Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy) provides a detailed analysis of the crisis in Ukraine, and assesses the Western propaganda war being waged against Russia.
Setting the discussion in the context of decades of US imperialism, and identifying the crisis as largely agitated by Washington through its NGOs, he reveals how Ukraine fits into the neocon game plan for world hegemony. But, he explains, this insane goal for a nuclear "checkmate" by Washington against its geopolitical opponents on The Grand Chess Board is extremely reckless; for just like WWI, it could spiral out of control, but unlike WWI, it could lead to Armageddon.
Julian Charles: Today is the 25th of March 2014, and I am very pleased indeed to be able to welcome back to the programme Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who will be very well known to most of you, I am sure, as one of the most distinguished voices in the alternative media. Certainly, regular listeners to The Mind Renewed will be very familiar with him, as this is his third time with us. But for the handful of you out there who might not yet know Dr. Roberts: he is the Chairman of the Institute of the Political Economy; his career has spanned academia, journalism, business and public service; he has held numerous, senior academic positions in universities; he was an Associate Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal; and he was appointed by President Regan as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during Regan’s first term in office; after which he served as a consultant to both the US Department of Defence, and the US Department of Commerce. Dr. Roberts, it is wonderful to have you on the programme yet again. Listeners do appreciate your contribution very much, so thank you ever so much for joining us.
Paul Craig Roberts: Well Julian, I appreciate speaking with you. I always enjoy it.
JC: Thank you very much. Now the issue I would like to ask you about today is this ongoing situation in Ukraine. This is something you have been writing about and giving interviews about, quite extensively, for the last several weeks. I want to ask you about your analysis of the way events have unfolded in the last few months, and your expectations as to where things are likely to go from here. But also, to set the scene for us - because you said to me, just before we started this interview, that this whole situation is part of a scene that has been set over a very long time - so I am wondering if you would first sketch out for us how this whole situation has come about?
PCR: Yes Julian, that’s a very good way to start. Ever since the Soviet collapse, the neo-conservatives - who rose to ascendancy in US foreign policy, and have controlled the foreign policy of the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes - have an ideology of American world hegemony, that the United States should take its system to the world. It’s like the French Jacobins from the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century, when they were going to take liberty, fraternity and equality to all of Europe. The neo-conservatives concluded from the Soviet collapse that History had chosen - not the proletariat, as Karl Marx had said - but American capitalism. And since American capitalism was chosen by History, Washington not only had the right to impose its system elsewhere, but the responsibility, because it was History's choice. And they wrote that book, “The End of History”, which meant that: “History has already determined that America is the Way, and this makes Americans and their government exceptional and indispensable.” In other words, they make claims comparable to Hitler’s for the Germans, that the Americans are above others, because History has chosen them. This ideology is very dangerous; it's reckless. And they saw that Russia - even the remnants of it after the Soviet collapse - was a potential barrier, so they have been working to sort of un-empower the Russian government.
The first thing they did was to break all of Regan’s agreements with Gorbachev, that no Eastern European country would be brought into NATO, and that NATO would not be taken to Russia's borders. They broke that agreement, and put Eastern Europe in NATO. Then Washington pulled out of the ABM Treaty (that's the treaty the United States and the Soviet Union had that neither side would develop any anti-ballistic missile defence, so that the two countries would retain their nuclear deterrents.) Washington pulled out of that treaty, built ABMs, and stuck them on Russia’s border in Poland. Then the United States got busy financing so-called colour revolutions in former constituent parts of both Russia and the Soviet Union, such as Georgia and Ukraine. (Georgia is the birth place of Joseph Stalin; it was part of Russia, and subsequently the Soviet Union, for two hundred years. Georgia was part of Russia for as long as the United States has existed - the same with Ukraine.) So, Washington goes in with these non-governmental organisations that it finances and creates a colour revolution, and ends up with a government that is very sympathetic to Washington. So, we now have Georgia, which is an American puppet state. They tried the same thing in Ukraine in 2004 with a colour revolution. And the revolution worked for them, but they didn’t get the result they had hoped. So, they have spent ten years - and, according to Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State, five billion dollars - funding non-governmental organisations in Ukraine to develop constituencies favourable to Washington’s purposes. So, the deal was to pull Ukraine into the EU, because once you get them in the EU you can get them into NATO. And once they have Ukraine in NATO, the deal was they would evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base, and put American missile bases and NATO military bases in Ukraine on Russia’s borders, and this would further degrade the Russian nuclear deterrent. It would make the Russians less able to withstand Washington’s pressures. It would make the Russians less inclined to block Washington when it wants to invade Syria, or Iran, or whoever else. And it was a way of essentially taking such a strong strategic threat to the Russians that they would not be able to stand up for their own interests. So, that was the purpose of the American coup in the Ukraine - or rather, that was the purpose of putting the Ukraine into the EU. Now, when the elected, democratically elected, government turned down the offer to join the EU - it doesn’t pay economically for them, it’s not a good deal for them - then Washington launched its coup mechanism. You may remember the first protests in the streets where about joining the EU. They wanted the Ukrainian government to overturn its decision and agree to join the EU; that was the original protest. Those protests didn’t go on very long, until the organised and armed ultranationalists - some sort of right-wing movement, sometimes called Neo-Nazis (some of them sport Nazi emblems) - introduced the violence into the protests, and the demands of the protest changed from joining the EU to overthrowing the sitting government. Now, this was Washington’s coup. We don’t know yet whether Washington was working with these right-wing elements - these ultranationalist elements - or whether Washington was caught off-guard by them. But, the fact is they introduced the violence, and the demands of the protest movement fundamentally changed.
JC: And it was around that time - at the end of January/beginning of February - that we had that report on RT of snipers taking random shots at people. Do you think that was coming from the Right Sector, or do you think there was somebody else involved with that?
