5 Feb 2022
Demonstration over Russia-Ukraine conflict. This was right near
Phladelphia's Federal Building, wihin sight of the Liberty Bell plaza.
Both the Russian news service RT and Dan Froomkin,
a US media critic, had harsh words for Biden Administarstration
spokesperson Ned Price over his response to a rather reasonable
question from the press. Price had warned abou a potential Russian
false-flag operation and was asked for proof.
It was grotesque that Psaki and Price both responded to being openly
doubted by suggesting it was tantamount to believing ISIS or the
Russians over the U.S. government. (Price at least had the grace to sort of apologize.)
Unfortunately, the US government has shown time and time again, over
the past several decades, that reporters need to be skeptical and to
find more objective sources and/or to substantively question what
they're told to see that it's properly supported by evidence and/or makes logical sense.
The Green Berets have been sent to Ukraine to train Ukrainians in unconventional warfare.
That is, warfare beind the lines, away from major troop concentrations.
This strikes me as a highly sensible deterrence move. It means that if
Russians invade Ukraine, they'll have to leave lots of troops behind to
guard supply lines. President Biden has made it clear that he doesn't
want US troops to engage Russian troops in Ukraine. That said, he's
sent several thousand troops to the region to be on standby.
The West is highly motivated to avoid an all-out military conflict as Russia supplies a great deal of energy
to Europe. Russia wants to keep European revenues flowing in, just as
Europe wants to keep Russian natural gas and other fossil fuels to
supply their energy needs.
The United National Anti-War Coalition or UNAC had a Zoom presentation
(The presenters also copied the dialogue and made that available here) on Sunday where they claimed that the balance of armed forces was
about 100k on the Russian side and 150k on the Ukrainian side. Essential
case that UNAC is making is that NATO has expanding since Clinton was president by adding what were Soviet aligned countries to
NATO. Putin has, of course, strongly opposed the addition of
Ukraine to NATO.
Two videos recommended in the presentation: Ukraine On Fire 2016 Oliver Stone and fascismUKraine
(Their point is that Ukraine is a fascist country). The two break-away regions, Donetsk and
Luhansk, that together make up Donbass, are describd as anti-fascists
that are interested in freedom. The Black Alliance for Peace published "Ukraine: Biden Administration’s 'Wag the Dog' Diversionary War?" Essentaial message is that as soon as the US was tossed out of Afghanistan, it needed to start up another conflict.
So, two main questions I have after the presentation: Is Ukraine a
fascist country? and Why have former Sovet regions joined NATO? My
answer to the first question is no. Fascists have a great deal of influence
and can act with near-impunity, but they don't run the country.
President Poroshenko must tread carefully and must take their opinions
into account when he decides on policy, but Ukraine is not a fascist
Why is the Ukrainian army so large and heavily armed? The Reuters piece provides an answer.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea four years ago (piece is from 2019) first exposed the decrepit condition of Ukraine’s armed forces, right-wing militias such as Azov and Right Sector stepped into the breach, fending
off the Russian-backed separatists while Ukraine’s regular military
regrouped. Though, as a result, many Ukrainians continue to regard the
militias with gratitude and admiration, the more extreme among these groups promote an intolerant and illiberal ideology that will endanger Ukraine in the long term.
When your army has been beaten once, you tend to make doubly sure it can stand up to the same foe in the event of a rematch.
How about the expansion of NATO? One of the problems with describing NATO expansion as a threat is that joining the alliance is strictly voluntary.
Countries join it because they want to. Russia didn't consider it a
problem when Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined in 1994. The
Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were never
happy being part of the Soviet Union, joined in 2005. In fact, both
Georgia and Ukraine wish to join as well. In the case of Ukraine at
least, Russia finds the prospect deeply threatening, so President Biden
has promised that not only will Ukraine not join, but that American
troops will not enter the country even if Russia attacks it.
Russia made a deal with Ukraine in 2014. How's that going? Kyiv is in a tricky position. President Poroshenko has to manuever carefully. The piece talks about the Donbass here.
Russia is pushing Kyiv to implement its interpretation of the terms of a
2015 peace deal. Known as the Minsk-II agreement, the deal offers
Ukraine control of the breakaway regions in it’s east so long as it
delegates constitutional autonomy to the two regions, done in
consultation with Russia’s separatist proxies.
Again, Poroshenko has to be careful. He doesn't wish to be seen as
capitulating to Russian demands, neither does he want to declare war.
He's trying to manuever between the two options.
Julia Ioffe is a multi-media person (Writes, appears on TV, etc.) who explicitly identifies herself as Russian. As you can see here,
she's no fan of Putin and doesn't think the Democratic Socialists of
America really understand what's going on between Russia and Ukraine. More from Ioffe.
So I don't know. I've been active in the peace movement since late
2002, but often supported and/or sympathized with it since well before
then. Never been an automatic, knee-jerk peacenik, but war is usually
the wrong answer. In this case, I'm pretty inclined to support peace
through deterrence. We should make it clear to Putin that, yeah, he can
invade Ukraine if he wants, but there will be a heavy price to pay if
he does so. If both sides just growl and snarl and don't start
shooting, great! That'd be an awesome solution! I don't think Biden is trying to start a war, I think he's trying to prevent one.
This is Bob Smith of the Brandywine Peace Community.