Lavrov x two

May 30, 2022

Source

Introduction by Amarynth

This posting contains one recent interview and one recent address by Mr Lavrov.  One is extensive and the second contains a few comments not included in the first.  One is directed to an international audience (more specifically the Arab world) and the other to a domestic audience.  Why should we look at these very carefully, and why do we post them on the Saker Blog?   Mr Lavrov is arguably one of the best diplomats in the world today.  In that role, he is a pleasure to read or listen to.  But, that is not the main reason.  He has a fine facility with language and explains exactly Russia’s position and further, the world position in its process toward multipolarity and a new financial system in a pragmatic realpolitik style, undergirded by an encyclopedic knowledge of world affairs.

Sidebar:  While Mr Lavrov is speaking to the Arab countries, his counterpart in China, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, is speaking to all of the smaller Pacific island countries (PICS).  Comparing the welcome that these statesmen receive, it is beginning to clarify that the other geopolitical axis (which we roughly and in shorthand refer to as Zone B)  of this war for the world is active and up and running.  Mr Lavrov mentions the organizations.   It is then worthwhile to mention that BRICS is expected to grow by at least two countries during the next general meeting.  It is expected that Argentina will be next, which will then start including the new Latin American groupings such as Celac (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) or ALBA-TCP.  Thus we see a coalescence of countries around the principles of international law, the true principles in the UN Charter, and a world community built on cooperation and collective values, instead of one ruler of the world.

First up is an interview with RT Arabic, clearly for an international audience.

Second up is remarks to the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation, clearly a domestic audience.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT Arabic, Moscow, May 26, 2022

Question: Your recent visit to Algeria and Oman generated a lot of interest. What can you say about its results? Why did you decide to visit these states?

Sergey Lavrov: We communicate with all interested countries. As for this tour, it was planned long ago. The programme of my visits and their timeframe were coordinated some time ago.

In Algeria, I had good, lengthy talks with President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. We emphasised that for many years our relations were based on the Declaration on Strategic Partnership that was signed by our presidents in 2001. Since then we have intensively developed our strategic ties as partners in many areas. It is enough to mention our regular political dialogue, trade (it went up by several percent in 2021 to exceed $3 billion despite the pandemic), the economy, joint investment, our work in the OPEC+ and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, extensive military-technical ties and cultural and humanitarian exchanges.

We concluded (at the prompting of Algeria) that our relations are reaching a qualitatively new level. This should be reflected in a document that is already being drafted. We hope to sign this document when President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune visits Russia at the invitation of President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

We appreciate that the countries of the Arab world are refusing to follow in the wake of the West and are objectively assessing the events in Ukraine and refusing to join the anti-Russia sanctions. They understand that the current situation was caused by the flat refusal of our Western colleagues to reach an accommodation on equal and indivisible security in our common region.

As for Oman, this was the first visit since its new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said acceded to the throne. The Sultan received me with good grace and devoted much time to me. I was particularly grateful to his Majesty for this gesture (the protocol of the Sultanate of Oman does not envisage communication with ministers in this format). Our detailed talks showed that we have a good potential for developing trade and economic ties. We want to raise them to the level of our trust-based political dialogue. We have many opportunities in energy and ICT and interesting cultural projects. A half-year exhibition of Islamic Art in Russia ended in the National Museum of Oman last March. This museum and the Hermitage have been closely cooperating since 2015. Both museums display their own expositions on each other’s territory.

These two planned visits to both countries at the planned time were useful, in my view.

Question: What about a top-level visit?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already said that during a telephone conversation with President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Russia Vladimir Putin invited him to visit the Russian Federation. Now we are preparing the documents required for this visit.

Question: And what about Oman?

Sergey Lavrov: No top-level visits are envisaged for Oman for the time being. We are planning to develop practical cooperation, make it more intensive and productive.

Question: Will there be additional agreements on military cooperation?

Sergey Lavrov: Our military-technical cooperation with many countries develops according to their wishes. We are always ready to examine ways to strengthen their defence capabilities. We consider them as we receive relevant requests.

Question: We are talking about Algeria, which also produces both gas and oil. The OPEC+ countries have shown firmness about the previously agreed positions within the organisation on the parameters of oil production and pricing on the oil market. Do you have confidence in the stability of your partners’ position?

Sergey Lavrov: We have discussed our further cooperation not only within OPEC+ but also the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), where Russia and Algeria are also included. All OPEC+ and GECF members without exception publicly affirmed their commitment to the agreements reached in these formats and their intention to continue working in this direction in order to stabilise the energy market.

Question: Where will you visit next?

Sergey Lavrov: The next visit will take place very soon. On May 31 and June 1, based on my invitations, I plan to visit Bahrain first. Later, on June 1, Riyadh will host a regular meeting of the Russia-GCC Foreign Ministers Forum. This forum has been around for a long time. Due to the pandemic, there was a break in our meetings. Now our friends have proposed resuming them. In addition to the Russia-GCC meeting, there will also be bilateral meetings with almost all members of this organisation.

Question: How do you find Arab countries’ position on the Ukrainian crisis?

Sergey Lavrov: Just now, answering the previous question, I said that all Arab countries have a responsible position. This proves that they rely solely on their national interests and are not ready to sacrifice them for the sake of anyone’s opportunistic geopolitical adventures. We have mutually respectful relations. We understand the vital interests of the Arab countries in connection with the threats to their security. They reciprocate our feelings and understand the threats to the security of the Russian Federation that the West has been creating right on our borders for decades, trying to use Ukraine to contain Russia and seriously harm us.

Question: Do you think these countries will continue to pursue this policy, despite the pressure from the West, particularly, from the Anglo-Saxon alliance?

Sergey Lavrov: The arrogance of the Anglo-Saxon alliance has no limits. We are offered evidence of that every day. Instead of delivering on their obligations under the UN Charter and honouring, as is written in this charter, the sovereign equality of states and abstaining from interfering in their domestic affairs, the West churns out ultimatums every day, issuing them through their ambassadors or envoys to each, without exception, capital not only in the Arab world but in other regions of the world as well, and, in so doing, blatantly blackmailing them, citing some subjective situations. The West is directly threatening their interlocutors, saying they will regret failing to join the sanctions against Russia and will be punished for this. It is blatant disrespect for sovereign countries. The reaction of Arab countries and almost all other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that we are seeing shows that these countries do not want to disregard their national dignity, running errands, in a servile manner, for their senior colleagues. This situation is yet another example of colonial thinking. The habits of our Western colleagues have not vanished. In their traditional style, the United States and Europe are still preaching the colonial customs they adhered to at a time when they could dictate to all others. It is wrong and regrettable, and flies in the face of the historical process, which objectively shows that a multipolar world is taking shape now. It has several centres of economic growth, financial power and political influence. Everyone understands now that China and India are fast-growing economies and influential countries, just like Brazil and other Latin American countries. The tapping of Africa’s enormous potential of natural resources has been held back by the colonialists during the period of neo-colonialism as well, which is not over yet. That is why Africa is also making its voice heard. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Arab world is objectively one of the pillars or one of the centres of a multipolar world that is being shaped now.

Question: We are talking about good relations between Russia, China and India. Can these countries form an alliance against US hegemony?

Sergey Lavrov: We never form alliances against anyone and never make friends with someone against others. We have a ramified network of partner organisations established many years ago. I will mention the organisations established after the Soviet Union’s disintegration. These are the CIS, the CSTO, the EAEU and the SCO on a broader geopolitical plane. The SCO has established and is developing close ties with the EAEU and as part of the linkage of Eurasian integration projects with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The EAEU and the PRC have signed an agreement. The linkage of these integration projects is embracing more and more territories. Thus, in addition to EAEU-SCO cooperation, these organisations have memorandums on cooperation with ASEAN. The Greater Eurasia project (or the Greater Eurasia Partnership) should embrace the whole of Eurasia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke about this at the Russia-ASEAN summit six years ago. It is based on the processes on the ground and has a Eurasian dimension.

Many countries of the Arab world are interested in establishing partner relations with the SCO that represents all other leading sub-regions of our enormous common continent. These are efforts to build constructive and positive (not antagonistic) alliances that are not aimed against anyone. They are gradually acquiring a global character, which is reflected in the development of the BRICS Five (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Our Saudi friends and Argentina are interested in it. Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero expressed his country’s desire to become a full member of BRICS.

BRICS is preparing for a regular summit. It will create an outreach format in which a dozen developing nations will take part. These processes are underway. We know that our Western friends have many phobias and complexes of their own superiority and infallibility. But they are also paranoid. The West sees opposition and a threat to its domination in any process in which it does not take part and which it does not control. It is time to get rid of these manners and customs.

Question: What about the recent Russia-China military exercises? What do they show?

Sergey Lavrov: This is the continuation of our cooperation aimed at enhancing security in this region. They supplement regular military undertakings: drills and training sessions with counterterrorism aims, efforts to strengthen the security of our common borders within the SCO. Russia-China bilateral military cooperation already has a long history. This is not the first year that we are holding events in the zone of our common borders where our security interests directly overlap; we do it regularly. They show that both Russia and China have a responsible attitude to fulfilling these tasks.

Question: Despite the evidence cited by Russia, the development of biological weapons by the United States in Ukraine has not evoked any concern in the West. What should be done for the world to understand how dangerous this is? The Arab press writes about the historical importance of Russia’s efforts to show how these laboratories operate.

Sergey Lavrov: This is a direct violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. Enjoying support of all countries except the US, we have long been advocating the formation of a universal transparent verification mechanism within its framework that would allow all states to be sure that no participants of the Convention violate it. The United States has simply blocked this initiative since 2001 (for more than 20 years). Now it is clear why it occupies this position. During all these years, the Americans have been setting up their military bio laboratories all over the world. The Pentagon’s unit – the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) – is in charge of these activities. In developing a network of such laboratories, the Pentagon is focusing on the post-Soviet space and Eurasia. Available information shows that these laboratories have been or are being established along the perimeter of the Russian Federation and closer to the PRC. We initially suspected that the experiments made in these laboratories were not entirely peaceful and innocent. When the Russian Armed Forces and the militias of Donetsk and Lugansk liberated Mariupol during the military operation, they discovered laboratories left by the Americans in a rush. The Americans tried to get rid of documents and samples but didn’t destroy all of them. The samples of pathogens and the documents found there clearly pointed to the military character of these experiments. It is clear from the documents that there are several dozen such laboratories in Ukraine. We are pursuing two goals. First, we will convince the UN Security Council to take seriously the information we presented to it (you noted that the overwhelming majority of the developing nations do take it seriously). Second, we want this information to lead to specific actions that must be taken under the Biological Weapons Convention. It requires that the United States explain what it was doing there. We held five special briefings in the UN Security Council, one of them quite recently. We will work to make the US take specific actions proceeding from its commitments under the Convention. We will also analyse additional information about the involvement of other countries in these experiments and military bio laboratories in Ukraine. According to some sources, these are Great Britain and Germany.

Question: If you don’t mind my asking, where are other similar laboratories located in the vicinity of Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I don’t mind. There are such laboratories in Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asian countries. Russia and these countries have been analysing these problems both bilaterally and at the CSTO. We are signing (or have signed, or are preparing) memorandums on interaction in biological security with practically all CSTO and other CIS countries.  These documents stipulate that the signatories will inform each other of how biological programmes develop in each country.

What is important is transparency, which makes it possible to ascertain that these programmes have no military dimension, since this is prohibited under the Convention. These memorandums imply that the parties will pay mutual visits and familiarise themselves with the activities conducted by these laboratories.  In addition, it is stipulated that there should be no military representatives of any third party at the biological facilities in each of our countries.

Question: How are these countries motivated in having such laboratories? Will this bring them any material or political benefits?

Sergey Lavrov: The USSR pursued a large-scale biological programme. After the Soviet Union joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, this programme was stripped of its military aspects, but the scientific value of the biological research is retained.  We all remember the state in which this country was in 1991, when the USSR ceased to exist. We faced the problem of preserving the Russian Federation’s integrity. There were no state reserves to repay the national debt or even to purchase the basic necessities for the Russian population’s everyday life. At that time, our Western partners “hopped to it,” as we say, offering their services in all areas of life. They penetrated all spheres of the newly independent states, sending their advisers and advice-givers. Today we are experiencing the aftermath of those times. Major changes have occurred. There are no Soviet republics, which became independent overnight. They had no experience of independent international activity. But now all of this is a thing of the past. All the post-Soviet republics have consolidated their stand, asserting themselves as absolutely sovereign, independent states.  They decide what partners to choose on their own. We have agreements with them to the effect that the commitments assumed within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and the Eurasian Economic Union should be fully respected by other countries interested in developing relations with all post-Soviet states. We discussed the problems that all of us encountered during the emergence of the new statehood.  Various agencies exchange information about the risks involved in this sweeping cooperation with foreign countries in sensitive spheres. Biology is, of course, one of these spheres.  There is awareness that we have a unified biological security space. The CSTO’s purview includes security issues that are directly related to public health and the environment.  We will continue our constructive cooperation based on these statutes.

Question: Turkey and Italy have proposed a plan for organising talks between Russia and Kiev. Is Russia ready to continue the talks, which have not yielded any results lately?

Sergey Lavrov: We pointed out on numerous occasions that our Western colleagues want to use Vladimir Zelensky and all citizens of Ukraine to the last Ukrainian, which has become proverbial, to damage Russia as much as possible, to defeat it on the battlefield. This has been openly declared in Washington, Berlin, London and especially loudly in Warsaw. Poland has proposed that the Russian world must be destroyed like a “cancer” which is a deadly threat to the whole world. I would like to look at this world as it is represented by our Polish neighbours. For many years Russia has tried to explain why NATO’s eastward expansion and the drawing of Ukraine into the bloc are unacceptable to us. They listened to us but did not comprehend what we said.

When the coup was staged in 2014, the [Ukrainian] opposition trampled on the agreements reached despite the EU’s guarantees. The EU proved unable to force the putschists to respect the signatures of France, Germany and Poland. In 2015, the war in Donbass unleashed by the new Ukrainian authorities, who seized power in the coup, was stopped. The Minsk agreements were signed and guaranteed by France and Germany. All these years we called on Kiev to honour its commitments. Since the West had the decisive influence on it, we also worked with the Europeans and Americans, appealing to their conscience. Regrettably, they have no conscience.

Instead of forcing Kiev to implement the agreements, which should have been done through a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, the West tried to justify Zelensky and his team, even when they said publicly that they would never talk with “those people,” although this is stipulated in the UN Security Council resolution approving the Minsk agreements. They said that they would never implement the Minsk agreements or give a special status to these republics. At the same time, they adopted laws that prohibited the Russian language in education and media. Media outlets were shut down. The Russian language was even prohibited in everyday life. Only the Ukrainian language was allowed as the medium of interaction between people in Ukraine.

Moreover, Vladimir Zelensky stated that those who feel Russian must go to Russia. He said this in September 2021. We drew the attention of some Western countries, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the relevant UN bodies to these aggressively Russophobic and racist statements made in the spirit of the neo-Nazi policy which was gaining a foothold in the Ukrainian legislation. They did not react in any way. Some officials sometimes called for respect for international commitments. But Zelensky doesn’t give a damn about international commitments or the Constitution of Ukraine, which guarantees the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine. They showed no respect for the Constitution and international conventions and adopted a lot of anti-Russian laws.

As for Russia’s readiness for talks, we have already explained why we couldn’t sit on our hands any longer. What we found on the Ukrainian army positions during the special military operation proved that we were barely in time with starting it, because Ukraine’s Plan B was to be enacted on March 8. A huge group of the Ukrainian armed forces, which was deployed on the contact line with Donbass by mid-February, planned to attack and occupy these territories in flagrant violation of the Minsk agreements and the UN Security Council resolution.

I have no doubt that had they succeeded the West would have turned a blind eye to these violations, just as it pretended not to notice Kiev’s disregard for all the agreements during the previous eight years.

When the Ukrainian authorities proposed negotiations several days after the operation began, we agreed immediately. We held several in-person rounds of talks in Belarus, trying to understand Ukraine’s position and what it wants to achieve at the talks, because we had presented our approach. After several rounds were held in Belarus and online, the idea of meeting in Istanbul was put forth, and the Ukrainian delegation brought, for the first time, written proposals signed by the head of the delegation to the meeting we held on March 29. We analysed these proposals, reported our opinion to President Putin and told our Ukrainian colleagues that we were ready to proceed on that basis. Since they didn’t present a complete agreement but only its individual provisions, we used them to quickly draft an agreement that was based on the Ukrainian proposals and turned it over to the Ukrainian delegation. The following day a flagrant provocation was staged in Bucha, where dead bodies were found in the streets three days after Russian troops had left the city, after three days of peaceful life. We were accused of killing those people. You remember what happened next.

The West adopted a new package of sanctions, as if it had been waiting for it to happen. The Ukrainians said that they had reviewed their position and would reformulate the principles underlying the agreement. Nevertheless, contacts between us continued. The latest draft agreement, which we submitted to Ukraine nearly a month ago, is gathering dust. If you ask who wants to hold and is ready for talks, Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview the other day (he does this almost every day) that he is ready for talks, but they must be held between himself and Vladimir Putin, because there is allegedly no use doing this at any other level. He said the talks should be held without any intermediaries and only after Ukraine resumed control of its territory as of February 23, 2022. Anyone can see that this is not serious. But it suits the West to keep up this unreasonable and unsubstantiated obstinacy. This is a fact.

The West has called for defeating Russia on the battlefield, which means that the war must continue and that increasingly more weapons must be provided to the Ukrainian nationalists, to the Ukrainian regime, including weapons that can hit targets in the Russian Federation. It is such weapons that Vladimir Zelensky demands publicly. We have issued most serious warnings to the West that it is, in fact, fighting a proxy war against the Russian Federation with the hands, bodies and brains of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, which can become a major step towards an unacceptable escalation. I hope that the remaining reasonable forces in the West are aware of this.

As for Turkey and Italy, Turkey doesn’t have a plan. At least nobody has presented it to us, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has noted on many occasions that Turkey is ready to provide a venue just as it did in Istanbul on March 29.  In fact, it was a useful contact. For the first time the Ukrainians presented their vision of a peace agreement on paper in response to our numerous requests, which we accepted and translated into the legal language. I have told you what happened after that. President Erdogan stands for peace and is ready to do all he can to bring it about. But Vladimir Zelensky has said that he doesn’t need intermediaries. That’s his business. He is as fickle as the wind: first, he rallied the support of all the G7 countries, and now it appears that former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is creating an advisory group at Kiev’s request that will provide proposals on security guarantees for Ukraine in the context of a peace settlement.

I would like to remind you that initially the Ukrainians’ concept was to draft a comprehensive agreement which would include Ukraine’s pledge not to join any blocs or have nuclear weapons, as well as guarantees of its neutral status. It would also stipulate the guarantor countries’ guarantees that will take into account the security interests of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and other countries in the region. As I have mentioned, Kiev is moving away from that concept. If Andreas Fogh Rasmussen has been recruited to formulate certain “guarantees” in a narrow circle of the Ukrainian regime’s Western sponsors and to subsequently try to submit them to Russia, it is a path that leads nowhere.

Question: Is this a non-paper? Just an initiative of former [NATO] officials?

Sergey Lavrov: We are looking into this now. This has already been promoted as a breakthrough step. The same applies to the Italian initiative.  Luigi Di Maio is quite active in the media landscape promoting the Italian four-point initiative. All we know about it is that it can bring the long-awaited peace, and not just suit both Russia and Ukraine, but launch something like a new Helsinki process, a new agreement on European security, and that it already enjoys the support of the G7 and the UN Secretary-General. I don’t know whether this is true, or to whom he has shown it. No one has sent us anything. All we can go by is speculation, descriptions of this initiative as they appear in the media.

But what we have read (if it is true, of course) makes us regret that the sponsors of this initiative show so little understanding of what is happening or knowledge of the subject, the history of this matter. Allegedly, it says that Crimea and Donbass should be part of Ukraine, which should grant those regions broad autonomy. Serious politicians who want to achieve results, not just grandstand to impress their voters, cannot be proposing such things. Donbass could have returned to Ukraine a long time ago if the Ukrainian regimes (Petr Poroshenko, and then Vladimir Zelensky) had fulfilled the Minsk agreements and granted a special status to the people that refused to accept the coup. The package included the status of the Russian language. However, instead of granting that status, Ukraine banned the Russian language. Instead of unblocking economic ties, Poroshenko announced a transport embargo on those regions, making retirees travel many kilometres to receive their pension benefits.

This Italian initiative you asked me about – as reported by the media – also calls for launching a new Helsinki process, in addition to reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine, to ensure the safety of everyone and everything.  Our colleagues in Rome came to their senses too late. The Helsinki process has given a number of important gains to the world, to our region, to the Euro-Atlantic region, including declarations signed at the highest political level, at the OSCE summits, in particular in Istanbul in 1999, in Astana in 2010 – declarations on indivisible security. Those documents said security can only be equal and indivisible. Further elaborating on this, they said all participating states have the right to be or not to be a party to treaties of alliance, but no country can join any alliances or otherwise strengthen its security if it affects the security of any other state. The third component of this formula is that no country, no organisation in the OSCE area will claim to dominate security issues.

Anyone familiar with the situation in Europe understands that Western countries have been grossly violating the key components of that commitment by strengthening their security in violation of Russia’s right to its own security. They claim that only NATO can call the tune in this region, and no one else. We have tried to make those beautiful political words become reality, to make them work rather than keep them on paper signed off by the presidents of the United States and European countries. We proposed making that political commitment legally binding. As far back as in 2009, we proposed an agreement to NATO countries. They said they wouldn’t even discuss it because only NATO could provide legal security guarantees. When we asked about the OSCE’s role, they said those were just political promises and slogans. That showed how Western politicians treat the signatures of their presidents. But we did not stop there.

We made another attempt last year. In November 2021, President Vladimir Putin instructed his team to draft new documents to agree with the United States and NATO on the principles that would be approved by all at the highest level. We drafted those treaties and transferred them to Washington and Brussels in early December 2021. Several rounds of negotiations followed. I met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. We were told that we could discuss the arms control agenda, but NATO expansion was not our business or anybody’s business, for that matter. When we again quoted their commitment not to strengthen their security at the expense of others, they dismissed that as immaterial. What mattered was NATO’s so-called open door policy. We have warned them repeatedly – in 2009, then in 2013, 2014 (when a coup d’état occurred in Ukraine), and in 2015 (the Minsk agreements). All these years, we have been telling our Western colleagues that it will end badly because they continue to ignore our legitimate interests and rudely tell us no when we ask them to take us into consideration – not somewhere tens of thousands of kilometres away, but right on the borders of the Russian Federation. This arrogance, this air of being exceptional, this colonial mentality (I can do anything and you will do what I tell you) is not manifested only in their attitude to our interests.

Remember 1999, when the United States suddenly decided that Yugoslavia, lying 10,000 kilometres away from its coasts, posed a threat to its security? They bombed it to dust in a heartbeat. They used OSCE Mission leader William Walker from the United States to loudly declare that several dozen corpses discovered in the village of Racak were a crime against humanity. As it turned out later, these corpses were not civilians, but militants who were disguised as civilians and scattered around the place.

The same setup was used in Bucha near Kiev on April 3. It works regardless of whether the public finds it convincing or not. They didn’t need to convince anyone. They bombed Yugoslavia, created an independent Kosovo violating every OSCE principle in the process and then said it would be like that from then on.

They said no after the referendum in Crimea. According to them, self-determination in Kosovo is a good thing, but self-determination in Crimea is not. This is being done as if nothing were wrong. No one is even blushing, although it’s a shame for Western diplomacy which has lost its ability to provide elegant explanations for their grossly reckless moves.

In 2003, the United States decided that a threat was coming from another country located 10,000 kilometres away and produced a vial with what I think was tooth powder. Poor Colin Powell later lamented that he had been set up by the intelligence. Several years later, Tony Blair, too, said it was a mistake, but nothing could be done about it. Nothing can be done about it. They bombed the country killing under a million civilians. Until now, Iraq’s integrity has not been restored. There are enough problems there, including terrorism, which did not exist there before. Indeed, Iraq and Libya were authoritarian regimes, but there were no terrorists, ongoing hostilities, or military provocations.

Libya is on that list, as well. In 2011, President Obama said that they would be “leading from behind” Europe.  France, the most democratic nation in the Old World (freedom, equality, fraternity), led the NATO operation to destroy the regime. As a result, they destroyed the country. It is hard to put it back together now. Again, the French are trying to do so as they come up with initiatives, convene conferences and announce election dates. All in vain, because, before going in, they needed to think about what would become of Libya after the West ensured its “security” in that country.

I’m citing this example not to say: they can, but we can’t. That would be simplifying matters. What I’m saying is that the Western countries believe that the entire world is part of their security, and they must rule the world.

As NATO was crawling up to Russia’s borders, it told us not to be concerned about it, since NATO is a defensive alliance and does not threaten our country’s security. First, this sounds like a diplomatic effrontery. We must decide for ourselves on our security interests, just like any other country. Second, NATO was a defensive alliance when there was someone to stand up to like the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. There was the Berlin Wall between Western and Eastern Europe. Everyone was clear about the line of defence. After the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, any lieutenant with basic training knew there was no longer any such thing as a defence line. All you need to do now is live a normal life based on shared values and a common European space.

We put our signature under multiple slogans including “from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean,” “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” and “we are brothers and sisters now.” However, they retained their military nature as they continued to move the “line of defence” closer to our borders. We have just had an in-depth discussion on the outcomes of this policy. In recent months, the NATO Secretary General and warmongering politicians like the British Foreign Secretary have been publicly stating that the alliance must have global responsibility. NATO must be in charge of security in the Pacific. This may mean that next time NATO’s “defence line” will move to the South China Sea.

Not only NATO, but the EU leaders also decided to “play soldiers.” Ursula von der Leyen, who is rivalling EU top diplomat Josep Borrell in terms of bellicosity, claimed that the EU must be in charge of security matters in the Indo-Pacific region. How are they going to accomplish this? They keep talking about an EU “army.” No one will let them create this “army” as long as NATO exists.

To all appearances, no one is going to even reform NATO. They are going to turn this “defensive alliance” into a global alliance claiming global military dominance. This is a dangerous path that is definitely doomed to failure.

Question: To what extent are these developments affecting the Russian army’s presence in Syria?

Sergey Lavrov: We are present in Syria at the request of the legitimate President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the legitimate government of that country. We are there in full compliance with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and are addressing the tasks set by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We will stick to this policy and support the Syrian government in its efforts to fully restore Syria’s territorial integrity. The armed forces of the countries that no one had invited to Syria are still deployed there. Until now, the US military, which has occupied a significant portion of the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, is openly building a quasi-state there and is directly encouraging separatism taking advantage of the sentiment of a portion of the Kurdish population of Iraq. Problems are arising between the various entities that unite the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds. All of that intensifies tensions in this region. Of course, Turkey cannot stay on the sidelines.

We want to address these issues solely on the basis of respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are talking to the Kurds. We have channels which we use to communicate with all of them. We encourage them to take a closer look at recent developments where the United States promised something to someone and then failed to deliver. Starting a serious dialogue with Damascus and agreeing on arrangements of living in a single state is a much more reliable approach even from these purely pragmatic considerations, not to mention international law.

Of course, Russia will continue to provide humanitarian aid. The United States is trying to keep the crisis situation unchanged and to encourage the sides to resume hostilities. The notorious Caesar Act is designed to strangle the Syrian economy. We see that a growing number of Arab countries are starting to understand the utter futility of this policy and are interested in resuming relations with Syria. Recently, the UAE restored its embassy’s activities in full. A number of Arab countries have never withdrawn their embassies from Damascus. Preparations are underway for a summit of the League of Arab States, which I discussed with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The vast majority of the League members (as far as we can tell from our contacts) are in favour of a solution that will make it possible to resume Syria’s full Arab League membership.

