A Fantasy World versus Reality
Who’s living in the real world here? In a Jan. 29 interview with Canada’s CBC News, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that he had written a “wish list to Santa” Claus. That may sound cute… until you hear what he wished for: “fighter jets, aircraft and probably rockets… long-hand options to hit the Russians’ fuel depots, ammunition depots and their commanders.”
A few days before, commenting on the German decision to allow the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, followed by President Biden’s pledge of Abrams tanks, Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk tweeted: “Hallelujah Jesus Christ! And now, dear allies, let’s establish a powerful fighter jet coalition for Ukraine, with F-16s and F-35s, Eurofighters and Tornados, Rafale and Gripen jets – and everything you can deliver to save Ukraine.”
Exaggerated? The spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, Col. Yuriy Ihnat, claimed on Jan. 24 that decisions about what types of jets Ukraine will receive, along with training packages, had already been made. While he named no specific aircraft, speculation is rife about the F-16. In that case, direct support from the U.S. Air Force or from the contractor would be required.
One can assume that Ukrainian officials would not be making such statements, if they had not been encouraged to do so by Western forces (emphatically including Boris Johnson).
But will all the equipment promised, or wished for, make a difference? Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, among others, says it won’t. In a Jan. 27 interview, he decried the pledges as a political gesture from Washington, Berlin and NATO, whereas, in fact, Ukraine is losing the war against Russia, and there’s nothing that NATO can do to change that outcome.
Meanwhile in Washington, some fantasize about being able to take on China at the same time as Russia. In a confidential memo leaked last week, U.S. Air Force General Mike Minihan orders all Air Force commanders to report to him by the end of February on their efforts to prepare for a war against China. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025”, he wrote. And the notorious Rand Corporation has issued a new study advising against a protracted conflict in Ukraine, as it would weaken America’s ability to focus on its main competitor – China.
On this backdrop, Washington has accused Beijing of supplying financial and non-lethal military aid to Russia for its war in Ukraine. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning pointed on Jan. 30 to the responsibility of the U.S. and NATO in provoking the war. “The U.S. is the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, and has kept sending heavy and assault weapons to Ukraine, which has only prolonged and intensified the conflict. Rather than reflecting on its own acts, the U.S. has been sowing paranoia and pointing fingers at China. We reject such groundless blackmail, and we will not sit by and watch the U.S. harm the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
“If the U.S. truly wants an early end to the crisis and cares for the lives of the Ukrainian people, then it needs to stop sending weapons and profiteering from the fighting. The U.S. needs to act responsibly by helping the situation de-escalate as soon as possible, and create the necessary environment and conditions for peace talks between the parties concerned,” she concluded.
Reality has a way of overtaking even the most stubborn fantasies. The strengthened de facto alliance between Russia and China may prove that truism once again.