German historian Michael Pesek wrote an open letter to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and explained to him what it means to be an American ‘partner’. The examples of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Mobutu Sese Seko and many others are described to help the Ukrainian President appreciate how Washington treats its ‘friends’. This article originally appeared at RT Deutsch. Translated for RI by Anita Zalaldinova
German historian Michael Pesek, whose research focuses on the history of Africa and the Middle East and who was a visiting professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin until 2012, in an open letter warned the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko against being too confident about the continuous support by the United States and pointed to the fates of several former long-time allies. In the program ‘The Missing Part [E85]’ the historian discussed the reasons for such opinion of his.
‘Now that you are simultaneously a close ally of the US and a dictator’, Pesek wrote, ‘you should be warned that this is not necessarily a beginning of a long-lasting love relationship resulting in accounts full of dollars, one of the best equipped army inevitably killing your enemies, the cozy feeling of security under the American advisers, or a standing ovation at the UN Security when you again let rip Russia or other enemies’.
His letter, says Pesek, was ‘a little history lesson for you to remember that the weather in Washington is less predictable than the continental climate of Eurasia’.
The ‘Saddam Hussein’ lesson
Although the US won the Cold War, that was not necessarily the case for its allies. An example of the long-standing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who was one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East during the 1980s, should be remembered here. In 1963 he organized a coup against the Qasim government, which was too Soviet-friendly from the perspective of the US administration, it was so to say an Iraqi ‘Maidan’, which led to deaths of hundreds of members of the Iraqi Communist Party and left the oilfields to the US companies.
In 1979, after the Islamic revolution in Iran, he was then exploited only as ‘our son of a bitch’. He had to be representative of the United States to take revenge for the biggest bust of Washington’s foreign policy during the Cold War. For the war against Iran Saddam was provided by the US with everything he needed, and even chemical weapons.
In the next series Pesek did not forget to point out that Saddam Hussein was dropped after the end of the Cold War like a hot potato. For the ‘New World Order’, as George H. W. Bush named it, and the task of rebuilding the Middle East Hussein was more useful as an enemy than as a friend. Then followed the invasion of Kuwait, used as a pretext for the 1991 Gulf War, the sanctions and the introduction of no-fly zone, by then the invasion and another Gulf War happened in 2003, and Saddam Hussein was executed in a rather undignified controversial way.
‘Have you learned the lesson?’ asks Pesek in his open letter. ‘You can kill as many enemies of the United States, as you can, you can sell your natural resources – all of this will not help you when the wind changes in Washington’.
More lessons from the CIA screenplay
Moreover Pesek also named Mobutu Sese Seko in Congo, who became the most complacent to the US allies in the whole Africa after the same CIA directed coup in 1965, and to whom Washington also lost its interest after the end of the Cold War, when there was no more civil war to lead in Angola and Mozambique. Mobutu died early enough so as not to suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein – but Ukraine is anyway knowledgeable about the legacy of chaos that erupted after his death when Kiev took part in the peacekeeping mission.
Also Noriega and Gaddafi, who were exploited in the 1980s and then later in the 1990s by the US, and Afghan Mujahideen and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Pesek called the names as deterrent examples.
His warning to Poroshenko ends up with the statement that even in his best days he remains a useful idiot in the eyes of Washington,– but he could also become a burden immediately when the US change their priorities or lose their interest in him.
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‘I hope you sleep well’, Pesek finished his letter. His words can be proved true even sooner than the Ukrainian president would like to. Since even if he has 60% of the votes behind him, as of May 2014, the ultra-nationalists like Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are more beneficial for the US administration, to whom just the participation of Poroshenko in the peace talks in Minsk was a thorn in the eye. Each pat on the shoulder of these people can simply be a search for the soft spot to stab the knife in.