Evil Assad, Evil Gaddafi, Now Evil Putin: How the West Sells War (and Makes a Killing)

Distraction politics and the economic variables in Ukraine and the parallels with Syria, Libya and Iraq

Ghada Chehade
Russia Insider
February 21, 2015
Thanks to J. 

Enemy No. 1

Enemy No.1


As the conflict in Ukraine persists and as peace talks between Putin and western European leaders (Merkel and Hollande) continue, it is important to look at theeconomic actors/interests that benefit from conflict and regime change in the Ukraine and how this compares to situations like Syria, Libya and Iraq. There are under-reported angles and interests to these conflicts that we hear little about in western mainstream media and that many do not look for because they are too caught up in political or human dramas. For instance, mainstream media spend so much time demonizing a single enemy, be it Putin in the Ukraine situation, Assad in Syria, Gaddafi in Libya or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, etc., that they do not also critically explore how external actors may exploit or bolster such conflicts and situations in order to secure politic-economic motives such as access to oil, making way for destructively conditional IMF loans, or quashing domestic policies that undermine foreign imperial and economic interests.

In western media, a dangerously false binary exists; wherein opposition to western imperial and corporate agendas for a particular region equals support for “evil men” like Putin or Gaddafi, for instance. This is part of what I call distraction politics or conflation politics, where opposition to neoliberal and imperial policies—such as IMF loans with austerity conditions that devastate and impoverish a nation, its people and its agriculture—is conflated with support for certain tyrants (as defined by the west).

In the case of regime change and concomitant conflict in Ukraine, western media is so fixated on the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin over annexation of Crimea that little attention is being given to what JP Sottile calls “the corporate annexation of Ukraine.” Commenting on the economic plan for the country Sottile notes that, “for American companies like Monsanto, Cargill and Chevron, there’s a gold mine of profits to be made from agri-business and energy exploitation.”

Some European lawmakers view the Ukraine conflict as a smokescreen to allow the IMF/World Bank/European Bank for Reconstruction financed agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology business to steal Ukraine’s highly valued and coveted farmland. The distraction politics around the conflict in Ukraine—e.g., the west versus the evil Vladimir Putin—hides the reality of massive farmland seizures that will greatly enrich western agribusiness corporations while ushering in poisonous policies and practices such as GMO crops. With Yanukovych ousted, the new government in Ukraine has agreed to austerity reforms in exchange for IMF and World Bank “aid.” In addition to the devastating impact these reforms will have on poverty levels and Ukrainians’ standard of living, the austerity measures will also allow western agribusiness corporations to side-step Europe’s hitherto tight restrictions on GMO production. As Lendman explains Ukraine has long been considered Europe’s “bread basket.” “It’s rich dark soil is highly valued” and “ideal for growing grain.” With one third of Europe’s agricultural farmland, Ukraine’s agricultural potential is vast, making it an ideal target for western agribusiness giants that seek to amass massive economic wealth through altering and poisoning the food supply of the region. For many analysts these economic prospects underlie the Ukraine conflict.

This is somewhat reminiscent of the economic motives for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the “war on terror.” It is now widely known that the Bush administration lied about Saddam Hussein—the US’s former ally and partner in (war) crime turned public enemy number one—having weapons of mass destruction in order to have a pretext to invade the country. As I explain in an upcoming book, the motives for war on Iraq were overwhelmingly economic, with US mega-corporations winning massive contracts—largely paid for by US tax payers—to “rebuild” a country (i.e., infrastructure, privatizations of public services, etc) the US military had just destroyed. In addition to development contracts, massive profits were made by US oil and oilfield services firms such as Halliburton and Chevron. Halliburton alone, which was once CEO-ed by none other than former vice president Dick Cheney, reportedly made $39.5 billion on the Iraq War.

Similarly, NATO’s involvement in Libya was largely for economic reasons. Like Saddam, Gaddafi was an ally—and former foe—of the west that fell back out of favour before the 2011 rebellion against him. While the US hypocritically claimed that NATO’s involvement in Libya was humanitarian, many analysts feel it had more to do with oil and protecting the global monetary system. Indeed, as Newman explains, Gaddafi’s regime went from a “a model” and an “important ally” of the west to an enemy and target of regime change in a period of just a few years. This sudden shift in popularity may have something to do with Gaddafi’s plan “to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. dollars — a plan that would be “especially devastating for the U.S. economy and the American dollar.”

Similarly, is has been noted that the plan for intervention in Syria was/is fueled by oil interests, not humanitarian concerns. In his comprehensive analysis of the situation,Nafeez Ahmed explains that violence and the killing of civilians—by either side of the conflict—is “being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil” and gas pipelines. His report draws on numerous official sources, including leaked government documents, retired NATO officials and former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, to demonstrate how the situation in Syria is tied to long-standing western desires to secure control over Middle East oil and pipelines, with the US-UK training Syrian opposition forces since 2011 in order to elicit collapse of the Syrian regime “from within.”

