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US Interference: From Afghanistan to Syria

US interference in the Middle East and Asia did not start in 2001

Ziad Alzoghbi

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Long before Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria were attacked by the US Empire and its allies, these countries had something very important in common: They all had secular progressive nationalist sovereign governments with long established ties with the former Soviet Union, which is one of the reasons why the US has long planned to destroy them and turn them into client states.

They had an all inclusive society that respected and protected religious and ethnic minorities and women’s rights. Their economies were necessarily state controlled in order to protect against predatory western corporations that have destroyed and still are destroying national economies around the world in the name of the so-called free trade and open market policies.

After nearly four decades of war, death and destruction, it is now difficult to imagine Afghanistan before its tragic recent history. Up until the Soviet invasion of 1979 the country was indeed a secular country with a nationalist government and long proud history, where people lived their normal lives in peace. Contrary to current perception, women then had access to university education and pursued varied professional careers like their counterparts in any other twentieth century modern country.

Thanks to the overwhelmingly biased mainstream media there are many other myths about Afghanistan long held in the West, however, it is worth reading Jonathan Steele’s article in The Guardian in which he tries to dispel some of them.

kabulWell before the Soviet invasion the Afghan Mujaheddin were supplied with arms by the US and funded by the Saudis in order to topple the pro-Moscow government in Kabul. Furthermore, the US had an even bigger plan to drag the Soviet Union into a quagmire in Afghanistan where “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War”, according to Brzezinski the national security adviser to President Carter. His aim was to break up the Soviet Union at any cost and the Mujaheddin were merely tools used to that end. He called them “Some stirred-up Moslems” who have over the years morphed into today’s terrorists, with more support and aggression from the Empire of chaos.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-1991, the US found itself the only superpower in an uncertain and rapidly-changing world. Instead of showing leadership on tackling poverty, health, education and climate change, the US, driven by its entrenched Neo-cons and Neo-liberals, chose to embark on a campaign of unprecedented aggression starting with the Middle East, where the world’s largest gas and oil reserves lie. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the US refused outright to accept the Taliban’s offer to hand over Bin Laden on condition the US did not invade Afghanistan.

The mainstream media did not even mention this crucial fact because the propaganda machine in the West was spinning out of control after 9/11/2001.The hawks in Washington were intent on invading Afghanistan under the false pretext of capturing Bin Laden and destroying Al-Qaeda, the very jihadist group they set up years earlier.

Iraq was another example of US Empire projecting its military power. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the American administration did not spare any effort in encouraging and supporting Saddam Hussein to engage in a catastrophic conflict with Iran. The result was an 8 year long bloody war which killed an estimated one million people and crippled the economies of both countries.

iraq iran war

This left the Iraqi government no option but to ask the Saudi, Kuwaitis and other Gulf states to help Iraq by raising the price of oil, which they refused under American pressure. Intriguingly, American connivance tricked Saddam Hussein into thinking that he could invade Kuwait and put further pressure on the Saudis and others to see matters from his point of view. But this was a grave miscalculation by Saddam Hussein and a well planned American trap for him and one that resulted in yet another catastrophe for Iraq.

The usual propaganda spun its lies about the Iraqi Army’s barbaric atrocities in Kuwait and the valiant resistance there, all of which mobilised public opinion in the so-called civilised world. Consequently, much of the Iraqi Army was pulverised in what was called “Desert Storm” and most of Iraq’s infrastructure was systematically attacked from the air and destroyed. A no-fly zone was declared through the United Nations; nominally over the north of the country but effectively over the whole of Iraq.

Contrary to what was reported in the media at the time, this gave licence to the US and its allies to bomb targets anywhere in Iraq on a daily basis which went on for 12 years. Sanctions had been imposed immediately after Iraq invaded Kuwait and also lasted for 12 years until 2003. The government could not even import essential items such as food and medicine, “As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council” according to The New York Times in 1995.

As if this humanitarian tragedy of enormous proportions was not enough to satisfy the neo-con hawks who pulled the levers of power behind Bush junior they used the events of September 2001 in America to whip up such frenzy around the world so as to silence any dissenting voice, not that the mainstream media showed any signs of being critical or even tried to question what the US administration was doing- interesting in a country that claims to be the land of democracy and freedom of speech. The Bush administration even concocted “evidence” from various questionable sources showing falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (“WMD”), this despite the fact that the UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix were reporting that there were no WMD, having been dealt with and disposed of many years before. Among such sources were an Iraqi exile’s PhD thesis and the infamous dossier that led Blair to tell parliament in September 2002 that Saddam Hussein had “chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes”.

Fourteen years later the Chilcot Report found that the “Supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction identified in an intelligence dossier resembled an inaccurate portrayal of such weapons in a fictional Hollywood movie”.

All the protest around the world by millions of people could not prevent the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the attack of September 2001 on America, had no connection whatsoever with Al-Qaeda and more importantly posed no threat to any western countries, all of this did not make any difference to the US administration already intent on invading Iraq. Apart from the oil, there were arguably other reasons why the Americans were so determined to invade Iraq:

  1. Iraq was already a weak state without significant allies and therefore with no hope of defending itself against the military might of the US who counted on minimal casualties.
  2. America had long wanted to banish once and for all the nightmare of Vietnam that had been weighing heavily on the American psyche for a long time.
  3. The military industrial complex had huge stockpiles of arms that needed to be tested and used in a “fireworks” show to project its might as the only superpower in the world.
  4. To make huge fortunes for the arms manufacturers and other big corporations.
  5. To intimidate and bully other countries and demonstrate literally what it could do to them if they do not fall in line with US imperialist policies.
  6. To satisfy Israel’s unquenchable thirst for security by destroying a major Arab country.
  7. To confirm itself as the only superpower in the world.

The well planned and executed US invasion of Iraq saw the complete destruction of a sovereign state: Its army, civil service, ministries, power stations, hospitals, schools, bridges, museums, archives and much more of the Iraqi state’s administrative, social and civil structure. Some have always argued that the vacuum and chaos that ensued represents the failure of the invasion as the planners had no plans for the aftermath. Seen from a different perspective, it could well be argued that the lack of plans for the post-invasion period was, in an undeclared way, deliberate and as such the invasion was indeed a big success. Its real objective was to plunge Iraq and the entire region into endless sectarian wars for years or even decades, leading ultimately to Balkanising the Middle East.

Until 1991, Iraq was a modern secular country with an excellent free health care system and a first class free education system up to university level. Art, science and music flourished and were enjoyed by all citizens irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliation.

Libya too had free health care and education systems with an economy considered to be the best in Africa to the extent that it provided employment for thousands of Africans from across the whole continent. After the Western invasion of Libya those workers who survived the killing spree by the NATO-backed death squads had no option but to head for Europe as migrants. Gaddafi was always portrayed by the West as the “madman of Libya”, though in fact he was helping to develop African countries and their economies in many ways, hardly the work of a madman. Moreover, Gaddafi had huge quantities of gold and silver with a plan to”establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar” which would threaten western currencies and lead many African countries to more economic and political independence, according to recently disclosed emails.

gaddafi love

This clearly was the real reason behind NATO’s military campaign in Libya, which was not reported at all in the West. Instead the public were fed with the usual fabricated images of civilians about to be massacred by Gaddafi‘s forces and that NATO had to intervene to prevent a humanitarian disaster, using the UN Security Council resolution as a fig-leaf. Consequently Libya’s weapons were looted by extremists and soon went to various African countries, a destabilising factor and a major contributor to the on-going migrant crisis in Europe. Following the collapse of the Libyan state, the US oversaw the transfer of significant quantities of Libya’s weapons to the jihadists in Syria. According to Seymour Hersh, “The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition.”

For years Syria has been refusing to become a client state of the US Empire. Since independence from the French colonisers in April 1946, the Syrian people have built a modern secular inclusive society with free education and health care for all citizens. The Syrian economy needed to be controlled by the government in order to protect it from hostile western multinationals. Unsurprisingly, such an independent stance always angered the US who never ceased to plot and scheme to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs over the past seven decades.

What is happening in Syria these days is not a civil or sectarian war but a war of aggression by the US and its regional proxies to dismantle the state and tear apart the very fabric of Syrian society and culture.

In its July 5th-11th 2014 issue, The Economist bemoans the failure of the so-called “Arab spring” completely ignoring western meddling behind it, through their supply of funding and weapons as well as their hired agitators and saboteurs who operated among innocent protesters.  The vast majority of the Syrian people did not participate in such protest and were appalled by the armed violence and the atrocities committed at the start of the conflict by the mercenaries sent by the Wahhabi machine. The Economist also questions the failure of Arab countries to create democracy and prosperity for their people. Again there is no mention of the constant and relentless aggression from western powers throughout the past one hundred years or more. Even after independence colonial powers never stopped interfering in the whole region covertly or otherwise, not to mention the illegal creation of Israel in Palestine at the heart of the Arab world. Imagine if these countries were left alone to develop and build their economies free of bullying or threat of regime change, the world would be in a better state than it is now.

isis beac

After a quarter of a century of America’s campaign of continuous destruction and military adventurism in the Middle East, US aggression has now hit a hard obstinate rock in Syria. It is the rock of resistance that has its roots deep in Syrian history. It is the unshakeable rock on which all foreign invaders were defeated; the people of Syria refuse to be subjugated.  Syria and its allies have shown the world their legendary resistance over the last 6 years and the Syrian people will eventually emerge united and triumphant from this neo-colonial-manufactured crisis.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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