Two conflicting dynamics are playing out in Ukraine that are worth reviewing from the standpoint of the war danger discussed in an earlier posting. On the one hand, the actual demonstrators in the Maidan have intensified their use of armed violence, true to the character of groups like the Right Bloc, Common Cause and the Afghanzy who all profess to be followers of the World War II era pro-Nazi Stepan Bandera and his Ukrainian National Movement. This network of largely Western Ukrainians directly fought alongside the Nazis and participated in the mass killings of Poles, Jews and "Bolsheviks" throughout the war from 1941-1945. After the war, they were absorbed into the Cold War apparatus under the Gehlen Organization, MI6, the CIA and NATO.
At a certain point, it became clear to many circles in the United States, Europe and Russia that the situation was heading rapidly toward civil war and a new "Balkan" crisis with even graver strategic implications for Russia's core security interests.
In the contex to the growing violence and revolutionary fervor coming out of the neo-Nazi and rightist networks camped out in the Maidan, an effort was launched–led primarily by Russia and Germany–to bring the immediate situation under control to avert the outbreak of fullscale civil war at one of the major East-West fault lines in the middle of Europe. Putin spoke several times with Merkel and even Obama. Russia sent a respected envoy and the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland all arrived late in the week in Kiev to hammer out a national unity goverment agreement and a ceasefire. No one was totally happy with the outcome of those talks, but a deal was struck.
Now, the question is whether the other dynamic–the armed violence spreading out of the Maidan to many parts of Western Ukraine–will be blunted by the deal, or whether the unleashed passions will be the trigger for a strategic crisis.
Paul Craig Roberts wrote two columns this week, warning that the level of provocations directed against Russia through this Ukraine fiasco could lead to general war–even nuclear war. He was not using hyperbole or speaking out of hysteria. When you play provocation games at civilizational shatter belts, the outcome cannot be controlled. This genie will not go quietly back into the bottle.
Victoria Nuland, the neocon queen who is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, spoke in Washington in December 2013 at the National Press Club. In her remarks she boasted that the U.S. had spent $5 billion to shape the future of Ukraine. The speech got little attention at the time, but it has now become yet another "proof" that the Obama Administration is out to bust Russia. When Nuland was also caught on tape from a conversation in January 2014 with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, hand-picking the ministers in the next Ukraine government, it didn't help either.
We are now at the moment where the two dynamics are crashing up against one another and the outcome is, at best, uncertain.