If you're trying to figure out a conflict, adopt the premise that the US Empire is evil, and that US fingerprints will be there somewhere.
So it is with Ukraine.
The US Empire is
"...so red in tooth and claw with the blood of economic warfare that they would drive the global economy to collapse rather than acknowledge that they – and they alone – brought this horrendous situation (in Ukraine) to the doorstep of the world." - David Stockman
I feel so sorry for US bloggers who feel compelled to tell the truth about their country. I'm sure that's a dangerous activity for some of them.
Not that my country is better. It's a gun for hire vassal of the falling Empire. It's a country, with an ageing foreign Queen, that reaps the benefits of an unacknowledged stolen land, while following the US around from one immoral war to another.
We celebrate war and sport in our spare time.
This post is available at original.antiwar.com
Pearl Harbor My Eye!
by David Stockman
We were already getting sick and tired of this Zelensky clown, but the sheer chutzpah of comparing Ukraine's predicament with Pearl Harbor or 9/11 is just fricking outrageous. To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bensten's famous retort to Dan Quayle in the 1992 VP debate: We knew the United States of America and Ukraine isn't any United States.
To the contrary, it is a cesspool of corruption, mal-governance and rank stupidity on the foreign policy front. For crying out loud, its situation is comparable to the drug cartels taking over Mexico, demanding the return of the Gadsden Purchase and then seeking to join a Russian-led anti-American treaty organization.
That is to say, Ukraine brought the Russian attack on itself by poking the bear in its eyes repeatedly since the 2014 coup. Yet now its leader has the gall to petition the US Congress to start WWII via standing-up a No Fly Zone in lieu of the obvious solution: Namely, Zelensky should resign and make way for a collaborationist government that will sue for peace on the following basis:
Recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and always has been since it was purchased by Catherine the Great in 1783;
Permit the separation of the Donbass Republics from Ukraine because the overwhelmingly Russian speaking populations there has been part of "New Russia" for more than 300 years and do not wish to be ruled by the anti-Russian fascists and oligarchs who control Kiev;
Amend the constitution of the rump state of Ukraine to prohibit its joining NATO or any similar western alliance, while reducing its military to a domestic law enforcement agency.
Those terms may seem harsh, but it's the only alternative to the complete destruction of Ukraine and an eventual Russian win anyway. The fact is, the NATO cavalry simply ain't coming no matter how many standing ovations are stumped up by the armchair warriors of the US Congress.
That's because even the bully boys of Washington and Brussels aren't ready to trigger WWIII over the broken remnants of a country that never had been a country historically until Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev made it an administrative district of the Soviet Empire – the latter being a stain on mankind that thankfully disappeared into the dustbin of history 31 years ago.
Yet without direct US/NATO engagement with the Russian military forces now occupying growing segments of Ukrainian territory the expedient of sending arms – even highly advanced lethal anti-air and anti-tank weapons – is futile. Russia now has total air superiority over Ukraine's skies, meaning that incoming NATO weapons (and the so-called "foreign legion" fighters, too) will be destroyed long before they can make a difference.
So for god's sake Washington needs to stop standing on ceremony and leading the hapless Ukrainian government down the primrose path to national destruction. There is no way out of the current catastrophe except for Washington to:
concede that recruiting Ukraine to join NATO and potentially putting NATO missile bases within one minute's cruise missile flight time from Moscow was an egregious mistake; and
that its demonization of Putin as a modern day Hitler on a quest to revive the Soviet Empire is just plain War Party hogwash and is no justification for its sweeping Sanctions War, most especially if Kiev capitulates to Moscow's terms.
The truth, in fact, is more nearly the opposite. That is, there really are not two distinct nations there, one invading the other. Russia and Ukraine have never been neighboring independent states like Germany and France or Spain and Portugal or Columbia and Peru. To the contrary, they have been an intermingled territory and peoples for the last 1300 years with borders, governing arrangements episodic external invasions all over the lot.
