Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dead-End US/Russian Relations

Dead-End US/Russian Relations

by Stephen Lendman 

NTV television interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. US/Russian relations reached dead-end long before Ukrainian crisis conditions, he said.

He discussed a range of bilateral problems. "Our relationship is quite complicated," he said. "(B)y the fact that Washington does not attempt to take into account the wishes of partners."

"Suggestions our American partners (bring) to the table (are) one-sided…(W)hile we…try to take into account their approaches and find the balance of such issues."

Diplomacy requires "compromise," he stressed. "We're always ready." Washington is polar opposite.

He called sanctions outdated thinking. They have nothing to do with Ukraine, Lavrov said. 

Their "true purpose (is) to make over Russia to change its position on the key issues of fundamental importance to us and get (us) to take the position of the West."

US behavior reflects "past era" thinking. "(I)nertia thinking dating back to colonial times." 

"W)e are told to change our policy and approaches. It would be a different matter if we were offered to seek something jointly. But we are told: ‘We know how to act and you must do so’.”

Putin earlier suggested serious EU/Russian discussions on establishing common policies on economic and humanitarian issues.

In response, he was told "let's wait." In other words, no interest. Now EU leaders call it "necessary to think and start talking about (what should have been addressed earlier) in practical terms," said Lavrov.

For example, the April 17 four-party (Russia, US, EU, Ukraine) agreement. Terms included refraining from violence, intimidation, or provocative actions.

Prohibiting all forms of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism.

Immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue. An inclusive, transparent and accountable one.

Within a constitutional process framework. Resolved by Ukrainians to end conflict.

Terms agreed on were dead on arrival. Kiev violated them straightaway. Fascist regimes operate this way. 

Nothing they agree to is credible. Duplicity substitutes for honor. It's longstanding US policy. One fascist regime supports another.

Nations dictating their will on others is unacceptable today, Lavrov said. Russia stresses cooperation. But "only reciprocally." 

"Our Western partners…aren't really using their influence on Kiev to persuade them that there's no alternative to the agreements they've already reached…"

"This is a common thing for the US - a consumerist approach to international relations." 

"They believe that they have the right to punish the countries that act contrary to (its) vision, while demanding cooperation in other issues vital for" Western interests.

"The EU with all of its current Washington leaning has the potential to act independently. This, however, remains almost totally unused." 

"That’s sad, because the EU's own voice could have added balance to international discussions and efforts to solve various problems."

EU officials monitored Friday's Moscow/Kiev talks in Milan. A Kremlin statement called them "difficult and full of disagreements."

Angela Merkel said "no breakthrough" was achieved. Washington wants conflict conditions continued. 

Peace and stability defeat its agenda. Its newest colony complies with its wishes. 

Stooge regimes operate this way. They have no legitimacy whatever. Nor do Washington's bullying, pressure and one-way demands.

America wants talks resumed on limiting strategic offensive arms, said Lavrov. "We (said) first it is necessary to fulfill the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in 2010." 

"Its implementation proceeds normally, faultlessly. There are mechanisms of control over observance of all provisions of this important document." 

"We also remind that before getting back to any aspects of disarmament, we must straighten out what is going on in the organizational sphere of our cooperation." 

It's sorely lacking. Washington bears full responsibility. It blames its own wrongdoing on Russia.

Disarmament was a key Russian/US presidential commission initiative earlier. More than 20 groups were involved.

Their "activity (and) the entire presidential commission was frozen by the Americans and it was done, I would like to stress, long before the Ukrainian crisis," Lavrov said. 

"Problems have been piling up…and they are not dwindling.” Washington irresponsibly accuses Russia “of all thinkable and unthinkable sins over the crisis in Ukraine," he added.

US/Russian relations are complicated in terms of "the essence of issues we are split over, discuss and try to solve."

As well as "the atmosphere that has formed due to obvious reasons."

Russia seeks compromise and balance. America wants things its own way. What it says goes, it believes. 

It shuts out other views. Dealing with Washington "is very difficult work." Including Middle East, North Africa issues.

Russia goes all-out to cooperate. International issues "are packed with contradictory approaches, and we have to (seek) compromises," Lavrov explained.

"We have always been ready for that," he stressed. Ukraine is Russia's closest fraternal nation, he added.

"Common historical, cultural and civilization roots" bind both nations together. A longstanding similar worldview, language and literature.

"We cannot lose Ukraine because (of) a group of persons who committed a state coup and seized power." 

"It is not confined to the Nazis who continue marching in Kiev and other big cities committing acts of vandalism, destroying monuments and glorifying Hitler's accomplices."

"What's happening in relations between our presidents proves that we are going to find the way out of the crisis anyway and will help the Ukrainian brothers to agree on how they should build and develop their country."

Russia supports all cooperative agreements. Implementing them to the letter is fundamental.

Kiev falls way short. Shifting West at the expense of longstanding Eastern relations in the end won't work.

Mutual cooperation with all nations responsibly is key. Russia hopes bilateral dialogue can change things. So far, its efforts have been largely futile.

Change won't come as long as Kiev lets Washington decide policy. Oligarch president Petro Poroshenko is a convenient US stooge. He has no legitimacy whatever.

Legislation granting Lugansk and Donetsk limited self-rule isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Kiev systematically violates all agreements it signs. Expect nothing different this time.

Donetsk People's Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said his government won't recognize Kiev's law.

It was signed by a foreign state, he said. "Kiev is still under illusion that it governs us, but in reality this is not the case," he said.

Self-defense forces intend returning to the rest of Donetsk region, he added. 

It's currently Kiev occupied territory. It belongs to Southeastern Ukrainians. They intend retaking what's rightfully theirs.

On October 16, US deputy commanding US Army Major General Walter Piatt announced "exercises in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine…"

"We needed to shift from meeting the operational demand to meeting the operational preparedness," he said.

"If we're going to deploy together, we need to train together," he added.

"What we learned was our allies are very competent. There are experienced forces throughout Europe."

US Army Europe intends bringing over a heavy brigade combat team, said Piatt.

When exercises end, equipment will remain in Europe for follow-up forces.

US Army Europe is roughly 31,000-strong. A far cry from over 300,000 at the Cold War's height.

Yet these forces and rotational ones "will be a seed for NATO interoperability." Relationships, Piatt explained.

Building trust. Understanding each other's capabilities and procedures. From disaster response to full-scale war.

"You don’t want to meet the team on the ground for the first time," Piatt said. "We saw this many times in Afghanistan…"

"(W)here you would be meeting forces from other nations for the first time when you have a real operational demand." 

"We're doing that now so the relationships and trust are in place before deployment."

"That's how it works. That's interoperability. That's how the alliance works." At issue is preparing for confrontation with Russia. 

Crazies in Washington may initiate what responsible officials wouldn't dare. It remains to be seen what follows.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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