BY SAEED NAQVI
Has Vladimir Putin been lured into Ukraine? Did he really imagine that it would be an easy two day outing? Something he did not put into his calculus was the years of planning at the Pentagon, Langley and the British military intelligence to entrap him. Who knows Putin may have counter moves up his sleeve. He is an exceptional chess player.
Lethal equipment was obviously stationed in Ukraine by the West much before the war drums rolled. In fact the chorus, “Putin is about to invade”, was raised after the equipment was in place and duly manned. Who will ever find out that the men in uniform behind the fancier machines were Ukrainians, Poles or British?
Russians acted on a script they have been refining since the Orange Revolution of November 2004. The crisis has been building up from much earlier though. Let me pick a few dates arbitrarily:
Mikhail Gorbachev, who single handedly reduced the Soviet Empire to modern Russia, had serious concerns about a reunified Germany in NATO. James Baker, Bush Senior’s Secretary of State, an old fashioned diplomat, reliable, not flighty, prevailed on Gorbachev on the German question, but promised that NATO would not move closer to Russia even “by an inch”.
Baker’s word was not kept. The climax was reached in 1998 when the US senate, after a perfunctory debate, ratified NATO expansion. One of the finest minds on strategy and possibly America’s greatest expert on Russia, George Kennan, gave a prescient interview which I have referred to earlier also.
“I think this is the beginning of a new Cold War. I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe.”
Critics will leap and point fingers at Kennan: “Look, he was wrong; Russia has attached a European country.” To understand why Ukraine has been attacked Kennan’s statement must be read in full.
“Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now (in 1998) we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime……… Ofcourse there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then the NATO expanders will say that we always told you.”
Despite Kennan’s warning, the Military Industrial Complex stopped at nothing. Since 1991, 14 new member states have been added to NATO. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO (whom I interviewed as a peacenik Prime Minister of Norway) has been salivating on Georgia and Ukraine, both red lines for Russia. In January 2021, Zelensky approached Biden on bended knees: “Please, Sir, take us into NATO.”
This is when Russian troops in large numbers moved towards the border. The other purpose was to deter neo Nazi groups menacing for the past eight years, Luhansk and Donetsk, the pro-Russian enclaves of Donbas in the East.
Why did the US orchestra on Ukraine reach a crescendo in February?
By late January 2022, Boris Johnson’s sins had caught up with him. ‘Partygate’ was reverberating in Parliament. Every time Labour leader Keir Starmer sought Johnson’s resignation for his misdemeanours, Johnson would lean on the dispatch box and, in addition to offering flimsy defence, make the smallest parting between his lips and emit “Phutin” to divert the Parliament’s attention. Just when his neck seemed to be on the line, he flew to Ukraine to shed the boozy image.
Supposing Johnson had fallen, President Joe Biden would have slipped with no hand to pull him up. Questions were being raised about his mental fitness; Trump’s rating were the same as his, pandemic blues were not ending; race relations were plummeting, school kids were killing school kids with automatic weapons regularly.
All of this against the backdrop of defeat in Afghanistan, a failed attempt at regime change in Kazakhstan and the western alliance in total disarray. Who was Johnson’s pet hate: Emmanuel Macron or Vladimir Putin? Was the Brexit boomerang from Northern Island hitting him hard or was Ukraine the problem?
The Anglo-American combine were beating the war drums at such high decibel levels that a larger war with Europe was being dreamed up. The US was across the Atlantic; Britain beyond the channel, distanced even more from Europe by Brexit. Were these two troubled, non European entities trying to drag Europe into a war with Russia?
Some of it was deception. An atmosphere of war was a red herring. The Military intelligence of the countries was pointing to the 1,20,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine border as precursor to a general war. But war hysteria was a smokescreen to lure Russia into the Ukrainian foxhole for a sufficient length of time to enable the western media, transformed into a lying propaganda machine, to demonize Putin irreparably.
A minor digression has come from Andrew Higgins of The New York Times. Rabbi Kaminezki, the chief rabbi in Dnipro in eastern Ukraine had warned against Zelensky, a Jew, becoming President. “We will have pogroms in two years if things go wrong.” Zelensky not only ignored the rabbi but proceeded to appoint Volodymyr Groysman, a fellow Jew as his Prime Minister. This caused NYT to take note: “Ukraine is the only country outside Israel where the heads of state and government are Jewish.” Since then, the Prime Minister has changed. I wonder if this detail makes any material difference to the story.
Western propaganda about Putin is scary. Russophobia is growing. Russian embassy in neighbouring Warsaw has been “seized” not by mobs but Poland’s Foreign Ministry. How will Russia retaliate?
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton has spilt the beans. In an interview to MSNBC she said Russians should be trapped in Ukraine and defeated by a well funded and armed insurgency exactly “As we had done in Afghanistan.” Ms. Clinton forgets two facts: Americans too were “trapped” in Afghanistan for 20 years and left in disgrace.
She herself had told Congress (video available) that “we armed the Mujahideen”, threw money at them and ended up manufacturing the terrorists who plague us to this day.
(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)
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(Photo Courtesy: Official Website – Kremlin)