Muddling The Way To War

Those familiar with Russian history know that wars usually begin with disastrous muddles.  It’s the Russian way.

But Russians are also renowned for surmounting great obstacles after enormous sacrifices and finally achieving victory.  World War II, in which the Soviet Union lost around 8.6 million soldiers killed, is a mighty example.

Right now, Russia is in its typical early war muddle in Ukraine, which not so long ago was an integral part of the Soviet Union/Russia.  The initial Russian offensive in Ukraine has broken down and ground to a halt.  NATO spokesmen and anti-Russian Ukrainians are crowing about an apparent military defeat for Moscow’s invasion forces.  Most estimations are absurdly exaggerated.

There is lots of loose talk about chemical and nuclear weapons – all designed to scare the other side. The deeply anti-Russian British establishment is using its influential BBC to whip up sentiment against Moscow – as the Brits have done since 1917.

So have the forces of light and good in Ukraine really defeated Russia’s army of wicked ‘orcs’?

It depends on Moscow’s real goal in Ukraine.  It’s very likely that President Putin’s strategic goal in Ukraine is to dismantle its independent nationalist government and re-attach minor Russian-speaking parts to the Russian federation.  Recall that some 36% of Ukrainians use Russian as their native language; many want no part of Ukraine.

In fact, a low intensity civil war has flared in Ukraine for the past 14 years between anti-Russian nationalists (‘Nazis’ according to the nationalists) and pro-Russians (‘traitors’ say the nationalists), notably in the border enclaves of the Donets Basin, the center of that nation’s heavy industry and mining.

Ukraine will remain steeped in profound corruption no matter who rules it.

The best way out of this dangerous mess would be partition into pro and anti-Russian zones.  But the pro-Russians have weak leadership and the current government forces see themselves as world heroes backed by NATO – which is another name for American military power.

While the fighting goes on, the conflict in Ukraine is   increasingly dangerous.  Defeat in Ukraine would fatally undermine the Russian Federation which went to war to prevent NATO/US from taking over Ukraine, then breaking up what’s left of Russia. That is Washington’s ambition before it turns on China.

This is playing with nuclear fire.  The prime goal of the US should be to end the Ukraine conflict and stop pouring weapons and encouragement into Ukraine.  But a wounded nation – particularly a past or former enemy – is too much of a target to ignore.  Ukrainians must re-learn co-existence with Russia, like Finns.

They must end their conflict before the rupture of Ukraine’s vital exports of wheat, other key grains, uranium and metals sends world trade into a tailspin.  Middle East stability alone depends on US-subsidized Ukrainian wheat exports.

What if the hard men in Moscow get fed up watching hundreds of millions worth of US and British arms pour across the Polish-Ukraine border?  Sound military sense suggests Russia should attack these supply lines, depots and railroads.

Good statecraft demands that Washington move mountains to settle the conflict in Ukraine in which it has no vital national interest but faces nuclear peril.  But the Ukraine civil war is a political godsend for the Biden administration which has lost much of its voter support due to charges it is weak and timid.  A Russian defeat in Ukraine would nicely compensate for the humiliating US defeat in Afghanistan for which Biden is blamed though it was mainly Donald Trump who lit the fuse of that disaster.

Unfortunately, Ukraine has become what little Belgium was in 1914, a highly emotional issue propelling the mad rush to war.  Westerners feel the sorrow of Ukrainians while totally ignoring the terrors they inflicted on Gaza, Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis and Libyans.  Our media wails for Ukrainians while ignoring the waves of B-52 heavy bombers carpet bombing Afghan villages.