zaterdag 29 januari 2022

NOS PROPAGANDA OVER OEKRAINE

Al meer dan dertig jaar is de oostgrens van de NAVO een gevoelig onderwerp in de relatie tussen Rusland en het Westen. Ook nu weer: president Poetin wil garanties dat de NAVO niet verder naar het oosten opschuift, de NAVO gaat daar niet in mee.

De rancune over de oostwaartse uitbreiding van de alliantie die doorklinkt in de woorden van opeenvolgende Russische leiders, van Michail Gorbatsjov tot Vladimir Poetin, gaat terug tot de afkalving en uiteindelijke ineenstorting van het Sovjetrijk aan het eind van de jaren 80.

Een overzicht van de oorspronkelijke NAVO-lidstaten en alle later toegetreden landen:

NOS

De val van de Berlijnse Muur in 1989 opende het perspectief op de Duitse eenwording. Daarbij rees al snel de vraag over het NAVO-lidmaatschap van het nieuwe Duitsland. Sovjetleider Gorbatsjov was aanvankelijk fel tegen, maar ging overstag na beloften van omvangrijke financiële steun en toezeggingen dat geen buitenlandse NAVO-troepen zouden worden gelegerd in voormalig Oost-Duitsland.

'Geen inch naar oosten'

Het was de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken James Baker die in 1990 tegen hem de historische woorden sprak dat de NAVO "geen inch" naar het oosten zou opschuiven. Op dat moment gold dat vooral voor Oost-Duitsland. Uitbreiding van de NAVO naar andere landen was niet aan de orde, en Gorbatsjov kreeg die geruststellende boodschap in die dagen keer op keer te horen van diverse westerse gesprekspartners.

Maar de geopolitieke realiteit veranderde razendsnel. De opheffing van het Warschaupact, het militaire bondgenootschap van het Oostblok, opende nieuwe perspectieven voor de voormalige Oostbloklanden, die al gauw stonden te dringen om zich in wat voor vorm dan ook te scharen onder de NAVO-paraplu. Dat streven werd alleen maar sterker na de mislukte staatsgreep in Moskou in augustus 1991 en de daaropvolgende teloorgang van de Sovjet-Unie. De couppoging en de implosie van de kernmacht maakten de buurlanden nerveus.

De mogelijkheid van een NAVO-lidmaatschap voor voormalige Sovjetrepublieken als de Baltische staten en Oekraïne werd toen voor het eerst serieus geopperd. Gorbatsjov zei later dat het Westen weliswaar geen harde beloften had gedaan aangaande de uitbreiding, maar wel het einde van de Sovjet-Unie en de zwakte van het nieuwe Rusland had aangegrepen om zichzelf tot winnaar van de Koude Oorlog uit te roepen.

De dramatische gebeurtenissen in Rusland in de roerige jaren 90 hielpen ook. Bij een bijna-burgeroorlog in de straten van Moskou vielen in 1993 145 doden; president Boris Jeltsin stuurde tanks naar zijn opstandige parlement. Het jaar daarop viel Rusland de naar afscheiding strevende deelrepubliek Tsjetsjenië binnen, de eerste van twee opeenvolgende bloedige oorlogen die vele tienduizenden mensen het leven kostten.

Jeltsin en Clinton

Hoewel Jeltsin een goede persoonlijke relatie had met de Amerikaanse president Bill Clinton - en misschien juist daarom - kon hij de uitbreidingsplannen van de NAVO maar moeilijk verkroppen. Zowel de Franse president Jacques Chirac als de Duitse bondkanselier Helmut Kohl wilde liever geen haast maken om de Russen niet tegen de haren in te strijken, maar dat vond geen gehoor in Washington.

Begin 1996 zei de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Warren Christopher in Praag dat verdere NAVO-expansie onafwendbaar was, tot grote woede van Moskou. Jeltsin legde zich uiteindelijk neer bij de situatie met een gelaten "we zijn het erover eens dat we het niet eens zijn".

Zijn opvolger Poetin nam daar geen genoegen mee. Hij noemde het einde van de Sovjet-Unie de grootste geopolitieke catastrofe van de twintigste eeuw. In 2007 fulmineerde hij op de veiligheidsconferentie in München dat het Westen in feite verraad had gepleegd door de belofte te schenden dat de NAVO niet zou uitbreiden. Volgens Poetin waren die "garanties" gegeven na de opheffing van het Warschaupact, wat feitelijk onjuist is.

