Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Obama Comes Clean. Putin Didn't Plot to Seize Crimea.

Go Ahead, Pick One.
Oh my, my, what comes out of the mouth of that man!

The Western narrative we've been force fed by liars like Harper and his collaborators on the other side of the aisle, is that Vlad Putin plotted to use the unrest in Ukraine to seize Crimea.  Hillary openly compared Putin to Hitler seizing the Sudetenland for Lebensraum.

While we were busy watching the Super Bowl, Barack Obama was on another channel being interviewed by Fareed Zakaria when he dropped this:

“Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Maidan not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protest in the Maidan (in February 2014) and (Ukraine’s then-president Viktor) Yanukovych fleeing after we (the U.S. and the European Union) had made a deal to broker power in Ukraine.”

Those who've followed this affair will remember that President Yanukovych was being pressed by Russia to join a new central Asian trade and political bloc envisaged by Putin, while the EU and U.S. wanted Ukraine to join the EU (and NATO).

Believing that the Maidan demonstrations last February had been secretly contrived by the West (easy for Putin to suspect because of the presence of EU representatives, as well as an American Assistant Secretary of State and a visit to Kiev by CIA officials), Putin retaliated by adroitly seizing Crimea, for many years a Russian territory, but Ukrainian only since 1954.

The Russians ...seem to feel themselves under assault by the West, and indeed there are many in Washington who want to see Putin and his government overthrown, convinced that Americanizing the world is the next step in the nation’s destiny.

Nuclear war is considered a possibility by both sides, for the first time since 1990. But why? The U.S. and its European allies have been the aggressors in this whole unnecessary confrontation. They are the ones who can call it off. There is zero gain in it.

Certainly, the Germans and other Europeans are aware of this. As in the old days of the Cold War, the calculations of deterrence and first-strike advantage are relevant. The U.S. seems motivated by the determination to stay Top Dog. The Russians may be motivated by fear.

Great, just great.  We've got a gaggle of neoliberal dickheads scheming to topple the head of a nation that has the second, if not the first-largest nuclear arsenal on the planet.  What could possibly go wrong?


astone said...

I guess my grandchildren will have to learn how to hide under their desks, just like I did. My faith in humanity is starting to unravel. It seems we really can't learn from history even when it's presented to us in glorious living colour!! And I thought Obama was an intelligent man.

Cirze said...

What could possibly go wrong?

For these guys, nothing!

All roads lead to gold.

Thanks for the savvy reporting.

Scotian said...

It is times and things like this that make me almost glad I chose to not have children (despite always really wanting them) because of my health/genetic problems. I at least do not have to worry about the world they will have to survive in, assuming that is possible, which when we are talking about things like nuclear wars is not exaggeration, even if it isn't the automatic total global warfare scenario we lived with in the Cold War. The way Putin has been played with over the last few years, especially in this last year, has been quite troubling to me, and I am glad you've been paying the attention to it that you have, because it really bothers me how easily we seem to be slipping back into old patterns from the Cold War years when it comes to how we are viewing Russian leaders, politics, and imperatives.

It really bothered me that I wasn't seeing any consideration of national security imperatives as seen from a Russian perspective in any of this from western media and governments. It is like not doing cost-benefit analysis to see how well a program delivers (come to think of it, when is the last time we saw those from the Harper Government(tm), their absence underscores just how poorly run this government is aside from direction of ideology) even when you think the program is a wonderful thing, you still cross check your facts and your suppositions. To not be doing so in such important foreign affairs as dealing with the second most powerful nuclear nation on the planet, well that is utterly idiotic. I do not like what I have been seeing out of the Obama Administration on this for some time, and while I also have more than a few concerns about Putin more generally I cannot disregard that he has responsibilities as the head of government for Russia to consider what is the most basic protections for his national security and economic interests. Why is it so fine for the USA to have such considerations and other Western powers, but for Russia to do so makes it some sort of evil empire in waiting?

I'm by no means claiming to have all or even most of the answers, but when not even the most basic questions are being asked, that is a bad thing indeed in my view. So thanks again for the good work you have been doing on this and other foreign affairs issues, I really do appreciate it.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's truly dismaying but it seems the geopolitical forces have aligned to drop us back into another Cold War.

From the outset I was convinced that the eastward expansion of NATO was a giant blunder. Most of the former WarPac states were far from a natural fit for Old NATO. There was no way the legacy nations would or should duke it out with Russia over Rumania so what sense did it make to march NATO and its powerful military force to Russia's doorstep? It was hubris with nemesis, as always, just waiting in the wings.

Our media's handling of this episode has been third rate but you could say the same for our opposition parties.

Scotian said...

I am in agreement with you regarding the NATO expansion, I too thought it was going too far too fast. I could understand the former Iron Curtain countries wanting some reassurance of protection from a repeat, but that was going too far too fast. I could never understand those people that thought just because the USSR fell apart and Russia was in serious economic difficulties that it would never again rise to being a major power on the planet. That seemed an utterly absurd understanding of the realities involved to me, but then the right wing hawks in the US, indeed most major western powers security establishments have not exactly impressed me in the aggregate that way (mind you some from the other side aren't much better if in different ways, Pollyanna is not the best way to approach international security issues IMHO).

I find it incredibly frustrating how many people, including and perhaps especially people in senior political positions want to paint international issues in such simplistic black and white manners. I lived through one Cold War, and that one started from real concerns, I would prefer to avoid a second one, especially when there is not the same clearly expansionist USSR threat that there was in the case of the first one at its start.

You and I have not always agreed on security issues, but one thing for sure is that neither of us looks at these issues in simplistic terms, and we both recognize that there are always multiple perspectives which must be considered whenever trying to comprehend such issues as they occur. Which is why I love reading your blog, even if I don't comment all that frequently these days. I still read you regularly for that reason, and on the Russia issue in particular I find you very helpful reading indeed. Thank you.