Paul Craig Roberts’ address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster.
The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence in the US government. The neoconservatives have interpreted the Soviet collapse as History’s choice of “American democratic capitalism” as the New World Order.
Chosen by History as the exceptional and indispensable country, Washington claims the right and the responsibility to impose its hegemony on the world. Neoconservatives regard their agenda to be too important to be constrained by domestic and international law or by the interests of other countries. Indeed, as the Unipower, Washington is required by the neoconservative doctrine to prevent the rise of other countries that could constrain American power.
Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative, penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine shortly after the Soviet collapse. This doctrine is the basis of US foreign and military policy.
The doctrine states:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
Notice that Washington’s “first objective” is not peace, not prosperity, not human rights, not democracy, not justice. Washington’s “first objective” is world hegemony. Only the very confident so blatantly reveal their agenda.
As a former member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger, I can explain what Wolfowitz’s words mean. The “threat posed formerly by the Soviet Union” was the ability of the Soviet Union to block unilateral US action in some parts of the world. The Soviet Union was a constraint on US unilateral action, not everywhere but in some places. Any constraint on Washington is regarded as a threat.
A “hostile power” is a country with an independent foreign policy, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have proclaimed. Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, and North Korea also proclaim an independent foreign policy.
This is too much independence for Washington to stomach. As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated, “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”
The Wolfowitz doctrine requires Washington to dispense with or overthrow governments that do not acquiesce to Washington’s will. It is the “first objective.”
The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in Boris Yeltsin becoming president of a dismembered Russia. Washington became accustomed to Yeltsin’s compliance and absorbed itself in its Middle Eastern wars, expecting Vladimir Putin to continue Russia’s vassalage.
However at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said: “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.”
Putin went on to say:
“We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law, and independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?”
When Putin issued this fundamental challenge to US unipower, Washington was preoccupied with its lack of success with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Mission was not accomplished.
By 2014 it had come to Washington’s attention that while Washington was blowing up weddings, funerals, village elders, and children’s soccer games in the Middle East, Russia had achieved independence from Washington’s control and presented itself as a formidable challenge to Washington’s uni-power. Putin blocked Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran. The unmistakable rise of Russia refocused Washington from the Middle East to Russia’s vulnerabilities.
Ukraine, long a constituent part of Russia and subsequently the Soviet Union, was split off from Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse by Washington’s maneuvering. In 2004 Washington had tried to capture Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, which failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands. Consequently, according to neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion over the following decade developing Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could be called into the streets of Kiev and in developing Ukrainian political leaders willing to represent Washington’s interests.
Washington launched its coup in February 2014 with orchestrated demonstrations that, with the addition of violence, resulted in the overthrow and flight of the elected democratic government of Victor Yanukovych. In other words, Washington destroyed democracy in a new country with a coup before democracy could take root.
Ukrainian democracy meant nothing to Washington. Washington was intent on seizing Ukraine in order to present Russia with a security problem and also to justify sanctions against “Russian aggression” in order to break up Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe. Washington feared that these relationships could undermine Washington’s hold on Europe.
Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I said, “you mean foreign aid?” He said, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”
Recently, the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.
This does not surprise me. The same is the situation in the US.
As Europe is an appendage of Washington, a collection of vassal states, Europe enables Washington’s pursuit of hegemony even to the extent of being driven into conflict with Russia over a “crisis” that is entirely a propaganda creation of Washington’s.
The media disguises the reality. During the Clinton regime, six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington’s Ministry of Truth. Gerald Celente, the trends forecaster, calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a combination of press prostitutes.
In the US Putin and Russia are demonized around the clock. Every broadcast alerts us to “the Russian threat.” Even Putin’s facial expressions are psychologically analyzed. Putin is the New Hitler. Putin has ambitions to recreate the Soviet empire. Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland. Putin is a threat on the level of ebola and the Islamic State. US Russian experts, such as Stephen Cohen, who state the facts are dismissed as “Putin apologists.” Any and every one who takes exception to the anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda is branded a “Putin apologist,” just as 9/11 skeptics are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” In the Western world, the few truth-tellers are demonized along with Putin and Russia.
The world should take note that today, right now, Truth is the most unwelcome presence in the Western world. No one wants to hear it in Washington, London, Tokyo, or in any of the political capitals of Washington’s empire.
