Saturday, March 29, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts shreds Obama's charge for the next big war -- Pushing Toward The Final War ....... Pepe Escobar explains why sanctions simply won't work ..... Crimea: Putin’s Triumph. Now the Confrontation Moves East to “New Russia” Novo Rossia: The Eastern and Southeastern Mainland Provinces of Ukraine



Mark Twain

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”


― Mark Twain

Pushing Toward The Final War

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Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
March 29, 2014
Does Obama realize that he is leading the US and its puppet states to war with Russia and China, or is Obama being manipulated into this disaster by his neoconservative speech writers and government officials? World War 1 (and World War 2) was the result of the ambitions and mistakes of a very small number of people. Only one head of state was actually involved–the President of France.
In The genesis Of The World War, Harry Elmer Barnes shows that World War 1 was the product of 4 or 5 people. Three stand out: Raymond Poincare`, President of France, Sergei Sazonov, Russian Foreign Minister, and Alexander Izvolski, Russian Ambassador to France. Poincare` wanted Alsace-Lorraine from Germany, and the Russians wanted Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. They realized that their ambitions required a general European war and worked to produce the desired war.
A Franco-Russian Alliance was formed. This alliance became the vehicle for orchestrating the war. The British government, thanks to the incompetence, stupidity, or whatever of its Foreign Minister, Sir Edward Grey, was pulled into the Franco-Russian Alliance. The war was started by Russia’s mobilization. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, was blamed for the war despite the fact that he did everything possible to avoid it.
Barnes’ book was published in 1926. His reward for confronting the corrupt court historians with the truth was to be accused of being paid by Germany to write his history. Eighty-six years later historian Christopher Clark in his book, The Sleepwalkers, comes to essentially the same conclusion as Barnes.
In the history I was taught the war was blamed on Germany for challenging British naval supremacy by building too many battleships. The court historians who gave us this tale helped to set up World War 2.
We are again on the road to World War. One hundred years ago the creation of a world war by a few had to be done under the cover of deception. Germany had to be caught off guard. The British had to be manipulated and, of course, people in all the countries involved had to be propagandized and brainwashed.
Today the drive to war is blatantly obvious. The lies are obvious, and the entire West is participating, both media and governments.
The American puppet, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, openly lied on Canadian TV that Russian President Putin had invaded Crimea, threatened Ukraine, and was restarting the Cold War. The host of the TV program sat and nodded his head in agreement with these bald-faced lies.http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Stephen+Harper+accuses+Vladimir+Putin+being+stuck+back+USSR/9663692/story.html
The script that Washington handed to its Canadian puppet has been handed to all of Washington’s puppets, and everywhere in the West the message is the same. “Putin invaded and annexed Crimea, Putin is determined to rebuild the Soviet Empire, Putin must be stopped.”
I hear from many Canadians who are outraged that their elected government represents Washington and not Canadians, but as bad as Harper is, Obama and Fox “News” are worse.
On March 26 I managed to catch a bit of Fox “news.” Murdoch’s propaganda organ was reporting that Putin was restoring the Soviet era practice of exercise. Fox “news” made this report into a threatening and dangerous gesture toward the West. Fox produced an “expert,” whose name I caught as Eric Steckelbeck or something like that. The “expert” declared that Putin was creating “the Hitler youth,” with a view toward rebuilding the Soviet empire.
The extraordinary transparent lie that Russia sent an army into Ukraine and annexed Crimea is now excepted as fact everywhere in the West, even among critics of US policy toward Russia.
Obama, whose government overthrew the democratically elected government in Ukraine and appointed a stooge government that has threatened the Russian provinces of Ukraine, falsely accuses Putin of “invading and annexing” Crimea.
Obama, or his handlers and programers, are relying on the total historical ignorance of Western peoples. The ignorance and gullibility of Western peoples allows the American neoconservatives to fashion “news” that controls their minds.
Obama recently declared that Washington’s destruction of Iraq–up to one million killed, four million displaced, infrastructure in ruins, sectarian violence exploding, a country in total ruins–is nowhere near as bad as Russia’s acceptance of Crimean self-determination. US Secretary of State John Kerry actually ordered Putin to prevent the referendum and stop Crimeans from exercising self-determination.
Obama’s speech on March 26 at the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels is surreal. It is beyond hypocrisy. Obama says that Western ideals are challenged by self-determination in Crimea. Russia, Obama says, must be punished by the West for permitting Crimeans to exercise self-determination. The return of a Russian province on its own volition to its mother country where it existed for 200 years is presented by Obama as a dictatorial, anti-democratic act of tyranny. http://on.rt.com/sbzj4o
Here was Obama, whose government has just overthrown the elected, democratic government of Ukraine and substituted stooges chosen by Washington in the place of the elected government, speaking of the hallowed ideal that “people in nations can make their own decisions about their future.” That is exactly what Crimea did, and that is exactly what the US coup in Kiev contravened. In the twisted mind of Obama, self-determination consists of governments imposed by Washington.
Here was Obama, who has shredded the US Constitution, speaking of “individual rights and rule of law.” Where is this rule of law? It is certainly not in Kiev where an elected government was overthrown with force. It is certainly not in the United States where the executive branch has spent the entirety of the new 21st century establishing government above the law. Habeas corpus, due process, the right to open trials and determination of guilt by independent jurors prior to imprisonment and execution, the right to privacy have all been overturned by the Bush/Obama regimes. Torture is against US and international law; yet Washington set up torture prisons all over the globe.
