Caitlin Johnstone: Ukraine as Weapons Testing Site

In addition to advancing longstanding U.S. geo-strategic aims, it seems the proxy war in Ukraine is also being used to sharpen the imperial war machine’s claws for a looming hot war with China and/or Russia.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcoming Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky to a meeting at the Pentagon, Aug. 31, 2021. (DoD, Jack Sanders)

By Caitlin Johnstone

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A surprisingly frank article in The New York Times, “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” describes how the imperial war machine is capitalising on the U.S. proxy war to test its weapons for future use.

“Ukraine has become a testing ground for state-of-the-art weapons and information systems, and new ways to use them, that Western political officials and military commanders predict could shape warfare for generations to come,” writes Lara Jakes.

Jakes says “new advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight.”

These new technological advancements include an information system known as Delta, as well as “remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use.”

A former Lithuanian president is quoted as saying, “We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,” adding, “It is shameful for me because Ukrainians are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”

At some point The New York Times article was re-headlined, going from “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” to the slightly less obvious “For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test.”

[Related: Caitlin Johnstone: Blame the Managers of Empire]

News that the West is using Ukraine to test weapons systems for future wars aligns with recent comments by the commander of the U.S. nuclear arsenal that the proxy war is a test run for a much bigger conflict that’s on its way.

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,”  U.S. STRATCOM head Charles Richard told a naval conference earlier this month. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

So in addition to being used to advance longstanding U.S. geo-strategic objectives, apparently this war is also being used to sharpen the imperial war machine’s claws for a looming hot war with China and/or Russia. The U.S. would certainly have an advantage in military test runs over the years in such a conflict.

As an aside, it’s probably worth noting that all the testing of new Western weapons technology would likely explain reports from Ukrainian astronomers that the skies over Kiev have been “swarming with unidentified flying objects (UFOs).”

The aforementioned New York Times article quotes Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov as saying that the weapons testing he’s seen has convinced him that “the wars of the future will be about maximum drones and minimal humans.”

One of the many reasons the U.S. and its complex network of allies, partners and assets are always fighting so many wars is because new weapons technology needs to be tested in battle before it can be deemed effective.

What this means in practice is using human bodies as test subjects, the way a scientist uses laboratory rats or guinea pigs.

The U.S.-centralized empire pretends to care about Ukrainian lives, but in reality it only cares about them to the extent that a researcher cares about his lab rats. And for exactly the same reason.

What could be more sinister than that? Well, the agendas for which they are running those tests as preparation, I suppose.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

19 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Ukraine as Weapons Testing Site

  1. Steve
    November 21, 2022 at 11:27

    The human species is just plain stupid.

  2. Noah Scape
    November 21, 2022 at 02:18

    I wonder if Russia has been holding off, we have not seen much of the new tech from them as they use up the old gear and imports from Iran and N Korea.

    Putin knows he best have some surprises in store for when the boots arrive.Putin might yet be challenged at his borders by much heavier pressures. Protect the homeland, and himself, with his best stuff.

  3. Louis Béchard
    November 20, 2022 at 15:43

    You play with sh*t or fire long enough you become excessively disgusting and flammable beyond redemption or discourse.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    November 20, 2022 at 12:06

    It was said that when the US attacked/invaded Panama at the end of 1989 – the main reason was to test new war materiel. The US is shameless, no integrity.

  5. Tedder
    November 20, 2022 at 10:10

    The Israelis always test their weapons systems on Palestinians, so this is nothing new; however, the war against China will be a naval war and a missile war in that the Americans would never have any advantage in a ground war.
    The irony, of course, is that even with the reduction of fossil fuel use in Europe because of the sanctions, the world is more than keeping up the schedule of climate Armageddon, although it seems to prefer nuclear Armageddon.

  6. peter mcloughlin
    November 20, 2022 at 08:45

    War is looming between the US and a Sino-Russian front. It is the conflict no one wants and everyone says can’t be won: yet all the signs are there – WWIII.

    A free ebook: The Pattern Of History and Fate of Humanity

    • Common Sense
      November 21, 2022 at 12:31

      “It is the conflict no one wants and everyone says can’t be won:”

      The U.S. war profiteers surely want it!

      At whatever it takes.

      And they probably will provoke it, if they are not stopped.

  7. Ian Perkins
    November 20, 2022 at 04:50

    A rather inappropriate headline from Consortium News for an article that makes no mention of hypersonic weapons, first battle-tested, to my knowledge, in Ukraine.

