Saturday, March 2, 2024

Putin’s Long Game of Diplomacy

Ukrainian Military Forces servicemen attend a military drill with Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) Swedish-British anti-aircraft missile launchers at the firing ground of the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Renee Parsons

With war always a popular gambit to rescue a president’s plunging poll numbers, the proposed war in Ukraine serves multiple purposes for Biden’s dreary administration: as a desperate gamble to save his own political butt, to divert attention from the struggle over its unravelling Covid-19 strategy, and destabilizing its arch-enemy Russia is always a worthy past time. Yet the drama to escalate military action in Ukraine with “heightened preparedness” of a token 8,500 American troops lacks the persuasive spectacle of a first-rate global crisis as once-reliable U.S. allies are not on board even before the first shot is fired.  

The current U.S. “disinformation” campaign alleging Russian aggression is nothing new to Ukraine.  We have seen this game before. It is a rekindled version of the U.S. State Department-led overthrow of democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.   By refusing to accept NATO membership which would have put a vast array of military missiles and weapons within spitting distance of mainland Russia, across the Kerch Strait to the Russian border, Yanukovych’s presidency was doomed.  

Think of it as akin to having Russian ballistic missiles located in Havana, Cuba in October 1962—ninety miles off the Florida coast.  In protecting U.S. sovereignty, President John F. Kennedy was willing to risk world peace to have those foreign missiles removed. Yet Putin is not allowed the same protection of Russia’s border from NATO’s on going strategy of eastern expansion. If JFK was unwilling to live with foreign missiles pointed at the U.S. mainland, why should Russia be forced to experience that same threat?       

In 2013, after Yanukovych rejected a European Union trade deal unfavourable to Ukraine, Noble Peace prize winner Barack Obama sent a low-level State Department official Victoria Nuland to Kiev to sponsor street protests and help orchestrate an unprovoked attack on  Russia with the takedown of Yanukovych.  Nuland’s neo-con role became obvious with her infamous “Fuck the EU” comment while she and then U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt were strategizing how to finagle their choice for the prime minister as they muscled Yanukovych out of the presidency. Three weeks later, he fled for his life to Russia.   

Among the false narratives being portrayed today by an obedient media who habitually distort the history is that Russia “invaded” Ukraine in 2014, that it illegally seized the Crimean peninsula and are now coming back to seal the deal with a full-scale invasion. The fantasy spun by a deceitful U.S. media and a warped foreign policy establishment is not even close to the truth. There was no Russian invasion into Ukraine in 2014 and in that same year, Crimea residents voted an overwhelming 95% majority in a referendum to return the peninsula to Russia. In 1783, Empress Catherine the Great annexed the Crimean peninsula to Russia as part of her shrewd agenda to accumulate valuable ports throughout the Black Sea.   

After several years of British and U.S. Navy destroyers flaunting their presence in the Black Sea, sailing through the Bosporus, thumbing their nose at Russian sovereignty, the U.S. renewed its demand for NATO to increase its military presence along Ukraine’s eastern Russian-speaking border. In response, Russia has a significant troop presence at the border as the U.S. interpreted the Russian response as “aggression” and a sure sign of an imminent invasion. 

As part of the diplomatic crisis game, the U.S. announced its withdrawal of U.S. embassy personnel from Ukraine, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell declared: “We are not going to do the same thing. You have to stay calm…. and avoid a nervous breakdown.”

At the same time, Croatian President Zoran Milosvic announced he would not allow his troops to participate in any conflict as Bulgaria also agreed to not participate in any armed conflict. “Not only will we not send the military, but if there is an escalation, we will recall every last Croatian military man,” Milanovic said. “This has nothing to do with Ukraine or Russia, it has to do with the dynamics of American domestic politics.”

In addition, Ukraine Defense Minister Aleksey Resnikov in Kiev confirmed that “Russian Armed Forces have not formed a strike force that would suggest that they will go on an offensive tomorrow,” he said as well as rejecting suggestions that Moscow will invade the day the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics end.  “As of today,” he said, “there is no such threat.”

In addition, NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg indicated that no NATO combat troops will be sent to Ukraine although he would not back off its expansion plans along the Russian border.   

While France and Spain have made minimal commitments, Germany, Europe’s largest and richest country has yet to embrace NATO’s military agenda of unspecified  Russian “aggression” threatening to split the European Union. In part, as Europe’s main supplier of natural gas, the Russian state-owned Nord Stream 2 project may now be seen also as an agent for peace and reconciliation.

At the same time, Congressional Democrats who continue to lose their minds, remain eager to support the war machine with taxpayer funds will seek to fast-track $500 million worth of military aid and weapons to send to Ukraine. Given the Biden administration’s desperation, stay tuned for an easily transparent false flag within the Donbas of eastern Ukraine as Putin knows how to play the long game of diplomatic dialogue.

Republished from commondreams.org

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