Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared his country’s intention to join NATO a few days ago, officially flip-flopping from his stance expressed nearly half a year ago. He said that the government was submitting a bill to the Rada to officially change Ukraine’s non-aligned status and also de-facto prohibit it from ever joining the Eurasian Union. It is unclear how he plans to pass the bill, considering that the Rada had been unilaterally dissolved earlier this month. Nonetheless, with Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk being the only politicians to still have power after this recent de-facto political purge, it is more than likely that they will make sure their military ambitions are ‘legitimized’ by hook or by crook, thereby pulling Shadow NATO out of the closet into the limelight.
Military Failures and False Flag Invasions
The timing of Kiev’s not-so-unexpected decision to officially announce its intent to join NATO is strongly influenced by its recent string of military failures against the Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF). This reality is completely opposite to the victory hype that was being prematurely pushed earlier this month. At that time, Kiev was all but claiming victory against the pro-Federalists, completely dismissing any talks of a ceasefire and proclaiming its march on besieged Donetsk and Lugansk. Today, however, NAF is waging a successful counteroffensive against Kiev, has reached the Sea of Azov, and even encircledthousands of Ukrainian troops. So successful has this counteroffensive been that President Putin laudedthe NAF and encouraged them to show mercy by opening up a humanitarian corridor to allow Kiev’s forces to safely (and without their arms) retreat into Russia. Such are the fortunes of war, and Kiev is likely kicking itself for not having accepted the ceasefire earlier this month.
The authorities, of course, do not admit that there is a counteroffensive ongoing, instead attributing their massive losses to yet another mythical ‘Russian invasion’. They claim that Russia secretly provided military equipment to the pro-Federalists via its recent humanitarian aid convoy to the east, and that it has now infiltrated thousands of soldiers and tons of equipment into the battlefield to assist the NAF. This is actually nothing more than false hype intended to justify Kiev’s desperate pleas for NATO support and drum up public and international (Western) acceptance of this ex post facto.
Kiev’s 911 Call to Washington
A number of the US instructors were ambushed by Novorossia army near Malinovka village, Donbass on August 7, 2014.
Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk realize the dire military position that their forces are in, and consequently, they understand that their regime must receive increased NATO support or possibly perish. This state of affairs explains the emergency 911-like call that Kiev gave to Washington to beg for military support. In an unofficial statement, the regime’s ambassador to Canada even said “We’re asking all of the allies of NATO, ‘Guys, we understand it’s not your war, we understand nobody wants your people to die. And we also don’t want our people to die. But if you want to stop this war right now with a little blood before it gets really ugly, we have to act right now — immediately”, before clarifying that his personal views about NATO boots on the ground are not the official position of the Ukrainian authorities. Still, these emergency calls for direct military intervention, no matter how ‘unofficial’ they are, show the desperation that Kiev feels at the moment, and they are certainly falling on receptive ears in Washington despite Obama’s denial. After all, the US admitted last month that its military advisors would be deployed to Ukraine, thus negating whatever red-herring assurances that the US President is trying to give to the world that America won’t intervene.
Selling Snake Oil to the (Angry) Masses
The Ukrainian authorities are now tasked with selling their NATO membership bid to the domestic and international publics, careful to put on at least the façade of democracy in order to feign some adherence to ‘European values’. This is where the latest spate of nationalist agitation can actually become convenient for Kiev. A mass of people has mobilized in the capital to demand the resignation of Poroshenko and the Defense Minister on the grounds that they have been mishandling the war against the pro-Federalists. One should not be fooled into thinking that the demonstrators want peace, however, as they are instead accusing their two political targets of not having done enough to win the war in the east and that stronger military action is necessary to turn the NAF’s tide.
One can obviously see that the nationalist forces that Poroshenko has been playing with have now become angry and are demanding even more violence against their compatriots. To assuage those who advocate even more aggression (and could potentially topple him), Poroshenko may use their mobilization to justify a unilateral decision to officially apply to NATO amidst the Rada’s dissolution and obvious inability to pass the initiative. Even though this isn’t real ‘democracy’, it doesn’t matter to the US and its European partners. These are the same entities that supported and recognized the new authorities who were brought to power on the wave of mob violence on Maidan. All that they need is some vague semblance of ‘people power’ to turn a blind eye to any democratic and legal irregularities that fit into their agenda and to consequently ‘legitimize’ the action in the eyes of the uneducated liberal voters that they preside over. This whole stunt is nothing more than selling snake oil to the Ukrainian and European masses.
Kiev is in deep trouble, as even the most casual observer of the Ukrainian Civil War should be able to tell by this point. The government has collapsed and the military is crumbling under the NAF’s counteroffensive. In their desperation, not only have Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk decreed that all able-bodied men between 18 and 25 now be drafted, but there are also unconfirmed reports that those up to60 years of age may soon be eligible, too, as well as women. Understanding that their regime is in peril and could even be brought down by the same nationalist forces that they unleashed, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are desperately calling to join NATO and have also sent unofficial feelers to Washington about the viability of formal (non-mercenary) ground troops.
The upcoming NATO summit on 4 September is expected to further institutionalize the bloc’s relationship with Ukraine, and it cannot be precluded that some surprises may also be in store. One such example could be Poroshenko pulling a temporary ploy and disowning Crimea in order to get around NATO’s formal territorial dispute prohibition. Regardless of how it turns out, the fact is that the Kiev coup-plotters have finally played their NATO hand and have shown the world that they are dead-set on joining the military bloc. Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk would do well, however, to second-guess the wisdom of working with Washington and instead heed Putin’s advice, remembering that “whatever Americans touch they always end up with Libya or Iraq.”
Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.