Thursday, 17 April 2014

How to Start a Proxy War In Ukraine.

As conflict in eastern regions of Ukraine looms closer and the potential for a civil war as in the break up of Yugoslavia appears possible, the windbag armchair commentators are already fulminating about the loss to Western prestige and losing Ukraine. One Mr Roxburgh has made this plain,
'It needs to made absolutely clear to Putin – even as the time for manoeuvre slips tragically away – that further military intervention (or disguised invasion) will be met not with more warnings, jeering and pointless sanctions, but with resolute western military support for Ukraine'.
Unless Roxburgh spells out just exactly what he means by 'resolute western military support' this shoddy and belligerent propaganda is largely worthless. Unless, Roxburgh thought Major Kong in Dr Strangelove was not satire but a model of how to approach global diplomacy and war. He goes on,
'Sanctions should be introduced with immediate effect against the people who matter – the entire political leadership (government, Duma, military, security services), plus their families. Visa bans and asset freezes on them all – that would really send a shock up the Kremlin spine'.
And ensure hundreds of thousands of pensioners shiver to death this coming winter and that the EU's precarious economic recovery judders to a sharp halt as a result of gas cuts and Russia is forced into China's embrace in order to keep keep selling its gas.
'...the west must also offer some incentives. Western leaders should assure the Kremlin that they will press Kiev to devolve power in the regions and guarantee Russians' rights. They should order President Oleksandr Turchynov to get rid of the far-rightists who inexplicably are in his government'.
One moment, Roxburgh threatens 'resolute military support'. The next he's urging some sort of concession on behalf of the Kiev government, one put in power by the similar tactics now being used by those who overthrew the Yanukovych government and brought about this state of emergency.

The presence of 'far rightists' in the form of Svoboda and Right Sector in the insurrection in Kiev was important for its success and necessary in order to divert discontent with the West's favoured oligarchs ( Tymonshenko's Fatherland party onto the evil pro-Russian ones. There is nothing inexplicable about it.
'They ( the west ) should condemn the west's darlings such as Yulia Tymoshenko when she is heard calling for Russians to be wiped out. And they should tell Putin to call on his proxies in eastern Ukraine to back down..'
The West is not one monolithic block. The US and UK have a different approach to Ukraine than Germany which is far more dependent on Russia for gas. Moreover, there is no use carping now about what Western powers 'should' have done instead of understanding what they have ,in fact, done.

Tymoshenko made that statement about Russia because she needs to shore up her popularity which was hardly evident after her release from prison. The Fatherland Party is playing the nationalist card because it was democratically voted out of office due to to Tymoshenko's rule being venal and corrupt.

At the outset of the Ukrainian Insurrection, the Western powers and its diplomats and representatives should have remained stand offish, adopting a wait and see position, They largely failed to do that because they turned a blind eye to far right Ukrainian nationalism or remained ignorant of its force.

The US openly backed the 'regime change' and Kerry was on the streets in 'solidarity' with the protesters in Kiev, no doubt because the US hoped they could push through IMF 'reforms' and put Ukraine on a fast track towards NATO. Russia feared that and acted accordingly to scupper that possibility.

Even if a good number of the protesters wanted an end to oligarchy and more democracy, a good number of those prepared to fight were far right nationalists and it is them in partnership with the Fatherland Party who called the shots and not liberals. To suppose otherwise is pure wish thinking.
'The west must also accept that Russia has legitimate security interests, and rule out Nato membership for Ukraine for ever'.
That should have been done a while ago before this crisis started to get very serious and dangerous. But that hardly dovetails with promises of 'resolute western military support' for Ukraine, ruled as it is by an unelected government and far right Ukrainian nationalists who want to ratchet up the stakes.

Moreover, Western powers will not rule out NATO membership as it has been the aim all along to get Ukraine into the club so as to get control over the Black Sea and over strategically vital oil and gas pipeline routes. They are now fearing that the loss of Crimea could be followed by south and east Ukraine.

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