There is a ticking time bomb in the Ukraine

THE SAKER • MARCH 19, 2020 •



Between the fallout of the murder of General Soleimani and the coronovirus, the Ukraine has been somewhat forgotten, which is understandable, but also potentially dangerous. The “young and dynamic” President Zelenskii has more or less been forgotten, especially by the legacy corporate ziomedia. This does not, however, mean that the situation there did not evolve or, in fact, that it is not becoming extremely dangerous. So for those who did not keep an eye on the Ukraine, here is a short summary of what has been going on:

Summary of developments

First, Zelenskii has proven to be a total ZERO. Simply put, neither he not his team can get anything done, anything at all. I really mean nothing, nothing at all.
Second, while initially the victory of Zelenskii seem to indicate that the Ukronazis had suffered a crushing defeat, it now is completely obvious that Zelenskii lacks the will, or the means, or both, to tackle this huge problem. Now the Ukronazis are back in force, they provoke Zelenskii on a daily basis, but the man is simply unable to react and reassert his authority.
Third, in social and economic terms, the Ukraine is in free fall. Following years of chaos and corruption the Ukraine is now a deindustrialized country which can sell only three things: men (for menial jobs in Poland and in the EU), women (prostitution) and its “black soil” (chernozem). Once the land is sold, it will give the Ukrainian budget enough money to keep up the appearance of a state for a few more month, maybe a year or so. After that – it’s show over, curtain down, lights off and everybody go home…
Fourth, it is pretty clear who the kingmaker of the Ukraine is: Arsen Avakov, the “eternal” (by Ukrainian standards) Minister of the Interior. He not only has real firepower, he also seems to be able to turn the Ukronazi “spigot” on and off depending on his personal needs and circumstances. Unlike the bona fide nutcases, Avakov does not strike me as a Nazi at all, in fact, I would say that he is non-ideological – he is all about “pure power”. This makes him a much more desirable “partner” for the Empire than real nutcases.
Fifth, while the Minsk Agreements are still more or less on the agenda, at least officially, the Ukronazis have been vocal enough in their protests to basically completely stall any meaningful negotiations. Yes, prisoners will probably be exchanged, but beyond that I see any real progress as exceedingly unlikely. For all practical purposes, the regime in Kiev has made it very clear: there will be no negotiations with the Donbass, which simply means that there will be no negotiated solution. It’s that simple, really.
Six, COVID19 has hit the Ukraine very, very hard. The problem is that the authorities, which fully knew that they had no means to do anything meaningful began by thumping their chests and saying that there were no cases in the Ukraine only to then suddenly decree drastic quarantine measures. And yet, the true information is seeping out: Ukrainians hospitals are full of cases, mostly un-diagnosed, and many have already died. Officially, and as of right now, there are only 14 confirmed cases in the Ukraine, and only two fatalities. But absolutely everybody knows that these numbers are totally fictional and that the real number of cases remains unknown due to a lack of testing kits, not a lack of cases. MDs in Ukrainian hospitals are sounding the alarms, but nobody is listening.
Seventh, the situation is made even worse by the fact that there are not credible alternatives to Zelenskii. There IS an opposition in the Ukraine, the typical Ukronazis nutcases and the generally pro-Russian politicians who are categorically and absolutely unacceptable to the (much larger) Ukronazi opposition. Thus, there does not appear to be any political solution or alternative to the current regime. Right now, the two politicians who appear to be the most competent are Vadim Rabinovich and Elena Lukash. These two are very sharp and, frankly, very courageous, but they don’t have a power base powerful enough to take on the Nazis. Finally, there is Viktor Medvechuk whose main quality is also his biggest weakness: he is considered close to Putin. These are all rather smart and courageous figures, but compared to the power of an Arsen Avakov – they are just soap bubbles. Will that change in the future? Maybe, but not in the foreseeable future.

Possible scenarios

When a country enters a dramatic and deep systematic crisis, something must inevitably eventually give. Right now there are relatively few protests simply because there is no political force of personality which could inspire people to rally and struggle for change. Most Ukrainians are both absolutely exhausted and absolutely desperate. They are into the “survival mode” which history has taught them and they simply wait. Frankly, I can’t blame them. My advise to all my Ukrainian contacts has been “get out of there while you can”, but if you can’t get out, then going into a survival mode is the only option.
Right now, the Ukronazis feel energized and they are back with a vengeance demanding that the Ukraine finally be transformed into the Banderastan they have been dreaming about for generations (except they don’t use the word “Banderastan” but prefer the expression “Banderstat”. Their strength is in their unity and firepower. Their main weakness is that most Ukrainians hate them. A most dangerous combination.
Some observers have suggested that a coup might take place. I doubt it because I don’t see any person capable of leading such a coup. Avakov would be ideal, but he is *already* in power, he does not need a coup at all. Furthermore, if an openly Ukronazi regime replaces Zelenskii, this will only further deepen the distress of the general population.
The truth is both as simple as it is terrible: there is no solution for the Ukraine. None whatsoever.
So what could happen next?
The basic ingredients are pretty predictable: protests, civil unrest, violence and, eventually, a break-up of the Ukraine into several entities.
In theory, this could be avoided, but in order to do this, at the very least, the following basic conditions have to be met:
  1. The West and Russians must work together in a major reconstruction effort to rebuild the entire country, not only the war-devastated Donbass
  2. The regime in Kiev must be acceptable to all three: the West, Russia and the Ukrainian people
  3. The Ukronazis need to be disarmed and, when needed, either jailed or expelled
As you can immediately tell, this is not happening.
Yes, some have begun thinking about this issue, see, for example, this very interesting report from the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG), in particular, take a good look at the “Economic Steps” and “Political Steps” suggested in this report. The fact that a guy like Gen (Ret) Breedlove, former SACEUR and rabid Russia-hater, could sign this document is, by itself, quite amazing.
However, with the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic AND a brutal oil war threatening most economies of our planet, I expect the western nations to simply lose interest in the Ukraine: they will be too busy scrambling to recover from the political fallout of the SARS-CoV-2 crisis. As for Russia, there is absolutely no way that she will agree to foot the bill for the reconstruction of the Ukraine, nor will she provide the forces needed to get rid of the Ukronazis. Which means that for the foreseeable future, the Ukraine will be mostly left on its own. Russia will, of course, continue to support Novorussia (for example, SARS-CoV-2 testing kits have already arrived from Russia) while distributing Russian passports to anyone wanting one (the vast majority of the people of Novorussia).

Conclusion

The SARS-CoV-2/COVID19 pandemic will have huge political repercussions worldwide because in this specific case, not only will the AngloZionist propaganda machine not be able to hide the truth from the people (if anything, all sorts of fake news and crazy rumors will have more “street cred” than what the politicians tell us), but the consequences of this crisis will be felt everywhere, including at home. So Trump can go on in each of his pressers about how everything in the USA is “the best”, “the greatest” and “the mightiest”, but the truth is that the this virus will reveal not only the total inability of the private sector to save the day, it will also reveal how utterly dysfunctional the US, along most other western states really are (no, Walmart and Amazon will not save the day). No wonder the western politicians are scrambling to show how “involved” they all are – they are simply trying to cover their rear end for the inevitable “lessons learned” moment coming for all. Maybe at some point in the future will see most US Americans reconsider what they think they know about Socialism and Libertarianism, especially when it becomes clear how different the reaction to the virus was in China and Russia compared to the EU or US.
The sad truth about the “indispensable nation” is not slowly coming out. First and trickle, but then the inevitable tsunami
The sad truth about the “indispensable nation” is not slowly coming out. First and trickle, but then the inevitable tsunami
Them Chinese commies not only beat the virus in a record time, they are helping the dying capitalists (who, by the way, are not helping each other!)
Them Chinese commies not only beat the virus in a record time, they are helping the dying capitalists (who, by the way, are not helping each other!)
But what will be only embarrassing for US politicians will, barring some kind of miracle, hit the Ukraine with consequences far worse than what we have seen up until now.
For the time being, the Ukronazis are explaining that the Nazi salute is just perfect for this situation: not only do hands not touch, but the palm of the saluting head is facing the sun, which is hygienically good (that, and a lot of Nazis are pagans, sun worship is common amongst them).
Right now, in what are still the early stages of the pandemic, almost nobody is paying attention (most folks in the West have yet to understand that security, any and all form of security, must always be collective to be effective). Right now, the bigger danger comes from the Ukrainians returning home from abroad. But this will soon change, and the danger will become Ukrainians leaving the Ukraine. At this point the EU countries will have to turn to the Kremlin for a common response to what promises to be a major disaster.

Merkel trod on holy Ukrainian toes

January 14, 2020

Rostislav Ishenko, 13 Jan 2020

Translated by Nikolai

The visit by the Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Russia and her negotiations with Vladimir Putin were full of negative signals for Ukraine.

Merkel busily carved on the crossroad milestone:

– go right – lose your head;

– go left – lose your life;

– go straight – be forever lost;

– stay in place – death will reach you;

– turn back – you will not reach home.

The fact alone that Berlin and Moscow discussed virtually all pressing topics of the global agenda (including Syria, Libya and Iran) should have put Kiev on notice. After all, if these two countries have so many areas of common interest, Ukraine cannot count on exclusive German support. The contrary is rather probable – if Berlin can agree with Moscow on all other key points of the international agenda, then it can quite easily sacrifice Ukrainian interests in favor of full understanding.

In addition, the chancellor also discussed the Ukrainian problem in separate with the president of Russia. By all appearances, they did not spend a lot of time on this discussion. As a result, during the press conference they were brief and clear in announcing their united position – Ukraine must fulfill the Minsk agreements. During the last year, such statements became common, so I will remind that it was not so long ago (in 2018) that Berlin usually stated in such cases that it expects Russia to constructively work with the DNR/LNR, who in turn must fulfill the Minsk agreements. And in 2015-2017 Berlin (in chorus with Paris) demanded that the Minsk agreements were Russia’s responsibility to implement.

France and Germany went over to Moscow’s point of view sort of casually and discretely. Moreover, being more involved in the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin was more stoic than Paris.

Zelensky, when striving for the “Normandy format” meeting, was clearly counting on that he would be accommodated (as a young, popular “new formation politician” as he was called in Ukraine) and allowed to at least partially rework the Minsk agreements, or even better – declare them null and void and begin prolonged, tedious and pointless negotiations on the new format for regulation of the crisis. It was not a coincidence that right after the meeting in Paris the Ukrainian media and diplomats attempted to propose their own version for the translation of Merkel’s words at the press conference and tried to attribute to the federal chancellor a statement supposedly saying that the Minsk agreements are not dogma and can be modernized. They broadcasted this so often and with such certainty, that they even convinced some Russian experts, who began to accept Merkel’s phrase as “ambiguous”.

And so now, the German leader says unequivocally that the Minsk agreements must be implemented without any modernization, that Russia and Germany, in fact, have the same view on this topic. The caringly constructed concept of zelensky diplomacy comes crashing down. The people at home can be still indoctrinated about the “great leap forward” achieved. But the concurring and unequivocal position of Berlin and Moscow means that there will not be a new meeting in Berlin in the “Normandy format” without corresponding steps made by Kiev (doing their homework, as they were told in Paris). Pity for Zelensky, who was so convincing in Paris, saying how he already did everything he could and that he is prevented from moving forward by evil radicals, so everyone should just “understand and forgive” him and get busy reconsidering the “Minsk” in the interests of Kiev.

This is a fiasco. Now, the minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine Vadim Pristaiko and company have to think on how to rationalize before the people taking it all in and frozen in expectations of further diplomatic breakthroughs that the April “Normandy format” meeting is cancelled or postponed to an unclear date. Remember, Kiev already voiced a wealth of demands for the “modernization” of the Minsk agreements, which they were planning on stating and pressing in Berlin. And the April meeting was presented by Ukrainian propaganda as 100% arranged. Mind you, April is very soon: February 23rd, March 8th, then the May holidays are already near – April will arrive suddenly.

Something has to be done and decided with this. But what? The fact is, it is very hard to move Merkel from a position taken in advance. However, if she did change her mind, it is even harder to bring her back around.

Well, Merkel changed her mind, seriously and decisively. This is indicated by another topic discussed by the two leaders. I think no one was surprised upon hearing at the press conference that the chiefs of the two countries discussed the fate of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline. At this time Merkel again stated that the pipeline will be finished despite American sanctions. Putin in turn stated the probable timetable for the end of works: end of this year – first half of next year. This means that during 2022 the gas pipeline must reach its design capacity no matter what.

I will note that for the first time the federal chancellor did not say anything about the Ukrainian transit. This can be because the transit agreement has been signed. However, it has been signed only for five years. And by the end of 2022, when Nord Stream II reaches peak flowrate, three of these years will already have passed. Previously, in 2016, 2017, 2018 and in 2019 Merkel each time packed up the startup of Nord Stream II with the preservation of the Ukrainian transit. She was not talking about prolonging it for five years but about guaranteeing significant transit volumes through the Ukrainian gas transmission network (GTN).

In principle, Gazprom is interested in preserving the transit through the Ukrainian GTN (as is the GTN itself, which actually should be transferred under Gazprom’s control). First, demand for gas in Europe is rising, and the marine “Streams” are just not being built fast enough. Second, it is always better to use available infrastructure than build a new one. Third, Gazprom does not endeavor to move away from the Ukrainian monopoly on transit only to create a German or Turkish one. Of course, this does not mean that Gazprom is ready to start pumping 80-100 bln m3 yearly through the Ukrainian GTN, but it could quite do 30-40 bln.

