Mike WHITNEY: Why is Putin in Washington¹s Crosshairs?; counterpunch, April 28, 2014

Von: Martin Zeis <martin.zeis>
Datum: Montag, 28. April 2014 17:49
An: „Global Change engl. Liste“ <gc-special-engl%Martin.zeis>
Betreff: Mike WHITNEY: Why is Putin in Washington’s Crosshairs?; counterpunch, April 28, 2014

www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/28/why-is-putin-in-washingtons-crosshairs

APRIL 28, 2014
Ukraine, Russia and China
Why is Putin in Washington’s Crosshairs?
by MIKE WHITNEY

“Washington wants to weaken Moscow economically by slashing its gas revenues and, thus, eroding its ability to defend itself or its interests. The US does not want an economically-integrated Europe and Asia. The de facto EU-Russian alliance is a direct threat to US global hegemony.”

(…)

Here’s an excerpt from an article on antiwar.com:

“Reports out of Moscow say that President Putin has “shut down” all talks with President Obama, and say they are “not interested” in speaking to the US again under the current environment of threats and hostility.
Putin and Obama had been speaking regularly on the phone about Ukraine in March and early April, but Putin has not directly spoken to him since April 14, and the Kremlin says that they see no need to do any more talking.” (“Putin Halts Talks With White House Amid Sanctions Threats”, antiwar.com)

There’s nothing to be gained by talking to Obama. Putin already knows what Obama wants. He wants war. That’s why the State Department and CIA toppled the government. That’s why CIA Director John Brennan appeared in Kiev just one day before coup president Yatsenyuk ordered the first crackdown on pro Russian protestors in the East. That’s why Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Kiev just hours before Yatsenyuk launched his second crackdown on pro Russian protestors in the East. That’s why Yatsenyuk has surrounded the eastern city of Slavyansk where he is preparing an attack on pro-Russian activists. It’s because Washington believes that a violent conflagration serves its greater interests. It’s pointless to talk to people like that, which is why Putin has stopped trying.

At present, the Obama administration is pushing for another round of sanctions on Russia, but members in the EU are dragging their feet. According to RT:
“At the moment there is no consensus among the EU members on which economic measures against Russia would be acceptable, or even if they are needed at all,” a European diplomatic source told Itar-Tass.
The diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said only an open military invasion of Ukraine or irrefutable proof of Russian clandestine military presence in Ukraine would tip EU’s stance toward economic sanctions. So far every piece of evidence that Kiev and Washington made public of alleged involvement of Russian agents in Ukraine was either inconclusive or simply false.” (“US failing to push economic sanctions against Russia through EU allies”, RT)

Once again, it appears that Washington needs to draw Russian troops into the conflict to achieve its objectives.
On Sunday, RIA Novosti published satellite images showing a large buildup of troops outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. According to a report in Russia Today:

“160 tanks, 230 APCs and BMDs, and at least 150 artillery and rocket systems, including “Grad” and “Smerch” multiple rocket launchers, have been deployed to the area. A total of 15,000 troops are positioned near Slavyansk, he said….
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the large buildup of Ukraine troops, as well as war games and additional deployments of armed forces to the NATO states in the region have “forced” Russia to respond with military drills of its own…..If Kiev choses to escalate the crackdown on the protesters by using heavy arms against them Russia says it reserves the right to use its own military to stop bloodshed.” (“Tanks, APCs, 15,000 troops’: Satellite images show Kiev forces build-up near Slavyansk”, RT)

Putin has stated repeatedly that he will respond if ethnic Russians are killed in Ukraine. That’s the red line. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated the same message in an interview last week with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze. The usually soft-spoken Lavrov, condemned Yatsenyuk’s attack on Ukrainian civilians as “criminal” and warned that “an attack on Russian citizens is an attack on the Russian Federation.”

The statement was followed by ominous reports of Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s border indicating that Moscow may be preparing to intervene to stem the violence against civilians. According to Russian Russia’s Itar Tass “Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, “As of today exercises of battalion tactical groups has begun in the border areas with Ukraine.” Also aviation will conduct flights to simulate the actions near the state border.”
So there you have it: It looks like Obama’s provocations WILL draw Putin into the fray after all. But will things turn out the way that Obama thinks they will? Will Putin follow Washington’s script and leave his troops in the east where they’ll be picked off by US-funded paramilitary guerillas and neo Nazis or does he have something else up his sleeve, like a quick blitz to Kiev to remove the junta government, call for international peacekeepers to quell the violence, and slip back over the border to safety?

Whatever the strategy may be, we won’t have to wait long to see it implemented. If Yatsenyuk’s army attacks Slavyansk, then Putin’s going to send in the tanks and it’ll be a whole new ballgame.

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