  8. Scared Person
    November 20, 2022 at 00:09

    Seems to me this conflict is a way to dump relatively obsolete weapons into an unwinnable tar-pit war, and if there is a Ukraine afterwards, they will have a massive bill coming due. The Ukrainian people will have to pay the bill, that’s how lend/lease works. These weapons are not gifts. The private military manufacturers however, just made sure they will be paid a whole heap for replacement death-toys in coming years.

    But sure, a testing ground too, which seems to be proving the Russians can handle any super-expensive privately made killy-thing NATO can throw at them so far.

    Now, both sides know who’s death toys work and who’s don’t. It turns out the very expensive toys of NATO are often not effective. This does not bode well for US plans to “take” Russia and its resources to keep imperial capitalism going.

    Now it is time to make peace. That’s not what the US will do. It will backpedal, to buy time to build new death toys to throw into the (private profit driven) death-circus. The US will not accept a multi-polar world where they have to negotiate or actually compete. By “the US” of course I mean the plutocracy who make all the policy decisions, not the people.

    • Realist
      November 21, 2022 at 15:08

      The Ukraine homeland is the collateral for these obscene, unaffordable loans that the US and the IMF have made to that nation for the purpose of absolutely trashing it in ultimate avant garde warfare, “guaranteed” to smoke the hated Moskals. When the conned Ukies can’t pay a penny on this debt, Yankee Doodle and his EU minions will simply foreclose on all of Ukraine or what is left that Russia has not re-incorporated as Catherine’s Novorussiya. The homeless and jobless citizens will be left to pitch tents under highway overpasses (if any are left standing after the war), sharing a lifestyle with the former American middle class they so wanted to emulate. Washington is counting on these “strictly business” acquisitions of Ukrainian lands and natural resources to save America’s too-big-to-fail banks, hedge funds, and crypto currencies. The Ukies will be reduced to a nomadic tribe, wandering the EU hinterlands searching for any survival mechanisms, wondering how and why Uncle Sugar Daddy and Sir Winston Zelensky betrayed and thoroughly fleeced them.

  9. November 19, 2022 at 16:56

    And you and I are paying for it.

  10. Steven
    November 19, 2022 at 13:13

    Articles like this one in the New York Times provide a valuable service, in that they show the rest of the world what an evil monstrosity the United States government has become, using Ukrainian lives to test their weapons systems out.

    This war also gives Russia and China the opportunity to see what the US MIC brings to the battle. Seeing how disastrously the economic war has gone for the west, I don’t have a lot of confidence that the west would fare well in a war against either Russia or China, let alone against both of them.

  11. Packard
    November 19, 2022 at 09:47

    Using Ukraine as an American weapons testing site seems a bit like building an asbestos manufacturing facility right next door to your own house.

    Is there anyone in all of Washington DC who ever considers even the short term strategic consequences to implementing such a reckless foreign policy? Or, are we now led by a cabal of war mongering, village idiots? D*MN!

  12. November 19, 2022 at 06:47

    This is not new to this conflict, the US always tests its new weapons and capabilities in the conflicts it initiates around the world. The world isn’t just “the Devil’s Chessboard” (David Talbot’s book), it is “the Devil’s Testing Grounds” too.

      November 19, 2022 at 10:35

      The article never said it hadn’t happened before.

      • Jack Hudson
        November 19, 2022 at 14:32

        The part left out in the quote This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” U.S. STRATCOM head Charles Richard told a naval conference earlier this month. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.” is the fact he said “The only asymmetric advantage we have left is submarines.”

    • Daedalus
      November 19, 2022 at 16:51

      True, John. Remember Hiroshima?

  13. Altruist
    November 19, 2022 at 02:30

    Caitlin Johnstone is making a very valid argument.

    The current Ukraine war is serving a role similar to that of the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, where Germany and Italy – on the one side of this proxy war – and the Soviet Union – on the other side – were able to test in practice cutting-edge military equipment, especially aircraft. For example, German Stuka dive bombers and Soviet Tupolev ANT-40 bombers, which later saw service in World War II (especially the Stukas, the Tupolev ANT-40s being replaced by more modern equipment).

    At that point in the development of military technology, aircraft (particulalry bombers) were the “wave of the future”, just like drones are today. And testing through a proxy war was the dress rehearsal for the major war in the offing.

  14. November 18, 2022 at 22:41

    For the US’s oligarchy, weapons are just another consumer product. Marketing is the big thing. And Added Value. Doesn’t matter if the thing works or not. Like Windows 11

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