As I see it, the war in Ukraine right now is a race. The Russians must force the surrender of the Zelenskiy government before the Zelenskiy government convinces NATO to join on its side.
It’s increasingly clear that the Zelenskiy government’s only hope here is to frame this as a humanitarian crisis: “The Russians are bombing and slaughtering civilians indiscriminately! This is a genocide!” Etc. That’s the narrative they’re trying to push.
It’s why they passed out 10k Kalashnikovs to civilians, and are instructing people on how to make Molotov cocktails: because they want dead civilians for the press to photograph.
If the Russian army encounters civilians running around and shooting at them with AK-47s, or throwing Molotov cocktails, the Russians are going to shoot back and kill them. There’s no other choice.
It has already happened in Kherson:
For some reason, I watched the video he references here. I’m not sure if it’s still up on YouTube, but it’s extremely gruesome and I would not recommend watching it. Just take my word for it. The point, though, is that the Ukrainian government telling civilians to arm themselves and attack Russian soldiers is producing a very predictable outcome.
But the western media will then frame that as Russians slaughtering civilians.
This is also why Ukraine has troops and artillery holed up in schools, apartment buildings and other civilian areas: because they want the Russians to bomb civilian targets. Zelenskiy wants to be able to say, “These Russian monsters have just bombed a preschool!”
Because above all, American politicians want nothing more—literally nothing in the whole wide world more—than to put on their solemn faces and announce that they cannot sit idly by while the wicked Vladimir Putin slaughters countless innocent people.
“Humanitarian crises” are our government’s bread and butter. They love nothing more than to portray themselves as angels intervening to save helpless innocent people.
Now the Russians are taking great pains to avoid killing civilians and hitting civilian targets. They’ve hit some, to be sure, but for the most part, water, sewage, heating, internet and the power grid are still intact in Ukraine. The Russians have chosen not to destroy the grid.
Their strategy is to encircle key cities, and then force their surrender. They do not want to level these cities with bombs, or send in mass numbers of troops to engage in heavy urban warfare. They want the Ukrainian army to realize it’s surrounded and then to surrender.
But just because the Russians are employing this strategy does not mean they’ll be able to avoid being smeared as murderers who are deliberately killing civilians.
We have already seen a considerable amount of fake news and propaganda during this war—the “Ghost of Kiev,” the “Snake Island 13,” etc. The Ukraine side has already shown a propensity to fabricate stories, and they will continue doing so for as long as they can.
Zelenskiy understands that doing so is his only chance at winning this. He needs NATO to intervene. If NATO does not intervene, the Ukrainian army stands no chance at all.
And America knows the only way they can convince the public that intervention is worthwhile and necessary is by framing this as a humanitarian crisis.
You’re already stating to see government sources put out stuff like “Russian morale is low!” or “Russia did not expect this level of resistance!” The US is trying to frame this in a way that the Ukrainians are holding their own, and they can only win if we intervene.
That’s the goal of all this propaganda: to make it seem like the Ukrainians have a shot, and to make it seem like the Russians are slaughtering innocent civilians by the hundreds daily. If those two conditions are met, then the US government believes it might just muster up enough public support to get involved.
The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was justified on humanitarian grounds:
During the Trump era, there was immense pressure on Trump to intervene militarily based on the supposed use of chemical weapons by Assad. Our intervention in Syria has been justified on humanitarian grounds.
In 2003, the Iraq War was primarily justified on the removal of (nonexistent) WMDs, but there were also humanitarian reasons cited.
The Wikipedia page for the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia says that the stated justification was to put an end to ethnic cleansing:
NATO’s intervention was prompted by Yugoslavia’s bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of Albanians, which drove the Albanians into neighbouring countries and had the potential to destabilize the region. Yugoslavia’s actions had already provoked condemnation by international organisations and agencies such as the UN, NATO, and various INGOs.Yugoslavia’s refusal to sign the Rambouillet Accords was initially offered as justification for NATO’s use of force. NATO countries attempted to gain authorisation from the UN Security Council for military action, but were opposed by China and Russia, who indicated that they would veto such a measure. As a result, NATO launched its campaign without the UN’s approval, stating that it was a humanitarian intervention.
We sent troops to Somalia in 1993 for “humanitarian” reasons:
There is a clear pattern here.
The US government almost always cites “humanitarian” reasons when it takes military action against some country. The major exception is Afghanistan, which we invaded because that’s supposedly where Bin Laden was based (he was ultimately found and killed in Pakistan). But we stayed in Afghanistan for 20 years for “humanitarian” reasons, and to “spread democracy.”
If you don’t think the “humanitarian crisis” playbook is underway here for Ukraine, you’re simply wrong.
Time and again, the US has cited humanitarian reasons to go to war.
The major difference here, however, is that this time around, a “humanitarian” intervention would put us in direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.
Obviously this changes the whole calculus for our government. We would not be going to war with some tiny, overmatched nation led by a tinpot dictator. We be going up against an army that is essentially our equal and in some ways superior to our own—and on top of that, Russia is aligned with China.
So far our government’s actions have been encouraging: Biden said there will be no US troops sent to Ukraine, we’ve rejected the calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and our sanctions on Russia have been largely superficial (but by no means entirely superficial.)
Still: don’t put it past the US foreign policy establishment to try and get involved here. The playbook is already being used. They are currently gripped in a Russophobic hysteria and our government is full of arrogant and psychotic warmongers to begin with. We cannot just assume cooler heads will prevail.
And don’t assume that any potential US involvement in Ukraine has to be a direct military confrontation with Russia. What Russia really needs to avoid is the US turning Ukraine into another Syria–in other words, an endless insurgency. The US will keep arming, training and funding rebel groups to challenge whatever government the Russians establish there, purely to force the Russians to spend blood and treasure trying to maintain order in the country for years, possibly decades.
They’re already talking about this–American intelligence officials, that is:
Hillary, who seriously believes she’ll be President come 2025, spells it out quite clearly:
Guess who funded and armed that insurgency? Us. We did. America. The CIA did.
Also, guess who was the leader of those Afghan insurgents back in the 1980s? A fella you may have heard of by the name of Osama Bin Laden.
It’s honestly astonishing that Hillary would even bring that up, much less brag about it.
But that’s where we are nowadays. That’s how desperate and off-the-rails the ruling class is these days.