This story appeared in Popular Mechanics. Why Popular Mechanics? I have no idea, but I’d guess it’s because in 2021 no niche can be free from Deep State propaganda.
Russia and Ukraine Are Dangerously Close to War. That Puts the U.S. in a Bind
Inaction could embolden Moscow, but will the U.S. really go to war with another nuclear power?
Let’s hope not.
U.S. intelligence officials recently warned NATO allies that Russian military forces are massing up to 175,000 troops on Ukraine’s border—and could be in a position to invade that country by late January.
If true, this would mark the second round of fighting between the two neighboring countries, and the second time in eight years that Russia has invaded Ukraine. Unlike last time, this new conflict could draw in the United States and elements of NATO, pitting nuclear-armed powers against one another. Here’s everything we know about the possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine.
Great. Just what we need right now: a war with a nuclear-armed superpower that doesn’t benefit the average American in any way.
After Russia, Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe by area, and the two share a land border. Historically, Ukraine made up a major part of the territory inhabited by the greater Rus people (ancients who gave their name to Russia and Belarus); it was politically dominant among the Rus before the Mongol Empire invaded it in the 13th century. The territory never fully recovered, and its neighbors, including a Moscow-centered Russia, continually divided up the land until the early 20th century. Although Ukraine enjoyed a brief stint of independence between 1918 and 1920, it subsequently joined the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. Ukraine has had full political independence ever since.
However, Ukrainian independence has never sat well with Russia, and that has held true under the reign of President Vladimir Putin. A history of foreign invasions, from the Mongols to Nazi Germany, has caused many in Russia to desire a wall of buffer states, including Ukraine, surrounding the country. NATO’s expansion eastward in the 1990s and 2000s to include countries like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia stoked Russian paranoia about foreign encroachment. Despite NATO’s purpose as a defensive alliance, many across Russia view it as a military organization dominated by the United States, which has invaded foreign countries (Afghanistan, Iraq) twice in the last 20 years.
The Russians’ “paranoia” is well-founded.
Ukrainian sovereignty is also a sore point for those in Russia, particularly Putin, who came up during the reign of the Soviet Union and remember a time when the USSR was a superpower. While the U.S. and NATO primarily see Ukrainian independence as a net positive for the Ukrainian people, Moscow sees it as a rejection of a union between ex-Soviet states; Under this zero-sum thinking, Ukraine’s sovereignty is a win for the United States and NATO.
Crimea, a peninsula along the northern coast of the Black Sea, had long been a part of Russia, but the Soviet Union transferred it to Ukraine in 1954. This was not a big deal as long as the Soviet Union existed, as it was about the same as the U.S. federal government transferring a swath of land from California to Nevada. But once the two countries were independent, however, Crimea proved strategically important for Russia’s control of the Black Sea.
In 2014, things came to a head. Russian marines, paratroopers, and Spetsnaz special forces invaded and captured the Crimea region of Ukraine with hardly any fighting. At the same time, Russia-backed proxy forces attacked Ukraine in the country’s Donbas region, seeking to break it off from Ukraine and join it to Russia. The unofficial war is still ongoing, with occasional flare-ups of violence along the Russia-Ukraine border.
The response from the United States and NATO has been tepid. The annexation of Crimea, and the use of proxies in the Donbas, were met with economic sanctions and minor military aid to Ukraine, though not nearly enough to re-equip the Ukrainian ground forces in any meaningful way.
Now, a broader concern has emerged: failure to inflict sufficient punishment on Russia for its aggression has only emboldened it (and Putin in particular). Moscow reasons that it can outlast any repercussions, short of war, with the West.
For some reason, this is considered “our business,” rather than a conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
On November 19, the New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence officials had warned NATO allies that Russia was preparing for action, moving forces westward toward the border with Ukraine. The U.S. believes Russia has been redeploying Russian Ground Forces amounting to about nine or ten combat divisions, or about as many divisions as there are in the active-duty U.S. Army. The activity began in October, and will be complete by late January or early February.
Interestingly, Russian steel and oil companies began complaining about a shortage of rail transport that also began in October—perhaps due to high levels of military transport.
What kind of military action could Russia take against Ukraine? Unlike in 2014, when Russia used proxies and its own military personnel, stripped of their identification, a new conflict would see direct, open conflict between the two countries. The 90 or more battalion tactical groups of the Russian Ground Forces, bolstered with tanks, artillery, and air support, would be far too large to hide their identities.
If it does come to all-out war, Russia will likely only use a fraction of its assembled combat power, quickly seizing a limited amount of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine is too large to completely occupy, and the longer a conflict drags on, the more likely a NATO military response will become. The occupation of Ukraine, to satisfy Putin’s appetite for expansion, is merely part of Russia’s goal; The rest is about cowing the country into political submission to intimidate NATO.
And I am almost certain we in the States will be inundated with propaganda about how Putin is “just like Hitler” the way he’s conquering and annexing new territory.
Would NATO respond militarily? Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, has warned member states that they must “expect the worst,” while stating that Russia would “pay a high price” for attacking Ukraine. Many NATO countries—especially small, formerly Soviet states such as Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as former captive Warsaw Pact nations—back military involvement in Ukraine, reasoning that they could be next. Germany, however, has all but signaled it would not use military force against Russia, which supplies it, and much of the rest of Europe, with natural gas in the winter. Other countries closer to the Atlantic than the Black Sea might well reason that, with no direct stake in a Russian-Ukrainian war, there is no reason to start a wider one.
