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What Do World's Two Biggest Dangers Have in Common? Washington's Blog

What Do World’s Two Biggest Dangers Have in Common? Washington’s Blog.

Anyone who cares about our natural environment should be marking with great sadness the centenary of World War I. Beyond the incredible destruction in European battlefields, the intense harvesting of forests, and the new focus on the fossil fuels of the Middle East, the Great War was the Chemists’ War. Poison gas became a weapon — one that would be used against many forms of life.

Insecticides were developed alongside nerve gases and from byproducts of explosives.  World War II — the sequel made almost inevitable by the manner of ending the first one — produced, among other things, nuclear bombs, DDT, and a common language for discussing both — not to mention airplanes for delivering both.

War propagandists made killing easier by depicting foreign people as bugs. Insecticide marketers made buying their poisons patriotic by using war language to describe the “annihilation” of “invading” insects (never mind who was actually here first). DDT was made available for public purchase five days before the U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.  On the first anniversary of the bomb, a full-page photograph of a mushroom cloud appeared in an advertisement for DDT.

War and environmental destruction don’t just overlap in how they’re thought and talked about.  They don’t just promote each other through mutually reinforcing notions of machismo and domination.  The connection is much deeper and more direct. War and preparations for war, including weapons testing, are themselves among the greatest destroyers of our environment.  The U.S. military is a leading consumer of fossil fuels. From March 2003 to December 2007 the war on Iraq alone released more CO2 than 60% of all nations.

Rarely do we appreciate the extent to which wars are fought for control over resources the consumption of which will destroy us.  Even more rarely do we appreciate the extent to which that consumption is driven by wars.  The Confederate Army marched up toward Gettysburg in search of food to fuel itself.  (Sherman burned the South, as he killed the Buffalo, to cause starvation — while the North exploited its land to fuel the war.)  The British Navy sought control of oil first as a fuel for the ships of the British Navy, not for some other purpose.  The Nazis went east, among several other reasons, for forests with which to fuel their war.  The deforestation of the tropics that took off during World War II only accelerated during the permanent state of war that followed.

Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth. The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.

The United States fights its wars and even tests its weapons far from its shores, but remains pockmarked by environmental disaster areas and superfund sites created by its military.  The environmental crisis has taken on enormous proportions, dramatically overshadowing the manufactured dangers that lie in Hillary Clinton’s contention that Vladimir Putin is a new Hitler or the common pretense in Washington, D.C., that Iran is building nukes or that killing people with drones is making us safer rather than more hated. And yet, each year, the EPA spends $622 million trying to figure out how to produce power without oil, while the military spends hundreds of billions of dollars burning oil in wars fought to control the oil supplies. The million dollars spent to keep each soldier in a foreign occupation for a year could create 20 green energy jobs at $50,000 each. The $1 trillion spent by the United States on militarism each year, and the $1 trillion spent by the rest of the world combined, could fund a conversion to sustainable living beyond most of our wildest dreams. Even 10% of it could.

When World War I ended, not only did a huge peace movement develop, but it was allied with a wildlife conservation  movement.  These days, those two movements appear divided and conquered.  Once in a blue moon their paths cross, as environmental groups are persuaded to oppose a particular seizure of land or military base construction, as has happened in recent months with the movements to prevent the U.S. and South Korea from building a huge naval base on Jeju Island, and to prevent the U.S. Marine Corps from turning Pagan Island in the Northern Marianas into a bombing range.  But try asking a well-funded environmental group to push for a transfer of public resources from militarism to clean energy or conservation and you might as well be trying to tackle a cloud of poison gas.

I’m pleased to be part of a movement just begun at WorldBeyondWar.org, already with people taking part in 57 nations, that seeks to replace our massive investment in war with a massive investment in actual defense of the earth.  I have a suspicion that big environmental organizations would find great support for this plan were they to survey their members.

Ukraine Leader In New Leaked Recording: 8 Million Russians In Ukraine “Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons” | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Leader In New Leaked Recording: 8 Million Russians In Ukraine “Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons” | Zero Hedge.

While the NSA is busy justifying its spying of every American its existence thanks to famous Moscow resident Edward Snowden, its Russian counterparts have been busy intercepting even more phone Ukrainian conversations.

