The Wishful Illusion that “Ukraine Is Winning”

General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, created an uproar among NATO war hawks after mentioning a possible window for peace talks on Ukraine (cf. SAS 47, 48/22). The Biden Administration made its stance clear by preparing a package of close to $40 billion more in military aid from the United States, while the U.K. weapons aid is about £4 billion. NATO’s line is that if more weapons are provided, Russia can be totally defeated and humiliated.

That claim, however, is increasingly challenged by actual military experts, as opposed to those military and intelligence officials tied to the “Military-Industrial Complex,” for whom war is a business proposition, and to the spokesmen for the collapsing “establishment”.

One of those experts is retired Col. Douglas MacGregor, who points to the severely damaged energy infrastructure of Ukraine, which has been hit as part of the Russians’ objective of undermining Kiev’s ability to wage war. The attacks on the power grid, railway hubs, fuel depots, bridges and command-and-control centers are accomplishing this. The deployment of fresh forces by Russia, he emphasized in a series of recent interviews, will allow them to cut supply lines from Poland, leaving Ukrainian troops cut-off and vulnerable, subjecting them to capture or being killed.

Retired Col. Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow for Defense Priorities, offered a similar assessment. He spoke of the Russian intention to close down the two supply corridors for Ukraine’s troops, from Poland in the west, and from Kiev. With these corridors closed, it “would be nearly impossible for Kiev to sustain wartime operations for more than a few weeks.” He believes the deployment of an additional 218,000 Russian troops would be able to accomplish that.

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter scoffed at the idea that Moscow wants to negotiate due to weakness, saying this is completely false, that the Russians have been willing to negotiate from the beginning. Since President Zelensky, under NATO pressure, is refusing to negotiate, Ritter believes that Russia is prepared to crush Ukraine.

If these three experts are right, how will NATO respond? Given that reports in recent days point to the lack of ammunition and military production capabilities of the member countries, there is no viable option short of full-scale involvement of NATO forces — other than to negotiate with Russia, which NATO has remained unwilling to do since the Maidan coup in Feb. 2014. In fact, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko candidly admitted, in a recent prank call, that his government never took Minsk Agreements seriously, but welcomed the time it gave them to build up the Ukrainian armed forces, together with NATO, so as to be eventually capable of imposing a military “solution” on the Donbass.

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