Category Archives: Poland

Remarks by Andrzej Duda to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, by Andrzej Duda

Distinguished Madam President, Excellencies, Esteemed Delegates, I congratulate Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, the President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, on her election to this honourable function. I wish to assure you, Madam President, about Poland`s full support for the measures you will take. At the same time, I wish to express my gratitude to Mr. Miroslav Lajčák for his active chairmanship over the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. Ladies and Gentlemen, (...)

Our Broken System has no “Moderate” Devotees

Western politics is tearing itself apart, polarising into two camps – or at least, it is in the official narrative we are being fed by our corporate media. The warring camps are presented as “moderate centrists”, on one side, and the “extreme right”, on the other. The question is framed as a choice about where one stands in relation to this fundamental political divide. But what if none of this is true? What if this isn’t a feud between two opposed ideological camps but rather two differing – and irrational – reactions to the breakdown of late-stage capitalism as an economic model, a system that can no longer offer plausible solutions to the problems of our age?

Neighbouring news headlines this week offered a neat illustration of the media’s framing of the current situation. Representing the “moderates”, German chancellor Angela Merkel made a “passionate address” in which she denounced the outbreak of far-right protests in east Germany and reports of the “hunting down” of “foreigners” – asylum seekers and immigrants.

She observed:

There is no excuse or explanation for rabble-rousing, in some cases the use of violence, Nazi slogans, hostility towards people who look different, to the owner of a Jewish restaurant, attacking police.

Ostensibly pitted against Merkel is Viktor Orban, Hungary’s “extreme right” prime minister. Hungary risks being stripped of its voting rights in the European Union because of Orban’s “rabble-rousing” policies and his anti-migrant agenda.

Shortly before the European parliament voted against Hungary, accusing its government of posing a “systematic threat” to democracy and the rule of law, Orban argued that his country was being targeted for preferring not to be “a country of migrants”.

He is far from an outlier. Several other EU states, from Italy to Poland, are close behind Orban in pursuing populist, anti-immigrant agendas.

Family feud

But does this civil war in Europe really reflect a divide between good and bad politics, between moderates and extremists? Are we not witnessing something else: the internal contradictions brought to the fore by a turbo-charged neoliberalism that is now so ideologically entrenched that no one dares question its suitability, let alone its morality?

In truth, the row between Merkel and Orban is a family feud, between sister and brother wedded to the same self-destructive ideology but in profound disagreement about which placebo should be administered to make them feel better.

What do I mean?

Merkel and the mainstream neoliberal elite are committed to an ever-more deregulated world because that is imperative for a globalised economic elite searching to accrue ever more wealth and power. That elite needs open borders and a lack of significant regulation so that it can plunder unrestricted the Earth’s resources – human and material – while dumping the toxic waste byproducts wherever is most profitable and convenient.

In practice, that means creating maximum damage in places and against life-forms that have the least capacity to defend themselves: the poorest countries, the animal kingdom, the forests and oceans, the weather system – and, of course, against future generations that have no voice. There is a reason why the deepest seabeds are now awash with our plastic debris, poisoning and killing marine life for decades, maybe centuries, to come.

Interestingly, this global elite makes a few exceptions to its policy of entirely open borders and sweeping deregulation. Through its pawns in the world’s leading capitals – the people we mistakenly think of as our political representatives – it has created small islands of opacity in which it can stash away its wealth. These “offshore tax havens” are highly regulated so we cannot see what goes on inside them. While the elite wants borders erased and the free movement of workers to set one against the other, the borders of these offshore “safe deposit boxes” are stringently preserved to protect the elite’s wealth.

International order

Meanwhile, the global elite has created international or trans-national structures and institutions precisely to remove the power of nation-states to regulate and dominate the business environment. The political class in the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Mexico or Brazil do not control the corporations. These corporations control even the biggest states. The banks are too big to fail, the arms manufacturers too committed to permanent war to rein in, the largely uniform narratives of the corporate media too powerful to dissent from.

Instead, global or trans-national institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary, the European Union, NATO, BRICS and many others, remake our world to promote the globalised profits of the corporations.

The United Nations – a rival international project – is more problematic. It was created immediately after the Second World War with the aim of imposing a law-based international order, premised on respect for human rights, to prevent future large-scale wars and genocide. In practice, however, it chiefly serves the interests of the dominant western states through their capture of the Security Council, effectively the UN’s executive.

A few UN institutions – those in charge of human rights and prosecuting war crimes – that have the potential to restrain the power of the global elite find themselves ever more marginalised and undermined. Both the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court have been under sustained assault from US officials, both before and after Donald Trump became president.

Towards the abyss

The internal contradictions of this globalised system – between the unfettered enrichment of the elite and the endless resource depletion of the Earth and its weakest inhabitants – are becoming ever more apparent. Historically, the toxic waste from this system was inflicted on the poorest regions first, like puddles forming in depressions in the ground during a rainstorm.

As the planet has warmed, crops have failed, the poor have gone hungry, wars have broken out. All of this has been an entirely predictable outcome of the current economics of endless, carbon-based growth, coupled with resource theft. But unlike puddles, the human collateral damage of this economic system can get up and move elsewhere. We have seen massive population displacements caused by famines and wars, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. These migrations are not about to stop. They are going to intensify as neoliberalism hurtles us towards the economic and climate abyss.

The political class in the west are now experiencing profound cognitive dissonance. Merkel and the “moderates” want endless growth and a world without borders that is bringing gradual ruination on their economies and their privileges. They have no answers for the “extremists” on the right, who acknowledge this ruination and say something needs to be done urgently about it.

Orban and the far-right want to fiercely resurrect the borders that globalisation erased, to build barriers that will stop the puddles merging and inundating their higher ground. This is why the right is resurgent. They, far more than the moderates, can describe our current predicament – even if they offer solutions that are positively harmful. They want solid walls, national sovereignty, blocks on immigrants, as well as racism and violence against the “foreigners” already inside their borders.

The system is broken

We have to stop thinking of these political debates as between the good “moderates” and the nasty “extreme right”. This is a fundamental misconception.

The deluded “moderates” want to continue with a highly unsustainable form of capitalism premised on an impossible endless growth. It should be obvious that a planet with finite resources cannot sustain infinite growth, and that the toxic waste of our ever-greater consumption will poison the well we all depend on.

The west’s deluded far-right, on the other hand, believe that they can stand guard and protect their small pile of privilege against the rising tide of migrants and warming oceans caused by western policies of resource theft, labour exploitation and climate destruction. The far-right’s views are no more grounded in reality than King Canute’s.

Both sides are failing to grasp the central problem: that the western-imposed global economic system is broken. It is gradually being destroyed from within by its own contradictions. The “moderates” are doubly blind: they refuse to acknowledge either the symptoms or the cause of the disease. The “extremists” are as oblivious to the causes of the illness besetting their societies as the “moderates”, but they do at least recognise the symptoms as a sign of malaise, even if their solutions are entirely self-serving.

Squaring the circle

This can be seen in stark fashion in the deep divide over Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, so-called Brexit, which has cut across the usual left-right agendas.

The Remain crowd, who want to stay in Europe, believe Britain’s future lies in upholding the failed status quo: of a turbo-charged neoliberalism, of diminishing borders and the free movement of labour, of distant, faceless technocrats making decisions in their name.

Like a child pulling up the blanket to her chin in the hope it will protect her from the monsters lurking in the darkness of the bedroom, the “moderates” assume European bureaucrats will protect them from economic collapse and climate breakdown. The reality, however, is that the EU is one of the trans-national institutions whose chief rationale is accelerating our rush to the abyss.

Meanwhile, the Brexit crowd think that, once out of the EU, a small island adrift in a globalised world will be able to reclaim its sovereignty and greatness. They too are going to find reality a terrifying disappointment. Alone, Britain will not be stronger. It will simply be easier prey for the US-headquartered global elite. Britain will be jumping out of the EU frying pan into the flames of the Atlanticists’ stove.

What is needed is not the “moderates” or the “extreme right”, not Brexit or Remain, but an entirely new kind of politics, which is prepared to shift the paradigm.

The new paradigm must accept that we live in a world that requires global solutions and regulations to prevent climate breakdown. But it must also understand that people are rightly distrustful of distant, unaccountable institutions that are easily captured by the most powerful and the most pitiless. People want to feel part of communities they know, to have a degree of control over their lives and decisions, to find common bonds and to work collaboratively from the bottom-up.

The challenge ahead is to discard our current self-destructive illusions and urgently find a way to solve this conundrum – to square the circle.

Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen

A recent European Council summit in Brussels was meant to articulate a united policy on the burgeoning refugees and migrant crisis. Instead, it served to highlight the bitter divisions among various European countries. Considering the gravity of the matter, Europe’s self-serving policies are set to worsen an already tragic situation.

True, several European leaders, including Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, went home to speak triumphantly of a ‘great victory’, achieved through a supposedly united European position.

Italy’s Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, used more derogatory terms in explaining his country’s new policy on refugees and migrants.  “They will only see Italy on a postcard”, he said, referring to refugees who have been arriving in Italy with the help of humanitarian rescue boats.

