While Russia is of course guilty of crimes, the US is guilty of the same and far worse crimes, and is fervently supporting many other criminal groups and states. Thus, to understand why US extremists (not the US public) in control of the state are putting us all in serious potential danger by choosing to target nuclear Russia, we have to look back, and, of course, beyond the narrative peddled by the aggressors themselves.
In 1918, US oligarchs and religious extremist Woodrow Wilson sent about 13,000 young American men to join tens of thousands of others from a Western-dominated axis and illegally invade Russia with intent to commit premeditated mass murder.
“Two years and thousands of casualties [including ~400 US] later,” Blum notes, “the American troops left, having failed in their mission to ‘strangle at its birth’ the Bolshevik state, as Winston Churchill put it.” Churchill further admitted that the Western axis forces were “invaders” who shot Russians on sight, blockaded their ports, sank their ships, and armed their enemies.
The British in Russia in 1918 committed what at the time was considered the ultimate conceivable atrocity: they killed people with chemical weapons – poison gas – as Churchill suggested the British Empire should also do against Iraqi civilians, in the hope of spreading what he called “a lively terror”.
The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Chomsky, Gaddis (Professor of military and naval history, Yale), and other historians find, was the real beginning of the US “cold” war against Russia, which has continued essentially without break and is today being spiked by US strongman Barack Obama and his cadre.
Gaddis says the 1917 Western aggressive invasion of Russia was perpetrated to ensure the “survival of the capitalist order” in the face of what was called a “communist threat”. Chomsky notes that by this logic, since the US threatens to – and does – globally enforce what is called “capitalism” (the “capitalist threat”), then anyone who wants to ensure the survival of a different order would likewise “be entirely justified in carrying out a defensive invasion of the US”, and using chemical weapons, or, “if they don’t have the power for that”, committing one-off attacks like “blowing up the World Trade Center” (Chomsky of course says this to expose the hypocritical aggressor’s logic).
By “capitalist order”, Gaddis refers to Western oligarchic top down dominance of society, the system that, while ~100 million deaths occurred worldwide under so-called “communism”, ~100 million deaths simultaneously occurred under so-called “capitalist” India alone. As experts put it, while China was bringing some six hundred million people out of poverty (U.N. stat), an achievement unparalleled in history, “every eight years, India put as many skeletons in its closet” as China did during its years of famine. When the number of people killed under what is called “capitalism” is extended beyond India to the rest of the world, Chomsky notes, “it would be colossal.” In the West, he continues, only the “communist” death numbers can be mentioned. As for the number of “capitalist” deaths, one “wouldn’t talk about them”.
The “colossal” death figures flowing from their system being of no concern and, perhaps, some satisfaction to oligarchs*, and their ever-increasing personal enrichment at the expense of others being of chief import, their “order” had to be preserved, their brutal march of expansion forced onward. Hence, the insolent 1917 Russian notion of a modification to the oligarchic order in which Russians were on the bottom had to be, as Churchill noted, snuffed out immediately. The threat of an internal change in Russia, Chomsky notes, referring to a 1955 US study, was that places like Russia and Eastern Europe generally, the components of the original “third world”, which had long been made to provide cheap labor and resources for the Western oligarchy, were reducing their “willingness” to “complement the industrial economies of the West, which is the job of the Third World.” That, Chomsky says, agreeing with Gaddis and others, was the actual “threat of communism” that was immediately understood and acted on by Western oligarchs in 1917.
“Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.”
Wilson’s imagery of using armed men to batter in closed doors and physically force the “unwilling” to submit to the desires of “manufacturers” and “financiers” sheds light on the words of Indian writer Arundhati Roy, who said “Those of us who belong to former colonies think of imperialism as rape.”
But the unwilling people of the Soviet Union, despite being raped “in [the] cradle” by Western oligarchs, had “managed to survive to adulthood.” Thus, they had to be raped again by the West, “by the Nazi war machine with the blessings of the Western powers” (Blum). This time, as many as 40 million Russians, amounting to perhaps a third of the Russian population, were exterminated.
In 1991, even when the Soviet Union, sufficiently battered and now the Russian Federation, finally “reopened” to Western-style oligarchic plunder, the West was still unsatisfied. While maintaining in Latin America and elsewhere the terror regimes that Chomsky points out are overwhelmingly documented in scholarship to have been worse than the satellites maintained by the Soviets, insatiable US controllers now began penetrating east through Europe with their “NATO” military installations, which they had dishonestly claimed only existed to counterbalance the Soviet Union. When Russian leaders pointed out that NATO expansion was in violation of specific US promises not to move NATO “one inch east”, US reps essentially replied that if anyone is stupid enough to expect them to honor their word, that is their problem – a point impossible to contest.
Currently, US oligarchs are using siege tactics to intentionally target all 143 million Russian civilians in attempt to expand their “order” of top-down control, exploitation, and mass death over Russian resources and labor. In addition to this aim, perhaps these US extremists will succeed in bringing capital punishment back to Russia, will be able to vastly expand the Russian prison system to mirror the highly profitable one of the US, revoke paid maternity leave, revoke Russia’s ratification of the UN declaration on the rights of children, and make other changes US oligarchic media outlets insist are attributes of “freedom” and other keywords.
At the beginning of the “cold” war, a complete “good vs. evil” idea prevailed in America: the Jim Crow USA, just off killing perhaps a million Filipinos in a war of conquest and installing a vicious proxy dictatorship, was pure good and light, merely an innocent, by-standing angel reacting to inexplicable aggression from a clinically insane, horned Soviet devil. This primitive biologic-religious perspective has complex origins that date back as far as history.
