Ukraine: graveyard of the US Empire?

4 Jul

Well, maybe not quite, but the writing is on the wall. Any truly impartial assessment of the hard realities our leaders and systemically supine media have been in flat denial of 1 must conclude that, America having overplayed its hand repeatedly since 1990 – and having now picked a fight with a power it can’t intimidate … can’t defeat by ‘shock and awe’ … can’t by economic warfare reduce to basket case status … – the historians of this already momentous century will declare 2 the Ukraine war a defining event: synchronising and expediting the blowback of three decades of Exceptionalist hubris, and crossing a Rubicon to which Washington/Wall Street overlordship of a dollarised planet would never return.

But don’t take my word – that of a Marxist and anti-imperialist – on this. Here (not for the first time) a former senior US military figure speaks out. For fifteen grimly forensic minutes he lays out just how disastrous this proxy war, to which decades of poking the bear have led, really is. Disastrous not only for Ukraine, but for its American and European promoters too. 3

Without further comment, let me hand over to retired US Colonel, Richard Black, speaking to the Schiller Institute a fortnight ago.

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  1. ” … our leaders and systemically supine media have been in flat denial …”   I use the past tense – present perfect if we want to be pedantic – because empire trusted media like the Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post now show signs of leading the way on preparing, in drip-fed increments, their audiences for defeat in Ukraine.
  2. Any talk of what “historians of this already momentous century”  will or will not declare is of course contingent upon one distinctly possible outcome – which Col. Black considers at 12:44 – not materialising.
  3. “Disastrous” for America and Europe is not quite right. Though the USA has taken a huge dent in its capacity to strong-arm the global south, Europe is suffering – and until it has leaders willing to stand up to US diktat, will continue to suffer – far more.

    Writing under her Naked Capitalism pen name (Yves Smith) analyst Susan Webber makes this assessment in her intro to a recent Michael Hudson interview:

    On the potential for depression front, Germany, the UK and much of Northern Europe are going to hit a wall this winter due to energy shortages if they don’t change course – and their inability to admit the economic war with Russia is a disaster for them means they won’t. BASF is already threatening to shutter the biggest chemical complex in the world, over 200 plants in Germany. Business shutdowns will mean a collapse in employment and tax revenues. And Germany, the UK, and other European countries are also warning of very large food price increases coming. Italy is also heavily dependent on Russian gas and has wobbly banks and a fragile economy.

    Indeed, as more than one post on this site attests – see, for instance, Can Europe break free of a dying empire? – there are grounds for supposing Europe’s further bondage to Washington to have been a US war aim.

12 Replies to “Ukraine: graveyard of the US Empire?

  1. It doesn’t matter for the purpose of destabilising Russia if Ukraine is going to lose the war. It only matters that the war drag on as long as possible.

    • I agree – to a degree. Yes, the US aim of repeating in Ukraine Brzezinski’s Afghan Trap of the 80s would be served by Ukraine’s inevitable but protracted defeat. But did you watch Colonel Black’s withering assessment? His point is that Ukraine is incapable of sustained resistance (of the kind, since I’ve made the analogy, put up by the Afghan Mujahadeen in terrain much more favourable to asymmetric warfare).

      We’re not talking here of Russian victory five or even two years down the road. For every day of Kiev failure to sue for peace, it is (a) haemorrhaging increasingly demoralised Ukrainian lives, and (b) guaranteeing that the final terms of the inevitable capitulation will be harsher.

      In any case the wider point stands. Washington’s multiple failures – economic warfare from which Russia emerges stronger, not weaker; and wholesale refusal across the imperialised world to impose the demanded sanctions – have dealt the US Empire a serious blow from which it will not fully recover.

      Of course, that still leaves two terrible possibilities. One is Washington upping the ante by moving its notion of a “tactical” nuclear war into actuality on Russia’s border. The other is that, its pride wounded, it will become more bellicose in other parts of the world – the Taiwan Strait for instance – to show it is still the boss.

      I have been saying for at least two decades – long before my eyes were opened (largely through Syria) to the extent of the capacity for evil of the US empire – that history offers no precedent for a superpower remaining impassive in the face of its own decline. These are dangerous times.

      • How dare you sir! it was a serious description. I will send you details of my seconds and choice of weapon (probably CD or MP3), and expect to see you at dawn tomorrow on the Steel City campus. PS My alarm clock is broken.

      • The Ukranian Army can’t last (according to my very amateur calculation) more than another 4/6 or so weeks. They are running short of trained men, munitions and fuel. If they undergo the catastrophic breakdown I envisage (and surely they must at some point – irregular batches of four missile launchers won’t save them) then Russia will decide when the fighting will end and what territorial losses the new ex-Nazi government must agree to. Another danger point before then may be Lithuania and access to Kaliningrad. I think there is growing panic in Brussels over Lithuania’s stance, so that might be controllable too. If the Yanks start trouble for China re Taiwan, they are in for a short sharp shock. Even their own (US) war-games give China a win 99 times out of a hundred (or something similar!)

        That just leaves, as you say, the US destroying the world in a fit of pique. There may be sane Generals in the Pentagon who will stop that (as in the case of the general who recently contacted China to re-assure them) – or there may not. We’ll just have to wait and see. If not, then at least we won’t have to worry about our pensions any more. 🙁

        • Just to pick up on the Kaliningrad aspect, here’s Reuters on June 30:

          If the traditional route for Russian goods to Kaliningrad, first via its ally Belarus and then Lithuania, is not restored, the Baltic state fears Moscow could use military force to plough a land corridor through its territory.

          Germany, meanwhile, has soldiers stationed in Lithuania and could be sucked into a confrontation alongside its NATO allies if that were to happen.

          Europe’s biggest economy is also heavily reliant on Russian gas imports and would be vulnerable to any reduction in flows if the Kaliningrad dispute escalated.

          “We have to face reality,” said one [German official] with direct knowledge of the EU discussions, describing Kaliningrad as “sacred” for Moscow.

          “(Putin) has much more leverage than we have. It’s in our interests to find a compromise,” he said, conceding that the eventual outcome may appear unfair.

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