The Irony of Sanctions against Russia

Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | March 27, 2022

THE juggling which US imperialism has to do to maintain its hegemony becomes more bizarre by the day. First, it kept needling Russia (“provoking the bear”) “on behalf of the western alliance” by expanding NATO to its very borders, knowing full well that Ukraine’s joining NATO would be totally unacceptable to Russia. Its objective was to prevent Russia and western Europe from coming closer, which would have occurred because of the latter’s dependence on the former for energy; it is even reported that to keep hostilities going between Russia and Ukraine, it sabotaged an agreement between the two, that had been witnessed by France and Germany. When this confrontation eventually led to Russia invading Ukraine, it imposed economic sanctions on Russia, so that Russia could not have access to its own dollar earnings obtained from exports. But it did not impose sanctions on the import of Russian oil and gas (except into the United States itself where such import meets about 8 per cent of total energy requirements); the reason is that as much as 40 per cent of the European Union’s energy needs are met through imports from Russia, and sanctions against Russian oil would have hit the European population hard, leading to a possible break-up of the “western alliance”.

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Ukraine Crisis: News/Updates drowned by the cacophony of Mainstream Media

As the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, highly significant developments are taking place in Europe and in other geopolitical stages across the world. For any conscious reader/learner, studying these developments are crucial. The cacophony in the mainstream media drowns out these events and present a very biased, partial scenario of the current situation. However, this has always been the nature of the mainstream media — to serve as mouthpieces of the imperialist establishments. As a blog inclined to serve the masses, JoP feels that it is its duty to bring analyses and updates of those aspects/developments to the attention of our readership. In that spirit, we publish four posts from the Countercurrents which may help our readers understand the ongoing situation in Ukraine. However, we would like to clarify that the articles posted here are for non-profit, non-commercial, educational purposes. The views expressed in this article(s) are those of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the JoP.

Nevertheless, if you do find JoP’s posts to be informative and therefore necessary in the face of the mainstream narrative, we would like to request you to share our posts with your friends, family or anyone you feel like sharing with. Happy Reading!

Ukraine Update: Zelenskyy’s Representative Blames U.S. And Budapest Memorandum Signatories For War

Countercurrents Collective | March 28, 2022

A representative of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described signatories to the Budapest Memorandum as a reason Ukraine is at war, citing their failure to hold up their end of the agreement.

“They signed their obligation to protect Ukraine, to provide the security and safety,” Fedir Venislavsky, President Zelenskyy’s representative to Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, told Fox News.

“Which means when Ukraine gave up its nuclear potential … Ukraine was confident the other countries who have signed all of those agreements were going to guarantee its territorial integrity, it is independence and it is sovereignty.”

“Unfortunately, we are deeply sorry” the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum and the Charter “did not perform” and “provide the security of Ukraine” and “there is a war because of that going on in our territory,” Venislavsky explained.

The Budapest Memorandum “says that whatever countries would sign that, they would guarantee the safety and security of Ukraine. And there is the charter about the special partnership between NATO and Ukraine and all the signatories,” Venislavsky added.

“Innocent people are dying every day simply because we believed that those countries were going to provide what they obliged for.”

Venislavsky said the failure to protect Ukraine will have lasting consequences.

“After the Ukrainian case, I think there are going to be a lot of doubts in the world regarding international obligations that are given in exchange for whatever concessions,” Venislavsky said.

Zelensky Steps Up Criticism Of West

A Washington post report (Zelensky steps up criticism of West, demanding weapons and sanctions) report said:

Zelensky is demanding that the United States and its allies send more weapons and ratchet up sanctions, portraying some leaders as timid in the face of Russian aggression. His escalation of criticism comes one day after President Biden extemporaneously declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”

Zelensky said in a video address on Sunday, praising the southern port city that has come under horrendous bombardment by Russian forces. “Their determination, heroism and firmness are astonishing,” he said. “If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had one percent of their courage.”

