By The Zman - February 2, 2023
The shadow that has hung over the Ukraine war is the fear that it could lead to a direct clash between Washington and Moscow. Given that both sides have large arsenals of nuclear weapons, conflict could lead to Armageddon. Compounding things is the fact that Biden cannot stop talking about nuclear war. Given his mental condition, this suggests that he is often in earshot of the decision makers, who may be seriously discussing the possible use of nuclear weapons.
The dynamic of the war thus far has been Washington poking Moscow hoping for a response, which it can use to justify escalation. First, they said that they would not supply Ukraine with Western weapons, then they sent Western weapons. Then it was long range guided missiles. Now we see modern tanks being prepped, with discussions about F-16 fighter jets on the agenda. All of these weapons transfers are intended to provoke a response from Moscow.
The proof of that is the fact that none of these systems can make a difference on the battlefield for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is that the West has designed its weapons to be used in combined arms warfare. Alone, these weapons are not terribly useful and may even be a hinderance to the Ukrainians. The M777 howitzer, for example, is known for being maintenance heavy. Giving the Ukrainians these weapons just adds to their onerous sustainment burden.
Of course, the “cry out in pain as you strike” tactic is the regime default. This is used domestically and internationally. It goes back a long time. In his ongoing criticism of Washington with regards to the war in Ukraine, Douglas Macgregor likes to remind people that the Roosevelt administration did everything it could to bait the Japanese into launching an attack on American assets. They needed a reason to get into the war and that was viewed as the best avenue.
When you combine the psychological instability of the people running the war for the regime and the long history of provoking adversaries, the prospects of a nuclear holocaust start to look better or worse, depending upon your perspective. If the usual suspects stick to their usual patterns, it means they will keep provoking the Russians until they get the desired response. That desired response will justify some further provocation eventually leading to all out war.
The first question to answer here is what response from Russia would warrant a direct attack on Russia by NATO? The obvious answer is an attack on NATO. This is why the Poles rushed to the nearest microphone demanding war with Russia when the Ukrainian missile landed on Polish territory. The Polish president knew the plan and assumed it was go time. It turned out to be a Ukrainian missile, but the incident confirmed the thinking within the West.
Assuming the Kagan cult has concluded they need a Russian attack on a NATO country in order to launch their nuclear war, what would the West have to do in order to provoke such an attack by the Russians? That is turning out to be a tough question to answer, given what the West has done thus far. Russian people have been attacked in NATO countries like Estonia. Russian assets have been seized. The West even engineered the assassination of Alexander Dugan’s daughter.
Over the last year, the West has done a number of things that would justify a response, but so far the Russians have been careful to avoid the trap. The closest they have come to a direct retaliation was the missile barrage after the Brits set off the truck bomb on the Kerch Bridge in the Crimea. Given that the missile attacks on the Ukrainian power grid have continued, that may have been a coincidence. The missile barrage would have required advanced planning.
The fact is time is on Russia’s side and they know it. Every day this war goes on drains the West of vital resources. The Pentagon is already making noises about the Ukraine war harming its ability to deal with China. The war has also exposed the fact that Europe has let its militaries and arms production go to seed. Germany, France and Britain no longer have a military for all practical purposes. It will take them years to fix the problems, even if they find the will to do so.
If the Russian have a very high tolerance for provocation, then the question flips around to the other side. What limit is there in Washington? Where is the line that the people running policy in the Biden will not cross? Given that regime players have been gleefully talking about “de-colonizing Russia” for the last year, it is hard to imagine a red line that they would not dare cross. If you are bragging about your plans to regime change Russia, you probably have no red lines.
Now, there is another angle here. This could all be the result of a bluff that has badly backfired on Washington. The initial taunts before the war were not intended to bait the Russians into launching their operation, but were a bluff. The subsequent economic sanctions and arms shipments were a further bluff. Washington was telling Moscow that they were in it for the long haul and would stuff Ukraine with arms. The hope was that Moscow would reconsider and retreat.
It is entirely possible that the Global American Empire is facing a catastrophe in Ukraine because the Russians called their bluff. It is also possible that the Russia misread the signals coming from the West. Given the mistakes they made early in the war, it could simply be the Russians read things the wrong way. They not only did not see it as a direct threat to intervene, they assumed it was just the usual hot air. One side was bluffing while the other side did not see the bluff.
Either way, once things got going the regime seems to have fallen into a form of the sunk cost fallacy. They invest in new bluffing strategies in order to save the investment in the previous failed bluffing strategy. At this point, the Russians know the limitations of the West in terms of time and material. The huffing and puffing from the West is seen as a bluff, one that can easily be ignored. Will Washington accept this reality or pivot to some desperate action?
That last question could decide the fate of the world . . .