Ukraine’s Dark Web Arms Arsenal

June 18, 2022

Source

Declan Hayes

Ukraine has been flooded with tens of billions of dollars of NATO weaponry, much of which is now for sale on the dark web and elsewhere.

Although NATO has already supplied Clown Prince Zelensky’s rogue regime with enough materiel, some $50 bn worth (not that anyone is counting), to arm a medium sized nation, there is overwhelming evidence that much of those weapons have found their way onto the dark web for terrorists and sundry other trouble makers to buy and use as they see fit. Although NATO are right to express alarm at this latest development, they should look at themselves in the mirror to see who is responsible for this latest threat.

Rand to the Rescue

Although The UN, the World Economic Forum, the Australian National University and the Cambridge Independent have all opined on how to source weapons on the dark web, their work revolve around this Rand Corp study to which we now also revert. This Rand report tells us that, though the U.S. accounts for almost 60 per cent of the firearms listings, Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.

As the report tells us that pistols accounted for 84 per cent of all listed firearms, followed by rifles (10 per cent) and sub-machine guns (6 per cent), Interpol’s warning of sales of Javelin missiles on the dark web, which the CIA now predictably but alarmingly say is Russian disinformation, would be a major step up in such sales, something like children going from a lemonade stand to taking on Coca Cola for market share.

As the Rand report reckons the dark web’s overall monthly value in arms’ trading is only about $80,000, they correctly conclude that “the dark web is unlikely to be the method of choice to fuel conflicts because arms are not traded at a large enough scale and due to the potential limitations on infrastructure and services in a conflict zone”. Though its further conclusion that “the dark web has the potential to become the platform of choice for individuals (e.g. lone-wolves terrorists) or small groups (e.g. gangs)” as well as for sundry other crackpots to obtain weapons and ammunition is worth keeping in mind, such attacks are as nothing compared to a series of NATO inspired missile strikes on Serbian, Hungarian, Chinese or other passenger planes. The British and Americans both have form in that regard.

DW Shift, German Intelligence’s contribution to NATO’s disinformation wars, talks us through the 101 of buying a weapon on the Dark Web; this is of concern to Germans because one of their 2016 mass shooters sourced his weapon on the dark web. DW’s pretty reporter talks to an equally pretty young researcher who is au fait with such dark arts which seem, by the report, simple enough. One shops on the dark web, as one might shop on Amazon or ebay, clicks on one’s orders and checks out. GlockColtSig SauerBerettaEkol-VoltranRuger and Smith & Wesson are, in that order, the most popular purchases. DW Shift’s pretty fräuleins inform us that because the sellers of these items are rated, just as are their Amazon and ebay equivalents, we can shop in safety and have DHL deliver our purchase to a safe location of our choice.

Enter the IRA

Anybody who believes that NATO mis information deserves every minute of the jail sentence they get. The Irish Republican Army and its offshoots are proof that such purchases are not for DW Shift’s casual browser. If the IRA found sourcing medium grade weapons difficult, then you should perhaps think twice about shopping on these dark sites.

This New York Times article shows how the CIA were supplying the IRA with weapons to stop the IRA shopping elsewhere; that the CIA now control the mainstream IRA through their 1998 Good Friday Agreement shows how successful that strategy has been.

The CIA were not, of course, the IRA’s only American supplier. CIA agent and Boston Mafia boss, Whitey Bulger, also sent them boat loads of weapons, which were duly interdicted. Although Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi became a much more important source, the point is that acquiring weapons is not easily done as there are countless, well resourced parties determined to stop you.

This can be seen in the case of Liam Campbell, who was recently extradited from Ireland to Lithuania on charges of trying to acquire weapons for his rump IRA faction. As a cast of Irish MI5 agents, led by Dennis McFadden, walked Palestinian doctor Issam Bassalat and other gullible marks into an arms-related trap, and as CIA operative David Rupert previously got the rump IRA’a leader jailed for 20 years, caveat emptor, buyer beware applies on the dark web even more so than it does on amazon or ebay. Unless, that is, one is a member of an MI5 controlled death squad charged with killing Catholics, then one can import weapons from South Africa or Australia to do what MI5 has decided must be done.

The Irish lesson then is that, if one wishes to procure arms for a sectarian or other campaign, one needs to work with either governments or gangsters or both to secure the necessary weaponry, which are not cheap. Recent gangland murders and related trials in Dublin as well as the IRA and its rump offshoots confirm that trajectory.

Enter the Kiddy Fiddlers

The experiences of the international pedophile network show the risks that even those criminals most proficient in the dark web’s darkest corners run when these predators become the prey. Australia’s Task Force Argos has brought down many of these kiddy fiddling networks, not the least of which was the very sophisticated operation run by Shannon Grant McCoole, who ran one of the pedophiles’ most depraved websites from his South Australian base. But not, as the case of Peter Scully and Matthew Graham show, the most depraved site. Although Graham, his tech savvy buddies and their tens of thousands of customers are an unspeakable threat to all the world’s vulnerable children, Task Force Argos and their global partners are, thankfully, a threat to them and, by extension any group who wish to line the pockets of Ukraine’s purveyors of death through the dark web.

EncroChat

EncroChat was a sting operation Australia’s Task Force Argos would have been proud of. EncroChat allowed organized crime members to plan criminal activities through encrypted messages that Europe’s various police forces listened into. Over 1,000 arrests were made across Europe as a result of that sting. As the Australian and American police forces conducted similar stings, conducting these transactions are fraught with more risks than rewards for those unskilled in the dark arts.

Given the Encrochat experience, one should note that Twitter and the CIA both have sizable dark net presences. If you want to be enmeshed in their dark web, enjoy your jail time.

Dark Markets

Interpol has also highlighted the trade in illegal organ harvesting, which has previously crossed my desk as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s criminal activities in terrorist controlled Syria which works, like most other markets do, by a system of levers. There is a demand in countries like Israel and Switzerland where donors are in short supply and there is an obvious supply where poverty is king or, as in the case of rebel held Syria, where there is an over supply of captives. Rebel sanctioned brokers will, per Interpol’s report, ensure the markets work at a certain level of efficiency, at least until money changes hands. Because these gangsters are totally unscrupulous, medical complications, which will have to be fixed by Israeli, Swiss or other doctors, will most likely quickly follow from these cut price operations.

More for our purposes is that rebel held Syria provides a safe haven for such criminality.

The CIA: Market Maker

The only groups who can make the dark web in NATO supplied Ukrainian weaponry viable are the Western intelligence agencies and their proxies, who are not honest brokers in this or in anything else. One need only look at the Iran Contra Affair where the Reagan regime supplied Islamic Iran with weaponry to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Allied to that is the Gary Webb affair, where the CIA flooded America’s ghettos with crack cocaine to fund the Contras’ fight for American sanctioned democracy.

The Ukrainian Bazaar

Ukraine, Europe’s most corrupt country, has been flooded with tens of billions of dollars of NATO weaponry, much of which is now for sale on the dark web and elsewhere. The only possible “hostile” markets for such materiel are criminals and terrorists; nations opposed to NATO can be ruled out because of the reputational damage such shenanigans would cause them. Although the Kinahan Organized Crime Group and their Latin American partners have formidable arsenals, FBI retaliation against them would be sure and swift if they started to use NATO weaponry to shoot down NATO friendly planes.

That just leaves terrorists or, to be more precise, NATO friendly terrorists, like those NATO has nurtured in the Fertile Crescent, the Southern Caucasus, the Indian-Pakistani-Afghan triangle and throughout Africa. As the experiences of the IRA and its various offshoots show that the expertise to obtain and deploy such weaponry has always been far beyond their capabilities, one can only conclude that a major government sponsor is needed to successfully obtain and deploy such firepower.

The experiences of ISIS, which was able to obtain fleets of brand new Toyota trucks, suggest that it is only NATO and its affiliates that can supply the necessary logistics to put such weaponry in the field, not only throughout the Arab and Asian worlds but in Western Europe as well.

This report that these advanced Ukrainian missiles are surfacing in NATO controlled Syria would confirm that hypothesis that NATO are using their Ukrainian involvement to funnel yet more advanced weaponry to their favored zealots elsewhere. NATO’s Ukrainian defeat makes Syrian military and civilian targets the obvious theater for payback, complete with NATO’s usual implausible denials of course.

Globalization

NATO’s dirty war in Ukraine is but one of the many hot wars it is currently engaged in in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, Ethiopia , Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique , Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Yemen. NATO’s generals move men and materiel around from one theater to another as the need arises.

The war in Ukraine was never about democracy or keeping the idiot Zelensky in power. It was about bleeding Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China dry and, though it seems Russia is not for turning in Ukraine, our earlier precedents show that does not mean NATO will cease and desist from its criminal ways.

Although the corrupt Zelensky junta is awash with advanced NATO weapon that is surplus to their requirements, they are not surplus to NATO’s requirements elsewhere. Therefore, depending on NATO’s needs where you live and according to this NATO report by 26 ethically challenged Ukrainian NGOs, expect Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems, Stinger and Starstreak portable air defence systems, Switchblade loitering munitions. Harpoon missiles, MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator UAVs to show up in a NATO sponsored war near you. And, though NATO’s media will act all surprised as to how that might have happened, remember that you read it here first.

Kiev’s Military Officials Shared Some Intriguing Details About NATO’s Proxy War On Russia

18 JUNE 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Kiev’s Military Officials Shared Some Intriguing Details About NATO’s Proxy War On Russia
Kiev finally acknowledged that it can’t sustain its staggeringly high attrition rate in the face of Russia’s ongoing special military operation. It’s also becoming concerned that it can no longer rely on its Western partners like before, some of which are losing interest in supplying it in light of recent on-the-ground developments in the Battle for Donbass.

Denys Sharapov and Volodymyr Karpenko, Kiev’s Deputy Minister of Defense in charge of procurement and its land forces command logistics commander respectively, gave a detailed interview to the National Defense magazine on the sidelines of last week’s Eurosatory conference in Paris. That outlet reaches 1,800 corporate members of the US’ military-industrial complex (MIC) by its own admission, thus making it one of the most influential information sources in that line of work. Their interview with those two officials is worth reading because it contains a lot of facts about NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine and the role of the MIC within it, which the present piece will summarize.

Here’s the most important information from the interview:

* The Russian-Ukrainian Frontline Is Jaw-Droppingly Long:

– “You have to understand that the frontline is 2,500 kilometers long. The frontline where there is active combat in more than 1,000 kilometers long. That’s like from Kyiv to Berlin.”

* Only A Fraction Of Kiev’s Military Needs Are Currently Being Met By The West:

– “We have received a large number of weapon systems, but unfortunately with such a massively expendable resource, it only covers 10 to 15 percent of our needs.”

* Kiev Already Lost A Staggeringly High Ratio Of Its Total Military Equipment:

– “As of today, we have approximately 30 to 40, sometimes up to 50 percent of losses of equipment as a result of active combat. So, we have lost approximately 50 percent. … Approximately 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles have been lost, 400 tanks, 700 artillery systems.”

* Drones & Rocket Launchers Are Regarded As Game-Changers By Kievt:

– “If we can use long-range items like the drones — like the MLRS — that will allow us to extend the effective range up to 60 kilometers, that will give us the upper hand and that will give us significant success.”

* Arms Sales Are Inherently Political:

– “You should understand that any weapon transfer is always a political decision. And very often, it’s not up to the government of one country. There are different alliances.”

* Some Countries Are Losing Interest In Arming Kiev:

– “And the other component is that, unfortunately, not all politicians understand the gravity of what is going on in Ukraine. Some people believe that this is not their war. This war is so far away it doesn’t concern them.

* Kiev’s Arms Consumption Rate Is So High That Only Global MIC Coordination Can Satisfy It:

– “I’ll have you know that there is not a single manufacturer or supplier that is able to keep up — only all together [can they keep up]. It has to be a joint effort because there’s not a single supplier that is able to do that single handedly.”

* Ukraine Is Now The World’s Top Arms Market:

– “Over these last three days we’ve been asking everybody to join this effort together to come together because once again, quite unfortunately for us, we have become the biggest consumer of weapons and ammunition in the world.”

* Russian Artillery Is Successfully Taking Out Ukraine’s Western Artillery:

– “The M777 artillery systems are really prone to being damaged by enemy artillery. For every battery of M777, there are six pieces. After every artillery contact, we have to take two artillery pieces and take them back to the rear to maintain them because some of the subsystems are damaged by shrapnel. This happens every day.”

* Kiev’s Worried That Some Western Governments Won’t Greenlight Its Arms Requests:

– “We have a very difficult task at hand for us. For those companies, we ask them to arrange weapons supplies for us as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We really expect that the governments we’re cooperating with will fully support their weapons factories in support of Ukraine.”

A few words will now be said about the details that were just shared above.