In the 1960s, the view was slightly revised to include a small amount of nuance, with some historians perceiving a complex situation wherein both sides exhibited various strengths and dire faults.
Indeed, in even the fifteenth century, the idea of nuance had sometimes been expressed in relation to “others”, as in the writing of jurist Sir John Fortescue, who said, “not… from man down to the meanest worm is there any creature which is not in some respect superior to one creature and inferior to another.” In this analysis, says GR Evans in First Light, Fortescue means to “include political and social order[s]”.
However, people grasping for a level of thinking achieved in the fifteenth century sent US oligarchs into a blind rage. They called a meeting with their collaborators of the “Trilateral Commission”, and concluded that what was happening was a “crisis of democracy”, meaning features of democracy were beginning to be exhibited and needed, like the Bolshevik Revolution, to be “strangled at . birth”. The idea that the cold war was not “pure light versus pure darkness” was heresy, and thus efforts aimed at “indoctrination of the young” (through schools, churches, media outlets, etc.) needed to be redoubled.
The idea of the good US versus evil Russia (and anyone else) was so successfully driven into the minds of the US public that almost everyone exhibits it up to today, as Robert Parry pointed out this week in his article “The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia“. It is why so many people, as noted above, can tell you about the many crimes or faults of the Russians or Soviets (or Chinese, etc.), but if you use the words “US” and “genocide” in a sentence, the same people have one of three reactions: 1) they have no idea what you’re talking about, 2) they kind of know what you’re talking about but deny/dismiss it, or 3) they know what you’re talking about and think it is a good thing (as in the case of people like Christopher Hitchens). What they never do is call for their “own” crimes to be punished as harshly as the very often lesser crimes of others. This is the same unexceptional thinking that is dominant in Britain, Russia, Japan, and other countries whose internal narratives consist of ignorance, denial, or praise of their own crimes and the strictest criticism of the crimes of “enemies”.
Of course, the goal should not merely be to strive for the fifteenth century standard of adding some nuance to these analyses, but to fully discover reality. From a nuanced view, it may be the case but does not automatically follow that both sides are equally at fault or equally to blame. To use a well-known example, no matter how many details and nuances are included, the Nazi regime was purely at fault for attacking the Jews. The Jews were the victims, plain and simple. Anything in history they had ever done (about every group in history is guilty of something) or were falsely said to have done was irrelevant – they were blameless victims of a larger and more powerful aggressor. However, the Nazis, as aggressors always do, turned reality on its head and portrayed themselves as the victims and defenders of freedom. Thus the false narratives of dominant aggressors limiting the accuracy of one’s understanding of reality must be guarded against; if a profession is false, as in the former case, it must be recognized as such. To uncover reality itself, as Chomsky put it in a personal exchange with me, “we disregard stated intentions … which are always good … and we try to determine what the real intentions were by studying documents and historical events”.
World War III is not coming, it is on. All out nuclear war between the current nuclear powers may never happen – we can hope – because of the mutual destruction deterrent, which is why Washington is focusing on other means, specifically listed here, which include targeting all Russian non-combatants. However, as Parry notes, if the US attempts another of its thus-far 60 or so illegal “regime change” operations in Russia and massively destabilizes it, which is nearly always the result of these US war crimes, extremists will likely take over and use the weapons of the Russian state. This is exactly what extremists have done and are currently doing in post-US-regime-change Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and elsewhere – they looted the weapons of the state and are using them towards their own ends, such as overthrowing Syria. Russia’s state arsenal, in addition to everything else, includes thousands of nuclear bombs.
But with public safety, as always, being of no concern to US oligarchs, the war is on. The 1918 US/Western war of aggression against Russia and the Russian people has never ended. The US oligarchy still seeks to re-subvert “willful” (Parry) Russia, snatch its wealth, and absorb its counter-balancing power, which has an unwanted democratizing influence on the international system. The self-proclaimed king does not abide attempts to balance out a lopsided, top-down order in which he is numero uno.
One can be certain that some among the US controllers exhibit the same thinking as some perpetrators of virtually every act of mass violence in history, down to American colonists and members of the Nazis and Imperial Japanese. They are certain that they are, as the Japanese said of their Rape of Nanking, turning the world into an Earthy paradise. Thus even if they commit crimes, “make mistakes”, etc., they are thereby justified and should go unpunished because, in the age-old religious thinking that reverses reality, we are defined not by what we do, but by what we say or think. Thus, as Charles Davis points out, we can commit genocide and, as long as we are doing it for what we say or think is a good reason, still make it to Heaven.
Some predators are fully aware of and relish their predation. These people only pretend to the public to have “pure hearts”, “noble ideals”, and so on, because it helps their predation (and they probably get a kick out of how gullible and submissive to “authority” people allow themselves to be). Some predators believe their “noble ideal” line halfheartedly. Some, thanks to a psychological concept called “confabulation”, believe it to the core, fully oblivious to what is actually driving them. As Chomsky said, “even the worst monsters very likely convince themselves that their intentions are good.”
But thanks to all of these people combined, the world, in fact, is constantly at war. All that varies is the number of people at any given moment whose lives are being wrecked. The state of war could be largely held in check by supporting and achieving a global balance of power (exactly what the US is trying to prevent), but can it be ended? Thankfully, scholars of that topic, like David Swanson, and others, convincingly say yes.
Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. He is a regular contributor to Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets. Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Follow Robert and UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Paragraphs 4- 8, 15-16, 18, see Chomsky on Democracy and Education, p. 324-7
*For how mass death of exploited labor can be satisfying to oligarchs, see, for example, American Holocaust, by Professor David E. Stannard, Chapter 6