NATO’s Scorched Earth in Ukraine

The forthcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11-12  seems already infected by a strange policy fatalism, writes Tony Kevin.

By Tony Kevin
Special to Consortium News

Hope of a policy breakthrough in Vilnius, Lithuania towards peace in Ukraine, spearheaded by the war-weary East Europeans, seems to have drained away.

There is general acceptance in NATO that the Ukrainian summer offensives in Zaporizhie and again now in Bakhmut have failed to dent Russian defences, with horrific mortality in Ukrainian manpower and enormous destruction of Western-supplied equipment.

The West seems content to let Zelensky go on wasting Ukraine’s increasingly scarce military-age men in a process described by writer Raúl Ilargi Meijer as NATO’s assisted suicide of the Ukrainian nation.

The NATO unspoken strategy seems to be: we know Russia is inevitably winning in Ukraine, but we will make sure we and our Kiev proxies destroy as much as possible of Ukraine’s manpower and national wealth before Russia takes control of the country.

The Kakhovka dam is gone, and what is left of Zaporizhie Nuclear Power Plant seems increasingly at risk of West-assisted Ukrainian sabotage. These two huge assets were the pivots of Ukraine’s industrial and agricultural potential and wealth.

When Russia wins political control over the ruined land of Ukraine, and after it repudiates Western carpetbagging claims to asset ownership there, it will face a huge rebuilding job, comparable to the situation the Soviet Union faced in Ukraine after the 1944-45 vengeful scorched-earth actions by the retreating Nazi divisions.

Meanwhile, Germany under its supine Scholz leadership is de-industrialising, following the loss of cheap Russian gas after the U.S.-conducted sabotage of the Baltic pipelines. German industrialists are taking their capital, management skills and intellectual property elsewhere. France is riven by serious rioting. The EU is distracted and aimless. Western Europe is shrinking in global influence.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, January 18, 2021. (NATO, Flickr)

In the U.S., only the military-industrial-information complex is doing well. Infrastructure continues to decay. The middle class is eroding and confused. The Democrats are the party of liberal imperialism and the Republicans are still riven between warmongers and America-first nationalist Trumpians. Who knows who will be the next U.S. president, and if he or she can arrest America’s relative decline.

Russia steadily makes reputational headway in what it now describes as the Global Majority (what used to be the Global South). There is an increasingly long queue of governments seeking to join BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The Russia-China strategic alliance is the linchpin of this growing robust and intellectually confident ideology of multipolarity which is attracting the attention of serious governments around the world.

Russia’s task is to win in Ukraine, as it is doing, but without destroying its reputation with China and the Global Majority.

Russia is bringing down the curtain on 320 years since Peter the Great began trying to make Russia a member of the European-Anglophone Club. Russia will never trust the West again.

The history of Western diplomatic treachery during the last 32 years since the 1991 end of Soviet Communism has shown Russians that the U.S.-U.K. agenda was always about much more than defeating Communism: it was about expanding American global hegemony and breaking up Russia as a competing world civilisational state.

There is enough evidence now to satisfy the Global Majority that U.S. regime change and controlling operations in Ukraine since 2013 have been above all cynically aimed at weakening and destabilising Russia. Remembering their own viciously exploited colonial history, the Global Majority are glad these Western efforts are failing.

The Vilnius NATO meeting will produce no new miracles of salvation for the doomed Kiev regime. There will be a lot of tired rhetoric about continuing to defend democratic Ukraine.

Nobody – speakers or listeners – will believe it .

Tony Kevin is a former Australian senior diplomat, having served as ambassador to Cambodia and Poland, as well as being posted to Australia’s embassy in Moscow. He is the author of six published books on public policy and international relations.

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

32 comments for “NATO’s Scorched Earth in Ukraine

  1. Robert Emmett
    July 7, 2023 at 11:06

    It’s sad to think Ukrainians comply with playing out their own destruction by degrees & with seeding anti-personnel mines & depleted uranium shells to spite Russians.

