08:47 GMT23 April 2021
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    With relations between the US and Russia at an all-time low, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern discusses the circumstances behind the tensions with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear.

    While McGovern spent nearly three decades working for the CIA, he has become one of the most vocal critics of the US government. His background in the intelligence community provides him with unique insights into the truths behind a number of Washington’s foreign policy decisions.

    On the subject of US-Russian relations, McGovern points to the West’s involvement in Ukraine as the beginning of the current decline.

    "This was the most flagrant coup in human history," McGovern says, paraphrasing George Friedman, head of US-based think tank Strafor. "So, that’s where it started. And the first thing [Prime Minister Yatsenyuk] says is 'maybe we should join NATO,' and 'let’s ban Russian as one of the official languages.'

    "That’s how you get pro-Russian separatists. They’re not pro-Russian separatists, they’re anti-coup federalists. All they want is a degree of regional autonomy."

    McGovern also points to an op-ed writing by President Putin in 2013, in which he states that the only thing Moscow and Washington truly disagree on is America’s insistence on being the "sole indispensable nation in the world."

    "That is it," he says. "If you perceive that the United States is the sole indispensable country in the world, then all other countries are – by definition – dispensable."

    McGovern also describes the "mousetrap" President Obama became trapped in with his infamous warning to the Syrian government. After threatening Syrian President Bashar al Assad with military action if the government used chemical weapons, the US intelligence community manipulated reports to make it appear that the Assad administration had crossed that "red line."

    "You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out you’re maybe going to be mouse trapped here, and indeed he was," McGovern says. "So it was really a kind of setup, and it was the Russians that bailed him out."

    On the brink of war, Russian President Vladimir Putin called out US Secretary of State John Kerry for attempting to sell an unjust conflict to the American people.

    "Putin got up publicly and said, ‘It’s really unfortunate about Secretary Kerry," McGovern says. "'He lies. He knows he’s lying. This is very sad.' That shows me that what Putin sees a need to do is to go around the neoconservatives…and approach Obama directly…"

    The Russian government also worked to ensure that Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile was destroyed.

    Soon after bailing the US government out of another Middle Eastern conflict, Washington betrayed Moscow by implementing the Ukrainian coup.

    On Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane in Syrian airspace last year, McGovern has doubts that the United States was completely innocent.

    "I don’t think Obama knew. But I wouldn’t rule out the fact that Victoria Nuland gave them a wink and a nod and said 'Yeah, give it a try, see what happens.'"

    McGovern also shares his explosive belief that the Israeli government drives virtually all of Washington’s foreign policy decisions in the Middle East.

    "As long as Shia and Sunni are at each other's throats, as long as they’re killing each other off, Israel, ipso facto, is a lot safer," McGovern says, paraphrasing Israeli officials speaking to a New York Times journalist in the early days of the Syrian conflict.


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