Grand Strategy in the Age of Mass Destruction

Is the Ukraine Crisis a Provocation?

Commentary for 17 March 2014

“There exists a widespread body of opinion that describes anti-Communism as an obsession of people who are not able to think in ‘sensible’ and ‘realistic’ categories,” wrote Josef Mackiewicz in The Triumph of Provocation; “they are, as it were, affected by an incurable disease, and it is therefore a waste of time to treat them. We can only dismiss them with a shrug of the shoulders.” And so, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no ground left for the anti-Communist to stand upon. His last foothold was destroyed. The Soviet Union was gone.

But was it really?

What if the Soviet Union continued to exist after 1991, hidden behind the façade of Russia’s “new” democracy? What if Russia and Ukraine are now working a “scissors strategy” against the West? Half the government officials in Ukraine are Soviet in character. This is well known! Half were educated in KGB schools or other hardcore Communist institutions (according to Boris Chykulay’s research). Is it possible they are no longer taking orders from Moscow? Whatever people in positions of responsibility in Ukraine may pretend, they all have a gun to their head, and they’ve always known it. And now the whole world sees the gun, cocked and ready to fire.  

The analyst scratches his head. How are we to understand a conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Has Ukrainian patriotism taken the Soviet structures by the throat? Has Moscow really lost control? This may be true, though we cannot be absolutely sure. Russia and the former Soviet countries are not “transparent” in their political or economic organization. This has been a source of frustration for Western businessmen and politicians for the past two decades. So at best, the situation remains unclear. Perhaps the Ukrainian underground has sufficient resources, and sufficient discipline, to play the Russians at their own game. Consider the recent protests in Moscow, with Russian citizens waving Ukrainian flags.  

But then we see the Russians sending loaded bombers into the Arctic. We see them mobilization political support from around the world. One has to ask: Are we dealing with a timetable here?

The mainstream pundits are shocked that the Cold War has restarted; meanwhile some of us concluded long ago that the Cold War never ended. The Soviet Communists continue to rule, using their KGB “sword and shield” from the shadows. They continue to support Communists abroad. After 1991 Moscow fueled the Communist military effort in Angola (against Jonas Savimbi) which won final victory in 2002. Even now the Russians continue to support the Angolan Communists (see, Surfing Russia’s Military Cooperation With Angola). Moscow also continues to support Communist Cuba’s takeover of Venezuela, and has helped to build up Nicaraguan military power (see, Russia plans to add military bases in Nicaragua, Venezuela, other countries). Then there is Russia’s alliance with Communist China (See Why a Russia-India-China alliance is an idea whose time has come.) Russia has been supporting the Communist cause in Africa, South America and Asia ever since 1991 without anyone in the West raising so much as a peep. So why are they doing it? Is it because they gave up Communism in 1991?

That would be funny, if true – and completely absurd.

As it happens, we are not dealing with the Russian Federation. No, no, no, no. This so-called Russian Federation is a façade behind which the Communist Party Soviet Union can win the confidence of its enemies – all the better to arrange their destruction. The words of Josef Mackiewicz hold true today as these words held true when he wrote them more than thirty years ago. It is a cardinal mistake, wrote Mackiewicz, to identify the Soviet Union with old Russia. And that is exactly what we’ve been encouraged to do. The events of 1989 were a provocation. The events of 1991 were a provocation. The events of 2014 are a provocation. “international Communism, with its headquarters in Moscow, is not ‘imperialism’ within the ordinary meaning of the word but an effort to dominate the globe, the whole world, all nations, in order to force on that world the totalitarian Communist system,” wrote Mackiewicz. If we do not understand this, we understand nothing. Lenin has not been buried, the Communists in Africa are receiving Russian a Chinese military supplies as these words are being written. The Latin American Communists are also receiving assistance from Moscow. When Putin visited Cuba a few years back he was asked whether he was a Communist. He said, “Call me a pot, but heat me not.”

