When a title in the Washington Post is so revealing, you can understand that the handwriting is on the wall, and that really is SO revealing, and if it is not an “I hate to tell you so, but I told you so” moment, then how else can we interpret the headline “Ukraine’s inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate and international support could erode?”
Not only appears to be!
Has not the veneer of legitimacy not already eroded enough to lay bare the bedrock of a military conflict that never had to be, but is instead is a conflict of choice, especially for the West—but the SHOW MUST GO ON—at least until after the US presidential elections. The Washington Post’s Susannah George is saying what even laymen know, Ukraine appears to be running out of options in a counteroffensive that officials originally framed as Kyiv’s “crucial operation” to retake significant territory from occupying Russian forces this year.
Yes, the military conflict is stalemated, and few want to be used as cannon fodder. It is only a matter of time until the West and the coalition of the willing will lose interest and start asking the hard questions: such as “where did all the money go, and how did the supposed NATO standard weapons disappeared so quickly and how did the West get engaged in this mess in the first place?”
All the promises of one weapons system after another, be it artillery, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), or anti-tank or anti-aircraft systems have all proved to be more talk than firepower, and only now will some F-16 get delivered. But who is qualified enough to fly them and use them for the purpose and manner they were designed for, and what is a ground offensive without air cover and close air support?
“Pouring sand down a rathole”
Is a figurative expression that refers to a futile or pointless action—a waste of time and money, and the lives of a generation. The phrase fits the effort made in Ukraine by the West as having been ineffective and wasteful. And most certainly, there are more than a few rats in the Ukrainian government, its Western sponsors, and partners in organized crime. They have shown themselves for what they REALLY are!
And now the West has the audacity to complain that Ukraine is casualty averse, not willing to die in droves for some greater cause, the American cause! As the headline, based on the work of Caitlin Johnstone sums it up well, The West Keeps Whining that Ukrainians Are Cowards, and how Western officials – under the cover of anonymity and from the safety of their desks – are expressing disapproval of Ukraine’s aversion to being killed!
It is an understatement to highlight that this proxy war has not brought about any meaningful results, and it has not gone well for regional security. Sand down a rathole sums it up well, as the expression often used to convey a sense of frustration or disappointment when someone is engaged in some action or causes that seems to have no real value or purpose—at least for normal people
The gathering clouds are not looking good for Kyiv, it has not been able to deliver on the battlefield, and as a result, its backers are backing off, as they know that political and physical (as in terms of the financial costs, and conceivably even worse) blowback is coming, reputations and careers are at stake. More aid to Ukraine is like pouring sand down a rathole, it just disappears, no result, other than negative consequences.
But just how much longer will it be before the West does an Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Vietnam, and just walks away and moves on to the next war to be orchestrated? But first it will look for a scapegoat, and that should not be difficult among the minions of the corrupt in Ukraine.
All the wonder weapons have thus far failed to live up to the hype, now the west is moving to supply early model F-16As, admittedly upgraded to an extent, from the forty-year-old examples still operated by Holland and Denmark.
But who is qualified enough to fly them and use them for the purpose and in the manner they were designed–and only too soon will they crash and burn, if they are able to get airborne- and are not simply destroyed on the ground by Russian cruise and hypersonic missile systems, as happened too much of the Ukrainian Air Force in the first days of the war.
As we have discussed before in NEO, about how American policymakers in their many attempts to isolate and antagonize Russia should have been asking, “How many more ‘redlines’ have to be crossed in order for Putin to fully act?”
Were any of them actually so naïve to have considered that Putin would not have acted when the Ukrainian government invaded its predominately ethnic Russian regions in the East of, not to face dire consequences as a result?
The answer to these questions should be a no-brainer in the BIGGER scheme of things, and that now includes the potential blow back over China and punitive action to anyone who refuses to toe-the-line and march to the same music as proffered by the collective West.
It becomes the question of staying power, and the financial lifeline that the West is willing to provide—but for how long? Already, the writing is on the wall, considering that Ukraine’s apparent inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate.
There were high hopes that Ukraine’s counteroffensive would turn the tide in its favor. While the West was trying to convince itself of its own rhetoric, with wishful thinking that the Russian army would panic and flee at the first sign of NATO supplied Wunderwaffen such as the Bradley IFV and Leopard 2 tanks, and constantly trumpeting the upcoming offensive to cut the land bridge to Crimea by retaking Melitopol and reaching the Sea of Azov, the Russians took the time to dig in along the front line spanning east to south Ukraine, creating deep defensive lines that are in parts made up of networks of mines, bunkers, trenches and layers of anti-tank obstacles over 75 kilometers deep.
