‘US acts in Ukraine as if it is its 51st state’
RT:The Minsk agreements demand that both sides stop fighting and withdraw heavy weapons. But the US State Department suggested that supplying weapons to Kiev doesn't violate the spirit of the agreements. How is that?
Richard Becker: The US government acts in many ways like Ukraine is its 51 state even though it is half way around the world. When we look at agreements… since the beginning of the history of the US, since the US was a country, there have been so many broken agreements, so many broken treaties interpreted in such a way that allows the US government to proceed in a way that it wants to in any particular moment regardless of what the provisions were of those agreements. Certainly the idea that the US were now militarily intervening by supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian army can’t be interpreted in any other way except as a violation of that Minsk agreement.
RT:Meanwhile, White House Adviser Ben Rhodes said that he doesn't think the answer to the crisis in Ukraine is quite “simply to inject more weapons.” Why such a discrepancy in what we hear from the White House and the State Department?
RB: I think those words should be phrased very carefully. Ben Rhodes what he said was that it’s simply more weapons wouldn’t solve the problems but he didn’t say: “We are not going to supply more weapons.” I think there are politicians and governments, particularly US government figures often talk out of both sides of their mouth when they really mean the same thing. And what they mean is they want to be the dominant power in Ukraine. So just the weapons will not accomplish that. But what else Ben Rhodes has in mind in addition to weapons remains to be seen. Some of it we’ve seen already. There has been tremendous US intervention and there may be more intervention coming.
RT:If weapons are indeed sent to Kiev, what impact will it have on the conflict?
RB: I think that is impossible to say because we don’t know what kind of weaponry they are talking about and what level of weaponry they are talking about… If they are going to come in force and bring trainers, what they have to do if they want to come in with the more sophisticated weapon systems they could have a very significant effect if it is lesser amounts, if it’s small arms, and so forth, that will have a lesser effect. Either way I think that they are going to judge what Washington feels from past advances, their interest of domination, interest of bringing the Ukraine into the orbit of the US and NATO militarily as well as economically.
RT:Washington says it is giving itself the resources to confront global challenges such as Russian aggression. What is the US trying to achieve here?
RB: When they talk about resources, the resources of the people of the US, the resources of much of the world are being consumed by the US military budget. And talk about that budget surplus allows them to spend even more on weaponry is really an insult to the people here [in the US] and to the people of the world. If you really look at the [US] military budget, not just the Pentagon, but CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, etc., it’s about equal to all the other military budgets of all of the countries in the world. The idea that the problems of the world, the problems of the people of Ukraine, Russia, or of the US, or of anyone else can be solved by yet more weaponry is really an absurd one that can only meet the interests of the weapons makers.
‘Kiev’s aggression in E. Ukraine backed by Western powers’
Oliver Tickell, author and journalist, says it is not Russia that is embarking an aggression but Kiev that refuses to negotiate the peace with rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
RT:Speaking of Russian aggression, do you think President Obama is laying the groundwork for a direct conflict with Russia?
OT: That is very much my fear that a process of escalation is taking place and that America has for whatever reasons decided that this is the time to confront Russia, and that it is prepared to take this confrontation as far as it needs to achieve a result. And it’s very worrying thing. I had pretty much the same feeling that those drums of war were beating for the Iraq war and then again for the attempt to go to war on Syria.
It is characterized by the exclusion of dissenting voices from the mainstream media and this sort of historical fibber picture builds up, and it tells you which way it is all going. What’s worrying in this instance, in the case of Iraq of course there were no nuclear weapons, there were no weapons of the mass destruction, there was a con job. In this case Russia has to be taken seriously. I don’t see that there is any real casus belli in terms of what is taking place in Ukraine for America or any other country with the shred of sanity to want to pursue this matter further. The overwhelming necessity for the benefit of the world and of all democratic and freedom loving peoples is peace.
RT:You wrote an article about what Western media and Western leaders call "Russian aggression.” What are your concerns?
OT: What seems to be taking place is that you have this theme of Russian aggression. If that is repeated often people simply come to believe that it is true. And I was sort of very much struck in fact by one particular broadcast from the BBC radio …one program that Jan Stoltenberg, the NATO director general was quoted talking about Russian aggression. And then they had several further commentators, all of them seemed completely agree with him…
RT:Are we moving further and further away from a chance of peace as the separatists have also announced a recruitment drive for more soldiers themselves?
OT: I completely agree. There is a war going on. That is getting increasingly difficult to see the way out of. But I think to understand it we have to go back to its causes. Let’s remember that the war began around the time of the Sochi Olympics. The Sochi Olympics was President Putin’s occasion to show to the world that Russia was a modern country, capable, wealthy, and projecting a new image of Russia to the world.
That is not a Russia that is embarking an aggression against other countries. That is completely in reverse of their intention. And it was at that moment of the Sochi Olympics that the crisis in Ukraine erupted. Seemingly, … it was implemented by outside forces, specifically in America and NATO.
As we saw when the rebels in the East were trying to negotiate with the Ukrainian government in Kiev, they refused to negotiate, labeled them as terrorists, and began their anti-terrorist operation which was a campaign of bombing and shelling civilian areas. That is the foundation of this war. That is a dynamic that set this whole war… [That is] the aggression coming from Kiev and apparently with the total political backing of the EU, of NATO and of the US.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.