The Ukrainian language itself is testimony to that history and geography. The dialects spoken in the Donbas (brown and yellow areas) are a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian; the old Galician territories of Western Ukraine centered in Lviv (red areas) are heavily influenced by Polish, Slovakian and Rumanian vocabularies.; and the blue areas of the North present dialects heavily influenced by Belarusian.
What is also true is that these segmented populations have never been united under a common polity except by communist arms between 1922 and 1991; then between 1991 and 2014 by tenuous and continuously shifting electoral balances after the Ukrainian administrative entity was arbitrarily disgorged from the old Soviet Union; and finally after the February 2014 coup by dint of a Kiev government based on central and western Ukraine that essentially declared a civil war on Crimea (which seceded) and the eastern, Russian-speaking Donbas regions that have tried to do the same.
So again, what's wrong with partition? At the end of the day, Zelensky stood before Congress and had the gall to demand WWIII in behalf of an abortion of a nation that has virtually no chance of long-term survival in its present form. Yet the knuckleheads from both parties are in such war heat that they vociferously applauded the unctuous rantings of a clown who should have stuck to the comedy business.
Still, for want of doubt about the madness of defending Ukraine by economic warfare now, and military confrontation with Russia if the warmongers get their way, just recall how the arbitrary borders depicted above got here. If this mongrel merits all out defense in behalf of the "rule of law," then the rule of law be damned.
Kiev Is the Ancestral Homeland of Russia
In the first place, Putin is essentially correct when he says that Russia and much of the Ukrainian territory have been one through long stretches of history. Ironically, therefore, the Kiev today being laid to waste by the Russian army is actually the birthplace of Russia!
As an excellent Washington post history recently explained,
The "Rus" – the people whose name got tacked on to Russia – were originally Scandinavian traders and settlers who made their way from the Baltic Sea through the marshes and forests of Eastern Europe down toward the fertile riverlands of what's now Ukraine. Other Viking adventurers journeyed to Constantinople, the great capital of the Byzantine Empire, to find their fortune – sometimes ashired muscle.
The first major center of the "Rus" was at Kiev, established in the 9th century. In 988, Vladimir, a prince of the Kievan Rus, was baptized by a Byzantine priest in the old Greek colony of Khersonesos on the Crimean coast. His conversion marked the advent of Orthodox Christianity among the Rus and remains a moment of great nationalist symbolism for Russians. Putin invoked this older Vladimir in a speech when justifying his annexation of Crimea.
However, successive Mongol invasions beginning in the 13th century subdued Kiev's influence, and led the Russians to eventually migrate north. That led to the rise of other Rus settlements including Moscow, while the Turkic descendants of the Mongol Golden Horde formed their own Khanate along the northern rim of the Black Sea and Crimea.
During the next several centuries the Ukrainian territory was a no man's land, hosting successive invasions and occupations by external forces. The land that's now Ukraine lay on the margins of competing empires, making it a region of permanent contest and shifting borders.
At length, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which, at its peak encompassed a huge swath of Europe, dominated much of the land. But over the centuries Ukraine would also see the incursions of Hungarians, Ottomans, Swedes, bands of Cossacks and the armies of successive Russian czars.
By the late 17th century after much of Europe had congealed into today's borders, there was still no nation of Ukraine. Instead, as these meandering borders appeared and disappeared repeatedly, Russia and Poland (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) eventually split much of the territory of what's now Ukraine along the Dnieper River, as shown in the map below. Approximately 355 years ago (1667), to be exact, the areas to the east of the Dnieper, which now include the Donbas, were acquired by Russia and incorporated into the Russian State.
So, yes, the current day rebel provinces in the Donbas, which were giving partial autonomy from Kiev by the Minsk Agreements of 2015, have actually been "Russian" for more than three and one-half centuries and "Ukrainian" for about 31 years. Or as Secy Blinkey would say, because it's borders.
