Archive for September 1st, 2014

by lizard

It’s been nearly 5 months since The Polish Wolf has written anything about the crisis in Ukraine. I have linked to that April post a handful of times because I would think someone who declared that The American Left has Failed on Ukraine would want stay on top of developments. I guess those developments don’t bolster PW’s argument. Does that explain nearly half a year of silence?

In that post PW highlights to examples of “contrarian left” failure. Here’s bullet point number 1:

1. The government currently in Ukraine is not a threat to Russians living in Ukraine. Quite the opposite – Russians in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are actively undermining the government of Ukraine (No, the status of Russian as an official regional language, by the way, has not changed. Russia Today reported that it has, and to my knowledge has failed to note that the president of Ukraine never signed into law that act).

Well, it’s a full blown civil war now where thousands have been killed and injured, and the violence has greatly escalated this past month (NYT):

The United Nations said on Friday that casualties in the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels had doubled in the past month, with an average of 36 people killed every day.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 3,250 injured in the period from July 16 to Aug. 17, according to a report released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. The office described the toll as “very conservative” and said it did not include the 298 passengers and crew who died when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.

“The trend is clear and alarming,” Ivan Simonovic, the United Nations assistant secretary general for human rights, said in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, according to Reuters. “There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east.”

But, I thought the government wasn’t a threat to ethnic Russians living in Eastern Ukraine? I guess it’s all Russia’s fault. And for interventionists who once used alleged government airstrikes against civilians to justify intervention in Libya, the same playing out in Ukraine gets no attention from those harboring a dangerous hypocrisy.

Let’s now examine the evidence of leftist failure with PW’s bullet point number 2:

2. The government is not dominated by neo-fascists, at least, not yet. Svoboda and Pravdiy Sektor are both still extreme minority parties, and the armed right wing is under heavy police pressure by the Ukrainian government. Indeed, the only party that has anything to gain from Pravdiy Sektor’s gaining power, and the only party acting to make that more likely, is Russia. Both Svoboda and Pravdiy Sektor have loudly opposed admission to the EU or the involvement of the IMF in Ukraine (interestingly, the exact same position toward Ukraine advocated by our local ‘progressive’ blogs), making it seem highly unlikely that they will continue to have Euro-American backing. Hard core nationalism in a multi-ethnic state like Ukraine can only lead to instability, the exact outcome Russia desires, and it can only be strengthened by the constant threat (and fact) of Russian intervention.

The reason I keep on going back to this post is because every time I re-read it, it appears more surreal. The coup government in Kiev continue to use neo-Nazis against Eastern Ukrainians because they actually fight. Yet somehow PW, back in April, was trying to twist their involvement as benefiting Russia—I guess because their undeniable role makes for a difficult PR problem for pro-interventionist like PW. Here’s Parry from Consortium News writing last month about Ignoring Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers:

The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.

Recently, one eastern Ukrainian town, Marinka, fell to Ukraine’s Azov battalion as it waved the Wolfsangel flag, a symbol used by Adolf Hitler’s SS divisions in World War II. The Azov paramilitaries also attacked Donetsk, one of the remaining strongholds of ethnic Russians opposed to the Kiev regime that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

Yet, despite this extraordinary reality – modern-day Nazi storm troopers slaughtering Slavic people in eastern Ukraine – the Obama administration continues to concentrate its criticism on Russia for sending a convoy of humanitarian supplies to the embattled region. Suddenly, the administration’s rhetoric about a “responsibility to protect” civilians has gone silent.

Like I said up thread, paramilitaries like this Azov battalion are willing to fight, which is not something that can be said for everyone tasked with killing their fellow countrymen. Here’s a post from b at Moon of Alabama describing heavy losses from the coup government in Kiev:

Throughout August the Ukrainian president and cabinet, likely following U.S. “advisers”, pushed their army into a big attack on the insurgency held south east areas of the country. But the attack of bad equipped, half trained units ran into problems. Some of them reached their attack targets only to find themselves cut off from any resupply. Without ammunition, gas and food they were locked into place and easy targets for the insurgents artillery.

The attack was stretched too far. The “culmination point in the attack” Clausewitz wrote about was reached and crossed. The negative effects of the attack on its own troops became bigger then the positive effects and the government in Kiev, not recognizing the real situation, still pressed on. It now lost the initiative. The parts of the Ukrainian army not surrounded and caught up surrounded in “cauldrons” retreated to be reorganized.

Some of the “volunteer” territorial battalions are simply going home. There is even a revolt against the defense ministry.

Read the whole post for full context. b has been fantastic in his coverage.

It would be nice if The Polish Wolf shared the perspective of the Ukrainians he’s in contact with. Are they happy going broke waging a civil war against those who would have a more federalized, autonomous position within the country? Will the paltry IMF bailout go to fund a continued military offensive? Who will fight if there are reports of soldiers refusing to fight? The Neo-Nazi groups? Oh, and winter is coming. Is Ukraine prepared?

So far Russia has avoided fully taking the bait. Even the Malaysian shoot down wasn’t enough, and now that bizarre investigation has almost all countries involved reportedly (Global Research, for what it’s worth) signing a non-disclosure agreement:

In the framework of the 4-country agreement signed on 8 August between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, information on the progress and results of the investigation of the disaster will remain classified.

This was confirmed at a briefing in Kiev under the auspices of the office of the Prosecutor General Yuri Boychenko. In his words, the results of the investigation will be published once completed only if a consensus agreement of all parties that have signed the agreement prevails. (original emphasis in bold)

Hmmm, that’s a bit odd. Whatever could be the reason for imposing that kind of agreement? And why didn’t Malaysia sign on?

75 years ago today, on September 1st, Hitler invaded Poland, triggering World War II. It is total insanity that 75 five years later an American President is trying his damnedest to start World War III.

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