March 29, 2014

Ukraine: a pragmatic stance for american imperialism

Henry Kissinger needs no introduction. We reproduce below his article for Washington Post, where he sketches a proposal outline for the settlement of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. Many questions are left open there, refering among others to its enforcement mechanisms, its integration into a broader strategic collaboration agreement (or/and its way of fitting to global antagonism), and to the rescue of Ukraine from total financial collapse. The fourth point seems to be already outdated.

Reading between the lines of Kissiger's text reveals that this trend in US-imperialism  foreign policy would agree with the Russian state capitalism's point of view of federalizing Ukraine by a new constitution and  of containing the fascist-driven intermarum and promethian fallacious projects. Is it more powerful than the neocons clan that rules in the Department of State apparatus?  Mrs Nuland-Kagan, Senator McCain, the US-ambassador in Kiev,  Mrs Clinton and other respectable figures of the  american policy establishment (Mr Bob Gates, Mr Dick Cheney - to name a few more), together with their european acolytes - transcending the conventional distinction Left/Right - have actively sought to undermine such an approach; this had already been quite clear by the time, say,  of Pinchuk's big party last September in Yalta.

However, there is no big difference between Kissinger's pragmatism (shared also by a part of US isolationist right) and Straussian wackos' chaotism: it seems to be just a matter of variance in world balance-of-power estimation.

How the Ukraine crisis ends


Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.
Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.
Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.
The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709, were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. Even such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.

The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine’s relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.

The Ukrainians are the decisive element. They live in a country with a complex history and a polyglot composition. The Western part was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1939, when Stalin and Hitler divided up the spoils. Crimea, 60 percent of whose population is Russian, became part of Ukraine only in 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth, awarded it as part of the 300th-year celebration of a Russian agreement with the Cossacks. The west is largely Catholic; the east largely Russian Orthodox. The west speaks Ukrainian; the east speaks mostly Russian. Any attempt by one wing of Ukraine to dominate the other — as has been the pattern — would lead eventually to civil war or break up. To treat Ukraine as part of an East-West confrontation would scuttle for decades any prospect to bring Russia and the West — especially Russia and Europe — into a cooperative international system.

Ukraine has been independent for only 23 years; it had previously been under some kind of foreign rule since the 14th century. Not surprisingly, its leaders have not learned the art of compromise, even less of historical perspective. The politics of post-independence Ukraine clearly demonstrates that the root of the problem lies in efforts by Ukrainian politicians to impose their will on recalcitrant parts of the country, first by one faction, then by the other. That is the essence of the conflict between Viktor Yanu­kovych and his principal political rival, Yulia Tymo­shenko. They represent the two wings of Ukraine and have not been willing to share power. A wise U.S. policy toward Ukraine would seek a way for the two parts of the country to cooperate with each other. We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction.

Russia and the West, and least of all the various factions in Ukraine, have not acted on this principle. Each has made the situation worse. Russia would not be able to impose a military solution without isolating itself at a time when many of its borders are already precarious. For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.
Putin should come to realize that, whatever his grievances, a policy of military impositions would produce another Cold War. For its part, the United States needs to avoid treating Russia as an aberrant to be patiently taught rules of conduct established by Washington. Putin is a serious strategist — on the premises of Russian history. Understanding U.S. values and psychology are not his strong suits. Nor has understanding Russian history and psychology been a strong point of U.S. policymakers.
Leaders of all sides should return to examining outcomes, not compete in posturing.
Here is my notion of an outcome compatible with the values and security interests of all sides:

1. Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe.

2. Ukraine should not join NATO, a position I took seven years ago, when it last came up.

3. Ukraine should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people. Wise Ukrainian leaders would then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country. Internationally, they should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland. That nation leaves no doubt about its fierce independence and cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.

4. It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea. But it should be possible to put Crimea’s relationship to Ukraine on a less fraught basis. To that end, Russia would recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine should reinforce Crimea’s autonomy in elections held in the presence of international observers. The process would include removing any ambiguities about the status of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.

These are principles, not prescriptions. People familiar with the region will know that not all of them will be palatable to all parties. The test is not absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction. If some solution based on these or comparable elements is not achieved, the drift toward confrontation will accelerate. The time for that will come soon enough.

*Henry A. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977.

March 26, 2014

Ukraine: India's line


India bats for Russia interests

India has said Russia holds “legitimate interests” in Ukraine, becoming the first major nation appearing to publicly lean towards Moscow at a time it is largely isolated internationally over its military intervention in the Crimean Peninsula.

India’s first official response came on a day Crimean MPs voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, prompting the US to activate some sanctions.