Read Full Article: https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/ukraine-update-zelenskyys-representative-blames-u-s-and-budapest-memorandum-signatories-for-war/

Ukraine Update: U.S. Sets Red Line For China

Countercurrents Collective | March 25, 2022

A Reuters report said:

The Biden administration, seeking to deter China from aiding sanctions-hit Russia, on Wednesday warned Beijing not to take advantage of business opportunities created by sanctions, help Moscow evade export controls or process its banned financial transactions.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that G7 countries would soon announce a unified response to make sure Russia cannot evade Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine with the help of China or any other country.

Read Full Article: https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/ukraine-update-u-s-sets-red-line-for-china/

Ukraine Update: NATO Faces Splits On Russia Question

Countercurrents Collective | March 24, 2022

A Washington Post report (As allies meet, splits emerge in NATO about how to deter Russia) said:

As President Biden landed in Brussels on Wednesday splits were emerging within NATO and in Washington about how to deter the Kremlin from further escalation. Allied leaders are discussing whether it is best to keep Russia guessing about what will trigger a bigger military response or to outline precisely what would draw NATO into a conflict.

It said:

‘Some NATO policymakers in Europe worry that there has been too much public messaging about what the alliance won’t do — send its troops into Ukraine, nor, for the moment, send fighter jets for which Kyiv has been campaigning. With the threat of Russian nuclear and chemical weapons looming over the battlefields of Ukraine, a better approach, they say, would be not to rule out anything publicly.

Read Full Article: https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/ukraine-update-nato-faces-splits-on-russia-question/

Ukraine Update: Vietnam And Malaysia Oppose Anti-Russian Sanctions

Countercurrents Collective | March 23, 2022

Vietnam and Malaysia did not support the anti-Russian sanctions and agreed to remain neutral towards the Ukraine crisis, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters Tuesday after his visit to Hanoi.

“We discussed the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and agreed that Malaysia and Vietnam will remain neutral on this issue,” he said according to the Bernama news agency. “As for sanctions against Russia, we do not support them.”

“The sides do not support unilateral sanctions; we recognize restrictions that could be imposed only by the UN Security Council,” the Prime Minister underscored.

He noted that the two countries “do not support such aggression against a sovereign state,” underscoring that their “position is non-interference.”

“We expect a diplomatic resolution of the crisis in Ukraine,” the Prime Minister added.

Read Full Article: https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/ukraine-update-vietnam-and-malaysia-oppose-anti-russian-sanctions/

[THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED HERE FOR NON-PROFIT, NON-COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THAT OF ITS AUTHOR(S) AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF THE JOP]

Biden’s reality check in Europe

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | March 26, 2022

Russian General Staff dy head Gen. Sergey Rudskoy during briefing on special operation in Ukraine, Moscow, Mar. 25, 2022

The takeaway from the US President Joe Biden’s European tour on March 25-26 is measly. Dissenting voices are rising in Europe as western sanctions against Russia start backfiring with price hikes and shortages of fuel and electricity. And this is only the beginning, as Moscow is yet to announce any retaliatory measures as such. 

The unkindest cut of it all is that the Russian Defence Ministry chose Biden’s trip as the perfect backdrop to frame the true proportions of success of its special operation in Ukraine. The US and NATO’s credibility is perilously close to being irreparably damaged, as the Russian juggernaut rolls across Ukraine with the twin objectives of ‘demilitarisation’ and ‘denazification’ in its sights. 

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Bill McKibben: Greenwashing U.S. Imperialism’s Russia Rivalry, War Moves in Ukraine …a Call for Debate

Raymond Lotta

Countercurrents | March 28, 2022

Since Russia carried out its brutal, unjust invasion of Ukraine, environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben has been pumping out rationales in op-ed pieces and media appearances for supporting the U.S. and its West European allies as they ramp up military assistance to Ukraine and their economic warfare and military preparations against Russia, in the name of going green – “Heat Pumps for Peace and Freedom,” he writes on his blog.

