The short answer to the title question is that once again Vladimir Putin has outsmarted the US, NATO, and Ukraine. From The Saker at unz.com:
Before we look into what just happened in the Ukraine, we need to first recall the sequence of events which lead to the current situation. I will try to make a short summary (skipping a lot of details) in the bullet-point style:
- Whether Ze initially intended to stop the war in the eastern Ukraine we don’t know, but what we do know is that he failed not only to stop it, in many ways his policies were even worse than Poroshenko’s. This might be the well-known phenomenon of a supposedly “pro-peace and happiness” politician being accused of being “weak” and thus not “presidential”; this politician has to show his “strength” is “patriotism”, that is acting recklessly on the external front. We see that from putatively “liberal” politicians such as the Dems in the USA and Labor in Israel. Historically, “liberals” are the most common war initiators. Ze showed his weakness almost from day 1, and the Ukronazis immediately seized this opportunity to engage in a massive multi-level campaign for war against Russia. This resulted in:
- A quasi-official repudiation of the Minsk Agreements and Steinmeier Formula by Kiev, followed by a sharp increase in bellicose statements and, most crucially a large scale move of forces (including tanks, heavy artillery, MLRS and even ballistic missiles!) towards the line of contact. At the same time Ukronazi politicians began making statements saying that a) the Ukrainian army was capable and willing to “liberate” all of the “Russian occupied” Ukrainian land thus, including both the Donbass and Crimea b) that Russia was going to attack the Ukraine anyway and c) that the consolidated West had to help the Ukraine because only the Ukrainian forces were keeping the asiatic drunken Russian hordes from over-running not only the Ukraine, but even the rest of Europe. Since the Ukraine simply has no agency, this begs the question of the US (and, to a lesser degree, the UK) rationale was for these moves. It is quite simple:
- Force Russia to openly intervene to protect the population of the Donbass from the inevitable genocide which the Ukronazis would have meeted out to the population of the LDNR.
How good was this plan? I would argue that it was a very solid plan which, for the USA, meant a win-win situation. Here is how it should have gone:
First, the Ukrainian forces would attack the LDNR, probably along three axes: one between the city of Gorlovka and Donetsk, one frontally attacking Donetsk proper, not to invade the city, but to tie down LDNR forces in protection of their capital, and one in the south with the aim of reaching the Russian border. This way, the LDNR defenders would have to defend their capital while, at the same time, risking envelopment on two axes. Remember that the LDNR has no strategic depth (Donetsk is practically on the frontline) and that the LDNR defenders could not trade space for time.
The US government’s policy towards Russia has been monumentally foolish since the USSR collapsed, and the Biden administration is making a bad situation worse. From
Joe Biden declares a “national emergency”, calls Putin a killer, slaps more sanctions on Russia, for which he has his Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken declare that “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” … and then “invites” Putin for a summit.
For the SolarWinds “intrusion”, the US has never provided any evidence at all, the Russian bounties story was -finally- fully debunked well before Blinken made his statement -which makes him look very incompetent-, and the election interference narrative is by now just too dumb to even get into. No evidence for it whatsoever after 2 years of the Mueller investigation, but now Putin’s at it again? Who did he want to win, then? Trump again, after apparently not even trying in 2016?
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that his country should urgently be made a full member of both NATO and the EU, and has his own proxy, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, solemnly claim that not just “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member”, but also that “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again”.… And then Zelensky invites Putin for a summit. In the Donbass, no less.
America has given Ukraine an informal security guarantee when there’s no way it can guarantee the country’s security. Vladimir Putin is probably delighted that with little effort he can make Biden and Co. look like idiots. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:
It’s not by accident that the Hegemon is going no holds barred to harass and try to smash Eurasian integration by all means available.
It’s a scorpion battle inside a vortex of distorted mirrors inside a circus. So let’s start with the mirrors in the circus.
The non-entity that passes for Ukrainian Foreign Minister traveled to Brussels to be courted by US Secretary of State Blinken and NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg.
At best, that’s circus shadowplay. Much more than NATO advisers in a frantic revolving door in Kiev, the real shadowplay is MI6 actually working very close with President Zelensky.
Zelensky’s warmongering script comes directly from MI6’s Richard Moore. Russian intel is very much aware of all the fine print. Glimpses were even carefully leaked to a TV special on the Rossiya 1 channel.
I confirmed it with diplomatic sources in Brussels. British media also got wind of it – but obviously was told to further distort the mirrors, blaming everything on, what else, “Russian aggression”.
