Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’


 

 

 

 

Two great powers with authoritarian or semi-authoritarian political systems should really attend seminars of Dale Carnegie on how to win friends and influence people. Or on how not to help your ‘frenemies’.

I am referring to China and Russia. Due to their heavy-handedness and hard-ball approaches, they manage to augment the ranks of their adversary’s (the US) allies and friends.

China single-handedly pushed the Philippines further into the Americans’ embrace due to its aggressive activism in the South China Sea. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of 2014 is the latest (most likely not the last) agreement strengthening US-Philippine strategic ties. Furthermore, Chinese territorial aggressiveness in Northeast Asia is further driving South Korea and Japan into the ‘tacit’ US-led anti-Chinese front. Japan in fact offered a strategic alliance with the Philippines (obviously versus China) last year after ‘gifting’ the Philippine navy with some nifty and spankingly-new fast craft (an obvious improvement over the decades-old US hand-me-downs). Vietnam and the Philippines cozied up to each other again due to Chinese heavy-handedness.

 

 

 

Sealing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)

Sealing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)

 

 

Elsewhere, Ukraine responded to Russia territorial incursions by firmly siding with the West. Admittedly, Russia was simply a reactor to West-sponsored ouster of a pro-Russian government in Kiyev. However, hardball tactics versus a pro-West successor goverment will only alienate the latter. What it feared–an anti-Russia and pro-West Ukraine–actually came to pass.

Should Ukraine aspire for and gain admission into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) after clinching EU membership, the Russian nightmare of a hostile ‘near abroad’ will materialize. That Western sanctions over the Ukraine question are helping push the Russian economy to a crisis is ‘salt on an open wound’.

Strategically, China and Russia will most likely get drawn together. Partnerships within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and with the rest of the BRIC (i.e., India and Brazil) and Venezuela, Bolivia and other Latin American governments with a left-leaning social policy and an anti-US foreign policy orientation will be strengthened or cultivated. Chinese carrots will continue to be available for pariah African states (over such issues as Darfur).

In Asia, China appears to have finessed with its tack with its billion-dollar funded Asian infrastructure bank and the proposed new Silk Road. However, these new carrots are on offer while consolidation (hardening and construction of new and improved infrastructure) proceeds apace in its newly-‘acquired’ SCS territories.

Meanwhile, the US is smelling like a bed of roses. Notwithstanding the partisan blindness of the Republicans and die-hard Tea Party zealots, the US economy is slowly recovering and all other economic indicators are doing quite well. Of course,the 1%-99% divide remains a serious socio-political thorn.

 

 

(Photo from cyprus-mail.com)

(Photo from cyprus-mail.com)

 

 

 

On the global front the US earned a lot of brownie points with the on-going normalization of ties with Cuba. Kudos to Pope Francis for brokering the bilateral preps. On the other hand, the Americans cannot seem to realize their government’s continued support for isolated Israel’s does not help their war effort against international terror.

I will continue to monitor these global developments and post my observations in this page and elsewhere.


Wreckage of MH17

Wreckage of MH17

 

 

While the US and Western mainstream media are so het up over the downing of MH 17 by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, they are oh so silent about the repeat of Israeli mass murder in the Gaza strip.

 

 

Isareli war on Gaza: Surgical strike?

Isareli war on Gaza: Surgical strike?

 

Citing Hamas rocket attacks into Israel, they justify Israeli’s actions, gloss over the fact that most of the fatalities are Palestinian non-combatants (including many children), and hype over the few dead among the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

 

They conflate the violence of colonizers, occupiers, invaders with the resistance of the occupied, the colonized, and the invaded.

 

They wish away the grave asymmetry of strength between the Israeli state and its Western backers on one hand and the non-state Hamas, on the other.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas

 

In the middle ages, St. Thomas Aquinas differentiated between just wars (the wars waged by those invaded and occupied) and unjust wars ( the wars waged by those who invade and covet land and riches). Aquinas’ dichotomy applies even today.

 

While the downing of MH 17 and the loss of lives over the Donetsk region of Ukraine deserve our condemnation, it must not be used to cover up and deflect our attention from a more serious and continuing crime in Gaza. 

 

Furthermore, pressure has worked. The bodies and personal effects of the dead plus the two black boxes of the downed plane are being turned over by the Ukrainian separatists.

 

In contrast, Western governments and mainstream media have not exerted any pressure on the Israeli government. Instead, they support and accept the justifications of the latter.

 

If during times of “peace,” Gaza is an open air concentration camp, it is now a murdering zone.

 

Israeli civilians watching bombings of Gaza

Israeli civilians watching bombings of Gaza

 

It is also a sorry, sordid spectacle with many Israelis watching and cheering from nearby hills and promontories as bombs and mayhem attend to buildings and Palestinian houses.

 

These atrocities, these tragedies must stop.


US President Barack Obama upped the ante when he warned of grave consequences should Crimeans opt out of Ukraine in a referendum. Majority of Crimea’s population is Russian.  It also contains an autonomous district that houses the Russian Navy Black Sea fleet.

Crimea (the peninsula in the Black Sea), Russia, and Ukraine

Crimea (the peninsula in the Black Sea), Russia, and Ukraine

The West protests the referendum saying the presence of Russian soldiers in Crimea puts illegitimate pressure on voters.

Crimean peninsula

Crimean peninsula

To emphasize his point, President Obama received the interim prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House in a clear sign of support.

Obama and Yatsenyuk

Obama and Yatsenyuk

The United States recognized Kosovo (which got out of Serbia) some years back.  The official line was Kosovo was a genuine struggle for independence while Crimea will be a naked land grab. 

Celebrating Kosovo's independence

Celebrating Kosovo’s independence

What gives? 

Whatever happened to the right of national self-determination?

Oh, I think I get it. 

Russia and Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine

If the rump state aligns with the West against Russia, it will be recognized with alacrity.

If it is friendly with Putin, dire sanctions will follow.

Realism rules!

The situation seems to be getting more and more complicated.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had sent advanced surveillance planes to monitor Ukraine’s borders with Poland and Romania.

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus

 

NATO reportedly redeployed 15 jet fighters from Italy to the Baltic states near Belarus. Accordingly, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that he will offer Russia the same opportunity to deploy 15 warplanes to counter NATO activity near Belarussian borders.  The request was in compliance with the terms of Russian-Belarussian alliance.

The Ukrainian crisis is obviously of interest to the global powers and is still in the making.  

I will continue to write on the crisis.  That is, if I am not composing photoseptons for my other blog, http://bmmphotopoetry.wordpress.com.

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Oh, by the way, the current crisis started when pro-Western protesters (with obvious Western support) ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last February.  Yanukovych may indeed be corrupt.  The problem is he had a clear electoral mandate.


a decade indeed makes
a great difference
from heroine of the
2004 Pomarancheva revolyutsiya,
imprisoned for 30 months,
to a possible repeat as premier of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko working the barricades

Tymoshenko working the barricades

with her signature crown
of golden braided hair
albeit in a wheelchair
this time
with a creased face
Yulia addressed the crowd
in Kyiv’s Maidan square
saying she drew strength
from Ukrainians’ heroism

Newly-released Tymoshenko addresses the crowd in Maidan square

Newly-released Tymoshenko addresses the crowd in Maidan square

cynics might devalue
her masterful performance
it does not subtract
from her keen political sense.

(Photos of Yulia Tymoshenko taken from the public domain)