The War to end all Wars: For those who remember the BBC TV series Upstairs, Downstairs from way back in 1971, the summer of 1914 was glorious with sun and days at the beach. Little did anyone know that this would be the start of the First World War. Now at the time of the hundredth anniversary of the start of that war, here we are again…Lately there have been several signs of darkening war clouds over the world. Yet most people are blissfully unaware that this may be the start of the war to end all wars, indeed to end all of humanity, a nuclear holocaust.
The Role of the Media: People are unaware because the true account of what has been happening in Ukraine has been given such a spin by the combined US and EU propaganda. I have followed events closely and have never before felt that the media hype was so distorted. It started in 2010 when in jimsresearchnotes I expressed my fears for EU’s Ostpolitik regarding Ukraine:
“The EU’s Drang nach Osten repeats the mistakes of earlier generations of taking advantage of Russian weakness.
We seem to be slipping back into the Cold War era with the EU as the USA’s Frontline client state just at the time when, after a mere 20 years, US global hegemony is beginning to wane (2), while China grows in strength and Russia with its vast natural resources once again rises from the ashes.”
EU: The Ramshackle Empire: See also the first post, after which this blog is named: EU the Ramshackle Empire. Indeed, I started this blog precisely because of the Ukraine situation. Both the EU and the USA were pumping billions into Ukraine to prop up a bankrupt and deeply corrupt regime.
Corruption: The money was used for other purpose than the welfare of its people, perhaps even being used to make the oligarchs richer than ever. As has also been the case with the IMF funding Ukraine has already received, misused to spend on armies and conscription. Nor do I believe for one moment that Russia – still less the Novorossiya partizans – were responsible for shooting down Malaysian Flight MH77. Only the Ukrainian junta stood to gain. Much of the opposition to the US policy of supporting the Junta comes from the USA itself. This blog, interestingly enough, has most visits from North America. Individuals like Ron Paul and Paul Craig Roberts and Washington’s Blog, The Kremlin Stooge, Vineyard of the Saker, and Slavyangrad, and ClubOrlov all play a vital role in their critiques of US policy in Ukraine, as does Global Research (California based!). Its a paradox that all of the above blogs come from North Americans, most with their origins in Russia. Yet Barack Obama is almost falling over himself to support Ukraine.
Russia-US, Relations: This is the dynamic behind the Junta’s brazen confidence – the backing of USA the global superpower, NATO and the EU. And this is why the Russians have stood back and not allowed themselves to be provoked, despite shelling across the border from Ukraine. And in the wake of the corporate media frenzy against Putin it gives the Junta strong temptation to take advantage of it: to illegally spend IMF money on the war rather than on reconstruction, to shoot down a civilian airliner, nothing it seems stands in the way of Junta extremism.
Growing Extremity: Indeed, the more setbacks the Junta have in the war which has already claimed innumerable lives the more extreme it becomes. The EU and the USA have between them created enough opposition in the media to edge the world closer to World War III, while many in the West enjoy the summer in blissful unawareness of the gathering storm clouds. There are always “diversions” to distract the media – the crisis in the Gaza Strip, the flood of refugees from Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – that quite simply unless one has been closely following events in Ukraine, the collapse of Junta power will not be at all apparent. If attempts to lure the Russians to send their armies across the border had succeeded this situation could come dangerously close to the start of World War III, and with that a nuclear holocaust. It is deeply ironic that it is in the Ukraine Junta’s interests to do this and thereby bring America into the war against Russia.
Dark Skies over Donbas: The latest post by the Saker expresses this fear, Thinking the Unthinkable. This is a long post where the author expresses his growing concern at the anti-Russian propaganda coming out of Hromadske TV in Kiev. He does this is response to: http://slavyangrad.org/2014/08/01/ukrainian-journalist-openly-calls-for-genocide-on-hromadske-tv-financed-by-us-and-netherlands/.
With 1.5 million ethnic Russians in Donbas making up 40 percent of the population any such programme of genocide would undoubtedly have far-reaching repercussions. So far it is just words, though even today there are many tens of thousand Russians fleeing east as a result of their homes being destroyed or fear of being caught up in the fighting, or just out of fear, and of watching Hromadske TV and its anti-Russian propaganda. This BBC report of some 15,000 ethnic Russians fleeing, is over a month old but even then the flow of refugees was growing. Most flee to Russia where they are refugee camps.
Can a Nuclear Holocaust be avoided? There would be little point in writing this post if I felt all was hopeless. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 left a deep horror of nuclear war by those who lived through it. See Cold War, and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, which ended with the drawing back from the brink. The Cold War from the Potsdam Agreement to 1962 led to a period of Detente which lasted until Reaganomics and Thatcherism led initially to a polarisation against “the evil empire”. Eventually, this second Cold War ended in detente as Russia began a policy of Perestroika to restructure the Soviet system, and glasnost (transparency).
