"Neocons came to recognize that the Obama-Putin tandem had become a major impediment to their strategic vision....The Ukraine crisis has given Official Washington's neocons another wedge to drive between Obama and Putin. For instance, the neocon flagship Washington Post editorialized on Saturday that Obama was responding “with phone calls” when something much more threatening than “condemnation” was needed." 3/2/2014
March 2, 2014, "What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis," Robert Parry, Consortium News
"The Ukrainian crisis partly fomented by U.S.
neocons including holdovers at the State Department has soured
U.S-Russian relations and disrupted President Obama’s secretive
cooperation with Russian President Putin to resolve crises in the
Mideast, reports Robert Parry."
"President Barack Obama has been trying, mostly in secret, to craft a
new foreign policy that relies heavily on cooperation with Russian
President Vladimir Putin to tamp down confrontations in hotspots such as
Iran and Syria. But Obama’s timidity about publicly explaining this
strategy has left it open to attack from powerful elements of Official
Washington, including well-placed neocons and people in his own
The gravest threat to this Obama-Putin collaboration has now emerged
in Ukraine, where a coalition of U.S. neocon operatives and neocon
holdovers within the State Department fanned the flames of unrest in
Ukraine, contributing to the violent overthrow of democratically elected
President Viktor Yanukovych and now to a military intervention by
Russian troops in the Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine that
historically was part of Russia.
Though I’m told the Ukraine crisis caught Obama and Putin by
surprise, the neocon determination to drive a wedge between the two
leaders has been apparent for months, especially after Putin brokered a
deal to head off U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer and
helped get Iran to negotiate concessions on its nuclear program, both
moves upsetting the neocons who had favored heightened confrontations.
Putin also is reported to have verbally dressed down Israel’s Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince
Bandar bin Sultan over what Putin considered their provocative actions
regarding the Syrian civil war. So, by disrupting neocon plans and
offending Netanyahu and Bandar, the Russian president found himself
squarely in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.
If not for Putin, the neocons along with Israel and Saudi Arabia
had hoped that Obama would launch military strikes on Syria and Iran
that could open the door to more “regime change” across the Middle East,
a dream at the center of neocon geopolitical strategy since the
1990s. This neocon strategy took shape after the display of U.S.
high-tech warfare against Iraq in 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet
Union later that year. U.S. neocons began believing in a new paradigm of
a uni-polar world where U.S. edicts were law.
The neocons felt this paradigm shift also meant that Israel would no
longer need to put up with frustrating negotiations with the
Palestinians. Rather than haggling over a two-state solution, U.S.
neocons simply pressed for “regime change” in hostile Muslim countries
that were assisting the Palestinians or Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Iraq was first on the neocon hit list, but next came Syria and Iran.
The overriding idea was that once the regimes assisting the Palestinians
and Hezbollah were removed or neutralized, then Israel could dictate
peace terms to the Palestinians who would have no choice but to accept
what was on the table.
U.S. neocons working on Netanyahu’s campaign team in 1996, including
Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, even formalized their bold new plan,
which they outlined in a strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New
Strategy for Securing the Realm.” The paper argued that only “regime
change” in hostile Muslim countries could achieve the necessary “clean
break” from the diplomatic standoffs that had followed inconclusive
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
In 1998, the neocon Project for the New American Century called for a
U.S. invasion of Iraq, but President Bill Clinton refused to go along.
The situation changed, however, when President George W. Bush took
office and after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, the neocons had a Commander
in Chief who agreed with the need to eliminate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein--and a stunned and angry U.S. public could be easily persuaded. [See
Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
So, Bush invaded Iraq, ousting Hussein but failing to subdue the
country. The U.S. death toll of nearly 4,500 soldiers and the staggering
costs, estimated to exceed $1 trillion, made the American people and
even Bush unwilling to fulfill the full-scale neocon vision, which was
expressed in one of their favorite jokes of 2003 about where to attack
next, Iran or Syria, with the punch line: “Real men go to Tehran!”
Though hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney pushed the
neocon/Israeli case for having the U.S. military bomb Iran’s nuclear
facilities with the hope that the attacks also might spark a “regime
change” in Tehran Bush decided that he couldn’t risk the move,
especially after the U.S. intelligence community assessed in 2007 that
Iran had stopped work on a bomb four years earlier.
