Saigon, Kyiv and the white supremacist basis of US foreign policy

The parallels between the former US-backed Saigon dictatorship of South Vietnam, and the current NATO-supported Kyiv regime in Ukraine, are becoming ever more apparent. Both regimes in their own way are proxy forces of Western imperial objectives. The foreign policy which the US implements is motivated by the concern that white lives are more important.

But wait a minute, I hear you say, the South Vietnamese Saigon loyalists were not white! True, but as I have explained before, they are accomplices to US imperialist policy that selectively privileges white lives over those of the global South. Let’s elaborate this topic.

Margaret Kimberly, writer and editor for Black Agenda Report, noted in March 2022 that US foreign policy is based on the premise that white lives matter more than others. The unmistakable blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag adorn public buildings and Facebook avatars. Ukrainians, being fair-skinned and blue-eyed, constitute ‘good’ refugees, as opposed to Afghanis, Syrians, Palestinians, sub-Saharan Africans and so on.

Sonali Kolhatkar made the same point, writing that while European nations enthusiastically welcomed Ukrainians fleeing the conflict in their country, those same European countries were enforcing militarised borders against refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan. Several European politicians openly stated their preference for Ukrainian refugees, stating that the Middle East and African nations, unlike Ukraine, have been at war for centuries. They omitted to mention that imperialist interventions, both covert and open, are responsible for the duration of those conflicts.

In June 2020, Ukrainian football fans unfurled a banner stating ‘Free Derek Chauvin’, the racist police officer responsible for the asphyxiation death of African American George Floyd. As Margaret Kimberly observed, the latter’s death was a catalyst for the Black Lives movement. In October 2020, Ukrainian neo-Nazi group National Resistance marched with the banner ‘white lives matter’, a declaration of white supremacist solidarity.

October 14 is celebrated in Ukraine in honour of the UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the acronym is from the Ukrainian words). This army was a Nazi collaborationist formation which fought alongside the Germans in WW2, committing atrocities against Jews, Poles, Hungarians and antifascist Ukrainians. It is no secret that Ukraine, since the 2014 US-supported Maidan ultranationalist coup, has become a hub attracting white supremacists from around the world to Kyiv’s cause.

The normally staid, centre-of-the-road Washington Post, in May 2022, was forced to concede that Ukraine has become a proxy of the NATO powers, fighting as cannon fodder for a proxy war with Moscow. Getting others to do the heavy fighting has benefits for the imperial power – less of your own troops are directly deployed, and domestic criticism of overseas adventures is limited.

As the Washington Post writer stated:

The key to the strategy is to find a committed local partner — a proxy willing to do the killing and dying — and then load it up with the arms, money and intelligence needed to inflict shattering blows on a vulnerable rival. That’s just what Washington and its allies are doing to Russia today.

This strategy is not without historical precedent. The disturbing parallels between the current Ukraine conflict and the Vietnam war are not simply the exaggerated meanderings of my own imagination. Over at the Pearls and Irritations public policy blog, activist Rick Sterling notes the similarities, even in rhetoric, between the American war on Vietnam via its Saigon proxy, and the NATO induced war on capitalist Russia via the Ukrainian proxy.

The Saigon dictatorship, whose loyalists were given refuge after the Vietnam war concluded in the 1970s in Australia and the US, received millions in funding and state-of-the-art weaponry from the imperialist powers. This obsessive compulsive desire to send the latest and greatest military technology, prevalent in Washington and London, finds its reflection today in the near-frenzied demands to send tanks eastwards to Kyiv.

Washington was not the only foreign backer of the Saigon regime – London played its part in propping up a repressive dictatorship. Britain, soon after the conclusion of WW2, provided sanctuary to thousands of Ukrainian and Baltic ultranationalist Nazi collaborators, overriding the legitimate concerns that war criminals were escaping justice.

