Closing act to Putin's war

Closing act to Putin's war Featured

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 Odessa will be reduced to rubble, proverbially comparable to when Tokyo and Japanese cities were firebombed, systematically killing civilians toward the end of World War 2. More Japanese were killed from the two atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the war.

These two scenarios are different for both countries — America in 1945 and Ukraine in 2022 — yet paradoxically similar. America didn't want American boys to die in hordes by invading the Japanese homeland. US forces know only too well the resolve of a desperate people when American blood flowed, and precious lives wasted in what was to be considered pyrrhic victories for American forces in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The iconic image of the Marines raising the American flag in the summit of Mount Suribachi belies the fact that America did not have the stomach for 7,000 Americans dead and another 20,000 wounded out of 70,000 who fought for 36 days. True, the Japanese were annihilated almost to a man with only a handful alive against the 21,000 Japanese dead. But the price of American victories was unacceptable. Thus, the firebombing and the atomic bombs

In contrast, 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. Putin will not allow Russian boys to die in hordes in a protracted war with Ukraine. Putin has alternatives at his disposal, one of which is almost unthinkable. But as a superb poker player, Putin has gone "all-in" and put his nuclear options in play. But nuclear war will not happen. Putin understands only too well the theory of mutual assured destruction (MAD). American resolve is no match for Putin's when this war is being waged at Russia's borders. Russia will win. America, true to its democratic principles and concepts of freedom, will allow the blood of Ukraine and Russia to flow for the very concepts America holds dear.

Antecedents

John Mearsheimer, an American political scientist, is featured in a widely distributed video clip examining the antecedents of the Ukraine question. He argues that Ukraine was an unmitigated disaster. To understand its nature, it is necessary to examine the facts establishing who were responsible for this debacle. His disturbing but logical conclusions negate the conventional wisdom that Putin and Russia bear primary responsibility. The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are to blame for this disaster, inferring from a series of moves which the alliance executed from the time the USSR was dissolved in the early 1990s. (Please refer to my TMT column of March 9, 2022.)

The US and NATO's behavior were singularly directed toward winning the Cold War, a period of geopolitical tension after WW2 principally between the United States and the USSR. This era saw the emergence of communism competing with liberal capitalism for world hegemony. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the liberal capitalist Western countries arrogated upon themselves the entitlements of the victors. NATO, formed to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, was free to expand outside its original sphere of influence, encroaching upon the old members of the Warsaw Pact, the military alliance of the USSR and its satellite states which subsequently folded in 1991.

NATO initiatives on Ukraine

But in April 2006, after having successfully recruited some old Warsaw Pact members to NATO, its three-prong approach to expand NATO became very clear. The first was to integrate Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, subsequently into the European Union and eventually converting them to pro-Western liberal democracies, putting in place the effects of the Orange Revolution.

The Orange Revolution was a series of daily protests, strikes and civil disobedience in Ukraine running for three months in the autumn and winter of 2004-2005 following the presidential election marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and electoral fraud. The votes were rigged by government authorities in favor of Soviet-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. The Supreme Court annulled the election. In a run-off, Viktor Yushchenko, perceived to be sympathetic to the West, won.

Putin's line in the sand

Soviet influence was unraveling. A pro-American Ukraine at Russia's border was unacceptable. Yet the Western alliances proceeded in making Ukraine a de facto NATO member. Putin unequivocally announced that this was a line in the sand that NATO could not cross. Ukraine's membership was an "existential threat" to Russia.

In retaliation, in August of 2008, Russia waged war against Georgia. Upping the ante, in February 2014, a crisis erupted in Ukraine precipitated by a coup, supported by the US and NATO, overthrowing President Yanukovych (who succeeded Yushchenko), replacing him with a pro-American president. This was the Euromaidan Uprising. Putin's response was to invade and annex Crimea while fomenting civil disturbance in its predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern Donbass region.

The second major crisis building up was in 2021 when Ukraine was being treated as a de facto NATO member with US-supplied arms and drones used against the Donbas region rebels; a British warship sailing in the Black Sea — long regarded as a Russian lake; and US bombers flying 14 miles off the Russian coast. These all proved to be the axiomatic last straw that broke the camel's back. Today, we have a real war!

Aggressive policy initiatives

American pundits, the policy elite in Washington D.C. and mainstream media have been selling an alternative narrative that this is not about NATO expansion but Putin recreating the glory days of the USSR or a Greater Russia. American and NATO's role were disguised, elevating instead Putin as the aggressor.

Mearsheimer's contention is that even before the first crisis on Feb. 22, 2014, during the Crimea annexation, nobody was arguing Putin was an aggressor. Putin never said he was bent on recreating the USSR or Greater Russia. He was not out to conquer Ukraine or plan to reattach Ukraine to a Greater Russia. Putin never did want to occupy Ukraine, nor did it want Ukraine to join NATO. It serves the interests of both Russia and Ukraine for the latter to remain pro-Russia — sitting as a buffer at its western boundary.

In fact, "Obama was caught with his pants down because the US didn't think Russia, Putin were aggressive. Putin doesn't have enough military to recreate Russia and economically Russia has a GNP smaller than Texas." Thus, incapable of confronting the full might of America and NATO.

Putin only understood too well the lessons of occupying Eastern European countries as a prescription for trouble during the Cold War: 1953 in East Germany; 1956 in Hungary; 1968 in Czechoslovakia; and problems with border countries Poland, Romania and Albania.

But you don't poke the Russian bear in the eye. The US and NATO did.

And God help Ukraine.

 

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