Refugees are another issue. The UN mediators are trying to get involved in this matter, but the United States and the compliant Europeans are doing their utmost to make the return of these people impossible. Remember when Syria held a conference in Damascus a couple of years ago to raise funds and make it possible for the refugees to return, the Americans went out of the way to keep everyone from attending this conference. Not everyone listened to them and about 20 countries, primarily Arab countries, as well as the People’s Republic of China and other countries, took part in it.

The UN showed its weakness by refusing to participate in that conference and only sending its representative in Damascus to sit there as an observer. That decision hit the United Nations’ reputation hard because its Resolution 2254 explicitly calls for the return of refugees. Both the UN Secretariat and the Secretary-General personally have an obligation to contribute to this directly. Until recently, the European Union held its own conferences on refugees (and they were not devoted to creating conditions for their return, but to raising money to pay the host countries). The purpose of those conferences was to make the current situation permanent and prevent any chance of positive developments in Syria. Yet, the Secretary-General did not just send representatives to them, but participated in these conferences as a co-chair. We have been pointing out that serious misinterpretation of his direct responsibilities.

As for the process that is taking place in Geneva, including the Constitutional Committee, its Drafting Commission – I keep in touch with Geir Pedersen, who represents the UN as a mediator in this process. He visited Russia not long ago. We also communicate through our mission in Geneva. There is an agreement that the next meeting of the Drafting Commission will begin at the end of May. I believe that President Bashar al-Assad’s recent decision to grant amnesty to Syrians charged with terrorism-related crimes was an important positive step. As far as I understand, a lot of work has been done, and the amnesty was announced. It will be a good chance to see how it goes. Geir Pedersen as well as many of our Western colleagues said Bashar al-Assad should take some steps. Okay. Whatever prompted the Syrian president’s decision, he did take a step. Let’s reciprocate now. Let Geir Pedersen talk to the opposition and those who control it, and persuade them to show some constructive action in this regard.

Question:  Is Russia keeping the same number of troops in Syria?

Sergey Lavrov: We have not had any requests from the Syrian government. If any such decisions are deemed expedient, they will be implemented. The numbers on the ground are determined by the specific objectives our force is tasked with there. It is clear that there are practically no military objectives left, but only ensuring stability and security. As for the remaining military objectives that the Syrian army is working for, with our support – there is the terrorist threat in Idlib, and it has not gone anywhere. Our Turkish friends and neighbours are trying, as they are telling us, to fulfil what presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on a few years ago. As we all see, things are going hard. This objective remains on the agenda. However, thanks to the actions by our contingent and the Syrian armed forces, we have not seen any provocations from Idlib lately targeting the Syrian army strongholds or our bases in Syria.


Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 38th meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Council of the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation, Moscow, May 27, 2022

Colleagues,

We are holding a regular meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s Council of the Heads of Constituent Entities of the Russian Federation. The meeting is taking place against the background of the special military operation in Ukraine, which is being conducted in connection with the tasks set by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, tasks involving the protection of civilians, the elimination of the Ukraine-posed security threats to the Russian Federation, and the denazification of this kindred country whose people have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of a regime which encourages extreme neo-Nazi sentiments and practices.

You see the United States and its satellites double, triple and quadruple their efforts to contain Russia with the use of a broad range of tools, from unilateral economic sanctions to utterly false propaganda in the global media space. Popular Russophobia has taken on an unprecedented scale in many Western countries, where, to our regret, it is nurtured by government circles.

Under these circumstances, it is of crucial importance that the foreign policy course approved by President Vladimir Putin is based on a broad national accord and supported by the key political forces of Russia and the leading public and entrepreneurial associations. We also feel daily the support from all Russian regions. This country is witnessing the consolidation of all healthy and patriotic forces. This is an important aspect of the present stage.

Colleagues,

At our last meeting, we discussed regions’ cultural diplomacy. The recommendations that we approved have made it possible to give a new impetus to international cultural ties maintained by Russian regions and expand the geographical reach and range of partners (of Russia’s republics, regions and territories). But the situation has changed since that time: the West has declared a total war on us and the entire Russian world. No one is concealing this any longer.

The cancel culture directed at Russia and all things Russian is reaching the apogee of absurdity. Russian greats, including Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin, are banned. Russian cultural figures and artists representing our culture today are persecuted.

It may safely be said that this situation is here to stay. We should be ready to accept the fact that it has revealed the West’s true attitude to those fine-sounding slogans concerning human values and the need to create a united Europe, a “common European home” stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which were put forward 30 years ago after the end of the Cold War. Today we see the true worth of all these empty words.

Let us not become self-complacent. Under the current circumstances, we need a detailed analysis of the Foreign Ministry’s effort to promote cooperation with civil society, including at the level of regions.

A sufficiently effective system of collaboration between the Foreign Ministry and non-profit organisations focusing on international issues has been established. For example, the recent assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy has clearly demonstrated the high expert potential of scientific diplomacy. Our joint work has made it possible to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the highly intricate and complex developments in the world.

That said, the presence of NGOs from regions at international venues is insignificant. However, the inclusion of certain regional NGOs in Russian delegations to the UN General Assembly has been a success. This experience shows that this partnership has a promise. We would like to make it regular and broad in nature.

I would like to highlight a number of priority areas concerning interaction with civil society institutions:

1. Mobilising Russian NGOs’ capabilities to promote recovery and to provide humanitarian aid to residents of the DPR and the LPR, as well as the liberated Ukrainian territories.

2. Engaging public diplomacy channels for outreach activities with constructive international partners, including stepping up efforts to debunk fakes about the special military operation and promoting our views in social media and the blogosphere.

3. Using NGO resources, in particular, regional associations of entrepreneurs and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to minimise the consequences of unilateral sanctions, and to promote ties with the friendly countries, primarily, our allies and like-minded partners in the CSTO, the SCO, the CIS, the EAEU and BRICS.

On a separate note, regional consultative mechanisms with the participation of top executives from national cultural associations are working productively. Clearly, this helps maintain inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace and accord. I think broader use of this set of tools should be made in order to strengthen business ties with the expat communities’ countries of origin, primarily in the CIS.

4. Working with our compatriots residing abroad is particularly important. They are at the forefront of dealing with the phenomenon known as Neanderthal Russophobia. Our foreign-based communities are facing unprecedented pressure and are being discriminated against on national and linguistic grounds. In spite of everything, our compatriots are holding their own and bravely defending their right not to sever contacts with the Motherland even in the most challenging times. The Immortal Regiment drive that took place in over 80 countries, including the United States and Europe, clearly showed it. Our duty is to continue to support our compatriots, and we count on the regions’ proactive moves in this regard.

It is gratifying to know that many regions, in particular, Moscow, St Petersburg, Tatarstan, Crimea, the Altai Territory and the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi autonomous areas (the list goes on) are effectively working with the Russian expat communities and their coordinating bodies. The most recent examples include the Moscow Government holding, in conjunction with other regions, round table discussions on the topic “Interactions with compatriots abroad at the regional level.” Such events took place in certain regions, in particular, Kaliningrad in late March, and Khabarovsk and Vladikavkaz in April. More such meetings will be held this year. We strongly support these initiatives and will sponsor such events. We are ready to provide advice to our colleagues from non-governmental organisations on the corresponding issues. We will update them on the situation of their compatriots, including instances of their legal rights being violated.

5. The developments in Ukraine confirm the importance of continued efforts to counteract the falsification of history and glorification of Nazism. The absurd content of modern Ukrainian school textbooks is a case in point. However, the problem is not limited to Ukraine. The West does not stop trying to pit the peoples of the former Soviet Union against each other through a biased interpretation of historical facts.

The other day the German government approved plans for a World War II and the German Occupation of Europe documentation centre. At first glance, this concept raises serious questions regarding its historical truthfulness. The planned centre is structured not only to downplay the Soviet Union and the Soviet people’ decisive role in defeating German Nazism, but also to play down the crimes committed by the Third Reich against the Soviet people. These themes are not indicated in the planned expositions. The plans also contain language that seeks to equate German criminals to liberators of Europe. This is yet another step within the policy adopted by modern Berlin which seeks to rewrite the history of World War II and to rehabilitate the Third Reich.

It is important to focus on preserving the common chapters of history, primarily, the Great Patriotic War, and to promote shared memories of the war and the fallen war hero search movement, as well as the ongoing CIS historians’ dialogue on existing platforms.

Proper resources and staff are required in order to overcome these challenges, and the broad involvement of NGOs that should be issued targeted grants and subsidies to this end as well. Let’s not forget about this, either.

Many Russian regions are addressing these issues adequately, including through the use of extrabudgetary sources. We are ready to support this work and supplement these initiatives with increased funding from the federal budget.

In conjunction with Rossotrudnichestvo and the Civic Chamber, we will continue to help the regions use public and people’s diplomacy in the interest of promoting our foreign policy.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India Today television channel, Moscow, April 19, 2022

April 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1810023/

Question: The big question that most are asking is the reason for this operation, the reason for President Putin to take the country to war at a time when we have seen negotiations and talks taking place. What was the reason? We know that America said that Russia was going to carry out operations. New Delhi certainly was not aware of it. Many countries said that it is not something that is going to happen, but it did happen.

Sergey Lavrov: The real reason is the complacency of most countries of the world after the end of World War II, when our Western colleagues, led by the United States, declared themselves winners and in violation of the promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership started moving NATO eastward. They kept saying: “Don’t worry, this is a defensive alliance, it is not a threat to Russian security.” It was a defensive alliance when there were NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, and there was the Berlin Wall, as you remember, both physical and geopolitical. It was very clear what was the “line of defence” for this “defensive alliance.”

When the opponent disappeared, both the Warsaw Treaty disappeared and the Soviet Union disappeared, they decided that they will move the “line of defence eastward.” They did this five times without explaining against whom they are going to defend themselves, but in the process building up their advanced assault capacities and choosing the former Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, as the springboard against the Russian interests.

As early as 2003, for example, when they had a presidential election in Ukraine, the West was publicly and blatantly demanding Ukrainians: you must choose, are you with Russia or with Europe? Then, of course, they started pulling Ukraine into the European Union Association Agreement. The agreement provided for zero tariffs for Ukrainian goods in Europe, and European goods in Ukraine. We had a free trade area agreement with Ukraine in the context of the Commonwealth of Independent States. So, we told our Ukrainian neighbours: guys, we have zero tariffs with you, but we have protection with the European Union, because we negotiated WTO entry for 18 years. For some time, we did manage to protect some sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, insurance, banking, and some others – with considerable tariffs. We told them: if you have zero [tariffs] with Europe and zero [tariffs] with us, we are not protected against European goods, which was part of the deal when we entered the WTO.

Then in 2013, when the Ukrainian President understood the problem, he asked the European Union to postpone the signature of the Association Agreement. We suggested that the three of us – Russia, Ukraine, and the EU – could sit together and discuss how to proceed. The European Union in a very arrogant way said that this is none of your business, we do not put our nose in your trade with China or other countries, so this is going to happen. Then the President of Ukraine decided to postpone this ceremony. The next morning, the demonstrators were on Maidan in Kiev.

In February 2014, the European Union helped negotiate a deal between the President and the opposition. Next morning, the signatures of the European Union representatives – France, Germany and Poland – were absolutely ignored by the opposition, who staged a coup and declared that they are creating a “government of the winners,” that they will cancel the special status of the Russian language. They threatened to throw ethnic Russians out of Crimea, they sent armed groups to storm the Crimean parliament. That is how the war started. The Crimeans said: “We don’t want to have anything [to do] with you, leave us alone.” As a I said, there was a threat from armed groups. The eastern areas of Ukraine said: “Guys, we do not support your coup, leave us alone.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine. The putschists attacked them, having called them terrorists. They called them terrorists for eight long years.

We managed to stop this bloodshed in February 2015 – the so-called Minsk Agreements were signed, providing Eastern Ukraine with some special status, language, the right to have some local police, special economic relations with the adjacent Russian regions. It was basically the same as [the agreement] the European Union negotiated for the north of Kosovo where Serbs live. In both cases, the European Union failed totally to deliver on what was guaranteed by the signatures of its members. For eight long years, the respective governments of Ukraine and Presidents of Ukraine were saying, blatantly and publicly, that they were not going to implement the Minsk agreements, that they will move to Plan B. They continued to shell the territories of these [self-] proclaimed republics during all these years. We warned the Europeans, the Americans, and Ukraine that they are ignoring something which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. To no avail.

People do not want to go back into this history because they prefer to take events on their immediate merit, but these particular events are rooted in the desire of the United States and what we call the collective West, to rule, to dominate the world and just show everybody that there would be no multipolarity. It would be only unipolarity.

And that they can declare Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, located tens of thousands of miles from the United States, threats to their security, and can do whatever they please there, levelling cities, like they did with Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Russia has been warning all its colleagues that just on our borders you have been creating a springboard against us: you have been pumping arms into Ukraine, you have been totally ignoring the legislation of Ukraine, which prohibited, completely prohibited the Russian language, you have been encouraging neo-Nazi ideologies and practices. The neo-Nazi battalions were very much active against the territories which proclaimed themselves independent and who were promised special status. It’s inside Ukraine.

It was all linked with Ukraine becoming NATO’s springboard, and NATO expansion. They were saying that Ukraine will be in NATO. Nobody can stop Ukraine if it so wishes. Then President Zelensky said that he might think about coming back to possess nuclear weapons. In November last year, my President suggested to the United States and to NATO to sit down, to cool off, and to discuss how we can agree on security guarantees without NATO’s further eastward expansion. They refused. In the process, the Ukrainian army radically intensified the shelling of those republics in violation of all the ceasefire agreements. We didn’t have any other choice but to recognise them, to sign mutual assistance treaties with them, and, in response to their request, to send our troops as part of special operation to protect their lives.

Question: You provided the basics: the history, as well as the present context. But you also said, President Putin himself said, that this is not targeting civilians or the citizens, people of Ukraine. It is to do with the administration. We know that in international foreign policy parlance it is used quite often: not in my backyard. America says it all the time, and many other countries say it. But should an entire people, and entire population be punished for an administration wanting to carry out independent foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think it’s about any independence. Since 2013, and maybe even earlier, hundreds and hundreds of US, UK, and other Western security and military experts have been openly sitting in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and the Ukrainian security apparatus. They basically were running the place.

As for the civilians, immediately when this special operation started in response to the request from Donetsk and Lugansk in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when it was announced by President Putin, he said that the sole purpose of this operation is to demilitarise and denazify Ukrainians – these two problems of the country are intimately linked. We have been targeting only military infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian army and the so-called nationalist battalions, which are using Nazi insignia, swastikas, which was borrowed from Indian history, but twisted the wrong way, and insignia of Waffen-SS battalions, these people were using and continue to use civilians as human shields. They were placing heavy weapons in the middle of towns and cities, next to schools, next to kindergartens, to hospitals. The internet is full of the testimonies of the people who were living in these places, and who were asking these people not to do this.

Unfortunately, nobody in the West actually pays attention to the facts, which we have been providing. Instead, they are staging some fake situations, like a couple of weeks ago with the place called Bucha. The Russian troops left on March 30, I think, and for three days the city was back in the hands of the Ukrainian administration. The mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk was publicly saying that the city is back to normal life. Only on the fourth day, they started showing images of dozens of corpses lying in the street, which was only a few days before shown as being back to normal. Then a few days later in the city of Kramatorsk, which was fully in the Ukrainian hands, they summoned people to the railway station, and attacked them with a Tochka-U missile. It was proven beyond any doubt that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army. That’s why the next morning it was out of the news in the West because everybody understood the obvious nature of this provocation. Now, The New York Times says that they have the proof that cluster bombs were used by the Ukrainian army.

Speaking of civilians and the rules of international humanitarian law, I can once again assure you that our army operates against the military infrastructure and not against civilians.

Question: Mr Lavrov, you said that Russian forces have only targeted military facilities. Even if there were military facilities or tanks that have been placed in civilian areas, Russian forces did not show restraint in taking them down. Hence, there are civilians who have been killed. There has been bloodshed, whether it is the outskirts of Kiev, primarily Mariupol, Volnovakha – absolutely raised to the ground. Some responsibility has to be taken by the Russians also on the bloodshed?

Sergey Lavrov: It is always terrible when military activities bring damage to the civilians and to the civilian sector, to civilian infrastructure. As I said, when people have been killing ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, in the east for eight years, no TV representatives, be it Asian, be it African, be it Latin American, be it European, be it the United States, paid any attention to this. The Russian journalists have been working on the contact line, on the side of the republics, round the clock, showing the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Ukrainian armed forces. And during all those years not a single foreign journalist cared to come to the other part of this line of contact to see what was going on there.

The statistics available from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe indicate that the damage afflicted on the civilians and the civilian infrastructure on the side of the republics, the [self-] proclaimed republics, was five times more and bigger than the same figure for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

This is not to say that we can just ignore the victims and the damage to the civilian infrastructure, but once again I want to emphasise a very important thing. This outcry started only when the Russians decided to protect Russians who are citizens of Ukraine and who were absolutely discriminated. There was no outcry when the city of Raqqa, for example, in Syria was levelled with dozens and hundreds of corpses lying there unattended for weeks and weeks. The American military never had any scruples about achieving their military goals, be it in Syria, be it in Iraq, be it in Afghanistan, for that matter.

This is a tragedy, when people die. But we cannot tolerate the situation when our Western colleagues say that they can do anything they want. They can encourage the government in Kiev to be as Russophobic as it takes. They would not tell them to stop prohibiting the Russian language in education, in media, stop banning all Russian speaking channels, including Ukrainian channels, they would not tell them not to prosecute the opposition, who favours dialogue with Russia, and to stop violating the commitments to give special status to the territories where the Russian speaking population dominates.

Question: You made a very important point because India Today has travelled to Donetsk and we have been putting out these reports. It is very important because it is important to understand the plight of Russian descent and Russian speaking people in Ukraine. There is no taking away from that. We will talk about Donbass. But coming to the allegations against Russia of genocide, of war crimes, and on the fact that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces, what do you have to say to the visuals? You said that there were no bodies. There were bodies in the basements that have been found much later that would have been found anyway much later. Will there be no investigation that will be carried out? Why just say that it did not happen?

Sergey Lavrov: We are investigating the atrocities of the neo-Nazi battalions of Ukraine and of Ukrainian armed forces. There is a special commission created by the Russian chamber – there is a public organisation which is very experienced. They have been discovering the fakes staged by the so-called White Helmets in Syria, in many other cases. We will not cease our efforts to establish the truth.

We are used to the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have a very interesting habit: they just throw in news when they believe this news will work ideologically for their benefit, and then, when it comes to the facts, and when more facts are discovered, putting a big question mark on their assertions, they just lose interest.

2007, London. Poisoning of Mr Litvinenko. Huge outcry. The investigation begins, and after a few weeks a public inquiry is announced, which in the UK  means that it is secret. Until now, we cannot get the facts about what had happened to Mr Litvinenko.

2014, Malaysian Airlines Boeing. Shot down over Ukraine. We presented a huge amount of facts. We requested that we be part of the investigation – no way. Ukrainians who did not close their skies during the conflict were invited to this investigation group, Russia was not. Malaysia, as the owner of the plane, was invited only five months later after the Australians, the Dutch. They and the Malaysians agreed among themselves that anything coming out of this room must be subject to consensus, meaning that Ukraine, which did not close the skies, had a veto power on this investigation. We could not get the truth on this one as well.

2019, Salisbury poisoning. The people disappeared. The only proof which was made public is “highly likely,” as Theresa May said. The Brits insisted on the expulsion of Russian diplomats by most of the European countries. When I asked my friends, did they provide proof beyond the public statements about “highly likely” it was Russia, they said “no, but they promised to.” I checked one year later, whether this was done, it was not done. And so on, and so forth.

2020. Our opposition blogger Mr Navalny was poisoned. We asked the Germans. We immediately responded to the German request to let him go to the Berlin hospital. Twenty-four hours after the request he was flown to Berlin. We don’t have any confirmation who was flying with him, where did they get the bottle which is the key element in this investigation. When we asked the Germans to show us the formula which they discovered in his blood, they said this is a military secret.

It is us who until now insist on the truth about Litvinenko, about the Skripals, about Malaysian Boeing, and about Navalny. The stories that they stage in Ukraine these days are of the same nature.

Question: Going back to the investigations, you are saying that that Azov battalion is absolutely shameful, yes, they should be investigated. They are neo-Nazis, and they should not have been incorporated or integrated into any military regime in any country. But if you introspect and look at your own people as well, is there any instance of denying and rejecting claims? Will there be investigations against your own people if they have done wrong? Will they be held accountable?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a law that prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law. Any violations are registered and investigated.

On Azov, it is interesting that you mentioned it. Azov was listed in the United States in 2014 or 2015 as a group that cannot be supported, that cannot legitimately operate, and it was prohibited by Congress to provide any assistance to this battalion. Everybody forgot about this or rather they certainly remember what this group is about, and they decided to put their money on this group.

In Japan, as you know, they passed a special decree by the government that Azov is no longer a neo-Nazi group, and the Japanese government apologises for listing Azov as such. And of course when President Zelensky in his camouflage was asked about Azov by some journalists, who felt that something was wrong with these neo-Nazi trends, Zelensky said quietly: Azov, they are what they are, we have many groups like this. They are part of our army.

You, I mean the media, started asking questions about Azov only when the military operation was launched. For eight long years, nobody lifted a finger, nobody bothered about what was being groomed in Ukraine, as a continuation, or rather a resurrection, of what was boiling in Europe in 1930s.

Question: President Zelensky said that Russia plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Sergey Lavrov: He says many things. Depends on what he drinks and what he smokes. He says many things.

Question: Do you think it was a strategic miscalculation by President Zelensky to take on Russia when there was no certain assurance from NATO and the European Union that they would actually back Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: President Zelensky came to power with the promise of peace. He said that he will reach peace on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. A few months later, he said he cannot implement the Minsk Agreements because the Minsk Agreements are “unimplementable.”

Question: It was the Russian forces, the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, he never said that it was because of the military situation on the ground. He said that it is unthinkable for Ukraine to give special status to any part of his territory. But it was very “thinkable,” if I may say so, when Ukraine was created, to put together the territories which now (those in the west) never celebrate Victory Day, May 9, and the eastern territories, which would never celebrate the heroes honoured in the west: those who collaborated with Hitler. With this difficult composition of territories, to say that Ukraine can only be a unitary state, and that it would not give special status to these people even if the Security Council demands so, I believe that this was not very far-sighted.

Had he cooperated as he promised to his electorate when he was elected, had he cooperated in implementing the Minsk Agreements, the crisis would have been over long ago.

Question: Did the West betray Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I think the West played Zelensky against Russia and did everything to strengthen the desire to ignore the Minsk Agreements.

The “West” is a broad notion. It’s the United States and the Brits. The rest of the West, including the European Union, is just an obedient servant.

Question: Tactical nuclear weapons. Will Russia ever use them?

Sergey Lavrov: Ask Mr Zelensky. We never mentioned this. He mentioned this. So, his intelligence must have provided him some news. I cannot comment something which a not very adequate person pronounces.

Question: As a P5 member, as a nuclear power, will nuclear be an option at all, on the table at all?

Sergey Lavrov: When the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan, decided that they have special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed the solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

After the Trump administration came to office, we have been telling them, because tensions were aggravated: “Why don’t we try to send a positive political message to the entire universe and to reiterate what Gorbachev and Reagan pronounced?” During all the four years of the administration, they refused to do so.

But we were really encouraged when President Biden was inaugurated. Five days after his inauguration, we repeated this offer, he first agreed to extend the [New] START treaty without any preconditions. In June 2021, when they met with President Putin in Geneva, they issued this declaration. This declaration was issued on our initiative. After the Americans and the Russians said that there must be no nuclear war, that they won’t think about it, we started to promote the same commitment in the context of the P5. Not the United States, not UK, not France – Russia. Eventually, earlier this year, in January this year, the P5, at the level of presidents and heads of government, issued the statement which we initiated and which we were pushing through for all these years.

Question: So nuclear is off the table?

Sergey Lavrov: This statement, both the Russian-American statement, and the P5 summit statement, were issued on the strong insistence of the Russian Federation.

Question: Coming back to the Donbass region, DPR, LPR. The independence of these republics is non-negotiable for Russia when you talk to Ukraine. What happens if the negotiations succeed between Ukraine and Russia and should there be a settlement, will Russia withdraw from other areas: Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev?

Sergey Lavrov: I thought you are a journalist, but you can be a spy. I am not discussing the military operation, for obvious reasons it is never the case.

On the territorial situation, we recognise DPR and LPR within the administrative boundaries of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Minsk agreements were signed when these two territories were split roughly half and half. Now the militias of these republics are fighting to get their territory back.

When they had a referendum in 2014, it was held on the entire territories of the former regions. But then the coup leaders started the war, which they called an anti-terrorist operation, and they took a considerable chunk of both regions. So, yes, we recognise LPR and DPR within their declared territories as a result of the referendum.

Question: Which in fact includes Mariupol and Volnovakha, as part of Donetsk.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Question: My question is, if there is a settlement between the two sides, and they recognise, which President Zelensky said he would not, he said that they are going to fight for Donbass to the very end, so where are the red lines?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot intelligently discuss what President Zelensky says because he always changes his mind diametrically.

He was the initiator of the negotiations, which we accepted. At some point we were disappointed because they were changing their mind every time, coming late, leaving early, but then in Istanbul, about one month ago, it was on March 29, they brought a paper, saying that we are not going to be a member of any military alliance, that they will be neutral. In return, they asked for security guarantees, preferably P5, maybe some others, and it was written and initialled by the head of the heads of delegations. The security guarantees they were asking for would not cover Crimea and the territories in the east of Ukraine.

It was not our language, it was their language. Now President Zelensky says “no way.” They started backtracking even earlier. But this is a paper with the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation. So, before we can intelligently discuss what he says one day or another, we need to have clarity about the credibility of this person and about his team.

Question: Was there any understanding in Istanbul on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, as well?

Sergey Lavrov: We changed the configuration of our presence. This was announced immediately after Istanbul that since we believed that they brought something which could serve as a basis [of an agreement], we made a goodwill gesture, and we changed the configuration in the Kiev and Chernigov areas.

This was not appreciated at all. Instead, this Bucha thing was immediately staged and played, like Skripals were played in Salisbury, like the Malaysian Boeing, like Navalny, played, but immediately put aside when the hard facts were presented which they cannot challenge.

Question: There are mayors who have been appointed now by Russia in Berdyansk and Melitopol, and they are saying that they will hold a referendum, that they are not going to go back. Is that the plan?

Sergey Lavrov: That’s the outmost democracy, right? A referendum – people saying what they want.

Question: Which means that you are securing your land boundary in Sumy and Kharkov, but also the waters, if you look at Zaporozhye, Nikolayev.

Sergey Lavrov: People have been suffering in all these places for eight long years, when neo-Nazis were prohibiting them to speak their own language, prohibiting them to commemorate the heroes of World War II, of the Great Patriotic War, prohibiting to have parades and to have any events to commemorate the fallen, the parents, the grandparents of these people.

Now when they have thrown away these neo-Nazis, and say that now we will decide who will be running the place – this is our mayor, this is our legislature, I believe that this is a manifestation of democracy after so many years of oppression.

Question: It seems that Ukraine has lost more land than it would have gained by negotiating on Donbass.

