U.S. President Donald Trump made unequivocally clear, on February 14th, that the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia will continue until Russia complies with two conditions that would not only be humiliating to Russia (and to the vast majority of its citizens), but that would also be profoundly immoral. One of these two conditions would actually be impossible, even if it weren’t, in addition, immoral. For Vladimir Putin to agree to either of these two conditions, would not only be a violation of his often-expressed basic viewpoint, but it would also cause the vast majority of Russians to despise him — because they respect him for his consistent advocacy of that very viewpoint. He has never wavered from it. The support of Russians for that viewpoint is virtually universal. (This article will explain the viewpoint.)
TRUMP’S DEMAND #1: “RETURN CRIMEA”
In order to understand the Russian perspective on the first of these two issues (which any American must understand who wants to understand the astounding stupidity of Mr. Trump’s position on this matter), which is the issue of Crimea (which had for hundreds of years been part of Russia, but was then suddenly and arbitrarily transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet dictator — and the U.S. now demands that his dictat regarding Crimea must be restored), two videos are essential for anyone to see, and here they are:
The first video (click here to see it) (and no one should read any further here who hasn’t seen that video or at least the first twelve minutes of it, because it’s crucial) shows the U.S.-engineered coup that violently overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine in February 2014, under the cover of ‘a democratic revolution’, which was actually nothing of the sort, and which had instead started being planned in the U.S. State Department by no later than 2011, and started being organized inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev by no later than 1 March 2013. The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, has rightly called it “the most blatant coup in history”.
The second video (click here to see it) shows the massacre of Crimeans who were escaping from Kiev during the Ukrainian coup, on 20 February 2014, and which massacre came to be known quickly in Crimea, as “the Pogrom of Korsun,” which was the town where the fascists whom the Obama regime had hired were able to trap the escapees and kill many of them. That’s the incident which — occurring during the coup in Ukraine — stirred enormous fear by Crimeans of the rabid hatred toward them by the U.S.-installed regime.
Finally on the issue of Crimea, all of the Western-sponsored polls that were taken of Crimeans both before and after the plebiscite on 16 March 2014 (which was just weeks after Obama overthrew the Ukrainian President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted) showed over 90% support by Crimeans for Crimea’s return to being again a part of Russia. Everyone agrees that there was far more than 50% support for that, among the Crimeans. Furthermore, even Barack Obama accepted the basic universal principle of the right of self-determination of peoples when it pertained to Catalans in Spain, and Scotch in UK, and neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to make any credible case for applying it there and generally, but not in Crimea — especially under these circumstances.
So, on the first issue, Trump’s demand that Putin force the residents of Crimea to become subjects of the coup-regime that Obama had just established in Ukraine, it won’t be fulfilled — and it shouldn’t be fulfilled. Obama instituted the sanctions against Russia on the basis of what he called Putin’s “conquest of land” (referring to Crimea), but Russians see it instead as Russia’s standing steadfast for, and protecting, in what was historically and culturally a part of Russia not a part of Ukraine, the right of self-determination of peoples — especially after the country of which their land had been a part for the immediately prior 60 years (Ukraine), had been conquered three weeks earlier, via a bloody coup by a foreign power, and, moreover, this was a foreign power whom Crimeans loathed. Putin will not accept Trump’s demand. Nor should he.
TRUMP’S DEMAND #2: RUSSIA END THE UKRAINE-v.-DONBASS WAR
The way that this demand was stated on February 14th was that Russia must “deescalate violence in the Ukraine,” referring to Ukraine’s invasions of its own former Donbass region, which broke away from the Obama-installed Ukrainian regime shortly after Crimea did, but which Putin (after having already suffered so much — sanctions, etc. — from allowing the Crimeans to become Russians again) refused to allow into the Russian Federation, and only offered military and humanitarian assistance to protect themselves so that not all of the roughly five million residents there would flee across the border into Russia.
Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin, had established the Minsk negotiations and agreements, to end the hottest phase of the (Obama-caused) war between Ukraine and Donbass; and a crucial part of the Minsk-2 agreement was that Ukraine would allow the residents of Donbass a certain minimal degree of autonomy within Ukraine, as part of a new Ukrainian Federation, but Ukraine’s Rada or parliament refuses to do that, refuses to allow it, and the United States and its allies blame the residents of Donbass for that refusal by their enemies, and blame the Donbassers for the continued war, or, as Trump’s press secretary referred to it on February 14th, “violence in the Ukraine.” He’s demanding that Donbass stop the war, when Donbass is being constantly attacked by a Ukrainian regime that refuses even to fulfill a fundamental provision of the peace agreement that Hollande, Merkel, and Putin, had arranged, and that both Ukraine and Donbass signed. (Note: even Hollande and Merkel weren’t able to get the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama, to so much as participate in this effort for peace.)
A demand like that — for the victim to stop the fight — is impossible to fulfill. It’s like, in World War II, blaming the United States, Soviet Union, and UK, for their war against Germany, Italy, and Japan. It is a cockeyed demand, which requires only cockeyed credulous believers, for it to be taken seriously.
The way that Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press spokesperson, put this demand in his February 14th press conference, was:
President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea. At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia.
To some people, that combination sounds idiotic. In any event, it’s not merely unrealistic; it is downright impossible. It’s not seeking peace with Russia; it is instead reasserting war against Russia.
Spicer said, with evident pride: “The President has been incredibly tough on Russia.”
A reporter at the press conference challenged that statement: “To me it seems, and I think to a lot of Americans it seems that this President has not been tough on Russia.” Spicer answered by referring to the statement that America’s new U.N. Representative, Nikki Haley, had made. She said at the U.N. on February 2nd:
I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. … The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue. … The United States 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.
So, Spicer said that,
with respect to Russia, I think the comments that Ambassador Haley made at the U.N. were extremely forceful and very clear that until —
Q That was an announcement from Haley, not the President.
MR. SPICER: She speaks for the President. I speak for the President. All of us in this administration. And so all of the actions and all of the words in this administration are on behalf and at the direction of this President. So I don’t think we could be any clearer on the President’s commitment.
Trump is continuing Obama’s war against Russia, although he had not given America’s voters to expect anything of the kind. Some voters (this writer is one) had voted for him because Trump alleged that he strongly disagreed with his opponent Hillary Clinton about that — he outright lied to the voters, on the most important thing of all. He applied mental coercion — deceit — in order to win. But as it turns out, he’s not really opposed at all to Obama’s coup in Ukraine. Perhaps he is so stupid that he’s not even aware that it was a coup, instead of a ‘democratic revolution’ (the cover-story). Maybe he’s so stupid, that he believes Obama’s lies.
Anyway, all of that is water over the damn, now.
Initially, it had seemed that the only way in which Trump was aiming to satisfy the U.S. aristocracy (owners of the military-industrial complex, among other things) about increasing the ‘defense’ budget, was going to be a buildup against Iran; but, now, that war might end up playing second fiddle.
The war with Russia can only escalate, unless or until President Trump reverses course and states publicly, and provides to the American people and the world, the clear evidence of, his predecessor’s perfidy, both in Ukraine, and in Syria. Unless and until he comes clean, and admits that the problem between the U.S. and Russia isn’t Putin, but instead Obama, it will continue escalating, right up to World War III; and here is why:
When it escalates to a traditional hot war, either in Ukraine or in Syria, the side that’s losing that traditional war will have only one way to avoid defeat: a sudden unannounced nuclear all-out blitz attack against the other side. A nuclear war will last less than 30 minutes. The side that attacks first will suffer the less damage, because it will have knocked out some of the other side’s retaliatory missiles and bombs. If Donald Trump were intelligent, then one could assume that he knows this. He’s not, so he doesn’t. He plods on, toward mutual nuclear annihilation. Perhaps, like Hillary Clinton, he believes that the U.S. has ‘Nuclear Primacy’ and so will ‘win’.
It’s all so stupid. But, even worse, it’s evil. And I’m not talking about Russia or Putin here. The real problem — on this ultimate issue, of avoiding a nuclear winter — is my own country: the United States of America. To call this a ‘democracy’ is not merely a lie; it is a bad joke. The American public are not to blame for this evil. The American aristocracy are. It’s an oligarchy gone mad.
Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’. Instead, he’s feeding the alligators.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.