Drishtikone Newsletter #331: Ukraine, the next Afghanistan?
Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine have not been about winning. But Profits. From prepping the society by Democracy Promotion to takeover by Private Militias. It is a play for profits. A detailed account of the behind the scenes games in Ukraine since the 1980s.
Is Ukraine the next Afghanistan?
It may be about high-sounding morals like democracy, freedom, justice, and fairness to some. And civilization, security, and safety to others.
But to a Ukrainian, it will eventually mean the difference between life and continued horror that plays the death dance in every moment of awareness. Hopeless to change the situation, Ukrainians will face utter and complete doom.
Who wins, whether anyone even does or not will not matter. It never does. Those who started these games would have made their money and profits and established their power empires ever so strongly and been hungry for more.
For others, there are critical lessons. Your freedoms, your democracy and your justice is your responsibility. If you allow even a sliver of patronization from another, to help your "cause", whatever that may be, there will be nothing left to be free for.
Ask any Afghan today.
The 2004 Elections
In 2004, Leonid Kuchma - the two-term Ukraine President since 1994 was leaving due to constitutional term limits and new presidential elections were being held in October 2004. Kuchma favored the then sitting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. The opposition candidate was Viktor Yushchenko. The leader of the Our Ukraine faction in the Ukrainian parliament and a former Prime Minister (1999-2001).
The result for the fourth presidential election in Ukraine since the Soviet collapse was to be announced on November 21. A Sunday. On Monday, the official media announced that Yanukovych had won by 3 percentage points.
The Ukrainian and foreign "monitors" accused the election machinery of massive fraud, voter intimidation, physical assaults, and the torching of ballot boxes. (Source)
Supporters of CIA-backed Viktor Yushchenko started protests. They gathered at the Independence Square of Kyiv wearing Orange badges or something of that color. It was the color of Yushchenko's party - Our Ukraine. And the start of the Orange Revolution.
What Yuschchenko lost at the ballot, he wanted to win via protests. Sound familiar?
Covert ways of regime change wars
But who started these protests?
As per a paper from the US Naval Postgraduate School, the players who pumped in money to generate these protests included:
- US Government provided $143.47 million, which included $34.11 million for ‘democracy assistance’
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID) pumped in $1.475 to organizations
- The Organizations which were funded by USAID included Development Associates and Freedom House (FH is a U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights)
- George Soros’ Rennaisance Foundation, which spent $1.65 million ‘leading up to the election’
The US Government provides money to State Department and associated NGOs for foreign operations via its State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) Bill.
The 2022 bill has an outlay of $56.1 billion. Major beneficiaries include USAID and NED for "democracy programs".
Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, wrote in Boston Globe on how President Trump had cut the budget for National Endowment for Democracy (NED) by two-thirds. Also about how this Endowment is used to subvert the societies that the United States is challenged by.
Trump’s budget for the coming fiscal year proposes to gut the National Endowment for Democracy by cutting two-thirds of its budget. The endowment is one of the main instruments by which the United States subverts and undermines foreign governments. In a less Orwellian world, it might be called the “National Endowment for Attacking Democracy.” Cutting the budget would signal that we are re-thinking our policy of relentlessly interfering in the politics of other countries. That kind of interference is the National Endowment’s mission. Whenever the government of another country challenges or defies the United States, questions the value of unrestrained capitalism, limits the rights of foreign corporations, or adopts policies that we consider socialist, the Endowment swings into action. It pours over $170 million each year into labor unions, political factions, student clubs, civic groups, and other organizations dedicated to protecting or installing pro-American regimes. From Central America to Central Asia, it is a vivid and familiar face of US intervention. (Source: Boston Globe)
The NED has played a significant role in Nicaragua, Mongolia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. The NED funnels its money via four affiliated institutes:
- National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
- International Republican Institute (IRI)
- Center for Independent Private Enterprise (CIPE)
- American Center for International Labor Solidarity ("Solidarity Center")
The whole program of "Democracy Promotion" is really a subversion and interventionist program by the US in other countries.
Democracy promotion has been a key aspect of U.S. identity and foreign policy, though Washington also has a long history of supporting non-democratic forms of governance; it has both consolidated democratic regimes and intervened to overthrow democratically elected governments. Democracy promotion is a broad term encompassing different activities, undertaken as part of a nation’s foreign policy, which intend to initiate and foster democratic governance abroad. Democracy promotion efforts may include, among other strategies, “traditional” diplomacy, targeted foreign aid and assistance, and both covert and overt military intervention. (Source)
Its genesis was in the actions of the Reagan administration, which established the program and the National Endowment for Democracy to ensure actions were taken in the US strategic interests.
