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Politics The dual threats confronting Ukraine

22:31  30 november  2021
22:31  30 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Russia Ramps Up War Rhetoric Against Ukraine as West Fears Imminent Invasion

  Russia Ramps Up War Rhetoric Against Ukraine as West Fears Imminent Invasion Russian claims of fearsome provocations from Ukraine match prior instances in which the Kremlin used self defense as a pretext to war.Through a series of public statements and posts through its state news services, leaders in Russia on Monday presented the unified case that Ukraine was needlessly deploying its military forces to challenge Russia’s sovereignty and its nearby interests, that rising concern in the West of military action by Moscow represents only an attempt by Kyiv to mask its own intentions to do so, that the Western-backed peace process for the conflict in Ukraine is broken and that Kyiv’s allies in Europe and North America are not prepared to back up their

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's allegation of a foiled Russian coup attempt against him underscores the linked external and internal threats confronting Ukraine. The external threat is most visible in the approximately 114,000 troops Russia has massed on Ukraine's borders because Russian President Vladimir Putin understands that his patrimonial autocracy cannot survive with an independent Westward-leaning Ukraine on its borders.

a man wearing a suit and tie: The dual threats confronting Ukraine © Getty Images The dual threats confronting Ukraine

Since empire is the historical corollary of Russian autocracy and are equally dependent on each other to survive, from Moscow's standpoint Ukraine cannot be thought of as an independent state. Moreover, Putin has nothing to offer Russia but imperial circuses since he can no longer offer bread to an economically stagnant Russia that is also being ravaged by COVID-19.

The US's refusal to accept reality in Ukraine could get a lot of people killed

  The US's refusal to accept reality in Ukraine could get a lot of people killed Biden must honestly assess if it is worth starting World War III over a territory with little significance to overall US security. © Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images Russian landing ships and military vehicles during an exercise at the Opuk training ground in Crimea, April 22, 2021. Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images Russia has proven that it is willing to bear significant monetary and human costs to prevent a western-aligned Ukraine. Years of tough economic sanctions and the estimated loss of several hundred Russian soldiers has done little to change Russia's objectives in Ukraine.

In that context, the presence of Russian forces on Ukraine's borders has been almost exclusively seen as a prelude to invasion. This perception is understandable and could well be correct, but it is incomplete. Anyone familiar with the Soviet modus operandi when confronting such challenges will remember that Moscow's invasions and interventions in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968 took place concurrently with the installation of a pro-Russian regime that supposedly invited Moscow's coercion to create a façade of legitimacy.

Similarly in Poland in 1981, Moscow, though unwilling to intervene directly, clearly threatened from the outset to strike at the Solidarity movement and Poland and supported General Jaruzelski's coup, which he defended as an alternative to invasion and war.

The president of Ukraine accused Russia of preparing a coup, as Russian troops amass near the border

  The president of Ukraine accused Russia of preparing a coup, as Russian troops amass near the border Voldymyr Zelensky said he has information that Russia is involved in a coup planned for December 1 or 2. The US has also warned of a Russian invasion.Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that he has information that Russia is involved in a coup planned for December 1 or December 2, Reuters reported.

Consequently, it is entirely consonant with Moscow's modus operandi to plan a coup with the apparent intention of bringing to power Ukraine's reportedly richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, supposedly a man Moscow could rely on and an opponent of Zelensky.

Akhmetov could then conceivably be persuaded to allow for an invasion or intervention to reestablish a pro-Russian order. Therefore, nobody should be surprised that this gambit was apparently underway, although Zelensky denied that Akhmetov had yet been approached to play the role of a Ukrainian quisling. Indeed, pro-Russian writers warned of such a coup.

On the one hand, the failure of this coup might further prompt Putin to use force in the absence of any indigenous support for his designs on Ukraine. On the other hand, the derangement of Russia's plans makes an outright invasion still more potentially costly and adds to the risk of failure, for if it cannot be carried off quickly, its chances for failure multiply.

What is happening at Ukraine's border? Putin's buildup of Russian troops sparks concern

  What is happening at Ukraine's border? Putin's buildup of Russian troops sparks concern A previous build-up of Russian forces on the border preceded Moscow's annexation of Crimea. President Vladimir Putin is threatening Ukraine again.Ukraine has been on edge in recent weeks amid a fresh build-up of Russian troops on the nation's eastern border, near where Moscow and Kyiv have been enmeshed in a simmering conflict for the last seven years that's killed more than 14,000 people.

The second danger this affair highlights is the internal threat, namely the threat from an unreformed or incompletely reformed oligarchical system. The fact that the alleged plotters assumed they could "capture" Akhmetov for the coup reflects the fact that the Ukrainian oligarchs have long had extensive and multifarious ties to Russian economic, energy, financial, governmental and intelligence communities, if not also state-controlled criminal syndicates.

They are willing participants in Russian corruption. Moscow has consistently counted on their support in frustrating reform and Ukrainian independence and evidently believes it can continue to do so.

These internal security issues justify, and even impel, Kyiv to continue and even accelerate the drive towards "de-oligarchization" enshrined in a recent law. Ukraine, for example, must open up its entire energy economy to healthy competition so it can supply its own energy needs and even export some gas to Eastern and Central Europe. It must also do so to eliminate Russia's chances of finding Ukrainian quislings who, in order to safeguard their own ill-gotten gains, will mortgage the country to Moscow. In this sense, the coup highlighted the linked dual-sided internal and external threats to Ukraine emanating from Moscow and the urgency of squelching both of them.

Putin is 'deadly serious' about neutralizing Ukraine, and has the upper hand over the West, former US diplomats and officials warn

  Putin is 'deadly serious' about neutralizing Ukraine, and has the upper hand over the West, former US diplomats and officials warn "You've got to take it seriously because Russia has crossed the Rubicon many times before when people said they wouldn't," one expert warned."We don't know what President Putin's intentions are, but we do know what's happened in the past," Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told reporters. "We do know the playbook of trying to cite some illusory provocation from Ukraine or any other country and then using that as an excuse to do what Russia is planning to do all along.

Admittedly Ukraine cannot do this all by itself. It still needs International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans and Western military and political support. But without progress on the internal scene, that support will not be forthcoming. In this manner, de facto conditionality of the material and political support being sent to Kyiv is the right policy.

Were Ukraine to desist from reform to meet the visible military threat, it would be conquered rather easily from within and be isolated internationally. There is a lesson here for other similarly threatened European states, particularly in the Balkans. Relying on Moscow is like riding a tiger. Not only will the failure to take care of domestic reform isolate you from other institutions and states' assistance; it will also ensure that you end up inside the tiger.

Therefore, Zelensky's revelations highlight the intertwined dual threats Ukraine faces and what must be done to prevent them from being realized.

Stephen Blank, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). He is also a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College. Blank is an independent consultant focused on the geopolitics and geostrategy of the former Soviet Union, Russia and Eurasia.

Talks on Ukraine would pose challenge of their own for Biden .
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said this week the U.S. would take a more direct role in diplomacy to address Vladimir Putin's concerns over Ukraine and Europe at large, part of a broader effort to dissuade the Russian leader from ordering a destabilizing new invasion of Ukraine. But any negotiations to peacefully resolve Europe’s tangled East-West rivalries will present minefields all their own for the U.S. president. AdministrationBut any negotiations to peacefully resolve Europe’s tangled East-West rivalries will present minefields all their own for the U.S. president.

usr: 0
This is interesting!