America in for a KO countdown

What is eight years within the context of history?

Not even a dot.

What is eight years in the context of the latest developments in Ukraine?

Some call it war, and it looks like one from the outside looking in, but let’s not argue about words: bombs are falling, shots are shot, and people are dying.

Why?

One word: greed.

Not Russia’s greed. Definitely not overwhelmingly Russia’s greed.

How many remember these days that the son of today’s incumbent at 1600 Philadelphia Ave. in Washington, D.C., has been deeply involved in what any civilised society would prosecute as plunder?

How many remember these days that today’s incumbent at 1600 Philadelphia Ave. in Washington, D.C., when he was serving as America’s second-in-command (a.k.a. vice-president) abused his position of power to threaten Ukraine with cutting off his country’s financial help if Ukraine doesn’t fire people investigating his son for such economic misbehaviour?

How many remember these days that today’s incumbent at 1600 Philadelphia Ave. in Washington, D.C., boasted about this crowning achievement with a cynical smirk in front of television cameras and open microphones?

Shocking news

In addition to current Ukrainian government’s support for openly Nazi (and anti-Semitic) groups, it is their unwillingness to meet the conditions of agreements signed in Belorussia’s capital of Minsk (their 2014 version failed, while the 2015 version still remains in force) that have given Russia a pre-text to step in.

Western mainstream media openly ignore facts. Not surprising, really: most of them have been bribed by their governments, using all kinds of subsidies that they had never deserved (and they know it). In any case, they won’t bite the hand that feeds them.

Western governments openly ignoring facts that stare them in their faces is a much more dangerous proposition.

Such as: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been stating again and again and again his questions about Ukraine’s statehood. She’d become a separate entity thanks only to Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in 1918. After a brief independent interlude, she’d be back as an integral republic within the Soviet Union, will all kinds of formal independence written into the new country’s constitution.

Others who tried to test this independence would find out pretty quickly that it’s not true that what’s written down is a fact (litera scripta manet for the lovers Latin among you).

After the Soviet Union joined the United Nations Organisation (as the august body’s co-founder), they must have been patting themselves on their backs: so many independent republics gave them so many seats they could, for a time, out-vote anybody.

So, when Putin questions the legitimacy of an independent Ukraine, the shot’s off the board. After all, Ukraine has been independent at least a century, and that should suffice. That it started as part of Russia? Questionable: Kiev Rus, as the entire land used to be called, owed her name to mispronunciation of her ancient Nordic overlords’ name.

Putin’s argument won’t hold much water on this point.

But, at the same time, if there are regions within Ukraine that are compact in their language and culture, and different from the rest, and they are of the view they’ve been disrespected, there exist several ways of mending the relationship:

  • hear them out, talk their issues out with them and try to find a mutually acceptable middle road, or
  • let them go, because you see that either they won’t be satisfied with any offer you can propose, or you just don’t want to concede a single point from your own position.

That’s what the Minsk agreements were all about, and that’s where Ukrainian governments failed, one after another: those agreements were very specific about the need for negotiations between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk (using the Russian transliteration here, not the Ukrainian Luhansk: it is, after all, a territory linguistically and culturally overwhelmingly Russian).

Both of the Russian-speaking territories voted almost unanimously to secede from Ukraine.

What did the government of Ukraine do?

They kept tightening the screws instead of trying to figure out a mutually acceptable outcome.

A rhetorical question: what would Canadian government do if the province of Alberta voted to secede from Canada, saying she saw not much good in staying?

Pierre Elliott Trudeau sent in the army, when he saw a militant liberationist group running amok in Quebec in 1970. Judging by his reaction to a largely peaceful truckers’ protest, what would Trudeau Sr.’s progeny do?

Real reasons?

Canadian federal left-wingers live off Alberta’s gas and oil, while denouncing Albertans as rednecks for producing such fossil fuels. Just as Western interests, mostly American, view askance, with anger, even, anyone who wouldn’t let them enrich themselves off the raw materials hidden under the soils of both Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. That’s how they had chosen to call themselves since announcing their respective independences.

Since most of Western (North American in particular) citizens have no idea what the whole thing is about, here are a couple of overviews.

Let’s begin with the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Its capital, Donetsk, used to be known as Aleksandrovka, Yuzivka, Stalin and Stalino. Typical for the times and regimes in which it has existed.

An industrial city in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk is also the centre of what has been known as (in typical Soviet-era abbreviation) Donbass. That stands for Donets Basin (Donetskii Bassein, or Донецкий Бассейн in Russian alphabet).

Anyone who needs best-quality coal, mostly of anthracite quality, makes a trek to Donbass.

(Note for the curious: anthracite, also known as hard coal, black coal, etc. is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic lustre. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest energy density of all types of coal and is the highest ranking of coals. End of note for the curious.)

Next, the other rebel.

Lugansk’s borders coincide with Ukrainian frontiers in the north, east and south. That would make the area Russia’s immediate neighbour. At about five per cent of Ukraine’s population, Lugansk includes over 100 nationalities, and most of the 3.6 million people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions speak Russian.

Many Russians moved there after the Second World War. Some say the move was ordered by then-dictator Josif Stalin, based on his strategy of nationalities, many say Russians were looking for work in war-devastated Ukraine. Most sources agree both reasons could be correct.

In any case, both new republics now have elected leaders. Denis Pushilin was elected in 2018 to lead the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, while Leonid Pasechnik is the leader in Lugansk. The Ukrainian government has refused to recognise either of them, while their foes in Moscow have recognised both.

All who would like to engage in business in those two newly-minted republics are aware that they feature a well-developed rail network; they are within a stone throw from important raw material areas (Dnieper region, Northern Caucasus and Black Earth region of Russia), and they are relatively close to major industrial areas and centres (Kharkov, industrial centres of Russia, Rostov-on-Don).

In addition to coal mining (Donbass), the republics feature an abundance of metallurgy, heavy machinery and chemical industries and agriculture. Kharkov – Volgograd (Russia) railway and highway pass through the region. With gas pipelines from Stavropol and Orenburg, oil pipelines from the Volga region and North Caucasus, this is economic heaven.

Strong-arm tactics

Groups of thugs have been swarming around the entire area of Ukraine, trying to impose this or that group’s rule and ownership. Russia accuses the West (the European Union and the U.S., specifically) of orchestrating the unrest. Considering peace began to unravel after then-President Viktor Yanukovych refused an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. He viewed its conditions as detrimental to Ukraine.

What was dressed as an EU trade deal with a stated goal of boosting Ukraine’s economy, while demanding that she introduce harsh and politically unpopular measures, was met by a Russian counter-offer: here’s $15 billion, and no strings attached. Practically a bailout.

Yanukovych’s refusal to bow to the EU (and U.S.) interests would end in a carefully staged quasi-uprising, dubbed orange revolution, its organisers’ footprints leading to both Brussels and Washington, D.C.

As a result, we now have talking heads showing us maps and military movements (as if they knew what’s really going on), and everybody forgetting the real stuff: America has lost her superpower strength, abilities and (most importantly) leadership, and Russia is gleefully rubbing it in her face.

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