Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ukraine-O-Mania: Kerry Does Kiev

So on Tuesday (a.k.a. Kill List Day in the White House) John Kerry did the helicopter hustle in Kiev (cue the Pictures at an Exhibition music in the previous post), a bag of bribery cash in one hand, a bouquet of flowers in the other. Nobody does subtle like the secretary of state:




And nobody does propagandistic bathos like the New York Times:
Trudging through a damp mist, Mr. Kerry stopped first for an emotional visit to improvised memorials where protesters were gunned down last month as they voiced opposition to what was then Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin government.
Mr. Kerry placed a lighted candle at one of the shrines, which were draped with flowers and photographs of some of the victims; met with religious leaders; and listened to Ukrainians who beseeched him for help.
Later, warm and dry, the mist wiped from his eyes, Kerry yawned out the bland indignation that makes him so famous, sure to strike fear into the hearts of fellow authoritarians who would never dare tell other nations what to do, let alone invade their countries and drone their citizens to death without so much as a by-your-leave:
"It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve,” Mr. Kerry said. “That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior.”
The centerpiece of the American aid package is the $1 billion loan guarantee. It is intended to cushion Ukrainian households as the new government undertakes wrenching economic changes that are expected to be demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and as it contends with the reduction of energy subsidies from Russia, which has challenged the new government’s legitimacy.
A billion bucks is mighty cheap, when you factor in the Ukrainian population of 45.6 million souls. So let's see.... that amounts to about $20 a person. It certainly would tide them over... right into the drowning pool, while the IMF imposes those Greek-like "wrenching economic changes" designed to crush the regular people caught in the middle of this epic battle of oligarch vs. oligarch, corporation vs. corporation. It's the same old neoliberal song: heads they win, tails we lose. So yes, we are all Ukrainians now, just not in the way that war-mongering friend to war-mongerers John McCain means.

And Kerry really looks like a cheap date with his IOU and his dripping flowers today, now that the EU just upped the bribery ante and offered the Ukrainian "people" $15 billion in aid. The Ukrainians are holding out for $35 billion. Do I hear $20 billion? Somebody call Christie's so we can auction off another 45 million disposable people!

Okay, so now that F-bombing Neocon Victorian Nuland and her pals at least partially succeeded in their "destabilization" efforts by fomenting the coup, it's now on to Act Two in Disaster Capitalism Theater. The global banking plutocrats will generously proffer a "stabilization" loan and demand such "hard changes" as making it too expensive for the average Ukrainian to drive. The unseemly lavish lifestyles of the hoi polloi must end, forthwith!

Meanwhile, Kerry jetted off to Paris to meet with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. It seems there were no five-star restaurants open in Ukraine. No word yet if Chicken Kiev was on the Paris menu.

I guess the folks from the IMF were not invited to the Paris dinner. They're still in Kiev, whetting their appetites, "poring over the menu books" to determine the who, what, when, where -- but never the "why" -- of massive pain infliction. The mystery cure of austerity dies hard, even after it's been exposed as snake oil.
A team from the International Monetary Fund is in Kiev to study the books and consider a stabilization loan. The fund is expected to demand difficult changes, including the reduction of lavish subsidies on gas prices, so the American and European money is intended in part to help cushion the blow to Ukrainian voters before new elections in May.
Can't you see the ladders of opportunity already? Working in tandem with the IMF, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and the gang are no doubt feverishly working on manipulating gas prices and hoarding stockpiles for fun and profit even as the shadow governments speak and the plebeian pawns weep.

Update: Who could ever have predicted? Fracktopolis now rears its ugly head instead of Sarah Palin's idea of Putin: 
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and major oil companies have urged the Obama administration to speed up the nation’s first exports of natural gas. Although environmentalists, some Democrats and American manufacturing companies that depend on the competitive advantage of cheap domestic natural gas oppose the effort, they have fallen to the sidelines in the rush to export the gas.
At the State Department, an initiative to harness a natural gas boom in the United States as a lever against Russia, underway since 2011, intensified this week as Gazprom, Russia’s state-run natural gas company, said it would no longer provide gas at a discount rate to Ukraine. Russia supplies 60 percent of Ukraine’s natural gas, and the move was reminiscent of Russia’s previous moves, in 2006, 2008 and 2009, to shut off natural gas supplies to both Europe and Ukraine.

Before you know it, we'll be undercutting Madura and sending fracked gas down to "unstable"Venezuela, and John McCain can proclaim "We are all South Americans now!"

Nobody ever said that you had to be smart and circumspect to succeed at greed. As a matter of fact, it's surprising how utterly and publicly grasping and brazen they are about their real agenda. I guess because nobody ever said the American people had to be paying attention to the world outside. Bare survival is keeping most of us busy enough.

