Renewed Escalation

This summer witnessed a renewed escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs to attack Russian troops, targeting “critical infrastructure”. Kiev denied the allegations and claimed Russia’s “fantasy” was nothing but a false pretense to launch a “new invasion”.

 


August 10: Russian president Putin announces that there was an altercation involving a group of Ukrainian saboteurs at the border with Crimea. We note he appeared to be genuinely angry about it.

 

But what does the media tell us about what has been happening in Ukraine? I’m sure that if we base our opinion solely on mainstream information, the picture of this conflict will be completely different than if we followed independent sources.

I am a big fan of Dr. Daniele Ganser, the founder of the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research, Dr. Ron Paul, the Mises Institute and people linked to them – all these I consider valuable sources, particularly due to the investigative approach they took in their analyses on Ukraine.

I therefore decided to write a short article about my personal impressions, which also takes a study by the University of Ottawa into consideration. The situation in Crimea is extremely delicate: it is already described as a ‘new cold war’, which can easily turn into armed conflict.

For that reason, we should all question today’s media competence in relation to what happened in Ukraine and the story that is being told, and ultimately ask who benefits from this political instability?

 

What the Media Told Us: Questionable Facts

In order to understand the full depth of the Crimean crisis, we must first lay out some of the basic known facts about it:

On November 21st 2013, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych suspended talks on the EU association agreement, a treaty which would have promoted political and economic cooperation and possibly paved the way for integration to the bloc.

It is worth noting that the deal offered by the EU also contained a military component. The suspension of the talks signified a break with the West, and the EU specifically, in favor of maintaining close Russian ties.

Soon thereafter, Ukrainian protestors took to the streets and occupied the Independence Square or “Maidan”. What was envisioned as a peaceful revolution against a President accused of serving Russian and not national interests soon turned violent. The media reported that state security and snipers attacked protesters.

But who can explain why members of the police were targets as well? Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer, was the first defining the Maidan shooting as a regime change initiated by the West. Despite not having solid evidence, the media dismissed any alternative scenarios and instead promoted a single narrative: that Yanukovych’s state security (supported by Russia) massacred its citizens.

 

maidanThe Maidan in Kiev, after the protests had turned violent. 11 months later, the BBC finally deigned to report that “unknown snipers” had actually fired at both the protesters and the Ukrainian police, in an effort to escalate the confrontation. In short, the official story turned out to be complete hokum – the “conspiracy theory” was true. Someone had an interest in fomenting violence, and for all his faults, it wasn’t Yanukovich. The new government promised to investigate, but in spite of all the evidence and witnesses, nothing has ever come of this (big surprise!).

Photo credit: EPA

 

Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists began demonstrations in the Eastern region and self-declared their independence. This soon escalated into an armed conflict with the Ukrainian government. Reportedly, Russian paramilitaries fought alongside the separatists. Naturally, the media portrayed this as an invasion by Russian forces.

In parallel, Crimea became part of Russia – the media said it was “annexed” to protect ethnic Russians. The word “annexation” was not randomly chosen; it implies that it was forcefully imposed– but this is not exactly accurate. A referendum was held in Crimea, whereby 95% were in favor of joining Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia’s military involvement instigated economic sanctions by the EU and the United States. But even though Russia withdrew a majority of its troops, the sanctions are still in place and the region is still witnessing clashes in violation of the truce.

Nevertheless, according to the mainstream narrative, Russia was the “villain” that disrupted the peace to maintain its foothold in Ukraine.

 

ukraine-mapUkraine’s separatists are concentrated in the East at the border with Russia

 

Back to the Basics!

To understand what is going on today, we need to consider the context, which also requires us to revisit the history that will explain the division within Ukraine itself.

It goes back to the 16th and 17th century: Ukraine’s natural resources made it an attractive site for contending powers at the time, which led to its division along the Dnieper river, i.e. traditional divide and conquer strategies were implemented.

Control over western Ukraine alternated between Poland and Austro-Hungary, which exposed the people of the region to European culture and values, while the East became part of the Russian empire.

Under the Soviet Union, Stalin took a drastic approach to instill the Russian/Soviet mindset in Eastern Ukraine, by orchestrating a famine that starved and wiped out millions of Ukrainians.

 

stalin-2Communist mass-murderer Stalin: millions of Ukrainians starved to death due to the famine he orchestrated.

Photo credit: PhotoQuest

 

Stalin then relocated Russian nationals to repopulate the region – in essence, the East became Russian and therefore we can understand why former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, noted that “the sense of Ukrainian nationalism is not as deep in the east as it is in west.”

 

2010-election-detailsUkraine’s East-West divide: in the 2010 run-off election, the Eastern part of the country almost unanimously supported Viktor Yanukovich, while the Western part voted for Julia Tymoshenko. Kiev, the center of the protests, is located in Western Ukraine. For more maps illustrating the situation see “Mapping the Conflict in Ukraine” – click to enlarge.

 

True Intentions – Is the Cold War Really Over?

These tight historical ties between Russia and Ukraine still matter today and have an influence on domestic politics (as seen in the image above), in addition to the relations between the triangle of Russia, Europe and the United States.

