Russia must not be allowed to re-draw the map in Europe with its “instruments of death”

US Vice President Joe Biden:

Russia cannot be allowed to redraw the map of Europe. Because that’s exactly what they are doing [1]

United States Secretary of State John Kerry:

Let there be no doubt about who is blocking the prospect of peace here. … Russia, with impunity, seemingly, has acted to cross that border at will with weapons, with personnel, with the instruments of death that they are bringing into Ukraine,” he said. “Russia and the separatists are seizing more territory and continuing to refuse control to Ukraine of its rights as a sovereign nation [2]

Propaganda or phantasy? Take your pick. Professor Frank Furedi thinks phantasy.

Comments on re-drawing the map:

i) Russia is not re-drawing the borders of Europe. Crimea has returned to Russia. Crimea is a very small country. It was long part of Russia. (Or at least perceived to be so. The Russian Empire was not entirely clear on where the boundaries lay between Russia itself and its dominions).  The majority of people in Crimea are ethnic Russians. Even people who tell dramatic stories about “barrels of Kalashnikovs” don’t try to claim that the referendum result did not reflect majority opinion. Welcoming back Crimea after a Western-led coup in Kiev is entirely understandable in terms of Russian history. To equate this with an act of aggression, as if Russia had, say, invaded and re-occupied Poland is bizarre. There are only 2 possible explanations:

a) The Americans know and understand this. They just want the whole pie (Ukraine) for themselves and are pretending not to understand this.

b) They don’t understand it. They don’t think. They don’t read history. They don’t try to see the point of view of the other or understand the situation as a whole. They are (like a psychotic) acting on the basis of assumptions which have no basis in reality. They are stupid and deluded.

I’m going with b). Which is also Professor Furedi’s view.

Comments on “instruments of death”:

Which country in the world sends “instruments of death” at the drop of hat to various militant groups not for self-defence but in pursuit of foreign policy regime change goals? Think Libya. [3] Think Syria. [4] And, of course, think Ukraine. Here the US is directly supplying “non-lethal” weapons. [5] NATO members appear to be sending “lethal” weapons. [6] The US is talking (bluff or otherwise) about directly sending “lethal” weapons. [7] The US has sent military planners and is considering sending more. [8] We discuss this modus operandi of the US/NATO – how it sends “non-lethal” weapons and works with its allies to send the “lethal” ones here. This modus operandi allows the West to fully arm any rebel group they feel like arming while maintaining a politically convenient distance. (In Ukraine the non-lethal arms includes specialist equipment such as night-vision goggles. Night vision goggles are not supplied for star-gazing. They are to help people shoot at night).

Again there are two possible explanations:

a) John Kerry has forgotten that the US is militarily supporting Kiev. Or has managed to convince himself of this.

b) John Kerry is lying though his teeth.

Amazingly enough it seems a) is the case. He has swallowed his own propaganda to the hilt. One part of his brain  co-ordinates “non-lethal” arms shipments to the US sponsored regime in Kiev and the military planners who are helping Kiev with the war effort. (And, one would assume providing intelligence). The same part tracks the arms coming in from other NATO countries. And then another part which comes before the cameras and tells himself “we are just sending non-lethal” arms so we aren’t sending “instruments of death”. This appears to be a  conniving policy of selective forgetfulness and partial seeing.

John Kerry’s argument seems to depend on the notion that Ukraine is a “sovereign nation” and Russia is violating this. But the “sovereign nation” which John Kerry supports and is arming is one faction in a contested situation in the country of Ukraine. He means the regime in Kiev. A regime which came to power in a coup. A regime which represents one faction in a divided country. A regime which has been bombing civilians [9] who don’t agree with it rather than talking with them. The US strategy appears to be to install a regime in Kiev which is favourable to Western interests and then hold this against all comers claiming it represents the interests of all Ukraine – and that they are standing up for the “territorial and sovereign integrity of Ukraine”.

(Again; there is no doubt at all that the people in the East of Ukraine are not represented by the regime in Kiev. The history of Ukraine shows this. In both World Wars Ukrainians fought on both sides. The moves by the parliament which came to power in the coup to stop Russian being used as an official language reflect this. Recent opinions polls confirm very different views on joining the EU and NATO between the East and the West of Ukraine. [10] Exaggerated or otherwise the coup and the regime now in power in Kiev are associated with very nationalistic elements who have a connection to those factions in Ukraine which supported the Nazis in WWII.) [11]

The “territorial and sovereign integrity” of Ukraine may be worth protecting. But the turmoil that preceded the coup and which now manifests in violence shows that there are deep factional divisions. This is why the call by Russia for a constitutional settlement – which was made before the war started is the rational and responsible position. The one-sided support of the US for one faction in Ukraine, in the name of the “territorial independence and sovereignty of Ukraine”, has undoubtedly worked against a political and constitutional settlement.

It seems that President Hollande has a grasp of this. It remains to be seen if the US/UK will try to block a peace deal.

Notes

1. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/joe-biden-russia-cannot-be-allowed-redraw-map-europe-n301486

2. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/05/europe/ukraine-conflict/

3.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/africa/weapons-sent-to-libyan-rebels-with-us-approval-fell-into-islamist-hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-begins-weapons-delivery-to-syrian-rebels/2013/09/11/9fcf2ed8-1b0c-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

5.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ukraine-to-get-53-million-in-non-lethal-aid-from-the-united-states/2014/09/18/c2c19c28-3f4b-11e4-b0ea-8141703bbf6f_story.html

6. http://rt.com/news/170388-rogozin-ukraine-arms-europe/, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/07/us-ukraine-crisis-nato-arms-idUSKBN0H20E820140907, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/14/us-ukraine-crisis-heletey-idUSKBN0H90PP20140914

7. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/world/us-taking-a-fresh-look-at-arming-kiev-forces.html?_r=0

8. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/land/army/2015/01/21/ukraine-us-army-russia/22119315/ , http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/22/pentagon-team-dispatched-to-ukraine-amid-crisis-wi/?page=all

9. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/ukraine-unguided-rockets-killing-civilians

10. http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

11. http://www.channel4.com/news/svoboda-ministers-ukraine-new-government-far-right

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer