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The rapprochement between China and the Baltic countries

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The intensity of cooperation between China and Russia has increased and its sources have diversified, especially those Russian facilities for China to reach places close to the areas of Russian influence, especially in (the Eurasian region overlooking the countries of Eastern Europe and the three Baltic countries and their ports). This prompted NATO Secretary General “Stoltenberg” to issue an official statement, in which he affirmed that:

 “Our NATO forces are alternately present in the Baltic Sea, Poland and Romania, and we have new methods of intervention. In the event of a crisis, reinforcements from new units can be quickly delivered to the place, and NATO will be “vigilant” with regard to the country of Belarus, given that it is a friendly country to Russia and which  Challenge three NATO member states of (Poland, Latvia and Lithuania)”

  Through Stoltenberg’s statement, in his military capacity, as Secretary of NATO, we understand the sensitivity of the Eastern European region, in particular (the Baltic Sea ports) of the three bordering countries, which are: “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania”, and perhaps this makes us understand clearly that (approach  the hard-line state of Lithuania from the Baltic states towards China), which coincided with the issuance of “NATO”, in which he emphasized his ability to protect his allies from the Baltic states and Eastern Europe and their ports against any kind of threats from Minsk, Moscow or China. Hence, we understand the developments in China’s relations with that region through Russia’s assistance to it, as follows:

China, with the help of Russia, tried to engage in a (joint naval maneuvers in the Baltic Sea region), so Russia succeeded in opening the doors for China to enhance its presence in the north of the European continent, which is formed new burdens on the US administration and to send strong messages to Washington in order to (stop provoking China and trying to besiege its influence in Asia and the Pacific). China has thus become (practicing a new policy that is more involved in the regional politics of Europe, West Asia and the Baltic region through the Russian gate, in response to the American involvement in Southeast Asia by strengthening its naval power).

Moscow and China began preparing (for the first phase) of the joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea region for the first time since July 2017, which bore the name “Nautical Cooperation-2017”. Then (the second phase) of those exercises began in mid-September 2017, in the (Sea of ​​Japan and Okhotsk) region. With the successive US and military warnings to NATO, the defense ministries of Russia and China confirmed that these exercises are a normal tradition aimed at “strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership in Russian-Chinese relations” and do not pose a threat to any party.

These joint training plans between China and Russia have aroused many reactions and fears from many NATO military countries, especially since China is participating in them for the first time in the Baltic Sea.  The Polish Defense Minister (Anthony Macherewicz) accused both Russia and China of (their strategic alliance poses a threat to the free world). In the same context, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania (Linas Linkavivicius), spoke of the danger of these exercises, which constitute a “challenge to NATO in the Baltic Sea”, stressing that “these maneuvers are now standing at the gates of Europe”.

These joint maneuvers between China and Russia in the Baltic Sea may carry a political message to both the “American administration and NATO”, according to which: “Russia and China support and protect each other”. However, China’s willingness to display its naval forces in the Baltic Sea, may indicate two things:

The first matter: It refers to (China’s long-term geopolitical plans, which Europe has become at its core). It appears here that Chinese plans aim to be present in the Atlantic and Baltic Sea region, in response to the US presence in the heart of its Asian influence.

The second matter: also indicates that (Beijing intends to realize these plans with the participation of Russia), Russia also aims to ensure China’s assistance to it in the Far East, specifically in the “Sea of ​​Japan”, due to the Japanese-Russian dispute over the “Kuril Islands”, so it is understood under the pretext of the presence of the American warships there, as a claim of protecting the interests of its Asian allies, which could lead to the permanent ignition of the Asian region.

However, despite the intensity of the joint Sino-Russian military and naval presence in the ports and countries of the Baltic Sea, it is expected that the rapprochement between the Baltic countries and China will increase, especially after (signing more than twenty bilateral investment treaties between the member states of the European Union with China), this  the European- Chinese agreement, will inevitably reduce the volume of security fears and doubts and raise political pressures on the Baltic countries for fear of dealing with the Beijing government.

