By Mandelaw Bageru
Opening the Pandora Box
From the moment the USSR began to break down, Russia’s strategic political outlook steadily declined. Beginning in 1999, thirteen former members of the Soviet bloc have now joined NATO, including neighboring Poland and the three Baltic states: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. It’s former sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, to which it is unentitled according to the United States which claims Central and Latin American as its own, has all but disappeared.
Throughout its foreign relations, the US is perceived as suffering from its most serious political divide since the Civil War, a divide that would restrict its diplomatic capacity even if there remain a peaceful political climate between Washington and Moscow. Russo-phobia remains dyes in US politics. Recently, Russia was hopeful that it could make progress with Trump, but that was quickly deprived of plane aspiration when the Russian issue started dominating Washington politics after the inauguration.
Unsurprisingly, since 2008 President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have openly stated that NATO’s further eastward expansion is an existential threat to Russia: enough is enough. The line was drawn at the accession of Georgia and Ukraine, and wars have now been fought against both countries to entrench the status quo. This should come as no surprise to any person in the West. Former cold war diplomat and author of the containment doctrine George Kennan predicted these responses in the late 1990s, as have subsequent realists including more recently, Henry Kissinger and John Mearsheimer. Even Joe Biden himself warned of the dangers posed by NATO’s expansion into the Baltic states.
However, NATO-belonging is only part of the concern facing Russia’s strategic planners. US sponsorship of the 2014 coup against a pro-Russian Ukrainian president, Western military training and arms sales to the country, eight years of deadly attacks on ethnic Russians in the Donbas region, NATO’s deployment of intermediate-range weapons in Poland and Romania, the proliferation of US-controlled biological “research” facilities in Ukraine, and the future integration of Ukraine into the EU are developments which all head in the same ominous direction. Simply ignoring the dignity Russians expect on equal footing.
In Russian judgements, Ukraine has moved from a close and friendly cousin to a hostile pro-Western proxy: a de facto and possibly one day, de jure member of the world’s most powerful, anti-Russian military alliance. This is a direct threat to Russia’s legitimate security concerns that it cannot stand and gaze on while being pierced by the Western gangsters. For years, Moscow’s concerns were either rebuffed or ignored. Diplomacy didn’t actually fail: it wasn’t tried. Russia fought wars against Chechnya (2000) and Georgia (2008) without generating much concern in the West, let alone military aid. Why would it expect reactions to an attack on Ukraine to be so different, especially after its incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation (2014) only produced a raft of tolerable sanctions?
Without a face-saving off-ramp for Putin, a “demilitarized and de-Nazified Ukraine” will result in mass civilian casualties and the destruction of several Ukrainian cities a la Grozny (1999-2000). Whilst the Western narrative blames the attack on either the irrational violence of a psychologically-disturbed leader or his attempt to reconstruct the Soviet Union, for Russia’s political elite a hostile pro-Western
Ukraine is an existential struggle which must be fought against to the bitter end. This is a major global crisis and ordinary Ukrainians are going to suffer from the absence of a regional security architecture which should have been negotiated and settled three decades ago. This is where the origins of the crisis can be found.
Although the Western media patriotically refuses to even acknowledge, let alone understand how Russia perceives its security outlook, we should not forget that it has much more at stake in Ukraine than the US and its Western NATO-allies do. Disbelief and outrage in the West at the ferocity of the Russian attack is not just a reaction to disturbing images of war and fleeing citizens. It is also a direct consequence of refusing to see recent history through Russian eyes. Censoring Russian media, an act which betrays an extraordinary lack of self-confidence in the West, will only exacerbate this blindness.
A nascent anti-war movement in the country has lost momentum and failed to overwhelm patriotic sentiment supporting Putin’s war. This could change as economic sanctions bite, but opinion polls, which are not always reliable, indicate that the general public remains behind the Kremlin for the time being.
How did main political concerns shift to a conflicting concern?
After six weeks of high-level diplomatic negotiations, the US and Russia ended their negations process that sparked off by written proposals sent by the Russian Government to the US Government in February 2022 demanding for new US-Russian mutual security guarantee treaties in Europe. The Russian proposals involved winding back of strategic changes in Europe that have developed incrementally, to Russia’s profound and growing disadvantage, over the past 30 years. Both the US and NATO-Pack alliance countries in Europe preferred to down play the Russian proposed demand and instead opted to further tighten squeezing the Russian economy and politics both through proxy war mongering strategies and dispatching psychological propaganda warfare through the western mass media.
