Sunday, May 04, 2014

Statecraft or Witchcraft?

What has the US State Department been doing in Ukraine? It has been busy, and has succeeded in pushing the hapless nation, left destitute by 22 years of freedom and democracy oligarchy, to the brink of civil war. (Keep in mind, Russia came close to collapsing altogether after just nine years of freedom and democracy oligarchy.

Instead of offering you a rational and reasoned (and boring) geopolitical analysis, allow me to temporarily leave the modern world behind and retreat into the mindset of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth rock. Why don't we have us a good old-fasioned witch-hunt! After all, the people who have been pushing Ukraine in the direction of civil war while risking a nuclear confrontation with Russia are clearly doing the Devil's work, and so that makes them witches, correct? To find out who these witches are, we have to become expert witch-sniffers. (It's easy; you'll see.) Then we can make effigies of them and burn them at the stake. (No actual witches will be harmed in the process, of course.)

There are three witches, the story goes, three weird sisters. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair,” the weird sisters croak in unison, as they hover through the fog and filthy air. Eventually they settle down around the steaming cauldron:

First Witch  
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch  
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch  
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

And then the three witches reach into the bubbling cauldron, and out of the rancid muck they mould a figure.

They hold it up, cristen it “Yatsenyuk,” place a crown on its head, and pronounce it Prime Minister of Ukraine.

And here is Yatsenyuk in real life; see the uncanny resemblance?

Who might these three witches in real life. The first, of course, is Victoria Nuland of the US State Department.

She is the one who, in a now famous leaked telephone conversation, dictated that Yatsenyuk should head up the Kiev junta. She also dropped an f-bomb on the EU. She bragged publicly about the $5 billion of taxpayer money she dumped into the steaming cauldron of Ukrainian politics, from which Yatsenyuk and the rest of the junta eventually emerged.

The second witch is Hillary Clinton, who appointed Nuland. I hope that this choice is uncontroversial. By the way, she compared Putin to Hitler, and this alone tells us that her mind has snapped.

And the third witch? Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, perhaps?

She once called Clinton a “monster,” but later apologized, perhaps realizing that she herself is a monster. She certainly behaves like one. One one recent occasion she accosted Russia's UN Ambassador, spraying him with saliva while screeching like a woman possessed. One of the funnier things she spewed forth: she is insulted by Russia's nuclear deterrent. (What else might she find insulting? The tilt of the Earth's axis, maybe?) She had to be taken by the elbow and escorted to her seat.

Witch-sniffing is easy, you see. Witches are hard to spot while they are casting their spell, but as soon as they realize that their spell is broken they begin to look very, very ugly. All of that demonic energy rises to the surface for all to see. A witch whose spell has been broken is invariably a hissing, screeching, spitting witch.

Mind you, not everyone involved is a witch. President Obama, for instance, is just a claymation figure that reads from a teleprompter, while the Secretary of State John Kerry was at some point replaced with a cardboard cut-out of himself, and, sadly, nobody even noticed. Nor are all the witches female; it's a gender-neutral pursuit.

There are even some Russian witches: Gary Kasparov, for instance. He is in the Putin=Hitler camp, but, paradoxically, also a poster-child for Russian freedoms, being able to come to the US, openly talk about overthrowing the Russian government, and then fly back to Russia without any problems. If an American were to do the same, he would be charged with terrorism and left to rot in indefinite detention. There is also the wannabe politician Alexei Navalny, who recently committed political suicide by doing the Putin=Hitler thing—on Ukrainian state television, no less.

How was the spell broken? Nothing stings quite as well as a resounding defeat on the international stage. Those who thought they were in control have just suffered a major defeat. On Ukraine so far, it's Russia 1, US Oligarchy 0: Crimea is once again Russian, the transfer of sovereignty happened peacefully and in accordance with the internationally recognized principle of self-determination, and this defeat is so embarrassing that nobody even wants to talk about Crimea any more. It's a done deal.

More defeats follow, as the boomerang effect of sanctions imposed on Russia. The US will not be able to withdraw from Afghanistan via the safe northern route that runs through Russia; instead, the endless convoys will have to run the gauntlet through Pakistan where the locals, incensed by endless drone attacks on their weddings and funerals, will do their best to blow them up. The US will not be able to launch military satellites, because the Atlas V rockets won't fly without the Russian-built RD-180 engines, for which there is no replacement. Nor is it likely that, as things escalate, US astronauts will still be able to get up to the International Space Station, since that requires a trip on the Russian Soyuz.

