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Right to Invade: The R2P doctrine examined
Publication date: 2021-11-21
One can see a recent addition to my "Sources" list, that of "Global Conversations" hosted by Regis Tremblay. This obscure show, with between 250 and 500 views per episode on Youtube, does contain many an interesting interview. One of Regis' common interviewees is Russel "Texas" Bentley.
Russel is a USA citizen who had a fairly itinerant life, was convicted for a small drug possession charge, spent some time in a USA prison, and eventually decided to “up sticks” and head one-way to Ukraine following the 2014 USA sponsored coup, the "Maidan". He met numerous other internationals in the Donbass and fought with them, and local peoples, against the Ukrainian national forces, some of which are blatantly neo-Nazi, like the Azov Battalion. From front line fighting, he moved into producing media pieces to highlight the conflict, a "propagandist" if you will, for the separatists. He has obtained residency of the Donetsk Peoples' Republic, and now is also a dual Russian citizen, holding a Russian Passport. His politics seem to be an interesting mix of Human Rights and Self Determination, social conservative Christian and "modern" Communist. He is a man with a very varied life, and an interesting collection of convictions. He has fought in the Ukrainian civil war (or proxy war) on the side of the insurgent separatists and lives there with a partner he met whilst there.
Russel is an interesting source for what is going on in the Donbass. He is completely partisan, and wears his heart on his sleeve. There is no confusion about his allegiances. He is not a member of any government, and speaks for himself.
He has recently had an article published at various non-commercial news sites. Regis has also published an interview with Russel discussing it (see video sources). The article presents what Russel sees as Russia's options for the ongoing Ukrainian dispute. But, before we get to that, it is worthwhile reflecting on what happened in 2014 in Kyiv (Kiev), a little Ukrainian history, and what has happened since.
Ukraine is a complex country with 7 neighbors: Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus and Russia, and a complex geography with mountains on its east and west and the critical river valley of the Dnipro flowing between.
Linguistically, the Ukraine really has three areas. Most commonly, Ukrainian is the dominant language, next is Russian, and lastly some very mixed linguistics in a few border locations in the south and west in which Romanian, Hungarian or Bulgarian are dominant.
Following the 2014 "Maidan" coup, in which snipers on roof tops fired at both the security forces and the protesters, be they civil society or Azov aligned para-paramilitaries, the new government then converted the country from dual language Ukrainian/Russian to single language Ukrainian. This angered the areas closer to the Russian border in which Russian is their native language and they are largely ethnic Russia too. This all exhumes the second world war during which the Ukrainian people suffered terribly often at the hands of Ukrainian supporters of the German/Nazi invaders. One of the heroes of the "Ukro-Nazi" groups, particularly the Azov battalion is Stephan Bandera. There is a west and center vs east linguistic and cultural divide and parts of that animosity relate to the events of WWII and the characters involved and the horrific events that took place. The USSR is not free of this either, with plenty of evidence of horrific crimes committed by the Soviets in Ukraine before WWII. There's plenty of blame to be shared.
So, the coup goes ahead, despite the then president agreeing to rapid elections, the new government effectively outlaws the Russian language and historic, linguistic and ethnic tensions are raised and the Donetsk and Lhugansk regions which neither agree to a government which they did not elect, nor to its policies and declare themselves as autonomous republics. The Biden family gets involved in the existing corruption with Hunter Biden being paid exorbitant amounts of money (half a million USD per year) for sitting on the board of Burisma, an energy company about which he knows nothing. The Ukrainian national forces attack the break away republics, the Russian's provide assistance via arms, intelligence and military leadership, MH-17 is shot down, probably by Ukrainian national forces, and a stalemate is reached. The Russians invade Crimea, which had been intra-Soviet transferred from Russia to Ukraine during the USSR, as the Russians saw their warm water port at Sevastopol under threat. Russia legitimizes the annexation with a plebiscite which gives 95% support. While the number may be suspect, the ethic, linguistic, cultural and historic ties of Crimea to Russia as as obvious as daylight.
An attempt to resolve the issue was made by Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia resulting in the Minsk Accords, which call for Ukraine to politically and diplomatically engage with the breakaway republics. The Ukrainians have consistently not even begun this process while the USA's arms manufacturers have been selling arms to the USA government paid for by USA tax payers which are then gifted to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, various skirmishes, including prohibited heavily artillery attacks have been visited upon the break-away republics, including targeting of civilian infrastructure. The "defenders" have, of course, been defending their territory and exchanges of smaller arms have occurred in both directions across the "lines of control". The UK decided to flex some silliness and sail a frigate into the coastal waters of Crimea (annexed to Russia) with reporters on board for a media stunt. (They got warning shotted into the best part of valor).