The Rise of New Russia
Russia's advance continued a century later during the 18th century rule of Catherine the Great, who proclaimed her domains along the Black Sea constituted "Novorossiya" or "new Russia." Back then, the Russian court even harbored dreams of collapsing the Ottoman empire entirely, extending Moscow's reach to Istanbul and even Jerusalem.
The infamous architect of Catherine's imperialism, Grigoriy Potemkin, thus told his sovereign:
Believe me, you will acquire immortal fame such as no other sovereign of Russia ever had," when offering the empress counsel in 1780 on plans to wrest Crimea away from Ottoman suzerainty. "This glory will open the way to still further and greater glory."
Meanwhile, the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century led to the city of Lviv– once a major regional hub and a center of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe – falling under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian empire. So even in the west there was still no state of Ukraine, but as the Washington post further noted,
It was there in the mid-19th century where Ukrainian nationalism began to take hold, rooted in the traditions and dialects of the region's peasants and the aspirations of intellectuals who had fled the stifling rule of Russia rule further to the east.
The State the Commies Made
The striking thing is that as of 1900, when much of Europe was fully formed albeit in part under the rubric of the Hapsburg's empire, there was still no nation called Ukraine. In the east, Russia and today's Ukrainian territories were one, while in the west the Galician territories were part of the Hapsburg Empire.
Needless to say, World War I and the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 triggered more traumas and upheaval in the areas that now constitute Ukraine. The new Bolshevik government was desperate to end hostilities with Germany and its allies and signed a treaty in the town of Brest-Litovsk in 1918 . As the Washington Post further amplified, the treaty ceded,
….some of Russia's domains to the Central powers and recognized the independence of others, including Ukraine.
The terms of the treaty were nullified by Germany's defeat later in the year, but the genie of Ukrainian nationalism was out of the bottle. Independence movements of various stripes sprung up in cities like Lviv, Kiev and Kharkiv, but were eventually all swept away amid the wider struggle for power in Russia.
That struggle was mightily fueled at the misbegotten Versailles "peace" conference where the long dead nation of Poland was revived by Woodrow Wilson. The latter nearly single-handedly resurrected the nation of Poland, doing so with a keen eye not to the historic maps of Europe but to the polish vote in Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago.
Soon thereafter a revived Poland reclaimed Lviv and a chunk of what's now western Ukraine on the grounds that this was sacred Polish, not Ukrainian, territory.
In any event, the region became a key battleground of the Russian Civil War, which pitted Bolshevik forces against an array of White Russian armies, led by loyalists to the old czarist regime as well as other political opportunists. After a lot of bloodshed – and other battles with Poland – the Bolsheviks emerged triumphant and officially declared the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1922.
At long last, therefore, the maps of the world now at least had something that roughly resembled modern Ukraine – even if it was wrested by Bolshevik rifles.
The years that followed, however, would be even more traumatic. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Ukraine suffered heavily under the rule of Soviet despot Josef Stalin. A vast segment of Ukraine's rural population was displaced and dispossessed by Stalin's aggressive collectivization policies. A man-made famine (the Holodomor) in 1932-3 led to the deaths of some three million people.
To make up the numbers, Russian speakers from elsewhere immigrated to eastern Ukraine's hollowed out towns and cities, leaving a demographic footprint that defines Ukraine's divisive politics to this day.
As shown in the map below, the tiny principality of Ukraine as of 1654 (dark blue area) had not been much to write home about until the Russians – Czars and Commissars, alike – bestirred themselves with nation-building. Russian nation-building, that is.
The yellow areas being the winnings of Catherine the Great and other Russian Czars over 1654-1917, while the added territories seconded by Lenin's Red Army are represented by the purple area of the map below. These were historic "new Russia" territories added to the Ukraine administrative entity for ease of Communist rule.
Later came the rest of Ukraine proper via added gifts from Stalin's Red Army (light blue area, 1939-1945) . These territories were stolen from the modern artificial state of Poland confected at Versailles. And the previously mentioned gift of Crimea (red area) was added by Khrushchev in 1954.
