US President Barack Obama previously commented on the Ukrainian conflict, claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin was speeding past all the “off ramps” offered by the US and its NATO military alliance to end the violence. And just as it appeared the US and the rest of NATO were about to take their own advice and use the Minsk accord as their own face-saving “off ramp,” they’ve decided to put the pedal to the metal instead.
Of course, considering NATO’s long history of eastward expansion, global militarism and extraterritorial aggression, there was little hope of anything positive coming out of Minsk. Instead, NATO has used it as a means to draw an arbitrary line their media monopolies will claim in the near future Russia has “crossed,” thus justifying greater measures still to escalate the conflict, increase bloodshed and help their client regime in Kiev cling to power a little longer.
A similar tactic is being employed simultaneously in Syria, where President Obama has attempted to receive broader authorization to wage war “on ISIS.” Of course, barring any actual attempt to target ISIS’ state sponsors, such a war is bound to fail. And while President Obama’s measures are aimed at “stopping ISIS” by waging wider war in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon has already admitted ISIS has spread as far as Afghanistan. Once again, even at face value, the narrative concocted by the US doesn’t add up.
This is important to remember, and the parallels between Ukraine and Syria should not be dismissed easily. The enduring chaos in Syria portends the fate of Ukraine. Essentially, it is a nation destined to be burned completely to the ground before allowing NATO’s agenda to be rolled back. And considering this parallel, one could have easily predicted ahead of time that any good will expressed by the EU before the meeting in Minsk was disingenuous, and the daggers of additional sanctions, expanded military aid for the junta in Kiev and additional NATO posturing along Russia’s borders were all but inevitably brought along.
“Good Cop, Bad Cop”
If the US is slapping Russia around in the interrogation room, the EU is the more reasonable of a duo working in concert to break Russia’s will. The EU speaks softly, offers Russia concessions and compromise, but ultimately has the exact same end game in mind as the US. To illustrate this, with the Minsk accord agreed to, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has shifted gears and is taking a hard line on enforcing sanctions against Russia, apparently to ensure Russia’s part of the deal is implemented.
The post-accord antics included NATO’s new client state’s prime minster, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk of the dubious “Fatherland” Party, threatening Russia from the confines of the German Council on Foreign Relations. The New York Times would publish several of his accusations aimed at Russia, along with Chancellor Merkel’s demands that Russia meet all of the requirements first before any good will is shown by the EU’s lifting of sanctions.
In fact, not only will existing sanctions not be lifted, but sanctions already scheduled will be put into effect as planned despite the signing of the accord.
Those familiar with the concept of bargaining would realize how untenable this posture is, and that such a posture is the intentional and immediate sabotaging of an accord agreed to by both parties. In reality, the EU has already violated it, and willfully allowed its client regime in Kiev to continue making inflammatory, adversarial remarks aimed not at easing tensions, but to ratchet them up.
The EU is thus revealed to be just as belligerent and unconditionally unreasonable as the US. Russia was likely already aware of the absolute lack of real will and good faith behind any attempt to end a war the West cannot even frame with any degree of honesty.
Demanding Russia Stop A Conflict NATO Started?
Beginning with the violent NATO-backed overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government during the 2013-2014 Euromaidan mobs, the conflict grew into a full-fledged civil war as literal Neo-Nazi brigades were deployed east to force the rest of Ukraine to accept the newly installed junta. These Neo-Nazi militants are now documented by even the West’s own human rights advocacy groups to be committing atrocities on par with ISIS.
Newsweek, hardly “Kremlin propaganda,” would even publish a report literally titled, “Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing ‘ISIS-Style’ War Crimes,” admitting that “Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists [loyal to Kiev] are committing war crimes in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International, as evidence emerged in local media of the volunteer militias beheading their victims.“
While the US and EU pretend their own human rights advocacy groups are not recording the horrors being carried out by their own client regime in Kiev, they have repeatedly claimed the entire conflict is instead the result of “Russian aggression.” They demand that this “aggression” cease, but such demands do not account for the grisly violence their own forces are committing along Russia’s borders.
And this is precisely the root of the problem.
The conflict is directly on Russia’s borders, with any sort of “buffer zone” between NATO and Russia all but dissolved by constant, aggressive eastward expansion by both NATO and its political component, the EU. The conflict is not looming on Brussels’ or Washington’s doorsteps, but on Moscow’s.
The US and EU’s intentional dismissal of this simple fact, or any reasonable acknowledgement over the disadvantage NATO has Russia at, or the imperative Russia possesses to ensure stability directly along its borders is indicative of the dishonesty the EU went to the Minsk meeting with. Chancellor Merkel’s inability to show any good will toward Russia by relieving sanctions even partially is simply yet another attempt to propagate a dishonest and destructive narrative, driven by the very same dishonesty and ill-will that triggered this confrontation in the first place.
Russia has attempted to be reasonable by agreeing to the Minsk accord. It, for its part, can begin incrementally putting it into affect. If the EU seriously wants the conflict to draw to an end, it must likewise make good incrementally on its part of the deal. A supranational entity that played a central part in the overthrow of Ukraine’s government in 2013-2014 cannot simply be “trusted.” The good will and trust the EU believes it is simply entitled to must instead be earned. Chancellor Merkel’s comments and the antics that took place directly after the accord showcases an EU no more sophisticated than the global marauders just across the Atlantic.
While the EU seemed to be softening on sanctions against Russia ahead of the accord, we now see they were simply playing “good cop.” They appeared to be departing from the irrational and self-destructive agenda pushed by Washington, but appear now to have instead doubled down.
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.