We also need to bear in mind the modern history of the Cold War and the original objective behind NATO. With the Cold War over, what are the objectives of its enlargement to include Eastern European states, particularly when recalling the unwritten (but often academically cited) agreement between the U.S. and Gorbachev, that NATO will not expand eastward?

It is no wonder that Russia retained its only ice-free naval base, Sevastopol in Crimea. It is the home of the Black Sea Fleet and of extreme strategic importance. Russia would rather have Ukraine fall into chaos than let it fall to NATO!

 

black-sea-fleetRussian warships near the port of Sevastopol. The Russian navy has been stationed in Sevastopol since the late 18th century. Yanukovich was overthrown shortly after extending Russia’s lease of the port until 2042 – fears that the new government might disregard the agreement very likely played a role in the Russian government’s decision to support the Crimean effort to secede from Ukraine to join Russia, and to accept the legitimacy of the referendum. It is worth noting that similar efforts in other Eastern Ukrainian regions were handled differently.

Photo via sevnews.info

 

NATO’s enlargement strategy is of paramount importance to the West and as it appears, particularly to the United States. To secure this strategy, the U.S. took matters into its own hands. Back in 2003, the U.S. government indirectly supported the Orange Revolution by funding NGOs.

In December 2013 (the advent of the Ukraine crisis), Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, Victoria Nuland, stated that the U.S. had invested more than USD 5 billion to support the development of democratic institutions, promoting civil society and good governance since Ukraine’s independence in 1991. But there is more.

After President Yanukovych suspended talks with the EU, Ukrainian parliamentarian, Oleg Tsarov, warned that the U.S. Embassy was preparing for a civil war in the country through project “TechCamp”, which was under the supervision of American Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

Pyatt was also involved in a political scandal after a phone conversation between him and Nuland was leaked early February, where they were debating who should take over the Ukrainian government. In this call, Nuland clearly stated:

 

“I don’t think Klitsch [reference to opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea […] I think Yats [[Arseniy Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.”

 

The infamous leaked phone call between Vicoria Nuland and US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they were plotting/ deciding who was going to rule Ukraine henceforth. Includes some less than salubrious language in reference to the EU.

 

This call sent shock waves through international politics – officials plotting a scenario to groom their favorites in the Ukrainian opposition for government, dragging in the UN’s Ban Ki Moon to seal the deal and the infamous remark by Nuland, saying “F*** the EU.” My apologies for swearing, but this is what she actually said.

I find the image (below) taken at the Munich Security Conference held on February 2nd 2014 interesting. It shows the former American Secretary of State, John Kerry, shaking hands with Vitaly Klitschko.

However it was Poroshenko (far left) who became elected President that May, while Yatsenyuk (far right) – Nuland’s favorite – became Prime Minister. Please note, all this happened before the time period from 21st to 23rd of February, when Yanukovich was removed.

 

munich-security-conferenceU.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, meets with members of Ukraine’s opposition (Petro Poroshenko, Vitali Klychko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk) at the Munich Security Conference. President Yanukovich was still in office at the time.

Screenshot: N24.de

 

What is the Crisis About?

I believe in big power strategies and national interests influencing  geopolitical developments, and geopolitics has everything to do with Ukraine, as Ray McGovern, argues:

 

“If anyone in the White House, the State Department, the CIA was surprised that Russia would react very strongly to the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO on the one hand or having ballistic missile systems set up in the Black Sea… those people don’t have any sense of Russian history.”

 

This is what it boils down to: Regional instability means that Ukraine will remain confused about its alliance with the EU/NATO and that the EU and NATO will be worried about being drawn into a conflict zone. That is one way of seeing it, and one that seemingly benefits Russia.

But there is an alternative scenario – one that questions that the regime change process in Ukraine serves Russia’s military and strategic interests – because quite simply, Ukraine brings NATO another step closer to Russia.

 

mcgovernFormer CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who has become a prominent critic of US foreign policy.

Photo credit6: @mjb

 

The Power of Public Opinion

It is the first time in two years that we fear political tensions could escalate and possibly lead to a military altercation. This is the story being sold by the media – it plays on our fears of geopolitical instability and it is based on biased and inaccurate reporting of the facts.

Throughout this article, there was no intention to take sides, but on the matter of Crimea, I wanted to highlight the selectivity and bias of the mainstream media, which aims to direct public opinion in a certain direction based on incomplete and misleading information.

The oldest strategy has been “divide and conquer” and we should bear that mind, raise questions and take the extra step to search for answers and form our own opinions. We don’t know the truth – but what I ask you, especially in these crucial and uncertain times, is not to take any single narrative or one-sided reports for granted.

 

Addendum by PT: The Day After Nuland-Pyatt

A little extra: the rather embarrassing attempt by the US government to explain the Nuland/ Pyatt conversation away – which essentially boils down to: “It was Putin’s fault”.  :) Oh, and it wasn’t really the “day after” –  the spokeswoman of the State Department keeps stressing that the conversation took place “days and days ago”, i.e., “why are you even asking us about this ancient history?” :)

 

State Department Press Briefing with Jen Psaki on Assistant Secretary Nuland’s & Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt’s Call from the Daily Press Briefing – February 6, 2014

 

Image captions by PT

 

Claudio Grass is the managing director of Global Gold, a Swiss bullion depository. Acting Man is an affiliate of Global Gold (here is our landing page at Global Gold, where you can get additional information about the service).

