Media 37: the most misrepresented major story of 2014 – the gathering crisis between Russia and the West
On August 7th, J Oksana Boyko interviewed former Australian prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, known for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa, his humanitarian commitment to the resettlement of refugees and legislation to give indigenous Australians control of their traditional lands. More recently he has criticised the growing infringements of human rights, the basing of U.S. military forces in Australia, the concept of American exceptionalism and US foreign policy in general.
The nub of the problem according to Fraser – and others: the Ukraine was a traditional area of Russian interest preceding communism and Stalin; however, the United States decided it was going to become an area of western influence, of NATO influence.
Fraser recalls: “President Gorbachev believed that the first Bush administration had agreed that NATO would not move east. NATO had, after all, done its job”.From the website of Pietro Shakarian, an MA graduate student at the University of Michigan: “George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta in December 1989 (ITAR-TASS). The Bush administration informally promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch” beyond East Germany. The promise was never fulfilled. To defuse the Ukraine crisis, a formal, written promise not to expand NATO by Washington to Moscow would do much to build mutual trust and confidence between both countries”. .
Fraser continues: “But then it pushed ahead to the borders of Russia, and I can understand Russians believing that’s a provocative move. There would have been other ways, less provocative ways, of ensuring the security and independence of eastern European states. I think the West then lost an opportunity to really begin to make Russia a collaborative partner . . . I can understand Russia being greatly disturbed about this . . . when (the Soviet Union) disintegrated, the West should have done everything it could to build a collaborative world . . . pushing NATO to the boundaries of Russia, in my view, was bound to do the opposite . . .”
Christopher Booker breaks the silence on evidence that the West has been pouring billions of dollars and euros into Ukraine: not just to prop up its bankrupt government and banking system, but to fund scores of bogus “pro-European” groups making up what the EU calls “civil society”. He cites Richard North’s report on his EU Referendum blog that the true figure, shown on the commission’s own “Financial Transparency” website, approaches €496 million:
“The 200 front organisations receiving this colossal sum have such names as “Center for European Co-operation” or the “Donetsk Regional Public Organisation with Hope for the Future”. The first page found shows how many are in eastern Ukraine or Crimea, with their largely Russian populations – the snapshot below shows 6 of the 30 donations on that page alone.
Booker believes that the West has brought about this crisis, rousing fears that its only warm-water ports in Crimea might soon be taken over by Nato – “a crisis . . . more reminiscent of that fateful mood in the summer of 1914 than we should find it comfortable to contemplate”.
Fraser is constructive: “Great powers very often, too often, interpret international law as what is in their particular interest at the time. Now, we need to try to make rules that everyone will support.
“If the United Nations is ever to work, great powers and lesser powers are all going to have to abide by the rules of the organisation. But it’s the great powers that tend to push the rules aside when it suits their national interests. And therefore, when the United States says that what Russia has done is in defiance of international law, well, that can’t be taken as gospel. The government and the change of power in Ukraine itself was surely in defiance of democratic principles.
“The Ukraine should be told that it can never join NATO, that other means will be found to make sure that the Ukraine remains secure. The West should be persuading those who are now in government in the Ukraine that within Ukraine they must learn the art of compromise. And those who are more inclined to Russia in the Ukraine, should also be persuaded by Russia – you must also learn the art of compromise”.
Will the voices of reason prevail?
Washington-financed regime change: the narrative absent from Western mainstream reports about events in Ukraine
Many people who know little about the country will be feeling totally confused about events in Ukraine and uneasy about the media ‘feed’.
Jan Oberg asks:
- When did the West begin to see Ukraine as an interesting country?
- Why did George Bush Sr. and James Baker promise Mikhail Gorbachev that the West would never expand up to Russia’s border?
Oberg’s remarks that NATO began being an issue in Ukraine in 1995 prompted a search. Wikipedia gives a detailed overview and even those who criticise it could hardly discount many of the sources given.
However, though another search found several references to a promise made in 1990 by George Bush Senior and James Baker to President Gorbachev that if he agreed to the reunification of Germany, NATO would move no farther east towards Russia’s boundaries, as yet no ‘hard’ evidence has been found to support them.
The absent narrative
Oberg continues: “One narrative is absent in all Western mainstream reports: that of Washington-financed regime change. Throughout the Internet you can find reports on covert action, informal diplomacy and massive funding from U.S. institution aiming to achieve what has just happened . . . and we know how Assistant Sec of State Victoria Nuland – a neo-conservative – interacted over the phone with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador in Kiev – the famous “Fuck EU” tape (transcript)”.
Oberg surveys opinion polls which do not uphold the media implication that the Ukrainian opposition and most others strongly dislike Russia; he asks: “So if these polls are worth anything and if we respect democracy why has the West – US/NATO/EU – been pushing for Ukraine to come over to “us” instead?”
More useful questions:
- Is the already crisis-ridden EU really able to take on one more hugely problematic country?
- Does anyone think Russia can be convinced that all NATO does is in Russia’s best interest – even this? Even the Ballistic Missile Defence?
Many readers will share his ‘nagging feeling’: “It’s all so much more complicated than we are told . . . There are not two parties to the Ukraine conflict – not only a government and its oppositional people, there is a mosaic of complexities that can only be untied and stabilised through dialogues and attempts to understand and – well, stop power games including undermining democratically elected governments”.