"CrossTalk on Ukraine: Uncertain future "
RT.com (March 14, 2022)

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has entered its third week. Numerous negotiations to end hostilities have led nowhere. As a result, Ukraine’s fate is in the balance. Europe’s security calculus has been changed forever.

CrossTalking with Patrick Henningsen and Dmitry Babich.

01:12 Peter Lavelle: "So, we're in the third week right now. Sanction mania all over the place. McDonalds closed. Starbucks closed. They're really not necessities. But they are symbols of western culture, or 'cultural power', as it were. And we've seen that this has turned into quite a bit of theater. Everyone wants to jump in. This is a nice cause. Makes everyone feel good. But there's no context when it comes to this conflict in Ukraine. Unfortunately. That's one of the things we try to correct on this program. But, basically, what we have here is that The West has a policy of theater. How else would you explain it?"

01:54 Patrick Henningsen:"I think the first thing that is very important to point out to people is that this is a world war now. It's not [yet] a military world war, but, economically, the West has declared war on Russia. Not the whole world, just the Western world: namely, the NATO alliance and the European union. It's a world war in the economic sphere and also in the information sphere. The information warfare protocols -- that the U.S. military, the Pentagon and CIA run -- are active. And media outlets, social media outlets, are locked in with those military objectives. That's beyond debate. I think we can look at the de-platforming and censorship that is going on basically blinded the West from any alternative information or any reporting on the ground that might potentially threaten the narrative."

"I'm saying this objectively. And a lot of people will not understand if you're just looking at this from a western-centric point of view, it's world war. And just because the shooting hasn't started directly between the West and Russia, it's also a proxy war. And this is being fought on Ukraine's pitch, as it were. This is a war betwen NATO and Russia, ostensibly. I think that is kind of beyond debate at this point. But there is already a physical confrontation on the ground in Ukraine. And it is very dire. Very serious indeed. What I think is shocking is the uniformity of the approach of Western politicians and pundits which -- and President Zelenski coming on the zoom call at Parliament or Congress"-- and they're of one mind: 'Don't negotiate. Fight to the death. Do the Churchillian speech. People are comparing him to Churchill. The comparison is just ridiculous to compare what is going on betwen Ukraine and Russia to Nazi Germany and Britain in World War II. I think there is also this desire to relive World War II. This is almost a fetishization of World War II and the Hitlerization of every world leader who seems to fall afoul of the globalist agenda these days.

"And NATO is unified. NATO is not that unified. If you look at it politically, there are a number of dissenting parties. There are neutral parties. Hungary looks like it's emerging as a neutral actor potentially within that block. So is Turkey to a degree."

4:40 Peter Lavelle:"... That's all virtue signalling. That's all nice and fine. It makes you feel good. What does it do for Ukraine? And as Patrick pointed out, with the lack of negotiations, Ukraine just gets poorer and poorer, smaller and smaller."

5:13 Dmitry Babich: "... this fetishization of "support Ukraine". It reminds me of the Czech [ ] who went to France and saw these demonstrations against the killing of Palestinians, against the killing of Chechens. He realized, and he wrote about it in his book, that the French people who go to these demonstrations, they don't love Chechens, they don't love Palestinians. They love themselves loving Palestinians. They love themselves supposedly helping come persecuted nation. And the main ally of Russia in this war, as Patrick has rightly described, is, I'm sorry, the Western propaganda, is that it blinds the West."

"I mean, the idea that be throwing out [billionaire] Abramovich and making the Chelsea team suffer you will force Putin to his knees, this is laughable. But they think so. The terrible British press has persuaded them through years and years of anti-Russian propaganda that this is the way it works. 'Putin is surrounded by cynical greedy oligarchs who are so powerful, who hold all the power in Russia. If we just deprive them of their Chelsea team or their yachts they're all going to come to Putin and force him to do what we want. That's not going to happen. But these people cannot acknowledge that their media is wrong. They can only double down on what they did and what they said before. And when it doesn't work they say 'It's just because we haven't put enough effort into this. If we close all McDonalds and all KFCs, for example, that is going to work.' "

"It's not going to work because KFC, for example, inherited from another franchise that was started by a Russian whose family emigrated to Latin America. This company was very successful in Russia. It can return. We can just restart this business. It's not going to be the end of the world. So, the main ally we have in this fight is the irrational Western propaganda, because it makes our enemies blind."

07:49 "The superiority of the West, militarily and economically, is obvious. I mean, the military budgets of the United States and of its European allies combined, is eighteen military budgets. But, simply because they are so self-assured and because they're blinded by their propaganda they cannot use all that potential because they're hitting the wrong targets. They're hitting the decoys created by their own propaganda."