The Rise of Obama
The neocons were dealt another setback in 2008 when Barack Obama
defeated a neocon favorite, Sen. John McCain. But Obama then made one of
the fateful decisions of his presidency, deciding to staff key
foreign-policy positions with “a team of rivals,” i.e. keeping
Republican operative Robert Gates at the Defense Department and
recruiting Hillary Clinton, a neocon-lite, to head the State Department.
Obama also retained Bush’s high command, most significantly the
media-darling Gen. David Petraeus. That meant that Obama didn’t take
control over his own foreign policy.
Gates and Petraeus were themselves deeply influenced by the neocons,
particularly Frederick Kagan, who had been a major advocate for the 2007
“surge” escalation in Iraq, which was hailed by the U.S. mainstream
media as a great “success” but never achieved its principal goal of a
unified Iraq. At the cost of nearly 1,000 U.S. dead, it only bought time
for an orderly withdrawal that spared Bush and the neocons the
embarrassment of an obvious [$1 trillion] defeat.
So, instead of a major personnel shakeup in the wake of the
catastrophic Iraq War, Obama presided over what looked more like
continuity with the Bush war policies, albeit with a firmer commitment
to draw down troops in Iraq and eventually in Afghanistan.
From the start, however, Obama was opposed by key elements of his own
administration, especially at State and Defense, and by the
still-influential neocons of Official Washington.
According to various
accounts, including Gates’s new memoir Duty, Obama was maneuvered
into supporting a troop “surge” in Afghanistan, as advocated by neocon
Frederick Kagan and pushed by Gates, Petraeus and [Hillary] Clinton.
Gates wrote that Kagan persuaded him to recommend the Afghan “surge”
and that Obama grudgingly went along although Gates concluded that Obama
didn’t believe in the “mission” and wanted to reverse course more
quickly than Gates, Petraeus and their side wanted.
Faced with this resistance from his own bureaucracy, Obama began to
rely on a small inner circle built around Vice President Joe Biden and a
few White House advisers with the analytical support of some CIA
officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Obama also found a surprising ally in Putin after he regained the
Russian presidency in 2012. A Putin adviser told me that the Russian
president personally liked Obama and genuinely wanted to help him
resolve dangerous disputes, especially crises with Iran and Syria.
In other words, what evolved out of Obama’s early “team of rivals”
misjudgment was an extraordinary presidential foreign policy style, in
which Obama developed and implemented much of his approach to the world
outside the view of his secretaries of State and Defense (except when
Panetta moved briefly to the Pentagon).
Even after the eventual departures of Gates in 2011, Petraeus as CIA
director after a sex scandal in late 2012, and Clinton in early 2013,
Obama’s peculiar approach didn’t particularly change. I’m told that he
has a distant relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry, who never
joined Obama’s inner foreign policy circle.
Though Obama’s taciturn protectiveness of his “real” foreign policy
may be understandable given the continued neocon “tough-guy-ism” that
dominates Official Washington, Obama’s freelancing approach gave space
to hawkish elements of his own administration.
For instance, Secretary of State Kerry came close to announcing a
U.S. war against Syria in a bellicose speech on Aug. 30, 2013, only to
see Obama pull the rug out from under him as the President worked with
Putin to defuse the crisis sparked by a disputed chemical weapons attack
outside Damascus. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How War on Syria Lost Its Way.”]
Similarly, Obama and Putin hammered out the structure for an interim
deal with Iran on how to constrain its nuclear program. But when Kerry
was sent to seal that agreement in Geneva, he instead inserted new
demands from the French (who were carrying water for the Saudis) and
nearly screwed it all up. After getting called on the carpet by the
White House, Kerry returned to Geneva and finalized the
arrangements. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Saudi-Israel Defeat on Iran Deal.”]
Unorthodox Foreign Policy
Obama’s unorthodox foreign policy essentially working in tandem with
the Russian president and sometimes at odds with his own foreign policy
bureaucracy has forced Obama into faux outrage when he’s faced with
some perceived affront from Russia, such as its agreement to give
temporary asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward
For the record, Obama had to express strong disapproval of Snowden’s
asylum, though in many ways Putin was doing Obama a favor by sparing
Obama from having to prosecute Snowden with the attendant complications
for U.S. national security and the damaging political repercussions from
Obama’s liberal base.
