Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ukraine and Russia - 08/24/2014

This hard-hitting overall analysis of the Ukraine conflict was published by Mark Sleboda-- just one day before Minsk 1.0 was signed on September 5 (How has the experience with the Minsk process affected the argument?

---Vl. Suchan --

Putin lost the Ukraine

By Mark Sleboda

Via Facebook

"Winning" Ukraine

No, Putin is NOT "winning" in the Ukraine, the US has already done that a long time ago. No matter what happens now the US's primary geopolitical goal of crippling Russia's Eurasian Union and preventing the re-regionalization of the post-Soviet space, via excising Ukraine, are met, whether that means an anti-Russian Banderite Ukraine firmly in the West's geopolitical orbit (Plan A), or a wartorn, split, and economically devastated Ukraine (Plan B), its all good for them. The US certainly doesn't care about the Ukraine for its own sake, nor its people. They have also successfully driven a huge and potentially long-lasting wedge between Russian-European relations. Win-win for team USA.

Putin lost the Ukraine and worse the minds and historical memory of the Ukrainian nation to the US's memetic war and Maidan Putsch in Kiev. An evolution of Color Revolution 3.0, or "unconventional warfare" per the US military manuals of the same name, exploiting existing social, ethnic, religious, and political tensions to turn a people against their own government and into a weapon of US foreign policy interests. The West has successfully turned much of the Ukrainian people against Russia perhaps for the long term. Russia is fighting a covert tactical war (now being called "hybrid warfare", but Russia is just a later adaptor to US playbook).

The West is fighting a post-Modern memetic one ("Unconventional warfare" a mixture of aggressive soft and covert power).

Winning Ukraine

Now Putin is doing damage control. He's winning the aftermath, a rearguard action, tactically (rather skillfully) and salvaging what he can in the areas of the Ukraine still most "Russian" and resistant to US influence. Even if the West-backed regime in Kiev collapses from economic inevitabilities, Nazi-oligarch-neoliberal in-fighting, the domestic unrest as the cost of defeat in the battlefield, or likely a combination of all three, it will still be a very pyrrhic "Victory" for Putin. 

Strategically, geopolitically, and possibly in the long term, it is a huge defeat for Russia. The Kremlin took its eye off the ball, naïvely trusted (and underestimated) the West as a "partner", and lost sight of the big picture, a true clash of civilizations. Lets hope this bitter loss causes some lessons to finally be learned in the Kremlin.

"Longer term, the situation looks worse for Putin. Russia may have already lost the Ukrainian people; as recently as 2011 84% of the population held a favorable view of Russia with only 11% holding a negative one. As of a few months ago, 60% of Ukrainians viewed Russia badly with only 35% having a positive view. 

Considering that Ukraine is the birthplace of Russian civilization, Putin looks to have lost the PR war [read: memetic war].

The Russia They Lost

Original article by Dmitry Sokolov-Mitrich:
September 8, 2014
Translated by: Daniil Mihailovich
Edited by: S. Naylor

We loved America. I remember, we did. When we were teens, growing up in the early 90s; most of my friends the same age did not even question their attitude toward Western civilization. It was great, how could it be otherwise?

Unlike our grandfathers and even fathers, we did not think of the USSR falling apart – the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century” – as a disaster. For us it was the beginning of a long journey. Finally, we would break out beyond the Soviet shell into the big world – limitless and cool. Finally, we would quench our sensory deprivation. We are born, maybe not in the right place, but certainly at the right time – or so we thought. It’s hard to believe now, but even the Orthodox Church coming out from under communist supervision was for us the same thing as the triumph of Western liberal values. The celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia and the first concert of the Scorpions in Moscow with their “Winds of Change” — was, for us, all part of the same thing.

The war in Iraq and even the breakup of Yugoslavia mostly escaped our attention, somehow. And it was not just that we were young and carefree. I, for one, was already trained in the “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, in the International Department. I was monitoring the English Reuters feed that was full of Izetbegovic, Karadzic and Mladic, but somehow did not take all these events seriously. It was somewhere far away, and not in our area. And, of course, the war in the Balkans did not fit within any kind of anti-Western storyline for me. Croats killed Serbs, Bosnians killed Serbs, the Serbs killed both of those – why blame America?

In 1990 we voted for “Yabloko” democrats, went to the White House barricades on the side of democratic forces, watched the newborn CHANNEL and listened to the echo of Moscow radio. Our first journalistic articles always mentioned the “civilized world” and we firmly believed that it was really civilized. By the mid-1990s, the first Euro-skeptics started to appear in our ranks, but they were more in the category of devil’s advocates. I myself shared a dorm room with Pete the communist and Arseniy the monarchist. My friends from other rooms would see me off each evening with words of regret: “Bye, go back to your madhouse.”

