By David Sole
The media here in the United States is awash in stories about the “First Anniversary” of the war in Ukraine. Even President Joe Biden made a secret trip to Kiev followed by a major speech in next door Poland on protecting “Ukraine democracy.” But February is actually the 9th anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine.
It is bad journalism and worse history to try and look at an event isolated from its origins and development. The story isn’t about the February 24, 2022 military intervention into Ukraine by the Russian Federation. That specific action was the culmination of a war that began in February 2014 – the so-called Maidan uprising which is openly acknowledged as a CIA-U.S. State Department organized coup d’etat to replace the elected government of Ukraine. This is the kind of “democracy” that Joe Biden likes – and that he helped out as vice-president in the Obama administration.
After the coup the Ukrainians had the “freedom” to build up their military with U.S. soldiers giving training and providing billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to prepare for being inducted into the anti-Russia North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Many of the troops getting guns and training were members of pro-nazi militias that had been crucial in the coup.
One of the “democratic reforms” that were carried out by the new regime in the capital of Kiev and across the country was the outlawing of the use of the Russian language by Ukrainian citizens of Russian ethnic heritage. A memorable highlight of these democrats was the attack on May 5, 2014 on the House of Trade Unions in the city of Odessa, where 39 people were burned alive in a fire set by the nazis.
Unwilling to submit to this new “democracy”, the people of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces rose up and established their own “People’s Republics” which fought the Ukrainian army to a standstill. Peace agreements were reached between the ethnic Russians in those eastern provinces, the new Ukrainian government and Russia, which bordered the People’s Republics. Germany and France were to guarantee the Minsk I and Minsk II Accords signed in 2014 and 2015.
But the peace deal never was honored and the United Nations estimates that in the years following over 14,000 people were killed, many of them civilians, by continuing Ukrainian attacks. In 2022 the former Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, openly admitted there never was any intention to have Ukraine or its NATO allies to abide by the treaties – the whole process was meant to buy time for Ukraine’s military to be expanded and brought up to NATO standards.
Taking a longer view shows that the U.S. and NATO have steadily been building military bases with troops, heavy weapons and nuclear missiles closer and closer to the Russian Federation’s borders. For decades Russia has warned that they would not tolerate NATO facilities on their thousand mile plus border with Ukraine.
During January and February 2022 Russia detected Ukrainian military preparations for a massive attack to crush the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. This was the final straw that precipitated the “Special Military Operation” by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
It can be argued that the United States neocons had been planning to propel Ukraine into a war with Russia. A May 25, 2019 report by the RAND Corporation, which is well connected with the U.S. military and corporate establishment, was titled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia.”
Among a long list of proposals to weaken and undermine Russia is one called: “Providing lethal aid to Ukraine [which] would exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability. But any increase in U.S. military arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia of sustaining its existing commitment without provoking a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages.”
A chart in the report gives a coldly calculated evaluation for this option. Citing the “Geopolitical Cost-Imposing Option” to “Provide lethal aid to Ukraine” Rand finds the “Likelihood of Success in Extending Russia” as “Moderate” while the “Benefits” and “Costs and Risks” are both rated as “High.”
RAND also warned that “Increasing U.S. forces in Europe, increasing European NATO member ground capabilities, and deploying a large number of NATO forces on the Russian border would likely have only limited effects….But large-scale deployments on Russia’s borders would increase the risk of conflict with Russia, particularly if perceived as challenging Russia’s position in eastern Ukraine.”
Economically, RAND points out that “Increasing Europe’s ability to import gas from suppliers other than Russia could economically extend Russia and buffer Europe against Russian energy coercion.” Prominent journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed the details (of what many already believed) that the Biden administration had recklessly gone ahead and blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea which supplied Germany and other European nations with much of their natural gas needs.
It has also been revealed that shortly after the start of the Special Military Operation peace talks were being held between Russia and Ukraine. Apparently the U.S. demanded that Ukraine pull out of these talks before they could bear any fruit.
Despite all the bravado and boasting by Biden, NATO officials and Ukraine’s President Zelensky, despite over $120 billion of military equipment, despite the Western nations’ training of tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops, the Ukrainians face more military defeats. There is so much corruption among the Ukrainian politicians and ruling elite that the United States has decided to send 177 auditors to Ukraine to make sure the money and weapons are not looted any further.
Things are looking so bleak in Ukraine that the very same RAND Corporation has a new report out that warns that the U.S. cannot afford a “long war” in Ukraine and which proposes several options for negotiations. Some in the U.S. ruling class and military apparently see that their earlier optimism was not borne out.
But Biden, Blinken, Sullivan, Nuland and the rest of the neocon clique are unable or unwilling to alter course. Ukraine faces worsening death and destruction as the Russian forces advance. A major escalation by the U.S. and NATO cannot be ruled out which would threaten to turn the Ukraine war into a major European conflict with unforeseeable consequences for all of humanity.