Thursday, September 11, 2014

11/9/2014: Some Recent Links on Ukrainian Conflict


Here is an interesting compendium of academic and analysts' voices dissenting from the prevalent Nato/US rhetoric on the long-term prospects for Nato's role in Ukraine.

Note: some of the links come via RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency, which is hardly surprising, given the consistent spin in the opposite direction that we get from the traditional Western media.

Another note: this collection of links is not a comprehensive reflection of the reality. It is not designed to be such. In reality, nothing is/can be comprehensive, especially when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine. My point is that much of what we are bombarded with in the social media and traditional media is one-sided. Here is a different side to the same stories.


Ukraine and Nato:

"The world could plunge into a new Cold War with Russia and China emerging as a new financial centers, unless the West changes the existing financial structures, a professor at University of California, Davis Wing Thye Woo said ...at the discussion at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
“I think that if changes do not occur in the international [financial] institutions of today, I think that we are basically encouraging a China-Russian alliance to formulate an alternative center to the US,” Woo said." http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20140807/191797049/International-Financial-Shake-Up-Contributing-to-New-Cold-War--.html

Note: I highlighted this possibility in the context of the UK proposal for barring Russian banks' access to SWIFT system: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2014/08/2982014-while-new-financial-sanctions.html

University of Chicago University political scientist John Mearsheimer: “There’s no question that Ukraine is interested in becoming part of NATO and be protected by the United States and the West more generally, and who can blame them? But the fact of the matter is that this is a prescription for disaster. …The West should have told Ukraine that incorporating Poland or the Baltic states into NATO was possible, but trying to incorporate Ukraine and Georgia was a bridge too far. We ended up precipitating a crisis and that crisis would lead to the destruction of Ukraine – and that’s obviously not in Ukraine’s interests… We should have stopped NATO expansion, given up the idea of incorporating the Ukraine into the West and instead said that we’re interested in maintaining a neutral Ukraine that effectively serves as a buffer state with NATO on one side and Russia on the other.”
http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20140905/192649988/Scientist--Ukraine-NATO-Membership-Prescription-For-Disaster.html

Note: I agree. And it looks like majority of the Nato members agree too: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/04/uk-nato-summit-ukraine-idUKKBN0GZ0SI20140904 Nonetheless, Ukrainian Government is keen on reviving its bid to join Nato: http://en.ria.ru/world/20140906/192681097/NATO-Pretends-Ukraine-Membership-Request-Never-Happened.html


Azov Battalion: 

In other news, an interesting article in the NY Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/sep/05/ukraine-catastrophic-defeat/ that covers the aftermath of last weeks' fighting in Eastern Ukraine, summing it up as "the devastation suffered by Ukrainian forces in southeastern Ukraine over the last week has to be seen to be believed. It amounts to a catastrophic defeat and will long be remembered by embittered Ukrainians as among the darkest days of their history."

The article also contains a passing reference to something that is being increasingly whitewashed in the Western Media, the role of the neo-Nazis in backing Kiev's military operations: "As we sped away from the “Russians” we could see a column of black smoke rising from the sea. When we got to the Ukrainian checkpoint the men told us that it was a coastguard cutter that had been hit, they thought by a tank. They were from the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian volunteer militias. On their vehicles and their arm flashes they had the “wolfsangel,” a neo-Nazi symbol, which is their insignia and which tells you much of what you need to know about their background."

In a related news, NBC report on German channel showing a video of Azov soldiers with nazi insignias on their helmets: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/german-tv-shows-nazi-symbols-helmets-ukraine-soldiers-n198961

The Guardian article on Azov's central role in Ukraine's Government campaign: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/10/azov-far-right-fighters-ukraine-neo-nazis

And on related, an Amnesty International USA post on the "on-going abuses and war crimes by pro-Ukrainian volunteer forces": http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/ukraine-must-stop-ongoing-abuses-and-war-crimes-by-pro-ukrainian-volunteer-forces

This has to be an uncomfortable reality for the US and EU politicians: Azov was formed on foot of a large number of Maidan 'activists' and represents the strongest pro-Ukrainian force that, in part, has influence with Kiev and business elites. Azov is not the only (but is the most notorious) regiment of similar nature. Explicit US and EU support for Maidan and post-Maidan interim Government is clearly tarnished by the Azov abuses and neo-Nazi base.

Note, personally, I doubt that President Poroshenko or PM Yatsenyuk welcome or support these extremists. I suspect they fear their impact and are concerned about the spread of the Azov-styled groupings in parts of Ukraine. But they have little room to clamp down on these groups in the current environment when the post-Maidan activism is still shaping internal Ukrainian policies to some extent. It is their tragedy as much as the Ukrainian tragedy that Azov is so prominently featuring as a symbol Ukrainian nationalism.


US Public Opinion vs US Political Elites:

Another interesting post is via Politico, covering American public vs political elites' opinions on various topics, including Russia as a threat: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/the-politico-50-survey-110555.html#.VAy5erywJ9m


Historical Map of Russian Expansionism:

Last, but not least, a good info graphic tracing out evolution of the Russian borders from the IXth century AD through the beginning of the 2000s: http://en.ria.ru/valdai_mm/20100906/160481013.html
Post a Comment