Neocons Running The Russia Show: What Could Go Wrong?
In a word—or a few—just about everything. After all, their track record is far from reassuring. In fact, their screwups seem to just keep scaling up. Consider this from a very worthwhile article:
As calls grow for a ‘victory’ over Russia, we should examine whether such a win-lose outcome is even possible.
Tell me how this ends. General David Petraeus famously posed this question at the outset of the Iraq War in 2003.
In retrospect, to say that the Bush administration’s expectations for the war proved too optimistic would be a vast understatement. The White House anticipated a democratic and prosperous Iraq that would catalyze liberalization in the authoritarian regimes dominating the Middle East and drain the swamp of Islamic radicalism.
Instead, Operation Iraqi Freedom removed an important counterbalance to Iranian power and plunged the region into decades of instability, the ill effects of which are continuing to resonate for the United States, Europe, and the world.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that the Zhou administration (which Andrea Widburg memorably describes as “a hard-left administration fronted by a demented old man in the Oval Office and an exceptionally stupid woman waiting in the wings in the Vice President’s office”) has garnered any support at all for its insane assault on Russia. It wasn’t just Iraq. It was Libya, Syria, Yemen. Oh, did I forget Afghanistan? We’re being promised Afghanistan in Ukraine by the Neocons—does that give you a sense of foreboding?
Michael Brenner well describes America as in the grips of a “collective psychopathology”:
And of course, collective psychopathology is what you get in a nihilistic society in which all sort of standard, conventional sort of reference points cease to serve as markers and guideposts on how individuals behave.
Joe Biden seems to be in a state which could permit the kind of encounter with the Russians that all his predecessors avoided. Which, in turn, is the kind of encounter where it is conceivable that nuclear weapons might be somehow resorted to in some uncalculating way.
And you see that, by the way, in articles published in places like Foreign Affairs and other respectable journals, by defense intellectuals, if you’ll excuse the expression. … there are people of some note who are writing and talking along these lines, and some of them are neocons of note, like Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland, sort of husband and partner in crime, and others of that ilk. And so, yes, this is pathological, and therefore really leads us into territory I don’t think we’ve ever been in or experienced before.
Brenner speaks of the “uncalculating” use of nuclear weapons being now conceivable, but in fact “respectable journals” such as the Wall Street one are actually running Neocon penned articles about planning to win a nuclear war. That strongly suggests deliberate resort to nuclear weapons.
We’re also being told to expect our war against Russia to be a long war—I’ve heard some people talking about a sort of modern Thirty Year War. Problem: What history tells us about civilizational wars of that sort is—expect the unexpected. Plans for wars of that sort gang aft a-gley, or so the poet Burns tell us. Or, returning to the Responsible Statecraft article:
Perhaps, as some have hoped, Putin will somehow be overthrown, ...
But perhaps is seldom a strong basis for policy planning. ...
One of the most disturbing possibilities is escalation into a genuine military crisis between the United States and Russia. The Biden administration has wisely resisted political pressure to put American troops on the ground ...
But escalation can nonetheless occur in other ways. If the United States and NATO seek Russia’s unconditional defeat by unconventional means — proxy and economic warfare — can we reasonably expect Moscow to acquiesce to terms of indirect conflict that play to our strengths? How long will Moscow refrain from direct retaliation against the West, …
Moscow has repeatedly warned against Western military supplies to Ukraine, calling them legitimate military targets. ...
And, of course, this is the direction we’re increasingly going. The series of explosions in Russia in recent days certainly suggests some form of unconventional warfare. That’s a very dangerous direction to go in, given that Russia is far from inexperienced in such matters.
Where crossing the line into direct military engagement between Russia and the West might lead is difficult to anticipate. [A lengthy list of possible scenarios follows.]
This menu of potential endings in Ukraine has little appeal. If we aim for a win-lose outcome for the West against Russia, however, we may well find ourselves in a perilous lose-lose scenario. The time to answer the Petraeus question is now.
Thus far Russia has been remarkably patient with Western antics—actuated by patently malign intentions. Think how the US would have reacted to this outrageously piratical provocation:
Western nations have actually stolen more than 300 billion #US dollars from #Russia when they seized the money meant to pay for Russian gas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Friday.
These payments were made to Gazprom accounts in the West. By seizing Russian assets, the West has frozen payments they made for Russian gas. They were using Russian gas for free all these years.
Now payments for Russian gas has to be made to #Gazprom bank.
On the other hand, it’s always possible—such is the uncertainly of lengthy conflicts—that the long term may favor Russia. The following example is very simple, since it takes really only a single variable into account when many are in play, but it’s instructive nevertheless:
Thread about how #Putin came to the decision to invade #Ukraine, about the current Russian military strategy and its political underpinnings, and about the consequences that may arise from such a strategy. Unroll available on Thread Reader
What this brilliant analysis overlooks is the state of the #Ukraine economy as the war drags on and the role this may play in bringing a negotiated solution. 1/
It is easy to sell #Ukraine arms through loans because it is feeding the arms and weapons industry in the West. 2/
#Ukraine will have to finance the war, pay its civil servants, and feed families and children, all this while the economy is paralyzed.