The first of these boats, carrying over 600 refugees and economic migrants, the Aquarius, was sent back on June 11, followed by another, carrying over 200 refugees. When Italy carried out what then seemed like excessive action, the decision erupted into a massive political controversy between Italy, France, Spain, Malta and others.

However, the pandemonium has subsided since then, as Italy’s Conte declared that, following the Brussels summit, his country ‘is no longer alone.’

What Conte, who presides over a populist, right-wing government, meant is that his country’s unwelcoming attitude towards refugees is now gathering greater European consensus.

The debate over refugees and migrants has reached the point that it has become a source of political instability in countries like Germany. The latter is not considered a ‘frontline state’, as in countries that are likely to be the first destination for refugees escaping war or poverty at home.

Austria and other countries are also caught up in the crisis, each with its own angry constituency to appease.

On paper, representatives of European countries did, in fact, reach an agreement. The real problem ensued as soon as delegations returned to their respective countries.

Despite opposition from Poland and Hungary, and Italian threats to ‘veto’ any text that is not consistent with Italian priorities, the Council agreed on four main points:

First, the establishment of disembarkation centers outside European territories, to be stationed mostly in North Africa. At that early stage, economic migrants would be separated from political asylum seekers.

This first stipulation is made hollow simply because, as the Guardian reports, “no North African country has agreed to host migrant centers to process refugee claims,” in the first place.

Second, Europeans agreed to strengthen borders control through the Frontex system.

Aside from the questionable tactics of this pan-European border police, this system has been in use for years and it is difficult to imagine how ‘strengthening’ it will translate into a more efficient or humane border control system.

Third, the Council called for the creation of ‘controlled’ refugee and migrant processing centers within Europe itself, like the North African non-existing centers, to quickly separate between refugees fleeing strife and economic migrants.

This clause was offered as a ‘voluntary’ step to be exercised by any state as it sees fit, which, again, will hardly contribute to a united European policy on the issue. Yet, despite the voluntary nature of this provision, it still stirred a political controversy in Germany.

Soon after the Council issued its final statement, Horst Lorenz Seehofer, Germany’s Interior Minister, threatened to quit Angela Merkel’s coalition government.

The German Chancellor is now under dual pressure, from within her fractious coalition, but also from without, a massive political campaign championed by the far-right party, the ‘Alternative for Germany’. In fact, the latter group’s popularity is largely attributed to its anti-immigrant sentiment.

A compromise was reached, calling for the establishment of migrant ‘transit centers’ at the German-Austrian border. However, instead of resolving a problem, the decision created another one, propelling a new controversy in Austria itself.

Austria, which also has its own populist, anti-immigrant constituency to placate, fears that the proximity of the German ‘transit centers’ would force it to receive Germany’s unwanted refugees.

“If Berlin introduced national measures, which would have a chain reaction, it could mean that Austria would have to react,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz commented in a press conference. The magnitude of this ‘reaction’ is, of course, to be determined later, depending on the nature of counter-pressure emanating from Austria itself.

Austria has, in fact, already threatened to shut down the Brenner Pass, connecting Italy and Austria.

The fourth, and last, decision by the European Council called for the boosting of North African economies and offering training for Libya’s coastguard.

As altruistic as the last stipulation may sound, it is, indeed, the most ridiculous, especially since it was placed on the agenda with French enthusiasm. Even if one is to ignore France’s colonial history in Africa – grounded in the notion of usurping African resources under military threat – one can hardly ignore the current role that Emmanuel Macron is playing in the current Libyan conflict.

Various media reports suggest that Macron’s government is carrying on with the legacy of intervention, initiated by the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, most notably in the military intervention of March 2011.

Libya, a failed state par excellence, is now fighting proxy wars in which France and Italy are the main players.

Bearing that in mind, it would be absurd to suggest that Macron is keen on respecting the sovereignty and supporting the economies of Libya and other North African nations.

Considering Europe’s past failures and foot dragging on the issue of refugees, it is hard to imagine that one of Europe’s greatest challenges is to be resolved as a result of the Brussels summit and its lackluster ‘agreement’.

Europe continues to view the refugee crisis in terms of security, populist pressures and national identity, as opposed to it being a global humanitarian crisis invited by wars, political strife and economic inequality, of which Europe is hardly innocent.

As long as Europe continues to operate with a skewed definition of the crisis, the crisis will continue to grow, leading to far dire consequences for all of those involved.

• Romana Rubeo, an Italian writer, contributed to this article

The Next US President Will Save Europe From Russia’s Secret Plot

On the eve of his visit to Austria, President Vladimir Putin told the press: Russia has not the least intention of sowing dissent within the European Union. On the contrary, it is in Moscow’s interests that the EU, its biggest trading partner, remain as unified and thriving as possible.

Europeans have long been quite obsessed with the idea that Russia is bent on dividing and weakening Europe.  In the most prominent English-language media this is practically presumed to be as obviously true as their claims that Russia killed the blogger Arkady Babchenko, attempted to murder the spy Sergei Skripal, and shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

As usual, after the Malaysian government admitted that the evidence of Russian involvement in the downing of flight MH17 was inconclusive, the anti-Russian propaganda campaigns were reduced to slim pickings. It was precisely for this reason that the more cutting-edge Western media were so happy to latch onto the murder of the blogger in Kiev. It was precisely for this reason that the very ones who had so desperately hyped that whole episode were so indignant when they realized that they had fallen victim to a bit of ruthless Ukrainian creative license.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G-20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, 2017

But let’s get back to Russia’s secret plots against Europe. Interestingly, when you trace back the source of most of the warnings about the Russian plots to divide Europe, they seem to emanate from Great Britain. In other words, they are coming from a government that has decided to pull out of the EU but is now trying to direct its foreign policy.

Allegations of Russian plans to fragment Europe have been heard from both the head of Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency as well as from spokesmen from the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR). Judging by its name, one might be forgiven for assuming that was supposed to be a pan-European organization. But actually that’s just what’s written on the shingle they hang outside their door, because, in fact, this “think tank” is headquartered and funded in London.

It turns out that the most prominently schismatic states in Europe also hold wildly anti-Russian stances. Neither Great Britain, nor, shall we say, Poland could be suspected of a dearth of official Russophobia. Both of them, each in their own way, are trying to ruin the lives of those countries that form the core of the EU.  Both have closed their doors to refugees and both are bravely waging war against an “influx” of natural gas that theoretically has nothing to do with them. Poland, which gets 17 billion euros a year from the EU budget, has the audacity to be demanding reparations from Germany. Britain, which slammed its doors shut in order to avoid chipping in to fund the EU, is valiantly battling Brussels in order to hold on to its economic perks in Europe.

And in this context, the EU’s biggest common ally — the US — is becoming an increasingly big problem. Washington has unleashed an economic war, not only against Russia and Iran, but also against the countries of Europe. But in the propaganda being rolled out for the European audience, the picture of the world looks like this:

The European Union’s main enemies are Russia and China. It’s true that they do want to trade with Europe and are offering enticements to encourage this, but one mustn’t believe them. Because it is a known fact that they are conducting a hybrid war — invisibly and unprovably — against Europe. Russia is such a wily combatant that one can’t ever prove anything — but you have to believe that it’s true. The European Union’s biggest friend is still the US. And yes, it’s true that they are currently trying to run their friends out of town in order to make a quick buck. But it’s solely President Trump who is to blame for that. Just be patient: soon the next president will come and fix everything right up. And it’s also true that no one can say when that next president will be in office, or what his name will be, or what he will do. And, of course, everyone remembers the Obama administration’s ceaseless attempts to foist an entirely colonial “transatlantic partnership” on Europe. But once Trump’s gone everything will be different — you just have to believe.

And this “you just have to believe” has recently become the main leitmotif of all the anti-Russian propaganda. Since the preferred narrative about the spy, the blogger, and airliner haven’t panned out, the proof of Russia’s malice is increasingly being repackaged as a kind of spiritual evidence. As the Guardian put it so aptly — “We do not need Russia to poison people in a British city to recognise the expanding threat to common values posed by Vladimir Putin’s hostile, corrupt regime.”

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – AUGUST 16: A statue holding the symbol of the Euro, the European common currency, stands in front of the European Parliament building on August 16 and 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

But then how can one explain that in reality, the opposite is true, that Russia actually needs a unified, rich and strong European Union? This isn’t rocket science, people — you don’t need to invoke “values” and chant the mantra of “you just have to believe.”

Russia needs a rich EU, because a rich trading partner has more purchasing power, which gives Russia a positive trade balance with the EU.

Russia needs a unified EU, because a unified Europe that manages its own security issues from a centralized headquarters will present far fewer problems for Moscow than a string of feckless “friends of the US” along Russia’s western borders.

Russia needs a sovereign EU, because the anti-Russian trade sanctions serve no economic purpose for the EU whatsoever — and once Europe establishes sovereignty we will quite likely see those sanctions lifted.