In general, there is a (growing trend of pragmatic-economic populism in the Baltic states and the European Union), which sees the necessity of cooperation with China in all economic fields permitted by international relations, allowing a space for free economic cooperation between the Baltic countries and China in the future.

The Baltic countries participated in diplomatic representation (at a lower level than heads of state only at the level of ministers), in the (17+1 summit), chaired by Chinese President “Xi Jinping”, on cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries. The (17 + 1) initiative was established in 2012 in the Hungarian capital of “Budapest”, with the aim of (expanding economic cooperation between Beijing and the member states of Central and Eastern Europe).

The general framework of the (17 + 1) initiative between China and Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states, focuses on infrastructure projects, such as: (bridges, highways, railways, and ports modernization) in the member states. The “17+1 initiative” includes about (twelve member states of the European Union, including the “Balkans, Baltic states, Eastern European countries”).

China cooperates with a large number of Balkan, Baltic and Central and Eastern European countries, within the framework of the “17+1 Initiative”. China views the “17+1 initiative” – ​​to a large extent – as an extension of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative countries cooperating with China can be divided, as follows:

Among the most prominent (Balkan countries) with which China cooperates within the framework of the “17+1 initiative”,which are:

  (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania)

Among the most prominent (Eastern European countries) in the “17+1 initiative”, which cooperates with China, are: (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia)

While the (Baltic States) in the “17+1 initiative”, cooperating with China, are: (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

Here, (the diplomatic representation below the level of the heads of the Baltic states in the 17 + 1 summit initiative) indicates a remarkable shift in the political position of the Baltic states from engaging more with China, and we find that (the trends of popular public opinion in the Baltic countries in 2021 showed a welcome  of the Baltic citizens in economic cooperation with China), as the majority of the citizens of the Baltic states do not see that Beijing poses a threat to the influence of Brussels.

As for the (position of governments in the Baltic countries to deal with China), we find that (Lithuania is the most hard-line against the Chinese side), and Lithuania’s most hard-line position against China, regarding the (Lithuanian request from the World Health Organization “WHO” to invite Taiwan to attend a meeting to discuss the response  the global epidemic, but Beijing prevented Taiwan from participating as part of it).

On the other hand, (Latvia and Estonia) are looking for ways to deal with China (either at the bilateral level, or side by side with the European Union), and at the same time they are trying to ensure their national security, especially with what was announced by the “intelligence service”. State of Latvia in May 2020, in its annual report on national security, emphasizing:

  “China represents a cyber threat, and it is necessary to stay as far as possible from the effects of the Sino-American-European conflicts without burning the bridges of dealing between Latvia with any of them”

Newspapers in the Baltic countries have sometimes been interested in covering visits to China or vice versa, or publishing positive articles about China, which can be summarized in (an important phrase that has dangerous and far-reaching connotations), which is: “China has communists, but it’s not communism”

The trends of popular public opinion of the Baltic countries towards China are evident in (the possibility of economic cooperation with Beijing, with the necessity of not being geopolitical between the Baltic countries and China), while emphasizing at the same time the need to continue the Baltic external political and diplomatic dependence more on (European Union countries). And Russia, as part of the security system, borders and geopolitics of the Baltic states, as well as the Baltic’s cooperation with the United States of America as a (leader of NATO and its members), especially in the political, diplomatic, security and defense aspects.

   The Egyptian researcher has reached through this point related to (the Chinese presence in the Baltic Sea countries and ports with the help of its ally Russia and the protest of Washington and NATO security), to the adoption of the Russian policy for the Chinese agenda in Eastern Europe and the three Baltic states, which are: “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania”, and even encouraging it.  It is the result of increased US interference in Russian and Chinese affairs.  And we find that the goal of Russia and China, through the maneuvers of “Nautical Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region 2017”, for the first time, as if they want to (demonstrate that they are ready to defend their national interests against NATO and the United States), whether in the European West or in the Asian Far East in (Sea of ​​Japan, Okhotsk and the Kuril Islands).

