Ukraine in the Cross Hairs? (FREE)
With Steve Bannon now out of the White House, will the generals surrounding Donald Trump push the president into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine? According to Military.com, “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is set to travel to Ukraine, becoming the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the country since Robert Gates, the Pentagon announced Friday.
“Mattis will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak on Aug. 24, Ukraine's independence day.
“ ‘During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the U.S. remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defense partnership between our two countries,’ the Defense Department said.”
The article did not report that Poroshenko is a dictator who, at the behest of President Obama, in 2014 overthrew the democratically elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych in what Statfor called “the most blatant coup in history.”
According to a report by Global Research, “The Cabinet is not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of defunct fascist UNA-UNSO), the two main Neo-Nazi entities have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice and National Security.”
So, while America is in a tizzy over neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, our government, beginning with Obama and his impeccable liberal, anti-racist credentials, has supported an actual neo-Nazi-influenced government in Kiev.
Bannon was the main voice, perhaps the only remaining one in the inner circle until his firing, for President Trump’s America First campaign promise. Perhaps Trump will continue on that path on his own, but the Mattis trip to Ukraine comes across like a spoiled bowl of borsht.
Trump pledged in his Inaugural Address, just seven months ago, “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”
How does propping up a Right Sector-influenced neo-Nazi regime in Kiev advance America First?
Notice also what the DoD announcement said, “[T]hat the U.S. remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” That includes two areas: Crimea and the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine.
The Russians never will give up Crimea, which is 70% Russian. Crimean was part of Russia from the time of Catharine the Great until Soviet Dictator Nikita Khrushchev “gave” the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine in 1954 during a drunken spree. It didn’t seem to matter then because Ukraine and Russia were enslaved together in the USSR. And the “gift” ironically was part of a celebration of Russia taking over Ukraine 300 years earlier.
The Russians took Crimea back during the 2014 coup to make sure their Crimean naval bases didn’t fall under the control of NATO after a possible inclusion of Ukraine in the treaty organization. Speaking of which, wasn’t NATO supposed to dissolve once there was no more Soviet Union? (Answer: Yes, and when General of the Armies Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of NATO in 1951, he said, “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.”)
Trump, Mattis and the others should realize Russia would undertake a nuclear war, with hundreds of American and Russian cities burned into radioactive glass, before it gives up Crimea ever again. That also doesn’t seem to fit into America First.
As to the Donbass, it’s culturally and linguistically part of Russia. Alexander D. Motyl wrote in February in Foreign Policy that the situation there is a mess, with Russia’s partial takeover of the region allowing Ukraine to avoid cleaning up the Donbass’ massive industrial, ecological and other economic problems. Back then in February, Motyl wrote, “What seems more likely is that the escalation is a prelude to discussions of a grand bargain between Trump and Putin that involves eastern Ukraine in some way.”
Apparently that isn’t happening. Although you never know. Ideally, the pre-2014 coup discussions for new national elections, with a large amount of sovereignty for Ukraine’s separate regions, should begin anew. Maybe Trump, as he has done with North Korea, is just trying to negotiate from a strong position, and will get together with Russian President Putin and work out something sensible on Ukraine.
Meanwhile, it turns out Ukraine’s government – our noble ally! – reportedly sold modern rocket engines to North Korea. According to the New York Times, citing American intelligence officials, “The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.”
Of course, the “studies” could be just disinformation from one of the many factions in the intelligence community, this particular faction being against intervention in Ukraine but for it in North Korea, or something.
The upshot is that Trump was right in his campaign and his Inaugural Address: These are not our problems. Our own country is broke and broken. Let the Europeans and the Asians solve their own problems.