London, throughout the Vietnam war, provided military and ideological support to the Saigon regime. The UK’s Foreign Office, having set up an Information Research Department (IRD), broadcast propaganda for the Saigon dictatorship. This effort was aimed at creating public support for the American war effort, and covering up the massacres of civilians and war crimes committed by American forces.

The atrocities committed by the Saigon loyalist forces were not seen as problematic because of the ethical outrage they would cause, but as damaging to the public relations image of the American war domestically. In June 1965, the then prime minister of South Vietnam, Major General Nyugen Cao Ky stated that he wished to see four or five Hitlers in Vietnam. It was difficult to reconcile the image of the ‘free world’ South Vietnamese regime which was headed by a Hitler-admiring dictator.

The British government set about reconstructing the popular image of the Saigon regime in their media releases and broadcasts to the public. Teams of public relations experts are managing, and even writing press releases for, Zelensky in Kyiv.

As long as US policymakers treat people like cannon fodder, more people will die in Ukraine. We must shine a spotlight on the darkest corners of imperialist foreign policy, for it is in the bright light of exposure that the process of accountability for US crimes can begin.

Why it is important to pronounce foreign names correctly

Australia is increasingly a multicultural nation, with more Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB). This presents a challenge – understanding how to pronounce non-Anglo names. We have people from all over the world – Vietnamese, Maltese, Hungarian, Indian, Pasifika, Arabic-speaking nations – you get the idea. Everyone has their unique name, and at first, it can be difficult to pronounce a person’s name correctly. Each language has its peculiarities.

However, Mr Aussie Larrikin, if you keep on mispronouncing a person’s name because it is ‘too foreign’ or difficult’ for you, then that is not only frustrating, but arrogantly disrespectful. Your intellectual laziness in failing to make an effort is not an excuse.

Ever since I can remember, my name has been the subject of numerous butcherings. It has been dismissed as too ‘difficult’, and I have been assigned nicknames for which I never asked. And that is just my first name.

Christine Afoa is a writer of Pasifika background. She wrote that among the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition, about 45% of the players are of Pasifika origin. It is not uncommon to hear names like Hopoate, Taupau, Takairangi, Papalii, Matagi – just to name a few examples. Back in the 1980s, it was not unusual to hear the names Peponis, Raudonikis, and so on.

Returning to Afoa’s story; sitting watching the NRL with her boyfriend and his mates, the football commentators came across the Pasifika name Yee-Huang ‘Young’ Tonumaipea. The commentators chortled, made noises, and subsequently referred to the player as ‘Mr Alphabet’. Her boyfriend and mates laughed and mocked his name throughout the match.

A person’s name is an integral part of their identity. Multiculturalism should be teaching us respect for each other’s cultural backgrounds. It is one thing to have a sense of humour; it is quite another to wilfully mispronounce a person’s foreign name, placing the onus back on the individual for being ‘difficult.’

Am I suggesting that you have a volcanic eruption of anger every time someone mispronounces your name? No, of course not. Does wrongly pronouncing your name automatically make the other person a racist? No, it does not. However, Mr Larrikin who thinks they are being hilariously funny or defying social conventions, mocking a person’s name, and not understanding where they originate from, is infuriating to the extreme.

My name is Armenian in origin, and both my parents are from Egypt. Yes, that’s right, Armenians are not ethnically Arabs. They have spread out across the Middle Eastern nations because of historical persecution, asylum seeking and migration. Yes, Egypt – the place you think of as the land of the pharaohs, Tutankhamen, the curse of the mummy, and Charlton Heston leading Hebrew slaves out of captivity – contains different nationalities.

Understanding foreign names is the first and large step in understanding other nationalities and cultures. When the Vietnamese refugees began arriving in Australia in the late 1970s and 80s, they were actually putting the new policy of multiculturalism to its first important test. Australia had strongly supported, and participated in, the American attack on Vietnam. When the US-supported Saigon regime was on the brink of defeat, policy planners in Canberra correctly predicted an outflow of refugees.