Not that the Russians have a lot of time for this nonsense. They are busy negotiating deals, like the oil barter deal with Iran which neatly circumvents the sanctions; like the long-term natural gas supply deal with China; and quite a few others. For example, Russia and China agreed to build a canal through Nicaragua, which will supplant the Pentagon-controlled Panama canal. Nicaragua will also get a GLONASS ground station (Russian-Indian replacement for the Pentagon-controlled GPS system), plus a Russian military base, to make sure that the US doesn't decide that it can do something about any of this. Nearby, Russia forgave $90 billion of Soviet-era Cuban debt, reestablishing close relations between Russia and Cuba and opening up Cuba to large-scale Russian investment. Russian companies will be developing Cuba's offshore oil and gas fields.

No doubt, the US would love to counter these moves, but it can't because it doesn't have the talent. Most of the experienced, professional diplomats quit in disgust during Bush Jr.'s reign, when they were forced to continually lie to the whole world about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the diplomatic corps is loaded with incompetents whose only credentials are that they raised lots of money for Obama's election campaigns. At the next changing of the guard they will be replaced with the next crop of amateurs. It is little wonder that they are losing.

But these people are unaccustomed to being defeated, and defeat makes them livid and hysterical, and then they go and wax apoplectic in public, yelling and screeching and spraying saliva. You can tell that their minds have snapped when they start comparing everyone to Adolf Hitler. And you can see it all right on television. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the population in the US is perplexed. Except for the Lost Plane Channel formerly known as CNN, commentators on all the major news channels, even the super-blockheaded Fox News, are wondering aloud: “What the hell are we doing in Ukraine?” Well, we are trying to safeguard the interests of the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds, to be sure, but how does knowing that help you?

“How well is that going?” you might ask. Well by now all of eastern and southern Ukraine is in open revolt against the US-appointed junta in Kiev. The neo-Nazi “Right Sector” initially supported the junta and helped with the putsch that overthrew the democratically elected government. But then one of the “Right Sector” leaders, Sashko Bily got shot, most likely for opposing a plan to import a trainload of nuclear waste from the EU and dump it on the ground near Chernobyl. That train is still stuck on the Ukrainian border. Now the junta leaders are shaking in their boots because the “Right Sector” could stage another coup, this time against them.

How does the US react? It sends CIA Director Brennan to Kiev. Brenner orders the junta to attack their own citizens in the east, in an “anti-terrorist” operation.

“Kill them! Kill them all!” says Brenner, but Ukrainian soldiers refuse to fire on their own people and defect in droves.

Next, the US sends in their secret weapon, VP Joe Biden.

“Kill them! Kill them all!” says Biden, with similar results. What is the US to do? I think that only one choice remains: send in Senator John McCain.

If there is anyone who can scare the Ukrainians into fighting a fratricidal war, it's McCain. But what if that too fails?

Well, then the people in eastern and southern Ukraine may get their way. They are just some Russians—millions of them—who got stuck on the wrong side of the Russian border for over two decades. They aren't sure about everything—such as whether they want to join Russia. (They probably do simply because the pay is so much better on the Russian side.) But they are sure about one thing: they don't want to live under a foreign occupation run by a US-appointed junta for the benefit of a bunch of oligarchs.

And I bet neither would you. Maybe you can't help yourselves, the US not being a democracy and all, but maybe you can still do something to help the Ukrainians, by subjecting these warmongering witches to public ridicule. This ought to degrade their effectiveness by a notch or two. As I said, witch-hunting is easy. All you have to do is turn on the TV and see who else today is hissing, screeching, pounding the table, spewing vitriole and dropping the name “Hitler” gratuitously. Then you can go, get a bonfire permit, and burn them in effigy. That automatically makes for good visuals. All you have to do is add some interviews and commentary, and next thing you know you got yourself your own very popular witch-hunting Youtube channel!


Scott Supak said...

"But they are sure about one thing: they don't want to live under a foreign occupation run by a US-appointed junta for the benefit of a bunch of oligarchs."

I guess if you have to live under Oligarchs, better to live under the ones you know (and who pay better) on the Russian side.

Castus said...

I think the situation is vastly more complex and two sided that you've been portraying it as. I'm certainly no fan of the idiotic and almost comical missteps that we in the West have gotten ourselves into in this conflict in Ukraine. But let us be completely honest; Russia has been behaving in an extraordinarily authoritarian manner and has been just as inappropriate as the US. Shilling for one side against the other is not particularly becoming of you, Mr. Orlov.

