Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Ukraine proxy war re-ignites; NYT continues its role as state propaganda

Posted by Charles II on January 25, 2015

Robert Parry has a good piece on how the Rick Lyman and Andrew E. Kramer of The New York Times have done a new piece of state propaganda by decontextualizing the origins of the conflict:

One way the Times has falsified the Ukraine narrative is by dating the origins of the crisis to several months after the crisis actually began. So, the lead story in Saturday’s editions ignored the actual chronology of events and started the clock with the appearance of Russian troops in Crimea in spring 2014.

In other words, the story doesn’t start in fall 2013 with the extraordinary U.S. intervention in Ukrainian political affairs – spearheaded by American neocons, such as National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain – nor with the U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, which ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych and put one of Nuland’s chosen leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in as Prime Minister.

As I commented on the site, one could also start the story of this conflict in 1917. In that case, one would include Stalin’s brutal famine, created in part artificially, that led to mass deaths. A fully-accurate narrative of the Ukrainian crisis would state that the country does have a pro-western faction and a pro-Russian faction, that the pro-western faction resents the Russian colonial mindset but fails to appreciate that if it becomes free of Russia, it will become a Western colony, and that the pro-Russian regions are being prodded, encourage, and supplied by Russia. In other words, this may be a proxy conflict, but it has substantial support from both factions of the population.

A better antidote to the half-blind perspective of the New York Times is to bring another half-blind perspective from the other side and try to integrate the two. In that regard, I want to mention Slavyangrad and The Vineyard of the Saker, recommended by reader Jo6Pac. Slavyangrad has a big map of the hostilities that’s very useful. It shows how the pro-Russian offensive in the south would put the rebels within less than 100 miles of creating a land route between Russia and Crimea. It would give the Russians a friendly port much nearer to Crimea. The Vineyard links a pretty convincing film of a man in uniform–presumed to be in the Kiev army– who sounds like an Aussie and one might reasonably suspect of being a contractor supplied by the West. In the shelling of civilians in Mariupol, The Guardian blames it on rebels, while the Vineyard claims that the shells came from Kiev’s army. It’s just as amusing to hear The Saker talk about how professional and precise the pro-Russian artillery is, even though it’s supposedly fired by amateurs as it is to read The Guardian effectively blame the rebels for civilian deaths without providing any real evidence for culpability.

Are there Russian soldiers in there? Are there western soldiers in there? Probably yes to both. Neither Kiev’s army nor the pro-Russian militias would seem to have enough combat training or access to weapons to cause this much havoc on their own. What seems clear is that Russia has decided to re-supply the pro-Russian side and that the West is going to try to pretend that it has nothing to do with creating this proxy war. At what point is the Obama Administration going to decide that the Russians are dead serious? At what point is it going to occur to the Administration that it has other fish in the pan, fish which would have been much more easily fried with Russian help? And when will the NYT get so embarrassed by its reporting and the failure of American policy that it tells the Administration that it’s no longer going to serve as an organ of state propaganda? Based on the extensive Honduran experience documented on this blog, one would have to guess that the answer to those three questions is “Never.”

Nuclear war, anyone?


4 Responses to “Ukraine proxy war re-ignites; NYT continues its role as state propaganda”

  1. I doubt that there’s going to be nuclear war, or any war for that matter, between Russia and anyone – unless it involves a nuclear warhead that went missing from Russia’s stockpile suddenly detonating in Riyadh. (Which would not cause anyone besides Netanyahu to shed any tears. On second thought, he’d be dancing in glee, because he could ride the resulting paranoia wave to a safe re-election.)