Kiev finally acknowledged that it can’t sustain its staggeringly high attrition rate in the face of Russia’s ongoing special military operation. It’s also becoming concerned that it can no longer rely on its Western partners like before, some of which are losing interest in supplying it in light of recent on-the-ground developments in the Battle for Donbass. None of these observations are so-called “Russian propaganda” but are openly admitted by Kiev’s own military officials, which confirms that the “official narrative” towards the conflict has decisively shifted in recent weeks. Seeing as how the global MIC coordination that Kiev requires to win is impossible, it should therefore be taken for granted that its loss is inevitable.

‘Close NATO’: Demonstrators protest US imperialism in NY

April 03, 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Ne

By Al Mayadeen Net 

US citizens took to the streets of New York to demonstrate against the United States and NATO in light of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

Demonstrators protesting in the center of New York against NATO and the United States’ actions in Ukraine

Demonstrators gathered in the heart of New York on Saturday and held a rally in support of Russia and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, in light of the mounting Western aggressions against the three even before the start of the war in Ukraine.

Under the banner of anti-fascism and anti-US imperialism, the demonstrators chanted for Russia and its actions and decision to counter Nazism in Ukraine and stand up to NATO’s eastward expansion.

“Close NATO”, “No war on Russia and Donbass,” and “Stop the terror of neo-Nazis in Ukraine” were among the banners held during the protest, with participants stressing the need to dissolve the Western alliance.

“No war for oil or profits, hands-off Russia,” one demonstrator chanted, calling on his country to stop financing wars and instead help its own citizens with housing and healthcare.

“I am here to stand against fascism and Ukraine and the USA all around the world,” another demonstrator stressed, accusing the Kiev regime of trying to “fight to the last Ukrainian, and they do not care for the health or wellbeing of the Ukrainian people.

Another demonstrator outlined the West’s spreading of disinformation against Russia and around Ukraine, saying the American people were “being bombarded with lies and misinformation and lack of context of what is happening in Ukraine right now.”

He also went on to underline the fact that the Western media was leaving their people in the dark regarding Ukraine’s war against the people of Donbass for the past eight years, which it had been waging using US and NATO weapons. He also highlighted that Russia had been asked to intervene by the people of Donbass to “help stop the war, not start a new war.”

“After pushing Ukraine to invade Donbass again, the [US] is trying to portray Russia as the aggressor and hitting the country with sanctions [and] threatening a world war with the buildup of NATO forces. We are out here today to say no to that,” he concluded.

The US and its allies have rolled out comprehensive sanctions, including restrictions on the Russian central bank, export control measures, SWIFT cutoff for select banks, and closure of airspace to all Russian flights. Many of their companies have suspended their Russian operations.

موسكو تقترب من إعلان النصر وواشنطن تتقهقر الى النقب…!

 الأربعاء 30 آذار 2022

محمد صادق الحسيني

تتسارع الخطى باتجاه إنجاز المهمة الروسية الخاصة في مسرح العمليات في أوكرانيا، بعد نجاح العملية استراتيجياً منذ عبور أول دبابة روسية الحدود باتجاه الدونباس او حوض الدون.

ومن يتابع بدقة كياسة موقف الرئيس الروسي وهو يلاعب مخلب الأطلسيين المراوغ المدعو أردوغان، الذي لم يتغيّر ولن يتغيّر في لعب دور الخادم الإقليمي الأمين لمصالح الأميركان وباعتباره حارس مرمى الناتو الجنوبي، يستطيع القطع بأنّ التخطيط للعملية كان محكماً.

 منذ الأيام الأولى للعملية العسكرية وهو مكلف بدور «الوساطة» بين ما تبقى من سلطات كييف لدى مالكها الأطلسي وبين موسكو التي تتقدّم بخطى ثابتة لإنجاز المهمة حسب الخطة المرسومة.

ولأنّ الأميركي المهزوم على كلّ البوابات المقاومة وعلى أسوار عواصمنا، يتوقع تسارع حركة النهضة الفلسطينية العربية على مشارف شهر رمضان المبارك، وما المؤشرات الخطيرة التي ظهرت من بئر السبع والخضيرة لعمليات نوعية فريدة من نوعها ولم يتبناها أحد إلا «مقبّلات» رمضان وما بعده كما يقول الراسخون في العلم، ولأنّ مفاوضات فيينا جوبهت بالصلابة الإيرانية المتوقعة، ولأنّ اقتحام أسد الشام عرينهم في لحظة ارتباك أميركي صهيوني شديد، فإنّ إدارة بايدن المضطربة والفاقدة للبوصلة والتي عمل اتجاه الرياح العالمية على غير إرادتها، فإنها باتت مضطرة للاعتراف قريباً بالهزيمة في أوكرانيا، من أجل الانتقال الى نسخة صيدلانية جديدة لها في كلّ من فلسطين وآسيا الوسطى والقوقاز.

لذلك هرولت الى فلسطين وهي تنسحب من أوكرانيا متقهقرة، محاولة الظهور بمظهر المنتصر لصالح اليهودي المرتعد خوفاً هذه المرة من الضفة المتراكمة غضباً ومن أراض الـ ٤٨ المتزايدة ثورة، بالإضافة الى غزة بسيفها المسلول، ولبنان المدجّج بالأسلحة الدقيقة والكاسرة للتوازن، فكان أن أشهرت مشروعها المزعوم والذي ستروّج له كثيراً:

«ناتو عربي ضدّ إيران»، وإظهاره وكأنه لحماية الأمن القومي العربي من الاجتياح الإيراني، خاصة إذا ما اضطرت للرضوخ لمطالب طهران بالتوقيع على اتفاق فيينا متجدّد…

فيما هي تقصد «تدافُع المهزومين أمام المقاومة الصاعدة»،

وما اختيارها لبئر السبع مكاناً للمتهالكين، إلا دلالة على ما نقول.

في هذه الأثناء، ولأنها تخاف سقوط العرش الأردني ومديرية رام الله الفلسطينية، بسبب خِسة اليهود وأطماعهم التي لا تجد لها حدوداً، فإنها مضطرة أيضاً لإعادة شدّ العصب في هاتين القوتين من النظام العربي الرسمي المتهافت خوفاً من ثورة قومية عربية تتدافع شرارتها من الداخل الفلسطيني ومن كلّ من سورية والعراق مع مظلة إيرانية دافعة للتغيير في حال قيام الثورة العربية على غرار ما حصل بعد العام ١٩٦٧ في عمّان يوم تجمّعت عوامل النهضة العربية وتبلورت معركة الكرامة الشهيرة .

 من جهة أخرى وهي تقاتل قتالاً تراجعياً وتنسحب القهقرى من أوكرانيا، ستحاول أيضاً تفجير آسيا الوسطى والقوقاز من جديد، موكلة الأمر لحارسها الأمين أردوغان ليتولى إثارة الاضطرابات في كلّ من اذربيجان التي بدأت تخاف واشنطن من قيادته التي بدأت تميل لموسكو ولطهران رويداً رويداً، ومن ثم في اوزباكستان وقرغيزستان وتركمانستان وسائر دول المنطقة على شاكلة ما فعلته في كازاخستان من قبل، في محاولة لخلق «نواتاة» ثورات ملوّنة جديدة، تعويضاً عن فشلها السابق هناك، وتشغيلاً لذراعها الجنوبي الطوراني المترنح في أنقرة لعلّ ذلك يضبط دقات ساعته على توقيت تل أبيب أكثر فأكثر.

من هنا يمكن تلخيص الموقف العام لما يجري من تداعيات هزيمة الأطلسي في أوكرانيا، بأنّ أولى ارتداداته ستكون في منطقتنا بنضوج أجواء انتفاضة فلسطينية، وتحوّل عربي قومي لصالح قوى الممانعة والمقاومة والتغيير، وتلاحم هاتين القضيتين بقصة التحوّل الكبير التي ترتعد منه الرياض وتتجنّب تحمّل أكلافه واشنطن لوحدها، ألا وهو الانتصار اليمني الكبير، وهو ما يمكن ان يشكل بمثابة الضربة القاصمة لاستراتيجية واشنطن في القتال بالوكالة، ايّ خسارة الكيانين السعودي والإماراتي ومعهما في الطريق طغمة المنامة، وهي خسارة ستكون هذه المرة أقوى من خسارتها لألوية جيوشها المسماة بداعش والنصرة في بلاد الشام والرافدين .

من الآن الى ذلك الحين، دعونا نتابع بصمات بوتين في صناعة العالم الجديد من خاصرة روسيا الصغرى أو ما بات يُعرف حديثاً بأوكرانيا!

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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Snapshot

March 10, 2022

Source

By Fred Reed

Everybody and his goat are talking about the Ukraine. Why not me? You might ask, But Fred, what do you know about it? To which I would respond, Look, this is journalism. You don’t need to know anything, just wing it, preferably using words you can spell. Admittedly this is more of a limitation than it used to be. Anyway, here goes:

Why did Russia invade the Ukraine? Contrary to American media, the invasion was not unprovoked. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America has been pushing NATO, which is a US sepoy operation, ever closer to Russian borders in what, to anyone who took fifth-grade geography, is an obvious program of military encirclement. Of the five countries other than Russia littoral to the Black Sea, three, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria, are now in NATO. America has been moving toward bringing in the Ukraine and Georgia. After Georgia would have come Azerbaijan, putting American forces on the Caspian with access to Iran and Kazakhstan. This is calculated aggression over the long term, obvious to the—what? Ten percent? Fifteen percent?—of Americans who know what the Caucasus is.

Putin has said, over and over, that Russia could not allow hostile military forces on its border any more than the US would allow Chinese military bases in Mexico and China or missile forces in Cuba. Washington kept pushing. Russia said, no more. In short, America brought on the war.

Among people who follow such things, there are two ways of looking at the invasion. First, that Washington thought Putin was bluffing, and he wasn’t. Second, that America intentionally forced Russia to choose between allowing NATO into the Ukraine, a major success for Washington’s world empire; or fighting, also a success for Washington as it would cause the results it has caused.

From the latter understanding, America pulled off, at least at first glance, an astonishing geopolitical victory over Russia. Nordstream II blocked, crippling sanctions placed on Russia, many of its banks kicked out of SWIFT, economic integration of Europe and Asia slowed or reversed, Germany to spend 113 billion on rearming (largely meaning buying American costume-jewelry weaponry), Europe forced to buy expensive American LNG, and Europe made dependent on America for energy. All this in a few days without loss of a single American soldier. This presumably at least in part engineered by Virginia Newland who, though she looks like a fireplug with leprosy, seems effectively Machiavellian.

Next victim, China. Divide and conquer. Or at least that’s the theory. At the same time reinstate the JCPOA and use economic baubles to try to pry Iran away from Beijing.

Here we need some context. Everything Washington does internationally aims at maintaining America’s largely military near-hegemony over the world. This involves several elements:

First, military dominance. This includes the many hundreds of bases around the world, naval supremacy, and the huge military expenditure. Thy latter will be maintained at any cost to domestic needs, and apparently it is going to be increased.

Second, control of the world’s supply of energy. Washington is trying to starve Venezuela, with its vast reserves of petroleum, into submission. Submission means letting American-dominated oil majors exploit the country’s oil. Washington is doing the same with Iran and its enormous reserves. It has troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has confiscated Syria’s oil lands, crushed Libya, and so on. Keeping the European vassals from buying more Russian gas through Nordstream II is part of this energy control and an important part.

Third, and crucial, keep Eurasia—note the “EU”—from coalescing into a vast continent-spanning trade zone, which is exactly what China contemplates in its BRI, Belt and Road initiative. This is too much subject for a few paragraphs, but some thoughts: China is a manufacturing juggernaut in explosive growth. Economic power is the basis of all power. China has the advantage of inner lines of communication: it can build rail, fiber optics, highway,s and pipelines in Asia, where America has little access. China has money because it has a for-profit economy, and America doesn’t. The pull of China’s gigantic market and manufactures was beginning to loosen America’s control of Europe. Eurasian integration had to be stopped.

Fourth, the dollar. Washington controls the dollar, the IMF, SWIFT, and in general the international financial system. It uses this control brutally as a weapon to impose sanctions, crippling the economies of such countries as Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and now Russia. Seeing this intimidates other countries. Washington may have gone too often to this well. Having made England, its chief bootlicker, confiscate Venezuela’s gold reserves, and now freezing Russia’s reserves, Washington has served notice that no country is secure from this treatment. Here I speculate freely, but this may prove America’s worst mistake since 1619 as it may greatly accelerate the search for other payment systems—CIPS from China, SPFS from Russia, and the upcoming digital yuan. Washington, methinks, is betting the farm.

