There were many on the Left in the West who lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union as much as Vladimir Putin. They saw the USSR as the main restraint on U.S. imperialism; helping to arm and support hostile Third World regimes and creating a zone of “peace” outside the reach of capitalism. The leftist view of the world did not change just because the Soviet empire disintegrated. Its motivation is still “anti-imperialist” and it has embraced every movement that has declared itself the enemy of Western civilization. The Ukrainian crisis has sparked a revival of the left-wing love affair with Moscow. What amounts to a renewal of vows in the ideological marriage of the Cold War is evident in how events are presented, with Russia again embraced for standing up to the United States and the European Union.
The Nation has, of course, taken its usual “blame the West first” explanation for the Ukraine crisis. It’s April 15 report cites the magazine’s long-serving editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, as saying, “We are witnessing civil war,” one that was “triggered by the European Union’s reckless ultimatum—despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer of a tripartite agreement—which compelled an elected president of a deeply divided country to choose economically between the West and Russia.” In truth, it was Russia’s stooge Viktor Yanukovych who broke off talks with the EU to lead Kiev into the Russian camp. His actions prompted an uprising of the Ukrainian people who did not want to be sold back into a revived Kremlin empire. In the face of an aroused Ukrainian populace, Putin realized there was no chance of controlling a democratically chosen Kiev government. So he resorted to force to grab what parts of the country he thinks Russia can hold.
It should be remembered that vanden Heuvel edited a collection of essays right after the 9/11 attacks. Its theme was that the terrorist attacks were “blowback” against American imperialism. Vanden Heuvel argued that the proper response was for Washington to refer the matter to the United Nations.
At OpEdNews, a radical website that frequently airs calls for President Barack Obama to be tried alongside Dick Cheney for war crimes (particularly for the use of drone strikes), there are columns like those of George Eliason, titled “Kiev’s War Against the Peace-Loving People of South-East Ukraine.” Left-wingers cannot understand why the Ukrainian people would want to be independent from Russia. Aligning with the evil capitalist West, even the democratic socialist EU, is anathema. Thus patriotic Ukrainians are termed “ultra-nationalists” who are then equated with “neo-Nazis.” Pro-Russian militants are called dissidents seeking liberation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is portrayed as wanting to resume Hitler’s march to the East, with the backing of the hegemonic United States. In an earlier column, Eliason criticized Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (who is of Lithuanian-descent) for having stated during John Kerry’s bid for the Presidency, “If John Kerry is elected; Kerry will work vigorously for Ukraine’s continued independence and prosperity.” That was apparently a fascist thought even though it came from a very liberal source.
Left-wing rhetoric is crude even by the low standards of the Cold War. Consider this diatribe from another OpEd columnist,
With the illegal, coup d’état installed government in Kiev about to engage in some very serious skull cracking to put down a mounting rebellion in Eastern Ukraine there have been some accounts that hired guns from corporate mercenary firms are augmenting the local paramilitary police forces. With the pushback against the US backed ‘Yats’ regime and it’s neo-Nazi shock troops it is imperative that a real version of the Euromaiden ‘revolution’ not be allowed to take root to oust the stooges of the corporate global finance mafia.
The author, Donn Martin, a self-styled progressive activist, cites a story from the state-run Russian News and Information Agency which is supposedly not as corrupt as the Western media. On April 9, RIA Novosti reported “The deployment of foreign private security firms in Ukraine is unacceptable as they increase the risk of an outbreak of civil war, Dennis John Kucinich, a former US Representative from Ohio and a two-time presidential candidate, told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.” Kucinich was such a joke as a Congressman that his own Democratic Party contrived to gerrymander him out of his seat. Leftists have often called Western NGOs “mercenaries,” especially the National Endowment for Democracy, which, it has been alleged, stirred up the anti-Yanukovych protests. For leftists like Martin, U.S.-EU policy is simply aimed at “making Ukraine safe for corporate vultures.”
Global Research is a Montreal-based group that studies “globalization” with a focus on opposing U.S. and allied operations against terrorism. It has also defended Iran from “predatory” Western policy including “US-NATO-Israel preparations to wage a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran.”
On March 30, it posted an essay “Canada’s Harper Stokes Imperialism’s Drive Against Russia.” Writer Keith Jones was eager to portray the Soviet Union as a victim whose agony is simply being continued by the U.S.:
It is the US, Canada and their European allies that have moved aggressively against Russia, which emerged from the restoration of capitalism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union economically and geopolitically hobbled. In the past two decades, NATO—the US-led military bloc whose raison d’être was to counter and, if need be, militarily conquer the Soviet Union—has incorporated all of the states of Eastern European formerly allied with the USSR, as well as the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which were part of the USSR until 1991. As a result, NATO forces are now deployed on Russia’s borders.
Jones makes no mention of the Berlin Wall or Warsaw Pact puppet governments only kept in power by the Red Army. Jones continues, “To achieve this predatory objective, the US and Germany precipitated the current crisis by intervening in Ukraine and fomenting the fascist-led overthrow of the country’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, after he balked at signing a pact with the European Union.”
In the footsteps of Rosa Luxemburg and V.I. Lenin, Jones sees the West as creating the Ukrainian crisis to bail out “a systemic crisis of world capitalism”:
Through war and threats of war, Washington is seeking to offset the relative decline in the US’s economic might and lay claim to resources, markets and strategic territories….Canadian imperialism also hopes to directly profit from the confrontation between Russia and the western powers, seeing it as a golden opportunity for Canada to displace Russian oil exports to Europe and overcome opposition within the US to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Jones makes no mention of how Moscow has used its leverage as a major supplier of natural gas to Europe to bully not only Ukraine but the rest of the continent. Providing Europe with alternative to Russian energy is a vital part of a long-term solution to the confrontation, but it is a solution that Jones does not want to see as it would weaken Russia. What is alarming is that Global Research claims its views are used as source material by college and university students.
Over at the Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (you can’t make this up) the mood is that former KGB officer Putin really is a welcome return of the USSR. In December, it presented a history of events leading to the current crisis:
Russian President Vladimir Putin successfully pressured cash-strapped Ukraine into remaining in Russia’s orbit and canceling its planned alliances with the U.S.-leaning European Union (EU) and the U.S.-run International Monetary Fund (IMF)…. For Russia, Ukraine is a matter of fundamental national security. For a Western power, Ukraine is of value only if that power is planning to engage and defeat Russia, as the Germans tried to do in World War II. Putin didn’t merely frustrate the EU and the IMF; he stopped the expansion of Pentagon-led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in its tracks.
For Leftists, the nationalist revolution against Russian domination was not a real revolution. What Ukraine needs, according to the PLP, is a communist revolution against capitalism, which can only come if the country is kept out of the clutches of the West.
What motivates the Left is not research, analysis or “truth seeking.” It is motivated purely by hatred. Leftists are alienated from the Western civilization within which they live. They reject its values, scoff at its traditions and label its astounding material success as immoral. Yet, everyone needs to feel part of something larger than themselves. Since they cannot embrace anything akin to national loyalty, they align with foreign regimes or movements that share their opposition to their home country. Given that they only want the worst for their native land, to see it defeated in battle and to collapse into ruin and revolution, there is no reason for anyone who wants to see their nation remain strong and prosperous to pay any attention to their blathering. It is important, however, for the general public to know such “enemies within” exist, within the United States as in Ukraine, because it is from their ranks that sedition, treason and even terrorism are most likely to emerge.
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