Forlag: Karneval Förlag
In an interview in Postil Magazin on 1 September 2022, the author shows off Operation Z – an analysis of Ukraine War and its causes , Swiss Jacques Baud, to his motive for writing the book: "It is from our understanding of the crisis that we find the solutions." In my first meeting with him, in the book Putin – the master of the game? >he begins like this:
"[The conflict] begins with those who for the last 8 years have been telling us about the 'separatists' or about 'independence' for Donbass. This is wrong. The referendum in the two self-proclaimed republics of Donbass and Luhansk in May 2014 was not about independence (независимость) as irresponsible journalists called it, but about self-determination or autonomy (самостоятельность). [Their use of] the term 'pro-Russian' insinuates [further] that there was talk of Russian interference in the conflict, which was not the case. 'Russian speaking' would be more correct. Remember that these referendums were held against Vladimir Putin's wishes.”
The media's blinders
Baud starts from the conflict's ethnic origin: Western media are unwilling to see that this started as a fight for "a white and clean" Ukraine which led to repressive laws and physical violence against the Russian-speaking population of Donbass after 2014. The Maidan coup far from ushering in a diverse democracy, as many seem to believe, but rather years of racist and neo-Nazi motivated assaults against Russian speakers in eastern parts of Ukraine. The media have blinders, says Baud.
The reason for the western media's blinders probably lies, he believes, in the fact that knowledge of this racism would undermine the accusations that Putin could not stand a western democracy so close Russia. But the opposition to Kyiv did not originate in Moscow at all. The resistance arose as a local people's movement in Donbass. This was confirmed by the Western-funded International Crisis Group on July 16, 2019: "The conflict in eastern Ukraine began as a popular movement [...] organized by local residents [...] They were concerned about both the political and economic consequences of the new government in Kyiv and their work to counter the Russian language throughout the country.”
An expert to be reckoned with
Baud shares Operation Z into ten chapters, in addition to the October update in the Swedish edition. He gives an introduction to the region's history up to the current conflict. The author has great expertise and acts with authority. A wide canvas is covered. Detailed overview of the balance of power, the war's progression, the propaganda threat, the Russians' intentions and Western reactions, the Nazi accusations and lies campaigns.
Operation Z is such a comprehensive, well-sourced and detailed book that it can hardly be said to be an easy read. But it is not without humor. Take former President Bush's slip-of-the-tongue from 18 May 2022 where he condemns "this man who single-handedly initiates an unprovoked and brutal invasion of Iraq […] I mean Ukraine".
Baud is an expert on Ukraine, Russia and the former Warsaw Pact countries, speaks the languages and has worked with détente policy in the region for decades – during Ukraine's independence process at the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, via the Maidan coup and the civil war in the Donbass area in 2014 to today's violent war. He was responsible for the Warsaw Pact area of Swiss intelligence in 1983–1990 and headed the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 2011 to 2013, was a member of the Swiss General Staff in 1999–2002 and an advisor to the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the following seven years. He led NATO's work against small arms in 2013-2017. With his eight comprehensive books on security and conflict management, it is difficult to imagine a more competent commentator on this particular war.
Based on Western sources
As before NATO- advisor, Baud knows that he is dealing with a delicate subject. Therefore, he bases himself "as far as possible on Western and Ukrainian sources (the government side) [...] as well as from the Russian opposition". Nevertheless, he expects to be called 'Putinist', and lives well with it, he says laconically. The references are many, and I spend time checking many of them. But we are talking about close to 1000 of these.
Operation Z has a clear message aimed at "those who want to understand this crisis, who want to find a way to dialogue", will conclude that his book wants "to promote peace and therefore, ultimately, to promote the cause of Ukraine" .
The goal for Moscow, says Baud, has not been to conquer territories or to 'take' Kyiv and Ukraine, as Western experts, media, commentators and readers repeat daily, for example in Klassekampen and Aftenposten on 12 January. He states that from day one, i.e. 24 February last year, the Russians have been clear about their main goal: "To demilitarize the threat to Donbass, where the civil war has claimed thousands of lives in the last eight years, and where Russian-speaking both brutally violent, culturally and economically have been targets."
The West has helped Putin achieve his goals
By sending weapons and inciting the Ukrainians to fight rather than seek diplomatic solutions, has the West actually helped the Russians achieve their goals, is Baud's somewhat surprising message. For: Since the Russians' declared goal has not been territorial occupation, the flood of weapons from the West has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, something the Russians would never have otherwise taken the chance of, let alone managed to achieve, and something that has horrifically and dramatically decimated Ukraine's army, yes, Ukraine's youth generation. On 30 November 2022, the EU summit published von der Read a Twitter message carried by Yahoo News on the same day, in which "she determined that Ukraine's military losses had reached 100, while civilian casualties had reached 000". Leyen was immediately muzzled by Zelinskyj, and obeyed!
