By Sergio Rodriguez Gelfenstein *
During a recent interview, journalist Carlos Arellano surprised me by asking me if the historical recount made by President Putin in his recent appearance to explain the decision to recognize the independence of Lugansk and Donetsk was necessary.
Arellano wisely tried to find explanations for said decision and unravel the intricacies of the matter. With much respect for President Putin, I differed from his opinions blaming the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin for what is happening in Ukraine today.
Difference between Lenin and Putin
When the Bolsheviks came to power, they not only had to form a government for Russian, but also for the entire tsarist empire that included around 100 nationalities, most of which had been incorporated by force. The creation of the Soviet Union, which came to have 15 socialist republics, 20 autonomous republics, 125 oblasts, 7 autonomous oblasts, 10 autonomous districts and 7 krais, was an attempt to solve the national question and give each nationality the representation it deserved.
This project being deformed was not the fault of the Bolsheviks and much less of Lenin. We must remember that all this was done in the midst of the siege of world capitalism that sought to destroy the nascent power of workers and peasants when it was born in the framework of a generalized famine of the peoples. “Peace, Land and Bread” was the Bolshevik’s main slogan at the time. The soviet nationalities’ policy was what allowed the Ukrainians to have their own national state for the first time. Whether that was a mistake, as President Putin put it, is quite debatable or at least necessary to debate, but it is understandable that there are differences between Lenin and Putin. The founder of the Soviet Union was a communist and internationalist revolutionary, meanwhile Putin is a Russian nationalist who has set out to defend and safeguard the interests of his country.
Another aspect of the problem is the legal elements framed in international law. Knowing that this is an instrument to be fulfilled only by poor, backward and underdeveloped countries, the truth is that Russia acted like what it is: a great world power that had only been bested as a result of Gorbachev’s betrayal and drunk incompetence of Yeltsin. Putin came to power at the beginning of the century to recover the honor and dignity of Russia, which from the moment of the disappearance of the Soviet Union was vilified and marginalized from its status as a power within the international system.
The debate and main argument of the West regarding implementing sanctions against Russia was that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine were violated after the decision Putin made on February 21, however, world powers take this kind of action in version conditions. Most of those decrying Russia’s actions never made a fuss about the 8 military invasions, the 11 color revolutions and the more than 20 countries sanctioned by the United States since the disappearance of the Soviet Union via use of force, resulting in millions of victims all over the planet in violation of international law.
The strongest argument put forward by Russia to explain its decision was made known by President Putin when he reported that the measures taken were in order to prevent the continuation of mass scale violence or the occuring of a genocide. It must be remembered that the still valid and misnamed “Universal” Declaration of Human Rights of the UN establishes in article 3 that: ”Every individual has the right to life, liberty and the security of his person.” Russia acted in defense of the life and safety of 4 million citizens who are in danger every day for 8 years.
Current Ukrainian government result of a fascist coup d’état
The current government of Ukraine is the heir to a fascist coup d’état in which, under the leadership of the West, NATO and especially the United States, in the figure of the Under Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, promoted the Vandalism by neo-Nazi groups that burned synagogues under the complacent gaze of the United States and the complicit silence of Israel, who temporarily and conveniently forgot about the dangers of anti-Semitism.
It was precisely this official who, in a conversation with the American ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in February 2014 while finalizing details on how to overthrow Yanukovych, exposed the contemptuous mood that the United States feels for its “allies”. Faced with an observation by Ambassador Pyatt that certain decisions of his country did not agree with the opinion of the European Union, Nuland externalized an emblematic phrase that defines the little respect and consideration that the United States has for its partners in the Old Continent: “Fuck the European Union”, an opinion expressed today by the Undersecretary of State for political affairs in less bold forms.
It should also be remembered that the birth of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics had its origin in the rejection of that coup d’état, given the racist, extremist and human rights violating actions by the Ukrainian administration against the Russian minority that inhabits those territories. In this sense, the creation of these republics responded to the right of legitimate defense, enshrined in all documents pertaining to the subject within the framework of international law.
It has been eight years of continuous and permanent denunciations occurring simultaneously alongside the ineffectiveness of the Normandy Format and the Minsk Agreements, to which the United States and Europe have always attached little importance, without ever making the minimum effort to urge Ukraine to fulfill them. Now, the West has remembered the Minsk agreements, which after years of absence from the news media, have begun to crowd the newsrooms and studios of television channels since yesterday. Even the French president, with total self-confidence, believed it valid to use them as an instrument for his electoral campaign.
Finally, in the framework of the battered international order, what must be detected is whether a military intervention into a country takes place to promote mass killngs – as did the United States against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, or to prevent them. The case of Cuba proves that international law is only a “salute to the flag” as shown by 63 years of blockade repudiated by almost all of humanity except two countries, which every president of the United States could have cared less about.
In the 1970s, Cuba “invaded” Angola, helping to establish the country’s independence and making huge contribution to the destruction of the disgraceful apartheid system that coexisted under the complicit gaze of the West, on top of the lengthy dominance and slaughter of the black population of South Africa. Can anyone object that it was a small underdeveloped country that made the biggest contribution to bringing about the end of apartheid?