Essentially, NED took over many of the tasks and objectives that the CIA used to perform.
President Ronald Reagan established the program in 1983, following years of scandals that tarnished the Central Intelligence Agency. Soon it took over many of the tasks that the CIA used to perform. When the United States wanted to interfere in the Italian election of 1948, for example, the CIA did the job. Decades later, when Washington sought to push its favored candidate into the presidency of Nicaragua, our instrument was the National Endowment for Democracy. (Source)
In the garb of promoting democracy, the US government was basically promoting imperialist programs to control other countries.
And what better way to do it than using NGOs as opposed to the very obvious direct hand of the CIA?
Democracy Promotion as a foreign policy tool for subversion has bipartisan support within the US Congress.
Despite claims to the contrary, the NED funds groups from both Democratic and Republican parties, the business community, and the Labor unions.
Solidarity Center, which works with the labor unions across the globe has created networks to undermine the communist groups which were earlier funded by USSR and China.
One of the major areas of work for the Solidarity Center is Ukraine. A country where it has its own Center staff. India is also one of its area of work.
The extensive network of these organizations shows how the US and NATO intervene in different countries to further their control.
It is important to remember that the interventions and the entire "anti-corruption" platform that was built for protests to happen was funded from the top of the US establishment and had blessings from everyone all the way to the top. And, the collaboration with George Soros to create the situation where regime change could be carried out was part of the equation.
When the Ukrainian administration was probing into the workings of these NGOs - launched by Obama along with Soros - the US administration pulled up the Ukrainian administration and forced them to stop.
It is this administration that is talking of virtues like justice, freedom, and democracy.
When Ukraine became an independent country after the collapse of the USSR, the first decade was very tough. The economy went through a very troublesome time.
Incidentally, George Soros had set up shop and had been working 'behind the scenes' whether through the Democracy Promotion mafia of USAID/State Department/CIA/NED or using his investments for impacting the economy. He says in his own words about his vision for Ukraine as well as his role.
I established the Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine in 1990 – before the country achieved independence. The foundation did not participate in the recent uprising, but it did serve as a defender of those targeted by official repression. The foundation is now ready to support Ukrainians’ strongly felt desire to establish resilient democratic institutions (above all, an independent and professional judiciary). But Ukraine will need outside assistance that only the EU can provide: management expertise and access to markets. In the remarkable transformation of Central Europe’s economies in the 1990’s, management expertise and market access resulted from massive investments by German and other EU-based companies, which integrated local producers into their global value chains. (Source)
In the very first decade - from 1991 through 1998, Ukraine's GDP declined by a whopping 62%! Capital investment went down by 81%.
The trade was in the doldrums adding to the woes.
The deficit of Ukraine's foreign trade in goods and services January through September 2009 was estimated at $1.08 billion, which was 9.5 times down on the same period last year, the Ukrainian State Statistics Committee reported on Nov. 16. As the committee said, exports in the nine months fell by 45.1%, to $34.320 billion, while imports decreased by 51.3%, to $35.399 billion. The export of goods over the period under review decreased by 48.7%, to $27.478 billion, while imports fell by 53.5%, to $31.570 billion. The export of services dropped by 23.2%, to $6.841 billion, while imports were down by 19.9%, to $3.829 billion. (Source)
Who was in charge of Ukraine as its economy fell down the drain? Oligarchs, bureaucrats, and politicians. Most of whom were called "Sorosists". George Soros had the most important influence on Ukraine from its inception. In terms of economy, Ukraine was most strongly influenced by George Soros and IMF.
The Ukrainians knew. They shared their fears and thoughts, which the US-owned media channels ridiculed and YouTube has subsequently shut down.
The Soros strategy of pushing for currency devaluation and using the decline of an economy for generating profit - Malaysia and England - may also have been tested on Ukraine.
“We are returning to the 1990s, when drivers hid their dollars in their socks and bought cars in Germany, then drove them to Ukraine and sold them with cash changing hands on the street - with the state not getting a penny in taxes,” he said. (Source)
Ukraine has the distinction of being the "first country in the world history that had over a hundred-fold annual price level increase that wasn’t a consequence of a war" (Source)
The collapse of the Soviet Union was an opportunity that presented itself to the vast network of US establishment-backed NGOs and government organizations to seize control of the entire region. Specifically Eastern Europe and erstwhile USSR states. Including Russia.
So were the US and its allies, specifically the corporate collaborators, really bystanders in the happenings and events of the post-1985 Soviet world?
The provoked war?
As we saw, the actions of the NATO establishment were being executed ever since the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Soviets were not necessarily angels. They precipitated the entire Afghanistan situation by executing Operation Storm-333 (and Operation Baikal-79) to assassinate their own plug on that country President Amin in favor of someone who was far more amenable. (Read #318 - An unending betrayal of the Afghan for the details)
But the devil that the Soviet Union was, had been defanged during the collapse and the restructuring that happened in Russia and the ex-Soviet states.
When Putin was asked about what was it that West does not understand about Putin's actions in Ukraine, he gave a history lesson to the journalist.
"Any movement of NATO to the east was unacceptable". Putin retorted. He shared the humiliation that the Russian establishment experienced when every time an ex-Soviet state was brought into NATO and Russia would remind the US of their pledge on that and they would simply say "Where is it written?"
This was something that Boris Yeltsin, a good friend of Bill Clinton, had brought up with Clinton.
AS it turns out, even when the Warsaw Pact was abolished, NATO was not. In fact, after the abolishing of the Warsaw Pact, NATO's expansion to the East accelerated. In the first expansion of NATO in 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were added. In 2004, 7 more joined - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia (Source). Thereafter Albania and Croatia joined on April 1st, 2009, Montenegro on June 2nd, 2017, and finally North Macedonia on March 27, 2020.
Ukraine's love affair with NATO has happened every time there has been a President who had links with US-backed organizations. Viktor Yushchenko with the support of his PM Yulia Tymoshenko pushed for NATO membership in April 2008. When Viktor Yanukovych came back he came out with a bill in 2010 that made Ukraine a "neutral state," cooperating with both Russia and Western alliances like NATO. The next time NATO's love affair became strong was when Russia annexed Crimea and the conflict started in Donbas.
In December 2014, the Rada revoked the country’s non-bloc status. In June 2017, the Rada passed a law calling for deepening NATO-Ukraine cooperation with the goal of eventual membership. In February 2019, the Rada approved constitutional amendments that set full membership in NATO (and the EU) as strategic goals for Ukraine. (Source: Turkish Policy)
As things turned south, Russia started a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. Here is the timeline of events.
On December 17, 2021, Russian President Putin put forward proposals to limit US and NATO influence on the former Soviet states.
That was shot down. On Jan 26th, Washington called these demands "unrealistic". The stage was set for the civilizational rivalry and ego clashes to dig deeper.
Civilizational clash and humiliations
For those whom Russia's glory of their Soviet past - rightly or wrongly - means something, the real break happened in 1994.
The incident happened during Yeltsin and Clinton’s first meeting in Washington in September 1994. Although there were glancing media reports about it over the years, it wasn’t widely reported on until 2009, when author Taylor Branch published his book The Clinton Tapes, based on his interviews with the president. “Secret Service agents discovered Yeltsin alone on Pennsylvania Avenue, dead drunk, clad in his underwear, yelling for a taxi,” Branch wrote in his book. “Yeltsin slurred his words in a loud argument with the baffled agents. He did not want to go back into Blair House, where he was staying. He wanted a taxi to go out for pizza.” When Branch asked Clinton how the situation ended, the president shrugged and said, “Well, he got his pizza.” But the next night, Clinton recalled, Yeltsin tried to do it again. (Source)
One man remembered these incidents as humiliations. What happened with the election of Donald Trump was intended to be a 'payback'.
But for one man in Russia, it symbolized a profound humiliation. Vladimir Putin was then a minor public official, serving as a deputy city functionary in St. Petersburg after ending his career as a KGB agent, withdrawn from East Germany after its communist government fell. The notion that the Soviet state in which he’d been raised and trained, whose demise he once called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” had become a client state with a leader who was a source of Western amusement was stinging. It was a sting he never forgot, and when Putin met with Russian troops shortly after he took power on the first day of the new millennium, January 1, 2000, he told them their mission included “restoring Russia’s honor and dignity.” “He sees the 1990’s as one long period of humiliation—domestically and internationally,” says James Goldgeier, dean of the School of International Service at American University and a former top Russia official on Clinton’s national security staff. “From Putin’s standpoint, the ‘Bill and Boris show’ was basically Boris saying yes to everything Bill wanted—and that was the U.S. basically defining the order of the world and what Russia’s place in it could be, and that Russia was too weak to do anything but go along.” (Source)
Russia was too weak to do anything but go along. Russia could not fight back. So it waited for its own game to come about.