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the decision of those who have been running Ukraine, of those who have been sabotaging the Minsk agreements, in spite of the UN Security Council decision. We are not up for regime change in Ukraine. We have said this repeatedly. We want the Ukrainians themselves to decide how they want to live further in a way, which would not repeat the Minsk agreements, when they did decide that they did not want to do anything with the coup leaders, who immediately said that they are against anything Russian: culture, language, everything what these people cherish. Then they were promised something by the European Union and cheated.

We want the people to be free. To decide how they want to live in Ukraine.

Question: Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. How long can you sustain?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think we are thinking in the context of sustaining. Sustaining means, you know, you sustain, you take some hardships, and hope that, sooner or later, this would be over.

Russia has been under sanctions all along – Jackson–Vanik, then it was repealed, but Magnitsky Act was introduced, then we were punished for the free vote of the Crimeans, we were punished for supporting those who were in favour of keeping the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian government did not want them to get what they promised, and so on and so forth.

So, now we have come to a very straightforward conclusion. We cannot rely on our Western colleagues in any part of our life, which has strategic significance, be it food security, which we managed to ensure ourselves after 2014, be it, of course, defence, and be it some strategic sectors where high-tech is developing and indicating the future of the mankind. We did not have time to achieve self-sufficiency in all these areas, but in most cases, we resolved this issue. Of course, we are open to cooperation with all other countries who do not use illegal, illegitimate unilateral measures in violation of the UN Charter.

India is among those. We cooperate bilaterally. I visited a couple of months ago, and we cooperate in many international organisations.

Question: Speaking of India, India is under immense pressure to sever ties, to cut down imports of energy, of fuel, but India has stood its ground. In terms of reliability, is there a concern that India should have with regards to the kind of defence cooperation both countries have? Could there be delays in deliveries of critical weapons systems that India is buying from Russia, such as the S-400s? What is the conversation you have been having with New Delhi on this ground?

Sergey Lavrov: India is our very old friend. We called our relationship a long time ago a strategic partnership. Then, about 20 years ago, the Indian friends said: why don’t we call it a “privileged strategic partnership?” Sometime later, they said that this was not enough. Let’s call it “especially privileged strategic partnership.” This is a unique description of the bilateral relations between India and Russia.

With India, long before all this became such a hot potato, we supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept “Make in India” and we started substituting simple trade with local production, shifting production of the goods needed by India on your territory. It was for quite a number of years already that we have been promoting the use of our national currencies in settlements between the governments of the two countries.

We promoted national information systems, transmission systems, like SWIFT. You have your own, we have our won. They are being used more and more. Payment cards: we have MIR, you have RuPay. They are mutually supportive. It is not, you know, a huge percentage, of the overall volume of trade, but it is steadily growing. On defence, we can provide anything India wants. Technology transfers in the context of defence cooperation are absolutely unprecedented for any of India’s outside partners.

Question: We have got away with a waiver from the United States for the S-400s, but future collaborations, could they become difficult?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, when the Americans say that they are in favour of democracy all over the world, they mean only a very specific thing – that it is up to them to decide who is democracy, and who deserves to have some good attitude on behalf of Washington. When they convened this summit of democracies, you only need to look through the list of invitees, to understand that it is not about real democracies, it is about something else. The Americans now run all over the world, their ambassadors have priority number one to go to the foreign ministry, to the government of the country where they serve and say: “You must stop talking to Russia, you must join sanctions against Russia.”

Well, long before this crisis, I have been talking to the Americans, to the Europeans, I told them: when you say democracy, democracy, and at the conferences you always want this language on rule of law and democracy, I asked them about adding that apart from the national level, we want democracy and the rule of law internationally. They don’t like it. When they push everybody in this anti-Russian camp, when they go to India, when they go to China, to Turkey, to Egypt, countries with their own thousands years of history of civilization, of culture, and when they are not even ashamed to publicly tell you what to do, I believe something is wrong not only with manners, which always has been the case, but something is wrong with the mentality.

When Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, says publicly: “We, the United States, has not yet decided whether to introduce sanctions against India for the S-400s,” they have not decided what is good for you. His under-secretary Wendy Sherman later said: “We must help India understand what is important for its security.” How about that?

Question: I suppose your counterpart gave them a befitting reply on how to conduct one’s foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Absolutely. I respect Subrahmanyam Jaishankar very much. He is a seasoned diplomat, and he is a real patriot of his country. He said that we will be taking the decisions on the basis of what India believes it needs for its development, for its security. It’s respectful. Not too many countries can say something like this.

Question: You mentioned China. For us, the China factor is very important. Russia has a unique relationship when it comes to ties with China and ties with India. You mentioned the United States of America, so again, I am going to go back to the US. Recently, in one of the visits, deputy national security advisor said that should India continue ties with Russia, there will be consequences. If, he said, there is another incident at the LAC, then the US will not come to India’s rescue. The statement is flawed, because there are two points. One is that he said “should there be another incident,” not recognising that the Chinese are still on Indian soil. Secondly, he said that they will not come to India’s rescue, but they did not come in the first place. But where does Russia stand?

Sergey Lavrov: We stand in favour of resolving any conflicts on the basis of arrangements negotiated directly between the parties, like, just like it was in Ukraine, when the two parties, the rebels, as they are called, the separatists, as they are called, for us they are self-proclaimed republics, on the one side, and the government, which came to power as a result of the coup, on the other side had a deal, negotiated and endorsed by the Security Council. It is another matter that the government, with the instigation of the West, failed to deliver, but the method is the one which we believe should be applied everywhere.

After those incidents on the border, we welcomed the resumption of the discussions between the military of India and China, the discussions between the politicians, at the level of the foreign ministers, and we hope that this would be resolved. We cannot use those threats, which are absolutely normal for the Americans, who say “or else, there would be consequences.” It is their favourite statement.

What we would like to do, as Russia, we would like to promote the formats where India, Russia, and China participate together. It started in 1996-1997, when Russia’s Foreign Minister at that time, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested the RIC format – the troika formed by Russia, India, and China. It happened, and we continue to convene in this format. I think, last November there was probably the 20th ministerial meeting. Not only foreign ministers, but also ministers of economy, ministers of trade, political scientists meet, which may not be very much publicised, but it is a very useful format.

We were very much in favour, even we were the leading force in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to promote this, of the full membership of India, together with Pakistan, in this organisation. This is another premise for China and India to be together in the company of their neighbours, and to build more confidence.

Question: Finally, before I let you go, sir, Europe is looking to halt gas from Russia. Come summer, policies might get harsher. But you are looking for the dedollarisation of the global energy market by dealing in roubles. How do you propose to do that, should they start halting?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be no change for the Europeans and other countries who buy our gas. The reason for this decision was very simple and obvious. When they froze the Russian assets in dollars, euro, yens, and the pound sterling for the amount of more than 300 billion euros or dollars, those were mostly the money kept in Western banks after we received payments from them, from the Western countries, for our gas deliveries.

In other words, they paid us, and they stole the money from us because those were the currencies which are linked to the Western banking system. So what we told them to do: they would not be paying directly to Gazprom’s accounts abroad, but they would be paying to a bank called Gazprombank. It is an independent entity. They would be paying the same amount which they have to pay under the existing contracts, but they will pay these amounts to a special account which they have to open with this bank. There would be a parallel account in roubles. So they pay euros, and then inside this bank these euros are transferred to the rouble account, and from this account Gazprom receives roubles.

Question: So you are not running losses at all on the money Russia is to receive from Europe? There is no money that has been stopped?

Sergey Lavrov: Exactly. As of now, they would not be able to keep the money in their banks, the money that they not even owe us, but which they paid to us already. I believe this is something which does not contradict contracts. They would still be paying in euros or dollars or whatever was the currency of the contract, but we will have insurance that this robbery would not happen again.

Question: Finally, sir, before I let you go, I have to go back to that question on eastern Ukraine. Intensification of war efforts now in eastern Ukraine – is the trigger the flagship warship Moskva that sunk. What really happened there? Is that one of the triggers now why we see more intensification against Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: No, this operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed, as was announced from the very beginning, to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This operation will continue. Another stage of this operation is beginning. I am sure that this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.

Question: What happened to the warship?

Sergey Lavrov: It is for the Ministry of Defence. They explained what happened and I cannot add anything to this.

Question: On that note, many thanks for joining us here on India Today. It was indeed a pleasure, sir.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much.

Question: That was the Foreign Minister of Russia speaking exclusively to India Today.


Notes on information availability from the Russian Federation:

The best video is on Telegram:  https://t.me/MFARussia/12362
This is the first complete address from the Russian MFA that they posted on Telegram since the attack on the availability of Russian information started.  It is also a complete interview in English and without translators.

The Indian interviewer is smart and respectful.  Mr. Lavrov is patient and clear.

It is still a hit-and-miss exercise to get complete information from Russian professional sources.   You can see these interviews live on Ruptly but there is no playback.  The videos and transcripts are on the Russian Foreign Ministry site, but frequently there is no playback.  In copying this transcript just a while ago, the Russian MFA site went down again.

It is important to see or read these completely in order to find nuance and context. It seems to be a fashionable journalistic method to report on one or two snippets only. In that, the Russian media sources are not helping us to help them. Here is an example.  Mr. Lavrov’s takeaway quote on being asked about Zelenski, is:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks or what he smokes.”   RT decided to shorten that, and said:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks.”   Incorrectly reporting even direct quotes does not serve the Russian cause.

Amarynth

Quo Vadis Europa

March 31, 2022

Source

By Ljubisa Malenica

Thanks to the current conflict in Ukraine, all the masks of so-called “Western values” fell before the eyes of the world public in a very short time. On the theme of Russophobia itself, another full text in its own right can be written. It came to the surface of everyday life throughout the West rather fast. For now, it is enough to notice the haste with which chauvinism towards Russians began to manifest itself in Western countries. It would seem as if Russophobia had been practiced for years. If you spend your life listening how “exceptional” you are, the very logic of this argument leads to the conclusion that others are in one way or another beneath you, only average, and it should come as no surprise to see these outpourings of hatred towards those “average” who dared to bring into question the “exceptional” order.

The ongoing propaganda campaign, demonizing both Russia and Putin, is trying to convince the world and domestic audiences of Russian isolation. It is enough to look at the map of the countries that imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation, and this narrative of isolation falls apart. On the other hand, the same map clearly indicates that those who have introduced sanctions to Moscow are limited to collective West and its satellites. Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine has nothing to do with Ukraine. This is an indirect war of the United States against Russia and represents only the final phase of a long process that began at the time of the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Even in terms of combat itself, Russian troops are not engaging domestically envisioned Ukrainian strategy or tactics. As Scott Ritter[1] pointed out, Ukrainian army has been for eight years trained and equipped by NATO officers and instructors, up to NATO standards. Any unit of Ukrainian military is fully interchangeable within overall NATO battle order with any other unit from any other NATO member country, thus we are left with a silent fact that on the ground in Ukraine we have a war between Russian and NATO strategy, tactics and, to an extent, weapon systems.

During the Cold War, Europe was considered, for several understandable reasons, as the inevitable and most important battleground between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The sword of possible nuclear destruction hung constantly above it. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Fukuyama’s specter of the end of history was introduced into Europe as well. Unipolar moment of the United States swept over countries of Western Europe as well, which firmly believed that they also played a part in the disappearance of the USSR. Finally, the great war in which not a single shot was fired, came to an end. Moscow was defeated, then humiliated and rejected. These same European countries, which by the logic of things should have been the most concerned about increasing insecurity on European soil, watched apathetically as Washington dismantled the security architecture set up during the Cold War.

The mentioned security architecture was developed and set up with the aim of creating as many obstacles as possible on the path of rapid escalation towards the nuclear conflict between the then two nuclear superpowers, Soviet Union and the USA. European countries have benefited the most from these agreements and should have been the most interested in maintaining them. This unpacking of security agreements began during the Bush administration, when the then US president announced in 2002 that Washington would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Agreement, which limited the number of defense systems that each of the two superpowers could deploy on its territory.[2] The next step was the United States withdrawal from the Mid-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement in 2019, [3] while the final move came also during Trump’s term, the withdrawal from the Open Skies Agreement[4] in 2020, which allowed signatory countries to monitor each other openly so as to reduce possible military tensions. Each of these moves further strained relations between Russia and the western powers while making it clear that the collective West was not interested in negotiations based on mutual understanding and reciprocity.

While all this was happening, Europe did nothing. No major European country has offered real resistance to NATO expansion. There was such resistance certainly, on part of individuals, but at the level of official policy, all European capitals of importance have unquestioningly followed Washington in further pushing the alliance’s positions to the east, towards Russia’s borders. This breakdown of Cold War security mechanisms was given little attention.

Even now that the war has engulfed Ukraine and nearly two million refugees[5] have arrived in Europe, European leaders have barely been able to resist US pressure to stop importing Russian gas and oil.[6] These two energy sources are of key importance for the European Union, which receives 25% of its oil and 40% of its gas from Moscow.[7] Imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation, which could retaliate with reciprocal measures, would be a disaster for European countries. Previous fall, much earlier than the Russian military operation in Ukraine began, representatives of German industry warned the political elite of the negative consequences that high energy prices will have on their operations.[8] In Germany alone, natural gas meets 50% of energy needs within chemical and pharmaceutical industries.[9] Each of the European countries is dependent on Russian energy and some countries are completely dependent on Russian gas. Given the quantities in question, and prices, all statements about some kind of replacement for Russian oil and gas with other energy sources in a short period of time cannot be taken seriously. Even the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, in a statement for the German Bildt pointed out that “we import a third of our oil from Russia. If imports were stopped immediately, the whole of Germany would stop the next day”.[10]

Weather it likes it or not, Europe is linked to Russia by energy ties, because only Moscow can provide the necessary quantities of energy to maintain the European industrial base, at sufficiently affordable prices. Of course, this was the situation until the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, after which both oil and gas reached record and historical prices. Even faced with this unquestionable reality, the European political elite did not hesitate to impose sanctions on Moscow or to arm Ukrainian forces and Nazis with modern anti-tank weapons. Only when the very survival of the European industry became questionable due to Washington’s intentions to completely stop importing Russian energy, did the European capitals decide to oppose it.[11]

When the conflict in Ukraine is viewed from the perspective of diplomatic and political activities, the European Union rarely appears. The heads of state, such as France and Germany, are somewhat more noticeable, but this is mostly sporadic and impotent action to which superficial attention is paid. Military operation in Ukraine exposed the reality. Just look at the main actors of the drama, the United States and Russia. Even China is more active in the issue of Ukraine as a sovereign political actor than the EU countries, which are almost completely overshadowed by the actions of the United States.

In addition to this humiliating political position, which is far from the recent chest thumping of French and German politicians about the need for more independent action on the world stage, renewed appearance of dark specters from the not-so-distant past might be more serious. The degree of Russophobia that could be seen in all Western countries immediately after the beginning of the Russian military action points to the fact that hatred toward the Russian people is covered by a thin layer of artificial civility. Russian athletes are banned from participating in competitions, Russian-owned restaurants are vandalized, Russian diplomatic missions are exposed to attacks, great works of Russian music and literature classics are rejected and removed, Russian products are discarded and even Russian cats are banned from exhibitions. In every way, there seem to be a push to punish and, in accordance with the popular Western culture of “cancellation”, reject everything that is Russian.

For the United States, with its fear of the Soviet Union in the 1950s and McCarthy’s witch hunts, Russophobia is somewhat understandable. Even during Trump’s tenure, James Clapper, the former director of the National Intelligence Service, made public chauvinistic claims that the Russians were “almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor.” [12] If we accept as a logical explanation that the American position arose on the basis of historical circumstances, then the question arises why identical situations are repeated within most European countries that have been in contact with Russia for much longer than Washington. Why do the nations and elites of given countries voluntarily participate in demonization of Russia if they are already forced by political circumstances to impose economic sanctions on Moscow?

One of the possible explanations is the Americanization of Western Europe, and with it, the transplantation of the ideology of “exceptionalism”. Of course, the countries of the European West will never be as “exceptional” as the United States, but imitating lifestyles and political, military and economic links give them a sense of superiority over others who do not belong to the same prestigious club. This sense of superiority serves as a screen to hide the disappearance and extinction of one’s own cultural and national identity and, accordingly, real sovereignty in foreign and domestic policy. Perhaps that is why French President Emanuel Macron once pointed out that “there is no such thing as French culture”.[13][14]

What exacerbates Europe’s subordination is the fact that the current American elite serves as a subject of ridicule both outside the United States and within it. We are all already familiar with the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” and know what message is actually sent by its use. Neither Secretary of State Blinken nor Vice President Kamala Harris are in a more enviable position. One of the most famous American journalists of today, certainly one of the most watched, Tucker Carlson regularly uses his show on Fox News to document and criticize, in a humorous way, all the incompetence of the American political class currently in power. Whether Joseph Biden is just someone’s puppet or a partially independent actor, his behavior is, to say the least, a humiliation for the United States. He is, by all accounts, incapable of performing the duty placed upon him. After the Russian intervention in Ukraine, the Western media filled the information space for days with questions about whether Vladimir Putin is crazy, incompetent, angry or emotionally unstable. By the way, did you notice how that narrative disappeared almost overnight? Every possible conceivable formulation of the question “is Putin crazy” had been tried, but in the case of Biden, no similar scrutiny could be found, not even in traces. That says plenty about the Western media, and nothing we did not know beforehand.

Being subordinate to such an American administration reflects the sad state of the European Union and European countries in general, especially those in the West. The fact that Serbia together with Bosnia and Herzegovina have not imposed sanctions on Russia or banned flights only makes the political picture of current Europe gloomier. The head of the foreign affairs of the European Union, Joseph Borell, points out that Brussels has reached the limit of its capabilities to impose sanctions on Russia[15] and anything more would seriously damage the Europeans themselves, who are already buying oil and gas at historically record prices. Only now, when possible retaliation towards the most sensitive sectors of European economy and industry is looming, does Europe decide to halt. The lives of Russians and Ukrainians in Ukraine are irrelevant, democracy, sovereignty, human rights, all that is irrelevant, just don’t touch the standard of living and the economic calculus. While the western part of the continent is doing well, everything else is irrelevant. One month into the conflict we can see sanctions have not worked so well for the EU countries. We seem to have made a full circle back to Russophobia and the fact that the current European elites have never seen Russia as part of Europe, which is a mistake in itself, and that the same elites would be happy to sanction Moscow into the ground rather than accept it as an equal interlocutor, if only there were none of that pesky geographical and economic connections and interdependencies.

Undoubtedly, there are those political forces in European countries that look at Russia much more positively. This is almost a characteristic of most opposition parties in Germany and France, but also elsewhere. Thanks to Viktor Orban, Hungary neither allows the transfer of weapons for the Kiev regime through its territory nor participates in the further arming of Ukrainians. In most Slavic countries, even those that are most Russophobic, such as Poland, there are political forces which, without sympathizing with the Russian Federation, understand that Russia exists as part of Europe and that this cannot be changed. Any security architecture in Europe, especially one created for the long run, cannot be imagined without Moscow’s constructive participation. Undoubtedly, there is a Europe that is primarily Europe and only then the West, but as we have witnessed trough out the years, this national and sovereignist Europe is in constant conflict, one which it is losing, with globalist and Atlanticist “Europe” which has very little in common with what is culturally, traditionally and historically Europe. This same Atlanticist Europe is now openly sending modern weapons to Ukrainian troops while imposing sanctions on Moscow, hoping for its defeat and weakening. If we assume the worst possible scenario, which is a complete Russian defeat, the fall of Vladimir Putin and the collapse of the Russian state, the consequences of such a traumatic event would not bypass Europe. Given that Russia has a population of 145 million, a possible wave of refugees alone would be a burden that EU could not cope with, not to mention other aspects of such an event. Warsaw and Krakow are already warning of the impossibility of accepting additional refugees from Ukraine, and are demanding help from the European Union and the UN.[16]

As far back as 2017 and 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin[17][18][19] warned of the existence of programs for the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, and of programs for collecting DNA material from Slavs in both Russia and Ukraine. The foreign media, especially the Western one, dismissed[20] all of this as another example of Putin’s madness. Those Western officials who addressed this issue unanimously rejected the claims as Russian propaganda. It was all a conspiracy theory[21] until the Russian military operation in Ukraine began. Among the first to notice something unusual was Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, [22] an independent journalist from Bulgaria. Namely, she pointed out that all data about eleven American biolaboratories[23] on the territory of Ukraine was deleted from the website of the American Embassy in Kiev. This went unnoticed until March 8, when, during her testimony to the Senate Committee, Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland openly acknowledged the existence of biological laboratories on the territory of Ukraine, certainly under supervision from the United States. When Senator Marco Rubio asked if Ukraine possessed chemical or biological weapons, Nuland replied that “Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces maybe seeking to gain control of. We are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research material from falling into the hands of Russian troops should they approach”.[24] Thank you Vicky, that was more than clear enough. Immediately following this, US administration began damage control, stating the reasons for the existence of laboratories, such as reducing the risk of chemical and biological weapons leftover from the Soviet period, [25] and harmless study of diseases for the common good.[26] If we accept these explanations, a couple of very clear questions arise.

Given that Washington’s activities in Ukraine on this issue have been going on since 2005, it is logical to ask how much time is actually needed to remove or destroy the chemical and biological weapons of the former USSR. Is seventeen years not enough? On the other hand, if these research facilities are really doing harmless research for the benefit of mankind, then why is Victoria Nuland worried about the possibility of them being taken over by the Russians? The conclusion is quite simple, although there is a chance it is wrong. They are lying, both in regard to the purpose of laboratories and in regard to the nature of materials contained within them.

The most worrying part of the issue related to biological laboratories is the possibility that they conducted research on bioweapons that would target specific national groups, in this case it being Slavic population, Russians and Ukrainians. As we already pointed out, back in 2017, Vladimir Putin mentioned the existence of programs for collection of DNA samples from the Russian population. The US Department of Defense did not refute these allegations, but indirectly confirmed them. In a statement from the 59th Medical Wing of the Center for Advanced Molecular Detection, Captain Beau Downey said the center was conducting research “to identify various biomarkers associated with trauma…this needed two sets of samples and since the first set, containing the initial group of diseases had Russian origin, the control group should also be of Russian origin”.[27][28]

Now let the author, who is a laymen when it comes to microbiology and military, try to unpack this, with warning that the following train of thought could be completely wrong. So, a military medical institution within US is doing research connected to trauma. It is presumed trauma here refers to injury. Fair enough, after all, this type of activities would seem only logical for such an institution. Given we are talking about trauma, we should ask trauma of whom? Civilians or military personnel? There has to be more than enough civilian medical institutions dealing with issues of civilian injuries, so it would seem logical 59th Medical Wing of the Center for Advanced Molecular Detection deals with injuries suffered by soldiers. Again, this seems logical. Soldiers of which country? Logically, United States. Let us now contemplate who the soldiers of the US Army are. According to Pew research from 2017, 57% of military personnel were white,[29] while 43% belonged to other races, as defined by US census. US population, roughly 330 million people, encompasses around 3 million Russians, which is little bit less than 1% of total population. This leads us to conclude that overwhelming majority of white Americans serving in US army belong to German, Anglo-Saxon and other non-Slavic European nations. If our logic has been sound so far, it begs a question why the sample taken for this research was not more diverse in its origin? Why was it not more representative of the real genetical composition of US forces, as described above? If there is research being conducted with emphasis on identification of biomarkers associated with trauma, why focus your attention to rather minor part of your population, and accordingly, your military units? It seems a wasted effort or Captain Downey is obfuscating real intentions. It does pay to bear in mind this identification of trauma biomarkers might not be used solely for healing purposes, this could have offensive value as well. This is all conjecture, given real informations are scarce, however, to the author, a layman, it seems illogical to conduct a research of this type on a minor and, from US military point of view, irrelevant sample, if we are considering only trauma detection and injury remediation.

So for the purposes of their research, American military did indeed collect samples of the Russian genetic code. Igor Kirilov, head of CBRN defense for the Russian Army, points out that in the period from 2020 to 2021, under the auspices of studies with various pathogens, several thousand samples of patient serum (patients were of Slavic origin) were transferred from Ukraine to the United States. The final destination of these samples was the military Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the US, the largest institution of its kind in the America.[30] Shortly after Victoria Nuland’s statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called on Washington to present details of its military-biological activities to the public, stressing that the United States has 336 laboratories in 30 countries, 26 of which are in Ukraine.[31][32][33] At the same time, just a day after the Russian army began its operation, the official website of the American National Endowment for Democracy, the infamous NED, removed all documentation related to its activities on the territory of Ukraine.[34] We should not lose sight of the fact that NED, according to its own data, has been active in Ukraine since 1989.

After only ten days of Russian progress, we came to a situation where we had to accept, as a fact, that United States have funded laboratory work in Europe with some of the most dangerous pathogens known to man. The laboratory in Odessa[35] is classified as level three biosafety facility, out of four possible levels.[36] Level three biosafety enables work with anthrax and tuberculosis, among other things. It is also necessary to take into account that there is a significant possibility of European countries being acquainted with the entire program, which only further emphasizes the subordination of the European Union to American interests.

The possibility that other Slavic countries deliberately cooperated with Washington on this issue shows an extremely dangerous degree of frivolity, especially when we consider that one of the main characteristics of both viruses and bacteria is mutations aimed at facilitating their spread. It is not impossible to imagine that a virus artificially created to attack Russians after several mutations becomes dangerous for Poles or Czechs, given the common Slavic roots and similar characteristics of the genetic code in all Slavic peoples.

Finally, we will look at the economic consequences of current events, and they are best seen when looking at oil and natural gas prices on the world market. At the time of writing, a barrel of oil sells for $ 110, while a thousand cubic meters of natural gas costs $ 4,705. These are astronomical figures, figures that already have a visible negative impact on European industry. On March 10, the only state-owned steel plant in Germany, Lech-Stahlwerke, was forced to shut down its Bavarian plant due to high energy prices.[37] This factory produced a million tons of steel a year, and consumed as much energy as the city of 300,000 inhabitants.

According to a survey by the Federation of German Industries, high energy prices are jeopardizing the survival of a quarter of all German small and medium-sized enterprises.[38][39] According to available data, 23% of these companies see energy prices as a threat to their own survival, while 21% are considering moving plants abroad. It should be borne in mind that these are data just before the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, which logically leads to the conclusion that the current situation is much worse. This is of particular importance given that more than half of jobs in Germany are created by small and medium-sized enterprises.[40] These same companies generate 37% of the total annual turnover and make up almost 99% of all existing German companies.[41]

Unfortunately for Europe, Germany has been transformed through EU into the economic engine of the entire continent, and any instability within Germany itself can only have a negative impact on the rest of the countries, both inside and outside Europe. At the same time, the European Union is introducing a new package of sanctions against Russia, which includes a ban on export of luxury goods to the Russian Federation and the import of iron and steel from it.[42][43] Russia is one of the five largest exporters of iron and steel globally. Sanctioning Moscow in this regard can only lead to a further rise in metal prices. Russian authorities have already announced additional duties of 15% on the export of 340 products made of steel and other metals, which will be in force from August 1 to December 31 this year. Since we are talking about exports, this will also affect the increase in prices, and from this move, a profit of 160 billion rubles is expected.[44] According to data from 2019, the EU import of semi-finished steel products from Russia and Ukraine accounts for as much as 71% of imports in this category. In other categories of steel products, the Russian Federation, together with Ukraine, appears as one of the major trade partners of the European Union as well.[45]

Russia is also a leading exporter of cereals, especially wheat. Ukraine and the Russian Federation provide as much as a quarter of the world’s wheat export,[46] which is crucial for nutrition of a number of countries, including those in Europe. Given the current events, the chances are extremely low that Ukrainian farmers will sow their fields this year. Without sowing there can be no harvest. Food prices are expected to rise globally.[47] At the same time, Russia is the primary exporter of neon, nickel, copper and precious metals,[48] with neon and palladium standing out due to their key role in production of microchips.[49][50]

There is not even theoretical possibility that Western countries will remain unaffected by their own sanctions. Three weeks after start of the conflict, Washington has already been forced to send a diplomatic mission to Nicolas Maduro with the goal of convincing Venezuela to compensate for oil that Moscow delivered to the United States.[51] Not so long ago Maduro was a dictator and a drug dealer.

While the West is feverishly looking for new ways to sanction Russia for “violating international law”, economic and political processes worthy of attention are taking place on the other side of the Eurasian supercontinent. In early March, the Russian Federation and Pakistan signed a major trade agreement by which Islamabad agreed to import two million tons of wheat and natural gas from Russia.[52] Shortly afterwards, India and Russia decided to finalize a system of mutual trade that would take place in the national currencies of the two countries, thus bypassing the dollar. According to available data, edible oil and fertilizer are of key interest for New Delhi at the moment, but once established, this system can easily be used to trade in other goods as well.[53] At the same time, China and the Eurasian Economic Union are agreeing to create a common and independent international monetary and financial system based on the “new international currency”.[54] This new currency is supposed to take yuan as a reference base and its value would be calculated on the basis of the index of national currencies of the participating countries, as well as commodity prices.[55] In addition to all this, there are signs of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and China regarding possibility that Riyadh would accept the Chinese yuan instead of the dollar as a means of payment for oil bought by Beijing,[56] especially now that dedollarization has become an integral part of developing one’s own sovereignty. For the sake of the record, China buys 25% of total Saudi oil exports.

Despite warnings from major banks on Wall Street, Western sanctions included expulsion of Russian banks from the global SWIFT payment system, but this is proving to be another future problem for Western capitals. A Bloomberg article points out that “booting Russia from the critical global system — which handles 42 million messages a day and serves as a lifeline to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions — could backfire, sending inflation higher, pushing Russia closer to China and shielding financial transactions from scrutiny by the West. It might also encourage the development of a SWIFT alternative that could eventually damage the supremacy of the U.S. dollar.”[57]

This warning has already proven to be correct, considering that Moscow has connected its own system for international financial exchange not only with China, but also with India and all the countries that make up the EAEU. Russia’s System for Transfer of Financial Messages already links more than 400 banks.[58] If we take into account the previously emphasized importance of the Russian Federation as an exporter of several key raw materials, it is logical to expect a further increase in the number of institutions involved in the network. Given that India and China together have close to three billion inhabitants, their participation in this system is crucial and there is no real reason why these two countries would not join it.

Russia itself is already discussing the nationalization[59] of assets of foreign companies that left the country in protest over the conflict in Ukraine, while the director of the Center for Economic Research of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements, Vasily Koltashov, advocates de facto confiscation of foreign technologies through a law on friendly and hostile states which would allow Russian Federation to cease recognizing US rights to patents.[60] Koltashov believes that “if a country turns out to be on the unfriendly list, then we can start copying its technologies in pharmaceuticals, industry, manufacturing, electronics, medicine. It can be anything – from simple details to chemical compositions.”[61] Western sources also warn of the dangers regarding sanctions in the technological sphere.[62]

Late last year, Iran and Russia finalized agreements to sign a major comprehensive co-operation agreement for a period of twenty years, which is likely to be similar to the agreement reached between Tehran and Beijing.[63] At the same time, on the very day the Russian operation in Ukraine began, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Moscow. During this visit, an agreement was reached on the construction of a large gas pipeline “North-South” which would transfer liquefied gas from the southern Pakistani port of Karachi to the northern part of the country.[64] The value of this project, which should be executed by Russian companies, is estimated at two billion dollars. In addition to cooperation with Asian countries, Moscow seems to be expanding cooperation with South American countries as well. During the meeting between Putin and Bolsenaro in February, the Brazilian president pointed out the high degree of interest in cooperation in the field of SMRs, that is, small modular nuclear reactors, especially their role in the development of Brazilian nuclear submarines, and expanding “dialogue on issues such as off-shore hydrocarbon production, hydrogen and nuclear energy…strengthening military cooperation and bilateral exchanges.”[65]

As we can see, a series of constructive moves that should strengthen mostly opponents and competitors of the United States. Meanwhile, in the clown world of EU, the Brussels is preparing to impose sanctions on Poland and Hungary for refusing to comply with European Union dictates regarding LGBT propaganda and other decadent Western “values.” Namely, on March 10, the European Parliament, by a large majority, passed a decision calling on the European Commission to start the procedure of withholding funds from those countries that “do not respect the rule of law”, with special emphasis on Warsaw and Budapest.[66][67]

This can only deepen the Union’s already existing agony, especially given the duration of this crisis, and the existence of several other simultaneous issues that are eroding internal cohesion and functioning. If the EC really implements this decision, question of Poland’s, and possibly Hungary’s, exit from the European Union, would inevitably become actual again. In line with European solidarity, which we could witness in action during the pandemic, Brussels also said it was grateful to states of the Western Balkan for backing EU sanctions against Russia, but noted that there were no plans for compensation funds to mitigate the damage these countries will suffer due to harmonization with the measures of the European Union.[68] Much ado about solidarity.

By all accounts, the European Union is entering a period of economic and political turmoil carried on a false wave of moral superiority over Russia and the Russian people. It is enough to look at the map of the Eurasian supercontinent to see the undoubted place of Europe itself in this great expanse. The whole series of events that led us to the conflict in Ukraine were a kind of test measuring the real independence of European Union, and now we can say that European countries have failed that test. More than fifteen years, since Vladimir Putin’s famous speech in Munich, have been wasted. Neither France nor Germany exerted the necessary pressure, and they were quite capable of doing so, upon Kiev to fulfill the Minsk agreements, all the while arming the Ukrainian army and training units that we can now openly say are nothing but modern versions of Nazi troops from eighty years ago. After their ancestors were classified as “subhumans” by the “Aryan overlords” from the Third Reich, it is sad to see one Slavic people embrace this disgusting ideology with the intention of using it against another Slavic nation.

By no means are all Ukrainians open to Nazism. In fact, it is probably true that a small minority has truly accepted this ideology. However, it is necessary to accept that the part which did embrace Hitler’s ideas did so with the tacit blessing of both United States and European Union. It is depressing to observe how Europe, a space with extremely long traditions of statehood, art, culture, with the richness of its own history and historical experience, becomes even more deeply dependent on Washington. We should not cultivate illusions, in war between Russia and Ukraine, the European Union seems to be the biggest loser. Russia will be hit by sanctions but it can always turn to Asia. Iran has been under US sanctions for decades and continues to function as a state, Cuba and North Korea as well. Given this, it is relatively safe to assume that Russia will likewise survive the sanctions and continue to exist. But what will Europe do? Europe which had a rather clear and obvious choice. Either the continuation of dependence on the Atlantic order or the building of one’s own capacities with the aim of forming one of the hubs of the new multipolar order and the development of Eurasian connectivity. Apparently, Europe has chosen its path, and it could eventually lead to its disappearance. It is enough to look at the overall European birth rates, combined with impact of neoliberal open borders policy, to have a clear picture a possible future in store for Europe.

Given that this article was originally published some ten days ago, it would be prudent to take a quick look at what happened while it was translated. Economy seems to be the area where most of the action is happening right now. Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riad Hadadd, affirmed Damascus readiness to discuss mutual trade settlements with Russia in respective national currencies.[69] At the same time, Syria eastern neighbor, Iraq, shows intent on increasing cooperation with Russian Federation. Deputy speaker of Iraq legislative body, Shahwan Abdallah said as much during his meeting in Baghdad with Russian ambassador Elbrus Kutrashev.[70] Meanwhile, Russia and Venezuela are developing possibility to use Mir cards in this South American country.[71] Vladimir Putin’s announcement that hostile countries will have to pay for oil and gas in rubles caused shock among the western countries and provided significant boost to ruble recover.[72] Putin also pointed out that gold and bitcoin would be acceptable as well.[73] Despite protestations from European countries, Moscow announced possibility that other exports from the Russian Federation will have to be paid in rubles as well.[74] It would seem that on the 30th March 2022 all westward gas flow, that is from Russia to Germany, through Yamal gas pipeline declined to zero.[75]

Meanwhile, in the background to all of this, Russian Central Bank announced it will continue to buy gold at fixed price of 5.000 rubles for a gram, which was interpreted as a clear step towards creation of gold-backed ruble[76] and which should provide further basis for strengthening of the Russian currency.[77] At the moment of writing, ruble stands at 84,5 for a dollar, almost exactly the same as at the start of the military operation.

On the other side, “leader of the free world” Joe Biden caught with cue cards instructing him on how to answer previously prepared questions. Author believed this was a joke, but apparently it is not.[78] In a rather short time frame a lot of dirty secrets became public regarding Hunter Biden, most notable being his part in financing previously mentioned biolaboratories. After everything, even MSM had to buckle and admit laptop was real and its content rather damning. On 24th March India refused to receive a UK delegation, described as high-powered, after it apparently became known British were intending to pressure and lecture New Delhi on the issue of its position regarding Russian military operation.[79]

On the ground, military situation in terms of territory possession has not changed drastically due to the fact siege of Mariupol has been ongoing for roughly two weeks now and it would seem it is entering its final phase. Latest reports indicate Nazi elements and Ukrainian troops are in possession of ever shrinking urban territory with ammunition and other supplies being nearly depleted. In other areas, intensive Russian air raids and missile strikes were noted against military training grounds, ammo and fuel depots.

Earlier statement of war in Ukraine being about anything but Ukraine seems to be corroborated in general by the developments outside the bounds of the conflict itself. The bigger picture indicates recomposition of forces, especially in the light of recent Chinese, rather indicative, comments regarding Taiwan and Beijing cooperation with Russia. And in all of this, Europe remains divided, under economic and political strain which is only going to increase. Everything happening now could have been avoided, and yet EU and US administration did everything in their power to make this war happen. In their hubris they believed in the “exceptionality” of their position, but apparently forgot that every arrogance has its price.


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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RBC TV channel, Moscow, March 16, 2022

March 17, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/minister_speeches/1804655/

Question: Initially, the in-person talks were held in Belarus followed by online talks. You met with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in Antalya, Turkey, on March 10. What’s your take on the negotiating process?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not fly to Turkey in order to forestall the Belarusian negotiating track agreed upon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky which is now being implemented via video conference. President Zelensky asked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to speak with President Putin in order to set up a meeting between Dmitry Kuleba and me in Antalya, since we both planned to take part in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Based on this request, President Vladimir Putin instructed me to hold a meeting and find out what Dmitry Kuleba has to offer (which is what I asked him to do). He stated that he did not arrive there to reiterate public statements. This statement got my attention. Dmitry Kuleba failed to vocalise any new ideas during the 90-minute conversation in the presence of Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, despite multiple reminders to the effect that I wanted to hear things that had not been said publicly. I did my part and made myself available to listen to what he had to say. Anyway, we had a conversation, which is not a bad thing. We are ready for such contacts going forward. It would be good to know the added value derived from such contacts and how the proposals to create new channels of interaction correlate with the functioning of an existing and steady negotiating process (the Belarusian channel).

I’m not going to comment on the details, which are a delicate matter. According to head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky, the talks focus on humanitarian issues, the situation on the ground in terms of hostilities, and on matters of political settlement. Overall, the agenda is known (it was repeatedly and publicly announced by President Vladimir Putin in his elaborate remarks) and includes matters of security and saving lives of the people in Donbass; preventing Ukraine from becoming a permanent threat to the security of the Russian Federation; and preventing the revival in Ukraine of neo-Nazi ideology, which is illegal around the world, including civilised Europe.

I base my opinion on the assessments provided by our negotiators. They state that the talks are not going smoothly (for obvious reasons). However, there is hope for a compromise. The same assessment is given by a number of Ukrainian officials, including members of President Zelensky’s staff and President Zelensky himself.

Question: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that the positions of Russia and Ukraine during the talks have become more “realistic.”

Sergey Lavrov: This is about a more realistic assessment of the ongoing events coming from Vladimir Zelensky. His previous statements were confrontational. We can see that this role and function has been reassigned to Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who started saying that Russia’s demands are “unacceptable.” If they wish to create additional tension (as if the current tension were not enough) in the media space, what can we do?

We saw a similar tendency with respect to the Minsk agreements. Dmitry Kuleba was riding ahead on a dashing horse, along with those who were hacking the Minsk agreements into pieces. He publicly stated that the agreements would not be fulfilled. I would give negotiators an opportunity to work in a calmer environment, without stirring up more hysteria.

Question: President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that they are “reasonable people” and they realise that they are no longer welcome in NATO. What made him change his rhetoric? NATO aspirations are stated in one of the articles of the Ukrainian Constitution. They have been saying it all along that Kiev actually wants to be part of the alliance.

Sergey Lavrov: The rhetoric has changed because more reasonable thinking is paving its way to the minds of the Ukrainian leaders. The issue of dissolving the Soviet Union was resolved in a very odd manner: very few parties were asked; the decision was split “between three,” so to speak, and it was done. Later, certain common ground was achieved in the form of the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is good that the other former Soviet republics were shown some respect, at least post factum.

In the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted before the Belovezh Accords, it was stated in black and white that Ukraine would be a non-aligned and militarily neutral state. In all the subsequent documents characterising the formation of Ukrainian statehood, the declaration was always listed among fundamental documents. After the anti-constitutional coup in February 2014, the Ukrainian Constitution was amended to include statements on continuous movement towards NATO (in addition to the European Union). That undermined the integrity of the previous process and the fundamental documents that the Ukrainian state is based on – because the Declaration of Sovereignty and the Act of Ukraine’s Independence are still listed among the founding documents of the Ukrainian state.

This is not the only inconsistency. The provision of the Ukrainian Constitution on ensuring the rights of the Russian and other ethnic minorities remains intact. However, a huge number of laws have been adopted that run counter to this constitutional provision and flagrantly discriminate against the Russian language, in particular, against all European norms.

We remember that President Zelensky recently said that NATO must close the sky over Ukraine and start fighting for Ukraine, recruiting mercenaries and sending them to the frontline. That statement was made very aggressively. The reaction of the North Atlantic Alliance, where some clear-headed people still remain, had a cooling effect. This reasonable approach in the current situation deserves to be welcomed.

Before the final decision was made to begin the special military operation, President Vladimir Putin spoke about our initiatives concerning the security guarantees in Europe at a news conference in the Kremlin, explaining that it is unacceptable that Ukraine’s security be ensured through its NATO membership. He clearly said that we are ready to look for any ways to ensure the security of Ukraine, the European countries and Russia except for NATO’s expansion to the east. The alliance has been assuring us that we should not be worried as it serves a defensive purpose and nothing threatens us and our security. The alliance was declared as defensive in its early days. During the Cold War, it was clear who was defending whom, where and against which party. There was the Berlin Wall, both concrete and geopolitical. Everybody accepted that contact line under the Warsaw Pact and NATO. It was clear which line NATO would protect.

When the Warsaw Pact and later the Soviet Union were dissolved, NATO started, at its own discretion and without any consultations with those who used to be part of the balance of power on the European continent, working its way to the east, moving the contact line further to the right each time. When the contact line came too close to us (and nobody took our reasoning seriously in the past 20 years), we proposed the European security initiatives which, to my great regret, were also ignored by our arrogant partners.

Question: Many people in Russia and Ukraine are asking themselves whether the situation could not have been resolved peacefully. Why didn’t this work out? Why did it become necessary to conduct a special operation?

Sergey Lavrov: Because the West did not want to resolve this situation peacefully. Although I have already discussed this aspect, I would like to highlight it once again. This has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine. This concerns the international order, rather than Ukraine alone.

The United States has pinned down the whole of Europe. Today, some Europeans are telling us that Russia started behaving differently, that Europe had its own special interests differing from those of the United States, and that we have compelled Europe to share the United States’ fervour for the cause. I believe that what has happened is entirely different. Under President Joe Biden, the United States set the goal of subordinating Europe, and it has succeeded in forcing Europe to implicitly follow US policies. This is a crucial moment, a landmark in contemporary history because, in the broad sense of the word, it reflects the battle for a future international order.

The West stopped using the term “international law,” embodied in the UN Charter, many years ago, and it invented the term “rules-based order.” These rules were written by members of an inner circle. The West incentivised those who accepted these rules. At the same time, narrow non-universal organisations dealing with the same matters as the universal organisations were established. Apart from UNESCO, there is a certain international partnership in support of information and democracy. We have international humanitarian law and the UN Refugee Agency dealing with related issues. The European Union is setting up a special partnership for dealing with the same matter. However, decisions will be based on EU interests, and they will disregard universal processes.

France and Germany are establishing an alliance for multilateralism. When asked about the reason for setting it up at a time when the UN – the most legitimate and universal organisation – embodies multilateralism, they gave an interesting reply that the UN employed many retrogrades, and that the new alliance prioritised avantgardism. They also stated their intention to promote multilateralism in such a way that no one would hamper their efforts. When asked what the ideals of this multilateralism were, they said that they were EU values. This arrogance and misinterpreted feeling of one’s own superiority also rule supreme in a situation that we are now reviewing, namely, the creation of a world where the West would a priori manage everything with impunity. Many people now claim that Russia has come under attack because it remains virtually the only obstacle that needs to be removed before the West can start dealing with China. This straightforward statement is quite truthful.

You asked why it was impossible to peacefully resolve the situation. For many years, we suggested resolving the matter peacefully. Many reasonable politicians from the US and Europe responded in earnest to Vladimir Putin’s proposal at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. Unfortunately, decision-makers in Western countries ignored it. Numerous assessments by world-famous political analysts, published in many leading US magazines, such as Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs, and European magazines, were also ignored. A coup took place in 2014. The West unconditionally backed Ukraine and the coup’s perpetrators who had gained power in Kiev. The West emphatically refuses to set any framework in relations between NATO and the territory of Russian interests. These warnings were also voiced but were disregarded, to put it mildly.

You should read the works of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said back in the 1990s that Ukraine would become a key issue. He said openly that a friendly Ukraine would make Russia a great power, and that a hostile Ukraine would turn it into a regional player. These statements concealed geopolitical implications. Ukraine merely acted as a tool for preventing Russia from upholding its legitimate and equal rights on the international scene.

Question: Not long ago, I heard the current adviser to the President of Ukraine, Alexey Arestovich, speak. A couple of years ago, he said that neutral status was too expensive for Ukraine. “We can’t afford it,” he said. What do you think about this statement? Is that true? Following up on what worries ordinary Ukrainians – security guarantees – what is Russia ready to do? What kind of guarantees can it provide?

Sergey Lavrov: Neutral status is being seriously discussed in a package with security guarantees. This is exactly what President Vladimir Putin said at one of his news conferences: there are multiple options out there, including any generally acceptable security guarantees for Ukraine and all other countries, including Russia, with the exception of NATO expansion. This is what is being discussed at the talks. There is specific language which is, I believe, close to being agreed upon.

Question: Can you share it with us yet or not?

Sergey Lavrov: I’d rather not, because it is a negotiating process. Unlike some of our partners, we try to adhere to the culture of diplomatic negotiations, even though we were forced to make documents public that are normally off-limits. We did so in the situations where our communication with the German and French participants of the Normandy format was misrepresented to the point where it was the opposite of what really happened. Then, in order to expose the culprits before the international community, we were forced to make things public. No attempts at provocation are being made now as we discuss the guarantees of Ukraine’s neutrality. Hopefully, the first attempts at a businesslike approach that we are seeing now will prevail and we will be able to reach specific agreements on this matter even though simply declaring neutrality and announcing guarantees will be a significant step forward. The problem is much broader. We talked about it, including from the point of view of values such as the Russian language, culture and freedom of speech, since Russian media are outright banned, and the ones that broadcast in Ukraine in Russian were shut down.

Question: But they can always tell us that they are an independent country and it’s up to them to decide which language to speak. Why are you – Russia and Moscow – forcing us to speak Russian?

Sergey Lavrov: Because Ukraine has European obligations. There is the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. There are multiple other commitments, including in the Council of Europe, which we are leaving (this has been announced officially). However, we will never renounce our obligations regarding the rights of ethnic minorities, be they linguistic, cultural, or any other. We will never “withdraw from the documents” that guarantee freedom of access to information.

In the 1990s, everyone was rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the Soviet Union becoming an absolutely obedient and obsequious partner of the West. Back then, we did our best to show that perestroika and new thinking were opening up a groundbreaking chapter in the history of our state. We signed everything that the West wanted us to sign at the OSCE, including the declaration proposed by the West and supported by us which contained obligations to ensure freedom of access to information in each country and to transboundary information sources. Now, we are unable to get through to the West so that it itself starts fulfilling this obligation, which they themselves initiated.

This Russian language-related requirement is enshrined in the obligations. Ukraine did not turn them down. Can you imagine the consequences of Finland banning the Swedish language? There are 6 percent of Swedes in Finland, and Swedish is the second official language. Or, Ireland banning English, or Belgium banning French? The list goes on and on. All these minority languages ​​are respected, regardless of the fact that they have a parent state, whereas our case represents an exception. This is a case of outright discrimination, and what is known as enlightened Europe is just keeping quiet about it.

Question: We have decided to withdraw from the Council of Europe before being expelled. Why?

Sergey Lavrov: By and large, this decision was formulated long ago. Not because of a series of suspension and reinstatement of our rights, but because that organisation has fully degenerated. It was established as a pan-European organisation of all countries, with the exception of Belarus which was given observer status. We did our best to help Belarus participate in several conventions, which is possible in the Council of Europe. In general, Belarus was considering the possibility of joining it.

However, over the years the Council of Europe has turned into a kind of OSCE, (excuse my language), where the initial idea of interaction and consensus as the main instruments of attaining the goal of common European cooperation and security was superceded by polemics and rhetoric, which was becoming increasingly Russophobic and was determined by the unilateral interests of the West, in particular, NATO countries and the EU. They used their technical majority in the OSCE and the Council of Europe to undermine the culture of consensus and compromise and to force their views on everyone, showing that they have no regard whatsoever, do not care one iota for our interests and only want to lecture and moralise, which is what they have actually been doing.

Our intention to withdraw matured long ago, but our decision to withdraw has been accelerated by the recent events and the decision enforced through voting. The Parliamentary Assembly issued recommendations for the Committee of Ministers, which has voted to suspend our rights. They told us not to worry, that we would only be unable to attend the sessions but can still make our payments to the budget.  This is what they have openly said.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out in a statement that our withdrawal from this organisation will not affect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens under the European Convention on Human Rights, from which we are withdrawing as part of our withdrawal from the Council of Europe. First of all, there are constitutional guarantees and guarantees under the international conventions to which Russia is a party. These universal conventions are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (which the United States has not signed); the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the US is not among its signatories) and many other conventions and covenants most of which have been incorporated into the national legislation. Our lawyers are working with the Constitutional Court and the Justice Ministry on additional amendments to Russian laws to prevent any infringement on the rights of our citizens as the result of our withdrawal from the Council of Europe.

Question: Several counties have been trying to develop dialogue between Moscow and Kiev. France was the first to do this, followed by Israel, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will come to Moscow today. Turkey has stepped up its activity. Why are these three countries so active on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: They are not the only ones to offer their services. The President of Russia had a telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel yesterday. He has had contacts with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President of France Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett. My foreign colleagues have contacted me as well. For example, Switzerland, which has traditionally posed as a country where compromises are reached, is ready to mediate.

In this context, it is strange that mediation services are being offered by the countries which have joined the unprecedented sanctions against Russia and have proclaimed the goal (they make no bones about stating this openly) of setting the Russian people against the Russian authorities. We take a positive view on the mediation offers coming from the countries which have refused to play this Russophobic game, which are aware of the root causes of the current crisis, that is, the fundamental and legitimate national interests of Russia, and which have not joined this war of sanctions. We are ready to analyse their proposals. Israel and Turkey are among these states.

Question: Do they come with proposals, asking if they could help establish dialogue?  Or how is this taking place in reality?

Sergey Lavrov: This happens in different ways. Right now, I cannot go into detail, but both want to help achieve accord at the talks conducted via the “Belarusian channel.”  They know the state of the talks, what proposals are on the table, and where there is a bilateral rapprochement.   They are sincerely trying to speed up the rapprochement. We welcome this, but I would like to stress once again that the matter of key importance is having a direct dialogue between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations and  solving what we consider fundamental issues related to the effort not only to ensure the physical security of people in eastern Ukraine and for that matter in other parts of Ukraine, but also to enable them to live normal, civilised lives in the country that has a duty to ensure the rights of  those who are known as ethnic minorities, rights that have been trampled underfoot in every sense.

Let us not forget about the tasks of demilitarisation. Ukraine cannot have weapons that create a threat to the Russian Federation. We are ready to negotiate on the types of armaments that do not present a threat to us. This problem will have to be solved even regardless of the situation’s NATO aspect. Even without NATO membership, the United States or anyone else can supply offensive weapons to Ukraine on a bilateral basis, just as they did with the anti-missile bases in Poland and Romania. No one asked NATO. Let us not forget that [Ukraine] is perhaps the only OSCE and European country that has legislatively legalised the neo-Nazis’ right to promote their views and practices.

These are matters of principle. I hope that the realisation of their legitimacy, justifiability and key importance for our interests and therefore the interests of European security will enable those, who are graciously offering their good offices, to promote relevant compromises in contacts with Ukraine, among others.

Question: We have named certain countries that are helping to settle this crisis. Has the United States offered any services in this connection, like “let us help to establish contacts?” After all, it is no secret to anyone that Russia-US relations were at a very low level. Now they have hit rock bottom, haven’t they?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, there is such a figurative expression. Of course, the situation is unprecedented. I can’t recall anything like the frenzied policy that Washington is conducting right now. To a considerable extent, this policy is generated by Congress whose members have lost all sense of reality and are throwing all conventions to the winds. I am not even mentioning the diplomatic proprieties that have long since been abandoned.

The United States certainly has played the decisive role in shaping the position of the Kiev authorities. The Americans have maintained a huge “presence” in Kiev’s “corridors of power” for many years, including the uniformed agencies, the security service, and the top brass. Everyone knows this. The CIA and other US secret services have their missions there.

Like other NATO members (the Canadians, the British), they have sent hundreds of their instructors to train combat units not only within the Armed Forces of Ukraine but also in the so-called volunteer battalions, including Azov and Aydar. However, some seven or eight years ago, in 2014, immediately after the coup d’etat, the Azov battalion was officially struck off the list of recipients of US aid.  This was done precisely because it was regarded as an extremist, if not terrorist, organisation. Today, all pretences have been removed.

Now any person or group in Ukraine that declares Russia its enemy is immediately taken under the wing of overseas and Western patrons.

They are talking about the supremacy of law and about democracy. What supremacy of law, if the EU, in violation of its own law on the inadmissibility of arms supplies to conflict zones, takes the decision to do the opposite and send offensive arms to Ukraine?

We do not see any sign that the United States is interested in settling the conflict as soon as possible. If they were interested, they would have every opportunity, first, to explain to the Ukrainian negotiators and President Zelensky that they should seek compromises. Second, they need to make it clear that they are aware of the legitimacy of our demands and positions, but do not want to accept them, not because they are illegitimate but because they would like to dominate the world and are unwilling to restrain themselves with any commitments to take into consideration the interests of others. They have already brought Europe to heel, as I have said.

The US has been telling Europe for years that Nord Stream 2 could undermine their energy security. Europe responded that they should find out that on their own. They took the decision and their companies invested billions of euros. The Americans were claiming that this was contrary to the EU’s interests. They offered to sell them their liquefied gas. If there are no gas terminals, they should be built.  The Germans told me this a few years ago. It was during President Trump’s administration. Europe was complaining that this would considerably increase gas prices for their consumers. Donald Trump replied that they were rich guys and will compensate the difference from the German budget. That’s their approach.

