by Boris Nad
America must accept …
… the fact that after more than twenty years, Russia has returned as an historical force. It is a matter of political realism.
The crisis in Ukraine is still far from over, but it is clear that it is the most important central event in the early 21st century to date, much more important than Libya, the invasion of Afghanistan, or the question of the future of Iraq. Even Syria can be measured with it. The crisis is not yet resolved, but some answers are already apparent: Crimea is Russian again. The fate of the South East of Ukraine is now almost certain: it certainly will not be part of a future unitary Ukraine, Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic military alliance. There was during the rebellion a (pro) Russian population, which articulated its requirements for many unexpected “Russian Springs”. Southeast – Novorusija can become part of a future federal or confederal Ukraine, independent states dependent on the Russian Federation – but only as interim solution – and in the future an integral part of Russia.
The issue of central Ukraine – Malorusije and the Kiev – for the U.S. this has not been resolved. The future of the Kiev junta is also questionable. It is, after all, only a temporary “solution”. For the West, the plotters may have some practical value if it manages to provoke a war in Ukraine as an outcome. Western Ukraine (Galicia), in any variant of future events, indicating a very bleak outlook. The geopolitical map of Europe and Eurasia thereby irreversibly changed. It is for Russia something which is achieved relatively easily. And still that’s not the most important thing.
The first obvious Russian victory was the return of the Crimea under Russian sovereignty. About the geopolitical and military significance of the Crimea as well as the home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, is hardly necessary to speak, and we should add that the Crimean peninsula today is of huge symbolic and historical significance for Russia. First and foremost, to the Russian Orthodox faith, it is significant as the cradle of Russian Christianity, as the “Russian Athos.”
Recall that the Crimea was annexed to Russia for the first time in 1783, during the reign of Catherine the Great, a few years after the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence, and they fought for it under military leaders such as Suvorov and Kutuzov, as a victory over Napoleon. The Crimea has been related ever since as a very important chapter in Russian history. Then in 1853, and so also in 1856, on the scene of the Crimean War, when the Western powers – Britain and France – the Piedmont and the Ottoman Empire waged against war Russia where it was witnessed the scene of the heroic defense of Sevastopol.
Sevastopol was again defended heroically in World War II from German forces, the Wehrmacht and SS, just as German Chancellor Angela Merkel today threatens that Russia will pay a high price for “annexation of the Crimea.” What kind of annexation can be discussed here, in view of the fact that the Russian Crimea is undoubtedly Russia, and in all likelihood to remain so?
The current Ukrainian crisis has had a long genesis and various aspects, but it can be understood only through the cold lens of geopolitics. It’s the last, deepest and comprehensive level that encompasses all the other dimensions (political, cultural, ideological, historical, religious, ethnic …) and places them in the appropriate context. The crisis in Ukraine was a turning point and a test for all of its stakeholders, but also for seemingly indifferent or disinterested observers. First and foremost it is significant for the United States, because the outcome of the Ukrainian crisis, among other things, determines its status as a superpower.
The current crisis in Ukraine formed new alliances and dictates new divisions. This applies not only to the global map and the geopolitics of individual countries, but also for a range of very different political and ideological options. Some of these alliances are, at first glance, unexpected: for example, those that fall into the same camp of anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, together with pro-American liberals and Islamists, Europhiles with the followers of Adolf Hitler, or Bandera, the most radical chauvinists and Russophobes. And it does not seem to happen only in Ukraine, but more or less all over Europe. On the streets of Riga in Latvia (Latvia is a member of the EU) marched column Nazis dressed in SS uniforms. None of the EU officials reacted. A quite appropriate term is “liberal fascism.”
However, the very phenomenon is not new, something similar has already happened during the war in the former Yugoslavia, when the United States and a series of “liberal,” “independent” intellectuals, such as Henri-Levy, openly supported primitive ethnic nationalism and Islamic radicalism from Croatia to Kosovo provided that is directed against Serbia. Liberals and fascists (in Ukraine, to the followers of Bandera) under certain conditions can be allies, as well as liberals and Wahhabis (the case of Bosnia, Kosovo, the Caucasus, and Syria). The criterion for this is purely geopolitical alliances. America, again, is not in a position to choose its allies, for it would be, especially in the present circumstances, a real luxury. After all, the U.S. has shown that in fact it was never too squeamish.
The 21st Century will not be an “American Century”
The basic division is now, of course, is one that that irreconcilably counter-positions Russia to America and its western satellites. After Syria and Ukraine, it is obvious that the unipolar world, a world in which American hegemony was unquestionable, no longer exists. The second half is now Russia. It was followed by China, India and Brazil (Latin America), the and even the Islamic world though it is still in deep turmoil. But only Russia is strong enough to compete with America in military terms, and without anxiety it awaits the announced economic sanctions from the West.
The twenty-first century, contrary to the projections of U.S. strategists, will not be the “American century.” The American political elite is unable to comprehend this. The transition to a multipolar order is not painless. It takes place through a series of artificially induced crisis, the wars in always the same city (for now localized wars, but far-reaching in its significance), or even the threat that weapons will be used. From the standpoint of American interests, however, the Kiev coup of 22 February, and in particular what was then followed – a deliberate tactical response of Russia – was a mistake. Even a new cold war with Russia and a possible attempt to economically exhaust Russia is not an adequate answer. Whatever happens in the future, the changes are tectonic, and the world will then at the very base look different.