Dmitry Orlov said...

Supak -

The oligarchs in Russia are at this point well in hand. Berezovsky, the worst of them, is dead, Khodorkovsky has been amnestied but is excluded from politics, and the others may be rich but they have no political ambitions, given to what happened to Khodorkovsky. If you want to know who's really running Russia, look at teachers' salaries, old age pensions, free pre-natal and post-natal care, support for large families, etc.

Castus -

What do you call "extraordinarily authoritarian manner"? Does Russia have military bases in over 100 countries? Drone strikes? Indefinite imprisonment without trial? How many countries has Russia invaded? Is Russia trying to bankrupt the world with its debt? How many countries has Russia destabilized? Putting the same shoe on the other foot isn't going to work for you, I am afraid. Do some more reading and thinking.

Unknown said...

I still have a feeling that cheap gas being hauled halfway around the world on yet to be built tankers has something to do with this, maybe its just my suspicious mind! Mo

jo6pac said...


On castus you're right DO but the only thing that I don't agree with is the 100 bases, I do believe it's more like 130 or more;)

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Virtuoso piece, Dmitry. Wonderful! The Beltway Bozos are giving us some really hilarious - if rather hair-raising - laughs right now, aren't they? Though, as usual, with lots of other peoples' blood spilled casually, in the background. I hadn't realised quite how mad AND useless SPower is. She and Sunstein suit each other well, clearly.

The sooner the US gets on with its own USSR-style-but-worse collapse and eclipse, the better for everyone in the world, the ordinary US citizens included.

Glenn said...

But the Russians have brought their troops to their own border with Ukraine!

Don't they believe in the peaceful intentions of the US and NATO when they attempt to move their own troops to the Russian border?

How cynical, after all the nice things the West has done for Russia.

(Please accept this in the sarcastic sense I intended.)

Unknown said...

How many countries has Russia invaded?

Now, don't get too cute Dmitry. Russia has invaded and/or been at war with all of its neighbours, from Finland to Japan, including but not limited to, all of eastern Europe, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan and China.

Rowan Berkeley said...

This is great fun. I notice from the comments what I think is a tendency to underestimate the extent of ultimate bourgeois control of Russian behaviour, though.

It isn't merely a matter of the visible "oligarchs", it's a matter of being integrated into the global banking system, which is itself fully weaponised, ie it is used offensively to bankrupt, enslave and ultimately destroy nations, sometimes nations which have enormous assets of their own but are sanctioned, such as Libya, whose oil became more of a liability than an asset.

So, in my view, you should always suspect, if not assume, that behind every leader, even Vladimir Putin, stand some grey international bankers, ready to destroy. Disagreeable though it is to face the possibility that Vladimir Putin is anybody's puppet, this is the ultimate long-term weakness that has to be brought into the open.

Dmitry Orlov said...


Cute puppy though you are, you don't know the difference between Russia and the USSR. Shame on you. Now, back to the kennel!

Leolo Lazone said...

Wicked witch nomination: St. Yulia Tymoshenko of Kiev

Carlo E. Fromaggio said...

And the US can't even claim ergotism.

Fifth Bear said...

Which version of Macbeth are the stills from?

Garryck said...

@ scoubi dou

On a forum I used to be a member of, someone once listed every single foreign invasion, intervention and military action the US has instigated in its' entire history.

There were HUNDREDS of them. The list came to 3 full pages of the thread. I doubt that either the former USSR or Russia (or any other country in the world, for that matter) could even come close to competing with that kind of track record.

You're comparing apples and lemons. I'm sure you can figure out which nation is the lemon here.

Jon said...

Dimitry, this may be a little bit naïve or Tom Clancy-ish, but why doesn’t the Ukrainian military arrest the government in Kiev? How would NATO react to having to put down the very military they want to join them? I know the Ukrainian Secretary of Defense resigned a few weeks ago but there must be some people in their Pentagon who are getting outraged by what’s going on. Military coups happen too. Or have I just been playing too many games of Stratego?


Dmitry Orlov said...

The stills are from Orson Welles.

Dmitry Orlov said...


There is this pesky concept of political legitimacy. Plus the junta is hiding behind CIA thugs and Polish and Estonian mercenaries, who will shoot to kill, and the Ukrainians dpn't want to die for a bunch of assholes. Plus time is on their side in any case.

