NATO Expands

At the time of writing Russian troops were returning to base after military drills near Ukrainian border. Peace activists across the world heaved a sigh of relief as war correspondents in western media were forecasting a possible nuclear showdown between America and Russia in view of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, albeit Moscow repeatedly dismissed the American allegation that it was about to attack Ukraine. War hysteria was actually created by vested interests in the West. America needs enemy to keep its war economy buoyant and ‘no enemy means no war’. Afghanistan is gone. So the Biden dispensation finds in the Russia-Ukraine conflict a golden opportunity to cheer its investors.

They have been trying to integrate Ukraine into the US dominated economic sphere since the demise of the former Soviet Union without full success. And it is the crux of the matter. Then they have a plan to make Ukraine a new NATO outpost at the border of Russia. For years America has sought the expansion of NATO—the declared anti-Russian military alliance. NATO was originally designed to counter the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact during the cold war period, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US promised the post-Soviet Russia that it would not expand NATO east of Germany. Despite this agreement the US continued its NATO expansion programme, growing closer and closer to Russia’s border while ignoring Russia’s objections.

In 2014, CIA organised a coup called ‘Maidan Revolution’—named for the Kiev square that hosted the bulk of anti-government protests—by organising Ukraine’s right-wing forces to oust elected Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych because he refused trade integration with European Union. In truth he started serious negotiations with Russia to thwart American pressure to kowtow to IMF. The White House saw red in the move. The result was the ‘Maidan Coup’. America has developed a habit of calling all the right-wing swings as revolutions.

America’s almost overt role in the Ukrainian coup that preceded Russia’s annexation of Crimea can hardly be disputed. As for Crimea not much is said about its past history. It was part of Russia until it was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954. Crimea is home to one of two Russian naval bases with access to the Baltic and Mediterranean seas. Russia had reasons to retain its old Soviet base as America was pressurising Ukraine to join NATO. In a plebiscite in March 2014 on whether or not they should join Russia, or remain under the new dispensation in Kiev, 95 percent people of Crimea voted for Russia. And quite expectedly the West didn’t like the referendum. The UN General Assembly, led by the US voted to ignore the referendum because ‘it was contrary to Ukraine’s constitution’. Ironically, the same constitution was shelved to remove President Yanukovych a month earlier.

To make a case out of Russia’s war preparations to halt NATO’s advance the mainstream media in the US worked overtime to garner public support in favour of America’s counter measures. Between December 6, 2021 and January 6, 2022 the New York Times ran 228 articles referring Ukraine while the Washington Post had 201 articles to its credit. They were in reality manufacturing consent for American intervention.

After the 2014 ‘Maidan’ coup, the administration in Kiev restarted the EU deal and opened the door for IMF penetration. And IMF in turn lost no time to grant a whopping $ 27 billion loan to reduce the role of the state and domestic interests in the Ukrainian economy. IMF has been in the forefront of reshaping economies around the world for decades, often with disastrous results. The unending civil war in Yemen and the bloody coup in Bolivia, both followed a rejection of IMF terms.

Despite Russian pull-out, partially though, the West doesn’t stop from mischievous propaganda as Boris Johnson of Britain said the other day that ‘Russia was sending mixed signals’. He was rather sceptical about Russia’s intention. Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, after his recent trip to Moscow, was candid enough to admit the hard reality. That Russia won’t tolerate Ukraine’s entry into NATO is a fact of life. That both sides are now talking about negotiations and giving diplomacy a chance is also a fact. But the vexed question is still there—whether Ukraine would drop its ambition to join NATO or not.  


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Vol 54, No. 36, March 6 - 12, 2022