Ukraine: Escalation is Inevitable
by Emmet Sweeney (August 2022)
The Great Reset, Buleu Pompiliu, 2021
When a war begins, if one side or both has no interest in a negotiated settlement, then escalation is inevitable. This is the case with the current conflict in Ukraine where, right from the beginning, the Ukrainian side (and its Western backers) has shown no interest in a peaceful resolution. If things continue on this trajectory, then a wider and much more devastating war will most certainly be the result.
I lived in Ukraine for almost a year, between August 2017 and June 2018, and, while I do not claim any special knowledge of the country, I did learn a few things which surprised me. I learned, for example, that virtually all of the country speaks Russian—this in contrast to Western media misinformation which habitually portrays Russian-speakers as a small minority. I learned too that the country is almost evenly divided between those friendly toward Russia and hostile toward Russia. Those in the north and west of the country, while speaking Russian or the Russian-Ukrainian dialect Surzhyk, do not consider themselves Russian and are generally hostile toward Russia; those in the south and east, while describing themselves as Ukrainians, also see themselves as Russian. Their attitude is somewhat analogous to North Irish Protestants who, whilst describing themselves as Irish, also see themselves as British. This being the case, it became clear to me that the Maidan revolution of 2014, which overthrew the mildly pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych, could have no other result than setting the two halves of the country on a collision course. In short, the Obama administration, in helping to topple Yanukovych’s government, knowingly and deliberately fomented inter-communal conflict. This being the case, an unbiased observation of the facts, readily available to everyone with access to the internet, leads to several straightforward conclusions.
First and foremost, every government in Kiev since the Maidan revolution of 2014 has been defined by its hostility toward Russia and all things Russian. As such, and inasmuch as Maidan overthrew a democratically elected government, then it is reasonable to conclude that the current war began in 2014. This is all the more clear when we realize that roughly 14,000 people—mainly Russian-speakers and mainly civilians—were killed in the aftermath of the Maidan coup. The current phase of fighting began two days before the Russians launched their Special Military Operation, when Kiev launched an intensified artillery bombardment of the breakaway territories of the Donbas, which Moscow recognized as independent just two days earlier.
Secondly, the initial phase of the Special Military Operation did not by any means constitute an all-out war against Ukraine. On the contrary, it was as much a political/propaganda statement as anything else, apparently intended to shock the Ukrainians into coming to the negotiating table. This is made very clear from the fact that the Russians went out of their way to avoid civilian and even Ukrainian military casualties. Soldiers were not attacked; military hardware and installations were the main target. In making a somewhat mad dash towards Kiev, which the Russian forces almost completely surrounded within a few days, Putin evidently hoped to demonstrate to the Ukrainian regime what Russia was capable of, and thereby persuade Zelensky’s government to begin serious and meaningful talks. And there were signs, to begin with, that some elements within the Kiev political establishment were willing to consider this option. But, rather than go down that road, proponents of negotiation were labeled traitors and executed, or simply murdered. Several prominent Ukrainian politicians suffered this fate in the first few weeks of the campaign. By mid-April it was clear to Moscow that the soft approach was not working. A series of meetings, described as “negotiations” by the media, did take place, but the fact that the Ukrainian delegations habitually arrived late, and dressed in t-shirts and jeans, made it perfectly clear that they had no serious intent. Indeed, their attitude can be seen as a calculated insult to the Russians.
Thirdly, the new phase of Russia’s Special Military Operation, which focused on destroying the Ukrainian forces in the Donas, represented a major escalation of the conflict. Russian forces, overstretched and in many cases isolated, suffered significant casualties during the first “shock and awe” propaganda phase of the campaign. While the Russians at that time made little effort to kill Ukrainian troops, the Ukrainians by contrast made great efforts to kill as many Russians as possible. This evidently caused considerable anger within the Russian political and military establishment, and by late April the kid gloves, so to speak, were off. Ukrainian troop positions within the Donbas were now subjected to intense artillery and missile bombardment, leading ultimately to colossal Ukrainian casualties. It is possible that Kiev has been losing anything between 300 and 500 men per day since late April. By now many thousands have been killed. And still there is not the slightest hint that the Ukrainians are willing to negotiate. It would appear that Zelensky and his government are perfectly happy to fight to the last Ukrainian. (He of course can always retreat to his beach-side mansion in Miami or one of his palatial residences in Israel). But why is there no appetite for negotiation within his government?
