The U.S. has been waging economic, financial, trade, and political war against Russia and even kinetic war-by-proxy in Ukraine. Worryingly, nobody in power in the U.S. or Europe really seems willing to tell us exactly why.
From the Russian point of view, everything from their plunging ruble to bitter sanctions to the falling price of oil are the fault of the U.S., either directly or indirectly. Whether that is fair or not is irrelevant; that’s the view of the Russians right now. So no surprise, it doesn’t dispose them towards goodwill negotiations with the West generally, and the U.S. specifically.
Recently the anti-Russian stance in the U.S. press has quieted down, presumably because the political leadership has moved its attention on to other things, and that means Russia is largely out of the U.S. news cycle. However, there’s plenty of serious action going on in Russia and Ukraine, as well as related activity in the U.S. that deserves our careful attention.
The U.S. (via John Kerry) and NATO have steadily accused Russia of having funneled hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers and other heavy equipment to the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
These assertions bring to mind the Sherlock Holmes case of the dog that did not bark where the absence of a piece of evidence leads us to a very different conclusion than the one the U.S. political establishment would like us to believe.
The sorts of weaponry that NATO and the U.S. have charged Russia with providing are virtually impossible to conceal from the air. Snapping high-resolution photos of such war machinery is child’s play for today’s military satellites, and even civilian ones too. If the assertions were true, we should have seen a flood of photographs of Russian heavy equipment every step of the way as it passed into Ukraine.
But none have been offered, not even one so far. And the simplest explanation for this is that none exist. If they did, you can be 100% certain they’d have been released and replayed over and over again on CNN until everybody and their uncle could distinguish a T-72 tank outline from that of a T-64.
What concerns me even more than these undocumented charges are two especially ill-conceived, if not overtly confrontational, pieces of legislation passed by the Congress in December.
The first is H.Res 758 passed on Dec. 4, which, among other charges, accused Russia of having invaded Ukraine again without providing or referring to any sort of evidence photographic or otherwise. Entitled “Strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination” the resolution is packed with a variety of one-sided assertions and leaves no diplomatic wiggle room for the possibility that Russia has a different view of what has transpired in Ukraine.
According to Ron Paul, these sorts of resolutions are dangerous because they politically commit the U.S. political structure to rigid stances that are politically difficult to back down from and have historically been a stepping stone on the path to war.
The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, or S.2828, was passed by the Senate on Dec. 11. This goes even further than merely condemning Russia and authorizes the distribution of both lethal and non-lethal military aid to Kiev, including sniper and assault rifles, mortars and shells, stinger missiles, anti-tank missiles, night vision goggles, radar systems and a host of other hardware items.
If the tables were turned, and it were the Russian lawmakers passing a resolution condemning the U.S. for a variety of international crimes for which exactly zero proof was offered, and then were actively arming a dangerous conflict right on the U.S. border, I think we all know just how ablaze with indignity the U.S. political leadership would be. And rightly so.
So is it any surprise that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in response, “Both houses of the U.S. Congress have approved the Ukraine Freedom Support Act bypassing debates and proper voting. The overtly confrontational message of the new law cannot but evoke profound regret. Once again Washington is leveling baseless sweeping accusations against Russia and threatening more sanctions.”