Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TODAY'S WARS MAY SIGNAL A QUALITATIVE CHANGE IN US FOREIGN POLICY



Harry Targ

From Wartime Alliance to Deadly Global Conflict

I do not believe history repeats itself but I find myself looking back to the past for lessons which might be relevant today. For example, during World War II an “unnatural alliance” between the United States (the new imperial hegemon), Great Britain (the old one), and the former Soviet Union (the revolutionary challenger to capitalist hegemony) formed to defeat fascism in Europe. It was in the interests of all three nations to do so.

As the war was ending the leaders of the “big three” nations--President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin--met at Yalta in the Crimea to plan for a post-war world order. They made agreements on Eastern European borders, facilitating elections in Poland, administering a defeated Germany, defeating Japan in the Asian war, and planning for the first meeting of the United Nations. The three leaders returned to their respective countries declaring that a peaceful post-war world order would be established. “The spirit of Yalta” brought hope to millions of North Americans and Europeans, West and East.

In April, President Roosevelt died and a new more bellicose administration had come to power in Washington. Within three months the United States had successfully tested its new atomic bomb and dropped two of them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the fall, 1945 US and Soviet disputes over treaties ending the status of war with former fascist regimes in Eastern Europe began to destroy the comity that had been built over the course of the war and codified at Yalta. In 1946 crises occurred between East and West over Iran and Greece. It is clear in retrospect that ever since its ascendency to power the new Truman administration had been working to achieve global hegemony in the post-war period, using its military and economic superiority as tools.

In the spring of 1947, the US decided to replace the British in Greece as the latter worked to crush a leftwing insurgency in that country’s civil war. President Truman was warned by the Republican Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he, Truman, better “scare hell out of the American people.” This was so because most Americans favored peace over more conflict in world affairs and many still perceived the former wartime ally, the Soviet Union, positively.

The announcement of the new global threat and the need to mobilize resources over the next several years to “defend” against the demonic Soviet Union led to the recommendations for action in the famous Truman Doctrine speech to Congress in March, 1947. These put the US on a war path that would cost more than 10 million lives, international and American, and at least $5 trillion by the twenty-first century.

So the decisions made between 1945 and 1947 presaged a dramatic shift in United States foreign policy that had enormous consequences for both its own citizens and the world. Decision-makers in the Truman administration who favored maintaining some semblance of cooperation with the former Soviet Union lost their influence. Even some of Truman’s hardline advisors like George Kennan felt the evolving policies went too far in terms of bellicosity.

From Global Conflict Management to Renewed Global Military Madness

Fast-forward some 65 years. President Obama, from 2008 to 2013, continued the Bush war in Afghanistan, ordered drone attacks on alleged terrorist targets in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and authorized covert support for destabilization of populist regimes in Latin America. In contrast, at the same time, he has tried to create a more “realist” panoply of policies based on diplomacy and modest recognition that there were limits to US power. During the President’s second term, the United States partnered with Russia to curb Syria’s brutal war on its citizens and Russia, Iran, and the United States began to make progress in arms negotiations.

But then, with the aid of undercover US operatives, rebels overthrew a Ukraine government in February 2014 that had close ties with Russia. The US and the new Ukraine government launched a diplomatic and military assault on pro-Russian Ukraine separatists and the government in Kiev began to maneuver itself toward joining NATO and the European Union.

And in June the Obama administration announced a new threat, not only to a particular geographic setting, the Persian Gulf, but to the civilized world. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was pronounced the new global monster (as was the Soviet Union in 1947). Beginning in August, 2014, the United States and selective allies initiated what became large scale bombing of ISIS targets in Iraq and, by September, in Syria. Massive air assaults and declarations of success have been coupled with announcements of the need for more bombing and more allies to engage in this common struggle. Since the bombing began influential foreign policy elites in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere have spoken of the need ultimately to send troops to the Persian Gulf to defeat ISIS.

In short, in just a matter of three months the United States, much of Europe, and Arab states have embarked on a seemingly insane escalation of war, enthusiastically endorsed by most of the media and foreign policy pundits. Whether it is Ukraine or the Persian Gulf, the emergence of crisis and war has intruded itself on an unsuspecting world the way the Cold War transformed the spirit of Yalta to possible hot war in just two short years. This time, the rush to war has occurred in just a matter of months.

Comparing the Pursuit of Global Hegemony: 1945-47 with 2014

The starkness of the shift in United States foreign policy and the unidimensional zealousness of media support for wars on Russia and ISIS have shifted political discourse away from domestic police violence, climate change, growing economic inequality, the toxic nature of gridlock in Washington politics, and sequester-based requirements to reduce military spending. All this has occurred in the domestic political context of off-year elections in the United States.

The transformation of United States foreign policy in 2014 is as dramatic as that of 1945-47 with as potentially dire consequences as the first period. But there are differences between 2014 and 1945-47.

First, the United States is not the emerging global hegemon today but rather a declining world power economically and militarily. To use an old analogy, a wounded and threatened animal is more violence prone and dangerous than a healthy and secure one.
Second, there emerged in the 21st century three vigorous counter-hegemonic tendencies in world affairs that the United States and some of its major allies oppose. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are increasingly demanding a transformation of major global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the United Nations system to better reflect the population size, wealth, and geography of the international system. In other words they reject the hegemonic economic and political order established at the end of World War II.

In addition, some nations, such as those in Latin America, are beginning to create counter-institutions, including a bank for the countries of the Global South. Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and to some degree Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, Nicaragua, and, of course, Cuba are creating a Western Hemisphere international economic order that would be a major threat to the 150 year US domination of the region.

Perhaps the greatest perceived threat to an international order based on US global hegemony is the spread of grassroots mobilizations all across the world. Arab Spring in 2011 was followed by austerity protests in Greece, Spain, and Portugal, student mobilizations in Chile and Canada, pro-labor and anti-austerity movements in the United States, including the Occupy movement, and the spreading Moral Mondays campaigns in the US South. All these campaigns are inspired by older anti-globalization activism, including the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the World Social Forum, and endless campaigns against the IMF, the World Bank, for global climate change, the liberation of women and indigenous people. While the slogan, “the people united will never be defeated,” may be too optimistic in the short-run, it does represent a source of fear for global finance capital and its leaders in the United States, Europe, and among various Arab autocracies.

Third, additional anti-hegemonic movements or campaigns include brutal terrorists, various forms of fundamentalists, who will stop at nothing to combat what they see as the enemy. With growing worldwide poverty, social marginalization, and powerlessness, millions of dispossessed people are drawn to reactionary, militaristic forces which have no positive vision except offering the promise of defeating the enemies who bomb them with impunity.

Where Does the Peace Movement Go?

The task of the peace movement broadly defined is as complex as that confronting its ancestors at the dawn of the Cold War. Using the old labor slogan the peace movement needs to educate, agitate, and organize.

Educational campaigns require developing and communicating forthright analyses of the global political economy today. They should analyze the declining power of the traditional global hegemons, the rise of global resistance, and incorporate theorizing that includes the salience of non-state actors, from grassroots activists to terrorist extremists. Such an educational campaign should fuse issues of economics, politics, the environment, global inequality, domestic and foreign policies, and class, race, and gender on a global scale. Education requires historical understanding, sensitivity to cultural variations, and needs to challenge mass media stereotypes that distort reality.

Agitation should include mobilizing campaigns at home and across the globe around opposition to military spending, drone warfare, nuclear weapons, terrorism and anti-terrorism campaigns, and the oligopolistic global mass media that is a tool of those forces that seek to maintain global hegemony.

Organization should include finding ways to develop cross-national solidarity which makes connections between grassroots campaigns in one geographic space with those elsewhere. Virtually no issue--such as the environment, healthcare, labor and women’s rights, or police brutality—is unique to one country or city or town. The new technology makes the compression of time and space more feasible than in any prior period of history.

The qualitative shift in United States foreign policy from 1945 to 1947 made nuclear war more possible. The Cold War led to an atmosphere whereby escalation to nuclear holocaust was always a justifiable fear. While nuclear war did not happen, the Cold War adversaries fought their battles in countries of the Global South such as Korea, Vietnam, South Africa, and Cuba.

Today’s shifting United States foreign policy could bring global war, irreversible environmental devastation, starvation and disease, and terrorism on a scale new to human history. The global peace movement has an arduous but necessary job to reverse these possibilities.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Moving Above the Snake Line to the Higher Ground: Moral Mondays Comes to Indiana



Harry Targ

America is facing an economic, political, moral, and environmental crisis as deep as any since the Civil War. Extremists have mobilized money and power to increase the concentration of wealth, decrease economic justice, promote war abroad and police violence at home, expand racism, sexism, and exploitation, and end all efforts to protect the fragile environment.

