World Domination 469


Add together the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk and you don’t reach the economic output of Dundee.  World domination it isn’t.  Unfortunately both in the Kremlin and on Capitol Hill they, and their satraps, think it is.  Neither side cares at all about the millions of ordinary people in the zone of potential conflict.

The spiral of death in Ukraine is very worrying.  Following the tragic deaths in Odessa, the ball is very much in Putin’s court.  His bluff has very much been called.  We will now learn whether he was stoking clashes in Eastern Ukraine and massing forces on his border in order to give a pretext for invasion – which pretext he now has – or in order to destabilize and intimidate Kiev into moving away from relationships with the EU.

This has been a discussion of the deaf even more within intellectual circles in the West than between Washington and the Kremlin, where at least the Machiavellians understand full well what they are doing.  But their followers either, on the one hand, deny that there are any far right elements on the Ukrainian side or any CIA assistance, or alternatively deny that there are many millions of ordinary Ukrainians who genuinely want to be at peace in their own country and move towards the EU.  They either claim that all the separatists are Russian agents and deny the genuine minority population which yearns for the Soviet Union or Russia, or they deny the existence of Russian agents and special forces in Ukraine, and that most of the Russian nationalists are every bit as right wing and appalling as the equivalent tendency on the Ukrainian side.

First, some history.  The Ukrainian people really do exist.  They have been a subjugated people for centuries, most lastingly by the great Polish-Lithuanian  Empire and then by the Russian Empire.  That does not mean they did not exist.  Consider this: until 1990 there had not been an independent Polish state for over two hundred years, except for a fleeting twenty years between the two world wars.  Yet nobody doubts the Poles are a real nation.  I shan’t start on Scotland again …

None of modern Ukraine was Russian until the 18th century, when the expansion of the Russian empire and decline of the Polish took in these new colonies. As Putin famously remarked, it was called New Russia.  Yes, Vladimir, note it was New.  That is because it was a colony. Just like New York.  Because it was called New Russia gives you no more right to it than the Channel Islands have to New Jersey.  Ukraine had been Russian seven hundred years before its 18th century reconquest, but that population had migrated to Muscovy.

The expansion of the Russian Empire was exactly contemporary with the expansion of the British and American Empires, and other bit players like the French.  Like most of the American, most of the Russian Empire was a contiguous land mass.  The difference between the Russian and British Empires, on the one hand, and the American Empire on the other, was that the Russians and British did not commit genocide of the existing populations.  The difference between the Russian and the British Empires is that the British gave almost all of theirs back in the post-colonial period (a process that needs to be urgently completed). Russia gave back much of her Empire at the fall of the Soviet Union, but still retained a very great deal more than the British.  It is to me inarguable that, in a historical perspective, Putin is attempting to recover as much of the Russian Empire as possible, including but by no means solely by the annexation of Crimea and his actions in Ukraine.

Crimea, incidentally, had maintained its own independent existence as the last remnant of the Mongol Horde right up until the 19th century.  Despite the Russian colonisation of Crimea in the 19th century, it still had a majority Tatar population until the 1940’s, when Stalin tried his hand at genocide on them.  The Tatars were branded Nazis.  Opponents of the Russian Empire are always “Nazis” or “Jihadists”.  The deportation of the Tatars from Crimea was only twenty years before the British did the same genocide to a smaller people in Diego Garcia.  I call for the restitution of both.  Those who call for the restitution of one and not the other are appalling hypocrites.

Equally hypocritical are those who call for a referendum on Russian union for East Ukraine, but not for referenda on independence for Dagestan and Chechnya.  It is an irony insufficiently noted, that in Russia to call or campaign for the separation of any part of the state is a crime punishable by up to 22 years’ imprisonment.  There are over 7,000 people from the Caucasus imprisoned under that law.

There is absolutely no movement among the large minority Russians of the Baltic States to rejoin Mother Russia, because living conditions in the EU are just so much better.  As I have blogged before, it is undeniably true that living conditions for ordinary people in Poland have vastly improved as a result of EU membership, and are much better than in Ukraine – or Russia.

