Saturday, April 23, 2022

Minsk II: 2 words you’ll never hear on mainstream news

Ask a hundred Americans and you’ll be lucky to find even one who’s ever heard of Minsk II. But ask those same Americans how the Ukraine war started, and you’ll like get ‘Russian President Putin woke up one day and decided to re-establish the Soviet empire, starting with Ukraine.
That is because our government and its slavishly loyal media have created a false narrative for maximum propaganda to support pouring billions in weaponry into the Ukraine war zone, ensuring that death and destruction will proceed endlessly.
Minsk II was the 2015 agreement hammered out by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany to end the civil war in Ukraine between the pro west, ultra nationalist government and the pro Russian Ukrainians in the eastern Donbas provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.
Why a civil war in Ukraine? Historically, Ukraine was cobbled together first by the Russian Empire, then the Soviet Union over 4 centuries, containing disparate peoples. The main ones were the Western leaning, Ukrainian speaking people in the north and west, and the Russian speaking in the east and south.
Their relationship was always toxic, but under Soviet rule relative peace prevailed. Once freed from Soviet rule in 1999, the tension between the two disparate groups resurfaced. Fifteen years on the U.S. essentially blew up whatever chance for peaceful resolution by aiding a coup which violently removed Russian leaning President Yanukovych, replacing him with an ultra nationalist government under Petro Poroshenko.
Thus began the civil war in the Donbas that has killed over 14,000 Ukrainians in Kiev’s effort to subjugate and marginalize the hated Russian leaning Ukrainians. And leading the carnage for the past 3 years is current president Volodymyr Zelensky. Calling him the new Churchill doesn’t quite fit.
But Ukraine had an off ramp from civil war early on in the form of the Minsk and then the Minsk II agreements in 2014 and 2015. The latter called for autonomy for the breakaway provinces Donetsk and Lugansk, amnesty to the combatants and representation in the Ukraine government.
But goaded by the U.S. and the ultra nationalists with the real power, both post coup presidents Poroshenko and Zelensky opted to continue the civil war to both retake the breakaway provinces and recapture the Crimea, seized by Russia after the 2014 coup threatened their naval base at Sebastopol in the Crimea.
In the months leading up to Russia’s criminal war, Ukraine, with the help of weaponry and training by Uncle Sam, dramatically increased its criminal shelling of the Donbas, even massing a hundred thousand troops for a possible invasion predicted for March.
Did that, and the threat of NATO’s encroachment in Ukraine up to Russia’s borders make Russia’s invasion legal or necessary for Russia’s national defense? Of course not. But expecting Russia would sit back and do nothing made their invasion virtually inevitable.
On February 24, that inevitability occurred, costing thousands of senseless deaths, putting the world in danger of worldwide recession, millions of poor worldwide facing starvation from food shortages and worst of all….nuclear war.
Millions of words have been spilled by our government and our media framing this war as the madman in the Kremlin and his dreams of a reconstituted Soviet empire. But they could do better with just two words that Ukraine and U.S. refused to honor and implement: Minsk II.

Email to Congressman Casten on Yemen war

 Dear Congressman Casten: 

Please cosponsor the New Yemen War Powers Resolution, which has been introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Peter DeFazio to end U.S. unconstitutional, illegal and criminal war in Yemen.  

This war has killed over 400,000 Yemenis since Saudi Arabia started it March 26, 2015. While officially a war by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners to return pro Saudi rule to Yemen, it is primarily a proxy war of the U.S. against Iran, aligned with the Houthi rebels in Yemen. This war could not have been waged without U.S. planes, drones, bombs, midair refueling of Saudi jets, intelligence, logistics and moral encouragement. 

It disgraces everything America should stand for and do on the world stage to promote peace and understanding instead of war.    

Congress passed a War Powers Resolution to end the Yemen war 3 years ago. It was vetoed by President Trump who did not want to upset our corrupt, murderous Saudi ally. President Biden came into office pledging to end the war. But he backed down on his pledge for purely political self-interest. That is a disgrace as tens, maybe hundreds of thousands more Yemenites face starvation and death from a senseless war America enables.  

The war is in clear violation of Article 1 of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which grants Congress alone the power to declare war and to authorize US military involvement. 

Since the president will not follow the Constitution and end our criminal involvement in the destruction of Yemen, Congress must force him to do so. 

Please confirm your willingness to co-sponsor the current Yemen War Powers Resolution and vote for it when brought before the House. It was introduced a year ago. Many thousands have died waiting for Congressional action to end this criminal war. More die every day Congress fails to act. Do your duty to end American made carnage in Yemen.  

Walt Zlotow 

President, West Suburban Peace Coalition                                                                                                     

Glen Ellyn IL  

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Secretary Blinken rebrands his department from State to War

Since he took office 15 months ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appears to be under the delusion he’s U.S. Secretary of War, not State. Blinken has completely abrogated his role as America’s chief diplomat, refusing to talk with his Soviet counterpart Sergey Lavrov for the past 61 days, an interval encompassing the entire 52-day Russian invasion of Ukraine.   

 We just learned Wednesday from Blinken counselor Derek Cholollet that Blinken’s negotiating team refused to even consider Russia’s security concerns regarding NATO’s membership for Ukraine, a red line to Russia they’ve been warning us about for 2 decades. Chollollet spilled the beans on Blinken saying “We made clear to the Russians that we were willing to talk to them on issues that we thought were genuine concerns they have that were legitimate in some way, I mean arms control type things of that nature. But the future of Ukraine was a non-issue.” 

That was the opposite of sensible diplomacy, provoking the world’s most nuclear armed country to launch a criminal war. Now, Ukraine is in ruins, thousands are dead on both sides, with no end in sight. Worse, triggering the slightest tripwire between the two real combatants, the U.S. and Russia, brings nuclear Doomsday. 

Another State Department official reports that Blinken informed his NATO counterparts that tho the war will likely continue thruout 2022, his diplomacy is focused on how best to end it as quickly as possible.

For Blinken, ‘quickly’ means negotiating with allies to join America pouring endless billions in weaponry into its client state Ukraine. That guarantees the war will fulfill Blinken’s prediction, possibly even that of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mike Milley, who predicted several years of war. 

 Would somebody please inform Secretary of Blinken that the War Department was abolished 75 years ago this September 18, when Kenneth C. Royall, the 56th and last War Secretary, stepped down? 

 However, having spent the past 13 years advising first Vice President Biden, President Obama and now President Biden on America’s senseless wars, it understandable how Blinken could be so thoroughly confused on how to actually have prevented and now end the current war.

Walt Zlotow
West Suburban Peace Coalition
Glen Ellyn IL