Ukraine And The NGO Archipelago

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by Portfolio Armor
Sunday, Mar 06, 2022 - 9:58

Alexander Vindman

The Ecosystem Of Group Think 

National security communications consultant David Reaboi wrote an important piece last week about the ecosystem of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and other influence peddlers creating the current group think about the situation in Ukraine. I've posted it in full below. First, a quick update on my previous post

War In Ukraine Boosts Coal, Oil

In my previous post ("War In Ukraine Causes Coal To Go Parabolic"), I mentioned that Portfolio Armor top names including Peabody Energy (BTU) and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (UCO) were poised to benefit from the current crisis. 

BTU and UCO were up 14.54% and 12.73%, respectively, on Friday. 


Now on to David Reaboi's post. 

Authored by David Reaboi at Substack 

Ukraine And The NGO Archipelago 

I’ve half-written several pieces on the unfolding Ukraine crisis—mostly as I see things through the lens of the information warfare business in the West—but my posts on Twitter might be the best place to get quick analysis on it, alongside everything else. The effectiveness of writing think-pieces at all about fast-developing stories is now an open question; the old TLDR (“Too Long, Didn’t Read”) dynamic seems to’ve been replaced by, simply, DR.

Even for Americans who, rightly, are opposed to US government involvement in the conflict, the Ukraine issue is massive knot of nearly every important concern: energy, economy, foreign policy, communications and censorship, the end of American hegemony, the Deep State, the limits of knowing, etc. All those intersections are fertile ground for pundits and analysts and citizens to consider.

Most of all, I’ve been alarmed at the predictable onslaught of one-sided propaganda and over-the-top lies coming from Western outlets, and the totalizing moral panic that discourages sober thought about the conflict. Putin’s Russia was certainly the aggressor—but American media from Fox to CNN and NBC supply an airbrushed narrative, a black-and-white morality tale. Not only is the truth in this conflict a shade of gray—but the implications are, as well.

Like BLM, Covid, and other the media and politicians of both parties have locked arms around a consensus. Allegiance to the the narrative must come before independent thought, which brings with it the possibility of questioning that narrative. Dissenters—heck, even questioners—have been shouted down and called, “traitors.”


The agitprop is so thick because Ukraine is ground zero for an ecosystem of influence that, for about a decade, has been able to wield tremendous consensus-making power within the American and western foreign policy community. Influencing the public and policy debate on Ukraine and Russia is precisely what this ecosystem was built to do.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been a cash machine for western oligarchs. With a very low standard of living and rampant corruption, the country was the perfect place for the very wealthy to make a buck. Unlike Eastern Europe, which had gotten far more expensive by then, Ukraine was a relative badland; pennies-on-the dollar investments in Ukrainian business and infrastructure would produce a windfall if the country moved towards NATO and the European Union.

In 2014, the western-backed Maiden uprising was a Color Revolution regime change effort in order to ensure this glide-path toward NATO and the EU would continue. But that’s only half the battle; the effort required the commitment of American policymakers who would push it aggressively from within the world’s most powerful government, as well.

Western oligarchs invested in Ukraine funded a massive infrastructure of information and influence operations I often refer to as the “NGO Archipelago.” These non-governmental organizations serve many functions in an information war: as a network of experts who interface and consult with governments or media, influencers, academics, lobbyists, muckraking journalists, and both originators or disseminators of propaganda.

Over time, this ecosystem expanded to envelop the entire cadre of decision-makers of both parties in Washington—not just professional staff at the Pentagon and State Department (like Alexander Vindeman), but political appointees (like Fiona Hill and John Bolton), as well.

A constellation of people orbited in and out of the same circles, changing jobs or parties along the way. In my book, Qatar’s Shadow War, I wrote about this kind of information infrastructure in service of the Islamist Emirate. It’s important to understand that this kind of ecosystem is not a conspiracy; there’s no command-and-control, and almost nobody views their contribution to the effort as transactional. It’s a whole lot of people with interlocking social and professional lives who all think pretty much the same thing.

The insularity of this world of senior fellows, congressional staffers, reporters and editors, etc. led quickly to a consensus that Russia and its leader were not just competitors or adversaries but enemies capable of boundless evil. Just about every “serious” expert on Russia inside the Beltway is funded by either George Soros or Paul Singer, and is a fanatical anti-Putin partisan. They were united in their commitment to (1) Ukraine’s move toward the West, and (2) to adversarial relationship with Russia, which they took for granted was an aggressive, anti-gay, neo-Soviet bastion of authoritarianism and expansionist awfulness.


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