How is it possible that the representative of the war criminal US government can stand before an European audience and speak of “rule of law,” “individual rights,” “human dignity,” “self-determination,” “freedom,” without the audience breaking out in laughter?
Washington is the government that invaded and destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies. Washington is the government that financed and organized the overthrow of the Libyan and Honduran governments and that is currently attempting to do the same thing to Syria and Venezuela. Washington is the government that attacks with drones and bombs populations in the sovereign countries of Pakistan and Yemen. Washington is the government that has troops all over Africa. Washington is the government that has surrounded Russia, China, and Iran with military bases. It is this warmongering collection of Washington war criminals that now asserts that it is standing up for international ideals against Russia.
No one applauded Obama’s nonsensical speech. But for Europe to accept such blatant lies from a liar without protest empowers the momentum toward war that Washington is pushing.
Obama demands more NATO troops to be stationed in Eastern Europe to “contain Russia.”http://news.antiwar.com/2014/03/26/obama-wants-more-nato-troops-in-eastern-europe/ Obama said that a buildup of military forces on Russia’s borders would reassure Poland and the Baltic states that, as NATO members, they will be protected from Russian aggression. This nonsense is voiced by Obama despite the fact that no one expects Russia to invade Poland or the Baltic countries.
Obama doesn’t say what effect the US/NATO military buildup and numerous war games on Russia’s border will have on Russia. Will the Russian government conclude that Russia is about to be attacked and strike first? The reckless carelessness of Obama is the way wars start.
Declaring that “freedom isn’t free,” Obama is putting pressure on Western Europe to pony up more money for a military buildup to confront Russia. http://news.antiwar.com/2014/03/26/us-presses-eu-nations-to-hike-military-spending-to-confront-russia/
The position of the government in Washington and its puppet states (Eastern and Western Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Georgia, Japan) and other allies purchased with bagfuls of money is that Washington’s violation of international law by torturing people, by invading sovereign countries on totally false pretenses, by routinely overthrowing democratically elected governments that do not toe the Washington line is nothing but the “indispensable and exceptional country” bringing “freedom and democracy to the world.” But Russia’s acceptance of the self-determination of Crimean people to return to their home country is “a violation of international law.”
Just what international law has Washington and its puppets not violated?
Obama, whose government in the past few years has bullied Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Lebanon, Iran, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela and is now trying to bully Russia, actually declared that “bigger nations can not simply bully smaller ones.” What does Obama and his speech writers think Washington has been doing for the entirety of the 21st century?
Who can possibly believe that Obama, whose government is responsible for the deaths of people every day in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, cares a whit about democracy in Ukraine. Obama overthrew the Ukrainian government in order to be able to stuff the country into NATO, throw Russia out of its Black Sea naval base, and put US missile bases in Ukraine on Russia’s border. Obama is angry that his plan didn’t pan out as intended, and he is taking his anger and frustration out on Russia.
As the delusion takes hold in Washington that the US represents idealism standing firmly against Russian aggression, delusion enabled by the presstitute media, the UN General Assembly vote, and Washington’s string of puppet states, self-righteousness rises in Washington’s breast.
With rising self-righteousness will come more demands for punishing Russia, more demonization of Russia and Putin, more lies echoed by the presstitutes and puppets. Ukrainian violence against Russian residents is likely to intensify with the anti-Russian propaganda. Putin could be forced to send in Russian troops to defend Russians.
Why are people so blind that they do not see Obama driving the world to its final war?
Just as Obama dresses up his aggression toward Russia as idealism resisting selfish territorial ambitions, the English, French, and Americans presented their World War 1 “victory” as the triumph of idealism over German and Austrian imperialism and territorial ambitions. But at the Versailles Conference the Bolsheviks (the Tsar’s government failed to gain the Straits and instead lost the country to Lenin) “revealed the existence of the notorious Secret Treaties embodying as sordid a program of territorial pilfering as can be found in the history of diplomacy. It appears that the chief actual motives of the Entente in the World War were the seizure of Constantinople and the Straits for Russia; not only the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, but the securing of the west bank of the Rhine, which would have involved the seizure of territory historically far longer connected with Germany than Alsace-Lorraine had ever been with France; the rewarding of Italian entry into the War by extensive territory grabbed away from Austria and the Jugo-Slavs; and the sequestering of the German imperial possessions, the acquisition of the German merchant marine and the destruction of the German navy in the interest of increasing the strength of the British Empire” (Barnes, pp. 691-692). The American share of the loot was seized German and Austrian investments in the US.
The secret British, Russian, and French aims of the war were hidden from the public, which was whipped up with fabricated propaganda to support a war whose outcomes were far different from the intentions of those who caused the war. People seem unable to learn from history. We are now witnessing the world again being led down the garden path by lies and propaganda, this time in behalf of American world hegemony.