PCR: Well, if you remember, there is available on YouTube the intercepted telephone conversation between the Foreign Minister - I think it was of Lithuania, or Estonia - and the European Union official discussing the situation in Ukraine, and how Europe and US were taking over. And the Lithuanian (or the Estonian, I forget which) Foreign Minister told the EU official that he had just returned from there, and while he was there he had learned that the snipers had been put into action by the protesters, and that they were killing people on both sides. They were killing unarmed policemen and protesters. And that it was done to stir up the animosities between the two sides. Now of course, the propaganda that came out of the West blamed it all on the current government. But the current government had not sent armed policemen out. So, it looks like it was something that the armed right-wing elements had orchestrated in order to create more animosity, or whatever, to serve their purposes. The two participants of this conversation have acknowledged that Yes that is exactly what they said; they talked about this. So, that’s the best evidence that we have that it was intentionally done, and most likely by these ultranationalists.
JC: It reminded me of what Webster Tarpley said was going on in Syria a few years ago at the beginning of that conflict over there, that there were pot-shots being taken by various snipers, and I thought: Is this a playing out of the same kind of thing?
PCR: Well, why would it not be. If you are reckless enough, as Washington is, to take a direct strategic threat to a major nuclear power, to their very back yard, you will certainly have snipers kill a few people. That doesn’t even count; that is not even a mole hill compared to the Himalaya-Mountain-level recklessness of taking a direct strategic threat to the backyard of Russia. If they are willing to do that, they are willing to do anything. So, to have snipers kill a few people doesn’t even measure on their scale.
JC: You mentioned a few minutes ago the five billion dollars figure that was brought up by Victoria Nuland. This is back in December when she gave that talk at the US National Press Club. And she was saying - of course, the words she used were that Washington had “invested” over five billion dollars in “supporting democracy” in Ukraine. Is it your view, then, that this money went to support these NGOs that were orchestrating this problem?
PCR: Well, we know the money went to the NGOs. They say “supporting democracy”. That’s because they pretend that these are democratic groups, but Ukraine already had democracy. They had been a democracy since they became independent of Russia in the early '90s, so they didn’t need these groups to support democracy. These NGOs are always operating behind some kind of a front: human rights, teaching democracy, education, women’s rights. They always have some sort of a cover, but they are basically American fifth columns.
JC: So, these are things like the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy - these kinds of organisations?
PCR: Yes. The National Endowment for Democracy is the main funder of them; that’s why it was set up. I was in the government when the NED was set up, and the purpose was to support dissent in the Soviet Eastern Block and cause trouble for the Soviets in Eastern and Central Europe. That was the purpose of it.
JC: So it really should be called the National Endowment for Destabilisation?
PCR: That’s what it is; that’s what it’s been used for. It destabilises regimes that Washington considers to be in the way, or not sufficiently submissive. Now, when they say it’s supporting democracy, they are not going to say that we are doing this in order to overthrow a government, or to bring a government round to our point of view. Often what they do is, they try to just train and elevate a different set of politicians, that they can then get in power, who then are more compliant with the West. If they are too impatient, or this isn’t working, then they can use it for overthrow. You have to keep in mind that there are huge numbers of these American-financed NGOs operating inside Russia itself.
JC: But in the case of Russia, haven't they insisted on more financial openness, so that it’s clearer what they are doing in Russia?
PCR: That only happened a year or two ago. They operated there for twenty years without having to register as foreign agents. Now in the United States, unless you are Israel, you have to register as a foreign agent. A year or two ago Putin ruled that these people getting western money, operating against Russian interests - you know, these were always the groups that would go into the streets after an election and claim that Putin had stolen it. You remember the last time he was elected? All those protesters went out and said, “Oh, he stole the election”; that’s the NGO crowd
JC: So these are the people - they may be students or unemployed - who are actually paid to go and do this?
PCR: In Russia, I think, it’s twenty-year-old organisations created by American money, and many of them may actually think they are what they are said to be. But the fact is they operate against the Russian government. And when Putin made them register - I think it was a year or two ago - he finally said, “Look, if your getting foreign money, then we need to behave just like the Americans. You need to register as a foreign agent. That’s what the American’s do, and that’s what we are going to have you do.” Well, then Washington began demonising him, denouncing him. He was “against democracy, blah, blah, blah.” Well, all he was doing was putting into practice the same policies that had long been in practice in the Unites States.
PCR: So, people fall for this. I mean, it’s so easy to demonise somebody when you come out of the Cold War wearing the white hat. And that’s what Washington did. So, the whole world tends to think that Washington has somehow got the white hat, because it was the Soviet Union that collapsed. In other words, the neocon propaganda works on the whole world: “We are the chosen country, and so whatever we do is clearly moral, and right, because History has decided in our favour."
JC: That transparency with respect to NGOs was not demanded at all in Ukraine, is that correct?
PCR: Yes. It was not demanded at all. It still isn’t.
JC: So they could operate in anyway that they like, and therefore - I mean, I am harking back to what William Engdahl said, and that was that a lot of this money was used actually to bus in students and unemployed to do the protesting.
PCR: Well there is a lot of evidence they were paying people to protest, and there were different amounts of pay. If you just worked protesting, you got one amount; if you threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, you got a higher amount. And you know, my website has an international following; I hear from people everywhere. And students were writing to me from Moldova, which is on the border there, and they said: “Look, they are bussing us in. They are paying us two or three hundred” - what ever the currency was - “a day.” And then I would get emails from German students: “We're just back from over there, and they are paying people.” Now, that does not mean that everyone in the streets was paid, but it was a way of swelling the crowds. See I think, at least at the beginning, there were real sincere honest people out there, probably the students from the university in Kiev. And they were protesting corruption, and they were probably also thinking: “Oh, we would be better off if we were in Europe.” Because, they probably feel inferior. Because Europe is attached to the United States, and so it has this sort of aura of the indispensable, the exceptional, the successful people. You can see why university students would want to say, “What is the Ukraine? We would be more if we were EU.” So, I think a lot of was initially sincere, but it was all infiltrated with paid protestors. And, as I said, quickly these right-wing elements took over, introduced violence and that changed the whole thing. And you have to keep in mind, Julian, that the government that’s in office in Kiev is not elected; it was appointed by Washington. Nobody in it is elected; they were put there. And we have the famous conversation - also recorded and available on the Internet, because it was intercepted - of the American Assistant Secretary of State discussing with the American Ambassador in Kiev precisely who they were going to put in the government. And the people there are the ones they said would be. So, the fact that this was an American-organised coup is not debatable; it is a known fact.
JC: The only thing I would say about that is that, there are people who are saying: “Well, perhaps one should be careful how we interpret that conversation. Maybe it was just a kind of response to what was going on. Maybe it is not actually an indication of something organised.”
PCR: Yes, well there will be all kinds of people who will make every possible excuse, because they are too weak-minded to face what has actually happened. What Washington has done with this, Julian, is to bring to the entire World a very dangerous situation. Washington has taken this huge strategic threat to Russia, that we already talked about, and this is not over. Crimea is over; they’re now part of Russia again, where they belong. But Eastern and Southern Ukraine - these are Russian cities - these are Russian-language-speaking people, and we don’t know what the stooge American government in Kiev is going to do. So far, they have been trying to suppress these people.
JC: Well, I certainly want to ask you about what you think might happen about that in the days to come. But before we actually leave Crimea, you say that’s over, but in a sense, that's still something that is discussed and is part of the argument. So, I want to ask you what your view of the Crimean referendum was in the middle of the month. Now at the time, as we are all very aware, the US and the EU were saying that this referendum was illegal, saying that is wasn’t a fair vote. It was carried out, so we are told, under threats of violence and intimidation. And our BBC here in the UK was saying that many Crimeans loyal to Kiev boycotted the referendum, so implying then that it wasn’t really representative at all of the Crimean people. So, what is your view of this? Do you think that is was illegal? Was there intimidation? Was it unrepresentative?
PCR: Look, you know, the facts are obvious, and everything you just related is propaganda. The same people who told you that, told you Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. They told you that Assad of Syria used chemical weapons against his own people. They told you that Gaddafi in Libya gave his troops Viagra, so they could better rape Libyan women. Every one of these crazy bits of propaganda come from the same people; and it’s false. In Crimea, the Russians didn’t do anything; they didn’t need to do anything. It’s a Russian territory; it always has been. The Crimean government - I mean, all these parts of the Ukraine have their own provisional governments. And the Crimean government, in response to demands from the people, took a vote and left the Ukraine. They said, “We're independent.” Then, in response to the people, they gave the people a referendum: “Do you want to stay independent, or do you want to join Russia?” It had nothing to do with Putin; he didn’t orchestrate this. This was not done because Russian troops were moved in to Crimea. This was done because this is what the people demanded. The turnout of the vote, I’ve seen - it was over 81%; it may have been as high as 84%. No Western democracy ever has a voter turnout of that magnitude. The United States can’t even get 50%. And of this massive turnout, 97% said: “We want to go back to Russia from whence we came.” So, people who say it is illegal are saying, “Oh, self-determination is illegal.”
JC: And yet we have these very authoritative remarks that are coming out of the BBC. As I said to you before the interview, I want to ask you about this guy who has been brought out - Professor Marc Weller of the University of Cambridge. (You know, because he 'must be right' if he is from the University of Cambridge.) And the analysis that he presented there is reported in this way. He made a couple of points. The first one relates to something you just said. It goes like this: “The autonomous Crimean territory may indeed be legally entitled to argue for a change in its status. However, according to international precedent, it cannot simply secede unilaterally, even if that wish is supported by the local population in a referendum. Instead, it would need to engage in genuine discussion about a possible separation with the central authorities in Kiev. Alternatives, such as enhanced autonomy, would need to be explored. International practice generally seeks to accommodate separatist demands within the existing territorial boundaries.” So, he is saying there that the only way forward should have been to have discussed this with Kiev.
PCR: Well, he has no idea what he is talking about. “You didn’t first work it out with the government in Kiev” - the non-government, the stooge-appointed American government which is non-elected. That’s where there is illegality; the illegality is in entirely on the American/EU side. They set up in Kiev an unelected stooge government. The government in Crimea had far more legitimacy; it is actually elected by the people who live there. The government in Kiev is not elected by anybody except Washington. (And this procedure certainly was not followed in Kosovo, because when the United States cut Kosovo off from Serbia, the Serbians didn’t get to vote on it.) All this guy is trying to do is to keep invitations coming from America, so he can come over here and speak and meet people and do all of that. He is not going to get on the wrong side of what he thinks might be the US money tree. Now, in Kosovo nobody got to vote. The Americans simply said: “Okay, we are taking you away.” And nobody got to vote when the United States decided to break up Serbia, and split them all up into these little pieces, you know: Bosnia, Croatia - whatever - all this went on. Who got to vote?
JC: But, he makes the point - which I suppose you've already addressed - he says, in this case with Crimea, it was (as he calls it) “a divorce at gunpoint.”
PCR: We’ll he is lying. You know, when somebody from Cambridge stands up and lies on the BBC, it shows how totally corrupt the entire Western World is. I mean, why wasn't he hooted off the air? There was no “gunpoint”. You know, this is rank propaganda, that the Russians sent in the troops and annexed Crimea. What in the world would they need to annex their own territory for, when all the people are demanding to go back to Russia? To stand up, and say something so absurd - a Cambridge guy? - on the BBC? This tells you: these institutions are totally corrupt; they are totally corrupt - to tell a lie like that, a transparent lie. There have been no troops go in - none. What Putin has said is: “I reserve the right to send them in, and I will send them in if the Russian populations in the Eastern and Southern Ukraine are subject to repression.” So, he’s told the Americans, and the American stooge government: “If you put down the protests in these other Russian-speaking parts - “ (that were never part of the Ukraine. They were stuck there by communist party rulers for reasons - who knows what - but are traditional parts of Russia. These people are also protesting what’s going on in Kiev, just as the ones in Crimea did). And he says: “If you put down these protests with violence against Russians, that’s when - and that’s the first time - that the Russian army will go in. So, he’s made it very clear. So, if he goes in, you will know it is because the stooge government in Washington provoked it; they wanted him to go in, so they can do more demonisation, or lead the world into a dangerous war.
JC: I’ve heard some western spokespersons make a great deal of the fact that the - well, I don’t know whether it is a fact, but at least a claimed fact - that the troops that were legally stationed in Crimea were moved around. They should have stayed in their barracks, but they were moved around. And this has been seen as a provocation in its self.
PCR: Well, if you want to make propaganda, you can see provocations everywhere. You know, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We had the National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, saying: “Oh my goodness! We don’t want to wait until mushroom clouds go up over American cities.” Well, anybody that had an IQ of 30 knew Saddam Hussein didn’t have any nuclear weapons, any ballistic missiles, any ICBMs. There was no way Saddam Hussein could produce mushroom clouds over American cities. And yet, the National Security Advisors gets up and talks about this like it’s a real possibility. Well, if you can do that, you can make up anything you want. It’s just like Russian troops forcing a vote. You see, we had, present at those elections, all kinds of international observers. Every one of them said, “There was no sign of troops, guns; there was no coercion.” It was completely fair and above the board. So what is Cambridge professor talking about? Is he completely ignorant of the reports from all of these international observers from different countries who were there? Why does the BBC bring a liar on to give American propaganda? Because it’s a voice for Washington. If you look at the BBC, it lines up with Washington’s explanations. It’s just part of the ministry propaganda.
JC: Absolutely. Yes, I am clearly getting that impression most of the time. Now, at the moment, they are making a great deal of this supposed threat from Russia, claiming that it's very likely that Moscow wants to expand into Russian-speaking areas, particularly Eastern Ukraine, as you mentioned, but also neighbouring states such as the Trans-Dniestr region of Moldova. And, of course, Moscow has denied this. (It was only a couple of days ago that the Russian Ambassador to the EU was saying, on the BBC, that Russia has no intention of expanding into other areas. Although, he didn’t actually rule that out categorically. But nevertheless, he said there was no intention there at all.) But nevertheless, we do have NATO’s so-called Supreme Commander, US General Philip Breedlove, saying Russia is building up forces on the border with Eastern Ukraine, and this is his quote, “ They are very, very sizeable and very, very ready.” What’s your view on this? Do you think that Moscow has, at its core, this expansionist intention at all?
PCR: No I don’t, but I think it expects the Americans to take them to war. Look, they’ve had twenty years of direct American aggression against Russia. First, we break all the agreements, and we put NATO into Eastern Europe, and take NATO right up to Russia’s border. The promised neutral zone - as soon as the Soviet Union collapses, Washington takes advantage of it, and so all the former Soviet block is now in NATO, and we have bases right up on their border. Then we say: “Oh, we are not going to observe the ABM Treaty anymore. We're going to build anti-ballistic missiles, and we are going to put them right on your border in Poland - put the radar for them in the Czech Republic. And then we tell them, in 2010: “Well, we think that our nuclear weapons - we are now going to use them for first strike.” Well, against who? Who are we telling? Well, obviously it’s for Russia. So, here you tell them: “Okay look, we have got you surrounded with bases, and we have got ABM missiles on your border. We’ve changed the nuclear doctrine, so we can have a first strike against you.” Now, what have the Russians done? They have been very low key. They've continued to try to avoid conflict, to get along, to help out. When the Pakistanis cut off the Americans supply routes into Afghanistan, Putin let the Americans come through [former] Soviet territories to supply. He’s very reasonable; he doesn’t make threats. He tells you where the line is long before you cross it, and what else could you expect from somebody as threatened as we continually make them? So, then you come and say: “Okay, now we're going to take Ukraine away from you, evict you from your Naval base, and put more missile bases on your border.” What is he supposed to do? Just sit there and go to the movies? You know, he doesn’t know what to expect from these fools. It's the recklessness - the irresponsibility - the recklessness is extraordinary. I have never seen anything like it.
And then we had the Georgian episode, where we break Georgia off from Russia, we put our puppet in, then we train and equip the Georgian army, and we sic them on South Ossetia. These are Russian people. They broke away from Georgia because they didn’t want to be part of that. And there are Russian and Georgian peace-keeping forces in South Ossetia. And so, South Ossetia is subject to this invasion from the American-trained-and-equipped Georgian army. They actually killed some of the Russian peace-keeping troops, and this brought in the Russian army. And they mopped up the America-trained army in a few hours, and they had Georgia back in their hands. If they wanted to be expansionary and put back together the Soviet Empire they had Georgia; it was all done. It didn’t take them any time at all; it was there. They could have hung the American puppet, and simply said: “Okay, we've put you back in Russia where you were for two hundred years.” What did they do? They settled the matter, and withdrew. So clearly, they are not trying to build back the empire.
JC: And yet, that’s exactly what Madeleine Albright has just recently said. That's exactly what Russia is trying to do - “restore the greatness of Russia” she says.
PCR: Well, why did they not keep Georgia? If they wanted the Ukraine they could get it; there is nothing anybody can do about it. The only way they can be stopped would be if the Americans take it to nuclear war. The United States couldn’t occupy Baghdad after eight years. They’ve been blowing up villages, and kids' soccer games, in Afghanistan for - what now? - thirteen years. They’ve got no control of the country; a few thousand lightly-armed Taliban still rule. So, this military force, that can’t occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, is actually going to go in and defeat the Russian army in the Ukraine? The British, and the Germans, and the French are going to get into that? I mean, I know they are American puppet states, but I think even there they're going to say, “Just a minute - we don’t want to be part of that.”
JC: Well, do you think that is even on the cards at all? Has that been suggested?
PCR: Was World War I on the cards, and suggested? It happened though, didn’t it? It happened because you had a bunch of idiots in the government, and things got away from them. This may have already happened in the Ukraine. Like I say, we don’t know if these right-wing elements caught Washington off guard, or whether Washington was working with them.
JC: But you said to me, before the interview started, that you thought there was some considerable credibility in the idea that Washington might want to have a colour revolution in Russia itself. So, don’t you think it’s more likely that they will pursue that course?
