Playing Ukraine: Will America and NATO defend Ukraine from Russia?
ALASKA: Ukraine has long been the political and economic chessboard for nations vying for power, resources, and position in Europe and Asia. The recent escalation in rhetoric and military posturing in Ukraine should be of concern to Europe, Asia, and the United States.
War was, in essence, declared by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on March 24, 2021.
In a document, titled “Presidential Decree No. 117/2021”, the US-backed Ukrainian leader declared that it is “the official policy of Ukraine to take back Crimea from Russia”.
Furthermore, Biden then formally declared, “Crimea is Ukraine!”
Ukraine occupies a unique strategic global position with the benefit of natural ports, waterways, and fertile soil. However, is energy access and oil once again an underlying motivation worth fighting over?
It is important to understand the history of Ukraine before deciding which policies should be pursued and who actually has a casus belli (justification for war) in this situation. Here is a brief overview.
Hellenic outposts were placed in the area known as “Ukraine” as were Roman empire military bases in ancient times. The Magyars, the Eastern Slavs, Vikings, and Cossacks migrated and settled on what is now Ukrainian land.
Mongols invaded the region known as “Rus” sacking Kyiv.
Christianity became firmly established with a strong Orthodox church in the late 900s. The Poles and Lithuanians brought the Roman Catholic church to Ukraine and fought over territory. The Ottoman empire attacked Ukrainians ruthlessly, and constructed mosques that are still standing in the western part of Ukraine. Ukraine became part of the Imperial Russian empire in the late 1700s.
Agreements were reached with the western portion of Ukraine under the control of the Hapsburgs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before World War I.
The Bolshevik revolution in Russia spread to Ukraine and affected the Soviet policies toward Ukraine for the next decades. Western Ukraine was divided between maintaining trade relations with its neighbors, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania, and its longstanding relationship with Russia in its various incarnations. Ukraine was given “annexed” land from neighboring countries through the 1950s.
Ukraine was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Ukrainians suffered tremendous hardship and loss of life under the brutal “industrialization plans” imposed on them.
“Wholesale collectivization began in 1929, under duress from party activists and under threat of economic sanctions. The percentage of farms collectivized rose from 9 to 65 percent from October 1929 to March 1930 and exceeded 90 percent by the end of 1935. Mass resistance to collectivization—in the form of revolts, slaughter of cattle, and destruction of machinery—was answered by the imposition of ever higher delivery quotas and confiscation of foodstuffs.”
Stalin declared “Russification” was the official policy and the destruction of the Ukrainian villages and persecution of the “kulaks” resulted in Holomodor-The Great Famine-and death of over four million Ukrainians, mostly as a result of starvation.
The German army attacked mercilessly and forcibly transported 2.2 million Ukrainians for forced labor to Germany. “Ukraine’s human and material losses during World War II were enormous. Some 5 to 7 million people perished. Even with the return of evacuees from the east and the repatriation of forced labourers from Germany, Ukraine’s estimated population of 36 million in 1947 was almost 5 million less than before the war. Because more than 700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages had been destroyed, 10 million people were left homeless. Only 20 percent of the industrial enterprises and 15 percent of agricultural equipment and machinery remained intact, and the transportation network was severely damaged. The material losses constituted an estimated 40 percent of Ukraine’s national wealth.”
While there were Ukrainians who worked for independence and the reintroduction of their Ukrainian language in schools and the revival of Ukrainian culture and religion; the real breakthrough in public support came after the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.
In 1991, a referendum for Ukrainian Independence was voted in by an 84% majority. Ukraine’s neighbors supported the move. Ukraine and Russia signed the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership” (1997), which recognized Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and existing borders (including Crimea) and regularized relations. Their new relationship was compared to an “amicable divorce” agreement.
At the time, the USA and NATO were not pleased with Ukraine aligning closely with other former Soviet republics. Ukraine joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova).
Unfortunately, leadership in the early years of the newly independent Ukraine was besieged with corruption and pressures from outside interests, criminal networks and disgruntled western nations who wanted more leverage against Russia. Intel agencies and professional disrupters tried a color revolution in 2004 – the so-called “Orange Revolution”. This action failed miserably.
Election Interference in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is a strong character elected by Ukrainians as Governor of Donetsk, Prime Minister, and then President of Ukraine much to the disgust of the USA and NATO nations. He wanted to cultivate harmonious relations on all levels with Russia.
Certain high-profile U.S .politicians and their families were already exploiting Ukraine before, during, and after the engineered “Orange revolution”. They did not want the scrutiny of President Yanukovych.
“More evidence is being released concerning the “coup” the US created under the Obama/Clinton administration and endorsed by the late Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. There is a plethora of evidence on open sources including documentaries and investigative reporting via videos online.” (Head of Stratfor, the ‘Private CIA’, Says Overthrow of Ukraine’s Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’
Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Nancy Pelosi her son, Paul Pelosi Jr., Mitt Romney and his top aide, J. Cofer Black were involved with the notorious Burisma Oil company under the US installed puppet, President Petro Poroshenko. Poroshenko was ushered in to be “pro-west” after the coup and “Maidan massacre” in 2014-2015, against President Yanukovych. Former CIA agent Ray McGovern on the conflict in Ukraine, stated: “It was a coup, sponsored by the West”. McGovern was in the inner circle.
Disgraced American Ambassador Marie Yovanovich (who had/has close ties with Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama) a known anti-President Trumper, was heavily involved as was Victoria Nuland, in these scandals. (The Untold Story of the Trump-Ukraine ‘Scandal’: The Routine Corruption of US Foreign Policy)
Familiar Players Return
Another player is the current Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Blinken was a chief architect of the US-backed coup against Ukraine in 2014. He promised full US support for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine. While Ukraine had a brief respite to sort out corruption and policies under President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the drums of war using Ukraine as a pre-text, are beating again. Remember the current US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, was formerly a board member of Raytheon, one of the largest Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) companies in the world. Mr. Austin promised Ukraine, “unwavering, full military support”. Raytheon produces a multitude of weapons that could be supplied for “support”. It is reported over 300 tons of weapons arrived in March along with more military “trainers” and $125 Million, provided by the USA.
Ben Hodges, a former commander of the US Army in Europe, demanded in the military magazine Defense One, that “the US develop a strategy for the entire Black Sea region and make it clear that it is “vital” to American interests”. He also called for more aid to Ukraine and strategic exercises in the region. In a similar vein, the foreign policy think tank Atlantic Council demanded that “the US supply the Ukrainian Air Force with fighter jets, smart munitions and cruise missiles.”
USAID, the US State Department, NGOs with George Soros money and NATO funds, were funneled into Ukraine before, during, and presently under entertainer President Volodymyr Zelenksy. They continue to leverage pressure on President Zelensky to disregard the Ukrainian people’s referendum from Crimea. Crimean’s themselves, voted overwhelmingly to align with Russia. There were many Ukrainians who were not in favor of the western supported “civil war” in their country. It was and is difficult to discern credible sources on who is actually responsible for attacks and violent incidents in the east of Ukraine. The US and NATO narrative lay blame on “Russia” and “the Russians did it”. Sound familiar?
The Biden administration team also imposed sanctions on Russia over its Nord Stream 2 gas project with Europe.
There are accusations that external (Western) forces have been used to promote and help destabilize the region, to promote Crimea being split from Russia. This would also make it easier for the West to ensure the resources they want can be further controlled. It would prevent Russia’s exports and incoming revenue from selling their oil to Europe via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Concurrently it would place Saudi Arabia in a stronger position. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the USA and not aligned with Russia.
Many Ukrainians and Russians feel more kinship to each other than to the USA or NATO countries. They recognize Russia is no longer a communist country and share a common link in Christianity and history. Many Ukrainians also speak, read and write Russian from the education system which implemented Russian starting in the 1920s. They see no reason for US and NATO interference except as an excuse for drilling for oil in their seaports.
“The Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on the Accession of the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Federation and on Forming New Constituent Entities within the Russian
Federation” was signed six years ago, on March 18, 2014. The Crimean Spring and the free vote at the referendum in Crimea, which was a fine example of the right of peoples to self-determination sealed in the UN Charter and the Declaration on Principles of International Law; allowed Crimea to reunite with Russia.
Of all Russian regions, Crimea has been affected most severely by destructive foreign actions.
Standing up against the openly unfriendly and Russophobic actions calls for consolidated efforts and comprehensive political, legal, financial, economic, cultural and humanitarian measures, as well as information campaigns to raise public awareness.”
The Russian government made its position clear. It re-positioned its own equipment and military assets closer to its border with Ukraine. There have been reports of morale problems within the Ukrainian troops who do not want to fight their own countrymen or the Russians.
“As soon as information about the real concentration of real Russian troops came out, mass desertions from “the most powerful army in Europe began,” Markov wrote. The 36th Marine Brigade, stationed near Mariupol reported 44 people left without permission. He noted that, according to experts, only 40% of the personnel of the Ukrainian army are ready to participate in hostilities.” argumenti.ru
US open sources report a buildup on the border including confirmation of Iskander ballistic missiles. Both sides are doing more than just presenting a show of force. They are preparing for a confrontation.
Leadership is key here in terms of the next decision and steps to either escalate or de-escalate the situation.
Consider the leaders of the USA and of Russia at present and the leading NATO nation leaders. Unfortunately, President Erdogan of Turkey has not been known as a consistent or reliable NATO ally.
An insecure Ukrainian leader is a pawn on their board. This will be a play for keeps with high stakes.
About the Author:
Joanne Patti Munisteri lives a ‘different’ life that has taken her around the world. She has lived and worked in Armenia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia, Ascension Island, Italy, Northern Ireland, England, New Zealand, Egypt, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iraq, China, and is now working in remote Alaska. She works in the fields of education, health, monitoring and evaluation, research, and training. Joanne is a certified Combat Analyst and Social Scientist. Joanne was also part of the Human Terrain System (HTS) with the US Army, training at Ft. Leavenworth.
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