The crisis in Ukraine has the potential to lead to a direct military conflict between the Neo-conservative United States and Vladimir Putin’s resurgent Russia.
Tonight in the town of Debaltseve, in the Donbass region, 8000 Ukrainian soldiers and members of the fascist volunteer Azov battalion have been surrounded and are in serious danger of being destroyed in place. If this happens it has the potential to involve a belligerent N.A.T.O.in direct combat with Russian forces for the first time.
Video from fihgting Sunday 15,Feb. 2015 around Debaltseve. Some 14 hrs after a ceasefire was supposed to take effect.
We need to question why ethnic rights we defended in Kososvo don’t apply in Donbass. In fact we in Canada should immediately insist that the Canadian Forces already deployed be withdrawn from supporting the quasi-legitimate Junta in Kiev and urge an immediate end to the conflict.Respect for the political wishes of Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority, and the withdrawal of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. Or we may become enablers for a war that darkens the imagination.
It is a suitably Wagnerian setting. The burning Ukrainian city of Debaltseve normally home to some 27 000. It is currently refuge for around 7000 Ukrainian troops and 1000 Azov paramilitaies. Along with a good supply of Tanks armoured vehicles and heavy artillery.It is called by the separatists the “Debaltseve cauldron” because they have it surrounded on three sides and they are about to close it . When this happens it will represent the loss of a significant portion of Ukraine’s combat power leaving it almost incapable of holding other large swaths of its territory. It could also provide a massive boast to the rebels supply of armour and artillery. The Ukraine forces could likely then loose control of Mariupol a strategic port city that would connect their breakaway republic to Vladimir Putins’ Crimea. The closing of this cauldron into a trap is a matter of Kilometers and a few hours from happening.
If it does happen what will N.A.T.O’s reaction be . It has already pre-positioned equipment for major forces like the US 3rd Stryker brigade in neighbouring Lithuania.
N.A.T.O has also stationed combat aircraft in border states. It is forward deploying major formation headquarters elements to the edge of Russian borders.
The U.S. has used the supposed annexation of Crimea to paint Russia as the aggressor but Crimea has never really been anything but a Russian possession in the modern era. When they where both part of the Soviet empire Moscow transferred administrative control to Kiev its Soviet sister state. Crimea was annexed by Catherine the Great in 1783, and remained Russian territory except for brief periods where it was seized by the British in 1853-56 and the brief White Russian republic that was the last stand of Russian aristocracy and extinguished by the revolution. Its modern population was ethnically Russian, did not resist Russian forces, and seem very pleased with their new status. Russia knows this history even if western populations don’t.
By perceived necessity Russia has ratcheted up it defence readiness to hair-trigger preparedness and is deploying low trajectory nuclear missiles to defeat the European missile shield. We were treated this summer to the apocalyptic junior high school spectacle of both sides holding huge military exercises to thump their chests at each other. According celebrated American Academic John Mershimer
“United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.”Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault.”By John J. Mearsheimer Forien Affairs oct 2014
The current crisis, was indeed made inevitable by the US drive for military and political dominance of eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1997, just 6 years after Ukraine became sovereign fully for the first time since its inclusion in the Soviet Union post World War two. The Clinton white house forced Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin to sign off on N.A.T.O expansion eastward in return for week promises of no troop deployments. Yeltsin at the time acknowledged,
NATO’s push East in 1999 brought the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland into the western sphere. In 2004 despite repeated warnings by the Russians; it coerced even more states through massive economic incentives. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, once actual parts of the Soviet Union some of which had never existed an anything but part of greater Russia. Bulgaria,Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia closed the wall around Russia. Some of these had been members of the Soviet Union, Russian controlled territory for generations before that. The Soviets, having suffered up to 30 million casualties in the Second World war, are a little sensitive about having perceived enemies on the borders of the Rodinia, their Motherland.
Russian military doctrine since World War two has is absolutely centered around fighting future wars on someone else’s territory. Every Russian general and politician accepts this as received truth, no force must ever be allowed to enter their borders again. General Nuclear war being a more acceptable alternative in their view
This became abundantly clear in 2008. In May of that year NATO proposed membership for Ukraine and Georgia, saying publicly that their membership would become reality whether the Russian’s liked it or not. Fighter bombers of the Russian Federation where bombing Tbilisi airport and Russian troops poured across Georgia’s border by August. It is widely recognized that Georgia’s push for NATO membership was the spark. The Russians also made it very clear that Ukraine would have to remain neutral, non-aligned. They let it be known through diplomatic channels that any other course would lead to confrontation.
Unfortunately military integration is not the only card in Washington’s tool-bag. In 2004 Ukraine experienced its “Orange Revolution“. The western backed candidate Victor Yushchenko was defeated by Russia’s favourite Victor Yanukovych. Yushenko loudly and repeatedly accused Russian sponsored rigging of the vote.
The American, National Endowment for Democracy pre-packadged revolution machine then went to work and packed Kiev’s “Maiden” square with demonstrators until they forced a runoff vote. After untold millions where poured in to the campaign by the US government funded “Non Governmental Organisations” there was no shock when Yushenko and his western friendly Oligarchs won the recount. This was seen, correctly, by the Russians as a form of soft power “putsch”. Ukraine’s position as Russia’s gateway to Europe for its massive natural gas reserves made this a bitter pill. But like in 1997, Russia was not yet strong enough to push back, Vladimir Putin seethed and bided his time.
In the intervening years it became clear that the Ukraine’s “Orange” revolution was one of many “Colour Revolutions” pulled off by the National Endowment for Democracy. A Reagan era faux “NGO”, set up like USIAD and many others to do the work more traditionally done by American intelligence agencies, though staffed by alot of the same people. First director Allen Weinstein proudly trumpeted to the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly by the C.I.A. 25 years ago.” This Non Governmental Organization receives 95% of its funding direct from the US congress. Its first task was to be the propaganda arm of the CIA’s murderous Contras in Reagan’s illegal slaughter of villagers to defeat the democratically elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua. N.E.D’s work in eastern Europe traces back to Serbia and its “OPTFOR” militants. Trained by the N.E.D, and since employed by them to train militant groups from,Georgia,Ukraine ,Belarus, Venezuela,(to try and oust Hugo Chaves) Lebanon, Iran,Egypt and Syria.
“By the time of the Milošević overthrow initiative in 2000, the State Department already had in place a ‘revolution template’,1 or what Beissinger (2006) calls a democracy ‘module’. The template began taking shape in the 1980s in Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria and became for the whole Eurasian region a non-militarist and cost-effective option for vanquishing left-wing and nationalist heads of state.” –Template Revolutions: Marketing U.S. Regime Change in Eastern Europe.Gerald Sussman and Sascha Krader Portland State University
“Nowhere was this phenomenon more apparent than inUkraine. American NGOs such as the Center for Non-Violent Resistance, Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute all played a role in financially supporting or training activists inUkraine, as they did in Serbia, Georgia and later Kyrgyzstan as well.The prominent role of youth groups such as Pora, based on their predecessors the Serbian OTPOR and Georgian Kmara groups, was vital in getting the pro-Western message onto the streets using media technology, publicity campaigns and catchy phrases and logos. Lastly the creation of a nationalist image on the part of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko emphasized the role of national identity in the election process” The Orange Revolution: Identity Creation andthe Use of Nationalism in the Rise of Ukraine’s pro-Western AllianceMark TerameThe International Relations Journal,San Francisco State University:
In 2010 the 2004 result was reversed with Victor Yanukovych taking the helm in an election deemed free and fair by a robust international presence. Part of the reason for Yanukovych’s ascension was the fact that
closer ties to Russia looked much more appetizing to Ukraine’s people. After the great bank robbery of 2008 left the Eurozone on the verge of collapse with nothing to offer but massive austerity measures. And that is the direction he carefully proceeded in until matters came to a head in 2014 with the E.U. over rejection of integration triggering the “Maiden square ” protests. These groups like in 2004 were trained and funded by American “NGO’s”. Despite massive pressure on his government Yanukovych’s response remained mainly peaceful until a seemingly staged shooting in February 2014 led to his ouster and the fall of the democratically elected government
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Its replacement by a distinctly Fascist clique of US proxy’s. The belief system of many of the Senior leadership of the wests handpicked Ukraine government would not be out of place in the third riech.This is viewed by the Kremlin as a not so soft power Coup d’etat.
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“People Power” was coined in 1986, when Washington decided Ferdinand Marcos had to go. But it was events in Iran in 1953 that set the template. Then, Anglo-American money stirred up anti-Mossadeq crowds to demand the restoration of the Shah. The New York Times’s correspondent trumpeted the victory of the people over communism, even though he had given $50,000 and the CIA-drafted text of the anti-Mossadeq declaration to the coup leaders himself.”The Ukraine street protests have followed a pattern of western orchestration set in the 80s. I know – I was a cold war bagman. Mark Aldman The Guardian, Tuesday 7 December 2004
When we look at what is happening in Ukraine in the coming days and weeks we need to keep this recent history in mind. From a very legitimate Russian point of view the west has been creeping up to its borders for almost 20 years. N.A.T.O has demonstrated the will to attack Nation states, like Afghanistan, regardless of international law and very directly in service of corporate and energy interests.
We should also be very aware that no Russian leader will ever fight a war willingly on Russian soil again. They must in their view fight it pre-emptively in Europe. Vladimir Putin seems perfectly capable of carrying out this cornerstone of Russian strategic doctrine. If that wasn’t sobering enough Russian military doctrine regards Tactical Nuclear weapons as simply another weapon of war,and release authority is delegated to regional commanders some ranked as low as Colonel. Our representatives at the N.A.T.O council tables need to immediately and loudly demand de-escalation. We should further leave the organization and encourage other states to do the same as it, by any rational standard, is the largest threat to the peace of the world.
We need to insist our leaders do this now. Make N.A.T.O membership an issue in the upcoming elections or we may face a very dark future.