Don’t Blame Putin

U.S. Empire caused this mess.

                                 photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash

All day, every day, corporate media vilify Russia and its president Vladimir Putin for the crime of invading Ukraine. On social media, people who never heard of Ukraine until last month now display Ukrainian flags as their avatars. They want the US to hit out at Russia, because Putin is evil and must be stopped.

They have a point; the invasion was wrong. But as Caitlin Johnstone writes, “The US is the very last government on this entire planet who has any business talking about respecting the sovereignty of other nations.”

Putin ordered the invasion, but the US rulers created this war. US imperialism and their North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) vassals have been attacking, threatening, sanctioning, and humiliating Russia ever since the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991.

As one part of this attack, from 2001–2005, they organized “color revolutionsin states bordering Russia, including the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the CIA, and several NGOs were involved in fomenting protests and divisions to bring down pro-Russian and pro-socialist governments.

In 2014, they helped organize the “Maidan Revolution of Dignity” which overthrew an elected president and installed a pro-US regime in Ukraine that includes neo-Nazis, who hate Russia. They have been killing thousands of ethnic Russian Ukrainians in the Donbas region of Ukraine ever since and now seek nuclear weapons. The US has used similar tactics in attempts to bring down the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and other governments friendly to Russia..

Why do they do that? Because Russia has refused to allow American capital to control its economy, the US treats them as enemies, and the war industry needs enemies to justify weapons spending. As leading Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California said at the impeachment of Donald Trump, “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

How utterly evil and insane is that idea? Russia didn’t want to fight the West; that’s why they broke up the Soviet Union. They have floated the idea of joining NATO and/or the European Union (EU) several times but found no interest from the West.

“Fighting them over there” means the total destruction of Ukraine. There’s no risk of Russians’ coming “over here.” That’s more political disinformation. The US empire wants to crush Russia to maintain its paranoid fantasy of a “unipolar” world in which the US runs everything. It’s not enough for USA to be #1. It has to be the one and only. China, Russia, India, and everyone else should sit down and shut up.

But with apologies to Homey the Clown, Putin don’t play that. Like the Chinese and most other sane people, he wants a multipolar world where countries can do their own thing and develop in their own way. The neoconservatives who invented the unipolar fantasy, of US total dominance and the neoliberals who want to take over all wealth can’t accept such opposition. So they demonize Putin.

Maintaining US full-spectrum dominance requires constant war, and since the founding of the US, we have been at war for 225 out of 243 years, most recently occupying and destroying Iraq, Syria, and Libya. We now have about 800 military bases in over 75 countries. Military corporations like it that way, which is a major reason why peace in Ukraine is not coming soon.

Robbing other countries

American pressure on Russia is not just military; it’s economic. The US has tremendous power over the world’s financial systems. They have imposed a long string of economic sanctions for the last eight years, intending to cripple the Russian economy.

They and their allies in the UK and Western Europe control international banking systems, and they have used that power to simply rob the deposited money of targeted countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Afghanistan and others, literally starving people by preventing their governments from buying food in international markets.

Empire of lies

Why doesn’t Putin try harder to negotiate peace? He can’t; the USA is negotiation-proof. We don’t honor our treaties. According to and other sites, the US government has signed about 370 treaties with Indian nations since 1776, and all have been broken. Treaties with Russia and its allies have also been trashed.

Just four years ago, the Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran and Russia. Then US politicians and publications started blaming Iran for violating the agreement we had torn up.

In the last decade, the US withdrew from two intermediate range nuclear treaties with Russia, and started building a new generation of missiles that could reach anywhere in Russia from European launch sites. These developments contributed to Russian fears around Ukraine. Putin has called the US an “empire of lies” and asked how one can negotiate with a government that doesn’t keep its promises.

Along with a lying government comes lying media. The CIA oversees all major US news sources. CIA official Frank Wisner called the operation his “mighty Wurlitzer,” on which he could play any propaganda tune. So, now Americans who follow corporate news, whether CNN, NPR, Fox, MSNBC or any of them believe Putin is killing babies, that he’s a psychopath, wants to take over all of Europe, shoots civilians and indiscriminately bombs cities. I’ve heard all of those stories from neighbors and friends who heard them on television. That doesn’t make them true.

