"RT Interviews Larry Johnson"
RT.com (April 20, 2022)
RT Moscow: "Let's start off with the U.S. role in the conflict in Ukraine and Donbass if we could. Some American politicians have described the war as a proxy war between NATO and Russia although Western officials have not gone quite that far in their statements. What's your take?"
Larry Johnson: "I think this is exactly right. This is insanity, as far as I'm concerned, on the part of the United States and NATO. This conflict could have been avoided and instead, it pains me to say it, but my country has been in the lead trying to destroy Russia. And I can fully understand why Russia felt the need to strike back at this time."
"You know, when you go back over the past several years, military exercises the United States has been conducting under the auspices of either NATO or the European Command, there is a video of U.S. marines landing in landing craft on the shores of Ukraine in the Black Sea. Well, that's not a defensive exercise that's an actual offensive movement. So with this need for war on the part of the west being fed, and I think unfortunately for them and for us, they've bitten off more than they can chew in dealing with Russia right now."
RT Moscow: "You recently wrote an article about "How going to war with Russia over Ukraine might be suicide for America." Could you tell us exactly what you meant by that statement?"
[1:45] Larry Johnson: "The fundamental concern is the economics. The sanctions imposed on Russia, in theory, were supposed to damage Russia so badly that the people would rise up and overthrow Putin. It is having exactly the opposite effect. And it really reflects some genuine ignorance on the part of American policy makers. You can't show me a single instance in the last fifty years where economic sanctions have worked to change the politics of a country. It didn't happen in Iran. It didn't happen in North Korea. It didn't happen in Cuba."
"And yet, Russia is a critical supplier of resources that the United Sates does not have alternatives for. I know that farmers in the United States right now are paying four times what they were paying for fertilizer a year ago. That fertilizer comes out of both Russia and Belarus. Paladium, critical for making catalytic converters and other essential products. You can come into the United States and go to car lots. Car lots are empty, not because people are buying them up but because they can't get the supply. So I think that the damage that is being done right now, economically, to the United States is going to grow and increase. And this will ultimately turn out to be devastating for us, I fear."
[3:04] RT Moscow: "We've already seen the fallout from sanctions against Russi and other countries: inflation, soaring oil and gas prices, food insecurity, to name but a few. How much do you think people are prepared to put up with before they say 'enough is enough'?"
[3:07] Larry Johnson: "They're not prepared to put up with it at all. What Americans do not understand is that Russians are fighting to defend The Motherland. And the ignorance that is displayed by so many people in my country about Russia and its history. They continue to refer to them as 'communists' today. Well, as you know, the Communist Party is a minority party now within Russia and yet the Americans persist in that. And so, as this pain increases the Americans are going to turn on the politicians that helped create this mess. And every time Joe Biden tries to blame it on Putin, most American voters aren't buying it. They're going to be blaming Biden, the Democrats, and potentially blaming the Republicans if they don't step up and try to set things right. "
[4:10] RT Moscow: "For weeks the Pentagon refrained from sending fighter jets to Ukraine despite pleas from Kiev. But Washington has reversed its stance, saying it will send the jets. What do you make of this U-turn? And do you believe it will really make a difference at this point?"
[4:27] Larry Johnson: "Well, they're going to send unicorns, too. They'll send Godzilla, an imaginary monster. Where do you land those planes? The reality is, Russia controls the airspace in Ukraine. And anything that's flying up there that the Russians don't want to fly up there is going to get shot down. So that's just foolish on that part. The reality is that the Ukrainian military has ceased to function as a coherent force. Yet within the United States there is this constant drumbeat of propaganda touting major successes by the Ukrainians. But you can't see any of it on video because it doesn't exist. And the Russian military machine continues to just grind into dust what the Ukrainians are. These are provocative actions. I think as soon as the equipment arrives in Ukraine, Russia is going to destroy it with missile strikes as they have been doing over the last seven weeks. So, it's an empty political gesture to convince people in America that the administration is 'doing something.' But it's not going to have one bit of influence in changing the outcome of this conflict in Ukraine."
[5:54] RT Moscow: "How exactly does pouring weapons into Ukraine seek to serve the goals of America's political establishment?"
[5:53] Larry Johnson: "Well, it keeps the defense industry -- The corruption in this society -- Look. I'm and old man. I'm old enough to remember the Old Cold War when the Soviet Union existed. The kind of corruption that we used to accuse the Soviets of is now rampant. It is endemic in the United States. Politicians go into office and become rich. Generals in the Pentagon, they leave those posts for lucrative positions in the 'defense' industry. They get paid to produce weapons that are, frankly, not very effective. And without any regard, really, for what this means for the strategic picture of the United States, or for world security, for that matter."
