Debt Rattle Mar 17 2014: The Crimea Triangle

By The Automatic Earth


Arthur Rothstein Boy living in shanty at city dump, Herrin, IL. January 1939
It’s somehow eerily comforting to know that an entire Boeing 777 plane can completely disappear from everybody’s view, leading to an area from Kazachstan to Australia now being searched, in the days when it’s become common knowledge that the NSA and its global sister organizations track billions of phone calls and internet communications on a daily basis.

Still, much as the idea is appealing, it’s so comfortably comforting that the little man inside doesn’t quite know what to believe. Did the Bermuda triangle just get a hundred times bigger in this age where communication got a thousand times better than in the days where ships would vanish in the triangle? The sheer number of different theories alone for what happened to the plane that have been offered in the reality TV mood media have become so over the top we can’t help wondering what on earth (or beyond) we’re witnessing here. Really, high tech in 2014 means all those Asian guys we see on TV with binoculars peering through airplane windows staring at waves looking for debris that might as well be 5000 miles away? That’s all we got?

And for all we can see, we might as well be watching the birth of a Crimea Triangle as well. What one side deems illegal, the other says is in full accordance with international law and UN. And vice versa.

What occurred to me is that the Ukraine situation, if anything, would seem to call for a government of national unity, the best option to keep tensions and differences from flaring up. And I knew that there had been talk of such a government, so I backtracked a bit:

• November 2013 : Yanukovych rejects EU/US deal, accepts Russian alternative. Maidan protests start. Presumably Yanukovych only turned to Russia after EU/US proposals for financial support and the carrot of EU membership proved much less attractive than what Putin offered. One gets the impression that perhaps EU/US overplayed their hand.

• Friday February 21 : “Peace Deal” agreed between Yanukovych, the opposition (Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, Svoboda Party’s Oleh Tyahnybok), and the foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France, that strongly limits democratically elected Yanukovych’ powers.

Interestingly, an AP report that day said Leonid Slutsky, a Russian legislator who oversees relations with ex-Soviet states, told reporters the deal is “entirely in the interests of the United States and other powers, who want to split Ukraine from Russia.”

• Saturday February 22 : Yanukovych flees, fearing for his life (any comments ever from EU people?). Parliament speaker Oleksander Turchinov is appointed temporary leader. He announces a vote on a national unity government to take place Tuesday, February 25.

• Sunday February 23 : The Ukrainian parliament on February 23 declared the law on the basic principles of the government’s language policy void. Speaker Turchinov vetoed that decision, but the intentions were revealed and the harm done: Russian speaking people in Ukraine were now convinced that their rights would be trampled.

• Tuesday February 25 : Parliament delays national unity vote. Speaker Turchinov says it’ll take place “later this week”, and cites “dangerous signs of separatism”.

• Thursday February 27 : The national unity vote has disappeared. Yatsenyuk is appointed PM, and a new government installed. “Yats” in his first speech announce Ukraine will turn into Greece: “The treasury is empty. We will do everything not to default. If we get the financial support from the IMF, the U.S., we will do it. I’m going to be the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country,” he said. “But this is the only solution. I would never promise any kind of huge achievements. First and the most important issue is to stabilize the situation.”

It’s perhaps good to note that everyone seems to agree that “Yats” would have had no chance of being elected PM, simply because he isn’t a very popular man in Ukraine. So the question remains, no matter what else happens, how “Yats” got the job. We know US kingmakers Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt favored him for the job.

But even more interesting is the question what happened to the parliamentary vote for a national unity government. On Saturday 22 it was announced for Tuesday 25. On that day is was delayed until “later this week”, but a mere 2 days later it had vanished and a government was installed that was heavily stacked in favor of western Ukraine and the West in general.

And when as a reaction to that the majority Russian speaking Crimea announces a ballot to decide its own fate, it’s immediately declared against international law despite the UN-declared right to self-determination for every people.

Right wing ultranationalist leader Dmitry Yarosh’s threat to destroy Ukraine pipelines to deprive Russia of gas export income, is the essence of both what the whole conflict is about, and of where it’s going to go. The only things Putin ever wanted from Ukraine was peace for its Russian population and uninterrupted access to the pipelines (for which Ukraine was aptly rewarded). If that access comes under threat, Russia is not going to sit still.

Combine that knowledge with the fast depleting physical and monetary resources and political prowess of western major oil companies, and you get an idea of what lies under the surface of the soon to be announced sanctions against Russian diplomats, politicians and oligarchs, which will be followed by Russian sanctions against those same western major oil companies. Shell and Exxon are more than willing to shed blood to maintain their nevertheless inevitably declining positions in the world. And their governments are more than willing to help them, because oil is power, and less oil is less power, something politicians are allergic to, on both sides of the divide.

The west seems to have ignored to what extent Russia has prepared for all this. Putin et al. have always detested the way Boris Yeltsin sold out to western interests, giving away oil assets to oligarchs and Big Oil and letting Ukraine go, and have been acutely aware that EU/US would at some point try to obtain more power and more resources on Russia’s doorstep. None of this should have been a surprise to anyone.

Looking through the media, which more and more approach the level of pure propaganda, it becomes clear what it is that disappears in the Crimea Triangle; it’s not ships, it’s the truth.

TLB recommends you visit for more great articles and pertinent information.

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