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Modi in Washington: Why India Will Not Become a US Ally

India’s recent moves do not mean it is breaking with the BRICS or joining a US alliance against China. It is simply a case of India pursuing its traditional policy of positioning itself between the Great Powers to achieve greatest advantage for itself.

Alexander Mercouris

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Indian Prime Minister Modi’s just completed visit to Washington has reinforced fears that India is evolving into a full-fledged ally of the US.

The grounds for thinking this were ably discussed by my colleague Andrew Korybko in two fine pieces he has written for The Duran.  For those interested in the details of the moves the US and India have been making towards each other, there is no better place to start than those two articles (here and here).

Is India however really abandoning its traditional policy of non-alignment to forge an alliance with Washington that would in effect bury the BRICS arrangement?

I have no doubt that that is what Washington itself believes.  I am sure that in the aftermath of Prime Minister Modi’s visit, Washington’s huge foreign policy establishment is busy congratulating itself on its success in detaching India from Russia and China.  The champagne corks in Langley and Foggy Bottom are no doubt flying as I write this, and I have no doubt that Andrew Korybko has reproduced with absolute accuracy the way the whole India play is looked upon by people inside the Beltway.

However I suspect that from New Delhi things look rather different.  I am quite sure that both the hopes and fears of an Indian alliance with the US are exaggerated.

Before discussing my reasons for saying this, it is necessary to provide some background.

Much of the concern that has been expressed about Prime Minister Modi’s dalliance with Washington derives from a misunderstanding of his background. There was a widespread view before Modi became Prime Minister of India that because the US had previously denied him a visa to travel to the US that somehow meant he was opposed to the US, and this has led to surprise when it turned out that he was not hostile to the US at all, with more than a hint in some quarters of a feeling of betrayal.

In reality the US refusal of a visa simply reflects ignorance of Indian politics and the US propensity to strike poses, in this case in connection to sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002 for which Modi as the state’s chief minister was deemed by the US to be responsible.  The episode of the visa says nothing about Modi’s actual opinions of the US and is irrelevant to his actions as India’s Prime Minister.  Those are rooted in his own political needs and background and in India’s national interests.

Briefly and very crudely, Indian politics since independence have broadly followed one of two traditions: the secular leftist “social democracy” associated with Congress or the more conservative, more right wing and more free market oriented course associated with what is sometimes called the Hindutva nationalist movement.  Very broadly, during the Cold War Indian politicians associated with Congress tended to tilt towards Moscow, whilst more Hindutva oriented politicians tended to be more sympathetic to Washington.

Modi comes from the Hindutva nationalist tradition.  He came to power as leader of the right wing Hindutva oriented BJP after defeating Congress in 2014 in parliamentary elections, and he has positioned himself as a follower of the previous BJP Prime Minister hailing from the Hindutva tradition – Atal Bihari Vajpayee – whose name Modi repeatedly invoked in the speech he made to the US Congress during his US visit.

Modi’s Hindutva background would itself suffice to explain his preference for closer dealings with Washington.  There are however practical reasons that might impel him in that direction anyway – as they did his Congress predecessor Manmohan Singh. 

The first is the forceful demands for a closer alignment with the US from the outspokenly pro-US business community centred on India’s port city of Mumbai (Bombay).  These people form a key component of Modi’s political constituency and he is simply not in a position to disregard them. 

The second is the wish to attract US investment to India in order to sustain India’s programme for rapid economic growth and economic modernisation.  This has been India’s overriding priority ever since the initial steps were taken by Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the Congress government of the 1990s to liberalise India’s economy.

Given these factors Modi has actually been restrained in his dealings with the US.  It is important to say anyway that these dealings follow an established tradition within India of seeking good relations with the US.

In the late 1970s the leader of what was then the Janata party (the lineal ancestor of today’s BJP) Prime Minister Morarji Desai, was widely suspected of having leaked intelligence information from within the Indian Cabinet to Washington during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.  Whether that was true or not, there is evidence that Henry Kissinger at least considered Morarji Desai to be a US intelligence asset (for a full discussion of this controversial question see the chapter on the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 in Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power) and he did in fact follow a more friendly policy towards the US – and Pakistan – than the Congress led governments of the period did.

