Here's the US's exceptionalist promotion of "democracy" in action; Washington has recognized a coup d'etat in Ukraine that regime-changed a -- for all its glaring faults -- democratically elected government.
And here is Russian President Vladimir Putin, already last year, talking about how Russia and China decided to trade in roubles and yuan, and stressing how Russia needs to quit the "excessive monopoly" of the US dollar. He had to be aware the Empire would strike back.
Now there's more; Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev told RIA Novosti, "Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation."
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So the Empire struck back by giving "a little help" to regime change in the Ukraine. And Moscow counter-punched by taking control of Crimea in less than a day without firing a shot -- with or without crack Spetsnaz brigades (UK-based think tanks say they are; Putin says they are not).
Putin's assessment of what happened in Ukraine is factually correct; "an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power." It's open to endless, mostly nasty debate whether the Kremlin over-reacted or not. Considering the record of outright demonization of both Russia and Putin going on for years -- and now reaching fever pitch -- the Kremlin's swift reaction was quite measured.
Putin applied Sun Tzu to the letter, and now plays the US against the EU. He has made it clear Moscow does not need to "invade" Ukraine. The 1997 Ukraine-Russia partition treaty specifically allows Russian troops in Crimea. And Russia after all is an active proponent of state sovereignty; it's under this principle that Moscow refuses a Western "intervention" in Syria.
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What he left the door open for is -- oh cosmic irony of ironies -- an American invention/intervention (and that, predictably, was undetectable by Western corporate media); the UN's R2P -- "responsibility to protect" -- in case the Western-aligned fascists and neo-nazis in Ukraine threaten Russians or Russian-speaking civilians with armed conflict. Samantha Power should be proud of herself.
Don't mess with Russian intelligence
The "West" once again has learned you don't mess with Russian intelligence, which in a nutshell pre-empted in Crimea a replica of the coup in Kiev, largely precipitated by UNA-UNSO -- a shady, ultra-rightwing, crack paramilitary NATO-linked force using Ukraine as base, as exposed by William Engdahl.
And Crimea was an even murkier operation, because those neo-nazis from Western Ukraine were in tandem with Tatar jihadis (the House of Saud will be heavily tempted to finance them from now on).
The Kremlin is factually correct when pointing out that the coup was essentially conducted by fascists and ultra-right "nationalists" -- Western code for neo-nazis. Svoboda ("Freedom") party political council member Yury Noyevy even admitted openly that using EU integration as a pretext "is a means to break our ties with Russia."
Western corporate media always conveniently forgets that Svoboda -- as well as the Right Sector fascists -- follow in the steps of Galician fascist/terrorist Stepan Bandera, a notorious asset of a basket of "Western" intel agencies. Now Svoboda has managed to insert no less than six bigwigs as part of the new regime in Kiev.
Then there are the new regional governors appointed to the mostly Russophone east and south of Ukraine. They are - who else -- oligarchs, such as billionaires Sergei Taruta posted to Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky posted in Dnipropetrovsk. People in Maidan in Kiev were protesting mostly against -- who else -- kleptocrat oligarchs. Once again, Western corporate media -- which tirelessly plugged a "popular" uprising against kleptocracy -- hasn't noticed it.
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Once again, follow the money
Ukraine's foreign currency reserves, only in the past four weeks, plunged from US$17.8 billion to $15 billion. Wanna buy some hryvnia? Well, not really; the national currency is on a cosmic dive against the US dollar. This is jolly good news only for disaster capitalism vultures.
And right on cue, the International Monetary Fund is sending a "fact-finding mission" to Ukraine this week. Ukrainians of all persuasions may run but they won't hide from "structural adjustment." They could always try to scrape enough for a ticket with their worthless hryvnia (being eligible for visa on arrival in Thailand certainly helps).
European banks -- who according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) hold more than $23 billion in outstanding loans -- could lose big in Ukraine. Italian banks, for instance, have loaned nearly $6 billion.
On the Pipelineistan front, Ukraine heavily depends on Russia; 58% of its gas supply. It cannot exactly diversify and start buying from Qatar tomorrow -- with delivery via what, Qatar Airways?
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)