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America masterminded ‘color revolutions’ around the world. Now the very same techniques are being used at home

Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

America masterminded ‘color revolutions’ around the world. Now the very same techniques are being used at home
Peaceful protests degenerating into riots and arson, followed by violence, clashes with police and political demands for regime change: today’s America, or what happened in Ukraine, North Africa and Serbia – or both?

How Americans view the events of the past week greatly depends on their political persuasion, media preferences and to large extent even ethnic identity. This is hardly the first death of an African-American man at the hands of police, nor the first time a peaceful protest turned violent and resulted in a city on fire. It is, however, the first Black Lives Matter protest that spread all over – and quickly gained an openly political, partisan dimension.

Also on rt.com ‘Let’s not excuse violence’: Barack Obama forgets his ENTIRE presidency and argues riots should lead to voting Democrat

That ought to be baffling. The four officers involved in George Floyd’s death were fired almost immediately, rather than suspended with pay pending investigation. One of them was charged with murder just days later. Conservatives and liberals alike agreed that Floyd was murdered and that the men responsible should face justice. Yet the riots started, and spread, anyway. 

The brief moment of unity in outrage could have resulted in healing the racial fault lines in the US. Instead, the already polarized political climate became divided more sharply than ever, with Republicans criticizing President Donald Trump for not cracking down on the riots fast and hard enough, while Democrats denounced him for responding at all, claiming that there were no riots really and Trump was just “declaring war on the American people.”

Could the clues to why this is happening lie beyond America’s borders? In December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire and died after tax police confiscated his unlicensed stall. Within days, there were demonstrations. Within a month, the country’s president of 23 years was overthrown and exiled. Similar rebellions broke out in Libya, Egypt, Syria… It was dubbed the “Arab Spring.”

In November 2013, thousands of demonstrators gathered on Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in Kiev, Ukraine, protesting the government’s decision to reject a trade deal with the European Union. Attempts by police to clear them out resulted in clashes with armed protesters, and eventually a firefight – where snipers allegedly loyal to the government opened fire on the crowd. Finally, in January 2014, violent protesters stormed the government offices and declared themselves in charge.

The 2014 “Euromaidan” – fully endorsed by the US – was a far more violent iteration of the “Orange Revolution” from ten years earlier, when sympathizers of an opposition coalition refused to accept the results of an election and forced the government to hold another one.

“US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” proclaimed a Guardian headline from November 26, 2004. “The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people's elections,” the article beneath it said, adding it was “first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000.”

Also on rt.com October 5, 2000: Flashback to Yugoslavia, West's first color revolution victim

While the Western media painted the events in Serbia as a spontaneous revolt against a hated dictator, they also revealed that the protesters were funded by “suitcases of cash” smuggled across the border by US diplomats and NGOs, and that the entire thing was led by a handful of activists, trained by the National Endowment for Democracy in neighboring Hungary, using a manual written by Gene Sharp, a US scholar.

Claiming the government had stolen an election, the “revolutionaries” first seized the national TV station, then set the parliament on fire –  conveniently destroying any evidence that could disprove their claim they had won – and appealed to police and the military to join them. With security forces unwilling to engage in bloodshed, President Slobodan Milosevic stepped down.

The whole operation was accompanied by a slick marketing campaign, featuring graffiti, t-shirts, posters and banners, all emblazoned with a stenciled fist. The fist would become an all-too familiar sight over the next two decades, and the formula packaged as “color revolution” and taken on the road by US-trained activists.

Most recently, the scenario played itself out in Bolivia (successfully), Venezuela (not) and Hong Kong, where “pro-democracy” protests against an extradition bill lasted long after it was withdrawn. 

Also on rt.com ‘Color revolution’ comes home? Democrats target Trump with regime-change tactics

Interestingly, the Hong Kong protests were embraced by the progressive firebrands such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her 'Squad,' calling for something similar at home, against Trump.

“Marginalized” communities have “no choice but to riot,” Ocasio-Cortez said on a radio program in July 2019, adding that she meant “communities of poverty” in the US, as well as around the world. That was long before Covid-19 killed more than 100,000 Americans and lockdowns imposed to stop it cost 40 million Americans their jobs. Long before George Floyd.

It’s hardly surprising that Trump is now getting blamed for Floyd, even though Minneapolis and Minnesota are both run by Democrats. He was also blamed for the coronavirus, by the very Democrat governors that insisted on harsh lockdowns, and congressional Democrats who held aid hostage. The people doing the blaming insisted for years that ‘Russiagate’ was real, too. Now they blame Trump for responding to the riots – sorry, “peaceful protests” – by sending in the military. Hence the shock when rioters in Atlanta went after the CNN headquarters.

Meanwhile, as cities across America burn, it’s a fundraising windfall for Democrats – says the New York Times, of all outlets.

The thing about color revolutions is that they follow a script. Find a legitimate grievance and piggyback onto it. Ask the police and the military to join the protests. If they don’t, escalate into riots to provoke a forceful response to create martyrs. Optics are key; everything useful to the cause has to be captured on camera, and anything inconvenient memory-holed. Media are the most important ally. The endgame is not reform, or fairness, or justice, but regime change – physical removal of the “tyrannical dictator violating human rights” from office.

“A color revolution can’t happen in America, because there’s no US embassy there,” went the grim joke in Serbia after disappointment with the astroturf revolt of October 5, 2000 set in. Well, guess that settles it, then. Any similarities between the current situation in the US and dozens of other countries over the past 20 years must be purely coincidental and not at all relevant or significant in any way. 

Nothing to see here, move along – and make sure you don’t step on the broken glass on your way home for the curfew. Remember to wear your mask to protect from the coronavirus as well as smoke and tear gas. Everything’s fine. It really can’t happen here...

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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