Big Four sign cease fire agreement over Ukraine
Feb 13, 2015
We certainly are living in interesting times.
Yesterday Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France concluded a peace deal in regard to the Ukraine crisis. The news media complained that Russia got everything it wanted, and Ukraine got nothing except a cease fire. Putin was holding all the cards and bargained from a position of strength, they said.
The absence of the US as a negotiator was glaring. In diplomatic language, the US was marginalized. The world understood that the US was being overruled. Germany and France were removing themselves from US hegemony and dealing with Russia directly. This came about mostly because the Europeans remember the previous World Wars and do not want to be caught in the crossfire between the US and Russia. The US-led NATO was pushing them into a war that they do not want.
That alone is the diplomatic version of a major military victory in battle. Not only does this signal the end of US hegemony in Europe, but also shows disunity in NATO and may even foreshadow the breakup of NATO itself.
Having said that, the next question is whether or not this peace deal will actually hold. It is supposed to take effect Sunday. Heavy weaponry is to be withdrawn from the battle front, leaving the war to be fought only with light arms. To me, this does not sound much like peace. Yet if everyone would abide by the terms of the cease fire, there could be peace.
However, I have little confidence in human nature, and history is full of examples where wars are more easily started than ended. Even our own oligarchs know that once our first soldier is killed, we can no longer stop the war, otherwise it would appear that his death was all in vain. Lies are the pretext for war, but casualties immediately become the reason to continue a war.
There are many casualties on both sides of the war in Ukraine. The side that perceives itself to be winning a war never wants a peace deal. Only losers sue for peace. The rebels in Ukraine believe themselves to be winning the war. The Kiev government hopes to win with US support, but political realities in Europe are preventing them from receiving much help, other than covert operations and secret shipments of arms.
So the Big Four summit is being seen as a big win for Putin and a defeat for the side-lined Obama, whether or not the cease fire holds. It may be that in the end, the US will have to back down completely in Ukraine. It was agreed that Russia would have a say in changing Ukraine’s constitution—no doubt to guarantee equal rights to its Russian population.
I can only imagine the angst this is causing in the US government, which is coming under siege in other areas as well.
The Snowden leaks have done enormous damage to the reputation of the US intelligence agencies, as people from around the world are able to see what they have said and done in secret. David Carr, a widely-respected journalist for the New York Times, moderated an interview with Snowden yesterday, and within a few hours he was dead.
Carr's sudden death came as a shock to an industry already reeling from a tumultuous week that included the suspension of "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, the announced departure of "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, and the traffic death of legendary CBS News correspondent Bob Simon -- all media stories the Times columnist wrote and commented on in the 48 hours preceding his collapse.
Earlier Thursday, Carr moderated a TimesTalk on the National Security Agency leaks with Edward Snowden, and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Within hours, he was dead.
We know that the intelligence agencies have machines that have the capability of causing heart attacks. Carr’s death will be listed as having natural causes, but the coincidence of timing makes many people suspicious. Likewise with yesterday’s car crash of the CBS reporter, Bob Simon, it makes us wonder if someone was sending a “Carr-car” message of intimidation to keep the media from breaking ranks.
What is going on in the media? Brian Williams was suspended for lying in some of his reports. Jon Stewart is retiring, too. In the past few years we have been seeing bankers being suicided, especially those who work for JP Morgan. But now we are seeing many journalists dying, retiring, or being exposed. We should watch this in the coming months. It could get ugly.
The next two weeks may see the turning point in this war between East and West. I suspect that February 17-23 will bring some events to a climax, because it is the culmination of Operation Jericho (September of 2011). But even as the original battle of Jericho was only the first major battle when Joshua took the Kingdom, so also I do not expect this to be the last battle in our time.