Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Gorbachev: The New Cold War With Russia Could Turn "Hot"


by Gaius Publius

It's not on most people's radar, I think, that what's going on inside Ukraine is a proxy war between the West — mainly the U.S., aided by the E.U. — and Russia. In the same way, the long "internal" Nicaraguan conflict of the Reagan '80s was a proxy war between, yet again, the U.S. and Russia (also, between the U.S. and anyone in Latin America who didn't want to live under U.S. continental domination):
The [Nicaraguan] Revolution marked a significant period in Nicaraguan history and revealed the country as one of the major proxy war battlegrounds of the Cold War with the events in the country rising to international attention.

Although the initial overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1978–79 was a bloody affair, the Contra War of the 1980s took the lives of tens of thousands of Nicaraguans and was the subject of fierce international debate. During the 1980s both the FSLN (a leftist collection of political parties) and the Contras (a rightist collection of counter-revolutionary groups) received large amounts of aid from the Cold War super-powers (respectively, the Soviet Union and the United States).
The so-called Ukrainian uprising is similar, with forces on both sides (not just one) aided and abetted by more powerful nations using others to do their bidding. In fact, the whole recent history of Ukrainian unrest has in it the heavy hand of the West (click; it's a good read).

In that context, I offer the following, Mikhail Gorbachev quoted from an interview he gave to RT.com:
Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the US of dragging Russia into a new Cold War. The former Soviet president fears the chill in relations could eventually spur an armed conflict.

“Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism,” Gorbachev said in an interview with Interfax.

The former USSR leader, whose name is associated with the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, is worried about the possible consequences.

“What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid they might take the risk,” he said.

Gorbachev’s criticism of Washington comes as the West is pondering new sanctions against Russia, blaming it for the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine, and alleging Moscow is sending troops to the restive areas. Russia has denied the allegations.

“All we hear from the US and the EU now is sanctions against Russia,” Gorbachev said. “Are they completely out of their minds? The US has been totally ‘lost in the jungle’ and is dragging us there as well.” 
There's more; read here to get the full report. There's no question we're in a new cold war with Russia. I've written about the background of betrayal and encirclement that characterizes U.S. relations with Russia since Bush I and Gorbachev negotiated the new path forward in the era of Russian glasnost ("public candor") and perestroika ("restructuring"). Proxies in the new war include our "allies" (clients) in Ukraine; NATO and its march to the borders of Russia; and the price of oil.

You should know that Russia is taking this very seriously. This is not about "that devil Putin," as we in the comfortable TV-watching West are led to see it. For all Russians, this is about what Gorbachev says it's about — "Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism."

Consider just NATO. Imagine Mexico as a Warsaw Pact ally after a "restructuring" in Washington. You don't have to agree to understand that for Russians the encroachment has gone too far. To quote a line Alan Grayson used in another context, "This could end in tears." Mikhail Gorbachev agrees, and he's not the devil, right?


Cross-posted with permission from Digby's Hullabaloo.

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At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The U.S. MADE Nicaragua a proxy war. Nicaragua had a home-made and entirely justified rebellion against the U.S.-supported multigenerational Somoza family dictatorship, one that was desperately needed and long overdue

The U.S., by its coup d'etat, MADE Ukraine a proxy war. Russia's no angel, but they didn't start this fight and is being demonized by western financial interests (and their paid news media) for defending against continuing Western aggression right on their border.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Ford Prefect. said...

It can't be overstated that this whole "proxy war" is a creation of the US. Gorbie is right and from what I've seen of Russian/slavic opinion, they all blame the US for what's happening in Ukraine. So do the Ukrainians, for that matter.

The US wants two things: 1) prevent greater ties between EU countries and Russia--and we're willing to start a bloody war in Europe to get it; and 2), regime change in Russia and potentially breaking it up into smaller bantustan states. That last bit strikes me as mad, but there does seem to be some basis for it.

In any case, the US attempt at wresting Sevastopol away from the Russkies failed and the current putsch regime in Kiev is failing in every respect. Their attempt at forced conscription for the army has resulted in people quitting their jobs and heading for Russia in large numbers. Economically, this is devastating. Politically, even moreso.

So the US can't get what it wants without putting NATO troops in there to finish the job, since the Porosheko/Svoboda/Pravyi SEktor crowd have already failed. Some cold war, eh?

It's not very cold for the Ukrainians being killed by artillery barrages. Americans and Brits have been filmed fighting in Ukraine. NATO artillery weapons are being used. The "lethal aid" is already flowing.

It seems to me that calling this a Cold War is way behind the curve. With more than 5,000 civilian casualties already, it's not cold at all. The only question is how far we're really willing to go with this.


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