February 22, 2014

American diplomacy in the Ukraine crisis was summed up earlier this month by State Department senior official Victoria Neuland, a leading neocon: “F….k Europe.”

On Friday, Europe responded by brokering a sensible compromise to Ukraine’s increasingly dangerous crisis just as the army was about to intervene. If the pact holds, Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich will relinquish some of his powers, a unity government will be formed, elections held, and jailed protestors freed. The fate of imprisoned nationalist leader, Yulia Timoshenko, remains unclear.

Here was an intelligent diplomatic solution to a crisis that might have led to a head-on clash between NATO and Russia, both nuclear powers.

But what if the European Union had not brokered this deal and the US hardline approach had been followed?

A basic rule of world affairs is careful what you threaten. Empty threats become loose cannons.

Last week, US President Barack Obama warned Russia to back off from strife-torn Ukraine or face “consequences.”

“Consequences” has become a favorite threat of Hillary Clinton warlike Democrats. It is even overtaking Washington’s former favored threat of war, “all options are on the table.”

We last heard that tired threat over Syria, and look what happened: the White House almost blundered into a totally unnecessary war over Syria and had to be rescued by none other than Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Last week, more warlike threats. What if the wily Vlad Putin calls Obama’s bluff?

If the feeble sanctions threatened by Washington did not work, what then? Would the Obama administration nuke Moscow over Ukraine, a nation that 99.7% of all Americans could not find on a map if their lives depended on it. Would the US try to block Russia’s oil exports, as it does with Iran? Financial markets would go crazy. All over Ukraine?

Moscow believes Ukraine’s uprising is funded and fanned by the US and EU. The Kremlin fears the US is bent on tearing down the Russian Federation and eliminating it as a world power. Putin, the target of an intensifying hate campaign by western media, has said so often.

Last week, President Obama proclaimed his goal was to allow Ukrainians and Syrians to express their will through free elections. Very nice. Two cheers, Mister President.

But democracy and a free press can’t be selective. While western politicians and the increasingly state-guided US media wring their hands over Ukraine and Syria, we’ve seen the dictatorial regimes of Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – all three key US allies –oppressing their own rebellious people.

Egypt offers a particularly odious example. Its neo-fascist military junta crushed the nation’s first-ever democracy, killed over a thousand protestors, jailed many thousands more, and brought back torture and a savage police state. Eight journalists from al-Jazeera are in prison facing trial for the crime of reporting facts. Protestors are simply shot down in the street.

Washington continues to fund Egypt’s armed forces that crush dissent, and to back Bahrain’s royal family that hosts the US Fifth Fleet. To Putin’s discredit, he just welcomed Egypt’s military dictator to Moscow and showered praise on him.

Besides being hypocritical, Washington’s policy towards Russia is increasingly dangerous. Have we learned nothing from the diplomatic folly that led to World War I?

The US has steadily pushed its strategic influence to Russia’s borders in the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This in spite of a promise to Mikhail Gorbachev by the George Bush Sr. administration not to do so in exchange for the Kremlin allowing the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Empire.
Gorbachev kept his side of the pact; Washington did not.

Were he alive, the great statesman Bismarck would have been aghast at the west’s provocations of Russia, As tensions mount in Asia, and a real war between Japan and China grows more likely – a war that Japan would lose unless the US intervened – Washington increasingly needs the support of Moscow.

Instead, clumsy, amateur US foreign policy is antagonizing Russia and China at the same time. Bismarck taught us to divide our enemies and pit them against one another. It’s also worth remembering that intense US propaganda against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s, including George W. Bush’s infamous “axis of evil,” led the Kremlin to believe a US nuclear attack was imminent. Here we go again.

Also recall that Vlad Putin is a judo expert. He well understands how to use an opponent’s weight and poor stance to parry his attack. Putin has so far been doing a successful job wrong-footing Washington. But this is a dangerous game. A few false moves and the result could be a direct clash between nuclear powers.

Fortunately, this dire threat appears to have been averted, at least for the time being, by the unity pact in Kiev. Europe, not Washington, is leading this laudable effort – as it should be.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

This post is in: Europe, Russia, Ukraine, USA


  1. The US feels safe enough to bark some swashbuckling nonsense to leave the impression, that they are invincible, because they have the banksters on their side ( or are maybe owned by them?), but their power is just paper.The way I assess the situation is, that Russia has to be denuded and isolated just like Syria, another ally of Iran. And why aim the main cannon at Iran? Because it is one of the last three holdouts to go into orbit around the international bankers. Once all these countries have been forced to comply, ‘big brother’ will take off the mask and proclaim his undisputable reign over the entire world. And that is tyranny and mass slavery under private ownership.
    As soon as the US forces its ‘dictatorial friends’ to convert to democracy expressed with strictly enforced sanctions against them, they could regain some respect and plausibility, but their present confrontational stance is abrasive and is meant to create fear, the factor which works so well for the religions.
    Many Europeans are beginning to see, that the emperor has no clothes.
    I listened to a couple of interviews Karen Hudes, the wistleblower of the world bank gave. If you Google her name, you are in for some very interesting eye-openers, especially if you check the ‘the gold backwardation’. And just like any other wistleblower, that dares to hang the cabal`s dirty laundry on the public clothes-line, gets character assassination and/or dragged in front of the western kangaroo courts. Why do international issues not get tried in the international court of justice, which came into being for just those matters?
    We are heading for another world war. I still remember the stench of the late thirties. But don`t worry, with a bit of luck you`ll lose your life, so you don`t end up envying the dead.

    • Some interesting stuff by Karen Hudes. Personally, I’m against doomsday predictions and apocalyptic scenarios, but I truly believe we are close to it. Jostling for power and resources gets even more dangerous when different ideologies compete and argue on how everything should be distributed. And this time, everyone is armed to the teeth with nukes. Any post-war scenario (provided somebody survives) would be Einstein’s prediction of future wars being fought with sticks and stones. As technology and our dependence on it evolves, a giant hidden sinkhole continues creeping up on us i.e. a cataclysmic nuclear war could cripple mainstream pillars of modern life without an opportunity to rebuild it, ever. As an example, everyone knows how to drive cars but no one could build one from scratch. It is impossible to prevent rouge states from acquiring nuclear weapons, much like the internet, it inevitably spreads and today, almost everyone has it.

      • solum temptare possumus says:

        I can only hope that M.A.D. will prevent such a scenario.
        The only solution I can see is to limit world population growth. Prevent the scheming and ‘jostling for power and resources’. We are past the balance point in this regard, I believe.

        Futuram nepotum pacificat – To a peaceful future for our descendants
        ad iudicium

  2. Back from the brink? Perhaps the Ukrainian crises is just another in a series of continuous crises starting from 1945,like a slow burning fuse, which will eventually ignite a world shattering bomb,WW3. If the Western Powers- America, NATO, Israel, keep pressing for advantage over Russia, China, Iran, etc , it will eventually come to a gun fight in the end. Western ambitions to rule the entire world and to control the world’s resources is at the root of endless and needless conflict.

    • George Rizk says:

      It is evident that the neocon cabal are pushing for a gun fight? The better question is who benefits from the mayhem, and destruction? My only guess is the military contractors? So how is McDonald Douglas, Boing, or Blackwater got so much power to overcome the liberal cry for peace? I an theorizing that as long as our non-stop wars are helping Israel, we will keep doing it even if we bankrupted the West in the process.

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