London Pushes for War, War and More War
FLASH: The news has just come in that Ukrainian President Zelensky is making a visit to Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 21. It remains to be seen what effect discussions there will have on the course of the war in Ukraine.
From the United States, there have been two significant interventions worth noting in favor of negotiations on Ukraine. One is from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Dec. 17 Spectator, where he calls for an armistice before the conflict spins out of control. Under the headline “How To Avoid Another World War”, he describes the current conflict as a “war in which two nuclear powers contest a conventionally armed country”. In other words, an implicit recognition that this is actually a war between NATO and Russia, although he proposes conditions that are unacceptable for the Kremlin.
The other intervention is from the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987-1991) Jack Matlock. In a discussion with The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris Dec. 17, he made the useful observation that the end of the Cold War was not a victory of the West, but was negotiated by Washington and Moscow so as to be equally beneficial for both sides. On the current conflict, he is convinced that “it almost certainly would have been avoided, if there had not been the threat of NATO expansion, and the actual military involvement of NATO countries in Ukraine after its — one could call them ‘troubles’ in 2014, when the government was changed, and became much less representative of the whole country.”
From official Washington on the contrary, the line is to keep sending more and more weapons to Kiev to prolong the fighting, and from London even more so. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reiterated on Dec. 19 his opposition to negotiations, and argued for more military aid (“that means more air defense systems, it means artillery, it means armored vehicles”), while promising an increase in funds next year.
The Economist, for its part, complained on Dec. 15 that “The appearance of stalemate is feeding new interest in peace talks. Many in the West, appalled at the suffering, and, more selfishly, wearying of high energy prices, would welcome this. But Ukraine’s commanders argue that it should not happen too soon, and they are right.” Instead, “the supply of weapons must increase, and fast”, including longer-range weapons. In the end, writes the voice of the City of London, all territory occupied by the Russians must be retaken, including Crimea. That is also the line of President Zelensky and the government.
It’s not just weapons and money that the British have been providing. After months and months of not-so-credible denials, the former commandant general of the UK’s Royal Marines, Lieutenant General Robert Magowan, has admitted that the Royal Marines have been deployed on ‘high-risk covert operations” in Ukraine since April. In an article in Globe and Laurel, Magowan writes that “we have been heavily involved in training hundreds of Ukrainian military personnel throughout this summer. We are also planning to train Ukraine marines.”
On that note, the Pentagon also plans to more than double the number of Ukrainian troops trained at the U.S. Army base in Grafenwöhr, Germany, as of early next year, according to the New York Times. In addition, the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act is about to become law, which authorizes $858 billion in spending. Another more recent article in the New York Times points out that if this sum is approved, the Pentagon budget will have grown at 4.3% per year over the last two years — even after inflation, compared with an average of less than 1% a year in real dollars between 2015 and 2021.
However, whether the production of new weapons can keep up with all those destroyed and captured in the conflict, or smuggled out to arms mafias and terrorist groups worldwide, is another story. Gregory J. Hayes, Raytheon’s chief executive, has expressed serious doubts about it, saying “it will take us multiple years to restock and replenish”.