special significance for Russia. It was a mistake not to realize that.”

He continues:

Crimea is a special case. Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. You can’t accept the principle that any country can just change the borders and take a province of another country. But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.

When Kissinger says that Crimea is not akin to Hitler and a desire for global conquest by Russia, he is going to the heart of the arguments made by those seeking escalation. Asked whether he believes the West has “at least a kind of responsibility for” the escalation in Ukraine, Kissinger says:

Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia.

In other words, Kissinger blames the U.S. and Europe for the current catastrophe in Ukraine. Kissinger does not begin at the point where there is military conflict. He recognizes that the problems in Ukraine began with Europe and the U.S. seeking to lure Ukraine into an alliance with Western powers with promises of economic aid. This led to the demonstrations in Kiev. And, as we learned from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the U.S. spent $5 billion in building opposition to the government in Ukraine.

In an October interview on U.S. foreign policy with the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research, when asked about Ukraine, Chomsky says:

It is an extremely dangerous development, which has been brewing ever since Washington violated its verbal promises to Gorbachev and began expanding NATO to the East, right to Russia’s borders, and threatening to incorporate Ukraine, which is of great strategic significance to Russia and of course has close historical and cultural links. There is a sensible analysis of the situation in the leading establishment journal, Foreign Affairs, by international relations specialist John Mearsheimer, entitled “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault.” The Russian autocracy is far from blameless, but we are now back to earlier comments: we have come perilously close to disaster before, and are toying with catastrophe again. It is not that possible peaceful solutions are lacking.

Kissinger, too, warns of Ukraine as a dangerous situation, describing the potential of a new Cold War and urging the countries involved to do all they can to avoid “a historic tragedy.” He tells Spiegel:

There clearly is this danger, and we must not ignore it. I think a resumption of the Cold War would be a historic tragedy. If a conflict is avoidable, on a basis reflecting morality and security, one should try to avoid it.

Chomsky agrees that the Ukraine conflict is high risk but goes further. Speaking to Russia Today (RT), he mentions a risk of World War III and nuclear war, saying the world has “come ominously close several times in the past, dramatically close.” He then describes the current situation in Ukraine: “And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it’s a threatening situation.”

Kissinger is also critical of the economic sanctions against Russia. He takes issue with targeting individuals because he does not see how that ends. Indeed, the criticism of the sanctions also applies to U.S. military involvement in Ukraine. Kissinger tells Spiegel: “I think one should always, when one starts something, think what one wants to achieve and how it should end. How does it end?”


The virtual takeover of Ukrainian government

The U.S. has loaded the Ukraine government and key businesses with Americans or U.S. allies. Nuland was caught on a telephone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, picking the next leader of Ukraine. The call is more famous for her closing line — “Fuck the EU” — but in the call she also says that the next leader of Ukraine should be the former banker Arseniy Yatseniuk, who she calls by a nickname “Yats.” Indeed, he has since become the prime minister of the post-coup Ukrainian government.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is identified in State Department documents as an informant for the U.S. since 2006. The documents describe him as “[o]ur Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko.” The State Department documents also report that Poroshenko is “tainted by credible corruption allegations.”

The most recent top official to join the Ukrainian government is Natalia A. Jaresko, a long-time State Department official, who went to Ukraine after the U.S.-sponsored Orange Revolution. Jaresko was made a Ukrainian citizen by the president on the same day he appointed her finance minister. William Boardman reports further on Jaresko:

Natalie Jaresko, is an American citizen who managed a Ukrainian-based, U.S.-created hedge fund that was charged with illegal insider trading. She also managed a CIA fund that supported ‘pro-democracy’ movements and laundered much of the $5 billion the U.S. spent supporting the Maidan protests that led to the Kiev coup in February 2014. Jaresko is a big fan of austerity for people in troubled economies.

Then, there is also one of the most important business sectors in Ukraine: the energy industry. After the U.S.-supported coup, Vice President Joe Biden‘s son, Hunter Biden, and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry, Devon Archer, the college roommate of the secretary of state’s stepson, have joined the board of Ukrainian gas producer Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest independent gas producer by volume. Archer also served as an adviser to Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and co-chaired his National Finance Committee. He also serves as a trustee of the Heinz Family Office, which manages the family business.

This virtual takeover of the Ukrainian government is the opposite of what Kissinger would have liked to have seen. He wrote last March, “If Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.” Unfortunately, it looks like it has been taken over by the U.S., creating conflict rather than a bridge between Russia and the U.S.