McKibben embraces U.S. sanctions against Russia and bullets for Ukraine by evoking delusional scenarios in which confrontation with Russia can bring forth an “all-out effort to decarbonize the continent [take Western Europe off fossil fuels], and then our own.”  Why would the West do this?  Because going green, McKibben argues, would lessen Europe’s dependence on Russia oil and gas and enable it and the U.S. to impose harsh sanctions until Russia’s economy ‘buckled.’”

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NATOstan: She’s looking at YOU

Supratim Barman

Countercurrents | March 28, 2022

NATOstan: she’s looking at YOU. A Roma untermensch packaged by Ukrainian “democracy”.

The above picture and text is from a tweet by Pepe Escobar.

Is this what you are supporting? That’s great. I am not. I have never been to the territory of the Russian Federation nor of Ukraine; but; I don’t need to; because there is no way I can support this anywhere on Planet Earth.

I do however understand chess, (although I am a fairly averagely capable player), but I got to know the comprehensive English Chess circuit in a roundabout way, as my son liked to play the game and was quite good at it at an early age and we travelled together to numerous chess tournaments throughout the United Kingdom when he was about 11 years old; that itself being about 11 years ago, and we have both met many Russians and Ukrainians in London, who play the game avidly.

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The Lie of American Innocence

Chris Hedges

MintPress News | March 22, 2022

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The branding of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal by Joe Biden, who lobbied for the Iraq war and staunchly supported the 20 years of carnage in the Middle East, is one more example of the hypocritical moral posturing sweeping across the United States. It is unclear how anyone would try Putin for war crimes since Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But justice is not the point. Politicians like Biden, who do not accept responsibility for our well-documented war crimes, bolster their moral credentials by demonizing their adversaries. They know the chance of Putin facing justice is zero. And they know their chance of facing justice is the same.

We know who our most recent war criminals are, among others: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, General Ricardo Sanchez, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Asst. Atty. Gen. Jay Bybee, former Dep. Asst. Atty. Gen. John Yoo, who set up the legal framework to authorize torture; the helicopter pilots who gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in the “Collateral Murder” video released by WikiLeaks. We have evidence of the crimes they committed.

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Ukraine’s Propaganda War: International PR Firms, DC Lobbyists and CIA Cutouts

Dan Cohen

MintPress News | March 22, 2022

WASHINGTON DC — Since the Russian offensive inside Ukraine commenced on February 24, the Ukrainian military has cultivated the image of a plucky little army standing up to the Russian Goliath. To bolster the perception of Ukrainian military mettle, Kiev has churned out a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring public and official support from Western countries.

The campaign includes language guides, key messages, and hundreds of propaganda posters, some of which contain fascist imagery and even praise Neo-Nazi leaders.

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The Danger of Fossil Fascism

Understanding the growing combination of racism, climate science denial, and fossil fuel promotion

Andreas Malm and the Zetkin Collective
WHITE SKIN, BLACK FUEL
On the Danger of Fossil Fascism

Verso Books, 2021

reviewed by Martin Empson

Climate and Capitalism | March 26, 2022

As regular readers of my blog will be aware, I think that Andreas Malm, even where I disagree with key points of his argument, is one of the most stimulating Marxist authors on environmental politics. So it was with eager anticipation that I looked forward to this new publication “one the dangers of fossil fascism” that Malm has co-authored with the network the Zetkin Collective, a group of scholars and activists “working on the political ecology of the far right.”

The book does multiple things. It opens with a study of the far-right and fascist movements and looks at their “anti-climate politics” and asks “what would it mean to live in a world both hotter and further to the right” than it is today. It argues that the far-right’s fixation with anti-climate views is closely tied to its anti-immigration perspective and the way that developing capitalism associated technology (and particularly fossil fuel technologies) with white supremacy. The authors argue in the introduction:

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