The Ukrainian Thing seems to have stalled for the moment, as the mighty troops sent to smoke out the terrorists holding those public buildings in the Eastern Sector have an annoying tendency to run away or get caught by the refusniks. It would be funny if this were some fictional place in Mittel Europe pre-WWII, and the Marx Brothers made a movie about it.
But it's the real thing. Insofar as these things are ever "real" -- in the sense that ordinary people and/or the high and the mighty can ever know fully what is really going on and the consequences thereof... it's real enough. People are being shot and killed and kidnapped and manhandled and otherwise being put through the wringer -- one that looks very much like gangland behavior under chaotic, ruthless, and lawless conditions. Everybody has their stick, their bat, their AK-47, their new camo uniform, their balaklava...
At least there are some productive uses for all the old tires in Ukrainia. Wouldn't want them to go to waste.
Meanwhile, the posturing by the principals goes on and on and on and on, in a kind of dance or minuet, something we haven't seen in quite this way since the run up to the tragedies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because the principals are behaving now very much the way they did then -- though they say that they have taken military adventuring off the table and they are clearly trying to fight an old-fashioned proxy war through their surrogates on the ground in Ukrainia -- people everywhere are nervous as heck. No doubt the survivalists are stockpiling even more goods for the ultimate End of Times they sincerely believe is so soon to come.
This is all dangerous as heck, given the fact that the Superpowers are involved, the nuclear armed states, the Global Terror States of times gone by, when only they, the USA and the Soviet Union, had nukes and were brandishing and rattling them at one another...
So it is once again... except... for something. Something has changed.
Oh, that's right. One of the Superpowers, the other one, the Soviet Union, no longer exists. And its successor, the Russian Federation ("Russia") is a pale shadow of its former incarnation. A picked apart pale shadow of what it once was at that, ringed with hostile and in some cases competitive independent states aligned with, often hosting the military of, the vaunted "West" -- led by the USofA. So... what's this all about?
I've pointed out several times now what I think is going on, really going on, and though I haven't gotten much into why (the Global Great Game interests me less than its consequences to the ordinary people on the ground), I have little doubt that what's happening is the result of a Game-play that went wrong. It's "real" in that real people are being made to suffer for the forced and unforced errors of their Betters (as always, no?) and it's "real" in that the capture by the EU of the EU's Eastern Partnership nations (Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia) is a fundamental policy objective.
Regardless of what happened in Kiev, in other words, the EU, NATO and the US would have been pursuing policy goals to capture ever more territory and peoples from the orbit of the Russian Federation. It's apparently hard-wired into the EU's self-conception as technically assisted by the US.
Russia, for its part, has not been able to resist, and really hasn't resisted until now. Even now, the Russian resistance is more guerrilla-esque than military. What happened in Vilnius last November -- and its consequences in Kiev -- seems to have taken the Kremlin by as much surprise as it did in Brussels, Berlin, London and Washington.
Yanukovych was apparently expected by all parties to sign the Integration Agreement he was presented with at the Vilnius Conference of the EU's Eastern Partnership on November 29, 2013, and he refused. They say that he saw the actual terms of the agreement for the first time at that meeting, on the last day of the meeting, and he balked. Those terms -- which I seem to have misplaced the link to for the moment -- were devastating to the Ukrainian people, forcing them ever further into poverty, and they basically turned over the very fragile sovereignty of Ukraine to unelected technocrats and strategic wonks at the IMF, the European Central Bank, and NATO. Under the terms Yanukovych was presented, Ukraine would effectively become a colonial possession of the EU and NATO.
He was expected by all concerned -- including the Kremlin, apparently -- to sign away what limited patrimony Ukraine had in order to receive an economic package from the EU/IMF that would primarily benefit Ukraine's Russian creditors. Shockingly, he said no.
Almost immediately protests and demonstrations formed in the Maidan Square in Kiev, somewhat patterned on the Color Revolution/Occupy model (with some interesting and important differences), and Yanukovych's government was subjected to typical subversion and destabilization tactics that have long been employed by "Color Revolutionists" in Eastern Europe and around the world. Occupy never used those tactics, which may be a clue to why Occupy never overthrew any government. It wasn't trying to. That wasn't its purpose. But overthrow and replacement of governments was very much a part of the main objective of Color Revolutions, including the "Orange Revolution" that had occurred in Kiev in the winter of 2004-2005.
Yanukovych had messed with his masters in Brussels, Berlin, London, Washington -- and Moscow, apparently -- and he had to go, one way or another.