However, Gazprom is not willing to tolerate Ukraine’s provocative behavior, who has been motivating “substantiated” (“market”) transit costs with its own need for cash and trying to block Gazprom from building gas pipelines going around its territory. Until now, this was a problem for Gazprom and Russia. However, after the frankly anti-European sanctions from the USA that were meant to put the brakes (if not stop completely) on the building of Nord Stream II, the position of Germany changed in a similar, almost unnoticed fashion, since Germany had determined this pipeline as one of the most important infrastructure projects both in concerning European energy safety and German economy.   

Statements by Berlin on the subject of Nord Stream II are now completely lacking mentions of the need to consider Kiev’s interests and provide guarantees of loading the Ukrainian GTN. It seems, the hard pro-American position accepted by Ukraine on this issue decidedly convinced Germany that Kiev is ready to completely irrationally make decisions that are harmful not only to itself (which is not a concern for Berlin), but also to Germany (which is a very strong concern) in order to protect the strategic interests of Washington.

As in the issue of the Minsk agreements, the positions of Moscow and Berlin are united and coordinated as never before concerning Nord Stream II. The fact that Ukraine is taking a pro-American orientation on this issue in only an additional push for Berlin to distance itself from Kiev. Especially since Germany has experience in dealing with Poland. The latter realized that the multi-billion giveaways from EU funds (mostly filled by German money) will soon end and started talking about receiving reparations for World War II (luckily they are not yet demanding Poland be returned to its borders of the times of Bolesław I the Brave and compensations from Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and Belarus for a millennium of “unlawful ownership” of “immemorial polish lands”).

All in all, Merkel’s visit to Russia does not bode anything good for Kiev. Rather it’s all bad. It seems, German politicians have finally understood the simple truth –support Ukraine or not, but you have to plan your future in such a way that the Ukrainian factor influences it as little as possible, or even better – does not influence it at all.

Source – https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20200113/1026284231.html

Ukraine Peace Hostage to Washington’s Russophobia

Image result for Ukraine Peace Hostage to Washington’s Russophobia

December 15, 2019

After Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky finished multilateral peace talks in Paris, the emphatic media message was that “no red lines had been crossed” in negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. It sounded like Zelensky was far more concerned with trying to reassure observers he hadn’t “capitulated” to Putin, rather than engaging in a genuine dialogue to resolve his country’s conflict.

The so-called Normandy Four format of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine is scheduled to meet again in four months. The meeting in Paris on December 9 was the first time leaders had convened after nearly a three-year hiatus. It is to be welcomed that President Zelensky, who was elected in April, shows a willingness to engage with Russia, unlike predecessor Petro Poroshenko, in order to bring peace to eastern Ukraine. The region has been mired in nearly six years of civil war.

During the Paris talks, there was agreement to uphold a ceasefire in Ukraine’s Donbas region, and to extend deconfliction zones by withdrawing troops and artillery. There was also agreement on the exchange of all prisoners between Ukraine government forces and the pro-Russia rebels in Donbas. All very good. But what about the full implementation of the Minsk Accord signed back in 2015?

That accord obliges the government in Kiev to permit elections and regional autonomy in the Donbas. It also obliges a full amnesty for rebels who took up arms against the Kiev administration, which came to power through an illegal US-backed coup in February 2014. The Kiev power grab ushered in an ultra-nationalist Russophobic regime intent on dominating the pro-Russian eastern region. The dramatic shift in power in Kiev towards Neo-Nazi demagogues and paramilitaries was the decisive factor in Donbas taking up arms and also in pro-Russia Crimea seceding in March 2014 and joining the Russian Federation.

Regrettably, President Zelensky appears unwilling to implement the Minsk deal which his predecessor signed up to. In fact, at the concluding press conference jointly held by the four leaders at the Paris talks, Zelensky was given to trying to re-write Minsk. He insisted on “security issues” being settled before political issues. That suggests he wants rebels in Donbas to disarm without Kiev recognizing the region’s autonomy. Zelensky also insisted on “not giving up Donbas and Crimea”, and of regaining control over all of Ukraine’s borders, including those adjacent to Russia.

The Minsk deal – which France, Germany and Russia are in concurrence on as being the only viable way forward to peace – does not say anything about Crimea “being returned” to Ukraine. The accord does not precondition autonomy in the Donbas on a prior disarmament.

In other words, Zelensky is going off script on the Minsk terms for finding a peace settlement. His position is still not adhering to the obligations his government signed up to. Perhaps over the coming months, the Ukrainian president may come round to fulfilling responsibilities as stipulated by the Minsk accord.

But there are, unfortunately, reasons to be skeptical. That’s because the relentless Russophobia residing in Washington leaves Zelensky with little room for maneuver. The shaky Kiev regime is totally reliant on Washington’s patronage for its IMF financial life-line, as well as for military support. Zelensky is the president of a vassal state. Washington calls the tune and the tributes.

As could be seen more than ever during the recent impeachment hearings on President Trump, the consensus in Washington is that Ukraine is “at war with Russia”. American politicians and media are convinced in their Cold War delusions that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is the “aggressor” against a “freedom-loving nation”. That propaganda narrative, of course, reinforces the delusions of the Russia-hating ultra-nationalists in Ukraine who have threatened Zelensky’s life if he “surrenders” to Russia.

Hence, the conflict in Ukraine is not being addressed as the internal one that it really is. Instead, it is being viewed through the Russophobic lens as an external problem, allegedly created by Russian aggression. That means the “solution” is about standing up to Russia with lots more US military aid, rather than addressing the core issues of Kiev’s toxic politics and policies towards its separatist regions.

Russia is a guarantor of Minsk, just like France and Germany are. It is not a party with obligations to fulfill. Those obligations are on the politicians in Kiev and the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

With Washington pressing Zelensky to stand up to non-existing “Russian aggression” that means the search for peace in Ukraine will remain elusive. Peace will only come to Ukraine when Washington stops kicking Kiev around like a political football to gratify its Cold War hostility towards Russia. That’s unlikely to happen in the near future.

When Zelensky seeks to reassure that “no red lines” have been crossed, his mind is not on genuine peace negotiations. Rather, he is seeking to placate Ukraine’s hostage-takers in Washington.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

مؤشرات جديدة في المشهد الدولي والإقليمي

ديسمبر 10, 2019

ناصر قنديل

تستعدّ باريس لعقد اجتماع دولي برعاية فرنسية أمميّة مشتركة لدعم لبنان، مخصّصة لتأمين جرعات مالية سريعة، ونفي وجود شروط سياسية خاصة بتشكيل الحكومة الجديدة في لبنان، منعاً للانهيار الذي بات الاعتراف الغربي جامعاً بوصفه كخطر ممنوع وليس كهدف مرتجى. والاجتماع يضمّ الدول الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن ومعها الاتحاد الأوروبي والأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية بالإضافة إلى ألمانيا وإيطاليا، وبالتوازي تنعقد قمة رباعية روسية ألمانية فرنسية أوكرانية لوضع اللمسات النهائية على تفاهمات جديدة بين روسيا وأوكرانيا، يرجّح تتويجها بتبادل للأسرى، كما قال الرئيس الأوكراني المنتخب الذي يلتقي الرئيس الروسي للمرة الأولى، وتبدي فرنسا آمالاً بالنجاح في السير قدماً بتطبيق تفاهمات مينسك التي تجمع المشاركين في قمة النورماندي الخاصة بالأزمة الأوكرانية التي افتتحت باب التصعيد الغربي بوجه موسكو، وشهدت ضمّ روسيا لشبه جزيرة القرم، رداً على التصعيد، وشكلت مع الحرب في سورية ثنائية الأمن القومي الروسي، وميمنة وميسرة الهجوم الغربي على روسيا، وتبدو وقد قاربت نهايتها في سورية وأوكرانيا لصالح تكريس دور المرجعية الروسية، مع وقائع محلية استقلالية وطنية تأقلم الغرب مع قبول الاعتراف بشرعيتها، سواء شرعية الدولة السورية أو شرعية ضمّ القرم إلى روسيا او شرعية الخصوصية في الأقاليم الشرقية لأوكرانيا.

يصل بالتزامن وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف إلى واشنطن بدعوة من نظيره الأميركي مايك بومبيو، ويلتقي لافروف في ختام زيارته الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب. ومن المحتمل أن يتفق الجانبان على عقد قمة روسية أميركية في العام المقبل، وهو عام الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، الذي يريده الرئيس الأميركي عام الإنجازات السلمية، وليس عاماً للتصعيد، وفيما يبدو خصوم واشنطن مستعدين لمنح الرئيس ترامب الهدوء الذي يحتاجه لا يبدو ترامب متعنتاً بشروط تعجيزيّة لتحقيق ذلك. ففي الملفين السوري والأوكراني تبدو الصورة أقرب للتسليم الأميركي للمرجعية الروسية رغم كل الكلام الأرعن للرئيس ترامب حول مبرّرات بقاء قواته في سورية وعلاقة ذلك بالنفط، أو كلامه عن أوكرانيا والعقوبات على روسيا، بحيث يبدو الملف الرئيسي للمفاوضات الروسية الأميركية بعيداً عن هذين الملفين وبعيداً أيضاً عن ملف فنزويلا التي تتواصل مفاوضات الحكومة والمعارضة فيها وتتقدّم. فالاهتمام الأميركي والروسي هو بالبحث عن مخرج محدود الكلفة المالية للعودة إلى التفاهمات الخاصة بالأسلحة الاستراتيجية بدلاً من سباق تسلح سيُضعف فرص نمو اقتصادات البلدين اللذين لا يعيشان وضع ثمانينيات القرن الماضي عندما كانت واشنطن في بحبوحة وموسكو في حال شحّ في الموارد.

في الإقليم تتبلور مشاهد مشابهة على الجبهة الرئيسية للتوتر. فالعلاقات السعودية الإيرانية تتجه نحو التفاوض المعلن عبر منصة مؤتمر الخليج الذي دعت إليه عُمان، والذي يتوقع توسّعه ليضم تحت مظلة الأمم المتحدة بالإضافة إلى إيران وجوارها الخليجي، الدول الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن الدولي، بينما يتحدث السعوديون علناً بقرب إنجاز تهدئة في اليمن تتحوّل إلى تسوية، وتنشر وثائق مسقط للتفاهمات الخاصة باليمن وتظهر فرصاً حقيقية للتوافق، بعدما تثبت موقع أنصار الله ميدانياً كلاعب إقليمي حاسم، وصار الأمن السعودي مرتبطاً بوقف حرب اليمن، وتشكل المساعي الإماراتية نحو إيران وسورية تعبيراً عما تستعد له السعودية. بينما تستأنف المحادثات الأوروبية الإيرانية حول الاتفاق النووي وسبل إنعاشه وتتقدم، رغم الخطاب الإيراني الذي يزداد قوة وطلباً للمزيد.

على خلفيةهذا المناخ المعاكس لمناخ ما قبل شهرين، تدور أحداث لبنان والعراق، وقد بدأت هذه الأحداث بينما كان يجري التحضير لتفجير الوضع في إيران. وتبدو اليوم أضغاث أحلام. ففقدت الأحداث في لبنان والعراق رغم أسبابها الوجيهة محلياً في البلدين، وظيفتها الدوليةوالإقليمية، لكنها خرجت عن السيطرة برفع السقوف وما رافقها عراقياً من تصعيد دموي، وما رافقها لبنانياً من تكسير لبيض التسويات، بهدف قلي عجّةالمواجهة،وصارت السياسةذريعة لتبرير الحاجة للوقت للنزول عن الشجرة.

مواضيع متعلقة

President Macron’s amazing admission

President Macron’s amazing admission

The Saker

September 11, 2019

[this column was written for the Unz Review]

I don’t know whether the supposedly Chinese curse really comes from China, but whether it does or not, we most certainly are cursed with living in some truly interesting times: Iran won the first phase of the “tanker battle” against the AngloZionistsPutin offered to sell Russian hypersonic missiles to Trump (Putin has been trolling western leaders a lot lately) while Alexander Lukashenko took the extreme measure of completely shutting down the border between the Ukraine and Belarus due to the huge influx of weapons and nationalist extremists from the Ukraine. As he put it himself “if weapons fall into the hands of ordinary people and especially nationalist-minded people, wait for terrorism“. He is quite right, of course. Still, there is a sweet irony here, or call it karma if you prefer, but for the Ukronazis who promised their people a visa-free entrance into the EU (for tourism only, and if you have money to spend, but still…), and yet 5 years into that obscene experiment of creating a rabidly russophobic Ukraine and 100 days (or so) into Zelenskii’s presidency, we have the Ukraine’s closest and most supportive neighbor forced to totally shut down its border due to the truly phenomenal toxicity of the Ukrainian society! But, then again, the Ukraine is such a basket-case that we can count on “most interesting” things (in the sense of the Chinese curse, of course) happening there too.

[Sidebar: interestingly, one of the people the Ukrainians gave up in this exchange was Vladimir Tsemakh, a native of the Donbass who was kidnapped by the Ukie SBU in Novorussia (our noble “Europeans” did not object to such methods!) and declared the “star witness” against Russia in the MH-17 (pseudo-)investigation. Even more pathetic is that the Dutch apparently fully endorsed this load of crapola. Finally, and just for a good laugh, check out how the infamous’ Bellincat presented Tsemakh. And then, suddenly, everybody seem to “forget” that “star witness” and now the Ukies have sent him to Russia. Amazing how fast stuff gets lost in the collective western memory hole…]

Right now there seems to be a tug of war taking place between the more mentally sane elements of the Zelenskii administration and the various nationalist extremists in the SBU, deathsquads and even regular armed forces. Thus we see these apparently contradictory developments taking place: on on hand, the Ukraine finally agreed to a prisoner swap with Russia (a painful one for Russia as Russia mostly traded real criminals, including a least two bona fide Ukie terrorist, against what are mostly civilian hostages, but Putin decided – correctly I think – that freeing Russian nationalists from Ukie jails was more important in this case) while on the other hand, the Ukronazi armed forces increased their shelling, even with 152mm howitzers which fire 50kg high explosive fragmentation shells, against the Donbass. Whatever may be the case, this prisoner swap, no matter how one-sided and unfair, is a positive development which might mark the beginning of a pragmatic and less ideological attitude in Kiev.

