Above Photo: Russia Ukraine War by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Flickr.
Revisiting my January 2022 Article ’10 Reasons Why the US May Want Russia to Invade Ukraine’
It has been roughly a year since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. A month before that invasion, in January 2022, this writer published an article ’10 Reasons Why the US May Want Russia to Invade Ukraine.’
In that prior article it was argued the US had much to gain economically and geopolitically by provoking Russia to invade. That January 2022 article went on to describe in detail at least 10 reasons why and how the US would benefit economically and politically from a Russian invasion and a subsequent protracted War in Ukraine.
The article then traced US policy toward Ukraine from the US financed coup d’etat of winter 2013-2014, through the US-EU tactical and temporary ‘Minsk’ truce of 2015-2016 during which the US and its NATO allies ‘bought time’ (as later revealed publicly by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French president, Holland). It then described the events of 2021 as the US Biden regime quickly left Afghanistan that August and escalated its joint efforts with the Zelensky Ukrainian government to taunt, lure and provoke Russia to invade on February 24, 2022.
In this follow on article, the ‘10 Reasons’ are revisited and assessed to what extent the US and its allies have in fact benefitted—economically and strategically—from the invasion and war one year later today at end of February 2023.
1. Reunite NATO and Strengthen US Hegemony Over It Once Again
At the top of the US objectives list from a Russian invasion was the restoration of US hegemony over NATO once again, and the re-unification of Europe/NATO behind the US geopolitical goal of launching a counter-offensive against Russia to drive it out of the European economic region. This objective involving NATO was largely attained by the US in 2022 as a result of the Russian invasion.
Prior to the Biden regime re-assuming control of US geopolitical foreign policy in January 2021, US influence within NATO was weakening noticeably: France and to a less extent Germany were becoming increasingly discontent with US policy toward NATO. There was talk of the two countries charting a more independent course. The US Trump regime, 2016-2020, had criticized and even denigrated NATO’s performance and role while demanding European members sharply increase their financial contributions to fund NATO.
More recent NATO members in east Europe—especially the Baltics and Poland—were raising demands for more US military arms and troop presence in their countries that went largely unheeded by the Trump regime. Joint press conferences between Trump and Russian president, Putin, in Helsinki raised their further fears about US commitments to the region.
US Democrat regime plans in 2016, formulated and distributed internally within the US government, explicitly recommended first weakening and then destabilizing the Russian regime prior to any subsequent US direct confrontation with the ‘greater opponent’ and challenger to US global hegemony, China. These plans were shelved, however, when Trump assumed office in January 2017. The plans were subsequently ‘dusted off’ and resurrected quickly in spring of 2021 by the restored Democrat party regime under Biden. (The subsequent events in 2021 leading up to the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022 were addressed in the prequel to this article, to which the reader is referred).
What transpired in 2022 after the February 24 Russian invasion can only be understood as a set of major geopolitical gains by US interests—especially when viewed by US neocons whose policies since 1999 to expand NATO east were adopted by the US—often despite the warnings of the older US foreign policy establishment that would lead to a dangerous and potential nuclear confrontation with Russia.
A new neocon-leaning faction largely assumed control of US NATO policy in 1998-99. By 2020 NATO had expanded throughout eastern Europe. The additions to NATO provided an opportunity for the US to forge a new majority on which to restore its hegemony. Both France and Germany, former dominant voices within NATO in Europe, in the expanded NATO by 2021 were relegated to ‘tail ending’ the US-Poland-Baltics more radical policy initiatives toward Ukraine—with Czech, Slovakia and Romania almost always in agreement as well. By 2021 the only NATO members insisting on a degree of independence from US dictated initiatives were Hungary and Turkey.
The Russian invasion has enabled the US to push NATO even further toward encirclement of Russia, this time in Europe’s ‘North’ periphery not just toward the ‘East’. In 2022 US diplomatic efforts intensified to convince both Sweden and Finland to join NATO and abandon their prior ‘neutrality’ positions. Both countries thereafter quickly announced their intent to join NATO and their merger into is underway. Current opposition of Turkey to their NATO membership is likely tactical and temporary.
Less likely, but underway behind the scenes, is the US-East Europe joint effort to bring Moldova into NATO as well. Moldova’s proximity to Ukraine makes it more difficult to do so. But diplomatic efforts in 2022 there are underway nonetheless. The Moldovan ruling regime has publicly expressed interest joining NATO. That has resulted in an eruption of public protests and demonstrations as most Moldovans see little advantage in taking sides in the intensifying NATO-Russia war so close to their borders. (It is not coincidental perhaps that the US has deployed one of its elite military divisions, the 82nd airborne, on the Romanian-Moldovan border. Should military events intensify sharply in 2023 and approach the Ukraine-Moldovan border it is likely the 82nd will intervene in Moldova to drive Russian forces still in the Transnistra region out of that country then fast-tracking Moldova’s merger into NATO. A popular uprising now underway in that country aimed at replacing the current pro-NATO Moldovan government may also serve as pretext to precipitate such a development as well.
In short, the US has firmly restored its hegemony over NATO and has unified NATO behind its objective to militarily support Ukraine with arms and advisors in a protracted proxy war. In ways unforeseen a year ago, the invasion has also furthered US geopolitical objectives by adding two more NATO members soon (Sweden and Finland); and, perhaps in the distant future, also adding Moldova to NATO ranks.
2. Get Germany to Cancel the Nordstream2 Russian Gas Pipeline; Get Europe to buy US gas instead: increase US natural gas exports to Europe and thereby create supply shortage in US to justify US domestic gas price hikes as well.
Early in 2022 it appeared Germany was a reluctant partner in the US Ukraine proxy war. It stalled providing military equipment and financial assistance. As the prince of investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, recently revealed, the Biden administration had plans on its desk in 2021 even before the invasion to destroy the two Nordstream gas pipelines from Russia to Germany should Germany balk and continue to allow the flow of Russian natural gas. The Biden plans to destroy the Norstream pipelines were implemented in September, with the assistance of Norway’s military, according to Hersh. To this day Hersh’s expose has not even been addressed or discussed in the US elite’s leading news outlets, the NY Times and Washington Post.
Early in 2022 the US pushed Germany to build new LNG natural gas ports to accept US LNG shipped natural gas. The ports were built in record time with US financial assistance and US LNG began to flow in large quantities to Germany by year end 2022. It appears the US planned the sabotage once the LNG port terminals in Germany started to come on line.
The USA has a glut of natural gas and oil. US oil corporations have thus benefited greatly by shipping the excess gas to Europe in 2022, which they then sold to Europe at prices 2X and even 3X higher than the prior Russian natural gas. Similarly the US shipped more oil and processed oil (distillate, diesel, etc.) products to Europe in 2022 as well.
The higher priced US oil and gas has resulted in super profits for the US corporations involved in providing gas and oil to Europe, as Russia has been driven out of the European market in northern Europe by US sanctions. US oil corporate profits in turn have been increased to record levels by creating relative shortages in the US market as more US gas and oil has been shipped to Europe.
Big US oil corporations like Exxon and Chevron each reaped record profits in 2022 from the higher prices in 2022 sold both in US and Europe. Each recorded record profits of more than $50 billion in 2022. Record stock buybacks of $30-$70B by the companies have been announced in turn, enriching oil corporations’ shareholders at record levels as well. Other major oil corporations in Europe have followed their US cousins, recording record profits in the range of $25-$35 billion as enjoyed by European oil companies like France’s Total Energy and Netherlands’ Shell.
The US has been judicious in imposing the pace of sanctions on Russian oil and gas so as not to expose Europe to too great a shock until US gas and oil could backfill the vacuum created by the exit of Russian oil and gas. It wasn’t until February 5, 2023, for example, that sanctions on importing of Russian distilled oil were implemented. Ship based Russian oil continued to export to Europe until late in 2022. And some Russian natural gas still flows for now via its LNG shipments and Russian pipelines in southern Europe that send natural gas via Turkey and even Ukraine to Hungary, Italy and other EU countries. But the remaining flow is being steadily cut off by US sanctions. In 2023 all Russian energy exports to Europe will no doubt disappear.
