After the farcical, almost psychotic over-promotion, Robert Freeman says the only place for the Ukrainian president to go from here is down. And, that is surely coming. Soon.
By Robert Freeman
When the president of the poorest, most corrupt nation in Europe is feted with multiple standing ovations by the combined Houses of Congress, and his name invoked in the same breath as Winston Churchill, you know we’ve reached Peak Zelensky.
It’s a farcical, almost psychotic over-promotion, probably surpassed only by the media’s shameful, hyperbolic railroading of the country into war with Iraq, in 2003. Paraphrasing Gertrude from Hamlet, “Methinks the media doth hype too much.”
Let’s remember that before ascending to his country’s presidency, Volodymyr Zelensky’s greatest claim to fame was that he could play the piano with his penis. I’m not joking. And he ran on a platform to unite his country for peace, and for making amends with Russia. Again, I’m not joking.
Now, he’s Europe’s George Washington, FDR and Douglas MacArthur all rolled into one and before whom the mighty and powerful genuflect.
Please. The only place to go from here is down. And, that is surely coming. Soon.
Consider some inconvenient facts that the fawning media, which is essentially the public relations arm of the weapons industry, doesn’t want you to know.
The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, recently let slip that the Ukrainian army has lost more than 100,000 troops in the eight months since the beginning of the war. Over the nine-year span of the Vietnam War, the U.S. with a population six times that of Ukraine, lost a total of 58,220 men.
In other words, on a per day, per capita basis, Ukraine is losing soldiers at a rate 141 TIMES that of U.S. losses in Vietnam. The U.S. lost the public on Vietnam when middle class white boys began coming home in body bags. Does anybody with half a brain believe such losses in Ukraine are sustainable? Does anybody have another plan to avert such slaughter?
Von der Leyen is shrewdly laying the predicate for Western withdrawal from Ukraine and ending the war. If you look at the facts on the ground, not the boosterish propaganda ladled out by the media, you can understand why.
In a matter of weeks, Russia, with its hypersonic missiles, destroyed half of Ukraine’s electrical power infrastructure. This, as winter is coming on. It can just as easily take out the other half, effectively bombing Ukraine back into the Stone Age. Is that what anybody wants?
The startling, indeed, terrifying part of this is that neither Ukraine nor the West have any defense against these hypersonic missiles. They travel so fast, and on variable trajectories, they cannot be shot down, even by the most advanced Western systems. They represent one of the greatest asymmetries in deliverable destructive power in the history of warfare, probably dwarfed only by the U.S.’s possession of atomic bombs at the end of World War II.
Again, there is no effective defense against them. The Russians have them. The Ukrainians don’t. Game over. Can you understand why leaders in the West are beginning to wake up?
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On the conventional front, the Ukrainians are having trouble securing even conventional weapons to defend themselves. U.S. arms suppliers are working around the clock to replace their own stocks and the stocks that European countries have given to Ukraine. But the backlog is running into years. A recent headline from The Wall Street Journal stated, “Europe is Rushing Arms to Ukraine but Running Out of Ammo.”
Finally, the U.S. has committed $112 billion to Ukraine. That includes $45 billion just slipped into the omnibus funding bill against the likelihood that a Republican-controlled House will cut such funding, almost certainly substantially.
That’s more than $10 billion per month since the war started in February. And that doesn’t even count the subsidies, both material and financial, from the EU which amount to billions of dollars more per month.
Without such subsidies, Zelensky would not have lasted a month in the war. How many hours do you think he is going last once that flow dries up? And it surely is.
Europeans Waking Up
The Europeans are coming to realize that their continent is being de-industrialized, literally moved backwards an entire epoch in economic terms, because of their willingness to serve as the doormat for the U.S.’ imperial war against Russia. Not even they, with their supine fealty to U.S. domination, are willing to commit collective economic suicide on behalf of the U.S.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz are suggesting that accommodations to Russian interests must be devised in order to bring about a peaceful settlement of the war.
Macron suggested in a television address to his nation that an antagonized Russia is not in the security interests of Europe. “We need to prepare what we are ready to do … to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table.”
Scholz was even more specific. In an interview he declared, “We have to go back to the agreements which we had in the last decades and which were the basis for peace and security order in Europe.”
This is a direct repudiation of the U.S.’s maximalist position before the start of the war, that Russia’s security needs were of no interest to a marauding NATO.
Even U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is now mooting the idea that territorial concessions must be on the table. In a Wall Street Journal article, Blinken stated that, “Our focus is … to take back territory that’s been seized from [Ukraine] since February 24th.”
Notice, that this is a significant climb down from the U.S.’ earlier position that all Russian gains since 2014, including Crimea, must be reversed before negotiations could begin. And this is just Blinken’s opening hand. More concessions are sure to follow as Russian gains become greater and their likelihood of being reversed, lesser.
Formula for Losing the War
Put these four things together: staggering, unsustainable losses of soldiers; terrifying, indefensible asymmetries of destructive power; inability to supply oneself with even conventional defensive weapons; and categorically reduced support from your most important backers.
Does that sound like the formula for winning a war? It is not. It’s the formula for losing the war, which is why von der Leyen, Macron, Scholz and Blinken are now laying pipe for getting out. The tide is going out under Zelensky. He will soon be remembered as a Trivial Pursuits question, or an answer on Jeopardy: “The only modern head of state known to be able to play the piano with his penis.” Ding. “Contestant #3?” “Who is Volodymyr Zelensky?”
A peace will soon be declared. Russia will keep the Donbass and Crimea in recognition of the facts on the ground. Both sides will be better off for this. The Donbass is ethnically, linguistically, religiously, and culturally Russian, which is why it voted overwhelmingly for assimilation into Russia. Besides, if Kiev loved them so much, it wouldn’t have murdered 14,000 of them over the past eight years and resumed massive shelling in early February of this year, before the Russian invasion.
Ukraine will foreswear any future affiliation with NATO. This is Putin’s highest priority and what he asked for — and was denied — in his request to the U.S. and NATO last December, before the invasion was launched. If Russia begins its much-feared winter offensive, as many expect, Ukrainian generals will dispatch Zelensky in a coup rather than send their few remaining soldiers to certain annihilation.
U.S. grain and pharma conglomerates will buy up Ukrainian farmland — some of the best in the world — for pennies on the dollar. This is the standard MO of U.S. multinational vultures coming in after the kill to pick apart the carcasses. U.S. weapons makers will look for and help provoke the next feeding frenzy, much as they materialized Ukraine barely a year after the humiliating U.S. defeat in Afghanistan derailed their last gravy train.
Russia and China, driven together by U.S. bullying, will continue to constellate the nations of the Global South into an anti-Western bloc committed to collaborative, mutually profitable, peaceful development. The U.S. and its closest allies will cower behind the walls they’ve constructed of the ever-shrinking share of the global economy that they can manage to hold as their own.
Ukraine will prove a turning point in the dismantling of U.S. hegemony over global affairs that it has enjoyed — and, let’s be honest, often abused — since 1945. The U.S. public is not psychically prepared for such a come down. But that is the cost of living in the fantasy world that the media lavishes up to keep that self-same public ignorant, fearful, confused, entertained, and distracted.
Finally, the neo-cons who have led the U.S. into the serial debacles of Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Ukraine, costing the country tens of trillions of dollars and even greater amounts of destroyed reputational capital, will claim their customary immunity from any accountability for their savage failures and cheerily move on to their next calamity. We need to be on the lookout for their next gambit to pillage the treasury and advance their own private interests above those of the nation. It will surely come.
Robert Freeman is founder and executive director of The Global Uplift Project which builds small-scale infrastructure projects in the developing world to improve humanity’s capacity for self-development. Robert taught economics and history at Los Altos High School where he also coached the Speech and Debate team, including producing a national champion in 2006. He has traveled extensively in both the developed and developing world. He is the author of The Best One Hour History series which includes World War I (2013), The InterWar Years (2014), The Vietnam War (2013), and other titles.
This article is from Common Dreams.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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