Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.
Perhaps the best interpretation of Geneva, 2014, is that it is the farcical doppelgänger of Munich, 1938.
It was apparent to anyone not willfully blind that Geneva was doomed to failure. There was no enforcement mechanism. And within hours, it became clear that the Russians intended to use the agreement as a reason to ratchet up its offensive against the Kiev government, and had no intention to force evacuation of any buildings by its forces in eastern Ukraine. The Russians are demanding that the Kiev government go after any group that Moscow does not like.
And you know what will happen. The Russians will use the failure of Kiev to bend to their will as a pretext for refusing to do anything in Donestk, and for invading or supporting separatists.
I have to conclude that Kerry enjoys getting punked by Lavrov in Geneva. If he doesn’t, why does he do it so regularly?
Insofar as enforcement is concerned, the Geneva agreement lays out a special role for the OSCE. But check out this organizations description of its activities in Ukraine. Totally passive. Merely an observer. I’ve heard of alpha males. I’ve heard of beta males. OSCE comes off as omega males. Who have been eunuched.
And not surprisingly, the Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are totally blowing them off.
But don’t worry, OSCE is going to persuade them with sweet reason!:
After a meeting in Kiev on Saturday with diplomats from the four parties to the Geneva accord, Swiss envoy Christian Schoenenberger, whose country is chair of the OSCE, said its monitors had already spoken to the separatists: “For the time being the political will is not there to move out,” he said.
“That’s the task of the monitors, to create this political will, inform the people, so eventually they will understand that the best option for them is to move out,” he told reporters.
I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or pound my head against the wall.
The article I linked to is titled “Surrender talks set with separatists in Ukraine.” It is beyond obvious that it is OSCE whose surrender is being negotiated.
But the farce does not end with Geneva. Perhaps stung by the criticism of his dancing to organ grinder Vladimir’s tune, Eddie Snowden penned a defense of his conduct that ran in the Guardian. Never fear, people, the article had its allotted content of narcissistic Snowden gasbaggery. (Just how many times do you have to mention risking your life, Ed.) But the best (and by best, I mean worst) part was this:
Moreover, I hoped that Putin’s answer – whatever it was – would provide opportunities for serious journalists and civil society to push the discussion further.
When this event comes around next year, I hope we’ll see more questions on surveillance programs and other controversial policies. But we don’t have to wait until then. For example, journalists might ask for clarification as to how millions of individuals’ communications are not being intercepted, analysed or stored, when, at least on a technical level, the systems that are in place must do precisely that in order to function.
I have to say it. What planet does this guy live on?
Journalists? You mean the ones that are beaten or killed if they challenge Putin? (The name Politkovskaya ring a bell, Ed?) Civil society? You mean the individuals and organizations that Putin and the Russian state have relentlessly ground into the dust over the past several years?
And just what answer would Snowden expect Putin to deliver to any journalist-with-a-death-wish who poses these questions?
Snowden’s Guardian piece comes off as more of a taunt than serious defense. He was only allowed to ask his question because the FSB approved it, and set up the entire apparatus for him to ask it. The Guardian article means nothing, because the Russians have to at least attempt to maintain the pretense that Snowden is not the organ grinder’s monkey that he actually is.
To show how farcical this is, check out Kucherena’s explanation of the situation:
Mr. Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, denied his client had been pressured to participate.
“He decided to do this himself. There was no negotiation with the Kremlin,” he said. “Edward had the opportunity, so he asked the question.” Questions could be submitted ahead of the event in writing or in video form via a website or mobile application.
Um, just how did this “opportunity” magically appear?
Kucherena’s risible attempt to claim that this was not an FSB-arranged performance is the most telling proof that it was an FSB-arranged circus.
One more item in the farcical chronicles. German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier is pimping for Putin harder than ever:
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he wished as much emphasis would be placed on preventing an escalation of tensions with Russia over Ukraine as there is at the moment in threatening economic sanctions.
In an interview to appear in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, Steinmeier appeared to be referring to threats from the United States as well as from within Germany about the need for economic sanctions against Russia.
“I sometimes wish that the same engagement being used for the debate about sanctions would also exist when it comes to avoiding a further escalation,” Steinmeier told the Sunday newspaper, according to excerpts released before publication.
Yeah, because Putin is putting so much effort into avoiding escalation.
Steinmeier is a snake at the bosom of the western alliance. Germany is totally compromised, and the US must accept that when crafting its own actions, such as they are. Germany is giving more proof by the day that whatever resources NSA devoted to spying on it, it was not enough.
One piece of news is that the US is considering going after Putin’s billions. I’ll believe it when I see it. For now, that appears to be just another part of the FUD campaign that the US is waging in place of actually doing something. But FUD doesn’t work unless the threats are credible, and the threats aren’t credible unless you carry through on them. Obama has repeatedly failed to do so, and as a result, these whispered and leaked threats will have zero effect whatsoever.
I fear the farce will be with us, for many years to come. The current farce stems from a fatal lack of will in the west, and that is not going away anytime soon.