Waarom Poetin niet wil dat de NAVO uitbreidt, legden we eerder uit in deze video: 

Waarom Poetin niet wil dat de NAVO verder uitbreidt

In 2008 gaven de NAVO-landen groen licht voor lidmaatschap van zowel Oekraïne als Georgië. In augustus van dat jaar vielen Russische troepen Georgië binnen, na een poging van dat land om met geweld de opstandige provincie Zuid-Ossetië in het gareel te dwingen.

Rusland erkende daarop de onafhankelijkheid van zowel Zuid-Ossetië als Abchazië, een andere conflicthaard binnen Georgië. Dat betekende een vette streep door de Georgische NAVO-aspiraties.

Zes jaar later volgde de Russische annexatie van de Krim en het begin van de vanuit Rusland geïnitieerde oorlog in Oost-Oekraïne, waarin Moskou tegen alle bewijzen in volhoudt geen partij te zijn. Met deze conflicten binnen de grenzen heeft ook Oekraïne geen reëel perspectief op NAVO-lidmaatschap, zelfs al is het streven daarnaar opgenomen in de Oekraïense grondwet.

Poetin heeft dus als eerste Russische leider de verdere uitbreiding van de alliantie een halt toegeroepen. Maar tegelijkertijd is de animo in deze en verschillende andere landen om toe te treden tot de NAVO daardoor alleen maar toegenomen.

https://nos.nl/collectie/13888/artikel/2414948-rusland-en-uitbreiding-van-de-navo-al-30-jaar-een-heet-hangijzer

Aldus de NOS-propaganda. Nu de werkelijkheid uit officiële Amerikaanse archieven:




How New York Times Propaganda Works

Remember: 

John Pilger

@johnpilger

4 u

Ukraine's president Zelensky has denied his country faces an imminent Russian invasion. 'Don't create panic,' he tells the US and UK. With Ukraine off-script, the war mongering of Biden and his UK echoes is exposed, like Blair's, as a crime.

STRIPPING AWAY THE BULLS**T: U.S. and Russian Threats Over Ukraine—What They’re About and Who’s the...

Threats and counter-threats flying between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine have caused a flurry of fear and confusion... 

covertactionmagazine.com

For weeks now The New York Times has warned or promised its readers that Putin's armed forces would invade Ukraine. Of course this was all propaganda to support the American military-industrial complex, now the wars in the Middle East have been lost. The only thing the Russian leaders wanted was the promise of the West that Ukraine will never be a NATO-member to be fulfilled, so the Russian Federation would not become extremely vulnerable. It would be the same when Russia will station weapons of mass-destruction in, well why not, Cuba. The first Cuba Crisis ended almost in a nuclear armageddon. Besides, the American foreign secretary promised the Russian leaders it would not expand its military bases towards Russia's borders. Well known is:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous 'not one inch eastward' assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990.

This:

was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

Now the White House and NATO have informed the Russians they are not willing to fulfill their promise, we arrive in the next phase, just as dangerous as the first one. Don't forget the Americans and NATO are gambling with the life of hundreds of millions of citizens, as soon as their poker game is going wrong, by mistake or on purpose. But it is not so far yet, all in due time, and that means that The New York Times has to explain now to its readers why it was warning all these weeks in vain. 

Well, first read this, and later on I will try to explain why this leading newspaper is trying to blame their own bluff on one man, president Putin. Hallelujah, Lord have mercy:


GUEST ESSAY

Putin Is Caught in a Trap of His Own Making

Credit...Alexander Demianchuk/Tass, via Getty Images

Ms. Latynina is a journalist who has reported extensively on Russia’s politics and foreign policy.

MOSCOW — The question is on everyone’s lips. Will President Vladimir Putin go to war against Ukraine? To judge by Russia’s propaganda machine, where media moguls are predicting a victory “in 48 hours,” the answer is an emphatic yes.

Yet the truth is more complex. While Mr. Putin undoubtedly regards Ukraine as little more than a Russian province, as he argued in a lengthy pseudo-historical treatise in July, it’s far from clear his aim was war. Outright conflict — as opposed to sudden swoops, covert operations or hybrid warfare — isn’t really Mr. Putin’s style. It’s probable that the troop buildup in November was an attempt to force the West to relinquish any claims over Ukraine. That would be a great P.R. victory at minimal cost.

But the West called his bluff. In the past week especially, the United States and NATO have taken a markedly sharper tone when discussing Russia — and have, more important, sent military hardware across Eastern Europe and put troops on standby. The message is clear: If Russia won’t de-escalate, then neither will the West.

Instead of trapping the United States, Mr. Putin has trapped himself. Caught between armed conflict and a humiliating retreat, he is now seeing his room for maneuver dwindling to nothing. He could invade and risk defeat, or he could pull back and have nothing to show for his brinkmanship. What happens next is unknown. But one thing is clear: Mr. Putin’s gamble has failed.