But the sanctions on Russian energy products exported to the West have not reduced Russian energy exports globally, nor its revenues from global energy sales. If the idea of sanctions is to deny Russia oil and gas export revenue (with which to finance the war) then the US sanctions have clearly failed.
The volume of Russian crude oil exports in 2022 were roughly the same as in 2021 at around 10.2 billion barrels, according to the western source tradingeconomics.com).
Nor has the value of Russian fossil fuel exports been reduced by the sanctions. The reduction of the dollar value of Russian fossil fuel exports to Europe, according to the source, Statista, as of February 2023 was roughly -$84.1 billion. But Russian export revenue rose by +$110.3 billion for just the three countries: China, India and Turkey. Russia in other words more than offset the decline in shipments and revenues to Europe by selling more to these three and boosting revenue from sales even as it discounted its sales reportedly by 20-33%.
No doubt similar shipments and revenues were realized for other ‘rest of world’ economies as well. And there’s evidence that countries like Turkey, which bought much greater volume of Russian oil in 2022, have been reselling it to Europe—at a higher price of course. Turkey is also in negotiations to buy a much larger volume of Russian natural gas from the pipeline that already flows through its country from Russia to Europe. India is likely playing the same ‘re-selling and exporting’ Russian oil at higher prices than it purchased from Russia at heavily discounted prices.
While the reduction of oil and gas exports from Russia to Europe has not impacted the Russian economy much, it has severely impacted Europe’s economy and to some extent the US as well. The war and sanctions have reduced the supply to Europe (and thus raised the price in that market). Global oil markets broker-speculators have also played a role in rising global energy prices. In expectation of possible supply chain issues due to the sanctions and war, speculators have raised the price of oil futures market prices. These higher prices get passed on to businesses and consumers, whether or not actual supply issues even materialize. Oil companies use the price hikes as excuse to mark up and pass on and raise their prices even further.
The rising value of the US dollar over 2022 has also played a role in oil and gas inflation, especially in Europe and Japan. As the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, has raised interest rates rapidly in 2022, that rise has caused a corresponding rise in the value of the US dollar. Since virtually all trading in global oil markets is in dollars (a consequence of the US dollar as the imperial trading and reserve currency), the rising dollar results in a decline in other countries’ currencies. That especially occurred with the European Euro and British Pound, both of which at one point in 2022 fell by 20%. A declining currency in turn means rising import inflation for imported oil and gas for Europe and Japan—and that is over and above price pressures due to supply chains, shortages, or oil futures markets speculators.
The US, Russia and Saudi Arabia are the ‘big 3’ global oil producers, each pumping 10-12 billion barrels of oil a year. The US is the largest producer at more than 12 billion. It has a glut. So getting to ship its excess to Europe—at a price 2X-3X higher than Russia’s oil—results in big profits for US oil corporations and shareholders’ income, as previously noted.
To sum up: The US didn’t have to get Germany to cancel Nordstream2 as predicted in my January 2022 ’10 Reasons’ article. The US ‘canceled’ it for good by blowing Nordstream up. The US objective of driving Russia out of Europe energy markets has now been largely achieved. As result of the US Ukraine proxy war, Germany has therefore become dependent on US oil and natural gas as never before. There’s no longer any debate in Germany on whether to activate Nordstream2 or continue Nordstream1. The ‘matter’ has been decided for it by the Biden administration by its September 2022 sabotage of the pipelines. (It’s not surprising that German resistance to go ‘all in’ providing military hardware to Ukraine collapsed as well soon after the Nordstreams destruction.)
3. Create Excuse to Send Still More Troops & Advanced Weaponry to East Europe
The 3 Baltic countries and Poland have been demanding for years that the US to provide them with latest generation US military arms and station more US military forces in their countries permanently. Poland has also been demanding the US station tactical nuclear weapons on its border with Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Belarus. So too has Lithuania. Both Poland and Lithuania at one point in 2022 called for the blockade of Russian access to its Kaliningrad region. Fortunately cooler heads in NATO prevailed to prevent what would have been a de factor act of war by Poland-Lithuania against Russia.