THE ROVING EYE
Why the EU can't 'isolate' Russia
By Pepe Escobar

German Chancellor Angela Merkel could teach US President Barack Obama one or two things about how to establish a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As if Obama would listen. He'd rather boost his constitutional law professor self, and pompously lecture an elite eurocrat audience in the glittering Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, like he did this Wednesday, on how Putin is the greatest threat to the US-administered global order since World War II. Well, it didn't go that well; most eurocrats were busy taking selfies or twittering.

Putin, meanwhile, met with the CEO of German engineering and
electrical conglomerate Siemens, Joe Kaeser, at his official residence outside Moscow. Siemens invested more than US$1.1 billion in Russia over the past two years, and that, Kaeser said, is bound to continue. Angela was certainly taking notes. 

Obama couldn't behave otherwise. The constitutional law expert knows nothing about Russia, in his (meager) political career never had to understand how Russia works, and may even fear Russia - surrounded as he is by a coterie of spectacularly mediocre aids. His Brussels rhetorical tour de force yielded absolutely nothing - apart from the threat that if Putin persisted in his "aggression" against eastern Ukraine or even NATO members-countries the president of the United States would unroll a much stiffer sanction package.

What else is new, considering this by supreme CIA asset and former Pentagon head in the first Obama administration, Bob Gates, is what passes for political analysis in the US.

The $1 trillion game-changer 
Demonized 24/7 by the sprawling Western propaganda machine as a ruthless aggressor, Putin and his Kremlin advisers just need to play Sun Tzu. The regime changers in Kiev are already mired in a vicious catfight. [1] And even Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Petrovych "Yats" Yatsenyuk has identified the gloomy times ahead, stressing that the signature of the economic part of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU has been postponed - so there will be no "negative consequences" for industrialized eastern Ukraine.

Translation: he knows this will be the kiss of death for Ukrainian industry, on top of it coupled with an imminent structural adjustment by the International Monetary Fund linked to the EU (maybe) bailing out a bankrupt Ukraine. Asia Times Online's Spengler coined a formulation: "A specter is haunting Europe, and that is the specter of a Russian-Chinese alliance at the expense of Europe." The alliance is already on - manifested in the G-20, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. There are military technology synergies on the horizon - the ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense system is to be unveiled by Moscow, and Beijing would absolutely love to have it. But for the real fireworks, just wait a few weeks, when Putin visits Beijing in May. 