The first serious blow to our pro-Western orientation in life was Kosovo. It was a shock; our rose-colored glasses were shattered into pieces. The bombing of Belgrade was, for my generation, what the 9/11 attacks were for Americans. Worldviews turned 180 degrees together with the plane of the then Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who was over the Atlantic Ocean on the way from Ireland to the United States when he learned of the beginning of the American aggression – and gave the command to return to Russia.

In those days there was no mass state propaganda. The smart liberal hosts on NTV kept explaining that dropping bombs on a large European city is a bit much, of course, but Milosevic is the greatest bastard in recent history, so he deserves it, no big deal. Their “Dolls” satirical show portrayed the events as a good quarrel in a communal apartment, where a drunken neighbor torments “Miss Kosovo” and no one in the house can help, except for her lover with a powerful torso and the face of Bill Clinton. We looked, but no longer believed. It was no longer funny. We already understood that Yugoslavia was a demonstration of what could happen to us in the relatively near future.

Second Iraq, Afghanistan, the final separation of Kosovo, “Arab Spring”, Libya, Syria – all of this was surprising, but no longer earth-shattering. Illusions were lost: it was more or less clear to us what the West was about. But despite that, after all, we all live on the same planet… The myth of “evil America, kind Europe” was still around; fears induced by Kosovo gradually subsided. The compromise went something like this: yes, to be best friends with these guys is impossible, but we do have to work together. After all, who else is there to work with?

The parade of “color revolutions” seemed to be petty mischief until the last. But EvroMaidan and the subsequent fierce civil war made it clear: “the democratic process” – devoid of any rules and procedures and launched in enemy territory – is not a geopolitical toy, but a real weapon of mass destruction. It is the only type of weapon, which can be used against a nuclear-armed state. Everything is very simple: when you push the button and send a nuclear missile across the ocean, you’ll certainly get an identical one in return. But when you launch a chain reaction of chaos in enemy territory, you are not to blame. Aggression? What aggression?! This is a natural democratic process! The eternal desire of people for freedom!

We see the blood and war crimes, the bodies of women and children, an an entire country sliding back into the 1940s – and the Western world, which we loved so much, assures us that none of this is happening. The culture which brought us Jim Morrison, Mark Knopfler, and the Beatles, does not see it. The descendants of Woodstock, and the participants themselves; the aged hippies who sang, “All you need is love” so many times, do not see it. Even the thoughtful Germans of the post-war generation of baby boomers, who tried so hard to do penance for the sins of their fathers, do not see it.

It was a shock stronger than Kosovo. For me and for many thousands of middle-aged Russians, who came into the world with the American dream in our heads, the myth of the “civilized world” collapsed completely. The horror is deafening. There is no more “civilized world.” And it’s not just the shattering of youthful ideals, but a very serious danger. Mankind has lost its values, turned into a mob of predators, and a huge war is simply a question of time.

Twenty years ago, we were not defeated. We surrendered. We did not lose militarily, but culturally. We really just wanted to be like them. Rock-n-roll did more than all the nuclear warheads. Hollywood was stronger than the threats and ultimatums. The roar of Harley-Davidsons during the Cold War was louder than the roar of jet fighters and bombers.

America, you are such a fool! All you had to do was wait twenty years — and we would have been forever yours. Twenty years of vegetarianism — and our politicians themselves would have handed over our nuclear weapons; even shaking your hands in gratitude for taking them away. What a blessing that you turned out to be such a fool, America!

You do not even know us! We shouted these words, among others, toward the Kremlin just two years ago. Since then, thanks to you, America, the numbers of those who want to go out into squares have fallen dramatically. You talk nonsense about us, think nonsense about us; and as a result, make mistake after mistake. You were a cool country once, America. Your moral superiority rose over Europe after WWI and was reinforced after WWII. Yes, you had Hiroshima, Vietnam, KKK and a closet full of other skeletons, like any empire. But for a time all that crap did not reach the critical mass that turns wine into vinegar. You showed the world how to live for the sake of creativity and artistic freedom. You made places into economic wonders: Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. But you’ve changed a lot since then. It’s been a while since you wrote any songs sung round the world. You’re squandering your main asset – moral superiority. And that asset has one very nasty property: it can not be restored.