And it is no coincidence that Austria was the first foreign country that Vladimir Putin visited after his inauguration.

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in his office in Vienna, Austria June 5, 2018. Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

That country is European, rich, and neutral (therefore not a member of NATO) and has been a staunch advocate for the rollback of Europe’s anti-Russian policy.

In other words, in Austria you can see a potential model for the kind of independent European Union that Russia would like to deal with in the twenty-first century.

And this is why the ones who are now so fervently preaching about “shared values” and “Western unity” when faced with the treachery of those natural-gas pipelines and that Eurasian trade route are actually demanding that Europe do itself a disservice by remaining deferential.

The Next US President Will Save Europe From Russia’s Secret Plot

On the eve of his visit to Austria, President Vladimir Putin told the press: Russia has not the least intention of sowing dissent within the European Union. On the contrary, it is in Moscow’s interests that the EU, its biggest trading partner, remain as unified and thriving as possible.

Europeans have long been quite obsessed with the idea that Russia is bent on dividing and weakening Europe.  In the most prominent English-language media this is practically presumed to be as obviously true as their claims that Russia killed the blogger Arkady Babchenko, attempted to murder the spy Sergei Skripal, and shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

As usual, after the Malaysian government admitted that the evidence of Russian involvement in the downing of flight MH17 was inconclusive, the anti-Russian propaganda campaigns were reduced to slim pickings. It was precisely for this reason that the more cutting-edge Western media were so happy to latch onto the murder of the blogger in Kiev. It was precisely for this reason that the very ones who had so desperately hyped that whole episode were so indignant when they realized that they had fallen victim to a bit of ruthless Ukrainian creative license.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G-20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, 2017

But let’s get back to Russia’s secret plots against Europe. Interestingly, when you trace back the source of most of the warnings about the Russian plots to divide Europe, they seem to emanate from Great Britain. In other words, they are coming from a government that has decided to pull out of the EU but is now trying to direct its foreign policy.

Allegations of Russian plans to fragment Europe have been heard from both the head of Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency as well as from spokesmen from the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR). Judging by its name, one might be forgiven for assuming that was supposed to be a pan-European organization. But actually that’s just what’s written on the shingle they hang outside their door, because, in fact, this “think tank” is headquartered and funded in London.

It turns out that the most prominently schismatic states in Europe also hold wildly anti-Russian stances. Neither Great Britain, nor, shall we say, Poland could be suspected of a dearth of official Russophobia. Both of them, each in their own way, are trying to ruin the lives of those countries that form the core of the EU.  Both have closed their doors to refugees and both are bravely waging war against an “influx” of natural gas that theoretically has nothing to do with them. Poland, which gets 17 billion euros a year from the EU budget, has the audacity to be demanding reparations from Germany. Britain, which slammed its doors shut in order to avoid chipping in to fund the EU, is valiantly battling Brussels in order to hold on to its economic perks in Europe.

And in this context, the EU’s biggest common ally — the US — is becoming an increasingly big problem. Washington has unleashed an economic war, not only against Russia and Iran, but also against the countries of Europe. But in the propaganda being rolled out for the European audience, the picture of the world looks like this:

The European Union’s main enemies are Russia and China. It’s true that they do want to trade with Europe and are offering enticements to encourage this, but one mustn’t believe them. Because it is a known fact that they are conducting a hybrid war — invisibly and unprovably — against Europe. Russia is such a wily combatant that one can’t ever prove anything — but you have to believe that it’s true. The European Union’s biggest friend is still the US. And yes, it’s true that they are currently trying to run their friends out of town in order to make a quick buck. But it’s solely President Trump who is to blame for that. Just be patient: soon the next president will come and fix everything right up. And it’s also true that no one can say when that next president will be in office, or what his name will be, or what he will do. And, of course, everyone remembers the Obama administration’s ceaseless attempts to foist an entirely colonial “transatlantic partnership” on Europe. But once Trump’s gone everything will be different — you just have to believe.

And this “you just have to believe” has recently become the main leitmotif of all the anti-Russian propaganda. Since the preferred narrative about the spy, the blogger, and airliner haven’t panned out, the proof of Russia’s malice is increasingly being repackaged as a kind of spiritual evidence. As the Guardian put it so aptly — “We do not need Russia to poison people in a British city to recognise the expanding threat to common values posed by Vladimir Putin’s hostile, corrupt regime.”

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – AUGUST 16: A statue holding the symbol of the Euro, the European common currency, stands in front of the European Parliament building on August 16 and 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

But then how can one explain that in reality, the opposite is true, that Russia actually needs a unified, rich and strong European Union? This isn’t rocket science, people — you don’t need to invoke “values” and chant the mantra of “you just have to believe.”

Russia needs a rich EU, because a rich trading partner has more purchasing power, which gives Russia a positive trade balance with the EU.

Russia needs a unified EU, because a unified Europe that manages its own security issues from a centralized headquarters will present far fewer problems for Moscow than a string of feckless “friends of the US” along Russia’s western borders.

Russia needs a sovereign EU, because the anti-Russian trade sanctions serve no economic purpose for the EU whatsoever — and once Europe establishes sovereignty we will quite likely see those sanctions lifted.

And it is no coincidence that Austria was the first foreign country that Vladimir Putin visited after his inauguration.

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in his office in Vienna, Austria June 5, 2018. Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

That country is European, rich, and neutral (therefore not a member of NATO) and has been a staunch advocate for the rollback of Europe’s anti-Russian policy.

In other words, in Austria you can see a potential model for the kind of independent European Union that Russia would like to deal with in the twenty-first century.

And this is why the ones who are now so fervently preaching about “shared values” and “Western unity” when faced with the treachery of those natural-gas pipelines and that Eurasian trade route are actually demanding that Europe do itself a disservice by remaining deferential.

Polish Army under the US-German protectorate

The German army is setting up in Rostock both a Nato headquarters (photo), tasked with coordinating a potential naval war against Russia and the joint headquarters of the German and Polish fleets. Poland, which has a coast on the Baltic Sea, has entrusted the management of its navy to Germany. The German firm, Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems, should sell three new submarines to Poland for about 2.4 billion euros. However, the European rules on tender offers force Poland to take into (...)

Visions of Europe: Macron in Athens

The myth can have a greater effect than an untruth, and those who are in the business of manufacturing and building them never go out of business.  France’s President Emmanuel Macron has, for months, busily promoted a new myth: that of being European saviour, the man with healing visions and supportive panaceas, a counter weight to the toxicity of Trumpland.

Things, however, have been rocky. The sheen is coming off, as it was bound to. He is slumming at approval ratings similar to the man he replaced, François Hollande, at around the same time of his tenure. (That is hardly surprising, given that his victory over Marine Le Pen was very much a vote against her, rather than a full hearted endorsement for the youthful opportunist.)  He is overseeing a salad-days assembly of freshly elected candidates that make the radical project for renewal less than smooth.

This has led to such cosmetic gestures as the speech on Pnyx Hill in Athens, delivered with the note of warning we have come to expect from the former banker.  “In order not to be ruled by bigger powers such as the Chinese and the Americans, I believe in a European sovereignty that allows us to defend ourselves and exist.”  So, from this ancient summit of previous assemblies conveyed in antiquity, Macron reflected and even directed.

Central to this is a collective, even a civilizational one: Europe, together, wary and ready to combat any threatened sandwiching, or even absorption, by other powers.  “Are you afraid of this European ambition?” he asked rhetorically.

One way of doing so is to draw out the populist sentiment, the cynics, the sceptics, and anyone who feels that the European bloc has begun to drift into bureaucratic, self-imploding oblivion.  “I don’t want a new European treaty discussed behind closed doors, in the corridors of Brussels, Berlin or Paris.”

When a crisis develops and takes hold, the managers and public relations terms counter with a “road map”. This is Macron’s hope: to generate some form of plan that will convince European leaders to open the floodgates to public debate.  Gather, insists Macron, the views of European citizens on the bloc.

The European vision Macron insists on pushing is a turbocharged version of centralisation, integration and consolidation, coated with a good amount of liberal market philosophy. It breathes and sings (in so far as visions can) to the same song sheet that populists have trashed and suspected. It panders to a market vision in a manner that edges out, rather than brings in, the social welfare softening that might dull revolution.

His proposed reforms also entail bowing, in some small measure, to the critics of Europe’s mobility principle, which he feels has been unduly exploited.  The European Commission’s “posted” workers directive, for instance, permitting companies to dispatch employees to other EU countries while still paying taxes and benefits in their own country, is being flagged for reform. To totally remove it would be tantamount to violating a key feature of the EU bloc, so Macron and his tacticians prefer what might euphemistically be termed tightening.

The reason for this, claims Macron, is that cheap labour from member states located in the east – the old story of the European integration project – tends to flow to affluent western states.  The result is, horror of horrors, unfair competition and spectre of unemployment in the west.