Today, Europe was shown its place. Germany eventually said that its regulator was taking a break, and this precisely defines the FRG’s place in the arrangements that the Americans are making on the world scene.

Question: Has Germany become a less independent state under the new chancellor? Would it have acted the same under Angela Merkel?

Sergey Lavrov: The Nord Stream 2 was commissioned, albeit temporarily suspended afterwards, under the new chancellor. I hope that experience will bring an understanding of the need to uphold national interests, rather than to fully rely on the overseas partner who will make all the decisions for you and then do everything for you as well. Clearly, the enormous number of US troops on German soil is also a factor that interferes with independent decision-making.

Articles are being published to the effect that the “politics of memory” is vanishing. It has always been considered a sacred thing in Germany and meant that the German people would never forget the suffering they brought during World War II, primarily to the peoples of the Soviet Union. After I read this, I realised that many people are aware of it. These are open publications. German political scientists are talking about this and, of course, ours do so as well. Several years ago, I spotted something that was probably the early phase of this emerging trend. We were holding ministerial and other consultations with the Germans (I’m talking about foreign policy talks) at the level of department directors and deputy ministers. I never saw this at the ministerial level. The thought that was conveyed to us during the talks was that “we, the Germans, have paid our dues to everyone and owe nothing to anyone, so stop bringing this up.”

Speaking of the Germans, there is a thing that is worth mentioning. We are now talking a lot about attributes of genocide or racial discrimination. Take, for instance, the siege of Leningrad. For many years and with all my colleagues, starting with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Guido Westerwelle, Heiko Maas, and most recently Annalena Baerbock, I very persistently, with each of them, raised the topic of paying compensations to the Leningrad siege survivors. The German government has made two one-time payments but only to Jewish survivors. We asked why only Jews, because many ethnic groups, including Russians and Tatars, lived in Leningrad and continue to live there. Many of them are still alive. How are they supposed to understand the fact that only the Jews have received some kind of help from the German government when at the time they were boiling shoes, burying children and transporting corpses on sleds together? The payments in question are not big. But, first, for many of them they matter, and second, they serve as the recognition of the fact that everyone has been impacted by the siege. Their answer was interesting. The Jews, they said, are victims of the Holocaust. These payments cannot be made to other survivors, because they are not Holocaust victims. Our attempts to reach out to the German legislators and politicians and tell them that the siege of Leningrad was an unparalleled event in the history of WWII, where there was no distinction between Jews, Russians or other ethnic groups, failed. We reached out to Jewish organisations. It is a matter of honour for them as well. We will continue this work going forward. January marked yet another anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad. The President of Russia signed an executive order on one-time payments to all siege survivors, including the Jews. We have not seen any sign of conscience awakening in Germany so far.

To be continued…

Ukraine Is Not A Victim–It is Part of NWO Agenda

Come on, people. What would America do if Russia or China was attempting to build military bases on our Canadian and Mexican borders? What do you think would happen?

 March 12, 2022

By  Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

By Chuck Baldwin

As a political analyst and more importantly as a spiritually-minded student of the Scriptures, I am absolutely convinced of this: When the major establishments all pounce on one subject, collectively decide who is a victim and who is a villain and beat the same drum every day over and over in total unison, the narrative that is being presented is one hundred percent upside down.

And right now the power establishments have decided to bewitch us with an anti-Russia, pro-Ukraine agenda. But as with all establishment propaganda, the narrative is a big, fat lie.

I begin with Ron Paul’s excellent commentary:

When the Bush Administration announced in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia would be eligible for NATO membership, I knew it was a terrible idea. Nearly two decades after the end of both the Warsaw Pact and the Cold War, expanding NATO made no sense. NATO itself made no sense.

Explaining my “no” vote on a bill to endorse the expansion, I said at the time:

NATO is an organization whose purpose ended with the end of its Warsaw Pact adversary… This current round of NATO expansion is a political reward to governments in Georgia and Ukraine that came to power as a result of US-supported revolutions, the so-called Orange Revolution and Rose Revolution.

Providing US military guarantees to Ukraine and Georgia can only further strain our military. This NATO expansion may well involve the US military in conflicts unrelated to our national interest…

Unfortunately, as we have seen this past week, my fears have come true. One does not need to approve of Russia’s military actions to analyze its stated motivation: NATO membership for Ukraine was a red line it was not willing to see crossed. As we find ourselves at risk of a terrible escalation, we should remind ourselves that it didn’t have to happen this way. There was no advantage to the United States to expand and threaten to expand NATO to Russia’s doorstep. There is no way to argue that we are any safer for it.

NATO went off the rails long before 2008, however. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 and by the start of the Korean War just over a year later, NATO was very much involved in the military operation of the war in Asia, not Europe!

NATO’s purpose was stated to “guarantee the safety and freedom of its members by political and military means.” It is a job not well done!

I believe as strongly today as I did back in my 2008 House Floor speech that, “NATO should be disbanded, not expanded.” In the meantime, expansion should be off the table.

Hear, hear, Dr. Paul.

I also encourage you to read this terrific column by Attorney John Whitehead entitled Perpetual Tyranny: Endless Wars Are The Enemy Of Freedom.

In this column Whitehead wrote,

As long as America’s politicians continue to involve us in wars that bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse, “we the people” will find ourselves in a perpetual state of tyranny.

It’s time for the U.S. government to stop policing the globe.

This latest crisis—America’s part in the showdown between Russia and the Ukraine—has conveniently followed on the heels of a long line of other crises, manufactured or otherwise, which have occurred like clockwork in order to keep Americans distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from the government’s steady encroachments on our freedoms.

And so it continues in its Orwellian fashion.

Two years after COVID-19 shifted the world into a state of global authoritarianism, just as the people’s tolerance for heavy-handed mandates seems to have finally worn thin, we are being prepped for the next distraction and the next drain on our economy.

Yet policing the globe and waging endless wars abroad isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

What most Americans—brainwashed into believing that patriotism means supporting the war machine—fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with propping up a military industrial complex that continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

Consider: We are a military culture engaged in continuous warfare. We have been a nation at war for most of our existence. We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

The United States is the number one consumer, exporter and perpetrator of violence and violent weapons in the world. Seriously, America spends more money on war than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy and Brazil. America polices the globe, with 800 military bases and troops stationed in 160 countries. Moreover, the war hawks have turned the American homeland into a quasi-battlefield with military gear, weapons and tactics. In turn, domestic police forces have become roving extensions of the military—a standing army.

The American Empire—with its endless wars waged by U.S. military servicepeople who have been reduced to little more than guns for hire: outsourced, stretched too thin, and deployed to far-flung places to police the globe—is approaching a breaking point.

Come on, people. What would America do if Russia or China was attempting to build military bases on our Canadian and Mexican borders? What do you think would happen?

Plus, the leader of Ukraine is anything but a hero. He gladly participated in allowing the banks of Ukraine to be used as money launderers for rich businessmen and politicians and for influence peddling in U.S. politics.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (a Zionist Jew) is also accused of barbaric—even genocidal—treatment of the people living in the two breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk—which have a Natural right under God to separate from Ukraine and who appealed to Russia for protection. (Tell me, did Iraq and Afghanistan invite America to send our military to their countries before we invaded them?) Is it any wonder that Ukraine is looking to Israel for military assistance? After all, Israel is extremely proficient at ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Let’s also not forget that Ukraine is home to over a dozen U.S. biolabs that are sponsored and financed by the Pentagon. In other words, those labs are there for potential military operations. Again, what do you think America would do if Russia had built a dozen military biolabs just across our borders in Canada and Mexico?

Ukraine is NOT a victim. It has been up to its proverbial neck in global (especially anti-Russian) subterfuge, theft, acts of inhumanity and war crimes for years. Ukraine is no friend of freedom or the United States. But it is a friend to corrupt politicians and businessmen.

Whatever is really going on in Ukraine has nothing to do with the narrative being propounded by the major establishments.

1) Let me ask you something: If the United States felt justified in launching preemptive invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan—including long-term occupations—a half a world away from our borders against small backwards nations that posed zero threat to America, how is Russia not justified in launching a preemptive campaign to protect itself from a serious formidable military expansion at its border—especially when its protection is sought from legitimate independent states? (Remember, America was once a breakaway country.) Please read Dr. Paul’s commentary referenced above about why the real villain in this situation is NATO, not Russia. Again, what would we do if we were in Russia’s shoes?

If Russia really wanted to conquer Ukraine, it could easily do so. Ukraine is totally incapable of successfully resisting the Russian military, if Russia truly desired military conquest (which it doesn’t). Russian leader Vladimir Putin told the world exactly why his actions were being taken, what his actions in Ukraine were designed and not designed to do—including NOT occupying Ukraine—and how they would be conducted. I think you should read what he said.

2) Were the U.S. biolabs an important objective? I understand that the labs may have been destroyed early in the operation. If so, that is a VERY GOOD thing.

3) Now that the American people have made it known that they have had it with the phony Covid narrative and the fear factor is totally gone, are the totalitarian elite now using the threat of global war to again consume people’s hearts with fear? As Whitehead said, “Endless wars are the enemy of freedom.” (I’ve been saying that for years.) Fear is also a tool to enslave us. Early in the Covid charade, I brought a message to this regard.

4) Is this a diversion to take our attention away from the National Vaccine Pass (and other attempts by our own central government to trample our liberties) that is being rolled out, supported by both Democrats and Republicans?

5) Is this another manipulation of world affairs from within the backrooms of the CFR and Bilderbergs for the purpose of achieving their overall objective of global governance?

Of course, Scofield futurists are all over the place screaming about “end times prophecy.” What Balderdash! One would think that Christians would start using their brains a little bit and stop listening to these phony prophecy sensationalists who make bank (and fools out of themselves) with false prophecies about the end of the world.

Whatever the real story in Ukraine is, I can tell you this: It is NOT what the major establishments are telling us. And Ukraine is NOT a victim.

Dr. Chuck Baldwin is an American politician and has been involved in at least 12 full-length documentary films. He was the presidential nominee of the Constitution Party for the 2008 U.S. presidential election and had previously been its nominee for U.S. vice president in 2004. He is also a pastor of Liberty Fellowship in Kalispell, Montana.

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A matter of self-defence

MARCH 03, 2022

Source

by Ghassan Kadi

I am not here to write about historic, strategic and military details pertaining to the issues surrounding the Ukraine crisis. Apart from those fabricating Hollywood material, there are many excellent analysts covering these areas competently.

But as a Syrian/Lebanese, within my limited capacity, I have a duty to show support and reciprocate Russia’s support to Syria where it is due and, in this case, it is as it is one that is based on truths and moral issues that cannot be overlooked, even if Russia did not support Syria at all.

What I want to discuss is the justification and morality of self-defence.

War is a heavily-loaded word, a word that implies man killing man, humanity fighting humanity, armies pillaging nations, creating orphans and widows, refugees, sex slaves, destroying civilizations, economies, beautiful ancient architectural icons and a whole hoard of other atrocities that often are never repaired or resolved.

But there are wars and there are wars.

One cannot place the actions of the USA’s invasion of Iraq in the same basket as that of resistance against Nazi occupation.

People, and nations, have the right of self-defence. Self-defence is not an act of aggression. It is an act to prevent further aggression.

Not surprisingly, when the rules of the jungle prevail, just like in La Fontaine’s fables, aggressors on one hand conjure up for themselves the justification to kill, and on the other hand, they vilify the victims of their aggression when they try to exercise their right of self-defence.

The USA has been engaged in wars ever since WWII ended. Beginning with the Korean War, the West moved the theatre to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq I and Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria; not to mention other smaller wars. In reality, there was never ever any justification for any of them and the national security of the United States of America was never under threat by any of those much pooper and much less equipped nations.

What is ironic is the fact that even though the odds were always in favour of America, and this is an understatement, America never won any of those wars. Some cynics argue that America’s objectives were not about winning wars but about leaving mess and destruction behind. Whilst I partially agree with this sentiment, I cannot accept that America has intentionally invaded Iraq to hand it on a silver platter to Iran any more that it invaded Taliban’s Afghanistan to hand it back to the Taliban. Those who believe that America has always been successful in achieving its target of havoc seem to give it more kudos than it deserves. I genuinely believe that America has been a total failure and that its performance as the world’s self-appointed custodian of the post WWII era had been abysmal to put it mildly.

Perhaps America could be excused for it actions during the hot Cold-War era. It was a period of uncertainty, fear, and what was behind the ‘dreaded’ ‘Iron Curtain’ left little surprises to be desired.

But, using American administration rhetoric, with the dismantling of the USSR this hot-cold War era was also supposed to cease.

Contrary to the commonly-held belief in the West, America did not win the Cold War. The Cold War ended when Gorbachev negotiated with Raegan the terms of disengagement. https://sputniknews.com/20190402/gorbachev-nato-expansion-reasons-1073764558.html

The rest is history. The manner in which America broke all of its promises to never encroach into Eastern Europe, how it coaxed former Warsaw Pact nations to join NATO, how it positioned missiles close to Russian borders, how it pillaged Serbia, how it tried to create a puppet regime in Georgia in 2008, how it sponsored a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 putting Neo-Nazis in charge, how it bombarded the Eastern provinces for eight long years, how it reneged on the Minsk Agreements, how it refused to reach a deal on Ukraine in Jan 2022, a deal that took into consideration Russia’s legitimate security concerns, are all acts of provocation that can only lead to war; a Russian war of self-defence.

Western arrogance remains high despite the fact that Russia has clearly demonstrated red lines in Georgia and Syria. But Kiev is not Damascus. Kiev was the capital of the Russian Empire long before Texas was a state of the Union.

Furthermore, Russia is not Afghanistan or Somalia. Russia is not only a nuclear superpower, but also one with weaponry that is far more advanced than the West’s.

The Western bully has been picking on the wrong would-be adversary, and for a very long time.

What is most unbelievable about the current situation is the Western European compliance with America’s stance. Americans may well be distanced from the history and internal politics of Europe, but Germany, France, Italy and Spain must surely know better, but they are behaving in a manner as if they are either totally ignorant or extremely callous.

Puppet states of Eastern Europe should look over their shoulders and see what real support Ukraine is receiving from America after America promised Ukraine the world and then hung it out to dry.

This brings us back to the issue of drawing the line between instigating war for no reason other than imperial gain and fighting legitimately for self-defence.

The West and its media are taking the line of presenting Russia as the aggressor, portraying Putin as a crazed Tzar who wants to rebuild the USSR; not only ignoring the events of 2014 onwards, but also ignoring past and present atrocities of the West that had no justification at all.

Have we forgotten Iraq’s WMD blunder?

Russia did all it could to avert a military confrontation in Ukraine.

For eight long years, Russia refused to acknowledge the independence of the eastern provinces.

Russia continued to keep all bridges of communication with the West open in the hope of reaching an agreement to end the impasse.

Russia made it clear to America time after time, that it has red lines that cannot be crossed, including not accepting Ukraine to join NATO.

But all that America did was to ignore and continue to intimidate. When the talk about the impending Russian invasion of Ukraine was flagged on Western media, it was because America had the full intention to make sure that the January 2022 Switzerland talks with Russia must fail leaving the military option alone on the table.

The actions of Russia to neutralize and de-Nazify Ukraine are acts of self-defence. Any fair and proper court of justice would attest to this, but not in the West, where media is the echo chamber of the Western globalists and the only key to the hearts and minds of people in the West who unquestionably believe what their media dishes out.

But why are some of Russians so surprised and dismayed now by the new wave of anti-Russian propaganda? Lucky enough to visit Russia a few years ago, I found myself in an alternative paradigm; not a ‘Truman Show’ little bubble, but a huge world that did what it believed was right and didn’t give a pig’s butt (excuse the French) about what the West and Western media thought and decreed.

I was able to see the so-called ‘iron curtain’, way after the USSR was no longer, but not from a Western xenophobic vantagepoint, but from a Russian one that did not seem to care much at all about the views and the attitude of the West.

It was disappointing to see Western franchises like Starbucks and McDonald’s, but Russia looked like a proud stand-alone nation that is big enough, strong enough and rich enough to dictate its own directive and destiny.

If anything, a few years later, Russia is now in a much stronger position to dictate what it wants to the old ailing West and the stronger sanctions today are not going to be any more effective than previous milder ones.

President Biden now represents the West in many more ways than one. Not only he is meant to be the leader of the so-called ‘Free World’, but at his old age, a mental state that borders dementia, he represents the global hemisphere that has lost its technical edge and rationality; not to mention economic clout.

It is very sad that the once developed West that paved the rest of the world in technology and innovation has put its leadership under the hands of short-sighted impotent leaders like Biden, Merkel (formerly), Johnson and Macron. Those weak and shortsighted leaders are pushing the West into the corner of cultural suicide.

They represent the political legacy that led to the exodus of Western manufacturing base.

They are the legacy that destroyed family values, cultural values as well as moral values.

They are the ones forcing Russia to create an alternative global power with China; the West’s main and primary competitor.

But the problem with Western political leaders is that they are not serving their own people; they are serving their sponsors and their own profit and loss statements.

Nations are not corporations, and the corporate aspect of Western political leadership is bursting its own bubble. It is not ready to confront the challenges of either Russia or China, let alone both of them combined. The West continues to live in the euphoria of a bygone era in which it had the upper hand by way of being a leader in technological advances and manufacturing which are the basic foundations for strong economies. It has lost its technical edge, placing itself in a conflict it can neither win, let alone be able to fight.

The West needs to learn to accept humility as a desired value. For the sake of humanity as a whole, it needs to learn this lesson before its obstinance and arrogance leads the world into further and deeper wars and disasters.

المواجهة الروسيّة لتهديدات الأمن القوميّ في أوكرانيا…

2022 الثلاثاء 1 آذار

 د. جمال زهران*

ستون عاماً (1962 – 2022)، بين واقعتين تكشفان عن محطات تاريخية لتغيير النظام العالمي، بالتفاصيل نفسها والبيئة المحيطة، واستهداف الأمن القومي للدول العظمى. ففي الأولى الشهيرة بأزمة خليج الخنازير وهي في الأصل الأزمة الكوبية، حيث تقع دولة كوبا في المربع الشرقي الجنوبي للولايات المتحدة، أيّ على بُعد أميال من الحدود الأميركية، قام الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي أكد وجوده كقطب دولي منافس للولايات المتحدة بعد تزعّمها لهذا النظام بعد زوال النظام القديم ورموزه العديدة. إلا أنّ أميركا رفضت الاعتراف بذلك، وأصرّت على انفرادها بالعالم والهيمنة عليه. في الوقت ذاته الذي سعى الاتحاد السوفياتي لكي يثبت لأميركا وجوده وتنافسه، وفي وقائع مثل الحرب الكورية، وفي دعم توليد الصين الشعبية، أو في تكوين حلف وارسو (الذراع العسكري)، أو تكوين منظمة الكوميكون (الذراع الاقتصادي) للكتلة الشرقية بزعامته. ثم جاءت حرب 1956 بالعدوان الثلاثي على مصر، لتخرج القوى الدولية القديمة (إنجلترا – فرنسا) من ساحة النظام الدولي، وبتأكيد الإنذار السوفياتي الشهير، حاول الاتحاد السوفياتي تأكيد وجوده منافساً للولايات المتحدة في إعادة تشكيل النظام الدولي. ومع ذلك أرادت الولايات المتحدة تقزيمه، والتعامل معه كقوة درجة ثانية/ تليه في الترتيب! فماذا فعل الاتحاد السوفياتي في هذا الشأن؟! وهو الذي أنتج الصاروخ العابر للقارات في منتصف الخمسينيات؟! لذلك كانت حصيلة التفكير السوفياتي، هي الذهاب إلى حزام الأمن القومي الأميركي وإعلان تهديدهم للأميركيين. فاستغلّ الاتحاد السوفياتي اندلاع الثورة الكوبية بزعامة كاسترو وإعلانه تبني الأيديولوجية الشيوعية، فسارع الاتحاد بدعمه وتأييده، بل وصل الأمر إلى نصب قواعد صواريخ تجاه الولايات المتحدة على الأراضي الكوبية. هنا شعرت الولايات المتحدة بالخطر المحدق بأمنها القومي وشعبها، وهدّدت وتوعّدت وطالبت بفكّ الصواريخ ورحيلها. وقامت الولايات المتحدة بمحاصرة كوبا التي تبدو كجزيرة في المحيط الأطلنطي، ومن كلّ جانب، عرف بحصار أميركا لخليج الخنازير الفاصل بين أميركا وكوبا، وهدّدت باستخدام القنبلة النووية، إن لم تتمّ إزالة الصواريخ السوفياتية!

فماذا كانت النتيجة؟! تركّزت في الحوار والتفاوض، حتى تمّ التوصل إلى اتفاق، بمقتضاه، تظلّ كوبا تحت الرعاية السوفياتية دون محاولة أميركا تغيير نظامها الاشتراكيّ، ويتم تفكيك الصواريخ وإعادة توجيهها في الجهة الأخرى بدلاً من توجيهها قبالة القلب الأميركي، مع تخفيض عددها. ولكن النتيجة الكبرى هي القبول الأميركي لتنافس دولي مع الاتحاد السوفياتي، أيّ رضوخاً أميركياً بالاعتراف الرسمي بالاتحاد السوفياتي، كقطب دولي منافس للولايات المتحدة، وأصبح النظام الدولي ثنائيّ القطبيّة رسمياً. وأصبحت سمة هذا النظام الجديد هو المنافسة والحرب الباردة والقبول بعدم المواجهة المباشرة وتفاديها، والقبول بفكرة «الوكلاء» في إدارة الأزمات الدولية، أو الإقليمية المعروفة بـ «By Proxy».

أما «أزمة أوكرانيا»، الحالية التي بدأت صامتة، حتى تفجّرت مع بدايات العام الحالي (2022)، فهي تتلخص في إعلان رئيس أوكرانيا (فولوديمير زيلينسكي)، عن إنتاج القنبلة النووية، وفقاً لإعلان مع الغرب يُعرف بـ «زيلينسكي»، يقضي بإعادة الوضعية النووية لأوكرانيا، والانضمام إلى حلف الناتو! وهي أزمة في الأصل، فجّرتها أميركا وبدعم أوروبا، بمساندة انقلاب الرئيس الحالي (الممثل المغمور) والذي قبل ممارسة الدور العميل للغرب، وألعوبة في أيديهم. وعلى الرغم من أنّ قرارات روسيا العظمى كانت حاسمة بضمّ جزيرة القرم فوراً إليها، ورفض تحدي الغرب وذلك عام 2014. واستمرت الأوضاع صامتة حتى تفجّرت مؤخراً بتصريحات الرئيس الأوكراني، وإعلان أميركا وأوروبا الدعم والمساندة له، وإصرارهم على تنفيذ الإعلان (باستعادة الوضعية النووية لأوكرانيا)، وضمّها إلى حلف الناتو، الأمر الذي يهدّد الأمن القومي الروسي مباشرة، مثلما حدث عندما نُصبت الصواريخ السوفياتية مباشرة وعلى مقربة من قلب أميركا في (61/1962).

فطالبت روسيا، بإلغاء إعلان (زيلينسكي)، ورفض استعادة إنتاج أوكرانيا للسلاح النووي، ورفض الانضمام إلى حلف الناتو، وبالتالي رفض الوجود العسكري الأوروبي في أوكرانيا، وعلى الحدود الروسية. وعندما شعرت وأدركت روسيا، استحالة التفاوض والوصول إلى حلّ سلمي، فكانت الخطوات المتسارعة بفصل إقليمي (لوغانسك – دونيتسك) عن أوكرانيا والاعتراف الروسي بهما، ثم التدخل العسكري لحمايتهما من العدوان الأوكراني مدعوماً من الغرب الأوروبي، والأميركي، وامتدّ التدخل حتى السيطرة الكاملة على جميع أراضي أوكرانيا وإسقاط العاصمة «كييف»، والأيام المقبلة ستكشف تفاصيل ما جرى ويجري.

إلا أنّ ما يجب الوقوف عنده هو: سعي أوروبا وأميركا لتقزيم روسيا وقبولها دولة عادية، إلا أنّ روسيا رفضت ذلك، وأكدت تشاركها ومنافستها بذاتها وبالتعاون مع الصين، في إدارة العالم ونظامه الدولي، مثلما حدث في أزمة خليج الخنازير في عام 1962. فالواضح أنّ روسيا كانت ولا تزال تدافع عن أمنها القومي، وعدم الاستهانة بها، وسعياً نحو استعادة المجد.

إنّ استهانة الغرب (أميركا وأوروبا) بالمنافسين الدوليين، والاستمرار في تهديد الأمن القومي لدول عظمى كروسيا والصين، مآله الفشل كما رأينا، وما يحدث في أوكرانيا هو فتح لفصل جديد في كتاب «نظام دولي جديد» متعدّد الأقطاب (أميركا وأوروبا + روسيا العظمى + الصين الكبرى).

ولنتابع ما يجري باهتمام، لانعكاساته الخطيرة على العالم، وعلى إقليمنا العربي على وجه الخصوص.

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*أستاذ العلوم السياسية والعلاقات الدولية، والأمين العام المساعد للتجمع العالمي لدعم خيار المقاومة، ورئيس الجمعية العربية للعلوم السياسية.

بوتين يقلب الطاولة ويرسم خريطة أوروبا

 ناصر قنديل

بنت واشنطن ومن خلالها حلف الناتو استراتيجية ما بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي وتفككه، على معادلة يكاد يكون لها ركيزة واحدة، هي منع قيام علاقة تعاون بين روسيا وأوكرانيا، عملاً بالنظرية التي صاغها مبكراً في أيام الاتحاد السوفياتي، المفكر الأميركي الاستراتيجي زبيغنيو بريجنسكي، تحت عنوان روسيا دولة كبيرة وكبرى لكنها مع أوكرانيا إمبراطورية، واذا كانت كل وثائق حلف الناتو قد قامت على تصنيف روسيا طوال مرحلة ما بعد نهاية الحرب البادرة كعدو محتمل، ثم عدو وشيك، ثم عدو أكيد، ثم عدو خطر وأول، كما قالت آخر هذه الوثائق، فإن كلام الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن ومستشار أمنه القومي ووزير خارجيته ووزير دفاعه، ترجم هذه التوصيفات بتعابير أشد عدائية تجاه روسيا، لكن ترجمة هذا التشخيص بقيت تجد نفسها بالاستثمار على جعل أوكرانيا ساحة تصعيد بوجه روسيا.

جاء انقلاب 2014 الذي أطاح بحكم صديق لروسيا في أوكرانيا، من بوابة ثورة ملوّنة تشبه ما جرى خلال الربيع العربي باستثمار مليارات الدولارات، في جمعيات مجتمع مدني وحركات فاشية قومية، والتركيز على الفساد الذي طبع النظام الأوكراني، لكن عائد هذا التغيير لم يتحول الى مدخل لإقامة نظام المصلحة الوطنية في اوكرانيا، بل كان مجرد واسطة ومدخل لبدء تطبيق خطة أكمل لمحاصرة روسيا، بعدما كان الناتو قد نجح تباعا بضم دول البلطيق وأغلب دول أوروبا الشرقية التي كانت ضمن الاتحاد السوفياتي قبل تفككه أو عضواً في حلف وارسو قبل حله. وجاءت الخطوة المفاجئة للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين بإعلان ضم شبه جزيرة القرم، رسالة ردع فاجأت واشنطن والناتو، وخلطت الأوراق. وقد كشف بوتين أمس انه اتخذ خطواته تجاه القرم وفقاً لمعلومات مؤكدة بنية الغرب ومن خلفه واشنطن، بجعل القرم قاعدة لحلف الأطلسي على البحر الأسود تحكم محاصرة روسيا بعيداً عن المياه الدافئة، وهو بذلك أكمل خطوة رادعة سابقة قام بها بوجه محاولة تحويل جورجيا إلى قاعدة للناتو، عندما استعاد عسكرياً أوسيتيا الجنوبية وأبخازيا من أيدي القوات الجورجية.

