Despite celebrating one year of surviving the Russian limited military operations, receiving promises of more money and substandard military equipment, including outdated inferior tanks from the West, and receiving praise for the bravery and resiliency of the people, Ukraine’s fight appears to be nearly done.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the public rhetoric about Ukraine’s heroic resistance conceals deepening private doubts among politicians in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom that Ukraine will be able to evict the Russians from eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014. There is an acknowledgement of the fact that the West can only sustain the war effort for so long if the conflict reaches a stalemate.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been criticised for publicly stating that Ukraine is unlikely to achieve substantial additional fighting successes and should proceed to the bargaining table. It is highly likely that Ukraine may join yet another U.S.-supported fighting group in the international hall of shame, the last being Afghanistan.
The war is unlikely to result in a decisive win for either side, but the anti-Russian camp in the West is fixated on a total Russian defeat. The cause is as brutal for Ukrainians as it is absurd regarding the relative military forces of both sides. Emanuel Macron, the French President, urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to settle in exchange for an unspecified future security deal with NATO, a conundrum given that Russia attacked Ukraine for the same reason.
The Russian incursion is a windfall to the U.S. since it has bolstered Atlantic solidarity and opened their purse strings to the American military industrial complex, a long-standing American demand as internationalised by previous President Donald Trump. The war tightened Washington’s hold over unauthorised peace initiatives emanating from continental Europe. NATO was created to prevent France and Germany from pursuing independent European defence and foreign policies, such as those of the West European Union (WEU). Washington has made this a geopolitical priority since the end of World War II. An investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, even claims that the U.S. blew up the Nordstream pipelines to prevent closer energy and political links between Russia and Germany.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disclosed that he had made great progress towards a negotiated settlement before his efforts were thwarted by Washington and London, who had quite different political aims than Kyiv. This has resulted in renewed pressure for a ceasefire. It has become evident that Ukraine was running out of soldiers and unlikely to recover much, if any, of its lost territory.
The Chinese have suggested a peace plan that has sparked Zelensky’s interest and won Macron’s initial backing, much to the alarm of Washington, which would be humiliated and opposed to a major diplomatic victory for Beijing. The U.S., especially President Joe Biden and his coterie, is viewed as the greatest hurdle to resolving this issue.
There is growing opposition to the continued funding of the war in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and even the United States Congress, particularly among Republicans. The U.S. stock markets can only profit from Ukraine’s post-conflict reconstruction once the fighting has ended. Europeans have more pressing spending concerns. The world’s inflation continues to rise. Delays in grain exports and other global supply chains, such as those for fertilisers, are inflicting havoc globally. Antiwar demonstrations have already begun around the globe.
With no end in sight and no substantial Ukrainian successes, public support in the West, as opposed to official support, will continue to fade as war fatigue sets in. Currently, a stalemate on the battlefield is equivalent to a Russian triumph. The world is still determining if Russia will cede any significant geographical gains it has won.
Moscow views a pro-NATO government on Russia’s western border as an existential threat. (Finland and Sweden are not yet in NATO.) Ukraine and Russia share a 1,000-kilometer border, so an agreement must be reached. The battle of attrition is in Moscow’s favour, as it can withstand significantly bigger military losses than Ukraine or even NATO.
The West now understands that this conflict has evolved into a proxy war between NATO and Russia, with Ukrainians carrying most of the human and material costs. Fighting “to the last Ukrainian,” as stated by Ambassador Chas Freeman, is viewed in the West as an effective strategy for dwindling the size of the Russian military but with diminishing marginal utility. Even Zelensky and his opaque government, which includes corrupt and neo-Nazis, are aware that the ‘Human Fodder’ harvest is the real reason they have garnered so much support up to this point, even if, as they claim, it will not be enough to win the war. Ukraine will need NATO body bags to sustain, if not win, this war.
Western European NATO countries understand but ignore that Ukraine requires a NATO army, which Eastern European NATO members are eager to offer, especially given the failure of Western armaments against Russia.
Russia is not as isolated as the U.S. would like the world to believe, notably in the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, East Asia and South America. Russia has been the other pole that maintains geopolitics and geoeconomics.
The economic, diplomatic, and sports sanctions have not affected the route Putin has set for his country, and relations between Moscow and Beijing have strengthened.
The West has more blood on its hands, like in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. The West’s approval of Turkey’s annexation of northern Cyprus, its support for Israel’s effective annexation of the Golan Heights and West Bank, and its blockade of Gaza are some more examples of the double talk by the West.
In Ukraine, the West does not support any moral or legal norms. Rather, it is opportunistically profiting from a heart rending situation of its own creation. A historical context is required to make sense of things. Whoever comprehends how the U.S. moved NATO steadily eastward towards the Russian border following the fall of the Soviet Union, despite assurances to the contrary, will not be startled by Moscow’s reaction.
The world knows how Washington has manipulated Ukrainian domestic politics since it promoted regime change in 2014 to provoke Moscow.
It should be remembered that the Russian war on Ukraine was not started to grab territory (most of it was anyway ungovernable by Ukraine), but to create an atmosphere to negotiate or create a buffer between NATO and the Russian border. The U.S. and Europe are to lose face in the event of a negotiated settlement taking place.
The world can take lessons from Ukraine. Ukraine should have known that the definition of being sovereign does mean it acts as a U.S. puppet or join the NATO alliance. There are myriad ways of being neighbourly yet sovereign.