The US Hits the Red Line in its Confrontation with Russia
Nikolai BOBKIN | 04.04.2014 | OPINION

The US Hits the Red Line in its Confrontation with Russia

On 2 April, Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with John Kerry in which he stressed the need for joint efforts to establish a broad internal dialogue in Ukraine in the interests of furthering a national consent acceptable to all the regions of Ukraine. In response, Kerry set about promising that the US is interested in continuing the search for agreed approaches, while at the same time a Kiev delegation held talks in Brussels regarding Ukraine’s accession to the military alliance NATO. It is unclear on what grounds the White House has decided that the Kremlin will agree to extend the alliance to its own borders, with the length of the Russian-Ukrainian border standing at 2,295.04 km (of which 1,974.04 km is land border and 321 km is sea border).

Sergey Lavrov remarked that he had seen an interesting picture on the internet: «A map of the Russian Federation and US military bases around it. It looks very impressive. There are over a hundred of them. And there is a quote from a US soldier: ‘How dare Russians be so close to our bases?’» With Ukraine’s accession to NATO, it would no longer be a question of ‘bases’; there is obviously a desire to turn a neighbouring and friendly state into a military foothold, and the Russian-Ukrainian border into a frontline with barbed wire. Moscow will not let this happen, and for the time being is just giving warning. 

Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has officially cautioned Ukraine against changing the country’s non-aligned status. Kiev should remember that Ukraine’s unsuccessful Euro-Atlantic integration during Yushchenko’s presidency led to a freezing of Russian-Ukrainian political contacts, a deterioration in economic relations, and a deepening split within Ukrainian society. While pushing NATO towards its latest anti-Russian venture, meanwhile, US chief diplomat John Kerry, who has already earned the nickname ‘John Fraud Kerry’, is now once again lying to the international community about the fact that Washington is allegedly looking for «agreed approaches».

Talking about the differences between Russia and NATO regarding Crimea, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared the suspension of military cooperation between the alliance and Russia. The decision was made by the foreign ministers from NATO’s member states, who on 1 April issued a statement on the termination of all types of military and civil cooperation with the Russian Federation. It should be noted that this will have absolutely no effect on Russia’s security, since there was virtually no such cooperation between Moscow and Brussels, with the exception of negligible interaction on Afghanistan. At Brussels’ initiative, Russia and NATO’s joint projects on a helicopter force and the training of anti-drug officers for Afghanistan will be aborted. 

With regard to the helicopters, this refers to replacement parts for dozens of engines, while it is not even worth mentioning the drugs. During the 12 years that NATO forces have occupied Afghanistan, the volume of opium production has increased 44-fold, and the country has become a clear leader in the global drug threat, including for Europe, where up to 25 percent of Afghanistan’s heroin is consumed. Obviously, the refusal to train 30-40 Afghans in Russia to combat the US-organised drug trade is not going to weaken Russia. The alliance, however, is not in a hurry to give up NATO’s transit point in Ulyanovsk for the transport of people and goods to Afghanistan. Evidently they are waiting to see what Russia says about it, and then they can loudly tell the world about Moscow’s ‘sabotage’ of the peace process in Afghanistan. 

NATO’s decision to suspend military and civil cooperation with Moscow is just hot air, and NATO’s leadership, which would like to maintain a political dialogue with Russia, is also aware of this. While counting on such a dialogue, however, NATO is also taking up a position that is fundamentally unacceptable to the Kremlin; it is trying to present the situation in such a way that Ukraine is supposedly far more important for the security of NATO than the security of Russia. Since when has Ukraine been a «key element of Euro-Atlantic security» as declared by NATO’s foreign ministers? Hasn’t Washington turned far too many European countries from sovereign states into «elements» of America’s strategy in Europe? In 1990, NATO had 16 members. These were later joined by another 12, and all of these are positioned close to Russia’s borders. Now they want to expand this list once again. 

US Defense Minister Chuck Hagel is calling for war: «It is a time for all of us to stand with the Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity and their sovereignty. And we are doing that.» Obama’s administration wants Moscow to lose sleep over the military threat at Russia’s borders, and for Russia to no longer be able to successfully counteract US expansion, as was the case with Syria and Iran. This is precisely why the chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, began arguing that after Crimea, Russia was intending to invade Georgia and Armenia. There is no doubt that this paranoia is failing to find support in American society, unlike in demoralised and divided Europe.

Americans were shocked when Hillary Clinton publicly compared President Putin to Hitler. Many in America are horrified that this woman is itching to become the US president and may in fact manage it. As you know, the American electoral system is far from perfect, and an expression of the will of the people similar to the Crimea referendum would simply not be possible there. Those in charge of the White House do not have the support of the whole nation. There is good reason why the last three US presidents failed in their foreign policies: the world associates the names of George Bush and his son George W Bush with war and violence, as it does the name Obama. Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned are not happy with the actions taken by Barak Obama in connection with events in Ukraine, while nearly just as many (54 percent) are critical of his actions regarding Russia. Many see Washington’s reaction to Ukraine as Obama’s desire to avenge himself for his defeat in Syria, as well as his personal envy of Putin, whose international standing is incomparably higher than that of the US president. In the eyes of the international community, the Russian president is the most successful leader of the 21st century. Americans, meanwhile, tend to think that Obama’s foreign policy is the White House boss’s biggest shortcoming. It is impossible to consider the actions of the Obama administration regarding Ukraine as anything other than a demonstration of impotence at the sight of Russia’s growing international influence. 

Washington has used Ukraine as a pretext for US neocons to provoke a confrontation with Moscow. The coup in Kiev turned out to be perfect for this, but Russia’s ‘Crimean response’ defeated America’s plans for a US game on the ‘grand chessboard’. President Obama wanted to wound President Putin by calling Russia a «regional power». He pleased the Kiev putschists with his comment, but Ukraine will not become America’s consolation prize for its lost international standing. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of the people on Earth believes that the biggest threat to peace is the United States of America, which considers itself  to be «the only global power». 

Tags: Russia  US  Kerry  Lavrov  Obama