Confronting the negative public sentiment, the Vietnamese made Australia their new home. They did not simply forget their home nation, or abandon their language and culture en masse. They made the effort to settle in, all the while facing the uphill cultural battle to integrate into a predominant Anglo society. While the political beliefs of the Saigon loyalist refugees may be questionable, their presence in our society should never be disputed.

Vietnamese Australians make up 1.1% of the Australian population, and 3.5% of Australia’s overseas-born population. They have shown resilience through tough times, and the least we can do is make the effort to pronounce their names correctly.

The dissolution of the Soviet bloc, and the declaration of independence by various former Soviet republics (such as Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan) has increased the pool of nations from which there has been an outflow of refugees and migrants. This has produced a whole new level of foreign names to be assimilated into the Anglophone world.

Ok, even before the Soviet breakup, we had to learn the name of the last foreign minister of the USSR – Eduard Shevardnadze. Yes, a non-Russian rose to one of the highest positions in the Soviet presidium. The first post-communist president of Georgia? Zviad Gamsakhurdia. America’s favourite Georgian politician in the recent past? Mikhail Saakashvili. So the issue of pronouncing foreign names is not going away.

So, for a start, let’s make a conscious effort to learn and pronounce each other’s names correctly. Better understanding leads to improved communication and shared visions for the future.

Canada provided refuge for, and has been cultivating, ultranationalist Ukrainians for decades

Canada, the North American state with a nice-guy reputation, has been incubating and encouraging Ukrainian far right ideology and activities for many years. As much as its more economically powerful neighbour to its south, Ottawa’s intimate alliance with Ukrainian – and Eastern European ultranationalist organisations – is an underreported and yet highly significant factor in understanding the current Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Canada provided sanctuary for Eastern European Nazi collaborator war criminals; cultivated an Eastern European diaspora that is ultranationalist in its political orientation, hostile to Russia, antisemitic and nonwhite nations generally. Ukrainian, Baltic and East European emigre groups, after 1945, have fascistic roots and constructed cults venerating Nazi collaborators from their home nations. Nationalist credentials cannot disguise the ugly reality of their eugenicist, racist and antisemitic foundational ideology.

After WW2, Britain, United States, Australia and Canada, accepted Ukrainians and Baltic Nazi collaborators as refugees. These militants, it was hoped, would be useful in the new Cold War against the USSR. Turning a blind eye to the millions of displaced persons in Europe – including Holocaust survivors – Ottawa adopted the rationale of London and Washington at this time, turning the former murderers of Jews into useful instruments of Cold War policy.

The Germans, upon invading the USSR in 1941, utilised its long-standing ties with Ukrainian ultranationalists and organised them as auxiliary forces in their war of extermination. The main group tasked with assisting Nazi forces was the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Far from being forcibly conscripted, the OUN were willing accomplices of German, and subsequently US, imperialism.

Committing massacres of Poles, Jews, Hungarians and antifascist Ukrainians, the OUN pursued its goal of creating an ethnically pure Ukrainian state in the territories it controlled. Acting as a proxy for Nazi Germany, similarly to the Croat Ustasha and Italian fascism, the OUN’s military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA is the acronym in Ukrainian) waged a relentless and criminal war of racial extermination.

The Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, backed up by official support from the state, has long agitated for war with Russia. The cult-like worship of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, implemented by Canadian Ukrainian community-centred cultural groups, involves excusing and minimising the horrific complicity of their heroes in the Holocaust – complete with scouting uniforms for the youngsters.

Ukrainian nationalism, along with its East European analogues, contains a homicidal kernel. Ultranationalist OUN partisans not only wanted an expansionist Ukrainian state ethnically cleansed of Russians and Jews, but also cleansed of Poles, Hungarians and all non-Ukrainians. Ukrainian ethnonationalism was the crux, not only of the Ukrainian Canadian organisations and their milieu, but also of the ‘captive nations’ policy pursued by Ottawa and allied Western governments.

The so-called ‘captive nations’ was a policy implemented by Ottawa (and the associated Anglophone nations) regarding the Eastern bloc nations as captives of Soviet Communism. That did not stop western business interests from cooperating with these allegedly captive nations. Be that as it may, Canada cultivated East European emigré communities, incubating ultranationalist and fascistic ideologies in these ethnic minorities.

Not only did the Canadian Ukrainians become loyal supporters of Ottawa’s anti socialist foreign policies, they also became a solid domestic bulwark against leftist and socialist groups in their adopted nation. Stepan Bandera, the wartime leader of the OUN and Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, is not only regarded as a hero in today’s post-Communist Ukraine, but a figure of cultish veneration by the Canadian Ukrainian community.

Roman Shukhevych, Ukrainian wartime Nazi collaborator and responsible for the massacre of 100 000 Poles in the Galicia-Volhynia region, is memorialised with a statue by the Canadian Ukrainian community in Edmonton. In 2007, the Ukrainian government declared Shukhevych a national hero. The convergence of Ukrainian ultranationalist agendas between the Ukrainian diaspora and Kyiv is in plain view.

Ottawa has steadfastly supported the NATO war drive in Kyiv against Russia, solidly backing those Ukrainian political forces whose ideological continuities with the ultranationalism of the OUN is apparent. This military and diplomatic support is hardly motivated by humanitarian considerations, but rather by the policy of Canadian imperialism to integrate Ukraine more fully into the western economic orbit.

Both sides of Canadian politics, liberal and conservative, have deliberately cultivated political links with Ukrainian far right activists. Former Canadian prime minister gave his heavyweight support to the network of Ukrainian neofascist networks, agitating for a war with Russia and teaching an ultraconservative interpretation of Ukraine’s twentieth century history.

During the Cold War, the Ukrainian ultranationalist diaspora agitated for a hot confrontation with Soviet Russia, recycling the fascistic falsehood that Bolshevism originated with, and is advocated by, the Jews. The Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy, a favourite theme among the Nazi party, gets a renewed platform from the ultrarightist Ukrainian community.

Russia has certainly changed since 1991 – it is a capitalist oligarchy, advancing its own interests. However, the contempt with which the Canadian Ukrainian community regards Russia has not changed, with Vladimir Putin taking on the role of a ‘neo-Bolshevik’ villainous Dr Evil stereotype. While Moscow has behaved aggressively in Ukraine since the February 2022 invasion, it is not the sole aggressor.

The influence of the OUN’s neo-Nazi ideology, deliberately cultivated by Ottawa among other powers, has found its place in the Ukrainian parliament. The Ukrainian diasporan condition of ultrarightist vitriol has spread its tentacles to mainstream Ukrainian society. Maintaining the pretence that Moscow’s invasion of eastern Ukraine was unprovoked is getting impossible to sustain.

Having nationalist credentials, such as those of Stepan Bandera, cannot cover the fact that state-sponsored glorification of Nazi war criminals leads to an increase in racial hostility.

Britain’s royal infighting, the Harry and Meghan soap opera, and the delusions we cultivate in ourselves

The TV screens of Australian audiences have been taken up by the ongoing internecine fighting between branches of the English royals – the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-renamed Windsor family. The interminably boring, collectively narcissistic preoccupations and tribulations – the latter overinflated by an obsequious corporate media – are intended to occupy our attention spans as we consume what is proffered as news.

The history of English royalism has never experienced different and rival branches of aristocratic entitlement fighting each other over the Crown and its wealth – no, that has never happened in the history of the British Isles. Surely, the English royals would never be involved in the crimes of empire, not in modern times?

As the multiple news stories, Netflix specials and triviality-based outpourings continue in this Australian version of societal Stockholm Syndrome, one particular episode is worth discussing. Actually, I have written about the Harry and Meghan soap opera before, years ago. However, moving with the times, another opportunity presents itself to discuss the nature of the British state and its role in the world – and something that Harry wrote let the cat out of the bag.