Enormous amounts of money, largely provided by the Koch Brothers but also coming from some of the largest corporations in the country (insurance, energy, drugs, investment, water and on-line), created the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the 1970s. Billionaires David and Charles Koch have used their money to transform American politics primarily at the level of state governments. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the infamous John Birch Society of the 1950s and 1960s that railed against alleged “communists” such as former President Eisenhower and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.

ALEC has created think tanks, funded political candidates who support their extremist agenda, prepared detailed legislative programs on every public policy issue, and held conferences to recruit and curry the favor of state legislators. This forty year semi-secret movement has led to the capture of thirty state governments (governorships and state legislatures). Since 2010 these state governments have launched an assault on workers, women, people of color, and youth.

In Indiana, at least 16 state representatives and 9 state senators have had ties to ALEC. Former Governor Mitch Daniels and his successor Mike Pence have attended and/or spoken at ALEC and other Koch Brothers events.

As a result of ALEC, sustained assaults on the well-being of Hoosiers since 2004 have included: the decertification of public employee unions, the passage of right-to-work legislation, the creation of charter schools, the shift of educational resources from public schools to private ones through the establishment of vouchers. Also attempts were made to privatize welfare services and some Indiana toll roads were leased to foreign corporations. In addition Indiana politicians have promoted laws limiting the ability of Planned Parenthood to provide health examinations to poor women and blocked any regulations on coal power plants particularly adjacent to minority communities. Indiana initiated some of the first voter ID laws in the country making it more difficult for Hoosiers to vote and the current Governor decided not to expand Medicaid. (see Bryan K Bullock, “the Ultra-Right-Wing State Nobody Mentions,” Truthout, July 1, 2014).

These long-term trends in various states have sparked the emergence of resistance.  One form of resistance is the Moral Mondays movement which began in North Carolina and has spread all across the South and in parts of the Midwest. North Carolina’s movement was convened by the NAACP in 2006 to start a conversation about political and economic justice. By 2013, North Carolina’s movement grew from 16 organizational partners to over 150. Activists began a weekly protest against the North Carolina legislature’s extreme agenda and during the spring legislative season over 1,000 workers, ministers, men, women, minorities, educators, health care professionals, fast food workers, and others were arrested for civil disobedience in the North Carolina State House. Most of the arrests have just been declared unconstitutional.

Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, has emerged as a powerful spokesperson for the Moral Mondays movement. He articulates the view that the country is in the midst of the third reconstruction. The first, after the Civil War, brought former Black slaves and white workers together to write democratic state constitutions. They practiced a “fusion” politics;” that is working to unite people around shared issues and values and unity around race, gender, faith traditions, and the common passion for building a real democracy.

Barber reports that the fusion movement of the 1860s and 1870s was destroyed by Klan extremism and rightwing plantation supporters of the old slave system. The second reconstruction emerged in the 1950s after Brown vs. Board of Education and succumbed to a new round of extremism resulting from candidate Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” of the 1968 election season. 

Now, Barber says we are in the midst of a third reconstruction. Moral Mondays movements in North Carolina, and 13 other states in the South and Midwest have begun to build a new fusion movement that draws together workers, women, young and old, black, brown, and white people, documented and undocumented, environmentalists, people of faith and atheists, and the LBGT community based upon “moral” and “constitutional” agendas. He argues that whatever an individual’s personal religious or political values, most people hold to a moral core that addresses economic justice and freedom. And, the federal and most state constitutions clearly state their commitment to democracy and justice. The moral and constitutional dimensions are not, he says, about political parties or ideologies but about these fundamental traditions.

Rev. Barber spoke about his vision in Indianapolis at a two-day mass meeting of the newly created Indiana Moral Mondays on September 19-20. On September 19, he briefed Hoosier activists who had been meeting for months to plan for Rev. Barber’s visit as the “kick-off” to a new Indiana Moral Mondays movement. On Saturday, workshops were held on the Moral Mondays issues at Crispus Attucks High School. After the workshops hundreds marched from the high school to the State House. There Rev. Barber spoke passionately about the need for an Indiana Moral Mondays. The assembled supporters also heard supportive words from National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill and Indiana NAACP State President Barbara Bolling Williams. Hoosier activists commented on the specific needs of fast food workers, African-American youth, and health care workers. Indiana advocates for Medicaid expansion, labor rights, and environmental justice also addressed the rally.

As the new Indiana Moral Mondays movement proceeds in the months ahead it will be addressing a five-point core agenda similar to that embraced by Moral Mondays movements in other states:
  • Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
  • Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;
  • Stand up for the health of every Hoosier by promoting health care access and environmental justice across all the state's communities;
  • Address the continuing inequalities in the criminal justice system and ensure equality under the law for every person, regardless of race, class, creed, documentation or sexual preference;
  • Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.
In his Saturday, September 20, afternoon speech to the 400 people rallying at the Indiana State House, Rev. Barber said he was told by his son, an environmental physicist, that if he ever got lost in mountainous territory he should walk to higher ground. This is necessary, Barber reported, because in the lowlands snakes congregate but if one climbs above the “snake line” snakes, being cold-blooded creatures, cannot live.

Referring to the snake line metaphor in an earlier speech Barber declared:

“There are some snakes out here. There are some low-down policies out here. There’s some poison out here. Going backwards on voting rights, that’s below the snake line. Going backwards on civil rights, that’s below the snake line. Hurting people just because they have a different sexuality, that’s below the snake line. Stomping on poor people just because you’ve got power, that’s below the snake line. Denying health care to the sick and keeping children from opportunity, that’s below the snake line” (Dave Johnson, “Let’s Get Our Politics Above the Snake Line,” Campaign for America’s Future, July 22, 2014).

Rev. Barber urged the newly formed Indiana Moral Mondays coalition to “go to higher ground,” where poverty is ended, everybody can vote, children can be educated, the sick can be healed, and everyone is respected.

People left the rally with a renewed passion to move above the snake line to a higher ground.  They vowed to build a powerful new political voice in the state: Indiana Moral Mondays.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Twentieth Century Narratives of International Relations Are No Longer Relevant (If They Ever Were)



Harry Targ

President Barack Obama spoke to the nation Wednesday night, September 10, about the need to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). For him ISIS (he calls them the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or ISIL which culls up the good old days of Western Empire in the region) constitutes “a small group of killers.” This small group of killers threatens the stability of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other regional states and Europe. Furthermore, he said, if unchecked some of them may even threaten the security of the United States as well.

The President reported that the United States had already been carrying out large scale air strikes against targets in Iraq, has been working to create a new more diverse Iraqi government in Baghdad, and is building a regional coalition to respond to the threat.

The President then announced new measures intended to communicate to the American people U.S. resolve and muscle. In addition to informing the public, a significant purpose of the speech was to stifle his critics on the Right who claim he has not been warlike enough. This motivation was more about the 2014 elections than about reducing violence in the Persian Gulf.

President Obama declared that the United States would expand bombing of ISIS targets, even, if need be, in Syria. This would constitute an expansion of the war which the American people rejected in 2013. Also the United States would train and equip the “moderates” among the Syrian resistance. In addition, the President announced he was sending 475 more U.S. troops to participate in military training of Iraqi troops. Further, counter-terrorism programs would continue and he would be requesting funds for “humanitarian” assistance for the region as well.

Obama reminded the American people that we are engaged in a long and arduous struggle to defeat ISIS (reminiscent of President Truman’s 1947 similar warning of the long-term struggle against “International Communism”). The upside of the message, he claimed, was that the model for our Iraq and Syrian military policy was Yemen and Somalia, which the President judged a success. Finally, he promised that there would be “no boots on the ground.”

President Obama ended with references to American exceptionalism, the mantra of every U.S. president at least since Theodore Roosevelt. The United States, he counseled, still led the world in science, education, development and most other human endeavors. And we had the “enduring burden,” “the responsibility to lead,” and stood for “freedom, justice, and dignity.”

As I suggested in an earlier essay (“Lies and War!” Diary of a Heartland Radical, September 3, 2014):  “Now the latest enemy, ISIS….is portrayed as a monster movement that beheads its prisoners and murders masses of people who do not share its religious ideology….War-hungry hawks inside the beltway particularly those with ready access to mainstream media demand that President Obama expand bombing, transfer more arms to so-called friends, and recruit militant opponents of ISIS to even the score. This new enemy, more scary than the Communists of the twentieth century, includes a handful of Americans…” They might, so the scenario suggests, return from ISIS training camps to terrorize the U.S. “homeland.”

