Conventional wisdom in the West is that this war with Ukraine is destroying Russia but in some ways Russia maybe better prepared for this than the West.
A photograph of the war in Ukraine.
It is challenging to find anything original to say about Russia’s ‘Special Operation’ in Ukraine, amidst the ubiquitous coverage of the last eleven months. Western mainstream sources are almost unanimous in their condemnation of what they claim to be ‘Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric aggression’. More impartial observers tend to agree that the invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked nor was it calculated to cause casualties in Moscow’s perspective[i]. Indeed, a deal was indeed soon struck in Turkey, mediated by President Erdogan, only to be reneged on by Ukrainian President Zelensky, a former pop video dancer and stand-up comedian with no political experience, under the influence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson who carried the joint US-British brief for Ukraine to fight on, with the promise of unlimited military and financial support, in order to recover Crimea and the Donbas by decisively ‘defeating Putin’.
Thence the conflict rose in intensity; starting as a long simmering regional, almost internecine feud about disputed borders, it has turned into a protracted clash between the NATO bloc and the Russian Federation. The US plan was simple and fairly straightforward: build up the Ukrainian armed forces and paramilitary groups trained by NATO since 2008: the year after President George W Bush officially proposed to admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO and met with opposition from Berlin and Paris. The goal was to use ‘remote controlled’ Ukrainian armed forces for wearing down Russia’s military capabilities[ii] while waves of crushing sanctions would seek to destroy its economy and create major internal unrest[iii]. The West would not risk boots on the ground and the US and its partners would recover their financial contributions in the long term with Ukrainian national assets to be used as collateral for the loans and lend-lease arrangements provided to the Kyiv regime[iv].
That policy would secure Ukraine’s lasting economic and strategic dependence on its western patrons who would benefit from the vast industrial and agriculture resources of the country as well as its abundant and cheap labour force. Such an outcome would be in line with the track record of US’s policy towards Ukraine which reveals an interest to exploit the latter for the benefit of influential US citizens, including the notorious son of President Biden[v]. The US also admittedly carried out or sponsored research, before the war began, in a large number of Ukrainian biological and virological laboratories, some of which appear to have been dual use facilities[vi].
The design of the Anglo-Saxon countries – primarily the US and Britain, in alliance with Poland and the Baltic states – was to build up Ukraine as a ‘counter model’ to Putin’s Russia and a bulwark of the western military bloc, as planned by Zbignew Brzezinski[vii] and plotted by George Soros[viii], harnessing the ‘integral ethnic nationalism’ of the Ukrainian Far Right whose origins are as viscerally anti-Polish as anti-Russian and closely associated with the ideology of the German Third Reich. Under the treaties signed in 1944 and 45, Russia feels legally entitled to intervene in its former sphere of influence to nip in the bud this return to a dreaded past. Would NATO do something similar to prevent a Nazi takeover in an EU member-state?
The US project, which dates back to the second world war, combines rather seamlessly, despite apparent contradictions, the Austro-German ambition to regain influence on the ‘borderlands’ with the Polish nostalgia for a medieval commonwealth which stretched at one time from the Baltic to the Black Sea. At the cultural level, the Ukrainian Ultra-Nationalist minority, well organised and highly militarised, upholds an ideal of racial purity and claims to be the first line of defence of western civilisation against barbaric Asia[ix].
However, many of its members embrace a neo-pagan warlike cult revived from ancient tribal roots and thereby dissociate themselves from the Slav Orthodox Church[x]. Although the latter became the state religion of Kyevan Rus almost a thousand years ago, it binds the country to hated Muscovite Russia and must therefore be cut off according to the extremist Ethno-Ukrainian ideologues who are a critical factor behind the country’s pro-Atlanticist policies of the last twelve years but are not numerous enough to rule by themselves. They are part of an anti-Russian front which unites oligarchs, religiously and economically linked with Israel and US elites, with ordinary Ukrainians – mainly from the west and heartland of the country - who retain bitter memories of the Soviet era and more particularly of the famines and massacres they endured under Stalin’s regime; those Ukrainians have no other desire than to retain an independent state but they are used by the ruling groups (i.e. the aforesaid oligarchs and ethno-extremists) to fight a war, self-destructive and unwinnable for them, with no end in sight, provoked by Kyiv and its western sponsors’ refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements.
