The Relief of the Light Brigade, 25 Oct. 25, 1854. Oil by Richard Caton Woodville, 1897.[EDITOR’S FORWARD: Dr. Khawaja presents an interesting analysis in this piece when taken from the position that the overthrow of the Ukrainian government was largely an organic action. It also provides some good insights into some of the ideological foibles of the various national actors involved. However, in this editor’s view, I believe that he gives far too little credit to the active engagement of the United States in planning and supporting “regime change” in Ukraine. That in turn lead to the current explosive situation. This engagement is well documented elsewhere, even to the point of a leaked phone call between high ranking US diplomats Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt. In a question I posed to the author regarding this issue, he acknowledged that there had been some US involvement, but felt there was an intelligence failure that kept them from predicting the Russian response. I think they didn’t believe that Russia would seriously challenge them. I think there is much to be garnered from Dr. Kahwaja’s analysis.]
“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” (J.Edgar Hoover -1895-1972).
Russia under Putin is poised to come out of the shadows of relevance to a position of visible strength in global affairs. It is a revival of the Russian political imagination drawing on new ideas and ideals under comparatively young and energetic leadership of Vladimir Putin and Meadeve – the re-booted PM under Putin Presidency. President Obama and the EU leaders look exhausted and bewildered in a world of divided consciousness and how to cope with the fast changing Russian mindset. Ukraine just happened to be a conveniently available, ideal to put Americans entrenched status and Western European odyssey into spotlight but with a revamped force of achieving the strategic goals and to enhance the Russian lost vision of invincible Empire. So far, nobody could dare to disturb the progressive dream turned into attainable reality in weeks and days to foresee Crimea annexed into the Russian Federation and Ukraine being put under watchful guidance and controlled maneuverability of the Russian foreign policy objectives. Hypocrisy and willful deceit at its best, Putin denies the presence of Russian intervention forces in Crimea but the prevalent reality on the ground speaks clearly of the Russian military intervention as a planned act of provocation against its own formal agreement with Ukraine. Under a false pretext to protect the Russian ethnic majority in Crimea, Putin makes an obsolete claim as under the former USSR, Russians were placed all over the occupied states to ensure its authoritarian communist hold over the people lacking choice and voice for their rights and freedom.
America and West European had lost touch with the emerging political and economic stigma facing Ukraine and some other former East European satellites of the former USSR. What makes embarrassing to the American and West European intelligence failure is a point of considerable discussion in 2014. Across America and the EU sphere of political and economic influence, common citizens were led to believe that America and EU as one powerful group of influential agents possess unchallenging strength in global power and intelligence hub, not necessarily marginalized by Russia or any other entities in the world. Not so, the courageous disclosures by Snowden and Greenwald have tarnished that image of intelligence invincibility to bring to light how these so called democratic societies have betrayed the hopes and trust of the masses to victimize them under continuous surveillance for years and used suspicion and deceptions as databank to instill the imposition of unconstitutional acts against the very citizens who embody the sanctity of the State and enriched the making of the Constitution. If the masses are wired under illegal surveillance to extort their positive energies and productivity and they rightfully mistrust the governance, and when people are not the force of moral and intellectual capitalism, how else the elected leaders could claim to be genuine representatives of the democratic system of governance? To cover up their secretive and unhealthy mental microscope, the American politicians and intelligence official networks continue to lie and deceive to the well informed global community. How strange, why the most active American and EU intelligence networks were not aware of the emerging military and political challenges and incursions in Crimea and Ukraine? Societies evolve and progress when they are open to rational communications and enjoin cooperation and mutual respects, not conflicts and illegal and immoral intelligence spying as stumbling blocks. Is “America a country at war with an Illusion” (Information Clearing House: 8/19/2013) asks William Boardman:
“We are waging war on terrorism even as we embody terrorism. No wonder we seem sometimes to be at war with ourselves, and have been for most of the 21st century….. No American under 12 has Lived in a Country at Peace…whatever the U.S. government knows, or thinks it knows, is not widely shared with most of its citizens….. The American Enemies List Is Decided Anonymously and Secretly.”
An individual is left with no choice to fear what was unthinkable, now becoming a perceivable possibility that Russia could re-emerge as a superpower to challenge the odds of Western strategic priorities, be it near its borders or across the globe wherever Russian economic and political interests will come into clash with the Western nations.