Perhaps the most relevant passage from my prior essay is that “….those who raise questions about why ISIS is as popular as it is, what its grievances are, why there is hatred for the West, particularly the United States, in the region, and whether the application of military force would make matters better or worse, are drowned out by those who built careers based on arguments about the inevitability of war and violence and the need to kill for the greater good.”

Andrew Bacevich, historian and former military officer, raises the question of whether the lens on the world shared by U.S. foreign policy decision-makers, think tank advisors, media pundits, and most Americans is outmoded  (“The Revisionist Imperative: Rethinking Twentieth Century Wars,” Journal of Military History, April, 2012, 1033-1046).  He suggests that most influential foreign policymakers in every administration and large numbers of politicians and analysts still believe “war works,” a proposition belied by much twentieth century evidence.  Bacevich argues that today the war works hypothesis is believed only in the United States and maybe Israel. 

Those who accept the “war works” thesis defend it by referring to what another historian Tony Judt called the “moral memory palace,” or the storehouse of myths about the successes and failures of twentieth century international relations. The West erred by accepting “appeasement” in Munich, not paying attention at Pearl Harbor, being na├»ve at Yalta, but learning our lessons about the need for force at Normandy, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, for example.

Bacevich reminds us that Americans grew up in the twentieth century buying into myths about the inevitability of war, the possibilities of human improvement that wars bring, and the dangers of appeasing foreign leaders. Most critically the consciousness of the most influential policymakers is shaped by the belief that the world consists of a handful of great powers that determined the destiny of humankind. This he refers to as the “Short Twentieth Century” view. 

Bacevich argues that the popular way of reflecting on the “Short Twentieth Century” involves interpreting the world as “geographically centered in Eurasia” where a small number of great powers were pitted against one another. However, he adds that what he called the “Long Twentieth Century” more aptly describes the worlds of yesterday and today.

The Long Twentieth Century “…has been a contest between outsiders and insiders. Western intruders with large ambitions, preeminently Great Britain until succeeded by the United States, pursued their dreams of empire or hegemony, typically cloaked in professions of ‘benevolent assimilation,’ uplift, or the pursuit of world peace. The beneficiaries of imperial ministrations…seldom proved grateful and frequently resisted.” 

Applying Bacevich’s analysis to Obama’s speech suggests that the escalated U.S. military action that was promised on September 10 is precisely the wrong approach to relating to the Persian Gulf and Middle East. The President refuses to ask the important questions about why ISIS has been so successful. And nothing announced in that speech can do anything but create more dead in the region, more hatred for the United States, more traumatized U.S. troops, more trillions of dollars on wasteful spending, and the perpetuation of a U.S. political culture in which most people believe that “war works.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

LIES AND WAR!



Harry Targ

Post-modernists talk about “discourses,” “narratives,” “tropes,” and verbal “deconstructions.” They should be commended for suggesting how words are used to mobilize, inspire, deceive, promote self-interest, and, too often, justify killing everywhere. Former Arkansas Senator, J. William Fulbright in describing how he was tricked by his old friend President Lyndon Baines Johnson to support a resolution authorizing escalating war in Vietnam said: “A lie is a lie. There is no other way to put it.”

The story can begin any time. As World War Two was ending, the Greek government constructed by Great Britain after the Nazis were defeated was engaged in an effort to crush a rebellion by activists who objected to their newly imposed rulers. The Greek rebels included former anti-fascists freedom fighters, some of whom were Communists or Socialists. The British, no longer able to support the repression of the Greek Left in what was a civil war, called on the Americans for help.

In February, 1947, Truman foreign policy advisers met to discuss what to do about the Greek civil war and the threat of “Communism” spreading along the Mediterranean. The Republican Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Arthur Vandenberg, attending the meeting. said he would support U.S. military and economic aid for the unpopular Greek government. But, he said, tell the President he better “scare hell out of the American people.”

One month later, President Truman gave his famous Truman Doctrine speech to the Congress and the American people. He warned the American people, who until that time still had positive feelings toward the Soviet people, that the United States and the “free world” were going to be engaged in a long-term struggle against the forces of “international communism.” The Truman Doctrine was not about nations and movements with different interests and ideologies but rather a global struggle between the forces of good threatened by the forces of evil.

