The perception of the events in Ukraine that U.S. imperialism seeks to propagate is one of “see no evil, hear no evil” when it comes to the role Washington has played. The demonization of Russia is so extreme that Kiev supporters often can’t even admit the conflict is a proxy war, for fear that this would in any way harm their narrative about Russia being a completely unprovoked imperialist aggressor. When those on the pro-NATO side have to seriously engage with the reality of what Washington is doing, their responses have a tellingly open-ended nature, where they concede that the views of the anti-imperialists are potentially true while insisting that the whole matter is subjective. Like when the neoconservative think tank the Atlantic Council has concluded that “Ukraine’s status as a proxy for the United States and NATO may be a matter of interpretation.”
As the think tank admits in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s charge that Washington is waging a proxy war, “That the United States’, much less NATO’s, military support for Kyiv raises ethical concerns is no surprise; states rarely provide military assistance to other parties unless their interests are also served.” But the possibility that such concerns are based in fact is only vaguely entertained by these neocons. Right after recognizing it’s entirely possible that they’re wrong, and that Washington is indeed using Ukraine as a tool in a geopolitical game, they make it clear that their concern is not over the situation’s ethics. It’s about how best to advance imperialism’s strategic and narrative goals, despite Lavrov clearly having a point: “whether the United States and its NATO partners are in a textbook proxy relationship with Ukraine matters less than the potential consequences if that relationship isn’t properly managed. Both parties should pay close attention to these possible perils—if not out of a commitment to the values associated with the liberal international order, then at least to deny Russia a narrative that can make its cause seem more legitimate.”
The people whose minds the imperialists seek to influence on Ukraine, those being the masses whose opinions provide a sense of “democratic” authenticity to the wars their governments wage, don’t have their support for military aid to Kiev dependent on whether it can be called a proxy war. As long as the imperialists can convince the people that Russia’s actions are without provocation, and that Operation Z’s denazification mission is lacking in factual grounds, the public won’t undergo a consciousness shift. This is why the imperialist propaganda outlets have admitted that it’s a proxy conflict, and instead focus on those other areas within the propaganda war.
As Michael Parenti has said about the attitude our ruling class has towards how we view the world:, “I tell students when they say, ‘Oh they don’t care what we think. They ignore us’, and all that, and I say, ‘Oh no, no. That’s the only thing they care about. The only thing they care about is what you’re thinking.” This is because democracy may be an illusion under capitalism, but even dictatorships do everything they can to control the flow of information and deceive the people into supporting the government’s policies. If the people become conscious of their government’s lies, it’s only a matter of time before the government falls.
Crucial to keeping the public from discovering our government’s big lie on Ukraine—that Russia’s intervention was unprovoked—is maintaining blanket suspicion towards every statement Russia makes to explain its actions. The people must be made to believe Russia is lying when it says neo-Nazis make up a defining element of the Ukrainian governmentalal and military structure. Conversely, when Russia says Washington is using Ukraine as a proxy, the imperialist narrative managers must insist that even if this is true, Washington certainly doesn’t seek to prolong the conflict for the sake of weakening Russia. This is what Biden has asserted in one op-ed, which contains perhaps the clearest example so far of the current president telling a lie. Perhaps we’re waging a proxy war, they say, but that’s up to interpretation. And if you can prove we are, we aren’t doing it for selfish reasons.
Their narrative of a noble proxy war, in which Washington has been taking Kiev’s side against Russia for altruistic reasons, is recognizable as absurd if one has any knowledge of how imperialism works, or the most rudimentary understanding of U.S. history. The U.S. empire would never give military aid to a country, or sacrifice its own internal social stability by imposing self-destructive sanctions, out of some unselfish desire to defend that country’s self-determination. The entire reason the United States exists is due to the genocidal annexation of an entire continent of indigenous nations, and Washington has violated the sovereignty of many dozens of countries through its own invasions and foreign meddling. The aid to Kiev is not about defending the Ukrainian people, but about using them as expendable tools to destabilize Eurasia. To believe Washington is acting altruistically—and by extension to believe Russia is acting out of imperial ambition—one would have to be unaware of every time the U.S. empire has committed crimes similar to the crimes it’s committed in Ukraine.
In parallel to how Washington carried out a fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014, Washington has carried out numerous coups throughout Latin America especially. In parallel to how the U.S. has been backing Nazi terrorists in Ukraine, the U.S. has backed Chilean Nazi torturers, Islamist terror groups, terroristic Hong Kong protesters, numerous dictatorships, drug lords, and the genocidal states of Israel and Saudi Arabia in order to advance imperialism’s goals. In parallel to how the U.S.-backed Kiev regime has carried out ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing has been a common practice for the governments the U.S. supports (see Israel for just one example). In parallel to how the CIA carried out false flags throughout the Yugoslavia conflict to portray the Serbs as solely responsible for the war, such fraudulent atrocity stories are now being attributed to Russia.
Another similarity to Yugoslavia is in how the U.S. installed a series of far-right leaders after dismembering Yugoslavia, like how the U.S. has done within Ukraine during the last decade. In parallel to how the U.S. south Korean puppet dictatorship planned to invade the DPRK, then the U.S. portrayed the DPRK as the aggressor when the DPRK preemptively intervened to defend itself, the U.S. has portrayed Russia as the aggressor for preemptively defending the Donbass republics from a planned Ukrainian invasion.
In parallel to how Washington is using Ukraine as a proxy war instrument for weakening Russia, Washington used the Mujahideen as proxy war agents for weakening the Soviet Union. Which later had terroristic blowback towards the United States, like how Washington’s support for neo-Nazi Ukrainian militants may one day start exacerbating America’s own white supremacist violence problem. We’re already seeing U.S. neo-Nazis regularly use Ukraine as a training ground for gaining combat experience, and seeing racial U.S. mass shooters use the same symbols Azov often uses. Imperialism’s infamous past catastrophes are repeating themselves, now with the additional factor of an inflation crisis that’s being exacerbated by this wildly destructive imperialist maneuver. In essentially all parts of the globe, the various human costs of this proxy war are being felt.
How do the empire’s narrative managers engage with these realities? They don’t, because they can’t. If the people get reminded of all the atrocities and vile schemes their government has carried out in pursuit of total worldwide hegemony, this conflict will become easily recognizable as another one of these U.S. crimes. It will become only logical to accept that Russia’s intervention was provoked, and that the U.S. installed a belligerent fascist regime in Kiev with the intention of provoking it. Our ruling class doesn’t want us to engage in these logical steps. “Hear no evil, see no evil” must be maintained by any means necessary, and all the historical context behind today’s events must be concealed.
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