Ukraine Crisis: How Deep State Created Biden-Putin Rift?

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By Nauman Sadiq for VT Islamabad

Days before Biden’s inauguration as president on January 20 last year, instigating Russian dissident and Putin’s longtime foe Alexei Navalny to return to Russia on January 17 from his sojourn in Germany for no apparent political advantage after being allegedly poisoned in August 2020, was clearly the job of the US deep state that wanted to sabotage the new Biden administration’s relations with Russia, and forestall the likelihood of rapprochement between the arch rivals.

It’s pertinent to note that as a goodwill gesture before the Biden-Putin summit at Geneva in June, Russia significantly drew down its troops along Ukraine’s border. Reciprocating the courtesy, however, the ambience and body language of the summit, clearly choreographed by the US national security establishment, were kept as austere as possible.

No joint press conferences were held, as is customary after such momentous meetings. The organizers of the farcical show strictly ordered “no breaking the bread” or refreshments during hours-long strenuous discussions. All blame games and tough talk. Even Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was held in a more cordial atmosphere than the bitter encounter between the leaders of the two global powers.

The civilian administrations of the United States, whether Trump or Biden, want to have friendly relations with other major powers, including Russia and China, and want to focus on national economy to provide much-needed financial relief to the American electorate.

But the mindset and institutional logic of the US deep state has been frozen in the Cold War era, and it perceives any threat to its global military domination agenda with utmost suspicion and hostility.

The current brinkmanship on the Ukraine crisis is a manifestation of this global power belligerence where the hands of civilian presidents are tied behind their backs and the Pentagon’s top brass determines the national security agenda pursued by the United States.

It’s worth noting that it wasn’t the first time the deep state scuttled peace negotiations between the civilian administration of the United States and its global rivals.

Following their first-ever rendezvous in Singapore in June 2018 and a “bromance” lasting over a period of several months, a much-anticipated two-day summit meeting between capricious North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump was held at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27–28, 2019.

On the last day of the Hanoi Summit, however, the White House abruptly announced that the summit was cut short and that no agreement was reached. Trump later clarified that it was due to North Korea’s insistence on ending all sanctions. The real reason of the foundering of the much-hyped North Korea nuclear negotiations, however, can be discovered in hardly noticed news headlines weeks after the summit.

In March 2019, Adam Taylor and Min Joo Kim reported for the Washington Post [1]: “In broad daylight in late February, just days before President Trump met with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, a group of masked men forced their way into the North Korean Embassy in Madrid. The intruders tied up staff and took computers and mobile phones before fleeing.

“The raid was initially a mystery, but the culprit was soon revealed: Free Joseon, an organization that calls for the overthrow of Kim’s dynasty. More details emerged this week as a Spanish judge lifted a secrecy order on the embassy raid case and claimed one of the perpetrators had later shared stolen material from the raid with the FBI.

“More startling still to North Korea watchers, however, was one of the names of the suspects Spain would reportedly seek to extradite from the United States: a Mexican citizen by the name of Adrian Hong Chang. To many, that name rang a bell.

“Adrian Hong had been a prominent figure in the tightknit world of defectors and activists in Washington and Seoul a decade earlier. Hong had spent some of his childhood in Mexico and later studied at Yale University, where he formed a now well-known NGO that campaigned for change in North Korea. He was a regular at government events and in newspaper op-eds.

“Some said the statements by Free Joseon fit in with the man they knew. For years, Hong has sought to establish a government-in-exile for North Korea. Lee Wolosky, a lawyer with Boies Schiller Flexner and a former State Department official, issued a statement on the group’s behalf Wednesday that said ‘the United States and its allies should support’ groups that oppose the North Korean government.

“Hong later formed Pegasus Strategies, an advisory firm, and was listed as president of a North Korea-focused group called the Joseon Institute. He appears to have broadened his interests to include the Middle East, traveling to Libya in 2011. ‘I consider the Arab Spring a dress rehearsal for North Korea,’ he said in an interview with the National that year.

“Park Sang Hak, a prominent North Korean defector, said he had last seen Hong in Washington in June 2018, when they both attended a meeting at the Director of National Intelligence. There has been widespread speculation in both the Spanish and South Korean media that the group has ties to the CIA.

South Korea’s Munhwa Ilbo, the country’s main evening conservative newspaper, published an editorial Thursday that said the ‘US seems to be unofficially involved and providing support’ to Free Joseon.

“State Department spokesman Robert J. Palladino said Tuesday that the U.S. government ‘had nothing to do’ with the embassy incident. Kim Jung-bong, a former NIS official, said while he thought the Free Joseon movement was probably in contact with the CIA, he doubted the U.S. intelligence community would have supported the embassy raid. ‘Their moves were too sloppy,’ Kim Jung-bong said.