You are starting to slowly die, America. And if you think I’m gloating – you’re wrong. A great change of epochs is always accompanied by a lot of blood, and I do not like blood. We, the people who have been through the sunset of our empire, could even explain what you are doing wrong. But we will not. Guess for yourself.

Is peace in the Ukraine possible?
by M.Khazin

translation by "G' of М.Хазин, "Может ли быть мир на Украине?"

24 September, 2014

The devaluation of the Ruble and the Yevtushenkov affair have so saturated our mass media that it would seem desirable to stand aside and address a more substantial theme. Namely; under what conditions can the Ukraine know peace? Not just any ‘peace’ but a peace without wholesale disintegration of the country into petty fiefdoms, without a bloodstained dictatorship, without ethnic cleansing and without genocide. In order to answer this question, it is necessary, above all, to look at Kiev and Donetsk.

They should be part of one state. However the 10s of thousands killed and the open exhortations to genocide which have been issued by the dominant political forces in Kiev (for example: the phrase ‘Russians, clear off back to Moscovy’, which is directed at people who are not only currently inhabiting Lugansk and Donetsk but who have lived there for centuries, could be considered, formally from the point of view of international legal norms to fit the definition of genocide and, without doubt, that of ethnic cleansing) render such ‘cohabitation’ within the framework of a usual state simply impossible. The people of Donetsk and Lugansk (we include the Odessa massacre, even though it differs, in part from the others ) will never relinquish their right to justice against those who are guilty of the massacre of civilians and, similarly, the Kievan nationalists are unlikely to stop uttering phrases of the sort: ‘ We’ve barbecued that [Colorado Beetle] bitch.’ or other such endearments.

In theory the only way that Kiev can go back to normal would be in the context of sustained economic growth. In that case it might be possible to brush the nationalist slogans back under the carpet and for everyone to benefit from the resultant financial in-flows, but here Kiev has fallen into a trap of its own making. It is a simple fact that economic growth is only possible in collaboration with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. There is simply no other option. There is not even any real perspective for the development of agriculture; one would just need look at the example of Bulgaria, where the climate is noticeably more clement than that in Ukraine. Ukraine finds it impossible to compete with Turkey. Once the European Union association agreement comes into force there will be no means of regulating the influx of Turkish agri-business and the only profitable way to engage in agriculture will be in a vegetable garden. It is sufficient to look at the example set in that neighbouring former Soviet state, Moldova.

Insofar as Kiev has adopted a radically anti-Russian model, the chances of growth in that country are precisely zero. The European Union has no money and judging by the way that the crisis is developing the prognosis is not positive, and even if we were to look, more optimistically, into the medium term at the global economic situation, the European Union is most likely to help out the Eastern European Countries and the Baltic States before it bails out Ukraine. Nothing personal, just business.

And this means that Kievan Nationalism is going nowhere. It has no choice as it will be impossible for it to maintain its grip on power otherwise. Moreover it has achieved some success insofar as the United States has enacted sanctions against Russia and coerced its allies in Europe and the wider world to do likewise. There is only one problem: For how long will they be willing to prosecute these sanctions for the sake of Ukraine? Kiev’s issues will continue to mount, insofar as the only way that it can deal with the growth of democratic sentiment in the South East (it is clear that the struggle is for freedom and democracy, regardless of how discordant that sounds from the point of view of the contemporary Western mass media) is by the use of military force. It is far from certain that this particular problem can be resolved by military force.

In summary we can say that, judging by the development of negative economic trends, the intensity of internal confrontation in Kiev will constantly grow. In turn those wishing to live under their guardianship will become fewer and fewer. The cohesion of the Ukrainian state will melt like snow in the heat of the summer sun. As that happens the state will become more and more aggressive So we expect to see a contradiction in answer to the question that we posed. Is it possible to establish peace in the Ukraine?

I intentionally have not referred in general to Ukrainian nationalists, rather specifically to Kievan Nationalists. The fact is that Galician Nationalists and Kievan Nationalists are not the same. The latter always had significant sources of income (be it the budget of the USSR, Ukraine etc.), however the former have been forced to be much more pragmatic. Furthermore they have been unable to understand that they cannot hold Kiev. This is because any government in Kiev, in correspondence to their stability, will in the first instance, fall not upon the Russians in the Donbass, but rather upon the genuine committed nationalists. Today this is what Poroshenko is doing. This was clear earlier and I wrote about this earlier in the year.