Without more advanced weapons to buttress the front line or troops enough in reserve, as reported by CNBC, quoting [unnamed] Defense experts who say “it’s unlikely that the Ukrainian counteroffensive will see any breakthroughs this year. But they note it’s crucial for Ukraine to be able to show at least some gains in order to maintain Western support for the war into 2024 — and perhaps beyond.”
“We don’t care if you can achieve any strategic objective, only to gain ground, for PR purposes, so to placate Western taxpayers. You need not concern yourselves about the mistakes of the German army who also thought military gains could be measured by territory gained. It also does not matter the causalities taken, as you still have enough warm bodies to conscript, young and old, to be used as fresh cannon fodder.”
“The question here is which of the two sides is going to be worn out sooner,” said Franz-Stefan Gady, a senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Center for a New American Security, who visited Ukraine in July. “We shouldn’t expect the achievement of any major military objectives overnight.”
And the question for NATO and its new turn on life, what is its purpose of existence, and has it really evolved? You can do anything in the name of combating the other side; just ask the people of Haiti under Papa Doc. The only rational conclusion is that NATO has to fulfill some mission in a post-Cold War world. It is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to try and find one.
One prong is to try and start another Cold War by declaring everything Un-American to be wrong and hostile—including alternative media that takes exception to what is being done for the sake of the few well-connected elites who are becoming rich through arms sales.
Collective West and Claimed Supremacy
The other is to insert terrorist groups into various countries to give the “international democratic order” something evil to fight against. There is no reason a defensive alliance should have a cultural dimension. Westerners need to stop claiming credit for the West’s achievements, while disassociating themselves from its crimes. This only reinforces misplaced loyalty to a civilization and policy that is based on greed and misguided values.
The West, especially the United States, wants to take collective credit for good things but to individualize blame on others. The villains of the West are grouped together as being foreign, even when they are home-grown; Hitler was a product of Western Civilization, King Leopold, Harry Truman, and most of those who came after them – in their dirty wars that span the last 70 plus years of “peace”.
Very different political models can co-exist, side-by-side, and even within the same country, as the differences between local councils in pluralistic countries often demonstrates. But NATO insists on its partners having a one culture, one value system—it being the one the US likes and trusts, which is always something close to what the US itself claims it has developed, and mostly on its own.
You can’t talk to Communists, Muslims, or Russians, and if you do, you will pay the price, as Ukraine is discovering the hard way now. NATO is aware of this weakness, but has no real intention of addressing it. This leaves it only one way out – coming out of the stockade with all guns blazing, like Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Probably with much the same result…
So which state is next on the list of countries to be knocked off?
Could it be that Biden and team is finally realizing the US is putting itself further up that list by the day? US policy is in flux and is already overextended, (in actions and recriminations), and its own worst enemy. It has to win. However, this begs the question, where are the troops coming from? As clear as day, we can see that Biden wants to be a war president and let someone else die for that war.
US policy lacks consistency, and media spin is the solution. Take for instance, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, who was always constantly warning that Moscow that Washington, as the collective West, will “respond” to any acts of aggression or recklessness carried out by the Russian government, as if this function is his sole claim to fame.
He knew very well that allowing the Ukrainian government installed by the west after the Maidan revolution (or coup?) to attack and murder local citizens in the East of Ukraine was crossing one of many redlines for Putin. However, he still does not cut back on the rhetoric, doubling-down as [if the US is REALLY willing] to back its statements with direct support for Kiev for the long-term, at least until after the presidential elections.
For the Biden administration, Ukraine is a way to demonstrate America’s claimed “unwavering support” for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a collection of claimed Western values, all of which are neatly wrapped in propagandized sound bites. But we know better, and based on the political and military reality, nothing new can be added to the discussion of Ukraine from a policy position.
US Secretary of State Mr. Blinken is always screaming foul over something: China or Russia, and now West Africa, as if it is going to really make some difference in how the world spins.
He forgets what NATO does is invariably on the orders of the US Federal government, even if it goes against the needs and best interests of the majority of its members, and against claimed Western values. Ukraine, Poland and other NATO members, even fledging potential members, only have the future of being transformed into outposts of men and equipment—in order for the US to have the ability to take “protective reaction” measures if necessary—so that the Hawks can trumpet “America will respond!”
It comes as no surprise, since 2014 nothing has actually really changed, and even with the extra baggage, rhetoric and range of military hardware delivered by Biden and team. It is all but a continuation of a failed bullying policy, a familiar but UGLY FACE in the long-running Washington-Moscow standoff over Ukraine, and confirmation that the world is no longer unipolar.
Biden and his minions are still pushing hegemonic actions to interfere and topple actual and fledgling democracies—and spilling the blood of so many innocents in the process. Sooner rather than later all this will backfire, for the sake of civilization, and the survival of the species, and the sooner, the better!
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.