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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/19/15

Seeking the Truth about Ukraine

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In seeking to explain the accord in U.S. politics that unites liberals and conservatives, Sakwa goes beyond kneejerk U.S. Russophobia, which he dates to the failed Polish uprising of 1830, and quotes David Bromwich, who observed: "The state apparatus which supports wars and the weapons industry for Republican yields welfare and expanded entitlements for Democrats" (p.226). Thus, for liberal universalists and geopolitical realists alike, the Ukrainian crisis of 2013 offered an opportunity to complete the 'unfinished revolution' of the Orange administration from 2004, pushing aside more cautious Europeans to consolidate U.S. hegemony ('leadership') and to punish Russia -- for its temerity in upstaging the U. S. over the Syrian chemical weapons crisis in mid-2013, for giving refuge to the whistle-blower Edward Snowden", and in general for its refusal to kowtow in the appropriate manner."

When it all blew up in America's face, the U.S. imposed sanctions, "the hubristic application of the instruments of hegemonic power" (p. 183). Noting Vice President Biden's admission that the U.S. forced EU members to impose sanctions, he concludes that Europe demonstrated "it was incapable of mastering the very basic principle of modern statecraft -- the independent solution of problems" (p. 204).

Professor Sakwa approvingly quotes Seumas Milne, who asserted: "It's not necessary to have any sympathy for Putin's oligarchic authoritarianism to recognize that Nato and the EU, not Russia, sparked this crisis -- and that it's the Western powers that are resisting a negotiated settlement that is the only way out, for fear of appearing weak" (p. 222 from "Far from keeping the peace, Nato is a constant threat to it," The Guardian, 4 September 2014).

Unfortunately, that was not Professor Sakwa's final word on the matter. On the penultimate page of his exceptionally judicious and comprehensive book, he proceeds to undermine virtually everything he said about the Wolfowitz Doctrine, America's hegemonic war party, and the threat NATO posed to Russia by asserting: "Russia's stance of resentment and self-exclusion"needs to be modified to encompass the fact that neither NATO nor the EU is systematically hostile to Russian's interests" (p. 255). Say what?

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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