How will we cease the neocons from beginning one other catastrophe in Ukraine?

If something, Washington’s neoconservatives have an unerring intuition for survival. Having led to a number of disasters within the 20 years since 9/11—from the Iraq War to the dual debacles in Libya and Syria—the neoconservatives appear to have perfected the artwork of failing up.

Harvard University’s Stephen Walt as soon as quipped that “Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.” And on this regard, the story of the Kagan household is instructive. Robert Kagan, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, a senior fellow on the Brookings Institution, and creator of pseudohistories similar to The Jungle Grows Back, has for years been a number one advocate of American militarism.

His brother, Frederick, is a resident scholar on the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. Writing within the Hill on December 7, Frederick Kagan claimed that Russian management of Ukraine, “would create an existential threat to Poland and even to Romania—one that could be met only by major deployments of U.S. and European ground and air forces to what could become a new Iron Curtain.” He and his spouse, Kimberly, who heads the Institute for the Study of War—one other pro-war Washington assume tank—had been shut advisers to the disgraced General and former CIA Director David Petraeus. Indeed, each Frederick and his spouse are steadily cited because the brains behind the surge technique pursued by George W. Bush’s administration in 2007-2008.

But probably the most highly effective member of the Kagan clan is Victoria Nuland, who’s the spouse of Robert and is the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Under Obama, Nuland served because the State Department spokesperson, a place for which she was manifestly overqualified (and that turns into particularly clear if one takes the {qualifications} of the present spokesman into consideration), earlier than assuming the position of the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. It was on this position that Nuland helped orchestrate the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014 that led to a civil conflict in Ukraine, wherein greater than 13,000 individuals have died, in response to the United Nations.

Part of the rationale the U.S. is at grave threat of a conflict with Russia—and there’s treasured little debate in regards to the insurance policies which have introduced us thus far—is that international coverage in Washington is carried out by a just about closed circle.

And that circle is dominated by individuals just like the Kagans.

Washington’s legacy media organizations play their half in perpetuating these international insurance policies as properly by functioning because the everlasting paperwork’s echo chamber. For proof, look no additional than the Washington Post editorial web page, which from the very begin of the Ukraine disaster has been cavalierly dismissing requires diplomacy and engagement and, as an alternative, has been calling for outright conflict.

An instance of that is the Washington Post view printed on their editorial web page on August 21, 2014:

“…it is tempting to look for a cease-fire or some kind of time out that would lead to a period of diplomatic negotiation. But what would a pause and diplomacy accomplish? Any negotiations that leave this blight festering in Ukraine must be avoided. The only acceptable solution is for Mr. Putin’s aggression to be reversed.”

As Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of the National Interest, and I commented on the time, “Almost as bad as the callousness on display is the lack of candor. At no point did the [Washington] Post actually explain how it would propose to go about reversing Putin’s aggression.”

This stays the case even right now. At no level do the armchair warriors braying for conflict with Russia over Ukraine talk about how such a “reversal” is likely to be carried out, or, much more tellingly, what the chances is likely to be of a profitable end result of a conflict between the U.S. and Russia.

Not a lot has modified for the reason that begin of the Ukrainian disaster nearly eight years in the past. Consider for a second the testimony on “Update on U.S.-Russia Policy” by Nuland made earlier than the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) on December 7.

Nuland testified that:

“We don’t know whether Russian President [Vladimir] Putin has made a decision to attack Ukraine or overthrow its government but we do know he is building the capacity to do so. Much of this comes right out of Putin’s 2014 playbook but this time, it is on a much larger and more lethal scale. So despite our uncertainty about exact intentions and timing, we must prepare for all contingencies, even as we push Russia to reverse course.”

Nuland went on to notice that the U.S. authorities has given $2.four billion to Ukraine since 2014 “in security assistance,” which included $450 million that was given in 2021 alone.

What, one wonders, has been the United States’ return on this huge funding?

SFRC Chairman Bob Menendez, who, in 2015, was indicted on federal corruption expenses, appears to be underneath the impression that Russians don’t have the overwhelming navy benefit on their very own border. Likewise, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) intoned {that a} Russian invasion of Ukraine would “require us [the U.S.] to escalate.”

Senator Todd Young (R-IN), in the meantime, pressed Nuland on “what measures are being considered by the administration to counter Russian aggression,” whereas Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) indicated that in her conversations with members of parliament (MP) from Estonia, they spoke in regards to the significance of “European unity with respect to Ukraine.” Also, the MPs from Estonia together with Poland and different Eastern European nations expressed anxiousness about “whether or not to station more troops in the Baltic nations,” Senator Shaheen mentioned.

The most astute remark of the day got here from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was clearly proud that the committee had achieved a uncommon bipartisan settlement for a change. He additional emphasised that the U.S. stands “united” in help of Ukraine and in opposition to Russia.

And Johnson was completely appropriate: The committee was utterly united in its want for battle over Ukraine, with whom the U.S. has no treaty obligations in any way.

Indeed, each Nuland and the SFRC appear to see U.S. nationwide pursuits the place none exist. More worrying nonetheless, they appear to own a type of blind religion in America’s capability, certainly responsibility, to form outcomes of conflicts which are going down 1000’s of miles from our shores via a mixture of sanctions and navy threats.

The SFRC listening to confirmed, if nothing else, that American international coverage is held hostage by a venal, avaricious and, above all, a reckless claque of elites: From the members of the SFRC to the excessive U.S. authorities officers who testify earlier than them; from the staffers who temporary them to the students and coverage hands-on whom the staffers rely; proper right down to the reporters and journalists who uncritically regurgitate what they’re advised by their ‘anonymous’ administration sources.

As such, one of the crucial pressing questions earlier than us is: How do Americans of excellent conscience lastly break their stranglehold on energy earlier than it’s too late?


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