                                                                                                                                






Likewise, when Turkish drones struck down Russian mercenaries and equipment in Libya and Syria, there wasn’t a peep of acknowledgment either. In fact, it seems that Mr. Putin was so conscious of Turkey’s might that he didn’t dare to join forces with Armenia when, in September 2020, its territory was attacked by Turkish-backed Azerbaijan. And after triumphantly sending in his troops to Kazakhstan for an indefinite time, Mr. Putin started to withdraw them very soon after Russia’s foreign minister took a call from his Chinese counterpart.

Tellingly, Russia’s major successful military operations under Mr. Putin — the defeat of Georgia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimeain 2014 — happened when the West was looking the other way. In both cases, the world was caught unawares and Russia could complete its designs without the threat of armed international opposition. That is not the case now.

What’s more, there are no internal reasons for pursuing a war. Yes, Mr. Putin’s ratings are down and prices are up, but there’s no major domestic unrest and elections are two years away. Mr. Putin doesn’t require an expansionist escapade to either shore up his rule or distract the population from its troubles. War is a big red button that can be pushed only once. Right now, there’s no need.

And then there’s the main reason: Russia would not be assured of victory. The Ukrainian Army is much improved, having upscaled its equipment and preparations for a ground invasion, and the Russian troops deployed near the border are most likely insufficient to conquer the country. Because of its sheer bulk, the Russian Army might be able to advance: Quantity has a quality of its own, as Stalin reportedly said. But it would surely come at the cost of catastrophic losses in human life.









If he had little intention of invading, why did Mr. Putin raise the stakes so high? The answer is simple: Afghanistan. The West’s disastrous withdrawal from the country in August signaled the United States’ waning appetite for entanglement abroad. Emboldened, Mr. Putin clearly decided it was a good time to press his case for a revision of the post-Cold War order. Without the usual bargaining chips — no sound economy, no superior weapons, no fanatical followers — he fell back on unpredictability. The more irrational his behavior, went the thinking, the more likely the United States would accept his demands.

Those demands, published in mock-treaty form in December, were in many cases absurd. The call for NATO to withdraw its troops from members in Eastern Europe, for example, would never be met. The core request — that NATO deny membership to Ukraine — was silly in a different way. There was no chance of Ukraine becoming a member any time soon, ultimatum or not. But that was Mr. Putin’s point: By demanding something that was already happening, Mr. Putin aimed to claim a victory over the West.

Further Reading:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/opinion/putin-russia-ukraine.html





vrijdag 28 januari 2022

Putin, Xi running circles around Biden’s hybrid war

 Putin, Xi running circles around Biden’s hybrid war

Washington hawks float expelling Russia from SWIFT but Moscow’s budding geo-economic alliance with Beijing will keep the money flowing

By PEPE ESCOBAR

DECEMBER 16, 2021

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin spent an hour and 14 minutes in a video conversation on Wednesday. Geopolitically, paving the way for 2022, this is the one that really matters – much more than Putin-Biden a week ago.    

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who generally carefully measures his words, had previously hinted that this exchange would be “extremely important.”

It was obvious the two leaders would not only exchange information about the natural gas pipeline Power of Siberia 2. But Peskov was referring to prime time geopolitics: how Russia-China would be coordinating their countercoups against the hybrid war/Cold War 2.0 combo deployed by the US and its allies.

While no substantial leaks were expected from the 37th meeting between Xi and Putin since 2013 (they will meet again in person in February 2022, at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics), Assistant to the President for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov did manage to succinctly deliver at least two serious bits of information.

These are the highlights of the call:  

Moscow will inform Beijing about the progress, or lack thereof, in negotiations with the US/NATO on security guarantees for Russia.

Beijing supports Moscow’s demands on US/NATO for these security guarantees.

Putin and Xi agreed to create an “independent financial structure for trade operations that could not be influenced by other countries.” Diplomatic sources, off the record, say the structure may be announced by a joint summit in late 2022.

They discussed the Biden-hosted “Summit for Democracy,” concluding it was counterproductive and imposed new dividing lines.

Of all of the above, the third point is the real game-changer – already in the works for a few years now, and gaining definitive momentum after Washington hawks of the Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland kind recently floated the idea of expelling Russia from SWIFT – the vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to make money transfer instructions – as the ultimate sanctions package for the non-invasion of Ukraine.    

Putin and Xi once again discussed one of their key themes in bilaterals and BRICS meetings: the need to keep increasing the share of the yuan and ruble in mutual settlements – bypassing the US dollar – and opening new stock market avenues for Russian and Chinese investors.

