Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ukraine – Zelensky, the war and the propaganda trap

 

Ukraine's President Zelensky - a former comedian who has no experience leading a nation. He was made president by one of Ukraine's top oligarchs.


By Rostislav Ischenko

Not long ago, not more than six months ago, no adequate expert would have called the danger of Ukraine stepping up military action in the Donbass significant.

Today there is little doubt that Kiev will provoke war. The only dispute is whether it will happen already in the spring or later, and whether the Donbass can be considered the only place of possible provocation, or whether Crimea, Transnistria, the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, as well as the section of the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Kharkov, Sumy and Chernigov regions should also be considered as possible provocations.

What has happened to change assessments of the prospect of the Ukrainian crisis moving into a hot phase?

Firstly, it should be borne in mind that the provocation of conflict with Russia and/or China has been taken up by the US. Washington has come to the conclusion that within three to five years (i.e. by the end of the current US President’s rule) America will have lost any hope of success in case of a direct military conflict with either Beijing or Moscow (not to mention the high probability of their interaction). In the opinion of its own experts, the US has already lost the financial and economic competition. This opinion is confirmed by the fact that for the last five years Washington has not even tried to play by the rules in the financial-economic field, forcing its still allies into economic conflicts with Moscow and Beijing. Having lost the advantage (albeit a conditional one) of force, the United States is deprived of the last argument, after which its defeat goes from a state of high probability to a state of inevitability.

America sees a way out by dragging Russia and/or China into a full-scale conflict involving American allies, while the US itself will try to refrain from taking part in active hostilities at the first stage, providing moral and technical support to the allies. There are two scenarios in Washington. In the first one, hostilities take a protracted character, undermining the potential of Russia and China and allowing America in the final stage to throw its capabilities on the scales (not necessarily by going to war, but by threatening force) and reverse the political situation in the world in its favour. Roughly speaking, the US would not mind repeating the trick of World Wars I and II, in which everyone lost but America.

 

Ukraine's SBU (secret service) HQ in the capital Kiev. Note the flag of the nation that is really running the show inside Ukraine today.

In the second option, America’s allies would be defeated by Moscow and Beijing relatively quickly and with little effort, but the result should be a stalemate in which the victors destroy the very markets that should have given them an economic advantage over the United States. That is, the U.S. administration believes that war will allow Washington, at worst, to draw the current global crisis to a status quo, preserving the potential for the next round of the struggle for hegemony.

The US needs warmongers to implement this strategy, for it is clear that neither France, nor Germany, nor Japan, nor Australia would attack Russia or China on their own. Conditions must be created in which they cannot shy away from military action because of their alliance commitments and because a military conflict would affect their own interests.

The US is trying to use South Korea (by provoking conflict with the North Korea), Taiwan and, with less success, Vietnam and the Philippines (which have unresolved disputes over sovereignty over island groups in the South China Sea) as warmongers against China.

The incendiaries of the Russian border should be the Baltics and Poland, trying to blow up Belarus, and Georgia, where the Americans are trying to bring the opposition, which considers Saakashvili its leader, back to power. The use of Armenian-Azerbaijani contradictions to ignite a big war in Transcaucasia is not excluded, but after the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to Karabakh, this option has become much harder to implement. Attempts to rock Central Asia are continuing, but the United States needs to secure its rear in Afghanistan to use it fully, and Moscow is so far outplaying Washington, albeit not by much, in its negotiations with the Taliban.

As we can see, Ukraine is a key link in this strategy, providing a link between the Belarusian and Caucasian theatres of military operations. In addition, Kiev has the easiest way to turn frozen conflicts into a hot phase. The easiest way to do this is in the Donbass. Finally, the EU is already involved in the Ukraine crisis, so it will be more difficult for Paris and Berlin to dodge being dragged into a conflict with Russia over Ukraine. In addition, we can expect at least in western Ukraine Poland, which is an EU and NATO member state and whose problems will be even more difficult to ignore. Apart from Poland, there is a chance to involve the Baltics in the crisis (the deployment of American troops, which the Baltics together with the Poles have pushed so hard for, should be paid for, if not with money, then with participation in adventures).

There are hopes that Georgia will actively support the anti-Russian bloc politically (Tbilisi is unlikely to dare to take military actions after 2008), and also that Kazakhstan will take a full-scale conflict between Russia and Ukraine painfully as it will experiment the situation on itself. Northwest Kazakhstan is a former Cossack land, and when Putin spoke of Russia’s “gifts” to the dispersed republics, he clearly had not only Ukraine in mind.

Secondly, the Ukrainian leadership is in an extremely difficult situation. Zelensky has failed to secure continued lending from the IMF, and there is no way to plug the hole of a third of the budget. Moreover, as a result of the Ukrainian authorities’ failure to fight the coronavirus pandemic, this hole risks growing to 2/3 of the budget – businesses are going bankrupt, the tax base is shrinking, guest workers’ departure for work abroad has sharply decreased, and so is the inflow of foreign currency. The unpopular authorities are trying to consolidate their position by switching to an open dictatorship. Dictatorial rule and terror against the opposition is motivated by “war with Russia”. Opposition activists are massively declared “agents of the Kremlin” and accused of high treason.

As a result, the position of right-wing radicals, who have always advocated open war with Russia, has strengthened. The most foolish among them believed (some still do) that Ukraine could win such a war.

Most, on the other hand, believe that the West will definitely stand up for Kiev if war is officially declared on Moscow and help win the conflict (win the war for Ukraine). The only problem is to demonstrate unprovoked aggression from Russia.

To this end, since the beginning of the year Kiev has switched to the standard tactic of increasing shelling of the Donbass and organising clashes on the contact line. The bet was that sooner or later the Donbass defenders would lose their nerve and respond so vividly that it could be passed off as a Russian offensive.

 


At the same time, information and propaganda pumping into Ukrainian society began. The Ukrainian authorities have succeeded in getting 42 per cent of the population to support a military solution to the Donbass crisis. At the same time, only 25 per cent oppose it. Moreover, 37.4 per cent of Ukrainian citizens also support the return of Crimea by force. Only 27 per cent are against it. Kiev’s information and political preparations for war are practically over.

Thirdly, there have been a number of events that are unpleasant for Ukraine and the West, but unlikely to undo the war:

1. Russia pointed out to France and Germany Kiev’s unwillingness and inability to implement the Minsk agreements and invited them to provide a more constructive position for their wards. Paris and Berlin tacitly acknowledged their inability to change Kiev’s position.

2. Donbass, clearly with Moscow’s consent, claimed statehood within the borders of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

3. The Donetsk and Lugansk authorities have instructed the Republic’s corps not just to respond to shelling, but to open fire on Ukrainian positions “pre-emptively”. Moscow, Paris and Berlin remained silent on this matter.

Kiev was thus caught in its own trap. Ukrainian volunteers began to regularly report casualties from “shrapnel and blast wounds”. In this connection, mine detonations are mentioned in exceptional cases, while the Ukrainian armed forces are mainly suffering losses from the republics’ artillery. So far, Kiev is not particularly focused on this because, as mentioned above, Russia has managed to get Paris and Berlin to remain silent on the Ukrainian issue.

But, firstly, the U.S. will obviously try to push its allies on anti-Russian statements at the ongoing NATO summit as much as possible. Secondly, Kiev cannot ignore the current situation for long. The Ukrainian armed forces are used to the fact that they shoot at Donbass with practically impunity. The current state of affairs is extremely unnerving for the personnel of the units that come under fire from the republican artillery. You have to understand that most of the servicemen are the same guest workers who have only decided that trench drinking and fun in the form of shelling residential areas is more interesting than picking strawberries in Poland. They signed a contract with the AFU in order to kill for money (if they are lucky, also to rob) and not to die at all.

Sitting in the trenches under fire finally degrades the Ukrainian army, already far from the heights of morale. If it is not sent on the offensive in time, it could spontaneously retreat into a fleeing retreat. In addition, Nazis and other radicalised citizens will not understand the authorities if they take a passive stance.

Thus, the overall diplomatic, military, political, financial and economic situation powerfully requires the Kiev authorities to intensify combat operations in Donbass. By the way, the Americans do not give a damn whether Ukraine will hold out for any time or whether it will be blown to pieces in an instant. They believe they stand to gain from either outcome. Only the personal indecisiveness of Zelensky and some of his advisers today keeps Kiev from quickly unfreezing the conflict in Donbass. But cowardice is a bad adviser. Today Zelensky is more afraid of war, and tomorrow he will be more afraid of the Nazis setting fire to his office door.

 



Furthermore, official Kiev is still living in a regime of provocations, not only on the Donbass contact line, but also on the border with Crimea, where provocative exercises are being held. Provocation is a double-edged weapon. During the military hysteria, events easily spiral out of control and begin to develop according to their own algorithm (not calculated by the provocateurs). The higher the tensions, the greater the danger of an accidental collision, igniting a major conflagration.

That is why most observers today speak of a high risk of Ukraine starting full-scale hostilities. As Barbara Tuckman wrote of the outbreak of World War I in The Guns of August, “no one wanted war. War was inevitable.”

After all, it has long been clear to everyone that the Ukrainian crisis cannot be resolved peacefully. Ukraine is not ready for this. Therefore, the question of war is only a matter of time and place chosen by the parties concerned.

1 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Savage said...

Thanks for this frightening analysis of the precarious situation in Ukraine.

4/4/21, 7:21 PM  

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