Right Out of a George Orwell Novel
As the U.S. escalates its involvement in wars in Ukraine and Gaza, Joe Biden gave a speech at the Oval Office on October 19 that was totally detached from reality.
The speech was designed to legitimize a $106 billion budget request to Congress for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, Taiwan and the U.S. border. Of that total, $61.4 billion would go for military assistance to Ukraine, with $14.3 billion being earmarked for military aid to Israel.
Early in the speech, Biden compared Russian President Vladimir Putin with Hamas, stating that both “want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy—completely annihilate it.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded by saying that Biden’s comments were “unacceptable” and “hardly suitable for responsible heads of state.”
Indeed, Putin has never expressed or shown desire to completely annihilate Ukraine, which is not a functioning democracy: its president, Volodymyr Zelensky banned twelve opposition parties and has mounted an Operation Phoenix-style program to detain and assassinate anti-government dissidents extending into Russia proper.
In his speech, Biden claimed that Putin “denies Ukraine has, or ever had, real statehood. He claims the Soviet Union created Ukraine. And just two weeks ago, he told the world that if the United States and our allies withdraw—and if the United States withdraws our allies will as well—military support for Ukraine would have, quote, a week left to live.”
The problem with these statements extend to the fact that Putin has never denied that Ukraine has, or ever had, real statehood; rather, from my understanding, he suggested that its history was intertwined with that of Russia, and that parts of southeastern Ukraine (now retaken by Russia) had historically been Russian land, and that the people identified there as Russians and Orthodox Christians—which is accurate.
By leaving out the term “modern” Biden also, from my reading, distorts Putin’s claim that the modern Ukrainian state was created by the Soviet Union (precisely, Putin said by the bolshevik state after the 1917 Russian revolution). Putin’s point was not that Ukraine did not have legitimate claims to statehood, but that the modern Ukrainian state took shape due to Bolshevik policies, which Putin was critical of for giving away formerly Russian territory like Crimea.
CNN attributed the source of Putin’s alleged claim that Ukraine would collapse if the West withdrew its support (the apparent source for Biden’s claims about annihilation) to a speech that Putin gave at Valdai international discussion club, though a review of that speech found no such statement by Putin.
In that speech rather, Putin explained that Russia was not the one to start the so-called Ukraine War—as it was “not we [Russia] who organized the coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014,” or “we who tried to force the Donbass into obedience through shelling and bombing.”
Putin added that for nine years “they [Ukraine backed by the U.S.] bombed, shot and used tanks. War, a national war against Donbass was unleashed. And no one counted the dead children in Donbass. No one in other countries, especially in the West, cried for the dead. The war started by the Kyiv regime with the active direct support of the West is now in its tenth year, and a special military operation is aimed at stopping it.”
These comments suggest that Russia never intended to annihilate Ukraine, as Biden claimed, but aimed to stop Ukrainian military aggression and massacres in Eastern Ukraine that were supported by the U.S.
These massacres have been corroborated by UN investigations, which uncovered that more than 80 percent of civilian casualties in Eastern Ukraine between 2014 and the commencement of Russia’s Special Military Operation in February 2022 were the result of Ukrainian air strikes.
Biden in his speech invoked the clichéd specter of the Munich paradigm and 1930s appeasement policy towards the Nazis, stating that “if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine. He’s—Putin’s already threatened to remind, quote, remind Poland that their western land was a gift from Russia. One of his top advisers, a former president of Russia, has called Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Russia’s Baltic provinces.”
These warnings are based on sand as Putin has never actually threatened to invade Poland or the Baltic states, which would be suicidal for the Russians.
Putin stated emphatically in his Valdai speech that “the Ukrainian crisis is not a territorial conflict, I want to emphasize this. Russia is the largest country in the world, with the largest territory. We have no interests in terms of conquering any additional territories. We still have to explore and develop Siberia, Eastern Siberia and the Far East. This is not a territorial conflict or even the establishment of a regional geopolitical balance.”
Biden’s misrepresentations included his claim that “for seventy five years NATO has kept peace in Europe,” when NATO was a source of the Cold War; the 1990s Balkans Wars and current Ukraine conflict.
Biden further referenced “mass graves, the bodies found bearing signs of torture, rape used as a weapon by the Russians” in Bucha (town outside Kyiv), though independent investigators attributed the atrocities there to the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov battalion forces after the Russians had been removed from the town.