After a month ago a leaked phone call between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt confirmed that it was the US that was pulling the strings in what was about to be a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s president Yanukovich, “someone” has just leaked another phone conversation, this time between parliamentarian Nestor Shufrych and former PM and ideological leader of the Ukraine “revolution” Yulia Tymoshenko and most probable future president of West Ukraine, in which Tymoshenko is makes the following threats, “It’s going too far! Bugger! We must grab arms and go whack those damn katsaps [a Ukrainian word used to refer to the Russians in a negative tone] together with their leader”, “I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands” although all her empty threats collapse in the last sentence of the phone conversation in which she says, regarding the Crimea annexation, that “we are going to take it to the Hague International Criminal Court.” Good luck with that.

But the smoking gun, and where Putin once again shows just how masterful of a chess player he is, is the following statement by Tymoshenko, after asked, rhetorically, by her counterparty, “what should we do now with the 8 million Russians that stayed in Ukraine. They are outcasts“… to which she replies: “They must be killed with nuclear weapons.

Needless to say, that is not how you make Russian friends, or diffuse geopolitical tensions with your superpower neighbor, who just happens to be set on recreating USSR 2.0. Because just like that Putin has his provocation carte blanche, as the second something, anything happens to any ethnic Russian in east Ukraine, Putin can point to precisely this conversation as proof of how Ukraine’s “government” feels toward the ethnic minorities in the east, and why “they deserve to be protected” the Russian bearhug. Which has been precisely Putin’s plan all along.

It is not surprising that after this recording was leaked, that Tymoshenko admitted the validity of the recording except for this part, because she knows just how greatly it can and will be used against her once Putin decides it is time to expand a little further beyond just Crimea.

??????? ????, ??? ??? 8 ??? ?????? ? ??????? – ??????. ????????? ???????: ??????? ? ??????? – ?? ????????.?????? ???:) ??????? ?? ??????????

— ???? ????????? (@YuliaTymoshenko) March 24, 2014

Some of the other statements, transcribed by RT, confirming just how powerless Ukraine truly is in this struggle between David backed by the world’s most insolvent and natgas hungry countries, and an ascendent Kremlin goliath:

Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found “a way to zap those assholes [Russia].”

“I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands,” she promised.

Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun, you know what I’m saying, and go shoot this bastard [Putin] in the forehead.”

Full recording below:

Ukraine Leader In New Leaked Recording: 8 Million Russians In Ukraine "Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons" | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Leader In New Leaked Recording: 8 Million Russians In Ukraine “Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons” | Zero Hedge.

While the NSA is busy justifying its spying of every American its existence thanks to famous Moscow resident Edward Snowden, its Russian counterparts have been busy intercepting even more phone Ukrainian conversations.

After a month ago a leaked phone call between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt confirmed that it was the US that was pulling the strings in what was about to be a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s president Yanukovich, “someone” has just leaked another phone conversation, this time between parliamentarian Nestor Shufrych and former PM and ideological leader of the Ukraine “revolution” Yulia Tymoshenko and most probable future president of West Ukraine, in which Tymoshenko is makes the following threats, “It’s going too far! Bugger! We must grab arms and go whack those damn katsaps [a Ukrainian word used to refer to the Russians in a negative tone] together with their leader”, “I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands” although all her empty threats collapse in the last sentence of the phone conversation in which she says, regarding the Crimea annexation, that “we are going to take it to the Hague International Criminal Court.” Good luck with that.

But the smoking gun, and where Putin once again shows just how masterful of a chess player he is, is the following statement by Tymoshenko, after asked, rhetorically, by her counterparty, “what should we do now with the 8 million Russians that stayed in Ukraine. They are outcasts“… to which she replies: “They must be killed with nuclear weapons.

Needless to say, that is not how you make Russian friends, or diffuse geopolitical tensions with your superpower neighbor, who just happens to be set on recreating USSR 2.0. Because just like that Putin has his provocation carte blanche, as the second something, anything happens to any ethnic Russian in east Ukraine, Putin can point to precisely this conversation as proof of how Ukraine’s “government” feels toward the ethnic minorities in the east, and why “they deserve to be protected” the Russian bearhug. Which has been precisely Putin’s plan all along.

It is not surprising that after this recording was leaked, that Tymoshenko admitted the validity of the recording except for this part, because she knows just how greatly it can and will be used against her once Putin decides it is time to expand a little further beyond just Crimea.

??????? ????, ??? ??? 8 ??? ?????? ? ??????? – ??????. ????????? ???????: ??????? ? ??????? – ?? ????????.?????? ???:) ??????? ?? ??????????

— ???? ????????? (@YuliaTymoshenko) March 24, 2014

Some of the other statements, transcribed by RT, confirming just how powerless Ukraine truly is in this struggle between David backed by the world’s most insolvent and natgas hungry countries, and an ascendent Kremlin goliath:

Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found “a way to zap those assholes [Russia].”

“I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands,” she promised.

Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun, you know what I’m saying, and go shoot this bastard [Putin] in the forehead.”

Full recording below:

Saudi Arabia threatens to blockade Qatar over terrorism – The Irish Times – Tue, Mar 11, 2014

Saudi Arabia threatens to blockade Qatar over terrorism – The Irish Times – Tue, Mar 11, 2014.

Riyadh wants to contain radical groups and media at odds with foreign jihad policy

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal attends  an Arab foreign ministers emergency meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis  at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo yesterday. Photograph: Reuters Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal attends an Arab foreign ministers emergency meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 01:00

First published:Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 01:00

Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade neighbouring Qatar by air, land and sea unless Doha cuts ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, closes global channel al-Jazeera, and expels local branches of the US Brookings Institution and RandCorporation think tanks.

The threat was issued by Riyadh before it withdrew its ambassador to Doha and branded as “terrorist organisations” the brotherhood, Lebanon’s Hizbullah and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Although the kingdom has long been the font of Sunni ultra-orthodox Salafism and jihadism, it now seeks to contain radical movements and media and other organisations giving them publicity.

King Abdullah has decreed that any Saudi who fights abroad could be jailed for 20-30 years, and those who join, endorse or provide moral or material support to groups classified as “terrorist” or “extremist” will risk prison sentences of five to 30 years.

The decree followed the gazetting of a sweeping new anti- terrorism law prohibiting acts that disturb public order, promote insecurity, undermine national unity or harm the reputation of the kingdom.
Contradiction
While the law and decree are meant to curb jihadi operations on Saudi soil as well as counter non-jihadi dissidence, these legal instruments appear to contradict government policy on foreign jihad.

While 400 Saudis have returned home from Syrian battlefields, another 1,000-2,000 are believed to be fighting with jihadi groups funded by the government as well as wealthy Saudis, Kuwaitis and Qataris.

An informed source speculated the decree sends a message to Saudis: “Don’t come home. Fight unto death or victory.”

For half a century Saudi Arabia used its oil wealth to promote Muslim fundamentalists, notably the brotherhood and its offshoots, to counter the secular pan-Arab nationalism preached by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Syrian and Iraqi Baath parties.

The kingdom provided refuge for brotherhood officials and activists from Egypt and other countries where governments were battling the movement. However, in recent years, Riyadh fell out with the brotherhood because it did not follow Saudi dictation.

After Shia clerics overthrew the shah of Iran in 1979 and tried to export their “Islamic revolution” to the wider Muslim world, which is 85 per cent Sunni, Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the guardian of Sunni orthodoxy, turned to evangelism.

The object has been to convert Muslims to “Wahhabism,” the Saudi puritanical interpretation of Islam. The Saudi campaign in Syria is against Damascus’s ally Shia Iran as well as godless, secular Baathism.

The rise in the price of oil since the 1970s has enabled the Saudis to train clerics and build schools, Islamic centres, universities and mosques around the world.

Traditionally gentle, tolerant, mystic Sufis, who had served as Islam’s missionaries, have been replaced by narrow, harsh Wahhabi preachers and imams. Over the past 30 years the kingdom has spent more than $100 billion (€72 billion) on promoting Wahhabism.

Even before the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia – partnered by the US Central Intelligence Agency – trained and armed mujahideen (holy warriors) from Afghanistan and across the Muslim world to fight the Soviet Afghan republic. After the war ended with the Soviet withdrawal from that country in 1989, veterans of this conflict fanned out to fight in Bosnia, AlgeriaLibya, the Caucasus and elsewhere.
Blowback
Fearing blowback from Saudi jihadis engaged in the Syrian war, Riyadh has recently given the Syrian file to the interior minister Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, who has been in charge of an anti-terrorism campaign in the kingdom and Yemen, replacing intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

The Wall Street Journal has quoted a key Saudi source who said the shift suggests that Riyadh could rely more on diplomatic than military means by exerting pressure onRussia, Iran and Hizbullah, Damascus’s chief supporters, to resolve the conflict by removing President Bashar al-Assad.

Nevertheless, Riyadh also favours providing shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to “vetted” rebels, well aware these weapons could fall into al-Qaeda hands.

Russia Warns US Against “Illegal” Ukraine Bailout; Ukraine Commences Live-Fire “Drill” With Tanks | Zero Hedge

Russia Warns US Against “Illegal” Ukraine Bailout; Ukraine Commences Live-Fire “Drill” With Tanks | Zero Hedge.

The tit-for-tat sabre-rattling and rhetoric continues to build ahead of this weekend’s planned referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region. This morning has seen 3 new threads beginning withUkraine’s “live-fire” exercises involving T-64B tanks. This was then followed by warnings from Russia of “consequences” of “unconditionally indulging radical elements” in Ukraine calling US financial aid “illegal” which was swiftly responded to by the State Department exclaiming it “unacceptable” that Russian forces take matters into their own hands and “do not create the right environment for diplomacy.” Not positive…

Ukraine did its own sabre-rattling:

  • *T-64B TANKS INVOLVED IN EXERCISE, LIVE-FIRE TRAINING: MINISTRY

The Russians are not happy

Russia says planned US financial aid to Ukraine is illegal

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that planned U.S. financial aid to Ukraine is illegal and outside American legal norms since it would be funding an illegitimate regime.

By all criteria, issuing funding to an illegitimate regime that seized power by force is unlawful and goes beyond the framework of the American legal system,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement echoed assertions made earlier in the day by ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. The ministry also warned Washington about the consequences of “unconditionally indulging radical elements” in Ukraine.

And Kerry has his own perspective:

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS RUSSIAN RESPONSES TO U.S. QUESTIONS ON UKRAINE DO NOT CREATE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR DIPLOMACY

Kerry told Lavrov it is unacceptable that Russian forces and irregulars continue to take matters into their own hands in Ukraine

Of course, this remains a constant distraction from the fact that Russian boots are on the ground in Crimea and the US (and the West) are stuck with how to “off-ramp” the escalating Russian threats without sanctions that would blow-back on to their own economies.

And then Merkel chipped in…

  • *MERKEL SAYS RUSSIA IS ANNEXING CRIMEA, PARTY OFFICIAL SAYS

Russia Warns US Against "Illegal" Ukraine Bailout; Ukraine Commences Live-Fire "Drill" With Tanks | Zero Hedge

Russia Warns US Against “Illegal” Ukraine Bailout; Ukraine Commences Live-Fire “Drill” With Tanks | Zero Hedge.

The tit-for-tat sabre-rattling and rhetoric continues to build ahead of this weekend’s planned referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region. This morning has seen 3 new threads beginning withUkraine’s “live-fire” exercises involving T-64B tanks. This was then followed by warnings from Russia of “consequences” of “unconditionally indulging radical elements” in Ukraine calling US financial aid “illegal” which was swiftly responded to by the State Department exclaiming it “unacceptable” that Russian forces take matters into their own hands and “do not create the right environment for diplomacy.” Not positive…

Ukraine did its own sabre-rattling:

  • *T-64B TANKS INVOLVED IN EXERCISE, LIVE-FIRE TRAINING: MINISTRY

The Russians are not happy

Russia says planned US financial aid to Ukraine is illegal

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that planned U.S. financial aid to Ukraine is illegal and outside American legal norms since it would be funding an illegitimate regime.

By all criteria, issuing funding to an illegitimate regime that seized power by force is unlawful and goes beyond the framework of the American legal system,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement echoed assertions made earlier in the day by ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. The ministry also warned Washington about the consequences of “unconditionally indulging radical elements” in Ukraine.

