Donald Trump’s foreign policy team continues along a path of confusion, indecision and borrowing the rhetoric of Obama’s failed flunkies.
Yesterday, the forum was the United Nations where Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley demonstrated just how little she knows about geopolitical realities.
When addressing the carnage in Donbass, she spoke of the “…aggressive actions of Russia”. I knew right then and there she’d lost the plot.
I only wish that Russia would do more for Donbass. The tragic reality is that apart from sending food, medicine, clean water, and issuing statements calling for a cessation of fascist aggression, Russia has done nothing.
If anyone actually believes that what is going on in Donbass is a war between the Russian military and Kiev’s combination of drunk, demoralised regulars, some unreliable semi-professional mercenaries and neo-Nazis dressing up like their heroes of the 1930s ‘playing Hitler’, they really have no idea about the comparative strengths of the hypothetical forces.
A battle between the Russian military and the fascist forces might not even last an hour as I suspect most on Kiev’s side would run away with their rusty tanks or else surrender on sight.
The reality is now, as it has been since 2014, that the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, having voted to form fraternal, independent republics, are fighting for their very survival against the regular and irregular forces of a fascist regime who refuse to acknowledge the right of the Donbass people to self-determination.
Making matters worse, Russia has not recognized the independence of the Donbass republics either. Far from Russia committing ‘aggression’, Russia isn’t doing much to defend Donbass, let alone aid them politically.
These are sad facts that Nikki Haley seems to have forgotten in a speech she may well have found in her new desk, left over from Samantha Power. But Haley wasn’t finished there.
She added more nonsense about Crimea and her desire to see it ‘returned to Ukraine’ something as likely as Moscow being returned to Mongolia. Frankly, Turkey has a stronger claim to Crimea than so-called ‘Ukraine’, as the area was part of the Crimean Khanate until Crimea along with Novorossiya was fully integrated into Russia in 1783.
When addressing the specific issue of Crimea, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin reminded Nikki Haley of the following,
“In this regard, one cannot forget the remarkable historical words that are found in the constitution of the United States: ‘We the people”… “The people of Crimea quite clearly expressed their will in a referendum”.
He is absolutely correct, but so too though did the people of the Donbass republics express their democratic will in referenda. It is clear from the recent exchange at the UN that Churkin has run intellectual circles round Haley, but this is not enough. The political will in Moscow to stand up for the people of Donbass must become more hardened and clear.
As for the Trump administration. It seems that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, to use a phrase from the Bush era. On the one hand, the Trump administration has quietly eased some sanctions against Russia’s security agency, FSB, but at the same time, America’s ambassador to the UN says all Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place.
It’s as though various members of the administration are reading from different scripts. Between Russia’s inaction on Donbass and the Trump administrations cluelessness on foreign policy, it seems that innocent civilians will continue to suffer until both superpowers get their respective houses in order.