PCR: Well, it’s getting harder, because for a long time there were a lot of Russians themselves who were very pro-American. They were alienated from Russia because of communism, and how bad things were. And they were heavily influenced by all the American Cold War propaganda, particularly in the twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, what started undoing this, is all the aggressive American actions toward Russia. Even these pro-American Russians, when they see missile bases in Poland: “What for?” And then, the Americans say: “Well, it’s not against Russia. We put them here to protect Europe from Iranian missiles.” Well, the Iranians don’t have any missiles; they don’t have any way of attacking Europe, and they certainly don’t have any ICBMs. (And that’s what ABMs are for; they are to shoot down the intercontinental ballistic missiles.) There are none in Iran. So, if you are pro-American Russian, and you see this, you say: “Now wait a minute. Why is America doing this?” And then you see what they did in Georgia, and that it was all caused by the Americans, and they blame Putin. The whole West jumped on the band wagon and demonised Putin: “Putin invades!” Georgia invaded.
JC: But do you think there might be a new hope for this strategy of colour revolution, with these sanctions?
PCR: I think the West was counting on it, and they intend to break up the entire Russian Federation; that’s the plan. Anybody who spent twenty-five years in Washington knows what the plan is. But what I’m telling you is, I think they have ruined the ability to use the plan, by all these transparent, aggressive acts against Russia, backed up by propaganda, that are so blatant that even the pro-American Russian part of the population sees through it.
JC: So you don’t think there is anyway in which they will be able to sow sufficient discontent within Russia, through sanctions, that they will have any affect in that regard?
PCR: No, the sanctions are against seven Russian individuals, and have no effect unless those seven have foreign bank accounts. And, under Russian law, they are not permitted to have foreign bank accounts. So the sanctions were a face-saving gesture by the idiots in Washington, because they…
JC: So you don’t think they are going to step those up in future?
PCR: If they step them up, they are going to do far more damage to Germany and Western Europe than they are going to do to Russia. And if real sanctions come, they are simply acts of war. And the main effect on Russia, in my opinion, will be that the BRICS will just hasten their formation of an independent monetary zone; they won’t have anything to do with the dollar. And the five countries in the BRICS - that’s half the world population. You have got Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa. And so, they are already moving toward their own kind of economic, and financial, and banking system, in which they will settle their trade differences in their own currencies. So, sanctions from the fools in Washington will simply speed that up, and lead to quicker collapse of the US dollar. So, Washington will bring its own house down; but that’s how stupid they are. I spent twenty-five years with these people; they don’t have any sense. They are full of arrogance and hubris, and they think they can lie their way through everything. And that is the game they are playing; and the world is catching on. The Russian people are catching on. Look at every time the US demonises Putin: his popularity rises. You look at his approval rating: it just keeps going up. And this Ukrainian thing has got to raise it tremendously, because in a sense what Washington is doing with it’s aggressive actions and its propaganda is undermining the Washington-financed NGOs in Russia. Because they are beginning to look more and more like treason - traitors. People are less and less willing to be associated with them, or part of it. And I think it won’t be long before the Russian government starts speaking of them as traitors, and treason. And so, in a way, the crazed Washington people are undermining their plans which might have worked in the long run. In the long run if they had been much more clever, less aggressive, they may have been able to use these NGOs to break apart the Russian Federation itself (current-day Russia). But I think now that, unless they assassinate Putin - which is entirely possible; if you look at Putin, he speaks without teleprompters; he doesn’t stand in front of bullet-proof glass - it is entirely possible that Washington will assassinate him. If you are willing to blow up and destroy entire countries - as we’ve done to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya; we have it going in Syria; and we have been killing people wantonly in Pakistan, in Yemen, in Somalia with drones - so why would they be deterred from assassinating Putin? They can blame it on some NGO guy, or some Chechen terrorists, or some mad Ukrainian. Look, this Tymoshenko - this woman they have just released from prison; she was in prison for corruption. You know, the one who wears her hair in a braid over the top of her head like a crown. There is a telephone call now intercepted from her, in which she says: “I want to get a machine gun and kill all these Russians.” I mean, she is just violently Russophobic. This is not Putin saying these things. So, the problem entirely comes from the American meddling in Ukraine, which was fairly stable: every body was getting along; the economy is integrated into the Russian economy, not into the European economy. Europe has nothing to offer them except an IMF austerity programme. Look, I'm sorry. I get so upset at all the lies. You know, I was an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal back when the press still had some standards. I mean, ours weren’t all that great, but we had some standards, and we would not stand up and intentionally tell a lie for the government. To see the BBC doing this,is just really - it’s disgusting. It makes me realise I have lived too long. This world has got nothing to do with the one I was born into, as bad as it was then. There’s no respect for truth.
JC: Well, I have to say to you that one of the reasons why I started doing this was largely, well really, because of all the reports I was hearing on the BBC, and so often I thought, “I just don’t believe that.”
PCR: Well, you can’t believe it because - well, to get on with this. Now, the danger is, although the Crimean thing is over - they are Russian now; they are part of Russia. And so, when some idiot in the State Department, or that crazy guy you got for a Prime Minister, Cameron - and they say: “Oh, we are not going to recognise Crimea.” You mean, they are not going to recognise Russia? What are they talking about? They do not even know what they are talking about.
JC: And his crazy Foreign Secretary as well.
PCR: Yes, that other guy. Crimea is Russia. You mean you are not going to recognise Russia? What are you talking about? Let’s see you get away with that. Now, the danger is that these people - who have no judgement, and they are reckless, and they are propagandists, and they are liars; then it gets away from them, just like World War I got away from all those idiots in the government at the time - and they push Russia to the point that it has to do something. And then the Americans can’t back down: “Oh, we have to save face.”
JC: But, we are living in such a different world now, aren’t we? We are living in this nuclear age. So, can that play out in a similar way?
PCR: Of course it can; it will. Look at the extent of the American alliances: all of Eastern and Western Europe, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. All of those people - if the United States goes to war, they’re involved.
JC: So, you mean it would play out in the conventional warfare way, with nuclear weapons being restrained and not used?
PCR: No, it will not play out in conventional warfare, because there is no way on God's Earth [in which] the West is gong to be able to attack Russia with conventional weapons. The only way the West can do anything to Russia is to use nukes.
JC: But that is suicide.
