That fate led me to meet with Dragana Trifkovic is not an accident. Dragana, who is a bright and bold Serbian politician, political scientist, and leader of public opinion, repeatedly came to Donbass, despite ongoing hostilities, in order to assist by word and deed. The foundation of her clear political position is the unity and solidarity of the Slavic world and a fierce rejection of Western intervention in others’ affairs. She is especially hostile towards NATO interventions, one of which, with the support of European structures, destroyed Yugoslavia and brought war and woe to her land. The most ruthless strike was inflicted on Serbia. Now, Europe has come to reap the benefits of being shackled in the wake of the American course. Dragana Trifkovic’s point of view is extremely interesting in light of events happening in Donbass and the world.
Marina Kharkova: How do the people of Serbia and Serbian politicians react to the war being waged by Ukraine against Donbass?
Dragana Trifkovic: The people of Serbia sympathize with the Russian people in Donbass because we know, from personal experience, what you are going through. There are many parallels between the war in Yugoslavia and the war in Ukraine. In both cases, war is imposed from outside, and the reasons are political, not ethnic, in nature. The US has used the same script for many years, creating havoc throughout the world. Color Revolutions, snipers who shoot at crowds, special operations, information war - the Americans have harnessed all of these skills brilliantly. Speaking of “Americans,” of course, I mean the political elite and not the American people. It is difficult for Serbs to look at the suffering of Russian people; we simply cannot watch the injustice that is happening in Donbass. The fratricidal war must be stopped. Part of the Ukrainian people, having succumbed to the manipulations of the West, has blamed all that is happening on Russia and the Kremlin without giving any conclusive evidence. I am convinced that, one day, people will look at this conflict with different eyes, if they manage to free themselves from the influence of Western propaganda. And I’m sure this will happen. As far as Serbian politicians are concerned, the situation is quite different. They are under the control of Washington and Brussels, and are not elected to serve the interests of the Serbian people, but rather to realize benefits for others. For this reason, they “argue” about the Ukrainian conflict in a different manner than a large portion of the Serbian people.
Unable to reconquer Donbas, Kyiv wants it as an economic basket case to dampen secessionist feeling in the rest of South-East Ukraine
In a process that begun in July 2014 and was completed November later that year, the Ukrainian government in Kyiv severed all links to rebel-held Donbas in east Ukraine. This meant it stopped making social payments to citizens and de-funded all state institutions–courts, registries, hospitals, banks, post offices and state-owned enterprises.
Strategically, this was a mistake. Nothing would have underscored the legitimacy of Kyiv’s rule in east Ukraine more but for it to continue to perform many of the functions of the state there. Likewise, the people in east Ukraine would notice it was Kyiv which continued to supply them with services the rebels were incapable, and Russia unwilling, to provide. As it was, the Kyiv government became a solely negative factor in their lives – what with its offensive military operations and the arming up of neo-Nazis.
Instead, it was the rebels which were forced to pick up the slack and which now – along with the prestige of being the people who keep the neo-Nazis at bay – enjoy also the legitimacy of being the people who provide the electricity, water, heating, pensions and medical care to Donbas people. In fact, initially the two rebel statelets – the DPR and LPR – were reluctant and slow to take responsibility for many of these tasks so they should really thank Kyiv for forcing them to take their state-building of rival, secessionist republics seriously.
Moscow’s geostrategic objectives in Syria are the polar opposite of Washington’s. Grasping this simple fact is the easiest way to get a fix on what’s really going on in the war-torn country.
What Washington wants is explained in great detail in a piece by Michael E. O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institute titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:
“…the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria….the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time…
Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….
The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force….to make these zones defensible and governable….The autonomous zones would be liberated with the clear understanding that there was no going back to rule by Assad or a successor.”
(“Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war“, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)
Forget about ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al Assad for a minute and, instead, focus on the terms “autonomous zones”, “creation of …sanctuaries”, “safe zones” and “a confederal Syria.”
All of these strongly suggest that the primary aim of US policy is to break Syria up into smaller units that pose no threat to US-Israeli regional hegemony. This is the US gameplan in a nutshell.
In contrast, Russia does not want a divided Syria. Aside from the fact that Moscow and Damascus are long-term allies (and Russia has a critical naval facility in Tartus, Syria), a balkanized Syria poses serious threats for Russia, the most significant of which is the probable emergence of a jihadi base of operations that will be used to deploy terrorists across Central Asia thus undermining Moscow’s grand plan to integrate the continents into a giant free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Russian President Vladimir Putin takes the threat of terrorism very seriously, which is why he has been working around-the-clock to engage leaders from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Kurds and Syrian opposition groups in negotiations to put an end to the fighting and reestablish security in Syria. It’s worth noting that there’s been an effective blackout of these crucial negotiations in the western media, mainly because they make Putin look like a peacemaker who is respected among other world leaders and who is making every effort to stop the spread of terrorism. Obviously, that doesn’t jibe with the media’s portrayal of Putin as the new Hitler, so they’ve simply omitted the meetings from their coverage.
Hannibal brought Rome to the brink of defeat during the Second Punic War. Carthage’s army marched all over Italy as it if were its own backyard. However, in the end, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus the Elder was able to move the theater of operations to Africa, destroy Carthage’s armies, defeat the invincible Hannibal, and establish peace on Rome’s terms.
The actual victor over Hannibal was not the brilliant tactician Scipio, but the profound strategist and outstanding politician Fabius Maximus Cunctator. The Romans did not elect him Consul or even Dictator during the course of the war. Fabius Maximus remained an influential politician even when he did not exercise official power. His personal authority was strengthened by the election to the Pontifical College and as the Senate Princeps. His proteges and family members became consuls, while the opponents’ sacrifices “were not favored”, to the extent that election results were canceled on several occasions.
What was the strategy of Fabius Maximus? It consisted of the correct choice of the method of fighting Hannibal. Carthage’s army was fundamentally different from Rome’s. The Roman army consisted of citizens (recruits, conscripts), while the Carthagenian of mercenaries. In the hands of a talented commander like Hannibal, that army was a powerful instrument. Romans suffered one catastrophic defeat after another in the first years of the war. Hannibal had the ability to increase his forces not only thanks to warlike Gallic tribes living in the Po river valley, but also due to the switching of sides by Rome’s allies in central and southern Italy. Therefore each of Rome’s defeats not only lead to the loss of an army, which was painful enough (Carthage lost someone else’s citizens–mercenaries, while Rome its own), but also to the loss of more allies. Therefore Fabius Maximus made the only correct choice–Hannibal has to be deprived of an opportunity to score more victories.Rome’s army must thwart Hannibal’s maneuvers by its presence, destroy local detachments, support the loyal and, whenever possible, punish traitorous allies, but avoid a general engagement. On one occasion, the consuls of year 216 B.C. decided to abandon this strategy and organized an offensive against Hannibal’s positions at Cannes. The ensuing catastrophe was on such a scale that the next defeat of this sort occurred only at the height of its power when Emperor Valens died at the head of his infantry at Adrianopolis in 378 A.D. Rome attrited Hannibal for an entire decade by adhering to Fabius’ Maximus’ strategy. Only then did the victories of Scipio Africanus become possible. However, even then the Cunctator was against resuming active operations, believing that he could finish of Hannibal and Carthage without excessive loss of live, especially since the mercenary army was weakening and disintegrating in the absence of major victories, and as the situation at the front worsened the conflict between Hannibal and Carthage grew. A battle always entails a risk, after all.
I want to share my impressions from a recent visit to St. Petersburg where I was invited to speak on a panel titled “Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste.” The title is another version of the old Chinese proverb, “A crisis also presents new opportunities.” This is what is emerging today in the Russian Federation and radiating outwards across the broad expanse of Eurasia and into all Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
For want of a better term, I will call what is developing a New World Ordering. This is to differentiate it from George H.W. Bush’s US-dominated New World Order, proclaimed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in a speech on September 11, 1990 to the US Congress, where he declared, “Out of these troubled times, our…objective – a New World Order – can emerge…”
Today it is clear that the New World Order of Bush was intended to take unscrupulous advantage of the disorder following the end of the Soviet Union to forge a unipolar world where one tiny group would dictate to the entire world its terms of existence. Pursuit of that has been the sole aim of the US foreign policy and their wars, fear campaigns, under three US presidents over the past quarter century since the end of the Soviet Union. It motivates the US-instigated civil war in Ukraine, in Syria, against China in the East China Sea, US covert backing for ISIS. It drives the US economic sanctions against Russia, sanctions which Washington has arm-twisted the EU into supporting, much to the detriment of the EU and their economies.
What I witnessed not only in St. Petersburg but also in other recent visits to Russia is something I can only call extraordinary. Rather that cower in terror at the endless barrage of attacks and economic and financial sanctions thrown at her, Russia and her leadership are becoming more confident and, crucially, more self-reliant and aggressive in a positive way as never before. Some examples will illustrate.
The following is an interesting discussion of Russian policy:
June 30, 2015 How Russia Can Win All of Ukraine By Rostislav Ishchenko Translated from Russian by J.Hawk On Oleg Marchenko's request, I'm laying out my answers to my old friends questions provoked by one of my earlier articles. In the form it was earlier published on a facebook community page. I'd like to draw attention to the fact that we were discussing a hypothetical ability to do something in the past rather than plans for the future (which is something many don't understand). Dear Dima, welcome! Please forgive me I am answering you in public but, as far as I understand, the questions you raised are also of interest to others. Therefore it's all the same to you where you'll read the answer, and it will save me the trouble of writing the same thing 20-30 times. So, you wrote: Greetings! Pardon my denseness, but I did not understand the logic of this paragraph: "Federated Ukraine with a new constitution and broad regional rights would not only acknowledge the transfer of Crimea to Russia (the new constitution would not mention Crimea as Ukraine's territory), but it would also gradually integrate into the Customs Union and the Eurasian Union. It would simply have nowhere else to go. Neither US nor the EU are willing to support Ukraine." 1. Why won't Crimea be listed as Ukrainian territory in the new constitution? 2. Why a federated Ukraine? A unitary Ukraine would likewise have nowhere to go. In any event, it's the center that decides the direction of foreign economic activity, even in a federated state. P.S.: Those aren't abstract questions for me. I'm not looking for an argument. There is a reason why I'm asking. My answers:
Russia's Foreign Ministry has banned U.S. investigative journalist Simon Ostrovsky from working in Russia. On June 4, it denied a press visa for Ostrovsky, an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist best known for his coverage of the Ukraine crisis for Vice News.
The denial came only days after Ostrovsky contacted Russian soldier Bato Dambayev—who fought in Ukraine as part of the 37th Motorized Infantry Brigade—as part of the journalist's effort to prove that Russian soldiers have fought alongside Russian-backed separatists.