So much for the world. Meanwhile, America seems to be sinking into irreversible decadence that muss eventually—I would say soon—affect its international position. As the world’s economic and, laggingly, technological center of gravity moves east to Asia, an internally collapsing America will be less able to maintain the empire. Consider:

Washington’s printing of money, equivalent to the debasing of the coinage characteristic of failing societies, has resulted in high inflation and a potentially catastrophic national debt. This will cause political perturbation as voters seek to find which of the two essentially identical parties will not behave like the other one. Unrest will grow. Trust abroad in the dollar will decrease.

America suffers from a massive and growing trade deficit, largely with China, about which nothing can be done, certainly not soon, because America no longer makes things it needs. Manufacturing cannot be brought back, excep perhaps in niche markets like semiconductors, because the US no longer has the necessary engineers and trained work force, and American labor costs more than Chinese, so reshoring would increase inflation. The importation of cheap Chinese products keeps inflation down,.

The heavy flow of national wealth into Wall Street and the military in addition to offshoring has led to real poverty in Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and the rural Deep South. This has produced some 100,000 opioid deaths annually in despairing populations. Simultaneously large and growing homeless aggregations appear in LA, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, St. Louis, on and on, estimated at 60,000 in LA and 50,000 in New York, making the subways dangerous. Bush world conditions presumably do not make for political stability, as neither does the governmental inattention to them.

Crime is out of control, not a sign of a healthy polity. Some 700 homicides annually in Chicago, 300 in Baltimore, and similar numbers elsewhere are now routine, almost all of the killers and killed being black. To countries like Japan and South Korea this must seem barbaric. The situation is not First World.

America’s racial problem is grave. The southern border is open, the southwestern states either majority Latino or soon to be. This is not as bad as it could be as the races seem to get along, but it imposes heavy economic and other costs. At the same time across the country cities have huge black ghettos with appalling semiliteracy, no prospects for the young, all of this apparently irremediable. Racial attacks on whites and Asians grow in number and so, almost everywhere, do racial killings, mostly by blacks. Governments at all levels fear blacks who they know will burn cities if provoked, which leads tax bases to flee from cities, making things worse.

This adds to potentially explosive resentment. There is a substantial White Nationalist movement, that wants no non-whites in America (a bit late for this), Republican Chambers of Commerce, that want more illegal Latinos for the cheap labor but won’t say so, and the high-tech sector, which wants more East Asian and Indian immigrants on which America, with a failing educational system, increasingly depends.

Overall, government is weak, unable to prevent crime, riots, and looting. Washington does not control, but is controlled, being a storefront operation for special interests. Elections do not change policy but only the division of the spoils. Presidents perform their three essential duties, protecting Wall Street, Israel, and the military budget, but not much else.

Schooling is being dumbed down in stark contrast with China. Excellence everywhere is discouraged in the name of equity. Native white talent dwindles in the elite schools, from high-end high schools through CalTech, as Asian majorities predominate. Measures of talent, such as SATs and Medcats, are dropped or downplayed. English grammar and arithmetic are dropped as racist. None of this seems likely to improve America’s future competitiveness.

Finally, the media are controlled. This allows Washington freedom of action abroad as enough of the public will believe anything they are told by television (The Russians are coming, the Chinese are coming, the Iranians are coming, the Guatemalans….) Internally censorship may keep the lid on, for now anyway, by keeping enough of the population from knowing what is going on. By preventing discussion of problems, or their mention, it assures that nothing will be done. I suspect this is having the effect of winding a spring.

Where is all of this leading?

Biden is playing as if this were 1960 and the US enjoyed rock solid military and economic superiority and the population were firmly behind him. This is the world he remembers, being an aging cold warrior. He seems to believe that he consequently can do what he pleases with no repercussions for America. This may be true, or true enough. Perhaps he believes that Russia will collapse in domestic rebellion or simply surrender to the US. It is not how I would bet.

But—and this is sheer speculation—it is not clear what would happen if Russia cut off gas and petroleum and wheat and such things as neon gas from Europe. The West is accustomed to bombing remote countries, not to going without. Would Russia collapse under privation before Europe decided it wanted to trade with Moscow after all?

If Biden and the hawks decide to play hardball with China, they may realize that America is an economic dependency of Beijing. If—again, very hypothetically—China cut off all trade with America, the US economy would die instantly. Almost everything on American shelves is made in China. An American public already very unhappy would explode, which it is on the point of doing for various reasons. Reflect on the Floyd riots. China would be hurt, but it has other markets and a nationalistic population more united than the American.

Them’s my thoughts, probably worth what you pay for them.

The American Empire self-destructs. But nobody thought that it would happen this fast

MARCH 08, 2022

Source

by Michael Hudson

Empires often follow the course of a Greek tragedy, bringing about precisely the fate that they sought to avoid. That certainly is the case with the American Empire as it dismantles itself in not-so-slow motion.

The basic assumption of economic and diplomatic forecasting is that every country will act in its own self-interest. Such reasoning is of no help in today’s world. Observers across the political spectrum are using phrases like “shooting themselves in their own foot” to describe U.S. diplomatic confrontation with Russia and allies alike. But nobody thought that The American Empire would self-destruct this fast.

For more than a generation the most prominent U.S. diplomats have warned about what they thought would represent the ultimate external threat: an alliance of Russia and China dominating Eurasia. America’s economic sanctions and military confrontation have driven these two countries together, and are driving other countries into their emerging Eurasian orbit.

American economic and financial power was expected to avert this fate. During the half-century since the United States went off gold in 1971, the world’s central banks have operated on the Dollar Standard, holding their international monetary reserves in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, U.S. bank deposits and U.S. stocks and bonds. The resulting Treasury-bill Standard has enabled America to finance its foreign military spending and investment takeover of other countries simply by creating dollar IOUs. U.S. balance-of-payments deficits end up in the central banks of payments-surplus countries as their reserves, while Global South debtors need dollars to pay their bondholders and conduct their foreign trade.

This monetary privilege – dollar seignorage – has enabled U.S. diplomacy to impose neoliberal policies on the rest of the world, without having to use much military force of its own except to grab Near Eastern oil.

The recent escalation of U.S. sanctions blocking Europe, Asia and other countries from trade and investment with Russia, Iran and China has imposed enormous opportunity costs – the cost of lost opportunities – on U.S. allies. And the recent confiscation of the gold and foreign reserves of Venezuela, Afghanistan and now Russia,[1] along with the targeted grabbing of bank accounts of wealthy foreigners (hoping to win their hearts and minds, enticed by the hope for the return of their sequestered accounts), has ended the idea that dollar holdings – or now also assets in sterling and euro NATO satellites of the dollar – are a safe investment haven when world economic conditions become shaky.

So I am somewhat chagrined as I watch the speed at which this U.S.-centered financialized system has de-dollarized over the span of just a year or two. The basic theme of my Super Imperialism has been how, for the past fifty years, the U.S. Treasury-bill standard has channeled foreign savings to U.S. financial markets and banks, giving Dollar Diplomacy a free ride. I thought that de-dollarization would be led by China and Russia moving to take control of their economies to avoid the kind of financial polarization that is imposing austerity on the United States.[2] But U.S. officials are forcing Russia, China and other nations not locked into the U.S. orbit to see the writing on the wall and overcome whatever hesitancy they had to de-dollarize.

I had expected that the end of the dollarized imperial economy would come about by other countries breaking away. But that is not what has happened. U.S. diplomats themselves have chosen to end international dollarization, while helping Russia build up its own means of self-reliant agricultural and industrial production. This global fracture process actually has been going on for some years, starting with the sanctions blocking America’s NATO allies and other economic satellites from trading with Russia. For Russia, these sanctions had the same effect that protective tariffs would have had.

Russia had remained too enthralled by free-market neoliberal ideology to take steps to protect its own agriculture and industry. The United States provided the help that was needed by imposing domestic self-reliance on Russia. When the Baltic states obeyed American sanctions and lost the Russian market for their cheese and other farm products, Russia quickly created its own cheese and dairy sector – while becoming the world’s leading grain exporter.

Russia is discovering (or is on the verge of discovering) that it does not need U.S. dollars as backing for the ruble’s exchange rate. Its central bank can create the rubles needed to pay domestic wages and finance capital formation. The U.S. confiscations of its dollar and euro reserves may finally lead Russia to end its adherence to neoliberal monetary philosophy, as Sergei Glaziev has long been advocating, in favor of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

The same dynamic of undercutting ostensible U.S aims has occurred with U.S. sanctions against the leading Russian billionaires. The neoliberal shock therapy and privatizations of the 1990s left Russian kleptocrats with only one way to cash out on the assets they had grabbed from the public domain. That was to incorporate their takings and sell their shares in London and New York. Domestic savings had been wiped out, and U.S. advisors persuaded Russia’s central bank not to create its own ruble money.

The result was that Russia’s national oil, gas and mineral patrimony was not used to finance a rationalization of Russian industry and housing. Instead of the revenue from privatization being invested to create new Russian means of protection, it was burned up on nouveau-riche acquisitions of luxury British real estate, yachts and other global flight-capital assets. But the effect of sanctions making the dollar, sterling and euro holdings of Russian billionaires hostage has been to make the City of London too risky a venue in which to hold their assets – and for the wealthy of any other nation potentially subject to U.S. sanctions. By imposing sanctions on the richest Russians closest to Putin, U.S. officials hoped to induce them to oppose his breakaway from the West, and thus to serve effectively as NATO agents-of-influence. But for Russian billionaires, their own country is starting to look safest.

For many decades now, the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury have fought against gold recovering its role in international reserves. But how will India and Saudi Arabia view their dollar holdings as Biden and Blinken try to strong-arm them into following the U.S. “rules-based order” instead of their own national self-interest? The recent U.S. dictates have left little alternative but to start protecting their own political autonomy by converting dollar and euro holdings into gold as an asset free from political liability of being held hostage to the increasingly costly and disruptive U.S. demands.

U.S. diplomacy has rubbed Europe’s nose in its abject subservience by telling its governments to have their companies dump their Russian assets for pennies on the dollar after Russia’s foreign reserves were blocked and the ruble’s exchange rate plunged. Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and other U.S. investors moved quickly to buy up what Shell Oil and other foreign companies were unloading.

Nobody thought that the postwar 1945-2020 world order would give way this fast. A truly new international economic order is emerging, although it is not yet clear just what form it will take. But the confrontations resulting from “prodding the Bear” with the U.S./NATO aggression against Russia has passed critical-mass level. It no longer is just about Ukraine. That is merely the trigger, a catalyst for driving much of the world away from the US/NATO orbit.

The next showdown may come within Europe itself as nationalist politicians seek to lead a break-away from the over-reaching U.S. power-grab over its European and other allies to keep them dependent on U.S.-based trade and investment. The price of their continuing obedience is to impose cost-inflation on their industry while subordinating their democratic electoral politics to America’s NATO proconsuls.

These consequences cannot really be deemed “unintended.” Too many observers have pointed out exactly what would happen – headed by President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov explaining just what their response would be if NATO insisted on backing them into a corner while attacking Eastern Ukrainian Russian-speakers and moving heavy weaponry to Russia’s Western border. The consequences were anticipated. The neocons in control of U.S. foreign policy simply didn’t care. Recognizing Russian concerns was deemed to make one a Putinversteher.

European officials did not feel uncomfortable in telling the world about their worries that Donald Trump was crazy and upsetting the apple cart of international diplomacy. But they seem to have been blindsided by the Biden Administration’s resurgence of visceral Russia-hatred via Secretary of State Blinken and Victoria Nuland-Kagan. Trump’s mode of expression and mannerisms may have been uncouth, but America’s neocon gang have much more globally threatening confrontation obsessions. For them, it was a question of whose reality would emerge victorious: the “reality” that they believed they could make, or economic reality outside of U.S. control.

What foreign countries have not done for themselves to replace the IMF, World Bank and other strongarms of U.S. diplomacy, American politicians are forcing them to do. Instead of European, Near Eastern and Global South countries breaking away as they calculate their own long-term economic interests, America is driving them away, as it has done with Russia and China. More politicians are seeking voter support by asking whether their countries would be better served by new monetary arrangements to replace dollarized trade, investment and even foreign debt service.

The energy and food price squeeze is hitting Global South countries especially hard, coinciding with their own Covid-19 problems and the looming dollarized debt service coming due. Something must give. How long will these countries impose austerity to pay foreign bondholders?

How will the U.S. and European economies cope in the face of their sanctions against imports of Russian gas and oil, cobalt, aluminum, palladium and other basic materials. American diplomats have made a list of raw materials that their economy desperately needs and which therefore are exempt from the trade sanctions being imposed. This provides Mr. Putin a handy list of U.S. pressure points to use in reshaping world diplomacy and helping European and other countries break away from the Iron Curtain that America has imposed to lock its satellites into dependence on high-priced U.S. supplies?