Just as the West has its ideas of its own assumed greatness, so does Russia.
In May 2000, for example, President Putin expressed the idea of what Russia meant to him. 'A civilization'. Not just a country.
It records Putin as saying, “Russia is not just a country, but a distinct civilization thanks its rich traditions, multiethnic character and numerous cultures and faiths.” For this reason, he argues, Russia must develop modern technologies that will enable this civilization to achieve breakthroughs. (Source)
The idea of a 'Western Civilization' really strengthened from World War I onwards. In this war, the fight against Germany and its allies — the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires — was characterized by the anglophone world as a war of "Western civilization against Eastern despotism". (Source) During the Cold War, the idea expanded to include the "free world" which had to cater to the Vietnamese allies and others who were fighting the "Communist slave societies".
A euphemism (Western Civilization as the Free World) that continues to this day.
The Morality 'Pissing matches'
The Christian world has a framework that we call the Righteousness Framework. This framework is used to establish imperialism by creating moral gods who spout dictated moral standards. Taking those as given, an authority is hoisted and the imperialist rule is then perpetrated on the poor souls to be saved. (For details, read Issue #228 - The Righteousness Framework)
Russia's attack has caused a lot of damage in Ukraine. Oleg Ustenko, the chief economic adviser to Ukraine’s government, estimates that his country has suffered damage to the tune of $100 billion. A hospital in Mariupol was destroyed. Many multi-story buildings have been destroyed.
The damage caused in Afghanistan by the Soviets was no less.
Attacks and damage in Iraq and Afghanistan by the NATO forces were far worse.
But, the ones with the media and communications supremacy made those killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan look like holy communions.
Donbas and the future of Ukraine
Donbas holds the keys to Ukraine's future.
After the Orange Revolution, Russia annexed Crimea and separatist battles started in the Donetsk basin area in April 2014.
The separatist conflict in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, known as the Donbas, short for Donetsk Basin, erupted in April 2014. That came a few weeks after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula following the ouster of a Moscow-friendly president by a popular uprising in the capital of Kyiv. (Source)
Donbas became the petridish of fighting wars by remote control. Use of Private Military Companies (PMCs) has been tested here by both side - the US and Russia.
From the American side, Academi (formerly Blackwater) has been working in the Donbas area.
From the Russian side, it has been Tigr Top-Rent Security, the Wagner Group, E.N.O.T. Corp, Feraks Group, and the Antiterror-Orel group. Companies like MAR company, RSB group, and Moran security specialize in the protection of gas and oil pipelines and vessels. (Source)
The personnel and the establishments involved in these wars in Ukraine are not very different from the ones that fought in Afghanistan.
Operation Storm-333. The players that created the slide of Afghanistan to the nightmare it is today have now converged on Ukraine.
War Industrial empires - lessons
In our newsletter #314 - Afghanistan's Future and the Global Chessboard, we had written about why these modern wars have been fought.
This is exactly what Tulsi Gabbard speaks to during her discussion with Tucker Carlson.
We are now looking at another round of protracted war in Ukraine. What this war does to a country and society can best be understood by this photograph. 1967 Vs 2007.
In early December 2021, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee shared his fears on Ukraine.
Ukraine could prove “the next Afghanistan” for Russia if it chooses to invade early next year as US and Ukrainian intelligence agencies fear, a senior member of the Senate foreign relations committee warned after news that Joe Biden will speak to Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. (Source)
In the end, it will not be important whether "Ukraine is the next Afghanistan" for the US, its NATO allies, or Russia and Putin. If Ukraine becomes the next Afghanistan, the worst sufferers will be Ukrainians. For them, becoming inhabitants of the ruins of their country would be the greatest nightmare.
What started off as Democracy Promotion, with investments, NGOs, moral high ground, a network of clandestine, covert, and overt organizations, the Private militias will end up creating another graveyard.
That is why, when you see any of these players functioning in your society with a free hand and complete impunity while showing how their hearts beat for your freedom, justice, and the rest of it all - know that your slide to becoming another Afghanistan may not be that far off.
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