Speaking at a campaign rally for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on October 29 in the Renaissance High School Gym in Detroit, Michigan, former U.S. President Barack Obama was heckled by two activists, Anastasia and Stewart Battle. They indicted Obama for helping to spearhead the February 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine and for escalating tensions with Russia that have raised the prospect of nuclear war.
Obama stopped his speech to address the hecklers, stating: “Come on, this is what I mean, we are having a conversation. Right now, I’m talking, you’ll have a chance to talk sometime later.”
Obama continued: “We like each other, we don’t have to shout each other down—it’s not a good way to do business. You wouldn’t do that in the workplace. We wouldn’t just interrupt people having a conversation. It’s not how we do things.”
The crowd rallied behind Obama during the exchange, chanting his name, and the hecklers were escorted out of the building.
Comedian Jimmy Dore dedicated 15 minutes of his show to Obama’s confrontation with the Battles.
Dore opened his show saying, “So, Barack Obama got heckled over the Democrats’ war mongering, and his war mongering. So, you know Barack Obama took us from two wars to seven; Barack Obama dropped more bombs than George Bush; Barack Obama presided over the invasion and bombing of Libya and turning it into a failed state, with open slave markets—they did that with NATO. He also occupied Afghanistan.”
See clip here.
Following that apt description of Obama’s presidency, Dore showed a screenshot of José Vega’s posting about the Battles, reporting that Vega had earlier called out Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her support for the Ukraine War and NATO, and said that the Battles showed up to call out “bloodthirsty Obama” for his role in instigating the conflict in Ukraine.
Dore laid into Obama for his calls for civility after the Battles’ remarks, reminding the audience that Obama is one of the most powerful people in the world, and is still considered the leader of the Democratic Party:
“So, these are people protesting one of the most powerful men in the world about nuclear war—this is not the same thing as interrupting someone at work on purpose—you fucking piece of shit.”
Chiding Obama for saying “come on” and calling for dialogue in response to the Battles’ disdain for civility, Dore laid into Obama again:
“But we’re not in the middle of a conversation—you’re giving a bullshit propaganda-filled fucking political rally, and someone’s gonna protest it—that’s what the United States is built on … we’re going into a nuclear war—we’ve got to have manners?”
Dore then turned his attention to the Detroit audience, which had tried to shut the Battles down.
“Somebody had the courage to advocate for no nuclear war with Russia, and the crowd responded by chanting ‘Obama’? Imagine having your head shoved so far up your favorite politician’s asshole that you would turn on a person who is against nuclear war.”
Father of the Ukraine War
Obama’s designation as the “Father of the Ukraine War” stems from his administration’s support for the 2014 coup in Ukraine that triggered war with Russia.
The coup resulted from large-scale protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square that were directed against Ukraine’s democratically elected pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych who spurned an IMF proposal that would have pushed austerity measures on Ukraine.
Infiltrated by right-wing groups who worshipped Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, the Maidan Square protesters lacked enough signatures to impeach Yanukovych and so forced him to flee the country and then hunted down his supporters.
The Obama administration had applied economic pressures on Ukraine in an attempt to bring down Yanukovych, and encouraged the protesters (Victoria Nuland, the head of the State Department’s European desk, was famously photographed handing out cookies to them).
Obama also expanded the operations of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA offshoot, which financed anti-Yanukovych media.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2014-2020)—a main beneficiary of the Maidan coup currently awaiting trial on treason charges—bestowed the Order of Princess Olga, one of Ukraine’s highest honors, on Dr. Nadia Diuk, a former vice president and senior adviser to the NED for Europe and Eurasia.
After the coup, the Obama administration promised Poroshenko’s government $1 billion in loan guarantees and provided the Ukrainian military nearly $600 million in security assistance, supplying it with counter-artillery radars, anti-tank systems, armored vehicles and drones.
A back door arms pipeline was set up through the United Arab Emirates; Special Forces and CIA operatives were deployed to train Ukraine’s military and police; and the Oklahoma and New York National Guards became embedded with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
In this way, the Obama administration directly supported the Poroshenko regime’s invasion of the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, whose people opposed new language laws and voted overwhelmingly for greater regional autonomy in referendums.
In a speech at West Point on May 28, 2014, Obama claimed that, “in Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Easterm Europe.”
However, while the Russian army supported the eastern Ukrainian rebels, the aggressor in the war was clearly Ukraine, backed by the U.S. And it was the Ukrainian—and not Russian—military which carried out most shellings in eastern Ukraine, according to UN reports, along with other atrocities like torture.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine provoked by the Obama administration set the backdrop for the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022, which was designed to save the people of eastern Ukraine and end the violence being carried out on Russia’s border.