The Biden Inflation

But the final breakaway from NATO’s adventurism must come from within the United States itself. As this year’s midterm elections approach, politicians will find a fertile ground in showing U.S. voters that the price inflation led by gasoline and energy is a policy byproduct of the Biden Administration’s blocking of Russian oil and gas exports. (Bad news for owners of big SUV gas guzzlers!) Gas is needed not only for heating and energy production, but to make fertilizer, of which there already is a world shortage. This situation is exacerbated by blocking Russian and Ukrainian grain exports to the United States and Europe, causing food prices already to soar.

There already is a striking disconnect between the financial sector’s view of reality and that promoted in the mainstream NATO media. Europe’s stock markets plunged at their opening on Monday, March 7, while Brent oil soared to $130 a barrel. The BBC’s morning “Today” news broadcast featured Conservative MP Alan Duncan, an oil trader, warning that the near doubling of prices in natural gas futures threatened to bankrupt companies committed to supplying gas to Europe at the old rates. But returning to the military “Two Minutes of Hate” news, the BBC kept applauding the brave Ukrainian fighters and NATO politicians urging more military support. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 650 points, and gold soared to over $2,000 an ounce – reflecting the financial sector’s view of how the U.S. game is likely to play out. Nickel prices rose by even more – 40 percent.

Trying to force Russia to respond militarily and thereby look bad to the rest of the world is turning out to be a stunt aimed simply at ensuring Europe contribute more to NATO, buy more U.S. military hardware and lock itself deeper into trade and monetary dependence on the United States. The instability that this has caused is turning out to have the effect of making the United States look as threatening as Russia is claimed to be by the NATO West.

  1. Libya’s gold also disappeared after NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 
  2. See most recently Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson (2021), “Beyond Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy,” Valdai Club Paper No. 116. Moscow: Valdai Club, 7 July, repr. in Real World Economic Review (97), https://rwer.wordpress.com/2021/09/23. 

Video: NATO Too Weak to Face Russia? Scott Ritter on Russian Offensive

February 28, 2022

By Scott Ritter and Richard Medhurst

Global Research,

Richard Medhurst 25 February 2022

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Today, the dangers of military escalation are beyond description.

What is now happening in Ukraine has serious geopolitical implications. It could lead us into a World War III scenario.

It is important that a peace process be initiated with a view to preventing escalation. 

Global Research condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Bilateral Peace Agreement is required.


Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, discusses the military invasion of Russia in Ukraine with Richard Medhurst.

According to Ritter, this is a massive Russian operation that aims to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine which means two things. One, Ukrainian military will cease to exist. And two, Ukrainian government will be gone because President Putin says it is a Nazi government.

Watch the interview below.

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Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

The original source of this article is Richard Medhurst

Copyright © Scott Ritter and Richard MedhurstRichard Medhurst, 2022

روسيا: نحاول منع حرب شاملة.. وبوتين: لا ننوي الإضرار بالنظام العالمي

2022 الجمعة 25 شباط
المصدر: وكالات+الميادين نت

المتحدّثة باسم الخارجية الروسية، ماريا زاخاروفا، تقول إن “العملية العسكرية الخاصة، والتي تنفذها روسيا في أوكرانيا، هي محاولة لمنع حرب شاملة”.

الكرملين: مستقبل أوكرانيا هو خيار الشعب الأوكراني

عقد الرئيس الروسي، فلاديمير بوتين، مؤتمراً صحافياً، بعد ظهر اليوم الخميس، في العاصمة موسكو، قال فيه “نحن لا ننوي الإضرار بالنظام العالمي، وعلى شركائنا فهم هذا الأمر”.

وأكَّد بوتين أنَّ “روسيا لا تزال جزءاً من الاقتصاد العالمي”، مضيفاً “نحن لا نعتزم إلحاق الضرر بالنظام الذي ننتمي إليه”. وأوضح الرئيس الروسي أنَّ “جميع المحاولات التي قمنا بها، من أجل تغيير الوضع، لم تكن مثمرةً”.

الخارجية الروسية: تلميح كييف إلى أنها تمتلك أسلحة نووية قلب الوضع برمته

من جهتها، أعلنت وزارة الخارجية الروسية، اليوم الخميس، أنه “قبل بدء العملية العسكرية، أخبرتنا واشنطن بأنها ترفض مطالبنا بشأن الضمانات الأمنية”.

وقالت المتحدثة باسم الخارجية الروسية، ماريا زاخاروفا، إن “العملية العسكرية الخاصة، والتي تنفّذها روسيا في أوكرانيا، هي محاولة لمنع حرب شاملة”.

وشدّدت زاخاروفا على أن “هذه ليست بداية حرب، بل محاولة لمنع وقوع حرب عالمية شاملة”.

وأضافت، في حديث تلفزيوني، أن “هذه ليست بداية حرب. هذا أولاً، وهذا مهم للغاية. رغبتنا هي منع التطورات التي يمكن أن تتطور إلى حرب عالمية. وثانياً، هذه نهاية الحرب”.

وأكدت المتحدثة باسم الخارجية الروسية أن “تلميح كييف إلى أنها تمتلك أسلحة نووية قلب الوضع برمته، رأساً على عقب”.

وقالت المتحدثة الرسمية باسم وزارة الخارجية الروسية إن “الولايات المتحدة بالذات، رفضت إجراء حوار مع روسيا بشأن أوكرانيا والأمن العالمي”.

وأوضحت أنه “في هذا اليوم بالذات، كان من المفترض أن يكون الوفد الروسي، الرسمي، برئاسة وزير الخارجية سيرغي لافروف، في المنصات الأوروبية نفسها، التي نسمع منها جميع أنواع الاتهامات الموجهة إلينا”.

وأضافت أنه “كان من المفترض أن يكون هناك إجراء لمفاوضات مع الوفد الأميركي، برئاسة وزير الخارجية الأميركي السيد (أنتوني) بلينكن، والجانب الأميركي بالذات هو الذي رفض إجراء مزيد من المفاوضات” .

وأشارت زاخاروفا إلى أن ذلك يشمل المفاوضات بشأن قضايا الأمن العالمي، والاستقرار الاستراتيجي والوضع الراهن.

وأضافت زاخاروفا “لكن، بالطبع، لم يكن ذلك ممكنا ًبمعزل عن أوكرانيا. أرسل الجانب الأميركي رداً رسمياً إلى الجانب الروسي في صورة رسالة من وزير الخارجية الأميركي، ذكر فيها بالتفصيل، وبطريقة فظة تماماً، عدم استعداده للتفاوض مع روسيا. كل ذلك تسلمته موسكو قبل بدء العملية الخاصة. والعالم كله يجب أن يعرف ذلك”.

روسيا ستردّ على العقوبات الغربية

وأعلنت المتحدثة الرسمية باسم وزارة الخارجية الروسية، ماريا زاخاروفا، اليوم الخميس، أن روسيا سترد على عقوبات الدول الغربية، والتي لا يمكنها أن تفعل شيئاً أكثر من التلويح بعقوبات.

وقالت زاخاروفا أنه “عندما تُخرج أوروبا مرة أخرى من الصندوق حزمةً أخرى من العقوبات وتلوّح بها، فمن الواضح أنها لا تستطيع فعل أي شيء آخر. لكن يجب أن يفكر (الأوروبيون) الآن فيما يمكن أن يؤدي إليه الوضع، إذا انفجرت دولة (أوكرانيا) من الداخل، بسبب مشاكل داخلية”، والتي يمكن أن “تتلعثم فجأة بشأن امتلاك أسلحة نووية”.

وأضافت “سوف نرد (على العقوبات) بالطريقة نفسها التي رددنا بها من قبل. سنرد بالمثل، بصورة متماثلة، أو غير متماثلة، وبحسب ما يتطلبه الموقف. سننطلق من مصالحنا الخاصة”.

لافروف: روسيا منفتحة دائماً على الحوار مع كل الدول

من جهته، رأى وزير الخارجية الروسي، سيرغي لافروف، أن “الإجراءات التي اتخذتها موسكو في أوكرانيا تهدف إلى ضمان أمن الشعب الروسي”، قائلاً إن “روسيا مستعدة للحوار مع كل الدول”.

وقال لافروف، خلال لقائه نظيرَه الباكستاني، شاه محمود قريشي، إن “الرئيس الروسي، فلاديمير بوتين، أدلى ببيان مفصَّل هذا الصباح يتعلق بإجراءات الناتو، وبأنها لم تعد مقتصرة على أراضي الدول الأعضاء، بل على نطاق واسع”، مضيفاً أن “الناتو” يدّعي أنه “مسؤول عن أمن العالم”.

وأضاف أن “الطريقة التي يروّجونها لما يسمى الاستراتيجيات في منطقتي المحيطين الهندي والهادئ هي بالتأكيد دليل على أن لديهم شهية لكوكب الأرض بأكمله”، موضحاً “أننا أجرينا مناقشات متوترة ومفصلة مع زملائنا الأميركيين وأعضاء آخرين في حلف شمال الأطلسي. ونأمل أن تظل هناك فرصة في العودة إلى القانون الدولي والالتزامات الدولية”.

وتابع لافروف “بما أننا نتخذ الإجراءات التي أعلنها الرئيس لضمان أمن البلاد والشعب الروسي، سنكون بالتأكيد مستعدين دائماً لحوار سيعيدنا إلى العدالة، ومبادئ ميثاق الأمم المتحدة”.

الكرملين: مستقبل أوكرانيا هو خيار الشعب الأوكراني

بالتزامن، أعلن الكرملين، في بيانه، أن “مستقبل أوكرانيا هو خيار الشعب الأوكراني”، لافتاً إلى أنه “لا مجال للحديث عن غزو أوكرانيا”.

وناشد مجلس الدوما الروسي أبناء أوكرانيا ألا يلبّوا نداء التعبئة “حقناً للدماء”.

يشار إلى أنّ الرئيس الروسي، فلاديمير بوتين، أعلن صباح اليوم الخميس، بدء عملية عسكرية في دونباس، قائلاً إن “المواجهة بين روسيا والقوى القومية المتطرّفة في أوكرانيا لا مفر منها”.

وقال الرئيس الروسي إنّ “مجمل تطورات الأحداث وتحليل المعلومات يُظهر أن المواجهة بين روسيا والقوى المتطرفة في أوكرانيا لا مفر منها.. إنها مسألة وقت”، مشيراً إلى أنّ “روسيا لن تسمح لأوكرانيا بامتلاك أسلحة نووية”.

وأمس الأربعاء، طلبت جمهوريتا لوغانسك ودونيتسك من الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين المساعدة على صدّ عدوان نفذته القوات المسلحة الأوكرانية، لتجنّب وقوع خسائر في صفوف المدنيين، ومنع وقوع كارثة إنسانية في دونباس.

وقال المتحدث الصحافي باسم الرئاسة الروسية، دميتري بيسكوف، إنّ بوتين “تلقى رسائل من قادة الجمهوريتين بالنيابة عن شعبيهما، يعبّرون فيها مرة أخرى عن الامتنان لرئيس روسيا على الاعتراف بدولتيهم”.

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West Asian governments react to Ukraine conflict

While most West Asian officials urged restraint between Kiev and Moscow, Israel and Turkey openly denounced Russia’s military incursion

February 24, 2022

ByNews Desk

In response to the latest outbreak of fighting between Russia and Ukraine, a number of West Asian government officials chimed in with differing views on the crisis.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a 24 February Tweet that “The Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocations,” adding that the solution lay in an “imperative to establish ceasefire & to fin a political and democratic resolution.”

Syria supported and backed the independence of the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said on 21 February that Damascus “supports President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and will cooperate with them.”

On that same day, a high-ranking official and spokesman of the Ansarallah-led government of Yemen similarly declared his nation’s support of the newly-independent republics. In a 21 February tweet, Muhammad Ali al-Houthi said that “We support the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent republics,” adding that “we call for restraint and not to slip into a war intended to drain Russian capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called upon both parties to “exercise restraint” on 24 February, following a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The statement from the Qatari Emir’s office added that “Sheikh Tamim also called the protection of civilians and the prioritization of the humanitarian situation.”

The Emir’s statement comes two days after Doha received a letter by Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasizing the need to strengthen bilateral ties.

Turkey, a NATO ally, sided with Ukraine over Russia, denouncing Moscow’s launch of a defensive military operation in the region of Donbass.

In a televised address, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara “reject[s] Russia’s military operation,” as a “heavy blow to regional peace and stability.”

Also denouncing Russia and siding with NATO, Israel made its first stance on the conflict public on 24 February, when Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “the Russian attack on Ukraine is a violation of the world order and Israel condemns it.”

In a televised address on 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special operation” in Donbass.

His decision came just three days after recognizing the independence of the newly-formed republics of Luhansk and Donestk on 21 February, two provinces formerly part of Ukraine that lie on the border with Russia.