The majority of the American population has fallen for the anti-Russian propaganda, just as they fell for “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” Iranian nukes,” the endless lies about Gaddafi, 9/11, shoe bombers, underwear bombers, shampoo and bottled water bombers. There is always a new lie to keep the fear factor working for Washington’s endless wars and police state measures that enrich the rich and impoverish the poor.
The gullibility of the public has enabled Washington to establish the foundation for a new Cold War or for a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia. Some neoconservatives prefer the latter. They believe nuclear war can be won, and they ask, “What is the purpose of nuclear weapons if they cannot be used?”
China is the other rising power that the Wolfowitz Doctrine requires to be constrained. Washington’s “pivot to Asia” creates new naval and air bases to control China and perpetuate Washington’s hegemony in the South China Sea.
We come to the bottom line. Washington’s position is not negotiable. Washington has no interest in compromising with Russia or China. Washington has no interest in any facts. Washington’s deal is this: “You can be part of our world order as our vassals, but not otherwise.”
European governments and, of course, the lapdog UK government, are complicit in this implicit declaration of war against Russia and China. If it comes to war, Europeans will pay the ultimate price for the treason of their leaders, such as Merkel, Cameron, and Hollande, as Europe will cease to exist.
War with Russia and China is beyond Washington’s capability. However, if the demonized “enemy” does not succumb to the pressure and accept Washington’s leadership, war can be inevitable. Washington has launched an attack. How does Washington back off? Don’t expect any American regime to say, “we made a mistake. Let’s work this out.” Every one of the announced candidates for the American presidency is committed to American hegemony and war.
Washington believes Russia can be isolated from the West and that this isolation will motivate those secularized and westernized elements in Russia, who desire to be part of the West, into more active opposition against Putin. The Saker calls these Russians “Atlanticist integrationists.”
After two decades of Russia being infiltrated by Washington’s NGO Fifth Columns, the Russian government has finally taken action to regulate the hundreds of Western-financed NGOs inside Russia that comprise Washington’ subversion of the Russian government. However, Washington still hopes to use sanctions to cause enough disruption of economic life within Russia to be able to send protesters into the streets. Regime change, as in Ukraine, is one of Washington’s tools. In China the US organized the Hong Kong “student” riots, which Washington hopes will spread into China, and Washington supports the independence of the Muslim population in the Chinese province that borders Kazakhstan.
The problem with a government in the control of an ideology is that ideology and not reason drives the action of the government. As the majority of Western populations lack the interest to search for independent explanations, the populations impose no constraint on governments.
To understand Washington, go online and read the neoconservative documents and position papers. You will see an agenda unconstrained by law, by morality, by compassion, by common sense. You will see an agenda of evil.
Who is Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for the Ukrainian part of the world? It is the neoconservative Victoria Nuland who organized the Ukrainian coup, who put in office the new puppet government, who is married to the even more extreme neoconservative, Robert Kagan.
Who is Obama’s National Security advisor? It is Susan Rice, a neoconservative.
Who is Obama’s Ambassador to the UN? It is Samantha Power, a neoconservative.
Now we turn to material interests. The neoconservative agenda of world hegemony serves the powerful military/security complex whose one trillion dollar annual budget depends on war, hot or cold.
The agenda of American hegemony serves the interests of Wall Street and the mega-banks. As Washington’s power and influence spreads, so does American financial imperialism. So does the reach of American oil companies and American agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto.
Washington’s hegemony means that US corporations get to loot the rest of the world.
The danger of the neoconservative ideology is that it is in perfect harmony with powerful economic interests. In the US the left-wing has made itself impotent. It believes all the foundational government lies that have given America a police/warfare state incapable of producing alternative leadership. The American left, what little remains, for emotional reasons believes the government’s 9/11 story. The anti-religious left-wing believes the threat posed to free thought by a Christian Russia. The left-wing, convinced that Americans are racists, believes the government’s account of the assassinations of Martin Luther King.
The left-wing accepts the government’s transparent 9/11 fable, because it is emotionally important to the American left that oppressed peoples strike back. For the American left, it is emotionally satisfying that the Middle East, long oppressed and exploited by the French, British and Americans, struck back and humiliated the Unipower in the 9/11 attack.