Who can have any faith in international law or the UN when the Saharawi people have waited for 30 years for a promised referendum to define their political status? It has still not been carried out because of Europe, the colonial powers and the economic interests of the West. They have given permission for Morocco to continue with mass killing, something that has only been curbed as a result of solidarity actions of other African states, and Algeria in particular.
Where is the international law?
Aside from these events, it is worth taking a look at what is really happening in the large-scale international arena, and the repercussions these events could have on the emergence of a new and different world order. Is the United States attempting to stir up a war to devastate Europe for the third time in a hundred years?
In the background, what is at stake are the interests of global capitalism, which is hardly going to be idle when faced with the possibility of losing hold of absolute power. Ukraine is just an instrument for the West in seeking to achieve its primary goal which is to save capitalism at the moment of its greatest weakness. Throughout history, the United States has shown that it has no qualms with sacrificing millions of lives, including those of its own citizens, to preserve the system. Its 800 military bases around the world and its 11 aircraft carriers are the most important instrument that the United States has in “solving” the problems posed by international law.
The great Eurasian space
Over the last five centuries (since the hegemonized globalization by the West began) world power has been based on control of the seas. This has begun to change, generating a paradigmatic transformation in which the United States is being left out. The creation of a great Eurasian space from the alliance between Russia and China establishes new parameters in the structuring of world power. Keep in mind that it was Western thinkers like the English Halford Mackinder and the Dutch American Nicholas Spykman who argued that control of Central Asia as a “continental heartland” or “pivot area” would lead to world control.
In recent years, the Russian-Chinese alliance, which reached the height of its strength after the joint declaration signed by the presidents of both countries in Beijing on February 4, shows the completion of the first steps in the creation of a new world order. After defeat and retreat from Afghanistan by the United States and NATO, and after the failure of attempted coups in Kyrgyzstan in January 2020 and in Kazakhstan in January of this year, the United States’ inadequacies and inability to dominate the global political scene have been highlighted.
The Eurasian alliance is supported by Russia’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which proved effective in preventing the coup in Kazakhstan, in addition to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in which China participates, with the aim of cooperating in political, economic and security matters. It is worth mentioning that India and Pakistan also belong to this organization, while Iran, Belarus, Mongolia and Afghanistan are awaiting approval for their entry.
The Eurasian Union is made up of five countries and constitutes the successful extension of economic and commercial ties in the widest land space on the planet.
Meanwhile, China has created the largest economic alliance in the world, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Association (RCEP): this association constitutes 30% of the world population. But the area with the greatest scope in the region and the world is the new Silk Road project developed by China, with 900,000 million dollars have already been distributed among 72 countries with populations of some 5,000 million– that is 65% of the world’s population according to Dutch journalist Marc Vandepitte in a recent article.
The great danger for the US: Incorporation of Germany and Europe into the system of Eurasia
The great danger for the United States and its system of world dominance is the incorporation of Europe and in particular Germany into this system. If this were to happen, the entire hegemonic structure built after the Second World War, which has its political support in Western-style representative democracy, the United Nations as its instrument of global control, NATO as its military support for pressure, would inevitably collapse. Blackmail, threats and the Bretton Woods System constituted from western control of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the pillars used to sustain its global hegemony. The subordination and control of Europe is essential to sustain this model since the Marshall Plan was put into practice after the end of the Second World War.
The fundamental objective of US policy has been to prevent the production of energy integration agreements between Russia and Europe that could offer a mutually beneficial strategic alliance for both parties, which would also link Europe with China, leaving the United States unable to maintain energy supremacy in Europe. According to the American journalist Mike Whitney, the objective of the United States in unleashing the Ukrainian conflict is to prevent the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from being put into operation, as explicitly stated by Victoria Nuland and Joe Biden himself.
The idea of the actions of the United States is based on the Clinton doctrine of foreign policy applied in Libya, which is summed up in the phrase: “We went, we saw and he died”, pronounced by former Secretary of State after the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi. It cannot be forgotten that Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State when Biden was Vice President.
The real outcome will be seen when European citizens wake up from their lethargy and demand to know why the peasants of Spain, Portugal and Italy lost the Russian market that bought their production of citrus fruits, olive oil, vegetables and other products, plunging them into an even more severe crisis. Why do they have to pay three and four times more for fuel just to satisfy America? And if war breaks out, why do they have to tend to the dead and the destruction of their cities to please their political leaders who have decided to subordinate themselves to Washington?
We hope that this does not happen and common sense prevails. It is not worth dying for some oligarchs who, foreseeing the disaster they are generating on Earth, are accelerating the space race assuming they will be able to escape the disaster they themselves created in their quest for endless profit.
* Sergio Rodríguez Gelfenstein is a Venezuelan international relations expert, who was previously Director of the International Relations of the Presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, his country’s ambassador to Nicaragua and an advisor for international politics for TELESUR. Gelfenstein has written numerous books, among them “China in the XXI Century – the awakening of a giant” which has been published in several Latin American countries.You can follow him on Twitter: @sergioro0701