10 comments:

annenigma said...

Well written as usual, Karen. Thanks.

Pearl said...

All the U.S. intrusion into the Ukrainian-Russian problems can do is further inflame the East-West loyalty conflicts within the Ukraine and not only make
things worse but dangerous. As in my previous comment listing the results of U.S. meddling in other country's affairs ( I forgot some of the South American events such as the murder of Allende and the Contra affair which Reagan didn't seem to know about while president. etc.) which only ended in disaster all around with people killed in senseless wars, etc.

I hope we can continue to laugh along with the rest of the world at the spectacle of Kerry trying to resolve the Ukrainian problem with bribes. It might send a message but I doubt it will to the average American, Republican
or Democrat or Independent or to anyone in Congress.

Anonymous said...

continued Akerikan-induced clusterfuck. Thanks Karen. I had tried to read Disaster Capitalism a few years ago. I got the book through inter-library loan. I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through It made me ill. I do think Nuland should adopt her original name - Nudelman. And her father Dr. Sherman Nuland, professor at the Yale Medical School died today. I note that she graduated from Brown, along with Brian Moynihan, the bankster is charge at BOA! Life is grand!

annenigma said...

Today is the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez's stealth murder by the CIA, I mean his death from cancer. RIP, great Lion of the Left.

Zee said...

@annenigma--

There is, of course, proof that the CIA assassinated Hugo Chavez?

annenigma said...

@Zee

"Oh, Mr. Holmes, I would love to tell you, but then, of course, I'd have to kill you."

Jay - Ottawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay - Ottawa said...

“I have a dream,” said the CEO of Exxon-Mobile.

[Not only can these energy titans sleep at night, they can go the distance all the way to REM, the gateway to dreams.]

“I dream that Exxon-Mobile and its lesser cousins in the West, Shell, BP, Chevron, etc., etc., will someday play in peace and solidarity with Gazprom of the East.”

[Huh?]

“This Ukraine/Crimea business –– and I do mean ‘business’ because all politics around the globe of late is BUSINESS –– is a step in that direction. We (the democratic West) will impose sanctions against Putin. Because we’re shocked, shocked that Russia has moved into the Crimea after the Zimmerman Telegram equivalent of Nuland’s telephone call. Who does Putin think he is: Mr. Tuesday himself, BO?

‘Putin will take countermeasures, you can put your short-sell change on that. The price of Gazprom’s gas will double to Ukraine, as well as for its beloved friends between Ukraine and the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps after a little teasing spell of no gas in all those pipelines heading west from the Urals. Heh, heh, you rascal, Vlad. You could have been an energy Czar like me,” said the CEO of Exxon-Mobile.

He continued: “In the end it all boils down to more big energy business for my company and its friends in the energy business. West Europeans will throw themselves at our feet. Because we are doing God’s work here below.”

“Save us,” the Europeans will plead. “Because we never thought that Putin would play tough if we backed him into a corner. Now we have no energy to run our machines or keep out houses warm.”

And the CEOs of Big Oil & Gas will say: “Take down all those stop signs against fracking across Europe. Arrest those anti-gas shiste protesters in the streets of Europe. So what if cave-ins occur under your venerable cities (as they did dozens of years ago in Switzerland when you first attempted fracking). Who cares whether the little fresh water you have left turns sour, or whether your beloved, four-legged cheese making goats get born with two heads and no tails? You folks want energy for your Folkswagens? For your homes? Just get out of our way, and let us frack in the morning, frack in the evening and frack the whole night through as we dream the sweet dreams of West European energy independence.”

Energy Independence: Isn’t that everybody's dream?

fahrenheit451 said...

I started reading what looked like a fairly prosaic article in this morning's NY Times print edition - front page left column: "U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin," but it grew more shocking as I went on. Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/world/europe/us-seeks-to-reduce-ukraines-reliance-on-russia-for-natural-gas.html?emc=eta1

It seems Hillary Clinton at State set up an 85 person operation to develop energy production as a foreign policy tool, with the former ambassador to the Ukraine as the head - in late 2011. Things get quite explicit: it would be an operation to keep the Ukraine out of Russian bear hugs. Yes, and later, all our corporate favorites from earlier scripts - Shell, Haliburton, will be fracking away in foreign lands...and Exxon is calling for increased exports of fracked natural gas from the U.S. Covepoint in Maryland, anyone? The article ends on a historical note: we will become the "arsenal of energy."

And nobody is going to outflank Hillary on the foreign policy Right: just what we need at the peak of a crisis, Hitler analogies.

Pearl said...

> The Dark Side of the Ukraine Revolt » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names
> the Names
> http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/03/the-dark-side-of-the-ukraine-revolt/#.Uxp8uR7HXeo.twitter