I just finished watching an hour-long interview on Garland Nixon’s “Saturday Morning Live with Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern” (see above). Both the guests are former U.S. government insiders with wide experience in Russia.
As an anti-imperialist, I found the program quite sobering.
Scott Ritter, it turns out, has drastically changed his assessment of what’s occurring in Ukraine.
His previous analysis was quite certain that the Ukrainians would be no match for the Russians. Now however Ritter’s evaluation of Moscow’s threefold goals (liberation of Ukraine’s Donbass region, denazification of its army, and general demilitarization of the country) is much more nuanced.
He still sees the Russians moving ahead (but much more slowly than anticipated) with the liberation of the Donbass and with destruction of significant Nazi cadres there and in Mariupol.
However, he now admits, that destroying the Ukrainian military has been gravely complicated by the influx of money and weaponry (most recently, $40 billion worth) from the United States.
That flood of support has allowed the Ukrainian army to reconstitute itself in Ukraine’s west.
So, even if the Russians might be successful in the country’s southeast region, the question becomes what next? Reconstitution of the Ukrainian army complicates achievement of the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine.
All of this also raises the question of maintaining any gains the Russians might be able to achieve in the Donbass region. Maintenance there could potentially bleed the Russians dry in terms of resources, materiel, and lives lost. Will it be necessary for Moscow to keep an occupation force there to protect the breakaway republics of Luhansk and Donetsk?
Such developments and questions have forced upon the Kremlin serious decisions which include:
- (1) Declaration of “mission accomplished” after the Donbass region has been secured and (2) subsequent withdrawal of forces from Ukraine, however without securing the surrender of the Ukrainian government or the country’s demilitarization
- In pursuit of the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine turning attention north towards Kyiv and the military capabilities developing in that area of the country. This option would entail extensive bombing of western supply routes, depots and garrisons.
- However, this would also involve widening the conflict from a “special military operation” to a declared war on Ukraine along with a corresponding mobilization of millions of Russian troops – with the social and economic costs inevitably associated with that decision.
- Broadening the war even wider to include Finland’s threat to Russia before it can become a NATO member under the protection of Article 5 of the NATO Charter.
Of course, all of this involves China (by far the ultimate and real target in NATO’s crosshairs) which is keeping a close eye on the situation.
According to Ritter and McGovern, China’s fear is that NATO will try to draw it into a debilitating conflict like Russia’s in Ukraine. To that end NATO’s imperial forces seem bent on encouraging Taiwan to declare independence from China.
In the eyes of McGovern and Ritter, China would not tolerate such a move and would act immediately and decisively to keep Taiwan under control. They point out that the island’s situation is far different from Ukraine’s. Whereas Ukraine can be supplied militarily from surrounding NATO countries, that same possibility isn’t available for Taiwan. As shown by the sinking of the Russian flagship (the Moskva) any NATO ships carrying materiel would be easily sunk by Chinese artillery onshore.
So, Taiwan has two alternatives, both including ultimate control by China: (1) Taiwan can either continue with its mutually beneficial socio-political and economic arrangements with the mainland or (2) those arrangements will be maintained under Chinese occupation. China will tolerate no third eventuation.
Of course, both McGovern and Ritter were quite clear that none of this need be happening. No critical thinker should forget this or get swept up into our nation’s current war fever.
Instead, critical thought entails remembering that it is the bellicose insistence of the United States on widening NATO right up to Russia’s borders (rather than the dissolution of NATO itself as an outmoded organization) that has provoked this entire crisis.
Absent U.S. insistence on expanding NATO and installing missiles on Russia’s border, the Kremlin represented a military threat to no one in Europe. Neither does China constitute anything other than an economic competitor to the United States. Militarily, it is nowhere threatening the United States.
Rather, within the web of capitalist sanctification of competition as the ultimate value, China’s mortal sin consists merely in the fact that it greatly outperforms the U.S. and Europe in terms of economic growth, foreign assistance, and elimination of world poverty.
It is the decision of the United States to allow no economic rivals, it is its arbitrary and criminal insistence on maintaining “full spectrum dominance” that lies behind the current lamentable set of events. Only an anti-war movement taking to the streets in the name of clear vision, critical thinking, and sanity can prevent our government’s warmongers from leading the world to ultimate disaster.