The informed humanity understands that politics is a game of pretension and always remains problematic. Politicians need problems to get public attention and to argue being the deliverers. Most politicians are self-centered, often naïve about the real world except of their own, they are nothing except being treacherous, cynical and deceitful to their ideas and ideals and to the public interests they claim to serve. Facts of political reality are denied and vindictive political agenda is pursued as norm to encounter the most unusual and unpredictable challenges in emerging political affairs between Russia and the Western world. Global politics is not the respectable powerhouse of human aspirations, ethical standards and moral and intellectual values. When faced with odd vested interests and uncertainties, people, nations and leaders defy commonly held attributes of moral and intellectual heritage simply to cross-over to what best could serve their own maniac obsessions to be more resourceful and powerful. Who does not tell lies and deceive global conscience in pursuit of their own national interests and political agendas? Russians, Americans and Europeans and others are all in the same boat of degeneration, triviality and viciousness as the history will tell us too clearly. Crisis in Ukraine highlights some of the cumbersome issues confronting the global political observers. Crimea is under Russian military occupation and its claimed ethnicity cluster will unfold dramatic consequential events and development to enlarge the scope of Russian influence in days and weeks to come. Other existing minorities of Tartars Muslims and Ukrainians in Crimea and Doestkn will be targeted victims if Russia was to enforce its dictum without any political and legal challenge. As it stands now, Crimea could well be grabbed into the Russian strategic domain and be held as a hostage until political affairs in Western Ukraine come to some sense of political normalcy and return to a publicly elected governance. Undeniably, Crimea lifelines are linked to Ukraine as its territorial integrity, water and energies originate from Ukraine, not from Russia. People do have legitimate voice to be part of Russia or Ukraine but at what cost? How could Crimea be a flash point for futuristic ethnic divides and continued conflicts? Russia and the Western world both are at risk of being drawn into a larger and much unimaginative paradoxes of contemporary history without a point of return to evolving friendly ties as seemed to grow out of the recent Sochi Winter Olympics and the decade-old socio-economic and political interactive communications and the opening-up of the process of normalization for cooperation in economic development projects and democratic institutional-building in Russia after the collapse of the Communism. These aims cannot be undermined in short and long terms strategic interests to all concerned.
Leaders on both sides need to acquire an enlightened understanding that in crisis management, effective leaders do not rush to hasty reactionary judgments and naïve conclusions of belligerency and warmongering. This is what President Obama and political leaders of the West European countries (EU) are preoccupied to deal with a situation in Ukraine and Crimea that is abnormal and unusual in current global affairs. Putin and Russia are not the toys to be played with ups and down and threatened with economic sanctions. Effective and proactive leadership characteristics embody new and creative ideas and strategies to find amicable and workable alternatives if not one-sided glory and triumph in complex conflict situations. In a 21st century knowledge-driven world of information and expertise, President Obama and the European leaders seem to have lost the opportunity to utilize this moral and intellectual capital in finding a workable solution in Crimea and perhaps to some extent in ensuring a democratic Ukraine. Is it that the West does not have this capacity anymore to exercise in global affairs after rationality turned into insanity in Iraq, Afghanistan and drone war in North-Western parts of Pakistan? President Obama and the Europeans are talking of the Russian military intervention and occupation of Crimea and calling reference to international laws and violations of human rights, freedom and what not. Would they see the mirror and stand to accountability to realize how they are hated and feared for their atrocities in killing almost three millions innocent people in Iraq, almost million displaced, murdered in Afghanistan and continuing drone attacks on the civilians in Pakistan ending-up several thousands innocent women and children burnt alive by the firing missile.
Russia (under former USSR) is no angel and did many atrocities and crimes and killed innocent people some thirty–forty years earlier in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Afghanistan. How could it stand straight and be morally clean and respectable in global political standing? Naïve leadership egoism and embittered insanity are not the rational approaches to the 21st century knowledge-based conflict management. President Obama and the European leaders (EU) are engaged in time killing exercise of reactionary threats and economic sanctions against Russia if and but this should happen and Ukraine is further attacked – the old gun and boat diplomacy to tackle a complex and highly sensitive ethnic-political problems involving multiple factors for change, understanding and manifestation for the future-making. Russia does have leverage over Western Europe as supplier of natural gas and oil to their industrial operations. Great knowledge but small wisdom and often sadistic foresight are the real problems in failure to rationalize the optimism for change out of a critical political problem. This is not the end-game to threaten Putin or gradually evolving strong and powerful Russia. America and the Europeans would desperately need Russia and its participation in dealing with the issues of nuclear advancement of Iran and the agreement under discussion, to end the on-going war in Syria, and the safe disposal of chemical weapons out of the Syrian regime, and futuristic strategic collaboration between Russia and the larger Western world’s economic and political interests. Do they have the moral insight and vigilant eye to understand all the converging factors before they jump to a wish list asking Russia to resolve the Crimea issue without resort to violence and political interference? When was the last time that American politicians and Europeans were opened to listening to voices of reason and not to invade Iraq and Afghanistan out of greed and vindictiveness for their own hegemonic economic and political interests?
