March 24, 2022

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.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2022

This post is in: Russia, Ukraine

8 Responses to “MUDDLING THE WAY TO WAR”

  1. DukeNukem says:

    So much to unpack regarding conflict in Ukraine.
    This is why we follow your writing.
    We’re starving here.
    Give us something!!

  2. oldcanuck says:

    Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” overarches this brutal Russian corrupt disaster. All on broad display on social media. Unfed, abandoned, ill-equipped, … where does one start to describe the abject failure of Russian Command. Rape, plunder, and intentional terror mass murder atrocities bespeak moral rot at Russia’s highest levels. Worse, they prove utter incompetence.

    Eric’s apt and understated descriptions of British atrocities in India – Amritsar, martial law, and the Bengal famine; all whalloping lies belying utterly false promises to India by a corrupt and stupid English ‘Ruling Class’. The Corrupt Oligarchs and Psycho Putin Toadies desecrating Ukraine differ from the inter-war English in India only by vastly worse.

    Eric’s apt and understated criticism of American atrocities in Viet Nam – My Lai massacre & worse, equally apply to Putin’s befouling of Ukraine.

    Lavarov’s cynical lie ‘Ukraine’s Jewish President is a Nazi’ ought to seal the deal. The question is not that Putin’s mob of poison toads have to go. Surly, the question of how the West could best help rebuild both Ukraine and Russia needs wise consideration. Eric?

  3. Eastern Rebellion says:

    As I have stated from the beginning, this matter could have been prevented through diplomacy, and it in all probability, it will be solved when Western leaders pressure Zelensky to make a deal. I assume unofficial back channels have been used to make sure nobody goes too far. However, Americans and other slightly less stupid westerners have automatically assumed plucky little Ukraine (which most couldn’t find on a map if their life depended on it) is a beacon of light against the monstrous Putinistas, a stunningly ignorant assessment. This makes it difficult for President Biden and his party, already polling poorly heading to the mid-terms, to say “no” when Zelensky asks for more and better weapons. I find it very hypocritical that we have all of these Western cheerleaders hooting and hollering about killing young Russian conscripts, when they are half way around the globe away from the conflict, and don’t have to worry about any personal injury or loss. I’m sure they are all trying to one up each other on twitter. Just appalling. With respect to the decision to attack Ukraine in first place, to quote Tallyrand “It was worse than a crime, it was a mistake”. I can’t see any advantage that Putin will get in the long run. The Soviet victory in World War 2 was pyrrhic. The losses in young people, the property destruction, the dislocation of the economy to serve the military all culminated in the inability of the regime to survive (not to mention it was evil and the world is always better off without Communism). Let’s all pray cooler heads prevail before this conflict gets out of hand.

  4. I’m against the invasion of Ukraine, but I’m not convinced that the Russian military has performed poorly in Ukraine. Keep in mind that Russia is fighting a NATO trained and armed Ukrainian military AND is outnumbered by as much as 3:1 in Ukraine (including reserves and militia). Yet Russia have achieved air supremacy and pinned down the MUCH larger Ukrainian forces.

    My reading is that Russia is using its Syrian approach to minimize civilian casualties AND destroy the Ukrainian army in eastern Ukraine through the Russian strategy of cauldrons (encirclement).

    The purpose of Russian forces around Kiyv is to pin down Ukrainian forces. They’ve intentionally avoided taking Kiyv so that Zelensky can implement the eventual Russia-Ukraine agreement–Zelensky is the only person with the legitimacy to implement Russia’s terms.

    SEE: Ukraine Updates and Scott Ritter on Russia Military Strategy and Progress (Scott Ritter, Naked Capitalist, Mar 21, 2022)

    Scott Ritter is a former Marine Intelligence Officer and former Chief UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq.

  5. You should look into the fact that America is using Ukraine as an excuse to launch an unprecedented wave of mass censorship across all the media against dozens of left leaning organizations and reporters. YouTube has deleted tens of thousands of videos including Chris Hedges who woke up to find his entire YouTube channel was erased.

  6. The Ukraine war, and current issues in the US, have had a bit of an impact on my thoughts and perceptions. My thoughts about the government process is starting to gel. I hope it’s not old age or dimentia.
    I used to think that the ‘Western Free World’ governments were democracies. I no longer have that view. They are almost entirely oligarchies; these are governments run by a few select individuals. They no longer reflect the best interests of the people. Reflecting back, I’m not sure they ever did. Every four years, or so, they parade a bunch of ‘used car salesmen’ (UCS) and the epitomy of the UCS is elected as leader. If there are any honest UCS with integrity, out there, please accept my most sincere apologies.
    The problem, likely, stems from a total failure of the education system, and society as a whole. Societies seem to have the wrong values. I’ve often noted that an educated population is not in the interests of a government. It’s too demanding to have an enlightened population. I think, what we have, is the result of this. It’s affected society, the legal system, governments, etc.
    I’m just in a re-read of the book by Desmond Morris, titled, “The Human Zoo.” I read it initially over fifty years ago and it’s one of my top dozen books that I’ve read. There are a couple of issues I have with the book, but it largely correct. It was the same fifty years back and maybe even more correct today. It outlines and helps explain the current social, legal and government failures experienced today.
    With respect to the current problems in the Ukraine the whole scene has been ‘whitewashed’ with a different hue. Transgressions by the Russians are illuminated without reference to past transgressions of the Americans in numerous recent battles they have been involved in. The reporting agencies have failed to make any comparison. It brings to mind that the first casualty in war is the truth. I have no idea of how this will be resolved. It could be a ‘tempest in a teacup’, albeit bloody, or it could culminate in a full scaled nuclear war.

  7. Hello Eric. Good article. One question though is that Russia always had help to get them out of their situation. The Brits saved Russia from Napoleon and the US Lend Lease military aid saved Russia from Germany.
    Does Russia need outside assistance this time and if then from whom? China?

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