Vlad-the-Invader has been decisive in his reaction to NATO’s attempt to push the borders of Russia west of the Urals and to lose Russia’s only warm water port.
With Russia’s history that decisiveness should have been expected, and we wonder if the US’ neo-cons had a plan which included contingencies for that action and the other pressures the Russian Bear could bring to bear on Europe – increased Gas prices and demand of repayment of Ukraine’s overdue gas bill and a threat to increase gas prices.
We might suggest Ukraine respond to their eastern creditor, who the world is assured has not imperial ambitions on Ukraine’s flat farmlands and agriculture. Ukraine, once again, is in the standard position of a buffer state adjacent a powerful neighbor. The US is pushing it to accept western influence and to allow western interests to buy up its resources. When the resources are exhausted, Ukraine would be left with a shell of an economy, and not much else. Russia, on the other hand, initially offered Ukraine significant financial assistance, and offered to overlook Ukraine’s energy debt. The downside? Russia would essentially get to run Ukraine, as a vassal state. Poor Ukraine: a tennis ball bouncing between two competing powers. Not a good place to be, but Russia’s offer was/is still better than the austerity and economic enslavement being “offered” by the west. Haven’t America’s neo-conservatives learned anything from what happened in Europe?
The way it looks right now, Ukraine has two choices. Sell everything and give the money to Russia in settlement of their energy debt, or let the west in and surrender to the demands for austerity that those one-trick ponies insist on. Either way, Ukraine loses. If they haven’t learned by now that the US is an unreliable ally (who gave assurances to protect Ukraine if Ukraine surrendered its nuclear weapons), they will soon have that lesson repeated to them. They are in the standard position of a buffer state, and have no good choices. Their only choice is whether they get “owned” by Russia or Germany. Ukraine’s only sin was ‘sailing too close to the wind,’ giving Russia reason to believe that they might actually decide to become allies with the west. Russia couldn’t allow that – not right on their doorstep.
There is no question that Russia behaved badly, violating a treaty they signed with Ukraine 20 (or so) years ago. Nonetheless, Russia has been acting from two related objectives:
- To maintain a warm-water port with access to the Black Sea, and thence to the Mediterranean Sea. This is essential to Russia for both economic and military reasons.
- To prevent the US and their allies from having access by land to Russian borders. If Ukraine joined Nato, for example, Russia could be threatened if Nato forces were stationed on Ukrainian soil.
So, we understand why Russia has been behaving as it has. Why has the US been pushing Ukraine and other former members of the USSR?
Our best guess is that the US neo-cons want to create instability on Russia’s doorstep. They have put missiles in Poland, and they continue to pressure other former USSR countries to support military and economic pressure on Russia. So why do they want to create instability? Three reasons:
- To distract people at home from the mess they’ve made by moving manufacturing to China; the US economy has been made dependent on global trade, and it’s not doing well for most people.
- To create pressure to prevent BRICS from becoming an economic powerhouse. If BRICS, including Russia, managed to create an alternative to the US dollar as a medium for international settlements, American economic sins would cause the dollar to fall sharply in relation to other currencies. That would increase the problems created by hollowing out the US economy.
- By creating instability in European energy supply, they can offer their own LNG and petroleum as solutions. Europe then gets to choose whether they want to buy from Russia or be beholden to the US. Some interesting similarities to the choices facing Ukraine, if you think about it. Two bad alternatives, and they are forced to pick one.
Any way you look at it, the US’ Ukrainian gambit is all about power politics. Nothing else.
We are confident the US Neo-Cons have adequately prepared for all these unpleasant results, and are adding this success to their other notable successes, such as Austerity, Iraq, speedy resolution of the Israel/Palestinian issue, and bringing peace to Syria.
Their success bringing misery and death to millions of people has been extraordinary; nice work if you can get it, very profitable for the MIC, and it certainly nourishes their inner sadist. We remain reassured by the proverb: “What goes around comes around.”
One wonders whether the US will complete the Neo Con tack, to Kissinger real politik, or if the US falls back to more humane policies, such as Love Thy Brother?
Picture from Mike Licht licensed under Creative Commons