It seems that in this game it is important to deny large human losses. Because weapons can be renewed with constant NATO replenishment, while loss of life is not renewable and is not suitable for applications to arms donors. When Kyiv shuts down all opposition newspapers and TV stations and refuses people to mention the dead and wounded, it tends to end this way.
The threat to Donbass has been demilitarized.
The weakening of Ukraine's army is enormous – and irreversible. Ukraine is about to exhaust its manpower potential, is Baud's message from sources he has deep inside NATO. In this sense, Baud's conclusions coincide with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter's and the British analyst Alexander Mercouris: When Mariupol fell in the early summer of 2022, the war was won for the Russians. Battles remain, yes, but the war is won. The threat to Donbass has been demilitarized. With Mariupol in ruins, the worst threat of Nazism had also been erased, so that the Financial Times could report on 28 March 2022: "Putin no longer demands de-Nazification of Ukraine", simply because Russia had wiped out the core of the wasp's nest, the Azov forces in Mariupol.
Russia does not go after civilians
The West has in its propaganda focused more on scoring "points" against Putin and Russia than on resolving the conflict, says Baud. A basic method of propaganda is of course to talk down the enemy. The narrative in the Western media is that Putin is raw and brutal and bent on causing as much suffering and death as possible. However, Baud's review of even Western sources shows something quite different. On March 22, 2022, Newsweek's William Arkin wrote: "Russia's conduct in the brutal war shows a different reality than what people seem to believe, that Vladimir Putin is bent on destroying Ukraine and causing as much civilian suffering and destruction as possible […] Russia [ cause] less damage and kill fewer civilians than they could, says an American intelligence expert.”
Newsweek's source is careful not to be open: "But, says the analyst, it can be difficult for people to see what is actually happening [under these conditions]. The analyst spoke on condition of anonymity when speaking about these classified matters. [Even after a month of warfare] the center of Kyiv is barely affected by the bombing. And all the long-range missiles have been aimed at military targets."
This is a completely different story to what, for example, the Norwegian public is told by the media's 'experts', researchers, thinkers and commentators.
The West torpedoes negotiations
Nor, for example, has the EU at any time taken the initiative negotiations or to resolve the conflict, he says. Yes, it's worse than that, he believes: From day one, the EU and NATO focused on "sending more weapons" rather than negotiations; they even have opposed attempts at negotiations, according to Baud. The result is a war that has admittedly cost the Russians dearly, he asserts, but the war has completely crushed Ukraine.
That the West directly opposed attempts at negotiations is clearly shown in Boris Johnson's behaviour. See this passage in Baud, p 274:
"It is interesting that if the West had allowed Zelinskyj to go ahead with the proposal he presented to Russia at the end of March 2022, Ukraine would more or less have been able to keep its borders from February of the same year. [Zelinskyj] presented his first proposal on
negotiations on February 25, which the Russians accepted, but which the EU stopped by alternatively offering a first arms package of 450 million euros. In March came Zelinskyj with yet another proposal which the Russians were willing to discuss, but which the EU again stopped short of offering yet another arms package of 500 million euros. As Ukrainian politician Roman Romanyuk wrote in Ukrainian Pravda on May 5, 2022, Boris Johnson called on April 2 and asked Zelinskyj to withdraw his proposal to Putin. If not, Johnson would stop aid to Ukraine. Johnson visited Ukraine on April 9 and repeated the threat, and he repeated it again during his last visit to Kyiv in August.”
Romanyuk also concludes in Ukrainian Pravda on 5 May that "the possibility of talks between Zelinskyj and Putin was closed after Johnson's visit".
The US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty
Baud sees the sanctions against Russia in a larger global invasion-historical framework: the West has illegally and illegitimately invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya without facing sanctions or condemnation. No disabled American or British athlete was denied a chance at the Paralympics – British cats are free to enter the show. With the sanctions against Russia, it seems as if "the West has suddenly got a conscience", he says dryly.
What does Baud think about NATO, which he knows from the inside? He quotes Professor Richard Sakwa from Kent University: "It is a geopolitical paradox that NATO exists to deal with threats that they themselves create." Examples of this are from 2002, when the USA withdrew unilaterally The ABM Agreement which should limit nuclear weaponsthe threat, and immediately begins talks with Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania about deploy launchers for nuclear warheads. Who has caught this in the Norwegian media? It should not be difficult to understand that Russia's supreme leader perceived this as threatening. Because it is precisely threatening as it is meant to be, visible as it is.
