By Caitlin Johnstone
One of the most illustrative examples of how the mainstream worldview is based on narratives rather than facts is the way Republican officials like senate minority leader Mitch McConnell have been branded servants of Russia despite consistent track records as virulent Russia hawks.
“Moscow Mitch”, as Democrats absurdly titled him during the height of Russiagate hysteria in 2019, gave a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday arguing that the primary reason to back Ukraine in its war against Russia is because doing so serves US interests.
“President Zelensky is an inspiring leader,” McConnell said in his speech ahead of the Ukrainian president’s visit to Washington. “But the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests. Helping equip our friends in Eastern Europe to win this war is also a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies, and contest our core interests.”
McConnell argued that backing Ukraine “will massively wear down the arsenal that is available to Putin for future efforts to use bullying and bloodshed,” taking a stab at the Biden administration for not requesting more money for this immensely useful proxy war.
“So I’ll say it one more time. Continuing our support for Ukraine is morally right, but it is not only that. It is also a direct investment in cold, hard, American interests,” McConnell said. “That’s why Republicans rejected the Biden Administration’s original request for Ukraine assistance as insufficient.
“Finally, we all know that Ukraine’s fight to retake its territory is neither the beginning nor end of the West’s broader strategic competition with Putin’s Russia,” McConnell concluded. “Increasing the pressure on Putin’s regime can and should be a bipartisan priority.”
You see US empire lackeys gushing all the time about how extraordinarily efficient and cost-effective the proxy war in Ukraine is for furthering US interests against Russia, which is funny because they spend the rest of the time talking about how this invasion was “unprovoked” and rending their garments about how horrible it is. The official imperial position is somehow simultaneously (A) “We hate this war and never wanted it,” and (B) “This war benefits us tremendously.”
The only way to reconcile these two positions is to believe that Vladimir Putin acted against the interests of Russia in the service of the United States by invading Ukraine, for no other reason than because he is too stupid and evil to do otherwise. The other choice is to do what most empire loyalists do and simply not think very hard about those obvious contradictions.
Alternatively, you can consider the possibility that Putin was pressured into choosing between two bad options by the many aggressive provocations the empire has been making for years. Empire apologists always claim that western provocations had nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine, but if that’s true then why did so many western experts spend years warning that western provocations would lead to an invasion of Ukraine?
Plainly the claim that the US is just an innocent bystander helping its good buddy Ukraine because it loves freedom and democracy is discredited by the claim — often made by those very same claimants — that this war serves US interests. But you hear them bounce seamlessly between the two all the time.
Some of the usual suspects are using Zelensky's visit to whine about how expensive aid to Ukraine is, so it's a good opportunity for this CEPA report that notes that for just 5% of the US military budget, we've disabled 50% of Russia's military power. https://t.co/T4ksyeqx3M
— Bret Devereaux (@BretDevereaux) December 21, 2022
There’s a viral thread making the rounds on Twitter right now by a historian named Brett Devereaux that exemplifies this perfectly. In the first tweet in the thread he’s enthusing about how “for just 5% of the US military budget, we’ve disabled 50% of Russia’s military power,” then in the very next post in the thread he’s weeping about what a humanitarian crisis the war is and how we just want peace, and then in the very next post after that he’s saying “from a pure realpolitik perspective, Putin’s war was a massive blunder that has strengthened the US global position, degrading Russian capabilities (which frees up resources for other threats) and strengthening our alliances.”
California representative Adam Schiff, who has been calling this war “unprovoked” since the invasion, was saying all the way back during the Trump impeachment hearings of 2020 that “the US aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”
Another congressman, Dan Crenshaw, said on Twitter this past May that “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”
“It is in America’s interests to help Ukraine defeat one of our most powerful foes,” tweeted The Atlantic’s David French in the wake of Zelensky’s PR appearance in Washington.
“It is in America’s national security interests for Putin’s Russia to be defeated in Ukraine,” tweeted warmongering senator Lindsey Graham.
US chauvinism & warmongering is so ingrained that @AdamSchiff can openly declare, in Jan 2020, that US uses Ukraine to “fight Russia over there,” and our elites applaud. Fast forward two years later when Russia fights back, and the same circle is outraged. pic.twitter.com/6B4QVFSZvV
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 26, 2022
Statements like these should fully discredit the official narrative that the US is helping Ukraine fight off an unprovoked attack by a reckless tyrant. These are mutually contradictory positions; either it’s a completely unprovoked invasion that Washington didn’t want, or it’s an excellent way of getting Washington everything it wants. It’s nonsensical and naive to believe both.