“Bleed the Russians in Ukraine as in Afghanistan”

Was Vladimir Putin lured to Ukraine? Did he really imagine it would be an easy two-day outing? Something he didn’t factor into his calculation was the years of planning at the Pentagon, Langley and British military intelligence to trap him. Who knows, Putin might have some counter moves up his sleeve. He is an exceptional chess player.

Lethal equipment was evidently stationed in Ukraine by the West long before the drums of war rang out. In fact, the refrain “Putin is about to invade” was launched once the equipment was in place and duly equipped. Who will ever know that the men in uniform behind the fanciest machines were Ukrainians, Poles or Brits?

The Russians have acted according to a script they have been refining since the Orange Revolution of November 2004. The crisis, however, has been building up since much earlier. Let me choose a few dates arbitrarily:

Mikhail Gorbachev, who single-handedly reduced the Soviet Empire to modern Russia, had serious concerns about a reunified Germany in NATO. James Baker, Bush senior’s secretary of state, an old-fashioned, reliable, not fickle diplomat, prevailed over Gorbachev on the German question, but promised that NATO would not approach even Russia “one inch”.

Baker’s word was not kept. The climax was reached in 1998 when the US Senate, after cursory debate, ratified NATO enlargement. One of the best minds in strategy and perhaps America’s foremost expert on Russia, George Kennan, gave a prescient interview that I also referred to earlier.

“I think this is the start of a new Cold War. I was particularly bothered by references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe.

Critics will jump in and point the finger at Kennan: “Look, he was wrong; Russia attached a European country. To understand why Ukraine was attacked, Kennan’s statement must be read in full.

“Our differences during the Cold War were with the Soviet communist regime. And now (in 1998) we are turning our backs on the very people who staged the greatest bloodless revolution in history to overthrow this Soviet regime… Of course there will be a bad reaction from Russia, then NATO expanders will say we always told you.

Despite Kennan’s warning, the military-industrial complex has stopped at nothing. Since 1991, 14 new member states have been added to NATO. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO (whom I interviewed as pacifist Prime Minister of Norway) salivated on Georgia and Ukraine, two red lines for Russia. In January 2021, Zelensky approached Biden on his knees: “Please sir take us into NATO.”

It was then that Russian troops in large numbers moved towards the border. The other goal was to deter neo-Nazi groups that had been threatening Luhansk and Donetsk, the pro-Russian enclaves of Donbass in the east, for eight years.

Why did the American orchestra in Ukraine reach a crescendo in February?

By the end of January 2022, Boris Johnson’s sins had caught up with him. Partygate was reverberating through Parliament. Whenever Labor leader Keir Starmer demanded Johnson’s resignation for his misdemeanors, Johnson leaned on the dispatch box and, as well as offering a flimsy defense, made the tiniest line between his lips and uttered “Phutin” to divert Parliament’s attention. Just when his neck seemed to be on the line, he flew to Ukraine to shed the booze image.

Assuming Johnson had fallen, President Joe Biden would have slipped without a hand to pick him up. Questions have been raised about his mental fitness; Trump’s note was the same as his, the pandemic blues didn’t end; race relations were collapsing, schoolchildren routinely killed schoolchildren with automatic weapons.

All this against a backdrop of defeat in Afghanistan, a failed attempt at regime change in Kazakhstan and a Western alliance in disarray. Who was Johnson’s pet peeve: Emmanuel Macron or Vladimir Putin? Did the Brexit boomerang from Northern Ireland hit him hard or was Ukraine the problem?

The Anglo-American combine was beating the drums of war at such high decibel levels that a larger war with Europe was being imagined. The United States was on the other side of the Atlantic; Britain across the Channel, further removed from Europe by Brexit. Were these two troubled non-European entities trying to drag Europe into a war with Russia?

It was partly deception. The atmosphere of war was a red herring. The countries’ military intelligence pointed to the 1,20,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border as a precursor to an all-out war. But the war hysteria was only a smokescreen to lure Russia into the Ukrainian abyss for long enough to allow the Western media, transformed into a lying propaganda machine, to irreparably demonize Putin.

A minor digression came from Andrew Higgins of The New York Times. Rabbi Kaminezki, the chief rabbi of Dnipro in eastern Ukraine, had warned of Zelensky, a Jew, becoming president. “We will have pogroms in two years if things go wrong.” Zelensky not only ignored the rabbi, but proceeded to appoint Volodymyr Groysman, a fellow Jew, as his prime minister. This caused the NYT to take note: “Ukraine is the only country outside of Israel where the heads of state and government are Jewish.” Since then, the Prime Minister has changed. I wonder if this detail makes a material difference to the story.

Western propaganda about Putin is scary. Russophobia is growing. The Russian Embassy in nearby Warsaw was “seized” not by mobs but by the Polish Foreign Ministry. How will Russia retaliate?

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton shared the beans. In an interview with MSNBC, she said the Russians should be trapped in Ukraine and defeated by a well-funded and armed insurgency just “like we did in Afghanistan.” Mrs. Clinton forgets two facts: Americans too have been “trapped” in Afghanistan for 20 years and left in disgrace.

She herself told Congress (video available) that “we armed the mujahideen”, threw money at them and ended up creating the terrorists who still torment us today.

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