Economic, social and political dangers abound. That’s because Washington and its subservient mainstream media are delirious with war fever like at no time in the last seven decades.
The resulting reckless pursuit of an unhinged Sanctions War against Russia poses a dire threat to the global economy and domestic prosperity and does so for no good reason of homeland security whatsoever.
With respect to the latter, the sheer facts are overwhelming. So we repeat them with an added total for the respective military budgets: To wit, the economic might of NATO is 29X that of Russia and its combined defense budgets are 18X greater, which tells you all you need to know about the “Russian threat”:
NATO: $42.78 trillion of GDP; 945 million population; $45,130 per capita income; $1,200 billion defense budget;
RUSSIA: $1.46 trillion of GDP; 144 million population; $10,300 per capita income; $67 billion defense budget.
Given these realities, why should Washington care about an intramural battle among contiguous peoples and territories that have been joined at the hip for most of the last 1300 years?
The implicit answer is because it’s the world’s self-appointed policeman and Spanker-in-Chief.
Beyond that, it’s apparently due to a putative aggrandizement syndrome. That is, Putin’s Russia may be puny in the economic and military scheme of things today, but once it is permitted to acquire a taste for conquest it is certain to grow into a Hitlerian monster.
Needless to say, the former reason is based on Washington’s institutionalized arrogance and has no place at all in realistic thinking about national security, while the latter is based on sheer ignorance about the actual history of Hitler’s conquests.
The truth is, there was nothing inexorable about it. Contrary to today’s nostrums, Nazi Germany wasn’t a self-feeding deus ex machina of conquest, nor was it a generic model of what happens when ruthless dictators are not braced with opposing force early on.
To the contrary, Hitler was a product of a specific, unique and unfortunate history that bears no resemblance to current circumstances on the Ukrainian/Russian line of conflict. In fact, Hitler’s original expansion was rooted in deep German grievances about its territorial, industrial and financial (i.e. onerous reparations) decapitation by the vengeful winners at Versailles.
Thus, the re-occupation of the Alsace-Lorain and the Ruhr, the annexation of the German speaking Sudetenland, the dispute over the Danzig Corridor in Poland – all involved the reclamation of former German territories, while the Anschluss with Austria was a voluntary marriage of German-speaking losers from the abomination of 1919.
So Hitler’s rise and initial territorial expansion had been preventable, not inexorable, because it was rooted in historic mistakes that took on a life of their own: Namely, the irridentism of an aggrieved German population that had been stripped of 15% of its historic territory and upwards of 50% of its coal and other industrial resources by the “peacemakers” at Versailles.
Stated differently, Hitler was the metastasized residue of history gone wrong, not the inexorable product of annexing, for instance, the overwhelmingly German speaking population of the Sudetenland. The latter had been extracted from Germany in 1919 and handed to the new state of Czechoslovakia, which, in turn, had been carved out of whole cloth by Wilson & Co.
The correct lesson from the 1930s, therefore, is more nearly the opposite of the deus ex machina aggrandizement syndrome peddled by Washington and Brussels. It was the West’s insistence on the creation and perpetuation of the artificial states of Poland and Czechoslovakia that gestated Hitler, not the mere fact of neighboring territories being conquered after the fact.
As it happened, Poland had disappeared from the maps of Europe in 1795 and had no reason to come back in the fulsome extent provided by the Versailles Treaty except for Wilson’s courting of the Polish vote in the industrial Midwest. Similarly, the mongrel state of Czechoslovakia with its linguistic, religious and ethnic concoction had no historical basis or reason for existence at all. Well, again, except for American electoral machinations, which constituted the raw politics underlying Wilson’s messianic determination to remake the map of the world so as to be “safe for democracy” in his own exalted opinion.
The fact is, Ukraine is the Poland and Czechoslovakia of the present time – an artificial state loaded with Russians and with no reason for existence in its present form and girth. Well, still again, other than Washington’s fanatical insistence that the happenstance map of administrative units which fell out of the Soviet Union’s collapse constitute sacred borders that must be preserved at all hazards.
To the contrary, what Putin wants, ironically, is the pre-communist status quo ante. That is, he wants Crimea, where Ukrainians constitute but a tiny minority and which had been Russian since 1783. And, more crucially, which hosts the greatest strategic military asset possessed by Russia thereafter – -the great Naval base at the headwaters of the Black Sea in Sevastopol.
Likewise, the Donbas and territories east of the Dnieper River and along the northern edge of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have been Russian for upwards of 300 years. By all facts of pre-1922 history, these territories amounted to Novorossiya (“New Russia”) as shown in this map from 1897.
As it happened, they became “Ukrainian” only by writ of two of history’s greatest evil monsters – Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin – who placed them in the administrative unit of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic for reasons that have no historic validity whatsoever.
Yet a devastating war goes on there today – a war which is careening to the precipice of WWIII – because Washington encourages Kiev to insist on retention of “every inch” of a map put together by Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev.
In fact, the latter did for the map of Ukraine what Wilson & Co. did to Germany after the Great War. That is to say, these long gone commie dictators extracted from Russian and Polish territories a combustible mongrel that begs to be partitioned and returned to the status quo ante, not defended to the last drop of Ukrainian blood and US/NATO treasure.
Needless to say, there is no Washington policy-maker familiar with the above map, nor Capitol Hill armchair warrior who has a clue. Most especially, by shrieking about “borders” being violated and the need for all out support to a heroic nation valiantly resisting the Russian ogre, the GOP’s bloodthirsty hawks and neocons have made it easy as pie for Biden and his national security minions to pivot to an all-out war footing against Russia, thereby distracting the American public from the abysmal failure of their domestic policies.