What kind of politician gives that kind of answer to a straightforward question? “International Communism in its present form is a kind of psychological PESTILENCE,” wrote Mackiewicz, “and no national or economic factors have anything to do with this. Freedom, true freedom, can come only with the overthrow of Communism, with the destruction of the system, regardless of the language it uses.” It is of no account that the KGB is called FSB, or the USSR is called the Commonwealth of Independent States, or that Putin prefers to be called a Pot – but heat him not. Putin is a Communist and the Russian Federation is a Communist formation. The ruling structures in the former Soviet Union are Communist, their goal is still Communist, their methods are still Commuinst. The hapless counter-revolutionaries in America, facing the prospects of a domestic Communist imposition, have no idea what they are dealing with. Even if they know Putin is a dictator, they can hardly be expected to grasp the Communist trap into which they have all fallen.

So Russia has invaded Crimea? So Russia is loading 30 nuclear bombers in Voronezh? So Russia is positioning forces in Belarus? So Russia is uniting with China, India, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, Venezuela, Nicaragua, South Africa, Angola, Congo, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador? What do you suppose it all means?

One clenched fist is what it means. The Communists are pulling together their forces, pushing for dominance in the open, knowing that the West is too weak to offer serious resistance.

Do we imagine that Communism’s faked death – this 22-year deception – was for laughs? Do we expect a naked Communist to pop out of a cake and say, “Ha, ha, we were Communist all along! Wasn’t our deception amazing?” Or does the deception end more realistically, with a drawn gun or a missile barrage? It is time, as well, to bring down the Western financial system, crash the U.S. dollar, crash the Western markets. Will Russian and Chinese gold be used to break Western paper currencies? We are already hearing about the supposed collapse of China’s “shadow banking system” as the Chinese premier publicly warns that we must prepare for “a wave of bankruptcies.” Are we starting to see the forest for the trees here?

As I wrote to a friend this past week, it is too soon to say anything wise about Ukraine. The politics of the country is mired in the Byzantine jockeying for power of a Soviet republic when one set of minions has been purged in favor of another set, with the added complication of public unrest. Perhaps we're seeing the mobilization of a backup strategy in which the Russian army now enters the game following the failure of “Soviet structures” that were supposed to keep the country in good order. And yet, there is some indication that everything here was foreseen long ago. It is no accident, for example, that Transnistria was formed as a Pro-Russian enclave between Moldavia and Ukraine (similar in purpose to the Abkhazian and Ossetian enclaves in Georgia). Also part of the design was the full military union between Belarus and Russia (signed by Boris Yeltsin in 1999). Then there is the maintenance of a Russian fleet in the Black Sea. For what possible purpose was this fleet, with all its attending expense, maintained? Such a setup could not have been haphazard, but as I would suggest, every element is part of a design; that is, to maintain a semi-circle of military positions around Ukraine (with Transnistria to the southwest, Minsk to the north, Sevastopol to the south and Russia itself to the East). In all this the Russians have clearly shown their determination to hold Ukraine firmly in their grip whether or not their agent networks in Kiev maintain strict control of the government. Ukraine is surrounded and may be cut off at any moment. The preparations for a double envelopment of the country were laid down in 1991 when Ukraine was ostensibly given independence. This merely shows in what spirit, and with what intentions, “independence” was granted in the first place.   

Since the Kiev government has largely been a charade since 1991, and the politics of Ukraine has been the politics of Russian intrigue and machination, it is no wonder that Putin insists that Ukraine isn't "a real country." The collapse of the Soviet Union itself was a charade which we have so thoroughly bought into that, in our naïveté, we have somehow come to think of Ukraine as something that can and must be defended – though we have not the means, neither have we made any serious preparations. We are now caught off guard. We want to help the Ukrainian people. We want to help the Ukrainian puppet state break away from its KGB ventriloquist. And perhaps, indeed, the history of the failed agent provocateurs in Kiev is not so strange; for the history of agent provocateurs is noteworthy for its "Bloody Sundays" and March Revolutions. It is entirely possible that fake revolutions can turn real, for as the fairy tale teaches: even Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy.

So we wait upon events, perhaps knowing the whole thing was designed as a provocation. And even if it’s not a provocation, it is still a provocation; for Moscow cannot help using it as such, and we cannot help fooling ourselves.