The governments in Kyiv since the overthrow of President Yanukovich in 2014 have carefully built up anti-Russian resentment in a population which is intermingled with the Russians by blood, language and culture so that it is often very difficult to tell the difference, at least in the oriental part of Ukraine but family feuds often grow into the bitterest of conflicts. President Zelensky reflects the complexity of the local nationalism; he leads a nation with a living legacy of antisemitism but he affirms his desire to closely tie Ukraine with the United States and to make it ‘another Israel’[xi]. The US Secretary Antony Blinken’s family originated in a Ukrainian township located near Zelensky’s ancestral home and from the same community; that may be another factor behind the dogged commitment of the Biden Administration to the survival of the Ukrainian president promoted as a democratic hero of the ‘free world’ on the doorstep of the old Russian enemy even though he is merely the figurehead of a corrupt regime which has banned all internal opposition.
Many Western leaders are aware of Zelensky’s personal weakness and of the slim chances of success his country has against Russia but they have to hold the NATO-set line, at least in public while major western news media carefully handpick facts to make the common citizens hope for an imminent Ukrainian victory and avoid showing the ground realities.
Despite oft-repeated pledges of unlimited support, the vast but mismatched weapon supplies that western nations are sending to Ukraine at the behest of Washington and London have only stretched out the conflict, multiplied the fatalities, increased the destruction and delayed the outcome without enabling Kyiv to push back the Russian troops. By drumbeating its allies into a war purported to defend the global democratic civilisation against an autocratic invader the USA keeps the European Union under its thumb and at loggerheads with Moscow and thereby cuts off Europe from strategic resources in the east[xii].
The greatest victim of this NATO-enhancing policy, after Ukraine is perhaps Germany – with France a close third - since Russia prepared for the new sanctions in the last decade by developing its internal resources and manufacturing capacities and reducing its reliance on imports. As a result of those preventive measures the Western endeavour to deal a mortal blow to the Russian economy has had limited effectiveness while Washington’s policies are exposing the murky combination of US and West European corporate interests behind the decades long exploitation of Ukraine. A recent Rand Paper acknowledges that it is in the interest of the country to end this war at the earliest before it further damages America’s shrinking stature, political stability and economy[xiii].
The First World War fatally weakened Europe, the end of the second consecrated the supremacy of the USA as successor of the exhausted European colonial hegemons. From the nineties the wars in Yugoslavia drew the curtain on the EU’s pretence of sovereignty while, soon after, the Iraqi and Afghan misadventures marked the end of American dominance. The current Ukrainian conflict is the epilogue of the four centuries-old west-centric era as it formalises the power shift to the world’s East and South. It has already costs Europe some of its prosperity while further imperilling the US’s technically insolvent economy. By doggedly confronting the NATO league Russia may be removing the last obstacle which hitherto prevented many other states from coming into their own.