In short, it needs be recalled that America's borders were established by democratic politicians and have stood the test of 167 years of time during which they have been perfectly fixed. By contrast, today's Ukraine depicted below is the handiwork of tyrants and commies, which changed by the decade.
So the question recurs. Who in their right mind would select the historical mongrel depicted below to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war in order to establish the purported universal rule of law and sanctity of borders?
Indeed, we'd say it's only folks who have lost their minds to the TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). This entire imbroglio, in fact, is not about the nation of Russia, the rule of law, foreign policy or the genuine safety and liberty of the American homeland.
To the contrary, it's about a single member of the 7 billion-strong human race – the utterly demonized, vilified and reviled Vladimir Putin. The Biden mainstream of the Dem party is still not over the shock of November 2016, and apparently mean to do battle permanently with the ogre of Moscow whom they falsely hold accountable for their own self-inflicted defeat.
As it happens, their endlessly repeated mantra that Putin's expansionist intentions were revealed when he "seized" Crimea in 2014 tells you all you need to know. That claim is so hypocritical, threadbare and tendentious that only minds possessed with TDS would even dare to peddle it.
That's because it amounts to saying is that the dead hand of the Soviet presidium must be defended at all costs – as if the security of North Dakota depended upon it!
As previously mentioned, however, the allegedly "occupied" territory of Crimea was actually purchased from the Ottomans by Catherine the Great in 1783, thereby satisfying the longstanding quest of the Russian czars for a warm-water port. Over the ages, Sevastopol then emerged as a great naval base at the strategic tip of the Crimean peninsula, where it became home port to the mighty Black Sea Fleet of the czars and then the Soviet commissars, too.
For the next 171 years Crimea was an integral part of Russia (until 1954). And that's a fact that you can look up in the Google/CIA archives!
In fact, that span equals the 170 years that have elapsed since California was annexed by a similar thrust of "Manifest Destiny" on this continent, thereby providing, incidentally, the United States Navy with its own warm-water port in San Diego.
While no foreign forces subsequently invaded the California coasts, it was most definitely not Ukrainian rifles, artillery and blood that famously annihilated The Charge of the Light Brigade at the Crimean city of Balaclava in 1854, either: The defending combatants were Russians fighting for their homeland against invading Turks, French and Brits.
At the end of the day, security of its historical port in Crimea is and long has been Russia's Red Line, and thereby none of Washington's business.
Unlike today's feather-headed Washington pols, even the enfeebled Franklin Roosevelt at least knew that he was in Soviet "Russia" when he made port in the Crimean city of Yalta in February 1945.
Maneuvering to cement his control of the Kremlin in the intrigue-ridden struggle for succession after Stalin's death a few years later, Nikita Khrushchev allegedly spent 15 minutes reviewing his "gift" of Crimea to his subalterns in Kiev.
As it happened, therefore, Crimea became part of the Ukraine only by writ of the former Soviet Union:
On April 26, 1954 The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring the Crimea Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the** Ukrainian SSR**. Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR….
So, yes, there is every reason for a Kiev government which finally sues for peace to return Crimea to Russia, which owned it all along; and in which Ukrainians accounts for less than 15% of the predominant Russian speaking population. For Washington to claim otherwise and encourage Zelensky to hold out is tantamount to a naked case of hegemonic arrogance.
After all, during the long decades of the Cold War, the West did nothing to liberate the "captive nation" of Ukraine – with or without the Crimean appendage bestowed upon it in 1954. Nor did it draw any red lines in the mid-1990s when a financially desperate Ukraine rented back Sevastopol and the strategic redoubts of Crimea to an equally pauperized Russia.
In short, in the era before we got our Pacific port in 1848 and even during the 170-year interval since then, America's national security has depended not one whit on the status of Russian-speaking Crimea and the Donbas regions of eastern Ukraine. The fact that the local population of the former in March 2014 chose fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble that have seized Kiev amounts to a giant, "So what?"