Dmitry Orlov said...


Underestimating Putin seems like a fool's game. Think of him as a shark that likes to eat other sharks.

Dmitry Orlov said...

Oh no, Carlo, these people are on all kinds of medication.

Anonymous said...

I think you do witches a dis-service...I have friends who are actual witches and they display MUCH more common sense and reasoning ability than any of those you have labelled as witches. Just sayin'.

Perhaps calling them Mesmerizers, because they have tried to mesmerize the people so that they wouldn't notice the BS they are trying to spread very thickly over the Western populace would be better.

Unknown said...

Nice. Good analysis and absolutely hilarious. I needed that, thank you. First time here, I'll be back. Cheers.

ps Have to agree with the nomination of St Yulia to the witches club. How about a name for the club? Witches of Westputsch?

Anonymous said...

"For example, Russia and China agreed to build a canal through Nicaragua, which will supplant the Pentagon-controlled Panama canal. Nicaragua will also get a GLONASS ground station (Russian-Indian replacement for the Pentagon-controlled GPS system), plus a Russian military base, to make sure that the US doesn't decide that it can do something about any of this."

Well, looks like a color-revolution 'regime-change' will be heading for Nicaragua soon! I can already picture Victoria Coup-Lands handing out 'galletas' to the naive protesting kids in Managua, while Contra snipers take up positions all around. As with Yanukovich, this will be the second time Washington overthrows Ortega.

dex3703 said...


In the paragraph beginning with "Not that the Russians have a lot of time for this nonsense", can you provide some links to news stories for these events? I would love to hear more about a Russian base in Nicaragua. How ironic after the 80s dirty wars there.

Thanks in advance,

rapier said...

I cannot imagine that our great strategic thinkers give a hoot about Ukraine. There must be a larger strategy and fomenting trouble in Ukraine is just a tactic. The goal to somehow co opt Russia's energy wealth.

That's a goal not a strategy however. It's impossible to imagine how it could be pulled off. I mean really, regime change in Russia, replacing Putin with some new version of Yelsin?

Take Putin away and there is still no way any government in Moscow is going to just open up the oil and gas there to outside partners and of course end the energy deals with China or anyone else. I suppose maybe the non dollar trade could be squelched. Doubtful but unlikely and that is a big part of this all too.

The attack on the petro dollar is almost an existential crisis for America as we know it.

The difficult thing for Americans is if we are against all this foolishness it's impossible not to be called pro Putin.

Jon said...

Oh, ya. That old, actions have consequences saw. If they were exceptional like us they wouldn't have to worry about that sort of thing.


Bob Bishop said...

The US State Women are not witches but appear to be Valkyries. Female figures who decide which soldiers die in battle and which live. Look at the death and destruction that they created in MENA.

diogenese said...

Ukraine just happens to be in the way of the third / fourth round of the energy war , Iraq lybia , Syria and sanctions on Iran , Ukraine was a nuteral its now being persuaded to take sides ! Greed for Russian energy is at the back of this , attempting to browbeat Russia into submission / install a puppet regime , Europe is a disaster waiting to happen / war zone without Russian energy , NATO is nothing without Russian energy to run the ammunition factories AND THEY KNOW IT ,there will be no war , the EU can't equip an army with no electricity a dead economy / riots in the streets , globalisation has done its job , you can't fight a war against the energy provider .

TransparencyCNP said...

The US sanctions are also blocking some countries' commercial satellite launches on Russian rockets:

Val said...

Seems to me the US rep was correct who said "Putin's playing chess, and I think we're playing marbles." My impression is that Putin's far indeed from being a nice man, but is extremely competent. I bet most everything he does is the result of long term carefully calibrated planning. Whereas Rhisiart's characterization of American leadership as Beltway Bozos is spot on. We don't seem to have a foreign service or a government any more, just a collection of criminal clowns bent on looting the country and the world, plus an assortment of leftover lunatics like McCain, an obsessive Cold Warrior who doesn't seem to be aware what century he's living in, and is still determined to beat Ho Chi Minh no matter what the cost. He might as well be a flying monkey for Yulia Tymoshenko.

I'd been thinking of Obama as a marionette, but actually the mental image of a claymation figure gets it just right.

All in all, I think we're screwed.

Mister Roboto said...

It's worth noting that serious questions remain about that referendum in Crimea.

