“Truth Is The First Casualty Of War”: What’s Really Going On

Submitted by Maajid Nawaz of The Radical Dispatch. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Zero Hedge.

Why Putin Invaded Ukraine – and what’s really going on?

1) Truth is the First Casualty of War. And War is Permanent

Truth is the first casualty of war, and the Ukraine conflict has been no exception. Online commentary has kept up where corporatist media has failed. Leaving legacy media outlets catching up with what the public began figuring out almost immediately. To save face, and their credibility, even legacy media “fact-checkers” (read: hopeful arbitrators of acceptable opinion) found themselves belatedly decrying the shameless war propaganda peddled by their own journalists.

The BBC reports:

“Misleading posts have come from “official” sources as well as from “ordinary” social media users. One example was a tweet posted by the verified account of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.”

Reuters reports a thread:

Because it became almost impossible to hide this:

2) When is an Uprising a Coup?

To emphasise, this article serves to analyse how to prevent the danger of World War III. Its purpose is not to defend Putin’s actions. To understand the conflict requires understanding the recent history, and what Russia’s national interests are in the region. Ukraine had a long history of cultural and political ties with Russia, dating to Kievan Rus of the 10th century that was founded by the Rurikid dynasty from Swedish vikings. It had been formally a part of the Russian Empire since the 18th century and remained in its sphere of influence.

In 2010 Ukraine elected the pro-Russia Yanukovych as their president. Leaning towards Russia as he did, the new president Yanukovych was however not the US establishment’s preferred candidate. In 2013, Yanukovych cancelled an association deal between Ukraine and the EU.

In short, such an action required a response. With the second largest oil reserves in the world, and by controlling most of Europe’s gas supplies (which pass through Ukraine) Russia was perilously close to creating a Eurasian superpower to rival the US and end the hegemony of the US petrodollar. This is something that was recognised by Trump, despite the now proven hoax that he was captured by Putin.

The US response came in 2014 as a Western backed bloody Maidan uprising (Putin would call this a coup) led to a change of regime. This uprising was backed and funded by the US establishment and her allies. Most worrying of all, it was perpetrated by the Neo-Nazi group Svoboda, founded by Andriy Parubiy.

3) We Backed Nazis. Putin Got That Bit Right

Despite corporatist media denials, the neo-Nazi nature of Ukraine’s new pro-American regime is by now well established, as the previous Radical Dispatch has documented. With western backing, Svoboda swiftly began raising the armed neo-Nazi Azov battalion, which now serves as the Ukrainian National Guard. The US was arming the Nazi Azov battalion for three years, until it finally ended the open part of this cooperation in 2018.

House-passed spending bills for the past three years have included a ban on U.S. aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion, but the provision was stripped out before final passage each year…The Azov Battalion was founded in 2014, and its first commander was Andriy Biletsky, who previously headed the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine. Several members of the militia, which has been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, are self-avowed neo-Nazis..Last year, online posts by the militia’s news service showed members testing U.S.-made grenade launchers at a firing range. The posts have since been deleted”

Canada was also involved in this arming and funding of Ukrainian Nazis. Replete with Western funds, the group promptly appears to have begun organizing Nazi summer camps for children:

As well as organizing street patrols for Nazi blackshirts in order to maintain their grip on power. BBC Newsnight reports:

And mass Nazi rallies, glorifying Nazi collaborators:

Russia responded to this regime change by helping Crimea secede, and by recognising Luhansk’s and Donetsk’s independence. The above is the background to the eight year war that had been waging in Donbas, which you would be forgiven for not knowing about due to a corporatist media blackout. Perhaps they were ashamed that we directly funded and armed Nazis. Azov were, after all, documented by the UN as having committing war-crimes and atrocities.

Crime and corruption spiked, and Ukraine spiralled into a trafficking hub:

4) Thirteen Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and What’s Really Going on in Ukraine

Eventually, matters with this new regime came to a head with Ukraine’s touted and potential NATO membership.

This was a red line for Russia. In the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, America feared Soviet nuclear missiles that were placed 103 miles from the US border, and they took action. This led to thirteen days of attempting to avert all-out nuclear war, known as the Cuban Missile crisis.

After the pro-American Maidan uprising (or coup) in Ukraine, Russia similarly feared rapid NATO expansion leading to missiles at their own border. We have now returned to similar tensions, but the inverse. This is a map depicting NATO’s Eastward expansion since 1997.

And the below is a map depicting the asymmetry in US and Russian military power globally.

These two maps go some way to explaining why Russian felt threatened by the 2014 regime change in Ukraine. US Military officers have been aware of and warning of precisely this reaction by Russia for some time. This is because they are trained to think about international affairs in strategic terms. Here is former senior advisor to the US Secretary of Defence, Colonel Macgregor:

What you hear above from Colonel Douglas Macgregor is precisely what Putin has directly stated, multiple times. NATO’s Eastward expansion is unacceptable to Russia.

Kremlin analysts have warned about this too. Here is Vladimir Pozner in 2018:

5) It’s All Gas and Hot Air

Russia had been promised that NATO would not expand Eastwards. Alas, it appears that certain US corporate interests became too large for the US establishment to ignore. Whoever controls Ukraine, controls the gas supply into Europe, and in particular into Germany. Perhaps to avoid all-out conflict over Ukraine, Russia had been seeking to bypass Ukraine via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline built in the sea. The Nord stream 2 project, however, was repeatedly thwarted.

Eventually, Russia moved into Ukraine to secure her interests. After recent Western sanctions, it is reported that Nord stream 2 has filed for insolvency.

With this background, and context, it is now possible to see what Russia’s interests are in Ukraine, and how to bring this conflict to an end without provoking World War III. The assumption here is that readers do wish to avoid Armageddon. The assumption here is also that – despite the voices of hysterical politicians and geopolitically ignorant media pundits desperately calling for escalation – few war hawks will personally leave to fight Russia themselves.

We end here as we began: this article serves to analyse how to prevent the danger of World War III. Its purpose is not to defend Putin’s actions.

With that in mind, and as US Colonel Macgregor has stated in the video above, this will likely end with Ukraine being split into two. Putin will probably maintain control East of the Dnieper river, and insist on a return to a neutral regime West of the river. That is, unless certain rabid Western politicians get their way and manage to spark a nuclear catastrophe. A blackout of reliable geostrategic insight, coupled with now proven and prolific war propaganda in our media, can only provoke precisely that. Only sober political analysis can aid deescalation, but that is precisely what is being discouraged right now. Readers should ponder why. Finally, it may also be an idea to never fund Nazi battalions.

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