خلال اتفاقيات مينسك حرصت روسيا على تأكيد عدم اعترافها بجمهوريتي دونباس، مقابل حل سلمي لأزمة علاقتهما بكييف، وخلال ثماني سنوات بقيت كييف تراوغ، ومن ورائها واشنطن والناتو، بخلفية اقتناص الفرصة لحسم الموقف عسكرياً، وهو ما تعتبره واشنطن رداً للاعتبار بعد الانسحاب من أفغانستان، وإعادة إمساك بعنق أوروبا مجدداً، وتعويض للفشل في خطة الانقلاب في كازاخستان، ولذلك وجهت الاتهامات الى موسكو بنية غزو أوكرانيا، وتمّ دفع شحنات الأسلحة الى أوكرانيا، وفقاً لما كشفه بالتفاصيل كلام بوتين، فدون الاتهام كان كل ذلك سيبدو استفزازاً غير مبرر لروسيا، وكان الرئيس بوتين يضع الأمور على مفترق طرق بين الحل الدبلوماسي من بوابة اتفاقات مينسك، بحل سلمي للوضع في دونباس، او الرد على التمسّك بالحل العسكري عندما يبدأ بالاعتراف بجمهوريتي دونباس وتوقيع اتفاقيّة تعاون دفاعيّ معهما.

ما فعله بوتين أمس، أنه قلب الطاولة، وقال للأميركيين ومَن معهم، اركبوا أعلى خيلكم، فكل محاولة لحسم عسكري في دونباس صارت مشروع حرب مع روسيا، فمن يظن ذلك ممكناً فليفعل، ومن قال إن منع تمدد الناتو الى الجوار الروسي يشكل تصعيداً روسياً وتغييراً لخريطة اوروبا وقواعد النظام العالمي، عليه أن يتعامل مع هذا التغيير لخريطة اوروبا وقواعد النظام العالمي عملياً، وليس نظرياً، وقد بدأت موسكو بالأفعال تردّ على الأفعال، كما فعلت في سورية وكازاخستان، وفي القرم وأوسيتيا وأبخازيا سابقاً، وعلى ألمانيا خصوصاً أن تختار بين ان تدفع ثمن استقرارها الاقتصادي والسياسي بتحييد نفسها عن هذه الحرب، أو أن تترك الأميركيين يلعبون بمستقبلها، ويدمرون اقتصادها، فكل ما يحكيه الأميركيون عن العقوبات الاقتصادية تافه، من دون وقف تدفق الغاز الروسي إلى ألمانيا. واذا كانت روسيا ستخسر كما خسرت في حرب الأسعار التي شنتها عليها واشنطن بواسطة السعودية كرد على تموضع روسيا في سورية، لكن ألمانيا ستكون الخاسر الأكبر.

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NATO No Longer a Defensive Alliance Is a Tool of Aggression

The situation is worsening

February 21, 2022

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research,

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***

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO who answers to Washington declared today (Feb 19) at the Munich Security Conference that “if the Kremlin’s aim is to have less NATO on its borders, it will only get more NATO.” He says NATO is beefing up its forces “across the alliance,” that is, in the NATO countries on Russia’s borders. See this.

This is an extremely aggressive response to Russia’s concern about missile bases placed on her borders. To speak frankly, Stoltenberg is inviting a Russian attack before she finds herself with more missile bases on her borders.

As if this isn’t enough and with Russia already concerned with the unwillingness of the West to abide by any agreements, treaties, and international law, the president of Ukraine declared today at the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine was on the verge of renouncing the Budapest Memorandum in which Ukraine agreed to abstain from nuclear weapons in exchange for its independence from Russia.  As Ukraine has already broken the Minsk Agreement, there is no reason for Ukraine to keep to the Budapest Memorandum. See this.

So, Russia goes to the US and NATO and says frankly: “You are making us uncomfortable by putting missile bases on our borders and by your plans to bring Ukraine into NATO.  This is not something we can accept.  Here is our proposal for mutual security.”  And the reply is more NATO military expansion and Ukraine developing nuclear weapons.

There was never any possibility of any success of Russian negotiations with Ukraine, because Ukraine is not a sovereign country and cannot make its own decisions.  Ukraine is Washington’s pawn used to cause trouble for Russia. Russia brought this upon herself by standing aside while Washington overthrew the Ukraine government and installed a Washington puppet.  Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, and the rest of the crew have made it completely clear that they intend to make Russia less secure.  The West thinks that this is riskless because all the Russians will do is complain and ask for more negotiations.  Washington has Russia trapped in the self-defeating process of answering Washington’s accusations. 

Perhaps Biden, Blinken, and Stoltenberg are right.  But on the other hand, what would you do if you were the government of a vast country allied with China and armed with a military force that can walk through any force NATO can muster as if it were a wet paper bag?  Would you sit there wasting time and energy in negotiations that only make things worse while your enemies build up their forces on your borders and Ukraine acquires nuclear weapons?  

Washington Has Been Predicting a Russian Invasion of Ukraine for Eight Years. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

You would only if you were foolish.

I don’t know what Putin has learned.  I have learned that previous Russian and Soviet governments were correct in realizing that Russian security required buffers.  There are solid reasons Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Central Asia were integral parts of Russia and the Soviet Union. The Soviet government formed the Warsaw Pact (East European countries) as a buffer to NATO, which was formed first.  The weak Yeltsin government, by agreeing to strip Russia of her buffers, has produced the insecurity that Putin has tried to resolve peacefully.

Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, Inc. have made it clear that there will be no peaceful resolution except the Kremlin’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony.  As I have written for years, Russia’s choice is surrender or fight.  

I still think peace is achievable, but not until there is a demonstration of judicious Russian force. The West needs to understand that Russia means it when she says she has had enough.

What would be an example of judicious force?  Perhaps this:

  • The Kremlin accepts the vote of the Donbass Russians to be returned to Russia like Crimea.  This would end the violence in Ukraine as not even the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are stupid enough to attack Russia.
  • The Kremlin announces that Ukraine is in no danger from Russia unless Ukraine becomes a NATO member, accepts US missile bases, or begins developing nuclear weapons, in which case Ukraine will be destroyed.
  • The US missile bases in Poland and Romania will be removed or Russia will remove them.
  • There will be no further strengthening of NATO military forces in NATO countries bordering Russia.  Any such forces will be destroyed upon arrival.

The red lines would be clear.  If the West crosses them, it will be the West that is responsible for the violence. 

If nothing of this sort is done, Washington will keep pushing until Russia has to take far more drastic action that would bring a much greater chance of nuclear war.  

It is clear from Washington’s negative response to Russia’s demand that her security concerns be addressed that negotiations are pointless.  Washington controls the Western media, and the media spins the outcome to Washington’s satisfaction.  More negotiation just means more Russian frustration.

It is difficult for the Kremlin to act in Russia’s interest because of the Russian fifth column consisting of the Atlanticist Integrationists. These are influential people and organizations who are more concerned to be a part of the West than they are with Russian sovereignty.  Globalism is everywhere, including in the Russian government and economic establishment.  Russian economists have been indoctrinated by their Western counterparts that Russia needs foreign exchange in order to develop the Russian economy.  Consequently, they think energy sales to Europe should be billed in dollars or euros, which strengthens the dollar and the euro instead of the ruble.  It is a sad situation when a country’s economists recommend a policy that strengthens the enemy’s currency instead of its own.

Washington is relying on the Atlanticist Integrationists and the Western-financed NGOs, which the Russian government foolishly permits to operate against itself inside Russia, to make it difficult for Putin to meet the challenges that Washington is bringing in order to weaken and destabilize Russia.

Russia cannot negotiate away either the US military/security complex’s need for an enemy to justify its power and budget or Washington’s desire for hegemony.  This is the reality that Putin faces.

Putin and Lavrov keep trying to rely on reason and fact, but in the West reason and fact have lost their influence.  Reason is a “white construct” that white people who are “systemic racists” use to oppress people of color.  Biologically-based gender is not even a fact.  A physical man can declare himself a woman, and a physical woman can declare herself to be a man. Employers, schools, even the military have to accept the self-declaration of gender regardless of fact, or courts rule they are in violation of the Civil Rights Act and are discriminating on the basis of sex.

The Western world has replaced reason and fact with narratives.  Narratives are official explanations that no matter how false carry the imprimatur of truth. To challenge them can be life-threatening.  We are not yet shot in the back of the head in the Lubyanka.  Instead, we are declared to be “domestic terrorists,” “Russian agents,” “disinformation agents,” “enemies of democracy.”  We are deplatformed, fired from our jobs, our medical licenses are taken away, we are arrested and our property seized for protesting a narrative as is currently happening to the Canadian  protesters.  

Independent scientists of the highest reputation have proven that the Covid narrative is incorrect, that the mRNA vaccines are more dangerous to most people than Covid itself.  Yet the scientific facts do not correct the narrative.  Instead, the narrative bans the facts.  

How is it possible that Putin and Lavrov expect to negotiate with a culture in which reason and fact do not exist? Why do they continue in this folly? Is the reality they face too much to accept compared to the pretend world of negotiation?

*

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog site, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

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Copyright © Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Global Research, 2022

روسيا حسمت المعركة استراتيجياً والعرين الأوكراني قيد الانهيار

محمد صادق الحسيني

سنضربهم ضربة قاصمة والنتائج ستكون كارثيّة. نعم ولكن نحن سنذهب شهداء الى الجنّة فيما هم الى جهنم…

 روسيا الفيدرالية ليس في عقيدتها ما يُسمّى بالضربة الاستباقيّة…

هذا ما أكده الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين خلال الساعات القليلة الماضية.

وهذه العقيدة الروسية هي عقيدة سوفياتيّة أيضاً وهي تعود في الواقع الى الحرب العالمية الثانية يوم عقد ستالين اتفاقاً تاريخياً للصلح مع هتلر في العام ١٩٣٩ بيوم واحد قبل إعلانه الحرب على بولندا والتي أشعلت الحرب العالمية الثانية، رغم كل تخوّفات السوفيات آنذاك من الزعيم النازي.

لكن تجربتهم الناجحة في الدفاع بقيادة الجنرال تشيكوف الذي امتصّ الضربة المفاجأة أولاً ومن ثم عبّأ وحشد ونظم المقاومة ثانياً، ومن بعد ذلك شنّ الحرب الدفاعية من لينينغراد الى ستالينينغراد وصولاً الى إسقاط برلين، ما بلور لدى القيادة السوفياتية ما عرف في ما بعد بنظرية: استيعاب الضربة الأولى، استعادة زمام المبادرة الميدانية ثم الهجوم الكاسح حتى تدمير مصدر النيران.

وهكذا عمل ابن الـ كا جي بي وابن لينينغراد فلاديمير بوتين، منذ العام ٢٠١٤ عندما هوجم أمن بلاده القومي في اوكرانيا..

قام باستيعاب الضربة، أعاد تنظيم تموضعه العام ضمّ شبه جزيرة القرم لمنع سقوط البحر الأسود بيد الأطلسي ثم تهيأ لأي جديد وخاض المواجهة القاسية في روسيا البيضاء، وكان أوج مواجهته مع عدوّه وغريمه الأميركي والأطلسي بمفاجأة ٧ أيار الكازاخستاني عندما سحق التمرّد والانقلاب والهجوم الغربي معاً خلال أقل من ٤٨ ساعة..!

ولما عاود الغرب توظيف اوكرانيا بالاحتيال والكذب المستمر وخداع الرأي العام ما كان من بوتين كما تؤكد المعلومات إلا أن يبلغ الأطلسيين كما واشنطن، بأن دخولهم أوكرانيا يعني وصول القوات المسلحة الروسية الى حدود حلف وارسو أي عند برلين الغربية سابقاً وذلك لإيجاد الصدمة التي يحتاجها من اجل تنظيم صفوف جيوشه.

في هذه الأثناء قام بتفسيخ أوكرانيا قطعة قطعة، وهو ما نجح به حتى الأن من الدون باس حتى مشارف العاصمة الأوكرانية…!

وهكذا يكون بوتين قد كسب حرب أوكرانيا بدون إطلاق طلقة واحدة وجعل حكومة كييف النازية بين يديه ساعة يشاء.

الأميركيون والأطلسيون اذن، هُزموا في اوكرانيا بعد هزيمتهم في بيلاروسيا وكازاخستان وآسيا الوسطى والقوقاز. ولا خوف من حدوث صدام كبير لأن الغربيين يعرفون محدوديّة قدراتهم العسكرية.

الهيمنة والعنجهية الغربية انتهت.

الدليل على ذلك المناورات البحرية والجوية والبرية التي تجريها روسيا في كل مكان.

انظروا الى الدوريات الجوية الروسية السورية المشتركة على حدود فلسطين المحتلة…

 وهذه رسالة للأميركي والإسرائيلي بأننا نحن الروس سندمّر قواعدكم الصاروخيّة في «اسرائيل» أيضاً.. انظروا كذلك الى الحشد البحري الروسي الضخم في محيط طرطوس، حيث ستجري مناورات تشترك فيها كافة صنوف القوات. والبند الأول على جدول العمليات هو التدرب على تدمير أهداف معادية في مناطق بعيدة بواسطة صواريخ كاليبر (وغيرها طبعاً).

ستنطلق عاصفة صواريخ من شرق المتوسط الى أوكرانيا وغيرها من الدول المعادية لروسيا.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Solovyov Live YouTube channel, Moscow, December 27, 2021

December 28, 2021

Interview:   27 December 2021 22:40

(Note:  This transcript is currently partially complete and will be posted as it becomes available)

Vladimir Solovyov: We are like three-winged birds. The Russian Foreign Ministry operates on three fronts: on the first one, it communicates with our American partners, the second one is NATO, and the third are the Europeans, no matter what they call themselves (the OSCE is a bit more than just the Europeans). What matters the most to us in the extremely challenging dialogue at this stage? We launched it using methods that are totally at odds with the customary ways of Russian diplomacy. This approach proved to be very effective. Which of these fronts has the most importance?

Sergey Lavrov: What matters the most, as President of Russia Vladimir Putin has said, is that there is less empty talk, so that they don’t water down our proposals in endless discussions, which is something the West knows how to do and is notorious for. These diplomatic efforts must yield results. Even more importantly, these results must be achieved within a determined timeframe. We did not put forward any ultimatums. However, engaging in never-ending talks during which the West once again will make ambiguous promises, and will then definitely double-cross us down the road – we do no need that. In this context, the United States is our main negotiating party. It is with the United States that we will hold the main round of talks right after the New Year holidays.

Speaking on NATO’s behalf, its Secretary General and Chair of the Russia-NATO Council Jens Stoltenberg proposed holding a Russia-NATO Council meeting right after that, the very next day. Of course, they did so at the initiative of the United States. This organisational structure reflects the projects we have submitted and presented to the United States and NATO for review. I am referring to the Russia-US treaty on security guarantees and a Russia-NATO agreement on limiting risks and threats on the European stage (hopefully, not a stage of military operations). These documents set forth specific proposals. You have seen them. They present our vision of NATO and the Russian Federation, with its allies, making their respective armed forces less of a threat.

Vladimir Solovyov: Who will lead the talks?

Sergey Lavrov: An interagency delegation with the participation of the Foreign Ministry and the military. There is no lack of understanding on behalf of the United States. As for NATO, we have warned them that since they have put all the military-to-military initiatives on hold since 2014 and reduced our contacts to sporadic telephone calls to the Chief of the General Staff, the conversation will make sense only if the military are directly involved. Our delegation will include high-ranking army representatives. We asked the other side to confirm whether they will do the same. We are waiting for their reply.

Vladimir Solovyov: Overall, NATO has been acting in quite a strange manner. By and large, we don’t talk to them. There are virtually no contacts. They expelled our representatives. The ties have been severed almost entirely. Jens Stoltenberg’s statements caused an international crisis. He said that if need may be, NATO would be ready to deploy its military infrastructure to the east of Germany. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko answered him, which caused an outpouring of criticism against him.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, Jens Stoltenberg has a Nordic mentality. He makes quite simple statements. Yes, this is true.

Vladimir Solovyov: How will you deal with him?

Sergey Lavrov: We will not be dealing with him. I would like to repeat that we have proposed a Russia-NATO agreement. It will not be necessarily drafted at the Russia-NATO Council, although this is not impossible either. We will not be dealing with Jens Stoltenberg, who is, technically, executive manager of the NATO Secretariat. We will be negotiating with the top members of the bloc, primarily the United States. It is logical that US President Biden reacted to our initiative days after we advanced it. He mentioned the negotiators: the United States plus the four leading Western countries. This provoked an outcry from the other NATO members, including Ukraine, which said that it must take part in the talks. What matters to us is not the form of our contacts with NATO, but the essence of the talks. First of all, they must be held professionally and responsibly in the military-to-military format.

Vladimir Solovyov: NATO is an amorphous organisation. They say they cannot do anything without a consensus decision.

Sergey Lavrov: That is none of our business. It is their internal matter. We do not care about the Washington Treaty, including Article 5, which stipulates collective defence. If NATO were a defence alliance, as Stoltenberg has been shouting from the rooftops, it would not have expanded eastward. NATO has become a purely geopolitical project aimed at taking over the territories orphaned by the collapse of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation and the Soviet Union. This is what it is doing now. And we cannot sit on our hands when they are approaching “the doorstep of our house,” as President Putin has said.

Vladimir Solovyov: What about the declared right of each country to choose their allies independently? They are using this argument all the time.

Sergey Lavrov: They are just trying to prop themselves up. It is an unscrupulous attempt made through foul means to use a document that is based on compromise. Not a single “brick” can be removed from that compromise without bringing it down. This is what they are doing. Even the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe says that all states are free to choose their own security arrangements, including the alliances they join. But it also says that while doing this they must respect the principle of indivisible security.

Vladimir Solovyov: That is, as Vladimir Putin has said on the gas issue, “they lie all the time”?

Sergey Lavrov: They are telling half-truths, which is probably worse that outright lies, because they are trying to present their position as legally faultless. But legal is not a term that can be used in this case. All these documents, including the Paris Charter and the documents of the 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul are political pledges. And the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act is a political document as well. All these political commitments made publicly at the highest level not to strengthen their security to the detriment of others’ security and not to deploy substantial armed forces have been destroyed systematically many times over, including during the five waves of NATO eastward expansion carried out contrary to their pledges, as President Putin has pointed out. Therefore, this time we demand – this is the only option – legally binding security guarantees. Trust but verify.

You have mentioned the OSCE: that organisation’s striving to posture itself on the international stage is a separate subject. Back in 1975, when the Helsinki Final Act of the then Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed, US President Gerald Ford said solemnly and even pompously: “History will judge this Conference not by what we say here today, but by what we do tomorrow – not by the promises we make, but by the promises we keep.”

Vladimir Solovyov: That’s wise.

Sergey Lavrov: The very truth itself, I would say. All our actions are guided by this legacy of one of the great American presidents.

Vladimir Solovyov: At the same time, Jens Stoltenberg keeps claiming that NATO never promised Russia that there would be no eastward expansion, alleging that he heard this from Mikhail Gorbachev. I showed this video to Mikhail Gorbachev, who tells me: “What do you mean there were no promises? What about James Baker? On February 9, 1990, he gave me this promise. We had this conversation, there are written records, and the transcripts are available.” For these people, nothing matters unless there is a paper trail. Did they promise us that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO? The Americans keep repeating this narrative all the time.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, they did. Only recently, I read the memoirs of a British diplomat who was involved in the talks, including on the reunification of Germany from a NATO perspective, on having no nuclear weapons to the east of the line where they were deployed at the time. He says that yes, they honestly promised that there would be no expansion of NATO, but this was not what they meant. They were driven by the historical opportunity to build a new Europe free from confrontation and so forth. This is what Zbigniew Brzezinski told one of his colleagues in all honesty: “We tricked them.”

Vladimir Solovyov: Under Boris Yeltsin, Russia did not demand any written commitments either. On the contrary, during a visit to Poland we agreed…

Sergey Lavrov: This is all that there was to our relations with the West when the Soviet Union was coming apart and we were building new relations between us. President Vladimir Putin has mentioned this many times. There was an unprecedented level of trust and an enormous desire to be friends, if not allies, as Vladimir Putin likes to say. However, we now see that all this was a mistake. You cannot take anything these people say on trust.

Vladimir Solovyov: The person who used to head the Russian Foreign Ministry, and is now a retiree living in Florida – his surname is Kozyrev – made a bombastic statement that at this stage Russia must join NATO. How come Russia does not want to be part of the family of civilised nations?

Sergey Lavrov: For many Russian politicians, primarily those in the opposition, the West is an undisputable ideal, an unchallenged leader to be followed in everything. For them, there is nothing bad about the West, and they fail to notice the damage the West causes around the world when it destroys countries and shatters their statehood. Some just want to fall into line with what is going on. Why look overseas to Florida? I read about this every day. The Presidential Executive Office provides us a digest of publications from the Russian media, including Meduza, Republic, and Novaya Gazeta. What they write…

Vladimir Solovyov: Didn’t Mikhail Bulgakov say: “Don’t read…”

Sergey Lavrov: But this is not about the communist…

Vladimir Solovyov: It’s basically the same thing, just the other way around.

Sergey Lavrov: Quite a while ago it struck me that just as in the Soviet times, I learned to understand what an article is about by simply reading its headline. You can now treat many media publications this way. For example, the Republic or Novaya Gazeta tend to extol the West in their articles. A prominent Russian opposition figure wrote on what the West tried to portray as a crisis this past spring on the border with Ukraine, when we were holding regular exercises (there was much talk about it at the time around the world). But the exercise came to an end, and the troops returned to the places of their permanent deployment. This is how this was presented: “See, Putin got scared. He got a phone call from Joe Biden, and immediately withdrew the troops.” The writer is a serious person who used to be part of our political establishment and was viewed as an interesting character. By the way, he took part in several shows of yours. Novaya Gazeta then published a long article titled “The fate of an outcast. Where will the Russian foreign policy take us.” Of course, this was about the stubborn Russian Federation unwilling to come to terms with its diminished international role. It lost the Cold War, and that’s all there is to it. You must show more modesty after that. You lost, so stay where you are. The historical comparisons in this article included post-WWII Germany and Japan. They lost, accepted this fact, and received a “wonderful democracy” in return. These are the words of a former deputy foreign minister from the time you have mentioned. By the way, he worked a lot on the Kuril Islands during the talks with Tokyo.

Vladimir Solovyov: No surprise there.

Sergey Lavrov: There is no shortage of revelations of this kind. Treating the West as the holder of the ultimate truth is quite a serious matter.

Vladimir Solovyov: Many people had the same mistaken beliefs. At the very beginning of his presidential term, Vladimir Putin said that Russia did not object to different NATO accession terms, ones that would be equitable and partner-like. Are they offering such terms to us? Is there any possible situation when Russia could join NATO?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, not. I cannot imagine such a situation because the entire process does not revolve around NATO and the European Union. It revolves around the fact that the West does not want any rivals with a more or less comparable level of influence on the international stage. This explains the hysteria regarding the rise of China. Well, China has risen because it accepted global economic and financial rules of the game, introduced by the West. Acting in line with this globalisation and Western rules, it has outplayed the West on its own field. Today, Washington and Brussels are demanding that all regulations of the World Trade Organisation be changed, and the WTO overhauled. They are saying openly that the United States and Europe should work on this and that all others should not even think about this. We will tell you in due time what you need to do. I don’t even see any ideology here. President Putin has repeatedly said that this is not so much an ideology as it is a struggle for influence.

Vladimir Solovyov: Napoleon said that war is all about geography, first and foremost. And politics is all about geography, first and foremost.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, that’s right.

Vladimir Solovyov: Does this mean that we are enemies? Does it mean that NATO sees us as enemies, and that it simply wants to destroy us?

Sergey Lavrov: This life and geography can take on the form of adversity. But it can also be rivalry or competition. I believe that if the West was ready for fair competition, it would be an optimal way out of the current confrontation.

Vladimir Solovyov: Then it wouldn’t be the West anymore.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, it wouldn’t be the West anymore. They now want to change the rules of globalisation and the World Trade Organisation because China is leading the way under these regulations. China will become the largest power by 2030, in terms of all parameters, if it retains the current pace.

Vladimir Solovyov: Since we are talking about the WTO, now we are hearing how shameful it is that they imposed sanctions but, instead of dropping on our knees in tears, we dared to retaliate with our own measures. They have actually calculated how much money we owe them.

Sergey Lavrov: The WTO is not involved in this.

Vladimir Solovyov: But they complained to the WTO.

Sergey Lavrov: The World Trade Organisation must follow its own procedures. Right now, it is pretty much paralysed. The dispute resolution body was essentially inactive and did not work until recently. When China inundated this body with completely substantiated and fair complaints against the United States and its unfair competition practices, the United States took advantage of procedural ploys and started blocking any new appointees to this body. As a result, it could never meet the quorum requirement.

Vladimir Solovyov: Now Europeans have addressed them. They are saying: “What are you doing, Russians? You caused us enormous damage.” Even though we had warned them. Joe Biden twisted their arm, admitting that Europe did not want to impose sanctions. And now it turns out that we were telling the truth.

Sergey Lavrov: We don’t even have to discuss this matter. It was a shameful act on behalf of the European Union. I feel sorry for the politicians who decided to publicly make this kind of statements complaining against Russia. It is simply beyond the pale.

Vladimir Solovyov: Everybody was saying: “Who do the Russians think they are? The economy is practically invisible. How dare they write to the Americans with their demands?” Everybody who looks up to the West as if it were the sun without spots claimed they would not even speak to us or deign to read our proposal. “Who do you think you are? You are about to be eaten for breakfast.” At the same time, as you said, Americans did not say no. They are studying it carefully. Certain topics have been outlined for the dialogue to happen right after the holidays, very soon. Who will represent Russia in this dialogue? And who will represent the United States? It seems that the Americans are not unanimous on this matter and there are discrepancies in Jake Sullivan’s stance and in Anthony Blinken’s comments and views (they may be stylistic discrepancies, but they seem to exist).

Sergey Lavrov: We will announce that. I can say that the representatives will be from the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry. We are aware of the Americans’ plans. They are aware of ours. I think these plans will become public shortly.

Vladimir Solovyov: Are we preparing for these talks every day?

Sergey Lavrov: We have been ready since the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Solovyov: Although not all of us happened to be pioneers.

To be continued…

The Myth of Apolitical China: Why the West Refuses to Accept China’s Superpower Status

It behooves us all to abandon the notion that China is only interested in business and nothing else.

December 23, 2021

BY RAMZY BAROUD


A
n article by Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times last July is a prime example of western intelligentsia’s limited understanding of China’s unhindered rise as a superpower. “Becoming a superpower is a complicated business. It poses a series of connected questions about capabilities, intentions and will,” Rachman wrote.

To help us understand what this claim precisely means, the FT writer uses an analogy. “To use a sporting analogy, you can be an extremely gifted tennis player and genuinely want to be world champion, but still be unwilling to make the sacrifices to turn the dream into reality.”

At least, in Rachman’s thinking, China is capable of being a political actor, though it remains incapable of vying for the superpower status, as it supposedly lacks ‘the will’ to make the required ‘sacrifices’.

Although I visited Beijing only once, a few years ago, I, or even any casual visitor to the Chinese capital, could attest to the powerful collective economic engine that fuels not only China but much of the world economy. While Chinese officials do not outright profess that their ultimate aim is to make their country a superpower – for, frankly, rarely are superpowers aware of the mechanisms that lead to such status – the Chinese leadership fully fathoms the nature of the challenge at hand.