This issue became the basis of an indignant exchange between France and Poland in August, one that showed the European family is a far from happy one.  Macron has taken it upon himself to strut the European theme bossily, lecturing eurosceptics and nationalists with enthusiasm.  The Polish government that took office in 2015 was one such target last month.  As he claimed in the company of his Bulgarian hosts, “Poland is not defining Europe’s future today and nor will it define the Europe of tomorrow.”

As part of his central and eastern Europe visit, Macron deemed Europe “a region created on the basis of values, a relationship with democracy and public freedoms which Poland today is in conflict with.” Conflict, in so far as Poland has shrugged off suggestions that it should accept migrants from the Middle East.

Poland’s Prime Minister, Beata Szydło, preferred to turn the tables on the French upstart on the topic of such values, suggesting in no small part that the French president, not Warsaw, was intent on disrupting European unity: “I advise the president that he should be more conciliatory… Perhaps his arrogant comments are a result of a lack of (political) experience.”

Closer to home, the troubles are not better for Macroland and its adherents.  One political thorn, and getting thornier by the day for the Macron project, is that figure of the French left, Jean-Luc Mélechon. His La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) movement, it can scant be forgotten, received a respectable 20 percent of the vote.

For him, Macron is the target, to be repelled and contained by means of an insurrection.  Some voters, if one is to take the polling of Paris Match and Sud Radio seriously, suggest that Mélechon is even more of a formidable obstacle than the Front National. Should he going with any degree of impassioned enthusiasm, Macron may well find himself not only short-changed but outdone.

The US Empire, the CIA, and the NGOs

The Ancient Greeks knew: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.” No less a figure than the late Zbigniew Brzezinski and the CIA made use of this saying by recruiting the Muslim Brotherhood to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which led to the withdrawal of the Soviets from the Hindu Kush. Since then, the CIA used the mercenaries to fight more proxy wars in the Balkans, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan. Due to the wars of aggression against Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen the US and its vassal states created sectarian violence that led to civil wars. Right now, the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood are present in the form of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

No one has studied this triad more intensively than F. William Engdahl who is a renowned geopolitical analyst, risk consultant, author, and lecturer. Engdahl was born in Minneapolis/MN, and grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative journalist in the US and Europe. He was named Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with the focus on geopolitical events. For the last 30 years, Engdahl has been living in Germany.

He has written numerous best-selling books on oil and geopolitics: The Lost Hegemon: Whom The Gods Would Destroy, The CIA as Organized Crime, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, and not to forget: Target China to name only a few. His books are translated into 14 foreign languages.

His latest book on the role of the NGOs focuses on their involvement in US regime change operations and in steering up fabricated mass protests to facilitate the efforts of the US Empire and the CIA to replace resilient national oriented governments by obedient ones that will execute the Washington agenda. All this happens under the pretext of democracy à la US-American style.

The following interview focuses on Engdahl’s latest book in German Secret files NGOs (Geheimakte NGOs).

Ludwig Watzal:  I guess we could agree upon the fact that the CIA is the world’s worst terror organization. After WW II, hardly any coup d’état or organized uprising happened without the helping hand of the CIA. As I understood your book, in the last 25 years, the CIA got quite a few so-called little helpers in the form of NGOs. Please, could you elaborate on that?

William Engdahl: During the Reagan Presidency very damaging scandals were becoming public about CIA dirty operations around the world. Chile, Iran, Guatemala, the top secret MK-Ultra project, the student movement during the Vietnam War to name just a few. To take the spotlight away from them, CIA Director Bill Casey proposed to Reagan creating a “private” NGO, a kind of cut-out that would pose as private, but in reality, as one of its founders the late Allen Weinstein said in a later interview to the Washington Post, “doing what the CIA did, but privately.” This was the creation of the NGO named National Endowment for Democracy in 1983. Soon other Washington-steered NGOs were added like the Freedom House or the Soros Open Society Foundations, the United States Institute of Peace and so forth.

The money was often channeled via USAID of the State Department to hide its origin. Every major regime attack by the US Government since then including the Solidarnosc in Poland, the Yeltsin CIA-backed Russia coup, the 2004 Ukraine Orange Revolution, the 2008 Tibet riots, the Arab Spring of 2011 to today—all have been done by this group of very select “democracy” NGOs. Little wonder that countries like Russia and China or Hungary act to ban them as “undesirable NGOs.”   

LW: You quote Allen Weinstein, co-author of the founding act of the NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED), saying; “Much of what we do today was done 25 years ago by the CIA.” Are the US NGOs such as NED, CIPE, USAID, NDI, not to speak of the Soros network, the fifth column of the CIA?

WE: As I indicated above, I would say so in my opinion. Invariably their NGO agenda fits the given agenda of Washington foreign policy. Coincidence? I don’t believe so.

LW: Your critic focused mainly on a few US NGOs or would you include all non-governmental organizations in general? Aren’t all these NGOs driven by a good mind and noble deeds to spread democracy and freedom around the world?

WE: This is the devil in the concept of Bill Casey. Hiding very black dirty anti-democratic CIA operations behind private political NGOs waving the banner of “Human Rights” has been very effective for Washington’s global agenda of toppling un-cooperative regimes around the world. In effect the CIA has weaponized human rights. Curiously useful regimes for Washington such as Saudi Arabia go unbothered by calls for democracy. Their oil billions finance Washington’s global terrorism agenda.

Take the recent case of the fake democracy White Helmets NGO in Syria doing propaganda in intimate cooperation with ISIS, to justify the US-led war against the duly elected Assad regime. White Helmets get money reportedly from Soros Foundations, from the US and UK governments and were created by a former British Army Intelligence officer James Le Mesurier. Their atrocity videos have repeatedly been exposed as fake, staged by actors. Their alleged Sarin gas video showing unprotected White Helmets “first responders” handling alleged Sarin gas victims with no protective HAZMAT protection is a joke, a fake as was exposed widely after by a number of HAZMAT Sarin gas experts.

The Washington–or EU in some cases—political NGOs are effective because they can attract many innocent good-willed people. I recently received a very touching personal letter from a European Medical Doctor who had been 18 months working with the best humanitarian intention with Doctors without Borders in South Sudan before their US-backed independence. She was so grateful after reading my NGO book as she could understand all the seeming irrational directions their American Doctors Without Borders leader gave the staff. She quit because of burnout and now said she understands why. Honest doctors were being used by Washington for secret political agendas. South Sudan was target because China was receiving a major share of her oil from there via Khartoum.

Of course, not all NGOs are doing the work of the CIA. I focus on the ones with a hidden political agenda, who, as I describe in the book, have weaponized human rights and the word democracy for devious ends.

LW: In 1984, the hedge fund-Billionaire George Soros, established in Budapest the Soros Foundation. His first target was Poland. Pope John Paul II and US President Ronald Reagan met in 1982 at the Vatican to discuss the destabilization of the Communist Bloc. In this endeavor, has there also been an involvement of the Soros Foundation?

WE: The Soros Foundation established the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw in 1988 to train activists to ultimately topple the Communist regime. They played a major role “building democracy” and immediately after the collapse in Poland of the government of General Czesław Kiszczak in August, 1989. Soros brought Harvard University “Shock Therapy” economist Jeffrey Sachs into Poland to push privatization of state enterprises, create a hyperinflation and open choice Polish state assets for auction to western investors like friends of Soros for pennies or then, for pfennig.

LW:  The two chapters on the plundering of the former Soviet Union by the CIA, Soros and his Harvard Boys in cooperation with the Yeltsin clan and former KGB official is quite shocking. Please, elaborate on this Mafia-like undertaking.

WE: I have to refer readers to the book as the treatment has been cross-checked and is exhaustive. In brief, the CIA under the direction of then-President George H.W. Bush managed to corrupt several very high-ranking KGB generals who recruited a network of young Komsomol or Communist Union of Youth proteges such as Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky to become their hand-picked “oligarchs” to plunder the State assets for pennies compared to their true worth. This was the infamous “voucher” scandal that valued the entire state assets including oil and gas, machine-making companies, high-tech, all at a little under $16 billion. They literally raped Russia for personal gain. And the CIA and its network of Western banks such as Riggs Bank in Washington allowed them to launder the money out of Russia. Even I was shocked to verify the details. It was criminal. Yeltsin was their boy. Some said so long as his supply of good Vodka was guaranteed he would do anything Soros and his Harvard economists demanded.

The interesting point to note is that President G.H.W. Bush, former director of the CIA, ordered three simultaneous NGO destabilizations in the same year, 1989.  The three were Russia, China in Tiananmen Square and Yugoslavia. The book documents this in great detail.

LW:  After Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s President, he immediately stopped the robbing of Russia. Do you think that could be one cause why the political class in Washington hates and demonizes him to such an extent, which is irrational?

WE: Putin came from a Russian nationalist faction (as opposed to what were called cosmopolitan or internationalist faction) of the KGB and its successor. They knew they had to act with stealth until their grip was secure in 2000 when Yeltsin was forced to quietly “retire” or face revelations and Yeltsin was convinced to name Putin acting President.

