'US and NATO, not Russia, need to back off Ukraine'
The neoconservative view of the world is driving US and even European foreign policy in Ukraine. This includes a deliberately aggressive foreign policy that involves pushing NATO right up to the Russian border, explained Hallinan.
“There is a bloc of political elites, economic elites in the US that pretty much have a kind of un-reconstructed view of the world that's really like the Cold War. And a group of them are neoconservatives: the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who was caught in that conversation with the US Ambassador to Ukraine basically planning the coup and about the person who ended up Prime Minister of the coup government,” Hallinan said.
“I think that they have a view which is very aggressive militarily, economically and if you can march NATO up essentially right to the Russian borders, then what you'd also do is to force the Russians to consider whether or not they are going to play a constructive role in Iran and Syria.”
Russia has been playing a prominent role on the international stage, with many recent policy achievements under its belt, including the Iranian talks. Hallinan argues that many in the US and Europe resent that success.
“It was really the Russians who got the Iranians to agree to sit down and start negotiating seriously about their nuclear program and it was the Russians who got the Syrians to agree to have talks and at least examine the possibility of a political solution. I think that there is a group in the US, not just in the US but also in France, in Britain, who don't like that view of the world, who really want a Cold War view of the world. Who would like to see Iran a target of a military attack, who would like to see Syria the target of a military attack, and whose view of Europe is very much what it was in 1955-1956: ‘Russia is an evil empire, you have to challenge it and you have to try to isolate it from any effect in world politics.’”
The foreign policy columnist also explained that it makes sense for Russia to be involved in the economic situation in Ukraine and offer a financial rescue package.
“The economic situation in Ukraine is so dire that money promised from the EU and the IMF will not be enough. In contrast, Russia is Ukraine's biggest trading partner, so it makes economic sense for the Russians to be involved in any financial rescue package.”
Plus, the US, the IMF, and the EU cannot afford to give Ukraine the needed funds. “They can talk about aid but they are not able to do it. It's going to rely on the fact that the closest and the biggest trade relations are between Ukraine and Russia. So Russia has got to be brought to the table and we have to go back to October when President Putin was talking, ‘we need a kind of tri-part approach to the solution.’ That's what we need to do. But at this point, it's the US and NATO that have to back off, it's not the Russians at this point. We have got to back off.”
On top of the economic problems, there are numerous disagreements between the US and many countries in Europe over how to proceed in Ukraine.
“The US is talking about sanctions, the EU is saying ‘wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.’ Secretary of State Kerry is talking about throwing the Russians out of G8 and Germany is saying ‘No, we're not going to do that.' You can see a lot of hyped-up things and I think what we are going to have to do is to have some kind of political settlement here, where we can just get some calm voices that would stop talking about this as if it's 1939. And then say ‘Look, we have a political problem in Ukraine, we have to come up with a government that reflects all sections of Ukraine, not just one section, and we have to recognize the fact that you cannot put a military force on the borders of Russia.’”
Some of the key elements of the revolution in Ukraine are being swept under the rug, including the racist and nationalist tendencies of some central players.
“Aspects of the so-called revolution in Ukraine, such as the Svoboda party, are openly racist and have celebrated the formation of a former SS division operating in Ukraine. What is worrying is that there is so little mention of this in the Western media, which is biased in its reporting of Ukraine,” explained Hallinan.
“One of the things I find interesting is that if you do a search in American newspapers for Right Sector and Svoboda you'll find very few references and no history. Last year, the Svoboda party celebrated the formation of the Galician division of the Waffen SS, which was the section of the Nazi army that was directly commanded by the Nazi party. The Waffen SS were particularly efficient at killing people, particularly Jews. Jews were killed in WWII in Ukraine. There is no mention of that at all.”
Without this information, all Americans are seeing is pro-democracy European modernists in the West against dictatorial Russians in the East. “That's the way most Americans look at the story, they don't see anything else. And I don't see at this point that the American media is going to give much of a counter-narrative to see. American media is controlled by very few companies and people view the world as what they see on Fox TV and read in the daily newspapers and it's a one-note orchestra,” Hallinan said.