If we do not start asking questions about the stories that are being spun, we risk not only the destruction of European unity but a potentially cataclysmic war with Russia
Vlad Sobell teaches political economy to university students in Prague and Berlin
More than a year into the Ukraine crisis, it is becoming painfully clear that the promotion of democracy, peace and prosperity is not – and never was – the objective of Western involvement in that part of the world. On the contrary, Washington and its European partners have systematically engineered the collapse of Ukraine’s economy and the creation of a neo-totalitarian state being primed to cause yet more mayhem in the country’s south-east.
The horrendous events in Ukraine that have unfolded before our eyes are in accordance with a geo-political plan that serves first and foremost our trans-Atlantic ally. What is that plan? The EU is to limit, if not sever altogether, its ties with Russia and instead boost its economic relations with the US, thereby underpinning Washington’s already entrenched military grip on the continent. Germany has been all but ordered to reject any idea of a Russo-German economic powerhouse linking up with China’s New Silk Road. In effect, the Union is being told to wave goodbye to any idea it might have had of closer ties with Eurasia and the much-needed regeneration such ties could have brought. The now infamous US dismissal of Europe’s significance in determining its own affairs – in language that was not only offensive but also reflected an habitual need to patronize and humiliate – says it all.
The carving up of territory over and above the natives’ heads so that empires can “divide and rule” has long been standard practice. But, arguably, it has never been done before in such a brazen manner, by such mediocrities and with such damaging consequences. The club of developed countries that together comprise the world’s largest economy (the EU) is being detached from its natural supplier of fuels and raw materials, while European businesses are being made to surrender their positions on Russia’s dynamic market. Wilfully preventing the consummation of such a complementary relationship between two economic giants is economic barbarism on a par with Communism.
The West’s official narrative is that the Kremlin must be kept at arm’s length so that we can preserve our democratic values – that just over the Ukraine’s eastern border there is a murky world of autocracy-loving savages with whom we must not do business lest they contaminate our civilized ways. Give the likes of Putin an inch and the next thing you know you’ll have Russian tanks on your streets. And why do business with the eastern hordes when America – the land of plenty and opportunity, or so we’re told – is offering us new economic vistas under the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
But where is the evidence for such allegations about Russia? How many countries has Putin conquered during his 15 years in power? Why was Georgia not occupied after the Russian army had intervened to stop the massacre of South Ossetians and reached the gates of Tbilisi? Why was there a referendum in Crimea when Russia could simply have annexed the peninsula (just as West and East Germany were united after decades of illegal partition, so Crimea is once again part of the country to which it historically and culturally belongs). Where are the detailed economic studies proving that the EU’s pivot away from Russia is to its advantage? And who says economic ties with America and Russia are mutually exclusive and that it is “America or bust”?
It is said that people deserve the governments they get – presumably, because remaining silent in the face of misrule signifies their consent. However, that may be a bit too harsh. The truth is that there is a grand scheme to prevent Europe from becoming more unified and the European public – and, indeed, the American public too – is being led by the nose. Believing what the mainstream media tell them, they are predisposed to accept the official narrative. So if they are repeatedly told that Putin is a new Hitler who wants to see Russian tanks rolling through the streets of Western Europe, most will accept that such is the case.
But it is high time that we should start to query such narratives and ask for the “evidence” that would support them. At a minimum, we are entitled to a sound and rational explanation why, exactly, deepening economic links with Russia (and, for that matter, China) as well as with the US would spell the end of our democracy. This is no time for timidity. If we do not start asking questions about the stories that are being spun, we risk not only the destruction of European unity but a potentially cataclysmic war with Russia.