German intel is practically non-existent in Kiev. Those NATO advisers remain legion. Yet no one talks about the explosive MI6 connection.
Careless whispers in Brussels corridors swear that MI6 actually believes that in the case of a volcanic but as it stands still preventable hot war with Russia, continental Europe would burn and Brexitland would be spared.
Dream on. Now back to the circus.
Somehow Russia moving troops within its own country poses an existential threat to the West and risks World War III. From Daniel Kovalik at rt.com:
As tensions increase between Moscow and NATO over a buildup of troops near the Donbass, actually initiated by Ukraine, the West’s apparent position is that Russia has no right to self-defense. That’s been the case for decades.
Having grown up in middle America during the waning years of the Cold War, I possessed a not-so-healthy fear of an imminent Soviet invasion or attack. Bob Dylan would capture this type of fear and hysteria in his 1964 song ‘With God on Our Side’, which he ripped off from the Clancy Brothers and Dominic Behan.
Dylan’s updated version of ‘The Patriot Game’ declared: “I’ve learned to hate the Russians, all through my whole life; if another war comes, it’s them we must fight. To hate them and fear them, to run and to hide…” It is quite incredible to me that, nearly 60 years later, with the USSR itself having fallen in the meantime, these words still ring true in the West today.
Ukraine is acting like a member of NATO even though it’s not a member of NATO. From Rick Rozoff at antiwar.com:
Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, is quoted today as boasting that his nation’s military is capable of responding to what he deemed the “aggravation of the situation” in the Donbass, in his words the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk and Lugansk, and “along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border.”
The above regions are only two of five Ukrainian (or former Ukrainian) oblasts bordering Russia. The total land border between Ukraine and Russia as Ukraine computes it is some 1,225 miles; Russia’s border with Donetsk and Lugansk is 255 miles.
The Ukrainian military chief has extended the line of conflict by almost five times. In language evocative of the worst days of the Cold War, Khomchak also intoned: “Ukraine is supported by the entire civilized world. We are not alone in the face of the enemy.”
For anybody worried about potential war with China, take heart, the US will have its NATO allies, including powerhouses like Albania and Montenegro. From Ann Wright at consortiumnews.com:
Ann Wright says a new proposed roadmap reflects an alarming expansion beyond Europe and Russia, the alliance’s traditional traditional area of operations and concern.
The U.K.’s Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, performing over Kuala Lumpur during a series of flypasts in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions in 2016. (Defence Images, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
During the March 23-24 meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) council, Anthony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, encouraged NATO members to join the U.S. in viewing China as an economic and security threat to the U.S. as well as to NATO countries, thereby expanding NATO’s areas of focus to include the Pacific. This is a dangerous move that must be challenged.
To gain insight into what transpired at the March NATO meeting, we can look to a roadmap for NATO’s future, which was released last fall. The report, entitled “NATO 2030: United for a New Era,” is intended to be a guide for the military alliance in meeting the challenges it will face in the next decade. In the report, released in November, the “independent group” of five advisers from 10 NATO countries identified 13 challenges and threats to NATO in the next decade.
This new proposed roadmap for NATO reflects an alarming expansion: It is as much about China and the Asia/Pacific region as it is about NATO’s traditional traditional area of operations and concern, Europe and Russia.
Although the group identified the No. 1 threat to NATO as Russia, China was named as threat number 2.
The document brings the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the Pacific and attempts to provide a justification to expand and strengthen “partnerships” in the Asia/Pacific region. NATO already has four “partners” in the Pacific through bilateral agreements with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
NATO’s goal is to disrupt the Chinese-Russian led Eurasian Axis, and Turkey is well positioned to be a disruptive force. From Rick Rozoff at antibellum679354512.wordpress.com:
On the first of the year the North Atlantic Treaty Organization transferred command of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) to Turkey.
On March 30 NATO turned over its current mission in Afghanistan to Turkish Brigadier General Selçuk Yurtsizoğlu.
In a phone conversation on April 1 U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar discussed Turkey’s role in leading the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan among other matters.
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken while both were attending the NATO meeting of foreign ministers and secretaries on March 23-24. (Blinken on the occasion: “Turkey is a long-standing and valued ally.”)
Speaking at an event in the U.S. on March 9 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “I think that we need to understand that Turkey is an important ally. Because you can just look at the map and then you see that Turkey is extremely important.” [That final sentence is key and will be addressed later.]
