Russia’s Red Line to NATO Encroachment

Western corporate media and the White House have dissimulated Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s boast of a $5 Billion contribution to the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government, blaming Russian aggression rather than Western duplicity and illegality. However, correspondence has come to light which demonstrates that the US Administration was aware to the last detail exactly what the ramifications of their actions would be in Ukraine.

The author of the minutely detailed cable outlining the complexities and dangers of US-EU-NATO meddling in Ukraine is William Burns, currently Deputy Secretary of State. From November 2005 to May 2008, he was US Ambassador to Moscow.

On 1 February 2008, in correspondence marked “Confidential” and obtained by Wikileaks, he wrote in words that are positively clairvoyant. Here are some extracts:

“Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (Russian) Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat.

“NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.

“Additionally, the (Government of Russia) and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on … Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally. In Georgia, the (Russian government) fears continued instability and ‘provocative acts’ in the separatist regions.”

Under: “NATO Enlargement, Potential Military Threat to Russia,” Burns writes:

“During his annual review of Russia’s foreign policy January 22nd-23rd, Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that Russia had to view continued eastward expansion of NATO, particularly to Ukraine and Georgia, as a potential military threat.

“While Russia might believe statements from the West that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at recent military activities in NATO countries (establishment of U.S. forward operating locations, etc.) they had to be evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential.

“Lavrov … acknowledged that the U.S. and Europe had ‘legitimate interests’ in the region. But, he argued, while countries were free to make their own decisions about their security and which political-military structures to join, they needed to keep in mind the impact on their neighbors.”

These are hardly the reflections of an unreasonable aggressor, but of a thoughtful, realistic, diplomatic pragmatist.

The Foreign Minister also: “emphasized that Russia was convinced that enlargement was not based on security reasons, but was a legacy of the Cold War. He disputed arguments that NATO was an appropriate mechanism for helping to strengthen democratic governments …

“Russia understood that NATO was in search of a new mission, but there was a growing tendency for new members to do and say whatever they wanted simply because they were under the NATO umbrella — e.g. attempts of some new member countries to ‘rewrite history and glorify fascists.”

Moreover, in a government press briefing on 22 January a spokesman stressed: “that Russia was bound with Ukraine by bilateral obligations set forth in the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Co-operation and Partnership in which both parties undertook to ‘refrain from participation in or support of any actions capable of prejudicing the security of the other …’ further noting: “Ukraine’s likely integration into NATO would seriously complicate the many-sided Russian-Ukrainian relations,” leading to Russia “considering appropriate measures.”

Ambassador Burns’ remarkable understanding of the regional complexities are reflected further:

“Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests.

“Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”

What a pity that William Burns, Deputy to John Kerry and with the ear of President Obama, arguably the most unworthy Nobel Peace Prize winner since Henry Kissinger, has fallen silent on his detailed predictions.

In Kiev on Wednesday, William Hague accused Moscow of disruptive behaviour, threatening larger numbers of NATO forces in eastern Europe: “in a way that should worry Russia in the long term … we will exclude Russia from the G8 and the OECD.” And please note: “Taken over the next decade these events will have a major effect on Russia.” Wait until Russia cuts off Europe’s oil and gas supplies Mr Hague.

On 8 May 2014, Victoria Nuland outlined to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in some detail the US ongoing meddling in Ukraine and the propping up of an entirely illegal government and interference in the upcoming election on 25 May.

Washington is offering “financial, technical and non-lethal security assistance” for the election.

“In addition to $92 million in 2013 State/USAID funds and $86 million in 2014 funds, we are providing an additional $50 million in technical assistance and the $1 billion dollar loan guarantee under the authority passed by Congress on April 1st.”

US “electoral assistance” includes “$11 million for non-partisan election activities, including efforts to support voter education and civic participation”, as well as participation as observers in the upcoming poll.

“In addition to the one hundred OSCE observers we are sending, the United States is supporting two hundred and fifty five long-term observers and over three thousand three hundred short-term observers,” Nuland said.

Also added is “$18 million in non-lethal security assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces and State Border Guard Service to enable them to fulfill their core missions.”

Read fixers, manipulators and spooks at every level.

As I write and Russia commemorates the twenty six million souls who died fighting on the side of the Allies in World War 11, the Cold War is back. The US, UK, EU, and NATO just could not countenance “giving peace a chance.” Beyond shame on them all.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) Read other articles by Felicity.