That's when he will sign the famous $1 trillion gas deal according to which Gazprom will supply China's CNPC with 3.75 billion cubic feet of gas a day for 30 years, starting in 2018 (China's current daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet).

Gazprom may still collect most of its profits from Europe, but Asia is its privileged future. On the competition front, the hyper-hyped US shale "revolution" is a myth - as much as the notion the US will be suddenly increasing exports of gas to the rest of the world any time soon.

Gazprom will use this mega-deal to boost investment in eastern Siberia - which sooner rather than later will be configured as the privileged hub for gas shipments to both Japan and South Korea. That's the ultimate (substantial) reason why Asia won't "isolate" Russia. ( See Asia will not 'isolate' Russia, Asia Times Online, March 25, 2014.)

Not to mention the much-anticipated "thermonuclear" (for the petrodollar) possibility that Russia and China will agree payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal may be in yuan or rubles. That will be the dawn of a basket of currencies as the new international reserve currency - a key BRICS objective and the ultimate, incendiary, new (economic) fact on the ground.

Time to invest in Pipelineistan 
Even though its centrality pales compared to Asia, Europe, of course, is not "expendable" for Russia. There have been rumbles in Brussels by some poodles about canceling the South Stream pipeline - pumping Russian gas underneath the Black Sea (and bypassing Ukraine) to Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Austria. The Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister, Dragomir Stoynev, said no way. Same for the Czech Republic, because it badly needs Russian investment, and Hungary, which recently signed a nuclear energy deal with Moscow. The only other possibility for the EU would be Caspian gas, from Azerbaijan - following on the trail of the Zbig Brzezinski-negotiated Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, which was conceived expressly to bypass both Russia and Iran. As if the EU would have the will, the speed and funds to spend billions of dollars to build yet another pipeline virtually tomorrow, and assuming Azerbaijan had enough supply capacity (it doesn't; other actors, like Kazakhstan or ultra-unreliable Turkmenistan, which prefers to sell its gas to China, would have to be part of the picture).

Well, nobody ever lost money betting on the cluelessness of Brussels eurocrats. South Stream and other energy projects will create a lot of jobs and investment in many of the most troubled EU nations. Extra sanctions? No less than 91% of Poland's energy, and 86% of Hungary's, come from Russia. Over 20% of the foreign lending of French banks is to Russian companies. No less than 68 Russian companies trade at the London Stock Exchange. For the Club Med nations, Russian tourism is now a lifeline (1 million went to Italy last year, for instance.)

US Think Tankland is trying to fool American public opinion into believing what the Obama administration should be applying is a replay of the "containment" policy of 1945-1989 to "limit the development of Russia as a hegemonic power". The "recipe": weaponize everybody and his neighbor, from the Baltic nations to Azerbaijan, to "contain" Russia. The New Cold War is on because, from the point of view of US so-called "elites", it never really left.

Meanwhile, Gazprom's stock price is up. Buy now. You won't regret it.

Notes:
1. Popcorn Please While "Putin's Agitators" Rule in Kiev, Moon of Alabama, March 26, 2014. 



and....


http://www.globalresearch.ca/crimea-putins-triumph-now-the-confrontation-moves-east-to-new-russia/5374710



