An Unpleasant Burden
Understanding the Ukraine War is Vital to World Peace
My article in Asia Times, All Is Not Well For Ukraine, has lit a fire around town here (in Washington DC). A lot of folks are looking at it because it puts forward some unpleasant truths about the war in Ukraine.
We have been saturated with American political and military leaders intent on convincing us, and themselves too, that Ukraine can defeat the Russians.
These same political and military leaders have rarely admitted that Ukraine as a country is taking a terrible beating.
If the head of a country has to stay underground most of the time, with rising military casualties, with millions of its citizens gone abroad, with young people reluctant to be cannon fodder —a country that requires military and civilian salaries to be paid by the United States because it has no money, then it is clear that Ukraine only exists to fight against Russia and not much else.
And yes, true to its history, Ukraine remains a corrupt country. No one can account for many of the billions pumped in by the US and Europeans, and in Washington there is strong resistance to any effort at accountability, because even a moron knows that billions have been stolen or squandered. (Zelensky has just fired a bunch of officials to show he is fighting corruption. )
Biden is the poster boy for war, and it is a war he is desperate to win to cover up his debacle in Afghanistan. But Biden is an old man, with a creaky grasp of reality, who is committing the United States to an even bigger war without any sound estimate of the outcome. While there is some reluctance in the Pentagon to send weapons to Ukraine that could lead to the war’s expansion, that effort is losing ground to those who want to pump up America’s presence against Russia. That’s why the US just shipped a load of nuclear gravity bombs to Europe, an entirely unnecessary and dangerous move bound to trigger off Russian angst, and possible Russian mobilization of its “tactical” nuclear forces. And equally provocative is to re-position the famous 101st Airborne to Romania at the Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base. Why are they there —this is an aggressive intervention force and the Russians will see it as more evidence of preparations for US forces to move into Ukraine. No one can say how Russia might respond.
According to the US Defense Department, Russia is moving tens of thousands of fresh troops into Ukraine. As I note in my article, this means the Russians see a good chance for a breakthrough and the potential defeat of the main portions of the Ukrainian army. I rather suspect that the collapse could happen very fast, although it is very hard to say with any certainty because all the information we have on the war, from both sides, is badly distorted and unreliable.
It is indeed unpleasant to write this today. One would have hoped that the Russians and Ukrainians could have sorted things out without resort to war, or failing that, sorting things out sooner rather than later. Washington bears a lot of responsibility for why this did not happen. It is quite true that the Ukrainian army has fought bravely and with better tactics and leadership then their Russian adversary. But now we have reached an existential moment for Ukraine. Carrying on this war simply means more death and destruction and no good outcome.
I have little hope that President Biden will call a halt to the war and open real negotiations with Russia. But there is always a chance that some folks from the Pentagon will go see him and tell him the truth.