Human rights lawyer and law professor Dan Kovalik has written about events in the world with US fingerprints on events. Below is the review of his The Plot To Scapegoat Russia, but there is a more timely discussion at the Neutrality Studies Youtube.
Return of the Red Scare
The Plot To Scapegoat Russia
By Dan Kovalik
Skyhorse Publishing, 2017
Paperback, 240 Pages
List: $18.99 Amazon: $12.78
Review by Richard Morchoe
Dan Kovalik probably never thought that he would have written The Plot To Scapegoat Russia the way he did. Not that he believed the Central Intelligence Agency was beyond any skullduggery in promoting foreign adventures. Indeed, he has spent years observing the agency’s antics in Latin America.
Mr. Kovalik must be surprised by the fact that the only man we can pin our hopes on to stop the march to conflict, if not nuclear war is Donald Trump. Trump, being a reactionary plutocrat is the type of person Kovalik would normally have nothing but disdain for.
It can’t be anything he is too happy about. Dan Kovalik is an old-school lefty. He cut his teeth protesting U.S. involvement south of the border, traveling to Nicaragua in 1988 to oppose the Contras. There may a social program he’s against, but that is hard to imagine. The Trump agenda must gall him.
Except for one aspect.
Donald Trump was suggesting, in his campaign utterances, that it may not be a bad idea to actually try and get along with Russia. He suggested as well that maybe we did not have the solution to the Syrian imbroglio.
In that one aspect at least, Donald stood head and shoulders above the competition.
How did we get to a point in history where a progressive activist could see Donald Trump as preferable to the Democrat’s standard bearer? It’s a long story and in no way travels a straight line.
He spends much of the book discussing his activities in Latin America. Kovalik identifies with the Sandinistas and opposes United Fruit (i.e. Chiquita Brands International) Company and their pervasive and destructive influence in Guatemala going back to the 1954 coup. His account takes the side of the poor and indigenous peoples. At first, I thought his narrative dwelt a little bit too much on the past. It does become obvious that he sees U.S. policy as continuing from the past into the present and all cut from the same cloth.
In his coverage of the Cold War between NATO and the Soviets he is also somewhat kind to the memory of the Eastern Bloc. Not that there is not sufficient blame to go around.
When he does get to the subject of the book’s title, the author is on solid ground. His detail of the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and the role of people from the West in looting the corpse, as well as the continuing demonization of the Putin regime is worth the price of the book for the uninformed. That would be most Americans.
On Page 132 he begins the story of how we started on the road to the new cold war and though he does not say it, the origins of 911.
“Another momentous and arguably disastrous, Cold War maneuver of the US was its support for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, which at the time shared a 1000-mile-long border with the Soviet Union.”
Without our support for what turned out to include many fanatical Islamic extremists, including Bin Laden, the Soviet Union would probably still have had a lot on its hands, but would have had been better able to manage any changes necessary.
Our support for the Mujahideen insured, like for us in Vietnam, that the Soviets could never defeat the enemy. It would be a slow bleed and would fatally weaken the U.S.S.R.
Things had to change and they did. The Reagan Administration and Mikhail Gorbachev came to a modus vivendi. On Page 111 the author quotes the LA Times,
“In early February 1990, US leaders made the Soviets an offer. According to transcripts of meetings in Moscow on Feb. 9th then- Secretary of State James Baker suggested that in exchange for cooperation, US could make ‘iron-clad guarantees’ that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward.” Less than a week later, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to begin reunification talks. No formal deal was struck, but from all the evidence, the quid pro quo was clear: Gorbachev acceded to Germany’s western alignment and the U.S. would limit NATO’s expansion.”
Kovalik notes the promise was quickly broken and most of the old Warsaw Pact are now NATO members. The expansion continues with the U.S. trying to enlist former Soviet Republics. It is hard to argue that the world is better for NATO enlargement.
Chapter 7 CLINTON MEDDLES IN RUSSIA WITH DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES gives an account of the machinations of Bill Clinton’s presidency as regards the Yeltsin regime. He did not do us proud. Yeltsin was essentially our stooge until he knew he could not continue. This led to Putin whose big sin is not being our patsy.
Chapter 11 THE US EXPANDS AS RUSSIA CONTRACTS: BROKEN PROMISES AND HUMILIATION explores the project to extend our influence at the expense of Russia. None of it is anything we can brag about, but the worst bit is our Ambassador Pyatt and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland deciding the fate of the Ukrainian government after we had helped riot out an elected, if corrupt, president. The pair were recorded doing just that and the heavy-handed discussion is rightly attacked by Kovalik. He does not mention that the recording went “viral.” *
Mr. Kovalik eventually reaches the reality show of the recent American election. The desire to blame the Russians for the inept campaign of Hillary Clinton is explored at length as are the commonsense pronouncements of The Donald.
Suggesting that we not bug the Russkies and maybe overthrowing Syria was not a genius level idea appealed to a population that was tired of wars without result. The Putin is the devil campaign left something to be desired with many including an old socialist like the author.
Post-election, Trump has not lived up to his better nature. Kovalik notes on Page 170 that “it is never clear what Trump is truly thinking or intending.” This is true and whether it is a good strategy or evidence of a scattered mind is a matter for debate. Trump was quick in throwing some token bombs at a Syrian air base after a supposed chemical attack.
Since the book has been published, the new president has not bombed North Korea. He worked out an agreement with Putin for a ceasefire in South West Syria that is holding and cannot make the neocons in or out of his government happy, so we live in hope.
In his short book, Dan Kovalik covers a lot of ground. The continuing demonization of a nuclear power makes his book an important resource for anyone who wants to understand what is going on.
Some of the author’s views are a bit one sided. His favoritism of the now Soviet Ancien Regime can seem a bit overboard. It is at odds with your reviewer’s memory of the brutal repression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, and certainly the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. Still, his account of the anti-Russian hysteria is well sourced with ample footnotes. Unfortunately, with the media’s parroting of the hostile narrative, from NPR to The New York Times, do not expect him to get glowing reviews.
*The recording is still extant and one can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k . After listening you may be forgiven for wondering if State recruits at clown colleges.