By Bruce Gagnon
I’ve been writing for many years about U.S.-NATO efforts to militarily surround Russia. The oil-i-garchy wants to get ahold of the natural gas (the world’s largest supply) that sits on Russian territory. It also wants full control of the Arctic region now that climate change will make it possible to drill for oil there. Russia has a huge northern coastal border with the Arctic and thus stands in the way of Western oil control.
Already, the war drums are sounding after Russia moved more troops into Crimea to protect its Navy base and the large pro-Russian population in the region.
Writing in Foreign Policy, Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) called for NATO to immediately increase “all intelligence-gathering functions through satellite, Predator unmanned vehicles and especially cyber” and to sail “NATO maritime forces into the Black Sea and set up contingency plans for their use.” This is full-blown war talk—with Russia. Admiral Stavridis was Supreme Allied Commander at NATO from 2009 to 2013. He is currently dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
If Stavridis is saying these things, you can just imagine what plans are under way inside the Pentagon and at NATO Headquarters in Europe.
The Russians know that they are being set up. Reporting for the Asia Times, Pepe Escobar wrote, “Even before neo-con Victoria ‘fuck the EU’ Nuland’s intercept, [Russian intelligence] had already identified the wider mechanics of the CIA-style coup—including Turkish intelligence financing Tatars in Crimea…And what will the Tatars in Crimea do? Stage a jihad? Wait: the ‘West’ will surely try to FINANCE THIS JIHAD.”
It’s Syria all over again, this time right on the Russian border.
Except this time the U.S.-NATO are messing with a country that has the capability to fight back. This is how world wars get started. The Russians are not going to idly sit by and watch the U.S.-NATO set up a right-wing fascist state right on their border. Hitler tried that during WWII and at least 20 million died defending the Soviet Union. Ever since then, the Russian people have been “sensitive” about defending their immediate borders.
The decision adopted on March 1, by the Federation Council, upper house of the Russian parliament, which allows President Vladimir Putin to send troops to Crimea, an autonomy within neighboring Ukraine, aims to protect life and security.
Irina Yarovaya, chair of the Security and Anti-Corruption Committee in the State Duma (lower house of parliament), said that “terrorism is the most dangerous crime around the world. But it is fascism and terrorism that have proclaimed their power in Ukraine and pose a real threat to the life and security of Russian citizens living in Ukraine and undoubtedly to the brotherly people of Ukraine.”
“We have repeatedly warned the international community and the U.S. against interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine,” she said, adding that “some European and U.S. politicians bear direct responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine, for the bloodshed and for the coup.”
She believes that President Barack Obama’s latest statement on Russia “has fully exposed the U.S. policy of brutal interference in the sovereign rights of other countries and aggressive imposition of its interests.”
Of course, the Obama administration is saying that Russia is violating international law by moving more troops into Crimea. Obama is threatening Russia with “severe consequences.” And now you can be sure that NATO is indeed preparing “contingency plans.”
The open question is how will the American people react to all of this? They rightly opposed Obama’s desired cruise missile attack on Syria. Will they be as wise about planting the cancerous NATO flag on Crimean soil?
Clearly, Putin and Russia have been thoroughly demonized in the passive minds of most American citizens. But will they shake the cobwebs from their brains and see the absurdity and sheer recklessness of U.S.-NATO saber rattling on the doorstep of Mother Russia?
Now is the time for all peaceful people to speak out. Before the real shooting starts.
Bruce Gagnon serves as secretary/coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (GN). He has been working on space issues for the past 30 years and helped create the GN in 1992. His book, Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire, was republished in 2008. Read his blogs at http://www.space4peace.org/.
Dan Yaseen will interview Bruce Gagnon on his KFCF 88.1 Free Speech Radio program Speaking Truth to Empire on April 16 at 3 p.m.
Update and Background
By Dan Yaseen
U.S. foreign policy since President Bill Clinton shares much of the blame for what is happening now in Ukraine. When the Soviet Union began to fall, President Ronald Reagan promised Russia that NATO would not encroach on Russia’s borders. The promise was repeated by President George H. W. Bush that if Gorbachev agreed to remove the Soviet troops from East Germany and allowed German reunification, the West would not expand NATO.
Clinton broke the promise and expanded NATO to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, and then President George W. Bush expanded it further in early 2004. Russia took these actions as threatening. Now President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the CIA surreptitiously maneuvered the removal of a duly elected government in Ukraine and act surprised when Russians react to protect its interests and people in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
It seems like déjà vu. Just last September, Obama was denied his military assault on Syria by the American people, the British Parliament and President Vladimir Putin’s diplomacy. Now Obama is going after Putin.
The British Parliament will go along, so it’s up to the American people. Despite all the demonization of Russia and Putin, and associated propaganda about the situation in Ukraine on the mainstream media, the American people are reticent to get involved in international conflicts. A recent Pew Research poll showed 56% of Americans prefer that the United States not get involved in Ukraine. Only 29% would like Obama to take a firm stand against Russia.
It is time for Americans in general and the peace movement in particular to rise up and take a stand. Peace Fresno is planning a demonstration and additional actions. Check the Peace Fresno Web site (www.peacefresno.org) for details.
Dan Yaseen is on the editorial board of the Community Alliance. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.