Putin’s unforced errors also complicated the relationship, such as
when he defended Russian hostility toward gays and cracked down on
dissent before the Sochi Olympics. Putin became an easy target for U.S.
commentators and comedians.
But Obama’s hesitancy to explain the degree of his strategic
cooperation with Putin has enabled Official Washington’s still
influential neocons, including holdovers within the State Department
bureaucracy, to drive more substantive wedges between Obama and Putin.
The neocons came to recognize that the Obama-Putin tandem had become a
major impediment to their strategic vision.
Without doubt, the neocons’ most dramatic and potentially most
dangerous counter-move has been Ukraine, where they have lent their
political and financial support to opposition forces who sought to break
Ukraine away from its Russian neighbor.
Though this crisis also stems from the historical division of Ukraine
between its more European-oriented west and the Russian-ethnic east
and south neocon operatives, with financing from the U.S.-funded
National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. sources, played key
roles in destabilizing and overthrowing the democratically elected
NED, a $100 million-a-year [US taxpayer funded] agency created by the Reagan
administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological
warfare against targeted states, lists 65 projects that it supports
financially inside Ukraine, including training activists, supporting
“journalists” and promoting business groups, effectively creating a
full-service structure primed and ready to destabilize a government in
the name of promoting “democracy.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Shadow US Foreign Policy.”]
State Department neocons also put their shoulders into shoving
Ukraine away from Russia. Assistant Secretary of State for European
Affairs Victoria Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan and
the sister-in-law of the Gates-Petraeus adviser Frederick Kagan,
advocated strenuously for Ukraine’s reorientation toward Europe.
Last December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European
aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S.
goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves,” by which
she meant into the West’s orbit and away from Russia’s.
But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would
have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He
accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has
propped up Ukraine’s economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych’s
decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the
country’s western and more pro-European region.
Nuland was soon at work planning for “regime change,”
encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies
to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn’t seem to notice or mind
that the protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square had hoisted a large banner
honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with
the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in
atrocities against Jews and Poles.
By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to
Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.
“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was
intercepted and posted online. “He’s got the economic experience, the
governing experience. He’s the guy you know.” By “Yats,” Nuland was
referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central
bank, foreign minister and economic minister — and who was committed to
As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the
demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed
with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera’s
anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World
With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street
fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for
moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down.
neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government
buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their
With these neo-Nazis providing “security,” the remaining
parliamentarians agreed in a series of unanimous or near unanimous votes
to establish a new government and seek Yanukovych’s arrest for mass
murder. Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
Yet, the violent ouster of Yanukovych provoked popular resistance to
the coup from the Russian-ethnic south and east. After seeking refuge in
Russia, Yanukovych appealed to Putin for help. Putin then dispatched
Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea. [For more on this
history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine.”]
Separating Obama from Putin
The Ukraine crisis has given Official Washington’s neocons another
wedge to drive between Obama and Putin. For instance, the neocon
flagship Washington Post editorialized on Saturday that Obama was
responding “with phone calls” when something much more threatening than
“condemnation” was needed.
It’s always stunning when the Post, which so energetically lobbied
for the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the false pretense of eliminating
its (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, gets its ire up about
another country acting in response to a genuine security threat on its
own borders, not half a world away.
But the Post’s editors have never been deterred by their own
hypocrisy. They wrote, “Mr. Putin’s likely objective was not difficult
to figure. He appears to be responding to Ukraine’s overthrow of a
pro-Kremlin government last week with an old and ugly Russian tactic:
provoking a separatist rebellion in a neighboring state, using its own
troops when necessary.”
The reality, however, appears to have been that neocon elements from
within the U.S. government encouraged the overthrow of the elected
president of Ukraine via a coup spearheaded by neo-Nazi storm troopers
who then terrorized lawmakers as the parliament passed draconian laws,
including some intended to punish the Russian-oriented regions which
Yet, besides baiting Obama over his tempered words about the crisis,
the Post declared that “Mr. Obama and European leaders must act quickly
to prevent Ukraine’s dismemberment. Missing from the president’s
statement was a necessary first step: a demand that all Russian forces
regular and irregular be withdrawn and that Moscow recognize the
authority of the new Kiev government. If Mr. Putin does not comply,
Western leaders should make clear that Russia will pay a heavy price.”"...