In a very near future, the West will find itself unable to sustain the economy of a country of 37 million people. 3/
This is when things will happen, either a regime change in #Ukraine or a negotiated solution. Contrary to what High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said, this isn't simply a military war that can be won on the battlefield. 4/
This is where the piecemeal approach of #Russia, grinding territory slowly over a longer period of time, will pay off. Russia will never declare full war. It will just paralyze #Ukraine and wait until its demands for security and guarantees, long ignored, are met by the West. 5/
Our genius Neocons are planning on a “long war”. However, as Sophia points out, that leaves out of the equation not just certain economic realities but also the views of ordinary Ukrainians. Reports of unsustainably high casualties, destruction, mass surrenders are becoming increasingly common—the toll on non-Nazi inclined Ukrainians (the great majority) is quickly becoming horrific. What exit strategies are available to such people? That could vary, depending on a number of circumstances—proximity of Russian forces, possibility of merging into the developing Novorossiya, state of morale and political views of the regular Ukrainian army, etc. One thing for sure—Ukrainian society is not and will not be in the type of stable condition that the Neocons are presuming. However, the situation in Ukraine is inherently unstable.
Now, here’s a video from The Duran that’s 24 minutes of worthwhile listening if you have the time. It addresses the increased talk that the Neocons are trying to gin up second or third fronts in Ukraine, Moldova, and Poland, to supposedly create a quagmire for Russia—or to at least stave off total collapse and defeat. Lots of interesting comments:
What I’ll do is append here my notes from listening to the video, to give you a flavor of it:
Two big stories: Moldova/Transniestra and Poland.
US/UK know that the situation in Ukraine is deteriorating rapidly, yet US/UK have ruled out negotiations on the part of Ukraine. Heavy losses for Ukraine.
Neocons are turning to dangerous ideas of opening second fronts. The Ukraine spokesman Arestovych is enthusiastic that Ukraine and Moldova should attack Transniestria. Moldovan president seems genuinely upset and rejects the idea.
The head of the SVR (Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service) has publicly said that they have evidence of secret Polish designs on Western Ukraine (Lwiw). Poland isn't denying these "rumors". Story is that the Poles brought the idea up to the US but got no commitment. Was Poland the target of Putin’s recent remarks about “lightening retaliation”?
The US is allowing the situation to drift toward a crisis--"a more reckless and stupid approach is difficult to imagine."
Ukraine and Poland have a "difficult history" (to say the least). Typically unstable situation--Ukrainians might well NOT welcome Polish troops.
Mercouris rejects notion that Russia would do a deal with Poland re Western Ukraine (Gonzalo Lira's idea). I totally agree with Mercouris—nobody with some acquaintance with Polish-Russian relations could imagine that.
To me, the idea of Poland attempting to get directly involved in Western Ukraine would be catastrophically stupid, but ...
Alex Christophorou: The attitude of the Neocons seems to be, 'Let's see what a little more chaos does.' My view, chaos isn't inevitably our friend. They think chaos won't matter for the US, and who cares about Poland and Romania?
Mercouris on the "ultimate fallacy of Neocon thinking": They think this is a clever chess game, that they can play with the Russians, with Romanians, with Ukrainians, with Moldovans, with the Poles, and that Russia will come out greatly weakened. It's far more likely that situations will be created in which the US will face incredibly difficult choices. Russia, in fact, has "escalation dominance" in Eastern Europe. Selling out Poland would be extremely destabilizing in that part of the world for NATO, but for the US to get directly involved is almost unthinkable.
Dangers and risks are huge, as they always are with these Neocon projects, which are never properly or thoroughly thought through. Facing defeat, the Neocons are scrambling to find a way to extend the conflict to avoid acknowledging defeat. $33 billion in aid is a typical Neocon response to a debacle.
The hope is that there are sane people in DC who will put a stop to this craziness. But Lloyd Austin is wildly over promoted, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Is he being led by Blinken, Sullivan, and Nuland or will he listen to DoD people who understand the military realities?
For an article by Anatol Lieven that explores similar issues:
If there is indeed a shift in strategy to another level of confrontation with Russia, we need to know what we’re getting into.
Meanwhile, for a snapshot of the type of pig’s breakfast the Neocons are bringing about in Europe, consider the Finland/Sweden gambit to join NATO:
peter pobjecky - #FreeAssange @peterpobjecky💢#Sweden to Bypass Referendum on #NATO - Citizens will not be given a choice #Stockholm will not hold a public vote on joining the military alliance, if parliament approves the measure. #Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson said it would be a "bad idea" to have a referendum. https://t.co/9GxwVtKG7Q
What could go wrong by taking a risky move like this, while rejecting giving the citizens a voice in it as “a bad idea”? Country after country in Europe is being subjected to extreme economic, political, and geopolitical pressures by Neocon strategery.