When A War Is Unsuccessful
The war in Ukraine is a multifaceted disaster. If you haven’t heard or if you haven’t accepted that pretty much everything has gone terribly wrong for Ukraine, the US and NATO in this war then I assure you will hear about it and/or accept it within the next few months.
When a war goes as planned, when it is considered a successful war, little or no attention is paid to its causes. When a war is unsuccessful however, when it doesn’t go as planned, much attention is paid to its history, how it evolved and what went wrong. This was the case after the Vietnam war and it was the case after the Iraq war. It will also be the case when the Ukraine-Russia conflict ends.
The United States Is Principally Responsible For The Conflict In Ukraine
The United States and its NATO allies played a crucial role in the events that led to the Ukraine war.(1) In fact they are still playing a key part in shaping the conduct of the war. (2) This being the case, it’s appropriate to clearly evaluate the West’s responsibility in relation to this conflict.
To elucidate the fact that the US is the core instigator of the current conflict in Ukraine has nothing to do with denying that Putin started the actual war and that he is responsible for the conduct of what Russia’s military does on the battlefield. This distinction is absolutely essential if there is to be any sort of true understanding of the situation in Ukraine.
The US’s Push For Escalation
The US has consistently pushed forward policies in Ukraine that Putin and his colleagues see as an existential threat to their country. This is a point that Russia has made over and over again for many years. This point specifically being that the US’s obsession with bringing Ukraine into NATO is generating a genuine existential threat by potentially creating a Western military outpost on Russia’s border.
The Biden administration doubled down on this threat in 2021 by recommitting itself to bringing Ukraine into NATO despite years of repeated warnings by Russia. Russia has made it clear for many years that Ukraine was absolutely its red line in the sand as far as continued tolerance of NATO’s eastern expansion was concerned.
On top of this, the US has pushed for nothing but escalation and “total victory” from the outset of this war. The war has reached a point of extreme danger. As Simon Jenkins mentioned in the Guardian a little over a week ago, “…will the desperation, coupled with ‘war fever’ by nonparticipants, drive the conflict into wider escalation and the risk of catastrophe?”(3) Since that article was published the death count of Ukrainian soldiers has risen, according to President Zelensky, to 200 Ukrainian soldiers per day with an additional 600 to 800 wounded per day.(4)
The Western Media Has Misinformed The Public As To The Intentions Of Putin And Russia
The widespread conventional wisdom in the West is that Putin is solely responsible for creating the crisis and the war in Ukraine. The Western press has blanketed the airwaves and the internet with the idea that he is consumed by imperial ambitions that involve conquering all of Ukraine and other countries as well.(5) It is perpetually said that his intention is to create a new Russia that resembles the old Soviet Union. It’s widely believed here in the West that Putin’s central “sinister” intention, among other sinister intentions, is to remove Ukraine from the map of the world.
The problem with this narrative, which has been repeated over and over in the Western media, is that there is not a stitch of evidence for it. Yes you read that correctly, not a stitch! In fact, all of the supposed evidence of Putin’s imperialist intentions have been bits of information that were plucked from their original contexts rendering their initial meanings completely distorted.
It should also be noted, that there was never one bit of talk (ever) about Russia having any imperialist ambitions UNTIL February of 2014. This corresponds exactly with when the US began its direct intervention into the politics and the into the military affairs of Ukraine. Curious no?
Key Examples Of The Western Media’s Misinformation About Russia’s Intentions
Example #1: Some bring up the fact that Putin said that “Ukraine is an artificial state or that it is not a real state.” as proof of his military intentions. American historian John Mearsheimer points out though that “Such opaque comments however, say nothing about his reasons for going to war.”(6)
Example #2: Some reporters have emphasized that Putin views Russians and Ukrainians as one people with a common history. Others point out that he called the collapse of the Soviet Union “one of the greatest geopolitical catastrophes of century.” What they don’t mention is that he also said, “Whoever doesn’t miss the Soviet Union has no heart, but whoever wants it back has no brain.”(7)
Example #3: Still others have exclaimed that Putin said “Ukraine was entirely created by Bolshevik Communist Russia”. However, in the same speech, Putin also said, “Of course, we cannot change past events, but we must admit them openly and honestly.”(8)
What must be seen clearly is that in order to make the case that Putin’s intention was to conquer all of Ukraine and to incorporate it into Russia, a modicum of evidence needs to be provided. There is absolutely no evidence that A) He thought that conquering and incorporating Ukraine was a desirable goal. B) He thought it was a feasible goal. C) He intended to pursue that goal. “There is absolutely no evidence in the public record that Putin had any aims to conquer Ukraine as an independent state and to incorporate it into Russia.”(9)
Evidence To The Contrary
There is a lot of evidence to sustain the claim that Putin recognized Ukraine as an independent country. For instance, on July 12, 2021, Putin said publicly that “If you (Ukraine) want to create a state of your own, you are welcome.” He went on to say in that same speech that there is only one way to treat such a wish, “with respect”.(10) Later, on February 21st, 2022 Putin exclaimed, “Russia accepts the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR.” He reiterated this point yet again on February 24, 2022 when he said, “It isn’t our plan to occupy Ukrainian territory.”(11) He said he respected Ukraine’s sovereignty, “but only up to a point. Russia cannot feel safe while facing a permanent threat of today’s Ukraine. Ukraine cannot become a springboard for Western aggression against Russia.”(12)
Russia’s Military Strategy Illustrates That Its Intentions Were Not To Occupy Ukraine
If Putin’s aim had really been to takeover all of Ukraine he would have had to have employed a classic blitzkrieg strategy that aimed to quickly overrun all of Ukraine with armored forces supported by tactical air power. This was clearly not Russia’s plan because they only employed 190,000 soldiers, which is way too small a force to occupy a country as huge as Ukraine. Frankly, it’s ridiculous to claim that Russia’s aim was full occupation given the way their military went about entering Ukraine.
Take This Into Consideration
Whatever your feelings are about Putin, what is being pointed to here is that the war in Ukraine is a proxy war that the US is fighting using the people of Ukraine as cannon fodder. This has been common US procedure in the 21st century, it’s nothing new at all. The difference in this case is that unlike say, in Iraq, which was obviously a totally illegal mass slaughter, the Ukraine situation is less hands on and a bit more complicated.
In other words, we the US have, over a seven and a half year period, been priming the government and the army of Ukraine to do our killing (and dying) for us. It’s the height of recklessness, deception and cowardice on the US’s part. The people of Ukraine have been severely betrayed.
(6) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 17:00 – 17:30)
(7) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 17:30 – 17:51)
(8) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 17:51 – 18:10
(9) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 18:11 – 19:00)
(10) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 19:01 – 20:00)
(11) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 20:01 – 21:00)
(12) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciVozNtCDM (see 21:01 – 21:59)