Warmongers Inc. or lunatics who belong in an asylum?

The British Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon has said:

I’m worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he [“Putin”] is testing NATO. NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready

Reuters reports his comments:

“I”m worried about Putin,” Fallon told the Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers, saying there was “a very real and present danger” Russia would seek to replicate the tactics it used to unsettle eastern Ukraine and Crimea in the Baltics.

At least there is a certain consistency here. The US/UK line is that Russia”s actions in Crimea and the east of Ukraine are driven by “aggression”, “expansionism” and, of course, “Putin”. There is no, zero, attempt, to understand the basis for Russia”s actions. From this deluded persepctive it is logical in a way to imagine that “Putin” will be moving in on the Baltic states soon.

The obvious danger of this is that it could become a self-fulfilling policy. If the US/UK so provokes Russia then yes, destabilising the Baltic states would be an option. In the same way that the West has destabilised Ukraine.

How the West destabilised Ukraine

Britain supported an illegal coup, in which an elected President was deposed. It doesn’t matter that he was corrupt and kept ostriches. In constitutional democracies there are legitimate ways of dealing with these matters. In any event an election was scheduled for 2015 – just a few months away. Britain as a member of the EU supported the signing of the Association agreement with the new government” even before it had managed to partially legitimize itself with elections. [1] While rioters were driving a legitimate government from office and trying to kill policemen the British Foreign Secretary was explaining that they were “peaceful protesters” [2] . Britain has continually criticised Russia for its support (more alleged than proven even now) for the rebels in Eastern Ukraine while saying nothing about Kiev’s bombing of civilians in the East. [3] Britain is arming Kiev. [4] Despite all the talk about democracy British government policy fails to consider the legitimate concerns of the people in the East of Ukraine, though the facts that they were not involved in the coup in Kiev and their views are not represented by the new government are checkable by usual democratic means. [5] The history of Ukraine is that of a country split between nationalists and pro-Russian elements. This is quite easily checkable. Anyone can do that by just buying a paperback on Russian or Ukrainian history published say by Oxford University Press (not the Communist Publishing league) and reading it. Obviously supporting exclusively one side in a fractured country is going to cause problems.

Russia has a set of rational interests which explain its actions in Crimea and Ukraine. These have been explained pretty openly by President Putin. The following is a brief summary in bullet point form:

  • Crimea was historically part of Russia. It was transferred to Ukraine when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the USSR. And at a time when no one expected the USSR to fall. (Yes; there may be valid historical arguments that Crimea was part of the Russian Empire and not Russia therefore it was not part of Russia per se. But if this is the argument then it should be made. We don”t even get anywhere near this point though because the position of the West is ahistorical. They can”t/won”t discuss history).
  • Russia did not want its Black Sea naval base to become a NATO base.
  • The majority of the population in Crimea is ethnic Russian. Many of the others are Russian speakers who look to Russia and not the tradition of Ukrainian nationalism.
  • Russia is concerned about the onwards expansion of NATO along the entirely of its borders. (Hint: the UK would be concerned if Russia brought the Republic of Ireland into its orbit and set up a missile base there).
  • The people in the East of Ukraine in the main look towards Russia rather than the Ukrainian nationalists who took power in a Western sponsored coup in Ukraine in February 2014. They have substantially different views on such key questions as EU and NATO membership. [6] They were not represented in the coup, which on the contrary toppled the elected President who did represent their views. Far from making efforts to include them the “new government” in Kiev has attempted to ban their language from official communications, described them as terrorists and bombed them.

These are the reasons why Russia is acting as it is. Not because they are led by a tyrant and governed by blind aggression. This narrative is a phantasy. The phantasy masks the aggression of the West. Projection of their aggression onto the other side is familiar fare from the Western political class.]

The comments by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon show how dangerously estranged from reality the British political class is. Michael Fallon is a good example of the kind of modern politician who the writer Peter Oborne has characterised as “political class”. He went straight from “Uni” to a job in the Conservative party. In whose ranks he has risen ever since. Along the way he has held a series of company directorships. None of this (argues Oborne) is likely to have given him the depth and breadth needed to understand international politics.

One of the escalating factors here is the lack of wisdom by these figures. They act, not like statesmen, but like local authority bureaucrats. No doubt Mr Fallon receives reports from NATO about the possible threat to the Baltic states. NATO is a military organisation. Its job is to think of possible worst case scenarios and come up with contingency plans for dealing with them. No doubt some in NATO would relish an opportunity to put some of their plans into action to prove how good they are. An international leader would understand all this and would pro-actively looks for ways to avoid any of this coming true. He would put distance between himself and his technocratic advisers. He would lead. But the political class never show any leadership. Just like local authority bureaucrats their actions are governed by an excessive concern for their own positions and a concern never to be shown to have made a mistake. The easiest way to do this is to hide behind the advice from technocrats. The result is that policy is made on the basis of worst-case scenarios. Thus we move closer to war.

Statements about Russia being a threat to the Baltic states are dangerously irresponsible. At this point it does have to be asked if these people are trying to provoke an open military conflict with Russia. What doesn’t have to be asked any longer is about their aim. They are trying to subjugate Russia.

Finally, lets talk about danger for a moment. Who illegally invaded Iraq which action, according to such diverse figures as Kofi Anan [7] and MI6 [8] led to the rise of Isis? Who repeated the feat in Libya? Who is now trying to wriggle off the hook given the mess that Libya has become? David Cameron. [9] NATO [10] Who has been trying to topple the government of Syria and helping that country plunge into chaos? The UK has been sending non-lethal weapons [11] while the US [12] and other countries send the lethal ones. They tell us that failed states create terrorism. But they create one failed state after another. The situation is ludicrous. While talking up “Russian aggression” they blithely sidle away from disaster after disaster which they are at least partly responsible for.

Notes

1. http://thenewobserver.co.uk/another-leaked-call-the-mask-slips/

2. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/19/uk-ukraine-britain-idUKBREA1I0WE20140219

3. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/ukraine-unguided-rockets-killing-civilians

4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31465365

5. http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

6. http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

7. http://rt.com/news/230387-us-iraq-islamic-state/

8. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/oct/16/politics.alqaida

9. http://thenewobserver.co.uk/oh-the-lies/

10. RT”s evening news programme for 19/9/2015 carries a clip of Jan Scholtenberg explaining that NATO wasn’t the only party involved in Libya and everyone failed to put sufficient presence into Libya after the war. Since the two main bombing parties are both part of NATO and the biggest NATO member, the US, was also involved this is just hogwash.

11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25331241

12. http://www.wsj.com/articles/covert-cia-mission-to-arm-syrian-rebels-goes-awry-1422329582

13. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/david-cameron-and-nato-secretary-general-press-conference

14. The lethal ones and non-lethal ones are part of a package so all are equally responsible.

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