Will West listen to Putin's call not to establish 'world barracks'?
Addressing Russian ambassadors on Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin pointed out that Western interference in Ukraine has led to catastrophic consequences for the country. He said it was high time for the US and Western Europe to give up their political ambitions and start building mutually beneficial relations with the rest of the world.
Vladimir Putin also criticized the West for its intention to turn the planet into a "global barracks."
"I hope pragmatism will still prevail, Putin said, "The West will get rid of ambitions, pursuits to establish a 'world barracks' – to arrange all according to ranks, to impose uniform rules of behavior and life of society."
Is Europe able to hear Russia's call to engage in better balanced and pragmatic policies?
Says Giulietto Chiesa, Italian politician, ex-Member of the European Parliament:
I believe it will be heard by a part of the European leadership, because gradually, even if it is difficult for them now, after the events in Ukraine, I believe it is becoming a little bit clearer every day that the situation is untenable, that the crisis has been created by the US in the strict sense of the word. And I believe that in Europe there are many in the political elite understanding that the situation is untenable this way, that they have to take some decision to invert their previous position.
But I'm not so optimistic on that, because the larger part of the European leadership is absolutely under the American influence on that. They sustained and encouraged to a certain extent the behavior of the American leadership. And now, for them it is difficult to change their direction. And I'd add on this question that the most part of the European public opinion knows almost nothing about the real situation on the ground.
I can tell you like a testimony, I have seen that in the last 15 days the information on Ukraine has almost disappeared from the media in the West. And this is a very strange sign, because there is a massacre going on, a real massacre of the civilian population, bombing of cities and this is not considered by the mainstream media as information to the public, which is very strange.
Today, I watched an interview with the Russian Ambassador in Italy. And he was saying that the Italian public is somehow changing its attitude towards the Ukrainian crisis. Is that really so?
That is true, because in Italy there has been some kind of not a mass mobilization of people, but a significant one. In many cities, like Rome, two or three times in Naples, Parma, Milan, Turin and other different places the Italian people and the Ukrainian, especially women working in Italy, began a some kind of little demonstration. This had some effect also on the behavior of the media. I've been, for instance, interviewed by one of the channels of the Mediaset system, which gave me the possibility to tell important things that people in general don't know.
Well, there's been some change. But I also will not be too much optimistic. The larger part of the population continues to believe that the responsible for the crisis is Russia, which is exactly contrary to the reality.
I would really hate to sound cynical, but at the current situation the public opinion hardly matters, because it seems that decision makers are acting on their own with very little regard of the public opinion.
You are right, I agree with you. But at the same time, the situation is complicated, because in many senses some leadership has to take into account the position of the public opinion. In Italy, for instance, there is no Russophobic position in the public opinion, there is simply the situation of people knowing nothing or almost nothing. When the people begin to know something, they ask - why you are behaving this way, for instance, in the European institutions.
This has created some problem also for the Italian leadership. And I have noted that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Mogherini took a wiser position with regards to Russia. She repeated twice that it is better to have a dialog with Russia than to have a confrontation, which is a significant shift with regards to the overall European position.
That means that the situation to a certain extent depends on the mobilization of the people and conscience, and asking for more information and more correct information. This gives, to a certain extent, some hope.
This is something inspiring, though, as far as understand, it deals more with the old world. It seems to be hardly the case in the US, because the administration is taking decisions which definitely do not go with the interests of their electorate, and moreover, you can hardly imagine how they could meet the interests of the current administration itself.
My idea is that in the US there is a very harsh struggle also against Obama. Obama is under pressure from many sides. He is not very strong, it is evident. He is trying to take some steps, but I have the impression that he is not in control. Also, the press attaché of the White House seems absolutely confused. It is incredible that the biggest power in the world from the military point of view, is so uncertain about the direction it should go. I have an impression that he is a certain level of confusion.
But while the president and his team are in confusion, it is evident that they are playing in the game of other people in Washington, who are very clearly going against Russia. And they insist on going against Russia. The question is – who will prevail in this situation.
What is clear for me, is that the American public is absolutely unaware of what is going on. I mean, the broad public opinion. The NY Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times are not for the large number of people, they are for a little minority of politicians and intellectuals. And they are having no influence on the broader public opinion in the states. This is my perception and that means that it depends on what is going on in Washington.
So, the situation is literally explosive. And – realistically - could anything be done about it?
Frankly speaking, I have the impression that the question will be decided to a certain extent by the situation on the ground, in the southeastern Ukraine. If the Ukrainian Russians defending themselves will survive, it is evident that even President Poroshenko cannot continue fighting against the population.
This depends on the quantity of money that the US are convinced to put in that carnage, because it is evident that the Right Sector, the Svoboda Party, Mr. Kolomoisky and other people working on and paying for killing of the Russians have some limits in their endeavour. And the limit is how much money they can put in that direction.
If the US will give money, the situation can be really disastrous for the European public opinion in the first place, because the European public cannot sustain this line indefinitely. It can be done until the larger part of the public opinion in Europe does not know what is going on.
But I believe that the truth will come to the fore every-very soon. And this is untenable from the moral point of view, untenable from the point of view of the European principles, those principles which were written on the paper. It will be really a public disaster, if Europe will continue to stay silent. This is my idea. I believe that on the ground a very big chunk of the crisis will be decided.
Mark Mason, US political and social analyst based in California:
The globe is in a really serious economic trouble starting with the 1980s – these are Reagan-Thatcher years. That was the watershed when there was a transition in the US and Western Europe from being social democratic countries, states with social and democratic policies – childcare, welfare for the poor, unemployment training and attentions for public workers – and they were actually stuff; and then in the 1980s the global elites said "that's enough of that" and they've launched their really 30-year attack. It is essentially the old class warfare.
It is driving the populations of the southern periphery, especially, and not only in France but in the Netherlands and Eastern Europe, Greece as well…, it is driving large segments of the population into deeper and deeper poverty. And that drives people to nationalism and fascism. This is like 1933 all over again. The outcome doesn't necessarily have to be the same as in 1939, but we have very similar socio-economic conditions in Southern Europe and that could be highly volatile in terms of stimulating ultranationalist and fascist ideologies.
And what we have then is Europe and the EU essentially cannibalizing the southern periphery – Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Ireland. They are under sort of a direct attack by the French, German and the UK banks and the IMF. So, they are sacrificed zones. The goal for the IMF and for the French, and German, and the UK bankers is to turn Greece into Bangladesh and to turn Ukraine into Greece, and eventually destroy the economy of Russia as well, and turn it into a country as impoverished as Bangladesh.
That's the goal – to turn these weak countries that are loaded with natural resources… So, this is the context. Particularly with the IMF - it is a banking predatory institution, it is controlled by the US government, particularly controlled by the US Treasury Department. And the US Treasury Department is controlled by the Wall Street banks…