Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
When U.S. President Barack Obama perpetrated his coup d’etat in Ukraine in February 2014, and even had his agent Victoria Nuland select the person who was to rule Ukraine after the coup, it was with the expectation that the new government would renegotiate, and soon end, the Russian lease of the naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea, which wasn’t due to expire until 2042. (Up until 1954, that base had been in Russian territory because Crimea was part of Russia; but, after the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954 arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine, and then the Soviet Union itself broke up in 1991, Russia was keeping its navy there by paying a lease on it from Ukraine.)
However, instead of the U.S. winning control of Crimea as had been planned, the racist-fascist anti-Russian “Right Sector” forces, which Obama’s people had hired to carry out the coup in Kiev under the cover of ‘democratic’ demonstrations in Kiev against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych (who had received over 75% of Crimeans’ votes in the Presidential election, prior to his being overthrown), terrorized Crimeans during the coup, and this terrorizing of them, simply added insult to their injury. On February 20th, Right Sector forces massacred Crimeans who were escaping from Ukraine’s capital, fleeing the rabid sentiments in Kiev against supporters of Yanukovych, such as they, who populate Crimea and the many other parts of the former Ukraine that had elected Yanukovych (very unpopular in the Kiev region) into office. Right Sector caught up with them at the town of Korsun, burned some of their buses, and murdered some of the escaping Crimeans, though most survived — some of them severely injured.
Also, early in March of 2014, shortly prior to Crimea’s referendum on whether to remain within Ukraine, a Crimean who had served in Kiev as a prosecutor in the democratically elected Ukrainian national government that had just been overthrown, and who had likewise escaped from Kiev, was now safely back home in Crimea, and did a Crimean TV interview. This former prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, took questions from the live TV audience. The interview was posted to youtube on 12 April 2014, and, as I described it, linking to the youtube, she proceeded there to:
inform her fellow Crimeans what she had seen happen during the overthrow, and why she couldn’t, in good conscience, remain as a Ukrainian official in Kiev, and swear loyalty to the new Ukrainian Government. She had heard the chants of the Maidan protesters and smelled their piles of burning tires, and seen their marches in Kiev with nazi symbols and salutes, and she didn’t want to become any part of that. So, she quit and was now unemployed back home in Crimea at the time of this interview.
The Obama Administration, in planning for the coup, had polling done prior to the coup, throughout Ukraine, and supplemented the sample in Crimea because, naturally, taking control of the Sebastopol naval base was of particular concern to Obama.
USAID and the International Republican Institute of the Republican Party (not the National Democratic Institute, because funding from them might have suggested the White House’s backing) polled 500 Crimeans, during 16-30 May 2013. As I have reported elsewhere, the first stage of preparation for the upcoming coup was already active inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev on 1 March 2013; and so, this was a very coordinated Obama Administration operation. (Most Washington-based accounts of the overthrow allege that it was ‘democratic’ and started after Yanukovych rejected the EU’s offer on 21 November 2013.) On 27 December 2014, I compared the results of that Crimean poll versus the results of a poll covering all areas of the former Ukraine, which was taken, also, for the U.S. government, but, to Obama’s inevitable disappointment, neither poll found a U.S.-friendly, Ukraine-friendly, Russia-hostile, Crimea.