[6:38] RT Moscow: "There's increasing concern about where the weapons provided by the West will end up, since there's not actually a system in place to trace them. What is your take on the possible ramifications."
[6:50] Larry Johnson: "It's not only possible, it's happening. I know from sources in France where the French gendarmes they've actually recovered firearms and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles in Paris that went to Ukraine, the black market picked them up, and they're now selling them to other groups around the world. This is turning into a business and the real irony here is that the United States has been insisting that we've been fighting a war on terrorism for twenty years and now what we're doing we've actually, effectively created a system to arm terrorists around the world and create a greater threat to America, not a lesser threat."
[7:35] RT Moscow: "The events in Ukraine are being framed as a battle against the unipolar world led by the U.S. and its so-called 'Rules Based Order.' Do you believe we're witnessing a new world order in the making here?"
[7:46] Larry Johnson: "Oh yes. And the expectation was that with the imposition of these sanctions, the Russian Ruble would crumble and the United States and the Petro-Dollar would have continued to be effective. What people are not monitoring -- and one of the things I've been involved with are financial investigations -- the international drug traffickers used to covet U.S. dollars. That's no longer the case. They're moving into other currencies, especially the Euro. That's a sign, if you will, of the rats leaving the sinking ship. And the U.S. ability to enforce its will on countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, China, I think it is being exposed as really an empty threat. So, we've gotten away with bullying people for many years. I think the Butcher's Bill has come due on that. And I think what Russia has decided to do is wise in terms of serving Russia's national interests."
[8:49] RT Moscow: "Last week U.S. officials admitted that the intelligence they release is not actually solid, for example, and that Russia was planing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine. The Americans even said it was part of some psychological game with Vladimir Putin. What is your input on this considering your experience at the CIA?"
[9:09] Larry Johnson: "Our intelligence community is broken. If you recall, on the 30th of March intelligence officials were leaking to the media: 'Aw, there's dissension. There's chaos in Putin's inner circle. They lied to him. He's been deceived. The economic pressure is growing and they're deceiving the Russian people. And I know this for a fact, senior military personnel in the Penatagon seized upon this as true. Well, it turns out it was fake intel, I believe, fed by Russia to the West to help confuse and divert. We've really lost a serious ability to analyze what's going on. Just as a very simple example, the fact that Russia now has effectively seized the entire southern coast of Ukraine means that Ukraine has a major economic lifeline for Ukraine cut off. This is like having an artery in your leg severed. Who can survive long with that? That means Ukraine's economy is dead. It's not just suffering, it's dead. Because without imports or exports, its ability to feed its people and to keep any kind of viable economy is reduced. Yet the intelligence community here is oblivious to this sort of thing. They're focused on identifying the specific veins of a leaf as opposed to looking at what has happening to the forest."
[10:37:] RT Moscow: "So far there has been more air time dedicated to the conflict in Ukraine on mainstream American outlets than there was on all the wars combined over the last thirty years. Why do you think that is?"
[10:49] Larry Johnson: "'If it bleeds, it leads.' The media has actually, particularly the cable news channels in the United States, they've been losing audience share. So any time you can hype violence, bloodshed, suffering, that makes it to the front and the more you can show video images. What I find sort of interesting, and it's telling. It's like normally, what you guys do with [some reporter] a correspondent who as out in Mariupol. You see him. You see the canons of the tanks firing, the artillery going off. You see soldiers moving tactically. You don't see any of those kinds of images from the Ukrainians. None of the western media is embedded with any Ukrainian military units, because frankly, I think, if they did video tape what was going on it would be terribly destructive to morale. You cannot conduct a war simply with psychological operations. And that seems to be what Ukraine has relied upon. Making outlandish claims. A fighter pilot shot down six Russian planes. It turns out that's from a video game. Or that they've killed or captured twenty-eight Russian generals. I mean, the lies go on."
"What I find shocking is I know for a fact that some of the key analysts in the U.S. intelligence community have been buying this nonsense. The question of skepticism toward these claims has not even arisen. So I think, really, that the United States has become just a big, bloated, overfed, unhealthy blob. It has gotten away with -- we've been beating up on little brown people for thirty years; people that didn't have real air forces; didn't have a real armies. And we imagined ourselves to be extremely viable as a military force. But coming up against, essentially as I see it: the Ukrainian army is fighting a proxy war for NATO, for the United States. And we're finding out that everything we thought the Ukrainians could do they can't do, and Russia has been pretty effective in countering them.