The answer to that lies across the Atlantic Ocean, in Washington DC.
Zelensky was elected in 2019 on a promise of making peace with Russia. At that time, the President of the US was a man who had repeatedly called for better relations with Moscow and had advocated working with his Russian counterparts on several issues of concern to America and the West in general. His efforts in this regard were stymied by continual and unrelenting attacks from the Democratic Party, which accused him of being a Russian stooge and of having been elected in the first place through “Russian interference” in the 2016 election. By 2020 Donald Trump was out of office and one his fiercest critics, Joe Biden, ensconced in the Oval Office. Biden, like the rest of the Democratic Party elite, had been consistently and almost pathologically anti-Russian for much of his political career, and his election signalled a return to an openly hostile attitude towards Moscow. Meanwhile Zelensky, who had made little or no effort to fulfil his promise of normalizing relations with Russia in the previous few months, immediately took his cue from Washington and resumed the antagonistic stance of his predecessor Poroshenko. Indeed, he went even further; accelerating the expansion of Ukraine’s army in the Donbas and importing massive amounts of offensive weaponry. Not once did he make any attempt that we know of to implement the conditions of the Minsk Accord, which would have provided for the recognition of Lugansk and Donetsk (the two provinces of the Donbas) as semi-autonomous regions and would have ended the sporadic artillery bombardments against those territories which had been ongoing since 2014. Observing these developments, the Russians made repeated efforts throughout 2021 to have the West, and the American administration in particular, listen to their concerns. Such calls fell on deaf ears, as Biden, echoing the incessant demonisation of Putin in the Western media, described the latter as a “murderer” and a “thug.” Meanwhile, the arming and supplying of Ukraine continued unabated, as did the calls for admission of Ukraine into NATO—the very step described as Russia’s “Red Line” by Putin in 2008.
It was against this background that Russia began major military exercises near the Ukrainian borders in late 2021. In hindsight, this would appear to have been Putin’s last attempt to have the West listen. If such was the case, it proved utterly futile. Far from backing off, the Russophobic rhetoric in the Western media went into overdrive, as did the calls for the accession of Ukraine into NATO and the EU. Meanwhile, the bombardment of ethnic Russians in the Donbas resumed, as Zelensky apparently believed that the anti-Russian bombast of Western media and politicians would be backed by armed support if things came to a head. And this may explain very much of what has been happening: The Ukrainian leadership, convinced that the West “had its back,” went out of its way to provoke Moscow. Not only did the bombardment of Donbas intensify in late January and early February, but Zelensky now proclaimed his wish to make Ukraine a nuclear armed power, as well as to gain NATO membership at the first opportunity.
It is impossible to believe that Western governments and intelligence agencies did not understand that such actions were guaranteed to produce a military response from Russia. But if such be the case, it means that the West, and Washington in particular, actually wanted the Russians to attack. That they knew Russia was going to attack is beyond question, for they warned about it repeatedly in the weeks beforehand. (Curiously enough, Zelensky himself seems not to have believed them). But all of this begs the question: Why would the West apparently want such a war?
The traditional Left answer to such a question would be: It serves the interests of the “military-industrial complex,” and there is no question that arms manufacturers have been running a handsome profit at the American taxpayers’ expense since hostilities commenced. However, such an answer is inadequate. The Biden administration, as well as its allies in Europe, must have known that war with Russia in Ukraine would have potentially devastating economic consequences for the West—and most particularly for America’s European partners. I need not go through the list of commodities and raw materials which Europe imports from Russia and on which Europe depends. Natural gas from Russia, alone and by itself, is crucial for the survival of much of the European economy. That the West, and Europe in particular, not only sided with and armed Ukraine, but went so far as to launch an economic war against Russia, could only have been prompted by a positively suicidal impulse on the part of those in control. And this is all the more true when we consider that the economies of Europe and North America were already reeling from two years of enforced lockdowns and the impact of colossal money-printing to finance them. Thus, with America and Europe facing hyper-inflation and economic meltdown, the latter two regions deliberately make things worse by provoking a war with Russia and then waging an economic war on that country which could only backfire on the Europeans and Americans. Just what exactly is going on here? Do the powers-that-be actually want an economic collapse in Europe and America?
