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Appointing 'Sovietologist' as a new US ambassador to Russia not the road to peace

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst from New York City and is an activist with the International Action Center and Workers World Party. He has worked against police brutality and mass incarceration.

Published time: July 04, 2014 10:54
John Tefft (Reuters/Dmitry Neymyrok)

The Cold War against the Soviet Union became an industry in the United States.

In order to help the US government carry out its conflict with the Soviet Union, Universities churned out hundreds of “Sovietologists” and “Kremlinologists” with expertise on the USSR.

Of course, these well trained anti-Communists who staffed the US Foreign Service did not study the USSR with the intention of solidifying the “Peaceful Co-Existence” that Khrushchev called for. Rather, the Sovietologists were a core dedicated to overthrowing the USSR, which they saw as “tyrannical” and an “evil empire.”

John Tefft, recently appointed to be the US ambassador to the Russian Federation, has been in the US Foreign Service for decades. He began his work in 1972, and he has worked in Georgia, Lithuania, and most recently Ukraine. Obama is now scheduled to give him the important task of managing US diplomatic relations with Russia, the largest country on earth. The appointment of Tefft is consistent with the tragic observation of many that there is a “new cold war.”

Tricks from the Sovietology text book

The Soviet Union was something that the leaders of the United States, Britain, and other Western countries simply could not tolerate. In the direct aftermath of the Russian Revolution Winston Churchill spoke of “strangling the baby in the cradle”, and armies from Britain, France, Germany, and the United States were sent to squash the USSR. In later years, Ronald Reagan spoke of an “evil empire.”

The justification for the spending of billions of dollars to develop nuclear weapons was always horror stories of the “red menace.” It has been revealed the CIA arranged to publish the Anti-Soviet novel “Dr. Zhivago”, along with score of other pieces of anti-communist literature.

In Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968, in Poland in the 1980s, and other countries throughout the Soviet aligned bloc in Eastern Europe, the US foment and promoted right-wing anti-Soviet revolts. In many of these revolts, Nazis and Fascists played an important role. The US embassies in these Soviet aligned states worked to create sympathy for these movements, and to portray violent street thugs who admired Hitler as “peaceful movements” of “idealistic youth.”

At the same time the US promoted instability in Eastern Europe, it also surrounded the USSR and its allies militarily. The United States placed nuclear weapons in Turkey, and thousands of troops in West Germany. From 1946 until the demise of the USSR, there was not a moment that threat of nuclear annihilation did not hang over its head. The USSR was forced to spend millions from its domestic budget on playing catch up in the “arms race”, hoping to avoid being left vulnerable to nuclear destruction.

But the cold war is over! With the USSR gone and the Marxist-Leninist parties driven from power in the former Warsaw Pact states such tactics are supposed to be items from the past.

Yet, we are seeing them continue.

The Euro-Maidan movement in Ukraine that toppled the elected government of Yanukovich was almost identical to the events in Hungary in 1956. Fascists were unleashed with Western support, while the international press talked about a “mass movement from below.”

The attacks on government in Lukashenko’s Belarus have also been from this playbook. Ultra-rightists are promoted to unleash violence, and any move by the elected government to restore stability and order is dubbed “the iron boot of repression.”

Just as during the Cold War, the promoting of domestic unrest was accompanied by external military threat, the same has occurred in the present. US troops are pouring into Poland, as are missiles, and other mass mechanisms of destruction. NATO is marching eastward, and Russia, a country that is no longer led by Communists, but still existing as an independent force of economics on the world oil and gas markets, is the target.

The permanent US war policy

John Tefft, Victoria Nuland, and other US figures are no longer fighting Communism in Eastern Europe, but they are maneuvering from the same playbook. They are using the same tactics they developed in their days as crazed “Sovietologists.”

While Obama may have spoken of a “new day” in relation to Russia, the fact that Tefft is being promoted shows that such a thing has not occurred. Tefft has presided over US operations in Georgia, Lithuania, and now Ukraine. In all these countries neo-liberalism has triumphed, mass privatizations have been carried out, and the goals sought by the Kremlinologists of the world have been enacted.

The problem is that it has not created prosperity or freedom. Since the events of 1991, the ideological supporters of Western free market neo-liberalism have had free reign. But their experiment has failed.

Entrance into what Bush called “The New Europe” has only brought poverty, drug addiction, sex trafficking, and all kinds of societal ills. Many opinion polls taken in Eastern Europe show complete contempt for the “brave new world” imposed by Wall Street, London, and the IMF.

Putin currently leads Russia toward economic independence, away from NATO and EU. He is part of the bloc of countries such as China, Venezuela, and Iran that are seeking a new global economic model, beyond Wall Street’s control. So, the cold warriors are at it again. They are funding violent political movements against governments that defy them. They are threatening a new world war by building up military apparatus.

The new cold war, much like the old cold war, is not driven by competing ideologies. It is rather driven by a desire for profits and domination of markets. Tefft and co-workers are using the same script as before, because they are working to achieve the same goals.

Peace between the US and Russia is something all sensible human beings would desire. Unfortunately, it is not what the likes of John Tefft have been trained to carry out.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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