And so it would be. The Maidan Model included a level of violence that had not been seen in these Color Revolutions previously, a truly shocking level of violence culminating in shadowy and unknown snipers firing on the crowds assembled at the square. Prior to that still mysterious event, however, the police had been routinely firebombed with Molotov cocktails, and armed and violent gangs of fascists and Nazis (yeah, the real thing) had patrolled the perimeters and enforced "discipline" on the crowd and they periodically stormed and took over government buildings in the center of Kiev and in other towns in Western Ukraine.
Much of what is being done in the East now is based quite closely on the Maidan Model, albeit with the absence of the large crowds of demonstrators that were typical of the Maidan protests. The difference has to do, I'm sure, with the fact that the crowds in Kiev were fired on by those snipers... the same could easily happen to large crowds elsewhere. It has happened in other cases.
Snipering the crowds of protestors was typical of the 2013 post-coup Cairo Model of dispersing demonstrators; they were shot at, and many were killed or wounded, by snipers strategically emplaced around the pro-Morsi demonstrations. So it would be in Kiev as well. This tactic tends to limit the number of demonstrators who will turn out... it also has an effect on who and what demonstrators will support.
The coup-regime in Kiev, as it's called, has agreed to the terms that the EU/IMF/NATO et al tried to impose on the Yanukovych government, with the proviso, apparently, that the funding not go to Russian creditors, only to EU creditors. Interesting.
When Yanukovych balked in Vilnius, Russia -- specifically Putin -- was blamed, though it's not at all clear that Putin engineered the last-minute refusal by Yanukovych to sign on the dotted line. Russia had offered a different deal to Ukraine, but its terms were only slightly less onerous and exploitative. The issue seemed to be one of a tug-of-war between the EU and RF for Ukraine's future. The people were not to be consulted. They were simply to be led. In whichever direction the leadership and elites (in this part of the world, read: "Oligarchs") wanted to go.
Apparently, Yanukovych wanted to blaze his own path, and thought he could do it best under Russian aegis.
Well, that didn't work out.
In other words, Yanukovych's refusal triggered a cascade of unanticipated events that no only led to his overthrow and ouster and the installation of an EU/NATO approved coup-regime in Kiev, but to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the stalemate now in place on Ukraine's eastern borders, which stalemate could lead to some kind of nuclear exchange between the EU/US/NATO -- out of sheer incompetence if not strategy.
I say these were not anticipated events, in part because most of it looks to be ad hoc, even the Maidan protests that were clearly rather carefully organized and remarkably well presented via professional public relations efforts. The preparations for the Maidan protests had clearly been made in advance and were carried out as efficiently as possible, but there were so many uncoordinated aspects of it that didn't fit the pre-conceived and arranged pattern of these sorts of things. The enormous stage and the demagoguery that was conducted from it seemed to me to be one of those ad hoc rather than pre-planned arrangements. Even the snipering that climaxed the demonstrations seemed to be ad hoc rather than pre-planned. The use of Nazis and fascists as shock troops may well have come about spontaneously.
In other words, while the demonstrations and assemblies seemed pretty well planned in advance (if, for example, the Yanukovych government refused some aspect of the EU integration agreements) the fact that he refused the whole thing was the surprise, and the response became much more spontaneous, vigorous -- and violent -- than was anticipated.
I've pointed out that the ground was laid long before the uprising by the hundreds of "educational" and "democracy" NGOs that had been operating in Ukraine for decades before the Maidan protests. Many of them were dedicated to EU "integration" -- and that has been the focus of the Kiev coup-regime ever since they seized power in February.
The coup-regime was allowed to seize power, however. They didn't have the means or authority to seize it on their own. Yanukovych's flight from Kiev seems to have been arranged by the Kremlin, a flight which enabled the almost immediate installation of a pre-selected group of financiers, technocrats and Nazi-bullies to rule. But it couldn't have happened if Yanukovych hadn't fled. That he did so under a Russian wing indicates to me that the Kremlin was OK with his overthrow, and indeed may have been behind it. (He was, after all, a bumbler at best.)
What the Kremlin is not OK with is the EU/NATO/US take over of Ukraine without recognition of Russian national interest. The fact that the Kiev coup-regime and its backers deny there is a legitimate Russian interest in Ukraine is the key flashpoint which can -- especially through the incompetence of the elites involved -- lead directly to severely unpleasant consequences, such as an unfortunate nuclear exchange.
The partition and dismemberment of the Russian Federation is one of those long term projects of the ruling class in the West that won't soon be accomplished and won't soon go away. Russia is to be eliminated as a major global influence and power according to long-standing neo-conservative principles. Once that's accomplished, then China.
These are insane principles, but they're now the New Normal.
It's the way the world works.