RUSSIA AND USA MOVE THE WORLD CLOSER TO WORLD WAR III OVER UKRAINE CRISIS
by Syarif Hidayat
Russia and the US ‘are moving the world’ closer to World War III. Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has accused Russia of seeking to trigger a “Third World War.” In a televised cabinet meeting on Friday, Yatsenyuk accused Moscow of attempting to occupy Ukraine “militarily and politically,” creating a conflict that would spread to the rest of Europe.
“The world hasn’t forgotten the Second World War and Russia wants to start a Third World War,” he added. The Ukrainian official said Russia’s support for anti-Kiev protesters constitutes an international crime, calling for international community to unite against Moscow.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval says Russian troops conducting military exercises close to the Ukrainian border, came within one kilometer of the border but did not cross it, adding that Ukraine’s armed forces are ready to repel any aggression.
Interim authorities in Kiev said on Friday that army units have begun the second phase of an operation to drive out pro-Russia activists from the country’s eastern cities. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced Kiev’s operations in the eastern Ukraine as a “bloody crime,” saying the Ukrainian government is waging a war on its own people.
He also accused the West of plotting to control Ukraine, saying, “The West wants — and this is how it all began — to seize control of Ukraine because of their own political ambitions, not in the interests of the Ukrainian people.”
Tensions between Moscow and the West heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and became part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16.
US ‘moving world closer to war’
Paul Craig Roberts* in his article titled “US ‘moving world closer to war’” published in www.presstv.ir, writes The Obama regime, wallowing in hubris and arrogance, has recklessly escalated the Ukrainian crisis into a crisis with Russia. Whether intentionally or stupidly, Washington’s propagandistic lies are driving the crisis to war.
Unwilling to listen to any more of Washington’s senseless threats, Moscow no longer accepts telephone calls from Obama and US top officials. The crisis in Ukraine originated with Washington’s overthrow of the elected democratic government and its replacement with Washington’s hand-chosen stooges.
The stooges proceeded to act in word and deed against the populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet Communist Party leaders had attached to Ukraine. The consequence of this foolish policy is agitation on the part of the Russian-speaking populations to return to Russia. Crimea has already rejoined Russia, and eastern Ukraine and other parts of southern Ukraine are likely to follow.
Instead of realizing its mistake, the Obama regime has encouraged the stooges Washington installed in Kiev to use violence against those in the Russian-speaking areas who are calling for referendums so that they can vote their return to Russia. The Obama regime has encouraged violence despite President Putin’s clear statement that the Russian military will not invade Ukraine unless violence is used against the protesters.
We can safely conclude that Washington either does not listen when spoken to or Washington desires violence. As Washington and NATO are not positioned at this time to move significant military forces into Ukraine with which to confront the Russian military, why is the Obama regime trying to provoke action by the Russian military? A possible answer is that, with Washington’s plan to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base having gone awry, the US government’s fallback plan is to sacrifice Ukraine to a Russian invasion so that Washington can demonize Russia and force a large increase in NATO military spending and deployments.
In other words, the fallback prize is a new cold war and trillions of dollars more in profits for Washington’s military/security complex. The handful of troops and aircraft that Washington has sent to “reassure” the incompetent regimes in those perennial trouble spots for the West – Poland and the Baltics – and the several missile ships sent to the Black Sea amount to nothing but symbolic provocations.
Economic sanctions applied to individual Russian officials signal nothing but Washington’s impotence. Real sanctions would harm Washington’s NATO puppet states far more than the sanctions would hurt Russia.
It is clear that Washington has no intention of working anything out with the Russian government. Washington’s demands make this conclusion unavoidable. Washington is demanding that the Russian government pull the rug out from under the feet of protesting populations in eastern and southern Ukraine and force the Russian populations in Ukraine to submit to Washington’s stooges in Kiev. Washington also demands that Russia renege on the reunification with Crimea and hand Crimea over to Washington so that the original plan of evicting Russia from its Black Sea naval base can go forward.
In other words, Washington’s demand is that Russia put Humpty Dumpty back together again and hand him over to Washington. This demand is so unrealistic that it surpasses the meaning of arrogance. The White House Fool is telling Putin: “I screwed up my takeover of your backyard. I want you to fix the situation for me and to ensure the success of the strategic threat I intended to bring to your backyard.”
The ignorant Western media and Washington’s European puppet states are supporting this unrealistic demand. Consequently, Russian leaders have lost all confidence in the word and intentions of the West, and this is how wars start. European politicians are putting their countries at great peril and for what gain? Are Europe’s politicians blackmailed, threatened, paid off with bags of money, or are they so accustomed to following Washington’s lead that they are unable to do anything else? How do Germany, the UK, and France benefit from being forced into a confrontation with Russia by Washington?
Washington’s arrogance is unprecedented and is capable of driving the world to destruction. Where is Europe’s sense of self-preservation? Why hasn’t Europe issued arrest warrants for every member of the Obama regime? Without the cover provided by Europe and the ignorant media, Washington would not be able to drive the world to war. *(Dr Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available. More articles by Dr. Roberts.)
Russian spy ship near US, Pentagon says
The US Department of Defense says a Russian spy ship has been operating off the US East Coast and near the Gulf of Mexico for the past month. “We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond US territorial seas but near Cuba,” Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
“We respect the freedom of all nations, as reflected in international law, to operate military vessels beyond the territorial seas of other nations,” he was quoted as saying by The Washington Free Beacon. The Leonov is an intelligence gathering ship outfitted with high-tech electronic spying gear.
