Tag Archives: Ukraine

The Ukraine crisis, sponsored by US hegemony and war profiteers, by Aaron Maté

Ukraine certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the security of U.S. citizens. From Aaron Maté at mate.substack.com:

If Biden can interrupt NATO expansion and war profiteering, the US-Russia standoff over Ukraine can be resolved.

New US “lethal aid” for Ukraine, courtesy of US taxpayers and their weapons industry beneficiaries. (U.S. Embassy in Ukraine)

The US-Russia standoff over Ukraine has sparked bellicose threats and fears of Europe’s biggest ground war in decades. There are ample reasons to question the prospects of a Russian invasion, and US allies including France, Germany’s now-ousted navy chief, and even Kiev itself appear to share the skepticism.

Another potential scenario is that Russia draws on the Cuban Missile Crisis and positions offensive weapons within the borders of Latin American allies. Whatever the outcome, the crisis has underscored the perils of a second Cold War between the world’s top nuclear powers.

If the path forward is unpredictable, what got us here is easy to trace. The row over Ukraine is the outgrowth of an aggressive US posture toward Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago, driven by hegemonic policymakers and war profiteers in Washington. Understanding that background is key to resolving the current impasse, if the Biden administration can bring itself to alter a dangerous course.

US principles vs. power constraints

Russia’s central demands – binding guarantees to halt the eastward expansion of NATO, particularly in Ukraine, and to prevent offensive weapons from being stationed near its borders – have been publicly dismissed by the U.S government as non-starters.

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No SWIFT, No Gas: Russia Responds To Western Threats As US Tries To Orchestrate Workaround, by Tyler Durden

Russia is not without economic weapons of its own, particularly if the U.S. and Europe should try to bar it from SWIFT, the international banking network. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

While the situation along the Ukrainian border appears to be deescalating – aside from US/UK’s panic coalition, a top Russian official says that if the West follows through on a threat to cut the Kremlin off from the SWIFT payment system, Europe won’t receive Russian oil, gas, or metals.

Vladimir Putin signs a natural gas pipeline in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok on September 8, 2011. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was in discussions to ban Russia from the Swift global payments system with the United States, calling it a “very potent weapon.”

“I’m afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that,” he added.

Nikolay Zhuravlev, Vice Speaker of the Federation Council, responded to Johnson’s threat – telling Russia’s state-owned TASS that Europe would suffer the consequences of such a move.

SWIFT is a settlement system, it is a service. Therefore, if Russia is disconnected from SWIFT, then we will not receive [foreign] currency, but buyers, European countries in the first place, will not receive our goods – oil, gas, metals and other important components of their imports. Do they need it? I am not sure,” said Zhuravlev – who noted that while SWIFT is convenient and fast – it’s not the only game in town when it comes to financial transactions.

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Bipartisanship: US House Races MASSIVE Ukraine Weapons Transfer to the Floor! by Daniel McAdams

Congress critters fall all over themselves to give defense contractors money. From Daniel McAdams at lewrockwell.com:

In Washington the global US military empire is a bipartisan affair. With a trillion dollar yearly military budget, there are plenty of opportunities for both the position and the opposition parties to thrust snouts deeply into the trough.

While Ron Paul was in Congress and GW Bush was president, we did a good deal to craft a bipartisan antiwar coalition in opposition to the Iraq war and other Bush-ite neocon misadventures.  Then Obama was elected and pursued the same policies of global military empire – but with a better smile – and our coalition disintegrated. Suddenly the Democrats (with a couple of exceptions) were uninterested in the antiwar issue.

Such is the case now, when Obama’s great “success” – the US-led coup in Ukraine – is back in the headlines. Now Obama’s second fiddle is “in charge” of things and those under him who pull the levers are determined to solidify their “great achievement” of peeling Ukraine away from its neighbor and dropping that basket-case into the lap of Brussels and Washington. So for the past five weeks they have been ginning up the idea that Russia is about to invade Ukraine – even when Ukraine’s own defense secretary is practically laughing at Washington’s breathless assertions.

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Russia’s Red Line, by Patrick Lawrence

If Russia adheres to its red line it will have benefits far beyond Russia. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

It is absolutely necessary that Moscow holds the line for the sake of a new security order in Europe and a sustainably stable world order in our time.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, with President Vladimir Putin in 2017. (The Kremlin)

“They must understand,” Sergei Lavrov said in one of his many public statements last week, “that the key to everything is the guarantee that NATO will not expand eastward.”

The Russian foreign minister has repeated this thought almost ad infinitum lately. He speaks, of course, of the Biden administration and the diplomats who bear its messages to others.

Here is another of Lavrov’s recent utterances:

“We are very patient… we have been harnessing [burdens] for a very long time, and now it’s time for us to go.”