Confronting the major paradoxes of history, Arnold Toynbee in “A Study of History,” described ‘warrior as dreamers’ devoid of moral and intellectual imagination when they come close to stagnation they jump to irrational outbursts and conclusions about the facts of life. Wrong people, glued to wrong thinking, do the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. President Obama failed to see the interests of the global community to a peaceful approach to conflict management through dialogue and non-rhetoric belligerent statements. Are the contemporary Western leaders inept and redundant? To launch political campaigns and get elected most politicians rely on consultants and strategic advisors. Once in power, these dummies cannot distinguish between the role of a national leader and a political campaigner. Often they lack moral and intellectual leadership visions, traits and proactive know-how. They flunk and always seek advisory opinions rather than having their own capability for change and adaptability to the new role-play. They enforce individualistic ambitions to be politician in policies and practices rather than as a competent leader, always thinking to be re-elected and nothing else. People and nations lose precious time and opportunities for change because of the folly of the so called politicians. Thinking big and demanding high hopes out of the unplanned efforts and irrational reactionary behaviors would not assist any leaders or nations to reach out to a sustainable political outcome. Insane rages and favorite perversion from the prevalent political challenges would not pave ways to settle a volatile political stigma developed after long time of indifference and neglect by the Western nations as far as Ukraine is concerned. Despite claims to democratic clichés and norms, most Western leaders are obsessed with reactionary thinking and behaviors, not necessarily taking seriously to find innovative strategies and to think out of the box for change and futuristic relationships with some adjustable and workable alternatives agreeable to all concerned. Undeniably, Russian blunders in Eastern Ukraine will have serious consequences for future relationships with the rest of the global community. The point of vital concern should be to defuse and deescalate a volatile military intervention leading to more disastrous consequences, not just for Ukraine, Crimea but to the whole of Western world. If American leaders and the EU politicians had the moral and knowledge-based intellectual strength and usable force in global interactive communication, someone should have taken the leadership initiatives in a crisis situation to have direct and face to- face diplomatic dialogue with Putin including the leaders of Ukraine, Crimea and the other interested parties from the region. What is there to make reactionary media headlines and White House zeroed-in cameras? After weeks and witnessing daily and continuing disruptive and highly chargeable political and military developments, all appear to be more of spectators than intelligent and effective leaders to make a difference in an unwanted and prolonged warfare that will serve no purpose to the people of the globe or to the immediate region of conflicts.
President Obama offered nothing new to the present and futuristic generations of America to build a peaceful relationship with the rest of the humanity except continuing George Bush’s bogus War on Terrorism. “There are the times that try men’s soul”, noted Thomas Paine in his famous “Common Sense,” the moral and intellectual bible of the American independence. In situations of adversity and crises, competent leaders represent hope and optimism for change, not egoistic political agenda and animosity……. America was enriched with intellectual foresight to safeguard the rest of the mankind. But its contemporary leaders and major institutions seem to defy the logic of collaboration and co-existing with others.
Late historian Howard Zen defined “History is a Weapon and tyranny is tyranny.” For sure, historical change will replace America’s global time capsule with others, more understanding and relevant to the mankind. After eight years of Bush-like warmongering, perpetuated hatred for others and degenerating impacts, history will judge President Obama and the EU leaders by their actions, not by claims. Paul Craig Roberts (“Washington is Insane.” PaulCraigRoberts.org 6/17/2013), attempts to offer a rational context to the complex problem:
“In the 21st century the two hundred year-old propaganda that the American people control their government has been completely shattered. Both the Bush and Obama regimes have made it unmistakenly clear that the American people don’t even influence, much less control, the government. As far as Washington is concerned, the people are nothing but chaff in the wind….Washington’s double-speak is now obvious to the world. Not only Assad, but also the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and every US puppet state which includes all of NATO and Japan, are fully aware that Washington is again lying through its teeth. The Russians, Chinese, and Iranians are trying to avoid confrontation with Washington, as war with the modern nuclear weapons would destroy all life on planet earth…. Considering the utterly insane government ruling in Washington, if human life exists in 2020, it will be a miracle.”
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012.