Imagine the lives and the billions of dollars that could have been saved if peace had been given a chance. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Days after the war in Ukraine began it was reported by The New York Times that “President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has asked the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to mediate negotiations in Jerusalem between Ukraine and Russia.” In a recent interview, Bennett made some very interesting comments about what happened during those negotiations in the early days of the war.
In a new article titled “Former Israeli PM Bennett Says US ‘Blocked’ His Attempts at a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal,” Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes the following:
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview posted to his YouTube channel on Saturday that the US and its Western allies “blocked” his efforts of mediating between Russia and Ukraine to bring an end to the war in its early days.
On March 4, 2022, Bennett traveled to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. In the interview, he detailed his mediation at the time between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which he said he coordinated with the US, France, Germany, and the UK.
Bennett said that both sides agreed to major concessions during his mediation effort.
But ultimately, the Western leaders opposed Bennet’s efforts. “I’ll say this in the broad sense. I think there was a legitimate decision by the West to keep striking Putin and not [negotiate],” Bennett said.
When asked if the Western powers “blocked” the mediation efforts, Bennet said, “Basically, yes. They blocked it, and I thought they were wrong.”
Bennett says the concessions each side was prepared to make included the renunciation of future NATO membership for Ukraine, and on Russia’s end dropping the goals of “denazification” and Ukrainian disarmament. As DeCamp notes, this matches up with an Axios report from early March that “According to Israeli officials, Putin’s proposal is difficult for Zelensky to accept but not as extreme as they anticipated. They said the proposal doesn’t include regime change in Kyiv and allows Ukraine to keep its sovereignty.”
You can’t even mention peace negotiations, even in a very soft voice with all sorts of hedges and qualifications. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has retracted an extremely mild, toothless letter its members had written to President Biden politely asking him to consider adding a little diplomacy into the mix to help end the conflict in Ukraine. The retraction followed a deluge of public outrage against their slight deviation from the official imperial narrative.
If you actually read the original letter signed by House progressives including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman and Ro Khanna, you will quickly see that it’s as innocuous and anodyne as any statement could possibly be while still containing words. It opens with effusive praise for Biden’s interventionism in Ukraine and condemns the Russian government unequivocally throughout, offering only the humble suggestion that he “pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.” Its authors make it abundantly clear that they support making sure such diplomacy is agreeable to Ukraine at every step of the way.
This impotent nothing salad was bizarrely spun by The Washington Post as a call on Biden to “dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war,” despite nothing that could be remotely construed as “dramatic” existing anywhere in the body of the text. The letter received backlash from warmongers in both parties, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was personally slammed by Bernie Sanders, the pope of American progressivism. Trolls and warmongers swarmed the social media notifications of every account which posted the letter in an official capacity, mindlessly bleating the words “appeasement” and “Chamberlain” in unison.
You get a more respectful hearing from the mainstream media and government if you propose the destruction of humanity rather than if you propose peace negotiations. From David Sacks at newsweek.com:
Elon Musk got in hot water again on Twitter—for proposing peace. On Monday, Musk proposed a peace deal to end the war in Ukraine, for which he was denounced as a pro-Putin puppet by the Twitter mob that has formed to police the discourse on all things related to Ukraine.
The president of Ukraine himself, Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Musk of supporting Russia—even though Musk’s company SpaceX donated Starlink to Ukraine’s war effort at an out-of-pocket cost of $80 million. (Full disclosure: Musk is a friend and I am an investor in SpaceX.) Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrj Melnyk was less subtle, telling Elon to “f***k off,” while David Frum tweeted without evidence that “Russian sources” had used Elon to float a “trial balloon” of a peace proposal because they’re afraid of losing Crimea. Scores of blue-checks on Twitter followed their lead, ordering Musk to stay in his lane.
What matters in this story is not that Musk was told off, but rather, that a Twitter hive mind is using the same intolerant cancellation tactics that they use to shut down debate on domestic political issues in order to shape U.S. policy toward Ukraine. They are doing so by demonizing dissent, defaming opponents, and closing off as ideologically unacceptable any path to peace or even deescalation.
The U.S. would like to set Ukraine up as a state of permanent war against Russia. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The Washington Post has a new article out bemoaning the fact that Russian military commanders are declining calls from the Pentagon to discuss their operations in Ukraine (I dunno guys, might have something to do with the fact that the US is sharing extensive military intelligence on exactly those operations directly with the Ukrainian government). Tucked all the way down in the eighteenth paragraph of the article, we find a much more interesting revelation: that Washington’s top diplomat has made no attempt to contact his counterpart in Moscow since the war began on the 24th of February.
“Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not attempted any conversations with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, since the start of the conflict, according to U.S. officials,” The Washington Post reports.
So the US government is continuing its policy of refusing to attempt any high-level diplomatic resolutions to this war despite its public hand-wringing about the horrific violence that’s being inflicted upon the people of Ukraine. This revelation fits nicely with a recent report by Bloomberg’s Niall Ferguson that sources in the US and UK governments have told him the real goal of western powers in this conflict is not to negotiate peace or end the war quickly, but to prolong it in order “bleed Putin” and achieve regime change in Moscow.
