The United States and the rest of NATO gambled when they took sides in Ukraine’s 2014 political crisis. American fingerprints were clearly seen on the coup which sent an elected president into exile. The West succeeded in putting Petro Poroshenko in the presidency, then showered his nearly bankrupt country with money and sat back hoping to see a puppet regime firmly in place on Russia’s border.
The machinations haven’t paid off exactly as they hoped. The people of the Donbass region didn’t give NATO permission to tear their country apart and fought back against the newly installed regime. Now the ghoulish statistics indicate that 5,000 are dead and 1 million are refugees as the ruinous western intervention continues. Unfortunately chaos is the cost of doing business in the pursuit of hegemony. The nightmare for Ukraine is not likely to end anytime soon.
From the beginning, the so-called separatists in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine proved themselves superior to Ukraine’s army. Ukraine’s willingness to sign the Minsk peace accords in September 2014 were proof that they were losing militarily. The situation has gone from bad to worse for government forces and the increased desperation shown by western leaders proves that point.
First the American government signaled a willingness to provide arms and advisers to the Ukrainians. Less savvy Republicans in congress are publicly calling for military aid while the Obama administration is a bit more circumspect. The White House has to contend with the wishes of allies like German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has publicly stated her opposition to throwing gasoline on the fire.
She and French President Francois Hollande were forced to hold hastily arranged meetings with Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin. That turn of events would not have occurred if the Ukrainians were winning instead of losing.
Putin is guilty of an unforgivable sin in the eyes of NATO. He defends his country’s sovereignty in the face of western demands. Russia uses its veto power in the UN Security Council to prevent direct NATO intervention in Syria and also provides military aid to that nation. Putin’s skepticism of NATO intentions is well founded. For more than twenty years, NATO reneged on promises made to Mikhail Gorbachev not to expand its membership into eastern Europe. Twelve eastern European nations were added to NATO during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
The imminent Ukrainian defeat sent Merkel and Hollande to see Putin, the man they and others kicked out of the G8 group and labeled a tyrant. Putin surely felt personal satisfaction as they were forced to reckon with the military victory of Novorussiya but his problems aren’t over either.
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The capitalist nations want to make the world ungovernable in order to secure their place at the top of the international food chain. They must lower the price of oil, not to help humanity, but to thwart Venezuela’s efforts to control its destiny and leave Russia weak and unable to escape dollar hegemony.
The United States and its allies don’t want peace. They want control but that desire may ultimately destroy both Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine depends on handouts from its patrons and its currency is in free fall. Russia’s economy has been devastated by sanctions and the Saudi-engineered fall in oil prices. The damage done isn’t seen as a problem by the United States and its European friends. It is in fact part of their plan.
Now that they have been humbled on the battle field, NATO wants to talk but still on its own terms. Merkel and Hollande are demanding an immediate cease fire and want to roll back borders to the time when the Minsk agreement was signed. Putin will obviously want to negotiate terms more favorable to his country, but the pressure on his economy has been severe and he is in a precarious position.
What is bad news for millions of people in Ukraine and Russia is considered good news for NATO. They are certainly dealing with a setback but also think long term. They may have buyer’s remorse regarding Poroshenko, and some EU states are starting to speak up about the impact of sanctions on their economies. But the big dog, the United States, can still call the shots and is demanding any and every means to keep imperialism humming along.
America is in effect waging war against the rest of the world. Russia is hurt by sanctions but so are some of the European nations forced to go along with the shake down. Lower oil prices hurt Russia, Iran and Venezuela but also hurt Canada, Alaska, Texas and Louisiana. It doesn’t matter where the pain falls. For now the dollar rules the world and the United States is the biggest energy producer with the most powerful military. A budget shortfall in the state of Alaska is hardly a concern.
The so-called Normandy Four countries of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine have just completed a new round of peace negotiations in Belarus, but whether a new cease fire will hold remains speculative. Ukraine has been set up for a fall and Russia can only maneuver and hope to dodge as many blows as possible.
Mikhail Gorbachev made the following observation recently. “The U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism. Where will that lead all of us? Have they totally lost their heads?” The response to that last question is sadly in the affirmative.