Hitlers everywhere

Have you noticed how America’s rivals always turn into Adolf Hitler? Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi, Bashir Assad, Castro, Ortega, whoever, those against America are always uniquely evil. They must be killed and/or their countries destroyed. Putin is the latest Hitler, but isn’t this a classical case of projection? Maybe if everyone America sees reminds them of Hitler, they are the real Hitlers.

Hitler’s greatest crime was genocide, mass killing of Jews, Romani, (gypsies,) and Poles, but the US is a product of not one, but two genocides. The massacre and violent expulsion of the indigenous Indians who lived here, and the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans. More recently, we’re the only country ever to drop a nuclear bomb on civilians, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even Adolf never did that.

In Ukraine now, the US has empowered actual Nazis and neo-Nazis such as the Azov Battalion, the Svoboda party and right wing-militias like C14 who have been given roles in government and serve oligarchs as hired thugs. While calling Putin Hitler, we’re paving the way for new Hitlers. Saying ‘they can’t be Nazis because (Ukrainian president) Zelensky is Jewish’ is like Americans’ saying ‘We can’t be racist because Obama was president’. Most Ukrainians are not neo-Nazis, but a large, militant, organized group of fascists have been given prominent places in government and in the streets.

What do we do now?

I pray for peace in Ukraine but it’s becoming clear the US doesn’t want peace. They will fight to the last Ukrainian. So what can be done?

Remember: despite everything we’ve been taught from birth, we are not the good guys. The current war is just a continuation of an endless series of wars. Let’s stop pretending US armed forces will make things better by killing people. That’s not what they were set up to do. It’s not the soldiers’ fault, but we need to bring them home.

● As bad as the military is, the CIA, NED, the National Security Administration (NSA) and the rest of the so-called “intelligence community” are worse. Demand they be disbanded.

● NATO has no reason to exist and should be abolished. All it does is make billions for the military industry and destroy societies from Yugoslavia to Libya in service to the US.

● Fighting endless war during global environmental catastrophe is like fighting to be captains of a sinking ship. The world doesn’t have time for this shit. Stop weaponizing the world, start an economy that promotes health, not destruction. Countries have to cooperate to restore our Earth. Focus on this.

● Ordinary people have to reject demonization of enemies such as Putin. They’re just people we need to learn to work with. Don’t go along with this crap. Speak out for peace. Insist our leaders work for peace and environmental healing all the time. And I do mean insist. In the streets, nonviolently or violently, creatively, heart and soul. And not one by one. Join a group. Love each other and take care of yourself.

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2 Responses to Don’t Blame Putin

  1. Mathias says:

    You sound more stressed about this than I would’ve expected. As you noted, this is nothing new for any of the nation-states involved. I understand that a familiarity with violence and injustice makes it no less difficult to endure. Just sounds like you’re taking this particular contrived war particularly hard.
    As you mentioned in this and other articles, it seems many folks in power prefer to amass power (e.g. wealth) rather than literally save the world by changing from their exploitative methods. It is (still) up to each of us to find, explore, share, and insist upon alternative ways of living on this planet.

  2. José Tapia says:

    Yes, blame Putin, blame NATO!
    Your comment is dangerously close to be a stab in the back of the Ukrainian people. Certainly NATO expanded to the East in the past two decades and the US promoted this expansion and was recently promoting Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO. All that could be interpreted as an encirclement of Russia. But there is a long story of Russia being the reactionary thug of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Marx wrote a lot on that) and this history of centuries is in the basis of many people in Eastern Europe looking sympathetically to the expansion of NATO toward the East.
    The colonial presence of the US in the Philippines or the British in Hong Kong, or the American embargo of oil sales to Japan in the 1930s was not a valid justification though it was an excuse for the Japanese invasions of 1941 or the attack against Pearl Harbor.

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