By Mike Whitney
“Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.” William Burns, US ambassador to Moscow writing to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 2008
“There’s nothing inevitable about the “multipolar world”. Its emergence depends entirely on a war that is just beginning and whose outcome is still unknown.” From the text
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center: “About half of Americans… say they are either extremely (24%) or very (26%) concerned about the possibility of U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine leading to a U.S. war with Russia.” (“Americans’ Concerns About War in Ukraine: Wider Conflict, Possible U.S.-Russia Clash”, Pew Research Center)
This is a smaller percentage than one might expect given the risk that an unexpected escalation that could trigger a nuclear war. Even so, this is what the data tell us and the data don’t lie.
But here’s the interesting part: Even though half of the country is worried about a direct conflagration with Russia, they still overwhelmingly support the other measures Biden has taken to punish Russia for its alleged “aggression”. Here’s more from the survey:
Wide support in both parties for U.S. actions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Sizable majorities of both Republicans (73%) and Democrats (80%) say they approve of the U.S. placing strict economic sanctions on Russia. Similar shares say they approve of sending military equipment and weapons to Ukraine.
About seven-in-ten Democrats and six-in-ten Republicans also say they approve of stationing large numbers of U.S. military in NATO countries near Ukraine.” (“Americans’ Concerns About War in Ukraine: Wider Conflict, Possible U.S.-Russia Clash”, Pew Research Center)
What does this mean? Why do Americans overwhelmingly support onerous sanctions, additional troop deployments, and the endless provision of lethal weapons when –at the same time– they acknowledge that they are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the possibility “of a U.S. war with Russia?” Don’t they realize that these hybrid attacks on Russia are a form of warfare that will eventually lead to a direct military clash between Washington and Moscow?
And why do Americans support these draconian measures anyway? Don’t they know that Putin warned that NATO expansion to Ukraine would force Russia to respond militarily? Don’t they know that many of our brightest foreign policy experts have warned against NATO expansion to Ukraine? Don’t they know that Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO expansion could lead to war? Don’t they know that the democratically-elected president of Ukraine was toppled in a CIA-backed coup in 2014 and replaced with a Washington stooge?
Don’t they know that from 2015-on the CIA has been training far-right Ukrainian paramilitaries and extremists (neo-Nazis) to conduct an insurgency against Russian forces that were going to be lured across the border in an attempt to create an “Afghanistan-type” quagmire?
Don’t they know that Washington has been planning to use Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia in order to spread its military bases across Central Asia (to encircle China) for at least the last 8 years? Don’t they know that the Ukrainian army had been shelling residential areas in the area inhabited by ethnic Russians for 8 days before Putin was forced to send in his troops?
Don’t they know that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has admitted that the war started 8 years ago when the legitimate government was toppled? (He told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, “I made a point that the war in Ukraine has been lasting for 8 years. It’s not just some special military operation”) Don’t they know that –if Zelensky had maintained the status quo and Ukraine had remained a “neutral” country– the war never would have begun? Don’t they know our own Director of the CIA called NATO membership for Ukraine the “reddest of red lines” for Russia? Don’t they know that NATO’s eastward expansion is, and has always been, a material threat to Russia’s national security? Aren’t Russian mothers and children deserving of the same safety and security provided to American mothers and children or should we insist that they live with Washington’s combat troops, tanks and nuclear missiles pointed at them across the border? Aren’t they entitled to live their lives without NATO’s gun pointed at their heads or Washington’s dagger put to their throats? This is from an article at antiwar.com:
NATO has long known that Russian leaders since the end of the Cold War–not just Putin–have perceived NATO’s eastward expansion, and particularly its expansion to Ukraine, as a threat. In response to NATO’s statement at the 2008 summit in Bucharest, the Russian leadership made clear that they saw this promise as an existential threat. Putin warned that NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine was “a direct threat” to Russian security.…
How could Russia not see NATO as a threat? … How else could Russia perceive an alliance that moved to its borders, absorbed its neighbors, but exclusively excluded it as anything but hostile? Robert Gates observed that it was “recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital national interests.”…
In a February 2022 press conference, Putin said, “Today we see where NATO is: in Poland, in Romania and in the Baltic states. . .. Now anti-ballistic missile launchers are deployed in Romania and are being set up in Poland. They will probably be there soon if they are not yet built. These are MK-41 launchers that can launch Tomahawks. In other words, they are no longer just counter-missiles, and these assault weapons can cover thousands of kilometers of our territory. Isn’t this a threat to us?”