“It was not immediately clear how the group could have afforded to carry out raids in a foreign country or hire a prestigious law firm such as Boies Schiller Flexner.”

After reading the excerpts, it becomes abundantly clear that Adrian Hong was a CIA asset and the brazen tactics of raiding North Korea’s embassy in Madrid were deliberately made to look “sloppy” because the raid’s purpose was nothing more than sending a clear message to the North Korean leader before the Hanoi Summit.

Although Trump was eager to get a coveted feather in his diplomatic cap by making Kim Jong-un agree to discard North Korea’s nuclear program, the US national security establishment was staunchly against the negotiations since the beginning.

While Trump was holding a summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore in June 2018, the deep state shills in the mainstream media were publishing fabricated satellite images and speculating that Trump was being duped by Kim and that North Korea had shifted its nuclear arsenal at a secret location in the mountainous region bordering China.

The NATO Membership

Coming back to Ukraine’s aspirations for joining NATO and the alliance’s eastward expansion along Russia’s western borders, the ostensible cause of the current standoff, it’s pertinent to mention that the trans-Atlantic military alliance NATO and its auxiliary economic alliance European Union were conceived during the Cold War to offset the influence of the former Soviet Union which was geographically adjacent to Europe.

Historically, the NATO military alliance, at least ostensibly, was conceived as a defensive alliance in 1949 during the Cold War in order to offset conventional warfare superiority of the former Soviet Union. The US forged collective defense pact with the Western European nations after the Soviet Union reached the threshold to build its first atomic bomb in 1949 and achieved nuclear parity with the US.

But the trans-Atlantic military alliance has outlived its purpose following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is now being used as an aggressive and expansionist military alliance meant to browbeat and coerce the former Soviet allies, the Central and Eastern European states, to join NATO and its corollary economic alliance, the European Union, or risk international economic isolation.

It was not a coincidence that the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991 and the Maastricht Treaty that consolidated the European Community and laid the groundwork for the European Union was signed in February 1992.

The basic purpose of the EU has been nothing more than to entice the former communist states of the Eastern and Central Europe into the folds of the Western capitalist bloc by offering financial incentives and inducements, particularly in the form of agreements to abolish internal border checks between the EU member states, thus allowing the free movement of workers from the impoverished Eastern Europe to the prosperous countries of the Western Europe.

Regarding the global footprint of the American forces, according to a January 2017 infographic [2] by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were deployed across the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

In Europe, 400,000 US forces were deployed during the height of the Cold War in the sixties, though the number has since been significantly brought down after European powers developed their own military capacity following the devastation of the Second World War. The number of American troops deployed in Europe now stands at 47,000 in Germany, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom. Thus, Europe is nothing more than a client of corporate America.

Not surprisingly, the Western political establishments, and particularly the deep states of the US and EU, were as freaked out over the outcome of Brexit as they were during the Ukrainian Crisis in November 2013 when Viktor Yanukovych suspended the preparations for the implementation of an association agreement with the European Union and threatened to take Ukraine back into the folds of the Russian sphere of influence by accepting billions of dollars of loan package offered by Vladimir Putin.

In this regard, the founding of the EU has been similar to the precedent of Japan and South Korea in the Far East where 45,000 and 28,500 US troops have currently been deployed, respectively. After the Second World War, when Japan was about to fall in the hands of geographically adjacent Soviet Union, the Truman administration authorized the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to subjugate Japan and send a signal to the leaders of the former Soviet Union, which had not developed its nuclear program at the time, to desist from encroaching upon Japan in the east and West Germany in Europe.

Then, during the Cold War, American entrepreneurs invested heavily in the economies of Japan and South Korea and made them model industrialized nations to forestall the expansion of communism in the Far East.

Similarly, after the Second World War, Washington embarked on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe with an economic assistance of $13 billion, equivalent to hundreds of billions of dollars in the current dollar value. Since then, Washington has maintained military and economic dominance over Western Europe.

Thus, all the grandstanding and moral posturing of unity and equality aside, the hopelessly neoliberal institution, the EU, in effect, is nothing more than the civilian counterpart of the Western military alliance against the former Soviet Union, the NATO, that employs a much more subtle and insidious tactic of economic warfare to win over political allies and to isolate adversaries that dare to sidestep from the global trade and economic policies as laid down by the Western capitalist bloc.

Citations:

[1] The covert group that carried out a brazen raid on a North Korean embassy now fears exposure:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/03/28/covert-group-that-carried-out-brazen-raid-north-korean-embassy-now-fears-exposure/

[2] What the US Gets for Defending Its Allies and Interests Abroad?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/16/world/trump-military-role-treaties-allies-nato-asia-persian-gulf.html

About the author:

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

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