PCR: They don’t care. World War I was suicide; it was total suicide. But it runs away from you. What will China do in this? They’ll line up with Russia, because they have the same enemy Russia has, Washington. The United States has already changed its war doctrine so that it can have nuclear first strike. So, that tells you, they have already thought about: “Well okay, we’ll nuke them.” I mean, why would you change your war doctrine if you were so worried about using nuclear weapons? Why would you give yourself the power for a nuclear first strike? But that’s what the United States did. (I think it was 2010.) So, it can very easily get out of control. Just go read how World War I got out of control. These things happen because most people are stupid, particularly those in office who are full of big egos, and hubris, and: “Look at me. I’m so important. Oh, we can’t let them get away with that.” This is the way governments work. It’s full of potential for every kind of disaster. I mean look, in the 21st Century - the United States has been at war for the entire 21st Century. How many countries? Look at the bloodshed, the death, the destruction, the displaced peoples. I mean, it is comparable to World War I, except it has gone on almost three times as long. And yet we are - all of us, here in the West, we still think we are the “salt of the earth”, and we are bringing freedom and democracy to people. So, those kinds of people can make any kind of mistake, and that’s what worries me; that’s why I get so upset about it. What in the world are you pushing a nuclear power for, in its back yard? It is so obvious that all of this is caused by the United States - none of it by Russia. And yet, Russia gets one hundred percent of the blame. Well, that produces anything but goodwill on the part of Russians; it produces anything but hope that we can work this out in some sensible, reasonable way. It convinces Russians, and Putin, and all of them, that these people in the West are crazy as hell; they are insane. Look at all this trouble they have caused, and they are blaming us. And we keep asking them, “Can we work this out?” And they keep telling more lies. So, what does that do to the mentality of the country? What does it do to the mentality of the Chinese, the Indians, the South Americans? They are sitting there watching this. You can’t think they believe the propaganda that the BBC spews out, and the New York Times, and Fox News, and CNN? They don’t believe a word of it. So, the whole world's sitting there watching: “Look at these people: they cause all this trouble, they commit all these crimes against humanity, they invade all these countries, they blow up and murder everywhere, and then they blame somebody else.” So what happens? You know, the Russian government just comes to the conclusion: “Well, you know, we can’t work with them. We have put up with this for twenty years. Twenty years we have spent accepting these threats, not responding in kind, trying to work things out, trying to just be part of the system they have, and this is the result. We can’t talk to them. We explain everything to them calmly. Show them why this - and they just ignore us.” And this has been going on since the United States and NATO attacked Serbia. So, at some point, you convince the Russians that it’s hopeless to try to work anything out. So, they prepare for war; and that’s exactly what is happening. And that is what that stupid Cambridge professor is enabling, and that’s what the dishonest BBC is enabling; they are enabling this process to get out of control. They are convincing the Russians that: “No matter what we do, they are going to tell more lies. We can’t work with them. They deceive us. They do terrible things. They blame us. They won’t listen to us when we try to explain what the situation really is.” So, this is the danger; this is why it’s a danger.
JC: Well, it certainly came over very clearly in the speech that Putin gave on the 18th of March. He very clearly gave the impression that he distrusts deeply the West, and he was talking about all this NATO eastward expansion, that you are talking about, and all the deployment of military infrastructure on Russia’s borders. And you mentioned Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. It seems that - he is very open about it - he really does distrust everything the West has been doing. I wanted, though, to ask you directly what you think of Vladimir Putin as a man, and a politician. Because obviously, the western mainstream media has been demonising him. But there is a tendency in the alternative media always to look upon him, you know, as the good guy. But is that not slightly naïve, given his KGB past and his Russian Mafia connections? How do you assess him as a person?
PCR: Well, Russia is very lucky to have him - any country would be - to have somebody this measured, this careful, this thoughtful. I would be much relieved if the British Prime Minister could measure up to Putin’s ankle - the same for the French President - the same for the American President. If they could even reach his knee, I would be much relieved. It would show some capability for thought, for deliberation, something besides this wild hysteria that they’re always generating. As I said, it took Putin a long time to give up on the West. That's not his fault; it’s the West’s fault. It is dangerous, because he says: “Well, I have tried everything, so what are we gong to do?” And the Chinese are sitting there watching this, and they are reaching the same conclusion: “The Americans are impossible.” Europe is just some kind of a puppet state; it doesn’t have any independent existence. They will do what ever the Americans tell them.
JC: I find it very difficult to understand at all what the gameplan here is, because the picture you are painting is one of mistakes all over the place, and incompetence all over the place, and that this is no real plan at all, and that it’s just provocation, and it could just be a great conflagration in the end.
PCR: The plan, Julian, is American hegemony. Look, all you have to do is go read the neoconservatives' papers: “The Americans are the Chosen People. History chose us. The Soviet collapse proves there is no alternative to American democratic capitalism.” (Of course, it is neither democratic, nor is it capitalist, because they don’t let failed firms, fail. We have all these banks, “too big to fail”. We’ve printed four or five trillion dollars to keep these failed institutions alive; that’s not capitalism. It’s not democratic when the people's voice has no effect on the government.) But: “History chose us, and therefore we are entitled to rule the world.” This is the neoconservative ideology.
JC: Okay, so that’s the ideology, but what about the gameplan? What is - I mean, is there any gameplan here at all, or is it just random mistakes?
PCR: Julian, there are only three countries in the way of American hegemony: Russia, China, Iran. They have Iran surrounded with some forty military bases - two fleets off the coast. They are building new air and naval bases to surround China. All this is known. “The Pivot to Asia” as it’s called. And we’ve broken every agreement we ever had with the Russians; we are surrounding them.
JC: Okay, but it must be known - as you were saying before - it must be known that this isn’t going to succeed as an act of nuclear war, so what is the plan here? It can’t be, surely, just completely irrational?
PCR: The plan is: Washington gets them all surrounded, it degrades their military; the Russian miliary is degraded. It's...
JC: How does it degrade it?
PCR: Your nuclear deterrent is degraded if you are surrounded by anti-ballistic missile defences. Because they are shot down. And so, you are no longer a nuclear power. You take away Russian nuclear deterrent by ringing it with ABM bases.
