by Kevin Barrett (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 5, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1443)
On June 8, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that the battle for Severodonetsk would decide the fate of eastern Ukraine. Two weeks later, its fate was decided. On June 23 Ukraine withdrew all its forces. Within 48 hours mayor Oleksandr Stryuk announced that the Russians had taken full control of the city.
Kiev’s loss of Severodonetsk makes Russia’s triumph in Luhansk a foregone conclusion. Donetsk, the other province of the Donbass, is next. If Zelensky and his NATO masters don’t sue for peace and accept Ukraine’s loss of the Donbass and the land bridge to Crimea, Russia will continue grinding away at Ukrainian forces in the south until it controls the entire Black Sea coast. That would leave only a landlocked, economically stagnant “rump Ukraine” under Kiev’s authority, while Russia and its allies would control most of what had been Ukraine’s most strategic and productive regions.
Some European rulers understand that since Ukraine is in an ever-deepening hole, the first thing it needs to do is stop digging. They understand that the longer the war lasts, the more Ukrainian territory will ultimately be ceded to Russia. They realize that Zelensky’s war—actually the US neocons’ war—is a lost cause. They realize that Ukraine could easily have retained all its territory, and its lives, simply by declaring neutrality and honoring the Minsk accords, which granted a degree of autonomy to the Russian-speaking Donbass region.
Instead, pressured by Joe Biden and his neocon appointees Anthony Blinken and Victoria Nuland and their neo-Nazi proteges, Zelensky tore up the Minsk accords, boasted of his plans to join NATO, threatened to acquire nuclear weapons, amassed most of Ukraine’s 250,000-man NATO-trained military in the east for an assault on Donbass, and threatened Russian Crimea with invasion and the ethnic Russians of Luhansk and Donetsk with genocide. Simultaneously, US biological warfare labs near the Russian border were developing pathogens and plans for attacking Russia. Together, these rash provocations were designed to make Russia’s invasion a fait accompli.
Western Europeans, who are experiencing an economic catastrophe after being cut off from Russian energy due to US sanctions, are increasingly recognizing the folly of the made-in-USA war on Russia. On June 16, a week before the fall of Severodonetsk, Politico reported that “European capitals quietly favor a ‘face-saving’ resolution to the conflict, even if it costs Ukraine some territory. Even as Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have said repeatedly it would be up to Ukraine to determine the conditions for a halt to hostilities, they’ve recently underscored their preference for a ceasefire, sooner rather than later.”
The people of Europe, far more than their NATO-compromised leaders, want to cut their losses and sue for peace. According to polls, the pro-peace camp outnumbers its adversaries by roughly three-to-one in Italy and Germany, two-to-one in France, Spain, Romania, and Sweden, and by smaller margins in the UK, Portugal, and Finland. The only major European country without a pro-peace majority is traditionally ultra-Russophobic Poland.
Even French president Macron, the least bellicose of European rulers, is suffering politically from being identified with NATO’s foolish war. On June 19, French voters slapped Macron’s (and NATO’s) face by delivering a tidal wave of votes and parliamentary seats to pro-peace forces of both the left and right.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a rabid hawk and political ally of the American neocons who orchestrated the war, is also facing a looming political disaster. On June 26 Johnson reprimanded Macron for his peace overtures and instead demanded total victory over Russia, vaunting an “opportunity to turn the tide in the war.” But British voters aren’t buying Johnson’s ludicrous Churchillian pose. A series of recent elections including the special elections on June 23 have delivered stinging rebukes to Johnson’s Conservative Party. Between the failure of NATO’s war in Ukraine and Johnson’s ethics scandals, it seems likely that “Bojo the Clown” will exit stage right in the not-too-distant future.
Johnson and his American neocon friends hope that escalating the war will somehow save them. Their most recent escalation ploy might be termed “the Lithuanian gambit.” On June 18, under NATO orders, the government of Lithuania [his remark that ‘Lithuania as part of NATO alliance is obliged to act as NATO member,’ is misleading] blockaded truck traffic and rail lines to the Russian city of Kaliningrad, preventing Russian and Belarusan goods from reaching the geostrategically-crucial Baltic seaport. As Belarus president Lukashenko said on June 25, the blockade is an act of war and amounts to a NATO declaration of war on Russia and Belarus. Now Russia will have to decide whether to forcibly re-open Kaliningrad with another special military operation in the Suwalki gap and risk direct war with NATO.
The neocons are delusional if they think they can win a war with Russia on its own borders. Despite their fantasies about “turning the tide” of the Ukraine war, the tide has been with Russia from the beginning, when Russia quickly disabled Ukraine’s air force and military communications and seized the initiative which it never relinquished. Despite the permanent barrage of western media lies about the Ghost of Kiev, the foul-mouthed martyrs of Snake Island, the supposed Russian defeat in Kiev, and the like, it has been obvious from the beginning that Russia, with its shorter supply lines and millions of troops in reserve, will defeat Ukraine and hold on to most of the territory it has conquered when the Ukrainian surrender agreement is finally signed. And since Russia has strategic nuclear parity with NATO, the neocon “plan” consisting of “when all else fails, keep escalating” will inevitably hit a radioactive glass ceiling.
Russia’s victory in the Ukraine will trigger a geopolitical earthquake that will terminate the neocons’ “new American century” seven decades early. The illusion of US-NATO omnipotence, already damaged by defeats in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, will crumble to dust in the wake of Russia’s successful SMO. Europe will come begging to Putin to resume energy exports in pre-war volumes and prices, but they will be too late, as the infrastructure will already have been redirected. As Russia’s exports of energy and raw materials shift from west to east, first the European and then the US economies will suffer, while non-US-vassal countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America thrive. Sanctions-weary investors and governments will continue to find and invent non-dollar trading instruments. The US dollar will inevitably lose its status as global reserve currency, leading to a rapid decline of living standards in the US followed by social unrest and ultimately the collapse of the US empire and retirement of the more than 800 American military bases occupying 80 vassal states and threatening the rest of the world.
The neocon decision to provoke war with Russia in Ukraine will go down in history as one of the most strategically disastrous decisions ever. As author-publisher Ron Unz told me in a recent interview:
“...we basically provoked the Ukraine war against Russia, hoping to damage or debilitate Russia and then possibly encircle China. But it clearly hasn't worked... (the) logical thing to do is for America to... enlist Russia as an ally. And instead, we have done the exact opposite. We have made Russia our sworn enemy. And now we’ve pushed Russia and China into an alliance together with Iran as well. So, what we have done because of our incredible arrogance and incredible recklessness is to push the major countries in the world that are not controlled by the United States into an anti-American alliance, including Russia, including China, including to some extent, Iran, and now, even including India. And so, with these large and powerful other countries all forming a coalition against the United States, our power has very clearly been checked.”
US power has not only been checked, it will soon be check-mated. Get ready for the post-American century.