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Flagrant Rush To War In The Ukraine Crisis

Politics / Ukraine Civil War Aug 01, 2014 - 07:08 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Rush to War – Fog of War
Fog of war is used by many war historians to describe what drove Europe into World War I and destroyed a century of rising European wealth and colonial power. There were no fixed and set, clearly identifiable triggers and thresholds. Claims that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo was the sole trigger or at least the main driver, or that the Lusitania ship-sinking incident was the sole driver of the USA's very late entry to this war are easy to qualify or invalidate. There was a fog of war that had been building for at least a decade, some historians say.

So we have to look for precedents and drivers in the now-open attempt by almost all mainstream media in Europe and the USA, and several leading politicians to embark on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict with Russia since the Cold War,  This is not rational and is the fog of war.

The simple question is where did Putin go wrong? Did the problem start when he took over from the drunken buffoon Boris Yeltsin, Bill Clinton's partner in their slapstick press conferences where Clinton played puppet master and Yeltsin played the fool? Possibly the west's opinion creators, manipulators and minders become anti-Putin when the economy of Russia pulled out of its nosedive – through pure and simple jealousy! Maybe the Chechen war and Georgia campaigns were unsettling and unwelcome for the western elite and their glove puppet media, because it showed Russia had recovered from the Yeltsin era of “permanent decline”.Also maybe, Putin's attitude to predatory natural resource corporations like BP which had so heavily encroached in Russia during the Yeltsin era was a bad surprise to the western elite. Possibly it was another case of what I call Elite Herd dementia and schizophrenia, with a transfer of Putin to the status of Saddam Hussein, a terrorist, an outlaw using his natural resources to hold the west to ransom while he built up his stock of WMD-weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the die was cast during the Syrian chemical weapons affair and its Security Council sequels – but in that case why was the leadership of China not also villified and demonized?

We can answer that one right away. When or if the western elite and its tame media ran the same vendetta against China, as they are doing against Russia, there would already have been sharp retaliation by China, possibly including direct military retaliation against western targets. China has a much lower “fuze setting” and threshold tolerance for goading by anybody, including the west.  Putin is European, and the time-hallowed European game of feints and threats will supposedly bring him to heel – instead of causing instant and major military retaliation for unwarranted political aggression.

1914 or 2001?
Even a glance at so-called mainstream media including TV, radio and state-run Internet sites of the west shows there is a rush to war easily compared to the war hysteria preceding the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Anything rational has been totally swamped by hysteria, false flags, distortions, fantasies and lies. Important questions are already impossible or unable to be asked by the media. Their very suspicious and frightening “instant patriotism” obliges them to broadcast a deluge of unsubstantiated and unverified “political overviews and talking points” on why Ukraine must be saved and Putin must be punished. This is fog of war.

Part and parcel of the process is a complete loss of focus on who “our” enemy is. The fog of war which thickens and swirls each day over Ukraine is being directed at a the world's second-largest nuclear weapons power, not a derelict Middle East country with a ragtag army. The insanely high stakes for Europe, especially, do not even concern war – but the effect of just the present anti-Russian economic sanctions on the fragile European economy.

Simply due to this, Europeans should be asking questions – but they are smothered by the blitz of propaganda from the mainstream media, blotting out all rational discussion in the fog of war. The stakes could hardly be higher but a bizarre “Don't want to know” calm has settled like a poisoned fog in European politics and the media.

Even if the escalation stopped right now, the economic damage to Europe will be high and will be long-lasting – unlike the low damage to the sheltered US economy. Straight facts like the high popularity ratings Putin enjoys in Russia are now simply dismissed as “Russian propaganda”. His domestic popularity ratings would be a fantastic dream for discredited and distrusted politicians such as Obama, Hollande, Cameron and even Merkel. They can now preen themselves as great leaders with an historic mission to roll back the Russian Bear!

The rational and the logical has already gone. Russia supplies a solid 30% to 35% of all Europe's natural gas and oil and a range of major and rare minerals. Several major banks in Europe, especially in Italy, France, Germany, Holland and the UK are heavily committed to Russia in their loan business. Car makers like Renault are heavily committed to their Russian operations which have suffered less since 2008 than their doemsic businesses. The European aerospace and defense sector is heavily dependent on its Russian business. It is easy to extend the list but this concerns the real world and logical decision making, so it has almost disappeared from view. The fog of war.

Vital Interests at Stake
This is already a catchphrase in the media and is logic-free. When or if the unmentionable happens and war breaks out with Russia only an idiot could imagine there will not be a total halt to Russian oil and gas supply to Europe. The cut in oil exports will also have a profound impact on world oil supply, and this alone will harm the USA through its economic sequels. Despite this, the media tells us daily that not only Europe's but also the USA's “vital interests are at stake”.

The vital interest seems only to be that of goading and provoking Russia to invade eastern Ukraine! This is pure madness. In the thousands of column inches demonizing Putin over the MH17 incident there has not been one single compelling answer to the question: What vital interests? They are not even defined. They have disappeared.

Supposedly, the Crimean referendum affair and its re-attachment to Russia was another “red line in the sand”. The UK's David Cameron called this referendum “a war crime”, using the most-extreme-possible term for what the mass of Russian public opinion considered an overdue correction of the strange decision by Khrutschev to hand Crimea to Ukraine as a sort of “surprise present”.  

At worst this is a bilateral Russian-Ukrainian issue that can generate conflict but can also be settled bilaterally. The instant near-hysterical claims by western leaders like Cameron already showed which way the wind was blowing. The fog of war was coming, ever thicker.

The rather weak attempts made by the western media to paint Ukraine as “rich in natural resources”, and therefore the target of Putin's greed and deviousness are as laughable as the “vital interest” claim. Ukraine has seriously outdated industries and infrastructures. Its nuclear power plant fleet – remember Chernobyl? - needs heavy investment and modernization. Its coal resources, to be sure are large but the coal industry is antiquated and in need of major investment. Its gas pipeline and storage infrastructure – which are treated as a “vital interest” for Europe (or even the world!) are likewise outdated and in need of both rationalization and modernization. In any case, Russia continues with South Stream which will totally bypass Ukraine for shipping gas to Europe.

Again there is no economic prize and no vital interest, it does not exist. Despite this reality “as if it mattered” we can read comments and statements by high level advisors to the US and European governments which bandy around themes like the following.  The issue of whose flag flies over Donetsk or Crimea becomes crucial when we arm Ukrainians to fight Russian-backed rebels and possibly then move to giving a NATO war guarantee to Kiev.

The Clash of Paradigms
As I have a book in preparation on this subject I can extract from it concerning the sombre fog of war building over Ukraine. The quite well-known Western Hegemony paradigm states that the west still has overwhelming economic, technological and military superiority worldwide. This is laughably outdated and can be shown by all US presidents, for more than 50 years, under any conditions of international conflicts and pressures of the day, always sought summit meetings with presidents of Russia, or before that of the USSR. Whether it was Stalin or Khrutschev, Breznev or Andropov, whether they had recently threatened the US with nuclear war, like Khrutschev in the Cuban missile crisis, or had invaded Afghanistan like Breznev, none of this mattered. The western hegemony paradigm admitted the existence and power of Russia.

To suddenly flip back more than 50 years or 60 years in time, and imagine the west of today has Total Power is literally insane. It is logic-free.

Put another way, what has Putin done to surpass the excesses, in western political opinion of past Russian or Soviet leaders? Taking the case of what the US still officially refers to as the "illegal annexation of Crimea" this had a massive turnout with a 97% vote in favour of re-attachment to Russia. It was democratic or put another way, should the coming Scottish referendum on total independence from England also include voting by all English as well as Scottish? Even Cameron accepts that is not necessary or democratic because it concerns Scotland!

Here we have the Democracy and Human Rights paradigm of the west. In Palestine, we can note, he west does not enforce this paradigm. In the case of the Kiev government which seized power by street rebellion, overthrowing an elected constitutional government, the west also did not enforce this paradigm. This a “variable geometry” paradigm at best, and is highly discredited.

Much more sombre we have the western Asymmetric War paradigm, well-described and expounded by Zbigniew Brzezinski in a July 2 publication by The Atlantic Council also published by The American Interest. This basically seeks a city-by-city “Grozny-type” urban war after Putin has been goaded into using the Red Army to invade Ukraine.

Almost insanely, the march onward of “Daech” or ISIS in Iraq is an asymmetric war that the west is violently opposed to. In Ukraine, according to Brzezinski, this is the best way to beat the Russian Bear.

Under any hypothesis we have a collapse and conflation or concatention of western paradigms simply underlining, if needed, the incredible confusion of today's western leaders. Very unfortunately this collective loss of reason and logic of the western elite is war-prone. We hope they will snap out of their collective dementia, but we have to fear their dementia.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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