Biden also in his speech denounced Russia for “forcibly taking into Russia thousands and thousands of Ukrainian children” who had “been stolen from their parents,” though UNICEF’s director for emergency operations, Manuel Fontaine, said they had no evidence of Russia kidnapping children in an assessment confirmed by the U.S. State Department.
Biden’s distorted portrayal of the conflict in Ukraine extends to the Israeli-Gaza War, as Biden made it seems like Hamas massacred Israelis out of the blue when Israel had imposed an embargo on Gaza that destroyed its economy and massacred thousands of Gazans in repeated military incursions there.
Biden said that “the terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure unadulterated evil in the world, but sadly, the Jewish people know, perhaps better than anyone, that there is no limit to the depravity of people when they want to inflict pain on others.”
But if what Hamas did was evil, what about Israel and its killing of all those Palestinians and torturing them for decades? Was there also no limit to their depravity when they “wanted to inflict pain” on others whom Israel’s Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, termed “human animals”?
Warped Spending Patterns Rooted in Lies
Biden’s speech came as hundreds of thousands of people were protesting the Israeli attack on Gaza, and as The New York Times was forced to acknowledge the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in which Russia has taken more land than Ukraine. Russia is now going on the offensive, advancing into the Eastern Ukrainian city of Avdivka, which Kyiv used to launch artillery attacks on Donetsk.
Eric London put the ramifications of Biden’s nonsensical speech in perspective when he wrote in the World Socialist Website that “this massive tranche of money [Biden requested] is greater than the GDP of two-thirds of the countries on Earth and would cause unimaginable levels of death and destruction in the months ahead.”
The tax burden will fall disproportionately on the U.S. working class, as revenue on corporate taxes fell $5 billion from 2022 to 2023 and 34 percent of large corporations now pay zero in federal taxes.
According to London, $100 billion was “more than the federal government will spend all year on education ($84 billion), transportation ($67 billion), or energy and the environment ($94 billion). It equals the total budget for healthcare ($100 billion). For $100 billion, Biden could house every homeless person in America ($20 billion, per Globalgiving.org), feed every person facing starvation or acute malnutrition across the world ($23 billion, per Oxfam), forgive $30,000 in student loans for two million people ($60 billion), and still have almost $10 billion left over.”
So Biden’s deluded ramblings have severe consequences for millions of people, with the warped spending priorities of the U.S. government being rooted in lies.
See Jacques Baud, Operation Z (Paris: Max Milo, 2022), 87. In the period from October 1, 2019 to March 30, the UN documented that 84.4% of civilian casualties were from Ukrainian artillery shelling. Baud, a former Swiss diplomat, wrote that “the Ukrainian government is massacring its own people with the help, funding and advice of the military of NATO and the countries of the European Union that defend its values.” ↑
According to Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova, at least half a million people living in Eastern Ukraine had migrated to Russia to escape the violence of the war, and Russia assisted in setting up orphanages for children who had lost their parents in the Donbass—children whom the U.S. government alleged were being kidnapped. For a further debunking of Biden’s claims, see Jeremy Loffredo and Max Blumenthal, “ICC’s Putin arrest warrant based on State Dept-funded report that debunked itself,” The Grayzone Project, March 31, 2023, https://thegrayzone.com/2023/03/31/iccs-putin-arrest-state-dept-report/↑Evidence in State Department’s reports that provided a basis for the allegations determined that Russia was providing free recreational programs for disadvantaged youth whose parents sought to “protect their children from ongoing fighting” and “ensure they had nutritious food of the sort unavailable where they live.” Nearly all of the campers returned home in a timely manner after attending with the consent of their parents (who were ethnic Russians siding with Russia in the war), according to the paper. At The Donbas Express, located just outside of Moscow, U.S. journalist Jeffrey Loffredo met youth from war-torn regions who were flourishing thanks to free music instruction, and grateful to be in a secure environment. Loffredo and Blumenthal found evidence that U.S. intelligence was behind the false claims repeated again by Biden.
As a result of the systematic slashing of corporate taxes, endless Wall Street bailouts and record military spending, the U.S. budget deficit doubled in 2023, jumping from $1 trillion to $2 trillion, The New York Times reported Friday. ↑
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About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of five books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019), The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018), and Warmonger. How Clinton’s Malign Foreign Policy Launched the U.S. Trajectory From Bush II to Biden (Clarity Press, 2023).
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.