There has been an undeclared war against a stable nation-state in Russia since well before 1917. The founder of Stratfor, George Friedman, one of the better informed American analysts of geopolitics and former consultant to the Pentagon and CIA among others, recently gave an interview after the CIA Ukraine “coup d’ etat” which Friedman called “the most blatant coup in US history.” That if you recall was the one where Viktoria Nuland as US Assistant Secretary of State went to Kiev and handed out candy bars to the protesters in Maidan Square and telephoned her contempt for the EU to the US Ambassador in Kiev.

Friedman noted what I have documented in my various other books such as Mit der Ölwaffe zur Weltmacht, that the foreign policy of the United States of America for at least the past century as the USA emerged on the decline of the British Empire, the US foreign policy priority has been to prevent at all costs the merging of economic interests and cooperation between especially Germany and Russia. The world has undergone two world wars because of this unfortunate geopolitical dogma of US foreign policy, a dogma taken over from the British and from the father of British geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder.

Washington hates and demonizes Putin for the reason he has moved deliberately to stabilize Russia as a great nation, which it truly is as I can attest from almost 25 years of personal experience. And as a result of Washington’s demonization, Putin’s influence in the world seems only to grow stronger—first with China, then Eurasia nations, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, even the Philippines and Latin America. The world is becoming fed up with the endless agenda of overt and covert USA wars everywhere. We need to look closely behind the Trump words and very soon we find the same old, degenerate oligarchs and their so-called deep-state of unelected bureaucrats at work.  

LW:  The dismantling of Yugoslavia was a catastrophe. The Germans under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroeder and his infamous foreign minister Joschka Fischer joined forces with Clinton to overthrow the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In this coup-like operation, were there also NGOs involved? And what was their strategy?

WE: Yes. Follow the subsequent career of Mr. Fischer. A street thug from the 1968 Frankfurt protests becomes crowned by the USA and its mainstream media as a statesman, apparently the reward for delivering the Green Party vote for bombing Yugoslavia in 1999. After office, Fischer got an honorary teaching post at my Alma Mater, Princeton. Later George Soros invites Mr Fischer on to his new European council on Foreign Relations think tank.

In terms of the toppling of Slobodan Milosevic, the US government and its select NGOs including NED and Soros foundations, organized, financed, and trained key student leaders and others in a successful coup, under the name Otpor! (Resistance!), with the now -ubiquitous logo of the threatening clenched fist. Serbian translations of Gene Sharp’s writings on nonviolent action were used and the key leaders were personally trained by Sharp’s associate US Army colonel Robert Helvey in secret meeting places to avoid police. Otpor! got by some estimates as much as $30 million from U.S. government-linked organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). The destruction of Yugoslavia was orchestrated since the 1980’s by Washington, first Bush Sr. then Clinton. The aim was to create a war in Europe to justify the continued presence of a NATO whose raison d’être after the collapse of the Soviet Union was hard to justify to American taxpayers or to the Europeans who were planning an independent European Defense Pillar apart from NATO. For Washington and the influential US military industrial complex such independence was tabu!. The second aim was to establish a huge US military presence later in Kosovo called Camp Bond Steel.

LW:  When the Arab masses went into the streets of Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli, the Western media, and political class were thrilled. Finally, democracy, freedom, and human rights found their way into the Arab world. Were these uprisings spontaneous or were they organized and orchestrated from outside forces?

WE: The entire Arab Spring was secretly planned and financed by Washington and US-financed NGOs. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a key figure along with her bizarre Muslim Brotherhood assistant Huma Abedin. The RAND Corporation, which is a Pentagon think tank responsible for developing the technique of mob “swarming” like bees, as a way using facebook and social media to steer protests, played a key role.

The protest student groups in Egypt were US-trained, again using translations of Gene Sharp, they were brought to Europe to be secretly trained by the leaders of Otpor!.

In the case of Libya’s Qaddafi, a more urgent regime change was deemed necessary as the now-famous DCLeaks and Wikileaks emails of Hillary to her private adviser Sidney Blumenthal reveal. Qaddafi, who contrary to his demonized image had built up Libya with the highest living standard in all Africa, was about to unveil creation of an alliance of Muslim central banks and introduction of a Gold Dinar currency for oil sales not US dollars. He was doing so together with Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt. As Hillary wrote to Blumenthal, that had to be blocked by whatever means. The means to “block” were the illegal bombing of Libya and the assassination of Qaddafi and turning Libya into a field of rubble. The original Pentagon-CIA-State Department plan called for the immediate toppling of another thorn in Washington’s side immediately after Qaddafi, that was Bashar al Assad in Syria. That has not worked out well for the Washington planners and a great human tragedy unnecessarily has grown out of 6 years of what essentially is a US-led war there.

LW:  In the old days, the conquerors brought in its wake the missionaries. Today, the Western neo-colonial powers come with hundreds of NGOs who teach the indigenous population how Western democracy is supposed to function. Do you think the NGOs serve the interest of these people? What about the German NGOs who especially carry a lot of ideological ballast, for example, in the form of gender mainstreaming with them? What do you make of that?

WE: I think your analogy with the “Christian” missionaries of the past and the “Human Rights” or “democracy” NGOs today is very fitting. I am not competent to comment on the activities of various German NGOs. My main focus is Washington, the hegemonic power today and source of so much that is destructive, unfortunately.

LW: At the beginning and at the end of your book you refer to George Orwell’s double think that means “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” Do we live in times where the original meanings of words become different contents? Do the US Empire and its vassal states wage war in the name of democracy and destroy the nation states with the same democratic rhetoric?

WE: This is why I found the Orwell quote so appropriate. His book 1984 in many ways is a description of what has been allowed to happen to our western democracies, especially in Britain and the USA.

LW: If you could give the NGOs a piece of advice, what would you tell them?

WE: For the honest persons who may have got caught up in nice rhetoric about values, human rights and such, I would suggest looking more closely at the money trail feeding your given NGO. For the NED or Soros foundations I would suggest they would all do mankind a favor by shutting their doors permanently. That you allow nations and individuals to decide their own sovereign future without your unwanted meddling. I would say, to paraphrase Cromwell to the British Long Parliament, ”You human rights NGOs, Go! You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

LW: Mr. Engdahl, thanks for the interview.

WE: Thank you for your interest and excellent questions.

On Which Side are You, Anyway?

Let’s be honest. The only reason anyone in the West, perhaps with the exception of Germans, is interested in the Ukraine is because since the current state was carved out of the Russian Empire, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Poland following the Great War, it has been the focus of attacks on the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The number of states or countries where political instability is aggravated by ethnic, religious or nationality conflicts is great. The number of places that draw attention or better said are targeted for mass media attention is far smaller. This is certainly not a question of just dessert.

It would do well to remember that the most notorious interest in the Ukraine as a territory was that of the German Empire under the rule of Adolf Hitler and National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP aka Nazis). Not only did the NSDAP recruit an enormous following during its reign, but the Ukraine also provided division strength Waffen SS units with which war against Jews, Communists, nationalists and the Soviet Union was waged. In fact, the British Empire adopted some 7,000 members of the Ukrainian 14th Volunteer Division SS Galizia who had surrendered in the wake of Soviet victory on 10 May 1945 and shipped them to Britain to become citizens and where they were to wait as silent reserves for the covert war to be fought subsequently against the Soviet Union. When people in Britain became aware of this fact the intervention of the US secret services prevented all but one or two of these war criminals from being indicted or tried as such. I say “war criminals” because one of the outcomes of the Nuremberg trials was to declare inter alia the NSDAP and the SS (Schutzstaffel) criminal organisations. Hence the Waffen SS, the paramilitary part of the SS attached to the German regular army (Wehrmacht), was prima facie a criminal organisation and not treated as a regular military branch of the German armed forces.1 This was so obvious that even the renowned German liberal author, Gunter Grass, felt compelled to conceal his youthful inspiration to join this outfit—not unlike many Americans who for generations have been impressed by the smart uniforms and elite reputation of the US Marine Corps.2

Leaving the individual guilt or innocence of those who spent their “national service” in this esteemed combat formation aside, there can be no doubt that much of the legacy of what we call war crimes, as opposed to simply being on the losing side, is based on the historically unique decisions taken by the International Tribunal constituted in London to dispense what US chief prosecutor Robert Jackson insisted ought not to go down in history as mere victors’ justice.3 So when a coup d’etat in Kiev led to the domination of the Ukraine government by members of parties whose acknowledged hero was the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, anyone who had the least recollection of Ukrainian Nazis was bound to be disturbed—assuming they were of the anti-Nazi or anti-fascist persuasion.4

At the same time given the historical record of Western support for Nazis, the pretence that this event was merely a result of conflicts over potential alliance between the Kiev government and the EU/NATO is absurd on its face. However, instead of this history and continuous policy of the forces that have driven NATO since its founding, the focus of attention to the Ukraine crisis has been the question of whether an independent Ukraine is entitled to combine with the European Union and its armed wing or compelled by history or nature to remain in what 19th century-style geo-politicians (across the entire political spectrum) would call the Russian sphere of influence.

The issues are even further clouded by the unstated but deeply held belief—here again across virtually the entire Western political spectrum—that to oppose Russia’s interest in the Ukraine is nothing less than defending freedom itself.

The principal domestic issues for the Ukraine—aside from the question of who controls the country and its resources—is not much different from those that plague all countries who were “freed” from the Soviet Union in 1989-90 after its political and economic collapse. These include the targeting of their cheap labour, their agricultural potential, and the overall capacity for super-exploitation by a European Union, especially Germany, in search of higher profit rates. The rapacious investment practices which have plundered the Baltic States, turned the state-owned—albeit bureaucratic fiefdoms—of the former Soviet Union, and more importantly the population of Europe east of the Oder-Neisse border into a freebooter’s paradise, have forced many of the people inhabiting the “East” into paupers beyond what they had experienced in the worst years of the war and the Soviet reconstruction period.5 This has led to massive emigration—where possible—and the creation of islands where those highly skilled professionals remaining provide services to Westerners for pennies.6

The obvious counter-argument to this indictment is that the Russian Federation offers no alternative whether because it is still saturated with the remains of the moribund Soviet system under Vladimir Putin or it is dominated by corrupt oligarchies who are ultimately to blame for this poverty.

There is no doubt that neither the Soviet Union nor its successor, the Russian Federation, can defend, either ideologically or practically, claims to being socialist, let alone communist. So to the extent one feels compelled to defend Russia and its policies in comparison to the system the EU/NATO propagates and defends, this defence must be based on real political conditions. Perhaps it is necessary to contemplate—for the sake of argument—some long forgotten Enlightenment philosophy. Let us suppose that the really great and the less great powers compete among each other to offer the best possible conditions of human existence. This competition would be free but amicable. The objective would be to solve all the problems an economy and a polity could face in a manner to produce human happiness. Just for the sake of argument we might take the utilitarian model of the greatest good for the greatest number and given that almost no one pretends to believe in communism this objective is possible under what is called “capitalism”—or to take the US euphemism, “free enterprise”. This is a very generous supposition indeed but let us take its advocates at their word.

The NATO founded in 1949 to defend the US regime’s claim to 60+% of the world’s resources is the American “happiness team”. It would like to win the Ukraine to its side because the team has the best solutions for the happiness of the world’s latent Americans, also those Ukrainians who are just waiting to become American, at least in principle. The cause of the Ukrainian crisis is therefore the Russian refusal to let all these Ukrainians manifest their innately American souls. The reader may laugh. However, he, she or they (assuming a gender role has yet to be fixed) will certainly believe that the Western team is ultimately the one to which everyone should belong, if only to avoid disputes between teams. The great inconvenience lies in the residual idea held by many people; e.g., Russians, Chinese or Koreans, that they are satisfied being Russian, Chinese or Korean. This is incomprehensible even to much of the Left in the West since most believe that with all its faults, the US has only been fighting wars for the past century to free a world crying to become American. Big countries with strange alphabets, heretical religions and histories longer than that of the USA insist on obstructing the march to the Promised Land or at least consumption of the fantasy that one has arrived there.

The basic conflict therefore is between those who believe that everyone—at least in Europe (and white)– ought to be American in spirit or through membership in the EU vicariously sweat through the nightmare on the Potomac. Now add to this the political-economic reality that the EU’s armed wing in its subordination to the US “happiness team” is anything but benignly competitive. Nor is it in the least interested in human happiness for Ukrainians or its own citizens. Together we have a fundamental environmental condition within which any sane discussion of the Ukraine since 1989 must be conducted. Anything else is simply ridiculous.

Chris Kaspar de Ploeg is a journalist, not a historian. That is not a disparagement. It simply means that Ukraine in the Crossfire is an account of current events by someone whose metier is the daily reporting of events, analysis and opinion, as it is presented in mass media. The challenge facing any serious journalist is to render quickly unfolding events intelligible to readers, viewers and listeners. A good journalist not only knows how to produce intelligible reporting but ought to be able to appraise the work of others doing the same job. That is what makes de Ploeg’s book interesting reading.

The mass media is, despite its open access, a very opaque institution. There are several reasons for this. One is that there is a fundamental conflict between the witness to events and the organisational structure through which such witness is transmitted. Major mass media in the West is historically private property. Prior to the great fascist era, roughly from the 1840s until the 1930s, there was an important segment of the mass media owned and operated by political movements; e.g., workers’ associations and parties. These were subjected to heavy censorship but were mainly financed by members of those movements and organisations. They competed with the commercially-owned media and the organs of the Church.

By the end of the 19th century such media was largely subdued in North America by a combination of repression and professionalization. Pulitzer, the US newspaper magnate, founded the first journalism school in the US and stimulated the idea that the only credible journalism was professional—people trained (and later hired by commercial ventures) to produce “objective” news free from any ostensible political interest. In Europe the State intervened to suppress partisan media. This led to the creation of the dubiously renowned BBC in the British Empire and with the rise of fascism on the Continent the violent persecution of competition with the corporate and State-owned media. The State-owned journalist was slowly endowed with a quasi-civil service status giving job security. Under regimes where the commercial media was viewed by the State as insufficiently reliable, it was subjected to all sorts of restrictions some of which were tantamount to censorship or prior restraint.

As a result the independent journalist has actually become quite rare. Either such journalists have developed celebrity status, which insulates them from much official control or they have learned to write in such ways that their product does not directly offend those in power. Throughout the some two hundred years of popular literacy upon which mass print journalism and journalists have been able to thrive there have always been propagandists. These writers or reporters have either officially or unofficially generated product for interest groups who preferred anonymity in order to benefit from the appearance of independence by the journalist. Journalists have worked as spies—and often been treated as such in the countries where they go to report. Journalists have also served as witting and unwitting conduits for official (State and commercial) propaganda. This was the significance of the notorious CIA Operation Mockingbird but also the testimony by CIA director William Colby in which he said the agency maintained close relationships with many in the major media.7

The best a reader and a good and truly independent journalist can do is read multiple outlets and sources, preferably in more than one language. Here it is worth noting that even a common reference source today—Wikipedia—has entries that vary in content from one language to the next on the same subject. This may be a luxury for the average person in search of reliable information but it is one of the tasks that a well-versed and honest journalist can do; namely, analysing the foreign language media when reporting to the target readership/audience.

De Ploeg shows that he understands this. Ukraine in the Crossfire does not rely solely upon the English language coverage. Judging by his references he has spent considerable time reading and analysing the Russian and Ukrainian media. Those who know either language will find reference to those sources, too. He also explicitly tackles the conflicting reports of the same events by partisan media, calling attention to discrepancies as well as convergences. Common sense—if that means anything—will tell the reader that where two violent opponents admit the same facts a higher degree of credibility ought to be attached when drawing conclusions. Nevertheless as in all current events in highly charged conflicts it is unlikely that anyone has the whole picture—even of his or her own side.

Ukraine in the Crossfire comprises twenty-one chapters, a glossary and an index. The chapters are roughly chronological reflecting the beginning of the crisis as it was reported and continuing through different stages and theatres of conflict. He starts with the perception, widely held and disputed, that the crisis arose from a breach of faith by the West (US/ NATO) when as a condition for the peaceful dissolution of the barriers that created the German Democratic Republic and the subsequent withdrawal of the Red Army from Germany, there would be no advances of NATO to the Soviet (now Russian) border. He then briefly explains the composition of the current Republic of the Ukraine and how the mixture of Russians and Ukrainians posed conflict potential within the Ukrainian polity.

Then he moves onto the domestic developments, the decline in the economy and the decision of Ukrainian governments to seek economic aid from the US-dominated Bretton Woods institutions (IMF/World Bank). The foreseeable result (austerity doctrine has been a cornerstone of IMF/World Bank policy since de-colonisation began) aggravated tensions between the ethnically Ukrainian part of the country which is one of Europe’s breadbaskets and the industrialised Russian part with its historical integration into the Soviet/Russian economy. Corruption is then a central theme. With not even the façade of an operating market economy the system of trade and industry was unable to serve the legitimate needs of the people already strained by drastically declining income and living standards.

It is at this point that the economic conflict becomes salient. Industry is concentrated in the Russophone Eastern Ukraine. Its production had been directed to supplying Russia. Western Ukraine exported foodstuffs; e.g., grain to the West. Cheap grain from the Ukraine has enabled more expensive agricultural production in the EU (especially Germany to shift to the non-food sector, like tax-subsidised maize for bio-fuel). Ukrainian manufactured goods were undesired competition in the EU. Hence the emerging policy from the new Kiev regime was to turn as much of the economy toward the West as possible, to the disadvantage of East Ukrainian factories. Moreover a long-standing policy to weaken Russia has been to deny it access to markets. By spoiling Ukrainian industry Russia would be deprived of another traditional trading partner.

