Building up to a Third World War?
It is always tempting the gods to cite the past as a prediction of the future or to draw false parallels, but history can teach us lessons even if our leaders rarely choose to learn from them.
The Middle East and indeed the whole Islamic world is in catastrophic turmoil with no clear protagonists or outcomes. This has led to an unprecedented destruction of cities and infrastructure across the whole region, millions of refugees and traumatised families. We know this is largely as a result of western meddling and military incursion, but the meddlers are now at a loss to find the magic to put the genie back in the bottle and are seemingly indifferent to the enormity of the human cost.
Concurrently, we have a dangerous escalation of civil conflict in Ukraine at the heart of Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, Europe and the world have not faced such an incendiary situation. The parallels with the situation before both the First and Second World Wars are striking, as are the blindness to the dangers and the refusal to learn the necessary lessons by the political elite. In fact they themselves are deliberately distorting history and fanning the flames of conflict for ulterior motives.
Using particularly inflammatory rhetoric, Cameron tells European leaders that ‘to appease Putin over Ukraine as Britain and France did with Adolf Hitler in the run-up to the Second World War’ would be encouraging Russian expansionism. He told them ‘Putin had to be stopped from seizing all of Ukraine’. Such comments are not only offensive to Putin and the Russian people but a grave insult to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in their millions to save us from German fascism.
Without proper evidence, the Pentagon and the US administration have accused Russia of firing rockets from Russian territory into Ukraine. As ‘proof’ James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, presented some grainy, indistinct satellite images. But EU leaders are once again willing to accept this ‘evidence’ at face value and follow the US lead in escalating the Ukrainian conflict. Clapper is well-known as a notorious liar: he has misinformed the US public on a number of occasions, under oath in the senate. Interestingly the satellite photos he showed were not from the National Security Agency or other US spy sources, but from a private satellite company, Global Scope.
A memorandum to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, by the the steering group of the US organisation,Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), in response to the war in Ukraine is salutary. It addresses allegations from the US and NATO of a Russian invasion in support of rebel forces. In the memorandum they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of US intelligence. They stated that satellite photos released to the press are not a sufficient basis for the claim of an invasion, likening it to the case for war in Iraq (a reference to the dodgy ones used by Colin Powell in the UN to justify the invasion of Iraq), and suggested the claims of a Russian invasion are a cover for a series of successes by the rebels.
Western media have completely ignored the mounting refugee crisis in eastern Ukraine, but according to United Nations estimates almost 730,000 people have now left Ukraine and moved to Russia this year because of the war in the east of the country. Some 87 per cent of the forced migrants are from the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. The Ukraine government is bombing and shooting at its own people who feel they will only be safe in Russia.
At the beginning of June, the number of refugees coming to Russia from eastern Ukraine was 2,600. By August 1, that total had increased to 102,600 people. Russia’s Federal Migration Service says that there are currently about two million Ukrainians in Russia, of whom 600,000 are from south-eastern Ukraine and 36,000 are living in temporary accommodation.
The mounting attacks on Putin make no reference to the centuries old historical links between Ukraine and Russia and the fact that Kiev is one of the cradles of the Russian nation. Nor do these attackers recognise the fact of a Russian-speaking minority living in the eastern Ukraine who have been subject to discrimination and attacks by the non-elected Kiev regime, comprising extreme nationalist and fascist elements.
A Western consensus depicting Putin as an imperialist, land-grabbing dictator is a concerted attempt to demonise Russia once more and return to the cold war cliches.
The governments of the former Soviet republics are, with the exception of Belarus, extremely hostile to Russia, an attitude born out of historical circumstances. However, this hostility is being cynically played upon and fanned by the West. The choice of the Polish ex-prime minister Donald Tusk as the new EU president of the European Council is also significant. He is an avid Russophobe and aggressively pro-EU .
Western consensus depicting Putin as an imperialist, land-grabbing dictator is fallacious and dangerous. He nor the Russian government or its people have any designs on the former republics. This is a completely concocted justification for supporting the illegitimate Ukrainian regime and to frighten the other former Soviet republics into joining the ongoing war. There is no evidence whatsoever for such allegations. Apart from anything else the Russian government would hardly be so stupid as to wish to once more conquer the countries which so recently won their independence and whose populations are largely hostile to Russia.
Putin is the elected leader of a democratic country, even if that democracy is flawed and elections are not completely free and transparent. NATO has been expanding inexorably eastwards, despite clear assurances given by Bush to Gorbachev not to do so, and hostility to Russia is being actively encouraged and even fomented by the US. The West encouraged the overthrow of a legitimate Ukrainian government, however corrupt, and has welcomed the new one, installed on the back of an armed coup. Putin and the Russian government have been remarkably restrained vis a vis the escalation in Ukraine and western threats and draconian trade boycott. NATO’s very recent decision to set up ‘rapid response units’ to deal with the so-called Russian aggression will only make a war between Russia, the US and Europe more likely and less difficult to prevent.