Gallup polled 500 Crimeans during May 16-30 in 2013, and found that only 15% considered themselves “Ukrainian.” 24% considered themselves “Crimean.” But 40% considered themselves “Russian.” Even before Obama’s February 2014 coup which overthrew the Ukrainian President whom [nearly] 80% of Crimeans had voted for, the Crimean people overwhelmingly wanted to secede from Ukraine — and, especially now they did, right after the President for whom they had overwhelmingly voted, Viktor Yanukovych, had been overthrown in this extremely bloody coup. Furthermore, in April 2014, Gallup again polled Crimea, and they found that 71.3% of Crimeans viewed as “Mostly positive” the role of Russia there, and 4.0% viewed it as “Mostly negative”; by contrast, only 2.8% viewed the role of the United States there as “Mostly positive,” and a whopping 76.2% viewed it as “Mostly negative.” During the intervening year, Crimeans’ favorability toward America had plunged down to 2.8%, from its year-earlier 6%. Clearly, what Obama had done in Ukraine (his violent coup in Kiev) had antagonized the Crimeans. And, as if that weren’t enough, the 2014 poll provided yet more evidence: “The 500 people that were sampled in Crimea were asked [and this is crucial] ‘Please tell me if you agree or disagree: The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status [whether to rejoin Russia] reflect the views of most people here.’ 82.8% said ‘Agree.’ 6.7% said ‘Disagree.’” In the hearts of the local residents, Crimea was still Russian territory, after an involuntary hiatus of 60 years; and so the Russian Government accepted them back again, into Russia — this was not as Corey Flintoff droned, “Russia’s seizure of Crimea.” It was Russia’s protection of them from the invasion of Ukraine by the United States in a bloody coup.
On 20 March 2015, even Kenneth Rapoza at the anti-Russian magazine Forbes, headlined, “One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev”, and he concluded that, “Despite huge efforts on the part of Kiev, Brussels, Washington and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit. At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule.”
However, Barack Obama refuses to accept this. After all, if he were to accept it, then he would have to terminate the anti-Russia economic sanctions he initiated on the basis of Russia’s ‘seizure’ of Crimea, and he would have to acknowledge that the massive U.S.-led military buildup of NATO forces on Russia’s borders in order to protect against ‘Russia’s aggression’ needs to stop and, indeed, be withdrawn. But Obama doesn’t accept any of this; to do that would negate the whole purpose of his coup, and even his anti-Russian policy, including, perhaps, his refusal to cooperate with Russian forces that are trying to stamp out jihadist groups in Syria.
On 6 February 2016, I headlined “U.S. Now Overtly at War Against Russia” and reported that both U.S. ‘Defense’ Secretary Ashton Carter and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had announced the U.S. was initiating a quadrupling of U.S. troops and weaponry on Russia’s northwestern borders.
On 4 May 2016, Dmitriy Sedov headlined at Strategic Culture, “NATO to Form Allied Fleet in the Black Sea: Plans Fraught with Great Risks” and he opened:
Finally, it has become clear what the world has been set to expect from the NATO summit to be held in Warsaw on July 8-9. Summing things up, it is clear that the Alliance is moving to the east. It plans to create a Black Sea «allied fleet». It should be done quickly – the standing force should be formed by July.
Sedov closed by saying that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko “is impatiently waiting for the July NATO summit. The event can ultimately do away with whatever is left of ‘détente’, ‘reset’ etc. and bring the world back to the days of uncompromised mutual assured destruction.”
There is a backstory to that, and, naturally, it goes back to Barack Obama:
As I have previously explained, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told Poroshenko, on 12 May 2015, to stop saying that Ukraine would restart its war against the separatist Donbass region and would invade Crimea and retake that too; but, Kerry’s subordinate, Hillary Clinton’s friend Victoria Nuland, told Poroshenko to ignore her boss on that, and then U.S. President Obama sided with Nuland and sidelined Kerry on Ukraine policy by making clear that he thought Poroshenko was right to insist upon retaking Crimea and re-invading Donbass.
In other words: the Minsk peace process for Ukraine, that had been initiated by Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, was grudgingly accepted by Obama but he really had no intention of its being anything more than a pause in the war, after which NATO itself would become engaged in facing-down Russia over its ‘aggressive’ ‘invasion’ and ‘seizure’ of Crimea.
Game’s on for World War III, is Obama’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. At some point, either the American side or the Russian-NATO-EU side will have to back down on the Crimea matter, or else the bombs, on one or both sides, will be released against the other. Kerry has been trying negotiation, but his real enemy is his own boss.
There is every indication that, if Hillary Clinton, a super-hawk against Russia, becomes the next U.S. President, then the policies that Obama has been implementing will be carried out. 2016 could thus turn out to be a very fateful election in the U.S., and not only for the U.S. but for the entire world.