Days before Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from office he was told it was “game over” by America’s Vice President Joe Biden. According to the British Guardian newspaper, quoting anonymous US officials, Biden admonished the Ukrainian leader in an hour-long phone call that his efforts for finding a negotiated solution to the country’s political crisis was “a day late and a dollar short”. That’s hardly the friendly advice of a neutral bystander.
Since last weekend, Yanukovych has scrambled into hiding, believed to be located somewhere in Ukraine’s southeast Crimean Peninsula. A former Chief of Staff, Andriy Kluyev, was reportedly wounded in a gun attack by anti-government protesters. Other members of Yanukovych’s Regions Party have also fled their parliamentary seats fearing similar acts of retribution, and leaving the legislative chamber dominated by a rump of opponents. The illegitimate parliament has duly called for prosecution against the former president and senior officials allegedly for causing dozens of deaths during three months of protests and riots.
The climate of lawlessness and mob rule that has now taken over Kiev has spread to other parts of the country, with pro-Russian communities in particular fearing an all-out civil war in the former Soviet Republic. This climate of fear is a reflection of the coup d’état precipitated against an elected president and government. The prompt arrival this week of US deputy secretary of state Williams Burns in the Ukrainian capital “to discuss with political and business figures” the future direction of the country is further evidence that this coup d’état was a Washington-sponsored event… Why else has US Vice President Joe Biden taken such an inordinate interest in the domestic affairs of the Ukraine, having made several personal phone calls from the White House to the hapless Yanukovych over recent weeks?
This not-so-covert criminal interference by the US in a sovereign state should be of no surprise.
Listening to US secretary of state John Kerry and other Western leaders talking about Ukraine not being a “battle between East and West” is simply risible nonsense, which is dutifully churned out by Western so-called news media for public consumption. The Ukraine has been on Washington’s “to do” list since the early 1990s when it was targeted by Zbigniew Brzezinski and other US imperial planners as a soft underbelly for destabilizing Russia. The Western-sponsored Orange Revolution of the mid-2000s, which led to the country’s creeping ensnarement by Western capital, can now be seen as a dress rehearsal for the present regime-change operation.
Indeed, Ukraine may be added to the notorious inventory of American regime-change targets disclosed in 2007 by Wesley Clark. Nearly seven years ago, US Four-Star General Wesley Clark went public and told how Washington had a rolling plan dating back to at least late 2001, when it had just launched a war on Afghanistan, in which it also had ambitions for similar regime change in seven other countries – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. All of those countries have to varying degrees undergone Washington-led covert military aggression, the most intense currently being in Syria, where the US and its allies are funding and arming an infiltrated foreign insurgency.
In addition to the notorious eight targets (including Afghanistan), recent orchestrated events in Ukraine and evidence of flagrant Western interference also make this country a member of Washington’s “to do” list. Furthermore, it is increasingly apparent that it is not only Ukraine that comes under this criminal remit. Ongoing violent street demonstrations in Venezuela destabilizing the government of socialist President Victor Maduro are unequivocally the machinations of Washington’s interference in that country as well. This subversion in Venezuela harks back to the US-backed attempted coup against the former president Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Washington has also in recent years presided over regime change or attempted regime change in Honduras and Uruguay, and it has colluded with illicit French military intervention across Africa, including in the Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and currently in the Central African Republic.
Regime change is thus the standard operating procedure for Washington and its proxies. It is not some irrational aberration. It is structural. In the longer historical perspective going back to the rise of the US as an imperial power in the mid to late 1800s, Washington has probably been involved in more coups, counter coups, wars of subterfuge and aggression across the globe than any other state.
Despite naïve-sounding Western protestations of “non-interference” in Ukraine, the only way to understand the turmoil in that country is in the context of Washington’s imperialist ambitions on behalf of Western capitalism. This agenda is unfortunately slavishly subscribed to by successive European governments, which have demonstrated their political priorities by enforcing the diktat of US-led capitalism for economic austerity against their own masses, as well as giving Washington a free hand to violate international law at will.
The systematic fact is that capitalism cannot be sustained without imperialist conquest. This is especially true in times of capitalist crisis, and the current juncture is probably posing the greatest historical crisis to the viability of US-led capitalism. Imperialism, with its proclivity for foreign interference, subversion and warmongering, is therefore currently at its highest point of need and manifestation for relieving the US-led stagnant economic order. That is what makes the present global situation disturbingly dangerous.
This structural connection between capitalism and imperialism was made cogently over a century ago by the Russian Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in his study Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Lenin’s insights into the systematic economic and political causes of the First World War have stood the test of time, albeit censored from mainstream Western consciousness. Those insights on how capitalist crisis furnishes imperialist predation can be applied with equal cogency in explaining the origins of the Second World War and many other subsequent international conflicts, including the current rash of US-backed regime-change operations on different continents.
Lenin’s analysis accounts for why Washington has stepped up its addiction for regime change around the globe over the past decade since when the US-led capitalist order has become locked into a seemingly inextricable depression. As in previous times, war and imperialism are the only way for the system to alleviate its own destructive tendency for impasse. Little wonder, ironically, that one of the first acts of the Western-sponsored protesters in Kiev at the end of last year was to smash up statues commemorating VI Lenin.
What is taking place in Ukraine is consonant with the bigger historic dynamic that the US and its Western proxies have stepped up their drive for imperialism – everywhere.
Ultimately, the targets for Western capitalist designs are the two major perceived geopolitical rivals of Russia and China. Both these countries represent a block on unfettered Western expansionism in Eurasia and the Pacific.
In that regard, ominously, Ukraine may be seen as merely a beachhead for Western regime-change plans in Russia itself. With the rise of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a global leader standing in the way of all-out Western naked aggression that “obstruction” has elevated Russia as a priority objective for Washington. This is fully consistent with renewed threats of militarism from the US towards Russia (and China) in the form of ballistic missile deployments along borders, nuclear weapons expansion (euphemistically called “upgrade”) and the veiled doctrine of “first strike” capability.
Ukraine illustrates a chilling denouement of a political tendency that has been evolving in American imperialism over the past decade. To Wesley Clark’s infamous list of covert American regime change operations, the unspoken ultimate prize is becoming increasingly evident – Moscow.
In truth, however, it is not simply a case of the post-1945 American Cold War against Russia being resumed. The US-led global capitalist war on Russia goes back to the October Revolution of 1917. The onslaught on Soviet Russia by Nazi Germany was a Western covert plan to subjugate a vast territory that had become out of Western capitalism’s control. (The subject of a subsequent column.)
The neo-Nazi paramilitaries unleashed by the West to destabilize the Ukraine, and Russia, presently, resonate with an old, systematic agenda of Western imperialist regime change towards the East and elsewhere. There is nothing anomalous about the historical association of the Western capitalist ruling class and present-day fascist thuggery.