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • The Great Debasement - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Fiat Money Woes Monday was Labor Day holiday in the US. The facts are that the euro lost another 1.4%, the pound another 1.1%, and the yuan another 0.9% last week.   Assorted foreign fiat confetti against the US dollar – we have added the Argentine peso as well, as it demonstrates what can happen when things really get out of hand. [PT]   So, naturally, what is getting play is a story that Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the dollar’s influence...
  • Hong Kong - Never the Same Again
      Freedom Rock Hong Kong ranks among the freest societies in the world. Not only economically, but socially it is a very liberal place. It was marinated in British ways until 1997, much longer than Singapore and other colonies. Then China took it over as a special administered region, which according to the agreement with the UK meant that it was only nominally to be under Chinese control for the next 50 years. It was possibly the only colony in which a vast majority of citizens did not...
  • Suffering the Profanity of Plentiful Cheap Money
      A Case of Highway Robbery What if the savings in your bank account lost 55 percent of its value over the last 12 months?  Would you be somewhat peeved?  Would you transfer some of your savings to another currency?   USD-ARS, weekly. For several years the Argentine Peso has followed a certain pattern: it declines mildly, but steadily, with little volatility for long time periods, and then spikes in crash waves whenever a crisis situation comes to a head. In early 2011, it...
  • Don’t Be Another Wall Street Chump
      The Future and the Past Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 156 requires financial institutions to advise investors to not be idiots. Hence, the disclosure pages of nearly every financial instrument in the U.S. are embedded with the following admission or variant thereof:   “Past Performance Is Not Indicative of Future Results”   “Buy and hold”... “The market goes always up”... “No-one can time the market”... “Buy the dip” “With what? You...
  • A Wild Week - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Paying a Premium for a Lack of Default Risk The price action got pretty intense last week! The prices of the metals were up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But Thursday and Friday, there was a sharp reversal and the silver price ended the week below its close of the previous week.   The net speculative position in gold futures has become very large recently – the market was more than ripe for a shake-out. [PT]   Silver made a round trip down from $18.35 to...
  • Will the Nikkei Win the Next Olympic Games?
      Listless Nikkei On 24 July 2020 the Olympic Summer Games will begin in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Olympic Games and Soccer World Cups are among the largest sporting events in the world.  Do you perhaps also think that these events may affect the performance of local stock markets?   Olympic Summer Games 2020 – official logo (left), and a fan-made logo (right) by designer Daren Newman [PT]   Let us examine whether and in what way such major sporting events impact...
  • The Weird Obsessions of Central Bankers, Part 3
      Inflation and “Price Stability” We still remember when sometime in the mid 1980s, the German Bundesbank proudly pointed to the fact that Germany's y/y consumer price inflation rate had declined to zero. It was considered a “mission accomplished” moment. No-one mentioned that economic nirvana would remain out of sight unless price inflation was pushed to 2% per year.   CPI, annual rate of change. During the “stagflation” period of the 1970s, Congress enacted the...
  • The Weird Obsessions of Central Bankers, Part 1
      How to Hang on to Greenland Jim Bianco, head of the eponymous research firm, handily won the internet last Thursday with the following tweet:     Jim Bianco has an excellent idea as to how Denmark might after all be able to hang on to Greenland, a territory coveted by His Eminence, POTUS GEESG Donald Trump (GEESG= God Emperor & Exceedingly Stable Genius). Evidently the mad Danes running the central bank of this Northern European socialist paradise were...
  • The Weird Obsessions of Central Bankers, Part 2
      The Negative Interest Rates Abomination Our readers are probably aware that assorted central bankers and the economic advisors orbiting them occasionally mention the “natural interest rate” (a.k.a. “originary interest rate”) in speeches and papers. It is generally assumed that it has declined, which is to say, time preferences are assumed to have decreased.   This is actually an understatement...   Although interest is generally associated with money, the...
  • Why Are People Now Selling Their Silver? Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Big Moves in Silver Last week, the prices of the metals fell further, with gold -$18 and silver -$0.73. On May 28, the price of silver hit its nadir, of $14.30. From the last three days of May through Sep 4, the price rose to $19.65. This was a gain of $5.35, or +37%. Congratulations to everyone who bought silver on May 28 and who sold it on September 4.   The recent move in silver [PT]   To those who believe gold and silver are money (as we do) the rising price...
  • Fiat Money Cannibalization in America
      An Odd Combination of Serenity and Panic The United States, with untroubled ease, continued its approach toward catastrophe this week.  The Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate 25 basis points, thus furthering its program of mass money debasement.  Yet, on the surface, all still remained in the superlative.   S&P 500 Index, weekly: serenely perched near all time highs, in permanently high plateau nirvana. [PT]   Stocks smiled down on investors from their...

Support Acting Man

Austrian Theory and Investment

j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Archive

Dog Blow

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!