Urkoterrorists Sentsov and Kol’chenko

Some very cautious beginnings of a little hint of optimism might be in order following that exchange, but the big stuff seems to be scheduled for the meeting of the Normandy Group (NG), probably in France. So far, the Russians have made it very clear that they will not meet just for the hell of meeting, and that the only circumstance in which the Russians will agree to a NG meeting would be if it has good chances of yielding meaningful results which, translated from Russian diplomatic language simply means “if/when Kiev stops stonewalling and sabotaging everything”. Specifically, the Russians are demanding that Zelenskii commit in writing to the so-called “Steinmeier formula” and that the Ukrainian forces withdraw from the line of contact. Will that happen? Maybe. We shall soon find out.

But the single most amazing event of the past couple of weeks was the absolutely astonishing speech French President Emmanuel Macron made in front of an assembly of ambassadors. I could not find the full speech translated into English (I may have missed it somewhere), so I will post the crucial excerpts in French and translate them myself. If I find a full, official, translation I will post it under this column ASAP. For the time being, this is the link to the full speech transcript in French:

https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/08/27/discours-du-president-de-la-republique-a-la-conference-des-ambassadeurs-1

Let’s immediately begin with some of the most incredible excerpts, emphasis added by me: (sorry for the long quote but, truly, each word counts!)

L’ordre international est bousculé de manière inédite mais surtout avec, si je puis dire, un grand bouleversement qui se fait sans doute pour la première fois dans notre histoire à peu près dans tous les domaines, avec une magnitude profondément historique. C’est d’abord une transformation, une recomposition géopolitique et stratégique. Nous sommes sans doute en train de vivre la fin de l’hégémonie occidentale sur le monde. Nous nous étions habitués à un ordre international qui depuis le 18ème siècle reposait sur une hégémonie occidentale, vraisemblablement française au 18ème siècle, par l’inspiration des Lumières ; sans doute britannique au 19ème grâce à la révolution industrielle et raisonnablement américaine au 20ème grâce aux 2 grands conflits et à la domination économique et politique de cette puissance. Les choses changent. Et elles sont profondément bousculées par les erreurs des Occidentaux dans certaines crises, par les choix aussi américains depuis plusieurs années et qui n’ont pas commencé avec cette administration mais qui conduisent à revisiter certaines implications dans des conflits au Proche et Moyen-Orient et ailleurs, et à repenser une stratégie profonde, diplomatique et militaire, et parfois des éléments de solidarité dont nous pensions qu’ils étaient des intangibles pour l’éternité même si nous avions constitué ensemble dans des moments géopolitiques qui pourtant aujourd’hui ont changé. Et puis c’est aussi l’émergence de nouvelles puissances dont nous avons sans doute longtemps sous-estimé l’impact. La Chine au premier rang mais également la stratégie russe menée, il faut bien le dire, depuis quelques années avec plus de succès. J’y reviendrai. L’Inde qui émerge, ces nouvelles économies qui deviennent aussi des puissances pas seulement économiques mais politiques et qui se pensent comme certains ont pu l’écrire, comme de véritables États civilisations et qui viennent non seulement bousculer notre ordre international, qui viennent peser dans l’ordre économique mais qui viennent aussi repenser l’ordre politique et l’imaginaire politique qui va avec, avec beaucoup de force et beaucoup plus d’inspiration que nous n’en avons. Regardons l’Inde, la Russie et la Chine. Elles ont une inspiration politique beaucoup plus forte que les Européens aujourd’hui. Elles pensent le monde avec une vraie logique, une vraie philosophie, un imaginaire que nous avons un peu perdu

Here is my informal translation of these words:

The international order is being shaken in an unprecedented manner, above all with, if I may say so, by the great upheaval that is undoubtedly taking place for the first time in our history, in almost every field and with a profoundly historic magnitude. The first thing we observe is a major transformation, a geopolitical and strategic re-composition. We are undoubtedly experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world. We were accustomed to an international order which, since the 18th century, rested on a Western hegemony, mostly French in the 18th century, by the inspiration of the Enlightenment; then mostly British in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution and, finally, mostly American in the 20th century thanks to the 2 great conflicts and the economic and political domination of this power. Things change. And they are now deeply shaken by the mistakes of Westerners in certain crises, by the choices that have been made by Americans for several years which did not start with this administration, but which lead to revisiting certain implications in conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to rethinking a deep, diplomatic and military strategy, and sometimes elements of solidarity that we thought were intangible for eternity, even if we had constituted together in geopolitical moments that have changed. And then there is the emergence of new powers whose impact we have probably underestimated for a long time. China is at the forefront, but also the Russian strategy, which has, it must be said, been pursued more successfully in recent years. I will come back to that. India that is emerging, these new economies that are also becoming powers not only economic but political and that think themselves, as some have written, as real “civilizational states” which now come not only to shake up our international order but who also come to weigh in on the economic order and to rethink the political order and the political imagination that goes with it, with much dynamism and much more inspiration than we have. Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we’ve lost a little bit.

Now let’s unpack these key statements one by one:

1) “ great upheaval that is undoubtedly taking place for the first time in our history in almost every field and with a profoundly historic magnitude”

Here Macron sets the stage for some truly momentous observations: what will be discussed next is not only a major event, but one without precedent in history (whether French or European). Furthermore, what will be discussed next, affects “almost every field” and with huge historical implications.

2) “We are undoubtedly experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world”

When I read that, my first and rather infantile reaction was to exclaim “really?! No kiddin’?! Who would have thought!?” After all, some of us have been saying that for a long, long while, but never-mind that. What is important is that even a Rothschild-puppet like Macron had to finally speak these words. Oh sure, he probably felt as happy as the Captain of the Titanic when he had to (finally!) order a general evacuation of this putatively unsinkable ship, but nonetheless – he did do it. From now on, the notion of the end of the western hegemony on the planet is no more relegated to what the leaders of the Empire and their propaganda machine like to call “fringe extremists” and has now fully entered the (supposedly) “respectable” and “mainstream” public discourse. This is a huge victory for all of us who have been saying the same things for years already.

3) “by the mistakes of Westerners in certain crises, by the choices that have been made by Americans for several years”

Here, again, I feel like engaging in some petty self-congratulation and want to say “I told you that too!”, but that would really be infantile, would it not? But yeah, while the internal contradictions of western materialism in general, and of AngloZionist Capitalism specifically, have been catching up with the Western World and while an eventual catastrophic crisis was inevitable, it also sure is true that western leaders mostly did it to themselves; at the very least, they dramatically accelerated these processes. In this context, I would single out the following politicians for a nomination to a medal for exceptional service in the destruction of the western hegemony over our long-suffering planet: Donald Trump and Barak Obama, of course, but also François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron (yes, he too even if he now changes his tune!), Angela Merkel, of course, and then last but not least, every single British Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher (maybe with special commendation for Teresa May). Who knows, maybe they were all KGB/GRU/SVR agents after all? (just kiddin’!)

4) “ the emergence of new powers whose impact we have probably underestimated for a long time. China is at the forefront, but also the Russian strategy, which has, it must be said, been pursued more successfully in recent years”

Next, it’s not only China. Russia too is a major competitor, and a very successful one at that, hence the admission that in spite of all the efforts of the AngloZionist elites not only did the Empire not succeed in breaking Russia, but Russia has been very successful in defeating the western efforts. To those interested, I highly recommend this article by Jon Hellevig on the true state of the Russian economy. Finally, in military terms, Russia has achieved more than parity. In fact, I would argue that at least in terms of quality the Russian armed forces are ahead in several crucial technologies (hypersonic missiles, air defenses, electronic warfare etc.) even while she still lags behind in other technologies (mostly truly obsolete things like aircraft carriers). But most crucial is the political victory of Russia: five years after the Euromaidan and the liberation of Crimea from the Nazi yoke, the USA is far more isolated than Russia. It’s comical, really!

5) “real “civilizational states” which now come not only to shake up our international order

I have been speaking about a unique, and very distinct, “Russian civilizational realm” in many of my writings and I am quite happy to see Macron using almost the same words. Of course, Macron did not only mean Russia here, but also India and China. Still, and although the Russian nation is much younger than the one of China or, even more so India, 1000 years of Russian civilization does deserve to be listed next to these two other giants of world history. And what is absolutely certain is that China and India could never build the new international order they want without Russia, at least for the foreseeable future. In spite of all the very real progress made recently by the Chinese armed forces (and, to a lesser degree, also the Indian ones), Russia still remains a much stronger military power than China. What Russia, China and India are, is that they are all former empires which have given up on imperialism and who know only aspire to be powerful, but nevertheless “normal” nations. Just by their size and geography, these are “un-invadable” countries who all present a distinct model of development and who want a multi-polar international order which would allow them to safely achieve their goals. In other words, Macron understands that the future international order will be dictated by China, Russia and India and not by any combination of western powers. Quite an admission indeed!

6) “ Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we’ve lost a little bit.”

This is the “core BRICS” challenge to the Empire: China and Russia have already established what the Chinese call a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era”. If they can now extend this kind of informal but extremely profound partnership (I think of it as “symbiotic”) to India next, then the BRICS will have a formidable future (especially after the Brazilian people give the boot to Bolsonaro and his US patrons). Should that fail and should India chose to remain outside this unique relationship, then the SCO will become the main game in town. And yes, Macron is spot on: China and, especially, Russia have a fundamentally different worldview and, unlike the western one, theirs does have “much stronger political” goals (Macron used the word “aspirations”), “a real philosophy and imagination” which the West has lost, and not just a “little bit” but, I would argue, completely. But one way or the other, and for the first time in 1000 years, the future of our planet will not be decided anywhere in the West, not in Europe (old or “new”), but in Asia, primarily by the Russian-Chinese alliance. As I explained here, the AngloZionist Empire is probably the last one in history, definitely the last western one.

Now we should not be naïve here, Macron did not suddenly find religion, grow a conscience or suddenly become an expert on international relations. There is, of course, a cynical reason why he is changing his tune. In fact, there are several such reasons. First, it appears that the on and off bromance between Macron and Trump is over. Second, all of Europe is in free fall socially, economically and, of course, politically. And with a total nutcase in power in London dealing with Brexit and with Angela Merkel’s apparently never-ending political agony, it is only logical for a French head of state to try to step in. Furthermore, while I have always said that Russia is not part of Europe culturally and spiritually, Russia is very much part of Europe geographically, economically and politically and there is simply no way for any imaginable alliance of European states to save Europe from its current predicament without Russian help. Like it or not, that is a fact, irrespective of whether politician or commentator X, Y or Z realizes this or not. Macron probably figured out that the so-called “East Europeans” are nothing but cheap prostitutes doing whatever Uncle Shmuel wants them to do, Germany is collapsing under the weight of Merkel’s “brilliant” immigration policy while the UK under BoJo is busy trying to self-destruct at least as fast as the USA under Trump. Macron is right. If united, Russia and France could build a much safer Europe than the one we see slowly and painfully dying before our eyes today. But he is also wrong if he thinks that Russia can be “re-invited” back into the AngloZionist sphere of influence. In that context, Putin’s reply to the question of whether Russia was willing to return to the G8 is very telling: first he said that if the G7 wants to come back to Russia, Putin would welcome that, but then he also added that the G7/8 is useless without, yes, you guessed it, China and India.

It will be interesting to see if the current G7 will ever agree to mutate into a new G10 which would make Russia, China and India the most powerful block (or voting group) of this new forum. I personally doubt it very much, but then they are becoming desperate and Macron’s words seem to be indicating that this option is at least being discussed behind closed doors. Frankly, considering how quickly the G7 is becoming utterly irrelevant, I expect it to be gradually phased out and replaced by the (objectively much more relevant) G20.

Finally, there are Trump’s efforts into getting Russia back into the G8 which are very transparently linked to the current trade war and geostrategic competition between the US and China. The offer is useless to Russia, just like the return to PACE, but Russia does not want to needlessly offend anybody and that is why Putin did not publicly rebuff Trump or directly refuse to come to Miami: instead, he approved of the general concept, but offered a better way to go about it. Typical Putin.

Conclusion: Macron reads the writing on the wall

Whatever his political motives to say what he said, Macron is no idiot and neither are his advisors. Neither is this a “one off” thing. The French meant every word Macron spoke and they are putting everybody on notice (including the Ukrainians, the US, the EU and the Russians, of course). In fact, Macron has already invited Putin to participate in a Normandy Format meeting in Paris in the very near future. If that meeting eventually does take place, this will mean that the organizers gave Putin guarantees that this will not just be the usual kaffeeklatsch and that some serious results will finally be obtained. That, in turn, means that somebody – probably the French – will have the unpleasant task of telling the Ukrainians that the party is over and that they now need to get their act together and start implementing the Minsk Agreements, something which Zelenskii might or might not try to do, but which the real gun-toting Ukronazis will never accept. Thus, if the West is really serious about forcing Kiev to abide by the Mink Agreements, then the West has to finally give-up its self-defeating russophobic hysteria and substantially change their tone about the Ukraine. To invite Putin to Paris just to tell him again that Russia (which is not even a party to the Minsk Agreements) “must do more” makes zero sense. Therefore, all the other parties will have to come to terms with reality before inviting Putin. Apparently, this might be happening in Paris. As for Trump, he just offered to mediate (if asked to do so) between Russia and the Ukraine.