Part of the larger Donbass area, the new republics formed part of a territory whose population is overwhelmingly supportive of Russia, and whose support has rendered them the subject of shelling attacks from the Ukrainian Army since 2014.

Residents of the Donbass region have been facing attacks by Ukraine following a US-backed coup that deposed the former government and installed a NATO-friendly regime.

Address by the President of the Russian Federation – February 24, 2022

February 24, 2022

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Citizens of Russia, friends,

I consider it necessary today to speak again about the tragic events in Donbass and the key aspects of ensuring the security of Russia.

I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?

The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.

As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.

What I am saying now does not concerns only Russia, and Russia is not the only country that is worried about this. This has to do with the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even US allies. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world, and the norms of international law that developed by that time – and the most important of them, the fundamental norms that were adopted following WWII and largely formalised its outcome – came in the way of those who declared themselves the winners of the Cold War.

Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility. Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.

There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasising the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law.

This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.

Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.”

As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia. What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.

Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.

Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of European security and NATO’s non-expansion. Our efforts were in vain. The United States has not changed its position. It does not believe it necessary to agree with Russia on a matter that is critical for us. The United States is pursuing its own objectives, while neglecting our interests.

Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.

Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way. It is true that they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities. We are aware of this and have an objective view of the economic threats we have been hearing, just as our ability to counter this brash and never-ending blackmail. Let me reiterate that we have no illusions in this regard and are extremely realistic in our assessments.

As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.

At the same time, technology, including in the defence sector, is changing rapidly. One day there is one leader, and tomorrow another, but a military presence in territories bordering on Russia, if we permit it to go ahead, will stay for decades to come or maybe forever, creating an ever mounting and totally unacceptable threat for Russia.

Even now, with NATO’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year. Moreover, these past days NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.

Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.

For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.

This brings me to the situation in Donbass. We can see that the forces that staged the coup in Ukraine in 2014 have seized power, are keeping it with the help of ornamental election procedures and have abandoned the path of a peaceful conflict settlement. For eight years, for eight endless years we have been doing everything possible to settle the situation by peaceful political means. Everything was in vain.

As I said in my previous address, you cannot look without compassion at what is happening there. It became impossible to tolerate it. We had to stop that atrocity, that genocide of the millions of people who live there and who pinned their hopes on Russia, on all of us. It is their aspirations, the feelings and pain of these people that were the main motivating force behind our decision to recognise the independence of the Donbass people’s republics.

I would like to additionally emphasise the following. Focused on their own goals, the leading NATO countries are supporting the far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, those who will never forgive the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for freely making a choice to reunite with Russia.

They will undoubtedly try to bring war to Crimea just as they have done in Donbass, to kill innocent people just as members of the punitive units of Ukrainian nationalists and Hitler’s accomplices did during the Great Patriotic War. They have also openly laid claim to several other Russian regions.

If we look at the sequence of events and the incoming reports, the showdown between Russia and these forces cannot be avoided. It is only a matter of time. They are getting ready and waiting for the right moment. Moreover, they went as far as aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not let this happen.

I have already said that Russia accepted the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR. We have been treating all new post-Soviet states with respect and will continue to act this way. We respect and will respect their sovereignty, as proven by the assistance we provided to Kazakhstan when it faced tragic events and a challenge in terms of its statehood and integrity. However, Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist while facing a permanent threat from the territory of today’s Ukraine.

Let me remind you that in 2000–2005 we used our military to push back against terrorists in the Caucasus and stood up for the integrity of our state. We preserved Russia. In 2014, we supported the people of Crimea and Sevastopol. In 2015, we used our Armed Forces to create a reliable shield that prevented terrorists from Syria from penetrating Russia. This was a matter of defending ourselves. We had no other choice.

The same is happening today. They did not leave us any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help.

In this context, in accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.

The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.

It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory. We do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force. At the same time, we have been hearing an increasing number of statements coming from the West that there is no need any more to abide by the documents setting forth the outcomes of World War II, as signed by the totalitarian Soviet regime. How can we respond to that?

The outcomes of World War II and the sacrifices our people had to make to defeat Nazism are sacred. This does not contradict the high values of human rights and freedoms in the reality that emerged over the post-war decades. This does not mean that nations cannot enjoy the right to self-determination, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.

Let me remind you that the people living in territories which are part of today’s Ukraine were not asked how they want to build their lives when the USSR was created or after World War II. Freedom guides our policy, the freedom to choose independently our future and the future of our children. We believe that all the peoples living in today’s Ukraine, anyone who want to do this, must be able to enjoy this right to make a free choice.

In this context I would like to address the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the people of Crimea and Sevastopol from those who you yourself call “nats.” The people of Crimea and Sevastopol made their choice in favour of being with their historical homeland, Russia, and we supported their choice. As I said, we could not act otherwise.

The current events have nothing to do with a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the defending Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and our people.

I reiterate: we are acting to defend ourselves from the threats created for us and from a worse peril than what is happening now. I am asking you, however hard this may be, to understand this and to work together with us so as to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and to move forward together, without allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs and our relations but developing them independently, so as to create favourable conditions for overcoming all these problems and to strengthen us from within as a single whole, despite the existence of state borders. I believe in this, in our common future.

I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Comrade officers,

Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.

I urge you to refuse to carry out their criminal orders. I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families.

I want to emphasise again that all responsibility for the possible bloodshed will lie fully and wholly with the ruling Ukrainian regime.

I would now like to say something very important for those who may be tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.

Citizens of Russia,

The culture and values, experience and traditions of our ancestors invariably provided a powerful underpinning for the wellbeing and the very existence of entire states and nations, their success and viability. Of course, this directly depends on the ability to quickly adapt to constant change, maintain social cohesion, and readiness to consolidate and summon all the available forces in order to move forward.

We always need to be strong, but this strength can take on different forms. The “empire of lies,” which I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, proceeds in its policy primarily from rough, direct force. This is when our saying on being “all brawn and no brains” applies.

We all know that having justice and truth on our side is what makes us truly strong. If this is the case, it would be hard to disagree with the fact that it is our strength and our readiness to fight that are the bedrock of independence and sovereignty and provide the necessary foundation for building a reliable future for your home, your family, and your Motherland.

Dear compatriots,

I am certain that devoted soldiers and officers of Russia’s Armed Forces will perform their duty with professionalism and courage. I have no doubt that the government institutions at all levels and specialists will work effectively to guarantee the stability of our economy, financial system and social wellbeing, and the same applies to corporate executives and the entire business community. I hope that all parliamentary parties and civil society take a consolidated, patriotic position.

At the end of the day, the future of Russia is in the hands of its multi-ethnic people, as has always been the case in our history. This means that the decisions that I made will be executed, that we will achieve the goals we have set, and reliably guarantee the security of our Motherland.

I believe in your support and the invincible force rooted in the love for our Fatherland.

February 24, 2022

06:00

The Kremlin, Moscow

Putin holds press conference following talks with Aliyev

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هل يطوي بوتين صفحة العالم الأميركي؟

الاربعاء 23 شباط 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

قتيبة الصالح 

يمكن الحديث عن الموقف الروسي في هذه اللحظة، والذي ينطلق في إطار الأزمة الأوكرانية من 3 محدِّدات رئيسة.

قد يكون اعتراف موسكو باستقلال جمهوريتي دونيتسك ولوغانسك، والذي أعلنه الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، هو التفصيل الأقل أهمية في خطابه المطوَّل والموجَّه إلى الشعب الروسي. أعاد بوتين، وفق سردية متماسكة، تعريف الأزمة، ملقياً الكرة مجدداً عبر الحدود، من دون أن ينسى الإشارة إلى فصل جديد في النظام العالمي.

تتجاهل واشنطن حقيقة، مفادها أن الاعتراضات الروسية على توسع الناتو سبقت وصول بوتين إلى الرئاسة أول مرة عام 2000.

ركزت أغلبية التعليقات، طوال الفترة السابقة، على أوكرانيا، في إطار الحشد العسكري الروسي وما يمثله من تهديد لكييف، بينما صوّرت الدعاية الأميركية الحدث على أنه وُلِد من العدم، وأن المشكلة الروسية هي في وجود أوكرانيا ديمقراطية عند حدودها. لذا، تريد موسكو فرض نفوذها على السياسة الخارجية لكييف.

يُذكّر ذلك مجدداً بالنهج الأميركي التقليدي؛ ذلك الذي يقوم على التعامل، وفق منطق فقدان الذاكرة التاريخي، بحيث تُفْصَل الأحداث عن سياقها وعن كل ما أدى إلى الوصول إليها. في هذا السياق، تتجاهل واشنطن حقيقة، مفادها أن الاعتراضات الروسية على توسع الناتو سبقت وصول بوتين إلى الرئاسة أول مرة عام 2000.

وكما أوضح بوتين، طوال 65 دقيقة، فإن جذور الأزمة تعود إلى التسويات غير المحسومة لمرحلة ما بعد الحرب الباردة؛ تلك الترتيبات التي تمت بينما كانت روسيا، كما يصفها أحد الكتّاب الأميركيين، جاثية على ركبتيها، تُباع بزّات ضبّاط جيشها مع الأوسمة فوق أرصفة موسكو بثمن بخس.

لم تكن الولايات المتحدة حينها في حاجة إلى المناورة. اختارت إدارة بيل كلينتون الاستمرار في تمدد الناتو شرقاً. لم تكن فكرة إيقاف ذلك واردة. فإلى جانب حسابات كلينتون الداخلية، كان ذلك ضرورياً لاستمرار القيادة الأميركية العالمية، إذ زوّدت فكرة الحماية الأميركية لأوروبا الولاياتِ المتحدةَ بنفوذ هائل في مراكز القوة الاقتصادية العالمية، في تلك اللحظة.

في موسكو المنهَكة، كان الأمر مثيراً للاستغراب. صُمّم الناتو أساساً من أجل المحافظة على أمن أوروبا الغربية، ومواجهة حلف وارسو بقيادة الاتحاد السوفياتي. ومع سقوط جدار برلين، لم يعد هناك من مبرّر لاستمرار التوسع.

كانت روسيا، على عكس اليوم، أضعفَ من أن يُسمع صوتها. وعلى وقع حاجتها إلى مليارات الدولارات من صندوق النقد الدولي، لم تمتلك موسكو كثيراً من الخيارات، فوقّعت اتفاقية العلاقات المتبادلة مع الناتو عام 1997.

بسهولة، تجاهلت واشنطن اعتراضات يلتسين على تمدُّد الناتو شرقاً، والذي مثّل تراجعاً أميركياً عن الضمانات الشفوية التي أُعطيت لغورباتشوف، وتجاهلت الولايات المتحدة أيضاً الأصوات الداخلية التي اعترضت على التوسع، داعيةً إلى استغلال الفرصة التاريخية في إنشاء نظام أوروبي جديد يشمل روسيا. ونتيجة ذلك، استمر منطق الحرب الباردة أميركياً. والحلف، الذي ضم 16عضواً في ذروة الحرب الباردة، أصبح يضم 30 دولة.

لكنّ هذا السياق الطويل اتَّخذ انعطافات مهمة في الأعوام الأخيرة. حدود الناتو باتت تغازل جورجيا وأوكرانيا. وبالرغم من انفتاح موسكو على الحوار مع كييف، فإن الرئيس الأوكراني، فولوديمير زيلينسكي، اتَّخذ خطوات تشي بخيار استراتيجي، يقترب على نحو لصيق من الغرب، ويعلن ما يشبه حالة العداء المتصاعدة مع روسيا، بحيث تتحول أوكرانيا، بصورة متدرجة، إلى جارٍ مستنزِف وخَطِر.

بناءً على كل ذلك، يمكن الحديث عن الموقف الروسي في هذه اللحظة، والذي ينطلق في إطار الأزمة الأوكرانية من 3 محدِّدات رئيسة:

أولا:ـ خطاب بوتين الافتتاحي، خلال اجتماع مجلس الأمن الروسي، في أيار/مايو 2021، والذي أشار فيه إلى أن أوكرانيا تتحول “ببطء، لكن بثبات، إلى نقيض معادٍ لروسيا”. 

ثانيا:ـ  كلمة بوتين خلال الاجتماع الموسَّع لمجلس وزارة الخارجية الروسية في الـ 18 من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2021، والذي أكد فيه أنه لا يؤمن بالضمانات الأمنية الأميركية، وأن واشنطن تنسحب ببساطة من المعاهدات مع تفسير، أو من دونه.

ثالثا:ـ المقال الشديد اللهجة للرئيس السابق دميتري ميدفيديف، في صحيفة “كومرسانت”، في تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر 2021، والذي وصف فيه القيادة الأوكرانية بأنها “تابعة”، وأن إجراء مزيد من المحادثات مع كييف لا طائل فيه.

