The long war

Image: Ales Uscinau


Ukraine's commander in chief made one last appeal for American help

The dysfunction of the US Congress last month, coupled with the war between Israel and Hamas that erupted at the same time, created the perfect storm from Ukraine's perspective, as it resulted in the abrupt cutoff of aid, in parallel with the redefinition of priorities of its main sponsor in relation to the self-proclaimed Jewish State. “The magazine Time shared some 'politically inconvenient' truths about Ukraine” in its cover article on Volodymyr Zelensky, citing his closest aides and unnamed senior advisors, which the The Economist, just confirmed.

They interviewed Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny and published a three-part series consisting of a report on this conversation (cf. here), his nine-page article on “Modern War of Position and How to Win It” (cf. here) and the executive summary he wrote (cf. here). Together, they represent this high-ranking military officer's last plea for American help, without which his side will be forced to come to terms with Russia through a ceasefire or, at least, an informal freeze on the conflict; or you will risk mutiny if you continue fighting.

However, this last scenario is not as unlikely as Kiev's most ardent supporters might instinctively claim, as the magazine's two articles Time and that of The Economist, suggest this in a frightening way. The first informed its readers that some troops have begun to refuse orders to advance even when they come from the presidential office, something they consider suicidal without the mobilization of more weapons and men, while the second was strongly guided by Zaluzhny in the first of his three articles mentioned, as follows:

“'The biggest risk of a trench war of attrition is that it could drag on for years and wear down the Ukrainian state,' says [Zaluzhny]. In World War I, mutinies intervened before technology could make a difference. Four empires collapsed and a revolution broke out in Russia. A collapse in Ukrainian morale and Western support is exactly what Putin is counting on. There is no doubt in General Zaluzhny's mind that a long war favors Russia, a country with a population three times the size and an economy ten times that of Ukraine.”

Reading between the lines, Volodymyr Zelensky – who anonymous sources from the magazine's entourage Time warned that “he deludes himself” with a belief in Kiev’s victory that has begun to “border on messianism” – you can very well bet that it is better to risk mutiny than to freeze the conflict. In other words, he will continue fighting even if American aid never returns to its previous pace, scale and scope and remains “just the means of surviving” the conflict and not “the means of winning the war,” as the sources described.

Zaluzhny was alluding to this worst-case scenario when warning about how a prolonged conflict could “wear down the state,” but he preferred to appeal more to the arrogant belief of some American policymakers that they could still defeat Russia in its last-ditch attempt to restore the same level of help. That's why in his interview, in the article he wrote, and in his executive summary of said article, he focused more on the specific types of weapons he needs and how he plans to use them.

Until then, speculate about an imminent mutiny or military coup before the magazine articles Time and The Economist It was a matter of the kingdom of Alternative Media Community, which the Traditional Media discredits as “Russian propaganda”. After these two articles, however, ordinary Westerners and their policymakers can now discuss these scenarios without fear of being vilified. This represents one of the most significant narrative changes since the beginning of the conflict and therefore must be monitored closely.

*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: Fernando Lima das Neves.

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