Harry, writing in his memoirs, revealed that during his military service in Afghanistan, he killed 25 Taliban fighters. Regarding his military role, he stated that it is easier to kill the enemy if you don’t think of them as human; they were, he opined, chess pieces on a board. He went on to explain that his training enabled him to view the enemy as the ‘Other’. I suppose that is a distinct nod to official wokeness, a quality that increases one’s credentials as a ‘social media influencer’.

The official response from the English media and high-ranking military officers was one of criticism; that attitude is not ‘who we are’ opined one expert. However, in one way, Harry inadvertently let the mask slip – the British military, and ruling political establishment, do not regard nonwhite people as humans, but as inconvenient obstacles to be removed in the pursuance of imperial projections.

The Taliban, via a spokesperson, were quick to respond to Harry’s boast, stating that the people he killed were not chess pieces, but human beings with families. Anas Haqqani, the aforementioned spokesperson, made a barbed jibe at Harry and the British military, writing that not all British officers have the courage and decency to admit their war crimes and killings.

No, we do not agree with the Taliban, but Haqqani is correct on one point – British military forces have committed war crimes, involving the killing of civilians, in Afghanistan. The Special Air Service (SAS) in particular, deified in Britain as the elite of the élite military units, killed numerous civilians in night raids in Afghanistan. I doubt whether these revelations of war crimes will result in any diminution of the cult of the SAS.

The choreographed grovelling towards Harry and Meghan on the part of the corporate media will continue, and the recycled soap opera of English royals tearing strips off each other will continue to preoccupy the minds of Australian and British audiences. However, let us turn our attention to a news story which is important in revealing the nature of Britain’s imperial delusions.

In India, the crown jewel of the British empire, at least 50 million excess deaths from famine were caused by British government policies over a forty year period 1880 – 1920. Academics writing in the journal World Development have calculated that policy-induced mortality, ie famine, accounts for the conservative estimate of 50 million deaths in India. British colonial policy involved deindustrialising India, which in the 1820s was on the cusp of an industrial takeoff, and transferring wealth and resources to Britain.

Demolishing India’s manufacturing base, and establishing a system of legalised robbery extracting natural resources from India, set the conditions for widespread famine. We all know of the famines, and associated mortality, which occurred in 1930s Soviet Russia, Maoist China, North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Mengistu’s Ethiopia. Combining all the victims of those famines would still not equal the total famine deaths caused by the policies of Imperial Britain.

Britain’s decision makers were well aware of the consequences of the policies they drafted and enacted. The wealth of Britain’s élite continued to increase in this period – they watched the impact of famine in India and did nothing to help. The past cannot be changed, but exploitive practices can and should be. Speaking of famines, the sanctions which the US imposed on Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover are pushing millions of Afghanis into a condition of starvation.

Let’s examine and change the destructive course of Anglo-American policies on the world’s poorest people, and devote our energies into improving the living conditions of our fellow human beings. Being enraptured by the squabbling circus of mutually narcissistic vipers combating each other in an obsolete institution – which should be abolished – is a drain on our energy which we could do without.

Netanyahu’s new government, the shadow of Meir Kahane, and openly racist coalition partners

An underreported news development from November/December last year is the election of the new Netanyahu government in Israel. After a brief stint in opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu has re-emerged as Israeli prime minister. Fresh elections were held, and while no single party won a clear majority, Netanyahu’s Likud party has been able to cobble together support from the ultranationalist Right. His new government is a coalition of racist and fascistic minded political partners.

The writers at Electronic Intifada have analysed the composition of the new Israeli government. Netanyahu, having won another general election – the fifth one in four years – has assembled the most extremist cabinet of racists and fascists. The coalition government includes the Religious Zionist party, ultranationalist and religiously fanatical parties. For instance, the Religious Zionist party includes militants from the group Jewish Power, an organisation that can accurately be described as an Israeli KKK.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of the Jewish Power group, is a far right adherent of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. The latter was the founder of an ideological and political trend now known as Kahanism, a form of Judeo-supremacy. Kahane advocated the expulsion of all Palestinians from the occupied territories, the building of settlements, and the creation of a Jewish-supremacist state. Ben-Gvir is the new minister of national security.