As for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi’s predecessor as BJP leader and Indian prime minister, it was during his period as Prime Minister that the first steps in forming the present US-Indian relationship were taken with the visit in 2000 of US President Clinton – the first visit to India by a US President in 22 years.

The key event in forging the present close relations between the US and India however happened not under Vajpayee – or indeed now under Modi.  It happened during the last period of Congress government, when the US administration of George W. Bush made a sustained and ultimately successful attempt between 2005 and 2008 to forge good relations with India

The key achievement of this period – and the keystone of the whole US-Indian relationship – pointedly referred to as such by Modi in the speech he made to the US Congress during his visit – was the 2008 India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, which essentially amounted to recognition by the US of India’s status as a fully-fledged nuclear Great Power.

Suffice to say that the Indian Prime Minister at the time of the India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement was none other than Manmohan Singh, someone often spoken of as a BRICS loyalist, who represented India at the founding summit of the BRICS group in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2009.

It is entirely natural that Modi, like Manmohan Singh before him, would want to build on the relationship with the US forged during the premierships of Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.  Doing so after all arguably serves both his own political needs and India’s national interests.  India has no interest in making an enemy of the US and it is entirely natural that it would want to extract the most advantages from the US by maintaining a good relationship with it.

What however of the greater strategic play – does wanting good relations with the US mean India has to align itself with Washington against Beijing and Moscow? 

Before discussing this question it is necessary to say something about the history of India’s relationships with Beijing and Moscow.

India’s relations with China since independence has been complex and difficult.  India’s relations with Russia since independence by contrast have been straightforward and easy.

China and India had very close relations in the 1950s – much closer than today – when it appeared that the two countries’ prime ministers, Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, had forged a close friendship.  Relations however fell apart in the early 1960s over Tibet and disputes over their common border, with a brief but savage war fought between the two countries in 1962 in which Russia sided with India but in which India was comprehensively defeated by China, leaving China occupying much of what had previously been Indian controlled territory. 

Relations between India and China then remained very tense until Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 since when they have warned considerably.  During the previous period of tense relations China however forged an alliance with India’s perennial enemy Pakistan, which continues to this day and which adds another layer of conflict to the Indian-Chinese relationship.

With Russia by contrast the relationship has been straightforward and good.  India and Russia have been close friends since India achieved independence from Britain (the Indian ambassador Krishna Menon was the last foreign visitor received by Stalin before his death in 1953). 

In the late 1960s, as Moscow’s own relations with China deteriorated, Russia and India became for a time de facto allies against China and its ally Pakistan, with Russia providing India with critical military assistance which enabled India to win victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. 

Since the USSR’s collapse relations between Russia and India have as a result of Russia’s diminished reach and power inevitably become more distant, but they have remained warm.

Given the complex and difficult history of India’s relations with China, and given the huge increase in Chinese power which has taken place since the 1970s, and given the reduction in power of India’s former partner Russia over the same period, and given the fact that Russia has itself drawn closer to China and is now in de facto alliance with it, it is completely understandable that India would want to insure its position against China by strengthening its ties with Washington.  India would surely be doing this even if there were not also compelling economic reasons to do so (see above).

However looked at objectively what is striking is the restraint India has shown in pursuing this objective.  Whilst India has certainly followed the logic of improving its relations with Washington, it has been careful to retain its traditionally good relations with Moscow, and under both Manmohan Singh and Modi it has kept its lines of communication to China open, working successfully alongside China and Russia as a member of the BRICS.

The reason India has pursued this balanced course is actually made clear in Andrew Korybko’s two pieces.  India’s aspirations to be accepted as a Great Power are ultimately incompatible with subordination to Washington – a relationship of subordination to the US being the only type of relationship Washington today seems able to forge with other powers.

Beyond this, India has no more interest in making an enemy of China than it has in making an enemy of the US.  China is far more powerful than India.  India cannot defeat China militarily and recent experience will have taught India that any US commitments to “defend” India from China are to all intents and purposes worthless.  China is also India’s biggest trading partner and – like the US – is a key potential investor in the Indian economy.

From India’s point of view maintaining at least a working relationship with China is therefore overwhelmingly in India’s interests even if for historically fully understandable reasons the relationship with China cannot be conflict free or entirely warm.

All this points to the sort of policy Modi is currently following – and which was followed previously by his two predecessors – Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh: good relations with both Washington and Moscow combined with a certain wariness towards China but with a continued willingness to work with China in India’s national interest through the BRICS group and the various other Chinese led institutions that are now being formed.

Seen in this context it is now possible to read Modi’s speech to the US Congress in the proper way. 

The speech contained all the usual cliches and bromides Americans love: invocations of “freedom”, platitudes about American democracy, flattering reminders of how India is also a democracy, paeans of praise for American enterprise, breathless references to Abraham Lincoln, Norman Borlaug, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Walt Whitman (as it happens an interesting selection, and one that might beg some questions) and heroic talk of the joint struggle against Islamist terrorism.

It also made no definite promise or commitment to the US whatsoever.  The whole tenor of the speech was a call for US support for India with nothing of substance offered in return.  Importantly, nowhere in the speech is there a single reference to the Logistics Support Agreement discussed at length in his two pieces by Andrew Korybko. 

Whilst the Logistics Support Agreement does have the potential to evolve into the sort of all-encompassing military relationship Andrew Korybko writes about – and that is no doubt how the US envisages it – it is important to say that that can only happen if India approaches it in that way. 

As things stand that is most unlikely.  From the Indian point of view the Logistics Support Agreement should be seen for what it is: an insurance policy India has taken out with the US against China, which India can draw upon if its relations with China ever turn sticky, but which India ultimately only took out because it was pressed do so by the US, who offered it to India for free.

Modi’s visit to the US Congress and his speech there is in fact a regular ritual Indian prime ministers now regularly perform when they visit the US.  Similar speeches have been delivered to the US Congress by previous Indian prime ministers: Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. 

From Modi’s point of view his speech must be counted a success.  Though Modi actually offered nothing the assembled Congressmen – thrilled by Modi’s earnest flattery – lapped his speech up.  The result is that Modi left Washington with Congressional approval for trade concessions and for more arms sales.

Having got what he wanted in Washington, Modi’s next move says everything one needs to know about the true nature of Indian policy.  On returning to New Delhi where – hopefully – US listening devices could no longer hear him, practically the first thing Modi did was to telephone his BRICS partner – President Putin of Russia – presumably over a secure line.

The Kremlin’s brief account of the call suggests a Putin – Modi summit is in the works.  It pointedly also refers to relations between India and Russia as a “privileged strategic partnership” – balancing similar words used in Washington by Modi to describe India’s relationship with the US.

Whilst we cannot know exactly what Modi and Putin said to each other, it is overwhelmingly likely Modi would have given Putin a detailed account of his visit to the US and that that was the purpose of his call.  It is also overwhelmingly likely that a full account of Modi’s conversation with Putin – perhaps even a transcript – will have been sent by the Kremlin to Beijing, and that Modi made the call knowing – and intending – that that would happen.

In summary, India’s moves towards Washington are not the actions of a country that is repositioning itself as an ally of the US pitched against its former partners Russia and China.  Nor are they an attempt by India to play one side off against the other.  Rather they should be seen as what they surely are: the careful manoeuvring of an emerging Great Power as it seeks the maximum advantage for itself in an increasingly fluid international system. 

The Russians and Chinese undoubtedly understand all this especially since – as Modi’s telephone call to Putin shows – the Indians are being careful to keep them informed about what they are doing.

As for the US, obsessed as it has become with its complex games of geopolitical chess, it by contrast almost certainly does not understand what the Indians are up to even though – if the US had a more conventional approach to foreign policy – understanding it would be easy enough. 

That this is so is shown by what happened the last time the US sought to play an emerging Asian Great Power off against one of its rivals.  That was in the 1980s when the US sought to play the “China card” against Moscow – oblivious to the fact that whilst it was doing so the Russians and the Chinese were quietly settling their differences with each other.  In the process the US made a string of unilateral concessions to “win over” China – just as they are doing with India now – including the fatal one of opening up US markets to Chinese goods.  The rest as they say is history.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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