NATO is desperate for war
By Pepe Escobar
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is desperate; it is itching for a war in battlefield Ukraine at any cost.
Let's start with Pentagon supremo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has waxed lyrical over the Russian Bear's "threat": "When you see the build-up of Russian troops and the sophistication of those troops, the training of those troops, the heavy military equipment that's being put along that border, of course it's a reality, it's a threat, it's a possibility - absolutely."
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu could not elaborate if it was "threat" or "reality", absolutely or not, but she saw it all: "We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border."
In trademark, minutely precise NATOspeak, Lungescu then added that Russia "most probably" would send troops into eastern Ukraine under the cover of "a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission". And that settled it.
Hagel and his remote-controlled Romanian minion Lungescu obviously have not read this or simply ignored its detailed explanation by Russian Air Force's spokesman: the "threat" or "build-up" happens to expire this Friday, the last day of Russian military exercises announced in advance.
Fogh of War gets antsy
Right on cue, NATO secretary-general Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen arrived in Kiev practically foaming war in his mouth, ready to lay down the groundwork for NATO's summit in Wales on September 4 when Ukraine, enthroned as a major non-NATO ally, could be projected to become, in lightning speed, fully NATO-weaponized. Moreover, NATO is about to seriously "build up" in Poland, Romania, the Baltics and even Turkey.
But then all sorts of Khaganate of Nulands (as in Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs) derivatives started to spin out of control. One can imagine the vain Fogh of War vainly trying to regain his composure.
That took some effort as he was presented with the spectacle of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - a certified oligarch dogged by dodgy practices - trying hard to evict the Maidan originals from the square in the center of Kiev; these are the people who late last year started the protests that were later hijacked by the Banderastan (as in Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan)/Right Sector neo-Nazis, the US neo-con masters.
The original Maidan protests - a sort of Occupy Kiev - were against monstrous corruption and for the end of the perennial Ukrainian oligarch dance. What the protesters got was even more corruption; the usual oligarch dance; a failed state under civil war and avowed ethnic cleansing of at least 8 million citizens; and on top of it a failed state on its way to further impoverishment under International Monetary Fund "structural adjustment". No wonder they won't leave Maidan.
So Maidan - the remix - has already started even before the arrival of General Winter. Chocolate King Poroshenko must evict them as fast as he can because renewed Kiev protests simply don't fit the hysterical Western corporate media narrative that "it's all Putin's fault". Most of all, corruption is even nastier than before - now with plenty of neo-Nazi overtones.
With Fogh of War already fuming because "Russia won't invade", the pompously named "Secretary" of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, neo-Nazi Andrey Parubiy - who is the most likely candidate for having ordered the hit last month on the MH17 civilian aircraft - decided to step out; a certified rat abandoning a sinking ship move mostly provoked by the fact he did not get an extended ethnic cleansing overdrive in Eastern Ukraine, and had to endure a ceasefire. Poroshenko is not an idiot; after loads of bad PR, he knows his nationwide "support" is evaporating by the minute.
Compounding all this action, a US missile cruiser enters the Black Sea again "to promote peace". The Kremlin and Russian intel easily see that for what it is.
And then there's the horrendous refugee crisis building up in eastern Ukraine. This past Tuesday, Moscow during a UN Security Council meeting requested emergency humanitarian measures - predictably in vain. Washington blocked it because Kiev had blocked it ("There is no humanitarian crisis to end"). Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dramatically described the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk as "disastrous", stressing that Kiev is intensifying military operations.
According to the UN itself, at least 285,000 people have become refugees in eastern Ukraine. Kiev insists the number of internal refugees is "only" 117,000; the UN doubts it. Moscow maintains that a staggering 730,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia; the UN High Commission for Refugees agrees. Some of these refugees, fleeing Semenivka, in Sloviansk, have detailed Kiev's use of N-17, an even deadlier version of white phosphorus.
When Ambassador Churkin mentioned Donetsk and Luhansk, he was referring to Kiev's goons gearing up for a massive attack. They are already shelling the Petrovski neighborhood in Donetsk. Almost half of Luhansk residents have fled, mostly to Russia. Those who stayed behind are mostly old-age pensioners and families with small children.
Humanitarian crisis does not even begin to describe it; there's no water, electricity, communication, fuel and medicine left in Luhansk. Kiev's heavy artillery partially destroyed four hospitals and three clinics. Luhansk, in a nutshell, is the Ukrainian Gaza.
In a sinister symmetry, just as it gave a free pass to Israel in Gaza, the Obama administration is giving a free pass to the butchers of Luhansk. And there's even a diversion. Obama was mulling whether to bomb The Caliph's Islamic State goons in Iraq, or maybe drop some humanitarian aid. He opted for (perhaps) "limited" bombing and arguably less limited food and water airdrops.
So let's be clear. For the US government, "there might be a humanitarian catastrophe" in Mount Sinjar in Iraq, involving 40,000 people. As for at least 730,000 eastern Ukrainians, they have the solemn right to be shelled, bombed, air-stricken and turned into refugees.
The new Somalia
Moscow's red lines are quite explicit: NATO out of Ukraine. Crimea as part of Russia. No US troops anywhere near Russia's borders. Full protection for the Russian cultural identity of southern and eastern Ukraine.
Yet the - real - humanitarian crisis (which Washington dismisses) is another serious matter entirely. Kiev's forces are not equipped for prolonged urban warfare. But assuming these forces - a compound of regular military; oligarch-financed terror/death squads; the neo-Nazi-infested "voluntary" Ukrainian national guard; US-trained foreign mercenaries - decide to go for mass carnage to take Donetsk and Luhansk, arguably Moscow will have to consider what NATO types spin as a "limited ground intervention" in Ukraine.
NATO spinsters are foolish enough to believe that if Putin can disguise the intervention as a peacekeeping or humanitarian mission, he may be able to sell it to Russian public opinion. In fact Putin has not "invaded" because Russian public opinion does not want it. His popularity is at a staggering 87%. Only an - improbable - Kiev-perpetrated mass carnage would change the equation, and sway Russian public opinion. Considering this is exactly what NATO wants, Fogh of War will be working overtime to force his vassals to bring about such carnage.
Still, considering the latest developments, what facts on the ground point to is the current oligarch dance in Kiev already unraveling - as in this example here. Moscow won't even have to bother to consider "invading". Meanwhile, Poroshenko's slow motion genocide in Eastern Ukraine, as well as his crackdown of Maidan remix in Kiev, will keep getting a free pass. All hail Ukraine as the new Somalia; a fitting Frankenstein created by the exceptionalist Empire of Chaos.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.