  My personal analysis is that the new Chinese presence in the region of “the ports of the Baltic states and in the Eurasian region”, with Russian assistance, is also aimed at (China deliberately to increase the burdens and pressures on American influence in the Eurasian region, Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Crimea and the Eurasian belt). With the aim of (occupying the United States of America and keeping it away from the “Indian and Pacific Oceans, the South and East China Seas, Southeast Asia”), which are all the main areas that fall into the core of the Chinese sphere of influence in the first place.

Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit

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Eastern Europe

Debunking Lies About the War in Ukraine

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Lie #1: The war started on 24 February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Before Ukraine’s President Volodmyr Zelensky quit negotiations with Russia to settle the war in Ukraine, he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on 20 March 2022, “I made a point that the war in Ukraine has been lasting for eight years. It’s not just some special military operation.” Zakaria had asked him “You have said recently that Ukraine perhaps will not be a member of NATO. You have admitted that. Could that — there are people who ask, could that concession, had you made it clearly and loudly earlier, could that have prevented this war?” Zelensky’s reply said that for Ukraine to make such a “concession” — unless some NATO countries would step up to provide “guarantees” to Ukraine’s winning this eight-year war — would be unacceptable to Ukrainians, because this war had started “eight years” earlier, and they wouldn’t accept now — after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 — a “concession” of an indispensable part of what their military has been fighting for ever since long before that, going all the way back to 2014 — virtual if not official membership in NATO, so that American missiles can then become posted on Ukraine’s border only 317 miles away from Russia’s command center in The Kremlin. That has always been Ukraine’s goal throughout this eight-year war. And for Ukraine to “concede” it to Russia now would be for Ukraine to lose what they have been waging war for eight years in order to attain. He also told Zakaria that Ukrainians would never accept any concession to Russia on what was, before 2014, Ukrainian land: Crimea and Donbass: “Any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty … We cannot concede to it.” The NATO issue is part of that: “NATO could be a source of guarantees for Ukraine, but we are not accepted as a member of NATO, so Ukraine has to seek for other security guarantees from individual countries, that could be NATO members. That is what we are proposing, a number of leaders of world countries could be the source of guarantees for Ukraine. They could be part of this circle of powerful countries. That is what we can talk about, security guarantees for Ukraine.” His war in Ukraine is a war for “sovereignty” within the Ukraine that existed before 2014, and including Ukraine’s right to allow U.S.-or-allied missiles to be posted there within only a five-minute flight-time away from nuclear-annihilating The Kremlin. He even said that “We are running out of time. You have to admit Ukraine into NATO right now. We do not have much time. You have to accept Ukraine as a member of E.U. [as a stepping-stone to being allowed into NATO]”. In other words: Only as a temporary measure would he accept some NATO countries offering to provide “guarantees” to Ukraine’s winning this eight-year war — and he is holding the same goal now, that Ukraine’s Government has been pursuing ever since 2014: for U.S. missiles to be able to be placed in Ukraine and thus only a five-minute missile flight-time from The Kremlin. (During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK refused to allow Soviet missiles to be placed 1,131 miles away from Washington DC.)

Here is a video of the 2014 regime-change in Ukraine which had produced this war. And here is what had led up to that historic regime-change event. And here is how that historic regime-change event ultimately produced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

So: the Big Lie about Ukraine’s war is that it started on 24 February 2022, instead of during 20-26 February 2014. Even Ukraine’s President acknowledges that it is false. For some reason, the leaders of Ukraine’s ‘allies’ (especially the U.S.) do not acknowledge it.

Lie #2: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 was illegal.

Here is why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 was actually legal under international law:

No one maintains that U.S. President John F. Kennedy lacked international legal authorization to invade the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union were to place its nuclear-warheaded missiles in Cuba only 1,131 miles away from Washington DC. Everyone recognized that if the Soviet Union and Cuba were to do that, it would constitute an act of aggression against the United States, because those missiles would be so close to America’s command-center in DC as to enable a blitz nuclear attack by the Soviet Union so fast as to possibly prohibit America’s strategic command to recognize the attack in time to launch its own, retaliatory, missiles.

This is the principle, that any major world power possesses the national self-defense right to prohibit any bordering nation from allowing weaponry and forces of a major world power that is hostile to this major world power to be placed in that bordering nation.

Whereas Cuba is 1,131 miles away from DC, Ukraine is only 317 miles away from The Kremlin. Five minutes away from The Kremlin would be so close as to mean game-over for Russia, checkmate by the U.S.

JFK demanded from both Cuba and the Soviet Union, that there will NEVER be Soviet missiles placed in Cuba, and the Soviet Union then promised that they would comply with that national-security demand by the U.S.; thus, WW III was averted.

This time around, the aggressors were America and Ukraine; and Russia (facing an even bigger threat than America did in 1962) imposed the same demand as JFK did, but its enemies were/are determined and clear aggressor nations — they refused to comply.

Why does ANYONE allege that allowing the United States to place its missiles only 317 miles (a 5-minute missile-flight away) from The Kremlin would not constitute aggression by the U.S. and Ukraine against Russia? Allowing Ukraine into NATO would grant the Governments of U.S. and Ukraine a right to place U.S. missiles 317 miles from The Kremlin — something that no rational Government of Russia would ever allow to happen. As Russia’s Government has said, this issue of permanently excluding Ukraine from NATO is “a matter of life and death” for Russia. And THAT is the reason it is.

The Cuban-Missile-Crisis precedent acknowledged that Russia now has a national-defense right to demand that Ukraine NEVER be allowed into NATO. This is what U.S., its NATO anti-Russian military alliance, and the existing Ukrainian Government, refuse to acknowledge.

On 17 December 2021, Russia demanded, from both the U.S. and its anti-Russian military alliance NATO, promises in writing, that Ukraine WILL NOT BE ALLOWED INTO NATO. On 7 January 2022, America and its NATO aggression-alliance both said no.

That left Russia either to capitulate to America and its NATO, or else to invade Ukraine in order to prevent that aggressor — America — from doing essentially what JFK had gotten the Soviet Union to do: to agree to the defending major world power’s extremely reasonable (actually necessary) demand and so promise NEVER to allow Ukraine into NATO.

America (and its NATO) thus forced Russia to invade Ukraine, in order to prevent nuclear “Checkmate!” by the U.S. regime. The aggressor was America — NOT Russia.

All of the U.S.-and-allied propaganda organs (including academic ones) that use the lying phrase “Russia’s illegal invasion of ukraine” must therefore be recognized as being the liars that they actually are. (Otherwise: they must declare JFK to have been violating international law by threatening Khrushchev with an American invasion if Soviet missiles would be placed in Cuba.)

What the Cuban-Missile-Crisis example displays is a more detailed statement of the Westphalian Principle or “Westphalian State System” as Oxford Reference defines that:

OVERVIEW

Westphalian state system

QUICK REFERENCE

Term used in international relations, supposedly arising from the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648 which ended the Thirty Years War. It is generally held to mean a system of states or international society comprising sovereign state entities possessing the monopoly of force within their mutually recognized territories. Relations between states are conducted by means of formal diplomatic ties between heads of state and governments, and international law consists of treaties made (and broken) by those sovereign entities. The term implies a separation of the domestic and international spheres, such that states may not legitimately intervene in the domestic affairs of another, whether in the pursuit of self‐interest or by appeal to a higher notion of sovereignty, be it religion, ideology, or other supranational ideal. In this sense the term differentiates the ‘modern’ state system from earlier models, such as the Holy Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire.

Richard Coggins

RTC

From:  Westphalian state system  in  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics 

That cites two “Empires” — Holy Roman, and Ottoman — but actually ALL empires violate Westphalianism. That includes today’s American empire.

