Ukraine war revisited — America speaks with forked tongue

Ukraine war revisited — America speaks with forked tongue Featured

A MONTH after Putin invaded Ukraine, I wrote in my column: "Prayers will not help Ukraine now. Putin is unfolding his endgame pursuing what to him is in the best interest of Mother Russia — an altogether justifiable response to what America and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have been doing all along." (The Manila Times, March 9, 2022)

The following week, I wrote further: "Today marks the 20th day of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. In the coming days, Putin will unveil his endgame. Thousands will be dead and those that fled the cities are the lucky ones. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odesa will be reduced to rubble." (TMT, March 16, 2022)

I was wrong! Ukraine survived Putin's onslaught holding him to a stalemate. But I was spot on: "America will not shed blood for Ukraine. No 'boots on the ground'! With its NATO allies, the US will simply arm Ukraine, encourage it to resist, and Russian and Ukraine boys will die. Victims all for a surrogate war for democracy. Not a drop of American blood spilled. But this act by America and NATO using Eastern Europeans to butcher each other is pushing Putin into a corner."

Then again in the eighth month of the Ukraine invasion, on Oct. 5, 2022, I wrote a piece that will be confirmed by a leading American politician today. "Now things are becoming clearer as to the motivations and direction the war is going. If conspiracy theorists were to be believed — and the evidence of this is overwhelming, the military-industrial complex [is] the primary beneficiary. And we can all draw our own conclusions... The symbiosis between its economic and military components is directed toward serving each other's vested interest — one twin obtaining war weapons, the other paid to supply them. The armed forces of the US and the defense contractors, all orchestrated by the Pentagon, need the enabling participation of a complicit US Congress forming a three-sided triangle — now aptly called the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC)."

And my conclusion: "So, is Ukraine winning? Who cares? Business is good!"

NATO and Russia's abattoir

Today,16 months after Putin's invasion, a Democratic presidential candidate revealed some disturbing facts, which confirmed many of my suspicions. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (RFK), scion of one of America's political dynasties, son of the assassinated US attorney general and nephew of the assassinated president, John F. Kennedy, has this to say: "What we're doing in Ukraine now is just a massive assault on Ukrainians. We have trapped Ukraine in a proxy war against [Russia] and they are being devoured by the geopolitical machinations of neocons in the White House ... in reality, every step we have taken, every decision we have made appears to have been intended to prolong the war and to increase the bloodshed."

And contrary to the news being peddled by American media, that Ukraine is gaining the upper hand and winning the war, a different perspective is being offered: "Russia-US proxy war ... has killed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian troops for a geopolitical goal which has 'nothing to do with Ukraine'." And the surrogate war for democracy be damned! We've been had.

Perhaps RFK's pronouncements contesting Biden's seat should be taken with a grain of salt. His position also hews close to the GOP's disgraced Donald Trump who boasted that he can end this war within a few days of his re-assumption to the US presidency.

End of Cold War precedents

To put things in proper perspective, we may have to go back to when Premier Gorbachev presiding over a deteriorating USSR in 1991presaging the end of the Cold War, extracted a promise from US President George H. W. Bush (41st) that NATO will not move East to the former USSR territories. Bush did promise. And the Soviet Union dismantled 400,000 troops and vacated East Germany, allowing the two halves of Germany to unify under NATO. This unprecedented conciliation by the Soviet leadership was never responded to in the same manner as it should have. And in the coming years, the lone world hegemon, America, inched its way into the old Warsaw Pact, enhancing NATO's forward defense and military presence. Thus, in over two decades, NATO has had its foothold in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These four former USSR territories are now under NATO command through the Multinational Corps Northeast Headquarters in Szczecin, Poland; installing the nuclear-capable Aegis missile systems in Poland and Romania. While not formally part of NATO, four battlegroups are being set up in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. This altered drastically the defense and security profile in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Consider a similar scenario in 1962 when another Kennedy had to fend off the encroachment of the then powerful USSR under Nikita Khrushchev when short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) were stationed in Cuba. The world was brought to the brink of nuclear war. Not much difference now with NATO at the gates of Russia. Thus, the invasion of Ukraine.

America's intentions on Ukraine

Unbeknownst to the USSR, America may not have intended to keep its word — if indeed they were given. Even prior to the Vietnam debacle, America had always pined for containing the USSR. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a counselor to President Lyndon Johnson and President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser (NSA) then articulated that "US strategy should be to suck Russia into a series of wars in little countries where we can then exhaust them." And this was reiterated by the current defense secretary, Lloyd Austin: "... degrade the Russian army ... exhaust it and degrade its capacity to fight anywhere in the world." This has been the dominant mindset in America's foreign policy whether the US is led by Democrats or Republicans.

Ukraine was the biggest and most populous of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union and the westernmost border of the USSR, a buffer against NATO encroachment. It was the "apple of Putin's eye." Its invasion by Russia was the sum total of NATO's relentless encroachment over the years that included the CIA-sponsored Euromaidan Revolution in 2013 resulting in a regime change in Ukraine, which in turn gave Putin the alibi to annex Ukraine's southern peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and recognize the Russian-sponsored separatists states of Donetsk and Luhansk in the southeast, collectively known as the Donbas region.

Apparently, both sides have drawn and crossed each other's lines, with NATO — in hindsight perchance welcoming Putin's "aggression" giving it the pretext to go into Ukraine — salivating for Putin to do what he had to do — defend the integrity of his territory — or at least for Ukraine to remain the last buffer for Russia's borders. Both provided casus belli for each other's acts.

Thus, in the words of RFK, "We have now turned Ukraine into an abattoir that has devoured 350,000 young Ukrainians. They are lying about how many people have died, they're concealing it from us — the Pentagon's concealing it from the American people. Ukraine is concealing it from their people..."

Whether these are simply mutterings of another politician vying for the US presidency is of no consequence. Ukrainian and Russian blood is spilled on the altar of hegemonic geopolitics.

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