If Western European countries have “no direct stake in a Russian-Ukrainian War,” then how could the US possibly have a direct stake?
If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be over quickly, and there won’t be much NATO can do about it. There are no NATO combat troops in Ukraine, and deploying them in sufficient numbers to resist the Russian Army would take weeks. By the time NATO cobbles together a credible military force, Russia will sue for peace, demanding a ceasefire.
A major problem is the potential for Putin to miscalculate. If Putin aims for a larger piece of Ukraine, and there is significant resistance, NATO forces could end up opposing him, suddenly giving him a bigger war than even he wanted. If Putin attacks NATO forces directly, Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter, NATO’s founding document, would require all NATO countries to respond militarily. Suddenly, Russia would be looking at a war with virtually all of Europe.
A war Russia would still win, because European nations are just as liberal, lazy, coddled, apathetic and soyed-up as Americans are.
Putin is already laying the groundwork for freezing out NATO from the equation. Russia broke diplomatic ties with the alliance in October, then complained that Brussels had “destroyed all mechanisms for dialogue” that could de-escalate the crisis. The Russian President has also warned that NATO long-range missiles in Ukraine would be a “red line” that would force Russia to act. Putin hinted that the short flight time of tactical missiles (potentially with nuclear warheads) from Ukraine to Moscow would force him to preemptively attack.
It’s quite possible that Russian military deployments are merely posturing meant to frighten Moscow’s enemies; Maybe Putin isn’t even contemplating invasion. But it’s not like Russia hasn’t attacked Ukraine before. NATO is split: some countries are warning that inaction will further embolden Russia, while others have signaled they won’t consider military action. If push comes to shove, will the United States really go to war with another nuclear power? Let’s hope Putin has other plans this winter and we never have to find out.
I certainly hope so as well.
I personally don’t care if Russia invades Ukraine. Ukraine has historically been a part of Russia, both under the Soviet Union and the old Russian Empire from before WW1.
But would you really put it past the American political establishment to go to war with Russia? This is typically a thing that corrupt governments do when faced with domestic unrest, cratering poll numbers, and failure after failure on the home front.
Fox News has more on the Russian military maneuvering:
When asked about the report Friday, President Biden vowed the U.S. would make it “very, very difficult” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to carry out the plan.
“We’ve been aware of Russia’s actions for a long time and my expectation is we’re gonna have a long discussion with Putin,” Biden told reporters later, as he prepared to leave Washington for a weekend visit to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland.
Oh, I’m sure Putin is shaking in his boots over the prospect of a “very long discussion” with Joe Biden, a man more likely to poop his pants than deter Russian aggression.
After seeing how the Taliban embarrassed the US in Afghanistan, Putin has absolutely no reason to fear any repercussions from the US, or NATO (which only has teeth because of the US’ involvement).
In earlier comments, Biden told reporters that his administration had new initiatives planned that were intended to deter Russian aggression.
“What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be, will be, the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do,” Biden said.
The planned Ukraine offensive for 2022 would involve about double the number of Russian troops that participated in a military exercise near the Ukraine border last spring.
“The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment,” a Biden administration official told Fox News.
You have to ask yourself: why is the Deep State putting all this out in the media?
Anything that is ever leaked to the media is done with a goal in mind.
Preparing Americans for war is my best guess.
Every tyrannical government dreams of wartime power measures.
In remarks this week, one day before meeting with his Russian counterpart, Blinken claimed Putin was preparing to have the ability to quickly invade Ukraine, whether he planned to or not – and said the U.S. needed to be ready either way.
“We must prepare for all contingencies,” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Blinken in Sweden, pointed to U.S. military equipment and activity getting closer to Russia’s borders.
“The nightmare scenario of military confrontation is returning,” Lavrov said, according to the Washington Post.
Of course we Americans don’t hear much about the provocations carried out by our own government.
Always the helpless bystander, aren’t we? We’re always just sitting around, minding our own business, and then BOOM, some Bad Actors in the world do something Bad, and we’re Left With No Choice but to get involved.
Lavrov’s comments echoed frequent concerns raised by Putin about U.S. and NATO activity near Russia. The Russian president has called for the West to “rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory.”
Biden quickly dismissed Putin’s demands when asked about them Friday, the AP reported.
“I don’t accept anyone’s red line,” the president said.
Big Tough Guy Joe, folks.
Of course, there is a fairly obvious reason why Biden would be so willing to come to Ukraine’s aid: because he and his family have accepted countless bribes from Ukraine.
Biden’s personal history involving Ukraine includes his admitted role in the ouster of Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2016, when Biden was vice president.
It was former President Donald Trump’s later inquiries into Ukraine involvement by Biden and son Hunter Biden that eventually led House Democrats to impeach Trump over a phone call with a Ukraine leader. The Senate later acquitted Trump in that impeachment case and another separate impeachment that followed.
So now we might go to war with a nuclear-armed country because Biden and his crackhead son are in Ukraine’s pocket.