Trump Team Gone Wild: Now UN Ambassador Threatens Russia!
Daniel McAdams, Ron Paul Institute, Feb 2 2017
What a week in Pindo foreign policy! First, Pres Trump approves a commando raid in Yemen that was a total fiasco, leaving one Pindo soldier and scores of innocent women and children dead. Then Trump’s Iran-obsessed National Security Advisor, Gen Michael Flynn, hijacks a White House Press conference to put Iran “on notice” over its legal testing of a missile and the false claim that it is involved in the Yemen war. But today marks an own-goal hat trick! Today, Trump’s Ambassador to the UN, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, used her first appearance before the UNSC to condemn Russia for the renewed violence in eastern Ukraine. Haley told the Council:
I consider it unfortunate that the occasion of my first appearance is one in which I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. It is unfortunate because it is a replay of too many instances over many years in which Pindosi representatives have had to do that.
What were the “aggressive actions of Russia”? She did not say. Does she accuse Russia of another “invasion” of Ukraine, as Obama’s mouthpieces endlessly claimed without proof? What exactly did she mean? It got even stranger. Haley went on to tell the Council that Pindo sanctions on Russia would not be lifted until Crimea is returned to Ukraine:
Pindostan continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.
That’s quite different from what Trump has been saying. Asked in July whether Pindostan would end Pindo sanctions on Russia and recognize that Crimea is Russian, Trump, supposedly Haley’s boss, said:
Yes. We would be looking at that.
Is this a new policy? Should we not be hearing such a dramatic shift from Trump, or at least from Sec State Rex Tillerson, now ensconced in Foggy Bottom? While Haley blames the Russians for the recommencement of fighting in eastern Ukraine, the real cause may be a bit closer to home. Violence in eastern Ukraine began flaring up not long after a New Year’s Day visit to the front lines in Ukraine by McCain and Graham, where the two Amigos encouraged the Kiev forces to renew their waragainst the separatist east. Graham told Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade:
I admire the fact that you will fight for your homeland. Your fight is our fight. 2017 will be the year of offense. All of us will go back to Faschingstein and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of a Russian aggression! It is time for them to pay a heavier price! Our fight is not with the Russian people, but with Putin! Our promise to you is to take your cause to Faschingstein, inform the Pindo creeple of your bravery, and make the case against Putin to the world!
Not to be outdone, McCain urged the Ukrainian army and president to renew the war:
I believe you will win! I am convinced you will win, and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win. We have succeeded not because of equipment but because of your courage. So I thank you and the world is watching and the world is watching because we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to succeed here because if he succeeds here, he will succeed in other countries.
McCain and Graham actually appeared in a shocking video distributed by Poroshenko, encouraging Kiev forces to attack:
The areas around Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine have been bombarded by Kiev forces for the last several days, and elsewhere in Donetsk grad missiles are raining down. Even the Pindo government’s own propaganda mouthpiece, RFE-RL has admitted that the violence in Ukraine is the result of Kiev’s forces engaged in a “creeping offensive” against eastern Ukraine in clear violation of the Minsk 2 accords. Yet Trump’s Ambassador to the UN took her first appearance before the Security Council to place all of the blame on Moscow’s doorstep. With all evidence to the contrary. Just like her, warmongering predecessor, Samantha Power. If Trump is serious about wanting to improve relations with Russia, this is a curious way to go about doing it. If his appointments are not serving his intended policy, it is not too early to make some re-adjustments. He made a name for himself uttering the line, “you’re fired!” It might be time to start dusting the phrase off. We can provide the list. Starting one’s presidency threatening war on Iran and condemning Russia for an offensive in which it is not involved is not the best way to reassure the war-weary Pindostanis who voted for Trump over the wannabe Empress Hillary the First. What a week! And it’s only Thursday! What might happen next?
Fighting flares in eastern Ukraine
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Feb 2 2017
Renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed and wounded dozens on both sides as the Ukrainian armed forces and allied militias have clashed with pro-Russian separatist forces in Donetsk province. The fighting, while not as bloody as the battles that raged in 2014 and the winter of 2015, has seen heavy artillery and multiple Grad rocket launchers unleashed against civilian areas. The shelling has left Avdiivka, an industrial town of 20,000 which straddles the demarcation line between government and separatist-controlled territory, without water, electricity or heat in sub-freezing conditions. Giovanna Barberis, Unicef’s representative in Ukraine, said Tuesday:
Not only are the lives of thousands of children in Avdiivka, and on all sides of the conflict, at risk, but to make matters worse the lack of water and electricity means that homes are becoming dangerously cold and health conditions deteriorating as we speak.
The EU, NATO, the State Dept and the UN have all issued calls for a renewal of the ceasefire imposed under the terms of the Minsk accords
negotiated imposed in Feb 2015. Faschingstein and its Eurostan vassals have repeatedly invoked alleged violations of the accords by the pro-Russian separatists as the pretext for maintaining sanctions against Moscow. Violations by Ukrainian government forces entail no such repercussions. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting since rebels in the Donbass region sought independence from the Ukrainian government following the 2014 US and German-backed coup that brought to power an extreme right-wing and virulently anti-Russian a Nazi regime in Kiev. Faschingstein and its vassals accused Russia of instigating and militarily supporting the uprising in the east. The situation in eastern Ukraine combined with Russia’s reincorporation of Crimea in the wake of the coup were invoked as the justification for sanctions by Pindostan & Eurostan. Kiev and the separatists in Donetsk have each blamed the other for the latest outburst of violence. The Ukrainian foreign ministry Nazis said in a statement:
The current escalation in Donbass is a clear indication of Russia’s continued blatant disregard of its commitments under the Minsk agreements with a view to preventing stabilization of the situation.
For its part, Moscow pointed to an earlier statement issued by the Ukrainian defense ministry which boasted that “the Ukrainian armed forces are advancing forward meter by meter” in the area around Avdiivka as proof that Kiev had launched the offensive. Kremlin spox Peskov said the fighting was the result of a deliberate “provocation” by the
government of President Petro Poroshenko Nazis designed to distract public attention from Ukraine’s protracted economic and political crisis. Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested that the real motive for this provocation lay in Kiev’s determination to disrupt any rapprochement under Trump and to prevent any easing of sanctions against Russia. the newspaper reported:
The Ukrainian military is currently trying to shift the situation at the front line to their favor. Apparently, they accept the fact that tensions are increasing … Behind this position, according to some members of the German administration, could be an attempt to worsen the situation to the extent that Pres Trump’s plans to ease the sanctions are suspended. According to Berlin’s interpretation, Poroshenko is ready to do anything to prevent the withdrawal of the sanctions.
Stratfor similarly claimed:
Though Ukrainian boxtops accused Russia of orchestrating the flare-up to strengthen its negotiating position with the West, Kiev could have incited the violence to draw attention to the conflict and rally international support for continued sanctions on Moscow.
As part of his government’s attempt to shore up support for sanctions and to offset any possibility of a move by the Trump administration toward a less confrontational posture toward Russia, Poroshenko traveled to Berlin on Jan 30 for a meeting with Merkel, who reiterated her support for keeping sanctions in place. Poroshenko staged a hasty exit from Berlin, claiming that he had to return to deal with the crisis in the Donbass. The State Dept’s response to the fighting in eastern Ukraine was notable for merely declaring that Faschingstein was “deeply concerned” and “calling for a ceasefire” without placing the blame on Russia. Rossiiskaya Gazeta called attention to the statement as an indication of a shift in Pindo policy, writing:
Faschingstein is not blaming the unrecognized republics for breaking the ceasefire, is not stating any support for Kiev, is not saying a single word about the role of Russia … Different variations of these elements were, as a rule, a key part of all statements of Ukraine under Barack Obama’s administration.
On the other hand, Pindo boxtops on the scene showed no such change in line, reflecting the increasingly open split between the Trump administration and the career employees of the State Dept. Pindosi chargé d’affaires to the OSCE Kate Byrnes charged at an emergency OSCE meeting in Vienna Tuesday:
Russia and the separatists initiated the violence in Avdiivka. We call on Russia to stop the violence, honor the ceasefire, withdraw heavy weapons and end attempts to seize new territory beyond the line of contact.
The day before his first post-inaugural telephone call with Putin last week, Trump declared:
As for the sanctions, it’s very early to be talking about that!
During the conversation itself, sanctions reportedly went unmentioned and there was no substantive discussion about Ukraine. Meanwhile, both Pindostan and the German military continue to build up forces near Russia’s western borders. On Monday, Pindo troops and tanks assembled for exercises in Poland that their commander acknowledged were meant to threaten Russia. Lt-Gen B Hodges, the commander of Pindo ground forces in Europe, told the WaPo:
It’s necessitated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unlawful annexation of Crimea. The last Pindosi tank left Europe three years ago, because we all hoped Russia was going to be our partner. And so we had to bring all this back.
Meanwhile German tanks and troops began arriving in Lithuania on Tuesday, the first entry of the German military into the former Baltic Soviet republic since its occupation by the Nazis during WW2. The German deployment is to include 450 troops and some 200 vehicles, including 30 tanks. In all, the NATO alliance has committed to moving four battalions, roughly 3,000 to 4,000 troops, to within striking distance of Russia in north-eastern Europe as part of a permanent “rotating” deployment. Whatever the statements of the Trump administration about improving relations with Moscow, the fighting in Ukraine combined with NATO’s aggressive military deployment on Russia’s borders are sharply elevating the threat of an armed confrontation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.