JC: So, you are saying that the strategy, then, ultimately is going to be to take a first strike, and then to knock out all the response?
PCR: That could be, but most likely what they are thinking is: “Once we have such an overwhelming upper hand over them, they’ll stop interfering, and so if we want to invade Syria they won’t say, 'No you can’t do that.' If we want to bomb Iran they won’t say, 'No you can’t do that.' And with China, we are going to surround them with bases so we can disrupt their supply.” You know, those straits there down below the South China Sea there - a lot of the Chinese trade - the oil from Iran - things float through there, and the American Navy can simply block it. That’s what the United States did to Japan; that’s why we got into war with Japan - World War II. We blocked their access to raw materials. So that’s what they now intend to put in force with China. So they are saying: “Okay, then we won’t have to go to war, because they will be unable to pursue it with any confidence. If the Russians will realise we have got these missile bases all around them, and the Chinese will realise we have got these naval bases and air bases all around them, they will decide that the odds are too much against them. And so we will be able to do what we want. And all the while, we’ll be trying to undermine them from within. And the fact that their leaders can’t stand up to us, will help us undermine them.” So that’s what the neocon strategy is, Julian. And I think it’s not going to work with either country, because they can both see already what’s happening before it’s in place.
JC: So the choice is going to be either destruction, or to accept this Western New World Order, essentially?
PCR: Well, that’s Washington’s idea. Now, suppose they get the BRICS going, and they just simply don’t use the dollar. Suppose all this money printing in the West, and in Japan, simply causes the currencies to collapse. One day America is strong, the next day it is nothing, So there are lots of wild cards.
JC: But, if it could get to the position where it really has encircled, fully, in the way that you describe, then it wouldn’t actually matter, would it, if the dollar is thrown aside, because they would have military power?
PCR: Yes, if they could get to that position - right.
JC: So, do you see that in some ways as a kind of insurance policy against the destruction of the dollar?
PCR: I think what I see is that Russia probably isn’t going to let there be NATO bases in Ukraine, because that would be sort of submitting to the American plan - or, let's say, Washington’s plan; I don’t think the American people have a clue; they don’t know what’s going on.
JC: Oh no. I notice that you are very careful to distinguish that. You always say “Washington” to distinguish it from the American people - absolutely.
PCR: Right. The Americans are in the dark about it. Now, what will Washington do when it realises that Russia really can’t let there be NATO bases in Ukraine? If they say, “Well, we are not going to push this”, that’s one thing. But, with all the John McCains, and the William Kristols, and the neocons, yelling and screaming, and Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice, and Victoria Nuland, and: “Oh, we have to stand up to the Russians; we have to save face” - You know, they are already writing this kind of WWI type of... and then, that’s when you get Armageddon. And the Americans are not capable of avoiding it, because they're ideologues. And so, unless Putin simply says: “Well, better Russia doesn’t exist than the world doesn’t exist” - I mean, he could make that decision; he is that kind of person - and just submits. But that would be unusual. The forces would be against it. The Americans actually have people who think they can win nuclear war. Two of them published an article recently. I think it was in the prestigious Foreign Affairs journal - (you know, the journal of the Council on Foreign [Relations, one of the] in-groups that all the government and former government officials are in). And this article says that the United States can win nuclear war with Russia: If we strike first, we are so good and we have so many advantages over them, they wouldn’t have enough left to do much damage to us, and that they probably wouldn’t use what they had left because they would realise that we would hit them again. And so, you know, if you are Putin, you have got to know about this article; it’s in the public domain.
PCR: And you are reading there, and they are saying: “We can strike them with nuclear weapons and win the war.” I think this was in the Foreign Affairs journal - two of these Dr. Strangelove types; and this is a very serious article.
JC: And if there was an article coming out of Russia from such an august institution like that, all hell would break loose in the media.
PCR: Oh yes, everybody would go berserk. You're right. But it’s all right if the Americans talk about blowing people up with the first strike; nobody gets upset. And then we have Willy Kristol, the son of the famous neocon Irving Kristol. He said, not that long ago, (it’s been some years actually), “What’s the good of nuclear weapons if you can’t use them?” So, you have this kind of thought here. The people in the world need to understand that the United States is not what they think it is. It’s a very dangerous collection of ideologues, who think they are exceptional and indispensable, and that the rest of the world is neither. The rest of the world is dispensable. Look, with all these sanctions that Kerry was threatening to put on Russia, he didn’t consult his European puppets; he didn’t ask the British Prime Minister, or the German Chancellor, or the French President, “What effect will this have on you?” Of course, it will be devastating. First of all, Germany’s energy supplies would be cut over night by one third. What happens to Germany - to the industry? You see, these are just provinces in the Empire: “It’s not worth consulting them.” That’s the mentality. People have to understand this nonconservative stuff is not just some tiny little group somewhere; these are the people running the government. This is Victoria Newland, who is a neoconservative, and is married to one of the most notorious ones - Kagan.
JC: It is confused in the media by being a sort of party political thing, isn’t it? “It’s just the Republicans - the extreme Republicans that are that.” And, of course as you say, it is not the case.
PCR: Yes. National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, is a neocon. The Obama person at the UN, Samantha Powers, is another neocon. And of course, in the Bush regime they had control of every office in the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the State Department; it’s total. And it really is today; it's total. There is no other policy.
JC: Do you think that the totality actually kicked in with the Bush Administration?
PCR: Yes, it did. They first appeared in the Reagan Administration, but they didn’t last long. They caused so much trouble, Reagan fired them all. Some of them were actually prosecuted. The Assistant Secretary of State, Elliot Abrams, was actually prosecuted. He was later pardoned by George Herbert Walker Bush, the Father of George W. Bush. (And, you asked me earlier about Putin was former KGB - well, President George Herbert Walker Bush was former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, so what’s the difference?) So, people need to understand that the United States is not what they think. It's a very ideologically-run Empire by a few people, and the American public is not in on it. They are not clued in; they don’t know. They are told a bunch of garbage. And, even though they are told all this garbage, they are no longer in favour of being in these wars. The polls show the American people don’t want to be involved in the Ukraine; it’s clear. Just as the polls showed the American people did not want Syria to be attacked. I think the polls showed 9% favoured Obama’s attack on Syria - 9%. So, 91% of people don’t want to do it. So, what’s Obama going to do? He’s going to do it anyhow. Because they don’t care what the people think.
