“I don’t like Americans, nor their films or their culture. They have constantly destroyed other nations… How can I not feel more Russian than French with the president that we have now in France?”Gérard Depardieu

“Russia and Germany have each made it clear: There will not be any Nordstream rebuilt. This is a permanent shift. [Russia] has ended its reliance on Germany, France, Italy, and the rest of Europe. They’ve shown that they can’t be trusted… European progress has ended. We are seeing the end of a one-thousand-year take-off… We’ve seen the end of European prosperity that’s irreversible for at least a century, and I don’t think the population has understood that.”Michael Hudson, Systemic Sponsors of Self-Interest, 2023/01/17, 1:00:08~. 

“The world has mainly two problems now: global warming and the United States.”  – Emmanuel Todd, Face aux crises : Fixer le cap et reconstruire, 2023/01/29, 37 :07~.

Francois Asselineau is the leader of the French political party UPR (Union Populaire Républicaine). In the most recent presidential elections in 2022, he and his party were ignored or dismissed by the mainstream media, but he carries on and continues to develop the party’s base of support through conferences and video lectures. The core of the party’s policy is the establishment of a true form of national sovereignty, one that would require withdrawal from the European Union, the Euro currency, and NATO. Emmanuel Macron won two presidential elections as the candidate with the blandest and most platitudinous speeches, but in stark contrast, the intelligence, knowledge and articulateness of Francois Asselineau is sidelined by the merchants of mediocrity in the media corporations that promoted Emmanuel Macron.

Mr. Asselineau has been critical of NATO’s destabilization project in Ukraine, its criminal overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014, and the numerous provocations of Russia before February 2022. For these positions, Mr. Asselineau is often called a Russian “collaborator.” To respond to this slander, he produced an excellent response (Qui sont les vrais collabos? Who are the real collaborators? 2023/02/04) that teaches his critics the true meaning of this word. His lecture also delivers an astute analysis of the war in Europe in the 1940s and relates it to the war that is occurring now.[1]

In the most basic sense, collaborate means simply “work together,” but in political discourse it has a pejorative meaning that came from the people and governments who collaborated with Nazi Germany after they had been defeated or occupied. The collaborating nations were Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway[2], Poland, Romania, Slovakia, The Netherlands, and Ukraine. There were varying degrees of enthusiasm for Nazi policy, and varying degrees of passive and active resistance in these countries, but their governments were all collaborators. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum describes as follows the collaboration of various countries under Nazi rule:

Axis governments, police, and military authorities aided in the roundup and deportation of Jews to killing centers, actively participated in the murder of Jews, and in several cases committed atrocities against their Jewish fellow citizens within their own national borders. In territories they occupied (particularly in the east) the Germans depended on indigenous auxiliaries (civilian, military, and police) to carry out the annihilation of the Jewish population. Axis government authorities and local auxiliaries in German-occupied regions were key in implementing expropriation, deportation for forced labor, and mass murder of non-Jewish populations.[3]

In addition, the collaborating nations committed their own citizens to labor for German industry and to fight in the war for Germany.

With this history in mind, it is clear that Mr. Asselineau is not a collaborator because the meaning of the word is to submit to and cooperate with the power that has conquered your nation. He can’t be a Russian collaborator because Russia has not conquered France or any other country. He is simply analyzing and interpreting the state of international relations.

Another element of Mr. Asselineau’s history lesson deals with the contradictions that arise when one speaks of Russia’s “illegal aggression.” In September 1939, France and Britain declared war on Germany because of its invasion of Poland. This was before the UN Charter existed, but it was nonetheless illegal to wage war on a sovereign nation. France and Britain launched a preventive illegal war because of Germany’s obvious intent to expand throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It threatened to take control of the critical oil supplies and colonial holdings of France and Britain. At the time, neither country was overly concerned with the atrocities being committed against German citizens and the people in other nations that Germany was legally bound to protect under the laws of occupation. That justification came later. Germany made the Holocaust “legal” by changing its own domestic laws, and at the time no international laws existed to allow a nation or an alliance to attack another nation in order to protect persecuted citizens within it. Christopher Simpson’s The Splendid Blond Beast describes how the US State Department used this reasoning to take no action against Germany until Germany declared war on the US in December 1941.[4]

In retrospect, there is a consensus that France and Britain were on the right side of history. They were justified in declaring war, even though doing so was illegal. Along with the major contribution of the USSR, that war, joined later by the United States, put an end to genocide and the misanthropic ideology of the Third Reich. Another example one can cite is Abraham Lincoln waging a war to stop the southern states from exercising their right to self-determination. Few today would try to argue that it was wrong to wage a war of aggression that abolished slavery.

