Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swore into office a new Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Dr. A. Wess Mitchell became the Trump Administration’s top diplomat for Europe, “responsible for diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, and with NATO, the EU and the OSCE.”
Readers will recall that the position was most recently held during the Obama Administration by Kagan family neocon, Victoria Nuland, who was key catalyst and cookie provider for the US-backed coup overthrowing the elected government in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland’s virulently anti-Russia position was a trademark of the neocon persuasion and she put ideology into action by “midwifing,” in her own words, an illegal change of government in Ukraine.
It was Nuland’s coup that laid the groundwork for a precipitous decay in US/Russia relations, as Washington’s neocons peddled the false line that “Russia invaded Ukraine” to cover up for the fact that it was the US government that had meddled in Ukrainian affairs. The coup was bloody and divisive, resulting in a de-facto split in the country that continues to the day. Ukraine did not flourish as a result of this neocon scheme, but has in fact been in economic free-fall since the US government installed its preferred politicians into positions of power.
You don’t hear much about Ukraine these days because the neocons hate to talk about their failures. But the corruption of the US-installed government has crippled the country, extreme nationalist elements that make up the core of the post-coup elites have imposed a new education law so vicious toward an age-old Hungarian population stuck inside arbitrarily re-drawn post-WWI borders that the Hungarian government has blocked Ukraine’s further integration into NATO, and a new “Maidan” protest has steadily gathered steam in Kiev despite Western cameras being uninterested this time.
Fortunately Donald Trump campaigned on and was elected to improve relations with Russia and end the Obama Administration’s neocon-fueled launch of a new Cold War. He raised eyebrows when he directly challenged the neocon shibboleth – amplified by the mainstream media – that Russia was invading Ukraine. But candidate Trump really blew neocon minds – and delighted voters – when he said he was looking into ending US sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama and may recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
Which brings us back to Wess Mitchell. Certainly President Trump, seeing the destruction of Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland’s anti-Russia interventionism, would finally restore a sane diplomat to the position vacated by the unmourned former Assistant Secretary. Would appoint someone in line with the rhetoric that landed him the Oval Office. Right?
If anything, Wess Mitchell may well prove to be Victoria Nuland on steroids. He was co-founder and CEO of the neocon-dominated Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Mitchell’s CEPA is funded largely by the US government, NATO, neocon grant-making mega-foundations, and the military-industrial complex. The “think tank” does the bidding of its funders, finding a Russian threat under every rock that requires a NATO and defense industry response – or we’re doomed!
Mitchell’s CEPA’s recent greatest hits? “The Kremlin’s 20 toxic tactics,” “Russian disinformation and anti-Western narratives in Romania: How to fight back?,” “Winning the Information War,” “Alliances and American greatness,” “Russia’s historical distortions,” “What the Kremlin Fears Most,” and so on. You get the idea. The raison d’etre of the organization founded by the new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia is to foment a new (and very profitable) Cold War (and more?) with Russia.
Last month, CEPA put on its big conference, the “CEPA Forum 2017.” Speakers included central European heavy hitter politicos like the president of Latvia and also Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, who gave a talk on how “the unity of the NATO Alliance” is “what Russia fears the most.” The grand event was funded, as might be expected, by war contractors Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. But also, surprisingly, significant funding came from the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban, who is seen as somewhat of a maverick in central Europe for refusing to sign on to the intense Russia-hate seen in the Baltics and in Poland.
The no-doubt extraordinarily expensive conference was funded by no less than three Hungarian government entities: the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC, the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group. Again, given Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s reputation for bucking neocon positions vis-à-vis Russia it is surprised to see the virulently anti-Russia CEPA conference so awash in Hungarian taxpayer money. Perhaps there is something to explore in the fact that the recently-fired Hungarian Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi, was recently named executive vice president of CEPA. Hmmm. Makes you wonder.
But back to Mitchell. So he founded a neocon think tank funded by a NATO desperate for new missions and a military-industrial complex desperate for new wars. What about his own views? Surely he can’t be as bad as Nuland. Right? Wrong! Fortunately Assistant Secretary Mitchell is a prolific writer, so it’s easy to track his thinking. In a recent piece for neocon Francis Fukuyama’s American Interest, titled “Predators on the Frontiers,” Mitchell warns that, “From eastern Ukraine and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, large rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable US allies.”
Mitchell continues, in a voice right out of the neocon canon, that:
By degrees, the world is entering the path to war. Not since the 1980s have the conditions been riper for a major international military crisis. Not since the 1930s has the world witnessed the emergence of multiple large, predatory states determined to revise the global order to their advantage – if necessary by force.
We are on a path to war not seen since the 1930s! And why are our “enemies” so hell-bent on destroying us? Because we are just so isolationist!
Writes Mitchell: “Over the past few years, Russia, China, and, to a degree, Iran have sensed that the United States is retreating in their respective regions…”
We are “retreating”?
So what can we do? Mitchell again does the bidding of his paymasters in advising that the only thing we can do to save ourselves is…spend more on militarism:
The United States should therefore enhance its nuclear arsenal by maintaining and modernizing it. It needs to sustain a credible nuclear extended deterrent at a time when revisionist states are gradually pushing their spheres of influence and control closer to, if not against, U.S. allies. Moreover, it should use the limited tactical nuclear weapons at its disposal and seed them in a few of the most vulnerable and capable frontline states (Poland and Japan, for instance) under “nuclear sharing” agreements.
There is our new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Our top diplomat for Europe. The only solution is a military solution. President Trump. Elected to end the endless wars, to forge better relations with Russia, to rollback an “outdated” NATO. President Trump has replaced Victoria Nuland with something far more dangerous and frightening. Heckuva job, there, Mr. President!
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.