In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Barack Obama acknowledged that the United States had "brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine," thus admitting to a high level of democratic impropriety.
Before we consider Obama’s revealing remarks, and how the Ukrainian people sold their country for a song, let’s rewind to November 2013, when then-President Viktor Yanukovich had shocked western capitals - and, more importantly, western markets - by suspending plans for an association agreement with the European Union.
As if on command, thousands of Ukrainians suddenly poured into the streets of Kiev to protest the decision. Such a rapid reaction should not have come as a surprise. After all, a multitude of US government agencies – most notably, USAID - had been operating in Ukraine since the collapse of the Soviet Union, investing billions on its latest "democratic" pet project.
This is no conspiracy theory. On December 13, 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, following her third trip to Ukraine in five weeks, told the National Press Club: "Since Ukraine's independence in 1991 the United States has…invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in needs and other goals."
Exactly what those "other goals" may have been, and who helped underwrite them, seem rather obvious today.
Although many are tempted to believe otherwise, governments don't normally spend such prodigious sums of money in a foreign land unless it expects to get something hefty - in this case, Kiev’s loyalty - in return. Governments are by nature political opportunists, not philanthropists, which is precisely why Russia gave USAID the boot in 2012. Ukraine did not, and was forced to pay the piper, so to speak.
We should note here that it was not just US taxpayer dollars that unwittingly provided the funds to support the coup d’ etat in Ukraine. In another softball interview with CNN’s Zakaria, billionaire George Soros last May coolly admitted: “I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”
Certainly those billions of dollars weren’t spent just on humanitarian work, like distributing pastries to the Ukrainian rabble gathered on Independence Square. After all, the crucial question as to who would lend Ukraine a multi-billion dollar rescue package was the elephant parked on Maidan that few talked about. Once upon a time, western financial institutions had the market cornered on the lucrative task of bailing out cash-strapped countries. Today, however, other economic agencies - BRICS for example - are able to compete with the IMF. But after Kiev exploded in chaos and violence, the regular lender of last resort bagged itself another national trophy for above its fireplace.
Michael Hudson, of Counterpunch, summed up the IMF victory: "In April 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the February 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high."
Hudson said the loan, given at a time of civil war, proved that the Washington-based financial institution functions as "an arm of US Cold War politics."
"Kiev used the loan for military expenses to attack the Eastern provinces, and the loan terms imposed the usual budget austerity, as if this would stabilize the country’s finances."
For anybody who still believes those billions of dollars were spent just to prop up democratic institutions need only consider the harsh historical lessons from places as diverse and distant as South America and the Middle East. Time and again, from Chile to Iran, Washington propped up puppet dictatorships to serve its purpose.
Proving this charge is as simple as eavesdropping on a telephone call conversation between Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.
Almost one year ago to the day, Nuland was heard outlining Washington’s vision of Kiev’s future "democratic" structure. Nothing terribly ironic about that, right? While much of the amused media focused its attention on Nuland’s “F*ck the EU” verbal bomb, that was mere child’s play compared to the meat of the conversation, which spelled out exactly who Washington wanted in power in Kiev.
Nuland: …I don't think Klitsch [Vitaly Klitschko, one of the opposition leaders] should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.
Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff….
Nuland: I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, current prime minister of Ukraine] is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyagnibok [Oleg Tyagnibok, the other opposition leader] on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in... he's going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it's just not going to work.
Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that's right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?
Or, instead of enduring the obscenities of a Nuland conversation, one could simply wait for Barack Obama to sum it all up in an interview with CNN all-star softball pitcher Fareed Zakaria.
Instead of challenging Obama on the question as to whether US-NATO policies in Eastern Europe - which, aside from moving inexorably eastward to Russia’s border, also excludes Russian participation in the US missile defense shield - have in some substantial way contributed to the deterioration of relations between Russia and the US, Zakaria merely dangles the “Russian aggressor” carrot before Obama, who of course blames the entire mess on Putin, while admitting to something incredible, yet entirely believable.
Obama told CNN's Zakaria that Washington “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine"following on the heels of the deadly “protests on Maidan and Yanukovich then fleeing.” [Interview segment available in above video].
While Nuland’s colorful conversation one year ago told us everything we needed to know about Ukraine’s so-called democratic transition, it’s a completely different thing when the “deal” is admitted to by none other than the American president.
Washington power brokers, desensitized to the concept of brokering political “deals” due to their so-called democratic work in faraway war zones like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, think it normal operating procedure to employ the strategy inside of sovereign states that are experiencing internal discord.
The real tragedy of such a scenario is not so much that it is happening, but that the United States, and the Ukrainian people, it seems, believe that a foreign invasion of political opportunists on their territory constitutes democracy or will somehow lead to democracy. I'd wager to bet that Ukraine will very soon resemble Greece, where the people had firsthand experience with foreign-enforced austerity measures and, employing real democratic procedure as opposed to backroom brokered deals, introduced real democracy to elect politicians of the people, for the people and by the people.
But then again, the United States expected no less from the $5 billion, and a few cakes, it paid for Kiev’s pledge of allegiance. Now the Ukrainian people must dutifully follow that foreign-built road wherever it may lead them.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.