United States administrations ever since have justified aggressive foreign policies by lying and distorting the realities behind complex international relationships. In addition, when a politician, a journalist, a scholar, or a whole peace movement criticizes targeting nations and movements as diabolical and security threats, these critics are challenged as weak, indecisive, cowardly, and, even worse, stalking horses for the vile enemy or enemies.

Campaigns of propaganda masquerading as truth have been a constant feature of international relations, particularly since World War Two. The reality of U.S. struggles against demonized enemies tells a sobering story. Deaths in wars and interventions in which the United States participated from 1945 until 1995 totaled about ten million people. These figures, extracted from the valuable research of Ruth Sivard, (World Military and Social Expenditures, 1996) do not include injuries and forced migrations of millions of people fleeing combat zones. Nor do these figures include the wasteful trillions of dollars of military expenditures and environmental damage resulting from a war system.

And now, in 2014, the United States and its allies in NATO are presenting scenarios justifying war based upon a new round of lies and distortions. In the Persian Gulf whole nations were constructed by European colonial powers after World War One. As the next World War ended, the United States agreed to provide arms and protection to the Saudi monarchs in exchange for oil. The U.S. identified client regimes to support its interests in the region, from the former Shah of Iran, to the state of Israel, to various so-called Islamic Fundamentalist groups including what became Al Qaeda, to leaders the U.S. once supported such as Saddam Hussein and Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. In the twenty-first century, the stability of whole countries, Iraq and Libya for example, was destroyed by United States interventions costing many million deaths and injuries and many more people fleeing violence.

Now the latest enemy, ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is portrayed as a monster movement that beheads its prisoners and murders masses of people who do not share its religious ideology. While there is enough data to suggest that ISIS is engaging in cruel violence against its enemies, that violence is being used to justify bombing campaigns against alleged enemy targets. War-hungry hawks inside the beltway particularly those with ready access to mainstream media demand that President Obama expand bombing, transfer more arms to so-called friends, and recruit militant opponents of ISIS to even the score. Since this new enemy, even more scary than the Communists of the twentieth century, includes a handful of Americans, they claim, the territory of the United States is threatened by global terror. The rhetoric calling for a global war against this presumably global threat is escalating. Those who raise questions about why ISIS is as popular as it is, what its grievances are, why there is hatred for the West, particularly the United States, in the region, and whether the application of military force would make matters better or worse, are drowned out by those who built careers based on arguments about the inevitability of war and violence and the need to kill for the greater good.

The other apocryphal narrative of the day comes from Eastern Europe. The United States participated covertly in the overthrow of a dictatorial but elected regime in Ukraine. After the elected leader fled, those with ties to historic fascist parties gained influence in a newly created government. Ukrainians from the eastern part of the country with ties of politics, culture, and language to Russia rebelled against the new central government in Kiev which wants to join western military and economic organizations. Kiev has launched a brutal assault on the separatists in the East. The dominant narrative in Washington and the mainstream media is not about the coup in Kiev, the descendants of fascists in the government, but the Russians who want to move westward across Central Europe, reestablishing the old Soviet Bloc.

Indeed, Russia is giving material aid to the separatists, although information about what kind comes only from Washington and Kiev. Little attention is given to the NATO vision of expanding its military alliance eastward, ultimately to besiege a threatened Russia. Even less attention is given to the fact that Kiev oligarchs wish to incorporate Ukraine into the European Union. In other words, a country with a divided population in terms of culture and politics engaged in a violent civil war has been transformed by politicians, pundits, and media sources into a narrative of a struggling Ukraine democracy challenged by an aggressive Russia, the descendent of the twentieth century demon, the former Soviet Union.  (For a more detailed discussion of United States/Russian/ Ukraine relations in 2013-2014 see Harry Targ, “Pushing for Starvation at Home and War Abroad: A Time to Resist,” Diary of a Heartland Radical. www.heartlandradical.blogspot.com, March 28, 2014).

Getting back to Senator Vandenberg’s advice to President Truman about how to gain support of the American people for moral/military crusades, leaders and media are warning about a new global terrorist threat and a renewed post-Soviet threat from Russia, a new Cold War. The intensity of the selling job is testament to the good sense of the American people who continue to say “no more wars.”