A World of Shadows



Responding to my blog on Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine, a reader named Eddie commented that:

The people of eastern Ukraine voted to separate from the Ukrainian government that was not elected and whose first move was to outlaw the use of the Russian language. A legal election was held. Nearly everyone voted and the vote was in favor of breaking free of the coup government that was appointed by the United States.What is most disgusting is Obama and the west, Why do neo-Nazis play such a prominent role in the supposedly moderate Ukrainian government of billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko?

All this is a window dressing, hiding a “blame Putin” message. Is Putin anyone’s peace, democracy and prosperity poster-boy? No. But he’s being far more rational than the US on most any “crisis” in Ukraine, Syria/Iraq, Libya etc.

Eddie has a point. While I doubt the validity of that “legal election” in the eastern Ukraine (the voters were looking over their shoulders at pro-Russian troops), the legally elected Ukrainian president was ousted in a coup. And covert US organizations were reportedly involved.

Eddie is also correct in suggesting the leaders of the Ukraine uprising include some questionable characters.

But Vladimir Putin’s crowd is certainly no better. He is a former KGB spy and his cronies are cut from the same cloth. Furthermore, he is reportedly in league with mobsters within the Ukraine.

What is most relevant, though, is his response to the Ukrainian uprising. The way I see it, he has taken advantage of the situation to further his empire-building ambitions.

What troubles me most is that he has a nuclear stockpile, which he is threatening to use. And he is no friend of America or the West.

I have no inside information from that distant part of the world, but I suspect this is a conflict between two sets of mobsters. In a rcent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Mark Galeotti recalls “the endemic criminalization of the Ukrainian state under successive leaders.” He writes:

Like Russia, Ukraine experienced a massive upsurge in organized crime in the 1990s, when new political and economic systems were being created at a time of catastrophically weak state control. Overt gangsterism in the streets was matched by the rise of a new elite who often blended political, economic, and criminal enterprises.

I doubt that western media have much inside information, either. They report what the powers that be tell them. And you and I know the powers that be don’t always tell the truth.

But this much is clear. Putin is not our friend. And the less the rest of the world has to do with him, the better.

Click for Galeottti’s article.