What next after the neocon rape of Ukraine?
The people in the East speak Russian and incline towards Russia, while those in western Ukraine march to a different drum: they speak Ukrainian and foster fond hopes of becoming real Europeans. In Crimea, the majority converse in Russian and their hearts have always beaten patriotically for the motherland. Crimea, after all, was part of Russia from 1784 until 1954, at which juncture Nikita Khrushchev, a native of Ukraine incidentally, made what some consider a major blunder: the Soviet leader gift-wrapped the peninsula and handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Crimea is now part of Russia again, a fact that has vexed the West no end. The Western media vilifies President Putin for this affront and the neocons in Washington want his head on a platter. They drone on about a land-grab and the abrogation of international law. However, the Crimeans held a referendum and in a massive 80-percent turnout at the polls, some 96 percent voted to secede and rush back into the arms of Mother Russia, with the wolves of Kiev and their Western masters baying for blood at their heels. Instead, like a murder of crows, the pack descended on eastern Ukraine and picked it to pieces. I don't think Moscow could have rigged what was virtually a unanimous vote in Crimea, and in my view to call it a Kremlin heist is a gross distortion of the facts.
Cool-hand Putin of course encouraged it all. He says his motive was to avoid the carnage and bloodshed that has tragically unfolded in eastern Ukraine. A French delegation of MPs, much to the chagrin of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, visited the Crimea in late July to see for themselves how things are going on there. They were delighted to find that life is fine in the peninsula. “Crimea is an absolutely peaceful region,” said one of the French MPs on the fact-finding mission, Claude Goasguen. He went on to say, rather encouragingly from a Western politician: “A parliamentarian in a democratic country and a democrat sees a major obligation in fighting misinformation, especially at the state level.”
On the other hand, the population in the Donbass and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine has suffered terribly at the hands of their own people. The civil war has taken a devastating toll in human life, caused massive infrastructural damage and left the country at the mercy of internal thuggery and corruption. Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis has reached epic proportions. There are now over a million displaced persons in Ukraine, and something approaching a million more frightened and desperate Ukrainians have fled to Russia. This puts the Russian Federation top of the current world list for asylum applications. Nobody in the West appears to bat an eyelid about this refugee crisis, preferring to persist in their favorite sport of Russia-bashing.
It might occur to a casual bystander that the best solution would be to simply partition the country into an East and West Ukraine and have done with it. However, the thing to bear in mind about Ukraine is that all the country’s wealth, its heavy industry, coalmines etc, is concentrated in the East. So naturally Kiev will fight like a rat in a corner and slaughter its own people to keep their mitts on the country’s ‘crown jewels’. But the redoubtable folk in its eastern regions are hard as nails and are unlikely to capitulate.
Ukraine is a disaster, a bankrupt nation run by crooks and hoodlums, in hock to another set of villains in the EU. It's little reported in the West, but now there are major ructions in the West of the country. The problem is Right Sector, which is basically a private army of Nazis who wield crippling power, attended by gangsterism, racketeering and violence. It was they who were in the vanguard of ousting Yanukovich in 2014 (a legally elected president), and now Right Sector is pushing to eject the current band of knaves and cutthroats holding court in Kiev. It’s a real comedy of errors, except there is nothing much to laugh about. Any country that has a private army rampaging about is in for big trouble. If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, as the saying goes. Poroshenko and his ilk could well find themselves dragged out into the streets and shot without so much as a by your leave. Mr Poroshenko, an oligarch with a somewhat dubious and shady past, had better have his private jet standing by for a quick getaway.
However, it might then be shot down and doubtless the blame would be laid on another ‘Putin’s missile’ (headline courtesy of that bastion of balanced journalism – the Sun). In case you were unaware, according to the Sun it was ‘Putin’s missile’ that shot down flight MH17 last July over Ukraine!
The West has encouraged and in fact orchestrated the mayhem and madness in Ukraine. Millions of dollars were pumped in to fund NGOs, whose ulterior motive was to bring about regime change and create chaos on Russia’s borders. And for their henchman they selected or at least condoned Nazi thugs such as Right Sector to do the dirty work. I find it ironic and sad in the extreme that our fathers and grandfathers fought a long and bitter WWII to rid the world of Nazism (helped out a great deal by Russia who lost something like 25 million souls in the effort), while today the West is turning a blind eye to its menace in Ukraine. And all in a sick and twisted geopolitical game.
The good news is that NATO has blown Mission Ukraine. Despite all the sanctions and hoo-ha, it’s hard to lend credence to the assertion that Russia is a threat and has designs on sweeping west to cut a red swathe through the heartlands of Europe. Nobody is really buying that particular brand of baloney. ‘The Russians are coming’ was always a rather empty and silly jest, anyway. On the other hand, NATO has swept east, despite the promise of Bush Sr to the Russians in the early 90s that they wouldn't. For heaven’s sake, Russia is the biggest country in the world; it doesn't need to go rampaging about like a bear in a glass factory.
The Baltic States and their pathetic whining about the ‘Russian threat’ are frankly a laughing stock. NATO generals and Western politicians maunder on about this ad nauseam too, but anyone with half a brain should be able to shred this tissue of lies into fragments and see it for what it is: a desperate and ill-judged move to demonize and ultimately unseat Putin in the old game of let’s change the regime. Judging by opinion polls in Russia, the plan has backfired spectacularly. An overwhelming majority of the population approves of Vladimir Putin, and the chances of ousting him appear about as likely as installing a Communist Commander-in-Chief in the White House. Incidentally, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, enjoys similar popularity at home.
The Ukraine game is just one move in the grand geopolitical game of chess. The US is in check now, and checkmate could be just round the corner. I believe America has gone too far this time. Of course, no one can match the US for military power, but Moscow and Beijing have been bending like reeds in the wind, or in boxing parlance they have been biding their time, soaking up the punishment on the ropes. Are they getting ready to deliver a knockout blow?
If you study the financial markets you can see strange things afoot. China dumped half a trillion dollars and Russia’s dollar reserves are the lowest since the 1980s. Other countries such as Japan are also frantically ditching dollars. Switzerland has unpegged the Swiss franc from the euro; these and other intriguing signs suggest something is in the works. Some financial analysts are predicting that the Russia, BRICS, China axis is getting ready to wreak financial Armageddon on America. They are simply a tad cannier than the bullyboys in Washington. Putin is one hard, cool player and the Chinese... Well, you don't want to mess with them. Uncle Sam is, of course, far from being an idiot and Jade Helm (a little military exercise encompassing seven states and gargantuan amounts of firepower) looks like a prelude to martial law when the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Steve Elliott, for RT