    Would they also comply with sowing a darker, more long-suffering evil across their land? Would that even be their choice to make?

    Vengeful is a powerfully ugly word.

    There is a kind of madness at work here that appears to know no bounds. But then, that’s what war is, isn’t it?

  2. Burning Berlin
    July 7, 2023 at 10:14

    Instead “assisted suicide”, I’d rather call it “genocide by proxy”. Remember: “Till the last Ukrainian”

  3. Sue Rarick
    July 7, 2023 at 08:20

    There is a good chance Putin is pulling a Reagan. China/India/Russia are getting ready to propose a commodity-based currency basket all BRICS+ and SCO countries can trade in and drop the dollar. There are 30+ countries looking to join BRICS+ and the SCO.

    We are 32 trillion in debt and depend on the dollar as reserve currency to stay solvent. The dollar is at the end of its run as world currency lasting longer than the Pound-Guilder’s respective runs.

    This conflict in Ukraine can be the straw that breaks the Camel’s back.

  4. July 6, 2023 at 16:05

    Thank you, Tony Kevin, for this succinct, and I’d say accurate, summary of the state of affairs vis a vis Ukraine and the myopic, intellectually stultified NATO leaders. The latter cling to some wishful thinking about maintaining their Empire’s slipping grasp on hegemony. Will any ever develop a more clear-eyed grasp of reality?

  5. vinnieoh
    July 6, 2023 at 14:44

    What a powerful piece of writing. Thank you Tony Kevin. I note also this is a “Special to Consortium News.”

  6. July 6, 2023 at 14:06

    There must be war crime tribunals in the future with NATO at the head of the line. It needs to have a stake driven through its heart.

    Always found it a nice irony that Count von Quisling was a fellow country man of Stoltenberg. In his earlier years Stoltenberg opposed the existence of NATO , now up to his elbows in blood.

  7. Randal Marlin
    July 6, 2023 at 13:42

    When I heard the statement by the U.S. representative to the United Nations Security Council at the meeting on the Draft Resolution Establishing Commission to Investigate Sabotage of Nord Stream Pipeline, on 27 March 2023, I was left in no doubt that he was denying that the U.S. played any role in making the sabotage happen.
    Yet the UN Security Council’s report on what was said made no reference to any such specific denial. Here is how the report summarizes the United States Representative’s opening statement:
    “ROBERT A. WOOD (United States), voicing his categorical objection to unfounded allegations about his country’s role in the act of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipeline, said the international community cannot tolerate actions to damage critical infrastructure. However, he pointed out that the text put forth by the Russian Federation was not an attempt to seek the truth; it was an attempt to discredit the work of ongoing national investigations which might not reach conclusions that align with their predetermined narrative. The national investigations by Sweden, Denmark and Germany are transparent and impartial, and must be allowed to conclude. Therefore, the United States did not support the draft resolution and abstained, he added. He went on to question the true intent of the Russian Federation in choosing to put forth a resolution that had such little support, emphasizing the need for the Council to not allow spurious allegations to distract it from more pressing matters that deserve its attention and resources.”

    There were no doubt many unfounded allegations about U.S. involvement in the sabotage, but there were also some well-founded allegations. Besides Seymour Hersh’s evidence, about which to dismiss it as “single-sourced” is misleading,to say the least, there is President Joseph Biden’s public promise that if Russia were to invade Ukraine, which it did in February, 2022, he would ensure that the Nord Stream pipelines would no longer exist.

    That the U.S. Representative would categorically deny U.S. involvement, without, as I remember, giving any explanation for the President’s statement, seems to me to show contempt for the UN Security Council.
    I wonder if in that light NATO would consider, at its meeting next week, removing Section 7 from its Charter. It would recognize a certain reality, but of course it is most unlikely they would do this.
    Section 7 reads as follows:
    Article 7
    This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

  8. Vera Gottlieb
    July 6, 2023 at 11:45

    Olaf Scholz is an IDIOT…In a recent article it was stated that at a news conference (in Germany) he said that ‘Crimea had always been Ukrainian’. I sent an email to ZDF (major German outlet) reminding them of the fact that Russia had won Crimea in a war against Turkey (Ottoman) back in the 1700’s . But IDIOTS is what our political world seems to be populated with.

