March 13, 2014
One wonders how deep a hole the United States and the EU are going to dig for themselves in Ukraine. It was, of course, U.S. and EU leaders — and their media acolytes — who caused the problem we face today by intervening on behalf of self-styled “democrats” in Kiev who without foreign intervention could not have overthrown the Ukrainian president. It is getting to be that any half-baked gaggle of protestors at any location on the planet need only to chant the word “democracy” and the West will come running to their aid with diplomatic assistance, money, and a fierce disregard for either the target nation’s sovereignty or regional stability. Indeed, it may well be that the whole Ukraine protest movement was primed for action by funds, advisers, and computer systems paid for by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in a program similar to those she ran in several Arab countries.
The difference in the Ukraine intervention from others the West has conducted is that the terminally adolescent political leaders who run the West have run smack dab into a decisive, realistic, and nationalistic adult, in the person of Vladimir Putin, and they do not know what to do. They are learning that the Ukraine is not Libya or Egypt in that Putin will not to let the West make of Ukraine — or at least of Crimea — the same unholy mess its earlier unwarranted interventions made of Egypt and Libya. Putin has a very clear view of Russia’s genuine national interests, and reliable access to the Crimean base of the Black Sea fleet is one of them, it has been for centuries, and it will remain so in the future.
Western leaders, on the other hand, have not a clue about what constitutes a genuine national interest. In this regard, their intervention in Ukraine speaks volumes. Neither the U.S. nor the EU can point to a national interest in Ukraine; their obsession with spreading “democracy” is childish, ahistorical, destabilizing, and potentially war causing.
Washington and its EU partners increasingly behave like the wildmen who ran the French Revolution. Those miscreants took that revolution’s cant — liberty, equality, and fraternity — and sought to use it to change governments in Europe and the United States if they did not bow to the demands of the French revolutionaries. They fomented insurrection across Europe and did so with incendiary propaganda printed in all the appropriate languages, as well as with covert action operations — like that conducted by Citizen Genet, with Jefferson’s acquiescence, in the United States. In the end, the practice of revolutionary French interventionism ignited what can be seen as world war that lasted most of fifteen years.
This French model — but today using the term “democracy” as its mantra — is now regularly applied by the United States and the EU around the world — Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Cuba, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Iran, Sri Lanka, North Korea, and now Ukraine — and it amounts to throwing gasoline on smoldering fires which tend to leap into flames that destroy governments and often regional stability. Such intervention-to-promote democracy is an arrogant, reckless, sophomoric, and war-causing method of conducting international relations, and it is a Satan that has spawned two other war-promoting interventionist causes — human rights and women’s rights. The U.S. and the EU commitment to endless intervention for unobtainable abstract ideals that have nothing to do with their legitimate national security concerns are today the greatest motivation for much of hatred and violence directed by non-Westerners at American and European citizens and interests.
Such intervention also is an additional drain on the already bankrupt treasuries of the United States and the EU. The democracy-addled U.S. congress and president threw a billion dollars into the hands of the amateurs now running affairs in Kiev, and the EU seems intent on providing those Potemkin democrats with $15 billion. For what purpose? Ukraine has one of the world’s worst fifty or so economies, so the money will not right the economy and there will be no way to account for how Western monies are spent — the Afghanistan and Iraq models of feckless U.S.-EU waste all over again. The only things certain in this Western policy are that the 16-plus billion dollars that Washington and the EU take from taxpayers will make their citizens poorer, will drive the donators’ economies further into debt, and will disappear into a well-developed maw of corruption, theft, and waste in Kiev.
Overall, U.S. and Western leaders should be lining up to thank Vladimir Putin for a painful but thorough lesson in how the adult leader of a nation protects his country’s genuine national interests. And, it must be noted, Putin is not teaching rocket science. Had Western leaders received a decent education — especially in the fields of history and human nature — they would have been absolutely certain from the start that any destabilizing Western intervention in Ukraine that even remotely threatened Russia’s assured access to its Crimean naval bases would provoke precisely the kind of Russian response that occurred. They also would have known that West and the UN could bleat forever about the requirements of various treaties and international law, but that a nation acting to protect what it perceives to be life-or-death national interests — as is Putin’s Russia — is both insane and suicidal if it refrains from acting because of a raft of documents designed to address Cold War conditions that no longer exist.
The lesson of the Ukraine crisis — if it ends without war — for the U.S. and the EU will be crystal clear: Hoe your own row, and mind your own business. If it ends in a civil or European war, they will have only themselves to blame.
Michael Scheuer [send him mail] is the author of Imperial Hubris, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq and the biography Osama bin Laden. He recently resigned after 22 years at the CIA. He served as chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit.
Copyright 2014 © Michael Scheuer