Obama’s Stupid Propaganda Stuff
Just last month, President Obama dispatched Secretary of State Kerry to secure
Russian President Putin’s help in addressing the Syrian crisis and other world
hotspots – but despite Putin’s agreement, Obama has reversed himself and is back
hurling insults at the Russians, a troubling development, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
June 10, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Consortium
President Barack Obama must know better regarding the crisis in
Ukraine, but he insists on reciting the propaganda lines drafted by his
neoconservative and “liberal interventionist” advisers blaming everything on
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Perhaps, Obama just doesn’t have the nerve to go against
Official Washington’s “conventional wisdom” no matter how misguided it is. The
last time that Obama went against the grain in a decisive way was when he
objected to the Iraq War in 2002, but then, of course, he was just a state
senator in Illinois.
Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss
Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete
Watching his behavior in the White House over the past
six-plus year, I’ve come to suspect that – if he had been a national politician
amid the Iraq War fever – he would have gotten in line just like ambitious Sens.
Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden did. Even as President, a position
that gives him enormous power to push back against Official Washington’s “group
think,” he won’t.
Instead Obama spouts stupid propaganda stuff that is
ultimately damaging to the American Republic. At a moment when Obama needs
Putin’s help in addressing dangerous crises in the Middle East – particularly
to deal with advances by Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda’s
hyper-violent spinoff, the Islamic State – Obama insists on joining in more
misrepresentations about the Ukraine crisis.
At the end of the G-7 summit in Bavaria, Germany, Obama
proudly announced that he had gotten the other six industrial powers to continue
sanctions on Russia, based on the dubious argument that it is Russia, not the
U.S.-backed regime in Ukraine, that requires more pressure to implement last
February’s Minsk-2 agreement.
The Minsk-2 deal largely reflected Putin’s ideas regarding
negotiations with ethnic Russian rebels in the east and constitutional changes
granting the region substantial autonomy. However, after Minsk-2 was signed,
hardliners in the Ukrainian government immediately sought to sabotage the
political side by
inserting a poison pill that required the rebels to essentially
surrender before any negotiations could begin.
Since then, the Kiev regime has bulked itself up militarily,
including training from 300 U.S. military advisers. In May, Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko talked publicly about resuming the war and retaking rebel-held
territory in the east, a position that even caused U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry to suggest that Poroshenko should “think twice” about such an action.
Kerry made that remark during meetings with Putin and senior
Russian officials in Sochi, Russia, in what then appeared to be a realistic
shift in Obama’s foreign policy, recognizing the grave dangers from a possible
Al-Qaeda victory in Syria and the need for Russian help in averting that
disaster. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Obama’s
However, in the last few weeks, the flip-flopping Obama seems
to have flopped back into the hard-liners’ camp of neocon Assistant Secretary of
State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and liberal-interventionist
Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Not only did Obama press the
G-7 allies to renew sanctions on Russia, Obama hurled personal insults at Putin.
remarks to the news media on Monday in Krun, Germany, Obama said,
“there is strong consensus that we need to keep pushing Russia to abide by the
terms of the Minsk agreement … [and] that until that’s completed, sanctions
remain in place. There was discussion about additional steps that we might need
to take if Russia, working through separatists, doubled down on aggression
inside of Ukraine. …
“Ultimately, this is going to be an issue for Mr. Putin. He’s
got to make a decision: Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and
continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to re-create the
glories of the Soviet empire? Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does
not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other
“And as I mentioned earlier, the costs that the Russian people
are bearing are severe. That’s being felt. It may not always be understood why
they’re suffering, because of state media inside of Russia and propaganda coming
out of state media in Russia and to Russian speakers. …
“And, ironically, one of the rationales that Mr. Putin
provided for his incursions into Ukraine was to protect Russian speakers
there. Well, Russian speakers inside of Ukraine are precisely the ones who are
bearing the brunt of the fighting. Their economy has collapsed. Their lives are
disordered. Many of them are displaced. Their homes may have been
destroyed. They’re suffering. And the best way for them to stop suffering is if
the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.”
In other words, Obama was doing the Full Monty of Official
Washington’s “group think” on the Ukraine crisis – that it was all caused by
Putin’s “aggression” and his delusions about reestablishing the Soviet or
Russian Empire. But Obama knows the real history of the U.S.-supported coup
d’etat that ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22,
2014, despite Yanukovych’s political agreement a day earlier with France,
Germany and Poland to accept reduced powers and early elections.
Rather than defending that political settlement, the United
States and its European allies immediately recognized the coup regime as
“legitimate,” although it included neo-Nazis and other violent right-wing
extremists who were rabidly hostile to Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority.
In the face of worsening violence, the people of Crimea –
where ethnic Russians are a substantial majority – voted overwhelmingly to
secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, an action supported by Russian troops who
were based at Russia’s historic naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea. Russia
accepted Crimea’s request but balked at a similar appeal from ethnic Russians in
Then, amid feverish anti-Russian propaganda in the U.S. and
European news media, the Kiev authorities designated the ethnic Russian
resistance in the east as “terrorists” and mounted a brutal “anti-terrorism
operation” against the population with the regime’s neo-Nazi and other extremist
militias spearheading the attacks. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Seeing
No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]
It was in the face of this ethnic cleansing that Russia moved
to assist the defense of the so-called Donbass region. Yet, now Obama places the
blame for all the destruction and suffering in eastern Ukraine, where thousands
have died, not on the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and its thuggish militias
but on Putin.
And, with no sense of irony, Obama suggests that it is the
Russian media that is distorting the story, another favorite theme of the U.S.
propaganda campaign on Ukraine pushed by both the Obama administration and the
mainstream U.S. media.
There was an up-is-down quality to the way that Obama
presented the Ukraine situation which is troubling in one of two ways – either
he believes his own propaganda or he is a conscious liar. There’s also a third
possibility, that he has completely lost his bearings and adopts one position
one day and veers in the opposite direction the next depending on who last
talked to him.
But whatever the case, Obama cannot expect Putin and the
Russians to view his public comments and contradictory behavior in a favorable
light – and then agree to cooperate with Obama on other hotspots where U.S.
interests are much more endangered.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and
Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,
America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print
here or as an e-book (from
You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections
to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes
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