GDP per capita figures for Russia look quite good, but do not give a true reflection of living standards because of astonishing levels of inequality of wealth.  This is very bad in the West, and getting much worse rather rapidly, but is nowhere near as bad as in Russia which is the most viciously capitalist state in the world, made worse by its commodity dependency.  The Russian economy is completely non-diversified, manufacturing and services are miniscule and it is overwhelmingly a raw commodity exporter in energy, metals, grain etc.  That leads to extreme concentration of profit and a lack of employment opportunity.  Combine that with mafia state corruption and you have the oligarchs’ paradise.  Russia is a gangster state.  On top of which, if I were a Russian who campaigned against the Russian government in the same way that I do against  my own, I would be dead.

The desire of ordinary Ukrainians to join the EU one day, and move closer to it now, is understandable and indeed commendable.  It was also the desire of Yanukovich.  Those who claim Western pressure on Yanukovich forget – or choose to ignore – that Yanukovich’s government had actually, quite independently and voluntarily, negotiated the EU co-operation agreement and were on the point of signing it, when Yanukovich was summoned to Moscow by Putin and informed that if they signed the agreement, the energy supplies to Ukraine would immediately be cut off in mid-winter and debt called in.

That is a fact.  It was not illegal for Putin to do that; it was perhaps even legitimate for those who believe in a Machiavellian approach to great power politics.  Yanukovich temporized, between a rock and a hard place.  Ukraine seemed to be at a key moment of  balance, hung between the EU and Russia. The capital being in West Ukraine and overwhelmingly ethnic Ukrainian, pro-EU crowds started to build up.  Then things started to get wildly out of control.

Were western governments encouraging pro-western groups in Ukraine?  Yes, that’s their job.  Did this include covert support? Yes.  Were the Russians doing precisely the same thing with their supporters?  Yes, that’s their job too.  Did the Americans spend 5 billion dollars on covert support?  Of course not.

Victoria Nuland claimed in a speech America had put 5 billion dollars into Ukraine.  I used to write those kind of speeches for British ministers.  First you take every bit of money given by USAID to anything over a very long period, remembering to add an estimate for money given to international projects including Ukraine.  Don’t forget to add huge staff costs and overheads, then something vast for your share of money lent by the IMF and EBRD, then round it up well.  I can write you a speech claiming that Britain has given five billion dollars to pretty well anywhere you claim to name.

The problem is that both the left and right have again, equal but opposite motives for believing Nuland’s bombast about the extent of America’s influence on events.  I have been in this game.  You can’t start a revolution in another country.  You can affect it at the margins.

A military coup you certainly can start.  One thing we don’t really know nearly enough about is what happened at the end, when Yankovich had to flee.  The Maidan protestors would never have caused a government to fall which retained full control of its army.  The army can fail the rulers in two ways.  First is a revolutionary movement among normal soldiers – the French revolution model.  Second is where the troops remain disciplined but follow their officers in a military coup.  The latter is of course a CIA speciality.  More evidence is needed, but if this is the second model, it is unusual for it not to result in military control of government.  Egypt is the obvious current example of a CIA backed coup.

After Yanukovich we had entered the world domination game.  Putin seemed to have lost.  The annexation of Crimea was a smart move by Putin in that game, because there probably is a genuine small majority of the population there who would like to join Russia.  I have no doubt whatsoever that Putin himself does not believe the 93% for a moment.  As I said, the Machiavellian players of world domination are realistic; it is their purblind followers on either side who buy their propaganda.

The Kiev government and the West should have conceded Crimea before Putin moved his troops into it.  The sensible thing for the new Kiev government to have done would have been to offer a referendum in Crimea itself, under its own auspices.  That would have got the most hardline pro-Russian voters out of the country for good. But by that time, everyone had gone into Macho mode, which is where we still are.

None of the remaining provinces would opt to join Russia given the choice.  There is no shortage of existing and historic opinion poll evidence on that.   Crimea was the only province with an ethnic Russian majority.  The Eastern provinces have Russian speaking majorities, but most are ethnic Ukrainian. I base ethnicity here purely on self-identification in census (and, as I have repeatedly explained, absolutely everybody in the former Soviet Union knows precisely what is asked in the questions of Gradzvanstvo and Narodnosch). Just as some Welsh people speak English, some Ukrainians speak Russian but do not consider themselves Russian.  Putin’s frequent references to the Russian-speaking peoples coming back to Russia are as sinister as if we started talking of re-uniting all the English speaking people in the world.