The final third of De Ploeg’s book is devoted to the foreign policy objectives of the West (US/NATO) of which subordinating Russia remains a high priority. The Western policy toward Russia is largely governed by the Anglo-American imperial elite. The Russian Empire was almost entirely agricultural until the 1930s when the Soviet Union completed an industrialisation process in approximately 20 years equivalent to what Britain, Germany and the US had taken over a century to accomplish.8

Thus the Soviet Union had become a virtually autarchic economy by the time Germany invaded in 1940. Like industrialisation in the West, the process of restructuring a huge landmass where some 80% of the population were peasants into the second largest industrial economy in the world was accomplished at tremendous human cost—adding to that a civil war prolonged by Western intervention and a world war in which between 20-30 million of the country’s population were killed and its European half burned to the ground.9

The potential for a country like the Soviet Union—never mind its official ideology—to compete with Britain and the US in the world marketplace was the single greatest fear driving the elite in London, New York and Washington. Unlike the new nations emerging as a result of de-colonisation, the Soviet Union/Russia had all the raw materials they needed and the technical capability to develop on their own. Worse than that they could defend themselves from invasion or colonisation and they were able and within their material limits willing to help with arms and technical support precisely those countries the West hoped to dominate despite reluctant grants of independence. All this went under the euphemism “Cold War”—a term intended to deceive citizens in the West about the real nature of US foreign policy since 1945. The “Cold War” was announced to have ended in 1989 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Hence most of the debate about the NATO–Russia policy is couched in the new euphemism of “a new cold war”.10 De Ploeg did not invent this confusion but it is one serious problem that his book among many have when trying to explain Russia’s role in the world and the position of NATO—which by all rights should have been abolished in 1989 (if the stated policy of the US were the same as the unstated one).

There are two problems with De Ploeg’s book. One is the limit of the journalistic format in which it is written. The chapters contain a lot of useful information from a variety of sources and thus the book can be seen as a reference for further study. Yet the book lacks an overall framework in which the reader can interpret what De Ploeg has written. In his professional attempt to keep a kind of neutrality of interpretation he fails to offer sufficient structure for the reader to find either a chronology or lines of argument that tie the separate issues together from beginning to end. Thus one has the impression of reading the daily press clippings without any summary of the important facts as they acquire significance later in the period under examination. He attempts to overcome this by drawing on the theoretical approach of one Associate Professor Gordon M. Hahn.11 Hahn is cited four times in the index but it is not quite clear why De Ploeg considers him an authority. The analyses offered about Russia—at least the US sources, rely much on articles that appeared in the US weekly journal, The Nation, as such they often have the archaic sound of that establishment journal’s liberal “Sovietology”, contributing more heat than light when it comes to understanding the Russian Federation.12

One incident that has caused substantial controversy, even among those who are ostensibly sympathetic to Russia’s legitimate interests, is the Crimea. Many who are willing to accept Russia’s interest in protecting Ukrainians of Russian descent or origin stop abruptly when the referendum on the Black Sea peninsula is discussed. It is asserted that Russia had no right to “annex” the Crimea. Mr Putin challenged this interpretation rhetorically with considerable poignancy when he demanded to know why it was considered perfectly legitimate for Kosovo to declare its independence from Serbia and then affirm this with a referendum but NOT legitimate for the inhabitants of the Crimean peninsula to decide their territory should be governed as Russian13—as it had been before Nikita Khrushchev detached the peninsula and assigned it to Ukrainian rule in February 1954—without asking anyone.14 One might add that the US regime has always been a master of annexation. Russia is accused of using its military presence (the Black Sea naval station) to unduly influence the vote. Yet the fact was that the majority of those living in the Crimea are ethnic Russians.

If the US were to be taken seriously, then it would be time to re-examine its Mexican immigrant policy—not from the point of view of permissible migrant labour but from the illegal annexation of Texas by white settlers from the US and the Indian and Mexican wars fought to seize approximately 1/3 of Mexican territory and declare its inhabitants foreigners.15

The seizure of most of the US was accomplished by such settler-colonialism schemes (from whom white South Africans in the NP readily acknowledged their heritage). No Mexicans were allowed to vote to keep Texas in their country. Instead paramilitary brigands together with support from the US regime in Washington helped these invited settlers to overthrow their adopted government and steal nearly a third of the landmass of the continental US. Voting is considered by the UN to be adequate display of the citizens’ will, US opinion not withstanding. The referendum held in Crimea and the reintegration of the peninsula region into the Russian Federation has certainly more legitimacy on its face than the naked use of armed force characteristic of Western practice. The term “annexation” is another case of deliberately deceptive language. It is the same kind of deception that presented the US war against Korea as “an act of unprovoked aggression” when, in fact, Koreans north of the border drawn by the US regime had engaged in a struggle to remove that artificial border and reunite their country.16 Neither Koreans nor Russians were “annexing” themselves.

De Ploeg takes a clear position against the US intervention in the Ukraine. He also gives reasons for his position. However, he does not err on the other side by maintaining an uncritical view of Russia’s policies, to the extent they may benefit ordinary Ukrainians. It is fair to say that no understanding can be gained by a blanket apology for Russian policies. But then a book about the Ukraine should try to tell the reader as much about what happens in that country and not be an alibi for dissecting Putin. Ukraine in the Crossfire is an attempt to tell as much as can be learned from the Media in a comprehensive way for those who cannot read all the relevant sources (e.g. for language reasons). He attempts to assess the impact of the new POTUS on US policy toward Russia. For the first time since the frenzies of the 1950s, associated with US Senator Joseph McCarthy, it seems a tenant in the White House is being accused of working with (or for) the Russians or at least with them against the interests of the US regime. More concern has been raised about alleged election manipulation in 2016 than in either Bush election although no reasonable observer doubts that the little Bush—who had much better relations with Mr Putin if photographs say anything—manipulated election results in key southern states—maybe with Saudi help.

It is by no means clear that a change in the tenant of No. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will change US regime policy toward Russia, except in its manner of presentation to the public. The struggles within the regime’s corporate and government bureaucracies remain largely invisible to the ordinary citizen while the change of faces creates an illusion of change among people focused on celebrity and not political processes. The US “happiness team” with its armed forces swarming about the globe is on the one hand driven by the insatiability of US capitalism/white supremacy to the extent it is the nation’s business model. On the other hand as long as the affairs of other nations are evaluated primarily in terms of “where we go right or wrong” we will continue to miss the point; namely, the responsibility for the conduct of governments and the survival of the regimes of which they are a part belongs foremost to its own subjects/citizenry. All the handwringing about the Ukraine notwithstanding, the real problem for citizens of the EU and US is their inability to control their own ruling class. That inability is then exacerbated when the wars and political terror are allowed to expand beyond the recognised territorial boundaries of states. It is well and good to critique how Ukrainians with or without foreign allies or support operate their State and economy.

However, there is no evidence that anyone in the “West” has the track record of disciplining the ruling class, which might constitute added value in the Ukrainian struggles. It would help enormously if at least the ordinary citizens of the West would learn to apply their common sense respect for neighbours at home to those abroad—by minding their own business. There is no great “freedom machine” and the US/EU does not run a “happiness team”. If Ukraine were in the Congo basin, no one in the West other than military and primary resource bandits, would care who rules the country or by what means. Putting the Ukraine situation in perspective for the non-Ukrainian requires open discussion and knowledge of the facts: facts about the NATO, what it is and does; facts about the relationship between the European and Bretton Woods financial bureaucracy and how this corps of suited felons organises wealth extraction throughout the world; facts about the various forms of overt and covert violence organised to enforce the financial regime; e.g., covert action agencies, military missions and mercenary cut-outs.

Mr De Ploeg is not the only journalist trying to make sense out of the traces. The compilation of articles he offers is a reasonable attempt to manage a very difficult and sensitive subject. The reader is left to himself to frame the data presented. The missing structure is certainly based on the author’s wish to stay as objective as possible. As argued above this is a conceptual weakness of all modern journalism. To that extent it would be unfair to fault him for it in particular.

Any sequence of events reported involves a construction by the reporter. The reporter helps the reader by explaining why an event is presented in a certain sequence. This is essential to good reporting and good history because our purported knowledge base is already thoroughly corrupted. The dictum “he who controls the past, controls the future” has been enhanced by the corollary, “there is neither a past nor a future” but like the never-aging faces in TV and film—we live in an eternal present, punctuated by orgasms and remote-control assassinations.

  1. An exception to the classification of members of the Nazi apparatus as “criminal” was made for those persons conscripted into the Waffen SS.

    This finding by the International Military Tribunal arises in part from the doctrine of “criminal conspiracy” in Anglo-American jurisprudence, whereby planning and attempting a crime is deemed punishable and that the offense extends to the corporate forms such planning and attempts may take. Since the planning as well as the prosecution of the invasions commencing WWII were held to be criminal, those entities directly involved—essentially the NSDAP regime—were deemed, per se, criminal organisations. (A British documentary film covers the action to move the members of SS Galizia to Britain.) Thus the SS formations in the Ukraine constituted criminal organisations too. The doctrine of “conspiracy” constitutes an extremely controversial aspect of criminal law since it contradicts the principle that a person may only be punished for a crime actually committed. Nonetheless, conspiracy remains an important weapon of the State. The US regime applies its so-called RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act 18 USC §§ 1961-1968) both for ostensible crime control as well as for political repression.