It shall be extremely interesting to see if this Normandy Format meeting does actually take place and what role, if any, Trump and the USA will play behind the scenes. We shall then know if Macron’s epiphany was just a one-time fluke or not.

The Saker

PS: the latest rumor from the Ukraine: Zelenskii supporters are saying that Poroshenko is preparing a coup against Zelenskii and that he is preparing a special force of Ukronazi deathsquads to execute that coup. Dunno about a real coup, but they have already blocked the Rada. Never a dull moment indeed… 🙂

G7 FORMAT IS DEAD

South Front

G7 Format Is Dead

US President Donald J. Trump speaks during a press conference on the closing day of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, 26 August 2019. (Photo: IAN LANGSDON, EPA-EFE)

The G7 summit took place in France’s Biarritz in the period from August 24 to August 26 involving leaders of the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the UK, as well as the top EU bureaucrat Donald Tusk.

The G7 participants released a surprisingly short joint statement adressing a very limited number of global questions:

The G7 Leaders wish to underline their great unity and the positive spirit of the debates. The G7 Summit organized by France in Biarritz has successfully produced agreements by the Heads of State and Government themselves on several points summarized below:

Trade

The G7 is committed to open and fair world trade and to the stability of the global economy.
The G7 requests that the Finance Ministers closely monitor the state of the global economy. 
Therefore, the G7 wishes to overhaul the WTO to improve effectiveness with regard to intellectual property protection, to settle disputes more swiftly and to eliminate unfair trade practices.
The G7 commits to reaching in 2020 an agreement to simplify regulatory barriers and modernize international taxation within the framework of the OECD.

Iran

We fully share two objectives: to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons and to foster peace and stability in the region.

Ukraine

France and Germany will organize a Normandy format summit in the coming weeks to achieve tangible results.

Libya

We support a truce in Libya that will lead to a long-term ceasefire.
We believe that only a political solution can ensure Libya’s stability.
We call for a well-prepared international conference to bring together all the stakeholders and regional actors relevant to this conflict.
We support in this regard the work of the United Nations and the African Union to set up an inter-Libyan conference.

Hong Kong

The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on Hong Kong and calls for violence to be avoided.

After the G7 in 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew its signature from the final declaration, the 2019 was shown by some mainstream media outlets as a success. However, it’s just another indication that the format is dying after the exclusion of Russia.

No surprise that the return of Russia in fact became one of the key topics during the G7 summit. The Guardian even reproted that there was a kind of scandal on this topic with the US leader openly arguing that Russia should be returned.

G7 Format Is Dead

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 25, 2019. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

“Russia be readmitted to the group, rejecting arguments that it should remain an association of liberal democracies, according to diplomats at the summit in Biarritz.

The disagreement led to heated exchanges at a dinner on Saturday night inside the seaside resort’s 19th-century lighthouse. According to diplomatic sources, Trump argued strenuously that Vladimir Putin should be invited back, five years after Russia was ejected from the then G8) for its annexation of Crimea.

Of the other leaders around the table, only Giuseppe Conte, the outgoing Italian prime minister, offered Trump any support, according to this account. Shinzo Abe of Japan was neutral. The rest – the UK’s Boris Johnson, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, the EU council president, Donald Tusk, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron – pushed back firmly against the suggestion,” The Guardian reported.

 

The report was followed by an official statement by Trump that having Russia in the group “is better than having them outside” the G7. So, The Guardian’s report part regarding Trump’s stance on the topic was true. At the same time, the newspaper claimed that all others were against. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Italy supported the idea.
  • The report claimed that Japan was neutral. However, in fact, Japan is interested in the expansion of diplomatic formats for the dialogue with Russia, especially regarding the Kuril Islands question. The bilateral talks on this topic is a dead end for Japan because Russia is not going to make any consenquences. The only chance of Shinzo Abe to make some progress is wider formats with help from his Western allies.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron allegedly was against this move during the G7. However, other French statements clearly indicate that Paris will act in the framework of its Big Brother, the US. It is not up to France, that lost a large part of its influence under the new presidency, to decide.
  • German’s Angela Merkel officially linked the return of Russia to the implementing the Minsk agreements related to the situation in eastern Ukraine. Crimea is for a long time beyond the diplomatic rhetoric of Merkel.
  • In fact, the UK and Canada were the only powers really standing against the return of Russia. Since the start of Trump’s first term, the  UK has been the key power representing interests of the Euro-Atlantic establishment. So, there is no surprise in this. At the same time, Canada is not a really independent state that can provide a really independent foreign policy. It’s an open secret that the UK still appoints a Governor General of Canada that has a wide range of options to impact the Canadian policy – for example, to dissolve the Parliament.
  • The EU council president Donald Tusk was also against, according to The Guardian. However, it remains unclear what did he do there. It’s the G7, not the G7 + “EU buerocrats”. If there is a decision to invite various persons to summit to make fun, SouthFront recommends to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2020. He would use his comedian skills  to make a great show for the participants.

G7 Format Is Dead

David Lipton (IMF), Moussa Faki (AUC), David Malpass (World Bank), Scott Morrison (Australia), Antonio Guterres (UN), Narendra Modi (India), Guy Ryder (ILO), Pedro Sanchez (Spain), Angel Gurria (OECD), Akinwumi Adesina (African Development Bank). Front: Boris Johnson (UK), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Abdel Sisi (Egypt), Shinzo Abe (Japan), Justin Trudeau (Canada), Donald Trump (US), Emmanuel Macron (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), Macky Sall (Senegal), Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Guiseppe Conte (Italy), Donald Tusk (EC) Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA

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Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck

Source

August 14, 2019

Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

When Zelenskii came to power, there were two fundamental options he could have chosen. These options were, roughly:

Option one or pragmatism above ideology: to make a determined effort to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. At the very least, Zelenskii could have ordered his forces to stop firing and have them withdraw to a safe distance (Zelenskii had the full authority to do so, as soon as he was inaugurated and he did not need anybody’s help to do so). Obviously, such a move would have to be coordinated with the LDNR forces. And that, in turn, means that at the very least, Zelenskii should have opened a channel of direct communications with the two republics. This option could be described as “beginning to implement at least the very first steps of the Minsk Agreements.”

Option two ideology above pragmatism: to make a determined effort not to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. The priority here is to declare that the Ukraine will not honor the Minsk Agreements: no talks with the LDNR, no ceasefire, no withdrawal of forces, no amnesty and, most definitely, no discussions about any kind of special status for the Donbass. This option could be described as “more of the same” or “Poroshenko reloaded.”

Prince Otto von Bismarck once famously said that “politics is the art of the possible” and I think that this is an excellent rule to keep in mind when trying to figure out what is going on and what might happen next. There is a lot of hyperbolic rhetoric out there, but no matter how delusional Ukie politicians can be, the reality remains something objective, and that objective reality is what will shape the future, not the empty ideological nonsense spewed by politicians (whether Ukrainian ones or AngloZionists).

As of right now, the overwhelming majority of experts have agreed that Zelenskii is not going for Option #1. This strongly suggests that the Ukraine is going for Option #2. But, as I have indicated above, Zelenskii’s Option #2 is nothing more than, well, “more of the same.” And this makes sense, especially if we consider that:

Even his own presidential website does not work!

1) the same causes produce the same outcomes (after all “insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result) and

2) the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

So what really happened? Why is Zelenskii apparently dead set on repeating all the same mistakes Poroshenko made?

As I have indicated in a recent article, the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy: ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic was mercilessly plundered by an entire class (in the Marxist sense of the word) of oligarchs whose biggest fear has always been that the same “horror” (from their point of view) which befell Russia with Putin, would eventually arrive at the Ukraine.

Here we need to make something clear: this is NOT, repeat, NOT about nationality or nationalism. The Ukrainian oligarchs are just like any other oligarchs: their loyalty is to their money and nothing else. If you want to characterize these oligarchs, you could think of them as culturally “post-Soviet” meaning that they don’t care about nationality, and even though their prime language is Russian, they don’t give a damn about Russia or Russians (or anybody else, for that matter!). Since many of them are Jews, they have a network of supporters/accomplices in Israel of course, but also in the West and even in Russia. In truth, these guys are the ultimate “internationalists” in their own, toxic, kind of way.

The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs. Their power is not a democracy either, but an ochlocracy. These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader. Furthermore, these folks have profoundly infiltrated all the police and security forces which, in theory, would have been able to control or disarm them (the SBU, especially, is chock full of Urkonazi thugs).

Some fine specimens of “ochlocrats”

Now let’s begin by looking at the oligarchs: their number 1 priority is to continue to plunder the Ukraine. For that, you need the opposite of “law and order”: you need lawlessness, chaos, violence and, most importantly, you need the tiny figleaf of “the Moskal aggression” to hide behind. In other words, while these oligarchs probably do not want an open a full-scale war with the LDNR (or, even less with Russia herself), they simply cannot allow peace to break-out.

The Ukronazis don’t want peace to break out either, lest their influence and power shrink back to something roughly proportional to their share of the population of the Ukraine. Besides, since their entire ideology and worldview is all about hating Russia and being anti-Russia, any peace with Russia is literally unthinkable for them. They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate. These folks will always perceive Russia as an existential threat. In their own way, they are absolutely right: Russia will always remain the reality check on their delusions. This was as true in the distant 13th century as it is nowadays.

Finally, let’s keep in mind that neither the oligarchs nor the Ukronazis genuinely want the people of Crimea and the Donbass to be part of “their” Ukraine since the overwhelming majority of these people would categorically oppose both the oligarchs and the Ukronazis. Yes, for prestige and ideological reasons, all these Galician Nazis will always declare that “Crimea is forever Ukrainian” and “we shall reconquer the Donbass,” but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled).

So, while about 70% or so of the people of the Ukraine want peace to return and the horrors of the civil war to finally stop, the only two groups who have real power want the civil war in the East to continue. There are even quite a few Zelenskii nominees who have declared that war with the LDNR is the only way to solve the crisis. Some even want war with Russia!

Reality, however, is a pesky thing and, as the expression goes, if your head is in the sand, your butt is in the air and the collective Ukronazi “butt” has been exposed in the air for several years now. This is also true for the supposed “reforms” of the Ukronazi forces.

Quite a few signs are indicating that most of the so-called “reforms” and “reorganization” of the Ukronazi forces were more about corruption (what else!?) and window dressing than anything else. Galicians are generally famous as world-class torturers and executioners of civilians, but not really military commanders (this is why Ukronazi “historians” are now desperately parsing every year in the history of what is called the Ukraine today to find some kind of “Ukrainian” victory; all they came up with so far are very small, completely irrelevant, local battles). In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history). Last, but certainly not least, there is Putin’s rather striking warning during the Olympics when he declared that any Ukronazi attack would have, quote, “very serious consequences for Ukrainian statehood.”

This warning was apparently heeded both in Kiev and in Washington, DC.

The mood of the Russian public opinion seems to be one of total disgust and frustrated anger. It’s not like Zelenskii was ever very popular in Russia, but at least he was no Nazi, and he seemed to be willing to take at least the very first steps towards finally stopping the insanity. That hope is now totally shattered (the Russian media reports all the anti-Russian statements of the various Zelenskii nominees daily).

While the Kremlin more often than not sticks to its traditional diplomatic language, most Russian experts appear to be fed-up with Zelenskii and his antics and are now all pushing for some kind of hardening of the Russian stance towards this 5-year long Banderastan. And the Kremlin has paid attention: Russia is now handing out passports to pretty much any Ukrainian wanting to get one. This is the first step in a time-tested sequence, the next one which would be the recognition of the LDNR as sovereign states (as was done in Abkhazia and South Ossetia).

Many wonder what in the world Putin is waiting for and why Russia has not officially recognized these republics yet?

The reasons for this are as simple as they are compelling:

First, any premature recognition would further fuel the western fairy-tale about “Russia” having “invaded” the Ukraine to grab land. If the AngloZionists did not shy away from making such claims while Russian forces were still in their barracks, you could imagine the hysterical shrieks we would have heard from the “collective West” if Russia indeed had decided to move her forces into the Donbass to stop the Ukronazi aggression!

Second, to the degree that the Empire created an “anti-Russia” with its Ukronazi Banderastan, Russia created an “anti-Banderastan” with the LDNR. This is very important and must never be overlooked: yes, Nazi-occupied Ukraine is a never healing wound in the side of Russia, but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The big difference is that Russia is strong enough to cope with her wound, whereas the Ukronazi Banderastan never had a chance and has already collapsed beyond any hope of survival.

Third, Russia simply cannot afford to pay by herself the immense bill for the eventual reconstruction of devastated Ukraine. Just fixing Crimea is already an enormous and extremely costly task for Russia, especially after decades of Ukie neglect, but at least down the road, it is obvious that Crimea is headed for prosperity and that the returns on investment will be huge. But single-handedly rebuilding the entire Donbass is probably beyond the Russian means. Currently, Russia is already providing vast amounts of aid to the Novorussians, and she is basically maxed out.

Finally, let’s remember here that the UNSC approved the Minsk Agreements and that, as such, they are not an elective: the Minsk Agreements are obligatory under international law. And here is the beauty: Russia is not a part of the Minsk Agreements, only the Ukraine and the LDNR are. Thus while the AngloZionists mantrically repeat that “Russia must be sanctioned for not abiding by the Minsk Agreements” or “Russia must do more” – they all do secretly realize that this is empty, hot, air. Besides, even the duller western leaders now are beginning to realize which side truly does not want to abide by these agreements.

These agreements are even less popular in Novorussia than they are in Kiev: it is an open secret that the Novorussians will never agree to be ruled from Kiev again. Ever. And, sooner or later, they will join Russia in some shape or form. But that is in the future. For the time being, the Novorussians are smart enough to realize that they should go along and let the Ukronazi idiots openly sabotage these agreements. And since Zelenskii and his nominees are now declaring that they will never negotiate with the LDNR (which the Minsk Agreements require), it is not Russia or the LDNR which destroyed these agreements, but the Ukrainian government, quite officially so.

The sweet irony of Ukie politics: a Ukronazi vandalizes the portrait of the man who created the Ukraine in the first place!

One striking development since the election of Zelenskii is the number of Ukrainian political figures which have openly declared that the Ukraine should simply militarily re-capture the Donbass (some even suggested Crimea). It is thus probably a good idea to revisit the military options on all sides.

Let’s begin with the Ukronazi dream: this is pretty straightforward, and plenty of Ukrainian officials have mentioned the “Croatian option” which refers to the surprise attack of the Croats (fully backed by NATO) against the Serbian UN Protection Areas in Croatia (see “Operation Storm” on Wikipedia). The model is simple: pretend to negotiate in good faith, get (sympathetic) peacekeepers to disarm all the locals, then attack them with everything you’ve got. If the LDNR were all alone, cut off from Russia, there could be a theoretical (if somewhat unlikely) chance of success of such an attack. But we need to remember here that the Krajina-Serbs (and the Bosnian-Serbs too) were betrayed by Slobodan Milosevic who did nothing to protect them. In fact, Serbia even slammed sanctions against the Republika Srpska. Finally, NATO had complete and total air supremacy.

The case of the LDNR could not be more different because far from betraying the Donbass or imposing sanctions as Milosevic did, Putin gave the LDNR the full support of Russia. If the Ukrainians do attack, Russia will have a very wide array of options to chose from including:

  1. Sending in more humanitarian aid
  2. Sending in more military equipment (the “Voentorg”)
  3. Sending in more volunteers (the “northern wind”), especially highly trained professionals
  4. Sharing intelligence and reconnaissance data with the LDNR forces
  5. Deploying forward air controllers (FACs) in special forces teams to coordinate artillery strikes on Ukronazi targets from across the border
  6. Shooting down Ukrainian missiles and aircraft (including UAVs)
  7. Engaging Russian electronic warfare units to disrupt Ukie signals (radars, including counter-battery, GNSS signals, audio, and video communications, data links, etc.)

So far, this is what Russia has already done in the past (options #5-6-7 only in a few specific instances).

Now what people usually see as the next escalatory option for Russia would be to send ground forces into Novorussia to directly engage the attacking Ukronazi forces.

In truth, Russia has plenty of other options before a ground operation. For example, one further Russian option could include:

  1. Officially declaring a “humanitarian no-fly zone” à la Libya, in which “all means necessary” will be used to stop the aggression and then immediately send in Russian fixed-wing and rotary-wing close air support & strike aircraft (under cover of interceptors and multi-role fighters, of course) and even bombers to destroy advancing Ukie units.

Russia could very easily declare a no-fly zone over the Donbass without moving a single air defense unit across the border: Russian long-range air defenses are more than enough to “lock” that entire airspace, especially if combined with AWACS and interceptors (with long-range missiles).

Still, these steps, while very visible, would still be limited to the Donbass area of operations. But Russia could take this one step further and strike very specific targets in the rest of the Ukraine. Specifically,

  1. Russia could sink the entire (tiny) Ukrainian “fleet” in port or on the high seas. That would not be militarily significant, but politically it would send the correct message.
  2. Russia could decide to also destroy the Ukrainian air force by destroying the main Ukrainian airfields. Russia could very easily do this with long-range cruise missiles. Once enough runways, ATC towers, radars, fuel and oil storage facilities, etc. are destroyed, the Ukrainian airforce as such would cease to exist (even if individual aircraft could be hidden and survive the Russian strikes).
  3. Next, Russia could get serious with the Ukrainian ground forces and begin striking key command posts, communication nodes, fuel and ammo dumps, bridges, etc. The goal here would not be to kill as many Ukrainian servicemen as possible, but to hit in the right places to make it impossible for the Ukrainian military to engage in coordinated offensive operations.
  4. Finally, Russia could decide to open the hunting season on key officials and begin executing some of the most odious Nazi officials (just to scare the rest). Again, cruise missiles are probably the most obvious option here, but other options can be very successfully used including the “Dudaev trick” (an antiradiation missile aimed at a Satphone signal) or even go “full NATO” and begin hitting politically symbolic buildings.

I mention these last four options because these are doable, but they are also total overkill.

The truth is that should Russia ever truly intervene, most Ukrainian servicemen will run or surrender (they did not vote Zelenskii for the privilegeto die for a sick, Nazi, ideology and worldview). Again, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and the case of the Crimea has shown that once the (relatively small!!) Russian forces intervened, nobody had the courage (or the motivation) to resist.

[Sidebar: the popular joke about this goes like this: ask a Ukrainian nationalist why the Ukrainians are fighting in the Donbass, and the obligatory politically correct answer is “because the Russians are there!”; and if you then ask him why the Ukraine is not fighting in Crimea, he will reply “because the Russians are really there!“. This is very true. The Urkonazis have tried to engage in low-level forms of terrorism (planting bombs, mostly), but with very little success. As for really attacking Crimea (probably one of the best-defended locations on the planet by now!) – that would be a suicide mission for an entire US Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), never-mind the derelict Ukie military!]

Furthermore, for the Russians, they have been intensively preparing for a major war against NATO for at least five years now (for details, see here) and they are quite ready to take on the united West (that is what Guards Tank Armies are designed to do), so for them to take on the decrepit, corrupt, demoralized, disorganized and generally “mangy” Ukronazi forces would not even represent a significant effort. Every halfway competent military analyst out there knows that. Even the Ukronazi ones.

What this all means for the Zelenskii administration is simple: if you try the “Croatian scenario” you will end up not with a “Croatian outcome” but a “Georgia 08.08.08 outcome”: obliteration of your armed forces in 48 hours, followed by the net loss of 20% of your national territory (probably more in the case of the Ukraine!).

[Sidebar: for many years now I have been explaining that the real goal of any Ukronazi attack on Novorussia would not be to really win, but to force Russia to openly intervene. However, this strategy has failed while the balance of forces, including in political terms, has changed. It is one thing to start a war with the LDNR only to force Russia to intervene, and quite another to expose your entire country to “very serious consequences” for its entire “statehood.” Putin’s (truly quite extraordinary) threat has explicitly raised the bar of the potential Russian retaliation much higher than it was before.]

So is there anything even vaguely resembling *any* kind of solution in sight?

Well, in theory, there would have been the Minsk Agreement solution. The Novorussians would not like it, but Russia could probably impose it upon them. Russia herself sure could live with such an outcome (no, Russia has absolutely no need of any additional territories, especially devastated ones!). But since the Ukronazis are too ideological and delusional to ever accept that option, then there is an obvious Plan B: Russia unilaterally recognizes the LDNR Republics who then vote to join the Russian Federation. In theory, the rest of the Ukraine could realize that there are advantages to this situation, including getting rid of 2 million anti-Nazis. But their ideology (really a local uniquely Galician brand of ultra-nationalism – similar only to the WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia – imposed upon the entire country) makes it absolutely impossible for these rabid nationalists to accept such a loss of territory, particularly in a humiliating civil war against their own people (or so they claim). Simply put, you cannot claim to be the descended of the 200’000 year old “Ancient Ukrs” who built the pyramids, who dug the Black Sea, who gave birth to the Aryan civilization and whose language is the basis of Sanskrit and, at the same time, admit that a big chunk of your own population prefers death to life under your rule. In reality, not only are these folks not willing to accept any loss of territory (whether de jure or de facto), some of them are even claiming territories inside the Russian Federation.

Thankfully, their delusions really make no difference: Novorussia and Crimea are gone, forever, no matter what anybody says.

Frankly, I believe that even without Crimea and even without Novorussia current Nazi-occupied Ukraine is still not viable, if only because the southern regions (Odessa, Nikolaev, Mariupol) will never agree to become Nazi-occupied protectorates of the very same Galician Urkonazis who have already burned people alive in Odessa. The truth is that the Galicians would be much better off severing their (entirely artificial) ties to what is known as “the Ukraine” nowadays and fallback to their true historical lands. Ideology, however, will never allow most of them to see that. The process of disintegration of the rump-Ukraine will probably continue in one form or another.

Conclusion: how one slogan can lead to a very different one

The entire Ukronazi worldview can be summarized in their well-known slogan: “to drown all the Kikes and Polaks in Moskal blood” (or some variations thereof). The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors. Thus time and again, the policies which begin with this famous Ukie slogan inevitably result in a rather painful variation on another very famous Ukie slogan: “suitcase, railway station, Russia” but, crucially, in a fundamentally different combination: “suitcase, railway station, and back to Canada/Israel!” 😉

I personally don’t care what happens to these folks or to the lands which they historically inhabited. If the Austrians, the Poles, the Hungarians or the Germans want them – they are welcome to have them. After all, these are the folks who, along with the Papacy, created the Ukraine and the Ukronazi phenomenon. So, bien du plaisir!, as the French say: let them enjoy their offspring!

If the people of some future rump-Ukraine are strong and wise enough to get rid of that Nazi rot – good for them, they can count on Russian help and support for reconstruction. But if they are not – then that’s their problem.

When humans go out of their way to ignore reality, they deserve whatever comes their way.

The Saker

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

South Front

22.07.2019

Vladimir Putin answered questions from American film director, screenwriter and producer Oliver Stone. The interview was recorded on June 19, 2019 in the Kremlin (source):

Oliver Stone: So, I interviewed Mr Medvedchuk. It was in Monte Carlo. He gave us a very interesting interview. He gave us his view of the Ukraine. I gather that you’re close with him.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would not say that we are very close but we know each other well. He was President Kuchma’s Chief of Staff, and it was in this capacity at the time that he asked me to take part in the christening of his daughter. According to Russian Orthodox tradition, you can’t refuse such a request.

Oliver Stone: Oh, you cannot refuse it?

I thought it was a big honour for you to be the godfather of his daughter.

Vladimir Putin: It is always a great honour to be a godfather.

Oliver Stone: Well, how many children are you godfather to?

Vladimir Putin: I will not give a number but several people.

Oliver Stone: Wow. Is it like a hundred or three hundred?

Vladimir Putin: No, no, are you serious? Certainly not. Just a few.

Oliver Stone: Otherwise I would ask you to be the godfather for my daughter.

Vladimir Putin: Does she want to become an Orthodox Christian?

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone: Ok, we’ll make her that.

Vladimir Putin: You have to ask her.

Oliver Stone: As long as she stands in church, right?

Vladimir Putin: Of course. How old is she?

Oliver Stone: She is 22 now.

Vladimir Putin: Is she a believer?

Oliver Stone: Yes, she is a believer. She is raised Christian.

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Oliver Stone: You know, young people in America sometimes, they are different.

Vladimir Putin: Young people are different everywhere.

Oliver Stone: They are spoiled to some degree in the western world.

Vladimir Putin: It depends. The older generation always says that about the younger generation.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, I know, I know. That’s true. But I don’t know what is going on with the American culture. It’s very strange right now.

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

Oliver Stone: As you know, I’ve been very rebel all my life. Still am. And I have to tell you, I’m shocked by some of the behaviours and the thinking of the new generation. It takes so much for granted. And so much of the argument, so much of the thinking, so much of the newspaper, television commentaries about gender, people identify themselves, and social media, this and that, I’m male, I’m female, I’m transgender, I’m cisgender. It goes on forever, and there is a big fight about who is who. It seems like we miss the bigger point.

Vladimir Putin: They live too well. They have nothing to think about.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, but it’s not a healthy culture.

Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

Oliver Stone: Years ago when we were talking about homosexuality, you said that in Russia we don’t propagate it.

Vladimir Putin: Not exactly. We have a law banning propaganda among minors.

Oliver Stone: Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about. It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law.

Vladimir Putin: It is aimed at allowing people to reach maturity and then decide who they are and how they want to live. There are no restrictions at all after this.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Mr Medvedchuk proposed recently, you know, a plan for solving the tensions in Ukraine between east and west. You know about this?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, we do not talk so often. He has more free time than I do. But we meet from time to time, especially in connection with his efforts to get detainees released. He devotes much time to this.

He also told me something about his plans on Donbass but I do not know the details. At any rate, I consider it absolutely correct that he calls for direct dialogue with the people who live in Donbass. There is not a single example in recent history when a crisis was settled without direct contact between the sides to the conflict.

He says he thinks it is necessary to fully implement the Minsk agreements and I cannot help but agree with this as well. So, I know the elements of his proposals. He speaks about them in public and I agree.

Oliver Stone: Ok. They have a new president now. Has anything changed in Ukraine? Or still the same?

Vladimir Putin: Not yet. After all, the recent election was clearly a protest vote. A fairly large number of people supported the newly-elect President in central Ukraine, in the east and the south. And these are all people who sincerely seek a settlement in any event. During his election campaign President Zelensky continuously spoke about his readiness to do everything to solve this crisis. And then literally just yesterday, while in Paris, I think, he said suddenly he does not believe it is possible to hold talks with what he called separatists. This is clearly at odds with what he said during his election campaign.

Oliver Stone: So no change?

Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately, none for the time being.

Oliver Stone: Do you think there’s any revulsion? I mean, you were telling me about Ukraine and Russia. Do you think there is any reason for this hatred of Russia in Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin: You know, our relationship is not easy at the moment. This is the result of the grievous events linked with the coup d’état. The other part of this story is propaganda by the current government in Ukraine, which blames Russia for all the tragic events that ensued.

Oliver Stone: Well, historically, do you see these two countries coming together again?

Vladimir Putin: I think this is inevitable. At any rate, the cultivation of normal, friendly and, even more than friendly, allied relations is inevitable.

Oliver Stone: Yeah. Mr Medvedchuk would be a good liaison.

Vladimir Putin: I believe so. But our positions, our points of view, differ on many things. Mr Medvedchuk was born in the family of a man that was said to be convicted during the Soviet times for nationalist activities. He was born in Siberia, where his family and his father virtually lived in exile.

Oliver Stone: What’s the connection?

Vladimir Putin: Connection between what?

Oliver Stone: All this story to my question?

Vladimir Putin: The connection is that he has his own ideas about Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. For example, I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are actually one people.

Oliver Stone: One people, two nations?

Vladimir Putin: One nation, in fact.

Oliver Stone: You think it is one nation?

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Click to see the full-size image

Vladimir Putin: Of course. Look, when these lands that are now the core of Ukraine, joined Russia, there were just three regions – Kiev, the Kiev region, northern and southern regions – nobody thought themselves to be anything but Russians, because it was all based on religious affiliation. They were all Orthodox and they considered themselves Russians. They did not want to be part of the Catholic world, where Poland was dragging them.

I understand very well that over the time the identity of this part of Russia crystallized, and people have the right to determine their identity. But later this factor was used to throw into imbalance the Russian Empire. But in fact, this is the same world sharing the same history, same religion, traditions, and a wide range of ties, close family ties among them.

At the same time, if a significant part of people who live in Ukraine today believe that they should emphasise their identity and fight for it, no one in Russia would be against this, including me. But, bearing in mind that we have many things in common, we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration; it is obvious. However, the current government clearly doesn’t want this. I believe that in the end common sense will prevail, and we will finally arrive at the conclusion I have mentioned: rapprochement is inevitable.

Oliver Stone: I don’t think Mr Medvedchuk would agree. He would say: two nations, similar people. That what he would say, take a strong line on that.

Vladimir Putin: He doesn’t. That is what I am saying.

Oliver Stone: That’s what I’m saying. He does not agree.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course. This is what I am saying: our positions on some things, important ones, are different. But at the same time, he speaks in favour of establishing good relations with Russia in order to use these competitive advantages in the economy. He shows how today the Ukrainian economy is completely destroyed because it has lost the Russian market and, most importantly, cooperation in industry. Nobody needs Ukrainian industrial goods on Western markets, and that goes for agriculture too: very few goods are purchased. Round timber is in demand, but soon there will be no timber in Ukraine at all. It’s not like the vast expanses of Siberia.

For example, Europe often takes some steps towards Ukraine – or did so until recently – with, say, permitting purchases of round timber. And this is just one example. In fact, there are many more.

Oliver Stone: Well, someone told me today that Mr Medvedchuk’s party, For Life Party, is up 12 percent in the polls. So he is building a party that has a following, it seems to me.

Vladimir Putin: If so, that is good. To be honest, I don’t know. But if kit is true, that is good.

If so, we can only welcome this because he and his partners in the party stand for restoring relations with Russia. How could we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome it. I have known him for a long time. He keeps his word. If he says something, he does it.

Oliver Stone: So, he is a very courageous man, I think. His villa was bombed, his offices were bombed. He is under threat all the time. He is hanging in there, staying in his country.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is true because he has convictions. I mentioned that his father was a Ukrainian nationalist and was convicted by a Soviet court for this. Strange as it may seem but the founders, many founders of Ukrainian nationalism advocated good relations with Russia. They said good relations were necessary for the development of Ukraine itself.

Oliver Stone: When was that?

Vladimir Putin: This was in the 19th century. They came out for Ukraine’s independence but said that Ukraine must preserve good, friendly relations with Russia. Mr Medvedchuk adheres to similar ideas. This is why he has convictions. I may not agree with his position on something but I always respect it.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, two nations he says. When I hear the words “Ukrainian nationalism,” I get worried, because I think of Stepan Bandera and people who have convictions too.

Vladimir Putin: Me, too.

Oliver Stone: Ukrainian nationalism is dangerous too.

Vladimir Putin: In general nationalism is a sign of narrow-mindedness but I do not want to offend Mr Medvedchuk.

Oliver Stone: It’s words.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, but in any event, he is in the category of people who advocate independence, the consolidation of an independent Ukraine, but at the same time believe that it is easier to achieve this by pursuing cooperation with Russia. And I think he is largely right.

Oliver Stone: You’re very clear.

You talked about the coup d’état. Just want to revisit that because there has been a lot more research done. It seems that research has revealed that there were shooters, snipers at the Maidan. The forensics with the angle of shooting, bodies of the police and the protestors. It was all very badly investigated. Not at all really. But what evidence we have seems to point to there being, they say, Georgian shooters, people from Georgia. And I’ve heard that. Have you heard anything more on the Russian front?

Vladimir Putin: No but I know what you are talking about. I know that the authorities headed by President Yanukovych at that time did not use the army and were not interested in giving any excuse to the opposition to use force. And, as Mr Yanukovych told me repeatedly, it did not even occur to him to use force and the military against civilians, even against those who had already taken up arms. I completely rule out that he could have done this, but those who were looking for a pretext to stage a coup could have well done it, of course.

Oliver Stone: I remember you were telling me about the Obama phone call, Obama and you had an agreement that there would be no firing on the last day. And he gave you a promise that he would…

Vladimir Putin: You know, while Obama is no longer President, there are certain things we do not discuss in public. At any rate, I can say that the US did not follow through on the agreements that we reached during this phone call. I will stop there without going into detail.

Oliver Stone: Yes. So recently, you know Russia has been obviously accused and accused over and over again of interference in the 2016 election. As far as I know there is no proof, it has not turned up. But now in the US there has been an investigation going on about Ukraine’s interference in the election. It seems that it was a very confusing situation, and Poroshenko seems to have been very strongly pro-Clinton, anti-Trump.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is no secret.

Oliver Stone: Do you think there was interference?

Vladimir Putin: I do not think that this could be interpreted as interference by Ukraine. But it is perfectly obvious that Ukrainian oligarchs gave money to Trump’s opponents. I do not know whether they did this by themselves or with the knowledge of the authorities.

Oliver Stone: Where they giving information to the Clinton campaign?

Vladimir Putin: I do not know. I am being honest. I will not speak about what I do not know. I have enough problems of my own. They assumed Mrs Clinton would win and did everything to show loyalty to the future US administration. That is nothing special. They wanted the future President to have a good opinion of them. This is why they allowed themselves to make unflattering statements about Trump and supported the Democrats in every possible way. This is no secret at all. They acted almost in public.

Oliver Stone: You do not want to go any further on that because you do not have any information?

Vladimir Putin: You know, this would be inappropriate on my part. If I said something more specific, I would have to put some documents, some papers on the table.

Oliver Stone: You understand that it has huge implications because Mr Trump would be very grateful?

Vladimir Putin: I did not interfere then, I do not want to interfere now, and I am not going to interfere in the future.

Oliver Stone: But that is a noble motive. Unfortunately, the world has degenerated in these two years, with all this backbiting and accusations, dirty fighting. Anyway…

Vladimir Putin: There are no rules at all. It is no holds barred.

Oliver Stone: Well, you have rules. You say no interference.

Vladimir Putin: I have principles.

Oliver Stone: Ok. But you seem to have rules based on those principles.

Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Well, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Vladimir Putin: Why? You mean, because of these principles?

Oliver Stone: Yes. If you knew something about the election, it would tilt the balance in a very weird way.

Vladimir Putin: I think this is simply unrealistic. I have said so many times.

Oliver Stone: What is unrealistic?

Vladimir Putin: To change anything. If you want to return to US elections again – look, it is a huge country, a huge nation with its own problems, with its own views on what is good and what is bad, and with an understanding that in the past few years, say ten years, nothing has changed for the better for the middle class despite the enormous growth of prosperity for the ruling class and the wealthy. This is a fact that Trump’s election team understood. He understood this himself and made the most of it.

No matter what our bloggers – or whoever’s job it is to comment on the internet – might say about the situation in the US, this could not have played a decisive role. It is sheer nonsense. But our sympathies were with him because he said he wanted to restore normal relations with Russia. What is bad about that? Of course, we can only welcome this position.

Oliver Stone: Apparently, it excited the Clinton people a lot. The Clinton campaign accumulated the “Steele dossier.” They paid for it. It came from strange sources, the whole “Steele dossier” issue. Some of it comes from Ukraine. They also went out of their way, it seems to me, with the CIA, with Mr Brennan, John Brennan, and with Clapper, James Clapper, and Comey of the FBI. They all seem to have gotten involved, all intelligence agencies, in an anti-Trump way.

Vladimir Putin: They had levers inside the government, but there is nothing like that here. They applied administrative pressure. It always gives an advantage in countries such as the USA, some countries of Western Europe, about 2 percent on average, at a minimum.

Oliver Stone: Two percent? What are you talking about?

Vladimir Putin: Yes. According to experts, those with administrative pressure they can apply always have a 2 percent edge. You can look at it differently. Some experts believe that in different countries, it can vary, but in countries such as the United States, some European countries, the advantage is 2 percent. This is what experts say, they can be wrong.

Oliver Stone: I do not know. I heard of the one percent, but it seems to get more like 12 percent.

Vladimir Putin: That is possible, depending on how it is used.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are not disagreeing. You are saying that it was quite possible that there was an attempt to prevent Donald Trump from coming into office with a soft, I will call it a soft coup d’état?

Vladimir Putin: In the USA?

Oliver Stone: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: It is still going on.

Oliver Stone: A coup d’état is planned by people who have power inside.

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not mean that. I mean lack of respect for the will of the voters. I think it was unprecedented in the history of the United States.

Oliver Stone: What was unprecedented?

Vladimir Putin: It was the first time the losing side does not want to admit defeat and does not respect the will of the voters.

Oliver Stone: I would disagree. I would say it happened in 2000, that the Republicans lost the popular vote, they lost Florida, and they did not accept that, and they had a coup d’état in their way, a soft coup d’état also. And they put Bush in.

Vladimir Putin: But this was a court decision, as far as I remember.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, in a way, but the court decision was blocked. There was a vote going on. And if you remember the Brooks brothers’ riot, all those Republicans rushed to electoral offices in Miami, and they prevented the vote from going through in a county, in one of those major counties. It was a key factor. It was not like the Russian revolution. It was a minor event, but it was big. It shifted the momentum, totally. I remember that night. Then they referred it to the Supreme Court. Also, and the same thing in January 2017, when the intelligence assessment was released, what was it, January 7th,, a few days before Trump was to be inaugurated, the intelligence assessment actually said that the intelligence agencies suspected Trump would have been colluding with Russia. That is even bigger. That is an attempt at a coup d’état, because the electors in America still had the right to overturn the election vote.

Vladimir Putin: This is what they call unscrupulous application of administrative pressure.

Oliver Stone: Ok, ok, ok. Well, listen, it seems to be going on a lot more than we know. Talking about America and Russia, I have not seen you since the Kerch Strait. Any comments on that?

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not, as we have repeatedly said. The former President, Mr Poroshenko, staged this provocation intentionally during the election campaign. He was aware that people in the country’s east and south would not vote for him, and he used this provocation to escalate the situation and then declare a state of emergency there. I have reason to believe that he was going to declare a state of emergency in the entire country, and possibly to postpone the election as a result. Generally speaking, he was trying to hold on to power at all costs, and he was seeking any means to execute this plan. This was the regime’s death throes.

As far as I remember, recently the newly appointed Chief of the Ukrainian army’s General Staff has made a statement that offers roughly the same interpretation of events but perhaps using milder language.

Oliver Stone: Who gave that interpretation?

Vladimir Putin: Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Oliver Stone: Ok, but beyond Poroshenko, the United States has a shadow here. The United States knows what he is doing, and supported it.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely.

Oliver Stone: It is the creation of a strategy of tension that worries me enormously. I have seen this happen in so many places now. I think I read on Monday, the Russian bombers, the Russian SU-57 escorted, what was it, the B-52 bomber, a nuclear bomber, US bomber, close to the Russian borders.

Vladimir Putin Interview With Oliver Stone

Click to see the full-size image

Vladimir Putin: The Su-57 aircraft are just entering service. This is a fifth-generation jet fighter. It was the Su-27 that was mentioned.

Oliver Stone: Do you think that is normal?

Vladimir Putin: Actually, it is sad, probably, but this is common practice. US aircraft did not enter our airspace, and our aircraft did not conduct any high-risk maneuvers.

But generally speaking, this is not great. Just look where the Baltic or Black seas are located, and where the USA is. It was not us who approached US borders, but US aircraft that approached ours. Such practices had better stop.

Oliver Stone: In this continuing strategy of tension, there was a report in The New York Times last week that the Obama Administration, before they left office, put in what they call a cyber warfare device. It was inserted in Russian infrastructure in January 2017.

Vladimir Putin: This is being discussed almost openly. It was said Russia would be punished for interfering in the election campaign. We do not see anything extraordinary or unexpected here. This should be followed closely. That is the first thing.

The second is I believe that we only need to negotiate how we are to live in this high-tech world and develop uniform rules and means of monitoring each other’s actions. We have repeatedly proposed holding talks on this subject to come to some binding agreement.

Oliver Stone: Continuing that theme of strategy of tension, how is Russia affected by the US-Iranian confrontation?

Vladimir Putin: This worries us because this is happening near our borders. This may destabilize the situation around Iran, affect some countries with which we have very close relations, causing additional refugee flows on a large scale plus substantially damage the world economy as well as the global energy sector. All this is extremely disturbing. Therefore we would welcome any improvement when it comes to relations between the US and Iran. A simple escalation of tension will not be advantageous for anyone. It seems to me that this is also the case with the US. One might think that there are only benefits here, but there will be setbacks as well. The positive and negative factors have to be calculated.

Oliver Stone: Yeah. Scary.

Vladimir Putin: No, this is not scary.

Oliver Stone: You sound very depressed, much more depressed than last time.

Vladimir Putin: Last time the situation concerning Iran was not like this. Last time nobody said anything about getting into our energy and other networks. Last time the developments were more positive.

Oliver Stone: The situation is worse now?

Vladimir Putin: Take North Korea, they have also rolled back a bit. Trade wars are unfolding.

Oliver Stone: Venezuela.

Vladimir Putin: Venezuela as well. In other words, regrettably, the situation has not improved, so there is nothing special to be happy about. On the other hand, we feel confident. We have no problems.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are an optimist, and always have been?

Vladimir Putin: Exactly.

Oliver Stone: You are a peacemaker.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely spot on.

Oliver Stone: So obviously, you have to get together with the Americans, and the Chinese, and the Iranians. I know.

Vladimir Putin: Just do not put the blame on us. Lately no matter what is happening, we always get the blame.

Oliver Stone: Well, the irony is that Mr Trump came to office promising that he was not going to interfere in other countries. He made this overall strategy, he was against the wars that we have started, and ever since he has been in office, it has got worse. Why, one wonders? Is he in charge, or are other people pushing these agendas?

Vladimir Putin: I think he is against this now, too. But life is complicated and diverse. To make the right decision it is necessary to fight for what you believe in.

Oliver Stone: Yeah, conviction.

It is your fourth term, are you getting tired?

Vladimir Putin: No, if I had been tired, I would not have run for the fourth term.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Listen, can I find out something? Let’s take a pause. I just want to ask my director if he wants to ask any more things about Ukraine. Five minutes?

Vladimir Putin: The director always has the final word; after all, he is the one calling the shots.

Oliver Stone: Thank you.

I think we are fine.

Vladimir Putin: Very well. Are we done?

Thank you so much.

Oliver Stone: Thank you, sir.

Vladimir Putin: Are you going back to the States?

Oliver Stone: I am very worried about you.

Vladimir Putin: Why?

Oliver Stone:I can see there are so many problems. It weighs you down. It is sad to see. It is a tough situation.

Vladimir Putin: It is all right. We have seen worse.

Oliver Stone: Russian bombes in Syria. What has happened to Skripal? Where is he?

Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. He is a spy, after all. He is always in hiding.

Oliver Stone: They say he was going to come back to Russia. He had some information.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back.

Oliver Stone: He knew still and he wanted to come back. He had information that he could give to the world press here in Russia.

Vladimir Putin: I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?

Oliver Stone: Who poisoned him? They say English secret services did not want Sergei Skripal to come back to Russia?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case.

Oliver Stone: Makes sense. You do not agree with me?

Vladimir Putin: If they had wanted to poison him, they would have done so.

Oliver Stone: Ok, that makes sense. I don’t know. Who did then?

Vladimir Putin: After all, this is not a hard thing to do in today’s world. In fact, a fraction of a milligram would have been enough to do the job. And if they had him in their hands, there was nothing complicated about it. No, this does not make sense. Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal.

Oliver Stone: I think it is more complicated. You know, you think I am much too much of a conspiracy guy.

Vladimir Putin: I do not believe this.

Oliver Stone: I have seen things. I do.

Vladimir Putin: You should not. Take care of yourself.

Oliver Stone: Can we get a picture?

Remark: This is a great honour for us. Can we take a picture with you?

Vladimir Putin: With pleasure.

Ukraine will be coerced into making peace in Donbass

June 17, 2019

By Petr Akopov
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
Source
https://vz.ru/world/2019/6/15/982529.html

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:D8-QWNWXYAAOUez.jpg

Ukraine is important for the US only in the context of their relationship with Russia, and blocks the path to their improvement. The latest statement of the national security adviser to the US President John Bolton became yet more proof of this. On the eve of Putin and Trump’s meeting in Osaka, Kiev ought to prepare for the US playing the Ukrainian card without paying attention to the interests of the Kiev authorities.

Washington tries to defreeze American-Russian relations – but in such a way that it does not look a concession made by the US. Donald Trump is not constrained by the case of “Russian ties” any more, however the Ukrainian crisis remains the main problem for his dialogue with Putin.

It arose during Barack Obama’s reign and is in many respects connected with the objective process of returning to Russia the status of a major world power. The events of 2014 became the most convenient reason for the US to transition to an active phase of “deterring Russia”. The policy of sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia on the world scene not only failed – their results were opposite to American expectations.

Having sustained pressure and not having changed course, Russia strengthened its reputation in the world. Everyone perceives it as the main geopolitical opponent to America’s attempts to hold onto world hegemony.

Trump’s election gave a chance to revise America’s tactics and even strategy. The new president was inclined to reorienting the US from the useless and losing policy of global domination to a policy of strengthening the US via strengthening the economic power of the superpower. The resistance that was shown to Trump by American globalists showed how the fate of the US as a national state is not important for them. But they managed to block the possibility of forming relations between Trump and Putin.

The “Russian case” regularly served this for more than two years. But now Trump received the opportunity to act much more freely. Now, in order to establish cooperation with Putin (and this is necessary for the American president in order to create a new configuration of US foreign policy), Trump “only” needs to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. I.e., remove the Ukrainian stone from the road of American-Russian relations. How can he do this?

Of course, the US is not going to “give” Ukraine back to Russia: the tearing of Ukraine off the Russian world remains the important aim of any American strategist. But the question of the speed and price of this process has principal importance. If the “hawks” consider that Ukraine must be Europeanised and Atlanticised as fast as possible – i.e., included not only in the sphere of influence, but also in the structure of the “western zone of responsibility”, then the “realists” point out that Russia will never agree with the “kidnapping of Ukraine”, and that the haste of the West will only provoke Moscow into solving the problem by force – a campaign to Kiev.

That’s why they consider the neutralisation of Ukraine as the optimum scheme, transferring it into a condition of a no man’s zone, a buffer state that is not used to put pressure on Russia. And after all, it is precisely this that is considered to be favourable by those “hawks” who, without trusting in the possibility of the Atlanticisation of Ukraine, support its use as a constant irritant against Moscow.

Such a neutral Ukraine would be more in the zone of influence of the West than in Russia’s. And although everyone understands that it is a temporary and suspended option, for the US it would be an undoubted success (even to suspend the situation for 20-30 years – it is all the same to deprive Russia of its historical cradle, to stop the reintegration of the Russian world, the Russian revanche). And the most important thing – this option would remove the Ukrainian topic from the agenda of relations between the US and Russia, allowing the US to count on searching for mutual understanding with Moscow in other international problems.

How to achieve this? To portray peace and progress in the Ukrainian settlement. Because in reality it is currently impossible to solve the Ukrainian crisis.

Implementing the Minsk Agreements, i.e., to return Donbass to the structure of Ukraine, is impossible as long as the Ukrainian elite continues to not realise that the road to Europe is closed and does not start to restore relations with Russia. This is a process for the next decade. And even in the event of its acceleration, returning Donbass to Ukraine is possible only after a full turn of Kiev towards Moscow and the inclusion of Ukraine in the structure of the Eurasian Union.

That’s why all that’s left to do is to give the illusion that there is a settlement process. Kiev will opt to really stop firefights on the border and to withdraw troops under the pressure of the West; to really adopt laws on amnesty in Ukraine as one more point of the implementation of the Agreements. And the most important thing – to really do it so that the topic of repulsing “Russian aggression”, as well as the topic of “returning Donbass”, in fact, leaves Ukrainian domestic politics, remaining a prerogative of the opposition.

Zelensky’s election is a step in precisely this direction. The cynical and cunning Ukrainian elite best of all understands that there won’t be any return. And all the game of Poroshenko on the topic “Ukraine is an outpost of the West in deterring Russian Aggression” was built on the conviction that the West waits for precisely this from Ukraine.

But the matter is that the West hasn’t wanted anything as such from Kiev for a long time. Europe very much groans from the need to play the “Ukrainian game”, which prevents it from doing business with Russia. And the US under Trump also does not want to raise the stakes in the “Ukrainian game”, or to in general pay much attention to it. The West needs Ukraine to know its place, i.e., to become imperceptible and silent, giving the illusion of a “road to peace”; to not get in the way of the big boys; to not go back to Russia, but also to not sit at the table with the real players.

It is precisely for this reason that Kiev will be shown its place. This will happen during the next month when Zelensky will go to see Trump in Washington. It will be done tenderly, but insistently: through coercion to negotiations with Russia and with Donbass, to reduce aggressive rhetoric (it has already subsided). But the most important thing – through an explanation of the expectations: “progress in the peace process”, allowing the US to remove the Ukrainian topic to a place more fitting for it – a place that does not prevent the establishment of American-Russian dialogue.

As a matter of fact, the national security adviser to the US President John Bolton wrote about precisely this on Thursday:

“[US] Ambassador [Kurt] Volker and I met today to discuss Ukraine negotiations and agreed that President Zelensky’s election creates new opportunity to push for peace in Donbass – a key step to improving US-Russia relations – but it’s critical that Russia do its part and engage seriously”.

Peace in Donbass is a key step for the improvement of relations between the US and Russia. Simply put, they want to hear from Ukraine that its relations with Donbass are if not very good, then they at least gradually improve. And there is no doubt that they will hear this – Kiev has nowhere to disappear to, simply.

 

بويتن وترامب: عندما ينضج التفاوض

مايو 11, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– الأكيد من النص المعلن في البيت الأبيض حول المحادثة الهاتفية المطوّلة بين الرئيسين الأميركي دونالد ترامب والروسي فلاديمير بوتين حول نتائج تحقيقات المدعي العام الأميركي في الاتهامات الموجّهة للرئيس ترامب بالإفادة من تدخل روسي استخباري في الانتخابات، أن الرئيس ترامب كان يريد للتحقيقات أن تنتهي بتبرئته لتطلق يديه في الذهاب لأي تفاوض ممكن أو لازم مع موسكو، وأن بعض المواقف التصعيدية السابقة بوجه روسيا كان إثباتاً لهذه البراءة أكثر مما هو تعبير عن مقتضيات المصلحة السياسية الأميركية، وأنه وقد تخفف من أثقال الاتهامات فقد صار بمستطاعه استعادة الموضوعية التي يجب أن يتصرف من خلالها الرئيس الأميركي مع الرئيس الروسي.

– هذا التوقيت ليس أحادي الحضور في الحديث عن نضج التفاوض بين موسكو وواشنطن، فيما تتزاحم محطات التلاقي بين أركان إدارتي موسكو وواشنطن. فالمحادثة الهاتفية الاستثنائية في مدتها التي بلغت ساعة ونصفاً واتسمت بالتفاهم الكبير، كما قال الرئيس ترامب مغرداً، تلاها لقاء بين وزيري الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو والروسي سيرغي لافروف على هامش اجتماعات مجلس القطب الشمالي امتد ساعة خرج بعدها الوزيران يتحدثان عن إيجابيات كثيرة وفرصاً كبيرة للتفاهم، تمهيداً للقاء سيجمعهما في سوتشي بعد أيام، وقد استبقه بومبيو بالإعلان عن وصوله إلى موسكو قبل يومين من موعد سوتشي للقاءات تمهيدية سيتوّجها ويتوّج زيارته بلقاء الرئيس بوتين، ليتم اللقاء التاريخي بين بوتين وترامب في اليابان على هامش قمة العشرين الشهر المقبل.

– في الطريق إلى لقاء الرئيسين بوتين وترامب، إعلان أميركي للمرة الأولى عن «تفهم العملية المحدودة لروسيا في إدلب»، وحديث علني لبومبيو عن ملفات للحوار تمتد من سورية إلى أوكرانيا وإيران وفنزويلا وكوريا الشمالية. وبالتدقيق سيتبين أنه في كل منها حاولت واشنطن لسنوات التفرّد ووصلت لطريق مسدود، بدءاً من أوكرانيا التي فقدت رأس الرهان على استخدامها منصة تصعيد بوجه روسيا مع الفشل الانتخابي للرئيس السابق المدعوم من واشنطن كرأس حربة بوجه روسيا، وروسيا تدعو لتطبيق تفاهمات مينسك. وفي فنزويلا فشل مزدوج للانقلاب النيابي فالانقلاب العسكري، وروسيا حاضرة للتعاون التفاوضي. وفي سورية تحتاج واشنطن لتغطية قرار انسحابها بتسليم روسيا إدارة الملف وضمان مستقبل الأكراد من ضمن تفاهمها مع الدولة السورية وتركيا بعدما صار نصر الدولة السورية الشامل تحصيل حاصل ومسألة وقت. وفي كوريا الشمالية انتهى الرهان الأميركي على مفاوضات ثنائية من وراء ظهر روسيا إلى مهزلة، وتساقطت الوعود الأميركية بقرب التوصل لتفاهم الواحد تلو الآخر، بينما أنتج لقاء الرئيس بوتين مع زعيم كوريا الشمالية كيم جونغ أون ما يمنح روسيا صفة الوسيط القادر.

– يشكل الملف الإيراني العقدة الأهم، خصوصاً بعدما سقطت النظرية الأميركية بالقدرة على الحصول على تطمينات التفاهم النووي وحرمان إيران من مكتسباته، فالردّ الإيراني عملياً يقول إن إيران حصلت من التفاهم على سقوط لا رجعة فيه لعقوبات أممية، ولم تعد بحاجة للتفاهم وهي تستطيع تحميل أميركا وأوروبا مسؤولية إفشاله، وقادرة على التعايش مع عقوباتهم وقد فعلت من قبل لسنوات ما قبل العام 2015 موّلت خلالها اقتصادها وقوى المقاومة ومستلزمات صمود سورية بوجه الحرب الأميركية، وجاءت الحشود العسكرية الأميركية تحرشاً بديلاً بإيران يعترف ضمناً بفشل العقوبات في جلبها للتفاوض، وتشكل إشارات ترامب لتمايزه عن مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون وإعلان رغبته بحوار مباشر بلا شروط مع إيران، كما الدعوات الأوروبية لتفاوض مباشر أميركي إيراني، مقدّمات لا يمكن لغير روسيا تحويلها إلى مناسبة لتفاوض تقبل به إيران من موقع يحفظ صورتها ومصالحها، وترامب أكثر مَن يدرك أن حديثه عن صفقة القرن حول القضية الفلسطينية بلا أفق، وأنه يفيد في ابتزاز أموال الخليج، لكنه لا ينفع في زرع الخوف في إيران وقوى المقاومة.

– ترامب المهتم بالتمهيد لترشحه لولاية ثانية من موقع النجاح، لا يملك ذلك بالتصعيد الذي يذهب إلى المجهول ولا يجلب له إلا صورة المتهوّر العاجز، بينما صورة القوي والقادر على صناعة التفاهمات هي ما يحتاجه في العام الذي يسبق بدء الموسم الانتخابي، ويعنيه كثيراً أن يذهب للانتخابات وهو يقول إنه نجح في التأسيس لمفاوضات جادة حول ملفات كوريا وفنزويلا وأوكرانيا والسلاح النووي وسورية وإيران بمقدار نجاحه في رسم صورة القوة الأميركية، وشرط هذا هو التشارك مع موسكو الذي رفضت واشنطن الإقرار به كحاجة وضرورة لعقود طويلة منذ سقوط جدار برلين، وشكلت الدعوة له أحد عناوين الحملة الانتخابية للرئيس الذي يُقال أنه يفي بوعوده الانتخابية ولو عطلته رياح الداخل الأميركي والرهانات الخاطئة وأوهام القوة إلى حين.

Donbass – Military-Political Aspects

Source

February 19, 2019

Donbass – Military-Political Aspects

By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with 
https://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-donbass-military-political-aspects/ 
source:
 http://alternatio.org/articles/articles/item/67719-donbass-voenno-politicheskie-aspekty

 

Donbass, like any frontline territory with a non-determined status, is periodically covered by waves of rumours – the most improbable and the most absurd rumours, which nevertheless are spread with the speed of a virus. Despite their regular repetitiveness and regular falsifiability, they, appearing again and again, invoke trust again and again. The number of people living in Donbass who have a “friend who personally heard from Putin” the latest “artful Russian plans” concerning the fates of the People’s Republics concedes only to the number of those who “heard personally from Pushilin” the same thing.

Recently, in connection with the Ukrainian elections, rumours (which have periodically appeared over five years) became more active again that right now there is the desire to return the DPR/LPR into the structure of Ukraine. This rumour is absurd, since right now (before elections) it’s not only politically unprofitable (Russia doesn’t support Poroshenko) to return Donbass to Ukraine, but it is also technically impossible (there isn’t enough time to implement the necessary procedures).

It is obvious that the activisation of this rumour is partially connected to the recent statement of Medvedchuk, who proposed to Kiev, for the sake of ending the war and preserving Donbass as a part of Ukraine, to change the Constitution for the purpose of creating wide autonomy in Donbass. However, since Medvedchuk plays up to Tymoshenko against Poroshenko, it is clear that Kiev could start the implementation of these ideas no earlier than the elections will conclude if Tymoshenko becomes the president.

At the same time, it is necessary to consider that Yuliya Tymoshenko angrily condemned Viktor Medvedchuk’s proposal, because now she acts from a more radical nationalist position than Poroshenko in order to win the favour and support of nationalist radicals, who will indeed decide the outcome of elections. Therefore, nobody will be able to integrate Donbass anywhere either before presidential elections or immediately after them. And after this parliamentary elections will start. Thus, if there were indeed such plans, then starting their implementation earlier than a year and a half later would be practically unrealistic. For this, as a minimum, the position of Kiev must cardinally exchange. And what will happen to Donbass, Ukraine, and the world in a year’s time only God knows, and even this is with a known amount of conditionality, because he granted every person the right to make a free choice between good and evil, and the fates of countries and civilisations consist of millions of these free choices.

However, the constant sense of danger accompanying the inhabitants of Donbass is based not only on such inadequate interpretations of the bright speeches of Kiev or Moscow politicians. The main irritating factor is the non-determined status. People can’t understand why Russia didn’t take them following the example of Crimea, why the Kiev authorities were recognised in 2014, and for what purpose were the Minsk Agreements reached? Hence the wavering when the rumour about handing over Donbass “already tomorrow” is replaced by the rumour that right now Russia will not recognise the 2019 elections, will capture Kiev, and Donbass will at last enter the structure of the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, the military-political situation that predetermined the fate of Donbass for the nearest years developed in 2014 and hasn’t yet changed. In 2014 a window of opportunities was indeed opened and was far from being exhausted by the return of Crimea to the structure of Russia and the declaration of DPR/LPR.

Before the February coup of 2014 the possibility of the entry of all of Ukraine into the Customs Union was quite real. For this purpose Yanukovych needed to only disperse Maidan and jail all prominent politicians who supported the coup attempt. This decision completely depended on a subjective factor – the personal will of Yanukovych, the level of his intelligence, and his adequacy in his job.

After the coup, during February-April a campaign to Kiev of the uprising Southeast was possible, with the informal support of Russia. In such a variant, Western Ukraine, most likely, would’ve already been lost, Crimea would’ve left for Russia (as it already happened), and the other territories, with a new pro-Russian government, would’ve joined the process of Eurasian integration. A key role in the failure of this opportunity was played by both a subjective factor (the absolute lack of readiness of new, put forward by a popular uprising, leaders of the Southeast to think not in the scale of their region {Kharkov, Donetsk, Odessa}, but in the scale of the country), and an objective factor – the idealistic idea of the masses of a revolt based on the thought that it “will be like it was in Crimea” (we will stand two days, and then “polite tanks”will come and we will go home to go about our own business).

None of the representatives of the uprising mass of the Southeast and their new elites understood that the victory of any revolt is in Kiev (in the capital). Nationalists, by the way, understood well that until they take the capital, they are just rebels, but as soon as they capture government buildings – they are already the authorities, and the mutineers – their opponents. Every region of the Southeast hoped, having marked the revolt and having hid behind Russia, to solve the issue independently and let the neighbour decide for themselves.

Here, of course, a question arises that is often asked not only in Donbass, but also in all of Ukraine: and what, Russia couldn’t liberate Russian lands with Russian people from nominally Banderists, but in reality an American occupation? Evidently, it could. But Russia can “liberate” all of Europe up to the Atlantic (which, by the way, is also under American occupation).

Does this mean that Russia must urgently start “a liberating campaign” in Europe? The question seems to be absurd, but the topic of “a liberating campaign” in Ukraine, which according to its status differs little from Serbia, is constantly discussed by the Russian and the pro-Russia Ukrainian public. Yes, in Ukraine there was a coup. But international law doesn’t provide the possibility of an incursion into an independent state only because of a violent change of power. Yes, our western “partners” often carry out coups and/or interfere in independent states under the pretext of eliminating the consequences of the coup. Nevertheless, even now, when not only the spirit, but also the letter of international law is consciously ignored in most cases by the majority of countries, such invasions/interventions are outwardly given shape in accordance with international law. For example, some local oppositionist is found (or brought, like how the USSR brought Babrak Karmal from Czechoslovakia to Afghanistan), a real or fake resistance movement is formed around them, it then establishes control over some territories, provides the transition of some officials and military personnel to its side, and only after this do foreign troops appear in the country “for the purpose of stopping bloodshed”. The appearance of “polite people” in Crimea was given shape precisely like this. Civil standoff, the threat of mass bloodshed, the non-recognition of the Kiev coup by local parliament – only after this did Russia appear there officially. And everything that was unofficial was already in play.

The corresponding conditions didn’t develop anywhere else across the entire territory of Ukraine. Yes, there were rallies that gathered 1,000/2,000 people. Yes, the regional state administrations were taken by storm. Yes, “people’s governors” were proclaimed. But at the same time, except in Crimea, in no region did the official authorities refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the coup in Kiev. Thus, Russia found itself in front of the formally monolithic unity of a 45-million state, all the authorities of which, including regional ones in the Southeast, refused to recognise Yanukovych as legitimate. But counteraction was demonstrated by several tens of thousands of people over all the country. This counteraction was unorganised, they weren’t able to either reach an agreement among themselves or formulate their aims clearly.

So from the point of view of international law, in 2014 Russia had nobody to stand up for. Those abstract “we were waiting [for Russia to liberate us]” – who indeed were in the millions – couldn’t be considered, counted, and their non-publicly expressed will presented as a justification of a right to intervene by anyone.

Of course, there was an option to spit on the legal justification of actions and to act by the right of might. But for the sake of what? An overland corridor to Crimea? This issue was solved with the help of the Crimean Bridge. Meanwhile it was clear that it won’t be possible to capture all of Ukraine in 2014. In the West (and even in the center) most of the population would be against it. And an appeal to the US, EU, and NATO with a request for help will surely be expressed. And it will be heard.

I.e., the partition of Ukraine was possible, and it’s not a fact that it would be succeeded to take all of Novorossiya and to punch a corridor up to Transnistria. It is rather on the contrary – neither Kiev, nor western “partners” were obviously going to hand over Odessa, the strangling of Transnistria in a situation of military-political chaos was quite real, and it was possible to do it quickly, during a couple of days (so that Russia has no time to react). The most sad thing in this chapter is that a part of the gas pipelines + gas storages would all the same remain under the control of the Banderist government. Only it would speak rightfully about Russian aggression, and for our friends in the EU it would be almost impossible to defend the idea of “Nord Stream-2”.

Russia would thus receive a small territorial accretion with a population that is far from being ready to fit into the Russian political system (this is seen even in the example of the small and most Russian in Ukraine Crimea), but its economic partnership with the EU would be interrupted and political relations would reach a level close to a military confrontation. Those same US bases that so far have appeared in Europe in a very moderate quantity only because most Europeans are against the deployment of new American forces would appear there without problem.

It would be necessary to manyfold strengthen the Western grouping of troops, including in the attached territories. And besides this, for the creation of an effective system of management and control it would be necessary to send a large number of administrative staff from Russia to the attached territories, and also forces of the police and FSB (Ukrainian statehood was almost destroyed, the remaining officials in their majority are incompetent, and the system of management has been destroyed).

It would be a question of the need to resettle in Ukraine hundreds of thousands of people (1-2 million, if to count them with their families) for the long term. These people would be perceived there as “Varangians” who were sent to govern (but after all, we can do it ourselves) and who “prevents us from living” in the way that “we got used to”. Since this moment any problem would be a problem “caused by Russia”, which didn’t give, do, or provide something. After all, the governors are Russian. Soon the era of “European integration” would start being remembered with nostalgia, especially since sharply increasing the standard of living of 20 million people is almost impossible, but forcing everyone to pay taxes (only the lazy in Ukraine didn’t avoid paying them) is actually very easy. Besides this, the freezing in the Ukrainian (and in general in the Western) direction of a considerable (from a third to a half) of the entire military capacity of Russia would block the possibility of pursuing an active foreign policy (including in Syria). There wouldn’t be simply anything left that could offer support.

A hypothetical Ukrainian campaign didn’t correspond to the principle, according to Liddel Hart, requirement of a successful war: “Victory is such a post-war peace that is better than the pre-war one, at least for you”.

But maybe it was possible to integrate at least Donbass into Russia following the Crimean example? No, it wasn’t. As was already said, legitimate regional authorities didn’t support the revolt. Only about a third of the total area of two regions and a half of that territory on which an independence referendum was held appeared in the hands of the revolters. To recognise and integrate them into Russia (and they can’t survive independently) is possible only within the framework of the territory under its control today. Supporting an offensive of the DPR/LPR up to the borders of regions means to start a war that leads to the partition of Ukraine, but Russia will receive even less than the biggest part of Novorossiya – it will be just two regions. The other consequences, perhaps, are a little more soft, but in general they are the same. Besides this, it is necessary to understand that by making peace on the condition of the integration of Donbass, Russia would practically reconcile with the loss of the rest of Ukraine forever (or as far as it is possible to speak about “forever” in politics in principle). I.e., the losses are the same, and the profit is even less, if we avoid saying that there isn’t any in general.

In fact, this situation of a military-political stalemate that developed in the Ukrainian direction by the summer of 2014 forced Russia to opt to freeze the situation in this direction, having transferred the center of gravity of its efforts to more promising, from the point of view of the global standoff with the US, regions – in order to return to the Ukrainian question in general, and to Donbass in particular, in more favourable conditions.

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