During WW II, the advocates of Westphalianism were FDR and Stalin, and the opponents of Westphalianism were Churchill, Hirohito, Mussolini, and Hitler. Truman and his personal hero Eisenhower became FDR’s successors, and both of them were opponents of Westphalianism. This was the reason why the Cold War started: both of the first two American Presidents after FDR were imperialists. They created today’s military-industrial-complex-controlled America, the international American dictatorship that now exists and which has replaced FDR’s democracy.

An interesting sidelight to this is that whereas Sunni Islam, and the passion that some of them have for establishing an international “Caliphate,” accept imperialism or even advocate it (as Caliphate-proponents do), Shiite Islam opposes imperialism, and this has been one of the major reasons why Shiite Iran is rejected by all imperialistic Governments. Here is how Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei phrased this in his 21 October 2006 “Leader’s Speech in Meeting with Soldiers and Commanders of the Sacred Defense Era”:

There are two major differences between a defensive and an offensive war in terms of meaning and content. One difference is that an offensive war is based on transgression and aggression, but this is not the case with a defensive war. The second difference is that a defensive war is a place where zeal, courage and deep loyalty to ideals emerge. These ideals may be related to one’s country or … one’s religion. …. This does not exist in an offensive war. For example, when America attacks Iraq, an American soldier cannot claim that he is doing it for the love of his country. What does Iraq have to do with his country? This war is at the service of other goals, but if an Iraqi person resists this military invasion and presence inside his country, this means showing resistance and defending one’s country, national identity and those values that one believes in. …

Since the day the regime of Saddam attacked Tehran and struck the airport until the day Imam (r.a.) accepted the resolution – was a glorious era. And it continued to be a glorious era until Saddam attacked again and our revolutionary and mujahid people took over the entire desert. Basiji youth from throughout the country participated in the war and they put in an astonishing performance. This time – the second time that Iraq had attacked – they managed to make it retreat.

Between 1953 and 1979, Iran had been part of (i.e., a vassal of) the then-growing American empire, and Khamenei in that speech made a principled repudiation of THAT America — the post-FDR, imperialistic, America. But that America is now bipartisan in both of America’s political Parties, and is at war against the anti-imperialist nations of today, mainly Russia, China, and Iran — but also against any nation that is friendly toward any of those three. The anti-imperialist nations are pro-Westphalian; the imperialist nations are (and always have been) anti-Westphalian.

Ever since Obama’s coup in Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine has been and is a U.S.-vassal nation. Its demand to have the right for U.S. missiles to be positioned only about 300 miles away from the Kremlin is actually a U.S.-NATO demand that is placed upon this vassal-nation’s leaders as a precondition to be able to receive weapons from U.S.-NATO against Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion. Zelensky is a U.S.-NATO stooge. This entire problem is a problem of U.S. imperialism. Ukraine is America’s proxy. Russia is defending itself against U.S. aggression.

Today’s international law doesn’t mention the Westphalian Principle, because FDR had died and the U.N. (which he invented and named) became created in Truman’s image, not in FDR’s; and so it accepts imperialism (which FDR passionately despised and loathed). That’s part of the gutting which has resulted, of FDR’s envisioned U.N.

Lie #3: Russia’s 24 February 2024 invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked.

Click on this to see instances of that rabidly false allegation; and here and here are two typical examples of it. But the provocation is America’s demand that its vassal-nation Ukraine must have a ‘right’ to place U.S. missiles only 5 minutes from Moscow. It is outrageous, and a violation of Westphalianism (which is based upon a clear distinction between aggressor and defender).

Lie #4: Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine was aggressive not defensive.

Consequently, the phrases “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine” and “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, which are two typical phrases in media reports and official statements against Russia in this war — typical examples being this and this — all are baldfaced lies. Why are they used against Russia now, when in 1962 no one was alleging that JFK acted other than defensively in the Cuban Missile Crisis? (Furthermore: he wasn’t responsible for his neoconservative predecessor Eisenhower’s having positioned U.S. missiles in Turkey in 1959, which had precipitated what Khrushchev did in Cuba. In the settlement that avoided WW III, Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba and American missiles were removed from Turkey. The U.S. regime was actually the aggressor in the combined 1959-1962 Turkey-Cuba Missile-Crisis.)