National security adviser Shivshankar Menon has said India wants the confrontation between the West and Moscow over Ukraine resolved peacefully. But he added that it also hoped that the interests of Russia and other stakeholders were taken into account.

“We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them,” Menon said today.

Menon’s reference to Russia’s “legitimate interests” sparked a sharp diplomatic response from Kiev.

“We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country,” Roman Pyrih, the media secretary at the Ukrainian embassy in New Delhi, said. “In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”

The US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan — the seven G8 nations other than Russia — have criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into Ukraine’s southeastern Crimean Peninsula.

“There are principles of international law, and Russia violated these in entering the territory of another nation,” Pyrih said. “If there are any legitimate interests, those can be discussed diplomatically, not by sending in troops.”

The larger G20 grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies is not as united in its criticism of Russia, and includes several key allies of Moscow. But even South Africa and China, which have close economic ties with Russia, have so far only issued relatively anodyne public statements seeking a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis.

“China believes that Russia can coordinate with other parties to push for the political settlement of the issue so as to safeguard regional and world peace and stability,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement this week after Putin phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Russia is India’s largest defence supplier — and an ally that stood by New Delhi in times when much of the rest of the world treated it as a pariah, like when India tested nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998.

But Menon’s statement and New Delhi’s reluctance to criticise Putin stem also from a deeper concern.

India, officials said, is convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.

“We are watching what is happening in Ukraine with some concern,” Menon said.

The foreign ministry, later in the day, issued a statement adding that the presence of “more than 5,000 Indian nationals, including about 4,000 students, in different parts of Ukraine” had left India “concerned” at the “escalation of tensions”.

On Friday, when Russian troops were entering Crimea, the Ukrainian ambassador to India, Oleksandr Shevchenko, met external ministry affairs officials at South Block and sought New Delhi’s support. Shevchnko, Ukrainian officials said, left without any commitments.

Shevchenko has also asked for a meeting with Menon. But Menon has not yet given Shevchenko time, Pyrih said.

March 25, 2014

Ярош - будущий президент Украины. Придет и порядок наведет

(Олександр Іванович Музичко (Сашко Білий), 19/9/1962-24/3/2014)

 От: ФОРУМ.мск, публ. 23/3/2014

Неформальное общественное движение «Правый сектор», объединяющее несколько украинских националистических организаций, решило выдвинуть своего лидера Дмитрия Яроша в качестве кандидата на предстоящих досрочных выборах президента Украины, сообщает УНН. Одновременно "Правый сектор" сегодня принял устав и объявил себя политической партией.
Такое решение было принято после съезда членов «Правого сектора» в Киеве. Подробности появятся после того, как Ярош даст комментарий журналистам на специальной пресс-конференции.
Движение «Правый сектор» приняло активное участие в политических волнениях на Украине, которые привели к свержению Виктора Януковича с президентского поста. Члены «Правого сектора» участвовали в схватках с сотрудниками милиции и захватывали административные здания. Лидеры украинской оппозиции признавались, что националисты из «Правого сектора» не подконтрольны им.

От редакции: Ну, думается, с регистрацией в минюсте у "Правого сектора" проблем не будет - придут с палками и получат нужные бумаги без очереди (в обоих смыслах).
Думаю, не будет особых препятствий и с выдвижением Яроша.
А вот дальше - самое интересное. Нет никаких сомнений, что на предстоящих выборах победит представитель "запада", а не "юго-востока". Тут много причин, каждая из которых ключевая - первое, что у "юго-востока" нет подходящего кандидата, все прежние игроки - "битые". Второе - "запад" явно победитель в силовом противостоянии, а у победителя всегда дополнительное преимущество. И третье - Крым с Севастополем, очевидно, не голосуют, лишая "юго-восток" доброго миллиона голосов.
Ярош, так получается, будет конкурировать с другими "западными" кандидатами. Но все они явно слабей - и Тимошенко-Турчинов-Яценюк (рассмотрим их как единую сторону), и Кличко, и Порошенко. Кто еще? Да нет никого...
Лично я, если выборы состоятся и Ярош их переживет, ставлю именно на него. Он самый проходной. У него нет прошлого, которое цепляло бы его за ноги - биография чиста как у девятиклассника: в 1988 году закончил среднюю школу в Днепродзержинске, с октября 1988 года принимал активное участие в политической деятельности, никогда и нигде не работая, в 1989—1991 годы проходил службу в рядах Советской армии. В 1994 году стал одним из основателей националистической организации «Тризуб» им. С. Бандеры, руководил её региональным подразделением. В 1996 году вошёл в центральный комитет организации, с 1996 по 1999 год руководил организацией, впоследствии занимал должность главного инспектора, вновь руководил организацией, после чего передал этот пост своему заместителю Андрею Стемпицкому, в настоящее время - первый заместитель руководителя Центрального провода. В 2001 году закончил филологический факультет Дрогобычского педагогического университета имени Ивана Франко.
Вот и всё. Ключевая фраза "никогда нигде не работал".
Есть информация, что в Америке Яценюку сильно пеняли на избыточную роль крайне правых (нацистов) в "украинской революции" и рекомендовали как-то от них избавляться. Известен и ответ Яценюка - мол с радостью бы, да сил нет. Есть мнение, что частные военные компании, появившиеся в Киеве, в том числе призваны обеспечить и охрану умеренным лидерам в Киеве от приведших их к власти неумеренных стороников. Однако "Правый сектор" сильно разросся, практически становится костяком формирующейся Национальной гвардии - тут еще кто кого "зачистит".
Мне кажется, в плане перспектив евроинтеграции Украины и участи ее в евроатлантических структурах нужен именно такой президент как Дмитрий Ярош. Прямой, бескомпромиссный: «Правый сектор» выступал и выступает за подписание политической ассоциации с Евросоюзом. Но при этом мы очень осторожно относимся к членству в ЕС. Потому что на самом деле тот брюссельский бюрократический монстр, который существует, все делает для того, чтобы нивелировать национальную идентичность, традиционную семью, проводится антихристианская политика».
И еще: "Мы считаем, что дерусификация Украины — целиком справедливое и необходимое явление".
А также: "Наше отношение к русским так же, как и к другим представителям национальных меньшинств, вполне вписывается в методологию, предложенную Степаном Бандерой."

"Правый сектор" расценивает действия Российской Федерации как непосредственное военное вмешательство. Соответственно, сейчас украинцы имеют все права на вооруженное противодействие агрессорам, хотя при этом мы должны избегать лишней эскалации конфликта и гражданских жертв. В связи с текущей политической, геополитической и военной ситуацией, командованием "Правого сектора" был создан военный штаб, задачей которого является разработка, тщательное планирование и дальнейшее командование отрядами "Правого сектора" в их борьбе с российским агрессором. При этом мы координируем свои действия с СНБО Украины. 
В настоящее время актуальной задачей для бойцов "Правого сектора" является "борьба с кремлевской пятой колонной, недопущение ее широкомасштабной деятельности, обезвреживание ее активных представителей, прекращение деятельности антиукраинских СМИ и т.п.". 
"Приказываю создать военные штабы "Правого сектора" во всех, без исключения, областях нашего государства. Призываю представителей армии, областных руководителей СБУ и МВД приложить максимум усилий для координации действий с областными подразделениями "Правого сектора", вооружения и подготовки этих подразделений". 
Ярош заявил, что его организация - это "очаг четкой иерархии, порядка и дисциплины". "У нас нет места для атаманства или деструктивной анархистской деятельности. Только так - победим! Смерть кремлевским оккупантам!"
Вот с таким президентом Украине самое оно... Ничего не надо, всё сам сделает.

Анатолий Баранов, главный редактор ФОРУМа.мск

March 24, 2014

Ukraine: a reminder


The Ukraine Crisis – It’s the Intermarium Plan Again 

The garbled slogans and ravings of the Ukrainian nationalists are straight from the Intermarium playbook. 

by Dr. Jonathan Levy*

Political scientists attribute the Ukraine crisis to competition between Russia and the West or East Ukraine versus West Ukraine.  While these simple explanations have their merits, there is much more at stake; nothing less the long planned absorption of Ukraine into the Intermarium and the break-up of Russia into toothless mini states.

Few in the Western media or academia would know that in 1920 an opportunistic Poland sought to make Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus its own satellites and fought a brief but bloody war with the nascent Soviet Union.  But after defeating the Whites, the Red Army gave its full attention to the Poles and their advances turned into reverses as they were chased all the way from Kiev and Minsk back to Warsaw by Budenny’s Red Calvary. Warsaw was saved only by the soldiering of its Polish chief of staff Pilsudski who miraculously stopped the Red Army just outside the city –otherwise Poland would have been the 16th Soviet Republic.

The Poles never forgot their military humiliation and near annihilation of their just born state. Pilsudski who went on to be the Polish dictator developed two long range plans named the Intermarium and Promethean plans to make sure that neither Germany nor the Soviet Union would ever be able to grind Poland between them.  The Promethean plan involved the breaking up of the USSR  into small relatively harmless states by stirring up nationalism in Georgia, the Don and Kuban Cossacks, Ingushetia, Idel-Ural, Azerbaijan, Yakutistan, Armenia, Crimea, Karelia and Komi with the hopes of detaching them from a weak rump government at Moscow. This plan resembled something of the chaos that occurred in the early 1990s when Yeltsin could scarcely control his governors and Tatarstan and Chechnya were all but independent countries.

