There Is No Russian Aggression in Ukraine

On June 22, 2015, the new Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, in lengthy prepared remarks delivered in Berlin, referred to Russian aggression 4 separate times. This is inaccurate and untruthful. These references are an excuse for the U.S. to build up the military of Ukraine, a country which it is working flat out to bring under its control. They are a further excuse for sanctions on Russia that are designed to hem it in as a form of soft warfare and divide it from Europe. Thirdly, they are an excuse to bolster NATO and consolidate other countries in eastern Europe with NATO and the U.S. In sum, Ash Carter propagates Russian aggression as a convenient lie that serves the imperial interests of the U.S. government.

The press services picked the term up immediately and built it into their headlines that blared “Russian aggression”. In doing this, they served as nothing more than conduits for propaganda.

There has been no Russian aggression in Ukraine in any of the three usual senses of the term. Russia didn’t attack either Crimea or Donbass. Russia didn’t exhibit violent or confrontational behavior toward Ukraine. Russia didn’t attack Ukraine without provocation. In fact, it has not attacked Ukraine at all. Russia didn’t introduce force assertively to achieve its own interests.

The opposite case is clear and strong, even though it is not brought out in the press. Kiev attacked Donbass, threatening the lives of people of Russian extraction in that region. Kiev bombarded civilian areas. Russia made efforts to help the volunteer forces of those nascent states in that region defend themselves and counterattack. This involved supplying them with war materiel that included weapons. Russian armed forces also crossed the border. These efforts were limited in scope, without the overwhelming numbers that Russia might have or would have used if it were truly intent on aggressing against Ukraine or expanding the boundaries of these new states. The defense assistance was measured and within calibrated bounds. The aim of the Russian assistance was thus shown to be defensive, not aggressive.

There is no doubt that Russia was ready to act and take whatever advantage it could of a situation in Ukraine that was going against it that the U.S. engineered. It acted to minimize the damage to its own situation. The Russian state is not a pacifist entity. It is a state that has its own power aspirations.

The U.S. has succeeded in the short run in raising barriers between Russia and Europe. It has succeeded in mobilizing NATO. It has had some success in demonizing Russia and Putin. However, the Crimea objectives of the U.S. have been an utter failure. In Ukraine, the U.S. has attached the millstone of a failed government and country around its own neck. In the longer term, the U.S. has made the world far more dangerous. It has raised large uncertainties about weapons in eastern Europe and within Russia at those borders. It has increased the chances of tactical nuclear weapons being used in those theatres. It has caused a tidal shift in Russian attitudes and perceptions. It has caused Russia to look eastward and southward toward China and India. The verbal olive branches waved by Carter in Russia’s direction are not for a long time in the future going to be taken at face value. They are going to be treated with the suspicion they merit.

U.S. interventions have gone wrong in the Middle East and the current intervention in Ukraine has also nothing to recommend it. It has nothing but negatives attached to it. Intervention in Vietnam went wrong. Intervention in Afghanistan went wrong. Intervention in Syria has gone wrong.

These interventions and others like them have gone wrong because the imperial model being followed by the U.S. government doesn’t apply everywhere and to all countries. The imperial methods that may have succeeded in the past in some countries or to a limited extent therein, succeeded we should be clear only on behalf of the imperial interests that promoted them, do not and cannot succeed in a host of countries. Not every country has the social-political-cultural setup that is open to the brand of military-political-economic pressures that the U.S. has brought to bear in some countries.


11:27 am on June 23, 2015