One way of understanding this is that the USSR was trying to become more neoliberal in its organisation. What a pity that they never adopted ordoliberalism! Neoliberalism has spread across the entire world as most countries tried to adopt the same approach: Chile and Argentina spring to mind, hence the sovereign debt crisis.
The price of this was, of course, to join the race towards monotenural home ownership, a policy that made all countries that adopted it especially vulnerable to the boom-slump crises that were becoming more frequently and deeper. Welcome to the neoliberal club!
Vladimir Putin and Negotiation: In Saturday 2 August 2014 Dagens Nyheter there is an article by Richard Swartz on “A Quite Special Relationship” between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Before going into that article some background is necessary. Richard Swartz is a Swedish journalist who has lived in Vienna since 1976 and is married to a Croatian, Slavenka Drakulić, author and journalist. She has her own Wikipedia page in English. In Dagens Nyheter 15 March 2014 Swartz writes in his column under the heading Russia’s Geopolitical Nightmare:
“But the problem is that Ukraine neither wants to be a colony, nor can Russia afford Ukraine. This is also true for the EU: the country is too large, it is too ethnically split, and too poor and undeveloped. So far, Russia has taken the initiative by organising a referendum (in Crimea), while the West has done little more than react. The Russian majority voted to join Mother Russia. But it can not be excluded that Putin sees the referendum as simply a way to strengthen his bargaining position.” (my translation and my emphasis).
This is exactly my own view. Neither Russia nor the EU can afford to take over Ukraine, it is just too poor, too corrupt and too ethnically split. And taking over Crimea has to be understood as a way of strengthening Russia’s bargaining position with Ukraine. Yet the Americans have urged the Junta not to agree to anything. Perhaps Obama covets the naval base of Sevastopol with its associated air-strips as a strategic basis in the Black Sea.
My sense is that Putin wants to negotiate the Sevastopol lease to Ukraine, perhaps on a long-term basis (say 100 years, or even just the existing lease of some 40 years). He also wants to negotiate the status of Russians in Ukraine so they will have equal position with Ukrainians.
The problem is not the Junta, but the US insistence that the Junta resist all negotiation and compromise, and Obama’s support for such resistance. It is this that makes the Junta refuse all negotiation and insist on full Russian capitulation. With the military might of the Global Hegemon behind them and the European Empire supporting it – let us not forget that the EU’s imperial ambitions have created this state of war in the first place – the Junta’s increasingly hateful position toward Russia effectively polarises and poisons the whole gamut of relationship issues between the two countries.
This brings me to the relationship between Putin and Merkel, that Swartz writes about in Dagens Nyheter Saturday the 2nd August 2014, under the heading An Altogether Special Relationship.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin: Swartz writes in Dagens Nyheter Saturday the 2nd August 2014, p. 5, a one page Column, under the heading An Altogether Special Relationship. Putin has been as keen to maintain good relationships with Merkel as with the only fairly and openly elected President of Ukraine who was deposed in a junta coup. Read the article here, the photo of the two as they talk together is very telling.
This is not news, it has been known for some time. The corporate media are replete with references to it, with the possible exception of The Guardian. The clearest expression come from this Reuters item.
Swartz clarifies in this sub-title to his piece: “Ukraine cannot count on more than lukewarm support from German opinion. The relationship with Russia is far more important.” “….With great effort, the EU seeks to hold together a strategy against Putin regarding the crisis in Ukraine. Suddenly required, this practical goal puts in the shade the foreign, energy and security policy, and what is patched together is a kind of fragile compromise based on the lowest common denominator. It will not mean much in policy terms: at best it will be rhetoric, symbolic sanctions and some diplomacy.”(my translation).
For our understanding of Putin, this reinforces the view that he is willing to negotiate and compromise, up to a point. The situation for Merkel is more complex. I find it hard to believe that her position in the EU Oligarchy, combined with her obvious desire to centralise and create a Federal Europe, reflected in her choice of Junker to replace Barosso, can be compromised. Germany only needs one other large state to make all the smaller member states humbly line up behind her. Hungary and Britain are the only exceptions: see Rule by Oligarchy. The long term aim of a European Empire from the Atlantic to the Pacific also makes Merkel dependent on the likes of Obama/Clinton, which I can’t see as being able to keep Putin onside.
Ukraine is too large and too much of a threat to Russia to be ignored. The west is so eager to blame Russia for everything. So we must expect continuing war in the east until one side or the other wins. But as the Ukrainian forces lose ground – as they are doing – they will be tempted to become even more extreme so that the USA becomes drawn into the conflict on Ukraine’s side. It is in this that the threat of a thermonuclear World War III lies.