If you are looking for something to gag on today, please consider the Bloomberg View by Leonid Bershidsky Ukraine's Cease-Fire Is Putin's Victory.
...As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has secured a ringside seat and may settle down with a bowl of popcorn. Any outcome suits him as long as Ukraine struggles to get out of its impasse alone. He will be happy to see the Lugansk and Donetsk regions turn into a frozen-conflict zone, precluding Ukraine's further integration into NATO and the European Union, and equally pleased to have them gain broad autonomy from Kiev and a veto on major political decisions. A military solution suits him, too, since the West has refused to engage him except in the form of ineffectual sanctions.
Make no mistake about it: The ceasefire is a victory for Putin, a vindication of his aggression and duplicity. I just hope it ends the bloodshed.
Victory for Common Sense
While one can claim this is a victory for Putin, one should rightfully gag over Bershidsky's comment regarding "aggression and duplicity."
The US and EU fomented this crisis and now apologists for failed US policy don't like the results: Russia annexed Crimea and Ukraine may splinter.
Had this ceasefire not have been agreed to, rebels would have taken Mariupol. The city is now surrounded by rebel forces.
Let's accurately label the ceasefire for what it is:
- A triumph of common sense over warmongers
- A defeat of misguided US intervention policy
- A defeat of those poking sticks at bears and hornets
It's also a victory for free trade given sanctions have been disastrous. Europe is back in recession and absurd sanctions are partially to blame.
Bloomberg has an appropriate example just today: Europe’s Pears Rot as Putin Retaliation Pushes Down Price.
Lessons Yet to Be Learned
I don't know if this ceasefire will stick or not. But if it does stick, it will be because Ukraine gives in over US objections.
It's more up to Ukraine than anyone else. The rebels have made their demands known and I highly doubt they back down unless they get most of what they want.
The US ought to consider such outcomes before it goes poking sticks at bears that may bite, and hornets that sting.
Hornets and Bears
The US stirred up a hornets nest in Iraq. The end result is the destruction of Iraq and the formation of ISIS. The US now has another war to fight.
In Ukraine, the US helped incite the Maiden uprising.
Victoria Nuland, US ambassador to Ukraine stirred up trouble with her recorded comment "F*ck the EU" regarding US-EU differences of opinion on how to handle Ukrainian protests.
Those protests, stirred up by the US, eventually led to the ouster of then president Viktor Yanukovych. For a short while the US was thrilled with that result.
Historically, every time the US meddles in the internal affairs of other countries, it backfires. Vietnam is a perfect example. So are past CIA actions that led to the overthrow of the shah of Iran.
Yet here we go again, poking sticks at bears, recklessly seeking to move NATO on Russia's front door, not only against the wishes of Russia but also against the wishes of the Eastern half of Ukraine as well.
This time the bear did not back off, it bit off a piece of Ukraine. Now Bershidsky whines this is "vindication of Putin's aggression and duplicity."
No, it's more of a reflection on stupid US policy of poking sticks at hornets and bears, then getting the EU to foolishly go along for the ride.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock