[News] Ukraine and the grand chessboard

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Apr 18 20:04:20 EDT 2014

*Ukraine and the grand chessboard*

By Pepe Escobar
April 17, 2014

The US State Department, via spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, said that 
reports of CIA Director John Brennan telling regime changers in Kiev to 
"conduct tactical operations" - or an "anti-terrorist" offensive - in 
eastern Ukraine are "completely false". This means Brennan did issue his 
marching orders. And by now the "anti-terrorist" campaign - with its 
nice little Dubya rhetorical touch - has degenerated into farce.

Now couple that with NATO secretary general, Danish retriever Anders 
Fogh Rasmussen, yapping about the strengthening of military footprint 
along NATO's eastern border: "We will have more planes in the air, mores 
ships on the water and more readiness on the land."

Welcome to the Two Stooges doctrine of post-modern warfare.

*Pay up or freeze to death*
Ukraine is for all practical purposes broke. The Kremlin's consistent 
position for the past three months has been to encourage the European 
Union to find a solution to Ukraine's dire economic mess. Brussels did 
nothing. It was betting on regime change to the benefit of Germany's 
heavyweight puppet Vladimir Klitschko, aka Klitsch The Boxer.

Regime change did happen, but orchestrated by the Khaganate of Nulands - 
a neo-con cell of the State Department and its assistant secretary of 
state for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nulands. And now the 
presidential option is between - what else - two US puppets, 
choco-billionaire Petro Poroshenko and "Saint Yulia" Timoshenko, 
Ukraine's former prime minister, ex-convict and prospective president. 
The EU is left to pick up the (unpayable) bill. Enter the International 
Monetary Fund - via a nasty, upcoming "structural adjustment" that will 
send Ukrainians to a hellhole even grimmer than the one they are already 
familiar with.

Once again, for all the hysteria propagated by the US Ministry of Truth 
and its franchises across the Western corporate media, the Kremlin does 
not need to "invade" anything. If Gazprom does not get paid all it needs 
to do is to shut down the Ukrainian stretch of Pipelineistan. Kiev will 
then have no option but to use part of the gas supply destined for some 
EU countries so Ukrainians won't run out of fuel to keep themselves and 
the country's industries alive. And the EU - whose "energy policy" 
overall is already a joke - will find itself with yet another 
self-inflicted problem.

The EU will be mired in a perennial lose-lose situation if Brussels does 
not talk seriously with Moscow. There's only one explanation for the 
refusal: hardcore Washington pressure, mounted via the North Atlantic 
Treaty Organization (NATO).

Again, to counterpunch the current hysteria - the EU remains Gazprom's 
top client, with 61% of its overall exports. It's a complex relationship 
based on interdependence. The capitalization of Nord Stream, Blue Stream 
and the to-be-completed South Stream includes German, Dutch, French and 
Italian companies.

So yes, Gazprom does need the EU market. But up to a point, considering 
the mega-deal of Siberian gas delivery to China which most probably will 
be signed next month in Beijing 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7s4_nqu_oU#aid=P9Im4g1Bzh4> when 
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits President Xi Jinping.

*The crucial spanner in the works*
Last month, while the tortuous Ukraine sideshow was in progress, 
President Xi was in Europe clinching deals and promoting yet another 
branch of the New Silk Road all the way to Germany.

In a sane, non-Hobbesian environment, a neutral Ukraine would only have 
to gain by positioning itself as a privileged crossroads between the EU 
and the proposed Eurasian Union - as well as becoming a key node of the 
Chinese New Silk Road offensive. Instead, the Kiev regime changers are 
betting on acceptance into the EU (it simply won't happen) and becoming 
a NATO forward base (the key Pentagon aim).

As for the possibility of a common market from Lisbon to Vladivostok - 
which both Moscow and Beijing are aiming at, and would be also a boon 
for the EU - the Ukraine disaster is a real spanner in the works.

And a spanner in the works that, crucially, suits only one player: the 
US government.

The Obama administration may - and "may" is the operative word here - 
have realized the US government has lost the battle to control 
Pipelineistan from Asia to Europe, despite all the efforts of the Dick 
Cheney regime. What energy experts call the Asian Energy Security Grid 
is progressively evolving - as well as its myriad links to Europe.

So what's left for the Obama administration is this spanner in the works 
- still trying to scotch the full economic integration of Eurasia.

The Obama administration is predictably obsessed with the EU's 
increasing dependency on Russian gas. Thus its grandiose plan to 
position US shale gas for the EU as an alternative to Gazprom. Even 
assuming this might happen, it would take at least a decade - with no 
guarantee of success. In fact, the real alternative would be Iranian gas 
- after a comprehensive nuclear deal and the end of Western sanctions 
(the whole package, not surprisingly, being sabotaged en masse by 
various Beltway factions.)

Just to start with, the US cannot export shale gas to countries with 
which it has not signed a free trade agreement. That's a "problem" which 
might be solved to a great extent by the secretly negotiated 
Trans-Atlantic Partnership between Washington and Brussels (see Breaking 
bad in southern NATOstan 
<http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-03-150414.html>, Asia Times 
Online, April 15, 2014.)

In parallel, the Obama administration keeps applying instances of 
"divide and rule" to scare minor players, as in spinning to the max the 
specter of an evil, militaristic China to reinforce the still crawling 
"pivoting to Asia". The whole game harks back to what Dr Zbig Brzezinski 
conceptualized way back in his 1997 opus /The Grand Chessboard/ - and 
fine-tuned for his disciple Obama: the US ruling over Eurasia.

Still the Kremlin won't be dragged into a military quagmire. It's fair 
to argue Putin has identified the Big Picture in the whole chessboard, 
which spells out an increasing Russia-China strategic partnership as 
crucial as an energy-manufacturing synergy with Europe; and most of all 
the titanic fear of US financial elites of the inevitable, ongoing 
process centered on the BRICS-conducted (and spreading to key Group of 
20 members) drive to bypass the petrodollar.

Ultimately, this all spells out the progressive demise of the 
petrodollar in parallel to the ascent of a basket to currencies as the 
reserve currency in the international system. The BRICS are already at 
work on their alternative to the IMF and the World Bank, investing in a 
currency reserve pool and the BRICS development bank. While a tentative 
new world order slouches towards all points Global South to be born, 
Robocop NATO dreams of war.

/*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 
/(Nimble Books, 2007), and /Obama does Globalistan 
<http://www.amazon.com/Obama-Does-Globalistan-Pepe-Escobar/dp/1934840831> /(Nimble 
Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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