Redlines and Headlines in Western Media over Ukraine and Syria
… by Seth Ferris, …with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
[ Editor’s note: The Ukraine crisis has long entered the theater of the absurd. My definition for that is where people have no embarrassment over what they say or do anymore.
Mind you, we have America’s new “instant Allies”… broke, with a military that can’t protect current authorities from being terrorized by Western political terrorists like the Right Sector, the number one suspects for killing the demonstrators and police.
The whines from Kiev plotters, who rode a violent coup into power with full Western backing, now claim they are experts on violations of sovereignty.
And in true Western leadership fashion, they don’t really care too much what American or European people think about it, as they know they have their money and the military behind them.
What an embarrassment this is to America. Shame on all of you involved as you have spat on your oaths of office. The Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves, and so is Frederick Douglas…Jim W. Dean ]
– First published March 2, 2014 –
I just realized that I am a conservative, a true conservative — each time there is a revolution somewhere in the world, I am critical of it and plainly against it.
Seth Ferris is an American conservative, maybe even neoconservative. It is better to maintain even unimaginably corrupt regimes than to rock the boat. Why?
Russia is now calling the bluff of the putsch in Kiev and their so called Western supporters, whose redlines are fading quickly, in Syria and Ukraine. The same is true of the US orchestrated Orange Revolution which lost its hue – and now Russia may actually send troops into Ukraine.
Russia is now calling the American bluff – and keeps open the option of actually sending substantial troops into Ukraine, albeit that may not be necessary with breaking news, diplomatic efforts and economic realities.
“Obama says there ‘will be consequences’ if people ‘step over the line’ in Kiev. Bashar al-Assad doubled over in laughter,” said Denver radio talk-show host Michael Brown, a former Bush administration official, who resigned after his controversial handling of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in 2005.
First, let’s update “breaking news” as the Russian Federation Council on Saturday unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine. The drastic decision is aimed at settling the turmoil in the split country as soon as possible. This effectively means crossing a red line, as described in the rhetoric of the US president.
The Thin Red Line has become an English figure of speech for any thinly spread military unit holding firm against attack. The phrase has also taken on the metaphorical meaning of the barrier which the relatively limited armed forces of a country present to potential attackers. That goes back to Ukrainian history and the battle over Crimea – so lots of history involved here too, Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War, and a good back drop to this article.
By the way, Russia won the battle. And till 1954, Crimea was Russia and under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, himself an ethnic Ukrainian. Crimea was transferred to Ukraine, and since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev’s “gift” has been widely quoted in the Western press and pundits as the motivation for Russia meddling into the affairs of Ukraine.
However, that is a moot issue, as Russia does not need it back, as long as its naval base for the Black Sea Fleet is secure under a long-term agreement. Being Russian is a state of mind, not defined by a border. The majority (60 percent) of those living in Crimea are Russians. Anyway, the US has a naval base in Cuba under a 99 year lease agreement.
Crossing that line. It is the same Crimea where Russia may first send troops, in response to provocations already organized by Kiev in a desperate effort take over some government buildings. It is hoped that “sooner than later” calmer heads that moderate in the opposition will work with the legitimate government in exile and a real solution will be found. All governments have their problems, albeit corrupt. It is highly likely that the vast majority of the Ukrainian population, starting in the East, will sort things out for the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, Russia will demonstrate that it can call America’s hand anytime it wants, and especially when the safety of Russian citizens and ethnic and religious minorities are at risk, including Jews. Only now it has no option but to draw a line within the recognized borders of Ukraine, based on legally binding agreements now in existence.
Russian troops to the rescue
One must keep in mind that Russian has long-term lease agreements with the legitimate government of Ukraine for its Black Sea Fleet there, and has all legal right to beef up its security under the terms of the lease.
Regardless how things turn out, Russia’s Parliament gave its unanimous approval on Saturday for Vladimir Putin to have the option of using Russian troops in the Ukraine, as it may be necessary to protect Russian citizens and help stabilize the overall situation. The decision will take immediate effect upon signing. The vote was motivated by efforts by ultra-right rebel forces from Kiev making an attempt to occupy security buildings in Crimea, which was unsuccessful.
However, the blatant act shows the desperation of the new regime to use force to try to consolidate its gains, give itself some sense of legitimacy, even if it means leading the divided country to civil war.
