The Nobel Peace Prize for Mr. Vl. Putin?

Thought, aided in this by the contingencies of daily life, generally proceeds pragmatically by oppositions. On the one hand, it makes exclusive distinctions that may seem naive; on the other hand, it tends to reinforce these exclusions by forcing one to choose one or the other of the two propositions. If we try to apply this way of thinking to certain contemporary political realities, however, we get the following paradoxical picture.

 

One of two things. Or the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to Mr. Putin (1952-) because, like political luminaries such as Messrs. Kissinger, Carter and Obama, his atavistic imperialism deserves to be rewarded by the Western oligarchs, all amazed by such a martial character, as soaked in KGB bile as G. H. W. Bush’s was in CIA honey. This is the option of the neoconservatives themselves, who would give a lot to place such a person at the head of the US-US state. There is no need to repeat here the obvious validity of this opinion, shared by the entire international community.

 

Or the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to Mr. Putin because he is one of the few political creatures who fight tooth and nail for peace, democracy and human rights. Efficient, reliable, creative, visionary and of exemplary probity, Mr. Putin brings together qualities that are rarely found in our contemporaries and almost never in politicians. MESSRS. Castro, Chavez, Morales, Correa are, in this respect, exceptional. (Who can be opposed to them in Belgium or in France? Leopold II? De Gaulle?) This is the opinion of humanists who, true to their reborn ideals, analyze world events in terms of the One, the True and the Good. A certain number of facts can be revisited from this point of view, which, it must be said, turns out to characterize the countries that are on the fringe of the international community, that is, less lyrically, the countries that do not belong to the NATO sphere (see Chomsky). So what can we say about the management of the Ukrainian crisis by Mr. Putin’s Russia?

 

Let us first note that the KGB — and especially the KGB’s foreign intelligence to which Mr. Putin belonged — was a secret service organically different from the CIA. Whereas KGB members were distinguished by absolute loyalty to the Soviet people and nation (though not necessarily to the Communist Party and Marxist-Leninist ideology), CIA members seem more inclined to cultivate absolute loyalty to the oligarchy and liberal-capitalist ideology than to work for the safety of their fellow citizens. Unless I am mistaken, US-American patriots are more likely to be counted among the military.

Let’s remember that the foundation of Russia took place in the 9th century… in Kiev. Even if differences remain between the specifically Ukrainian and Russian cultural roots, the historical depth of these existential links is undeniable and must inform any discussion of the « Euromaidan » events.

 

In the West, colonialism has not been openly discussed since 1946, but this does not mean that the spirit of colonialism has disappeared. It can be argued that the spirit of colonialism and the spirit of capitalism are one and the same. The « right to interfere » (1979) was first used to obtain, with the help of the ideology of globalization, the same colonial result; then came the « duty to interfere » (1980); and, most recently, the « responsibility to protect » populations endangered by their own government (2001). All of this remained rather nebulous until 2013. The modalities of this destructuring interventionism have indeed gained in transparency with the Ukrainian events, which has also allowed for a retrospective look at the last « spring » wars, namely Libya (2011) and Syria (2011). Let’s pinpoint three facts that have managed to acquire a certain media visibility in the NATO area (only to be immediately drowned in appropriate war propaganda): (i) Victoria Nuland’s lecture in which she praised the financial efforts made by the U.S. to « democratize » Ukraine, an investment of five billion dollars since 1991 (U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Gala « Ukraine in Washington, » December 13, 2013) ; (ii) the phone call between the same V. Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, which makes obvious the interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and more specifically the attempts to purely pilot the « revolution » (February 6, 2014) ; (iii) the phone call between Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, which establishes that snipers created the popular massacre in order to blame it on police forces (February 25, 2014). In fact, the same « snipers » targeted the demonstrators and the forces of order, with the obvious aim of igniting violence and precipitating the coup.

 

The question is always the same: who benefits from the crime?(Cui bono?) A brief reflection enlightened by these facts allows us to understand the aim of the strategy of the different actors involved, even if we cannot grasp all the details. The geopolitical stakes can be understood in various ways, but they all converge towards a focal point: the containment of Russia as a first step to its controlled demolition by the « international community ». The coup d’état orchestrated in Maïdan by the West was supposed to guarantee many remarkable and immediate results: the destruction of the Ukraine/Russia cooperation, the acquisition of the arable land of the North-East at a low price (the famous « black land »), the control of the gas pipelines that supply the European market and the taking of very promising territories for hydraulic fracturing (in continuity with the Polish geological formations, these territories constitute the only real European potential in this field). If the paralysis of Ukrainian society was not achieved quickly in the mode of the shock strategy (see N. Klein’s interpretation of Pinochet’s coup), it would be achieved in the short term and, failing that, a civil war can only allow the total predation of the coveted resources. If the Russians were drawn into the war, the Afghan scenario would necessarily be repeated to their detriment. Heads I win, tails you lose.