Novo Rossia: The Eastern and Southeastern Mainland Provinces of Ukraine

Region: 
In-depth Report: 
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ukraine-linguistic-division
Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick victory.
They watched when President Yanukovych escaped to Russia to save his skin. They watched when the Brown bands moved eastwards to threaten the Russian-speaking South East. They patiently listened while Mme Timoshenko, fresh out of jail, swore to void treaties with Russia and to expel the Russian Black Sea Fleet from its main harbour in Sevastopol.
They paid no heed when the new government appointed oligarchs to rule Eastern provinces. Nor did they react when children in Ukrainian schools were ordered to sing “Hang a Russian on a thick branch” and the oligarch-governor’s deputy promised to hang dissatisfied Russians of the East as soon as Crimea is pacified. While these fateful events unravelled, Putin kept silence.
He is a cool cucumber, Mr Putin. Everybody, including this writer, thought he was too nonchalant about Ukraine’s collapse. He waited patiently. The Russians made a few slow and hesitant, almost stealthy moves. The marines Russia had based in Crimea by virtue of an international agreement (just as the US has marines in Bahrain) secured Crimea’s airports and roadblocks, provided necessary support to the volunteers of the Crimean militia (called Self-Defence Forces), but remained under cover. The Crimean parliament asserted its autonomy and promised a plebiscite in a month time. And all of a sudden things started to move real fast!
The poll was moved up to Sunday, March 16. Even before it could take place, the Crimean Parliament declared Crimea’s independence. The poll’s results were spectacular: 96% of the votes were for joining Russia; the level of participation was unusually high – over 84%. Not only ethnic Russians, but ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars voted for reunification with Russia as well. A symmetrical poll in Russia showed over 90% popular support for reunification with Crimea, despite liberals’ fear-mongering (“this will be too costly, the sanctions will destroy Russian economy, the US will bomb Moscow”, they said).
Even then, the majority of experts and talking heads expected the situation to remain suspended for a long while. Some thought Putin would eventually recognise Crimean independence, while stalling on final status, as he did with Ossetia and Abkhazia after the August 2008 war with Tbilisi. Others, especially Russian liberals, were convinced Putin would surrender Crimea in order to save Russian assets in the Ukraine.
But Putin justified the Russian proverb: the Russians take time to saddle their horses, but they ride awfully fast. He recognised Crimea’s independence on Monday, before the ink on the poll’s results dried.  The next day, on Tuesday, he gathered all of Russia’s senior statesmen and parliamentarians in the biggest, most glorious and elegant St George state hall in the Kremlin, lavishly restored to its Imperial glory, and declared Russia’s acceptance of Crimea’s reunification bid. Immediately after his speech, the treaty between Crimea and Russia was signed, and the peninsula reverted to Russia as it was before 1954, when Communist Party leader Khrushchev passed it to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.
This was an event of supreme elation for the gathered politicians and for people at home watching it live on their tellies. The vast St George Hall applauded Putin as never before, almost as loudly and intensely as the US Congress had applauded Netanyahu. The Russians felt immense pride: they still remember the stinging defeat of 1991, when their country was taken apart. Regaining Crimea was a wonderful reverse for them. There were public festivities in honour of this reunification all over Russia and especially in joyous Crimea.
Historians have compared the event with the restoration of Russian sovereignty over Crimea in 1870, almost twenty years after the Crimean War had ended with Russia’s defeat, when severe limitations on Russian rights in Crimea were imposed by victorious France and Britain. Now the Black Sea Fleet will be able to develop and sail freely again, enabling it to defend Syria in the next round. Though Ukrainians ran down the naval facilities and turned the most advanced submarine harbour of Balaclava into shambles, the potential is there.
Besides the pleasure of getting this lost bit of land back, there was the additional joy of outwitting the adversary. The American neocons arranged the coup in Ukraine and sent the unhappy country crashing down, but the first tangible fruit of this break up went to Russia. 
A new Jewish joke was coined at that time:
Israeli President Peres asks the Russian President:
-          Vladimir, are you of Jewish ancestry?
-          Putin: What makes you think so, Shimon?
-          Peres: You made the US pay five billion dollars to deliver Crimea to Russia. Even for a Jew, that is audacious!
Five billion dollars is a reference to Victoria Nuland’s admission of having spent that much for democratisation (read: destabilisation) of the Ukraine. President Putin snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and US hegemony suffered a set-back.
