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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/15/21

Biden and Blinken Blink on Ukraine

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From Antiwar

Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
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President Joe Biden has now taken a waiver on the "unwavering," full-throated support that he, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had been giving to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The recurring "unwavering" meme was played right up until late Tuesday after Biden's telephone talk with Putin Tuesday.

Zelensky' earlier profession was comedy. But what serious people saw in his decree three weeks ago (March 24) was a de facto declaration of war on Russia. With that decree, it became the official policy of Ukraine to take Crimea back from Russia. Kiev began to dispatch by rail tons of military equipment headed south and east. And Russia did the same -- south and west to Crimea, and to the Donbass where armed clashes have increased between the Ukrainian regime and anti-coup-regime forces (dubbed "pro-Russian separatists" by western media) determined to preserve a degree of autonomy.

With strong rhetorical support from the U.S. and NATO, the Ukrainian regime seemed eager to let slip the dogs of war. Then someone -- whether in Washington or Moscow, or both -- apparently told Zelensky that "unwavering" rhetoric was not going to protect him from disaster, should he tweak too tightly the nose of the Russian bear. On April 9, Zelensky used his Facebook page to call off the dogs of war and stress the need to establish a new truce in the Donbass. Earlier that day the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces had said that the use of force to "liberate" the Donbass is unacceptable, since Ukraine "puts the lives of its citizens in first place", and civilian as well as military casualties would be massive.

In a telephone conversation on April 13, President Biden expressed obligatory concern at the Russian military buildup near Ukraine and called on Russia "to de-esclate tensions", according to the White House. Then, in a surprise move (and in an oh-by-the-way vein), Biden suggested a bilateral "summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia." Until now there has been no response from Russia. It would not surprise me if Putin, uncharacteristically, does not respond for a while.

It seems a good bet that President Putin was the actual originator of the telephone talk with Biden. It seem likely that Putin called and left the same message he is likely to have given Zelensky; i. e., You are playing with fire.

But what got the most attention in Kiev and Washington?

Putting Force Behind the Rhetoric

On April 13, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that over the past three weeks Moscow had sent two armies and three airborne formations to western regions "as a response to the alliance's military activities threatening Russia." The "alliance," of course, is NATO, which has been stepping up its own reinforcement and maneuvers from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Shoigu said the maneuvers in western Russia would last for another two weeks.

The Donbass: More Russian Than Ukrainian

The Eastern Ukraine is home to millions of ethnic Russians, most of whom took violent exception to plans of the leaders installed by the 2014 western-sponsored coup to ban Russian as an official language and extend the coup regime's writ into the Donbass. When the local leaders appealed to Russia to annex them, the Kremlin turned them down but promised the kind of support that would prevent them from being decimated or extinguished. Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reinforced that pledge, saying pointedly, "If any escalation occurs, we will of course do everything possible to ensure our own security and the security of our citizens wherever they are." [Italics added.]

Civis Russicus Sum

Over the past two years, residents of the Donbass have been able to become Russian citizens via a fast-track procedure by a presidential decree issued by Putin. By mid-year 2020, Russia reportedly had issued bout 200,000 Russian passports to Ukrainians from the "People's Republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass.

Putin as Protector

These Ukrainian/Russians are the people Ryabkov is referring to. They are also some of the people President Putin has shown he is particularly interested in protecting from abuse. In his April 2005 state-of-the-nation address, Putin emphasized that when the Soviet Union fell apart, "It became a genuine drama for the Russian nation. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and co-patriots found themselves outside Russian territory."

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 
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3 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments


John Rachel

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Let's hope Blinken blinked and the capillaries in the brain of Biden widened enough to realize that WWIII needs to wait a few more months. If there is a major war there, the Ukraine will cease to exist as a country, and NATO and the U.S. won't get a bloody nose, they'll get their skulls crushed. Russia is not Grenada or Panama. Plus, the U.S. has exposed its malevolent intentions with the new round of sanctions. Russia has nothing to lose here and everything to gain by standing up for the ethnic and national Russians in Donbass. As for Crimea, maybe B&B won't ever accept that it's now permanently part of Russia. But it is. Send them new maps so they can start to wrap their heads around this reality.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:30:35 PM

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Nels Wight

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John, Baby, I could only wish B&B were reading you today.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 7:05:10 AM

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It would be a waste of time. They couldn't process what I said. Can an earthworm achieve enlightenment by sliming its way across the pages of a book by Noam Chomsky or Chris Hedges?

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 9:36:27 PM

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shad williams

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What is the diplomatic point in Russian government officials meeting with US goverment officials? The US/"Alliance" actions speak for themselves. Perhaps if the warmongers retreat thousands of miles to go home then talks might make sense. Obnoxious stupid fucks.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 4:03:49 PM

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John Rachel

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

Buying time. The U.S. is a punch drunk fighter. Let it run amok in the ring long enough, it'll eventually fall through the ropes and it'll be over. With the ham-fisted embarrassments that pass for diplomacy, with the barefaced lies and bullying propaganda the U.S. spews out with no shame, with its self-righteous arrogance and disdain for other nations, its jaw-drawing hypocrisy and recklessness, all on full display, the world is slowing waking up to the true colors of American exceptionalism. Give that moldering mess enough time, and America will choke on its own stench, isolated and defeated by its own hand. Russia and China are both playing the long game.

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 1:56:35 AM

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THANKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH, SHAD, EVEN THOUGH WITH YOUR

MELODRAMATIC FLAIR.

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 6:57:45 AM

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