The US has been somewhat cautious in providing its advanced weaponry to Poland and the Baltics before the Russian invasion. But apparently no longer. The Ukraine war has meant an increase in both arms and US troops. US units are poised on the border under the guise of ‘trainers and advisers’. Some are even active in western Ukraine.
The US had a constraint in providing latest weaponry to its east European NATO allies before the war. But the war has resulted in East Europe dumping its old Soviet Union weapons and ammunition on Ukraine. That supply is now virtually spent. That leaves Poland and others in stronger position to backfill with latest US arms and the US is in the process of doing so. It is even in discussions with Poland to place US tactical nuclear missiles in Poland.
Thus, this original US objective has been enabled by the Ukraine war, without which it would not have been possible to the extent it has been, and will continue to be. Much of US media attention is on US weapons flowing to Ukraine. Almost silent, however, are the deals, assurances and credits being extended to Poland, Baltics, and other East Europe NATO allies for the US to provide it with latest generation US arms.
4. Obtain More Economic Concessions from Ukraine for US Business in Exchange for US Financial and Military Aid
The US has been providing at minimum $4B/mo. in economic aid to Ukraine. (Total US aid, military and economic in 2022: $111B). The IMF, asked by the US, has been providing additional financial aid to its central bank to support Ukraine’s collapsing currency. It is naïve to think that this magnitude of US aid to Ukraine is given as a ‘blank check’ with no strings attached. Those strings no doubt require Ukraine give special consideration to US companies involved in trade (export and import) and financial relations.
Much of that aid provided almost certainly came with the understanding that Ukraine would spend it on imports from the US. There are more than a hundred US companies (likely much more) that have set up offices in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkhiv, Odessa and even other smaller regional cities. Major US companies like Google, Lyft, SNAP, Oracle, Nvidia and others have offices. They are involved in export-import, direct and joint investment projects, R&D subcontracting, mineral and ore extraction and agriculture.
In early February 2023 Biden personally visited Ukraine. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen quietly followed before the month’s end. She did not go just to sign checks for Ukraine and a photo op. Details of Ukraine-US economic relations were no doubt discussed.
Ukraine is big business for US capitalists. Cheap labor, often skilled. Low cost agriculture, machine parts, metal ores, banking, and heavy industry. US deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, set up the penetration of Ukraine’s economy by US businesses when she was appointed ‘economic czar’ back in 2015. The floodgates have been open to US capital investment for 8 years now and US business has descended upon Ukraine, cherry picking the most profitable opportunities. The acceleration of US economic aid has no doubt resulted in even more economic concessions by Ukraine in exchange for its desperate military support by US and NATO. US and European capitalism is now deeply embedded in Ukraine
In summary: Further evidence of how much the invasion has accelerated and deepened this economic penetration of Ukraine’s economy by US and western economic interests requires a deeper inspection of details of US business relations over the past year. That has yet to be determined. However, it is highly likely the war has in fact accelerated US economic penetration of Ukraine’s economy as the US has provided at least $4B a month in 2022 in just economic aid to Ukraine. Uncle Sam doesn’t write checks for nothing!
5. Growing US Support for Moldova to Drive Russia Out of Its Transnistria Region and Install A Pro-NATO Membership Regime
Determining the influence of the war on this fifth objective is more long term, although developments have been proceeding behind the scene. Since the outbreak of the war the official Moldovan government has become publicly more pro-NATO. In response, popular demonstrations and protests have arisen as the populace becomes more concerned the country may soon abandon its neutrality in the war. Moldova’s prime minister has begun blaming the protests on Russia and has been leaning in statements further toward US/NATO alignment. Support for the regime by US/NATO is likely occurring behind the scenes.
Should the military conflict in Ukraine spill over to Ukraine’s Odessa region, which is proximate to Moldova, it is likely US/NATO will move to enter Moldova in support of the government. It’s not accidental or coincidence that in 2022 the US sent its premier Army 82nd Airborne division to the Romanian-Moldova border located just miles from Odessa.
In short: this US objective—bring Moldova into NATO—does not appear yet to have been achieved despite the invasion and War. However, developments on the ground suggest it may have begun in early phases.
6. Justify More US Efforts To Destabilize Belarus and Kazakhstan
US efforts to destabilize Belarus prior to the Ukraine invasion have largely failed by 2022. Belarus domestic internal security forces have largely neutralized internal opposition to the regime. The war has driven Belarus even further toward alliance with Russia as Poland and the Lithuanian have been threatening Belarus and stationing more military forces on the Poland-Belarus border.
The de-stabilization of Kazakhstan, which was also underway prior to the war, shows no further development as well. To the contrary, the US is courting Kazakhstan to send some of its vast oil and gas reserves to Europe and negotiations to that effect are underway between US and Kazakhstan. A further indication of a change of US policy—toward a more diplomatic strategy in the central Asian region of former Soviet republics—is reflected in US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit at end of February to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan’s neighbor. No doubt unreported meetings will be held by Blinken with representatives of nearby Kazakhstan while Blinken is in Tashkent (capital of Uzbekistan).
Summary: There’s little evidence the war has furthered the US objective of destabilizing either of these two countries, Belarus and Kazakhstan as raised as a possible objective among the ’10 Reasons’ US wanted Russia to invade. US tactics have shifted from funding and fomenting internal anti-government protests and demonstrations via NGOs and opposition parties in those countries toward diplomatic strategies, at least in the case of Kazakhstan, in order to convince Kazakhstan and its central Asian neighbors to cut off trade with Russia and redirect economic relations to Europe & US.
7. Provide A Major Foreign Policy Distraction for the Democrat Party before November 2022 Midterm Election
Ever since president Truman and the Democrat Party in 1950 was charged with having ‘lost China’, Democrat party candidates have repeatedly gone out of their way provoking military conflicts in order to look tough in foreign policy. Biden in 2022 put on that hat, as did many Democrat party Congressional candidates running for office in the crucial 2022 Congressional midterm election.
The outcome of the midterms, however, left a Congress virtually unchanged in the Senate and with a miniscule narrow margin in favor of Republicans in the US House. In other words, not much changed in 2022 from the 2020 Congressional election because the message of both parties in 2022—i.e. what they were offering the electorate—was essentially no different than they offered in 2020! Given that scenario, it is therefore difficult to determine if the Russian invasion influenced the US midterm election outcomes.
The Ukraine war should have been a negative factor for the Democrats in the election. More than $100 billion in un-accounted aid has been provided by the Biden administration (and likely more). But Biden administration has cleverly doled out its estimated $111 billion in Ukraine military and economic aid during 2022 in ‘dribs and drabs’—i.e. a billion or two here and there, a half billion now for this, and so on. It thus avoided public awareness and debate before the election over how much treasure the US was giving to a war half way around the world—i.e. just as it was shutting down and cutting Covid era aid and social program spending to its own US citizens. The administration’s strategy to stonewall discussing details where the aid was going cleverly avoided the issue of how much of the $111 billion was being diverted once it reached Ukraine, a country noted for its magnitude of corruption which the US media before the War frequently noted but turned totally silent on in 2022.
There was essentially no oversight in the months preceding the US 2022 midterm election. Nor has there been to this day. Only now in 2023 are questions being raised where has the money gone. Anecdotal information like Ukraine government officials allotting themselves $50K US SUVs or skimming off the top to send to their bank accounts abroad has thus far been swept under the rug by US media.
In conclusion, it is unlikely the US proxy war in Ukraine played a role in the US 2022 midterm elections in any way contributing to the Democrats’ election outcomes. How US aid to Ukraine has been cleverly handled by the Biden administration shielded it from negative political fallout in 2022. This may not prove the case in 2023 and consequences for 2024 US elections is yet to be determined.
8. Get Congress to Approve Further Increase in the US Defense Budget Beyond $778B
Like the objectives of restoring US hegemony over NATO and driving Russia out of access to Europe energy markets (and European markets and economy in general), it must be concluded that the escalation of US defense spending in 2022-23 has been one of the Biden administration’s successful consequences of its provoking Russia to invade Ukraine.
The US Pentagon 2023 proposed budget 2023 prior to the invasion was estimated at $773 billion. That has been boosted by another $85 billion recently. Proposed Pentagon 2023 spending is now $858 billion, one of the largest annual increases in US defense spending ever. And that’s just the beginning. There are two further caveats that total US defense spending will come in very much higher in 2023.
First, the $858 billion is only the start. More war aid will surely follow in 2023 in subsequent administration proposals for aid to Ukraine.
Second, the Pentagon budget is only part of the Defense Budget. The latter includes war-related expenditures squirreled away in other government departments apart from the Pentagon. There’s the Veterans Dept., Energy department spending on fuel for the military (which is the biggest single entity consumer of oil worldwide), nuclear arms development by the Atomic Energy Commission, private armies and mercenaries funding by the CIA and State Dept., the NSA’s budget, war propaganda development costs incurred by various US government funded NGOs, Homeland Security, the US defense department’s share of interest on the national debt (rising to $600 billion in 2023 from $350 billion in 2019), etc. The actual total US Defense Budget is thus well over $1.1 trillion a year and rising.
All the above doesn’t include other funds that may be redirected from other agencies, as occurred in 2022 involving funds earmarked but not spent for Covid relief; or special expenses for direct US military operations called OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) that may arise in 2023 (as they did throughout the Iraq & Afghan wars; or for US top secret advanced weapons development which never gets stated in public budget reports and which typically runs at least $50 billion a year.
To summarize: the Russian invasion has resulted in a significant surge in Pentagon and defense spending overall. This objective has therefore been a major achievement of US proxy war policy that aimed at provoking Russia to invade.
9. Provoke Russia to Invade as Excuse to Go After Pro-Russian Supporters: Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba
It appears the US has not used the Ukraine War as a cover to escalate attacks on Latin American progressive regimes, as was argued might happen in the initial ’10 Reasons’ article in January 2022. Several explanations may underlie this.
First, Venezuela has actually been courted by the US to provide Europe some of its much needed oil and is now selling some of it to Europe. Continuing to de-stabilize Venezuela would undermine this more strategic US objective of backfilling Russian oil to Europe. In addition, with the collapse of the puppet Guido opposition in Venezuela, and many of the opposition’s key leaders immigrating to Florida recently, there’s little internal support in Venezuela or within Washington DC pro-imperial elites and neocons for a new US destabilization effort in that country.
Second, with the US embroiled in Ukraine; more concerned with the role of Iran supporting Russia; and with US efforts to test China in Taiwan—there’s little political support among US economic or political elites to provoke yet another conflict with any of these Latin American countries.
This potential objective for the US provoking Russia to Invade was also not realized in 2022. Nor will it likely in the foreseeable future, as political winds blow increasingly ‘left’ over the South American continent and the US is preoccupied with confronting Russia and China. The US needs to court emerging market economies and prevent them from falling into the Russian-China-BRICs camp. Launching new attacks in central and south America, even on supporters of Russia-China, would undermine US efforts to ensure ‘on the fence’ emerging market economy countries remain in the US camp—or least remain neutral in the great geopolitical struggle between US//NATO/G7 bloc vs. the China/Russia/BRICs bloc now intensifying.
10.Test the Effectiveness of Latest US Weaponry Against Russian Forces & Russian Offensive Weapons’ Effectiveness via a Proxy War
The Ukraine war represents a technological revolution in the character of warfare in the 21st century. The mental image of World War II with massed armies with hundreds of tanks rushing across open fields with infantry behind and squadrons of aircraft overhead no longer exists. Technology has rendered all that obsolete. So too is obsolete the more recent image of massive US aircraft carrier task forces with support ships arrayed around it and a perimeter of submarines secretly deployed in outer ring protection. That too is now rendered obsolete by technology.
Ground based tanks, motorized artillery vehicles and personnel carriers are sitting ducks, as they say. Heavily armored in front, side, back and even underneath, their thin topside armor is easily penetrated by radar guided laser and satellite guided missiles as well as hovering armed suicide drones. Sea going surface ships are no less vulnerable. Surveillance systems from low level satellites can detect the insignia on shoulders of individual officers. Radio guided smart bombs can decide after launch to change targets and which to prioritize given enemy radar jamming. There are no anti-missile defenses that can respond to hypersonic missiles in time. Thermobaric bombs can wipe out an entire battalion if it foolishly amasses and tries to concentrate its force before an attack. The list of new weaponry is long that renders classic ground and sea tactics vulnerable.