While a western oil grab is a major factor in Iraq, Libya and Syria (in addition to protecting the dollar and European banks, in the case of Libya), in Ukraine it is largely about land grabs and western agribusiness’ GMO plans—ushered in through a $17 billion conditional IMF loan—for the rich and fertile soil of the country. It is interesting to note, as Joyce Nelson of the Ecologist does, that in late 2013, then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected a European Union association agreement tied to a $17 billion IMF loan, opting instead for a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a discount on Russian natural gas. As Nelson explains, “his decision was a major factor in the ensuing deadly protests that led to his ouster from office in February 2014 and the ongoing crisis.” This means that the present-day IMF loan—and its voracious economic conditions—was on the table before the ouster of former president Yanukovych, and that regime change in the country conveniently made it possible for the loan to take hold.

In addition to opening up Ukraine’s rich farmland to western agribusiness giants and GMO production, IMF loans typically come with strict economic restructuring conditions in the form of structural adjustment programs (SAPs). These programs essentially force the borrowing nation to restructure its economy by cutting public spending and subsidies in areas such as employment, income support, health and education as well as privatizing (previously accessible) services such as health. If these IMF conditions are applied in Ukraine, it will devastate and impoverish the country.

Such important politico-economic issues and agendas in Ukraine are rarely covered at length, if at all, in western mainstream media. As the conflict in Ukraine continues and as western mainstream media focus mainly on the human and political dramas of the conflict and the Minsk 2 ceasefire agreement, one can only hope the people of Ukraine will not suffer the same long-term political and economic fate as the people of Iraq, Syria or Libya.

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8 Responses to Evil Assad, Evil Gaddafi, Now Evil Putin: How the West Sells War (and Makes a Killing)

  1. Pingback: Evil Assad – Evil Gaddafi – Now Evil Putin : How The West Sells War (And Makes A Killing) | Robin Hood Revival

  2. Hildegard says:

    Unfortunately for the Fabricators more and more Americans are seeing U.S. (US) as the evil ones. But instead of feeling shame we should feel anger and resolve to expose more and more of the real evildoers. Oh wait! That’s what we’re doing and it’s working!

  3. Di, Cerrillos,NM,USA says:

    If what Veronica says is true, about the TEAR in Ukraine that allowed Kazars to infiltrate this planet, it occurs to me that maybe the best thing to do is to encourage the Kazars to EXIT through the TEAR and then we would be done with them and their mischief. Either that or we must have a program for rounding them up and preventing their mischief. Isn’t it time that we stopped permitting these troublemakers to ruin countries? What clear thinking person straps a bomb to oneself and blows it up in a crowd? What clear thinking person believes this to be rewarding? Terrorists are hiding behind religion and the First Amendment to perpetrate their hatred on citizens for the purpose of imposing control. Their scorched earth policy leaves nothing to control in the end, just a pile of rubble and bodies. Magnificent architecture and modest living quarters alike are destroyed over an idea. How is this an advancement of civilization? Do terrorists admire the Dark Ages with its disease and deprivation? These folks deserve an island where they can recreate the Dark Ages and we can forget that they exist. They can vaccinate each other,drug themselves stupid, force worship of a dead prophet, whip themselves to induce suffering, sacrifice their infants to Satan, and all manner of disgusting practices that have no place in a peaceful 21st century society. The rest of us who believe in cooperation and fellowship can sleep at night and enjoy safety in our daily chores.
    I apologize for the rant, it is 3 in the am and I can’t imagine a solution to the problems that we face, just feeling pi**y.

  4. Christie Hakim says:

    Jean, The US economic/geopolitical angle highlighted here, especially regarding Ukraine, is VERY important. While our MSM waxes hysterical over ‘evil’ Putin annexing Crimea and supporting the rebellious southeast, the corporate/bankster ‘annexing’ of Ukraine, especially the Big Agra land grab (Russia does not allow GMOs!) has been completely ignored, even in Lefty media (with some notable exceptions such as Robert Parry). The NYer and NY Review of Books have shamefully succumbed to the Neocon line.

    One person who follows the Ukraine crisis closely is economist Michael Hudson, who occasionally appears on Real News Network, RT, etc. His recent column spells out the IMF’s ugly role as “debt coordinator” and, interestingly, suggests that the US/NATO/Soros strategy there could backfire, potentially pushing Europe to align more closely with Russia. Any thoughts?

    Ukraine denouement: The IMF and the financial cold war (Michael Hudson, Feb 2015)

    Neocons and the Ukraine coup (Robert Parry, Consortium News, Feb 2014)

    Again, thank you for your postings. I hope your health is holding up.

    • Jean says:

      Thanks for this link, Christie . . . and for your good wishes. I am doing better, but it’s a slow process, developing muscles I haven’t used for a lifetime 😉 Hugs, ~Jean

  5. swo8 says:

    They take down a lot of innocents in the process.

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