Weeks before, Putin had also complained that “elements of the US global defense system are being deployed near Russia.” He spoke again of the MK-41 launchers in Romania and, soon, in Poland. At that time, he added that “If this infrastructure continues to move forward, and if US and NATO missile systems are deployed in Ukraine, their flight time to Moscow will be only 7–10 minutes, or even five minutes for hypersonic systems. This is a huge challenge for us, for our security.” (“Stoltenberg’s Provocative Pledge on Ukraine’s NATO Membership”, Ted Snider, antiwar.com)
How is it that the American people don’t know these things? How is it that the vast majority of them think that ‘Putin started the war’ or that the war started on February 24 when Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine? How can the majority of the population in a democratic country that is (ostensibly) committed to free speech and freedom of the press be so tragically misinformed, propagandized and indoctrinated?
Is that it? Are Americans actually the most weak-minded, brainwashed sheeple on earth? This is from The American Conservative:
“From the onset of the Ukraine war, the corporate media, politicians, and all the controlled NGOs throughout America and Western Europe were lockstep in their claim that the Russian military action in eastern Ukraine was unprovoked and unjustified—an act of aggression that could not be allowed to stand.
There was one problem with this propaganda blitz: it was totally untrue. The Deep State—the government elites, intelligence community, and the military establishment—has spent decades threatening and provoking Russia by pushing NATO up against their border.
You do not have to like Russia to see this, and you can detest Vladimir Putin until the cows come home. The fundamental issue remains the same: the Russians view NATO on their border as an act of aggression and a threat to their national security, and we have known this for decades.
The record is clear and unassailable.” (“Blame the Deep State for Carnage in Ukraine”, George D O’Neill jr, The American Conservative)
So, no, the war in Ukraine did NOT start on February 24. And, no, “evil” Putin did NOT start the war. What the evidence shows is that this Ukrainian conflict is another bloody confection that was conjured up long-ago in elite think tanks and neocon hideaways where Russia’s economic integration with Europe (and the eventual emergence of a free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok) was seen as “real and present danger” to Washington’s voracious lust for global power. These same elites settled on Ukraine as the launching pad for their war on Russia despite the fact that Ukraine would ultimately face disintegration as part of a Moscow-imposed final settlement and despite the fact that all of Europe would be plunged into another Dark Ages of energy and food scarcity, widespread deindustrialization and third-world destitution. Check out this quote from foreign policy giant George Kennan, who authored America’s “containment” strategy that was used during the Cold War. Here’s what he told the New York Times in 1998:
‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.” (“Blame the Deep State for Carnage in Ukraine”, George D O’Neill jr, The American Conservative)
Have you wondered why respected foreign policy analysts like George Kennan, former Sec-Def William Perry, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock Jr. all oppose NATO membership for Ukraine? Have you ever asked yourself why a foreign policy mandarin like John Mearsheimer would put his reputation on the chopping block to inform the people that if the policy persists Ukraine will be obliterated and the US will likely end up in a nuclear war with Russia? Here’s Mearsheimer:
“The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked… What we’re doing is encouraging the Ukrainians to play tough with the Russians. We’re encouraging the Ukrainians to think that they’ll ultimately become part of the west because we will ultimately defeat the Russians…. And, of course, the Ukrainians are playing along with this and the Ukrainians are almost completely unwilling to compromise with the Russians and, instead, want to pursue a hardline policy. Well, as I said to you before, if they do that the end result is that their country is going to be wrecked. And, what we are doing is, in effect, encouraging that outcome.” John Mearsheimer, “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path”, You Tube, 1:32
The United States is deliberately misleading Ukraine so it can use its territory to prosecute its war on Russia. It is a cynical manipulation tantamount to genocide. The US has no vital national security interests in Ukraine nor does it care whether its cities and people are pounded into oblivion. What matters to Washington is delivering a blow to Russia, seducing Russia into a conflict that will cause it to “overextend itself militarily or economically” (Rand), thus, rendering it incapable of projecting power beyond its borders. That’s the goal, and that has always been the goal, to “weaken Russia”. None of this has anything to do with Ukraine or the Ukrainian people. It’s all about power; pure, unalloyed geopolitical power.
Bottom line: Foreign policy elites and their globalist allies have decided that the only way to arrest America’s accelerating economic decline and preserve the nation’s role as the world’s preeminent superpower, is through the use of military force. Clearly, that decision has already been made. What we’re seeing in Ukraine (and soon Taiwan) is further evidence that America’s hawkish powerbrokers are not going to relinquish their exalted position in the world without a fight. They are going to use every weapon in their arsenal to maintain their vice-like grip on power. This tells us that the transition away from the “rules-based system” will not be quick or bloodless. And– despite optimistic predictions to the contrary– there’s nothing inevitable about the “multipolar world”. Its emergence depends entirely on a war that is just beginning and whose outcome is still unknown.