Who Are The Bad Guys In Ukraine?
Russians have occupied more than a few NATO capitals including Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Berlin and even Paris. No one wants to see that happen again. And yet the West seems to be pushing Russia up against a wall right now with devastating sanctions that are crippling the Russian economy and roiling the country's politics. And nuclear-armed Russia is a lot stronger militarily than the U.K. Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Turkey and the rest of the European NATO allies combined.
After I broke a couple of ribs and punctured a lung, I had to have physical therapy to get back in some semblance of shape. Following a debilitating two week hospital stay I've been having a physical therapist come over twice a week to help with balance and strengthening exercises. He's an American, originally from Ukraine, and speaks fluent Ukrainian and Russian. He also listens to the radio and reads reports on what's going on there in both languages. "It's been," he told me a couple weeks ago, "a brilliant move by the CIA to destabilize Russia at no cost to America." That's certainly not the perspective you get from U.S. media. The mainstream media in the U.S., for example, doesn't let on how hated the Kiev regime is in the eastern parts of the country, nor even attempt to provide any historical context. Most American media consumers probably think Ukraine was once a country. It never was. Is Ukrainian a real language? We'll... Ukrainian is to Russian kind of like what California English is to Australian English.
Last last year we looked at the mounting evidence that the whole mess in Ukraine started with a CIA coup on behalf of a claque of anti-Russian fascists and oligarchs. Eric Zuesse: "How many Americans know that the current regime in Ukraine was installed in a very bloody February 2014 coup d'etat, that was planned in the U.S. White House, and overseen by an Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, and run by the CIA, and carried out for the White House by one of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties, whose founder and leader still controls Ukraine though not officially, even these many months after his coup, and which nazi party has been up to their elbows since then in a genocidal policy to exterminate the people in the region of Ukraine that had voted approximately 90% for the man whom Obama and those nazis overthrew in February?"
The video up top is former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) voicing his own distrust of the American role in Ukraine. "I'm not pro-Russia, I'm not pro-Putin," he said. "I'm pro-facts." Unlike the CIA-- or a large bipartisan contingent of irresponsible saber-rattling Members of Congress, who are demanding that Obama arm the crumbling Ukrainian army.
My physical therapist told me some of the Russian political analysts are absolutely brilliant and that it's a shame we don't get to hear them here in English. In October, though, The Guardian published a Russian perspective on the conflict with an interview of former Russian spy chief Nikolai Patrushev by Ivan Egorov for Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Egorov starts with a question: "The last few months have witnessed a coup d’état in Ukraine, military operations by the Ukrainian authorities against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts and rabidly anti-Russian policies on the part of Kiev. Was it possible to predict this turn of events just a year ago?"
People ask how it's possible that so many Jews are in top positions in a Ukrainian government dominated by nationalists (and fascists) whose slogan is that they will drown Russians in Polish and Jewish blood.That they are Jewish or half Jewish takes a back seat to the corruption of oligarchy-- and the ability to loot the country-- which is what this whole mess, tragically, is really all about.
Nikolai Patrushev: Our experts warned that a worsening of the situation in Ukraine was likely under conditions of political and economic instability, particularly in the case of outside influence. But I have to admit that the possibility of a sudden seizure of power in Kiev, relying on armed units of self-proclaimed Nazis, hadn’t then been considered. It’s worth remembering that until that coup, Moscow fulfilled all its obligations to Kiev in full.
Without the material and financial help that we constantly supplied, Ukraine wouldn’t have been able to deal with its economic problems, which had become chronic. To help our neighbour, we marshalled material and financial resources worth tens of millions of dollars. For many people in Ukraine, this help came to seem so routine that they simply forgot how important it was for the survival of the country.
But if you’re talking about longer-term predictions, the Ukraine crisis was a totally predictable outcome of the actions of the US and its closest allies.
For the last quarter of a century, these actions were designed to wrest Ukraine and other former Soviet republics away from Russia and to redesign the post-Soviet space in America’s interests. The US created the conditions and pretexts for the coloured revolutions and financed them lavishly.
Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has said that her country spent $5bn between 1991 and 2013 “supporting the aspirations of the people of Ukraine for a stronger, more democratic government.” Even open sources, such as congressional documents, show that government spent no less than $2.4bn on various American “aid” programmes to Ukraine between 2001 and 2012. That’s comparable to the annual budget of some small states. The US Agency for International Development spent around half a billion dollars, the State Department nearly half a million and the Pentagon more than $370m.