وفقاً للمحدِّدات السابقة، يمكن تلخيص الموقف الروسي بالقول إن موسكو تعتبر الحد من المخاطر التي تشكّلها أوكرانيا بوابة لمراجعة النظام الأمني في أوروبا في فترة ما بعد الحرب الباردة. وفي هذا السياق، لم تعد روسيا تقبل المسار الذي تتخذه كييف في إطار تحولها التدريجي إلى دولة معادية، بالتوازي مع عدم الثقة الروسية بالالتزام الأميركي بشأن أي إطار دبلوماسي لحل الأزمة.

وانطلاقاً من هذا الموقف، وبالنظر إلى المعطيات التي قدّمها بوتين في خطابه الأخير، يمكن تقييم مآلات الأزمة الحالية، والتي تتراوح سيناريوهاتها بين أقصى التصعيد وأقصى التسوية، أو المراوحة بينهما.

استمرار التوتّر الحادّ

كثيرة هي الحسابات لدى جميع الأطراف: تُهدَّد روسيا بعقوبات قصوى، يقلِّل بوتين أهميتَها، وهو الذي استبق خطواته بتعزيز محور بكين – موسكو، بينما ترفض الولايات المتحدة الاستجابة للمطالب الروسية، في موازاة بحثها عن بدائل في كل الاتِّجاهات من أجل ضمان الحشد الأوروبي. 

تفرض هذه المراوحة احتمال امتداد الأزمة من دون تحرّك، لكن ذلك يبدو مستنزِفاً للجميع، بينما تراقب موسكو كمية الحركة عند الجانب الآخر من الحدود، والتي يمكن أن تصل إلى مرحلة يتسلّح فيها نهج كييف العدواني بأسلحة استراتيجية، ويرفع سقف التفاوض الغربي مع روسيا.

انفراج الأزمة (تسوية موقتة أَم بعيدة المدى)

بالنسبة إلى روسيا، لم تعد التهدئة هدفاً. يبحث بوتين عن حل نهائي للمشكلة الأوكرانية، وهو يدرك تماماً أن أي اتفاق لا يتضمن الضمانات المطلوبة يعني تأجيلاً للأزمة وإعادة تفجُّرها، وفق معطيات جديدة، يصبح معها الحل أكثر تكلفة.

في السياق، يدرك الرئيس الروسي أيضاً أنه لا يمكن ضمان التزام واشنطن الاتفاقيات البعيدة المدى، وأن أياً من الهيئات التشريعية في الولايات المتحدة أو أوروبا لن تمرر اتفاقية ملزمة قانونياً مع روسيا، ناهيك بالقناعة الروسية بانعدام الثقة بقيادات كييف، حتى المستقبليين منهم.

سيناريو التصعيد العسكري (واسع أَم محدود)

تريد موسكو إنهاء التهديد الذي يشكّله الناتو عبر كييف. ومن خلال أوكرانيا تعمل روسيا على إحداث انفصال زمني عن تسعينيات القرن العشرين، تدفن من خلاله نظام ما بعد الحرب الباردة، في كل تفاصيله. 

وبعد الاعتراف باستقلال دونيتسك ولوغانسك، أصبح الحديث عن الخيار العسكري احتمالاً معقولاً بالنسبة إلى كثيرين، على أن ذلك يبقى نسبياً لناحية اتساعه ومداه ونوعيته.

يطرح كثير من الخبراء خيارات متعددة بشأن ماهية التصعيد؛ بعبارة أدق: مستويات متعددة من القوة التي يمكن لموسكو أن توظّفها. ويربط هؤلاء هذه المستويات بمستوى الأهداف الروسية: “كلما كان الهدف أكثر طموحاً، زادت القوة اللازمة لتغيير حسابات كييف وحلف الناتو للتكاليف والفوائد”.

بالحديث عن الأهداف، يمكن القول، ختاماً، إن اللحظة الأوكرانية تمثل فرصة في إعادة كتابة تاريخ ما بعد الحرب الباردة. تغادر روسيا الركام السوفياتي، ويعلن بوتين رسمياً نهاية “لحظة الأحادية القطبية”، والتي احتفل بها تشارلز كراوثامر في “الواشنطن بوست” عام 1990، معتبراً أن “الشرق استقال من اللعبة”.

وفقاً لفيونا هيل، مسؤولة الشؤون الروسية السابقة في الاستخبارات الأميركية، فإن ما يسعى إليه بوتين هو أن “تشعر الولايات المتحدة بمرارة الدواء الذي تجرَّعته روسيا خلال حقبة التسعينيات، فواشنطن ضعيفة بشدة في الجبهة الداخلية، وفي موقف متراجع في الخارج. إنه يعتقد أيضاً أن حلف الناتو ليس أكثر من امتداد للولايات المتحدة. لذا، عندما يتعلق الأمر بالحلف، تكون كل تحركات موسكو موجهة نحو واشنطن”.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

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Baiting the Bear Is Becoming a Dangerous Game

February 21, 2022

Global Research,

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

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What the so-called Russian experts and politicians all forget is that the US does not have troops scattered about in Poland, Romania, the Baltic states and other Eastern European late comers to NATO because Washington cares about these countries and feels morally obliged to protect them from Russia, which does not want them. In truth, Washington doesn’t care a hoot about Ukraine, Poland, Romania and neither do Americans. 

The reasons for Washington’s presence in Eastern Europe are entirely different.  One reason is that Washington wants the countries as locations for missile bases such as Washington has placed in Poland and Romania.  These bases are on Russia’s borders leaving no response time to nuclear missiles launched from them.  The bases give Washington the advantage in a confrontation to back down Russia.

Another reason is that the NATO countries provide customers for the US armaments industry. Washington keeps pressure on NATO members to “do their part” and spend more on their own defense. So much of the analysis and commentary about the current situation in Ukraine presents Washington and NATO as rescuers on white horses riding to the defense of states threatened by Russia. If Russia really were a threat, Washington and NATO would not be so aggressive.

The Insanity of the West Accelerates

The Soviet Union had Eastern Europe as a buffer.  Most Russian experts at the time concluded that the Warsaw Pact was a net drain on Soviet resources.  Responsibility for these countries today is the last thing Russia wants.

All Russia wants is for the US to get military bases off her doorstep.  This is a reasonable demand, and compliance with it would relieve the tensions that otherwise could break out in war.  Washington’s aggressive policy seems designed for one reason only: to cause a war.

Few people understand that the US sanctions against Russia are based entirely on lies and are in effect acts of war.  That Russia has tolerated them is interpreted by Washington as Russian weakness.  The reason Russia gets so much abuse is that she doesn’t do anything about it.

The narrative is that Russia invaded Ukraine by accepting the vote in Crimea to be reunited with Russia. Until 1991, Crimea had been part of Russia since 1783.  The vast majority of the people who live there are Russian.  Between 1991 and 2014 when the US overthrew the Ukrainian government in a coup, Crimea was occupied by Russia as Russia’s Black Sea naval base is there.  The Russian forces were already there, because Russia had a long term lease on the area.

It was the US that invaded Ukraine while the Kremlin was preoccupied with the Sochi Olympics.  The US plan was for the puppet government it installed to revoke the lease and kick the Russians out of their naval base.  It was an audacious plan that had no chance of success.  To prevent Americans from understanding the situation, the narrative was started that Russia invaded Crimea.

There are Americans who pose as Russian experts who maintain that Putin has territorial ambitions to restore the Soviet empire.  These people are not experts. They are liars.  If Putin has territorial ambitions, why did he not reincorporate Georgia into Russia?  Why has he refused for 8 years to honor the vote of the Donbass Russians to be returned to Russia?  The Donbass area, like Crimea, is historically part of Russia. Both were transferred to the Ukrainian province of the Soviet Union by the Soviet government, but Russians, not Ukrainians live there.

In US universities and think tanks, researchers’ analyses come to conclusions consistent with the views of those who fund their research. This is why there are no more Stephen Cohens who give an independent objective analysis of the real situation.  Indeed, in the US today an objective analysis is considered to be pro-Russian and the author is said to be a Russian agent.

As a result, we get a one-sided story.  The problem with one-sided stories is that the implication is the other side is entirely to blame and hasn’t a leg to stand on.  This is the position that Russia finds herself in, and it is the reason that the West doesn’t listen to a word she says.  It is very dangerous to ignore Russia when she says she finds the situation intolerable.  Russia seems at times to be masochistic, but sooner or later she will bite back.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from RT television channel Moscow, February 18, 2022

February 19, 2022

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1799343/

Question: Western media and politicians continue to whip up tensions over the alleged Russian “invasion” of Ukraine, although it seems fewer and fewer people trust their statements as time goes by. This has become a bad joke even in the UK and the United States. Why do they go on with this? What do they want to achieve?

Sergey Lavrov: I am sure that even people who are halfway interested in international politics have become convinced that this is only propaganda, fake news and lies. The main thing is for those who invent these fakes to believe in them. They like it. If they do, they can continue. Why not, indeed?

This is ridiculous. Grown-up people make “forecasts” and repeat their incantations every day. The Politico magazine has postponed the “invasion” date several times. Their latest forecast is February 20. At the same time, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been saying that the invasion may begin at any moment over the course of many months. They are trying to set the scene for the future. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Russia will “invade” Ukraine in a matter of weeks, if not days. We know that the State Department has warned its NATO allies confidentially that the “invasion” can be expected to begin before the end of February. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (no matter what you may think of his activities) has said they have no information indicating that an invasion is imminent. According to the Foreign Office, “it’s important that [they] prepare for any eventuality,” and “even if Russia pulls back from the Ukrainian border, the problem will not have gone away.” They are creating pretexts for the future. When the drills end, the troops will return to their barracks. It is already taking place, as they can see. But they are setting the tune for the future: even if Russia moves its troops back to their permanent bases, the threat will remain. … there is a saying that real men do what they say, at the very least, at the international level.

In the meantime, they are increasing their military and military-technical presence and building up their military infrastructure. The UK has said that it will double the number of troops in Estonia and will send equipment, including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles there. US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has provided an example of “refined diplomacy” when she told the media that Russia is “prepared for an attack any day.” “We’ve seen them do it when they invaded other parts of Eastern Europe,” she said. Well, they are giving us no slack.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the leaders of other NATO countries say that NATO is a defensive alliance. President Vladimir Putin reminded Mr Scholz during a news conference following the talks that NATO bombed Yugoslavia in 1999. The Chancellor replied that this was done to prevent a genocide of Kosovo Albanians, and that everything went well, and the region is prospering now. But it is not prospering at all. Kosovo and several other parts of the Western Balkans have become a breeding ground for crime, with terrorists and drug traffickers. Mercenaries are recruited there to fight in the conflicts that are being covertly fomented, including by the United States. According to available information, mercenaries are being recruited in Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, including for deployment to Donbass in an attempt to knock Russia off balance. We are currently checking this information.

The situation Olaf Scholz described with regard to Yugoslavia had nothing to do with genocide. International courts have not passed this verdict. We know who created a pretext for the bombing of Yugoslavia: US national William Walker, who headed the OSCE’s Kosovo Verification Mission. There were armed clashes, and he convened journalists to tell them in a televised statement that they had discovered the bodies of 30 civilians in Racak who had been massacred by the Serbs. He described it as genocide and took a unilateral decision, which he had no right to do, to withdraw the mission from Kosovo. This is what triggered the bombing. They said that the atrocity in Racak was the last straw and that they would cut short the activities of the criminal regime.

Later a special group was assigned to investigate the incident. It established that the dead were not civilians but militants who were dressed in civilian clothes after they had been killed in battle. The holes in their clothes did not align with the wounds. Yes, the case was investigated very thoroughly. So, saying that NATO’s invasion of Yugoslavia had a noble purpose is wrong and unethical.

The statement made by William Walker played the same role as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s vial with tooth powder, which provided an excuse to invade Iraq and destroy it. So far, neither democracy nor economy is flourishing there. Everyone knows this.Our NATO colleagues will not be able to avoid a discussion about how we are going to implement the obligations we have signed up for. They cannot have a selective interpretation of the concept that has been approved at the top level and stipulates that all the components of indivisible security are interconnected.

We are in correspondence with our American colleagues. We have responded to their reply to our December initiatives. We have not made much progress on the issues of principle. We will continue to uphold a comprehensive approach. It is impossible to make lasting agreements on matters of secondary importance without coordinating the political concept of our interaction.

Question: It has been reported that you plan to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Is this so? Do you expect to make progress?

Sergey Lavrov: Secretary Blinken and I have agreed that he would be ready to meet with me after Russia sent its document and they analysed our vision of the situation. Both of us are interested in this. It meets our interests and plans.

As I have said, we want to explain to our American colleagues and their NATO allies that we will not be satisfied with verbal promises, especially since the written obligations by the heads of state and government regarding NATO’s full respect for Russia’s interests (let alone the oral guarantees which President Vladimir Putin has mentioned on numerous occasions) turned out to be worthless. This won’t do.