08:14 Peter Lavelle: "... but there was a war in the Donbas for eight years. And Western audiences have no idea what was going on there. The slaughter of civilians at the behest of the Kiev government installed by the United States after a coup in 2014. This is kind of the context that is really missing here. This war is abhorrent. All wars are abhorrent. But if you [say] 'Let's find ways around Russian energy. Let's add money to our military budgets, How does this help Ukraine? Ukraine is all important, but it is a footnote at the same time."

9:09 Patrick Henningsen: "To take the Donbass out of the conversation really robs the situation of its context. And that really speaks to the whole Western approach, which is to ignore context. They want to frame the situation in a certain way. And they're basing their policies and actions on how they're framing this situation. Of course, if you take out the civil war in Ukraine, the violent, bloody civil war that had ensued after the overthrow of a democratically elected president, who was just branded as a 'Russian stooge' by U.S. politicians and media. So that's kind of done and dusted. He's a Russian stooge: Yanokovich. We got rid of Putin's guy and we got the real democracy in. That's the basic narrative that the West has on this."

"But so you take away the fact it's embroiled in not just that, but an ethno-nationalist civil war. And that is one of the key points that Russia has with the glorification of the Waffen SS by the Azov batallions and the fact that they're playing such a central role in that Donbass situation were the Ukrainian military -- Kiev -- is deploying the military against their own people. But who is the sort of vanguard of that military deployment. Not necessarily the Ukrainian regulars in the military, but the extremist nationalists."

10:40 Peter Lavelle: "And it's very unclear what the chain of command is here. I think that is something that is always missed.."

Patrick Henningsen: "... and that offers deniabililty by Kiev. They say 'We're not firing at civilians' and the Azov brigades have been doing that for eight years. So there's that. There's the humanitarian disaster. There's the fourteen thousand dead, both sides, civilian and military, children. A humanitarian disaster. The UN fails. The Minsk accords fail. Germany and France fail. They all turn their backs. Look the other way. Everyone pretends it's not happening. Then all of a sudden, Russia is compelled to act. And first to recognize this independent state and then to act militarily after that. And then you have the NATO issue haning over that. That is kind of obvious.

"Even Henry Kissinger warned about this. Even the current CIA director, William Burns. It's in Wikileaks. Read the cables. So, this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. Peter Lavelle: "..."

Dmitry Babich: "... their hatred came home to them in a terrible form."

13:48 Peter Lavelle: "... the post-Cold War is over. The US has faced the limits of their power. This is unacceptable."

Patrick Henningsen: "Look who has been driving this policy, the sort of globalization of Ukraine in recent years. Victoria Nuland. She's one of the common denominators. And she's a committed, ardent globalist. They believe that Ukraine is going to become a vassal state, to continue to become a vassal state. What has the west done to Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union? They've gutted their industry base. They de-industrialized the country. This is what George Soros did. And he boasts about it. Publicly. Ukraine used to produce things. Now they import everything. Where do they get the money to import it? From the international monetary fund. With punitive loans at exhorbitant interest rates. And Joe Biden himself goes to the Parliament in Kiev while he's Vice President and tells them: 'You're spending too much on your domestic budgets: on education, on healthcare. You need to cut that or the international community is going to be very upset.' This is on record. They've been absolutely tearing that country to pieces for years.

Nuland. The real target is Russia. It needs to be a globalist country. Needs to be denationalized. And the irony is they're invoking the nationalist fervor of Ukraine. So you have two nationalists seemingly opposing each other -- Vladimir Putin, Zelenski -- but the nationalism that Zelenski is espousing, which has a nazi element attached to it, quite obviously, but also the globalist element, to be a member of NATO. Needs to be in the European Union."

16:10 Peter Lavelle: "It's very interesting, Patrick. These liberal globalists, the side they've chosen in Ukraine, which is never mentioned. Let me throw this to Dima. It's never mentioned, these violent, fanatical elements that have been promoted and integrated into the Ukrainian government. Something that people don't want to talk about. Dmitry Yarosh, Speletski, Perubi. They're never mentioned on CNN. They don't even know who they are. "

16:45 Dmitry Babich: "The usual defense which the western media uses against President Putin's idea of denazification of Ukraine. They say, Oh, their President is Jewish. How can you denazify them? This is the only argument I've heard so far. It's ridiculous. First, it shows some real problems with the perception of World War II in the United States and the west in general. Hitler's terrible, terrible ideology is almost exclusively viewed as antisemitism. The whole world war is seen as some kind of antisemitic plot which, luckily, failed. And anti-semitism was a very important part of Hitler's ideology. But it was not 100% of it. The idea was to get hold of the world. The idea was to replace Slavs with Germanic elements in Europe, promoting, basically, west-European nations as [inheritors] of the whole world. Hitler had nothing agaisnt it. He thought that the english were the same as Germans. Germans gone wrong in his terrible language."

"So this is part of the problem. The other part is facts. 25% of the first government that was established after Yanukovich was ousted -- they said 'He just fled Kiev for no reason. He fled because they would kill him if he stayed. It was very easy. And when the insurgents entered the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada began to pass totally different laws. Denying everything they had been doing two years before that. So how could that happen?

Peter Lavelle: "I'd like to point out that that same Parliament didn't have a quorum, the Consitutional Court was not functioning. On every single level it was pursued here. And they call it a revolution of dignity. And almost immediately the language laws marginalizing ethnic Russians, Russian-speakers. I thought liberals embrace diversity. But they're supporting a goverment that is anti-diversity to its core."

19:13 Patrick Henningsen: "Are those European values. Does Ursula Vanderleyen think those are European values, the horrible situation we have in 2022 where Germany is being egged on to amp-up its military spending to hit its 2% NATO mark. And they're already taking part of their public money and shipping weapons that are ostensibly going to be used by nazis in Ukraine. I'm sorry to sketch that ugly picture. But it's a fact..."

Peter Lavelle: "This is an inconvenient fact for the west and we need to amplify that. We need a clear description of who the west is supporting. And Dima, Where are all those billions and billions of dollars from the IMF, the European Union, where has it gone?"

Dmitry Babich: ""Look. The western press doesn't deny Arsen Novak has a hugge villa in Italy, has huge business there. I would look there for some of this IMF money. Whenever huge sums of off-shore accounts are discovered abroad, the western media, they rush to say "Oh, I'm going to find Putin's money.' They didn't find Putin's money, but the first time they found Poroshenko's money and the second time they found Zelenski's money. But they didn't pay attention to that. That's not interesting. That's not important. ..."

Peter Lavelle: "... A deeply corrupt place. They can't square the circle."

19:13 Patrick Henningsen: "They impeached Trump, basically, over an arms shippment delayed by Trump because he asked Why are we sending weapons to this corrupt country and President Zelensky who was President at the time. The bipartisan consensus on this military aggression by NATO and by the western powers to sanction Russia into the medieval ages again is incredible. You look at FOX NEWS and they're completely in line with George Soros. They're completely in line with Joe Biden and with Obama and with the liberal internationalists, the liberal interventionists. Victoria Nuland. Et cetera.

22:15 "It's incredible. It just shows you that the leopard doesn't change its spots that easily. Aside from Colonel MacGregor and a couple of sane voices, Tucker Carlson. It's really shocking. The amount of lying that's going on. FOX, CNN, whatever, the other networks, the New York Times. But FOX, the amount of lying. There are literally new people coming on. Congressmen, Senators making things up on the air. Saying Russia's got chemical weapons. And they've got chemical weapons labs in Ukraine. And they're going to use them you know."

. . . Peter Lavelle quotes JFK about not fearing to negotiate . . .

Dmitry Babich: "Well, it is indeed awful. Now it becomes clear what the tactics of the two sides are. Russians are slowly progressing so as not to expose the troops and not to put the cities in danger. And the Ukrainian army is trying to hide in the cities, endangering civilians and trying to provoke Russians into getting into a street fight which is going to be a tragedy for civilians. But this is what the Kiev regime wants. It wants blood. It wants explosions. It wants a terrible picture for the world's media. So, these are two tactics and we are going to see which ones work better. I think, in this situation, strangely, time is on the side of Russia. Because if we just progress slowly without producing too much damage, we will expose this regime."

"Also, it is becoming more and more difficult for Zelensky to hide the fact that his delegation is just not working. These people, they come to Kiev, and they go, and they come again. They are always late. And they always change their positions. So, it becomes obvious that it is not their aim to end the violence. Their aim is to make this violence as long and pointless as possible. And maybe even negotiate a truce that would allow the Ukrainian troops to regroup and try to counter-attack. But again, not in the open field. Not in an honest fight. But in the cities, endangering civilians."

25:08 Patrick Henningsen: "If you look at the actions, the words, the deeds of NATO member states, of the European Union, they are absolutely trafficking in weapons, calling the world to grab up arms and go to Ukraine to fight with the international brigades effectively. They do not want this war to end any time soon. There are no calls for negotiations. There is no emergency. No one is pulling the alarm saying, Hey, because they're saying that whatever Russia's terms are for their national security, whatever their humanitarian concerns are for the Donbass, it's irrelevant. We're not negotiating. We want this war to drag on for as long as possible for reasons that Dima has just illustrated.