Any alleged report that employs any such phrase as “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine” and “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, is propaganda — lying ‘news’ or ‘history’ — that bases itself upon the false unstated assumption that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 started the war in Ukraine, instead of responded to a war in Ukraine that U.S. President Barack Obama’s Administration (including Joe Biden) — the American Government — had actually started there, in 2014, against Ukraine’s adjoining nation of Russia. America is planning ultimately to invade Russia from the only nation that is only 300 miles away from Moscow (Russia’s central command — far closer than Cuba was to Washington DC during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis).

Here, as proven in the links, are the historical facts, documenting the U.S. Government’s increasing aggression against Russia — using Ukraine as its primary springboard in its plan to conquer Russia:

The Obama Administration perpetrated in February 2014 a bloody Ukrainian coup (hidden behind popular anti-corruption Ukrainian demonstrations that the CIA and State Department had trained and organized local racist-fascist anti-Russian Ukrainians to lead) overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine and replacing him by a racist-fascist (ideologically nazi) regime that immediately replaced Ukraine’s generals with ones to ethnically cleanse pro-Russian Ukrainians and kill some and terrorize the others to flee into Russia so as to get rid of the people in the Ukrainian regions that had voted 70% or more for that democratically elected President — and this ethnic cleansing would enable the nazi U.S.-installed regime in Ukraine to be ‘democratically elected’, and so to continue the U.S.-Government’s control over that country, on Russia’s border.

For the full details, see this.

So: all four of those phrases (“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”, “unprovoked war in Ukraine”, and “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, and (the one shown at the very top here) “The war started on 24 February 2022,” are lies, which reverse the aggressor (purportedly Russia, but actually America) and the defender (purportedly Ukraine — which is America’s proxy in its war against Russia) — the defender here being actually Russia).

The war in Ukraine started with Obama’s coup, not with Putin’s ultimate response to it (which occurred soon after America’s rejection on 7 January 2022, of Russia’s demand, NOT to allow Ukraine into NATO). Even Zelensky knows this (as was proven here at the start). And both he and his predecessor, Poroshenko, are aware that the February 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President and installation of the post-coup regime means that their own Presidencies were and are likewise illegal.

America’s plan here is to place its missiles on Ukraine’s border with Russia, only a five-minute-missile-flight away from blitz-nuking The Kremlin and thereby behead Russia’s central command — too fast for Russia to be able to launch its retaliatory missiles.

What is the power of lies?

In a U.N. General Assembly vote on November 14th, the U.N. General Assembly (which has no power) voted by 94 votes for, 73 abstentions, and only 14 votes against, a Resolution to demand that Russia pay restitution to Ukraine, for the war in Ukraine — that America started against Russia by its 2014 coup. America — a proven dictatorship and police-state — leads the world’s ‘democracies’ this way.

Often, lies have more of an impact than truths do. And, this time, that impact can even turn out to be WW III. That’s why calling-out these lies, by the U.S. regime, against Russia, is essential — in order to prevent WW III.

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The Big Lie About Ukraine’s War

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photo © UNICEF/Anton Skyba for The Globe and Mail

Before Ukraine’s President Volodmyr Zelensky quit negotiations with Russia to settle the war in Ukraine, he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on 20 March 2022, “I made a point that the war in Ukraine has been lasting for eight years. It’s not just some special military operation.” Zakaria had asked him “You have said recently that Ukraine perhaps will not be a member of NATO. You have admitted that. Could that — there are people who ask, could that concession, had you made it clearly and loudly earlier, could that have prevented this war?” Zelensky’s reply said that for Ukraine to make such a “concession” — unless some NATO countries would step up to provide “guarantees” to Ukraine’s winning this eight-year war — would be unacceptable to Ukrainians, because this war had started “eight years” earlier, and they wouldn’t accept now — after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 — a “concession” of an indispensable part of what their military has been fighting for ever since long before that, going all the way back to 2014 — virtual if not official membership in NATO, so that American missiles can then become posted on Ukraine’s border only 300 miles away from Russia’s command center in The Kremlin. That has always been Ukraine’s goal throughout this eight-year war. And for Ukraine to “concede” it to Russia now would be for Ukraine to lose what they have been waging war for eight years in order to attain. He also told Zakaria that Ukrainians would never accept any concession to Russia on what was, before 2014, Ukrainian land: Crimea and Donbass: “Any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty … We cannot concede to it.” The NATO issue is part of that: “NATO could be a source of guarantees for Ukraine, but we are not accepted as a member of NATO, so Ukraine has to seek for other security guarantees from individual countries, that could be NATO members. That is what we are proposing, a number of leaders of world countries could be the source of guarantees for Ukraine. They could be part of this circle of powerful countries. That is what we can talk about, security guarantees for Ukraine.” His war in Ukraine is a war for “sovereignty” within the Ukraine that existed before 2014, and including Ukraine’s right to allow U.S.-or-allied missiles to be posted there within only a five-minute flight-time away from nuclear-annihilating The Kremlin. He even said that “We are running out of time. You have to admit Ukraine into NATO right now. We do not have much time. You have to accept Ukraine as a member of E.U. [as a stepping-stone to being allowed into NATO]”. In other words: Only as a temporary measure would he accept some NATO countries offering to provide “guarantees” to Ukraine’s winning this eight-year war — and he is holding the same goal now, that Ukraine’s Government has been pursuing ever since 2014.

Here is a video of the 2014 regime-change in Ukraine which had produced this war. And here is what had led up to that historic regime-change event. And here is how that historic regime-change event ultimately produced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

So: the Big Lie about Ukraine’s war is that it started on 24 February 2022, instead of during 20-26 February 2014. Even Ukraine’s President acknowledges that it is false. For some reason, the leaders of Ukraine’s ‘allies’ do not acknowledge it.

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Is a Marshall Plan for Ukraine possible?

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Photo: © UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson

Reflecting on Ukraine’s future beyond the current conflict, many politicians and experts speculate about the expediency of a new Marshall Plan for the country. Although the old Plan (officially known as the European Recovery Program) was designed and implemented by the Truman administration some three quarters of a century ago, it is still considered one of the most successful large-scale projects of post-conflict reconstruction. The experience still represents a certain value today. Leaving aside the political aspects of the U.S. aid program to Europe, which is a separate subject to discuss, we will confine ourselves to some relevant technical features of this initiative.

First of all, it would be wrong to think of the Marshall Plan as some bottomless source of financial resources that poured by the United States into the economy of Western Europe. In 1948–1951, Washington invested in Europe just over $13 billion, which is about $115 to $150 billion at today’s rate. Recall that at the end of the summer the Ukrainian leadership estimated the needs for the post-conflict reconstruction of the country at $600–800 billion—by the results of the autumn hostilities with a lot of new damage inflicted upon the core economic infrastructure, these needs were to increase even more, measuring now in trillions of dollars.

Since financial resources under the Marshall Plan were distributed among 17 countries and territories, even the largest recipients did not receive much: Great Britain — 3.3 billion, France — 2.3 billion, West Germany — 1.4 billion, Italy — 1.2 billion, etc. Most of experts believe that the money received from the U.S. directly boosted the growth of European economies by about 0.5% per year on average. However, this does not mean that the Marshall Plan played a merely marginal role in the post-conflict reconstruction of Europe. The importance of the Plan was not so much in the absolute amount of aid, but rather in the fact that this mechanism helped launch the natural process of Europe’s economic revival, namely the recovery of the private sector, the accumulation of trade between European countries, the rise of national investment activity, and the establishment of new economic institutions. The Plan also acted as a kind of guarantee granted to European nations by the U.S. government, allowing the gateways to open for the flow of American FDIs into Western Europe. It also became a catalyst for the fast growth of domestic investments in most of participating countries.

Applied to the current situation, this suggests that foreign aid as such is unlikely to be the only or the main driver of the post-conflict development of the Ukrainian economy. Ukraine still needs to make decisive progress in such areas as combating corruption, the independence of the judiciary, and improving the quality of public administration at various levels. The challenge is to unleash the creative potential of the Ukrainian society and to make full use of the many comparative advantages that the nation can demonstrate integrating itself into European and global economies. In other words, any potential Marshall Plan for Ukraine is not a substitute for still incomplete domestic reforms, but only one of the possible tools to facilitate them. But just as three-quarters of a century ago, large-scale government or international aid programs should stimulate private sector investment, both external and domestic.

The source of funding for the reconstruction of Western Europe in the late 1940s – early 1950s was obvious, since the U.S. was at the peak of its economic and financial power and could therefore allocate 13 billion to European countries relatively painlessly. Moreover, a significant part of these resources was returned to the U.S. in the form of purchases of American goods and services by Europeans. Even in those days, though, Washington began to cut aid to European partners as soon as money was needed for the Korean War.

Today, the U.S. is burdened with much more serious financial problems, and one should no longer expect Washington to be that generous. Especially since the U.S. has already taken the lead in providing unprecedented military and technical assistance to Kiev. Given the importance of Ukraine to the states of the EU, it would be logical to assume that Brussels rather than Washington would be the main donor for a post-conflict Ukraine. However, today the financial standing of the European Union, including Germany as the main potential sponsor of the new Marshall Plan, leaves much to be desired.

Perhaps, architects of a new Plan could rely on the reserves of the Russian Central Bank, frozen by the West after February 24, 2022. Making a decisive move from freezing to confiscation is not yet possible, but it will probably be done in the end. However, there are many other contenders for these Russian funds. For example, countries that have sheltered Ukrainian refugees, as well as those most affected by the sanctions war with Moscow, would like to receive financial compensation. So, in fact, $300 billion of frozen Russian reserves is not a bottomless pit where you can get money at will. Even if all of this money ends up in Ukraine, it is not likely to cover all the costs of the post-conflict reconstruction.

Only in case of complete and unconditional surrender of the Kremlin could it be possible to pull significant funds from Russia to add to the declared level of $600–800 billion. Today, such a surrender does not look as a likely outcome of the conflict. However, if we assume a scenario of such surrender for a moment, we then have to conclude that a depleted and bloodless Russia, capitulated to the Collective West, simply won’t have the necessary resources it could promptly transfer to the reconstruction of Ukraine. Paying reparations has never been easy. For example, after the end of World War I, Germany could not pay its war debts to the victorious countries in full as late as the end of the Weimar Republic, and in 1933 the Third Reich simply unilaterally refused to pay any further reparations afterwards.

Apparently, Ukraine’s recovery will take a long time under any scenario for the end of the crisis. It might go faster in agriculture, in residential construction or in services, it is likely to go slower in heavy industry and in hi-tech. In the case of Ukraine, it is probably not quite correct to talk about “recovery”, because the task will not be to return to the old economic structure that the country had in the beginning of the century, but to create an entirely new economy, which could organically fit into the international (global, not just European) division of labor of the mid-21st century. In this process, the role of external sources of funding will be significant, although not decisive. Much more will depend on the strategic economic decisions made in Kyiv, as well as on the long-term vision that the European Union might or might not develop regarding a unique future role of Ukraine in the Forth Industrial Revolution, which is already sweeping across the continent.

Another feature of the Marshall Plan should be noted. The program was launched two years after the end of World War II, when not only the military actions in Europe were completely stopped, but the post-war European order was defined as a whole. If we draw an analogy with the present, a successful Marshall Plan for Ukraine can also be possible only once the conflict is over and when minimal stability is restored on the European continent. This, in turn, means that each new day of the conflict results in new human casualties and causes greater damage to the Ukrainian economy, pushing the prospect of the beginning of the post-conflict reconstruction farther away.

From our partner RIAC

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