The two sides’ basic differences on European security, previously glossed over by the West in vague assurances over many years, are now nakedly exposed. The Western sarcasm political games now appear irreconcilable anymore. The failure of these talks brings increased strategic uncertainties and risks to global security. Putin has said he will consider Russia’s next move in his own time. For its outrageous political handlings of Russian proposals, the Western political class is in meltdown over scornfully alleged imminent Russian aggression against Ukraine. Western NATO-permanent members have called a UN Security Council meeting as a show case to open their wars of words in the Security Council usually signifying the risk of war on the ground. Russia inevitably vetoed the Western resolution and the West simply made a move to denounce Russia and its supporters for this.
Western mobsters’ proxy war and provocation causing damage to civilian lives
The first meeting on January 10 between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov produced agreement to a higher-level round between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on January 21. Between these rounds the US held counterpart talks with NATO. It was clear from the Sherman-Ryabkov round that the West refused to entertain the key Russian proposal: for NATO to pledge to cease all efforts to expand into Ukraine and Georgia. Sherman and Jens Stoltenberg (Secretary -General of NATO) offered insultingly to delay consideration of these memberships for 20 years.
The US and NATO rejected the second and third-priority Russian proposals: that NATO guarantee not to deploy missile batteries in nations bordering Russia, and to end NATO military and naval exercises in nations and seas bordering Russia. Sherman asserted, and Stoltenberg and Western media echoed, that all NATO members have equal rights to install whatever weapons and conduct whatever exercises they choose on their territories and with whatever allies they choose.
Even more offensively, they suggested Russia consider a mutual pullback of forces to an agreed equal distance from the NATO-Russia border. All that was left from the Russian list was talks to restore the treaty covering intermediate-range nuclear weapons, abrogated by the US in 2019, and support for an ongoing East-West security dialogue. What Russia had proposed as a total security package was thus redefined by the West as a smorgasbord from which they could pick and choose to their taste. The Blinken-Lavrov meeting was short. It produced no new Western thinking: only a US commitment to respond in writing to the Russian proposed treaties by Wednesday, January 26. The US side fulfilled this commitment.
The US and NATO responses were widely circulated, or leaked, by both governments. The US response made some effort to be polite: the NATO response was simply aggressive. Meanwhile, over the past month the leading Western media including, but not limited to: The Economist, The Guardian, The Washington Post and The New York Times, have been busy, repackaging the Western mainstream narrative away from the Russian proposed treaties and towards an alleged imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Throughout February and until this moment in March 25, 2022, the leading Western media including The Economist, The Guardian, The Washington Post and The New York Times, have all been busy, repackaging the Western mainstream narrative away from the Russian proposed treaties and deliberately focusing on the alleged imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On its part, Russia, repeatedly warned that it has the right to deploy its own forces towards its own borders and within its own territory, as a warning to any aggressor who might seek to break what is left of the 2015 Minsk Accords ceasefire between Kiev and Donbass, and trying to seize the Donbass by force while the world is distracted by the Winter Olympics in China. In fact, Russia has made clear it would not tolerate ethnic cleansing of the Donbass Russian-speaking communities by any means. Although Russia had laid out specific red lines concerning the non-expansion of NATO forces into the Russian borders, both the NATO alliance European nations and the United States were unwilling to meet the Russian requests. Instead they ganged up and continued to provoke to jump into invasion of Ukraine. Consequently, Russia began to expand its positions all along its borders.
Russians who follow foreign affairs are fed up with Western mendacious diplomacy, and with the Western propaganda and latest stupidity, in not seeing that the mutual security guarantees proposed by Russia would have been in every European country’s interest. Russians are sick of Western proxy war games. They just want to forget about foreign affairs and get on with their lives. The series of psychological propaganda warfare and economic sanctions hold no fears for them now.
In opposition to the ongoing fake news dubiously disseminated by the Western media campaigns, it has been disclosed also indicating that the Russian forces have not been targeting civilians. Rather it is the Ukrainian Nazis or Ukro-Nazis who are paid for to orchestrate and dispatch fake media TV-shows behind the bombing of buildings, bridges and barracks in parts of Ukraine. Since Nazis had taken over Ukraine supported by EU and NATO, the situation required Russia to save it in defense of its own national security and territorial integrity.
The Western narrative concocted to shut down the legitimate Russian pitches
In a manner of showing the power of the Western information warfare propaganda in closing Western minds against Russia or China, media warriors concluded as having isolated Russia out of the global political game by deterring the Russian oligarchs as the other ‘Munich’. The Western NATO alliances must be reminded once again that there is a likelihood for China and Russia might make more common cause as both face challenges from the West in terms of Hong Kong and Ukraine.
Out of sheer hatred, anti-Russian and anti-Putin stereotypes again continue to dominate the media talks and newspaper write-ups online. By orchestrating so, the Western information warriors believe they have manipulated Russia into a no-win situation. Nonetheless, as of march 25, 2022, Russia has disclosed that it has concluded its 1st round attack against the Ukrainian Nazis successfully and staging its 2nd round decisive attacks to secure its positions around Ukraine.