If more than a token Russian force should be deployed outside of existing agreements to provide security to its naval bases in Crimea, it would be more of a political maneuver, not out of an immediate urgency, and more a maneuver to marginalize certain fringe “ultra-right neo Nazis and anti-Semitic elements.” They are seeking to gain respect and position in the self-proclaimed new government and to put into practice some of their rabid threats. Russia may be left with no choice other than to step in based on humanitarian grounds to protect security and life.
Already slogans of death to the Jews are spray-painted in various parts of the country, and if this is not dangerous enough, “the man who wants to be in power, Aleksandr Muzychko of the Right Sector group has publicly stated he would fight Jews and Russians until he dies.” One rabid minister has even suggested that Ukraine should revert to the status of a nuclear power.
As to the “consequences” on the international scale, to cross that thin red line – it’s not going to happen, not because of the ability of the US or the revolution government to live up to its threats, but any “real risk” is more image based, as the US does not want to be perceived as being spineless, in spite of its recent track record in other parts of the world: Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East (especially Syria).
Because of believing its own political rhetoric and smarting from not being able to profit off its less-than-covert involvement in Syria, the US may, sooner or later, have no choice but to try to stand up to Russia. Otherwise the White House will be in Republican hands in the next election, as if there is much doubt as to that eventuality.
Can the US can cross any “Red Line” and get away with it? If the US cannot stand up to Russia in an apparent proxy war in Syria, even with the help of Saudi Arabia, then what is it going to do in Ukraine? It was not able to do it in Georgia in August 2008, its best friend and American colony.
It did prove capable of delivering bottled water to a country that exports water. It is clear that the US tried to use a false flag gas attack in Syria with the help of Saudi intelligence, and got caught in the act with emails bragging about the follow up to the gas attack in a Washington Post article.
Now it wants to punish Russia by using Ukraine. It has never recovered from the fallout of Russia crying foul and counterspinning the CNN reports, with the help of the alternative press.
Not much can be expected … other than to point the finger, and with more and more recriminations. The US cannot fix Ukraine’s financial problems, with or without the help of the IMF.
The US Administration can’t even fix its own financial problems and is still living on borrowed Chinese money. Is China going to loan money to the US to pay for a proxy war over Ukraine or Syria?
There are other stakeholders that need not repeat the American experience in helping counties. Germany and Western Europe understand the importance of staying warm in the winter; Russian gas not only keeps Western Europe warm, but fuels its economy.
It is clear that Merkel’s government is unwilling to foot the bill for “yet another Greece” – and the economic collapse of Ukraine will cost more than the Greek bailout. Just how much that will end up costing old Europe is the big question. Germany remembers how expensive was the reunification of West and East Germany, and it is not able or willing bail out Ukraine.
Would Europe and Germany be able to withstand an OPEC-style gas embargo in support of US foreign policy or to blindly support the fading image of Obama? Then what about sanctions? We can see how well they have worked in recent history!
Red Lines vs. “Seeing Red”
Obama’s Syria ‘red line’ over the use of gas, echoes in his warning to Ukraine, and such “redlines and headlines” in Western media tell us what we know only too well. “Hasn’t he learned his redline lesson?” asks Robert Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
The president’s choice of words echoes the chemical weapons “red line” he established for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and then failed to enforce with military action last year, something critics say undermined U.S. credibility.
That was to be predicted, as we know how that ended and who was responsible for it in the first place. That too was “red,” but more in line with a Red Herring than anything resembling a Red Line – which in the case of US foreign policy, a lame threat.
Speaking of red, in Red Square, The Kremlin, Russian lawmakers have unanimously “closed ranks” and called for Russia to use its armed forces as needed to protect ethnic Russians and its strategic interests – and help restore Constitution Authority in Ukraine. This action is a result of Obama’s saber-rattling when he threatened that Russia would have to pay for a planned military intervention in Crimea.
In giving him some of his own medicine, Yury Vorobyov, the deputy head of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Saturday that Obama has “crossed the red line and insulted the Russian people” and described the president’s remarks as “a direct threat.”
Quoting from the Voice of Russia Radio, Vorobyov urged the Federation Council to authorize a request from President Vladimir Putin to permit the use of Russian armed forces in Crimea. He insisted that Russia recall its ambassador from Washington.
All of the US’s engagements/entitlements in the world are outside of the “War Powers Act” – the enabling legislation that demands Congressional Approval for foreign engagements, other than in an emergency situation for 90 days. The wars/conflicts of convenience that the US has been so preoccupied with in recent years have not been legal under US law.
One thing is certain: The US Congress will refuse the current US president the legal right to cross any red line — thin, faded or otherwise.