Bypassing a SWIFT mechanism “influenced by third counties” then becomes a must. Ushakov diplomatically put it as “the need to intensify efforts to form an independent financial infrastructure to service trade operations between Russia and China.”

Russian energy businesses, from Gazprom to Rosneft, know all there is to know not only about US threats but also about the negative effects of the tsunami of US dollars flooding the global economy via the Fed’s quantitative easing.   

This Russia-China drive is yet another dimension of geoeconomic, geostrategic and demographic power rapidly shifting towards Eurasia and possibly foreshadowing the advent of a new world system related to other matters Putin-Xi certainly discussed: the interconnection of Belt and Road with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the expanded reach of the  Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the coming Chinese presidency of BRICS in 2022. 

The US – with US$30 trillion in debt, 236% of its militarized GDP – is virtually bankrupt. Russia-China have already experimented with their alternative payment systems, which will inevitably integrate.

The most important banks in both countries will adopt the system – as well as banks across Eurasia doing business with them, and then vast swaths of the Global South. SWIFT, in the long run, will be used only in exceptional cases if China and Russia have their way.  

Now to the heart of the geopolitical puzzle. 

Ushakov confirmed that the Russian Federation has submitted proposals on security guarantees to the US. As Putin himself had confirmed even before talking to Xi, it’s all about “indivisible security”: a mechanism that has been enshrined all across the territory of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe since a 1975 summit in Helsinki.  

Predictably, under orders of the powers that be, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg already rejected it.

Both Xi and Putin clearly identify how Team Biden is deploying a strategic polarization gambit under good old divide-and-rule. The wishful thinking at play is to build a pro-American bloc – with participants ranging from the UK and Australia to Israel and Saudi Arabia – to “isolate” Russia-China. 

That’s what’s behind the narrative thunderously splashed non-stop all across the West – to which Biden’s Summit for Democracy was also tied. Taiwan is being manipulated against Beijing while Ukraine is being literally weaponized against Russia. “China aggression” meets “Russian aggression.”  

Beijing has not fallen into the trap but has asserted at different levels that Taiwan will eventually be integrated into the mainland motherland, without any ludicrous “invasion.” And the wishful thinking that massive American pressure will lead to cracks inside the Chinese Communist Party is also likely generating zero traction. 

Ukraine is a much more volatile proposition: a dysfunctional nightmare of systemic instability, widespread corruption, shady oligarchic entanglements and poverty.    

Washington still follows the Zbigniew Brzezinski-concocted Maidan plan laid out for cookie distributor Nuland in 2014. Yet seven years later, no American “strategist” managed to understand why Russia would fail to invade Ukraine, which has been part of Russia for centuries.

For these “strategists”, it’s imperative that Russia faces a second Vietnam, after Afghanistan in the 1980s. Well, it’s not going to happen because Moscow has no interest whatsoever in “invading” Ukraine.  

It does get more complicated. The ultimate fear dictating all US foreign policy since the early 20th century is the possibility of Germany clinching a new version of Bismarck’s 1887 Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.

Add China to the combination and these three actors are able to control just about the entire Eurasian landmass. Updating Mackinder, the US would then be turned into a geopolitically irrelevant island.

Putin-Xi may have examined not only how the imperial hybrid war tactics against them are floundering against them, as well as how the tactics are dragging Europe further into the abyss of irrelevance.  

For the EU, as former British diplomat Alastair Crooke points out, the strategic balance is a disaster: “The EU has virtually ruptured its relations with both Russia and China – at the same time. Washington’s hawks wanted it. A ‘European Brzezinski’ certainly would have advised the EU differently: never lose both in tandem – you are never that powerful.”

No wonder the leadership in Moscow-Beijing can’t take anyone in Brussels seriously – be it assorted NATO chihuahuas or the spectacularly incompetent Ursula von der Leyen at the European Commission.

A faint ray of light is that Paris and Berlin, unlike the Russophobic Poland and the Baltic fringe, at least prefer having some sort of negotiation with Moscow over Ukraine as opposed to slapping on extra sanctions.

Now imagine Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explaining the ABCs of foreign policy to a clueless Annalena “Grune” Baerbock, now posing as German foreign minister while displaying a fresh mix of incompetence and aggressiveness. She actually placed the phone call.

Lavrov had to meticulously explain the consequences of NATO expansion; the Minsk agreement; and how Berlin should exercise its right to pressure Kiev to respect Minsk.

No leaks about it should be expected from Ushakov. But it’s fair to imagine that with “partners” like the US, NATO and the EU, Xi and Putin should conclude that China and Russia don’t even need enemies.

Follow Pepe Escobar on Twitter: @RealPepeEscobar

https://asiatimes.com/2021/12/putin-xi-running-circles-around-bidens-hybrid-war/



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