The Russians enjoyed the sight of their UN representative Vitaly Churkin coping with a near-assault by Samantha Power. The Irish-born US rep came close to bodily attacking the elderly grey-headed Russian diplomat telling him that “Russia was defeated (presumably in 1991 – ISH) and should bear the consequences… Russia is blackmailing the US with its nuclear weapons,” while Churkin asked her to keep her hands off him and stop foaming at the mouth. This was not the first hostile encounter between these twain: a month ago, Samantha entertained a Pussy Riot duo, and Churkin said she should join the group and embark on a concert tour.
The US Neocons’ role in the Kiev coup was clarified by two independent exposures. Wonderful Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek showed that the anti-Russian campaign of recent months (gay protests, Wahl affair, etc.) was organised by the Zionist Neocon PNAC (now renamed FPI) led by Mr Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria “Fuck EC” Nuland. It seems that the Neocons are hell-bent to undermine Russia by all means, while the Europeans are much more flexible. (True, the US troops are still stationed in Europe, and the old continent is not as free to act as it might like). 
The second exposé was an interview with Alexander Yakimenko, the head of Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU) who had escaped to Russia like his president. Yakimenko accused Andriy Parubiy, the present security czar, of making a deal with the Americans. On American instructions, he delivered weapons and brought snipers who killed some 70 persons within few hours. They killed the riot police and the protesters as well.
The US Neocon-led conspiracy in Kiev was aimed against the European attempt to reach a compromise with President Yanukovych, said the SBU chief. They almost agreed on all points, but Ms Nuland wanted to derail the agreement, and so she did – with the help of a few snipers.
These snipers were used again in Crimea: a sniper shot and killed a Ukrainian soldier. When the Crimean self-defence forces began their pursuit, the sniper shot at them, killed one and wounded one. It is the same pattern: snipers are used to provoke response and hopefully to jump-start a shootout.
 Novorossia
While Crimea was a walkover, the Russians are far from being home and dry. Now, the confrontation moved to the Eastern and South-Eastern provinces of mainland Ukraine, called Novorossia (New Russia) before the Communist Revolution of 1917. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his later years predicted that Ukraine’s undoing would come from its being overburdened by industrial provinces that never belonged to the Ukraine before Lenin, – by Russian-speaking Novorossia. This prediction is likely to be fulfilled.
Who fights whom over there? It is a great error to consider the conflict a tribal one, between Russians and Ukrainians. Good old Pat Buchanan made this error saying that “Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethno-nationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.” Nothing could be farther away from truth: perhaps only the outlandish claim that Putin is keen on restoring the Russian Empire can compete.
Putin is not an empire-builder at all (to great regret of Russia’s communists and nationalists). Even his quick takeover of Crimea was an action forced upon him by the strong-willed people of Crimea and by the brazen aggression of the Kiev regime. I have it on a good authority that Putin hoped he would not have to make this decision. But when he decided he acted.
The ethno-nationalist assertion of Buchanan is even more misleading. Ethno-nationalists of Russia are Putin’s enemies; they support the Ukrainian ethno-nationalists and march together with Jewish liberals on Moscow street demos. Ethno-nationalism is as foreign to Russians as it is foreign to the English. You can expect to meet a Welsh or Scots nationalist, but an English nationalist is an unnatural rarity. Even the English Defence League was set up by a Zionist Jew. Likewise, you can find a Ukrainian or a Belarusian or a Cossack nationalist, but practically never a Russian one.
Putin is a proponent and advocate of non-nationalist Russian world. What is the Russian world?
Russian World
Russians populate their own vast universe embracing many ethnic units of various background, from Mongols and Karels to Jews and Tatars. Until 1991, they populated an even greater land mass (called the Soviet Union, and before that, the Russian Empire) where Russian was the lingua francaand the language of daily usage for majority of citizens. Russians could amass this huge empire because they did not discriminate and did not hog the blanket. Russians are amazingly non-tribal, to an extent unknown in smaller East European countries, but similar to other great Eastern Imperial nations, the Han Chinese and the Turks before the advent of Young Turks and Ataturk. The Russians did not assimilate but partly acculturated their neighbours for whom Russian language and culture became the gateway to the world. The Russians protected and supported local cultures, as well, at their expense, for they enjoy this diversity.
Before 1991, the Russians promoted a universalist humanist world-view; nationalism was practically banned, and first of all, Russian nationalism. No one was persecuted or discriminated because of his ethnic origin (yes, Jews complained, but they always complain). There was some positive discrimination in the Soviet republics, for instance a Tajik would have priority to study medicine in the Tajik republic, before a Russian or a Jew; and he would be able to move faster up the ladder in the Party and politics. Still the gap was small.
