Below are two very interesting and timely articles from Zero Hedge (a site that has been having some extremely pertinent news and commentary recently):
[This article is worth reading in full, below are just a few highlights]
For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials.
Within hours of the MH-17 plane crash, the United States pinned the blame on Russia generally, and Putin particularly. The anti-Putin propaganda (and if there were a stronger term I'd use it) has been relentless and almost comically over-the-top (see image above, and those below).
The US and the UK in particular, are leading the charge. Indeed, the UK's Daily Mail managed to crank out an article on the MH-17 affair within just a few hours on the very same day it occurred
That's really an amazing piece of journalism to have managed to have figured out the who, the what and the why of a major catastrophe without the benefit of any evidence or investigation. One wonders who the author's source was for obtaining what have become very crisp talking points that both the US and Europe are echoing as they exert increasing pressure on Russia?
Nearly two weeks later, neither the US nor Europe has provided substantial evidence of any sort to support their assertions that Ukrainian separatists and/or Russia are to blame for the MH-17 catastrophe. There's literally been nothing.
In the meantime, very important questions surrounding the shoot-down have gone entirely unaddressed by US officials and the western media. Why? Perhaps because they raise the possibility that there could be an alternative explanation:
- What about the Russian satellite photos showing Kiev controlled BUK-1 missile batteries in the area on July 17th?
- What about Russia's evidence that the radar of these units were active on July 15th, 16th and 17th?
- What were on the air traffic control recordings that were immediately seized by Ukrainian authorities, and why have they not been released?
- Why was a Ukrainian SU-25 flying within a few kilometers of MH-17 at the moment of the shoot-down and what did that pilot see?
- Why has the US not responded to nor released the satellite images and data from its spy satellite that Russia claims was in the right position to capture the precise moment of the MH-17 shoot-down?
So far, the entire case made by the US State Department and Obama administration boils down to a few highly-questionable social media clips gathered right after the incident, plus several out-of-date low-resolution satellite photos taken from a private company(DigitalGlobe) along with a bevy of 'trust us' statements.
Nonetheless, despite the lack of solid, verified and credible evidence, the current narrative has now been embedded firmly in the media cycle and nearly everyone on the streets of the US, UK and most European nations will tell you that Putin and/or Russia was responsible.
In all of the thousands of column inches I've read demonizing Putin over the developments in Ukraine and MH-17, I've yet to identify a single compelling answer to this question: What vital US interest is at stake if Russia keeps Crimea and helps to defend the Russian-speaking people along its border? To my knowledge, it's not yet been articulated by anyone at the State Department or White House.
What exactly has Putin done to surpass the excesses of past Russian/Soviet leaders? What the US still refers to as the "illegal annexation of Crimea" was actually the result of a heavy turn-out vote by the Crimean people where 97% of the votes cast were in favor of rejoining Russia.
So, to recap, Crimea's people voted overwhelmingly to shape their future in the way they best saw fit, and not one life was lost during the annexation. That sounds pretty peaceful and democratic if you ask me. What would Washington DC prefer? To undo that particular vote and have the people of Crimea be forcibly reunited with Ukraine? For what purpose? To prevent map makers from having to once again redraw Ukraine's wandering borders?
With all of that background, we're now at the point where we can understand just how annoyed Russia must be at the sanctions that have been recently levied against it, various of its industries, and in certain cases, specific wealthy and influential citizens.
Since the MH-17 downing and all of those resulting accusations of Russian responsibility, Russia has been accused of firing artillery and rockets across its border into Ukraine. The only "evidence" to this is the aforementioned crude satellite photos taken by a private company. These photos were then drawn upon (literally) to show trajectories the missiles *could* have followed. These very non-rigorous images were then tweeted out of the account of one Geoffrey Pyatt as hard fact. If his name isn't familiar to you, he's the US Ukrainian ambassador who was famously caught on tape with Victoria Nuland (Asst. Sec. of State) discussing the imminent coup against then-Ukrainian President Yanukovych.
Next, a western tribunal in The Hague suddenly ruled that the former shareholders of the dismantled Russian oil giant Yukos were entitled to $50 billion in compensation to be paid by the Russian government. Surprise!
In chilling response, a person close to Putin reportedly said, “There is a war coming in Europe. Do you really think this matters?”
Following that, the US accused Russia of violating the 1987 nuclear arms treaty by testing ground based missiles in...wait for it...2008. I'm sure the timing of this is in no way connected to the dust-up over Ukraine...
And most recently, both the US and the EU levied additional sanctions on Russia and certain Russian individuals:
The people of Russia are not in any mood to be bullied by the US Senate, just as the US Senate would refuse to be dictated to by the Russian parliament. That's just common sense.
It's completely obvious that the impact of any such Act passed by the US legislature would be to further erode, if not collapse, relations and economic ties between Russia and the US.
The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.
In Part 2: How The Coming Confrontation Will Unfold, we examine the most likely scenarios for where the current tensions between the West and Russia may head.
[If this is true, then it may reveal a big crack in U.S. - EU solidarity in terms of dealing with Russia, and isolating the U.S. rather than Russia, which would represent a huge turn of events]
While many were amused by this photo of Putin and Merkel during the world cup final showing Europe's two most important leaders siding side by side, some were more curious by just what the two were scheming:
Thanks to the Independent, we may know the answer, and it is a doozy, because according to some it is nothing shy of a sequel to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: allegedlyGermany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over the Ukraine, one which would negotiate to trade Crimea's sovereignty for guarantees on energy security and trade. The Independent reveals that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, "hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies."
Which, of course, goes back to the fundamental question behind the Eurozone experiment: just who calls the shots. And despite what the UK (and certainly France) believe, that one person was and continues to be Merkel. And at the end of the day, pragmatic Germany knows that for all the posturing and rhetoric, the biggest loser from a western embargo of Russia (which is now actively shifting its attention to China and now India) would be Germany itself.
This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in the Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.
Curiously, if there is one entity that could scuttle the deal it is, no surprise there, the US.
Incidentally, the same Americans which over the past 2 years has been desperate to start a regional war in any one part of the globe in order to break some more windows and boost GDP courtesy of the tried and true "Military Industrial Complex" GDP boost. Which is why if indeed the Ukraine peace process is in the arms of the US, thenperhaps Putin's advisor was spot on when he said that "There is a war coming in Europe." Compliments of the United States?