The Intermarium was to be a massive concentration of power in east central Europe as a counter balance between East and West with a vast federal union of peoples stretching between the Black sea and the Baltic. The constituent states were to include Poland, the Baltic countries, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia - all countries with sizeable Roman Catholic populations. The Intermarium on paper at least was large and powerful enough to supplant German and Russian influence in the Balkans and beyond.

To that end, the Polish Army absorbed the former Georgian, White Russian, Cossack and Ukrainian officer corps fleeing the USSR. But, the rise of Stalin and Hitler and Poland’s own problems with a large restive German minority quickly shelved these ambitious plans. The Promethean plan was briefly hijacked by Hitler who also sought to foment rebellion in the wartime USSR by recruiting foreign legions from among hapless POWs to be led by Nazi collaborators such as General Vlasov and the Ukrainian nationalist Bandera. 

Following World War Two, the CIA, Vatican, and MI6 reorganized the Prometheans and Intermarians into the openly fascist Anti Bolshevik Bloc and World Anti Communist league which welcomed former Nazis as long as they were anti Soviet too.  Maidan agitator US Senator John McCain was once affiliated with the World Anti Communist League as an advisor and surely has had no qualms about his new friends in Kiev. 

Notably all these Intermarium states are predominately Roman Catholic with the exception of the Ukraine.  Yet even in the heart of the Orthodox Church, the Vatican has made major inroads.  A long standing campaign of Ukrainization has dispossessed the Moscow Patriarchy in favour of the Rome affiliated Easter Rite Church and Autonomous Ukrainian patriarchy. The presence of numerous priests on the front lines of the Maidan is by design not chance.

The garbled slogans and ravings of the Ukrainian nationalists are straight from the Intermarium playbook.  “We seek neither the EU nor Russia,” “Out with totalitarianism liberalism and decadent democracy!” says Dmytro Yorosh’s Right Sector paramilitaries.  Yorosh who parades about under the black and red Bandera flag has been proposed as Deputy Minister in the new Ukrainian government.
However just as Poland failed in 1920 to hold Kiev so may it fail now. Warsaw seems to have forgotten to have shared its Intermarium plan with NATO, the EU, and USA which would no doubt be shocked at the emergence of a hitherto unknown East Central European federation. And Russia remembers all too well that Polish interference in Ukraine is aimed not just at Kiev but ultimately targets Moscow with the reestablishment of a hostile Polish alliance on its western border.
Therefore it may be a prophetic sign that on January 26, 2014, when Pope Francis released two white doves at the Vatican, in support of the “peaceful” Ukrainian protestors on the Maidan that the hapless doves were set upon almost immediately by a black crow and a white seagull. Speculation in the media was that the two emissaries of peace were presumably killed and eaten by their predatory cousins and never heard from again.

So too may Polish imperial ambitions end in Ukraine – a dismal failure crushed between Russia and the EU.  Poland has perhaps overplayed its hand yet again. Warsaw and its allies have taken Kiev, but can they pay the price?

Jonathan Levy holds a PhD in Political Science and is an attorney member of the International Criminal Court Bar. He is adjunct faculty at Norwich University’s Diplomacy Program (Vermont) and Kaplan University’s School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Levy is the author of The Intermarium: Wilson, Madison, & East Central European Federalism (ISBN: 978-1581123692)

March 19, 2014

Ukraine - a chinese viewpoint

Ukraine – A Case for Chinese Involvement

by Andong Peng*

The situation in the Ukraine is delicate, to say the least. On balance, Russia is probably where it wants to be given its inability to prevent the initial ouster of Yanukovych: it controls a region over which it has a strong historical claim, and has managed to do this without creating any antagonism in the rest of the Ukraine that did not already exist. This has been done without fatalities, and Russia remains a potential “friend.” Having said that, with every passing day it is Russia rather than the West that will be under increasing pressure to come up a resolution to the impasse, especially given the U.S. position.

China has, as usual, sat on the sidelines without getting even remotely involved. And why should it? Neville Chamberlain’s description of conflict in “a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” was never more apt than in understanding China’s view of Eastern Europe, which holds little in the way of natural resources and for the moment does not represent a significant export market. True, the Chinese own 9 percent of Ukrainian farmland now; but the crisis has probably been welcomed insofar as it has relegated deeper analysis of the recent Kunming terrorist attack and the broader Xinjiang problem to the back pages.

