Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Crisis in Ukraine
by Stephen Lendman
Crisis conditions in Ukraine are potentially the most dangerous since Nazism’s scourge terrorized Europe.
Washington bears full responsibility. European partners share it. Obama claimed another imperial trophy. Whether he’ll keep it is another matter entirely.
Vladimir Putin supports resolving conflict conditions responsibly. Western officials irresponsibly criticize him. Media scoundrels bash him mercilessly.
He’s the only world leader challenging US imperial lawlessness responsibly. He deserves worldwide support.
At a March 4 news conference, he said Moscow supports peace, not war. He’ll deploy troops only to protect Russian nationals.
Ukraine’s legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych requested he do so. He asked him to help restore law and order.
He cited Western-influenced “terror and violence.” He asked Putin to send Russian forces “to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defend the people of Ukraine.”
Russian nationals are endangered. He acted responsibly. He called what happened in Kiev a coup d’etat.
Viktor Yanokovych remains Ukraine’s legitimate president. US-supported fascist extremists have no legitimacy.
“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens,” he said.
“And we consider it quite legitimate,” he stressed. It’s the right thing to do.
“We are not going to a war against the Ukrainian people. I want you to understand it unambiguously.”
“If we do take a decision, it would only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. Let anybody in the military dare, and they’d be shooting their own people, who would stand up in front of us.”
“Shoot at women and children. I’d like to see anyone try and order such a thing in Ukraine.”
He said uniformed Crimean defense forces without insignias aren’t Russian soldiers.
Moscow acted responsibly, he stressed. It acted legitimately. No international laws were breached. Claims otherwise are false. They’re irresponsible.
At the same time, he pointed fingers the right way. Washington illegitimately uses military force repeatedly, he stressed.
“When I ask them: ‘Do you believe you do everything legitimately,’ they say ‘Yes.’ “
“And I have to remind them about the US actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where they acted either without any UN Security Council mandate or through perverting a mandate, as was the case in Libya,” he explained.
“Our partners, especially in the United States, always clearly and formulate for themselves their geopolitical and national interests, pursue them relentlessly, and then drag the rest of the world in, using the principle ‘You are either with us or against us.”
“And they harass those who refuse to be dragged in.”
Putin advisor Sergei Glazyev warned Washington against imposing sanctions. He’ll advise Kremlin officials to dump US bonds in response.
“We would find a way not just to reduce our dependency on the United States to zero, but to emerge from those sanctions with great benefits for ourselves, he stressed.
“We hold a decent amount of treasury bonds – more than $200 billion – and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner.”
“We will encourage everybody to dump US Treasury bonds, get rid of dollars as an unreliable currency, and leave the US market.”
Putin called Western threatened sanctions and other harsh measures counterproductive. Consequences cut both ways.
He wants normalized relations with Ukraine. He has no legitimate counterpart in Kiev.
Resistance in eastern and southern Ukraine shows Kiev has no mandate to govern.
Coup d’etat leadership runs things. Moscow rejects it. Mob rule has no legitimacy. Western leaders calling what happened a revolution doesn’t wash.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman suspended forthcoming trade and investment talks with Moscow.
“We have suspended upcoming bilateral trade and investment engagement with the government of Russia that were part of a move toward deeper commercial and trade ties,” he said.
On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby announced a hold on US/Russia “military engagements.” They include joint exercises and port visits.
An anonymous White House source said administration officials could “reinforce that the Russians still have an opportunity to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation or they face further political and economic repercussions from the international community.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington “has a broad range of option available” against Russia should things escalate.
Previous articles said Obama’s planned direct intervention in Syria wasn’t cancelled. It was postponed. On March 4, Voice of Russia said:
“President Barack Obama officially asked the Congress for permission to conduct a military operation in Syria.”
On February 25, Press TV headlined “US planning for cyber attacks on Syria.” Days earlier, Obama’s National Security Council (NSC) met.
It explored what an unnamed US official called “old and new optionsâ€¦It would essentially turn the lights out for Assad.”
NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to discuss “the details of our interagency deliberations.”
“But we have been clear that there are a range of tools we have at our disposal to protect our national security, including cyber” ones, she said.
In 2012, Obama signed a classified presidential directive. It relates to cyberoperations.
It “establishes principles and processes so that cybertools are integrated with the full array of national security tools,” she added.
America wages cyberwar. In 2010, Washington and Israel collaborated against Iran. Their Stuxnet virus infected Tehran’s Bushehr nuclear facility.
Had the facility gone online infected, Iran’s entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.
More powerful tools are being developed. All US enemies are vulnerable.
The Atlantic Council is NATO-linked. It’s headquartered in Washington. It supports Washington’s global agenda. Past and current members include a rogue’s gallery of reliable American imperial supporters.
They include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Schlesinger, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Jones, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, an array of current and former top military officials, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Jason Healy heads the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative. He claims cyberoperations can be humanitarian. How he didn’t explain.
He said Washington was “caught using Stuxnet to conduct a covert cybercampaign against Iran, as well as trawling the Internet with the massive Prism collection operation.”
“The world is increasingly seeing US cyberpower as a force for evil in the world,” he added.
He claims attacking Syria this way “might help to reverse this view.” Again he didn’t explain further. Doing so covertly would be hard to keep secret.
It’s unclear what Obama plans. Maybe he has cyber and military attacks in mind. No further information is available at this time.
Obama opened a can of worms in Ukraine. He’s got his hands full. Russia can respond in kind to whatever he may have in mind.
What he’ll risk going forward remains to be seen. Whether he plans attacking Syria now isn’t known.
Professor Yelena Mulkumian believes threatening Moscow with isolation and sanctions impacts Damascus. It could give Washington a pretext to attack.
Its grand scheme calls for regional destabilization. Weakening and isolating Russia is planned. Incorporating Ukraine in NATO furthers it.
Putin justifiably won’t tolerate Western nuclear armed missiles targeting Russia’s heartland. A previous article called Ukraine his red line. He’ll defend Moscow’s interests responsibly.
A rogue’s gallery of US-supported fascist extremists usurped power in Kiev. Putin knows what he’s up against. He won’t roll over for Obama. He’s too resolute to back down. The stakes are too high to do so.
Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov “took notice” of Washington irresponsibly freezing military ties with Moscow.
“We proceed from the assumption that any collaboration – and the one between defense departments in particular – can only be based on the principles of mutuality and strictest parity, because this approach is the only one assuring the absence of winners and losers,” he said.
Trust, clarity and respect for Russia’s security are lacking. Putin, Antonov and other top Kremlin officials aren’t cowed. They’ll defend Moscow’s interests responsibly.
Leonid Kalashnikov is Russia’s lower house Duma deputy international affairs committee head.
Moscow shouldn’t make concessions under threat of sanctions, he said.
Doing so “under pressure…will be taken negatively not only” internally but worldwide, he stressed.
“The damage from that will be catastrophic.” Principles aren’t to be bargained away, he added. Nor lives of Russian nationals.
At the same time, Russia’s Foreign Ministry called threats of US sanctions unacceptable.
“By ignoring any attempts to study difficult processes in the Ukrainian society and to assess the situation, which continues to deteriorate after radicals seized power in Kiev by force, the US Secretary of State uses the Cold War cliches and proposes to punish the Russian Federation and not who committed a coup d’etat,” it said.
Moscow’s position remains clear, open and consistent.
“If Ukraine is only a territory of geopolitical games for certain Western politicians, this is the brotherly country for us,” the statement added.
Russia wants Ukraine kept strong, stable, independent and democratically governed.
It rejects radicalized putschists in charge. It wants resolution based on the February 21 agreement.
It calls for forming a legitimate national unity government. It wants all Ukrainians represented fairly. Washington has other ideas.
Crimeans brace for what’s coming. They fear clashes with Western-backed extremists.
They’re concerned about Euromaidan violence erupting. Self-defense forces man checkpoint to prevent it. Disbanded Berkut security forces joined them.
A potential clash of civilizations looms. Global war could erupt. The damn fool in the White House risks it.
So do other damn fool administration officials. Neocon extremists run things. Anything ahead is possible.
America is the real evil empire. Its hegemonic ambitions risk armageddon.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.