US General Mark Milley: “Ukraine Should Move To Bargaining Table.”

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EDITORIAL: By Saeed Naqvi, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: I know a horrid, horrid man

As quiet as a mouse

Who does the mischief that is done

In everybody’s house!

There’s no one ever sees his face

And yet we all agree

That every plate we break was cracked

By Mr. Nobody

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Mr. Nobody was in action again, this time more audaciously than ever before. On September 26, 2022, Nord-Stream 2 the 1234 kms pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea was irreparably damaged. Had the pipeline, meant to carry exceptional volumes of natural gas to Germany and onwards to Europe, been activated, Europe would have all the power it would ever need. Russia would have a reliable market next door.

Mr. Nobody, whom Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has identified as the US, found both these outcomes revolting. Why?  Because European dependence on Russia would grow. Another word for mutual dependence, one would have thought, is co-operation.

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But co-operation between Russia and Europe would be at the expense of US hegemony. Knocking out Nord-Stream 2 was one of the acts that would be required for the continuation of US hegemony which, to the naked eye, was fraying in recent years. Particularly after the vulnerabilities in the US capitalist model were conclusively exposed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Reverting to Nord-Stream 2. That this would be America’s trajectory namely assertion of power. This had been delineated as policy by one of the wisest US policy planners, George Kennan, author of the policy of “containing” the Soviet Union. His Policy Planning Study written in 1948 for the State Department is lucid:

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“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth and only 6.3% of the population. We cannot, therefore, fail to be the object of envy and resentment.” Kennan suggested a pattern of relationships which will permit the US to maintain this position of disparity.

“To do so we have to dispense with all sentimentality and day dreaming……we should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far when we have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

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Between Kennan’s concept and American actions falls the shadow of Western hypocrisy. In practice, it means a parrot like repetition of human rights, democracy versus autocracy but forgetting the chant while destroying Nord-Stream 2 for a perceived US good.

The headline to Seymour Hersh’s expose says it all: “How American took out the Nord-Stream Pipeline.”

Why the Hersh story should have caused global surprise is itself astonishing. After all the President had himself said “there will be no Nord-Stream 2.” Concluding a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the White House, a beaming President Biden told reporters that all would be fine, ending Putin’s “weaponization of energy” when there will be no Nord-Stream 2.

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A reporter asked, how could America undo Nord-Stream 2 owned by Russia and Germany? Biden’s answer was brazen: “we can do it; I assure you.” How “we did it” is elaborated in Hersh’s report in great detail.

Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the hawk driving the Ukraine project could not conceal her ecstasy testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified that Nord-Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

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Officials as supremely confident as Nuland must wince when shrewd observers study all sides of the Ukraine conflict and make gloomy predictions.

Dr. Scott Burchill, distinguished scholar at Australia’s Deakin University gives reasons for pronouncing that the war appears “almost over for Ukraine.”

First he quotes the Wall Street Journal: “Public rhetoric about Ukraine’s heroic resistance masks deepening private doubts among politicians in the UK, France and Germany on whether Ukraine will be able to expel the Russians from Eastern Ukraine and Crimea which Russia has controlled since 2014. There is a belief that the West can help sustain the war effort up to a limited period, especially if the conflict settles into a stalemate.” That is precisely where the conflict stands.

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The New York Times corroborates the judgement. The chair of the joint chiefs, General Mark Milley is quite frank: “Ukraine was unlikely to make substantially great battlefield gains and should move to the bargaining table.”

Dr. Burchill concludes that “that the war is unlikely to end in decisive victory for either side,” however enthusiastic Russophobes in the West are about a total Russian defeat. French President Emmanuel Macron has told President Zelensky to settle in exchange for some future unspecified security arrangement with NATO.

Former Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett revealed something surprising. He claims to have made significant progress towards a negotiated settlement. But his efforts were undermined by Washington and London.

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According to Burchill “the West preferred war to a diplomatic settlement until it became clear that Ukraine was running out of soldiers and was unlikely to recover much, if any, of its lost territory.”

Another cause for concern in Washington has been the recent Chinese 12 point peace plan. Macron promised to take serious note of it much to Biden’s chagrin.

Burchill is among a host of western intellectuals – Jeffrey Sachs, John Mearseimer and scores of others – who have been pointing to the West’s cynical outrage at Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. There is amnesia about Western provocations which resulted in Russia crossing the line.

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Wars induce acute nationalism. Any light hearted comment about those leading the war effort is considered anathema. That is why it does not auger well when leaders are lampooned in the middle of a war.

Olaf Scholz looks pathetic on the Stern magazine’s cover. President Biden is striding out of the page like a colossus, his height accentuated by Scholz looking like a pygmy, barely up to Biden’s hip, holding the US President’s hand for support.

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Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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Saeed Naqvi

Saeed Naqvi

Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer. He has interviewed world leaders and personalities in India and abroad, which appear in newspapers, magazines and on national television, remained editor of the World Report, a syndication service on foreign affairs, and has written for several publications, both global and Indian, including the BBC News, The Sunday Observer, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, The Indian Express, The Citizen and Outlook magazine. At the Indian Express, he started in 1977 as a Special Correspondent and eventually becoming, editor, Indian Express, Madras, (1979–1984), and Foreign Editor, The Indian Express, Delhi in 1984, and continues to writes columns and features for the paper.

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