Wednesday, March 11, 2015

THE UKRAINIAN CONUMDRUM

The US Congress, State Department, and media are playing a dangerous game in the Ukraine, beating the drumbeats for a new Cold War with Russia at the same time as our major European allies, namely Germany and France, are trying to work out a truce between the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, receiving Russian support, and the loyalist forces representing the Kiev government, backed by western nations. Daily our media is replete with reports of regional fear of Russian expansionism and aggression, stories demonizing Putin, politicians criticizing Obama for not sending military aid, weapons, and personnel, all as a truce is being negotiated and in the early stages of being maintained. The Russian population, of course, is hearing the opposite message from their leaders. Western powers, especially the US, had a major influence in orchestrating the overthrow of the democratically-elected pro-Russian Ukrainian leader last year, have never ceased to surround Russia with nuclear missiles, western-allied nations, even drawing ex-Soviet states into NATO and having designs on luring some directly adjacent to Russia, such as Georgia and the Ukraine, into the western military bloc. The much discussed US reset with Russia was a front, a phony diversion. The truth, obviously lies somewhere between the two polar extremes, each side has cause for concern and caution. Unfortunately, with last year's events in the Ukraine, some of the prominent facts support the Russian position more than the US's. Our State Department's Victoria Nuland did encourage the factions leading the governmental overthrow, it was an illegal coup d'├ętat. Ukraine had been a non-aligned nation since the collapse of the Soviet Union  decades earlier, as had been planned when the Reagan administration and Gorbachev's government envisioned future relationships between Russia and the West. Putin's leadership style and integrity are undoubtedly deserving of much criticism and lack of trust, but in regard to the Ukraine, he has a responsibility to defend his nation's deepest interests, and in seizing the Crimea and supporting Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine, he is doing that. The once powerful neocon element in our government failed terribly in their designs for the Middle East, they are more undercover now, but they are still there, pressing for more US involvement, including militarily, in the Middle East, against Iran as well as against ISIS, the Taliban, al Qaeda, Syria, etc.  Plus now in the Ukraine, encouraging a new Cold War, supporting military resolutions rather than joining whole-heartedly into the diplomatic resolution that Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine, and the separatists are attempting to negotiate. What a neocon like Victoria Nuland is doing in the State Department determining our policies regarding eastern Europe and Russia, perhaps only Obama can answer. But one thing is sure, she is playing a dangerous game, one that threatens not only our own resources but especially endangers the lives and well-being of our European allies. They recognize that danger, all that they have at stake, and fortunately they are not thus far going down the path that Nuland and the other misguided war hawks in our nation would have them take. Neocons have demonstrated they are good at starting wars, they have also demonstrated that they have no concept of how to bring them to a realistic, acceptable conclusion. In this instance, more power to our western allies who are at the diplomatic table, not to our government's more militant stance.