As almost always with colonies, the minority ethnic Russian populations in the East of Ukraine are more concentrated in urban areas.  Hence it has been possible in regional capitals to mobilise gangs of disaffected and unemployed Russian young men (in view of Ukraine’s basket case economy there are plenty), and with a slight stiffening of Russian forces take control of town centres.  There is a significant minority, and possibly a majority in town centres, willing to support.  It is, I think, extremely important to understand that the thugs on both sides are very unpleasant.  I have the particular experience of relations with a lot of Uzbeks, and the incidence of racial attacks by Russian nationalist thugs within Russia itself is absolutely horrifying and almost completely unreported.  The swastika is a popular symbol among young macho men throughout all of former Eastern Europe including Russia.  I absolutely guarantee you that an equally significant proportion of the pro-Russians who have been attacking anyone who tries to show support for Ukraine within Eastern Ukrainian cities, are no more and no less right wing, racist and vicious than the appalling Pravy Sektor thugs included on the other side.  We have plenty within the EU – there is a serious problem, for example, with the official encouragement given to commemorations of pro-Nazi forces within the Baltic states which often have a distinctly neo-Nazi tinge.

Putin’s campaign of controlling the urban centres appears to have gone wrong in Odessa, which is simply too large for the numbers of available young men armed with baseball bats to take control.  The pro-Russians were badly beaten in precisely the same street fighting they had been winning elsewhere.  The culmination of this was the terrible fire and deaths. My expectation is there will not be many women, children or old people among the dead, but also there will not be many non-Ukrainian nationals.  I expect these will prove to have been local Russian young men.

Putin now has a real problem.  His own rhetoric has indicated that he will sweep in and defend these Russians, but there is one thing anyone with half a brain should have worked out by now.  The ruling 1%, the ultra-wealthy, in both Russia and the West are so interconnected with each other that they are playing the game of world domination while trying at the same time to make sure nobody super-rich really loses his money.  Hence the strange obviously bogus sanctions regimes. Real stock market disruption and confiscation of corrupt assets would be difficult to avoid if the tanks start rolling in earnest.  We may be saved from utter disaster by the sheer scale of global corruption, which is a strange conclusion.

I would like to think the awful deaths of the last few days would lead both sides to step back from the brink.  The time has come for a peacekeeping force.  Negotiations should be held urgently to make the Kiev interim government more inclusive of opposition elements from the East – and they must oust the far right at the same time.  The UN Security Council should then send in UN peacekeepers, which must include both Russian and western forces in close integration, to keep the peace while genuine elections are held.  I can see no other way forward which does not risk disaster.


469 thoughts on “World Domination

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  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Craig; If global avarice is the only hope, should we be concerned about how Western influence might profit from Putin’s demise? Surely they have economic interests which fall on one side and not the other?

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    Craig,

    Odessa not Donetsk was where the 40 or so died inside the Trades Union building.

    Here’s the Russian version

    http://rt.com/news/156592-odessa-activists-burnt-alive/

    Odessa slaughter: How vicious mob burnt Ukraine anti-govt activists alive

    Dozens of people died in flames in Odessa, when radicals set ablaze the local House of Trade Unions with anti-government protesters blocked inside. The city is now in mourning for those who died, suffocated in smoke or had to jump out of windows.

    What triggered the tragedy were violent clashes, which erupted on Friday afternoon between two rival rallies in Ukraine’s port-city of Odessa.

    Around 1,500 supporters of the Kiev authorities, accompanied by aggressive fans of the local football club, Chernomorets, tried to march through the center of the city chanting “Glory to Ukraine,” “Death to enemies,” “Knife the Moskals [derogatory for Russians].” Some of the people in the group were wearing ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement insignia, were armed with chains and bats and carried shields.

    Several hundred anti-government activists eventually confronted the procession. Fighting broke out as a result, with members of the rival groups throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and smoke grenades at each other and at police. The pavements were spattered with blood.

    Neither side is “innocent” but watching the scenes live yesterday was disturbing. Only the Ukrainian Fire Brigade came out of this looking good. If it hadn’t been for them going in there would have been a lot more “pro-Russian” dead.

  • craig Post author

    Ben

    I don’t think global avarice is the only hope at all. Just noting a passing irony of the situation. I think that those who control the west have no particular interest in Putin’s demise – the present system of raking it in has been working pretty well for all of them.