JC: And yet they are fighting for democracy all round the world.
PCR: Oh yes,baloney; they are fighting for their world hegemony. You show me one place - one place - where the United States has ever set up a democracy. The first time Egypt gets a democracy in its entire history, we over throw it. That was the Muslim Brotherhood; it was elected. The Egyptian military is on the take; they get almost as much money as we give to Israel. They overthrew it. What are we doing right now in Venezuela? Every thing we can to overthrow an indigenous President, who is not part of this Spanish elite that is in our pocket. What did we do a couple of years ago when Honduras elected a reformer in a democratic election? We had the American-trained military overthrow him.
JC: So I have got to ask you this question, Dr Roberts. I know I have asked you this the last two times that you were on - I mean, you paint a very depressing picture of the real situation...
PCR: I paint a true picture...
JC: Yes, that’s right - exactly. And I commend you for that. But nevertheless, it is depressing. And I think it’s good for us to face that reality. But I do want to ask you: How can we positively respond to this? Because, you know, the natural inclination is for us just to say: “There's nothing... [we can do]. What's going to happen is going to happen.” Is there any hope for us? Can we do anything whatsoever, other than just to do what the neocons would like us to do, and just to sit and watch them take over, and make the stupid mistakes that they are going to make? Can we do anything?
PCR: You can be informed. You are obviously trying to inform some people. But even if everybody who is listening believes it, it’s still a small percentage. Most of the people are just - they live in a world of propaganda. The Western peoples live in the Matrix, and they have got no idea. And so, I don’t know what can be done. I think what you have to count on is major mistakes before you get to the real last chance. And that these major mistakes cause more realisation - it put more brakes on things. Gerald Celente says that the only way you can do this is to have referendums on everything. So, referendums should be held all over Europe, and the UK, and Australia, and New Zealand: “Do you want to invade Ukraine? Do you want to invade Syria? Do you want to go to war in Afghanistan?” And he said, given these referendums, if they are stupid enough to want to do it, that’s one thing, but at least you can no longer say that they are not consulted, and I think that’s a good idea. I think if the governments were not permitted to make decisions for the people, at least not really big ones, dangerous ones, important ones, and people get to make the decision - as they made in Crimea - nobody in the Ukraine has got to vote so far on the government in Kiev, but everybody in Crimea got to vote. So, if all the big shots stop making all the decisions - You know, look at Cameron. You remember the Syria thing? Here's Cameron; he says, “Oh yes, we’ll go with the Americans and attack Syria.” And the British Parliament said, “Well just a minute, you didn’t ask us”...
JC: That was a wonderful moment I have to admit.
PCR: Yes. [They said:] “Let's have a vote.” And, lo and behold, they said No. Now, this was a very important change. Now, I think that the Americans have gone in since, and probably bought off who ever helped organise the vote; it probably couldn’t happen again. I am sure they have gone in with the money and said: “Look this isn’t helpful. Wouldn’t you like to be on the board of General Motors, or General Electric, or - ” You know, so this is the way we operate; this is how we get people to do what we want. So, I think on the whole, that kind of independence, if it happened more often, puts a brake on Washington, because Washington needs cover. It has to have either a UN resolution that it can stretch to the point that breaks it, like Libya, or it’s got to have a “coalition of the willing”, or it’s got to have NATO, or some kind of EU backing. It has to have something, so that it doesn’t look like a war criminal. If it just goes around bombing people on its own, then it’s a rogue state, but if it can carry the West as cover then there are too many to be arrested - too many countries. So, what we are really faced with is that Europe is what is enabling the American military state. Europe is what enables all of these wars that the United States launches on people. And these are devastating wars - I mean, entire countries destroyed. I mean, there is no government in Libya. It’s just chaos - the same in Iraq. Afghanistan is in ruins. Now, we’re taking it in piecemeal ways into Pakistan, and Yemen; Somalia's in ruins. We have started in Syria. You know, I have been reading The Sleepwalkers, which is about how the fools walked into World War I. Now, the consequence of World War I was the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and the destruction of the German governing mechanism; the Kaiser; the Royal family; the complete destruction of the Russian Tsar, they were all killed; and the impoverishment of Britain and France; and it was beginning of Britain becoming an American puppet state. Because, the cost of World War I was so extreme, they never could recover, and then after World War II there was nothing left of Britain; it’s simply now an adjunct of the American cheque book. So nobody won. And Europe, essentially, as it existed, and as it had been known, was destroyed; the entire civilisation changed fundamentally. And the groundwork was - after the war - laid in the way to guarantee World War II. I am sorry that I am so worked up about this, but we are all assaulted with these lies. So, when you ask - What can you do? - you can’t do much. And the way it's working out, the people don’t have a voice. They don’t - the elections are meaningless. What’s the difference between Obama and Bush? Zero,zilch. Between Cameron and Blair? Zilch.
JC: I think more people are becoming aware of that, certainly, and not bothering to vote.
PCR: Anyhow, I don’t know what you are going to do with this. Good luck!
JC: I have to say, this is probably the most unusual interview that I have ever had, because it’s - well it's more of a statement on your part of how you are feeling about this at the moment, which is absolutely fair enough.
PCR: I am just fed up of all the liars, and all the deception, and duplicity and...
PCR: Because, the stakes are the World. These fools can get everybody killed. And I don’t mean Putin and the Russians. I mean the West. That’s where the danger is.
JC: Well, may I say Dr Roberts, thank you very much indeed for sharing these views with us, and how you are feeling about the situation. It is very sobering. It is very concerning, but I do thank you for being so open about it, and sharing this with us today. Thank you very much for joining us.
PCR: Okay Julian, you're welcome - enjoyed it.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Dr. Roberts in this interview are his responsibility alone; they do not necessarily reflect those of The Mind Renewed.