Read: Taiwan amidst the Emerging China – US Cold War

Take Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech in October 2019, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China. “Over the past 70 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people, with great courage and relentless exploration, have successfully opened the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Along this path, we have ushered in a new era,” he said. Note Xi’s constant references to ideology, nationalism, forward-thinking and insistence on China’s central position in this ‘new era’. Xi was elevated to the status of Mao Zedong – as a ‘core leader’ in 2019 and ‘helmsman’ in 2021 – precisely due to his role in transitioning China in terms of power, politics and global prestige.

The sooner we acknowledge that China is an influential political entity that operates according to a clear and decisive political strategy, the more meaningful our understanding of the geopolitical transformation in Asia, and the rest of the world, will be.

Indeed, the sooner we acknowledge that China is an influential political entity that operates according to a clear and decisive political strategy, the more meaningful our understanding of the geopolitical transformation in Asia, and the rest of the world, will be.

Since the rise of Britain as a colonial power, thus the advent of a new world order, determined almost exclusively by western powers, the global center of power, starting in the 18th century, had shifted away from Asia and the Middle East.

Later on, starting in the mid-twentieth century, the main competition that colonial western powers had been forced to contend with came from the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact, and their international allies, mainly Europe’s former colonies in the Southern hemisphere.

Read: The Gang’s All Here: New Western Imperialism in the South China Sea

The collapse of the Soviet Union, starting in 1989, ushered in the return of western control, this time led by the United States as the world’s only hegemon and neocolonial master.

It quickly became obvious, however, that the post-Soviet global paradigm was unsustainable, as Europe’s economic influence was rapidly shrinking and Washington’s desperate attempt at policing the world was failing due, in part, to its own miscalculations but also to the stiff resistance it faced in its new colonial domains, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) participate in a protest in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, December 11, 2021. Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) are holding a protest in opposition to the AUKUS military agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the development of nuclear submarines and war on China. Photo by Steven Saphore. Anadolu Images.

The cost of war, aside from its incalculable massive destruction and human toll – according to a very modest estimate, almost one million people were killed in U.S. military adventures since 2001 – has also come at a great cost to the already weakening U.S. economy. Brown University’s Costs of War Project, published in September 2021, has calculated that the U.S. has spent up to $5.8 trillion in its failed military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. The same report has also estimated that an additional $2.2 trillion will be spent over the next 20 years in health care and disability coverage for veterans.

The U.S. involvement in long wars with undefined objectives opened up unprecedented geopolitical spaces that Washington and its western allies have dominated over the course of decades. For example, the U.S. had near-total geopolitical control over much of South America starting with the introduction of the Monroe Doctrine, in 1823. The same assertion can be made about Africa which, despite the formal end of colonialism in the long-exploited continent, continued to revolve around the same western colonial powers of yesteryears. However, a noticeable shift in the West’s geostrategic influence in these regions began taking place in the last three decades.

Russia has speedily offered itself as a military and strategic ally and alternative to the U.S. in parts of the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

While the West was fighting essentially futile wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the intentionally ill-defined ‘war on terror’, regional and international political actors moved in to fill the gaps created by American and western absence from their various regions of influence. Russia has speedily offered itself as a military and strategic ally and alternative to the U.S. in parts of the Middle East, Africa, and South America – in Syria, Libya and Venezuela respectively – as China moved in to fulfill a much larger economic role, branding itself as a fair partner, especially if compared to western powers.

It was not until the gradual U.S. retreat from Iraq in 2011 that Washington announced its ‘Pivot to Asia’, a new military and political stratagem aimed at offsetting the Chinese influence in the Asian Pacific region. Much of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s first term in office was dedicated to America’s political strategic realignments in the Asia Pacific.

Read: Jens Stoltenberg on the Rise of China: Is NATO Pivoting to the Indo-Pacific?

“The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” Obama declared in a speech to the Australian parliament in November 2011. “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia-Pacific a top priority.”

However, the American geopolitical shift may have arrived belatedly. For one, the repercussions of America’s military undertakings in Central Asia and the Middle East – as time has clearly demonstrated – were far too severe and costly to be simply canceled out by a declaration of a new strategy. Two, China had, by then, built a complex network of alliances in Asia and around the world, allowing it to cement real bonds with many nations, especially those concerned or fed up with the West’s obsession with military superiority and interventions.

According to a report published in October by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, over the last twelve years, China has been Africa’s largest trading partner. “China has created 25 economic and trade cooperation zones in 16 African countries,” the report reads, “and has continued to invest heavily across the continent throughout the COVID19 pandemic,” according to a government report about Chinese–African economic and trade ties.

Read: Will AUKUS Be Able to Encircle China?

In contrast, according to data published by Statista Research Department in August 2021, “after a peak in 2014, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa from the United States dropped to 47.5 billion U.S. dollars (from 69.03) in 2020.”

Here is precisely where many analysts go wrong, arguing, as Rachman did, that “China’s economic weight, as the world’s largest trading power and manufacturer, gives it significant political leverage internationally. […] But Beijing’s economic power is not always politically decisive”.

This limited thinking is based on the assumption that, to be ‘political’ is to follow the same blueprint used by the U.S. and its western partners in their approach to foreign policy, diplomacy and occasional wars. China’s take on politics, however, has always been quite different. According to Beijing’s thinking, China does not need to invade countries to earn the designation of a political actor.

Instead, China is simply tapping into its own historical trajectory of utilizing economic influence in its quest for greatness, and arguably, empire. The fact that the Road and Belt Initiative – a long-term strategy aimed at connecting Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks – is a modern interpretation of the Silk Road, which was a network of ancient trade routes which linked China to the Mediterranean region, is enough to tell us about the nature of the Chinese model.

Read: US-Indonesia Maritime Collaboration in the South China Sea: Harbinger of an Expanded Quad-Plus?

That in mind, China has also taken many steps that are unmistakably ‘political’ even from the selective definition of western intelligentsia. One of the many treaties that China has initiated, co-founded or joined is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which, as of September, included Iran as well. The Shanghai Pact is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance that was established in 2001 and has served to counterbalance western, U.S.-led transnational organizations.

China’s so-called ‘wolf diplomacy’ is one of Beijing’s most trusted tactics through which clear and repeated messages are sent to Washington and its allies, that the rising East Asian nation will not be kowtowed or intimidated.

Until the last decade, Beijing had resorted to economic cooperation as the most productive way of facilitating its arrival to the global stage as a potential or a fledgling superpower. However, one may argue that, not until Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’, Donald Trump’s trade war, and Joe Biden’s incessant threats to China over Taiwan, did Beijing begin accelerating the political dimension of its strategy.

China’s so-called ‘wolf diplomacy’ is one of Beijing’s most trusted tactics through which clear and repeated messages are sent to Washington and its allies, that the rising East Asian nation will not be kowtowed or intimidated. The “wolf warrior diplomacy” describes a more assertive and even confrontational style employed by Chinese diplomats to defend China’s national interests.

According to the common western understanding, China, or any other country for that matter, that dares operate outside the dictates of western agenda, is a threat or a potential threat. However, even when China’s economic fortunes were rising, following Deng Xiaoping’s successful economic reforms campaign in 1978, the country was not seen as a ‘threat’ per se, as Beijing’s economic rise fueled Asia and, by extension, the global economy, eventually even mitigating the Great Recession of 2008, which itself resulted from the collapse of U.S. and European markets. China only became a threat when it dared define its geopolitical objectives in the Asia Pacific region, starting in the South and East China Seas.


N
ot only is China very much a political actor but one would contend that presently, it is the most important political actor in the world, as it gradually but surely challenges American and western dominance on various fronts – military in Asia, economically and politically elsewhere. China’s influence can also be observed beyond Asia and Africa, in Europe itself, as even Washington’s own allies are openly divided in their approach to the brewing U.S.-China cold war and America’s insistence on repelling the encroaching Chinese danger.

“A situation to join all together against China, this is a scenario of the highest possible conflictuality. This one, for me, is counter-productive,” French President Emmanuel Macron said during a discussion broadcast by Washington-based think tank, the Atlantic Council, in February.

It behooves us all to abandon the notion that China is only interested in business and nothing else. This stifling thinking regarding China helps perpetuate the notion that the U.S. has used its global dominance to achieve other noble objectives, for example, ‘restoring’ democracy and defending human rights. Not only are the degradation of China and the elevation of the U.S. essentially racist, but also entirely untrue.

(Romana Rubeo, an Italy-based journalist and editor, contributed to this article.)

Dmitry Medvedev: Why contacts with the current Ukrainian leadership are meaningless

October 13, 2021

Dmitry Medvedev: Why contacts with the current Ukrainian leadership are meaningless

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev addressed Kommersant with his new article, titled:

Five short polemical theses

Kindly note that this is a machine translation and we may edit for nuance as is necessary.  

1. Ukraine is in search of its own identity and a special path, composing its own separate history (although the same history teaches that this takes centuries). But Ukrainian leaders, especially top officials, are people who do not have any stable self-identification. Unhappy people. Who are they, what country are they citizens of, where are their roots, what is their historical identity, ethnic background, and what gods do they pray to? Who do they feel like? Are they “schiria” Ukrainians? “Europeans”? The Russians? Jews? Tatars? Hungarians? Karaites?

The current president of this tortured country is a man with certain ethnic roots, who has spoken Russian all his life. Moreover, he worked in Russia and received significant funds from Russian sources. Nevertheless, at some point, when he became the head of state, out of fear of getting another “Maidan” directed against his personal power, he completely changed his political and moral orientation. And in fact-he gave up his identity. He began to fervently serve the most rabid nationalist forces in Ukraine (which, admittedly, were always there, but made up only 5-7% of the active population).

One can only imagine how disgusting it was for him to perform such a moral “somersault-mortale”. This is reminiscent of the crazy situation when representatives of the Jewish intelligentsia in Nazi Germany would have applied for service in the SS for ideological reasons.

Of course, this situation causes a daily “cognitive dissonance” in his soul and actions. Moreover, you can not be sure that at some point when the political situation changes, they will not come for you to sew a yellow star on your back. He must endlessly maneuver between various forces: radical nationalists (“Nazis”, as they are commonly called there), the Muslim part of the population, primarily Tatars, moderate apolitical Ukrainians and Russians, representatives of other ethnic groups— so that his neck does not break. That is why there are bastard documents like the “law” on the indigenous peoples of Ukraine. That is why he shows himself to be a greater nationalist than the most radical of them.

He had to integrate into the “pantheon of heroes” of this part of Ukrainian society. Shout along with them: “Glory to the heroes!” Accept the unconditional authority of such scoundrels as “great Ukrainians”. Pray for the blessed memory of the terrorists and Judeophobes Bandera and Shukhevych, whose followers today call themselves a significant part of the political elite of Ukraine.

Everyone knows the mournful calendar of Bandera and policemen of that period: the summer of 1941, when after the capture of the city of Lviv by German army units, about 6 thousand people died in two of the largest Jewish pogroms. This is the extermination of Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Poles in the Yanova Valley, Podkamna. These are the White Church, Babi Yar and Volyn massacre.

And here is a quote from previously unpublished materials…

“A gang of murderers broke down doors and windows, broke into apartments, shot, cut and killed people with axes and knives — including young children, old men and women, after which the corpses were loaded onto carts, taken away and buried in pits. In order to hide their crimes, some families were burned in barns and burned corpses were buried in pits. All these terrible atrocities were accompanied by massive looting of property belonging to tortured families.”

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Documents from the Archive of the Russian Ministery of Defense

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He is clearly disgusted to indulge in these sentiments, the whole history of his life, the life of his family, revolts against such an abomination. A normal, decent person just wouldn’t be able to do it. But, alas, it is necessary. Otherwise, they’ll smear their brains on the walls. He is very afraid and does not like these people, but he is forced to preach their ideologies, defend their views that are repugnant to him. A man turned inside out.

How can you negotiate and negotiate with them in this situation?

No way.

2. Ukrainian leaders of the current generation are completely independent people . Much has already been said and written about this, including in a well-known article by Vladimir Putin. The country is under direct foreign administration. Moreover, this management is much tougher than the interaction of the USSR with individual socialist countries in a certain period. The USSR gave its geopolitical allies sufficient scope to shape their domestic policy, realizing that otherwise it could end in tragic events such as the Hungarian demonstrations in 1956 or the Prague Spring of 1968. Simple pragmatic logic. In Ukraine, the dependence is complete-from cash injections into their economy (handouts from the United States and the EU) to direct leadership of the Ukrainian special services (from their American patrons). But if the USSR needed good relations with the countries of the socialist camp and the Warsaw Pact (including for joint “building socialism”), then the United States does not need anything from Ukraine, except for confrontation with Russia, total containment of our country and the creation of what was aptly called “Anti-Russia”. This means that such an alliance is extremely fragile and will eventually crumble to dust. Hopes for membership in NATO and the European Union are also ephemeral, for obvious reasons. Ukraine itself has no value on the line of direct confrontation between Western forces (including potentially military ones) and our country. There are no fools to fight for Ukraine. And it’s pointless for us to deal with vassals. Business must be conducted with the overlord.

3. At the head of Ukraine are weak people who strive only to fill their pockets. Moreover, it is desirable, just in case, to save money in a foreign offshore company. We know many of them quite well. There was no leader who could sacrifice himself for the sake of Ukraine, and not try to monetize his stay in power, and it seems that he will not be yet. On the contrary, when it comes to making a profit, hatred of Russia and the desire to join the EU and NATO give way to selfish motives, when a Muscovite with money is an enemy, but his money is more important than hostility. I recall the words of one of my colleagues in the well-known “pre-Maidan” period. To my question: “why does namesake participate in the elections, he has no chance?” – the answer followed, which surprised me very much at the time: “Don’t you understand, this is the last opportunity for him to raise money from the election campaign.” Comments are unnecessary. Nothing has changed since then. Contacts with such weak people are unproductive. They will sell at any time for five kopecks.

4. The senselessness and even harmfulness of relations with the current leaders of Ukraine also lies in the fact that ignorant and unnecessary people are at the head of this country. They are constantly changing their position to please their overseas masters and the political situation. This is how they understand the art of diplomacy. Homegrown talleyrands. They sign the Minsk agreements, negotiate in the “Normandy format”, and then — after internal turmoil in the Rada, on the square or the Central Office from across the ocean-they turn their position in a completely different direction. Yes, compromises are possible in politics, sometimes some deviations from the established line, but not to the extent that the agreed approach changes to the diametrically opposite one. And we and our partners are constantly being lied to and evaded from our decisions. And it’s not about the specific name of a particular manager. This is the position of all Ukrainian negotiators, their line of conduct, modus operandi. Such” partners ” in international relations, who compete in constant lies, do not and cannot be trusted. This means that negotiations with them are absolutely meaningless.

5. Then the eternal and main question arises: what to do in this situation? But nothing. Wait for the appearance of a sane leadership in Ukraine, which is aimed not at total confrontation with Russia on the verge of war, not at organizing moronic “Crimean platforms” created to fool the country’s population and pump up its muscles before the elections, but at building equal and mutually beneficial relations with Russia. That’s only with such a leadership of Ukraine and it is worth dealing with. Russia knows how to wait. We are a patient people.

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight[1]

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

While I was absent from this esteemed blog focusing on other things, an extremely dangerous situation started to develop and I found myself reaching for the keyboard again. If some of my previous writings were a bit alarmist, the tone was motivated by a genuine angst before an unfeeling and unstoppable machine of conquest and destruction the likes of which the world had never seen. And angst it is—anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that the World is hurtling towards some kind of catastrophe. Whether this occurs in a year or five is less relevant. The point is that we are witnessing a process of rapid implosion of the current global system and are not able to see what will replace it. There is no compelling vision of the future—a universal vessel of hope that would transport us across the turbulent waters of fundamental change. This time I am not anxious but resigned. Resignation does not imply learned helplessness—unlike most people around me I am grateful for the ability to be aware of the danger and to articulate what I see as the truth without fear or self-censorship.

Oh, and if the post sounds like a rant, that’s because it is one.

Some academics (ideologues?) such as Steven Pinker have argued that things are much better than they were a 100 years ago—at least in terms of deaths caused by wars and other hard indicators of well-being. Although it pains me to say that Pinker could be correct, this essay is not about “progress” but about the approach of the ultimate regress—the unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic clash between the “West” and the “East”. A couple of months ago I was writing about the danger of NATO hordes closing in on Moscow from the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics only to realize that unless a miracle happens, in a few months, Russia will be completely surrounded by enemies. The only exceptions—Norway at the extreme North and Azerbaijan at the extreme South are less relevant at the moment but as we have seen recently, these countries too are being subjected to accelerated weaponization—just yesterday, a Russian diplomat was detained in Norway and Azerbaijan is involved in a tense standoff with a (supposed) ally of Russia.

The fracturing and occupation of the post-Soviet space that began in 1991 is almost complete. More or less willingly, the former Warsaw pact and buffer states of Eastern Europe joined the criminal alliance that is NATO and over the last 30 years gradually prepared for the coming war against Russia. When did it all begin? The blueprint for the current mechanism was established by the Nazi Germany which narrowed the distance between itself and the Soviet Union over a few years. Moreover, the political mechanism behind the new Drang (the European Union) was designed in 1944 by Hitler’s economic experts (and put into practice by the founder of the CIA, William Donovan). It should be noted that on his way to the USSR, Hitler had to “pacify” a few countries including Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Greece. This time around, the whole West is united in its enmity towards Russia (economic links notwithstanding) and ALL European countries with the exception of Serbia and Byelorussia have placed themselves willingly in the anti-Russian camp. This is not to say that the majority of people in those countries hate Russia (in many they do) but that the governing cliques and military juntas inside various NATO satrapies are ready to contribute to the “joint effort to bring freedom and democracy” to the “benighted Rus”.

Of these two pariahs, the Serbs, despite their love of Russia are doomed by geography and by the privilege of being the only nation to have a piece of their country (Kosovo and Metohija) taken away, of being bombed by the combined forces of the West for 78 days and having a quarter of a million of their number cruelly expelled from their homeland in Srpska Krajina (currently occupied by Croatia). Exhausted and surrounded by enemies, the Serbs can do little to stop the clock ticking towards the Armageddon. This leaves Byelorussia, the only post-Soviet country that has not flirted with overt Russophobia and whose president showed many signs of real independence of mind vis-à-vis the West. Alexander Lukashenko’s personal bravery is not in question. In the midst of the NATO bombing in 1999, he visited Belgrade and declared himself openly pro-Serb. He signed the accession to the Union State between his country and Russia that same year.[2] He was somebody who wanted to preserve the positive legacy of the Soviet Union and his unwillingness to toe the EU line (pro-German “democracy” at home and anti-Russian posture abroad) earned him the sobriquet of the “last European dictator”.

But then, things started to go wrong, especially after the Nazi takeover of the Ukraine in 2014. Lukashenko might have started to feel isolated and between Western pressure and ossification of his quasi-socialist system (nothing wrong with it in principle), he began to turn against his only genuine ally—Russia. The reasons for this U turn are complex but at this moment also irrelevant. Whatever the cause of the cooling of the relations between Russia and Byelorussia, the consequences are dire and are fast becoming catastrophic. To understand the gravity of the situation, we should be able to see the “Gestalt”—the whole of the current geopolitical situation and its trends. That a global conflict between the West and the East is in the offing there is no doubt. Not only has Russia been targeted since the mid-1990s, but the total war on China and Iran declared by Trump and his Jesuitical agents provocateurs confirms absolutely that we are facing something unprecedented. I need to remind the reader that nothing like this was even remotely possible only 30 years ago. The brazenness and sheer bloodthirst of the new Operation Barbarossa with its global ambitions dwarfs any conquests known to history. What boggles the mind is how successful it has been.

No bromides about how strong Russia is, how well it’s coping (I repeat—coping) with the cruel sanctions by the West will suffice this time. No empty hope that somehow the miserable quisling statelets from the Balkans to the Baltics will experience a Zen-like enlightenment and disobey their Western masters. No false hope that the push towards Russia’s borders can somehow be reversed and no end in sight to the total war waged by the combined “West” (a dire temporary reconciliation of a resurgent Roman Catholicism, neutered Protestantism and newly respectable Zionism). From this point on, there is no going back. The distance between Moscow and the closest point in the Ukraine is 440 km (as crow flies). In the case of Byelorussia, it is 410 km. Although symbolic, this advance would be hugely important for the would-be conquerors as it is for Russia. Starting with Orsha in Byelorussia, the path to Moscow leads through Smolensk, Vyazma and Mozhaysk—towns that experienced so much suffering in WWII because they were on the road to Moscow. But what about the suffering of Byelorussia? It was probably the worst-suffering Soviet republic with an unknown number of people killed or sent of to Germany as slave labour and uncountable number of villages and towns destroyed.

None of this matters in the upside-down Western world view in which black is white and white is black. It is a world in which the close descendants of the worst war criminals in history are now the unofficial rulers of Europe together with their Gallic poodles and Anglo-Saxon frenemies, while the nation which bore the brunt of the cruellest genocide ever is being attacked by those same criminals again—as if two Vernichtungskriege in 30 years weren’t enough.

Many will point out that we are already at war and this would be true. The threat of a nuclear conflict has prompted Western strategists to think of alternative ways of destroying their opponents. We are talking about a broad-spectrum effort which includes political, economic, intelligence, cultural, psychological, religious and military components. By weaving these different strands into a single coordinated strategy, the West is hoping (and succeeding) in getting closer to Moscow every day without igniting a global nuclear war. This time however, it is different. Not only has the West crossed Russia’s geopolitical red lines, it has given notice that it will stop at nothing until Russia is defeated and destroyed. They are skilfully neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent by inflicting a thousand cuts from all sides without suffering any harm themselves. Two days ago, a Russian major general was killed by America’s proxies in Syria while delivering food to the people of Idlib. Today, Alexey Navalny is in a coma after an alleged poisoning attempt. The quickening is palpable but no event demonstrates the current danger better than the attempted colour revolution in Byelorussia which is unfolding as we speak.

The genius of the Western destruction-mongers lies not in their ingenuity and creativity but in their understanding of the lower reaches of human nature (in this respect they have no peer). They know how to exploit weaknesses such as greed, envy and ego and especially people’s susceptibility to vices. Moreover, these agents of darkness know that most people are frightened, helpless, largely ignorant and easily swayed and distracted. With this knowledge and an inexhaustible source of money, the West has settled on a winning scheme of “peaceful” conquest which has brought it all the way from the Atlantic coast to the gates of Moscow after 30 years of colour revolutions, coups and open war. I need to stress the importance and success of this “boiling frog” strategy.[3] There is nothing new or surprising in their latest move on Lukashenko—the same combination of underground CIA-funded networks from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics and incompetent opposition which is transformed into a “plausible democratic alternative” overnight. Nazi-linked symbols, Russophobic vultures such as the buzzard-faced Bernard Henri-Levi circling above the scene, invented ancient roots… It’s all there.

But that is not why I’m writing. Throughout my years as a keen observer of the latest (and last) Drang, I have been fascinated by the patterns of behaviour (on a geopolitical level) which seem to come straight out of a history book to describe the period circa 1940. While the Western juggernaut hurtles through space, the decorum of “partnership” is maintained to the very last moment. Even though a few lonely voices are screaming that the war is inevitable and that Russia must neutralise any further advances by the new Nazis, most people are distracted by COVID, Joe Biden’s dementia and other nonsense. This could be cowardice but could also be wisdom in the face of an inevitable tragedy.

Even the tone of the Russian diplomacy is slowly changing—as it did in the autumn of 1940 following the cooling of German-Soviet relations. The ever measured and moderate Sergei Lavrov (like Vyacheslav Molotov before him) has started describing the international situation in more realistic terms using noticeably harsher language. Nevertheless, unless Russia does something very quickly, it will find itself completely surrounded and unable to defend itself as it did in 1941—hypersonic weapons notwithstanding.

However, the most fascinating aspect of this latest escalation is the fact that another colour revolution could be attempted at all and that Russia is still unable to assert itself in its neighbourhood, if only in order to save itself. “Unable” is perhaps too strong a word. What I mean is that unlike the West which is achieving its geopolitical goals without shedding blood and even without suffering any significant economic damage (no, Russian countersanctions have not crippled Germany or France), the Russians know that any attempts to stop and reverse the Western push will cost them dearly—primarily in terms of further isolation from all Western countries (already, Russian diplomats are being detained and expelled throughout the EU, as if in anticipation of the Byelorussian endgame). [4]The Western planners know that Russia can survive on its own but they also know that it can’t survive for long if deprived of the oxygen of international exchange—the feeling that it belongs to the family of European nations. No Eurasian ideology can ever replace the esteem in which Europe has been held by Russian intellectuals. While I see this pronounced inferiority complex as Russia’s curse, I have to acknowledge it in order to explain president Putin’s attempts to get various EU countries on his side.

It is not so much about economy but about Russia’s eternal yearning to prove itself worthy of “European standards” despite the fact that it was Europe that has been attacking Russia relentlessly and is guilty of crippling it possibly beyond healing. Hope springs eternal. And yet, president Putin must be aware of the dirty double-dealing game the EU is playing (I am giving the villain du jour a miss this time) by leaning on the United States to re-establish its hegemony over the Eurasian, African and Middle-Eastern space while lecturing Putin and Lukashenko on the merits of democracy. There is something deeply hypocritical—not to say Jesuitical—about EUs posture. It is doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia while offering carrots such as Nord stream 2. This is much more pernicious than the open enmity of Trump and his crude supremacism because it offers the deeply unpleasant EU block an opportunity to play a good cop towards Russia at no cost to itself. Compared with the US’s Berserker-like attack on anything and everything, the EU appears “reasonable” and ready for a compromise by comparison—but this is only a dangerous illusion.

While the EU is wholeheartedly supporting the new Maidan (relying on the nazified pockets in the West of Byelorussia and the usual pro-Western suspects), it has the temerity to issue warnings to Putin not to “meddle” and to Lukashenko not to “oppress”. This coming from a president who has been perpetrating mass violence on the peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Paris for over a year. Even worse, Angela Merkel who is initiating a more muscular foreign policy under the guidance of expansionist hawks who are champing at the bit to replace her (Annegret whatever and Ursula I don’t care) dares lecture Russia on interfering in other countries’ affairs—after her illustrious predecessors. the CDU crypto-Nazis Kohl, Kinkel and Genscher destroyed Yugoslavia (only for Russian top partnyor Gerhardt Schröder to finish the job by sending German bombers, spies and military trainers to Serbia in 1999). And yet, all Russia can do is appeal meekly to the EU in the hope that the Ukrainian scenario will not recur. Promises of military help given to Lukashenko are almost worthless in the light of the cumulative EUs response—which would be nothing short of traumatic. The proof of this is the complete support by Germany for the Ukrainian regime notwithstanding its dirty role in overthrowing Yanukovich and undermining the Minsk accords.

So, what am I trying to say? The moment of reckoning has arrived. Despite the heroic battle by President Putin and his comrades to buy time and delay the inevitable, the time for procrastination and appeasement has passed. Russia must choose between a difficult but sustainable future and no future at all. The Western offensive has destroyed all buffers between Russia and its enemies and although this might not mean much militarily, it has a vast symbolic value.[5] If Byelorussia goes, Russia remains geopolitically isolated like never before. Furthermore, its enemies, far from collapsing as many have been predicting, are strong and more united than ever despite various internecine squabbles.[6] This is not to say that Russia is at the death’s door. On the contrary, it is precisely because it is so resilient and forward-looking that its enemies are compelled to ramp up the pressure.