Yet China is mistaken to sit back and do nothing on Ukraine, because there is something at stake. Strategically, Beijing may calculate that letting the Americans become “involved” in the Ukraine means a further weakening of Obama’s already rudderless efforts in the Pacific. But this is only half the story: if this involvement went on to constitute a “defeat” (any scenario where Russia ends up with a more secure border than before) it would help weaken the strongest weapon in the U.S. arsenal: the soft power effect. This would further dent belief across the world in the efficacy of American action, helping China in its own Asian strategy. Moreover, China has no interest in helping legitimize public protests as a form of sociopolitical reform and development. In Kiev, just as in comparable situations such as Istanbul, Cairo and Bangkok, there is an ongoing battle over the question of whether mass urban protest is justifiable and productive, and how outside powers should intervene with support or otherwise. China clearly is not incentivized to see the overthrow of incumbent regimes.

There is also a longer term calculation. China is in many ways an imperialistic power utilizing a “big country” approach towards diplomacy. It has demonstrated a reluctance to engage in diplomacy as viewed through the Westphalian paradigm, and its insensitivity constantly surprises Western observers. But there is one issue which it cares deeply about: Taiwan. And the Russian seizure of the Crimea provides an interesting template for China as to how eventual reunification might take place in the “worst case” scenario, namely through force. What the Russians have managed on their peninsula is to act quickly and decisively, presenting the world with a fait accompli. It has done so with very little violence, and through the mobilization of insiders supportive to the region, whether or not they are in the majority, it can present photogenic welcoming parties to the arriving forces. At the very least, the situation is not (even in the Western media) a black-and-white case of aggression. That is all that Russia needed; it is difficult to envisage any outcome of the crisis now which does not see Russia with a strengthened position in the Crimea, irrespective of what happens with the rest of the Ukraine. A corresponding outcome with Taiwan would suit China nicely.

How could China insert itself in the Ukraine? It would be alarming for Beijing to suddenly become a proactive player in a place so far away. Instead China should be looking to leverage BRICS, or, if the relevant support from India and Brazil are not forthcoming, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a vehicle to further its strategy. China does not in fact care for multilateralism or these bodies per se; but it is notionally signed up to them and they are as useful here as they will ever be. Moreover, despite the general hubris that is an emerging feature of the Chinese psyche in foreign policy, Russia is one of the few powers it has historically respected. Thus, China can help Russia by driving a broader, non-Western consensus to front this plan.

A possible deal needs to align a number of interests and satisfy some of Russia’s key requirements whilst also allowing the West to claim the basis of a new future. China would need to aim for the following:
  1. The current Kiev administration must be ended and its actions delegitimized. There is very little chance that Yanukovych can re-emerge but a new interim government could feature regional representation – structured in such a way that there is no question that the pro-Russian side has a voice equal to its weight amongst the public. A new physical capital altogether may even be advisable. What is paramount is that the government that arose out of the protests in the square must be reduced in status to that of an illicit, disruptive force. 
  2. The status of the Crimea is more problematic. It seems unclear that Russia necessarily desired to occupy the region before the fear arose of losing patronage over the Ukraine. The obvious solution is to strengthen its “autonomy” and Russia’s military structures there, whilst maintaining the notional integrity of the Ukraine overall. Russian seizure of the area unilaterally – with or without the referendum – would be mutually exclusive to point 1 and unlikely to be part of a SCO / BRICS-brokered deal.
  3. Lastly there is the question of the Eastern Ukraine. In an extreme case, Russia may want to press for plebiscites to decide its, future including independence from Kiev and/or reunification with Russia. However plebiscites would sit ill with China. A successful implementation of point 1 would negate the need for Russia to push for voting and this could be supplemented by a major commitment to BRICS-led investment in the eastern part of the country (as opposed to US-led investment). This ‘federalization’ would serve China’s interests in both protecting its current exposure and for it to be a further base for expansion.

Such a plan could draw interest from a number of non-aligned parties. The promise of economic development and investment is a powerful one, and one could reasonably see entities such as Dubai becoming involved in making the Eastern Ukraine some sort of regional “neutral” hub from which the BRICS+ can establish themselves as a force.

It would require imagination, but there is far more to be gained for China by attempting to do something, than by doing nothing. The latter offers no long-term benefits, whilst the former could begin to add an interesting arrow to the Chinese foreign relations quiver.

*Andong Peng is a researcher at Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management. His area of focus includes Chinese foreign policy and communications.

March 18, 2014

Post-soviet Ukraine: Les jeux sont faits

...ou pas encore? 

