Canadian troops have stationed themselves in Latvia – some questions remain unanswered

The demonization of Putin in the Western media has been so total that anyone who dares question the most extreme interpretations of his behavior is denounced as a “Putin apologist.” Indeed, any attempt to present a nuanced narrative of what has happened in Ukraine is dismissed as somehow promoting Russian imperialism or spreading Russian propaganda. This oppressive “group think” has, in turn, made formulating any rational policy toward Russia and Ukraine politically impossible in Official Washington.

-Robert Parry, Award Winning Journalist

Canada’s policy surrounding Moscow is brought again to the forefront, after our battalion of 450 Canadian troops officially stationed themselves in Latvia.

Chrystia Freeland and the Liberal government says these actions and others are necessary, as we have an apparent responsibility to placate Russia aggression in Ukraine.

However, given the nuances and subtleties often overlooked surrounding the crisis; it seems necessary to bring up many omitted facts to provide a fair overview of the situation at hand.

One of these often overlooked points is that the West, and more specifically the US, has their fingerprints all over this conflict; and have up until this point, played a very significant role in precipitating the situation.

Indeed, in the case of the Maidan Revolution that led to the resignation of President Victor Yanukovych, it is evident that the US financed, spurred and trained far-right nationalist elements, some of them neo-Nazis, who spearheaded the protest which overthrew Yanukovych.

This is evidenced by many points, one of them being a press conference done by Victoria Nuland, prior to the coup, where she said that America has “invested over $5 billion dollars to assist Ukraine […] as we continue to take Ukraine into the future that it deserves.”  Indeed, overthrowing a pro-Russian Yanukovych and installing a servile, malleable government is certainly more suited to achieving their goals.

Another point, often overlooked by the media is an important phone call between Victoria Nuland, who at this point was the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe under Obama and Geoffrey Hyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine.  In this leaked conversation Nuland is telling Hyatt who she wants installed in the government, providing a rationale for her decisions; why she thinks her decisions are effective and says that, “Yats (Arseniy Yatsenyuk) is the guy” most suited for running the government and ostensibly, implementing the policies she wants instilled.  She also states how “great” it would be to “to have the UN to glue this thing together”, and ends her reasoning with a dismissive “f**k the EU”.

Victoria Nuland later stated that since “the start of the crisis; the United States has provided over $760 million in assistance to Ukraine, in addition to two $1 billion loan guarantees.”  We should also at this point consider the $17 billion dollar loan given to Ukraine by the IMF; and the US/Canadian troops that have been sent to Western Ukraine to provide training to the National Guard.

Another leaked phone call taking place between Urmas Paet, Estonia’s Foreign Minister and Catherine Ashton, European Union Chief of Foreign Policy, revealed that the snipers responsible for the death of many protesters and policemen – this action increasing the intensity of the protests – “was not (orchestrated by) Yanukovych” as once believed, “but it was somebody from the new coalition.” It appears these snipers were the product of the opposition party and the shooting was not done under Yanukovych’s orders.

Indeed, the head of “the private CIA” in Stratfor, George Friedman confirms this assessment, saying (in the case of Ukraine) that it was “the most blatant coup in history“.
Victoria Nuland meeting with Oleh Tyahnybok, the Head of Svoboda, an openly neo-Nazi group

Just like in Latin America and Iran in 1953, the US incited the local population to overthrow leaders; similar to what was done in Ukraine.  Former CIA Officer John Stockwell said that “stirring up deadly ethnic and racial strife has been a standard technique used by the CIA” in the case of the coup d’etat.

Furthermore, according to a longstanding agreement surrounding the lease of Sevastopol with Crimea, Russia, who was accused of “invading” and “seizing” Crimea by the media, was in fact allowed to have 25,000 Russian troops stationed in Crimea at all times.

Putin also did not aggressively “seize” and annex Crimea against the wishes of the Crimeans living there. A referendum held showed overwhelmingly that the Crimeans wanted to secede; and the referendum/public opinion was later confirmed legitimate and valid by many sources including Pew, Bloomberg, Gallup and GfK.  This attitude is also not surprising, considering the hostile actions in Kiev against the ethnic-Russian population living in the East, which included inflammatory policies like the abolishment of Russian as an official language, and Kiev’s refusal to pay pensions and provide social and financial services to Eastern Ukraine.

Furthermore, a salient point often remains overlooked in this situation, which is the fact that Gorbachev was promised that should he end the Cold War, NATO would not move “one inch eastward“.  Certainly, the US has not held true to that promise, and now with soldiers deployed right on Russia’s border – it would seem that the US/Canada/EU and NATO are the ones provoking aggression, not Russia.

This Canadian operation, costing taxpayers $350 million dollars over the next 3 years, appears to be a complete waste of taxpayer money and further alienates the relationship with our neighbour in Russia.  Russia has certainly proven to be an aggressor in the past and the case could be made against Russia unnecessarily providing arms to separatists in the Donbass region and further provoking the crisis; however, given everything, we’ve partnered with much more egregiously tyrannical states, one of them being Saudi Arabia who, has invaded Yemen and Syria, and also arguably employs the worst dictatorship in the world, and China, who’s human rights violations are extremely unsettling; not to mention the annexation of Tibet is an inherently worse action than the annexation of Crimea.

Yet we consider these 2 countries our top trading partners; and Russia, who, was very much antagonized by NATO/US; and who appears to be abiding by the wishes of the majority of Crimeans living there, is considered to be the big-bad enemy that warrants stationing of our troops right in Latvia, burdening Canadians with a $350 million dollar price tag.

So the question is brought up; considering the nuances of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, is this move necessary?  Furthermore, what are we hoping to achieve by doing this; and considering our alliance with countries who have committed atrocities on the same level; if not worse, why the double standard?

About Jake Beaumont 58 Articles
BA in Media Studies from the University of Guelph. Graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber with a Diploma in Journalism. Former Research Analyst for Honest Reporting Canada. Published in the Huffington Post, Vancouver Province and many other newspapers across Canada. Specializes in Middle-East politics. Currently situated in Toronto.

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