Monday Oct 27, 2014
Russia’s moves in Ukraine defensive, not offensive
Current US and NATO propaganda is based on the idea that Russia under President V. V. Putin has been waging an aggressive campaign against Ukraine, but the reality is that Russia’s actions have largely been of a strategically defensive character, although also containing some aggressive tactics.
The main cause of the current conflict is the insistence by Washington and London on organizing a coup d’état in Russia’s largest and most strategically sensitive area.
Putin’s actions have been mainly focused on preventing the rise of a hostile fascist state allied to NATO on his own borders. Russia is merely trying to secure for itself an environment of reasonably benign neighbors, a program not unlike the traditional US Monroe Doctrine.
Unsure of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, the Emperor’s administration is attempting to warn the Kremlin not to test the U.S. commitment to defend its allies in eastern and central Europe.
Following the Emperor’s orders, jet fighters from the U.K., Denmark, France and Poland began flying air patrols over the Baltic states in April “as part of collective defense measures,” NATO reported. Canadian jets are deploying to Romania “as part of NATO efforts to reassure allies” in Central and Eastern Europe, the alliance said…
These games and others, including deployments of U.S. troops for military exercises, try to discourage any thoughts Putin may have about extending Russia’s reach beyond Ukraine.
There are reasons why Putin may doubt the Emperor’s resolve. The Emperor backed away from a red line when he threatened military action if Syria used chemical weapons, then didn’t follow through. Diplomats say that’s hurt U.S. credibility internationally. Further, the crisis in Europe comes as polls show Americans want the U.S to play a reduced role overseas.
Historically, Americans have supported the defense commitment to NATO, the key alliance assembled after World War II to establish the U.S.’s hegemony in Western Europe, mainly, as well as in Eastern Europe. Under Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the U.S. and all other members would consider an armed attack on any one of them an attack on all. But the U.S. doesn’t respect treaties — they go for what they want and that’s it.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has extended its membership to nations once dominated by the Soviet Union, including the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Slovenia. Georgia, a former Soviet republic that fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over breakaway regions, is seeking fast-track NATO membership as a result of the Ukraine crisis. Bon voyage!
Putin may have his eye on testing the U.S. and the major European powers, if he decides to help the pro-independence fighters to stop the fascist Kiev regime’s forces from occupying Novorossiya, a confederation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, claiming the territory of the respective Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
“I think this is also about shattering NATO and potentially shattering the EU, because if he were to do something in the Baltics and we did not respond, that’s the end of Article 5, that’s the end of NATO,” said Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser to President George W. Bush,. addressing the Atlantic Council, a Washington based group that promotes trans-Atlantic relations, shortly before Biden spoke.
“In response to Russian aggression, America is taking steps to make clear that our allies will honor the solemn commitments under Article 5 of the NATO treaty,” Biden said. “That is an absolute, ironclad guarantee.”
What makes the Emperor think that Russia is interested in attacking any new NATO member? Sounds like the Emperor’s administration are growing mentally imbalance properly because of their many failed diplomatic efforts lately. Being self-declared champions of democracy, americans are growing increasingly undemocratic, fond of rumor mongering and fact twisting…
‘‘We in Europe are very much in agreement that a military resolution of the problems cannot happen,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “It’s not on the agenda. War is no solution, and so we have to find other ways.”
How do you propose to intimidate the bear when he knows you’re a rabbit? When you play the brinksmanship game you blink you lose.
The Emperor not only blinks but he hides his head in the sand. Once a dog has tucked his tail between his legs no other dog will respect him until he fights a fight to the death. It’s the “you will kill me but I will kill you too” that keeps the dogs at bay.
Do you really think the Emperor will start a nuclear war over the Baltic states? Do you think Putin thinks so?
TWILIGHT OF THE COLOR REVOLUTIONS
The initiative in starting the current crisis did not come from Putin, but rather from a complex of US and NATO institutions dedicated to meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and to destabilizing other states in ways that the bungling Utopians of the State Department imagine will be helpful to them.
The forces behind the mob-rule destabilization of Ukraine in the fall of 2013 and the Kiev putsch of February 22, 2014 are centered in the National Endowment for Democracy, and in the politicized subdivisions of the US Agency for International Development, not to mention such private sector conduits as Freedom House, the Albert Einstein Foundation, and many more.
These are the agencies which, according to US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (the wife of neocon warmonger and top Romney advisor Robert Kagan), have invested some $5 billion in building up an anti-Russian opposition in Ukraine – an opposition in which neofascist and neo-Nazi political forces are heavily represented.
After appearing in orange, purple, and other hues, the attack on the modern national state known as the color revolution has now in Kiev stripped-down to its definitive paint job of brown — the color of Hitler’s storm troopers.
As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently commented, “The United States and the European Union, let’s call things as they are, attempted to create yet another ‘color revolution’ in Ukraine by holding an operation on an unconstitutional regime change.” (RIA Novosti, April 24, 2014)
This US-NATO color revolution apparatus took the initiative in overthrowing Yanukovich, detonating a civil war in Ukraine. These facts mean that the United States and NATO must be seen as the aggressors in the current situation, and must bear historical responsibility for whatever tragic consequences may derive in the future.
FEBRUARY’S KIEV COUP NEEDLESSLY DEFIED THREE VITAL RUSSIAN INTERESTS
Western elites are now whining about the countermeasures taken by Putin to guide the inevitable partition, including the avoidance of protracted civil war.
Even a quick overview of Russian history should have warned the self-obsessed masters of human destiny in Foggy Bottom and the Foreign Office that the Russian riposte would be quick and energetic. We are talking here about the kinds of fundamental principles that used to be contained even in decent high school textbooks.
Since the time of Peter the Great, Russia has been interested in acquiring ice free, warm water ports, so as to procure unimpeded access to the world ocean. The naval base at Sevastopol and the commercial port of Odessa represent just such warm water ports, and made Russia a naval power in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
A second recurring Russian concern has been to prevent a land invasion from central Europe of the type undertaken by Poland during the Time of Troubles in the early 1600s, by Charles XII of Sweden in the early 1700s, by Napoleon of France in 1812, and by Hitler in 1941.
This issue reinforces the desire for non-hostile neighbors already mentioned. A third consideration is that the post-1945 ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to some extent of the later Russian Federation has been based on the heroism and sacrifices of the Great Patriotic War against Nazism.
Of the objective validity of this Russian pride there can be no doubt: during World War II, the United States government saluted the defense of the Soviet Union against Hitler as the greatest military achievement in human history, as seen in Frank Capra’s Why We Fight films. The amalgam of Russian patriotism with anti-fascism has in fact has provided much of the energy of the Russian response against the Kiev coup, in which neofascists and neo-Nazis of groups like Svoboda, the Right Sector, and others have been prominent.
MANY FAULT LINES OF THE ARTIFICIAL UKRAINIAN STATE UNDER IMF RULE
Given these well-known Russian concerns, it is likely that Moscow’s desired outcome for the current commotion will be the entry into the Russian sphere, not just of the Crimea, but of the area referred to by Putin as Novorossiya, including the provinces of Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Dniperpetrovsk, Zaporizhiya, Kherson, Mikolaiv, Odessa, and quite possibly Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava, Kirovograd, plus the City of Kiev with its hinterland.
According to Agence France Presse, the provinces listed have a Russian-speaking majority, and many of them voted for Yanukovich in 2010. In some others, the estrangement from the Kiev fascist regime will come in the months ahead as a backlash against the genocidal austerity imposed by the International Monetary Fund, and enforced by Turchinov, Yatsenyuk and company.
Also, if Russia controls the Black Sea ports and the lower Dnieper River, the basic logistics of commodity flows and exports will tend to make the upper Dnieper provinces gravitate towards Moscow. This motion in the direction of Moscow may come through direct annexation, repatriation or in-gathering, quite possibly over a period of years. It may take the form of a separate buffer state functioning as a Russian protectorate.
According to one analysis, “the government in Kiev is managing to alienate citizens here … with a little help from the West. at a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.” (Washington Post, April 16, 2014)
This will include doubling the price of natural gas by removing government price subsidies, increasing regressive taxation, shredding the social safety net for the sick, the old, the very young, expectant mothers, and others, the looting of the black earth farm belt by foreign speculators, and the wholesale transfer of coal and steel manufacturing to foreign control.
The resulting landlocked revanchist rump Ukraine with its natural ideological capital in Lvov (Lviv, Lemberg, Leopoli) will have so many irredentist border disputes that no European government could be prevailed on to allow it to join NATO or the European Union, since this would probably represent a one-way ticket to war with Russia or some other country.
This revanchist rump Ukraine would inevitably become the object of Polish designs, and might soon be further partitioned by its western neighbors– perhaps ending the experiment in artificial modern Ukrainian statehood inaugurated in early 1918 by Field Marshal von Hindenburg and General Ludendorff of the German general staff.