The note that follows has been originally published on 6/1/2005, 
on a site that had preceeded this one, as part of the same project. 
The site is not available anymore, yet we think that the text by      
comrade R.S. reproduced verbatim is still worth to read.              
One should never forget that                                                         
Memory is an essential part of itelligence!...                             

The "orange revolution" gives serious rise to questions about spontaneous mouvements in the post-soviet era; that’s the least one can say about the huge demonstrations held in Kiev by early December. Apart from that, in order to understand Ukraine’s present, it is neccessary to see the whole picture. So, what has been really happening in Ukraine the last ten years? Who are rulling, and what kind of stakes are about to be played?

Yushchenko [1] has been offically elected at the third round of the presidential elections, with more than 51%. According to media reports [2] the Bush administration has spent over 65 million $ for backing Yushchenko (a budget comparable to some 70 million $ given to the troops of late Djindjic, when Clinton was in the White House).

Many analysts have underlined the similarities between the Ukrainian case and what already has happened to Georgia: an OTPOR-Soros-like massive demonstrations wave, based on a strong yet shallow consent of the cities population, with supports in the core of state apparatus (including diplomacy and special services) along with strong disapproval of the corrupted rulers on place. Let’s find some more similarities that have been rather dissimulated to the western public opinion: both Kuchma and Shevardnaze have been initially given strong support by western Powers (the States, european Powers, IMF...) 
Both have overthrown local leaders, more or less willing to play the game of a post-soviet state coalition leaded by Russia. Both have accomplished the same program: dismantling of the residues of soviet State, privatisation of the economy, stabilisation of the ethnic conflicts blusted allover the place by the early ’90s. Both have changed their policy with the years, to finally turn to Moscow. Both "godfathers" have been beaten by one of their best "gunmen", meanwhile fallen in disgrace. In both cases, americans and europeans had been acting in real concern (the latter being a kind of subcontractors to the former); in Tbilissi, they have their own (wo)men inside the government; this will be probably the case in Kiev too. Of course, there are many differences too; but, to put it in simple terms, "Ukraine is not Georgia" can summarize differences, while "imperialism is always imperialism" is a fairly appropriate box to put similarities together in.

The mandates of the new government

Yushchenko as Kuchma’s central banker and prime-minister, has adopted some of the most abrupt economic reforms, that had created a severe social shock. Now he questions the privatisation proccess, that gave rise to a winning handful of powerful robber-barons controling banking and heavy manifacturing industries (like Rinat Achmetov, Victor Pinchuk or Victor Medvechuk).

These "winners" have all reasons for supporting strong ties with Moscow, the main goods importer and energy provider of Ukraine. Yushchenko’s political allies represent the "loosing" part of clans, an original mixture of self-made billionaires controling entire sectors of socio-political life too (like party leader and multi-millionaire Poroshenko, 39 or the gaz princess Tymoshenko, 44) that has choosen a fortiori or has been selected for the american support. According to Poroshenko [3], the new government has to apply painful impopular reforms such as tax increases (that would certainly lead to price adjustments for basic goods -R.S.), reorganizing of social policy funding (ie demolition of anything that still reminds the social protection of youth, ill, elderly etc. in the soviet era -R.S.) abolition of protectionist policies for heavy steel and carbon industry (that have helped to keep in power the pro-russian clans -R.S.), and so on.

The privatization of the steel giant Krivoroshstal in June 2004, undertaken by Pinchuk - Kuchma’s son-in-law - and Achmetov for 800 millions $ is to be recondidered; notice that these two oligarchs of the Donetsk clan won over US Steel and two russian companies (Severstal and Evrasholding) [4].
This very liberal modernization program would result to an Ukrainean application to join the UE and surely to become a member of NATO. This is the deal as far as we can know.

Interests collide
It seems that Ukraine is the land where interests of three key players in the world scene, that is three main imperialist powers, collide: the USA, Russia, and Europe (Germany). The US use Poland [5] as their Gauleiter, with a promise made to Polish to let them take control over western Ukraine. They also try to introduce into ukrainean political life a part of an extremely reactionary community of ukrainean émigrés [6], like they already did with success in the baltic States, Bulgaria and Albania - and with less success in Yugoslavia. They aim at containing Russia’s expansion, and fear a future russo-chinese consortium [7]. Their tactics seem to proceed by steps: first, make the post-soviet economic integration infeasible; then, prepare a succession of Putin, based to some clones of Nemtzov and company. Ukraine is a master piece to this puzzle, with its seaports being a neccesary pass point for russian trade and with 80% of russian gaz supplies to Europe passing through the ukrainean pipe network. Belarus will probably come through the same treatment in the near future: although there isn’t yet any strong NGO local network, an OTPOR-like organization is probably being mounted...
On the other side, Russia wants all of Ukraine under control; this seems to be a crucial part of Putin’s mid-term plans to restore a zone of influence around Russia, based on strong economy ties, and long-term plans to become a strategic ally for China. Trying to realize these ambitions, Putin is accused of exceeding cynicism, and this is partly true; his role as a CEO of Russia Inc. does not allow him to contain himself to pirouette-politics, as his western colleagues do in their expensive parlementary shows! To put it in a simple way: Russian emerging state capitalism is taking off now; it has not an automatic pilot as Europeans or Americans, or even Chinese have.
Last but not least, Germany wants to control both Poland and Ukraine, to exploit markets and cheap, highly qualified human potential through massive capital investment. In the near future, it is not unthinkable to see a Russian-German partnership, willing to shrink the american-backed Polish ambitions. An interesting question is then wether Russians and Germans would try to gain influence in Polish politics, through a government change.

An explosive perspective

Dislocating Ukraine [8].

[1] Iouchtchenko in French, Juschtschenko in German, Ющенко in Russian/Ukrainian
[2] Mat Kelley AP 11-12-2004
[3] Interview published in Le Monde 4-1-2005
[4] Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 30 and 31-12-2004, articles by Ulrich Schmidt
[5] assisted by the baltic States and, to a lesser extend, the Czechs
[6] including pro-Nazi nationalist freaks (Banderists) that have supported Yushchenko by all means. For more on pro-Yushchenko fascistoïds, see for example the article by John Laughland published in the Spectator, 28-11-2004
[7] See on this issue Mark Almond’s article in the New Statesman, 6-12-2004
[8] Article by Jean-Marie Chauvier in Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2005

March 10, 2014

Луганск, 9/3/2014

Παραιτήθηκε ο διορισμένος από τα ανδρείκελα του Κίεβου κυβερνήτης του Λουγκάνσκ, Μιχαήλ Μπαλότσκιχ (Михаил Болотских). Ο τέως κυβερνήτης διέφυγε με αυτοκίνητο χρησιμοποιώντας την «οδό διαφυγής» που τού άφησε το πλήθος που πολιόρκησε το κυβερνείο.

Όλα τα δημοσιογραφικά «λεφτά» είναι τώρα η καταγραφή των λαϊκών διαθέσεων στο Ντανιέτσκ, το Λουγκάνσκ, και αλλού στην ανατολική Ουκρανία. Κάποιο κρίσιμο κατώφλιο φαίνεται να ξεπερνιέται. Κάποιοι, όχι νοσταλγικοί, μιλούν για σοβιέτ.

March 09, 2014

Άνοιγμα Τσίπρα με φυλακισμένο αγωνιστή

...της κοινωνίας των πολιτών, που κινείται στο χώρο της ευρύτατης ακρο-κεντροαριστεράς/δεξιάς με αντιμνημονιακές διαθέσεις. Με τεράστια εμπειρία στο στήσιμο αγώνων, ασυμβίβαστος διανοούμενος με αξιοσημείωτη συμβολή στην ανάλυση του υποκειμενικού παράγοντα, πολιτικός κρατούμενος για τη δράση του. Διεθνώς γνωστός. Ξέρει και μπορεί να κερδίσει και το στοίχημα της τοπικής αυτοδιοίκησης!

March 04, 2014

Venezuela: los cachorros de la reacción

Luis Hernández Navarro 

Lorent Saleh es un joven venezolano de 25 años, de lengua flamígera, que estudió comercio exterior. Es una de las cabezas visibles de la coalición que busca derrocar al presidente Nicolás Maduro. Dirige la organización Operación Libertad, que ubica al castro-comunismo cubano como el enemigo principal de Venezuela.

 Loreth comenzó su faena contra la revolución bolivariana en 2007. Desde entonces no ha dado tregua. Lo mismo organiza huelgas de hambre que campañas como Chávez miente. Aunque hace años abandonó las aulas, se presenta aún como líder estudiantil. Y, aunque no tiene empleo conocido, viaja por América Latina para tratar de aislar al gobierno de Maduro.
El joven Saleh tiene buenos amigos en diversos países. En Colombia, por ejemplo, lo cobijan y promueven la Alianza Nacionalista por la Libertad y Tercera Fuerza, agrupaciones neonazis ( El Espectador, 21/7/13).

Vanessa Eisig es una simpática chica rubia de 22 años, que usa gafas y se describe en su cuenta de Twitter como guerrera de luz y bígama, casada con mi carrera y con Venezuela. Estudia comunicación en la Universidad Andrés Bello y confiesa que, al participar en las protestas, siente que hace historia.