The Zelensky regime had threatened to retake Crimea, home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, whose people had voted to rejoin Russia after the Maidan coup.
21st Century Cold Warrior
The United States is better prepared to fight a nuclear war with Russia today because of Obama’s trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization plan that the Trump and now Biden administrations have extended.
In his first term, Obama had advanced a “reset policy” designed to ameliorate U.S-Russia relations, but then in 2012, succumbed to lobbying pressure by Democratic Party donors who opposed Vladimir Putin’s nationalistic economic program and passed the Magnitsky Act imposing sanctions on Russia.
This was in response to Russia’s never proven killing of an alleged whistleblower, Sergei Magnitsky, in prison after he threatened to expose the Russian government’s role in stealing the company of an American hedge fund manager, William F. Browder.
However, a film by Andrei Nekrasov showed that Magnitsky was not a heroic whistleblower but a suspect in a $230 million tax scam perpetrated by Browder, who was later convicted in absentia in Russia on tax evasion charges.
The Magnitsky law that sanctioned Russia, for allegedly moral reasons, was really all the result of a self-serving propaganda campaign directed at Congress by a white collar criminal, William F. Browder and other wealthy financiers with a personal vendetta against Vladimir Putin—who took back control of Russia’s economy after a period of western looting in the 1990s under Boris Yeltsin who had rapidly privatized and deregulated it.
A Hollow Hero
In today’s political landscape, Barack Obama remains a hero to many who regard themselves as liberals and leftists because he was the first Black president, and also because he stood up to the extremism of the GOP. But although he certainly was the first Black president, Obama did not in reality stand up to the extremism of the GOP.
On the contrary, Obama repeatedly caved in to Republican pressure and failed to propose, let alone support and pass, the progressive legislation that he campaigned on—and which he could have easily passed since his party controlled both the House and Senate for more then two years. Instead, he used his presidential power to launch five brutal, bloody—and illegal—wars against Third World countries and set the world on a path to potential nuclear war by ordering Victoria Nuland and the CIA to stage the 2014 Ukrainian coup, while then sponsoring the dirty war in eastern Ukraine.
The defense of Obama by the crowd in Detroit shows just how wedded so many are to partisan and identity politics. Just because Obama is a Democrat and a Black man he gets a pass—even when his administration’s political interference in Ukraine and escalation of tensions with Russia have resulted in disaster for the Ukrainian people while accelerating the potential for a major global cataclysm.
This section is largely drawn from Jeremy Kuzmarov, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019). ↑
Magnitsky died likely of heart failure and was not actually murdered. ↑
CovertAction Magazine is made possible by subscriptions, orders and donations from readers like you.
Blow the Whistle on U.S. Imperialism
Click the whistle and donate
When you donate to CovertAction Magazine, you are supporting investigative journalism. Your contributions go directly to supporting the development, production, editing, and dissemination of the Magazine.
CovertAction Magazine does not receive corporate or government sponsorship. Yet, we hold a steadfast commitment to providing compensation for writers, editorial and technical support. Your support helps facilitate this compensation as well as increase the caliber of this work.
Please make a donation by clicking on the donate logo above and enter the amount and your credit or debit card information.
CovertAction Institute, Inc. (CAI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your gift is tax-deductible for federal income purposes. CAI’s tax-exempt ID number is 87-2461683.
We sincerely thank you for your support.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s). CovertAction Institute, Inc. (CAI), including its Board of Directors (BD), Editorial Board (EB), Advisory Board (AB), staff, volunteers and its projects (including CovertAction Magazine) are not responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. This article also does not necessarily represent the views the BD, the EB, the AB, staff, volunteers, or any members of its projects.
Differing viewpoints: CAM publishes articles with differing viewpoints in an effort to nurture vibrant debate and thoughtful critical analysis. Feel free to comment on the articles in the comment section and/or send your letters to the Editors, which we will publish in the Letters column.
Copyrighted Material: This web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. As a not-for-profit charitable organization incorporated in the State of New York, we are making such material available in an effort to advance the understanding of humanity’s problems and hopefully to help find solutions for those problems. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. You can read more about ‘fair use’ and US Copyright Law at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.
Republishing: CovertAction Magazine (CAM) grants permission to cross-post CAM articles on not-for-profit community internet sites as long as the source is acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original CovertAction Magazine article. Also, kindly let us know at info@CovertActionMagazine.com. For publication of CAM articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: info@CovertActionMagazine.com.
By using this site, you agree to these terms above.
About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of four books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019) and The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).
He can be reached at: email@example.com.