And that’s only the beginning. Artificial Intelligence directed weapons now coming on line can decide tactical responses on their own without human battlefield communication, either local or from afar. There’s virtually no secure communication on the modern battlefield any longer. Both sides know what the other is about to do. AI will enable combatants soon to know what the other side is about to do (and counter-attack) before the other side decides to even do it.
The two primary principles of warfare long ago set forth by the German military theorist Clausewitz (and later developed further by Napoleon’s Bertrand De Jomini, Britain’s Liddell Hart, Vietnam’s Giap, and others) may no longer be relevant. Or they at least require a fundamental re-statement given the technology-driven changes in modern war tactics that have been revealed on the ground in Ukraine today.
Clausewitz’s two first principles of War were: 1. Concentration of Forces and 2) Surprise and Mobility. But with modern complete surveillance (visual, audial, electronic) how can military forces be safely mobilized and concentrated without a massive shower of artillery and missiles descending on them almost instantaneously once revealed by 24/7 surveillance? And where’s the element of Surprise possible today given the same? When the Soviets amassed armies on the flank of the Germans Sixth Army at Stalingrad in late 1942, German forces had little idea what was about to happen and were caught completely by surprise. US Marines in northern Korea in 1950-51 experienced the same. That could not happen today.
One of the objectives of the USA in provoking a Russian invasion in 2022 was to see what Russia’s military technology was capable of—and in turn how to evolve US/NATO defenses and responses to that capability. US/NATO has learned much—about both Russian equipment strengths and its weaknesses. So too has Russia learned much of Ukrainian-US/NATO equipment strengths and weaknesses. Both sides have been reluctant to fully expose their very latest weaponry and its capability during the first year of the Ukraine war. Both NATO and Russia have held back deploying their latest advanced aircraft and long range artillery, for example. Even deployment of already well-known weaponry has been selective and limited for both.
That applies not only military equipment. Both sides are on a steep learning curve to determine each other’s tactics; learn the limits of their respective logistical capabilities; and the characteristics of what constitutes the practices of the best field commanders.
Another consequence of the first year of the war is the ever greater effectiveness of propaganda and media control in keeping their respective populations supporting their elites’ war efforts. The complete blackout of alternative views and even facts on the ground by US media in general—TV, print, social media, etc.—during the current Ukraine war thus far has been astounding. The US media control of facts, video images, and messaging over the past year makes even the US propaganda barrage during the 2003 Iraq war look amateur. Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbles, wouldn’t even make the US propaganda team today!
To sum up: Provoking Russia to resulted in the US obtaining deep knowledge of the performance of Russian military equipment and technology, as well as of Russian tactics, organization, and logistics. And the discovery has still far to go since both sides, US/NATO and Russia, have been holding back committing their most advanced systems so far.
Some Long Run Strategic Conclusions
In July 1979 then Carter administration national security advisor, Zbigniew Brezinski, privately convinced then president Jimmy Carter to destabilize Afghanistan. This began well before any Soviet incursion into Afghanistan.
A secular political revolution in 1978 in Afghanistan brought a new president, Najibullah, to power. As Afghanistan attempted to chart an independent course of development, Brezinski-Carter, decided to have the CIA implement a domestic destabilization of the country, in order to get Najibullah to request assistance from the Soviet Union. After six months of CIA domestic destabilization in 1979, Najibullah did so. Per the Brezezski plan the CIA-USA then armed the religious peasantry, the Mujahadeen, and the first Afghan war was on.
The US policy was long term: to bleed the Soviet Union militarily, arming the Mujahadeen with stinger anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. It was the USA’s original proxy war in Afghanistan. After eight years the war contributed to the eventual withdrawal of Soviet forces and collapse of the Najibullah regime by the late 1980s—setting in motion decades more internal civil wars and the eventual US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that lasted twenty years until the US’s eventual defeat and withdrawal from that country in August 2021.
The current US/NATO war in Ukraine shares many elements with the USA’s original 1979 proxy war in Afghanistan. That earlier event was what might be called the original ‘Brezinski 1.0 Doctrine’ and strategy of US promoting proxy wars. US strategy in Ukraine, another proxy war, might be called ‘Brezenski 2.0’.
Like provoking the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan in 1979, the US strategy in 2021 was to provoke Russia to invade Ukraine, subsequently to arm Ukraine to the hilt, and to bleed Russia economically and militarily for a protracted period in the hope of ultimately precipitating a regime change in Russia. It worked in Afghanistan in the 1980s; US neocons running US foreign policy adventures in the 21st century expect it to work in Ukraine in 2022-2X as well.
Beginning as a civil war pitting the US-imposed Kiev government in 2014 against its eastern provinces in the Donbass, the Ukraine war has been revealed increasingly as a US/NATO vs. Russia war.
The war is being waged, moreover, not just as a military confrontation but as a comprehensive economic war by US/G7 countries against Russia. The ultimate US economic objective is to drive Russia out of Europe’s economy—in energy, finance, and virtually all economic markets—and have US economic interests enter the ensuing economic vacuum.
But the US economic strategy goes even farther than that. It’s about ‘economically ring fencing’ off Russia from the entire west’s (G7+)economic resources and markets. An economic and electronic ‘Iron Curtain’ is being created as the US bifurcates the global capitalist economy into ‘us vs. them’. Less obvious and longer term, the US plan is to sanction and cut off China as well—at least at first technologically—although this will be more difficult than ‘ring fencing’ Russia.
Already the US/NATO economic war against Russia is proving questionable in its ultimate strategic objectives. Europe and G7 economies might well become more integrated with the US global economic empire as a result, but the rest of world’s emerging market economies may not.
Key elements of the US global economic empire have come under pressure in 2022 and are weakening as a result of US economic war against Russia (and China behind it).
The US dollar as global trading currency is being challenged in global energy and commodity markets. Trading in oil and other critical commodities have begun replacing it. The US controlled SWIFT international payments system (which US uses to identify violations of its sanctions policy) is creating alternative payments systems as well. The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-So. Africa) independent trading bloc is expanding: key emerging market economies like Turkey, Algeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and even Mexico have all petitioned to join it. And early development of alternatives to the US-controlled IMF and World Bank and World Trade organization (WTO) are emerging. US sanctions policies against Russia (and against China Tech increasingly) may well backfire in the long run to the disadvantage of the US economic empire.
In other words, the USA’s ‘Brezenski 2.0’ proxy war and global sanctions strategy may yield political results in the short run but lead to a further fragmenting of the US global economic empire in the longer run—yielding short run political gains for the US in Europe at the expense of longer run economic costs in much of the rest of the world.
The US current economic strategy appears to be to protect and shore up its most valuable economic and political alliances and markets first—i.e. NATO and the G7 economic base; to bifurcate the global economy where possible ring-fencing Russia and China; and thereafter as a western bloc to compete aggressively with that Russia-China for the allegiance of the rest of the emerging economies of the world—especially critical countries like India, Saudi-UAE, Indonesia, and key players like Brazil-Mexico and others in Latin America.
In the interim to that long run economic shift, the strategy behind the shorter term US proxy war in Ukraine—its ‘Brezinski 2.0’ strategy—is to continue the war for as many years as possible in order to bleed Russia militarily and economically as it did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The US neocons’ dream is that Brezinski 2.0 will lead to an encirclement of Russia by NATO allowing the US/NATO to dictate economic and political changes in Russia and ultimately regime change—i.e. a repeat of what happened to the Soviet Union in 1990-91.
If US/NATO proves successful with this military and global economic strategy, neocon and imperial interests within the US will thereafter step up their offensive against China that is still at its very earliest stages militarily and economically. The US is currently in the process of creating a NATO-East equivalent with the US-Japan-So. Korea-Australia at its core. Current China sanctions, now mostly limited to China’s technology sector, will be expanded to encompass China’s global economic footprint and trading relations in general. The US accompanying military strategy will be to create another ‘Brezenski 3.0’ proxy war targeting Taiwan—the early foundations of which are already being laid and the US is already testing China’s responses and seeking to determine what it will take to provoke China to invade Taiwan.