“Ukraine and Yugoslavia” by Diane Johnstone [counterpunch]

March 21, 2014

by DIANA JOHNSTONE

“I sometimes get the feeling that somewhere across that huge puddle, in America, people sit in a lab and conduct experiments, as if with rats, without actually understanding the consequences of what they are doing.”

– Vladimir Putin, 4 March 2014

Paris.

Five years ago, I wrote a paper for a Belgrade conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. In that paper I stressed that the disintegration of Yugoslavia had been used as an experimental laboratory to perfect various techniques that would subsequently be used in so-called “color revolutions” or other “regime change” operations directed against leaders considered undesirable by the United States government.

At that time, I specifically pointed to the similarities between the Krajina region of former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. Here is what I wrote at the time:

[‘…]Where did the wars of Yugoslav disintegration break out most violently? In a region called the Krajina. Krajina means borderland. So does Ukraine – it is a variant of the same Slavic root. Both Krajina and Ukraine are borderlands between Catholic Christians in the West and Orthodox Christians in the East. The population is divided between those in the East who want to remain tied to Russia, and those in the West who are drawn toward Catholic lands. But in Ukraine as a whole, polls show that some seventy percent of the population is against joining NATO. Yet the US and its satellites keep speaking of Ukraine’s “right” to join NATO. Nobody’s right not to join NATO is ever mentioned.

The condition for Ukraine to join NATO would be the expulsion of foreign military bases from Ukrainian territory. That would mean expelling Russia from its historic naval base at Sebastopol, essential for Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Sebastopol is on the Crimean peninsula, inhabited by patriotic Russians, which was only made an administrative part of Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian.

Rather the way Tito, a Croat, gave almost the whole Adriatic coastline of Yugoslavia to Croatia, and generally enforced administrative borders detrimental to the Serbs.

As the same causes may have the same effects, US insistence on “liberating” Ukraine from Russian influence may have the same effect as the West’s insistence on “liberating” the Catholic Croats from the Orthodox Serbs. That effect is war. But instead of a small war, against the Serbs, who had neither the means nor even the will to fight the West (since they largely thought they were part of it), a war in Ukraine would mean a war with Russia. A nuclear superpower. And one that will not stand idly by while the United States continues to move its fleet and its air bases to the edges of Russian territory, both in the Black Sea and in the Baltic, on land, sea and air.

Every day, the United States is busy expanding NATO, training forces, building bases, making deals. This goes on constantly but is scarcely reported by the media. The citizens of NATO countries have no idea what they are being led into. (…)

War was easy when it meant the destruction of a helpless and harmless Serbia, with no casualties among the NATO aggressors. But war with Russia – a fierce superpower with a nuclear arsenal – would not be so much fun.[..’]

So, now here we are five years later, and I am about to attend another commemoration in Belgrade, this time of the fifteenth anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. And this time, I really have nothing to say. I have already said it, over and over. Others are saying similar things, with more authority, from Professor Stephen Cohen to Paul Craig Roberts. Many of us have warned against the dangerous folly of seeking endlessly to provoke Russia by enlisting her neighbors in a military alliance whose enemy could only be… Russia. Of all Russia’s neighbors, none is more organically linked to Russia by language, history, geopolitical reality, religion and powerful emotions. The U.S. Undersecretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Victoria Nuland, has openly boasted that the United States has spent five billion dollars to gain influence in Ukraine – in reality, in order to draw Ukraine away from Russia and into the U.S. military alliance. It is now no secret that Ms Nuland intrigued even against America’s European allies – who had a less brutal compromise in mind – in order to replace the elected President with the American protégé she calls “Yats”, who indeed was soon installed in a far right government resulting from violent actions by one of the very few violent fascist movements still surviving in Europe.

True, Western media do not report all the facts at their disposal. But the internet is there, and the facts are on the internet. And despite all this, European governments do not protest, there are no demonstrations in the streets, much of public opinion seems to accept the notion that the villain of this story is the Russian president, who is accused of engaging in unprovoked aggression against Crimea – even though he was responding to one of the most blatant provocations in history…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/21/ukraine-and-yugoslavia/

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