US and NATO must share blame in Russia-Ukraine conflict

With the suffocation of the plurality of voices and unashamed muzzling of the press over the onslaught on Russia’s public broadcaster RT – formerly known as Russia Today – the hypocrisy of the Western power-mongers and their global tentacles has been laid bare as sanctions against Moscow are sharpened to bite world-wide.

And then, in the midst of a Western-dominated neo-liberal world order, the rest of mortals ought to be served nothing but sheer unadulterated lopsided propaganda without any regard for individual’s IQ or right of access to all available media products so that they could make up their mind on the strength of maximum available information.

Since the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine/Nato/West nearly 10 days ago the first major victim of that war has been painstakingly prominent for all to see – the truth.

Embedded journalism has become an undisguised norm since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and ever since then powerful states surreptitiously enlists media houses in their own countries as extensions of the military and espionage activities.

In South Africa, the massively watched RT channel was unceremoniously removed from the popular DStv platform this week. In the wake of the immediate outcry that followed the parent company, MultiChoice, issued a statement explaining: “Sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union has led to the global distributor of the channel ceasing to provide the broadcast feed to all suppliers, including MultiChoice.”

The country’s Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is currently demanding answers as to why the removal of RT was effected without prior engagement with the regulatory body. At least something is being done about the matter.

My heart bleeds for the people of Ukraine. They have been caught in a messy geopolitical confrontation between Russia on the one side and Nato and the West on the other in a devious and ugly extension of the Cold War.

Retired Indian Major-General GD Bakshi’s analysis of the conflict this week was a breath of fresh air that sought to present “another perspective” on the developments. Speaking on India’s global news network Maj General Bakshi said he found it “immoral” that the US and the West are prolonging Ukraine’s agony” by playing Kyiv’s “cheerleaders” and spurring on President Volodymyr Zelensky “to fight to the last Ukrainian on the ground”.

He also found it deplorable that the Western media reports gleefully about Nato and the West’s commitment to supply Ukraine with weapons in the middle of a Russian-dominated conflict. The supply of weapons “is is too little too late”, he said. “There is a war on. So where are these weapons going? They can’t go in by the seaports. Russia has got them all three – Sevastapol is in Crimea (which has been under Russian control since 2014), Mariupol they are sitting there, Odesa they are sitting there. It can’t come by air. The S400 and S500 missiles will knock it off the air. It can only come by the ground route and once it is in Ukraine it is open to bombing,” he said. He opined that the prolonged war can last till the end of the year and will have devastating effects on the global economy recently on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said images of ordinary Ukrainians seen putting up a fight against the Russians was a show of bravery. “But one beauty queen picking up a Kalashnikov (AK-47 assault rifle) – I’m afraid it’s more theatrics because Kalashnikov does nothing to tanks. Don’t get carried away by CNN and BBC because according to them Zelensky has already won the war,” said Maj General Bakshi.

The complex geopolitical conundrum is aggravated by clear ideological and national interest divisions across the world. At the recent UN Security Council meeting whose objective was to garner a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, powerful nations such as China and India looked the opposite side. The UAE is also known for its stance refusing to join the West’s chorus of Russia’s condemnation. Expected anti-US and NATO countries whose voices have been loud at the UN in the recent past include Cuba and Venezuela, two of the greatest victims of America’s unilateral economic sanctions, with Cuba having lived through the sanctions hell-hole over the past 60 years. In the Mid-east, Syria has voiced open support for Russia, unsurprisingly in the light of Moscow’s relentless insulation of the beleaguered President Bashar al-Assad from the US and NATO’s harms way over the past decade.

The mainstream media would not report much, if at all, about the deep divisions within NATO over Ukraine’s much-sought membership, one of the triggers of the current armed conflict that President Vladimir Putin called a “red line”.

Ukrainian authorities have contacted China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, and made an impassioned plea to Beijing to broker a truce, a request the government of President Xi Jinping is currently assessing.

Beijing and Moscow retain tight ties in the wake of protracted threats to their foreign policies by Washington and predictably with Nato in tow.

During the recent successful Beijing Winter Olympics the US waged a global campaign in the West for the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing games, accusing China of human rights violations. The campaign was a flop as many countries elected diplomatic cooperation with China instead.

And then, the glaring common ground between China and Russia’s exasperation with the US is Washington’s penchant to foster conflict where there seems to be peace. In the case of Russia Ukraine is an appropriate example following the US-backed coup that overthrew a pro-Russian, democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Since then Ukraine has been gradually but aggressively dragged away from closer ties with a Russia with which they share, among others, language, customs and culture.

As for China, the US is hell-bent on undermining the internationally embraced one-China policy, which incorporates Taiwan as an integral part of China. During last year’s so-called democracy summit called by President Joe Biden when more than 100 countries were invited, Washington deliberately irked Beijing by mischievously extending an invitation to Taiwan as an “independent state”. China, like Russia, were snubbed.

Such are the carefully thought-out disruptive plans of the US and West against adversaries, perceived or real.

Russia’s early appeals to the US and Nato to sit down and address Moscow’s security concerns were laughed off as a sick joke. President Putin’s impassioned plea for genuine negotiations over his security concerns about the US and NATO’s missiles on Russia’s door-step was also deemed laughable by the self-righteous Western demi-gods.

Two proposed peace treaties by Moscow for consideration by the US and NATO were dismissed as non-starters without any iota of decency to hear out the other side.

And in the same vein, the West was racking up their sweet sounds of enticing Ukraine to ignore Russia’s “red line” of joining Nato, raising President Zelensky’s anti-Russian rhetoric.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s veteran top diplomat, argued during a global media briefing this week about the mainstream media’s strange ignorance of the plight of the more than 4 million Ukrainians of Russian descent in the Donbas region. The Kyiv regime has shelled them daily and 15 000 have been killed since they denounced the 2014 coup and opted to rather secede. As a precursor to the ongoing conflict, Moscow officially recognised their self-declared independence in the Luhansk and Donetsk republics.

As ordinary Ukrainians lose their lives or displaced, the UN has warned that more than 1 million have already fled Ukraine since the war broke out, making the statistical data the biggest and fastest count in modern history. Hopefully, as delegations from Kyiv and Moscow continue to sit around the table in Belarus in an attempt to find each other, China could perhaps accelerate their requested role to thrash out a truce as Beijing is respected by the warring sides.

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