Indeed, red in tooth and claw the vast majority of Republicans are now demanding suicidal measures like a No Fly Zone and secondary sanctions, including against China. The latter are being proffered in the vain hope that it will weaken Russia enough to eventually cause it to quit its “invasion” and permit the map of Ukraine to revert to what Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev ordered it to be.
One of these war-loving Republicans is Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, who recently relieved himself of the following gem in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.
“To cut off Mr. Putin’s oil and gas sales globally, the administration and Congress should impose secondary sanctions on the entirety of Russia’s financial sector.”
What he means is that any bank on the entire planet which should dare to defy Washington’s writ and finance a Russian oil trade to a third party, such as China, India or Brazil, should be slapped with sanctions for aiding and abetting what amounts to global commerce–now redefined as an act of war against the US and NATO.
So to repeat: The GOP has gone for full-scale “war socialism.” Suddenly, the rights of private property owners are not so sacred after all – if they are involved in exporting, importing or financial intermediation with anything Russian. In those instances, they are far game for Washington’s economic draft – and the consequent loss of markets, sales, profits and value on the say so of war-loving blowhards like Senator Toomey.
The worst thing, of course, is that all of this “war socialism” has nothing to do with defense of the homeland or anything rational at all. To the contrary, it’s the rotten spawn of an Imperial City populated by careerist politicians who get their jollies pretending to be the suzerains of mankind and Spanker-in-Chief of the planet’s malefactors.
Unfortunately, the current mess isn’t the half of it. The MSM is presenting such a distorted and fanciful picture of on-the-ground conditions in the Ukraine that the American public is totally in the dark about what comes next. That is, the Ukrainian military has been decimated and the resistance of the Kiev government is on its last legs – notwithstanding the nonstop whistling past the graveyard of the nation’s clownish president.
Recently, the peripatetic Mike Whitney had a powerful interview with one Larry C Johnson. The latter is a veteran of the CIA and the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism. He is the founder and managing partner of BERG Associates, which was established in 1998 to provide training to the US Military’s Special Operations community. He has been vilified by the right and the left, which means he must be doing something right.
In any event, Johnson summarized what amounts to the dogs of war which are not barking on the Ukrainian side of the ledger. The implication is that its only a matter of time until a fait accompli on the ground in Ukraine results in the aforementioned partition of its borders and the demilitarization and neutralization of the rump state left behind, even as Washington finds itself in full-scale economic war with Russia.
That is to say, either Imperial Washington is going to surrender from its Sanctions War or the real truth of the matter will come to light. Namely, that the violation of Ukraine’s putative borders is only the excuse for Washington hegemonic determination to call the shots in the former Soviet Union – just like it has attempted to do elsewhere on the planet during the last 70 years in the name of promoting democracy.
As to the looming collapse of the Ukrainian resistance, here are the key spoiler alerts from the Johnson interview, conveying the inconvenient truths about where the war is actually heading.
Russia’s de facto No Fly Zone
Within the first 24 hours of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, all Ukrainian Ground Radar Intercept capabilities were wiped out. Without those radars, the Ukrainian Air Force lost its ability to do air to air intercept. In the intervening three weeks, Russia has established a de facto No Fly Zone over Ukraine. While still vulnerable to shoulder fired Surface to Air Missiles supplied by the U.S. and NATO to the Ukrainians, there is no evidence that Russia has had to curtail Combat Air Operations.
The Allegedly Stalled 40-Mile Russian Column
When a 24 mile (or 40 mile, depends on the news source) was positioned north of Kiev for more than a week, it was clear that Ukraine’s ability to launch significant military operations had been eliminated. If their artillery was intact, then that column was easy pickings for massive destruction. That did not happen. Alternatively, if the Ukrainian’s had a viable fixed wing or rotary wing capability they should have destroyed that column from the air. That did not happen. Or, if they had a viable cruise missile capability they should have rained down hell on the supposedly stalled Russian column. That did not happen. The Ukrainians did not even mount a significant infantry ambush of the column with their newly supplied US Javelins.
Cut Off to the South, North and East:
We have not seen a single instance of a Ukrainian regiment or brigade size unit attacking and defeating a comparable Russian unit. Instead, the Russians have split the Ukrainian Army into fragments and cut their lines of communication. The Russians are consolidating their control of Mariupol and have secured all approaches on the Black Sea. Ukraine is now cut off in the South and the North.
Destruction of De Facto NATO Military Bases:
The really big news came this week with the Russian missile strikes on what are de facto NATO bases in Yavoriv and Zhytomyr. NATO conducted cyber security training at Zhytomyr in September 2018 and described Ukraine as a “NATO partner.” Zhytomyr was destroyed with hypersonic missiles on Saturday. Yavoriv suffered a similar fate last Sunday. It was the primary training and logistics center that NATO and EUCOM used to supply fighters and weapons to Ukraine. A large number of the military and civilian personnel at that base became casualties.
Agreement With Colonel Douglas Macgregor – A Guest on the Tucker Carlson Show Who Said:
“The war is really over for the Ukrainians. They have been ground into bits, there is no question about that despite what we hear from our mainstream media. So, the real question for us at this stage is, Tucker, are we going to live with the Russian people and their government or we going to continue to pursue this sort of regime change dressed up as a Ukrainian war? Are we going to stop using Ukraine as a battering ram against Moscow, which is effectively what we’ve done.”
Washington’s Massive Miscalculation:
I am shocked at the miscalculation in thinking economic sanctions on Russia would bring them to their knees. The opposite is true. Russia is self-sufficient and is not dependent on imports. Its exports are critical to the economic well-being of the West. If they withhold wheat, potash, gas, oil, palladium, finished nickel and other key minerals from the West, the European and US economies will be savaged. And this attempt to coerce Russia with sanctions has now made it very likely that the US dollar’s role as the international reserve currency will show up in the dustbin of history.
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.