The U.S. Congress seems to have a special affinity for charlatans like Benjamin Netanyahu and Volodymyr Zelensky who want the U.S. to fights their wars for them. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
It’s almost slapstick that people call for Putin to be hauled before some international court for war crimes, but it’s true; they do. It tells you what you need to know about your media, and then some. Because, whether you know it or not, the last 4-5 America presidents have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan etc etc. Just not in Ukraine. Wait, that’s probably not true either. The estimated 15,000 deaths in the Donbass over the past 8 years would likely never have happened without some US help.
And we just see it all as par for the course. The “peace” negotiations between Ukraine and Russia look hopeful, but are they? Russia has always been very clear in what it wants from Ukraine, and that goes back way longer than the start of the “special military operation” 3 weeks ago, or Maidan in 2014. It goes back at least to the fall of the Berlin wall, but it’s really much earlier than that. How about 1945, and then throw in Brzezinski, and Wolfowitz, and Kissinger, and why not Mackinder as well?
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Politics, Propaganda, War
Tagged Peace Negotiations, Russia, Ukraine
While the rest of the world isn’t paying much attention, North and South Korea are taking steps towards eventual reconciliation and peace. From John Feffer at antiwar.com:
The media is missing the real story on the peninsula. If that gives Koreans space to lead, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Remarkable changes are taking place on the Korean peninsula.
The two Koreas are actually starting to demilitarize the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Just in the last couple weeks, they have taken down 22 guard posts, demined the Joint Security Area, and established a no-fly-zone about the peninsula’s dividing line. They’ve pulled back from confrontation along their maritime boundary. North Korea has shut down its coastal artillery units and the two sides have discussed a plan to reduce the large number of artillery positions near the border.
One key indicator of the seriousness of these changes: speculators are driving up the price of land near the border on the South Korean side. Even in a slow-motion reunification scenario, this farmland will become increasingly valuable.
The two Koreas have also revived plans to reunify economically, step by step. At the third inter-Korean summit, the leaders of the two countries agreed to relink, finally, the railroad as well as roads and to restart the shuttered Kaesong industrial complex, which married North Korean labor with South Korean capital and managerial skills. Also on tap is the resumption of tourism projects that have brought large numbers of South Koreans to select locations in the north.
All of this has been met with deafening silence in the United States. Worse, the big Korea news this week is, once again, about what the perfidious North Koreans are doing to reinforce the Cold War, not dismantle it.
But maybe this silence is a good thing.
Continue reading →
It’s annoying now, this establishment onslaught against negotiations with anybody or peace anywhere, but it’s hard to see how in the long run that’s anything more than a strategy that will backfire. You can’t come out and actually say you’re against negotiations and peace, so have to resort to lies and subterfuge, which the establishment and its media arm are employing with reckless abandon. From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:
Press irresponsibly relies on single-source report to accuse Kim of breaking an agreement he never made
President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un shake hands in summit room, June 12, 2018. (Office of the President of the United States/Public Domain)
In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.
In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.
The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”
CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”
To continue reading: The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations
From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:
I have always been enthusiastic in my support for peace negotiations, which have been neglected all too often in internal and international conflicts. But it is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.
The administration was touting the fact that Iran was invited to participate in the conference, unlike the previous United Nations-sponsored gathering on Syria in January and February 2014. That unfortunate conference had excluded Iran at the insistence of the United States and its Sunni allies, even though several states without the slightest capacity to contribute anything to a peace settlement – as well as the Vatican – were among the 40 non-Syrian invited participants.
Iran’s participation in the Vienna conference represents a positive step. Nevertheless, the conference was marked by an even more fundamental absurdity: none of the Syrian parties to the war were invited. The 2014 talks at least had representatives of the Assad regime and some of the armed opposition. The obvious implication of that decision is that the external patrons of the Syrian parties – especially Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia – are expected to move toward the outline of a settlement and then use their clout with the clients to force the acceptance of the deal.
The Vietnam model
The idea of leaping over the Syrian parties to the conflict by having an outside power negotiate a peace agreement on behalf of it clients is perfectly logical in the abstract. The classic case of such an arrangement is the US negotiation of the Paris Agreement with the North Vietnamese in January 1973 to end the US war in Vietnam. The US-backed Thieu regime’s total dependence on US assistance and the weight of the US military in Vietnam ensured Thieu’s forced acceptance of the arrangement.
But it should also be noted that arrangement did not end the war. The Thieu regime was unwilling to abide by either a ceasefire or a political settlement, and the war continued for two more years before a major North Vietnamese offensive ended it in 1975.
Even more important in regard to the applicability of the model to the Syrian War is the stark difference between the US interest in negotiating over the head of its Vietnamese client and the Iranian and Russian interests in regard to the Syrian government. The United States was negotiating to get out of a war of choice that it started, like Iraq, in the mistaken belief that its dominant power guaranteed control of the situation and in which it was forced to end by domestic political pressure. Iran, on the other hand, is fighting a war in Syria that it regards a vital to its security. And Russia’s political and security interests in Syria may be less clear-cut, but it also has no incentive to agree to a settlement that would risk a victory for terrorism in Syria.
To continue reading: The Sham Syrian Peace Conference