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Moscow to draw out US into open from low-cost proxy war

Readers’ corner 2022-09-25, 11:35am

Ukraine said it has begun a much anticipated counter offensive to take back Kherson- DW News

Message from Moscow: M K Bhadrakumar writes:

September 23, 2022 - Moscow has decided to draw out the United States into the open from the low-cost proxy war it has been waging against Russia on Ukrainian soil throughout the past quarter century. President Putin’s speech on Wednesday underscored that this is an existential struggle and the Kremlin is determined to defend the Fatherland, no matter what it takes. He explicitly warned Washington, London and Brussels that Moscow “will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us,” in the period ahead.

The obfuscations in the Western narrative — this is about aggression, national sovereignty, UN Charter, democracy versus authoritarianism, etc — are no longer sustainable. Pared to the bone, a titanic power struggle looms ahead. Both sides are preparing to fight tooth and claw, the outcome of which will phenomenally affect world politics and fundamentally alter the world order. For Russia, the struggle is no less than its survival as a civilisational state, while for the US, this boils down to the preservation of its global hegemony — the “rules-based order”.

The fact of the matter is Washington never accepted Russia’s resurgence in the post-Cold War era. Its agenda remained consistent through the Chechen insurgency in the Caucasus in the 1990s, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, NATO’s eastward expansion since 1999, and the colour revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, culminating in the coup in Kyiv in 2014 masterminded by the Obama administration whose point person was the then vice-president, Joe Biden. That agenda is to encircle Russia with hostile states under the NATO banner.

The NATO’s deployments against Russia speak for themselves — 40,000 troops across the alliance’s eastern axis, apart from about 1,00,000 American troops deployed under bilateral agreements across Europe, the highest level since 2005. The US also has an estimated 100 B-61 nuclear gravity bombs that are forward-deployed at NATO bases. With Sweden and Finland joining NATO, the length of the direct land border between NATO and Russia doubles to around 2,500 km.

Russia has no choice but to beef up military resources at a significant economic cost and enhance its surveillance posture for territorial security. Russia’s access to its enclave of Kaliningrad becomes more difficult, and its navy’s activities get severely restricted. NATO’s aerial security becomes more diversified, which significantly impacts the operations of the Russian air force in the Baltic Sea as well. In addition, Russia’s hybrid warfare capabilities in the new operational areas of space, cyber, and cognitive domains will be greatly affected. Imagine an analogous threatening deployment taking place in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Washington will go ballistic!

A flashpoint is arising in Ukraine as the NATO powers are now openly encouraging Kyiv to stage attacks on Crimea and other Russian regions even as the alliance provides Ukraine with real-time intelligence on Russia’s southern regions and its personnel take part in the fighting. The Western rhetoric threatens Russia with the admissibility of using WMD against it. Putin indicated in his speech on Wednesday that the US and UK undermined the agreement reached in the Istanbul talks under Turkish mediation in April between Russia and Ukraine. Clearly, NATO wants this conflict to continue so that Russian military capability gets depleted.

The proxy war is a safe bet politically for President Biden since no body bags are returning to the Arlington Cemetery. The supply of weapons is per a lend-lease debt agreement whereby Ukraine is expected to repay the debt in cash or kind. (Zelenskyy has overturned the 2001 land moratorium in Ukraine that allows the GMO cartel companies to own Ukraine’s rich farmlands and control its grain trade. Such companies reportedly control 16.7 million hectares of prime Ukrainian black earth farmland already.)

Wars are known to generate lucrative business for the military-industrial complex in America. Interest groups manipulate corrupt politicians. Wall Street, too, is a compelling reality. This Gordian knot is difficult to cut, as the robust “bipartisan” support in the Congress for such massive arms flow into Ukraine shows. Therefore, no third party is capable of mediating between Russia and the US today. As for French President Emmanuel Macron, although part of the Normandy Four and working with Russia on a constitutional solution in Donbas, France acted diabolically to encourage Kyiv on the quiet to bury the Minsk Agreement! Besides, Europeans are consigned to a subaltern role and strategic autonomy is difficult for powers in decline.

Notably, Putin’s announcement on mobilisation came immediately after the return of Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, from China where he held strategic security consultation on September 19 with Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of CPC central committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs. The Chinese readout mentioned that the sides “exchanged in-depth views” on Ukraine, amongst other topics. The Chinese foreign ministry has since maintained its consistent stance when asked about Russian mobilisation, signalling its neutrality.

Putin’s speech signals that a negotiated settlement is unlikely now. The mobilisation of three lakh reservists suggests that Moscow has no hopes for a dialogue — at least, not while the Kyiv regime remains under American thumb. We may expect, therefore, a much stronger Russian deployment in the battlefield in a concerted effort to stem the tide of the conflict and create a fait accompli for NATO. The referendum on September 23-27 in Donbas, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on accession to the Russian Federation is a signpost of the shape of things to come.

Russia has blunted Kiev’s so-called “counteroffensive”. With the autumn showers, the ground becomes soft and muddy in the steppes crisscrossed by rivers, and tracked vehicles become useless. The advantage goes to Russia once the unforgiving winter descends on that part of the world. In fact, Putin had alluded to the fate of Hitler and Napoleon on Wednesday.

The writer is a former diplomat

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

First published on: 23-09-2022 at 04:21:31 am