The USA have been flying surveillance planes on the edges of this airspace, and running large military drills in eastern Europe close to Russia's borders. In spring this year (2021) in response to a build up of heavy arms by Ukraine national forces towards the "line of control" Russia responded by deploying two armies and three paratrooper divisions inside their border with Ukraine. Just to add to all of this, Russian gas exports to Europe either via Ukraine or the new NordStream II pipeline have been in the political mix. Oh, and the Ukraine's economy is so shot that is has been selling its land — dirt, and very good dirt too — to foreign countries.
Or, perhaps a more accurate map in Russian; compare:
Lastly, the whole crisis is based on attempts by USA/NATO to get Ukraine (and Belarus too, if possible) to join EU/NATO. At the fall of the Berlin Wall when the USA discussed the reunification of Germany with Russia a promise was given by the Secretary of State, Baker, to not advance NATO "one inch" eastward of the reunified Germany. That commitment has been repeatedly transgressed over the last 30 years. Having Ukraine leave its Russian orbit and be under the thumb of NATO is a complete "red line" for Russia, as would also be the case with Belarus. It got to the point where veteran diplomat Sergei Lavrov had to say to his USA counterpart "Niet means niet!!". This is 30 years of "non-agreement capable" USA foreign policy which the Russian's know well.
Sorry for the verbiage, but its a long and complex story. Lets return to Russel and the three options for Russia which he presents in his article. Recall his partisan position.
Option 1 is Russia flooding the breakaway republics with peacekeeping forces under the "Right to Protect" neo-liberal interventionist doctrine. The second option is the "Novorussia Plan" which essentially amounts to an annexation of the breakaway republics and more, up to the Dnipro river, and importantly all areas of Ukraine that border the Black Sea, including Odessa. The third option is the "Kyiv Plan" which essentially means the annexation of the whole of the Ukraine.
I am not advocating any of this, but consider it significant that these sorts of plans are being put forth. Bentley's commentary on the selective use of "Right to Protect" by neo-liberal interventionists is quite clever, though it is largely, and rightly, calling self-serving hypocrisy.
It is important to understand that Ukraine is a poisoned chalice. The country has all of the divides which I have outlined, and is in serious economic trouble. Russia does not want it, and it does not want it to join NATO either. The status quo with the break away republics is enough to hold that pattern, as NATO cannot admit a country with that level of political discontent. Thus, Russia’s strategy is watch and wait. But, they are backing that up with the threat of military force, as they did in the spring. Russian military forces are again amassing on Russia's side of the border. The USA has recently sent two military vessels to the Black Sea, as MoonOfAlabama reports:
This month the U.S. Navy has send the guided missile destroyer Porter and the command ship Mount Whitney into the Black Sea.
Ukraine, is one of three flash points and potential humanitarian crises which are surrounding the new Asia block of the SCO/EAEU (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation/EurAsian Economic Union). The other two are Afghanistan and Taiwan. Afghanistan has national funds impounded by the USA (7 billion USD) and needs food and fuel for the winter. The same is true of Ukraine, though no such humanitarian issue seems to face Taiwan.
Another peripheral issue is Turkey. The Syrian proxy war is largely resolved, bar the province of Idlib in which Turkish supported armed religious extremists hold power. This relates to Afghanistan and China's Xinjiang region. If Syria retakes control of Idlib, these Turkish supported forces need to be relocated, with Afghanistan being the likely target. Perhaps Libya is an option too. But, Erdogan's recent supply of drone based technology to Ukraine sees him dancing on the edges of influence, but provoking Russia. France has recently "allied" itself with Greece over the issue of energy resources found in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cyprus. Thus, Turkey is creating a carpet or problems for itself and will continue to be a 'wild card'.
To link in a more recent kerfuffle, from where have the few thousand refugees supposedly wishing to gain access to the EU located at Belarus' borders traveled from? Turkey. From where are they fleeing? "The Middle East". I presume we are talking about Iraq and Syria. Erdogan has been playing the "refugee" card against Europe/EU for years now. From what are they fleeing? War. Whose war? USA/NATO. All of this political and media umbrage over the border/refugee issue has completely missed the point. What is the root cause?
These crises are largely create by USA/EU/NATO due to wars and coups.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Mr Keating, recently lectured Australia's media establishment about how Australia had lost its way, in foreign policy, "geographically". The "West" has lost its way morally and economically.
Ukraine is a signature example.
Is Biden Looking to Reignite a Dirty War in Ukraine?, Russel Bentley, Global Research, 2021-11-12
Flashpoint - The Donbass, Regis Tremblay interviews Russel Bentley, Regis Tremblay youtube channel, 2021-11-13
Report From The Donbass with Russell "Texas" Bentley, Regis Tremblay interviews Russel Bentley, Regis Tremblay youtube channel, 2021-11-21
Stepan Bandera, Wikipedia
The Holocaust in Ukraine, Wikipedia
Mass graves from Soviet mass executions, Wikipedia
In Ukraine The U.S. Is Risking War, b., MoonOfAlabama, 2021-11-12
Bold as Love, Jimmy Hendrix from the Axis Bold as Love album
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