  2. Günter Grass (1927–2015) reveals “Ich war Mitglied der Waffen-SS”, Interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, (August 11, 2006). Grass confessed that he had lied about his wartime history. But explained that what drew him to National Socialism was its “anti-bourgeois attitude”.
  3. Judge Robert H. Jackson, US Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg, opening remarks to the IMT proceedings: “That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgement of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to reason… We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice.” See also the website of The Jackson Center.
  4. Stepan Andriyovych Bandera (1909-1959). Although there is no doubt that Bandera collaborated with the Nazis, this collaboration is often depicted as patriotic and justifiable since it was anti-Soviet nationalism. After the war Bandera worked with the successor organisation to Nazi foreign intelligence service, the Gehlen Organisation (today the BND), restored by the US CIA. He was assassinated in Munich in 1959.
  5. The so-called Oder – Neisse border is the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and Poland. It was agreed between Poland and the government that became the GDR as the final demarcation between the two countries. For decades the FRG refused to recognise this agreement, maintaining claims to territory in Poland that had been part of Prussia and the German Empire. Recognition of the Oder – Neisse border was tacitly given under FRG chancellor Willy Brandt but only became official with the dissolution of the GDR its absorption into the FRG, also known as reunification.
  6. See the extensive work by economist Michael Hudson on this topic, especially with regard to the Baltics.
  7. References to Operation Mockingbird inevitably imply that since it has been exposed it is no longer a program of other government agencies (e.g. CIA). The concept is analogous to money laundering. Propaganda is released to foreign media for dissemination. These reports are then recycled to the target country as “foreign news”—concealing both the original sources and avoiding suspicions that they constitute official lying or manipulation. In the German Wiki article about Mockingbird it is attributed to the US State Department, but under Frank Wisner (head of the Office of Policy Coordination, not explicitly named in the entry), whose department was, in fact, a part of the CIA. The English Wiki article refers to “allegedly a large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early 1950s…”
  8. In fact, the Soviet Union effectively completed two massive industrialisation processes between 1917 and Stalin’s death. The second was occasioned by the West’s war led by Germany, which destroyed most of the infrastructure built in the European part of Russia. A massive relocation of industrial plant to the country’s Asian interior enabled it to continue to produce up to 80% of its war materiel until Germany’s defeat. After the war, deprived of reparations pledged at Yalta, the Soviet Union rebuilt its entire economy. Together the Soviet Union and China suffered more death and destruction than all the other belligerents in between 1939–1945. It is impossible for anyone to say how the Soviet Union would have developed without 70 years of Western aggression, even allowing for the enormous Tsarist legacy with which the country was burdened. The Ukraine was swept up in these processes. Any attempt to treat Ukraine – Soviet relations as if they were conditioned solely by the cultural, religious or political conflicts of the Russian Empire or “Soviet imperialism” is at best an oversimplification.
  9. For a sober history and analysis of the Soviet system, especially its political-economy from the time of the October Revolution 1917, see Moshe Lewin, The Soviet Century (2005) and The Making of the Soviet System (1985). V. I. Lenin’s Left-wing Communism—An Infantile Disorder shows just how much Lewin’s history reflects the rational perceptions and critique of those who founded the Soviet Union. One of the principal obstacles to intelligent debate about events in the former COMECON countries is the appalling and wilful ignorance of USSR history in the West.
  10. See “Is a New “Cold War” Coming? You can’t be serious”, Dissident Voice (19 May 2014).
  11. A CV attributed to Gordon M. Hahn identifies him as senior researcher, Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program, and Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute for International Studies. Among his previous appointments were as non-resident academic fellow of the Open Society Institute from 2005–2006 in Russia and numerous visiting scholar and fellowships at the Hoover Institute.
  12. Stephen F. Cohen (1938- ) professor emeritus in politics and Russian studies, advisor to other government agencies in the US and spouse of The Nation publisher and OSS diaper baby Katrina vanden Heuvel, during the so-called Cold War Cohen published a regular column in that journal called Sovietology.
  13. Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book, RT, (18 March 2014). “Our Western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea, they recognised Kosovo’s secession from Serbia as legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence was necessary.” Putin added that the UN International Court of Justice agreed: “That’s what they wrote, that’s what they trumpeted all over the world, coerced everyone into it—and now they are complaining. Why is that?”
  14. Various reasons are given for this low key decision by the Presidium: one was that Khrushchev was pursuing a policy of slow decentralisation and considered Crimea to be part of the Ukraine geographically.

    Another argument was the underlying status of disputes within the USSR as a result of the deportation of the Crimean Tartars in the wake of WWII. Nazi occupation reached to the gates of Sevastopol. Stalin took a very dim view of any group that was not unambiguously loyal to the Soviet Union and the implication that Tartar units had collaborated with the Nazi occupation just as Ukrainians did was a plausible motivation—if not a justification for such a policy. As a result, however, the region became dominated by ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

  15. In 1845 the Republic of Texas was annexed by the US. Previously the Mexican government had invited people to immigrate and settle in the sparsely populated country. The white settlers from the US declared their independence in 1836, independence (and secret annexation) the Mexican government refused to recognise until the US declared war in 1846 and imposed the Treaty of Guadalupe–Hidalgo in 1848.
  16. For a brief comment on this point see the author’s review of I F Stone’s The Hidden History of the Korean War. For more detailed information see The Origins of the Korean War, 2 Vols. by Bruce Cumings.

When Canada Invaded Russia

The corporate media presents Russia as militaristic but ignores Canada’s invasion of that country.

100 years ago today a popular revolt ousted the Russian monarchy. Enraged at Nicholas II’s brutality and the horror of World War I, protests and strikes swept the capital of Petrograd (Saint Petersburg. Within a week the czar abdicated. Later in the year the Bolsheviks rose to power in large part by committing to withdraw from the war.

The English, French and US responded to the Bolshevik’s rise by supporting the Russian monarchists (the whites) in their fight to maintain power. Six thousand Canadian troops also invaded. According to Roy Maclaren in Canadians in Russia, 1918 – 1919, Canadian gunners won “a vicious reputation amongst the Bolsheviks for the calm skill with which they used shrapnel as a short-range weapon against foot soldiers.”

While a Canadian naval vessel supported the White Russians, Canadian pilots stationed near the Black Sea provided air support.

The war against the Bolsheviks was initially justified as a way to reopen World War I’s eastern front (the Bolsheviks signed a peace treaty with Germany). Canadian troops, however, stayed after World War I ended. In fact, 2,700 Canadian troops arrived in the eastern city of Vladivostok on January 5, 1919, two months after the war’s conclusion. A total of 3,800 Canadian troops, as well as Royal Northwest Mounted Police and 697 horses, went to Siberia, which the Whites continued to control long after losing Moscow, St. Petersburg and most of the western part of the country.

Ottawa maintained its forces in Russia after the conclusion of World War One partly to persuade the British that Canada merited inclusion in the Paris peace conference that would divvy up the spoils of the war. Prime Minister Borden wrote:

We shall stand in an unfortunate position unless we proceed with Siberia expedition. We made definite arrangements with the British government on which they have relied … Canada’s present position and prestige would be singularly impaired by deliberate withdrawal.

Ottawa also feared the rise of anti-capitalism. On December 1, 1918, Borden wrote in his diary that he was “struck with the progress of Bolshevism in European countries.” For their part, Canadian working class groups condemned the invasion of Russia as “for the benefit of the capitalist.”  The president of the BC Federation of Labour Joseph Naylor asked, “is it not high time that the workers of the Western world take action similar to that of the Russian Bolsheviki and dispose of their masters as those brave Russians are now doing?”

The allies invaded Russia to defend the status quo, much to the dismay of many Canadians who welcomed the czar’s demise and found it difficult to understand why Canada would support Russian reactionaries. Opposition to the intervention was widespread even among soldiers. According to the Toronto Globe, 60-70 percent of the men sent to Siberia went unwillingly. One artillery section even refused to obey orders.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s western countries worked to isolate Moscow. Canada (and the US) opposed a treaty to guarantee Russia’s pre-war frontiers, which England had signed with Moscow. Ottawa recognized the Bolshevik government in 1924 but ties were severed after the British cut off relations in mid-1927.  Full diplomatic relations with Moscow would not restart until the late 1930s.

Russophobia has once again gripped the political/media establishment. A number of prominent commentators have defended the grandfather of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland collaborating with the Nazis on the grounds it was either them or the Russians occupying Ukraine during World War II. Freeland herself deflected questions on the matter by saying Moscow may be trying to “destabilize” Canadian democracy while Brigadier General Paul Rutherford warned of Russian cyber warfare. More dangerous, Ottawa is ramping up its military presence on Russia’s doorstep (Ukraine, Poland and Latvia) to counter “aggression”.

To help clear the thick fog of propaganda it’s useful to remember how Canada responded to the fall of Russia’s monarchy. While Russia has never invaded Canada, we once invaded their country.