Ukraine’s Azov Battalion in Kiev, March 2020. Note the banner’s nod to the Waffen SS. In its “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” approach to empire, let no-one accuse Washington of excessive fastidiousness …
The South China Sea has got pretty damn scary since Obama’s “pivot to Asia” (continued apace under Trump then Biden) but Ukraine just keeps turning up, “here’s Johnny!” style, to remind us it never went away; that nothing is resolved and it may yet go nuclear. I once had the temerity to take issue with Pepe Escobar on this. He’d said that of the three likeliest WW3 flash-points – Russia’s Western borderlands, Middle East, South China Sea – that last is the front runner.
No, said I, five years ago. The three (see maps at the end) are neck and neck.
Which was bold of me. Pepe’s grasp of Eurasian realpolitik vastly exceeds mine. But fools rush in and all that, and for better or worse that’s what I was saying in 2016. And, hey, here we are in deja-vu mode as gallant Ukraine breathes down the neck of plucky Taiwan for pride of place in how best to scare the shit out of the less than fully somnolent.
I mean the few who can locate Ukraine, Donbass and Crimea on a map … the few who – even if the nitty-gritty detail of the USSR’s dissolution passed them by – do know that when Hitler, and Bonaparte before him, struck at Russia, both swept across the Ukraine to do so … and the few who, failing such geo-historical brainteasers, at least have the nous and decency to refrain from talking through their derrieres on Russian ‘aggression’ against cuddly Ukraine.
Hillary Clinton’s deputy, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria (“fuck the EU”) Nuland hands out food in Kiev’s Maidan Square, in the 2014 ‘color revolution’ which ousted Ukraine’s Moscow-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych
Some of that last group might even be prepared to invest a little time in getting up to speed on the subject. If that’s you then you’re in the right place. Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, though less well known than his fellow Syriza drop-out, Yanis Varoufakis, is always worth a hearing. Today, in Defend Democracy Press, he has this to say:
The Ukraine: The USA is responsible for the escalation and must stop it before provoking a world war
… Today, the Ukraine is … one of the three most dangerous points on Earth, along with Iran and Taiwan, where a nuclear conflict could be ignited …
… [this] has arisen as a result of the way the USSR was destroyed; and of the coup engineered by Nuland, Brenner and Pyatt in Kiev, back in 2014.
Abolishing the right to self-determination
The official Western narrative is that the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the USSR has been a victory of democracy … and of the national rights of the Yugoslav and the Soviet states …
This is completely false. The dissolution of the USSR (and Yugoslavia) took place in such a way that whole, compact ethnic groups which were the majority in the regions they inhabited, e.g. the Russians of the Crimea or Donbas, who are an overwhelming majority in their regions, or the Russians who live in northern Kazakhstan (i.e. about half of the inhabitants of that country), were left out of Russia, their motherland. Anybody with even a small knowledge of Russian and Ukrainian realities can easily understand that the Crimea and Donbass are more Russian than Moscow. The same happened with the Serbs, who were, for example, a majority of the inhabitants of Krajina in Croatia, and who suddenly found themselves a minority in a foreign country!
Full post here … (1953 words)
Since his name has been mentioned, let’s turn to Pepe Escobar, coming at the same crisis from a different angle with his trademark high octane style. This piece is less wide ranging in sweep than the one Dimitris penned, but colourful as ever in tone. His subject is twofold.
One is Kiev’s failure to apply the 2015 Minsk Agreement II in respect of the principle, articulated in Dimitris’ piece, that where former states of a federation secede, a minority population within the breakaway state as a whole – but forming a majority of a large and well defined territory – may secede from the seceders, or at least secure meaningful autonomy.
Crimea1 and, to the northeast, Donbass are cases in point. As are Georgia’s Ossetia and those swathes of former Yugoslavia which, back in the nineties, had their fifteen minutes of fame for all the wrong reasons.
But Pepe’s primary focus in this short piece is on deep state devilry from the Empire of Chaos, and the balance of military forces on the ground:
US Think Tankland would cherish a Russian “invasion”, out of the blue, and could not give a damn about the inevitable trouncing of Ukraine. But White House and Pentagon must “intervene”, forcefully; to avoid a catastrophic loss of “credibility” for the Empire.
They seek to provoke Moscow into “aggression”, resulting in a lightning fast war that will be a highway to hell for Ukraine, but with zero casualties for NATO and Pentagon. The Empire of Chaos will blame Russia; unleash a tsunami of fresh sanctions, especially financial; and try to shut off all economic links between Russia and NATOstan.
Reality dictates that none of the above is going to happen.
The Russian leadership has made clear, over and over, what happens if the Ukro-dementials start a blitzkrieg over Donbass. Ukraine will be smashed – and that applies not only to the ethno-fascist gang in Kiev. Ukraine will cease to exist as a state.
Defense Minister Shoigu has staged all manner of not exactly soft persuasion, featuring Tu-22M3 bombers or Tu-160 White Swan bombers.
The inestimable Andrei Martyanov [a military analyst] has conclusively explained, over and over again, that “NATO doesn’t have forces not only to ‘counter-act’ anything Russia does but even if it wanted to it still has no means to fight a war with Russia.”
there is nothing in the U.S. arsenal now and in the foreseeable future which can intercept Mach=9-10+, let alone M=20-27, targets. That’s the issue. Same analytical method applies to a situation in 404. 2 The only thing U.S. (NATO) can hope for is to somehow provoke Russia into the invasion of this shithole of a country and then get all SIGINT it can once Russia’s C4ISR 3 gets into full combat mode.
The above extract is abridged. Read in full here (1272 words)
* * *
The most dangerous place on earth? Certainly in the top three …
This Al-Jazeera map understates Iran’s encirclement. US-pliant “stans” to the north and north-east do not feature. As for Iran, shrewd investment in the means of waging asymmetric warfare is why the West, Saudi Arabia and Israel fear her.
Is there any more eloquent response to the staggering but depressingly widespread ignorance on “Russian aggression”?
- Crimea has one of Russia’s few overseas military bases – this estimate puts the total at 21, against the USA’s 800 plus. The peninsula’s huge Russian majority, and the stepping up of chilling Russophobia from Kiev and Western Ukraine after the Maidan ouster of February 21, 2014, undoubtedly prompted Russia’s decisive move to annexe it in late February and March. But so did the nightmare scenario of nuclear warheads falling into the hands of fascist militias. Should humanity survive, the time will come when media are no longer in thrall (as discussed here) to huge corporate interests. At which point the criminal insanity of the US Empire’s global meddling will be a matter of common and noncontroversial knowledge.
- Calling Ukraine “404” is a dark and geeky joke referencing a cyber term – “code 404” – for a web page which no longer exists. This rambling explanation never quite gets to answer its own question but, alongside the Dimitris and Pepe pieces, gives us the general drift.
- C4ISR = Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intel, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Says Northrop Grumman – and who’d know better than this death-for-profit behemoth? – ‘Advanced C4ISR capabilities provide an advantage through situational awareness, knowledge of the adversary and environment, and shortening the time between sensing and response.’
Ahhh……. A man who pens prose like this deserves to be admired:
Phil, you may not be the English version of Pepe, but fuck, even on a bad day you are capable of some delightful prose.
I doff my hat to you Sir……….
Billy as ever you’re too kind. But thanks all the same!
Pepe Escobar’s most recent observations:
Thanks Dave. Though dated December 8, I’m sure I’ve read this piece much earlier. Has it appeared elsewhere?
No matter. Pepe is always worth reading. His frequent visits to China, Russia and the Middle East put to shame the deskbound journalists of BBC, Guardian, Telegraph etc. Then there’s his grasp of realpolitik; a one thousand percent improvement on the latter’s collective drivel – mainly empire-useful idiocy but occasionally something darker – on “Russian aggression” and “rising authoritarianism”.
Then there’s his inimitable style, occasionally OTT but always lively and at its best pithily muscular. What’s not to like?