After 1991, this universalist world-view was challenged by a parochial and ethno-nationalist one in all ex-Soviet republics save Russia and Belarus. Though Russia ceased to be Soviet, it retained its universalism. In the republics, people of Russian culture were severely discriminated against, often fired from their working places, in worst cases they were expelled or killed. Millions of Russians, natives of the republics, became refugees; together with them, millions of non-Russians who preferred Russian universalist culture to “their own” nationalist and parochial one fled to Russia. That is why modern Russia has millions of Azeris, Armenians, Georgians, Tajiks, Latvians and of smaller ethnic groups from the republics. Still, despite discrimination, millions of Russians and people of Russian culture remained in the republics, where their ancestors lived for generations, and the Russian language became a common ground for all non-nationalist forces.
If one wants to compare with Israel, as Pat Buchanan did, it is the republics, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Estonia do follow Israeli model of discriminating and persecuting their “ethnic minorities”, while Russia follows the West European model of equality.
France vs Occitania
In order to understand the Russia-Ukraine problem, compare it with France. Imagine it divided into North and South France, the North retaining the name of France, while the South of France calling itself “Occitania”, and its people “Occitans”, their language “Occitan”. The government of Occitania would force the people to speak Provençal, learn Frederic Mistral’s poems by rote and teach children to hate the French, who had devastated their beautiful land in the Albigensian Crusade of 1220. France would just gnash its teeth. Now imagine that after twenty years, the power in Occitania were violently seized by some romantic southern fascists who were keen to eradicate “800 years of Frank domination” and intend to discriminate against people who prefer to speak the language of Victor Hugo and Albert Camus. Eventually France would be forced to intervene and defend francophones, at least in order to stem the refugee influx. Probably the Southern francophones of Marseilles and Toulon would support the North against “their own” government, though they are not migrants from Normandy.
Putin defends all Russian-speakers, all ethnic minorities, such as Gagauz or Abkhaz, not only ethnic Russians. He defends the Russian World, all those russophones who want and need his protection. This Russian World definitely includes many, perhaps majority of people in the Ukraine, ethnic Russians, Jews, small ethnic groups and ethnic Ukrainians, in Novorossia and in Kiev.
Indeed Russian world was and is attractive. The Jews were happy to forget their schtetl and Yiddish; their best poets Pasternak and Brodsky wrote in Russian and considered themselves Russian. Still, some minor poets used Yiddish for their self-expression. The Ukrainians, as well, used Russian for literature, though they spoke their dialect at home for long time. Nikolai Gogol, the great Russian writer of Ukrainian origin, wrote Russian, and he was dead set against literary usage of the Ukrainian dialect. There were a few minor Romantic figures who used the dialect for creative art, like Taras Shevchenko and Lesya Ukrainka.
Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Even ethnic-Ukrainians do not use and do not know Ukrainian. In order to promote its use, the Ukrainian government bans Russian schools, forbids Russian TV, even librarians are not allowed to speak Russian with their readers. This anti-Russian position of Ukraine is exactly what the US wants in order to weaken Russia.“
Putin in his speech on Crimea stressed that he wants to secure the Russian world – everywhere in the Ukraine. In Novorossia the need is acute, for there are daily confrontations between the people and the gangs sent by the Kiev regime. While Putin does not yet want (as opposed to Solzhenitsyn and against general Russian feeling) to take over Novorossia, he may be forced to it, as he was in Crimea. There is a way to avoid this major shift: the Ukraine must rejoin the Russian world. While keeping its independence, Ukraine must grant full equality to its Russian language speakers. They should be able to have Russian-language schools, newspapers, TV, be entitled to use Russian everywhere. Anti-Russian propaganda must cease. And fantasies of joining NATO, too.
This is not an extraordinary demand: Latinos in the US are allowed to use Spanish. In Europe, equality of languages and cultures is a sine qua non. Only in the ex-Soviet republics are these rights trampled – not only in Ukraine, but in the Baltic republics as well. For twenty years, Russia made do with weak objections, when Russian-speakers (the majority of them are not ethnic Russians) in the Baltic states were discriminated against. This is likely to change. Lithuania and Latvia have already paid for their anti-Russian position by losing their profitable transit trade with Russia. Ukraine is much more important for Russia. Unless the present regime is able to change (not very likely), this illegitimate regime will be changed by people of Ukraine, and Russia will use R2P against the criminal elements in power.
The majority of people of Ukraine would probably agree with Putin, irrespective of their ethnicity. Indeed, in the Crimean referendum, Ukrainians and Tatars voted en masse together with Russians. This is a positive sign: there will be no ethnic strife in the Ukraine’s East, despite US efforts to the contrary. The decision time is coming up fast: some experts presume that by end of May the Ukrainian crisis will be behind us.