We will press on for a fair solution. I don’t want to use slang, but there is a saying that real men do what they say, at the very least, at the international level.

الأمن القوميّ الروسيّ والامتحان الأوكرانيّ

 الأربعاء 16 شباط 2022

 سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

أخذت الدولة الروسية تأخذ الاسم والشكل انطلاقاً من إمارة (دوقية) موسكو إثر تحرّرها من احتلال وسيطرة القبيلة الذهبية المغولية، وأخذت شكل الدولة الحديثة في عهد إيفان الرابع الرهيب أواخر القرن الرابع عشر، ثم شكل الدولة العصرية ـ الحديثة على يد قيصرها بطرس الأكبر المستنير والمنفتح على قيم التطوّر والحداثة.

هذه الدولة الأوراسية هي الأكبر مساحة في العالم مع ما خسرته إثر تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، لا بل هي الدولة الأكبر عبر التاريخ الواضح للإنسان عبر الستة آلاف سنة من التاريخ الواضح والجلي، وتملك أكبر مخزون من الموارد الطبيعية والخامات كمّاً ونوعاً، وهي الاقتصاد السابع عالمياً والسادس في القدرة الشرائية والثالث في الإنفاق الحربيّ وتملك ربع المياه العذبة في العالم.

إنها القوة البرية الأكبر في العالم إلا أنّ نقاط ضعفها تكمن في مسألتين هامتين، المسالة الأولى هي أطرافها المترامية من أقصى الشرق المطلّ على بحر اليابان والمحيط الهادي، إلى المحيط المتجمّد الشمالي وبحر البلطيق، إلى امتلاكها 40% من قارة أوروبا، الأمر الذي يوزع قواها على كلّ تلك المساحة، والمسألة الثانية أنها غير مطلّة بحرياً على المياه الدافئة، لذلك تبقى محصورة، الأمر الذي حرمها حتى من الاكتشافات الجغرافيّة في عصر تلك الاكتشافات التي أبحرت بها الدول الأوروبية غرباً عبر الأطلسي، لم تملك روسيا إلا البحار شرقاً عبر المحيط الهادي لتكتشف ألاسكا وبلاد الأسكيمو.

بذلت روسيا محاولات مضنية استمرّت قروناً للوصول للمياه الدافئة، وإيجاد مواطئ قدم لها على سواحل المتوسط، ومن تلك المحاولات الدعم الذي بذلته في دعم تمرد حاكم الجليل ظاهر العمر على الدولة العثمانيّة، واشتباكها مع الأساطيل العثمانية والأوروبية لفكّ الحصار عن عكا، ومنها حروبها مع الدولة العثمانية للوصول إلى البحر الأسود وبحر أزوف، وهو ما نجحت فيه بعد قرون من القتال، وكان ذلك حلاً جزئياً فالبحر الأسود بحر شبه مغلق وطريقه للفضاء البحريّ لا بدّ له من المرور عبر المضائق التركية وبحر مرمرة.

هذه الحروب على طول زمنها كانت بالغة الكلفة المادية والبشرية، لدرجة أنها اضطرت الدولة الروسية لبيع ألاسكا للولايات المتحدة في منتصف القرن التاسع عشر لتمويل حروبها للوصول للمياه الدافئة والتي لم تتوقف في زمن الاتحاد السوفياتي والحرب الباردة، فكان دخولها لمصر عبد الناصر والعالم العربي والثالث، وكان ما عاصرناه من اجتياحها المرهق لأفغانستان، ومشاركتها الأخيرة في وعلى الحرب السورية التي كانت قد منحتها سابقاً إطلالتها الوحيدة على الفضاء البحريّ في ميناء طرطوس.

لعبت أيدي الزمن والفساد والجمود لعبتها التي ترافقت مع نظريات الاحتواء المزدوج وسياسات سباق حرب النجوم على إنهاء الاتحاد السوفياتي المرهق والذي أعلن عنه انهيار جدار برلين، فانفلتت دول الكتلة الشرقية الأعضاء في حلف وارسو من قبضة موسكو ونقلت سلاحها لكتف آخر لتصبح في حلف شمال الأطلسي وتدخل نظام السوق الاقتصادي، فيما استقلت دول عديدة كانت جزءاً من الاتحاد السوفياتي لتصبح دولاً مستقلة.

كما لعب الغرب ممثلاً بحلف شمال الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي في ملعب موسكو، وأخرج دول أوروبا الشرقية من بيت الطاعة الروسي واستباح حتى روسيا نفسها في عهدي ميخائيل غورباتشوف وبوريس يلتسن، واستمر في محاولاته السياسية في الملعب الآسيوي للاتحاد السوفياتي السابق.

عودة الروح لروسيا كانت أمراً لا بدّ منه طال زمن الوهن أم قصر، وكان أن استردّت الروح وبالتالي استطاعت تدارك الخطر المحدق الذي تبدّى أولاً في جورجيا وتصدّت له موسكو بالحديد والنار، ثم في أوكرانيا عام 2014 حيث استردّت شبه جزيرة القرم ومقاطعتين من أوكرانيا، ومؤخراً في كازاخستان واليوم في أوكرانيا التي تحاول الانضمام لحلف الأطلسي ظناً منها أنّ هذا يحميها من جارها القويّ.

في الجانب الآخر من الصورة تريد الولايات المتحدة التفرّغ للصين وبحرها ونموّها الاقتصادي السريع وطريق حريرها، في حين تعرف الصين أنّ نقطة الاشتباك الأخطر في جزء منها مستقلّ ومعاد لها، انه تايوان أو الصين الوطنية سابقاً، وفي غمرة الاستعداد والتموضع الأميركي في جوار الصين، أجرت هذه مناورات واسعة مشتركة مع إيران وروسيا في بحر عُمان، ولعلّ الولايات المتحدة قد رأت في اشتباك استباقيّ مع روسيا حول أوكرانيا ما يمكن اعتباره تمريناً حياً لما يمكن أن يحدث مع تايوان، هذا إضافة إلى انزعاج واشنطن من حلفائها الأوروبيين في علاقاتهم سواء مع الصين أو روسيا، ألمانيا هي الشريك التجاري الثاني لروسيا سواء في شراء الغاز والاستثمار في خط غاز نورد 2 أو في التبادل التجاري بين البلدين والذي يستثني واشنطن في السياسة والاستراتيجية وحتى في التبادل بأوراق دولارها، ومنزعجة كذلك من فرنسا في حربها الباردة، حتى الآن مع الصين والذي تبدّى في إلغاء أستراليا صفقة شراء الغواصات الفرنسية واستبدالها بغواصات أميركية.

لن تقبل روسيا بوجود الناتو في أوكرانيا أو استعمال الأرض الأوكرانية لأغراض عسكرية ولا بأيّ شكل من الأشكال، فالمسألة لها علاقة بالمقدس الروسي، بالأمن القومي، وتراها مسألة حياة أو موت، فيما تراها واشنطن مسألة سياسيّة تحتمل فيها الربح والخسارة وهي لا تمسّ جوهر الأمن القومي الأميركي، من هذه المعادلة يمكن القول بأن روسيا لن تتراجع عن محاولة فرض ما تريد.

حدّد الرئيس الأميركي بايدن يوم أمس الأربعاء موعداً لبدء الحرب، وهو موعد انتهاء دورة ألعاب رياضيّة في الصين ولكن حتى موعد دفع هذا المقال للنشر لم يظهر أن الموعد الذي ضربه الرئيس الأميركي دقيقاً، وقد ردّ عليه مصدر دبلوماسي روسي مؤكداً ومتهكماً: أن لا نية لبدء الحرب الأربعاء وأن ليس من عادة الدول أن تبدأ حروبها في يوم أربعاء.

هناك احتمالات ثلاثة…

الاحتمال الأول: أن تجتاح القوات الروسية أوكرانيا غير آبهة بالعالم وعقوباته وأية نتائج لهذا الاجتياح، وواضعة نهاية للدولة الأوكرانية، ولكن مخاطرة بحرب استنزاف طويلة والتمرّغ بمستنقع شبيه بما حصل معها ومع غيرها في أفغانستان واليمن.

الاحتمال الثاني: أن تكتفي روسيا باحتلال أجزاء من أوكرانيا مجاورة لها، وتملأها بالقواعد العسكرية القادرة على السيطرة على أيّ تحرك معادٍ لها في الأراضي الأوكرانية.

الاحتمال الثالث: هو في الوصول إلى تسوية تكون فيها أيه حكومة أوكرانية موافق عليها من قبل موسكو، وتكون غير راغبة لا في دخول حلف شمال الأطلسي وراغبة عن ممارسة أي عمل معادٍ لموسكو.

ليس من السهل التنبّؤ بمجريات الأمور ومآلات هذا التصعيد الذي قد يهدّد السلم العالمي، ولكن قد يكون من المباح التوقع بأنّ موسكو جادّة ومستعدة للسير إلى أبعد مدى للحفاظ على أمنها القومي.

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*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في الكفير ـ جنين ـ فلسطين المحتلة.

Melenchon: Washington has decided to annex Ukraine to NATO

February 12, 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

The French presidential candidate asserts that NATO is the real aggressor in the Ukraine crisis, and not Russia.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a socialist presidential candidate for France (AFP)

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a French presidential candidate, argued that NATO, not Russia, is responsible for the current tensions in Europe. 

Melenchon, in addition to another top-tier candidate, expressed worries about NATO’s recent behavior in the region, particularly against the Ukrainian backdrop. Melenchon is the founder of the democratic socialist party, La France Insoumise. 

The candidate, on a televised interview on France 2, was asked who he thinks is the real aggressor in the current crisis. Ultimately, Melenchon answered, “NATO, without a doubt.”

“The United States of America has decided to annex Ukraine to NATO, and Russia feels humiliated, threatened, aggressed,” the politician said. “In the crisis situation that has developed, the United States cannot decide who to consider its main adversary – China or Russia…So what do they do? They want Ukraine to be pulled into NATO. We the French have no interest [in such plans], we don’t care about that,” he said.

Read more: Russia: Anglo-Saxons need a war at any cost

He explains that Russia has been accused of aggression just for the reason that it has been moving its troops within Russian territory. However, NATO placed missiles and defense systems in Poland – that is a genuine threat to Moscow, if it were to consider it one, and rightfully. 

However, Melenchon explains that he does not intend to defend Russia, and that if he were to preside over France, he’d orient the country towards a more non-aligned stance. The candidate expressed resentment towards France’s blind following of Washington. 

“I am not here to defend Russia. We are living in a time of a balance of power. France’s position, if I am to preside over it, is non-alignment,” Melenchon said. “France’s interest is not to be aligned and therefore not to repeat like parrots the propaganda of the United States of America.”

Melenchon promised that he would sign on guarantees that no French forces, through NATO, will be deployed to Ukraine. 

France will be carrying out its elections on April 10, with a second round due on April 24. 

Macron expects de-escalation in Ukraine after ‘success of Moscow meetings’

According to the French President on Tuesday, progress has been made regarding security and stability in the region following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Monday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Moscow to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and the issue of security guarantees.

In addition, Macron met with the Ukrainian President on Tuesday. In a press conference in Kyiv, he expressed that meetings with both presidents “made it possible to make progress in building stability and security in the region,” divulging that he expects a de-escalation in Ukraine after the Russian President assured him an escalation is not on the table.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Between Russia and the USA: Will Turkey’s Zigzags Work in the ‘Ukraine Crisis’?

February 3, 2022

Erkin Öncan

It is not possible to be at more than one table at the same time, especially in topics such as Ukraine, where tensions are at critical levels, Erkin Öncan writes.

It would be more appropriate to call this crisis a ’Russia-US/NATO crisis’, rather than Russia-Ukraine.

While the Western world continues its strategy of containing Russia at full speed, under the leadership of the USA, the Western media (propaganda device at all) continues to pump the opposite narrative: the so-called Russian occupation.

The ’Russian occupation’ narrative featured in the Western media is actually not about the steps that Russia will take militarily. This narrative is directly related to the interests of the Western empire. Besides, this ’invasion’ propaganda will cause Ukraine to become more dependent on the West. This situation enabled NATO to refresh its blood at exactly the right time, in a period when the alliance has started to be questioned even by its members.

Western media, successfully fulfilling their historical mission, continue theur disinformation efforts in line with NATO interests, by trampling on the journalistic principles they frequently voiced: Russia’s so-called invasion of Ukraine, the ’annexation’ of Crimea, the Russian separatists ’dividing’ Ukraine, and so on…

NATO’s historical role

The ’ghost of communism’ circulating in Europe in the 19th century and the ideas of equality and freedom have become much more than a ’ghost’ with the chain of socialist revolutions and national liberation movements that started to break out in the first half of the 1900s.