I would suggest that they do.
In order to understand the reason for this, we need to consider events of the past two-and-a-half years. In March 2020 Western governments, propelled by an unprecedented media campaign of scaremongering, locked their countries and economies down. I need not go into the details of all that happened at that time; suffice to say that the lockdowns were demanded by a relatively tiny elite of billionaires and trillionaires who, though their investment corporations of Blackrock and Vanguard, and a few others, own virtually all of the media, as well as the banks, pharmaceutical companies, arms industries, oil industry, etc. Their control of the media gave them control of the narrative, whilst their vast wealth has permitted them to corrupt and gain de facto control of important international NGOs such as the WHO and much of the UN. The purpose of these economically ruinous and wholly unnecessary lockdowns was specifically to wreck the Western and ideally the world economy. This was essentially a controlled crash. But why did they want to do this? In order to understand that, we need to cast our minds back to the last economic crisis, of 2008.
In 2008 years of greed, dishonesty and criminality on the part of the corporate globalist elite produced its inevitable result. Major banks began to fail and the stock market crashed in a way not seen since the Great Crash of 1929. However, rather than let economic reality assert itself and run its course, governments across the West declared that the banks were “too big to fail” and commenced bailing them out with billions and ultimately trillions of dollars and euros. This of course was money the governments of America and Europe did not have, so they began printing it. “Quantitative Easing” is the preferred euphemism. It was pointed out at the time, by more than one respected economist, that this was the worst solution possible—equivalent more or less to putting a plaster on a cancer. Money-printing, they said, was only a delaying tactic—one that would make the day of reckoning, when it finally did come, so much more traumatic. And by early 2019 it began to look like that day of reckoning had arrived. Trump’s two half-hearted attempts to end money-printing and raise interest rates even by a tiny percentage immediately produced chaos in the stock market, and it was clear that healthy interest rates could never again be established without utterly demolishing the entire financial systems of Europe and America.
The events of 2008 terrified the plutocrats (or oligarchs, or Davos set, call them what you will). Populism, both of the right and the left, was on the rise, and revolution was in the air. Banks and the corporate world in general were being openly blamed for the fiasco, and there was genuine fury on the part of working people—who had lost livelihoods and homes by the million—when they saw banks and bankers being rewarded rather than punished for their criminality. This was exacerbated by the knowledge that the bill for the newly-printed billions which bailed out the “fat cats” would ultimately be picked up by the taxpayer. The question for the plutocrats was: How to avoid taking the blame for the next and much worse crash which money-printing made inevitable? The answer they arrived at, apparently, was: blame a virus.
That, in essence, was the raison d’etre for the media-created “COVID crisis” and attendant economically suicidal lockdowns.
But a problem arose. By some miracle, the complete economic meltdown had not fully materialized by the end of 2021, and the COVID-scare showed every sign of having run out of steam. Sure, there was already massive and accelerating inflation, yet still, there was food in the shops and people were not yet reduced to bread-lines or rationing. A new scapegoat was needed, and the job of economic demolition completed. How about a war with a nuclear-armed power, say, Russia?
And that’s precisely where we find ourselves today. The proxy war against Russia will continue because “the West,” or rather the oligarchs who control the West, want it to continue. It will continue until the economies of the West go down in flames—because that is its very purpose. If the war damages Russia’s economy too, so much the better; but that is not really the point. The point is, when Europeans and Americans begin to die of cold and hunger either this winter or next, the Davos set can always say, “It’s Russia’s fault.” Meanwhile the commodities, gold, and real-estate which they purchased using the trillions of newly-printed money which the American government so generously gave them, will cushion them from any ill-effects of the collapse. On the contrary, they can then buy up everything for a song. And that is their “Great Reset.”
Emmet Sweeney is the author of several books dealing with questions in the history of the ancient Near East.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast