FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout?

Judging by the report on RT  I conclude that the Ukraine peace deal worked out in Minsk by Putin, Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko has little chance of success.

As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and Russia?

The Minsk agreement makes no reference to the announcement by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, that Washington is sending a battalion of US troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces how to fight against Russian and rebel forces.

The training is scheduled to begin in March, about two weeks from now.  Gen. Hodges says that it is very important to recognize that the Donetsk and Luhansk forces “are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin.”

How is there a peace deal when Washington has plans underway to send arms and training to the US puppet government in Kiev?

Looking at the deal itself, it is set up to fail. The only parties to the deal who had to sign it are the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk break-away republics.  The other signers to the Minsk deal are an OSCE representative which is the European group that is supposed to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, a former Ukrainian president Viktor Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador in Kiev.  Neither the German chancellor nor the French, Ukrainian, and Russian presidents who brokered the deal had to sign it.

In other words, the governments of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia do not appear to be empowered or required to enforce the agreement. According to RT, “the declaration was not meant to be signed by the leaders, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.”

The terms of the agreement depend on actions of the Ukrainian parliament and prime minister, neither of which are under Poroshenko’s control, and Poroshenko himself is a figurehead under Washington’s control.  Moreover, the Ukrainian military does not control the Nazi militias.  As Washington and the right-wing elements in Ukraine want conflict with Russia, peace cannot be forthcoming.

The agreement is nothing but a list of expectations that have no chance of occurring.

One expectation is that Ukraine and the republics will negotiate terms for future local elections in the provinces that will bring them back under Ukraine’s legal control. The day after the local elections, but prior to the constitutional reform that provides the regions with autonomy, Kiev takes control of the borders with Ukraine and between the provinces.  I read this as the total sell-out of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Apparently, that is the way the leaders of the republics see it as well, as Putin had to twist their arms in order to get their signatures to the agreement.

Another expectation is that Ukraine will adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable to the republics and declare a general amnesty for the republics’ leaders and military forces.

Negotiations between Kiev and the autonomous areas are to take place that restore Kiev’s taxation of the autonomous areas and the provision of social payments and banking services to the autonomous areas.

After a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine guaranteeing acceptable (and undefined) autonomy to the republics, Kiev will take control over the provinces’ borders with Russia.

By the end of 2015 Kiev will implement comprehensive constitutional reform that decentralizes the Ukrainian political system and provides privileges of autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Both Putin and Poroshenko are both reported as stating that the main thing achieved is a ceasefire starting on February 15.

The ceasefire is of no benefit to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics as they are prevailing in the conflict.  Moreover, the deal requires the republics’ forces to give up territory and to pull back to the borders of last September and to eject fighters from France and other countries who have come to the aid of the break-away republics.  In other words, the agreement erases all of Kiev’s losses from the conflict that Kiev initiated.

All of the risks of the agreement are imposed on the break-away republics and on Putin.  The provinces are required to give up all their gains while Washington trains and arms Ukrainian forces to attack the provinces.  The republics have to give up their security and trust Kiev long before Kiev votes, assuming it ever does, autonomy for the republics.

Moreover, if the one-sided terms of the Minsk agreement result in failure, Putin and the republics will be blamed.

Why would Putin make such a deal and force it on the republics?  If the deal becomes a Russian sell-out of the republics, it will hurt Putin’s nationalist support within Russia and make it easier for Washington to weaken Putin and perhaps achieve regime change.  It looks more like a surrender than a fair deal.

Perhaps Putin’s strategy is to give away every advantage in the expectation that the deal will fail, and the Russian government can say “we gave away the store and the deal still failed.”

Washington’s coup in Kiev and the attack on the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east and south is part of Washington’s strategy to reassert its uni-power position.  Russia’s independent foreign policy and Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe became problems for Washington.  Washington is using Ukraine to attack and to demonize Russia and its leader and to break-up Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe.  That is what the sanctions are about.  A peace deal in Ukraine on any terms other than Washington’s is unacceptable to Washington.  The only acceptable deal is a deal that is a defeat for Russia.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Russian government made a strategic mistake when it did not accept the requests of the break-away provinces to be united with Russia.  The people in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces favored unification with the same massive majorities that the people in Crimea showed. If the provinces had been united with Russia, it would have been the end of the conflict. Neither Ukraine nor Washington is going to attack Russian territory.

By failing to end the conflict by unification, Putin set himself up as the punching bag for Western propaganda.  The consequence is that over the many months during which the conflict has been needlessly drawn out, Putin has had his image and reputation in the West destroyed.  He is the “new Hitler.”  He is “scheming to restore the Soviet Empire.”  “Russia ranks with ebola and the Islamist State as the three greatest threats.”  “RT is a terrorist organization like Boco Haram and the Islamist State.”  And so on and on.  This CNN interview with Obama conducted by Washington’s presstitute Fareed Zakaria shows the image of Putin based entirely on lies that rules in the West.

Putin could be no more demonized even if the Russian military had invaded Ukraine, conquered it, and reincorporated Ukraine in Russia of which Ukraine was part for centuries prior to the Soviet collapse and Ukraine’s separation from Russia at Washington’s insistence.

The Russian government might want to carefully consider whether Moscow is helping Washington to achieve another victory in Ukraine.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS class struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail