Crimea – a flashpoint for conflict in the new cold war?
Warning! Article contains Commie BS
THE forthcoming Kiev summit on reclaiming Crimea from Russia, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, points to a likely flashpoint in the deepening new cold war.
China, as the US’s top rival – economically, technologically and ideologically – is certainly Washington’s main target.
Nonetheless there is absolutely no indication of a softening stance against Russia, and as in the original cold war both Europe and Asia contain trigger points that could explode into catastrophic conflict.
Tensions with Russia run through the Middle East, where its military intervention in Syria thwarted US designs, and in Europe, where the EU’s drive to absorb former Soviet states into its economic orbit combines with a US-led push to align them militarily with Nato.
This was graphically illustrated by Operation Defender Europe 2021, a mammoth set of military exercises which one participant – Ukraine – was honest enough to describe as a dry run for “the war with Russia.”
The Pentagon’s insistence that these manoeuvres are key to “interoperability” is a euphemism for Nato’s core purpose as a mechanism to subordinate their armies to Washington – a process with economic perks (Bulgaria is one country that has recently been instructed to ditch its Russian-built MiG aircraft and buy US-made F-16s to better facilitate “interoperability”).
From Russia’s perspective these war games rub salt into the wounds of 30 years of broken promises: the Soviet military withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact countries in 1989 was conducted in return for a pledge that Nato would not move even “one inch to the east.” Nato has, of course, swallowed up almost all the former Warsaw Pact nations and several former republics of the Soviet Union itself.
This is the context in which Ukraine plans a summit on reclaiming Crimea.
Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014 was certainly a breach of international law.
Whether its officials massaged the figures in the subsequent referendum on union with Russia is a moot point: few with any knowledge of the region doubt that a majority of Crimeans were genuinely in favour. The peninsula has a big ethnic Russian majority and was part of Russia before being transferred to Ukraine in an internal Soviet reorganisation in the 1960s. Even so, unilateral military action to redraw borders is always exceptionally dangerous.
Yet aside from the fact that the US and its allies have repeatedly done the same, the Russian action was a predictable response to the US and EU-backed coup against Ukraine’s elected government in 2014.
The extremists elevated to power in Kiev have rehabilitated Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera as well as anti-semitic butchers like Symon Petliura. They allow marches commemorating the achievements of the Waffen SS. They deploy neonazis like the Azov battalion to the war they provoked with the Donbass.
Just as with its jihadist proxies in Libya and Syria, Washington has no qualms about arming fascists to further its geostrategic goals.
Ukraine’s tragedy stems from the Maidan coup itself and, before that, from the very collapse of the Soviet Union whose anniversary Western leaders have picked for the summit. Its economy halved in size in the year from 2014 and has still not recovered. Living standards have never regained Soviet levels.
Since 2014 its public services have been subjected to aggressive privatisation, its health service has been marketised, its Communist Party banned and an EU-demanded law opposed by over three-quarters of the population has privatised its land and facilitated its sale to foreign agribusiness.
These are the fruits of co-operation with the “friends” invited to Kiev to help it reclaim Crimea.
Yet even that is not the real reason to oppose this summit.
Britain has recently demonstrated its willingness to provoke live fire from Russian ships by sailing through Crimean waters.
Cold wars can get hot. The continual goading of Russia by Western militaries could have disastrous consequences.
(c) Morning Star