Saturday 8 March 2014

Ukraine division is now permanent (Pakistan Observer)

MD Nalapat. Friday, March 07, 2014 - Old habits die hard, but when continued, are often injurious to health. Through the 20th century, the member-states of NATO had a dominant position in the international order, a situation which still prevails in the UN, where the US and two small states, the UK and France, continue with their partners to set the agenda because of a coordinated policy implemented through a compliant Secretariat. It was an error to locate the headquarters of an international organisation in what was then the most powerful country in the world, and to locate almost every UN division headquarters in Europe, with not even the leavings going to the rest of the world. To this day, Paris and Geneva are the locations where much of UN activity takes place, even though this makes it impossible for the underprivileged to gain admittance when issues crucial to their lives is being discussed and decided. 

This columnist is an international traveller, but had to be satisfied with just a week’s visit visa to Switzerland when he applied for one to attend a conference on interfaith harmony organised by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The GCC countries have outsourced much of their decision-making to one or the other NATO member-states, and holding an international dialogue in Switzerland - easily among the most expensive and least welcoming countries in the world to those who are not millionaires - is an example. Hopefully the GCC states will revise their NATO-centric focus and ensure that more of the conferences organised by them get held in their own countries or in locations outside high-cost and visa-unfriendly countries of the world. It is instructive to see the close grip that nationals from NATO-bloc states and their allies dominate policymaking within the GCC, which seems to have outsourced its intellectual independence to these entities, who naturally utilise such powers for their own advantage. Whether in the UN or other nominally “international” organisations such as the IMF or the World Bank (which in practice are NATO-controlled), nationals of these countries ensure that policies get tailored and implemented that majority if not solely benefit them.

The problem faced by them is that conditions have changed dramatically over the past four decades, caused in large part by the economic development of China and later Brazil and India. However, NATO-bloc countries persist in believing that they can still bend international conditions to suit their narrow interests. Acting in this belief, they create conditions that ultimately rebound on them. France, for example, wanted to ensure that its oil companies had the inside track in Libya, and was unwilling to trust the mercurial Colonel Kaddafy. Hence, Nicholas Sarkozy orchestrated the NATO attack on Kaddafy, in the process (and together with the US and the UK) killing many times more Libyans in the carnage and confusion which followed the bombing campaign than Kaddafy had in the previous three decades. This created a fractured state where radicals operate freely, and where Al Qaeda has developed several safe zones for training and indoctrination of recruits. Radicals worldwide have been immensely strengthened by NATO policies. In Indonesia for example, the separation of East Timor from the country was based in actuality on the fact that the population of that region was Christian rather than Muslim. Once the region separated from Indonesia, Wahabbi radicals in that country got a boost, which would otherwise have been denied to them in a multi-religious Indonesiaa country which even today is overwhelmingly moderate in its ethos, despite intense efforts by Wahabbis to radicalise the majority Muslim population. In Serbia, the forced separation of Kosovo has been followed by a boost in Serbian Orthodox radicalism, although this is being disguised in view of the hunting down of Milosevic and his principal lieutenants.

In Kosovo, tensions are deep between the remnants of the Serbian Orthodox section in that location and the rest, although news of this has been blacked out, once Russia was humbled by NATO intervention in Serbia. By seeking to convert Russia into a vassal state via Boris Yeltsin and his mafia, Bill Clinton lost the opportunity to integrate Russia into NATO and the western alliance, a development which would have ensured the retention of western dominance well into the first half of the 21st century. Instead of offering a fair bargain to Moscow, the US and its European partners have ceaselessly sought to push Russia into a corner, nibbling away at its influence throughout the belt of former Soviet states.

It was in pursuance of this continued Cold War era strategy towards Moscow that the EU and the US sought to eliminate pro-Russian voices in the Ukrainian government by helping to create street chaos that finally succeeded in driving out an elected President, Viktor Yanukovich. Less than a week after this took place, this columnist was invited by the Indian Council of Global Relations to give a talk on the international situation, and the prediction made in that talk was that Ukraine was finished as a united country, that it would in effect get divided.

This has happened. Ukraine is broken and can never be put back together again, unless NATO fights and wins a war with Russia, which seems improbable. West Ukraine, for which NATO helped create the conditions which led to the present situation, will become a failed state that will need huge amounts of capital from the EU in order just to limp along. Interestingly, events in Ukraine have been a further demonstration of the fact that those groups that supported Germany during World War II have been rewarded by NATO.

First it was the pro-German Croats, who prevailed over the Serbs (who had allied with the UK and the US during World War II), as did the pro-German Kosovars. Now it is the West Ukrainians, who in large numbers backed the German army during World War II, who were for a few days helped to prevail over the Russian speakers, who overwhelmingly fought the Gernans during that war. The moral is that Berlin stands by its friends, even after many decades, whereas London and Washington dump theirs.

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