Ukraine War, January 6, 2023: America’s pro-Russian apologists; Brazil’s Lula favors “dialogue” with Putin, underlining again the West’s failure to secure support among the countries of the “Global South”

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.

Dispatches

1) Adrian Karatnycky, “Putin’s American Cheerleaders; How Jeffrey Sachs, Mark Episkopos and Dimitri Simes contribute to the Russian propaganda effort,” Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2023 (1:19 pm ET);

2) Bruno Meyerfeld (Brasilia, envoyé spécial), “Mauro Vieira, ministre des affaires étrangères brésilien: “la position du président Lula est celle du dialogue” avec Poutine; Dans un entretien au “Monde”, le premier accordé à un média étranger, le nouveau chef de la diplomatie brésilienne affirme vouloir “réintégrer le Brésil sur la scène internationale”. Le Monde le 6 janvier 2023 (13h00);

3) Bruno Meyerfeld (Brasilia (Brazil) special correspondent), “Mauro Vieira, Brazil’s foreign minister: ‘The position of President Lula is one of dialogue’ with Putin; In an interview with ‘Le Monde’, his first with a foreign news outlet, the foreign affairs minister in Lula’s new government says he wants to ‘reinstate Brazil on the international scene,'” Le Monde in English, January 6, 2023 (updated at 12h59);

Analysis

Karatnycky highlights how some leading academics have been shilling for Russia and Vladimir Putin on Russian TV stations. Most shocjing is Jeffrey Sachs, a distinguished economist now at Columbia University. Dmitri Simes, once a leading Sovietologist.

Karatnycky reports:

They willingly appear on the programs of Russia’s most odious state propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov. Mr. Solovyov has called for a Russian invasion of Europe, bombing Ukrainian cities into the ground, and punishing Ukrainians for “Nazism.” Last month he declared on air that “the more we burn Ukraine now, the easier it will be to pummel Germany, Britain, France, all those European Nazi bastards, and the United States will also suffer.”

Mr. Sachs has made three appearances on Mr. Solovyov’s programs since November. Mr. Sachs has long argued that the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine in 2014 by virtue of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s “threatening” expansion toward Russia. In his appearances last fall, he called for an immediate end to hostilities…According to the Russian dubbing of Mr. Sachs’s English-language comments, he has told Russians that a “massive number” of Americans “wish to exit the conflict in Ukraine,” condemned the U.S. administration for “disinformation,” and called President Volodymyr Zelensky’s conditions for peace “absolute nonsense.”

As for Mr. Simes, he has long been a co-host—alongside Vyacheslav Nikonov, grandson of Stalin’s Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov—of an international-affairs program on Russian state television, where he positioned himself as a foreign-policy realist promoting cooperation between Washington and Moscow. This sober stance has vanished, and Mr. Simes has gone full-bore pro-Putin.

Sachs and Simes, like most other analysts and commentators, fail to take the U.N. Charter and international law into account. They have every right to publish their views. It is despicable, however, that they have chosen to do so on Russian TV programs that push Putin’s war propaganda.

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Mauro Vieira, the new foreign minister under Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio da Silva (“Lula”) has announced that “Brazil is back!” and will reintegrate itself into the international system.

Unfortunately, what Vieira seems to have in mind is a return to Itamaraty’s traditional and mindless leftist approach to international affirs. He says Brazil favors dialogue with Russia, and of course will welcome Russia’s participation in meetings of the BRICS countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), including a visit by Vladimir Putin to Brazil.

When asked whether Brazil would adopt sanctions against Russia, Vieira replied with a disingenuous statement that Brazil would only enact sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council. Given the Russian veto in the Security Council, that amounted to a resounding “NO!”

Brazil was one of the Latin American countries that sent troops to Europe to fight Nazi fascism in World War II.  The world breathed a sigh of relief when Lula defeated Jair Bolsonaro in the recent presidential elections. That was taken as a triumph of democracy over the authoritarian Bolsonaro.

Brazil, however, will make a fatal error if it persists in the policy toward Russia which Vieira just announced.

The question for Lula and Brazil is whether they will join tbe anti-fascist coalition against Russia, drop the deceitful b.s. about dialogue with Putin, and impose sanctions on Russia that might help bring the war in Ukraine to an end sooner rather than later, or will in effect side with the war ciminals in the Kremlin.

In the 19th century the illustrious Brazilian diplomat and foreign minister, the Baron of Rio Branco, had high regard for international law and the settlement of international disputes in accordance with international law, particularly by international arbitration. Almost all if not all of Brazil’s border disputes with its neighbors were settled in this fashion. The Baron of Rio Branco was a strong supporter of international arbitration and the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the first Hague Peace Conference in 1907.

The Court of Arbitration was the forerunner of international adjudication by the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) (1919-1945) and the International Court of Justice (1945-present), established at the Versailles or Paris Peace Conference in 1919-1920 and at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in 1945, respectively.

Brazil’s domestic legal institutions held strong against the anti-democratic forces of Jair Bolsonaro. In the 1980,s the Brazilian Bar Association (Ordem dis Advogados do Brasil or OAB), played a critical role in the return of Brasil to democracy and the rule of law.

Now Brazil will have to decide whether it stands with the democracies of the world and the international rule of law, or with the Russian fascists who are trying to bring down the U.N. Charter and international law.

The mere fact that foreign minister Vieira would lay out the contours of a so- called “neutral” policy toward Russia provides further evidence of the utter failure of the United States to enlist the support of the countries in the “Global South”) in efforts to condemn Russian aggression and war crimes in Ukraine.

In this regard, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has led the West down an errant path, telling countries they were free to decide their policies without pressure from the United States.

This mistaken policy alone would be ample reason to replace Blinken as Secretary of State.

There is no excuse for the U.S. failing to exert every possible pressure on the nations of the “Global South” for them to condemn Russian aggression and war crimes and to join the international sanctions regime aimed at bringing both to an early halt.

Congress should get involved here, and to the extent possible deny trade and other benefits to Brazil so long as it in fact supports Russia through a disingenuous policy of “neutrality” and promoting “dialogue” with the aggressor and the war criminals.

Congress should also deny benefits wherever possible to countries like India and South Africa which claim to be democracies but whose “neutrality” betrays tacit support for Russia.

It’s time to start playing ‘hardball” with the fence-sitting countries of the “Global South”.

The Trenchant Observer

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