Foreign affairs scholar John Mearsheimer in 2015 gave a lecture on the Ukraine crisis that might as well have been given yesterday.
It presents a stinging analysis of why the Ukraine crisis is the West’s fault. Watch:
“And we thought that we could just drive right up to his door step and it wouldn’t matter,” Mearsheimer said, referring to Putin. “Right? We did not think that Russia was aggressive.”
“What happened here is that after the crisis broke out on February 22nd , we then decided that Russia was aggressive,” he went on. “We then decided that Russia was bent on creating a greater Russia. It was after the fact. And by the way, this is why President Obama and virtually all of Washington was caught with their pants down when this crisis broke out after February 22nd. ‘Cause they did not see it coming.”
“We’re getting tougher and tougher with the Russians,” he went on. “That’s our strategy. And that’s exactly what you’d expect if you’re goiing to blame them, given that we’re incapable of blaming ourselves because we never do anything wrong. You all know that all the problems in the world are caused by everybody else, never by the United States, because we’re a benign hegemon.”
“Well, if we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys and they’re misbehaving, they’re bent on creating a greater Russia,” he said. “‘Oh my God, this is the 1930s all over again. Any sort of concession to Putin is Munich, October, 1938.’ You can’t do that,” he added. “So what you do is you double down, you get tougher and tougher, that this brings us to the question of whether we can succeed or not.”
“My argument is you’re playing a losing hand,” he argued. “And the reason you’re playing a losing hand is because this is a competition between economic considerations and security considerations. The basic mindset of people in the West is that you can punish the rush economically and they’ll throw their hands up.”
“My argument is when security considerations are at stake, when core strategic interests are at stake — and there’s no question, ladies and gentlemen, in Russia’s case, this is a core strategic interest — countries will suffer enormously before they throw their hands up, right?”
“So you can inflict the lot of pain on the Russians and they’re not going to quit. And they’re not going to quit because Ukraine matters to them. And by the way, Ukraine doesn’t matter to us. You understand?”
“There’s nobody calling for us to fight in Ukraine,” he added. “Even John McCain, who up until recently has never seen a war. He didn’t want to fight.”
Watch the whole thing below:
John Mearsheimer, a prominent foreign relations scholar at the University of Chicago, also wrote in the Council of Foreign Affairs in 2014 about how “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s fault.”
“According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression… But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis.” Mearsheimer writes. “The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West.”
“At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine—beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004—were critical elements, too,” he adds. “Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion.
“For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president—which he rightly labeled a ‘coup’—was the final straw,” he continued. “He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.”
The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum threw a bit of a tizzy fit this week when the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed its endorsement of the article on Twitter.
Now wondering if the Russians didn't actually get their narrative from Mearshimer et al. Moscow needed to say West was responsible for Russian invasions (Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, Ukraine), and not their own greed and imperialism. American academics provided the narrative.
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) March 1, 2022
“Now wondering if the Russians didn’t actually get their narrative from Mearshimer et al. Moscow needed to say West was responsible for Russian invasions (Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, Ukraine), and not their own greed and imperialism,” she complained. “American academics provided the narrative.”
It is, however, an uncontroversial perspective that Western Woke intellectuals are incapable of the introspection and empathy necessary to perceive threats from others’ point-of-view. When confronted with opposing viewpoints, their reaction to “cancel” or “censor” them; in this case, merely hide their eyes from the coming catastrophe.
It is a fact that the West essentially orchestrated a ‘coup’ in 2014 and replaced a pro-Russian president with corrupt pro-Western ones.
Victoria Nuland has a lengthy history of diplomatic and political affairs in NATO, Russia and Eastern Europe. Even left-wing Salon warned the Biden administration about bringing on Victoria Nuland.
“Who is Victoria Nuland? Most Americans have never heard of her, because the U.S. corporate media’s foreign policy coverage is a wasteland,” Salon laments. “Most Americans have no idea that President-elect Biden’s pick for deputy secretary of state for political affairs is stuck in the quicksand of 1950s U.S.-Russia Cold War politics and dreams of continued NATO expansion, an arms race on steroids and further encirclement of Russia.”
“Nor do they know that from 2003 to 2005, during the hostile U.S. military occupation of Iraq, Nuland was a foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney, the Darth Vader of the Bush administration,” the piece adds.
Harvard describes Nuland as “a career ambassador” who “spent more than three decades in the U.S. Foreign Service as a top Russian policy expert and representative to NATO, Ukraine, and Europe during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Nuland’s leadership of U.S. support for the Maidan revolution in Ukraine made her the first high-profile victim of politically targeted phone hackings ordered by Putin in 2014.”
Putin appears to have retaliated against the U.S. by hacking and releasing a conversation between then-Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, wherein she said “fuck the EU.”
“That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN glue it and you know, fuck the EU,” she says, apparently referring to differences over their policies.
The radical publication Salon’s language is quite stark, and by all appearances, entirely accurate.
“Despite outrage from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, no one fired Nuland, but her potty mouth upstaged the more serious story: the U.S. plot to overthrow Ukraine’s elected government — and America’s responsibility for a civil war that has killed at least 13,000 people and left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe.”
“In the process, Nuland, her husband Robert Kagan — co-founder of The Project for a New American Century — and their neocon cronies succeeded in sending U.S.-Russian relations into a dangerous downward spiral from which they have yet to recover.”
“Nuland accomplished this from a relatively junior position as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. How much more trouble could she stir up as the No. 3 official at Biden’s State Department?” Salon asks. “We’ll find out soon enough, if the Senate confirms her nomination.”
Salon doesn’t note that in the book “Russian Roulette,” by Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones magazine’s David Corn, she is shown to have played an instrumental role in the progress of Christopher Steele’s dirty dossier on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Nuland is said to have given the go-ahead for an FBI agent in London to meet with the former U.K. intelligence officer.
As revealed in an Office of the Inspector General report, Nuland also played some role in arranging a State Department meeting with Christopher Steele.
Victoria Nuland, the current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, is a high-level political operative who has engaged in numerous smoky backroom deals in Ukraine.
Nuland met with pro-Russian President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, just weeks before Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove him from office on February 22. Yanukovych had reportedly agreed to “quickly adopt constitutional changes called for by pro-Western demonstrators” to save the skin, before deciding to flee the country.
The Maidan revolution, billed as a reform movement to remove corrupt officials from office, was far from a spontaneous uprising. It received significant aid and support from the Obama State Department. The French and German foreign ministers, along with Nuland, were in Ukraine shortly before the ‘democratic uprising.’ Billionaire activist George Soros had praised the Ukrainian revolt and called for more such revolutions to happen around the globe.
Unfortunately, the reforms would not lead to improvements for the Ukrainian people, who remained among the poorest in Europe. This was driven home by the post-Maidan events of 2014, which led to the unlikely twist that former Vice President Joe Biden’s own son Hunter Biden would receive a lucrative board position for a Ukraine gas giant known as Burisma.
On May 13, 2014, Burisma Group announced that Hunter Biden would be joining its board. As a Reuters timeline points out, around that time, Burisma’s founder, a former government official named Mykola Zlochevsky, “was under investigation for alleged money laundering by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.”
On December 8, 2015, Biden visited Kiev again and “spoke out against bureaucratic corruption that he said was eating Ukraine ‘like a cancer’,” Reuters notes. “Biden threatened to withhold loan guarantees unless Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who had been widely accused of corruption, was removed.”
In 2018, Biden actually bragged about the exchange with the Ukrainians before the prosecutor was fired in March 2016. (Reuters claims that Shokin’s investigation into Burisma had been “dormant.”)
“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,” Biden boasted. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
The United States’ intervention into Ukraine, along with its suspect ties with powerful American leaders, only added fuel to the fire in the eyes of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The corruption thus never stopped in the Ukraine following Maidan. It was merely transferred from pro-Russian oligarchs to pro-American oligarchs.
This case is perhaps no better illustrated with sudden Western media darling Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
After leaving his career as a comedian and entertainer and becoming Ukraine’s president in April 2019, Zelenskyy lauded Trudeau as “one of those leaders who inspired” him “to join politics.”
@JustinTrudeau was one of those leaders who inspired me to join politics. pic.twitter.com/DZYwLDgvkv
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 2, 2019
Like Trudeau, Zelenskyy was a member of Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum, a globalist organization that has pushed the Great Reset and boasted that by the year 2030: “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.”
But that apparently doesn’t apply to elites like Zelenskyy, who has been found to own non-disclosed offshore accounts in the Pandora Papers scandal.
“Around the time of his 2019 election, Zelensky handed his shares in a key offshore company over to Shefir, but the two appear to have made an arrangement for Zelensky’s family to continue receiving money from the offshore,” the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project notes.
“Actor Volodymyr Zelensky stormed to the Ukrainian presidency in 2019 on a wave of public anger against the country’s political class, including previous leaders who used secret companies to stash their wealth overseas,” the OCCRP added. “Now, leaked documents prove that Zelensky and his inner circle have had their own network of offshore companies. Two belonging to the president’s partners were used to buy expensive property in London.”
Thus, Ukraine was not only in danger of being pulled into NATO’s orbit, as opposed to remaining neutral, it was being captured by Western elites and globalist institutions.
Russia’s worldview about globalism is perhaps best encapsulated by his famous Munich speech in 2007.
“Only two decades ago the world was ideologically and economically divided and it was the huge strategic potential of two superpowers that ensured global security,” Putin said during the speech.
“This global stand-off pushed the sharpest economic and social problems to the margins of the international community’s and the world’s agenda,” he added. “And, just like any war, the Cold War left us with live ammunition, figuratively speaking. I am referring to ideological stereotypes, double standards and other typical aspects of Cold War bloc thinking.”
“The unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War did not take place either,” he continued. “The history of humanity certainly has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn’t happened in world history?”
“However, what is a unipolar world?” he said. “However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.”
“It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign,” he said. “And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy.”
Nuland laments the purported lost opportunity of even going so far as to bring Russia into NATO in a PBS “Frontline” interview in 2017.
“So we were thinking initially strategically that NATO could become this broad pan-European security organization in the context of a Russia that was really getting democratic, was really willing to live within the Helsinki rules and values,” Nuland said.
“But then, by 1995, I don’t know whether it was internal pressure or whether Yeltsin just began to get more traditional in his views, he at one point said: ‘Russia’s too big for NATO. We would swamp you.'”
“Then by the time you get Putin in the picture in 1998, there’s this perception that any enlargement can only be seen in zero-sum terms,” she said. “I think Putin comes into office with that; that he never gets over that Soviet view of NATO, that it was founded to oppose us. There was no way we could be friendly with it.”
It appears that the Western liberal elites believe that they can use a ‘social constructivist’ framework to rewrite the history of international relations and ignore realist assumptions of great power politics — such as the ‘balance of power.’ As the current war in Ukraine shows, that is a tragic miscalculation that is now getting people killed.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.