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Ukraine: how Putin put a stop to a march of folly

By       Message Jean-Luc Basle     Permalink
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Ukraine: how Putin put a stop to a march of folly

The Ukrainians who suffered greatly under Stalin, are peons on a grand chessboard. When the Soviet Union collapsed and Germany was reunited, it was agreed that Ukraine would be a buffer zone between East and West. But events rarely unfold as predicted.

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As per the neoconservatives' diktat, Ukraine must fall into US's hands. The ultimate goal is world supremacy. To this end, Washington must subdue three nations which refuse its rules: Russia, China and Iran. (1) Once these nations surrender, the U.S. will reign supreme over the planet and civil liberties in the Western world will be a thing of the past. Hegemonic powers and democracies don't mesh. Witness NSA surveillance, the whistleblower hunt, Abu Ghraib, etc., and Obama's Executive Order of March 14 th . (2)

Flipping through newspapers and magazine, one is hard pressed to find an article favorable to Vladimir Putin. True, his decision to send troops to Crimea bodes ill for him. He is the aggressor, Russia's new tsar. Hilary Clinton sees Hitler in him, implying his action must be resisted at all cost if the world is to avoid a new Munich. As dryly observed by Henry Kissenger, "demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy". (3) The Ukraine crisis raises many questions. Why was Viktor Yanukovych removed as president? Wasn't he democratically elected? Who killed civilian protesters on Maidan plaza: policemen or neo-Nazi snipers, as revealed by Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet, in a telephone call to EU foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton? (4) Why was the agreement negotiated by the foreign affairs ministers of Germany, France and Poland discarded within 24 hours? It is hard not to see the neoconservatives' hands in these developments. Assistant Secretary of State, Vitoria Nuland, boasted of spending $5 billion to foment a revolution. Arseny Yatsenyuk was her choice for interim president. Long before the crisis, the United States installed cruise missiles on the Polish border aimed at Russia on the false pretense they were directed at Iran. NATO's expansion in the Baltic States was perceived as a further threat to Russia's security.

Europeans are part and parcel of this power grab. Germany, most closely linked to Russia historically and economically, agreed to impose sanctions. Angela Merkel who speaks Russian and knows Vladimir Putin well, says the Russian President is "out of touch". While one would not expect her to come to his defense, seeing her siding so closely with the United States comes as a surprise. A more balanced posture would seem to suit Germany's long term interests better. The European stance is all the more surprising that Victoria Nuland's expletive ("F" the Europeans") leaves little doubt in what regard the neoconservatives hold Europe. (5) An explanation of the European attitude may be found in their NATO membership.

China remains aloof in this white men's contest. It abstained to vote for the Security Council's resolution presented by the United States condemning Russia. The recent Kunming Railway station incident compels it to be prudent. Tibet and the Xinjiang province could claim their independence if it sided with Russia over Crimea. Yet, its future is linked to its northern neighbor. Chinese leaders know they are doomed if Putin surrenders. Their only alternative is to stand by their former communist fellow' side in spite of their divergences. Bound together they may withstand the Empire's overpowering might. Divided they are doomed. China will not be able to remain on the sideline for long.

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In "The march of folly", Barbara W. Tuchman shows how British incompetence together with an innate belief that the umbilical cord uniting the Mother land to its colony could not be severed led to the United States' independence, and how a deep held belief that the United States will bring Vietnamese to their side and "win this war" led to a humiliating defeat. By reacting as he did, Vladimir Putin, bad as he is with all his shortcomings the Western media are so prompt to point at, may have put a stop to the neoconservatives' march of folly towards world hegemony and an end to civil liberties.


(1) North Korea will be nuclearized in due course.

(2) Obama signed an Executive Order on March 14 th ordering that properties in the United States of persons deemed to have by their "actions or policies threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine" be blocked. As noted by Daniel McAdams (Information Clearing House, March 15 th ), the Order is so broadly written as to be used to silence dissidents, were it necessary. Obama will not seize the assets of Americans who disagree with his Ukraine policy, at this point, but his Executive Order says he can.

(3) "How the Ukraine crisis ends", Henry A. Kissinger, The Washington Post, March 5, 2014.

(4) "Ukraine crisis", The Guardian, March 5, 2014.

(5) Europeans who have doubt on this matter, would do well to remember Treasury Secretary John Connally's answer: "the dollar is our currency but your problem", or Defense Secretary Ronald Rumsfeld about "old and new Europe".

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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School

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