...[Egorov:] Some experts believe that the Ukraine crisis served simply as a pretext for the west to escalate relations with Russia. Is that true?
Nikolai Patrushev: Yes, if the catastrophe in Ukraine had not occurred, another pretext would have been found to activate the policy of “containment” towards our country. This policy has been followed religiously for many decades: only the forms and tactics by which it has been realised have changed.
It is well known that after the second world war, the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the west, headed by the US, took the form of a cold war. The military-political element of this conflict rested with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), which was established on 4 April 1949 at the initiative of the US. An analysis of Nato’s actions shows that, having created the alliance, the US pursued two main goals.
First, a military bloc formed under American leadership, aimed against the USSR.
Victoria Nuland-- a bridge too far
Second, Washington pre-empted the emergence in western Europe of an independent group of states that could have competed with the US. It is worth remembering that although, essentially, the US exerted unilateral control over its allies, its territory was not included in Nato’s sphere of responsibility.
After the fall of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, which united the socialist countries of Europe and whose very existence was regarded by Nato as a grave danger, the bloc was not only not dissolved, it grew further, both numerically and militarily.
...The coup in Kiev, which was clearly carried out with the help of the US, conformed to a classical model worked out in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. But never before had such a coup impinged on Russia’s interests so directly.
Analysis shows that by provoking Russia into retaliatory measures, the Americans are pursuing the very same goals as in the 1980s vis-a-vis the USSR. Just like back then, they are trying to define our country’s “weak points.” At the same time, of course, they are neutralising economic competitors in Europe who have grown too close to Moscow, as they see it.
It’s worth remembering that Washington always strived to exert leverage over Russia. In 1974, the well-known Jackson Vanik amendment was passed, limiting trade with our country. To all appearances, it became obsolete the moment the USSR fell but it nevertheless remained in force right up until 2012, when it was replaced by the so-called Magnitsky list.
The current sanctions are part of the same trend. The actions of the American administration during the Ukraine crisis are part of a new current in White House foreign policy designed to preserve America’s position of leadership in the world by containing the growing power of Russia and other centres of power. What is more, Washington is actively using the possibilities that Nato offers to exert political and economic pressure on its allies and partners and thereby prevent them from wavering.
[Egorov:] Why is the American elite pursuing the right to control foreign (countries’) raw materials so tenaciously at a time when experts in the west are stressing the importance of developing alternative sources of energy that are supposedly capable of replacing oil and gas in double quick time?
Nikolai Patrushev: Specialists are convinced, in fact, that a real alternative to fossil fuels as the basis of energy production won’t appear in the next few decades. What is more, the dominant belief in the west is that the combined power generated by nuclear, hydro, wind and solar can satisfy no more than a fifth of world demand.
Don’t forget another important point. In the world today, there is a growing shortage of food and drinking water for the planet’s rising population. Lacking the most basic means of survival, desperate people turn to extremism, terrorism, piracy and criminality. This accounts, in part, for the sharp disparities between countries and regions, as well as for mass migration.
A shortage of water and irrigable land often causes discord, not least between the republics of Central Asia. Water represents an acute problem for a range of other countries in Asia and, especially, in Africa.
Many American experts, including the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, claim that Moscow ended up with such vast swathes of territory that it is incapable of exploiting it all: this territory does not, therefore, “serve the interests of humanity as a whole.” We continue to hear claims that (the world’s) natural resources were divided up “unfairly” and that (Russia) must grant foreign states “free access” to them.
The Americans are convinced that many other people reason in the same way, especially in the states bordering Russia, which are already banding together to support such claims on our country and will continue to do so in future. As in the case of Ukraine, they propose to solve problems at Russia’s expense and without taking its interests into account.
Even during periods of relative détente between Russia/USSR and the US, such statements always held true.
That is why, whatever the nuances of American behaviour, or that of its allies, this challenge will remain forever present before Russia’s leaders: to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the homeland, to protect and multiply its wealth and to dispose of that wealth sensibly in the interests of the multinational people of the Russian Federation.
UPDATE: Victoria Nuland, A Dangerous Embarrassment To America
The Cold War throwback driving America's messed up policies in Ukraine is Victoria Nuland, Kerry's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Her husband is notorious neocon Robert Kagan. In her glory days she was principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Lately she's been in the news again for this phone call. CNN bleeped out "Fuck," as in "Fuck the E.U."