The Chiker, which is an ocean-going naval tug, is known to support submarines and is equipped with lift capability for servicing Russian submarines.
The Pentagon report comes amid increasing tension between Washington and Moscow over the situation in Ukraine. The US accuses Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by stirring up pro-Russia protests in eastern Ukraine. Russia denies the allegation, saying the protests have begun spontaneously against what it calls the illegitimate interim government in Kiev. The two countries expand their military buildup near Ukraine with American soldiers arriving in Poland while Moscow conducts military drills near its border with Ukraine.
The US military deployed 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland in recent weeks and delivered 10 F-15s to the Baltic states for air-patrol programs.
Pentagon: Russia is ignoring us
The Pentagon says Russia’s Ministry of Defense has ignored US efforts to set up a phone conversation between the two countries’ top military officials. According to Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, Russia has not responded to US military officials’ requests for a phone call between US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.
Over “the past 24 hours,” said Warren, “we’ve tried to make clear to the Russians that Secretary Hagel is available for a phone call anytime, but we have not heard back.” This comes as Russia and the US have been flexing their military muscles over the crisis in Ukraine and the Kremlin has ended high-level contact with the administration of US President Barack Obama.
On Wednesday, some 150 US Army troops arrived in Poland, the first of a contingent of 600 US forces being sent to the Baltic states. On Friday, another 150 American troops arrived in Latvia and on Saturday a company of 150 US troops arrived in Lithuania. The last company of US troops is expected to arrive in Estonia early next week.
Meanwhile, Russia has begun extensive military drills near its border with Ukraine, saying the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine and the militarization of the region by the US and its allies have forced it to react.
“The order to use force against civilians has already been given, and if this military machine is not stopped, the amount of casualties will only grow,” Shoigu said, referring to a military operation against anti-Kiev protesters in eastern Ukraine, which includes 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers, 160 tanks, 230 armored carriers, and at least 150 artillery pieces.
“War games by NATO in Poland and the Baltic states are also not helping the normalization of the situation. We are forced to react to the situation,” he added. This comes as diplomatic officials and sources close to the Russian leadership have told the Daily Beast that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shut down – at least for now – intensive high level communications with the White House as Obama is trying to nudge Washington’s European allies toward more sanctions against broad sections of Russia’s economy.
Targeting Russia’s entire economy would most likely ricochet and harm US allies in Europe. Reluctance from some European countries, especially Germany and Italy, on whether to fall in line with Washington over imposing sanctions against Russia’s economy has frustrated US officials.
However, after Obama talked with some European leaders on Friday, US officials said Obama and top European leaders are moving ahead on a new round of sanctions against Russia. “Putin will not talk to Obama under pressure,” the Daily Beast quoted Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Development, a prominent Moscow think tank, and a close associate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as saying.
US gives nod for war over Ukraine
A political analyst says the United States is giving the go-ahead for a war over the crisis in Ukraine following Washington’s latest stern warning to Russia over its activities in eastern Ukraine. “The Kiev government wouldn’t be stating so bluntly we are ready to fight if they didn’t have the green light from Washington,” Deena Stryker, a journalist with opednews.com, said.
She believed that Washington hopes that it can “rapidly somehow take over Ukraine and that Russia will allow this to happen.” “But I think that this is a miscalculation,” the commentator emphasized. Stryker’s remarks came after US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday issued a stern and final warning to Russia to help de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine or face more sanctions.
“The window to change course is closing. The world will make sure the costs for Russia will only grow” if Russia refuses to change course, Kerry said. Tensions between Russia and the West heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and became part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16.
Meanwhile, protests have been a common scene across eastern Ukrainian cities over the past weeks with demonstrators occupying state buildings in several towns and cities. On April 17, Ukraine’s interim government together with the United States, Russia and the European Union reached an agreement in the Swiss city of Geneva, calling for all sides to ease the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine interim authorities in Kiev said on Friday that army units have begun the second phase of an operation to drive out pro-Russia activists from the eastern cities.
Russia to give firm response to US threats: Envoy
The Russian ambassador to Iran has criticized the United States for threatening his country with sanctions, stressing that Moscow will give a firm response to Washington’s hostile moves.“Russia is opposed to the policies that the US has adopted against Moscow, and does not accept the imposition of its sanctions and threats against the Russian nation and government, and flatly rejects them,” Levan Dzhagaryan said in the Iranian capital city of Tehran on Saturday.
He also warned of a bitter response by Moscow should the US administration continue its anti-Russia sanctions and threats. “The US and its allies cannot isolate a great country like Russia since we have many friends like the Islamic Republic of Iran, China and India,” Dzhagaryan pointed out.
He also advised American statesmen to abandon their current anti-Russia policy, scoffing at US unilateral sanctions against Russia and Iran. “We have always stated that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US against Russia are illegal and we don’t recognize and accept them,” the Russian ambassador added. The United States along with other members of G7 plan to impose further sanctions on Russia as early as Monday over the crisis in Ukraine.
G7 leaders released a joint statement on Saturday, saying that they are committed to intensifying targeted sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, a senior US official has said sanctions will vary based on each country’s decision. “Each country will determine which targeted sanctions they will impose. These sanctions will be coordinated and complementary, but not necessarily identical. US sanctions could come as early as Monday,” the official added. (HSH)