Rather than being an idea (which moreover is distinctly un-appealing to the EU), Nationalism for Kiev is an instrument. There is no requirement for committed nationalists. The requirement is for cynics, who are happy to articulate nationalists’ slogans in order to gain control over the budgetary and gas revenue flows. Thus, regarding the situation in recent months, committed nationalists(which for our purposes we shall name ‘Right Sector’) have come to look more and more seriously at breaking away from Kiev. Moreover, Kiev earlier distributed budgetary money to them (received from Donbass and other regions) and now there is no more budgetary money to distribute.

However Galicia by itself cannot breakaway from Kiev. Kiev, for whom the slogan (‘for the unity of the Ukraine’) has become totemic, will never agree to it. This means that, as well as the rebels in the Donbass, there is also appearing a new force, which is also interested in the collapse of the country. In this way, from the above, we can formulate the picture below of the future Ukraine.

Should the Rebels from the South-East reach an agreement with the Galician nationalists, then they will take power in Kiev. In that case, the insurgents, proponents of the former Soviet Union and the slogan ‘friendship of the Peoples’ will, through the creation of a multi-ethnic ethnic state, put an end to nationalism and re-establish peace in the Ukraine. Galicia, as it were, in gratitude for its assistance, would receive either independence, probably as part of a confederation or quite possibly full independence as a separate state. It is clearly difficult to imagine a state where in some schools they teach that Bandera is a fascist criminal and in others – that he is a hero. But that remaining part of the Ukraine will be a peaceful, unified state, entering, one would imagine the European Economic Area.

Should agreement not be reached and the insurgents not achieve victory (either by circumstance or by result of foreign intervention), then the intensifying confrontation in Kiev will inescapably lead to the break-up of the country into petty fiefdoms with a correspondingly low quality of life and norms of governance. At present we enumerate 5 of these; Novorossiya, Hetmanshina (Cossak, with Kiev as its capital), New Khazaria (under the control of the oligarch Kolomoiski) and Galicia. We also consider one more statelet, Transcarpathia which is likely to be dissected and integrated into neighbouring countries.

But nobody has said that the process of disintegration will stop there. Anyone who doubts it should read Bulgakov. The mentality of the people in the Ukraine has not significantly changed since then. It is difficult to even conceive how a normal man can live in these conditions.

If we believe that the best outcome is a united (that is relatively united, without either the Crimea or Galicia) Ukraine, a Ukraine which is peaceful and prosperous, it is essential that the insurgents take control of Kiev. Until this happens, the war will continue. Unfortunately, there is simply no way of stopping the war and preserving Ukraine until Kiev falls to the insurgents. 

Obama places Russia between the Ebola virus and international terrorism

Full speech here.

This is the except in which Russia and the Ukraine are mentioned:

(...) Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order. Here are the facts. After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt President fled. Against the will of the government in Kiev, Crimea was annexed. Russia poured arms into Eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands. When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days. When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right – a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future.

These are simple truths, but they must be defended. America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy. We will reinforce our NATO allies, and uphold our commitment to collective defense. We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and counter falsehoods with the truth. We call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.

Moreover, a different path is available – the path of diplomacy and peace and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold. The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve that objective. If Russia takes that path – a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people – then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges. That’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years – from reducing our nuclear stockpiles to meet our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to cooperating to remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons. And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again—if Russia changes course. (...)
Basically, this is the same line as Poroshenko (which is really unsurprising since they used pretty much the same speechwriters). The message to Russia is simple:"surrender or we will mobilize the entire planet against you".

Foreign Minister Lavrov commented: “As for the U.S. President’s speech, we earned the second place among the threats to international peace and stability: number one is the Ebola virus, number two is the so-called Russian aggression in Europe and ISIL and other terrorists who are now taking hold of the Middle East and primarily of the countries, which have evidenced U.S. interventions, are ranked as number three.”

Feel the love :-)

The Saker

For those who can understand Russian - sorry no translation'

Евгений Фёдоров 3 сентября 2014
Evgeny Fyodorov – 3 September, 2014

Разговор о пустых переговорах в Минске, открытом уничтожении России пятой колонной, сотрудничестве Центробанка с компанией-убийцей экономик, окончательном расколе в российской элите, подготовке бунта против Путина и ответных чисток во власти, неизбежном переделе крупной собственности и войне против империи США.

Conversation about the empty talks in Minsk, the open destruction of Russia's fifth column, the cooperation of the Central Bank with the killer economies, the final schism in the Russian elite, the preparation of the revolt against Putin and counter-purges in power, the inevitable redistribution of large property and the war against the Empire of the United States

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