Still, it was this final aggressive drive of Washington and NATO into the internal affairs of Russia's historical neighbor and vassal, Ukraine, that largely accounts for the current dangerous confrontation. Likewise, it is virtually the entire source of the false claim that Russia has aggressive, expansionist designs on the former Warsaw Pact states in the Baltics, Poland and beyond.
The latter is a nonsensical fabrication. In fact, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine's last semblance of democratic governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazis to gain government positions after the February 2014 coup, which threw-out Ukraine's legitimately elected, Russia-leaning president.
In this context, moreover, the history of the 1930s and 1940s must never be forgotten. As indicated above, Stalin decimated upwards of 15% of the Ukrainian population during the Holodomer (starvations) and then moved huge numbers of Russian-speakers into the Donbas to safeguard its chemical, steel and armaments industries from the defiant locals who were sent to Siberia.
Thereafter, when Hitler's Wehrmacht came charging through Ukraine on its way to the bloody battle of Stalingrad, it had no trouble recruiting hundreds of thousands of vengeance-seeking Ukrainian nationalists to its ranks to do its dirty work: That is, the brutal liquidation of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and other untermenschen.
In fact, during the fall of 1941 began the mass killings of Jews that continued through 1944. An estimated 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews perished, and over 800,000 were displaced to the east; at Baby Yar in Kyiv nearly 34,000 were killed in just the first two days of massacre – and all of these depredations were assisted and often executed by local Ukrainian nationalists.
Then, of course, the tide turned and the Red Army came marching back though the rubble of Ukraine on its way to Berlin. After their victory over the Germans at the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, the Soviets launched an equally brutal scorched earth counteroffensive westward, searching high and low for traitors and collaborators among the Ukrainian population who had allegedly aided the Wehrmacht.
The Germans thus began their slow retreat from Ukraine in mid-1943, leaving wholesale destruction in their wake. In November the Soviets reentered Kyiv, where guerrilla activity intensified amid bloody revenge killings which claimed huge numbers of civilian victims. By the spring of 1944 the Red Army had penetrated into Galicia (western Ukraine), and by the end of October Ukraine was a bloody wasteland, once again under Red Army control.
So it may be fairly asked: What Washington lame brains did not understand that triggering "regime change" in Kiev in February 2014 would reopen this entire blood-soaked history of sectarian and political strife?
Moreover, once they had opened Pandora's Box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?
Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current military showdown and further embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war.
Needless to say, Zelensky gets none of this in the slightest – even though as a native and Russian speaking son of southeastern Ukraine, he actually grew up in a part of modern Ukraine that had been Russian for 370 years!
That's right. He's just the perennial short guy feasting on his 15 minutes of fame. But enough is enough already. In a rational world this double-talking creep should have been sent packing this morning by the US Congress, but these war-obsessed nincompoops can't see the handwriting on the wall.
So once again, here it is. This is where the story ends – even as Washington wages Sanctions War on the entire global economy and thereby the American people as well.
How Ukraine Will Be Partitioned After Kiev Capitulates
In any event, a TV actor who has no script other than that handed to him by his Washington/NATO overseers is one thing. And at the end of the day, it small potatoes compared to the grotesque negligence and misdirection of Sleepy Joe's own keepers.
That is to say, Secy Blinkey and Snake Sullivan should be bent over the above map in earnest conversation with their Russian counterparts as to the fine points of the partition, and the meaning of "neutrality," "de-nazification" and "demilitarization" of the green area of the map, which is to become the future "Ukraine," if there is to be anything left at all.
Needless to say, they are not even talking to the Russians. They are, in fact, so red in tooth and claw with the blood of economic warfare that they would drive the global economy to collapse rather than acknowledge that they – and they alone – brought this horrendous situation to the doorstep of the world.
- 2 toasts