The Geopolitics of Ukraine Part 1 (of a 3 Part Series)

In December 1991, Ukraine, the ‘bread basket of the Soviet Union’ voted in favor of independence from a broken up Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not exist, and the oil and gas reserves of Russia would now be available to the US oil giants.

A look at the geo-strategic background will make things clearer. Ukraine is historically tied to Russia, geographically and culturally. It is Slavic, and home of the first Russian State, Kiev Rus. Its 52 million people are the second largest population in eastern Europe, and it is regarded  as the strategic buffer between Russia and a string of new NATO bases from Poland to Bulgaria to Kosovo, all of which have been carefully been built up since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most important, Ukraine is the transit land for most of the Russian gas pipelines to Germany and the rest of Europe.

Our old friend Zbigniew Brzezinski is directly involved in Ukraine events. Zbig’s entire career has been geared to dismantle Russian power in Eurasia since he was Carter’s National Security Council chief. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Zbig has been trying to get his hand-picked man in power in Kiev. Were that to happen, it would be a major step in the direction of US domination of all Eurasia.

It is useful to quote Brzezinski directly from his now infamous 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives:

“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire – – – “.

“ – – – If Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black sea, Russia automatically regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”

“The states deserving America’s strongest geopolitical support are Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine, all three being geopolitically pivotal.”

American policies are to balkanize Eurasia, and ensure that no possible stable economic or political region between Russia, the EU and China emerges in the future, that might challenge American global domination. This is the core idea of Washington’s doctrine of “preemptive wars”.

In taking control of Ukraine, Washington would take a giant step to encircle Russia for the future. Russian moves to use its vast energy reserves to play for room in rebuilding its strength and political role would be over. Chinese efforts to link Russia to secure some independence from US energy control would also be over. Iran’s attempts to secure support from Russia against American pressure would also end. Iran’s ability to enter into energy agreements with China would also likely end. Cuba and Venezuela would also likely fall prey to a pro-Washington regime change soon thereafter.

American policy is to directly control the oil and gas flows from the Caspian including Turkmenistan – with its super-huge gas reserves, and to counter Russian influence from Georgia to Ukraine to Azerbaijan and Iran.

Oil pipelines are also directly involved in the fight for control of Ukraine. In July 2004, Ukraine voted to open an unused oil pipeline to transport oil from Russian Urals fields to the port of Odessa, on the Black Sea. Washington made a huge protest over this issue, saying this would make Ukraine even more dependent on Moscow. The 674-km long pipeline, completed in 2001, between Odessa and Brody in Western Ukraine, has a capacity to carry 240,000 bpd of oil. In April 2004, Ukraine agreed to extend Brody to the Polish port of Gdansk, a move supported by the US. It would carry Caspian oil to the EU, independent of Russia.

The stakes were big. In July 2004, Ukraine suddenly reversed itself and voted to reverse the oil flows in Brody-Odessa in order to allow it to transport Russian oil to the Black Sea. This decision to reverse the pipeline flow greatly weakened the westward shift of Ukraine.

Ukraine is a strategic battleground in this geopolitical tug-of-war between Washington and Moscow. Ukraine pipeline routes account for 75 % of EU oil imports from Russia and Central Asia, and 34% of its natural gas imports. Ukraine is a key piece on the Eurasian chessboard. Competition to dominate Eurasian energy corridors are behind this struggle and Ukraine is caught in the middle of this struggle.

 Russia’s ‘Warm Waters’ Strategy

Russia as a geographical entity had one glaring weakness. It had three ports, and in winter-time these ports would be frozen. The result was a hampering of its trade. Since the 19th century, Russia has tried very hard to go south and gain access to warm water ports, so it could all- year round.

One such port it had was at Sevastopol, located in the Crimea, on the Black Sea. Russia also built up a naval base there. This enabled Russia to guard its flanks from any potential threat to cut off its access to the Mediterranean Sea. The loss of this port would diminish Russia’s capacity to defend its eastern wing. It would lose Ukraine, and be reduced from a Eurasian power to an Asian power. That is the aim of the US.

The next step would be to gain control of the energy corridors from Russia to the west. And break this link. Thereafter the US would then cut off China’s access to its oil supplies from the Middle East. By placing China in such a position, it would automatically force China to look north to Russia – with its huge oil reserves in close proximity to China. China would then be forced to invade Russia to secure these fields. And war would break out between these two Eurasian giants. That would be the perfect outcome of the US game-plan.

A destroyed Eurasia would once again be under the complete control of the US, ushering a long period of American global dominance. This is the end-game.

It is similar to the earlier battles for Eurasia. The first was what we know as World War 1. The second battle for Eurasia came to be known as World War 2. Now, we are already at the beginning stages of the third battle for Eurasia – what is becoming known as World War 3.

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