Sunday, December 6, 2015

In anticipation of Biden's speech in Ukraine's Rada: Whoever calls hypocrisy of the other side first will win, and the US will try to do just that

Tomorrow's speech by Biden in Ukraine's Parliament has been advertised as becoming historic. It is happening in the context of the dramatic escalation of military operations in Donbass by Kiev, which began this Friday. The other factor is the marked increase of military aircraft by Russia and NATO over Syria and Germany's claim that Syria is no longer considered to be a state, not to mention a sovereign state, but merely a "dead state" with the corollary that the remains are free for spoils by the strongest and most agile prey.

So the question is what "historic" or new dramatic statement can Biden make tomorrow in Kiev? I am afraid that the US has decided to call in the series of Russia's strategic mistakes (or playing along the game of the "partners"), which has led Russia and its position on Ukraine into a dead corner. What do I mean?

So many times Putin, Lavrov and others stressed that Russia treats the Banderite regime as a legitimate government and Ukraine under their anti-Russian rule as a legitimate state. In the language of international law, this means that the Russian government denied itself any standing (or pretense) of a justification to oppose the (for me fictitious and faux) legitimacy and sovereignty of Ukraine. In fact, by signing and supporting "unconditionally" Minsk, Putin and the Russian government officially and explicitly committed itself to support the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of Ukraine under its current Banderite, anti-Russsian regime. In doing so, Putin and the Russian government voided their possible claim to casus belli over Donbass and the Maidan regime change in Ukraine.

This, in turn, means that making this unity and sovereignty conditional upon some internal administrative reforms (other points in the Minsk Agreements) is a very feeble argument and, as such, does not exist as a recognized right granted to other states over other sovereign states.

In this situation, the US--and now Biden in Kiev--is in a position to accuse tomorrow the Russian government of bad faith and even hypocrisy in signing the Minsk Agreements and in committing itself to its main demand--of returning Donbass or the rest of Donbass under the sovereign rule of Ukraine. The fact is that Putin and the Russian government refused to claim any commitment to defending the rights and self-determination of the people of Donbass (the Minsk Agreements effectively rejected the validity and legality of the Donbass referendum, and the Kremlin never recognized its legitimacy and its results anyway). Instead, Putin and the Russian government explicitly and clearly committed themselves to the sovereignty and unity of Ukraine under the Poroshenko regime as the most fundamental and basically non-negotiable principle of the resolution of the whole conflict in Donbass. Moreover, Moscow always insisted that it is not a party to the conflict. Thus, if, in anticipation or later, Kiev throws all its forces against the rest of Donbass, Moscow is in a situation in which it had already thrown away its right to defend its own interests and the interests of Donbass in an open and principled way. At most, Moscow can continue denying what it is doing and trying to hide it. Of course, as before, Moscow can try to reciprocate and accuse the US and Kiev of hypocrisy in turn and, in doing so, trying to argue with a reference to the "fine print" of the Minsk agreements concerning the supposed sequencing and other provisions. However, having surrendered the battle over principles, a fight over technicalities, when the main issue has been abandoned, is already just a matter of quibbling over the amount of dishonor and face-saving kindness at the hands of one's enemies.

The likely denunciation of Russia by Biden, which one can expect, is likely to go hand in hand with the open avowal of the full support for Ukraine by the US, the EU, NATO and the West--hence as a demonstration of Western decisiveness and solidarity with the Banderite regime against "Russian threat."

In making this move, both Donbass and Syria are now facing an acute existential threat (instead of the dream of some to play or bargain one against the other).

Of course, Putin can either try to avoid the issue--as much before--or try to repeat an umpth time that he too agrees that Minsk must be fully and unconditionally implemented and that it is the only way. But trying to say on the basis like this that the DPR and the LPR whom Moscow itself doesn't recognize have the right to any self-defense in order to be able to run their elections under Ukrainian legislation and as part of the "sovereign and united Ukraine" is not just weak, but weak in a sense of bordering on weak-mindedness.

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