[i] Russia has repeatedly alleged that initial blitz all the way to Kyiv in February of 2022 was intended to impose neutrality upon Ukraine, in accordance with the hitherto unimplemented Minsk Agreements without inflicting casualties by stopping the bombing of the dissident Donbas region by Ukrainian forces and disarming the Neo-Nazi militias while stopping the covert NATO programme to arm and train the country for war. (Ukraine’s independence from Russia in 1991 was predicated on its being a member of the Confederation of Independent States and it becoming a member of NATO was out of the question since it had been agreed that NATO would not expand to Eastern Europe following the disbanding of the Warsaw Pact). (See Business Insider of 25 January 2023, article by S. Alamazoglu about US setting up and training Ukrainian special forces under ‘Q” crash course used for Green Berets). [ii] This objective has been stated on various occasions by both Ukrainian and western officials. See statements by French Finance Minister Bruno Lemaire, EU President Ursula von der Layen and US President Biden (Vice.com, 24 February 2022). among others along the last several months. A ‘forum of free peoples of ‘post-Russia’ took place on January 12, 2023 in the EU Parliament with the goal of disbanding the Russian Federation by supporting the secession of minority-regions and federated republics. https://russiavsworld.org/the-5th-forum-of-free-nations-of-post-russia-will-be-held-in-the-european-parliament The President of the EU Commission, Charles Michel was one of the high western officials who called for excluding the Russian Federation from the UN Security Council and the G-20. [iii] It has been acknowledged to the French media by former French Ambassador to Russia Gerard Araud on 30/1/2023 that, by imposing drastic sanctions and proving military guidance and support to Ukraine in the conflict, the west ‘has gone too far to back down’ without admitting a defeat that would destroy its already tattered prestige and credibility and ‘which it must do everything to avoid’. [iv] See agreement between Ukraine and the US super-fund management group BlackRock https://thehill.com/policy/international/3790699-zelensky-agrees-to-ukraine-rebuild-investment-with-blackrock-ceo/ [v] Current Congressional investigation into the classified documents found at various locations belonging to President Biden, some of which are related to Ukraine and his son’s role as a director of the Ukrainian Burisma Corporation. Also see published contents of Hunter Biden’s ‘Laptop from Hell’ analysed in the Marco Polo Report https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/1602103713727975425 which evidence multiple cases of intelligence with foreign states among some 500 other US federal and state laws. [vi] US admits role in Ukrainian biological Labs https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/after-months-of-denial-u-s-admits-to-running-ukraine-biolabs/ [vii] Zbigniew_Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard (1997). [viii] George Soros https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/24/george-soros-says-civilization-may-not-survive-russias-invasion-of-ukraine.html. He had made several statements in earlier years about the need to defeat Russia which under Putin posed a challenge to the liberal world order according to him. [ix] Statement by Oleksy Reznikov, Defence Minister of Ukraine, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/a-conversation-with-oleksii-reznikov/, https://www.mil.gov.ua/en/news/2023/01/19/joint-statement-by-the-minister-for-foreign-affairs-of-ukraine-dmytro-kuleba-and-the-minister-of-defence-of-ukraine-oleksii-reznikov-regarding-the-urgency-of-strengthening-ukraines-defence-capabilities/ and the Polish Prime Minister arguing that those who don’t support Ukraine betray western civilisation http://www.frontnews.ge/en/news/details/44740. Ukraine claims to be a ‘de facto’ member of NATO although it has not been officially admitted by the organisation. [x] Separation of Ukrainian Church from Moscow Patriarchate https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/moscow-led-ukrainian-orthodox-church-breaks-ties-with-russia-2022-05-28/ and concurrently though not connected, the spread of Neo-Pagan Ukrainian sects https://reportingradicalism.org/en/hate-symbols/movements/nazi-symbols/black-sun and https://klymenko-time.com/en/bez-rubriki/neonatsisty-i-neoyazychniki-ukrainy-polnyj-obzor-techenij/ [xi] Volodimir Zelensky’s statement about Ukraine being ‘a big Israel’: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/5/zelenskyy-says-wants-ukraine-to-become-a-big-israel [xii] Thierry Meyssan, https://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=6389 Since mid-January when Kyiv’s forces had to abandon Soledar and the Bakhmut region to the Russians more and more western analysts tends to glumly admit that the war scenario leaves very slim, if any, chances of success for Ukraine despite the current and promised NATO support and they cannot dismiss the Russian claims that ‘we have not really begun to fight yet’ https://dzen.ru/a/Y9FJtP7IylBRxY_W [xiii] Rand Corporation https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA2510-1.html