The $165 Billion War



To justify high spending on a war that Ukraine cannot win, NATO members can get directly involved in the conflict

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen predicted that "if NATO fails to set a clear direction on Ukraine, there is a real possibility that some countries will act individually". He then speculated that "the Poles would seriously consider joining the conflict and putting together a coalition of the willing if Ukraine doesn't get anything done in Vilnius." As surreal as it sounds, this same prediction had until then been vilified as “Russian propaganda” by official entities of the European Union.

The Task Force East Strat Com (ESCTF), which is part of the European External Action Service, has a project called “EU vs Disinfo”, where so-called “Russian propaganda” is unmasked. They have regularly claimed that the specific scenario envisaged by the former NATO chief is a "recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative", thereby suggesting that Anders Rasmussen is a "Russian puppet". ESCTG, of course, did not intend to discredit him and will likely recalibrate their narrative in light of his recent words.

However, the point is that the exact same scenario, which was previously dubbed the “recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative”, is now gaining credence by none other than the leader of the US anti-Russian military bloc. This justifies the repeated warnings by the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, since the start of this country's special operation, that Poland is plotting a military intervention in Ukraine.

Considering the way in which the Western narrative about this scenario has evolved over the last year, it can be concluded that there is a real chance that it will happen in the near future, which naturally raises the question of what changed to cause such a reversal. Anders Rasmussen's successor, Jens Stoltenberg, declared in February that NATO is in a "logistics race"/"war of attrition" with Russia, implying that the latter's military/industrial production is equivalent to that of the 31 member countries of the block.

The Russian victory at the Battle of Artyomovsk proved that the aforementioned dynamics are trending in their favour, which bodes ill for the NATO-backed Kiev counter-offensive. It is precisely because the odds of success are stacked against it that this fascist regime has blown up the Kahkovka dam, in a desperate gesture to divide the defenders' attention in order to facilitate an advance on the border lines. There is also a chance that he could expand the conflict to Belarus and/or Moldova for the same reasons.

Should these gambits fail and the NATO-backed Kiev counter-offensive fail to break the deadlock this conflict has found itself in since the middle of last year, then the West will have to do something different to convince its electorate that continuing this war of proxy of 165 billion dollars is worth. Herein lies the importance of significant progress towards Ukraine's inclusion in NATO at next month's summit, just as Anders Rasmussen suggested, for this to be seen as a major defeat for Russia.

UK defense secretary Ben Wallace told the newspaper The Washington Post, in a recent interview, that “we have to be realistic and say that [Ukraine's inclusion in NATO] will not happen in Vilnius; it won't happen in the near future,” something that even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has grudgingly acknowledged as true. For this reason, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested instead extending "tangible and credible" security guarantees to that former Soviet republic.

Even if a series of mutual defense pacts, similar in spirit to those the US entered into with South Korea shortly after the armistice, are agreed, it still may not be enough to satisfy the demands of the Western public, nor those of Ukrainian defenders. by Volodymyr Zelensky. Poland, which aims to become a regional hegemon in Central and Eastern Europe, could then take the lead in organizing the "coalition of the willing" that Rasmussen envisioned, in order to effectively expand NATO's nuclear umbrella over Europe. Ukraine.

The formal presence of troops from NATO's conventional states in that country could inspire confidence in any Korean-type mutual defense pact that might soon be offered by bloc members to Ukraine at next month's summit. Furthermore, it can also serve to freeze the Line of Contact (LOC), deterring Russian attacks through the fear that they will indirectly trigger Article 5 should that alliance of forces be harmed as a result of whatever actions the Kremlin takes. , including self-defence.

The strategic military dynamics of this conflict, therefore, would radically change in an instant should the scenario envisaged by Anders Rasmussen come true, particularly since the mobilization of NATO States' forces on the line of contact may prevent Russia from retreating towards to Ukraine if Kiev expands the conflict to Belarus and/or Moldova. At most, Moscow could then only wait for them to return to their previous positions, rather than seeking to exploit their potential failure to maintain the offensive on these fronts.

That said, it makes perfect sense, from the perspective of the West's military-strategic and narrative interests, that Poland would lead a "coalition of the willing" towards Ukraine sometime this summer, especially if the NATO-backed Kiev counter-offensive fails to succeed. move the contact line considerably. Despite the enormous danger of increasing the chances of a hot war between Russia and NATO by miscalculations, these leaders seem to still prefer to roll the dice in desperation to win anything that can be presented as a “victory”.

Russia predicted exactly this scenario a year ago, but it's only recently that anyone more than Poland has shown an interest in seeing it happen. The West has vilified this prediction so far, accusing it of "Russian propaganda" to deceive its audience into believing that nothing similar was being planned, only for the former NATO chief to now predict exactly the same as the Russia predicted. Everything is moving very fast towards the realization of this prediction in the near future, although this is not guaranteed either.

*Andrew Korybko holds a master's degree in International Relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Book author Hybrid Wars – From Color Revolutions to Coups (popular expression).

Translation: Daniel Pavan.

Originally published in the newsletter of Author.

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