The uprisings and revolutions of the oppressed nations around the world have become the biggest obstacle to the global exploitation of the imperialist system. In the 1950s, Imperialism needed a tool to remove this obstacle and to establish a world of war and exploitation: NATO.

NATO was structured by imperialism, especially against the USSR, to take a position against all kinds of progressive movements around the world, under the pretext of ’the threat of communism’. The biggest argument used by this greatest apparatus of aggression to create legitimacy for itself could be none other than a ’possible Soviet invasion’.

Today, under the leadership of the US, NATO’s rhetoric and strategy are proceeding in exactly the same way. The only difference is that the ’USSR’ was replaced by the ’Russian Federation’. The Soviets no longer exist, but there is Russia, still surrounded by aggressors and Nazis.

NATO and Turkey

In this scenario, one of the most curious regional actors is Turkey. Although Turkey, as a NATO member, has acted in the interests of NATO and the USA for many years, it is not possible to say the same, especially for the last five-year period.

The relations between Turkey and the USA have been in a deteriorating trend recently, and it can be clearly seen that steps have been taken on the ground that contradict each other’s interests, despite the parties’ endless statements of ’partnership’.

To understand Turkey’s stance on Ukraine, it is important to briefly recall Turkey’s NATO adventure:

Coming to the 1950s, Turkey was at the beginning of the liquidation process of the Kemalist Revolution, which was generously helped by the USSR. Due to its location, this country was a candidate to be the ’outpost’ of the USA in the region, and the Menderes government of the time was ’perfectly cut out’ to guard this outpost. The anti-communist propaganda and the ’Soviet threat’ that was frequently voiced were also the password for Turkey’s entrance into the ’Little America’ process.

Turkey, which joined NATO on February 18, 1952, has since been reshaped according to its strategy, that is, the US military and political interests, from its National Security Strategy to its ’threat perception’, from its army structure to its military planning.

This ’Little America’ process, which started, brought with it counter-guerrilla structures such as the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Special Warfare Department, which were shaped by the American intelligence.

Turkey’s NATO process, which started in 1952, has been the main factor determining Turkey’s regional and international role for many years, regardless of the political identities of the governments in power, despite the political crises experienced from time to time. However, this long-lasting ’loyalty’ (some would say friendship or cooperation) was severely damaged after the attempted coup d’état against Erdogan’s AKP government on July 15, 2016.

In fact, the Erdogan government itself had come to power with its close messages to the European Union and the United States, and with political steps in line with the interests of the Western camp. However, the Erdogan administration’s enthusiasm for working with the Western camp began to falter to the extent that it conflicted with US interests in the region.

In Turkey’s domestic politics, it resulted in the deterioration of relations between the AKP and its old ’coalition partner’, the US-backed fundamentalist Fethullah Gülen-led movement. (later it started to be defined as a ’parallel state’ and later a terrorist organization). This also helped to boost the break-up with the US.

On the other hand, although the steps taken by the USA on Syria won support of the Erdogan administration on the borders of ’anti-Assad’, the USA’s choice of the YPG for its Syria plans and the large amount of weapons and financial aid it provided became another important factor that spoiled relations. The YPG is considered a branch of Turkey’s long-time enemy PKK and designated as a terrorist organization.

In the same historical period as relations with the United States were strained, the Erdogan administration ’started to explore’ its northern neighbor, Russia. Despite high-tension topics, such as the downed Russian plane and the killing of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov (these events were described by the Erdogan administration as the activities of the Gülen organization), relations with Russia continued to improve with various agreements, including the most ’shocking one’ for NATO: Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.

But, when we analyze Turkey’s relations with the USA and Russia from an overview, it is possible to say that the development potential of relations with Russia still depends on the level of tension between Turkey and the US. Even in the S-400 discussions between Turkey and the United States, Erdogan’s administration and its staff have repeatedly argued that ‘Turkey was forced to do this to ensure its own security’ and that the NATO allies, especially the United States, ‘did not act in accordance with the spirit of alliance’.

Therefore, Turkey, despite its potential to be an important partner for Russia, evaluates its relations with Russia in terms of the possibility of severing it from the United States.

What can Turkey do about Ukraine?

On the Ukraine issue, it is possible to see the same attitude mentioned above in Turkish high-level officials, especially Erdogan. First of all, the Erdogan administration, which has assumed the role of a ’regional actor’, reminds that its place on the NATO front is fixed at the end of the day, even though it takes its steps in this direction by using a policy of balance.

Precisely for this reason, it is possible to define it as a ’zigzag policy’ rather than a balance policy.

The Erdogan administration’s first wish for Ukraine is ’no war’. However, Erdogan stated that Turkey is ready to ‘take all steps’ to prevent a war in Ukraine, while at the same time he declared that they ‘respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity’ and ‘always oppose Russia’s invasion of Crimea’. On the other hand, it is an important to note that the Erdogan administration, which does not want war in the region, continues to sell Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicles to Ukraine.

Again, Erdogan says: ‘We need to tell Russia why some of its demands are unacceptable,’ on the Ukraine crisis, and at the same time criticizes the US and NATO’s weapon aid to the YPG in Syria.

Alongside Erdoğan, another important figure in Turkish politics, Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, said: ‘Sharing NATO’s values and responsibilities, Turkey has successfully fulfilled all the duties and missions entrusted to it since 1952. NATO is the most successful defense alliance in history. We believe that the alliance is more active and alive than ever before.’

These seemingly contradictory statements of Erdoğan are not only related to the zigzags between the USA and Russia, but also directly related to his own party and political tradition. ’Americanism’ is still a very strong political trend in Turkey’s political circles. The narrative of ‘Russian politics’’ in Turkey is still heavily influenced by the anti-Russian rhetoric that marked the country’s last 50 years. It is possible to see a considerable level of ’Russophobia’ in Turkish political circles. Therefore, Turkey, which goes back and forth between the USA and Russia, seems to continue to play this balance game for a while.

The Turkish conservative-right politics represented by the AKP often use a phrase to explain this zigzag policy: ‘We will be at every table.’ Acting with this spirit, the AKP administration aims to get the most profit from every table it sits at.

However, it is clear that it is not possible to be at more than one table at the same time, especially in topics such as Ukraine, where tensions rise at critical levels. Moreover, while every actor in the region has their own chair where they can sit safely, Turkey still walks around the tables for now.

Turkey’s stance on Ukraine is critical. But, as NATO increases the level of aggression against Russia day by day, the usual strategy of Turkey, which wants to play a mediator role between Russia and the United States, will not work. The Ukrainian agenda has become too hot to be postponed with the usual peace wishes. Turkey will have to choose a side one way or another.

This goal will never be achieved as long as Erdogan’s administration and AKP, who say they ‘aim to be a playmaker in the regional and international arena’, index Turkey’s destiny to ‘asking for one more chance every time’ from NATO and the USA.

Andrei Martyanov’s reaction to the West “reply” (MUST WATCH!)

FEBRUARY 02, 2022

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Putin Puts Russia’s Nuclear Forces on High Alert in Reaction to NATO’s ‘Aggressive’ Statements

February 28, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear deterrence forces on “high alert,” reacting to ‘aggressive’ statements by NATO’s leading members.

“Top officials of leading NATO nations indulge in making aggressive statements about our country,” Putin told a briefing on Sunday.

“Therefore, I am ordering the minister of defense and the chief of the general staff to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into special combat duty mode,” he added.

The announcement came a day after Germany and other European countries said they would speed weapons and other military assistance to help Ukraine battle Russian forces. It also followed a warning by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that if Russia’s military operation in Ukraine was not “stopped,” it could lead to a conflict with NATO.

“…if we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine, we are going to see others under threat: the Baltics, Poland, Moldova. And it could end up in a conflict with NATO,” Truss said on Sunday.

NATO has escalated its war of words against Russia since Thursday, when Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in eastern Ukraine.

The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

More than 14,000 people have been killed so far across the regions as a result of the conflict that ensued between the Ukrainian military and the pro-Russian separatists.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the Russian president’s decision later on Sunday, suggesting it was part of a “pattern” of “manufacturing threats that don’t exist to justify further aggression.”

A day earlier, the leaders of the alliance held an emergency virtual summit to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” what they called “Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, enabled by Belarus.”

Also on Sunday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc would provide $500 million in lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine, while closing its airspace to Russia and banning some Russian media outlets.

The Western campaign comes while Russia has asserted that its military operation in Ukraine is only aimed at “military targets,” and, therefore, posed no threat to civilian lives.

Also on Sunday, Moscow announced that so far during the operation, it had hit over a thousand Ukrainian military sites.

Attending a United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine, the Russian ambassador to the UN slammed the West’s disinformation campaign on the Ukraine conflict, saying Russia’s forces never attack civilians or civilian infrastructure during their operation.

Vasily Nebenzya said the real threat to Ukrainian civilians came from the Ukrainian forces, not from the Russian army.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president’s office said negotiations with Moscow would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.

“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try, so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

ZELENSKY OPENS THE WAY FOR FOREIGN TROOPS TO BE PERMANENTLY AND LEGALLY BASED IN UKRAINE

24.12.2021 

South Front

NATO and Ukraine aim to influence upcoming Putin-Biden meeting.

Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Unicameral Parliament) adopted a law that allows foreign forces on its territory to participate in multinational exercises in 2022. The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday and was supported by 318 parliamentarians (out of the 423 seats that are occupied), far surpassing the required minimum of 226 votes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the Rada to approve his decision on allowing foreign forces on Ukrainian territory to participate in military exercises in 2022. In particular, these are for the United Efforts multinational exercises, the Ukrainian-American Rapid Trident exercises, the Ukrainian-British Cossack Mace, the multinational Light Avalanche, the Ukrainian-Polish Silver Saber, the Ukrainian-American Sea Breeze, the Ukrainian-Romanian Riverine, the multinational Maple Arch exercise and the Viking multinational exercise.

According to Ukrainian legislation, the functioning of any military formation is not provided for by law and is therefore prohibited on the country’s territory. Also, the deployment of foreign military bases is not allowed in Ukraine, therefore, foreign troops are only allowed each time into the country by a special law.

The Ukrainian law change comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin held his 17th annual major press conference this week, where he highlighted that it is not Russia building military bases or placing missiles on the US’ border, but rather it is the US with their missiles that are “coming to our home, they’re on the doorstep of our home.” Putin also highlighted that NATO broke their 1990’s promise of not expanding the bloc eastwards towards Russia’s borders.

Even if Ukraine is not a NATO member, Kiev is certainly desperate to be accepted into the NATO Membership Action Plan and loyally enacts Washington’s interests in Eastern Europe. With this, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second CIS Department said that in 2021, seven joint military maneuvers between Kiev and NATO members took place on Ukrainian territory. Nine maneuvers will be carried out in 2022 and the number of military personnel participating in them will almost double compared to 2021 – to 64,000. The number of aircraft and helicopters will more than triple – to 361, and warships almost 4 times – to 256.

“The scale, territorial scope and duration of joint exercises between Ukraine and NATO countries are increasing… All exercises are linked by a single concept and have an anti-Russian orientation,” highlighted the Second CIS Department.

On Thursday, a senior US official felt the need to reiterate that the Biden administration would issue “massive sanctions” on Russia if it were to invaded Ukraine, something that Moscow continually repeats that it has no plans of doing. However, even more provocatively, the official stressed the increase in defensive aid to Kiev and NATO allies in central and Eastern Europe. “We and our allies are prepared to impose severe damage to Russia’s economy, and bring about exactly what it says it does not want: more NATO capabilities, not less, and closer [geographically] to Russia, not further away.”

Effectively, the US announced that it has no plans on scaling back escalations with Russia in Eastern Europe, and rather plans to continue provocations and tensions by promising more pressure on the borders of the Eurasian Giant.

Germany’s Welt newspaper quoted an unnamed senior NATO source as saying that NATO has strengthened its Response Force’s combat readiness because of Russia’s supposed actions.

“Before the Russian military increased near the border with Ukraine, NATO responded with the first concrete military measure and increased readiness for 40,000 rapid response forces,” the source said.

In this way, Putin’s claim that it is NATO encroaching on the borders of Russia and not vice versa is shamelessly not even denied by the Biden administration and NATO, but rather is highlighted with a sense of pride. The increase in combat readiness of NATO rapid response forces and Ukraine welcoming foreign troops on its territory near Russia’s borders is part of the ongoing hybrid war against Moscow.

NATO is attempting to pressure Moscow before the upcoming scheduled Putin-Biden meeting in an attempt to influence the negotiation process between the two leaders. It is also likely that Biden will weaponize this Ukrainian law change to place more US troops right on the border with Russia to continue its campaign of pressure that aims to limit Russian influence and compete for its traditional sphere of influence.

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