    Please put you other comment on the thread on that exact topic.

  • craig Post author

    Alconon

    Thanks – amended. I fear these mental slips come with old age! I should say that Russian report is pretty compatible with what I wrote – pro-Russian group taking control of town centre in City which was too big for them to intimidate. As I said, I think the sex and age profile of the victims will give a decent idea of whether they were peaceful demonstrators or not. I much doubt it. Of course the Russian report will say all the Russians were peaceful and all the Ukrainians Nazis. That is no more true than its opposite, which is also not true.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Yes, Craig. Posted that here in error.

    So Western sanctions are just window dressing for hometown consumption? You see no Neo-Con backstage but salient and influential power?

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    AA; regional and ethnic hatred with attendant baggage, or was there biased assistance from the Odessa police influenced by Kyev?

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    All I can say Ben is that the Odessa police left both sides to each other initially. Once it became clear that a tragedy was unfolding firemen went up ladders into the building and rescued people from upper floors. As they were brought to the ground they were then set upon by a violent mob with baseball bats or similar. The police stood across the street and watched as the firemen attempted to protect those rescued and get them to ambulances. Eventually (maybe after an hour or so) the police did intervene.

    The vast majority of Maidan supporters may be peaceful but there were one hell of a lot who weren’t in Odessa yesterday. There were three live streams from different broadcasters covering the event live (including Ukrainian television) but the event was generally ignored by western news channels as it occurred.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Like I’ve said, we need an official program of the players, AA. Finding the good guys is like the search for MH 370………..I got nothin’. 🙂

  • Tony_0pmoc

    That’s very good Craig. I think both William Hague and Catherine Ashton would give you a pass on that – and maybe even Victoria Nuland and her PNAC husband Robert Kagan – at least you weren’t too hard on them. But I only partially buy it, and I think you are completely omitting some very important history, that is totally relevant to the situation in the Ukraine.

    My perception of what is happening is just an extension to the globalist agenda that started around 30 years ago, and was massively accelerated immediately after 9/11 with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now the Ukraine – with Europe next in the target line for total collapse and chaos.

    The US neocons directly descendant from Trotsky and infiltrated and merged with the US Military Industrial Complex – are pursuing an agenda of complete world domination and control, and causing complete and utter chaos, poverty, civil war and collapse in numerous parts of the world concurrently is an integral part of their long held plans. They are actually goading Putin to intervene in Ukraine, and by every means possible force the cut off of Russian energy (the largest exporter of energy in the World) to Europe – with China next in line, after Europe has been decimated by total energy collapse.

    European politicians, instead of standing up to these threats to their own populations, appear to be under some kind of satanic control by these monsters across the pond, who not only could not care less about the people in the Ukraine, they also couldn’t care less about the people in Europe, or for that matter the people in the USA, who are becoming just as much victims as the rest of the world, as all their wealth producing jobs are moved to third world countries to maximise profits for the shareholders of the most powerful corporations.

    Tony

  • lwtc247

    “massing forces on his border” – said which western propaganda outlet exactly? The same one that said Saddam was amassing troops on the border of Saudi perchance?

  • lwtc247

    “British did not commit genocide of the existing populations.” – there’s a fair few million hungry Indians that might like to pick a bone or two about that statement.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Does the West really want a peaceful resolution for all sides in Ukraine? There seems to be some inconsistency.

    http://rt.com/op-edge/talks-ukraine-west-russia-376/

    “On the one hand, they are posturing as if they want to be dealmakers, as if they want to broker some kind of a peace. On the other hand, not only did they continue to support the illegal government in Kiev and continue to make very inflammatory comments regarding Russia and their purported role in what’s happening in Eastern Ukraine. At the same time we are also seeing that the US really quite unsure about what their policy is going to be.

    The visit from the CIA Director Brennan which was made very clear to the media through back channels was not just an advisory role as the Western media has portrayed it, but he has given the insurances quite obviously to the so-called government in Kiev that the US would back them in their so-called antiterrorist operation in the East. So much of the conflict that we’ve seen happening in Donetsk and in the other regions in the East is direct byproduct of the dual US so-called diplomacy, or what I would call, diplomacy and subversion.