If the formerly Russian areas of modern-day Ukraine do revert to Russia (either by force or by popular acclaim), I think that Ukraine should retain the oblasts of Odessa and Mykolaiv. It's not reasonable to expect Ukraine to entirely surrender its Black Sea access, because being a landlocked country is an unenviable position for any nation-state. Who wants to be another Mongolia?

Leolo Lazone said...

Flying Monkey nomination (for the Flying Monkey corp of Wicked Witch of the Westputsch, Yulia Tymoshenko ):

Z-Big Brzezinski

Leolo Lazone said...

Breaking news: Wicked Witch of Westputsch downed by pro-federalization Ukrainians over Slavyansk, despite close air support by Flying Monkeys Z-Big Brzezinski and John "Ho Ho Ho" McCain

Unknown said...

President Obama as a claymation figure is inspired. Will Vinton, the inventor of claymation, was a classmate of mine in the Berkeley of long ago, where Chalmers Johnson once taught. Chalmers, by the way, demonstrated through his meticulous research in the "Nemesis" trilogy that the U.S. has about 750 bases, forts and naval leases throughout the world where U.S. military personnel are stationed, and that including the budgets from other departments (such as the $30 billion in the Dept of Energy for nuclear research), the U.S, spends about $1 trillion a year on "defense" of one kind or another. All that investment has to find stuff to do.

Carmenisacat said...

And all roads lead back to Palestine

M.K. Styllinski said...

Amusing and refreshing post.

It's extraordinary - even here - that you find folks buying into the saturation propaganda aimed at Putin in rather patronizing ways.

These criminals in power haven't had their way of late regarding the Syria chemical weapons debacle the lack of progress on Iran and now Ukraine. They are apoplectic with rage. Russia is not Iraq, Libya or Yemen. The US-NATO junta has been temporarily stopped in its tracks and is thrashing around like a vicious child denied its cookies. Of course, that makes the stakes higher and the propensity for reckless moves by the pathologically unstable is equally higher.

Of course, Putin is definitely no angel in the same way Chavez was no angel. A shark maybe who eats bigger sharks as Dmitry wrote. But he is an extremely shrewd operator and DOES love his mother Russia, of that I have no doubt. On that score he is way ahead of the psychopaths in the Anglo-American-Israeli nexus who are out for all they can get.

Truth be known, Putin has been the only thing preventing this part of the world from going up in smoke.

Razer said...

The US State Department’s “Lesson Learned” spinning PR about Kosovo are the “Lessons Used” in Ukraine… Will the Genocidal Outcome be the same?

From my files:
Mark Smith, The Kosovo Conflict: U.S. Diplomacy and Western Public Opinion, USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School 2009 (, PDF, 41pgs, 20mb download)

Anonymous said...

Wow, great article!

Steve Unger said...

Butch, awesome comment!
DM, keep on keepin' on brother...

Unknown said...

Given that the soviet union was largely a russian dominated political entity and going back as far as the russo-japanese war of 1905, it is true russia has engaged in a number of wars and occupations of countries on its periphery. Considering the events of WWI and WWII (napoleon, anyone?) it's reasonable to assume a lot of this was a security response to western power attempts to, you know, destroy them.

Russian/Soviet support in Cuba, Nicaragua and Angola was limited and perhaps a needed if insufficient counterbalance to American world domination.

So how any of that is comparable to American regime change and coups on five continents that continues apace is not clear to me at all.

And I have no idea what an "extraordinarily authoritarian manner" means either, unless using military forces on your own border regions qualifies.

I have had to make grade-school illustrations for relatives mesmerized by MSM news on this topic: what would the US do if Russians had bases in Mexico and Canada and were fomenting coups and wars in Florida and Texas?

Only if you think the US/Western powers have the right to attack anyone, anywhere for any reason in the world can this kind of thinking make sense.

The Dork of Cork said...

I agree with your witches thingy but the Americans have a thing called a Delta IV Heavy.
Its a all American all Hydrogen / ox rocket.
The production line can build up to 50 of the core engines a year - its not working to capacity perhaps because the Atlas is cheaper but the Delta heavy is by far the most capable rocket launcher in the world by a wide margin.

Ivan Lukic said...

I can't say that I speak fluent Russian (never learnt it in school) but I can read at least some of it (and Ukrainian too). Serbian language is, as some of you know, similar enough, for that.

Here is some information about US preparations for the nuclear attack on Russia, for those who can read proper Russian.

Ivan Lukic said...

Pardon my language, but the title could also be "Statecraft or Bitchcraft".