Other less important actors are thus left to learn lessons from everything and to start, at first softly, a realignment of the global scene. In addition, it should be noted that the alliance with America no longer provides security to its allies. Republics of the former Soviet Union, and this is the first lesson of the Ukrainian crisis, now see that only Russia (not America, much less the weak European Union) can guarantee territorial integrity. Finally, the U.S. can no longer guarantee the safety of even its European allies for order in the world is no longer uni-polar nor Americocentric. USA, from now on, is not dictated by rules, nor can it prescribe what is allowed and what is not. Those who talk about the dangers of “advancing Russian imperialism” should be reminded of the difficult history of the last two and a half decades, from the first Gulf War, in its bloody chapters written in the former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and then again in Iraq … Thousands and thousands of dead and maimed, the destruction of many countries, a long list of U.S. interventions around the world, with napalm and depleted uranium, fomenting civil war and incitement of ethnic cleansing throughout the world, it would be a balance of U.S. global hegemony, which is today nearing its inevitable end. It would be good for Washington strategists to understand this reality at this time.
The European Union, regardless of the outcome, will become the biggest loser in the outcome of the Ukrainian crisis, simply because European leaders are unable to clearly define their position in the new circumstances. They are continuing their inertia following orders from Washington. It pushes Europe into a deepening crisis. The first and perhaps the least price that the EU will have to pay will be, in all likelihood the economic, caused by sanctions against Russia, which will force Brussels, albeit reluctantly, to accept the diktat of Washington. It should be noted that those countries in Eastern Europe will find themselves in an even more difficult position to just passively follow Brussels without its own foreign policy, hoping to one day join the EU.
Recently, on the occasion of Ukraine in the Washington Post it was announced “a classic case of American policy,” by Henry Kissinger. His “program text of Ukraine” is not much more than a repetition of the old Cold War and Russophobic thesis, but those are the times imposed by Aesopian language, with great caution and restraint. We would remind you here as it has been reminded before, and many of the honest Kissinger assessments, which are presented with much less diplomatic tact: “To be America’s enemy is dangerous; to be her friend is fatal.” In the shadow of the Ukrainian crisis, this recognition sounds far more ominous.
In 2008 , during the short war with Georgia, Russia has escaped the box that was imposed on it in 1991. Due to the fall of the Soviet Union, it is approximately the borders of the Russian Federation. In a way, Russia’s reaction was then extracted. A simple scenario of the Georgian crisis has been previously tested in the former Yugoslavia. Moscow’s response to Georgia’s version of “Storm”, however, was effective, the role that Russia has played, regardless of the fact that Georgia is in the Western media portrayed as a victim, constructive: Russian military intervention prevented the genocide in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Georgia was not turned into the scene of ethnic conflict that has long destabilized the region.
In parallel, Moscow withdrew several far-reaching moves, one of which is undoubtedly the most important decision to establish a Eurasian customs union (tomorrow Eurasian Economic Union). Clinton then said that it was an attempt by Russia to rebuild the Soviet Union and that America will do anything to thwart the attempt, but as for “anything” as it now appears, it is not enough. Soon after: Syria. This case requires a more serious examination of the growing Russian forces than in the Georgia case. There is no doubt that the United States was then determined to intervene with an air campaign, since the U.S. military is no longer able to carry out a ground invasion (she could not even in 1999, the 78-day long war against Yugoslavia). There was a consistent position by President Putin of intransigence in relation to threats and the hard rhetoric of Washington, and a very concrete support to Damascus (as opposed to the lukewarm reaction by Medvedev during the Libyan crisis), made by the Washington strategists to change his mind and seek a way out of the impasse in which the US failed again due to its short sighted policy.
Crossing the Rubicon
In 2008 Russia for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union went out of its imposed borders, and in 2014 it has so again. Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing troops in the Crimea, Crossed the Rubicon, after which the Russian withdrawal is simply not an option. NATO, despite the illegal and secret introduction of individual units in the Ukraine, apparently lacks the will or the power to intervene, which means that the junta is now left to themselves. Their support from West anyway, at least, proved ambiguous. In southeastern Ukraine they will probably begin a period of terror against the Russian population, which will implement the Ukrainian army not as an army of defense (representing the structure of the Ukrainian state to the southeast, now fallen apart), but rather militant gangs of the ‘Right Sector’ and ‘freedom’, disguised in the uniforms of the National Guard of Ukraine, possibly aided by NATO units. However the Kiev junta cannot count on the strength of NATO.
In these conditions, it is now the task to build a new Russian state to the southeast, New Russia, which will link Russia, including the Crimea, with Transnistria. The West would not see this favorably and probably will try to act in some capacity, but it’s just a new geopolitical reality: America has to accept the fact that after more than twenty years Russia has returned as an historical force. It is a matter of political realism.
(Translated by: Joaquin Flores)