Continuing this Kazakh mini-series, based on two pieces from VZGLIAD, this one by Alina Nazarova, and this one by Irina Alksnis. Alina’s piece is headlined “Trump and Nazarbaev discuss switching the Donbass negotiations from Minsk [to Kazakhstan]”, and Irina’s piece is entitled “What Does the USA Want From Kazakhstan?”
[And, by the way, I just noticed, and fixed, an amusing typo in Part I. I saw that I had spelled Donald Trump’s name as “Tramp”. I assure my readers this typo was completely unintentional, and not even a Freudian slip! It was simply a result of transliterating back from the Russian spelling which is Трамп (“Tramp”), since the Russian alphabet doesn’t have a letter for the American “uh” sound.]
Be that as it may, let us begin with Alina’s Nazarova’s piece. This story is intriguing on several levels. It involves the conflict in the Donbass region between the Ukrainian government and the two Separatist enclaves. Russia backs the so-called “Minsk Accords” which provide a roadmap to ceasefire and eventual resolution of the conflict. Wily but peace-loving Russia is actually pretty good at keeping frozen conflicts frozen, allowing a couple of generations of children to grow up without being egregiously maimed in bombings and artillery shellings.
Americans, on the other hand, seem keen on war and violent resolutions to conflicts. Maybe that comes from watching too much TV. On TV the maimed children are just paid actors.
The Ukrainian government also has never been keen about the Minsk agreement, knowing that the longer the separation continues, the more likely a final divorce decree. And they do not want their lovely ex-wife Donbass to move away altogether, taking with her the luscious Black Earth and coal mines that the two spouses once shared.
Hence, the impatient Ukrainians rececently took the step of abrogating Minsk altogether. Backed, and egged on, by the U.S., the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) voted to name Russia as the aggressor state. Thus redefining the internal conflict (or Civil War, what have you), as a foreign war/invasion. This legal redefinition switches military action in the Donbass from the ragtag neo-Nazi militias to the official Ukrainian army, which has been promised advanced weapons and “advisors” from the U.S. military. In essence, this action unfreezes the conflict and unleashes the dogs of war. It even brings closer the possibility of direct military conflict between American and Russian soldiers, over there on Russia’s borderland.
Admidst these gloomy prophecies, the discerning reader will ask: What does any of this have to do with Kazakhstan? Which is way over there in Asia, not that far from China?
Nazarova reports that Kazakh Prez Nazarbaev offered his nation as the site of the new peace talks to replace Minsk. In official statements emitted by the two leaders, Nazarbaev agreed with President Trump that the Minsk accords had “gone nowhere” and needed to be replaced with something else. And it was very nice of him to offer his country as the site of new peace talks. So far so good. But here we get to the fly in the ointment:
Trump apparently got Nazarbaev to agree with him that “Peacekeepers” need to be brought into the Donbass. This is a key American demand, and is opposed by Russia. Because, the way the Americans understand the concept, Peacekeepers are those who support the American favored side in a given conflict. And would be composed of American military or the militaries of America’s allies. In which case, the Peacekeepers could not be trusted to be neutral between the two sides. More than likely, they would behave like the OSCE peacekeepers did in the Gruzia-Ossetia conflict of 2008, secretly aiding the Gruzians in their sneak attack against Tskhinval. In other words, the Donbass Separatists would trust such Peacekeepers no farther than they could punt them!
Hence, the very idea of introducing such peacekeepers is stillborn, and yet it is interesting that Trump got the wily Nazarbaev to mouth these words.
In the next, and final installment, of this piece, we will turn to Irina Alksnis for a more detailed analysis of this blooming relationship and its financial underpinnings.
[to be continued]