Even if Lukashenko survives the current jeopardy, he will cease to be a relevant political factor in years to come. The weakening of his rule (however clumsy and obsolescent) can mean only one thing—the infiltration of the Byelorussian political life by various pro-Western agents of influence who will find it easy to corrupt and disrupt by dipping into NED’s and USAID’s seemingly inexhaustible coffers. The moment Russia intervenes in the affairs of Minsk in any detectable way, it will be subjected to a barrage of hatred, military threats and punitive measures that have not been seen before. President Putin has an unenviable choice—act sub rosa (like he has been doing in the Donbass) and watch Byelorussia slowly descend into an orgy of anti-Russian madness or intervene openly and risk alienating the EU further, at a time when the fate of the lifeline pipeline crucially depends on EUs goodwill and willingness to antagonise Trump (a perfect good cop, bad cop scenario played by the USA and EU).

All of this is clear to president Putin and his cabinet and I have no doubt that they are burning midnight oil trying to think of the best ways to counter the Western aggression. Yet, history still holds valuable lessons. Stung by what he saw as the betrayal by the British and the French, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in order to delay the inevitable. The period of collaboration involved the USSR shipping oil to Germany, oil which would later power German tanks on the road to Stalingrad. Although he did buy enough time to execute some important war preparations, Stalin waited far too long. Months after having received reports of German reconnaissance planes overflying Byelorussia and Ukraine, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would betray him and ascribed the “anti-German” panic to the agents of Winston Churchill. Yet, this time he was horribly wrong and his error cost the USSR millions of lives and billions in damage. None of the subsequent amazing victories of the Soviet arms would quite wash away the bitter taste of Stalin’s epic blunder of 1941.

The historical lesson I was alluding to is simple yet devilishly hard to implement because it is “two-tailed”. In other words, the possibility of a deadly miscalculation stretches equally in both temporal directions away from the point that represents a timely decision. In other words, given the huge stakes that are involved, making a correct decision is well-nigh impossible. And although the choice can be defended post-hoc, especially if it results in a victory, we can never know if a better decision could not have been made. Like Stalin, Putin is facing the Scylla and Charybdis of time, only I would argue that he is facing an even more difficult decision. For all its weaknesses, the Soviet Union was much larger than its successor state and possessed by far the largest armed forces in the world (to say nothing about the reserves of raw materials and workforce). The factor that probably decided its fate was a relative weakness of the fifth column inside the country and the ability of the security services to neutralise pro-German networks operating inside the country. President Putin has entered the twilight zone in which the smallest mistake can cost him everything. I don’t envy him but pray for his wisdom and Russia’s preparedness.

Of course, circumstances have changed dramatically and today’s warfare bears scant resemblance to the mass movement of army fronts across thousands of kilometres of chernozem and steppe. These days, the crude manoeuvring of armoured columns has been replaced by silent software attacks on a state’s currency system and infrastructure, covert takeovers and sabotage of its assets, denial of open and free intercourse with other countries, replacement of the indigenous values and goals by the foreign dogma and suborning of its institutions to will of the Empire. This new form of warfare requires sophistication and intercontinental co-ordination. Occasionally, we are made aware of the bloopers of the Western intelligence services and their silly attempts to blame Russia for all their ills, but make no mistake! The cumulative effect of their misdeeds has been a complete homogenisation of the European space along the Russophobic lines prescribed by the behind-the-scene bosses. Let me put it this way: If tomorrow the USA and the EU were to declare a war on Russia, do you believe that any of the Slav vassals would openly defy the clarion call? Again, let me give you a couple of examples from history.

When NATO bombed Serbia, not a single country refused to participate in this egregious war crime and the honour of defying the black criminal cabal of Brussels belongs to a few heroic soldiers from Greece, Spain and France. With Iraq it was different in that Germany and France did not feel sufficiently incentivised to participate in what they saw as a neocon-inspired Anglo-Saxon adventure (for which they have been lauded no end). To pre-empt the possibility of future betrayal by its vassals, the US has shifted to a new strategy which seeks to weaken Russia (or China) without having to mobilise military “coalitions of the willing”. The war is being fought in small, almost invisible increments which do not require absolute allegiance to the cause and payment in blood.

The new army consists of spies, computer and finance specialists, thinktank ideologues, NGO “activists”, “security experts” and other assorted ghouls whose victories are not measured in square kilometres of conquered territory or body counts but in fractions of a percent of damage caused to the currency, prestige or freedom of action of the enemy. This leaves a lot of space for “plausible deniability” and the maintenance of the “business as usual” posture while the deadly blows are administered below the waterline. It also bamboozles the ordinary people into thinking that the war could never happen. It can and it will.

Another consequence will be accelerated squeezing and neutralisation of the semi-impotent Serbia and the final Gleichschaltung of the Eastern wing of NATO in preparation for a more muscular phase of the war. This will involve transferring more troops and missiles to the East (but always under the retaliation threshold), closing down of Russia’s embassies and consulates in Europe while pretending to oppose the United States, closing down financing channels and media outlets, making life miserable for Russian citizens and businessmen abroad plus hundreds more nasty tricks. In many ways, the strategy of sustained pressure is more dangerous than open conflict because it sucks out hope from the people of the affected country—the hope that they will be treated as equals by the “cultured” West. A similar tactic has been used against China but China is in a much better economic position to withstand such pressures.

The fall of Lukashenko and “old Byelorussia” can mean only one thing—an intensified total war which Russia will have to face totally isolated. If Russia’s last real ally (yes, that’s what he is) can be removed with such ease, Russia cannot hope to attract and keep long-term allies and neutral partners. This is only partly Russia’s fault. The power aligned against it is unprecedented in history and I am praying that Russia will be able to overcome the forces of evil again.

One piece of good news though—the dissolute Jesuitical warmonger Bannon has been arrested for fraud—finally showing the Chinese the fruits of a “Christian” education.

Notes:

  1. The illustration has been borrowed from the irreplaceable Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) whose blog most of us visit regularly. The link is: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6110832.html 
  2. Generally, I agree with the Saker that Byelorussia should not exist as an independent state. Nor should the Ukraine for that matter, apart from the Uniate appendage of Galicia. 
  3. From Wikipedia: “The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.” 
  4. A recent episode has infuriated me no end. After helping Italy to stem the spread of COVID in a gesture of friendship and good will, the Russian air force has had to chase an Italian military aeroplane that was approaching the Russian Black Sea coast. Even if this was an attempt by the Americans to poison the relations between the two nations, it is inexcusable and leaves another stain of dishonour on the standard of the much abused battle standard of Italy. 
  5. Actually, it does mean a lot militarily because it allows for all kinds of fast aggressive moves for which Russia cannot find timely countermeasures. In today’s world of nanosecond processing, 10 km is a huge distance. 
  6. If you think that Brexit and Greek-Turkish tensions prove me wrong, remember that modern European history was a never-ending saga of bloody and destructive wars. 

NATO 2020: A COALITION OF THE UNWILLING

 25.07.2020 

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watsont

The problem with alliances is that they ultimately either become victims of their own success, or cannot figure out what to do with themselves once the original rationale disappears. The original Cold War-era NATO was a relatively cohesive entity led by one of the two superpowers, with most of its members being the industrialized democracies of Western Europe, with West Germany being its eastern-most European member, and alliance planning revolving around USSR. But even then there were cracks in the alliance. Italy, for example, had nearly no role to play as it did not border any Warsaw Pact country and did not practice deploying its forces to West Germany to practice its defense against the anticipated Warsaw Pact invasion. And while Greece and Turkey were ostensibly part of that alliance as well, in practice they spent more time clashing with one another than planning for joint action against USSR.

The end of the Cold War made the problem of alliance cohesion far worse, for two reasons. One, it quickly added as many members as possible thus greatly expanding its geographical extent, and two, it lost that single unifying factor in the form of USSR. Today’s NATO is a patchwork of mini-alliances revolving around the United States which is determined to replace the alliance aspect of NATO which assumes that all members have interests that are to be taken into consideration, by patron-client relationships.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the goal of the United States is global domination. This goal is shared by the entire political elite and major portions of the population, though it is nearly never discussed openly or directly. Instead, it is framed in terms of “American Leadership”, “New American Century”, and of course “American Exceptionalism” which is used to justify any policy that violates international law, treaties, or agreements. Given that every country which has not recognized “American Leadership” is described as a “regime”, there is no indication the US elite is interested in anything resembling peaceful coexistence with other sovereign states.

NATO plays a double role in achieving that goal. First, it is a military alliance that projects military power against anyone refusing to accept “American Leadership”. Military contributions by European member states are certainly important, not least by giving America the veneer of international legitimacy, but the presence of US bases on the European continent is far more so. US forces stationed in or staged out of European naval, air, and land bases are indispensable to its efforts to control the MENA region and to promote the US policy of driving a wedge between Europe on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. Secondly, a European country’s membership in NATO means a sacrifice of considerable portion of its sovereignty and independence to the United States. This is a wholly asymmetrical relationship, since US bases its forces in European countries and sells its weapons to them, not the other way around. The penetration of a European country thus achieved allows US intelligence service to develop agent networks and to employ the full range of lobbying techniques which have been particularly visible in the US efforts to press F-35 aircraft into the hands of NATO member states.

America’s self-appointed task is made not easier or harder by the fact that today’s NATO is therefore fragmented along both geographic and national power lines. The geographical divide is plainly easy to see: Norway and Denmark mainly care about the Arctic, Poland and Romania obsess about Russia, Mediterranean countries freak out about what’s happening in North Africa. The wrangling over sending more troops to Mali or to Estonia is the reflection of the differing security concerns of individual members of the far-flung pact. The power divide is less easy to see but more problematic for Washington. V_3 (A2) Of the European powers, only four—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—may be considered to be powerful and independent political actors with which the US has to contend on anything like an equal basis. The first three form the core of the European Union, whereas Great Britain opted for Brexit, likely in part because of the looming big power struggle between the US and the EU that has the potential of degenerating into a destructive trade war. It is doubtful that the skirmishes over Huawei and North Stream 2 are anything but the opening salvoes in the confrontation over whether the EU will emerge as a political actor independent of the US, or be reduced to a collection of client states. Unfortunately, America’s task is made easier by the fact of the intra-European divisions mentioned above.

United States is pursuing development of several hypersonic missile systems with the aim of ultimately fielding very large numbers of them in order to be able to launch disarming first strikes against Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals. Since the weapons themselves are relatively short-ranged (though that may change once the US allows New START to lapse), they require basing close to their intended targets. That means having to find countries willing to base them in Europe, where it is liable to provoke a  political debate of the magnitude comparable to that of the original Euromissile controversy of the 1980s. Since Germany is not interested in being reduced to the status of a US client, it has resisted the US on a variety of fronts, including the North Stream 2, the refusal to buy F-35s, and now also the lack of desire to host the new US missiles. Even the German defense spending increases are intended at least as much to counter US influence in Eastern Europe as the supposed Russian threat to NATO. The United States has responded using the usual array of tools: economic sanctions on any and all European entities participating in the project and even using the gas, apparently launching a cyber-attack that US-friendly German intelligence promptly blamed on Russia, and also threatening to move US troops out of Germany and possibly to Poland. There is even discussion and rumors that US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany might be moved to Poland.

The outcome of this so far is a power struggle between two NATO allies, US and Germany, over the political alignment of a third—Poland. While Germany has the power of EU institutions on its side and massive economic gravitational pull, US has cultivated a cadre of friends, possibly intelligence assets, as a result of post-9/11 collaboration in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the realm of intelligence-sharing. This has produced a government more than willing to deploy US troops, missiles, and even nukes on Poland’s territory. The power of US influence is visible in Poland’s weapons procurement: Patriot, Javelin, HIMARS, F-35, and not a single comparable European system in recent years. The US weakness in this confrontation consists of the unwillingness to subsidize Poland economically which, combined with the ruling party’s fiscal irresponsibility, will make it difficult for the country to maintain its anti-German course in the longer term.

While in Eastern Europe US national security state is using Poland as a proxy against Germany, in the Mediterranean it has adopted Turkey as a proxy against France and Italy. After some hemming and hawing, the US hawks dropped the Kurds yet again, with Trump happily taking the blame, in order to piggy-back on Erdogan’s Libya ambitions to curtail French and Italian interests there. To be sure, Turkey retains far more autonomy in the relationship than Poland, which was unable or unwilling to play US and Russia and EU against one another in order to secure a measure of freedom of action. But the US Congress measures to allow the purchase of S-400 weapons from Turkey is an indicator that Turkey’s behavior is once again useful to the US. And even though Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program, its firms continue to make components for various assembly plants. The result has been a number of stand-offs between Turkish warships on one hand and French and Italian on the other off the coasts of Libya. And whereas France and Italy are backing the Marshal Haftar’s LNA, Turkey’s preferred proxy is the GNA, leading to a veritable “anti-Turkey” alliance being formed that includes Turkey’s old time NATO adversary Greece. While the US is officially aloof of the entire situation, in practice controlling Libya’s oil is part of the Washington strategy of “energy dominance” every bit as the North Stream 2 sanctions are.

The remarkable part of these two sets of conflicts among NATO powers is that in both cases Russia has sided with Germany and France against the US in both cases. It is Russia’s policies that are more beneficial to French and German interests than America’s, since Russia is not actually seeking to monopolize energy supplies to Europe in the way that the US clearly and openly is.

So far the US strategy consisted of steadily ratcheting up pressure through sanctions and proxies and occasional intelligence-generated anti-Russia provocations (sometimes helpfully delivered by British agencies), trying to find that happy middle of policies that actually force Germany, France, and Italy to change their policies and which do not force a permanent breach in the trans-Atlantic relationship. But the cracks in the relationship are clearly visible and they are not attributable to Trump’s erratic and brusque manner. It is the US Congress which passed the successive rounds of anti-North Stream 2 sanctions, with strong partisan majorities. It means the assertion of US control over European major powers is part of the US agenda. Since that agenda is motivated by a US political and economic crisis of a magnitude not seen since the 1930s, there is little likelihood Biden’s presidency would represent a radical departure from the current trend.

Of course, for Germany, France, and Italy to successfully resist US encroachment they would first need to transform the EU into something closer than a federation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis already providing considerable impetus for such a transformation, America’s insatiable appetites might provide the rest.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

Source

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

NATO is a military and political alliance, a security community that unites the largest number of States on both sides of the North Atlantic. During its existence, NATO has expanded 2.5 times. It accounts for 70% of global military spending. It is rightfully considered the most powerful military association of States in the entire history of mankind in terms of combined armed power and political influence. The fact that this year NATO turned 70 years old, which is more than the independent existence of some of its member States, proves an incredible success of this project. However, while the Alliance has successfully resisted external enemies in its history, today it is experiencing significant internal divisions that threaten its existence more than ever.

The founding date of NATO is April 4, 1949, the day 12 countries signed the Washington Treaty. NATO became a “transatlantic forum” for allied countries to consult on issues that affect the vital interests of participating countries. The organization’s primary goal was to deter any form of aggression against the territory of any member state, as well as to protect against these threats. The principle of collective defense, enshrined in article 5 of the Washington Treaty, implies that if one NATO member state is the victim of an armed attack, all other member States of the Alliance will consider this act of violence an armed attack on all NATO countries and will take actions that the organization deems necessary. At the end of the 20th century, the real threat to the West was the Soviet Union.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question arose about the existence of NATO, as an Alliance created to protect against the Soviet threat. The disappearance of the external threat has led to a process of transformation that has been going on for 30 years. Each stage of transformation is directly related to the adaptation of the Alliance to certain changes taking place in the international arena and affecting the stability of the security system in the Euro-Atlantic and the world as a whole. In addition to the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the key events that affected the development of the Alliance was the terrorist attack of 11.09.2001, which actually allowed the Alliance to be preserved, since then there was a common external threat to the member countries.

Traditionally, NATO’s transformations are considered in the following three areas: geographical changes, political transformations, and processes in the military-technical sphere.

Important political transformations are manifested in adapting to changes in the international arena, which are represented primarily by the disappearance of block opposition. The Alliance remains committed to the principle of collective defense, as set out in article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The main command structures also remain the same. The main transformations are expressed in the form of declarations of new NATO functions: maintaining peace and stability not only on the territory of the member States, but also outside the area of responsibility of the Alliance. The operations carried out in these territories are aimed at maintaining local and regional stability, eliminating ethnic and religious conflicts, maintaining respect for human rights and various national minorities, and, most importantly, fighting international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The “new NATO” is being transformed from a regional organization into a guarantor of global stability, taking responsibility for stability in regions outside its own territories and in situations not covered by article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Assuming global responsibility, NATO is forced to maintain the necessary level of military power, participate in collective planning for the organization of nuclear forces and their deployment on its own territories. New threats encourage NATO to expand geographically.

The expansion of NATO, which implies the inclusion of former members of the Warsaw Pact And the full-scale advance of military infrastructure to the East, represents a change in geography.

Changes in the military-technical sphere imply a General reduction of the Alliance’s collective military forces, their relocation, etc. The main form of transformation of the armed forces was the transition from ” heavy ” military associations to more flexible and maneuverable groups in order to increase their effectiveness in the fight against new threats. The beginning of the economic crisis in autumn 2008 revealed the urgent need for reforms. Member States were forced to reduce their military budgets, which meant abandoning programs involving the development and purchase of precision weapons. In 2010 the plan of the NATO Secretary-General A. Rasmussen’s plan to optimize the budget, and in 2012, the Chicago summit adopted the “smart defense package”, which implies a parallel reduction of funds and increased efficiency.

However, despite all the reforms carried out within the Alliance, today the new missions do not have the same clarity as during the cold war. Options for the purpose of NATO’s existence after the collapse of the USSR vary: the fight against terrorism, assistance in the spread of democracy, nation-building, “world police”, the fight against “soft threats”, the fight against a resurgent Russia. But the main problem of the Organization is that none of the options is universal for all member countries. None of the considered “enemies” unites NATO.

After various stages of transformation, NATO turned out that the condition for its perfect functioning was precisely the situation of structured confrontation. The current unstructured confrontation, which implies that all member countries have different primary threats, makes it meaningless to have a cumbersome and generally rather inert organization.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Illustrative Image

In 2014, NATO had another opportunity to create a common external enemy, the role of which was approached by Russia. The summit held in Wales in 2014 radically changed the agenda of the entire Alliance. The main topic of discussion was the Ukrainian crisis, which led to the conclusion about the need to contain Russia. The final Declaration of the summit notes that ” Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine have fundamentally called into question the vision of a whole, free and peaceful Europe”. “The illegal self-proclaimed annexation of Crimea and Russia’s aggressive actions in other regions of Ukraine” were highlighted as special threats among the spread of violence and extremist groups in North Africa and the Middle East.

The appearance of a ” dangerous external enemy ” entailed not only political transformations. There have also been reforms in the military sphere of NATO. Among the new security challenges were “hybrid wars”, that is, military actions involving an expanded range of military and civilian measures of an open or hidden nature. The adopted Action Plan, which includes the concept of “hybrid war”, was primarily aimed at countering the tactics of warfare used by Russia. Thus, a number of measures included in the Declaration were directed against Russia.

NATO was forced to return to the role of a guarantor against severe security threats, which significantly increased costs for the organization. At the 2016 NATO Warsaw summit, it was decided to further deploy 4 battalion tactical groups to existing military bases in Poland and the Baltic States. In addition, more than 550 tanks and an armored unit of the United States have been transferred to the region. These units are deployed on a rotational basis, which does not contradict the NATO-Russia Founding act of 1997. In the Declaration of the 2018 Brussels NATO summit it is recorded that the “enhanced presence in the forward area” of tactical groups includes a total of 4,500 military personnel, which is approximately equal to one brigade.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP

At the same time, it is clear that Russia does not pose a real threat to NATO. Real foreign policy practice proves that Russia will not threaten Western countries in the next 50 years. The only point of instability today is the Ukrainian conflict, which had no preconditions until 2014, and was in turn artificially created by the American establishment in partnership with Brussels. Russia, for its part, even in this conflict does not seek to expand its influence, and also observes the Minsk agreements that are unfavorable to It.

“The main reason why the United States has assumed the role of arbiter of the fate of Ukraine and its citizens is the allegedly increasing threat from Russia not only to Kiev, but also to Europe and the rest of the world. And this is despite the fact that it was with the help of the United States that mass protests were organized and the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown in 2013-2014, which led to the war that has now unfolded in the heart of Eastern Europe,” writes geopolitical columnist Tony Kartaluchi in the new Eastern Outlook.

In 2016, the RAND organization conducted a study that showed that in the event of a Russian invasion of the Baltic States, Russian troops can be on the approaches to the capitals of Estonia and Latvia within sixty hours. The study showed that NATO forces are not sufficient to repel the Russian attack. In an interview, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said that the main goal of deploying additional forces in Eastern Europe and Poland is to demonstrate the unity of the Alliance, and to maintain its members ‘ commitment to article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Thus, NATO adheres to the policy of declarative deterrence of Russia, in fact, its forces are not enough to respond to a potential attack from Russia. The NATO administration is well aware that the likelihood of a military conflict with Russia is minimal, but it continues to maintain the image of Russia as an aggressor in order to unite the member countries.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, leave at the end of a joint press conference in Warsaw, Poland, in June 2017. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Moreover, maintaining the image of a dangerous enemy gives the United States the opportunity to promote its own interests in Europe and manipulate its “partners”.

On June 25, Donald Trump finally confirmed that part of the American military contingent in Germany would be transferred to Poland. In the end, the American contingent in Germany will be reduced from 52 thousand people to 25 thousand. According to official data, in Germany there are about 35 thousand US military personnel, 10 thousand civil servants of the Pentagon and about 2 thousand contract workers. Some of the US military will return to America, some will go to Poland to strengthen the deterrence of the “Russian threat”. In addition, according to media reports, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump discussed the possibility of transferring 30 f-16 fighters.

“They [Germany] spend billions of dollars to buy Russian energy resources, and then we are supposed to protect them from Russia. It doesn’t work that way. I think this is very bad, ” said Donald trump, accusing Berlin of supporting the Nord Stream 2 project.

When asked whether the US administration is trying to send a signal to Russia, Donald Trump stressed that Moscow was receiving a “very clear signal”, but Washington still expected to normalize their relations. This only underscores the fact that the US is taking advantage of the perceived Russian threat to NATO.

The American leader, by undermining cooperation between Moscow and Berlin in the energy sphere, not only prevents Russia, as one of their enemies in the international arena, from developing a profitable project. The US is also interested in weakening the leading European industries, primarily Germany. The United States does not tolerate strong enemies, but it also does not accept strong allies. It is in the interests of the Americans to prevent the redevelopment of Europe as a self-sufficient and independent center of power in the international arena.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Defense spendings in relation to GDP of NATO member countries

Therefore, Donald Trump is strongly calling on Germany to reimburse the billions of dollars it owes the White House. Trump is dissatisfied with the fact that Berlin does not comply with the promise made by all NATO members to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP. At the same time, Germany has already followed this path, increasing funding to 1.38%. In its turn, the US spends 3.4% of the state budget on the needs of the Alliance.

The problem of NATO funding is very often the main criticism of Berlin. However, in addition to this issue, new problems are emerging in US-German relations.

Washington is very dissatisfied with Berlin’s interaction with Beijing. The White House, which has strengthened the anti-Chinese vector of its policy, blaming the PRC for the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and accusing the Chinese side of “controlling” the World Health Organization (WHO), did not receive sufficient support in Europe, and Germany criticized.

Moreover, Berlin does not support Washington’s sanctions policy on Chinese Hong Kong, which Beijing allegedly takes away its independence from.

The US is particularly dissatisfied with the EU’s desire for a major investment agreement with China. Germany is the main ideologue of this process and seeks to close the deal during its six-month presidency of the EU Council.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
“One Belt, One Road” Initiative

China today, of course, is the main competitor of the United States in the struggle for world hegemony. China also raises considerable concerns among European countries, which is primarily due to economic expansion and the successful development of the large-scale Chinese initiative “One belt, one road”. European leaders are also competing with China for resources in third world countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition, there are ideological differences between the two world regions. However, China does not currently pose a military threat to Europe, which does not allow the use of NATO forces against it.

While Western countries see Russia and China as the main threats, strategically they are primarily concerned about Iran and North Korea. These countries are also a threat primarily to the United States, but their European partners are not ready to conduct active military actions against them at the moment.

The only real dangerous factor that unites almost all NATO member countries remains international terrorism, in the fight against which Western countries act as a united front.70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

The current military and political course of the European Union is determined by the clear desire of its leadership to transform the military and political organization into one of the world’s leading centers of power. The aggravation of political and economic differences with the United States is the main incentive for the implementation of this goal. Thus, the EU’s focus on increasing independence in crisis management in the area of common European interests has had a decisive influence on the development of the common security and defense policy. In order to reduce dependence on the United States and NATO for conducting operations and missions within the framework of “force projection”, the leadership of the Association has stepped up activities to develop its own military component.

France and Germany are the main engines of this process, and are promoting the initiative to create the so-called European Defense Union. However, despite active efforts to expand military and military-technical cooperation within the EU, the declared goals of creating a “European army” with collective defense functions that duplicate the status and activities of NATO seem difficult to achieve in the foreseeable future. This situation is due to the reluctance of the majority of EU member States to transfer control over their armed forces to the supranational level. Moreover, the US opposition to the process of forming the European Defense Union and the limited resources available due to the absorption by NATO structures of the major part of the defense potential of European countries, most of which are simultaneously involved in two organizations, do not allow the full implementation of EU political decisions on military construction. In this regard, it is only possible to talk about giving a new impetus to military cooperation in order to increase the collective capacity to protect the territory and citizens of the States of the region.

Given the lack of forces and resources for conducting operations and missions, Brussels is interested in the practice of involving military formations of third countries in its anti-crisis actions on the basis of bilateral framework agreements. Currently, such agreements have been reached with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and a number of other States.

Currently, the European Union conducts 16 military and mixed operations and missions in various regions of the world, involving about 4,500 people. The greatest attention is paid to the “zones of instability” in North and Central Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and the post-Soviet space.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg

Thus, NATO today has to do everything possible to support the unity and coherence of actions of all its member countries, which are more than ever under threat. The main European leaders are no longer ready to support US policy and continue to sacrifice their own national interests. If in the case of Germany, this is manifested primarily in support of the Nord stream 2 project, despite the threats of the United States. France today supports its own interests in Libya, which contradict the interests of other countries-members of the Alliance: Turkey and Italy. Certainly, Turkey and Italy have different positions and aspirations in Libya. Italy was previously a traditional ally of France and does not actively intervene in the military conflict. However, now, given the current predominance of Turkey in Libya, Italy is trying to sit on two chairs. On the one hand, Italy, while supporting Tripoli, does not actively help them. On the other hand, in political terms, it clearly stands on the side of Tripoli and Turkey, thereby trying to ensure its share of participation in the next division of Libyan natural resources after the supposed victory of the Turkish-Tripolitan Alliance.

Summing up, today the imaginary Russian threat no longer allows US to unite the Alliance members, but only serves as a method of implementing US interests. The White House, which has always played a leading role in NATO and retains it thanks to the largest percentage of investment in the Alliance, allows itself to more openly abuse its leading position and promote its own national interests and the interests of its elites through the North Atlantic Alliance to the detriment of the interests of partner countries. Thus, article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which implies decision-making by consensus and is the basis of NATO itself, is of less and less importance in practice. The United States cannot renounce its membership in NATO and is interested in preserving it, because it is the Western Alliance that allows the US to give at least a small share of legitimacy to its military actions. A kind of neo-colonial policy, that the United States is used to employ in relation to European countries, and the current significant shift in the political paradigm within the US itself do not allow us to hope that the American leadership will be able to strengthen its position in Europe in the coming years.

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