New book by Van der Pijl puts MH17 in a broader geopolitical context

Coming Monday, 17 Juli 2017, it will be three years ago that Flight MH17 was downed. Three years on, the exact circumstances and the identification of those responsible are still subject to an ongoing inquest and (international) political duels. The book by Kees van der Pijl, Der Abschuss. Flug MH17, die Ukraine, und der neue Kalte Krieg will be published by PapyRossa in Cologne in this context. The translator, Jochen Mitschka, has launched a blog to support this publication, Der Abschuss Flug MH17, on which supporting information will be posted and also the bibliography with the sources used for the book, including the hyperlinks. 

The English original and a Portuguese translation (in Brazil) will appear later in the year.

The central claim of the book is that this disaster must be placed in the perspective of the new Cold War. That war came about as a result of advance of NATO and EU towards the east after the implosion of the Soviet bloc and the USSR and the attempt to get the former Soviet republics, Georgia and Ukraine, to join the Western camp as well. After the assumption of power by Putin, Russia has begun to resist this advance and has conducted a more active foreign policy. In addition, the country united with China, Brazil, India and South Africa (the BRICS) behind a common resistance to the Western policy of regime change (Iraq, Libya, Syria) and the accompanying neoliberal economic policy.

After the ultra-nationalist seizure of power in Ukraine in February 2014, in which the American State Department pushed aside the EU (which still had mediated), Crimea seceded and a civil war erupted in the east, which like the south and Crimea, is oriented towards Russia.

The book presents a detailed account of these developments, which would lead to the loss of life of more than 10,000 victims among the population, as well as the 298 people on board MH17.

In addition, it sums up all possible factors that may have played a role in the downing of the plane: armaments, command and communication structures, economic interests, and so on.

In addition, it recounts how on 16 July 2014, the day before the downing of MH17, the BRICS heads of state signed the charter of a BRICS bank in Brazil. There Putin also met Chancellor Merkel (who was there to attend the finals of the football world cup) and in principle agreed a comprehensive deal concerning Ukraine. Washington at that very point issued new sanctions aimed at Russian gas deliveries to Europe, but several EU countries did not want to go along. Only after the downing of MH17 the next day, the EU joined the new round of sanctions.

The book is a product of the referendum campaign on the Dutch ratification of the EU association agreement with Ukraine in April last year. The author was involved in it as a speaker and activist for (War Is No Solution) and the Centre for Geopolitics in Utrecht, which campaigned for the No, which eventually won by a large majority. Currently Oorlog Is Geen Oplossing campaigns against the decision taken first at the NATO summit of September 2014 in Wales to raise European defence budgets to 2% of Gross Domestic Product. For the Netherlands, this decision, confirmed again at the NATO summit in Brussels late May, would amount to a rise with almost 6 billion euro: a rise well above the amounts which the different parties had in their election manifestoes last spring. This NATO decision, with its drastic consequences for the Dutch budget, results from the depiction of Russia as an aggressor, which became commonplace only with the downing of MH17.

Kees van der Pijl (1947) is emeritus professor and Fellow of the Centre for Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex (UK). He is the author of a large numver of publications, notably The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (1984, new edition 2012), Transnational Classes and International Relations (1998), Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq (2006), as well as a trilogy, Modes of Foreign Relations and Political Economy (2007-2014). From 2006 tot 2009 he was a Major Research Fellow of the Leverhulme Trust and in 2008 he was awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize for Nomads, Empires, States (2007). Since 2015 Van der Pijl chairs the Comité van Waakzaamheid tegen Herlevend Fascisme (Committee of vigilance against resurgent fascism).

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