Russia’s return to ‘grain deal’ exposes Western hypocrisy

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service at the Kremlin in Moscow. Picture: Pavel Bednyakov / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service at the Kremlin in Moscow. Picture: Pavel Bednyakov / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Published Nov 6, 2022


OPINION: SELF-SERVING geopolitical interests of key protagonists in the Ukraine conflict who shamelessly use Kyiv to wage a proxy war against Russia stood out during desperate intervention to persuade Russia to rescind its decision after quitting the “grain deal”, writes Abbey Makoe …

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has often been the lone man in his noble attempts to broker a peace deal between the warring parties in the Ukraine war.

The powerful players in the Ukraine war – the makers or breakers – led by the US ably supported by the EU, have been steadfast in their indifference to bring about an armistice.

But this week, following Russia’s unexpected withdrawal from the grain deal and the dire implications thereof, the West rallied behind the UN and Turkey to pursue Russia to resume co-operation with the deal.

The West’s actions clearly show that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. In other words, the West gave meaning to the proverb that says “determination can overcome any obstacle”. One wonders if the war would be continuing to this day had those who actively encourage Kyiv to keep on fighting elected to embark on a path to peace from the early days of the Ukraine war eight months ago.

The UN-backed “grain deal”, brokered with the commendable involvement of unique Nato member Turkey, is aimed at allowing the export of grain from Ukraine via a safe corridor in the Black Sea. Russia’s sudden walk-away from the deal created anxiety and panic as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced his country’s withdrawal of safety guarantees to the shipment.

Amid the ensuing uncertainty, the West rallied behind the UN and Turkey as President Recep Erdogan’s administration worked tirelessly with the office of the UN’s chief Guterres to rescue the hugely important deal that has been credited with mitigating the global food crisis.

As the West rallied behind Turkey and the UN’s efforts in negotiations with Russia, Ukraine was writing down its undertaking to Moscow never to use the safe corridor created to export grain for an attack on Russian interests in the Black Sea.

To the global relief, a Russian Defence Ministry statement read: “The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement.”

The Kremlin had accused the government of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky of masterminding a drone attack on its Crimea-based naval fleet in the Black Sea. Kyiv has vehemently denied any responsibility for the attack.

The stand-off precipitated by Russia’s withdrawal from the deal threatened to reignite the global food crisis, which has been alleviated by the implementation of the grain deal that saw tons of grain exports safely leave various ports of Ukraine to reach the international markets.

Russia’s withdrawal from the grain deal sparked an immediate escalation in global wheat prices.

The spectacular rescue of the grain deal nonetheless revealed once again the persistent Western-led unipolar world order, which demonstrated plainly as Russia was brought back to the peace deal just how domineering ideological bloc mentality has become.

Russia’s mutual respect and trust with Turkey played a major role in rescuing the grain deal. Such is the powerful role Turkey plays nowadays because Turkey also maintains cordial bilateral relations with Ukraine.

Ankara further plays a critical role in the grain deal because all shipments to the international community sail via Turkey where the vessels are checked by established teams of inspectors from all sides.

Russia’s blockade of the shipment of Ukraine’s grain when the war broke out in February has been cited as one of the most causal factors to the skyrocketing food prices globally. In Africa and the rest of the developing world, the blockade of Ukraine’s grain to the global markets has been put forward as a key component of increasing malnutrition, poverty and possible famine.

Western allies, led by the US, have accused Russia of “weaponising” food, a morally reprehensible act, particularly in the wake of conflict.

However, Russia has hit back, arguing that the imposition of unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow is in itself a weaponisation of food on a grand scale.

Russia has complained that since the grain deal came into effect to ease the growing food crisis, the Ukrainian grain has not reached its declared targets in the developing world.

Instead, argued the Russian foreign ministry, the majority of the grain has been shipped to the capitals of the Western backers of Ukraine in the war instead of Africa and the rest of the developing world.

And, once Russia took all by surprise by pulling out of the “grain deal”, the safety and security of the ships and cargo in the Black Sea hung in the balance. Russia categorically withdrew her safety guarantees, triggering a frenzy of interactions between the West and Russia.

From a geopolitical standpoint, it beggars belief that the US-led Western backers of Ukraine continue to invest vast sums of their energy and material support in the perpetuation of the war. Their role in negotiating with Russia to rescind the worrisome denouncement of the grain deal clearly shows that if the US-led Nato and the EU wish, they could truly engage Moscow around a possible truce and bring to a halt a devastating war that can be ended through sheer willpower.

However, the US and the EU subscribe to their self-declared notion of a “rules-based” world order. Truth is their own “rules”, not the UN-led rules. In other words, they are hankering for their form of hegemony.

As the self-declared champions of democracy, they have allocated to themselves the power and wisdom to judge the practice of democracy everywhere in the world, using their subjective standards.

For example, if democracy is universally accepted as “the will of the people by the people for the people”, Western democracies remain the final judges on how well the rest of the world handles democracy.

For example, when Hamas won hands down in democratic elections in Palestine, the US and later the West decided not to recognise Hamas as the true reflection of the will of the majority. Instead, Hamas was brutally punished to this day for their fierce stance and posture against the illegally occupying force of their land, Israel.

That is just one instance where democracy passes only through the eye of the Western needle. Geopolitical differences with Russia would be resolved if the West did not harbour the ambition to defeat Russia in their well-funded proxy war against Moscow. Their main objective after the end of the Cold War at the turn of the 1990s is now to simply weaken Russia further so that never again will such an anti-Western force present such a formidable challenge to the Western hegemony across the globe.

Russia’s President Putin has previously stated his concern that the US and the West harbour a deep desire to “balkanise” Russia – whittle it down into smaller regional nations of global inconsequence. The demise of Russia would thus pave a way for a safe passage to the Western hegemony and a unipolar world order that trumps multilateralism. The UN member-states would therefore be equal only on paper, never in practice.

The continued expansion of Nato toward the east, and now on the border with Russia through countries such as Poland and Finland, poses a major existential threat to Russia, irrespective of whether the incumbent inside the Kremlin is President Putin or anyone else.

This geopolitical agenda explains in large part why the US and the EU would rather pump astronomical amounts of money and lethal weapons into Ukraine to wear down Russia. As some persistent encouragement to Kyiv to never give up, the West constantly hold seminars and fund-raising events for the swift reconstruction and development of Ukraine post-war.

As for President Zelensky, already Western media outlets and commentators describe him as a “brave war hero” who “defeated” the Russian invaders.

The Western commentators say very little about their mercenaries who are on the battlefield in Ukraine, subtly fighting in a war their governments are somewhat embarrassed to publicly call “our war”.

If the end-game was not to break up Russia, surely the US and the West would have long instigated a truce? Methinks that as long as none of their nationals is shown on national television networks arriving back home in body bags, the Ukraine war can continue endlessly. It’s the West’s proxy war against abominable Russia where Western casualties aren’t that bad, after all.

How one wishes the West could lend all their expertise and resources to the UN’s Guterres’ efforts to broker a peace deal he so evidently desires. But then again, they do know not how.

Sunday Independent