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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/23/15

NYT's Orwellian View of Ukraine

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The upside-down narrative of what happened in Ukraine has become the conventional wisdom in Official Washington and has been imposed on America's European allies as well. According to The New York Times' Orwellian storyline, anyone who notes the reality of a U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine is engaging in "fantasy" and must be some kind of Putin pawn.

To the Times' editors, all the justice is on their side, even as Ukraine's new regime has deployed neo-Nazi militias to kill eastern Ukrainians who resisted the anti-Yanukovych coup. To the Times' editors, the only possible reason to object to Ukraine's new order is that the Russians must be bribing European dissidents to resist the U.S. version of events. The Times wrote:

"The Europeans are indeed divided over the extent to which Russia, with its huge oil and gas resources, should be isolated, but Mr. Putin's aggression so far has ensured their unity when it counts. In addition to extending existing sanctions, the allies have prepared a new round of sanctions that could be imposed if Russian-backed separatists seized more territory in Ukraine. ...

"Although Mr. Putin insisted on Friday that Russia had found the 'inner strength' to weather sanctions and a drop in oil prices, investment has slowed, capital has fled the country and the economy has been sliding into recession. Even the business forum was not all that it seemed: The heads of many Western companies stayed away for a second year."

An Orwellian World

In the up-is-down world that has become the New York Times' editorial page, the Western coup-making on Russia's border with the implicit threat of U.S. and NATO nuclear weapons within easy range of Moscow is transformed into a case of "Russian aggression." The Times' editors wrote: "One of the most alarming aspects of the crisis has been Mr. Putin's willingness to brandish nuclear weapons."

Though it would appear objectively that the United States was engaged in serious mischief-making on Russia's border, the Times editors flip it around to make Russian military maneuvers -- inside Russia -- a sign of aggression against the West...

"Given Mr. Putin's aggressive behavior, including pouring troops and weapons into Kaliningrad, a Russian city located between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, the allies have begun taking their own military steps. In recent months, NATO approved a rapid-reaction force in case an ally needs to be defended. It also pre-positioned some weapons in front-line countries, is rotating troops there and is conducting many more exercises. There are also plans to store battle tanks and other heavy weapons in several Baltic and Eastern European countries.

"If he is not careful, Mr. Putin may end up facing exactly what he has railed against -- a NATO more firmly parked on Russia's borders -- not because the alliance wanted to go in that direction, but because Russian behavior left it little choice. That is neither in Russia's interest, nor the West's."

There is something truly 1984-ish about reading that kind of propagandistic writing in The New York Times and other Western publications. But it has become the pattern, not the exception.

The Words of the "Demon"

Though the Times and the rest of the Western media insist on demonizing Putin, we still should hear the Russian president's version of events, as simply a matter of journalistic fairness. Here is how Putin explained the situation to American TV talk show host Charlie Rose on June 19:

"Why did we arrive at the crisis in Ukraine? I am convinced that after the so-called bipolar system ceased to exist, after the Soviet Union was gone from the political map of the world, some of our partners in the West, including and primarily the United States, of course, were in a state of euphoria of sorts. Instead of developing good neighborly relations and partnerships, they began to develop the new geopolitical space that they thought was unoccupied. This, for instance, is what caused the North Atlantic bloc, NATO, to go east, along with many other developments.

"I have been thinking a lot about why this is happening and eventually came to the conclusion that some of our partners [Putin's way of describing Americans] seem to have gotten the illusion that the world order that was created after World War II, with such a global center as the Soviet Union, does not exist anymore, that a vacuum of sorts has developed that needs to be filled quickly.

"I think such an approach is a mistake. This is how we got Iraq, and we know that even today there are people in the United States who think that mistakes were made in Iraq. Many admit that there were mistakes in Iraq, and nevertheless they repeat it all in Libya. Now they got to Ukraine. We did not bring about the crisis in Ukraine. There was no need to support, as I have said many times, the anti-state, anti-constitutional takeover that eventually led to a sharp resistance on the territory of Ukraine, to a civil war in fact.

Putin asked...

"Where do we go from here? Today we primarily need to comply with all the agreements reached in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. ... At the same time, I would like to draw your attention and the attention of all our partners to the fact that we cannot do it unilaterally. We keep hearing the same thing, repeated like a mantra -- that Russia should influence the southeast of Ukraine. We are. However, it is impossible to resolve the problem through our influence on the southeast alone.

"There has to be influence on the current official authorities in Kiev, which is something we cannot do. This is a road our Western partners have to take -- those in Europe and America. Let us work together. " We believe that to resolve the situation we need to implement the Minsk agreements, as I said. The elements of a political settlement are key here. There are several."

Putin continued:

"The first one is constitutional reform, and the Minsk agreements say clearly: to provide autonomy or, as they say decentralization of power, let it be decentralization. This is quite clear, our European partners, France and Germany have spelled it out and we are quite satisfied with it, just as the representatives of Donbass [eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russians who had supported Yanukovych have declared independence] are. This is one component.

"The second thing that has to be done -- the law passed earlier on the special status of these territories -- Luhansk and Donetsk, the unrecognized republics, should be enacted. It was passed, but still not acted upon. This requires a resolution of the Supreme Rada -- the Ukrainian Parliament -- which is also covered in the Minsk agreements. Our friends in Kiev have formally complied with this decision, but simultaneously with the passing by the Rada of the resolution to enact the law they amended the law itself " which practically renders the action null and void. This is a mere manipulation, and they have to move from manipulations to real action.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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