And Kerry has his own perspective:

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS RUSSIAN RESPONSES TO U.S. QUESTIONS ON UKRAINE DO NOT CREATE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR DIPLOMACY

Kerry told Lavrov it is unacceptable that Russian forces and irregulars continue to take matters into their own hands in Ukraine

Of course, this remains a constant distraction from the fact that Russian boots are on the ground in Crimea and the US (and the West) are stuck with how to “off-ramp” the escalating Russian threats without sanctions that would blow-back on to their own economies.

And then Merkel chipped in…

  • *MERKEL SAYS RUSSIA IS ANNEXING CRIMEA, PARTY OFFICIAL SAYS

Russian Troops Open Fire In Crimea, Reuters Reports As Kerry Delays Russia Visit | Zero Hedge

Russian Troops Open Fire In Crimea, Reuters Reports As Kerry Delays Russia Visit | Zero Hedge.

That Ukraine “drill” may be coming at just the right time. Just out from Reuters:

  • RUSSIAN TROOPS OPENED FIRE DURING TAKEOVER OF UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA, NO ONE WOUNDED -INTERFAX QUOTES UKRAINIAN BASE COMMANDER

And at the same time:

  • RUSSIA’S PUTIN SAYS TOLD FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV TO INVITE U.S. COUNTERPART KERRY FOR MORE CONSULTATIONS ON UKRAINE
  • RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV SAYS HAD INVITED KERRY TO RUSSIA TODAY, BUT KERRY SAID ON SATURDAY HE WOULD LIKE TO POSTPONE VISIT
  • RUSSIA’S LAVROV SAYS RUSSIA HAS OWN PROPOSALS TO RETURN UKRAINIAN SITUATION TO THE FRAMEWORK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION INTERESTS OF ALL UKRAINIANS

No de-escalation yet. Any minute now though. The market said so.

Russian Troops Open Fire In Crimea, Reuters Reports As Kerry Delays Russia Visit | Zero Hedge

Russian Troops Open Fire In Crimea, Reuters Reports As Kerry Delays Russia Visit | Zero Hedge.

That Ukraine “drill” may be coming at just the right time. Just out from Reuters:

  • RUSSIAN TROOPS OPENED FIRE DURING TAKEOVER OF UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA, NO ONE WOUNDED -INTERFAX QUOTES UKRAINIAN BASE COMMANDER

And at the same time:

  • RUSSIA’S PUTIN SAYS TOLD FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV TO INVITE U.S. COUNTERPART KERRY FOR MORE CONSULTATIONS ON UKRAINE
  • RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV SAYS HAD INVITED KERRY TO RUSSIA TODAY, BUT KERRY SAID ON SATURDAY HE WOULD LIKE TO POSTPONE VISIT
  • RUSSIA’S LAVROV SAYS RUSSIA HAS OWN PROPOSALS TO RETURN UKRAINIAN SITUATION TO THE FRAMEWORK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION INTERESTS OF ALL UKRAINIANS

No de-escalation yet. Any minute now though. The market said so.

India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine | The Diplomat

India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine | The Diplomat.

India broke with the international community in acknowledging that Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine.

zachary-keck_q
March 08, 2014

On Thursday a senior Indian official appeared to endorse Russia’s position in Ukraine in recent days, even as Delhi urged all parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic crisis.

When asked for India’s official assessment of the events in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon responded:

“We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them.”

The statement was made on the same day that Crimea’s parliament voted to hold a referendum for secession from Ukraine.

Local Indian media noted that Menon’s statement about Russia’s legitimate interests in Ukraine made it the first major nation to publicly lean toward Russia. As my colleague Shannon has reported throughout the week,many of China’s public statements could be interpreted as backing Russia in Ukraine, despite Beijing’s own concerns about ethnic breakaway states and its principle of non-interference.

However, at other times, including at the UN Security Council, Beijing has appeared to be subtly rebuking Moscow by suggesting that its unilateral path threatened regional and global stability. At the very least, however, Beijing has characteristically not gone as far as the U.S. and the West in publicly scolding Vladimir Putin for the military intervention in Crimea.

Ukraine certainly appeared to interpret India’s endorsement of Russia’s legitimate interests as far more hostile than Beijing’s position on Russia’s actions. According to the Telegraph India, a Ukrainian embassy spokesperson stationed in Delhi responded to Menon’s comments by saying: “We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country. In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”

The larger question, of course, is why India decided to take such a relatively pro-Russian stance on the Ukraine issue? There are a number of possibilities.