We should remember that most of today’s western Ukraine, including Lvov and Tarnopol, spent the time between 1920 and 1941 as provinces of Poland, after more than a century of Austrian and Hungarian rule. There is also the province of Trans-Carpathian Ukraine (also known as Carpathian Ruthenia), which might be of interest to Hungary, Slovakia, or Romania because of historical claims or ethnic representation.
Here a separatist movement is already present: on October 25, 2008, during the Georgia crisis, 100 delegates attending the Congress of Carpathian Ruthenians declared the formation of the Republic of Carpathian Ruthenia, eliciting a hostile outburst from the fascist Svoboda Party in Kiev. Whatever happens in regard to such places, it is safe to say that no Americans in their right mind will want to interfere.
Ukraine could have survived on two conditions: that the country had been permanently neutralized, and that it had been constituted as a confederation.
In the decades just after World War II, Finland – which had been an active ally of Nazi Germany against the USSR – fared reasonably well as a neutral or “Finlandized” nation, pledged not to join NATO or the European Economic Community and not to tolerate anti-Soviet agitation.
As for the idea of confederation, the obvious example of a multi-ethnic, multilingual country that has prospered under a very limited central government with broad local autonomy is of course the country officially named Confœderatio Helvetica, otherwise known as Switzerland.
Ukraine could have done exceedingly well under this combination, but the inept nomenklatura oligarchy running the country since the days of Kravchuk and Kuchma have possessed pitifully limited experience of government, and have gained none of the wisdom and statesmanship that might have allowed a confederal compromise between East and West in the way that Vienna and Budapest were able to form a dualistic state a during the late 19th century.
From the US point of view, what is happening in Ukraine is more or less what occurred in West Virginia during the Civil War after the secession crisis of 1860-1861. The slaveholders of tidewater Virginia left the Union in the spring of 1861, but the mountain counties of the state decided to assert their allegiance to the government in Washington, seceding in their turn from Virginia and forming a new state, which was duly admitted to the Union in 1863.
Unfortunately, the radically anti-historical ruling elite of the United States is today manifesting many symptoms of collective psychosis, in the form of delusions of grandeur, schizophrenia, and Russophobia. Neocons are apoplectic because the resurgence of Russia threatens their future hopes of naked or thinly veiled military aggression on the Iraq model. Liberals are hysterical because Putin threatens to deprive them of their two favorite methods of reordering world affairs, the color revolution and humanitarian bombing conducted under the “responsibility to protect” perversion of international law.
JESSICA MATHEWS OF CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT AND HARVARD WANTS US BOOTS ON GROUND
A case in point is the representative establishment figure Jessica Tuchman Mathews of the Morgenthau-Wertheim Our Crowd networks, who is today the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a member of the Harvard Corporation.
In a May 3, 2014 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Mathews stated that President Obama, preferably in late February of this year, should have responded to the announcement of Russian military drills near the Ukrainian border by accepting an invitation from Kiev to conduct “multilateral military exercises” on Ukrainian territory with the US sending one brigade, while urging at least 4 to 5 NATO allies to take part in battalion strength.
She also suggested that it would have been wise for the Emperor to call Putin and inform him of these drills, telling the Russian president that the NATO drills would be over as soon as the Russian exercises had been ended. What Matthews was unable to mention was of course any vital US strategic interest in Ukraine that would justify such a reckless action, apart from some vague notion of the rules of the current international system, which the Kiev coup had in any case rendered inoperative.
This is of course a piece of strategic lunacy that would make even the most deranged Dr. Strangelove shudder. It may help us to gauge the degeneracy of the current US ruling elite if we recall that Ms. Mathews’ mother was the late Barbara Tuchman, the author of the 1962 study The Guns of August.
This book, whatever its other limitations, performed a positive historical function because it had been read by President Kennedy shortly before the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, and provided Kennedy with the concept of war by miscalculation, which he used as the basis for rejecting some of the more irresponsible proposals coming from his advisers during that strategic emergency.
Back when she was working for the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Mathews was the author of a triumphalist manifesto of Empire she called “Power Shift,” which appeared in Foreign Affairs, January-February 1997. This article was later chosen by the CFR as up there with George Kennan’s 1947 “Mr. X” containment screed among the most influential to have appeared during the first 75 years of their publication.
In her piece, Matthews voiced the fashionable misconceptions of an era in which the Fukuyama End of History and the Daniel Bell End of Ideology were all the rage in Georgetown. The unspoken premise was, of course, that an era of permanent and uncontested US world domination had begun.
Matthews argued that the international system of sovereign states which emerged after the peace of Westphalia in 1648 had now evaporated. The nation-state was increasingly impotent and obsolete, power was shifting to supernational organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the worldwide domination of speculative hot money was at hand. Instead of the modern territorial state, she wanted a return to the jurisdictional confusion of the Middle Ages, another disguise of Empire.
With this article as her most famous contribution to the imperialist policy debate, we can see why Jessica Matthews is so reluctant to face the world in which all of her trendy clichés have been brutally refuted by reality itself. This same mechanism is currently operative in the individual psychology of hundreds of professors, pundits, and bureaucrats who have built their careers on the now-extinct permanent unipolar hypothesis.
The result is the hysteria we hear in every public statement from Kerry, Samantha Power, Nuland, Ambassador Pyatt, and so many others. Anytime we hear these figures attempt to reassure public opinion that “nobody is proposing boots on the ground” or words to that effect, we should recall that this is simply a lie, given the remarks of an authoritative figure like Ms. Mathews , who has not so far been fired from any of her prestigious posts.
BENEFITS OF A RETURN TO A BALANCE OF POWER
The American people turn out to be major beneficiaries of Putin’s reassertion of Russian interests. The post 1991 period of unilateral world domination has brought out the absolute worst in the US ruling class, with endless meddling, threats, saber rattling, and catastrophic armed aggression against many countries around the world.
At the present time, the most efficient means of deterring and containing the impulses of neocon and “humanitarian” warmongers alike is that they be confronted by a powerful counterweight in the form of a resurgent Russia, a country capable of reasserting a reality principle against the lobbies demanding aggression.
This re-establishment of an approximate balance of power in world affairs has great positive potential. Americans should also remember that real wages and working conditions in the US were significantly higher when the Soviet Union was intact, and that the era of unipolar domination has been accompanied by reactionary politics, the decimation of the manufacturing sector, union busting, a declining standard of living, and increasing cultural barbarism.
American voters and political activists could do themselves an immense favor by demanding the immediate dismantling and de-funding of this color revolution apparatus. It was one thing to carry out color revolutions in Serbia and Georgia, and to attempt one in Lebanon, but the low hanging fruit has long since been exhausted.
The defeat of the fake 2005 Cedars Revolution in Lebanon, largely through the organizational resistance of Hezbollah, and especially the failure of the attempted June 2009 color revolution in Iran, both show that this imperialist weapon has reached the point of diminishing returns.
Trying to pull off a repeat performance of the 2004 orange revolution in Kiev at this late date was obviously an amateurish blunder, while recruiting gangs of Ernst Röhm-style fascist thugs like the late Muzichko of Right Sector to play the role of golden youth yearning for Western democracy made things even worse.
Putin evidently regards former Ambassador McFaul’s failed attempts to conjure up a color revolution as an act of war, so it would be wise to cease and desist from attempting this in Moscow.
Accordingly, the National Endowment for Democracy should be broken up and dissolved, and the sectors of USAID supposedly devoted to civil society and democratization should share the same fate. Freedom House and similar private institutions should be deprived of any federal funding.
US WORLD DOMINATION FADING AFTER 23 YEARS, 1991 TO 2014
Putin’s actions remind us that no world domination has ever lasted indefinitely. The problem of a unipolar world is its inherent instability, with the costs of military action generally appearing far smaller to the policy maker than they are in reality. From about 1525 to 1660 or so, Spain dominated Europe and the world, but still faced resistance from Richelieu’s France, from the revolt of the Netherlands, and from England’s destruction of the Spanish Armada.
After 1660, Louis XIV attempted to establish French world domination, but his efforts were defeated by the English-Dutch combination assembled by William of Orange — a defeat which became evident with the Peace of Utrecht in 1713.
England then exercised a growing global hegemony for more than two centuries, despite such defeats as the American Revolution. After Trafalgar and Waterloo, the British used the 1848 revolutions as a kind of European Spring, overthrowing every government on the continent except Russia.
Between 1848 and 1871, the British came very close to uncontested world domination, but were defeated by Tsar Alexander II of Russia, US President Abraham Lincoln, and German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Even then, the British remained first among equals until about 1940.
That 1848 to 1871 phase still stands as the closest any power has come to unquestioned domination of the world. If that British dominion lasted about 23 years, it is ironic to see that US global hegemony is fading fast in 2014, just 23 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The task of statesmanship is now to manage a return to a more traditional balance of power arrangement, while avoiding tragic military consequences for all concerned.