I do not know quite what Lavrov means by “harnessing burdens.” I suspect it is a translation problem, and he said something closer to “bearing burdens.” But it is perfectly clear what he means when he says it is time for Russia to go: He means it is time to advance beyond the status quo, move on from post–Cold War security arrangements that have allowed NATO, in the name of the Atlantic alliance, to aggress toward the Russian Federation’s western borders more or less at will since the Soviet Union met its end.

All that Lavrov, President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have said and done since the Ukraine crisis re-erupted late last year indicate one simple, hard-as-granite reality. In consequence of the many pointedly provocative moves the West, notably the U.S. and Britain, have made in Ukraine over the past year, our planet now has a brand-new red line etched upon it.

I hope Russia draws it in the deepest scarlet. As a diplomatic tactic, red lines are not very often advisable: They tend to paint the painter of the line into a corner. This one is absolutely necessary if we are to see a new security order in Europe. A new security order in Europe is essential if we are to achieve a sustainably, stable world order in our time.

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World Boris Johnson Posing as Churchill on Ukraine Is Slapstick Example of War-as-Distraction, by Finian Cunningham

Boris needs something huge to divert attention from his own rank hypocrisy. Ukraine doesn’t really fit the bill. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Boris Johnson attempting to start a war with Russia partly over an illicit birthday party is a descent into deplorable and gutless slapstick.

The old dictum is truer than ever that stoking conflict in some distant land is an effective distraction from domestic political woes. But in the case of British prime-minister Boris Johnson, the ruse descends into farce.

Johnson is counting the days until his Conservative party finally gets rid of this train-wreck of a leader. Lies, incompetence and scandals ooze from Downing Street under his watch. Even Britain’s Tory press has given up on its loyalty to Johnson who is now seen as an irredeemable election liability for Conservatives.

That’s why Johnson’s “warning” to Russia this week of “severe consequences” if it invades Ukraine sounds downright comical. His attempt at showing political spine abroad is belied by the image of his reputation at home resembling a wobbly jelly.

Johnson claimed with a straight face that the British intelligence was “clear” that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine and install a puppet regime in Kiev. He went on to say that Britain was “leading” the way among NATO allies for inflicting dire economic costs on Russia. This is in spite of the ropey British story being rubbished as not having a shred of credibility.

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Moscow to Washington: “Remove the Nukes on Our Doorstep and Stop the Eastward Push”, by Mike Whitney

Ask anybody who criticizes Russia’s stance on NATO and weaponry on its doorstep in Ukraine how they’d feel if Russian or Chinese weapons and troops were stationed in Mexico or Canada. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

“There arrives a moment of truth when the West either accepts our proposals or other ways will be found to safeguard Russia’s security.” Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna negotiations

Here’s a simple way to test your understanding of the current US-Russia standoff. All you need to do is answer one very-basic question about the nature of the conflict, and that answer will determine whether you understand what is actually going on or not. Here’s the question:

What is the source of the confrontation between the US and Russia in the Ukraine:

  1. Russia has amassed over 100,000 combat troops near Ukraine’s eastern border and is threatening to invade.
  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet Empire by expanding Russia’s territory beyond its borders.
  3. The western media has concocted a fake storyline about a “Russian invasion” to divert attention from Moscow’s reasonable demands for legally-binding security guarantees that address the pressing issue of hostile foreign armies (NATO) and nuclear missiles on Russia’s doorstep.
  4. None of the above.

If you picked Number 3, then pat yourself on the back, that is the right answer. (Please, see: “There Is No Russian Invasion Threat To Ukraine”, Moon of Alabama; Quote: “The story of Russian preparations for an invasion of the Ukraine is made up from whole cloth.”) The current crisis has nothing to do with the fictitious “Russian invasion” that was invented to conceal the real issue. The real issue is Russian security and the demands that Russia has made in the form of two draft treaty agreements. The western media– in concert with the Intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the Biden administration, and the US foreign policy establishment– have done everything in their power to prevent the American people from reading the contents of these draft treaties for fear that they will see that Russia’s demands are both reasonable and appropriate. Russia isn’t asking for anything more than any sovereign country should expect. As FDR famously said, “Security for one, is security for all.” We support that sentiment and we think the American people do too.

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Stop the Neocons From Starting a War, by Eric S. Margolis

There is still time to stop the many idiots within the U.S. foreign policy establishment from doing something incredibly stupid in Ukraine. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Amid surging tensions over Ukraine, the head of Germany’s navy had the courage to voice Europe’s fears over this totally unnecessary, contrived crisis.

In a speech to an Indian think tank, Vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach proposed the Western powers ‘respect’ Russian leader Vladimir Putin and accept that Crimea would remain in Moscow’s hands.

The German admiral’s remarks produced a major uproar in Washington and tut tuts in Europe where hatred of Russia has become a state fetish.  Most aggrieved were the British and Americans who deeply fear an alliance or at least entente between Germany and Russia that might undermine US domination of the continent.

Germany, Europe’s leading military force and mainstay of NATO, has hollowed out its military power.  Thanks to unqualified female defense ministers, Germany’s armed forces have degenerated into parade troops.  Armor and aircraft, once hallmarks of German military power, have become feeble toys, lacking in munitions, spare parts and capable crews.

Polls show Germans have very little interest in confronting Russia.  Memories of World War II are still raw.  Today’s Germans live in a nation that was 50% destroyed by US and British bombing.  Millions of Germans come from families driven out of eastern Europe. 

There is not a lot of sympathy for Ukraine’s current government that was installed by a US-financed and stage-managed coup in 2013-2014.  Germany’s US-dominated media and government support Washington’s hard line on Ukraine but many ordinary Germans and French don’t agree. 

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Let’s Not Have a War, by Matt Taibbi

Biden’s old boss got Ukraine right. From Matt Tiabbi at taibbi.substack.com:

The American foreign policy establishment, chasing decades of failures, appears to be seriously considering the unthinkable in Ukraine

Joe Biden last week said the American response in Ukraine would be proportional to Vladimir Putin’s actions. “It depends,” the president posited, thoughts drifting like blobs in a lava lamp. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion…”

Alarms sounded all over Washington. The rip in the national political illusion was so severe, Republicans and Democrats were forced to come out agreeing, leaping into each other’s arms in panic. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who increasingly looks like a man about to miss a historically important free throw, said of a potential Russian invasion, “We can make crystal clear the stark consequences of that choice.” Republican Senator Ted Cruz said Biden “shocked the world by giving Putin a green light to invade Ukraine.” The National Security Council issued a statement through Jen Psaki that any Russian move into Ukraine would be “met with a swift, severe, and united response.”

In a later press conference, Biden explained he had to cut things short because, “You guys will ask me all about Russia.” He appears days from pulling his pants down to show reporters the electrodes White House chief of staff Ron Klain has probably attached to his testicles by now.

This is a rerun of an old story, only with a weaker lead actor. Six years ago, Barack Obama gave an interview to The Atlantic quashing Beltway militarists’ dreams of war in Ukraine:

The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-Nato country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do… This is an example of where we have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for.

Then as now, both blue and red propaganda outlets howled. The “core interest” of the Washington consensus is war. It isn’t just big business, but our biggest business, one of the last things we still make and export on a grand scale. The bulk of the people elected to congress and a lion’s share of the lobbyists, lawyers, and journalists who snuggle in a giant fornicating mass in the capital are dedicated to the upkeep of the war bureaucracy.

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The Globalist American Empire Would Rather Risk Nuclear War Than Admit Its Own Arrogance, by Revolver

Unfortunately we have to turn our attention to a slithering group of invertebrates known as neocons, because they may pitch us all into nuclear Armageddon. They dream grand dreams of global domination and love sending other people’s kids off to wars, although most of them have never fought in one. From Revolver at revolver.news:

The United States is on the brink of a war in Ukraine, and most of the country hasn’t even noticed.

WASHINGTON — President Biden is considering deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, according to administration officials.

The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading. But as President Vladimir V. Putin has ramped up his threatening actions toward Ukraine, and talks between American and Russian officials have failed to discourage him, the administration is now moving away from its do-not-provoke strategy.

The discussions came as the State Department ordered all family members of U.S. embassy personnel in Kyiv to leave Ukraine, citing the threat of Russian military action, and authorized some embassy employees to depart as well, according to senior State Department officials who briefed reporters on Sunday. [NYT]

Sounds very serious. Yet right now, this is the New York Times front page.

The NYT squeezed the story into the bottom left, below perpetually-unchanging narratives about COVID and stories about Joan Didion and the latest prestige TV show.

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What Brought Biden to the Table? By Ted Snider

Is the Biden administration backing off on Ukraine? Has there been an outbreak of sanity? From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

No one knows whether the recent talks between the US and Russia will produce results. But they happened. And they have led to the promise of further talks. What, after a quarter century of Russian cries, brought Biden to the table?

The US long ago left its place at the table. Diplomacy has yielded its seat to military pressure and economic sanctions. America now always insists on the need to use force: Putin only understands force; Iran only responds to sanctions. Antony Blinken himself, America’s top diplomat, has said that “force can be a necessary adjunct to effective diplomacy.” “We must supplement diplomacy with deterrence,” he added. “Words alone will not dissuade the Vladimir Putins and Xi Jinpings of this world.”

He’s wrong, though. Diplomacy has consistently worked with China; it accomplished the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran when sanctions, sabotage and threats failed; it has worked in the many arms controls agreements with Russia, and it has worked, when honored, with North Korea.

The US thinks the world only respects force and not reason because the US only respects force and not reason. They assume of others what they discover in themselves. The US long ago exchanged diplomats for torturers and arm twisters, whether it is the torture of military threats or the arm twisting of economic strangulation.

If diplomacy has failed the US, it has failed for only two reasons. Either they have broken promises that were showing promise, as they did with Iran, or they have not engaged in diplomacy sincerely, demanding that the other country make the core concession the US demands without being willing to make the core concession the other country desires.

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