The US has introduced a ban on US companies doing business with companies in Crimea. No surprises there.
The US President referred to Russia’sÂ Â “occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea”.
That is fighting talk. Coupled with the recent Act (Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014) which authorises military aid to the Kiev regime, an economic blockade designed to destroy the Russian economy and a campaign of manipulating Russian political society it is clear the US has effectively gone to war with Russia.
From a rational point of view this can only be described as madness. Russia’s action in taking back Crimea is rational, defensive and intelligible in the light of its history. It would have been shameful, even bizarre, if they hadn’t acted the way they did. 80% of the population of Crimea voted for the move in a referendum organised by an elected regional parliament. That was hardly surprising given the background. The elected President of Ukraine had been swept from power by mobs from the West and (to some extent) centre of Ukraine who wanted the country to pursue a policy of integration with Europe. The Russian speaking and Russian leaning Crimeans did not feel comfortable with this change of affairs. Since it came about by a violent coup it is not hard to see who here is on the side of ‘democracy’. Crimea does not have major economic significance.
The Eastern part of Ukraine does have economic significance. Russia has definitely lent support to the militias fighting in the East. These militias appear to have considerable public support – but by no means the overwhelming support that the break-away government had in Crimea. Here, though, Russia has not ‘invaded’. They are supportive of a political settlement. Worst case: they are manipulating the situation so as to be able to create a buffer zone. If NATO is going to move into Ukraine at least they won’t be able to set up bases right alongside Russia’s southern border. This though is also understandable. And primarily defensive.
To go to war with an adversary who is acting defensively is madness. To see acts of self-defence by your opponent as a threat is pathological. It reflects the absolutely standard position of the West. They are ‘unconscious’ of their own aggression. Thus they see the self-defence of the other as aggression. Like colonialists they still believe that when they invade other countries it is out of disinterested higher morality. The account by President Obama of the February coup in Kiev is a case in point â€ . It links the Kiev riotors Â with the protesters of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union. The rioters are portrayed as making a heroic stand for freedom against tyranny. Various facts have been eliminatedÂ from thisÂ narrative on Ukraine. These include: i) the President the Maidan Square rioters drove from office was legitimately elected, ii) the lawless Â mob which seized power was extremely violent, violence was trained for and planned, iii) the Maidan Square protesters represented just one faction in a deeply divided country (a legitimate voice of course but still just one faction),Â iv) the involvement of extreme anti-Russian xenophobes and fascist elements in the riots, and v) the unwillingness of the rioters to accept any kind of political compromise even one brokered by the EU . It is a fairy-tale. The US supportsÂ this faction (the pro-EU faction) in Ukraine because it suits their interests to have Ukraine in the EU and NATO. They concoct a narrative to re-presentÂ their own self-interested and entirely cynical involvement as being about ‘freedom’ and ‘morality’. All so tediously familiar.
The Roman Empire behaved the same way. Rome was always picking one faction or other in the states around its borders to support. Rome would naturally pick the faction that showed most allegiance to Rome. They were indifferent to the civil wars that this self-interested policy caused. Maybe they even profited from them. Rome too struggled to explain its policy of colonisation and aggression in terms which made it look benign. The US did not invent ‘defence of national security’ or ‘in the interests of regional stability’ as excuses for invading other countries. Like the US Rome too believed that they were bringing benefits to the invaded countries. The only difference perhaps is that when the US invades they gut the country, try to integrate it into their economic system and then withdraw the army of invasionÂ (leaving behind a few bases) whereas Rome had to maintain a higher military presence in the provinces. The US is an Empire. Russia is a country on the borders of that Empire which is not caving in and becoming a vassal state. The US political class have got themselves in a tizz about this.
Why is the US so maddened that they want to take down Russia?
i. The US President recently described Russia as a “regional power”. But Russia has acted as a “super-power”. The US wants to be the only boss in the room. The sole ruler of the world. They aren’t looking for partners. This probablyÂ stems from insecurity. A huge and burgeoning country without a history of its own.
ii. NATO has Â a policy of containing Russia. This policy is absolute. Russia should stay within its borders. They just can’t rise to the level of realising that following the collapse of the Soviet Union it was inevitable that there would be pockets in the new independent countries where people still felt an alliance with Moscow: the East of Ukraine and Crimea, Transnistria in Moldova, South Ossetia in Georgia. The policy of NATO is essentially psychotic. It is rigid and incapable of appreciating and adapting to reality.
iii. As always with the US a policy of war is supported by a strong defence industry lobby- basically war profiteers. War is just another business for the US.
iv. Skilful work work by President Putin has given the US two bloody noses recently. Firstly Russia exploited US indecision about Syria to force a change of policy. Secondly the Russian move on Crimea was adroit. It made the US and NATO look silly. This is about loss of face. The US needs to project power.
v. The US thought they’d got the prize of Ukraine. But it was all cak-handed: handing out biscuits on Maiden Square. Absurd statements about how the obviously one-sided protest movement represented the will of the people against tyranny.Â Like a naughty boy caught with his hand in the cookie tin they are just brazening it out. They’ve grabbed the prize and rather than admit they over-reached they are just going to recklessly try to push it all the way. They just repeat the narrativeÂ about the Â ‘sovereignty’ and ‘territorial integrity’ Â of Ukraine. (The ‘territorial integrity’ line is meant to sound high-minded and principled. But the way a US take-over works is they don’t need to physically occupy a country. It is like being taken over by an alien body-snatcher. They invade the whole body, poisoning it, while leaving the outline of the corpse completely delineated. ‘Territorial integrity’ is maintained…). They think that if they go on about ‘sovereignty’ and ‘territorial integrity’Â often enough and without any alternative views being expressed eventually their populations will believe it. Eventually they believe their own stories. They deceive their populations and delude themselves.Â The Western media knows its role. The Russian viewpoint is absent from the narrative in the Western press. Â As inÂ 1984Â in the West truth is what power says it is.
In summary. US policy is rigid, a winner takes all philosophy. They already think they own all the area outside Russia’s immediate borders. From this point of viewÂ any Russian action beyond their borders is an offence. Russia is permitted to exist as a vassal state. But it cannot have an independent foreign policy. (Unlike the US which manipulates political situations all over the world in its interests all the time). The US behaves like a feudal over-lord. Funny if they weren’t taking the world close to an open war between two nuclear armed states.