At the state level, Russian foreign policy has decisively strengthened its focus on the East and the South. This was already shown during their decisive suppression (with Collective Security Treaty Organization allies) of the recent Western-supported attempted coup in Kazakhstan. The Beijing Winter Olympics have also given Putin and Xi more opportunities to cement their growing ties and cement their alliance against the Western NATO-Pact that deface China’s legitimate roles in Hong Kong as its special administrative region.
Despite the Western persistent attempts to gang-up against Russia in a vivid arrogance manner, at least, France has reactivated on its own on the 2014 Minsk Accords – the only possible basis for a settlement in Donbass. Ukrainian President Zelensky could no longer ignore that commitment to respect minority rights in Ukraine. Also, several significant Western European leaders – including President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Olaf Scholz, the new German Chancellor have been developing their own independent dialogues with Russia, making clear that NATO does not speak for Europe. Nor does the UN-play a fair mediation role. Rather it became the show ground for Western hooligans that even desperately force countries to join the gangsters’’ circle to blatantly condemn Russia at the order of the Western conspirators.
All in all, we realize at this point another case, which is familiar since 2014, of how the Western NATO alliance is caught up in its own false information narrative: as it was with the Maidan Coup and the war in Syria. Time and again, the West has entirely failed to see the opportunities for a lasting peace in Europe that Putin offered in January, 2022. The NATO pack member countries who have no choice but to remain loyal to their US-master and who are used to bombing nations with false pretext as was done in the recent past in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, are easily have convinced themselves that what is really a policy failure on their part is a Western diplomatic triumph. But viewed from a realistic point, the global public is opening their eyes wide against proxy war, fake news and other hypocritical and cynical ganging up operations against legitimate regimes and nations.
Going back to the already fadeout strategy of a colder Cold War strategy is simply haunting to continue the status quo. Neither the sitting US government nor the NATO pack countries have done anything tangible to lead the US and NATO towards a better relationship with Russia. Putin won’t now invade Ukraine unless forced to by attacks on Russian-speaking Ukrainians. He is satisfied that the Western military planners on behalf of Ukraine’s President know now that Russia would easily win any war large or small in Ukraine. Even Zelensky is now talking down the crisis. Biden has also conceded the US would
not intervene. All the US media talk of supporting Ukrainian nationalist insurgencies after an occupation has now become a big political blow to the Western NATO-alliance countries.
Beyond Ukraine, there are many possible measures Russia could take; be it economic and military technical or to accentuate its sovereignty and make the US uncomfortable. To Western hypocritical hooligan behavior, Putin knows when to choose his moment to signal, and he will choose the nature and extent of his signals. The war in Ukraine is quickly approaching an intractable state defying all the fake news broadcasted thus far. This is how it looks through Russian, Western and Ukrainian eyes.
Many Russians will look at the Western horrendous crimes in Palestine, Serbia, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, and wonder who in London, Washington or Canberra is in any position to condemn Moscow for protecting Russia’s strategic position in Europe, let alone pass moral judgement. NATO will not get involved directly in the war, and never intended to. There will not be a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would be a declaration of war against Russia. Even Poland’s proposal to supply Kyiv with old Russian-made MIG fighters by sending them via Germany has been vetoed because it was considered too provocative.
The US administration and NATO alliance nations are jointly happy for Putin to bleed Russia dry, both on the battlefield and as a consequence of harsh economic sanctions. If a very high price is paid by Ukrainians along the way, so be it. The US has only shown interest in Ukraine as a forward base to encircle and destabilize Russia. It has little interest in promoting liberal democracy or the human rights of Ukrainian citizens. Some in the Deep State see the conflict in Ukraine as both a pathway towards regime change in Moscow and the destruction of Russia as a strategic adversary. Both are costly fantasies which are likely to drive Putin to even greater levels of violence in Ukraine.
Any successful defiance of the US position’s willpower must incur severe punishment. Economic sanctions of unprecedented severity are hurting not only the oligarchs, but also the Russian middle class accustomed to decades of consumer capitalism. Despite conceding that it is almost impossible, sanctions are a collective punishment imposed on the Russian people for not removing Putin.
Yet, the Western sanctions can backfire, inciting the Russian population behind their leader. In a democratic polity, blame is passed up through the chain of command to accountability, but Russia has a very different political culture based, in part, on a well-founded siege mentality. Russia is effectively being funded by energy sales to Western Europe, opposed by the Americans and the British but, significantly and out of self-interest, not continental Europe. Economic sanctions can also blowback on the West, and not just in the form of higher food and petrol prices. Economic growth, inflation and the stability of the crisis-prone global financial system will also be adversely affected. The West must look into its own international relations strategies and come out of the old faith of imposing sanctions. It is worth noting that sanctions imposed on Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq, some for decades, have been conspicuously unsuccessful in inducing political change in those countries.
Obviously, European self-contained proposals for a peace brokered by either France or Germany would be vigorously opposed by the Biden administration, which since the 1950s has feared an independent European voice in the region’s security. To the US-political advantage, Putin’s engagement in and around Ukraine has secured the allegiance of European states to NATO and, in Wolfgang Streeck’s words, the EU as the “economic auxiliary of NATO”. Without doubt, in the medium and possibly in the long term, Ukraine will not gain entry into either institution.
Ukraine’s actor president Zelensky knows well-enough that NATO will not rescue him. Incidentally, he has all but lost interest in joining the alliance. He is desperate with very few other options beyond impressive video appeals which draw tremendous applause in Western governmental hooligan circles who get what they aspire to hear and on social media of the Western hemisphere, but little else. A revivified Ukrainian nationalism can only take him so far.
Thus far, the actor Zelensky has received unexpected Western support – of the kind Palestinians, Kurds, Syrians and Yemenis could only dream of – though most of it is symbolic and is, in many cases, driven by latent Russo-phobia and racism. How else can the punishment of Russian Paralympian be explained? Why are Ukrainian refugees greeted so warmly compared with their Syrian counterparts?
Exceptionally handful analysts have considered the implications of a defeat for Russia in Ukraine. That being the case, the Western fake news and the image of a humiliating withdrawal of the Red Army in 1989 will not be lost on Putin or anyone else in his inner circle who might replace him. This may be a very bad news cautioning Ukraine because it will encourage the Russian President to seek a total military victory in the few short weeks he can sustain a military campaign. A pre-emptive surrender would save lives and trigger negotiations on a troop withdrawal, possibly a cordon sanitaire or DMZ, the status of Donbas and Crimea, reparations and the return of over three million Ukrainian refugees and the internally displaced.
Putting aside the actor Zelensky’s rhetoric quoting Churchill’s war time remarks to the British House of Commons, it is not clear whether Zelensky or the Ukrainian people have now the stamina for a protracted, destructive and heart-breaking struggle against a more powerful neighbor which feels it is fighting for its own survival against the rising tide of Western Hooligans that gang-up to harm in whatsoever means in the name of NATO-alliance.
It is high time that priority must be given to terminating the ongoing diabolical, political and militaristic hooliganism and debacles against Russia by settling ideological scores and playing last century’s geopolitical games at the cost of vulnerable and innocent civilians.
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This phrase ‘NATO’s further eastward expansion is an existential threat to Russia: enough is enough.’ in the article claimed to be part of a statement made by Putin and Lavrov in 2008 was a total misrepresentation of the purpose for the creation of NATO itself. Yes the main reason was to counter the former mass murdering system of the now defunct Soviet Union. There was another reason. Decades and centuries leading up to WWII almost every country in Europe except Switzerland and Scandinavian countries was on war footing to its neighbors. There were more than 500 small and large bloody conflicts since the beginning of the 19th century(1800-1945) alone that culminated in WWII, the most destructive war ever. NATO was used to end centuries old hostilities among those European by congregating them under one treaty and it handsomely worked. Without it the French and Germans could be lobbing nuclear tipped missiles and bombs at each other by now and taking every breathing and living being on this good earth with them. Since then every NATO member country was able to enjoy the fruits of democracy. On the other side every citizen of the former Soviet Union was forced to live in a society devoid of free thinking for more than 70 years. Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and their successors used to tell their people that ‘democracy is a tool used by imperialists to rule over the rest of the world’. They told that days in and days out. Over the span of such a long time those communist demons were able to produce many among their citizens that democracy is solely created to wipe out the Soviet Union and by extension Russia. Putin fits that bill. He is not afraid of the Germans, French, Brits, Americans, Italians, Dutch or Belgians. He is afraid witless the democracy they bring with them. He has no guts to stomach a vibrant democracy at his front yard in Ukraine. He has been burning inside with anxiety and the way he has been bombing that small country away tells the rage that has been ravaging him since he came to power. ‘Existential threat’ he has been deafening us with was not about Russia but himself. He has gone mad!!! Just look at the wanton destruction he caused on civilian quarters in several cities in Ukraine. How in the world anyone in full control of his/her faculties can justify that? Folks, we have a mad man in Putin and humanity has never been existentially threatened in our time. There are two things despots would do when their back is against the wall. They will try to find a safe place where they can hide or if that is not feasible or possible they become suicidal. Mengistu in our case and Hitler of April 30, 1945 are best examples. Hitler was said to have ordered his generals to wipe out Berlin and if possible Germany off the face of the earth. Imagine if Hitler had an arsenal of nuclear bombs and what he would have done with them on that fateful day in 1945. Just imagine. This bully must be handled very, very skillfully. He is sitting with that satchel of Armageddon close by surrounded by ‘yes boss’ servile entourage around him.