Baud points out that this was also Putin's topic in Munich on 10 February 2007. It was the combination of NATO's breach of promise with eastward expansion, as well as the fact that the US left the agreements for the limitation of nuclear weapons, i.e. "stood outside the normative framework of international security" – which seriously triggered Putin's fears. Russia has a history of Western invasions that lack parallels. But with Putins pointing out this experience of existential threat also began the demonization of him from the West in earnest, observes Baud.
The Rand report is a recipe for war
And Baud is right. This reviewer finds the American one RAND reportss advice to the US government in 2019 on how Russia will be destabilized and brought out of balance, in other words, how to sabotage and seek regime change. In other words, threaten Russia's existence. See only the following points: "Undermining Russia's reputation abroad"; "to reduce faith in the electoral system of the Russian population"; "to create the impression that the Kremlin is not working for the good of the population" and "to encourage local protests and non-violent uprising". This reviewer's thoughts go to peace activist Gene Sharp and how well he fits into this Pentagon-strategy with its How to start a revolution (film 2011, side 2020).
So what is the Rand report's justification for this hostile project? Jo: "Even though [Russia] is vulnerable and fearful, the country is still powerful and is a strong competitor to the United States in several key areas." In other words, Russia is a competitor that the US cannot bear to see succeed!
Putin has not threatened nuclear weapons
Putin threatens to nuclear weapons, says NATO's Secretary General Stoltenberg and points to Putin's speech on September 21. "But Putin did not threaten the use of nuclear weapons at all in this speech, nor has he ever done so since the war broke out in 2014," writes Baud – who reads Russian. John Mearsheimer pointed out the same in the Holberg debate on 1 December last year. But what Putin did was to warn the West against first using nuclear weapons. The month before, on 24 August, British Prime Minister Liz Trust had stated that she found it acceptable to use nuclear weapons "even if it would lead to 'global annihilation'". And further: in April, Biden had withdrawn from the policy no-first use and "thus reserved the right to use nuclear weapons first".
The closing words of Baud's book are a warning that when we support the US's NATO policy in Ukraine, we support acts of terrorism: For Baud points out that the US, under Bush and Trump as well as under Biden, has unilaterally withdrawn from agreement after agreement which have previously been concluded to limit the deployment and use of the most dangerous weapons: the ABM Agreement (2002); Open Skies Agreement (2018); JCPOA with Iran (2018) and the INF Treaty (2019). Trump cited Russian violations of the agreements as the reason, but never presented evidence for this. A number of other agreements were also scrapped, agreements to build international understanding, peaceful development, conflict and tension management and cooperation – as Baud lists.
When: NRK petia home Mankova at the University of Tromsø in Dagsnytt 18 on 21 February stated that Russia increased the danger of nuclear war by having "withdrawn from the nuclear agreement", i.e. the START agreement, this is to turn the entire agreement issue on its head. It is not Russia that has sabotaged a series of agreements on international cooperation against nuclear weapons. It's the United States. Agreements must be based on trust, and the West has deliberately built up distrust and thereby undermined the work for nuclear safety itself.
Today we see a clear pattern where the US will go all the way alone, without international obstacles. The recipe can be read in open sources such as the RAND report on how to destabilize Russia. The US commands, and the world must follow. The slogan Rule-of-law has become a de facto US rule-of-law. With tools to crush several countries' economies and around 800 bases all over the globe like a threatening whip, it is best if you adapt. Then the USA has also never recognized basic international agreements and institutions such as the Human Rights Court in The Hague, or the ILO's labor regulations, for that matter. The US is dragging NATO and the West with it.
Baud ends the book with a particularly dark look: "After the murder of the Russian journalist Darja UEFA On August 20, the sabotage of North Stream 1 and 2 on September 26 and 27, the attack on the Kerch Bridge on October 8 and on the TurkStream gas pipeline on October 13, one can only conclude that the West is using terrorism to achieve its goals."
Operation Z' perspective, elaborations and contextualisation – based exclusively on sources taken from Western media, from Kyiv or from the Russian opposition – open up a revealing and clear landscape. A landscape you find far too few pictures of elsewhere today. That the book does not have a key word list for navigation across, is something that Karneval Förlag can easily rectify in the next edition? The undersigned does not believe that you will miss this book if, like Baud, you really want "to promote peace and therefore, ultimately, to promote the cause of Ukraine."
(The quotations reproduced in Norwegian have been made by the article author).