The man who was involved in multiple coups of democratically-elected governments now says the U.S. cannot impose its views on other nations:

SPIEGEL: In your book, you write that international order “must be cultivated, not imposed.” What do you mean by that?

Kissinger: What it means is we that we Americans will be a major factor by virtue of our strengths and values. You become a superpower by being strong but also by being wise and by being farsighted. But no state is strong or wise enough to create a world order alone.

Chomsky has often described how superpowers seek to organize the world according to their interests through military and economic power. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for national self-determination, not domination by super-powers.

Though Kissinger and Chomsky might be offended at being associated with the political views of the other, as the U.S. rushes headlong into a military conflict between the coup government in Kiev and the Eastern Ukrainian governments seeking their own self-determination, it is notable that both agree this rush to war is a mistake — and one of potentially historic proportions.

  • Nill Nilsen

    Putin draws reservists to the color and prepares for war. It will
    be stopped only by the weapon. Putin won’t look for the diplomatic decision.
    Putin believe in military defeat of the Ukrainian army. Refusal of military aid
    to Ukraine will stop Putin? It is silly. Lack of the weapon at the opponent
    never stopped an aggressor. Not to provide weapons for Ukraine simply increases
    Russia’s temptation to escalate the intervention.

    Only when Ukrainian military defence can plausibly hold Russian offence
    to a stalemate will a negotiated settlement become possible. Sometimes
    it takes guns to stop the guns.If Ukraine receives weapons and Putin
    will stop the Russian separatist will agree about the termination of military
    operation. Without it any diplomatic decision waits for a fate of the Minsk and
    Budapest Memorandum.

    Russian separatist don’t want a better life for the Donbas residents.
    They are just in it for the fight and don’t care who gets killed. The Russian
    terrorists place weapon emplacement in inhabited block. Then shoot at the Ukrainian army and at civil people.
    Separatists do it specially to cause hatred to Kiev. And for show of the
    Russian television.

  • kevinzeese

    Nill is a good example of someone who believes the US/corporate propaganda of Putin the aggressor when he is really playing defense and helping Eastern Ukraine play defense against aggression from Kiev. He did not read this article of comprehend it as he can’s see that the US is the aggressor and has taken over the Kiev government even though it is laid out for him.

  • Nill Nilsen

    kevinzeese is a good example of someone who believes the Russian propaganda. How many people were lost before invasion of the Russian saboteurs? Zero. How many people to prison? Zero. How many houses were destroyed? Zero. What Putin defend? Why after arrival of saboteurs from Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation thousands people were kill?

  • kevinzeese

    Now there is a re-writing of history! We have enough links in the article above so that people who are interested in understanding the falsehoods of US propaganda can find the information they need.

  • Nill Nilsen

    I don’t need information from mass media. I have friends in Lugansk and Donetsk. I trust them more.

  • kevinzeese

    Then you know those areas are under attack by the Kiev government and that Russia has been providing aid. Surprised you are so anti-Russia when the attack is from Kiev government which is dominated by the US.

    Today’s news — Germany and France pursue peace talks, US opposes; US wants to send more weapons, Europe says it will do more harm.

  • AlanMacDonald

    YES, Kevin, an oft unmentioned aspect of this disguised Imperial strategy of the Global Empire only ‘posing’ as our former country can be found in Thomas Barnett’s 2004 Naval War College strategy and book, “The Pentagon’s New Map” (that should have more accurately been titled, “The Global Empire’s New Map”, or PNAC II on steroids), and which promulgated a veiled attack on ‘Crescent of Instability’ across the entire 5000 mile swath of the Middle East and South Central Eurasia from Mauritania to the very boarders of China and Russia (which is all too obvious now).

    Of course this strategy for global domination via leveraging and misusing the “US state apparatus” of combined ‘hard and soft’ super-powers falsely justified as ‘humanitarian intervention’ to achieve a “Freedom Agenda” via “democracy promotion” was always pure scam by the financial-sector of the Empire to loot resources more broadly than the British Empire of old (which required only ‘half the world to support it’), and to thus keep the Ponzi scheme reverse ‘wealth pump’ of elite profits through ‘negative externality cost dumping’ chugging along to the END.

    Yes, Victoria ‘KAGAN’ Nuland as the wife of Robert PNAC Kagan was the ideal woman to light the fuse of this insane war, this Third World War of Empire (singular), by the last Empire standing behind the shadows.

    It’s all documented and available to anyone who wants to look into the plans of this Empire — and it is all written in book form by William Robinson as the Crisis of Humanity:

    “The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state ‘apparatus’ to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington.” [caps added]

    Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.