The Russia-Ukraine Crisis: The History Our Media Got Wrong

Russia’s looming invasion of Ukraine presents a clear and present danger to the safety of the European Union and a direct challenge to the NATO alliance, but only now are our major media waking up to this dire threat to Western security. We must now confront urgent questions: Did the United States strengthen Russia, did it weaken Ukraine, and did it do so under the nose of these media?

First, a quick run-through of American actions that strengthened Russia. In his 2009 inaugural address, Barack Obama promised to approach adversaries with an open hand, not a closed fist. For this, he won a Nobel Peace Prize, an oxymoronic name, equivalent to the Affordable Care Act.

Accordingly, Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began the “Russian reset” initiative, in which “reset” was misspelled in Russian to mean “overcharge,” the latter ultimately proving more descriptive. 

Soon after his election, Obama scuttled existing plans to deploy ground-based interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic, because Russia expressed disapproval, and Obama did not want to be provocative. The media did not seem to notice that since these missiles were defensive only, and should only worry a Russia intending to go on offense. Obama and Clinton also supported a head-scratching Megatons to Megawatts program to cause the shipping of nuclear warheads from around the world to Russia, which in turn was to use the uranium for commercial purposes, oblivious to Putin’s use of energy as an economic weapon against states such as Ukraine.

Clinton also had the “equity” vote in approving the sale of Uranium One, with rich stocks of American and Kazakh uranium, ultimately to Russia, giving Putin monopolistic pricing power to utilities around the world, including those in the United States. While our media easily tumbled to the fantasy that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia, the media had no criticism of Clinton’s actual collusion with Russia, for which the Clinton Foundation received hundreds of millions. 

Again, with Obama’s blessing, Clinton helped develop Skolkovo, “Russia’s Silicon Valley,” by allowing the transfer of valuable dual-use technology, perhaps by coincidence also enriching some of the biggest contributors to the Clinton Foundation from both the United States and Russia. The Defense Department called this an “overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage.”

Clinton’s successor John Kerry then forged a deal with Iran that would allow the country nuclear weapons at least by 2030, likely before, given the lack of real verification. The contractor on Iran’s largest nuclear reactor at Bushehr? Russia.

To encourage this deal, Kerry and Obama thought it best that America strengthen both Iran and its ally Syria so that, counterintuitively, Iran would be persuaded to agree. Russia began huge shipments of weaponry to Syria without any protest from Obama or Kerry or, significantly, our major media. It is noteworthy that after Obama drew a “red line” in the sand against Syrian chemical weapons use, Syria crossed it 16 times without consequence.

Following all of the above, the major media credulously decreed that it was Trump who was Putin’s puppet, a misconception that for four years both manacled our president, and plunged the country into contention and turmoil, to the evident delight of Putin

Recent Russian history merges with Ukraine’s. Putin, emboldened by Obama’s “red line” dithering, invaded Crimea in 2014, whereupon Obama provided desperate Ukrainians only blankets and food rations. As Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said, “One cannot win a war with blankets.”

In 1991, Ukraine possessed the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. President Bill Clinton quickly pushed Ukraine to rid itself of its nuclear weapons by giving them to Russia, while the United States agreed to defend Ukraine, a deal simultaneously weakening Ukraine, strengthening Russia, and obligating the United States.

In 2005, after ridding itself of nuclear weapons, Ukraine still had plenty of conventional weaponry with which to repel a Russian assault. But Senator Obama took it upon himself to push Ukraine to agree to give up 15,000 tons of ammunition; 400,000 small arms; 1,000 anti-aircraft portable or shoulder missiles. 

Later, as president, Obama took the lead to sponsor a three-year NATO program to destroy Ukraine’s remaining weapons, including 117,000 tons of ammunition and 1.1 million small arms and light weapons. 

Because of clear military and energy weakness, Ukraine was now forced to become a geopolitical “jump ball” between Russia and the EU, the latter seeing Ukraine as a bulwark of European security.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was portrayed in the media as a Russian-leaning politician, which Obama policies had forced him to be. But his American advisor, Paul Manafort, persuaded him that Ukraine’s best future was with the EU, whereupon Yanukovych agreed to sign an EU Cooperation Agreement. But Yanukovych knew that Ukraine would suffer economically because Russia had such great energy and financial leverage. In exchange for signing the agreement, he wanted the United States to guarantee foreign aid to make up for lost Russian benefits. But the Obama Administration played it cute, cutting the prosciutto too fine, thinking that the Cooperation Agreement was in the bag, and that it could force Yanukovych out by starving him, while supporting a successor. Yanukovych’s mother raised no fool, no deal was signed, and the country erupted

In the wake of the ensuing Maidan Revolution, Putin invaded Ukraine to annex Crimea, an extremely valuable strategic location, and also invaded Eastern Ukraine. By sending only blankets and food rations, weak-kneed Obama violated the Budapest Memorandum and the Trilateral Statement. But there was no blowback from our media.

Knowing that Ukraine would continue to be weakened by its endemic corruption, Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to be the administration’s “point man” to fight corruption. Think fox, henhouse.

Biden proceeded to protect his son Hunter’s corrupt clients, which included violent oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Mikola Zlochevsky, owners of the corrupt PrivatBank and Burisma. Biden forced the firing of honest prosecutor Viktor Shokin, and funneled the Burisma prosecutions to the American-backed National Bureau of Corruption, advised by James Comey’s FBI, which gave a sweetheart deal to Burisma. Biden’s hand-picked ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, refused U.S. visas to two prosecutors who wished to come to the United States to complain of Biden-centric corruption.

This was the universe Donald Trump inherited when he came into office, immediately weakened by the “Russian collusion” canard gullibly embraced by the media. Then he was further weakened in fighting Russian influence over Ukraine by a partisan impeachment based upon a single phone call to newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky. The unintended consequence of this nakedly partisan stunt was that Zelensky was not forced to investigate corruption in Ukraine.

Yes, such an investigation would have hurt Joe Biden, because Ukrainian corruption was synonymous with Hunter Biden, protected by his father. But America would have been the main beneficiary, because a probe would have fingered the most corrupt and violent oligarch in Ukraine, Kolomoisky, forcing Zelensky to disassociate. Instead, Kolomoisky, the biggest sponsor of Zelensky, soon began importuning Zelensky to welcome Russian influence.

Oh, yes, let’s not forget that recently Joe Biden overrode Trump’s policy and allowed Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to become a vulnerable German jugular vein, weakening NATO.

So, while Ukraine has been weakened and Russia strengthened, what was the narrative adopted by our major media? Everything that the Clintons, Obama and Biden did in Russia and Ukraine made our country safer. The direct opposite was true, however. Our media’s simplistic partisan narratives have done more than elect favored politicians. They also threaten the security of Europe, the United States, and the rest of the free world. 

The Washington Post’s masthead proclaims, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” The Post’s media cohorts have shown why this is true.

About John D. O'Connor

John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the author of Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism.

Photo: "Motherland" is a monumental sculpture in Kiev. iStock/Getty Images

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