[Ed. note: Why? Says who? This is none of WaPo's business nor is it the business of US taxpayers--without whom neocons couldn't exist. Lives of WaPo personnel are apparently so empty that they imagine they control people half a world away. In their sickness, they haven't the slightest concern about the US southern border.]
(continuing): "The Post editors are fond of calling for ultimatums
against various countries, especially Syria and Iran, with the
implication that if they don’t comply with some U.S. demand that harsh
actions, including military reprisals, will follow.
But now the neocons, in their single-minded pursuit of endless
“regime change” in countries that get in their way, have taken their
ambitions to a dangerous new level, confronting nuclear-armed Russia
By Sunday, the Post’s neocon editors were “spelling out the
consequences” for Putin and Russia, essentially proposing a new Cold
The Post mocked Obama for alleged softness toward Russia and
suggested that the next “regime change” must come in Moscow.
“Many in the West did not believe Mr. Putin would dare attempt a
military intervention in Ukraine because of the steep potential
consequences,” the Post wrote. “That the Russian ruler plunged ahead
shows that he doubts Western leaders will respond forcefully. If he does
not quickly retreat, the United States must prove him wrong.”"...
[Ed. note: By "the United States," WaPo means US taxpayers. Memo to WaPo: It's over. You're out of a job because we quit. We're no longer your slaves. "The Yanks aren't coming" "over there" anymore. Our tax dollars and our lives don't belong to you.]
(continuing): "The madness of the neocons has long been indicated by their
extraordinary arrogance and their contempt for other nations’ interests.
They assume that U.S. military might and other coercive means must be
brought to bear on any nation that doesn’t bow before U.S. ultimatums or
that resists U.S.-orchestrated coups.
Whenever the neocons meet resistance, they don’t rethink their
strategy; they simply take it to the next level. Angered by Russia’s
role in heading off U.S. military attacks against Syria and Iran, the
neocons escalated their geopolitical conflict by taking it to Russia’s
own border, by egging on the violent ouster of Ukraine’s elected
The idea was to give Putin an embarrassing black eye as punishment
for his interference in the neocons’ dream of “regime change” across the
Middle East. Now, with Putin’s countermove, his dispatch of Russian
troops to secure control of the Crimea, the neocons want Obama to
further escalate the crisis by going after Putin.
Some leading neocons even see ousting Putin as a crucial step
toward reestablishing the preeminence of their agenda. NED president
[neocon] Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will
accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin
represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself
on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
At minimum, the neocons hope that they can neutralize Putin as
Obama’s ally in trying to tamp down tensions with Syria and Iran and
thus put American military strikes against those two countries back
under active consideration.
As events spin out of control, it appears way past time for President
Obama to explain to the American people why he has collaborated with
President Putin in trying to resolve some of the world’s
That, however, would require him to belatedly take control of his own
administration, to purge the neocon holdovers who have worked to
sabotage his actual foreign policy, and to put an end to
neocon-controlled organizations, like the National Endowment for
Democracy, that use U.S. taxpayers’ money to stir up trouble abroad.
That would require real political courage."
Among comments to Robert Parry's above 2014 article. (Note: Regular readers of Consortium News are aware that Mr. Parry sadly passed away in early 2018. I can't imagine anyone who could replace him. The few comments below are for those who may not be familiar with Mr. Parry's positions which sometimes bridged divides. For example, he was a big Obama supporter but didn't buy a single word he said about RussiaGate.)
Comment: Why was it so easy for criminal neocons to co-opt both Trump and Obama? I have to assume that threats of death were involved. I don't see any other selling point for doing what neocons want.
News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.
Monday, April 2, 2018
US neocons sabotaged Obama working in tandem with Putin to reduce global aggressions, were angered by Russia’s role in muting U.S. confrontations in Middle East. Neocon money laundering operations need more wars not fewer, saw dream of war with Russia slipping away, so refocused on Russia’s borders and incited violent ouster of Ukraine’s elected president-March 2, 2014, Robert Parry, Consortium News.
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