By Ollie Richardson
On January 3rd, 2018, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin said that the weapons that the United States will give to Ukraine will only be used in the event there are provocations by illegal armed groups, but not for the escalation of the conflict in Donbass.
“We are talking about weapons of a defensive nature. These weapons can and will be used in the event there are provocations by the Russian side and the terrorists it supports, and, as you know, they won’t be used offensively, so it cannot be used as an argument that will contribute to stoking the fire of the conflict,” said Klimkin at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Germany Sigmar Gabriel on Wednesday in Kiev.
So, in non-PR language, what does this really mean?
As is known, the NAF staged their last “offensive” (in reality it was about repelling the UAF) in 2015. Since then the agreed demarcation line was cemented. The OSCE confirmed at the time of Minsk II that the NAF had removed all their heavy weapons, and the UAF had not. Over the next 2 years the results of global processes would determine both the NAF’s and UAF’s positions. These positions have not changed in 1 year besides the grey zone incursions by Kiev and the capture by DPR of some abandoned placements near Mariupol.
Thus, the trend that was set in motion after Kiev’s Debaltsevo embarrassment has continued along its projected markers. Today the UAF has a very large grouping next to the demarcation line and ~30km beyond it, and the NAF is also entrenched and has 27,000+ reservists ready. The situation in general can be described as an equilibrium, taking into account the Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, Lebanese, African, Venezuelan, and other peripheral theatres of economic-military operations. Now factor in everything else going on in Ukraine, such as mass fleeing from the country (of skilled people especially), increased debt, Makhnovshchina, etc and it becomes evident that the “provocation” that Klimkin is speaking about is a total bluff. The UAF can’t afford to stage a big offensive, and Russia currently isn’t interested in including the DPR/LPR into its structure. Why? Because the moment Russia does this, it hands over the rest of Ukraine to the US on a platter – bonjour official NATO bases! So, this equilibrium will remain mostly likely until the presidential/Prime Minister elections.
The “lethal weapons” bravado (has America ever supplied its proxies with “non-lethal” weapons?) is for the most part another psychological operation. The main aim of this blah blah blah is to normalise the idea of the US sending weapons to Ukraine (a foreign State). It is a test balloon for the domains of economics and international relations. As the test has shown, weapons can be overtly sent to Kiev without a problem. So, the question is: does Ukraine need to be a NATO member to reform the army according to NATO standards? No. Reform will take place regardless. Official statuses in general matter not in fourth generation warfare. For the US this is the best of both worlds: it can “legally” be in Ukraine (according to the NATO partnership) and convert the army, but at the same time it can drop the project when it becomes too expensive, due to the loose partnership and the lack of official bloc status.
Coincidently, this is the same scheme that the EU is running: Ukraine will never be a EU member, but since many suits and ties in Brussels placed a stake on Maidan, they needed the “visa-free” and “association agreement” to make the process of siphoning out the wealth more fluid, since the Minsk Agreements provoked an intra-elite conflict to begin in Ukraine over what remains of the resource base. And once again, it can never be pronounced enough – Minsk II prevents the US and EU from simply throwing a banderist Ukraine at Russia like a grenade.
“Lethal weapons” simulacra (which involves lip-service in the Senate for show) a way of beginning overt NATO-standard reforms is one thing, but actually replicating the Al-Nusra TOW scheme is another. And the fact that the latter Middle Eastern example happened on a conveyor belt in secret shows that the overt rhetoric about sending “frightening” and “superior” peashooters to Kiev is designed (poorly, at that) to pressurise Russia in the PR domain. It is for sure that more fear can induce the fifth-column “Putin betrayed Donbass” club to parrot more nonsense, such as “send Armata tanks and TOS-1A to Novorossiya – anything less is treason!”.
And one other point: the environment in Donbass is not suitable for Javelins at all. It is mostly close-quarters urban combat. Take a look at East Ghouta in Syria, and then the Deir Ezzor offensive. They are very different. ATGM’s in Donbass is like a Ford Mustang on Nürburgring.
US/EU/NATO troops are actually roaming freely around Ukraine. Deliveries arrive at the US military base in Yavorov, Lvov, and can arrive in Donbass before sunset. This applies to troops too. If the US a) wanted to, and b) was able to stage an offensive on the LDPR, then what’s with the delay? Ah! It is because point “b” is a “no”. And that’s why the North Korean, Lebanese, and Iranian fronts opened up – because the US currently isn’t in a position to juggle multiple balls at once: countering China’s economy, isolating Russia in general, keeping Israel happy, completing the Monroe doctrine, maintaining the dollar/Federal Reserve hegemony in Europe etc. And the US has to decide what’s more important today.
And the answer to the question about priorities is, of course, countering China’s economy, which in general requires much more resources, time, and effort. Russia’s plan is simple: to keep the status quo so that the US’ presence in Ukraine becomes more of a hindrance for Washington than a help. But the key word is: “time”. And it is this subjective measure of existence that no bomb or lobby can influence. The fact is that ever since Russia placed the S-400 in Western Syria in late 2015, “time” for Washington became warped. Now the paradoxical paradise known as the USA is unable to loot (via “no-fly zones”) another 2nd/3rd-world country in order to keep the “American dream” alive. The country must start producing wealth internally in a rapid manner and to chip away at the $20 trillion public debt in a period of time that is at least half of what it took China to become the number one economy in the world if it is to stay afloat. Contrary to what some may believe, but concentrating wealth in the stock market and in weapons companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon doesn’t actually constitute economic growth. And this can be proven by a quick visit to either Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, St Louis, Los Angeles – where lethal weapons are indeed used with high efficiency – or any US city that looked ever so inviting in that Hollywood movie advertised on the TV.
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