Ben-Gvir’s appointment as national security minister is akin, in the words of the America’s Union for Reform Judaism, to appointing David Duke, former KKK chief, to the position of attorney general. Ben-Gvir is known to idolise the late Baruch Goldstein, a Kahanist Israeli-American who murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in February 1994.

There is criticism of the new Israeli government from its traditional supporters. Even the Biden administration has expressed its reservations about the appointment of racists and extremists to top positions. However, most of this criticism takes the form of handwringing about the rise of extremism, and how Zionism has allegedly ‘lost its purpose’. The rise of Kahanism is not an aberration or a deviation from the norm. Just as Trumpist conservatives arose from the ranks of American white supremacy, Ben-Gvir, Smotrich and his fellow fanatics arise from the logic of Zionism itself.

From the foundation of the Israeli state, Zionism’s supporters portrayed Israel as a socialist project, the showpiece of which was the kibbutz. David Ben Gurion, the senior statesman of Labour Zionism, marketed the new state as one where the Jewish worker would be handsomely rewarded for their labouring efforts.

The kibbutzim, hailed as a ‘socialist’ project, are actually a key part of the colonisation process. They helped to isolate the Palestinians, all the while encouraging foreign volunteers to associate these mini-Davids battling an ostensible Arab Goliath. The David versus Goliath biblical metaphor, pitting an allegedly minuscule and besieged Israel against a supposed Arab Goliath, is not my invention, but a crucial propaganda tactic of Israel’s supporters.

This collectivist tinge of the kibbutzes encouraged a false portrayal of Zionism as a labour-friendly project. Ali Abunimah points out that numerous European and American volunteers, some with a leftist outlook, worked on kibbutzes during the 1960s and 70s. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the former EU ambassador to Tel Aviv, wrote glowingly about his time on a ‘socialist’ kibbutz in the 1970s, recycling the myth of an Israeli ‘David’ confronting an Arab ‘Goliath’.

Murray Bookchin, the late American social theorist and anarchist, went a long way towards supporting the Zionist state, regurgitating stereotypes of Arabs as backward, prone to violence and motivated by unhinged antisemitism. He helped to cultivate support for the allegedly collectivist project of Zionism.

The David versus Goliath metaphor deployed by Zionist activists is not only a deliberate manipulation of biblical stories to support modern-day political objectives. It also misrepresents the unequal balance of forces between the Tel Aviv government and its Palestinian and Arab opponents. Not only does Israel possess one of the world’s most militarily and technologically advanced armies in the world, it exports its military technology and training to other sympathetic regimes.

The Palestinians are fighting at the most rudimentary level. This is not to suggest that the Israeli military is invincible, but to arrive at an accurate portrayal of the Israel-Palestine conflict. We have all seen the stereotype of the Arab terrorist hijacking civilian airplanes, but how many of us realise that the Israeli military has been bombing Arab civilian airports for decades?

It is highly ironic that myths of racial supremacy, highlighting the purported superiority of a ‘pure white European race’ used to isolate and murder the Jewish people, are currently being deployed by the Israeli ruling circles to isolate and dispossess the Palestinian population. Professor Joseph Massad writes that Zionist advocates, such as Theodor Herzl, fixated on the notion of Jewish people as a distinct race, and thus, requiring the construction of a separate state under the guise of self-determination.

Netanyahu and his political allies have invoked ‘self-determination’ in order to disguise the settler-colonial origins of the Zionist project. Claiming Jewish supremacy over the entire land of biblical Israel, racial myths are currently being used to construct a modernised version of a Davidic kingdom.

If Adolf Eichmann were alive today, he would have been very proud of the new Israeli government.