Russia has accused Ukraine of using drones to attack two air bases hundreds of miles inside Russia and an oil depot near the Ukrainian border. One of the air bases reportedly houses Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers. While Ukraine has not publicly taken responsibility, a senior Ukrainian official told The New York Times the drones were launched from inside Ukrainian territory with help from Ukrainian special forces on the ground near at least one of the Russian bases. Russia responded to the drone strikes by firing a barrage of missiles across Ukraine. This comes as millions of Ukrainians are bracing for a winter without heat or electricity due to Russian strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of becoming directly involved in the war by arming and training Ukrainian soldiers.
I think both sides see that there is no military way out. I’m speaking of NATO and Ukraine on one side and Russia on the other side. This war, like von Clausewitz told us two centuries ago, is politics by other means, or with other means, meaning that there are political issues at stake here, and those are what need to be negotiated.
What President Macron said is absolutely correct, that President Putin wants political outcomes that, in my view, absolutely can be met at the negotiating table. Just to quote what Macron said in another interview, he said, “One of the essential points we must address” — meaning we, the West — “as President Putin has always said, is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment
There are many ways for a state to project power and weaken adversaries, but proxy wars are one of the most cynical. Proxy wars devour the countries they purport to defend. They entice nations or insurgents to fight for geopolitical goals that are ultimately not in their interest. The war in Ukraine has little to do with Ukrainian freedom and a lot to do with degrading the Russian military and weakening Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. And when Ukraine looks headed for defeat, or the war reaches a stalemate, Ukraine will be sacrificed like many other states, in what one of the founding members of the CIA, Miles Copeland Jr., referred to as the “Game of Nations” and “the amorality of power politics.”
I covered proxy wars in my two decades as a foreign correspondent, including in Central America where the U.S. armed the military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and Contra insurgents attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. I reported on the insurgency in the Punjab, a proxy war fomented by Pakistan. I covered the Kurds in northern Iraq, backed and then betrayed more than once by Iran and Washington. During my time in the Middle East, Iraq provided weapons and support to the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to destabilize Iran. Belgrade, when I was in the former Yugoslavia, thought by arming Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, it could absorb Bosnia and parts of Croatia into a greater Serbia.
Proxy wars are notoriously hard to control, especially when the aspirations of those doing the fighting and those sending the weapons diverge. They also have a bad habit of
As Russian tanks rolled across the border, some of our fellow progressives called it a justified attack in response to a threat from Western military imperialists.
The year was 1939.
That year, some on the Left, a minority for sure, bent themselves into moral pretzels to justify the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Russian-German murder-drenched conquest of Poland.
As a New York Tribune columnist, the abolitionist Karl Marx, wrote before the US Civil War, when some Britons supported the slavers: “History speaks twice; the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”
Indeed, there is a nauseating, horrifying humor watching one-time fighters against injustice, self-proclaimed “anti-war” activists, dancing cheek to cheek with Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ted Cruz, Tucker Carlson and fascist pin-up Silvio Berlusconi sharing their love, or at least, their sad excuse-making, for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
At its core, these strange bedfellows’ sympathy for the Russian invasion rests, ultimately, on the canard that it was NATO’s expansion that provoked Putin to attack.
“Why don’t you ever criticize RUSSIA’S warmongering?” is a question I am often asked with great indignation. People cannot comprehend why I would spend all my time criticizing the warmongering of the power structure I live under without spending any time criticizing the government they’re used to hearing criticisms of.
It’s a question born of delusion and propaganda brainwashing, and it has several good answers. Here are some of my favorites.
“Why don’t you ever criticize RUSSIA’S warmongering?”
First of all, I actually do sometimes criticize Russia’s warmongering, to the limited extent that I believe it’s necessary in a civilization that’s being deliberately saturated in maximum-amplification criticisms of Russia’s warmongering. That criticism generally goes something like this: Putin is responsible for Putin’s decisions, and the US empire is responsible for the US empire’s decisions. Putin is responsible for deciding to invade Ukraine, and the US empire is responsible for provoking that invasion.
It’s not actually complicated. If I provoke someone into doing a bad thing, then we each have a degree of moral responsibility for the bad thing that was done. So much modern empire apologia revolves around pretending that provocation is simply not a thing; that this very simple and fundamental concept we all learned about as children was just
Jacob David George – I Don’t Care
(Live in Fayetteville)
Our mission is to make Jacob’s story and message available to the world through his music and writing, and to get his music into the hands of veterans at no cost. http://www.jacobdavidgeorge.org/cause
Empires in terminal decline leap from one military fiasco to the next. The war in Ukraine, another bungled attempt to reassert U.S. global hegemony, fits this pattern. The danger is that the more dire things look, the more the U.S. will escalate the conflict, potentially provoking open confrontation with Russia. If Russia carries out retaliatory attacks on supply and training bases in neighboring NATO countries, or uses tactical nuclear weapons, NATO will almost certainly respond by attacking Russian forces. We will have ignited World War III, which could result in a nuclear holocaust.
U.S. military support for Ukraine began with the basics — ammunition and assault weapons. The Biden administration, however, soon crossed several self-imposed red lines to provide a tidal wave of lethal war machinery: Stinger anti-aircraft systems; Javelin anti-armor systems; M777 towed Howitzers; 122mm GRAD rockets; M142 multiple rocket launchers, or HIMARS; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles; Patriot air defense batteries; National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS); M113 Armored