The U.S.-Russia “phony war”: How Washington warmongers could bring us from stalemate to catastrophe
One of two outcomes is likely: Another long Cold War, or a great power conflict
By Patrick L. Smith
August 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Salon" - The Ukraine crisis and the attendant confrontation with Russia assume a “phony war” feel these days. As in the perversely calm months between the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the Blitzkrieg into the Low Countries the following spring, nothing much seems to be happening.
No one took comfort then—a fog of anxiety suffused everything—and no one should now. One almost prefers it when Washington politicians and other temporarily important people are out there grandstanding and warmongering. At least part of what is occurring is visible, even as the whole never is. Now one sees almost nothing, and we get an idea of what the historians mean when they describe the queasiness abroad during the phony war period.
A formidable file of political, diplomatic and military reports has accumulated by drips and drops of late, and it strongly suggests one of two things: Either we are on the near side of open conflict between two great powers, accidental or purposeful and probably but not necessarily on Ukrainian soil, or we are in for a re-rendering of the Cold War that will endure as long as the original.
One cannot look forward to either, the former being dangerous and the latter dreary. But it has to be one or the other, barring the unlikely possibility that Washington is forced to accept a settlement that federalizes Ukraine, as Europe and Moscow assert is sensible.
It is hard to say when this thought came to me, but it has to be since Secretary of State Kerry’s May meeting in Sochi with President Putin and Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister. That session seemed to mark a dramatic turn toward sense at the time and won much applause, including here. But things have deteriorated ever since.
“Kerry is now sidelined on Ukraine, it seems, since his four hours with Putin last May,” a prominent Russianist wrote in a personal note 10 days ago. “Another escalation by the war party—headed, I think, by [Vice President] Biden, [Senator] McCain, et al.”
That did it for me. We are not quite back to square one, but we are not far from it. It is almost certainly clearer to Russians and Europeans than it is to Americans, but Washington acquired a forked tongue after the Minsk II ceasefire was signed last February, and the warmongers are trampling those favoring a negotiated settlement at this point.
A month after Kerry’s one-day visit to Sochi, Senator McCain pitched up in Kiev yet again to deliver another of his “shame” speeches. Europeans should be ashamed, he said, for insisting on a diplomatic settlement in Ukraine and not doing enough to back Kiev’s troops. That week, the Senate approved a bill authorizing the Pentagon to send Kiev an additional $300 million worth of defensive weapons.
McCain is one of those many on Capitol Hill who have no clue where shame lies in Ukraine. A coup Washington cultivated, producing a patently incompetent administration in Kiev openly dependent on violence-worshipping Nazi nostalgists? Six thousand dead and counting? A purposeful and absolutely pointless revival of tensions across Russia’s western borders? No shame here, Senator?
Read more here:
[link to www.informationclearinghouse.info
Edit to 50%