In his lecture, Mr. Asselineau suggests there is an analogy between the preventive war declared in 1939 and the preventive military operation launched by Russia in February 2022, and there is nothing “collaborationist” about saying so. Russia is on the right side of history.

In early 2022, there was nothing happening in Europe comparable to the Nazi invasion of Poland and its associated atrocities, but Russia saw a similar aggressive formation arising in Europe. It’s not the lightning strikes of 1939-41 but rather the low, rumbling thunder of a different kind of storm, the soft Reich that George Carlin warned us about when he said, “… it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts.” For Russia, the NATO alliance creeping toward its borders looks an awful lot like the alliance of nations that attacked it in 1941. One nation leads it; dozens of others submit and collaborate. Just as the Nazi regime suppressed labor and forced lower wages and longer hours on workers, NATO is now inflicting energy shortages and inflation on its own citizens while it is increasing military budgets and sending billions of dollars and weapons to Ukraine. They are eating their own to feed their war machine. Russia sees that this alliance has spoken often for many years of a need to wage a long war against Russia, remove the Russian leader, install a new government, or repeat in Russia what was done to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. It is understandable that Russia would see this as an echo of WWII and eventually decide to launch a pre-emptive war—a blocking maneuver, as John Mearsheimer describes it—rather than wait for this alliance to act on its threats.[5]  

NATO has proven itself to be an aggressive alliance that acts on its own without approval from the United Nations. The doctrine was stated specifically in 1999 in NATO’s new “Strategic Concept”. NATO declared that it would take military action “out of area”; that is, “operations outside of Allies’ territory where there may be little or no host-nation support.” In other words, NATO would invade other nations when doing so was deemed necessary.[6] The legality of NATO actions, or even its right to exist, is complicated by the fact that the UN Charter had nothing to say about the legality of alliances such as NATO. It did not exist at the time the Charter was drafted.

NATO has expanded steadily toward Russia’s borders since the 1990s, even though the founding reason for its existence vanished in 1991. This time there are not tanks and millions of soldiers marching toward Russia, but there are massive nuclear arsenals involved, and this is a unique danger for which there is no analogy with WWII. The nuclear powers have always had their tacit understandings—especially since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962—that there should be buffer zones and great care taken to not threaten the security of a nuclear-armed rival. This is not codified in international law. These are simply the rules and doctrines that the nuclear superpowers have made up for themselves since the 1950s.

This traditional caution was tossed aside this century as the United States withdrew from two nuclear arms reduction treaties—the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 2019. Caution was discarded further when the US announced that Georgia and Ukraine would be welcomed as NATO members. Russia said it would not tolerate Ukraine joining NATO. The US called this bluff, and in February 2022 the world learned that Russia was not bluffing.

In 2013-14, the US fomented a coup d’etat with the Maidan protests, with American officials recorded in a famous phone call selecting who would be the new leader of Ukraine. No attempt was made to impeach the elected president through constitutional means. He was simply chased out of the country. Instead of impeachment, the revolutionaries could have waited until the scheduled elections in 2015, if they truly believed they had the support of the people. Robert Parry reported on it thus when the coup occurred in 2014:

NED [National Endowment for Democracy] funded a staggering 65 projects in Ukraine, according to its latest report… [They] created for NED what amounted to a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired…. working in concert with domestic opposition forces, [it] had the capability to challenge the decisions of Yanukovych’s elected government, including the recent coup spearheaded by violent neo-Nazis that overthrew him. Presumably, NED wanted the “regime change” without the neo-Nazi element. But that armed force was necessary for the coup to oust Yanukovych and open the path for those IMF-demanded economic “reforms.” … a policy dispute about whether Ukraine should accept the European Union’s trade demands or go with a more generous $15 billion loan from Moscow escalated into violent street clashes and finally a putsch spearheaded by neo-Nazi storm troopers who took control of government buildings in Kiev. With Yanukovych and his top aides forced to flee for their lives, the opposition-controlled parliament then passed a series of draconian laws often unanimously, while U.S. neocons cheered and virtually no one in the U.S. press corps noted the undemocratic nature of what had just happened.