First, India and Russia have long-standing ties and Moscow is Delhi’s top arms provider. Moreover, Russia and the former Soviet Union has been nearly alone in the international community in continue to back India during crucial moments such as following its 1974 and 1998 nuclear tests.

It’s also possible that Delhi believes Russia’s intervention offers the best chance of stabilizing Ukraine. India’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday also released a statement noting that there are “more than 5,000 Indian nationals, including about 4,000 students, in different parts of Ukraine.” At the same time, India’s overall interest in Ukraine is fairly negligible—certainly less than China’s, for instance—and thus Delhi might assess that it has more to gain by publicly sticking by Moscow at a time when it desperately needs support.

India also has plenty of interests in certain regions along its peripheral, and at certain times—such as during the Sri Lanka Civil War—has intervened to protect various societal groups with strong ties to India. Unlike China, then, India may assess it has an interest in an international precedent in which major powers can intervene in countries along their borders. At the same time, such an international precedent could be used by Pakistan to justify intervening in Kashmir.

Telegraph India offers another reason. According to the report cited above, Indian officials have toldTelegraph India that, in the newspaper’s words, Delhi is “convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.”

This rationale would be consistent with India’s long-standing, deep-seated abhorrence to anything that merely resembles Western imperialism. At the same time, India has not historically made supporting democracy abroad a central tenet of its foreign policy.

India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine | The Diplomat

India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine | The Diplomat.

India broke with the international community in acknowledging that Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine.

zachary-keck_q
March 08, 2014

On Thursday a senior Indian official appeared to endorse Russia’s position in Ukraine in recent days, even as Delhi urged all parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic crisis.

When asked for India’s official assessment of the events in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon responded:

“We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them.”

The statement was made on the same day that Crimea’s parliament voted to hold a referendum for secession from Ukraine.

Local Indian media noted that Menon’s statement about Russia’s legitimate interests in Ukraine made it the first major nation to publicly lean toward Russia. As my colleague Shannon has reported throughout the week,many of China’s public statements could be interpreted as backing Russia in Ukraine, despite Beijing’s own concerns about ethnic breakaway states and its principle of non-interference.

However, at other times, including at the UN Security Council, Beijing has appeared to be subtly rebuking Moscow by suggesting that its unilateral path threatened regional and global stability. At the very least, however, Beijing has characteristically not gone as far as the U.S. and the West in publicly scolding Vladimir Putin for the military intervention in Crimea.

Ukraine certainly appeared to interpret India’s endorsement of Russia’s legitimate interests as far more hostile than Beijing’s position on Russia’s actions. According to the Telegraph India, a Ukrainian embassy spokesperson stationed in Delhi responded to Menon’s comments by saying: “We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country. In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”

The larger question, of course, is why India decided to take such a relatively pro-Russian stance on the Ukraine issue? There are a number of possibilities.

First, India and Russia have long-standing ties and Moscow is Delhi’s top arms provider. Moreover, Russia and the former Soviet Union has been nearly alone in the international community in continue to back India during crucial moments such as following its 1974 and 1998 nuclear tests.

It’s also possible that Delhi believes Russia’s intervention offers the best chance of stabilizing Ukraine. India’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday also released a statement noting that there are “more than 5,000 Indian nationals, including about 4,000 students, in different parts of Ukraine.” At the same time, India’s overall interest in Ukraine is fairly negligible—certainly less than China’s, for instance—and thus Delhi might assess that it has more to gain by publicly sticking by Moscow at a time when it desperately needs support.

India also has plenty of interests in certain regions along its peripheral, and at certain times—such as during the Sri Lanka Civil War—has intervened to protect various societal groups with strong ties to India. Unlike China, then, India may assess it has an interest in an international precedent in which major powers can intervene in countries along their borders. At the same time, such an international precedent could be used by Pakistan to justify intervening in Kashmir.

Telegraph India offers another reason. According to the report cited above, Indian officials have toldTelegraph India that, in the newspaper’s words, Delhi is “convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.”

This rationale would be consistent with India’s long-standing, deep-seated abhorrence to anything that merely resembles Western imperialism. At the same time, India has not historically made supporting democracy abroad a central tenet of its foreign policy.

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