"Russia-US security agreement. Conflict on two fronts w/ Jeffrey Sachs"
Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris
The Duran (November 13, 2023)

33:58 Jeffrey Sachs: “the annexation of Crimea followed the overthrow of Yanukovich. And so the US conspired to overthrow a government in Kiev and immediately the Russian leadership said, ‘Actually, we don’t want Crimea falling into NATO hands.’ And one should understand that there was a perfectly understandable approach for Crimea. Russia was not demanding the return of Crimea before Yanukovich’s overthrow. Russia and Ukraine had negotiated a long-term lease for the Sevastopol naval base. That’s all. The Lease went through 2042, and there was no demand for Crimea to become part of Russia. The US provoked this.

34:36 This US addiction to regime change – which is another part of this -- … is the most disastrous part of US foreign policy going back to 1947. The US political system got wrecked in 1947 by the National Security Act which established a secret army known as the CIA. It established the CIA as an “intelligence” agency – fine, countries need that – but as a secret army, as the separate side? Even Truman knew when he was signing this: ‘There’s something very dangerous about this,’ and he later bemoaned the fact that he had created this unaccountable secret army.

35:34 I mention this because that secret army has played a role in destabilizing the world – so incompetently, by the way – for decades. It’s almost never reviewed. It was reviewed once by the Church committee in the 1970s. But those of us who know events know how incredibly devastating CIA interventions have been all over the world setting off civil wars repeatedly and so on. Okay.

36:05 My point is that in February 2014, the United States – I know, Victoria Nuland and others, by the way – were directly involved in the overthrow of a Ukrainian president who had negotiated a long-term lease of Sevastopol Naval Base with Russia – fine – and who was in favor of neutrality. That was his great sin: that he didn’t want to join NATO. So that was his great sin [and so] the neocons had to get rid of him. The US deep state had to get rid of him. It was at that time that Russia said: ‘Sorry, Crimea is coming back to us. That has been fundamental to our security and it has been our naval base since 1783. Thank you very much, but it is not going to fall into NATO hands.’ So that’s the real background.

37:01 And this is a basic point. Going back to 2013, Ukraine had its territorial integrity. There were no territorial demands on Ukraine. Ukraine was neutral. And it was at peace. The United States could not accept the neutrality. So they did a regime change operation. That started this complete mess. The Russians took Crimea. The Ukrainian rightist government began to attack the ethnic Russian Donbas region. That led to Minsk One and then Minsk Two backed by the UN Security Council. And the United States told the Ukrainians: ‘Forget it. You don’t have to do that. We want a unitary state, not a federal state,’ as Minsk Two was calling for. So, the US lost again. Even then, Russia was not calling for territory. It was only calling for autonomy. And the US could not take ‘yes’ for an answer.

38:14 December 17, 2021 President Putin puts on the table a draft security arrangement based on no NATO enlargement. The United States formally says ‘We don’t have to talk to you about that at all. That’s not your business. As if NATO enlargement is not Russia’s business. And then starts coming the independence of Donbas, then the annexation of Donbas by the Duma and incorporation into Russia. In other words, if you play a lousy poker hand and you keep escalating, you keep raising the stakes on a losing hand, you end up destroying yourself. Well, the US is destroying Ukraine step by step because Russia wasn’t demanding Ukrainian territory. Not Crimea. Not the Donbas. Until the US kept pushing, pushing, pushing because it could not make a compromise. Not even a compromise. It couldn’t make the sensible step of saying ‘NATO to Ukraine. That’s a step too far.

39:16 And again, I want to emphasize that the backdrop to that: Russia had many reasons for opposing NATO enlargement, but one of them was that the US had unilaterally walked away from the nuclear arms agreements and was placing AEGIS missiles in Poland and Romania. And so Russia was saying -- from a pure, direct minutes-to-Moscow security consideration – ‘We don’t want you here.’ It makes perfect sense. And the United States should have listened.