Ukraine: What’s good for the goose…

When Vladimir Putin gave his solemn pledge to the Americans that Russia would not invade Ukraine, he sentence of reassurance should have been followed up with the words, ‘because we don’t have to’.

Instead of the traditional and blunt Russian tactic of formenting unrest in order to justify sending troops over a border into another state and securing a puppet government, it seems the Russians have taken a leaf out of the American CIA’s playbook and have ex-military civilians and hired guns fighting a proxy war. This is why Radio Free Europe is reporting today that a desperate search is on to prove that Russian forces are behind the coordinated actions.

This explains why General Philip Breedlove has seemlessly reversed his previous position – where he was rushing to every microphone to declare the Russians were building up a military force ahead of an invasion – to one where he now says he does not think Russia will invade Ukraine, that he believes the Kremlin has other ways to achieve its goals and that Moscow will keep a hold on eastern Ukraine without sending regular troops across the border.

This is exactly what the Americans have done in a number of countries over the years to give them deniability of intervention in conflicts, despite the language of the contractors and the origin of the military hardware being used. What has been good for the American goose now appears to be good for the Russian gander.  Putin is playing the American game and in so doing he has wrongfooted the Americans and is undermining their efforts to extend their influence further eastward.  It seems Ukraine has become the line in the sand where the Russians have decided that western expansion will end its march.

It demonstrates that the Russian approach has matured and is now multi dimensional, which will no doubt cause a flurry of activity in NATO about what this refined approach means for the way NATO armed forces will be organised. It certainly underlines how meaningless a gesture it was for the Americans to send troops for training and the UK to send aircraft to Poland.  The west failed to correctly read what the Russians were doing.

If any EU politicians in Brussels are paying attention, they might now realise that their expansionist aims eastwards, which have caused this crisis, will be met with a very different Russian approach to the one seen in the cold war.  Now it will be one that sees Moscow commit treasure and support, but no longer any regular manpower.

Such an approach will bog down any EU territorial and governance ambitions in unrest, slow burn conflict and ungovernability.  We have just witnessed a sea change, but will the EU notice?

4 Responses to “Ukraine: What’s good for the goose…”


  1. 1 jimsresearchnotes 07/05/2014 at 10:11 am

    Reblogged this on EU: Ramshackle Empire and commented:
    This sums up what I always thought was the Russian’s position.

  2. 2 Graham Wood 07/05/2014 at 11:13 am

    “but will the EU notice?”

    One has to ask yet again – what has the EU, or for that matter Britain or the USA and the endless busybody commentators to do with the Ukraine?
    Ukraine is in the midst of a political revolution, part peaceful, part violent and escalating, but it is an entirely internal matter.
    We should recall that the EU itself has NO democratic legitimacy to speak on the world stage, and represents precisely nobody.
    This being the case, it has not a shred of authority to speak, let alone to act in the internal affairs of Ukraine to “poke the Russian bear in the eye”
    How would we in Britain like it if the EU sent “observers” to monitor our domestic scenario with Scotland seeking independence, and then issuing its own press reports & etc on the “situation” in the UK?

  3. 3 BrianJay 07/05/2014 at 12:22 pm

    It really is amazing to see who is passively supporting the Russian end of this argument.
    Marxists – http://www.socialist.net/kiev-loses-control-of-donbas-what-next-in-ukraine-crisis.htm
    American Libertarians 1 – http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/02/25/crisis-ukraine-paul-craig-roberts/
    American Libertarians 2 – http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/much-ado-about-ukraine.html
    American Palin supporters – http://barracudabrigade.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/spiraling-into-war-open-battles-rage.html
    No doubt others could join but I think their is something momentous happening when you find Brendan O’Neil siding with Bolt etc, because those of us who first joined socialist movements did so on the back of liberation from the state. Now we find the new left in favour of the suppression of free speech and all the other tenants of Stalinism such as the suppression of alternative climate change narratives.
    Take for example Ukraine where the Kiev government is rushing to stop a referendum being held, and also declaring the vote in Crimea “illegal”.Or the EU demanding another vote. You’d really have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

  4. 4 Mark B 07/05/2014 at 4:40 pm

    What interests me, is not so much Russia’s attitude to Ukraine, but her attitude and future actions to the EU.

    Russia knows that the EU is neither going to go away or, stop pushing east. So she may take the attitude that some sort of ‘Finlandization’ of part, or whole, of the EU maybe necessary.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandization

    The EU is very prone to concerted pressure from well financed and organised groups. Such groups could create situations a tensions that force the EU to look ever closer inwards or elsewhere.

    Just a thought.


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