By: David Kerans
Voice Of Russia
May 28, 2014
Far from being a leader who will reverse the nationalist course of the Maidan movement, it appears that president-elect Petro Poroshenko does not plan to pursue honest negotiations with representatives from the east who favor a federal structure that would limit the power of the central government and permit some degree of autonomy to the regions.
On Tuesday Maidan’s acting first deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema confirmed that military operations to suppress the protesters will continue until they are completely subdued. This posture should certainly alarm the international community. First, it portends great bloodshed: probably more than 100 people in the east have died during Kiev’s assaults since Sunday, and the violence could easily spur eastern self-defense units to bolster their defenses and prepare for heavier and bloodier confrontations.
Second, Kiev is avoiding the obligations it accepted in the Geneva Agreement of April 17. Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Davutoglu in Moscow on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:
“Ukraine must cease military operations in the eastern provinces immediately, and do what the Ukrainian authorities constantly demand of others: they should fulfill the requirements of the Geneva Agreement of April 17th, which included a cessation of violence and the pursuit of a resolution of the protests exclusively through peaceful negotiations…. We urgently call on the Ukrainian authorities to follow this path, and if they do so we are sure that the people of eastern and southern Ukraine will respond favorably…. We expect that President Poroshenko will act in the best interests of the Ukrainian people, and if he does so he can be sure that he will find Russia to be a serious and reliable partner.”
To assess the meaning of Ukraine’s presidential election – both as regards the fate of Ukraine and the role of Western powers in the ongoing crisis—Radio VR spoke with Paul Craig Roberts of The Institute for Political Economy. Roberts also served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He has spoken out forcefully against the warmongering neo-conservatives whom he insists have controlled US foreign policy since the Clinton administration, and feels certain that they are willing to provoke Russia by establishing Western control over Ukraine, even if that leads to war.
As he explained in one interview in March: “So, why is Ukraine important? Well, there is the Black Sea naval base that Russia has there. They have a lease on it until 2042. You have Eastern Ukraine, which is former Soviet military industrial complex . . . For Washington, they say, look we can really bring a serious strategic threat to Russia here. We can devalue their nuclear deterrent by putting anti-nuclear bases in Ukraine on their border. So, when we put pressure on them, they have to think much harder when they stand up to us because we will have the upper hand. . . So, that’s the real reason for what they are doing. There are other economic reasons. They want to get their hands on Ukraine. They want to loot it.”
In conversation with Kerans, Roberts explained that the outcome in Ukraine is likely to depend on Russia’s ability to convince Europe to step back from the aggressive posture of the US and the Maidan government towards Russia and its interests. Roberts said: “Putin is smart enough to know that talking to Washington is useless. Washington has no intention of resolving the situation. They want it alive, because it undermines Putin, and it undermines Russia’s position in the world.”
Roberts is not sure if key European leaders will support Washington and Maidan in provoking Russia, however. They may sense that antagonizing Russia will not benefit them. And in fact antagonizing Russia may have been a major blunder by Washington. Russia and China signed a humongous ($400 billion) long-term energy deal last week, spurred on, no doubt, by their developing awareness of the threat Washington poses to both of them.
Roberts said the rapprochement was long overdue: “I’ve often wondered why it has taken China and Russia so long to form a strategic alliance, when Washington has made it completely clear for years that its intention is to prevent the rise of both countries. We know for a fact that Washington is surrounding Russia with military bases. And we know for a fact that Washington is surrounding China with military bases.”
Roberts concluded with a discussion of the steps Russia and China are now taking to conduct trade of energy sources in their own currencies, a development that should spread, and can strip the US dollar of its status as the world’s reserve currency (which would deprive the US of the freedom it now has to run up deficits).
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