  9. incontinent reader
    July 6, 2023 at 11:30

    For some time the foreign policy cabal in Washington (and their bank and multinational corporation sponsors) have been planning a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine. (Go to the German Marshall Fund website.) And, total destruction of Ukraine and its infrastructure is consistent with that policy.

    They have probably sold the idea to European industrialists as a welfare state way to subsidize their current losses, and are also expecting to use expropriated Russian reserves to pay for at least a part of it.

    It is pie in the sky, since the only countries now with the industrial wherewithal are China – and Russia- and possibly India and Turkey. And it is not clear what will be the final territory of Ukraine, or its government. Moreover, it presupposes that all the concessions and sales of land- e.g. to multinationals like Cargill, Bayer, etc. – heretofore granted will be acceptable to, and accepted by, the new government.

    Also, I believe that those companies are expecting to use their GMO seeds and pesticides in Ukraine, so that all of Europe will be forced to consume their poisons to survive (just like the no-option vaccines that don’t work), while lining the pockets of those companies and the banks that fund them- and of the corrupt officials (e.g., von der Leyen) that shill for them.

  10. onno37
    July 6, 2023 at 11:20

    Zelenski’s ONLY objective in the war with Russia is to mantain his position on this planet as the leader of the west to fight Russia sacrificing thousands of UA men’s lives & destroying the nation all together which was already bankrupt BEFORE this war. Anyhow this war has become a time bomb with nuclear potential between USA/EU & Russia. As we have seen with the previous 2 world wars it was caused by hi unemployment & economic recessions WW III will be for the same reasons since both USA & EU are in an economic recession with hi unemployment & rising. Selenski’s objective is to get USA/EU direcly & militarily involved in this war which is a step further than the present military support of Kiev which will be an ALL OPEN NUCLEAR war!!

  11. Jeff Harrison
    July 6, 2023 at 10:49

    Very cogent piece. My only comment is that “democratic Ukraine” should be in quotes.

  12. Simon
    July 6, 2023 at 10:47

    Why do I get the impression that Tony Kevin does not like the US and wants to blame the Russia invasion on America. So much of what is said in this article may be factual but it is apparent that something should be done to gain consensus at NATO and I have a hard time believing that all the member nations are so naive about what is transpiring. I prefer to remain optimistic.

    • Tim N
      July 6, 2023 at 14:06

      So, lots of things in the article are factual but you’re having a hard time with facts? What are you on about? The US did start the war in Ukraine, and like all wars the US starts, it will result in the ruination of the country the US falsely claimed it was bringing democracy to. ANY optimism about the outcome of the NATO summit is childish naivete.

    • Bob Martin
      July 6, 2023 at 15:31

      “Why do I get the impression that Tony Kevin does not like the US and wants to blame the Russia invasion on America.” Because he’s smart.

      • Eddy Schmid
        July 7, 2023 at 02:45

        Maybe the U.S. gets the blame because they DID admit, the object of the war is to weaken Russia and hopefully depose Putin from within. How the hell are people failing to read and remember such FACTS ?

    • July 6, 2023 at 15:59

      Russia’s launching of its “Special Military Operation” in the Donbass WAS directly attributable to the U.S. neocon- led plan to push Russia into a corner of perceived existential danger from which there would be NO feasible alternative but to get bogged down in a war in Ukraine. If you doubt, this, read the 2019 Rand Corp. memorandum on Ukraine (which is likely still findable via Google). That goal, of weakening and bleeding Russia by drawing them into a war in Ukraine, is the exact guidance contained within it. Yet several Presidential Administrations, whose foreign policy team was comprised of much the same group of hawks (many affiliated with the necon Project for A New American Century (PNAC), had already been setting the stage. First by breaching the promise (Bush/Baker to Gorbachev/Shevardnaze) that NATO wouldn’t take advantage of the dissolution of the Soviet Union (and German Reunification) by expanding onto the former Soviet States. Then, by unilateral withdrawal from both the ABM (BushII) and INF (Trump) treaties; and the placement of ABMs into former Soviet , now-NATO borders with Russia; gradually leading to the removal of any security provided Russia under the assurance of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) that might protect it against an American first strike.

      But gradually encircling Russia with U.S. / NATO weaponry and hostility was only part of it. Russia had for a long time stipulated that Ukraine membership in NATO would be a crossing of a red-line in terms of security threats. Many high-ranking U.S. officials, from diplomatic, intelligence and military corps, as well as international relations experts and others, had echoed that warning multiple times since the beginning of the 90s. Still, successive Administrations talked up the desirability and inevitability of a NATO-ized Ukraine; and in 2014, with Victoria Nuland (wife of PNAC founder Rob’t Kagan) at point and Biden signing off, the U.S. engineered and supported a regime change coup in Kyiv, replacing the elected President Yanukovych (who had JUST announced a long-term economic-and-security assuring deal with Russia) with a Washington-selected puppet government that was decidedly hostile to Russia and ethnic Russians.

      Subsequent anti-Russian legislation, along with the empowerment (with CIA help) of the ultranationalist neo-Nazi factions, pogroms against ‘sub-humans’ like the ethnic Russians (and gypsies, LGBQT and others), led to the declaration of independence by the Russian-populated Donbass autonomous regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the firm resolution of Crimeans to separate politically from Ukraine and petition Russia for annexation. Those events all triggered Ukraine’s 8-year (and counting) long war in the Donbass, in which an est. 14,000 had been killed by 2021. When Ukraine, whose military had been training with and equipped by the U.S., et al, greatly amplified that war towards the end of 2021, with Russia’s appeals for negotiations – to Ukraine, to the U.S. and to Minsk Accord facilitators France and Germany – were all ignored – Russia began massing its own troops on the other side of the Donbass border. It called once more for negotiations, but was basically given the finger by the Biden Administration, with both he and Blinken calling the Russian appeal, “a non-starter”.

      This sequence of events and ‘responses’ to what Russia clearly perceived as direct, imminent and existential threats is clear evidence that the U.S. deliberately sought to bait Russia into crossing the border and beginning that war that Rand Corp. advised. Those existential threats to Russia, to recount, included:
      – another potential Nazi-led invasion from Ukraine (the prev. one having taken an est. 25+ Million Soviet lives);
      – the positioning of nuclear-capable and MAD-unraveling ABMs minutes away from Russia’s population centers;
      – a completed ethnic cleansing of E. Ukraine of all Russian speakers;
      – and the likelihood that an escalated war on its border involving Russians would likely spill over into Russia itself.

      Further evidence supporting the desirability (to U.S. foreign policy leaders) of this war are:
      1) U.S. State Dep’t involvement (as made clear in the leaked Nuland-Pyatt phone conversation as well as in early reports in MSM expressing concern about the CIA’s courtship of Nazis in Ukraine) in a regime-change coup against Yanukovych RIGHT AFTER he had agreed to a long-term deal with Russia that would have ensured peace for decades).
      2) the U.S. promotion of NATO membership for Ukraine which became increasngly loud and more direct over recent years), despite all previous and continuing warnings from Russia and Russia-experts in the West;
      3)the rejection of every single overture from Russia for negotiations with the West on its (legitimate and understandable) security concerns;
      4) Subsequent sabotage by the U.S. and UK (via BoJo) of promising negotiations that divulged a tentative agreement on cease fire between Russia and Ukraine in early March, 2022.
      5) Maintenance of a “no-negotiation” position by both Ukraine and its patron, the U.S. ever since;
      6) Gradual escalation, by the U.S. via introduction of increasingly dangerous / escalatory weaponry; and
      7) Pronouncement by a number of U.S. leaders that ‘we will fight Russia to the Last Ukrainian’, and “We fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight them here”.

      So yes, the U.S. is HIGHLY culpable for the starting of this war as well as its escalation and continuance. Russia certainly had ‘agency’- but to this day, despite my asking, NOT ONE SINGLE person has offered any feasible, workable option that would have removed the existential threats to which Russia had pleaded, unsuccessfully and for years, for negotiations. I’m still waiting to hear even one reasonable alternative that would allow Russia’s leadership to do its duty in protecting the nation and its people.

      • Eddy Schmid
        July 7, 2023 at 02:50

        Thank you Roger for your post of the F.A.C.T.S. I’ve been very much aware of everything you have posted. I just get sick and tired of clueless people, constantly sticking their heads up and asking stupid inane questions, instead of doing their own homework. It’s not difficult. All it takes is a visit to this site twice a week, and another visit to RT’s web site, collecting relevent articles ,and storing them away on their own P.C. for future reading.

      • Carl N
        July 7, 2023 at 10:26

        An excellent summary! Should be required reading for every current propagandized warmonger.

        I would also mention the Biden/Putin talks, prior to the invasion, when Biden could have averted the entire war by addressing Russia’s concerns. The talks took place over two or three days, with Putin wanting to fly over and meet face-to-face. Instead, Biden refused to meet, and put out a sanctimonious statement about the importance of negotiations but a refusal to listen to talks of invasion. In the meantime, refusing to listen to russia, he was calling up other western leaders, telling them of the immanent war, and planning the crippling sanctions that would put an end to russia.

        A leader, with a chance to avert a war, does what he can to do so. Not our leaders, unfortunately. They wanted it.

    • Martin
      July 6, 2023 at 16:19

      they’re not naive,imo. their representatives are just quite bad people.

  13. susan
    July 6, 2023 at 08:37

    I wonder what will happen now that Elon Musk and cronies have launched Starlink/Starshield? hxxps:// I saw the ‘transport’ on June 28, 2023 at 4:30 AM…

    • Valerie
      July 6, 2023 at 10:22

      That’s just a spy thing i believe with low orbital capabilities. This however seems a bit more worrisome susan:

      “US ‘ready to fight in space if we have to’, says military official”

      “Threat posed by ‘provocative’ Russia and China has left US no choice but to prepare for orbital skirmishes”

      Ian Sample Science editor

      Sun 28 May 2023 13.52 BST Guardian

      “The US is ready for conflict in outer space, according to a senior military official, after developing anti-satellite technologies to counter the threats posed by “provocative” countries such as Russia and China.

      Brig Gen Jesse Morehouse at US Space Command, the arm of the military responsible for space operations, said Russian aggression and China’s vision to become the dominant space power by mid-century, had left the US with “no choice” but to prepare for orbital skirmishes.”

      It’s like “starwars” or something. What does an “orbital skirmish” look like i wonder.
      They’re completely bonkers.

      • Eddy Schmid
        July 7, 2023 at 02:56

        ”Space Force” ????? With private enterprise supplying the vehicles to enter space at exhorbitent cost to the tax payers of the U.S. Russia, India, China, and the U.S. have all demonstrated they can take down satelites in space from earth. As soon as one Nation starts this, everyone else with the same capability will follow. Maybe it’s a GOOD thing, one things for sure, it’ll clean up all the space junk contaminating space around earth.

        • Valerie
          July 7, 2023 at 11:01

          “Stars could be invisible within 20 years as light pollution brightens night skies”

          “The increased use of light-emitting diodes is obscuring our view of the Milky Way as well as taking a toll on human and wildlife health”

          Robin McKie for the Observer

          Sat 27 May 2023 14.01 BST

          I haven’t seen the Milky Way for over 2 years now. Maybe we’ll get to see the “skirmishes” instead. They could be quite bright. LOL

  14. July 6, 2023 at 08:10

    Very cogent summary. The West seems to be a victim of their own lies, used to keep their populations on board with self-destructive policies that only benefit the wealthy elite. Propaganda works exceptionally well, and that apparently includes working on policy-makers in Western governments. They all seem to operate in a disinformation bubble created by think tanks and intelligence agencies and disseminated by the corporate news teleprompt readers. I find it interesting that the obvious propaganda is embraced by those in government to an extent where it becomes impossible to tell if the government officials who spout the lies believe them or just repeat them. They act and sound as though they believe every word. Are they good actors, or simpletons? I am thinking the latter.

    • forceOfHabit
      July 6, 2023 at 11:14

      “…obvious propaganda is embraced by those in government to an extent where it becomes impossible to tell if the government officials who spout the lies believe them or just repeat them. They act and sound as though they believe every word.”

      Reminds me of the Soviet apparatchiki of a previous era. Sadly, much like Israel, we have become our own worst enemy.

  15. Bruce Edgar
    July 6, 2023 at 08:00

    America under Biden/Blinken “leadership” has been hoisted on its own petard. Who would’ve thunk it!

    • Eddy Schmid
      July 7, 2023 at 02:58

      Don’t give Biden all the credit, there were many Presidents before him who ALL worked together for their ultimate goal.

  16. Valerie
    July 6, 2023 at 07:15

    From the article:

    “Russia’s task is to win in Ukraine, as it is doing, but without destroying its reputation with China and the Global Majority.”

    Let us hope they can maintain their current strategy without being goaded into some regrettable action by the NATO “numbskulls”.

  17. Francis Lee
    July 6, 2023 at 06:40

    Reading the Western Press one is struck to the extent of how far detached from objective reality the western media has become! For example :- ”Secret Files Reveal Putin and Russia on the brink of collapse.” Yes, but of course! This is the daily tripe served up by the UK/Euro printed media. It is usually sourced from some internal Ukrainian entity which is printed in its entirety. Who actually reads this stuff seems something of a mystery. I suppose we should all better get ready for Putin’s demise which of course is imminent – until it isn’t! What will happen next is a complete disappearance of these types of messaging which have outlived their collective useful purposes.

    All very reminiscent of the British Playwright Harold Pinter’s valediction shortly before his death: Events which were taking place in the outside world, a world of conflict, death and murder, were in Pinter’s words, ‘not happening’ they ‘never happened’ and ‘even while they were happening they were not happening.’ ‘They were of no importance.’

    This is how reality is constructed and finally trashed like so much of yesterdays ‘news’. From its inception to its demise. In our own age schizophrenia would seem be a much better instrument for ascertaining the real world than the baby-talk of the mass media.

    • Robert
      July 6, 2023 at 16:14

      Agree that western media is detached from reality. When I read articles in which the stenographers duly pass on information from western governments, especially Ukraine, as factual data even though common sense tells the reader its probably false information.

      When we go back and remember that day one of this war came with the preposterous story out of Ukraine about the magnificent Ghost of Kiev, it’s easy to see how we ended up where we are now with “saving democracy in Ukraine” and “Ukraine is winning the war”.

      The only good part of this war to date is that non western governments have finally said enough is enough and the BRICS and SCO are finally going to present an alternative to US hegemony. The entire world, including the United States, will be better off in a multi polar world.

  18. John Robertson
    July 6, 2023 at 00:44

    What a shame the Australian MSM won’t give a voice to the realists like Tony Kevin.
    Particularly shameful is the ABC.

    • JulianP
      July 7, 2023 at 06:54

      Agreed John, particularly as regards the ABC.

      When one considers its previous history and role in Oz society, its present is nothing like its past.

      BTW, on the theme of destruction of empire I was referred to a pertinent article by the economist Michael Hudson, it makes for interesting reading:

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