A few days earlier Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote on Twitter, “We would like to thank the NATO Secretary General for his objective evaluations on Euro-Atlantic security and defence matters.”
This is notwithstanding Turkey having supported and supervised if not directed last year’s 45-day war by Azerbaijan – the countries identify themselves (or itself) as “one nation, two states” – against minuscule Nagorno-Karabakh, its invasion of Northern Iraq thirteen years ago, its ongoing proxy war in Libya, its both direct and proxy war in Syria, its regular buzzing of fellow NATO member Greece’s aircraft in the Aegean Sea and its – now at 43 years – longest counterinsurgency war in the world against ethnic Kurds in its own country (which has spilled over into Iraq and Syria.) None of that in any manner disturbs NATO, the self-styled alliance of democracies.
Ronald Reagan said nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. Perhaps he should have changed that to a temporary military alliance. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
The Washington Post has published a long piece calling for NATO to take on a new official enemy — China. The piece is written by Sara Bjerg Moller, an assistant professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. She argues that after 30 years since losing the Soviet Union as its official enemy and struggling to find a replacement to justify its continued existence, a perfect replacement would be China.
I’ve got a better idea. Let’s just put NATO out of its misery and terminate it.
After all, let’s not forget NATO’s original mission: to defend Europe from the possibility of an invasion by the Soviet Union, which had been America’s and Britain’s World War II partner and ally but which had been converted to their official enemy at the end of the war.
But the likelihood of a Soviet invasion of Europe was always nil. The Soviet Union had been decimated by World War II, especially as a result of the German invasion of the country. Even though the invasion was ultimately repelled and Germany was defeated, the Soviet Union’s industrial capacity had been destroyed, not to mention the millions of Russian citizens who had been killed. The last thing the Soviet Union wanted was another war, especially given that the United States possessed nuclear weapons and had shown a willingness to employ them against large cities.
The NATOcrats are happy that the Biden administration appears unwilling to engage in any kind of constructive measures with China or Russia, but the rest of the world is not. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:
U.S. wants to continue confrontation with Moscow and Beijing, and has made sure it is keeping NATO firmly in its schemes to maintain world dominance.
On 19 February the new U.S. President, Uncle Joe Biden, gave a life-prolonging injection to the long-declining NATO military cluster by declaring the U.S. to be “fully committed to our NATO alliance.” He began his vaccination speech by announcing that “America is Back” and brought in Article 5 of the NATO Charter by saying his country has made an “unshakeable vow” to recognise that “an attack on one is an attack on all”, which is reasonable enough, even if such an attack is never going to be made by Russia or China, the two nations he declared to be the greatest enemies of the U.S. and Europe.
So Biden’s old-style New Cold War is upon us, and although he said the big priority was “modernizing our military capabilities while leading with diplomacy” it is obvious that while he’s certainly giving the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex their very own expensive booster jab, there isn’t anything remotely diplomatic about insulting and threatening other countries in a major speech to a military grouping whose leader and supporters are desperate for reasons — indeed any pretext — to justify its existence.
Nobody, certainly not the Russians, stands a chance against the US and NATO’s combined woke forces. From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:
We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us.
– George Orwell
NATO contemplates Kaliningrad: “We think through those plans all the time, and… if that would ever come to fruition, we’d be ready to execute.” It would be “a multi-domain, very timely and effective capability”. “The best Polish military units, numbering 30,000 soldiers, should take part in the quick offensive“. Multi-domain, best Polish; in the imaginations of the strategists of Laputa, the Russians passively await the blow. But now we must leave the empyrean realms of pure thought and float down to earth; there we find that “The largest headquarters military exercises Winter 2020 in Poland ended with the complete defeat of Polish troops: on the fifth day of the virtual conflict, the enemy reached the banks of the Vistula and surrounded Warsaw“.
Moscow has just told us (in the guise of a “suggestion” from two scientists) what it would do while NATO was polishing its multi-domains. Andrei Martyanov summarises it. Russia knows that US/NATO attacks start with a heavy air bombardment. And very effective it is too. Against Iraq or Libya which had poorly-coordinated, poorly-maintained, obsolete air defence systems. Or against Afghanistan which had none at all. Went well until the Serbs sent the F-117 into premature obsolescence. But Russia has excellent air defences. But more to the point, which is what our two professors are talking about, it has a host of highly effective missiles, many of them hypersonic and it knows where to aim them.