All this is very serious and excessively embarrassing for Russia, but from a geopolitical point of view, only two facts are really decisive: the will to expel Russia from its naval base in Sevastopol (and its substructures in Mykolaiv, Kacha and Gvardeyskoye) and the attempt to appropriate the technopoles of Eastern Ukraine and more particularly the military and aerospace industry.

First, the self-determination referendum held on March 16, 2014, resolved the Crimean problem in a very elegant way, without any bloodshed. About the illegality of the return of Crimea to Russia, Jacques Sapir proposes (with others) the following alternative. Or there was a revolution following the events of Mayan and the Constitution is suspended, de facto if not de jure, and nothing links Crimea to Ukraine. Either there was no revolution and the political claims of the ruling team are null and void, while we must recognize Mr. Yanukovych as the legal President of Ukraine. More fundamentally, since decolonization, there is what is commonly referred to as the « right of peoples to self-determination » and a unilateral declaration of independence is permitted by international law (International Court of Justice), Summary of the Advisory Opinion 2010/2, 22 July 2010) — but it is true that some commentators point out that there is simply no international law on the matter and that the UN Charter is very clear on the matter.

Secondly, the protection of the high-tech industrial poles of Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Snezhnoye, Voloshisk, not to mention Kharkov, where the National Aeronautics and Aerospace University is located, is still in the works, and one can only wonder at the degree of misinformation, greed, and political idiocy of Western officials when they believed — and seem to continue to believe — that Russia can afford to lose overnight not only its naval base but also to suffer such an amputation of the potential of its defense industry (one speaks of a loss of twenty to thirty percent). Clinically, we are in the acute paranoid delirium.

 

What about the tactics used? In simple terms, it is twofold. On the one hand, Western « democracies » finance (to the tune of five billion dollars, as we have learned) the multiplication of non-governmental organizations that promote the propagation of neo-liberal ideas by promoting the standard of living of a middle class that is in the process of disappearing here. These organizations are usually the fronts for intelligence agencies. On the other hand, the same « democracies » proceed to the systematic military encirclement of all (possibly) emerging powers and militarily occupy the territories required to do so. US-US colonialism, which is what we are talking about, goes back to the Monroe Doctrine (1823); for the purposes of our discussion, it will suffice to recall the Wolfowitz Doctrine (1992) and its Brzezinskian ideological foundations (1997), foundations that were promptly transcribed into the Rebuilding America’s Defenses from the Project for the New American Century (2000), the Bush Jr.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine, which was unveiled in the New York Times on March 8, 1992, simply states that any state strong enough to remain independent, i.e. to ignore Washington’s injunctions, should be considered « hostile. In the background of this warlike ideology is the work of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who published in 1997 The Grand Chessboard, subtitled American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, a monograph in gestation since 1978 and offering, with absolute cynicism, the best description of the American imperial strategy (he goes so far as to plan the division of Russia into three entities).

Exemplifying this is very easy. NATO was created in 1949 to protect itself from the Warsaw Pact (created in 1955); with the fall of the Wall in 1989, the alliance definitively lost its raison d’être and Jack F. Matlock, U.S. ambassador to Moscow from 1987 to 1991, (diplomatically) confirmed that G. H. W. Bush had formally promised not to expand NATO eastward (Washington Post, March 14, 2014). We now know what happened: all the Warsaw Pact member countries, except Russia, were integrated into NATO and equipped with US bases; in 2001 the US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty, signed in 1972, in order to set up an « anti-missile shield » in Eastern Europe, the sole purpose of which was to allow a first strike to neutralize Russia (who can believe in the Iranian or North Korean threat?); the invasion of Iraq was stopped without a UN mandate (2003); the « colored » revolutions (or « flower revolutions ») were teleguided in Yugoslavia (2000), Georgia (2003), Lebanon (2005), Kyrgyzstan (2005)… then there were the aggressions against Libya (2011) and Syria (2011).

In retrospect, one can only be surprised at the patience and unwavering goodwill of the Russians. As recently as November 2013, Putin was advocating for tripartite negotiations with the European Union and Ukraine to establish free trade agreements, stressing that Ukraine was the natural bridge between East and West. The response of the Europeans — that is to say, of the US- Americans — was very clear: for Catherine Ashton, David O’Sullivan and Stefan Füle, Ukraine had to choose between the European Union and the Russian Federation (Andrei Gratchev, « Europe was wrong not to include Moscow in its Eastern Partnership », Le Monde, 05.03.2014).

 

If one listens to what Mr. Putin says, one is struck by his attachment to the foundations of international law as established by the Treaties of Westphalia (1648). Three principles, presupposing the legal equality of nation-states, must be respected: the absolute sovereignty of the nation-state and thus the right to political self-determination; respect for international treaties; and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. History teaches us that we can unfortunately expect nothing from a nation that was built on the violation of all of the four hundred or so treaties signed with the indigenous peoples (« Indians »)… (Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 1980, p. 526) It is to be hoped that the Russians have understood this and, above all, that the Europeans will position themselves accordingly in a world worked more or less explicitly by the imminence of ecological collapse.

M. Weber, philosopher

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