    For one thing, Obama is quietly taking Russian and Iranian advice on how to extricate himself from the Syrian morass that the Saudis and the Israelis wanted him to dive into. Instead of helping the House of Saud replace a relatively stable and secular Assad Alawite government with yet another Wahabi theocracy, he’s actually helping the Kurds, the socialist and women-friendly Kurds who every other US president has screwed over in favor of helping the Wahabites. (It helps that the Sunni jihadists that the KSA and Israel would have us back are so incapable of playing nice that they’ve shown over and over that there is no meaningful “moderate rebel” opposition to Assad; all of the big players on the ground are Sunni jihadists bankrolled largely by the KSA and Kuwaiti armchair jihadist billionaires.)

    • Charles II said

      As much as I think that Saudi Arabia is managing to make itself the enemy of the entire world through its funding of ISIS, invasion of Bahrain, egging-on of war against Iran, and so forth, I can promise you that I at least would shed many tears over any deployment of nuclear weapons against a civilian population. One cannot look at the Hiroshima memorial, and hear the keening of little children in formless fear of what they see without consciously understanding, without having it seared into one what an atrocity nuclear weapons are.

      I don’t foresee the U.S. engaging in a first use of strategic nuclear weapons. Ukraine just isn’t that important to us. But Russia has lots of tactical nuclear weapons and no doctrinal barriers to their use. For example:

      But there is a paradox in Russia’s military decline: the deterioration of its conventional forces means Russia must rely more heavily on its TNWs; and yet, the deteriorated state of themilitary’s morale,
      readiness, and reliability means that there is an increased internal threat of the accidental or unauthorized launch, or the proliferation of a nuclear weapon.

      Also see here and here.

      I don’t think that I am crying wolf by worrying out loud about the possibility of nuclear war. If I am, I am in good company.

  2. jo6pacjo6pac said

    I don’t see the nuke thing happening unless crazy Amerikan neo-conn can do it. I doubt either military would give that order.

    There are Russian troops there and I do believe this was on Slavyangrad were they interviewed one. He was on leave from the Russian Army as were many others. They were allowed to take their body armor and weapons with them. This was done by Amerika during the death squads of South America during the late 60s to 80s. On the same site they interviewed some former French soldiers and there was over 100 of them fighting together on the rebels (freedom fighters) side. There is also many Chechens fighting on the side of the freedom fighters most are former soldiers or been given leave.

    This proxy war brought on by Amerikas neo-conns only has losers and that’s the people of the Ukraine. Winners are corp. Amerika stealing everything that they can, Shock Doctrine. Sad.

    “But there is a paradox in Russia’s military decline”

    I do believe this might have been true 10yrs ago but Putin has had the military in Russia rearm itself with the latest in weapons even their Jet fighters are better than ours but maybe not the pilots.

    At this time I think the Russian are the only adults in the room and trying to bring them down by way sanctions isn’t going to work. It hasn’t worked with Iran, it’s only made Iran make their on product now. This will happen in Russia along with alliance with China and the Brics.

    I think if Greece was smart they should throw the euro under the bus and join the Brics.

    Waiting for the well people to fix it at the house I rent. It still has water but something is wrong with the switch. Fog and cold in my part of Calli but glad I’m not facing the storm coming to the East.

    Charles, Thanks for the HT and here’s another site doing good job on this subject.

    • Charles II said

      I hope you’re right about nuclear war, Jo. But, as I said, if I am wrong, I am in good company. If you’re interested in the current Russian view on tactical nuclear weapons, I suggest Part II of this publication by the US Army War College.

      As for the death squads in Latin America, those were instigated by full-time employees of the CIA and Pentagon, not troops on leave. The story has pretty much been forgotten, but one can read about the regular troops here.

      I am not really surprised that there are Russian troops in Ukraine. A lot of Russian soldiers probably have family in Ukraine, so there might even be there without orders. But if they are there under orders, it’s not a surprise. Russia has made it clear that keeping NATO out of Ukraine is a strategic requirement. It’s also not a surprise to find foreign troops fighting on the side of Kiev. Kiev is dangerously weak, and has to get help wherever it can. In that sense, military victories by the rebels in the East are probably Pyrrhic, since they force Kiev to accept conditions imposed by the West.

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