Vanessa es militante de Juventud Activa Venezuela Unida (JAVU). Exige la deposición del usurpador Nicolás Maduro y de todo su gabinete. La organización tiene como emblema un puño derecho de color blanco, que –dice la joven– “es signo de resistencia y de burla al socialismo".

JAVU, que impulsa la iniciativa Operación Libertad, ha desempeñado un papel relevante en los actuales disturbios que se viven en Venezuela. Fundada en 2007, la organización se define como una plataforma juvenil de resistencia, que busca derribar los pilares que sostienen a un gobierno que menosprecia la Constitución, vulnera nuestros derechos y entrega nuestra soberanía a las órdenes de los decrépitos hermanos Castro.

En su comunicado del 22 de febrero de este año, JAVU denunció que fuerzas extranjeras han sitiado militarmente a Venezuela. Sus mercenarios nos atacan de manera vil y salvaje. Su objetivo es esclavizarnos. Para conseguir su libertad, señalan, es vital defender la soberanía de la nación, expulsando a los comunistas cubanos que se encuentran usurpando el gobierno y la Fuerza Armada.
JAVU está inspirada y tiene estrecha relación con Otpor, que en español significa Resistencia, y con el Centro para la aplicación de acciones y estrategias no violentas (Canvas, por sus siglas en inglés). Otpor fue un movimiento estudiantil creado en Serbia para remover del gobierno al presidente Slobodan Milósevic en 2000, que recibió financiamiento de agencias gubernamentales estadunidenses. Canvas es la cara renovada de Otpor.

El gurú de esos grupos es el filósofo Gene Sharp, que reivindica la acción no violenta para derrocar gobiernos. Sharpe fundó el Instituto Albert Einstein, promotor de las llamadas revoluciones de colores en países que no son afines a los intereses de la OTAN y Washington.

Cables difundidos por Wikileaks hicieron público que Canvas –presente en Venezuela desde 2006– elaboró para la oposición de ese país un plan de acción, en el que propone que sean los grupos estudiantiles y los actores no formales los capaces de construir una infraestructura y explotar su legitimidad en la lucha contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez.

La relación entre JAVU, Otpor y Canvas es muy estrecha. Como confesó Marialvic Olivares, militante del grupo de extrema derecha: las organizaciones internacionales que nos están apoyando en este momento siempre han estado de la mano con nosotros, no solamente en cuestiones de protesta, sino en cuestiones de formación, y nosotros con ellos siempre hemos estado de la mano. No nos da vergüenza, no nos da miedo decirlo.

Pero los vínculos entre los jóvenes dirigentes estudiantiles venezolanos y los think tanks y agencias de cooperación de derecha van mucho más allá de la alianza con Otpor/Canvas. Diversas fundaciones estadunidenses han financiado abiertamente al movimiento disidente. También han contado con el apoyo del Partido Popular de España y con la organización juvenil de Silvio Berlusconi en Italia.

Es el caso del joven abogado Yon Goicoechea, estrella rutilante de las protestas de 2007 y que ahora estudia una maestría en la Universidad Columbia, después de afiliarse al partido de Henrique Capriles y abandonarlo cuando no le dieron una diputación. En 2008 fue generosamente recompensado por su compromiso de lucha contra Hugo Chávez. El Instituto Cató le entregó el premio Milton Friedman para la Libertad, dotado de medio millón de dólares.

Otra fuerza que ha desempeñado un papel relevante en la intentona por deponer a Maduro es el Movimiento Social Universitario 13 de Marzo, organización estudiantil que actúa en la Universidad de los Andes. Su dirigente más conocido es Nixon Moreno, antiguo estudiante de ciencias políticas, acusado de violar a Sofía Aguilar, ahora prófugo y exiliado en Panamá.

Estos jóvenes saben lo que hacen: promover la desestabilización política. Reciben financiamiento internacional. Militan en las filas de la ultraderecha y el anticomunismo. Son xenófobos. Están vinculados con organizaciones nazis y conservadoras en varios países. Y marchan codo a codo con políticos de la derecha radical como Leopoldo López, María Corina Marchado y Antonio Ledezma.

A pesar de recibir todos estos apoyos, Lorent Saleh, de Operación Libertad, se lamenta: Estamos tremendamente solos. En parte tiene razón. Entre los jóvenes latinoamericanos no despiertan simpatía ni solidaridad. Por el contrario, suscitan desconfianza y repudio. Y es que se les ve el plumero. Su causa nada tiene que ver con el ideario del movimiento estudiantil-popular mexicano de 1968. No en balde los combativos estudiantes chilenos los repudiaron públicamente. Para ellos, los cachorros de la reacción son impresentables.

Versión griega - Μετάφραση στα Ελληνικά