After the coup, American citizen and Atlantic Council member, Natalie Jaresko, was installed as minister of finance, then given Ukrainian citizenship. Before this time, she had held various positions in the State Department, including that of First Head of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine from 1992 to 1995. She had also been CEO and founder of the investment fund Horizon Capital, holder of $600 million in assets in Ukraine.[7] Nothing better illustrates the usurpation of sovereignty than this example.

Memorial to victims of the Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre, May 2, 2014. [Source: tass.com] If you have never heard of it, ask yourself why.

There has been a lot of talk in Europe about Russia having violated the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances (1994), but the US invasion (the Maidan coup) was the initial violation of the Memorandum which obliged Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom to not interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs and economy.[8] One of the stipulations of the Memorandum stated that the signatories shall “Refrain from economic coercion… to secure advantages of any kind.” The six points agreed to in the Memorandum were:

(1) Respect the signatory’s independence and sovereignty in the existing borders. (2) Refrain from the threat or the use of force against the signatory. (3) Refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by the signatory of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind. (4) Seek immediate Security Council action to provide assistance to the signatory if they “should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”. (5) Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against the signatory. (6) Consult with one another if questions arise regarding those commitments.[9]

The third and fourth elements of the Memorandum (economic coercion undermining sovereignty and the overthrow as an act of aggression) came into play with the events  of 2014. Russia was obliged to seek assistance from the Security Council when Ukraine became the victim of this act of aggression. However, Russia would receive no support from Britain, France, or the US at the Security Council. One option was direct assistance to the elements within Ukraine who wanted to resist the new regime. This was the sort of unilateral action that NATO and the US permit themselves regularly. It is not an ideal solution, but Russia had to take such action in a situation in which international law had been violated so consistently as to make it meaningless. It is analogous to Britain and France deciding to declare war on Germany in 1939. The other strategy was to appeal to other states to support new agreements that would resolve the conflict peacefully, and this was done with the Minsk Accords. If Ukraine had upheld its obligations under these accords, and its NATO backers had forced Ukraine to uphold them, the “special military operation” begun in 2022 would not have happened. It’s that simple.

It would be impossible for Ukraine to not feel dominated or coerced to some degree by the economic power of NATO/EU/US on one side and Russia on the other, so the third part of the Memorandum was bound to cause problems of interpretation in the future. However, there was nothing balanced or restrained about the US regime-change operation. It was an egregious violation of the Budapest Memorandum. Since the situation was never rectified by the United Nations or the other signatories, it should not be surprising that armed conflict was the result.

Since 2014, the US program has advanced. Ukrainian national assets have been privatized according to the standard neoliberal program, and the agricultural and energy sectors have been sold off to Western investors. Ukraine’s weapons purchases started to come from NATO suppliers. Several US bioweapons labs were built, a move that was another provocation threatening Russian security. Though Ukraine had become an economic vassal before 2022, if it imagines it can now win the war against Russia, what will such a victory be after having taken massive amounts of aid from NATO countries? It will be completely owned by Western capital.

The “international community” has laid heavy emphasis on the fact that Russia violated the geographical sovereignty of Ukraine. This is the ultimate crime, supposedly. But this concept of sovereignty is an anachronism, one which perhaps stopped being relevant in the 18th century. For example, one can find records of opposition politicians in the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 1870s claiming that the nation would lose its sovereignty by entering into exclusive favorable trade agreements for sugar with the United States. They saw that if the kingdom did not get out of that dependence and reduce the influence of “big sugar,” loss of territorial sovereignty would soon follow.[10] That is indeed what happened in a process very similar to what happened in Kiev a century later. This is the reason I argue with my friends in the occupied Hawaiian Kingdom that they should view the present government in Ukraine as the equivalent of the insurrectionists who established the short-lived Republic of Hawaii (1893-98) that existed before vote in the US Congress for annexation. The US doesn’t annex anymore because doing so is costly and too blatantly illegal, and also because it doesn’t have to. Sovereignty can be stolen more abstractly without taking territory and without the burden of being responsible for the inhabitants’ welfare and granting them rights as US citizens.