This emotional need is so powerful for the left that it blinds the left-wing to the improbability of a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, outwitting not merely the FBI, CIA, and NSA, which spies on the entire world, but as well all 16 US intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of Washington’s NATO vassal states and Israel’s Mossad, which has infiltrated every terrorist organization, including those created by Washington itself.
Somehow these Saudis were able to also outwit NORAD, airport security, causing security to fail four times in one hour on the same day. They were able to prevent for the first time ever the US Air Force from intercepting the hijacked airliners. Air traffic control somehow lost the hijacked airliners on radar. Two airliners crashed, one into the Pennsylvania country side and one into the Pentagon without leaving any debris. The passport of the leader of the attack, Mohammed Atta was reported to be found as the only undamaged element in the debris of the World Trade Center towers. The story of the passport was so preposterous that it had to be changed.
This implausible account did not raise any eyebrows in the tame Western print and TV media.
The right-wing is obsessed with immigration of darker-skinned peoples, and 9/11 has become an argument against immigration. The left-wing awaits the oppressed to strike back against their oppressors. The 9/11 fable survives as it serves the interests of both left and right.
I can tell you for a fact that if American national security had so totally failed as it is represented to have failed by the official explanation of 9/11, the White House, the Congress, the media would have been screaming for an investigation. Heads would have rolled in agencies that permitted such massive failure of the national security state. The embarrassment of a Superpower being so easily attacked and humiliated by a handful of Arabs acting independently of any intelligence agency would have created an uproar demanding accountability.
Instead, the White House resisted any investigation for one year. Under pressure from the 9/11 families who lost family members in the World Trade Center Towers, the White House created a political commission consisting of politicians managed by the White House. The commission sat and listened to the government’s account and wrote it down. This is not an investigation.
In the United States the left-wing is focused on demonizing Ronald Reagan, who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. The left-wing hates Reagan because he had to use anti-communist rhetoric in order to keep his electoral basis while he strove to end the Cold War in the face of the powerful opposition of the military/security complex.
Is the left-wing more effective in Europe? Not that I can see. Look at Greece for example. The Greek people are driven into the ground by the EU, the IMF, the German and Dutch banks and the New York hedge funds. Yet, when presented with candidates who promise to resist the looting of Greece, the Greek voters give the candidates a mere 36% of the vote, enough to form a government, but not enough to have any clout with creditors.
Having hamstrung their government with such low electoral support, the Greek people further impose impotence on their government by demanding to remain in the EU. If leaving the EU is not a realistic threat, the Greek government has no negotiating power.
Obviously, the Greek population is so throughly brainwashed about the necessity of being part of the EU that the population is willing to be economically dispossessed rather than to leave the EU. Thus Greeks have forfeited their sovereignty and independence. A country without its own money is not, and cannot be, an independent country.
Once European intellectuals signed off on the EU, they committed nations to vassalage, both to the EU bureaucrats and to Washington. Consequently, European nations are not independent and cannot exercise an independent foreign policy.
Their impotence means that Washington can drive them to war. To fully understand the impotence of Europe look at France. The only leader in Europe worthy of the name is Marine Le Pen. Having said this, I am immediately denounced by the European left as a fascist, a racist, and so forth. This only shows the knee-jerk response of the European left.
It is not I who shares Le Pen’s views on immigration. It is the French people. Le Pen’s party won the recent EU elections. What Le Pen stands for is French independence from the EU. The majority of French see themselves as French and want to remain French with their own laws and customs. Only Le Pen among European politicians has stated the obvious: “The Americans are taking us to war!”
Despite the French desire for independence, the French will elect Le Pen’s party to the EU but will not give it the vote to be the government of France. The French deny themselves their independence, because they are heavily conditioned by brainwashing, much coming from the left, and are ashamed to be racists, fascists, and whatever epithets have been assigned to Le Pen’s political party, a party that stands for the independence of France.
The European left-wing, once a progressive force, even a revolutionary one, has become a reactionary force. It is the same in the US. I say this as one of CounterPunch’s popular contributors.
The inability even of intellectuals to recognize and accept reality means that restraints on neoconservatives are nowhere present except within Russia and China. The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status.
I don’t believe this is going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West?
The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. The hope that European countries will be forced into an independent foreign policy also seems to be the basis of the Russian government’s strategy.
Perhaps intellectuals can help to bring this hope to fruition. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. Washington’s aggressions would be constrained by an independent European foreign policy. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.