  • craig Post author

    Ben,

    Take what Russia Today says on Ukraine. Take what Fox News says. The truth won’t lie in the middle, you will rather be acquiring a pile of shit.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Craig

    That was a tour d’horizon magistral and said all that really needs to be said. Even the experienced friends of Vladimir will find it difficult to contest very much and still retain a shred of credibility. Congratulations.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Craig; You can’t manufacture bellicose threats from Obama and NATO. They are inconsistent firebombs on gasoline. That’s not diplomacy, it’s preparation

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    BTW

    “..living conditions for ordinary people in Poland have vastly improved as a result of EU membership, and are much better than in Lithuania – or Russia.”
    ___________-

    I think you meant to say “Ukraine” rather than “Lithuania”?

  • craig Post author

    LWTC247
    The British Empire certainly carried out atrocities in India. There is no respectable argument it carried out genocide. Same is true of Russian expansion in Asia.

  • Kempe

    “Vladimir Putin has taken Russia back to pre-Soviet nationalist attitudes. ”

    I think that’s what Alec Salmond meant when he said Putin had restored Russian pride. Now we’re about to see the consequences.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Completely agree with this post and interesting to hear some of the history. The Russian government and pro-Russians in Ukraine are churning out propaganda just as much as the Kiev government and their US allies are.

    Mixed Russian and NATO peacekeeping forces with a common mandate and duty to prevent fighting sounds like a good solution – worried that instead the Russians will try to be the only ones deployed in the East and South which they want to control and that NATO will deploy only in the West.

  • craig Post author

    Ben

    Again, the stupidity of the completely one-sided. Russia has made continued threats to intervene militarily in Ukraine. Only one foreign country has actually sent in troops. Why do you see evil only on one side?

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    ” Why do you see evil only on one side?” I think this is the intersection of pov’s. One side only sees Putin as bad, seemingly giving a pass to the fascists. I guess you’re right, there is no middle ground.

  • mike

    A long post, Craig. It deserves to be studied before composing a detailed response.

    For the time being, given your interest in BBC propaganda try the headline “Pro-Russian anger at Odessa deaths” for size. Why “Pro-Russian”? Does that lessen the anger that should be felt? It is only “Pro-Russian” so there’s no need for anyone else to get worked up about it? These people were deliberately torched after seeking shelter in a trade union office.

    Brownshirts like setting fire to things, as well as breaking shops windows.

    A final thought, for now: Many of the banners in the east are anti-Nazi. The people who live there know who the enemy is. The army that did the bulk of the fighting in the final assault on Berlin in April 1945 were Ukrainian divisions. And now there are Nazis in their own Government. Excuse them if they’re a little…testy with that.

  • Herbie

    “Washington has no intention of allowing the crisis in Ukraine to be resolved.”

    Elites love chaos.

    “Having failed to seize the country and evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base, Washington sees new opportunities in the crisis.”

    “The Wolfowitz doctrine justifies Washington’s dominance of all regions. It is consistent with the neoconservative ideology of the US as the “indispensable” and “exceptional” country entitled to world hegemony.

    Russia and China are in the way of US world hegemony. Unless the Wolfowitz doctrine is abandoned, nuclear war is the likely outcome.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38396.htm

  • Herbie

    “Here’s a brief excerpt from an interview with Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies and history emeritus at New York University on Monday on PBS Newshour. Cohen helps to clarify what is really going on viv a vis the US and Russia:

    “What we’re watching today is the worst kind of history being made, the descent of a new Cold War divide between West and East in Europe, this time not in faraway Berlin, but right on Russia’s borders through Ukraine. That will be instability and the prospect of war for decades to come for our kids and our grandchildren. The official version is that Putin is to blame; he did this. But it simply isn’t true. This began 20 years ago when Clinton began the movement of NATO toward Russia, a movement that’s continued.

    …the fundamental issue here is that, three or four years ago, Putin made absolutely clear he had two red lines…One was in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. (Putin would not allow NATO in Georgia) The other was in Ukraine. We crossed both. You got a war in Georgia in 2008, and you have got today in Ukraine because we, the United States and Europe, crossed Putin’s red line.” (PBS News Hour)

    There’s no doubt who is to blame for the present conflict in Cohen’s mind. It’s Washington.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37878.htm

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