Another dimension of the conflict was that the new Ukrainian government was virulently anti-Russian. Thus, it is not only the Budapest Memorandum that comes into play but also UN resolutions on genocide and ethnic cleansing. Speeches made by President Poroshenko in 2014, as well as discussions on popular media channels, showed clear genocidal intent of the government and various militias and groups that had gained prominence. The Nazi-era war criminal Stepan Bandera was restored in school textbooks as a national hero. Nazi militias were integrated into the army. Quite predictably, the Russian populations in the east protested against the revolution in Kiev and the rise of this ethnic hatred, so they vowed to secede. When the civil war broke out, Russia provided some support, but the factor that is seldom reported in the NATO bloc is that forces in the Donbass gained most of their power from defecting Ukrainian soldiers and officers who took their weapons with them.[11] Russia did supply some arms, and Russian “volunteers” were found to be involved in the fighting, but unlike others who say this proves Russia’s venality, I say this intervention was a justified humanitarian intervention to protect those Ukrainians who were endangered by a US invasion disguised as a popular revolt.

Russia minimized its involvement and sought peaceful resolution through the Minsk Accords. This limited the fighting, but still 14,000 civilians died over the next eight years under constant shelling by Ukrainian forces. Are those people’s kin supposed to be outraged by Russia’s actions in February 2022?

The civil war should have made it clear to the international community that there were serious ethnic fault lines in Ukraine that should have been attended to in 1991 when Ukraine’s independence was too hastily recognized. In one sense, the problem is finally being attended to now, unfortunately through armed conflict.

With the borders it had at the time as a Soviet Republic, Ukraine had never existed as a sovereign state. A Soviet referendum conducted in 1991 had shown that all fifteen republics favored staying in the Soviet Union, but somehow a few months later the leaders of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia conspired over a weekend to declare independence simultaneously.[12] It is a rarity for any independence movement to gain recognition from the United States and other leading powers, but in this case the recognition was instant—no questions asked about regional stability, ethnic conflict, the will of the people and so on. President Bush had to act surprised when Gorbachev called him a few weeks later to tell him the Soviet Union was over.

If the Ukraine of the 2014-2022 period had been led by a government that NATO wanted to eliminate, the fascist militias, corruption, and the criminality of the Ukrainian state would be a constant theme in the media of NATO countries. (Refer to coverage of Serbia in the 1990s as an example.) However, when the strategic interests line up in the opposite direction, state crimes of a favored nation can be overlooked. Anyone who points them out will be labelled a useful idiot, an apologist for, or a collaborator with an evil despot. The examples are easy to find, from Indonesia in the 1960s to South and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s, all of them victims of the “Jakarta Method” applied so effectively after 1965.[13]

In late 2021, Russia saw that Ukraine had become a de facto NATO member because it was using NATO military hardware and its soldiers were being trained by NATO forces. It might never join NATO because it was more useful for NATO to keep it in this unofficial status. Ukraine had lost its political and economic sovereignty and become an American vassal, the next Afghanistan. Russia also saw that Ukraine was preparing for a massive offensive against Donbass to end the civil war. All of the factors discussed herein prompted Russia’s preventive military operation.

In the aftermath of WWII, the lesson learned by the nations that fought fascism was, supposedly, “never again.” In order to honor the sacrifices of our ancestors who died fighting fascism, we were supposed to never let this happen again. This the is the background to what Scott Ritter said in an interview on February 14, 2023, which I will use to conclude this essay:

What we’re doing now in Ukraine is evil. Pure evil. We claim to be the friends of Ukrainian people, and look at what we’ve done to them… We don’t care about Ukrainian people. We put the flags on our social media. Everywhere I see flags flying. But really? That’s how you treat your friends? You allow them to be slaughtered on the battlefield? There won’t be a Ukraine when this is done. How much do you love Ukraine? You don’t. You want to know why? Because you have no clue what Ukraine is. Anybody who puts up that flag I could interrogate for two minutes, and it would be clear they don’t have a clue what they are talking about. They don’t have any grasp of history. They don’t have any understanding of the underlying issues… They’re trying to project “I’m a good person,” but they are not. They are morons… The vast majority of people don’t have a clue.[14]

Further reading

For a detailed description of the economic takeover of Ukraine, see: Laura Ruggeri, “Marketing Ukraine’s Reconstruction to Fuel the War,” Strategic Culture, February 23, 2023:

Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine’s GDP has lagged behind the level it reached in Soviet times, industry declined, and the population decreased by about 14.5 million people in 30 years due to emigration and the lowest birth rate in Europe. Ukraine has also become the third largest IMF debtor and Europe’s poorest country. These negative records cannot be blamed solely on Ukraine’s systemic and staggering corruption: the corrupt networks bleeding Ukraine are truly transnational.

Ukraine was targeted by two US-funded color revolutions that led to regime change and civil war, and was wrestled away from its largest economic partner, Russia. Its history was erased and rewritten, neoliberal prescriptions destroyed its economic and social fabric and led to a neocolonial form of governance.

Ukraine joined Europe’s nefarious Eastern Partnership in 2009 (1) and has been teeming with Western NGOs, economic and political advisers since its independence. The country’s indentured servitude and captivity to Western interests was cemented after the last Ukrainian government to object to the IMF’s harsh conditions was overthrown by a U.S.-sponsored coup in 2014.

On 10 December, 2013, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich stated that the conditions set by the IMF for loan approval were unacceptable: “I had a conversation with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who told me that the issue of the IMF loan has almost been solved, but I told him that if the conditions remained we did not need such loans“. He then broke off negotiations with the IMF and turned to Russia for financial assistance. It was the sensible thing to do but cost him dearly. You can’t break the shackles of IMF debt with impunity: not only does this lender of last resort impose its usual shock therapy of austerity, deregulation, and privatization so that the vultures can swoop in, it also furthers and protects U.S. interests.

If those who destroyed a country are allowed to be involved in its reconstruction, then reconstruction will inevitably be just a point on the continuum of conquest, occupation and looting, but with better optics. Destruction produces that blank slate on which the occupier can write his own rules: “To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation, and they call it peace”. Tacitus knew both the reality and the spin of Roman imperialism. One can only wonder if those who talk about ‘reconstruction’, ‘recovery’, ‘reform’, ‘rules-based order’, ‘reset’ or whatever buzzword is fashionable at the moment are aware of the brutal reality or truly believe their own propaganda. In any case, they promise a future utopia worth killing and dying for.

Stavroula Pabst, “In A Compromised Media Environment, Western Intelligence Agencies Escalate NATO’s Proxy War In Ukraine Unchallenged,” Propaganda in Focus, February 10, 2023.


[1] From the Union Populaire Républicaine website: “In this new video (2023/02/04), François Asselineau denounces the inverted accusation that consists of calling anyone a “collaborator” when he or she expresses doubts about the official narratives distilled by Western governments and repeated endlessly by the subsidized media. When one knows the history of France, especially the history of the Second World War, one knows that “collaboration” was always a matter of submitting to and serving the power that dominated France: England during the Hundred Years War, the German Empire after 1870, and Nazi Germany in 1940… This video answers two questions: 1) Which power dominates France today? and 2) Which French people collaborate obediently with this power without offering the slightest resistance?”

[2] Norway’s prime minister at the time was named Quisling. This name became a word in the English dictionary that means “a collaborating puppet head of state”.

[3] United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Collaboration, Accessed February 16, 2023.

[4] Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (Common Courage Press, 1995).

[5] John J. Mearsheimer: Great Power Politics in the 21st Century & The Implications for Hungary, December 5, 2022.

[6] Diana Johnstone, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (New York: Monthly Review Press, London: Pluto Press, 2002), 265-269.

[7] The Atlantic Council, “Natalie Jaresko” (profile), accessed February 16, 2023.

[8] The Budapest Memorandum was a step for Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan to relinquish the Soviet nuclear weapons on their territory and sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. There were six stipulations that the US, UK, and Russia were to abide by: (1) Respect the signatory’s independence and sovereignty in the existing borders. (2) Refrain from the threat or the use of force against the signatory. (3) Refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by the signatory of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind. (4) Seek immediate Security Council action to provide assistance to the signatory if they “should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”. (5) Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against the signatory. (6) Consult with one another if questions arise regarding those commitments.

[9] Robert Parry, “A Shadow US Foreign Policy,” Consortium News, February 27, 2014.

[10] Gavan Daws, Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands (University of Hawaii Press, 1968), 202-206.

[11] Jacques Baud, « Débat / La situation militaire en Ukraine » Bon Pour La Tête, 23 mars, 2022.

[12] Mikhail Gorbachev, On My Country and the World (Columbia University Press, 2000), 151-152. Gorbachev had no kind words for Yeltsin’s betrayal of the Soviet Union at the Belovezh meeting where Yeltsin and the heads of Ukraine and Belarus plotted to announce their withdrawal from the Soviet Union, in spite of the pro-union results of the New Union Treaty held just a few months previously.

[13] Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (Hachette Book Group, 2020).

[14] Danny Haiphong (interviewer), Scott Ritter on Ukraine’s Future… February 14, 2023, 22:00~.