Tuesday, October 3, 2023

This Proxy War Can't Be Both 'Unprovoked' AND A Great Strategic Investment

By Caitlin Johnstone - October 03, 2023 at 09:28AM


As opposition to funding the US proxy war in Ukraine increases on Capitol Hill, empire apologists have been frantically churning out think pieces about how much the war serves US strategic interests in order to manufacture support for its continued backing by Washington. Such arguments flatly contradict the propaganda messaging we were inundated with at the beginning of the war that this was an “unprovoked invasion”, but empire managers don’t seem particularly interested in defending that narrative anymore.

The latest appearance in this new “our Ukraine proxy warfare greatly advances US strategic interests” genre of op-ed comes to us courtesy of notorious war propagandist Max Boot via The Washington Post. Boot’s article was originally titled “Ukraine aid is a great investment. Don’t let MAGA Republicans end it.”, but the headline has since been revised to the slightly less creepy “This is what the US is getting by aiding Ukraine.” 

Claiming that funding the war is “the right thing to do strategically,” Boot argues that “it is hard to think of any US foreign policy initiative since the end of the Cold War that has been more successful or more important than US aid to Ukraine.”
“Russia has lost an estimated 120,000 soldiers and 170,000 to 180,000 have been injured,” Boot writes. “Russia has also lost an estimated 2,329 tanks, 2,817 infantry fighting vehicles, 2,868 trucks and jeeps, 354 armored personnel carriers, 538 self-propelled artillery vehicles, 310 towed artillery pieces, 92 fixed-wing aircraft and 106 helicopters.”

“The Russian armed forces have been devastated, thereby reducing the risk to front-line NATO states such as Poland and the Baltic republics that the United States is treaty-bound to protect,” Boot continues. “And all of that has been accomplished without having to put a single US soldier at risk on the front lines.”

“That’s an incredible investment,” gloats Boot.

At no time in his masturbatory gushing about how many Russians this war has helped kill does Boot make any mention of the immense toll this deliberately provoked and completely unnecessary war has taken on Ukrainian lives. Their deaths and dismemberments and displacement are the largest price being paid into this “investment” by far, but Boot doesn’t deem them worthy of even a footnote.

We’ve been seeing this “investment” line being promoted with increasing frequency by US empire managers and their apologists. In an article published in the Connecticut Post last month, Senator Richard Blumenthal assured Americans that “we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment.” A few days prior to that Senator Mitt Romney had described the proxy war as “the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done,” because “We’re diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money… a weakened Russia is a good thing.” In December Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that funding the proxy war is “a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies and contest our core interests.” Last November the imperial war machine-funded think tank Center for European Policy Analysis published a report arguing that “US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability seems like an absolutely incredible investment.”

The reason it matters so much that the war in Ukraine was provoked by the US-centralized empire is because that shows you where the path to peace lies. When empire simps object to criticisms of western proxy warfare in Ukraine with “Oh so you’re saying we should just ABANDON THE UKRAINIANS and let Putin take over the country???”, what they are missing is that this is not a war between only Russia and Ukraine, and Russia doesn’t see it as such. Russia believes it is fighting a war against the aggression and expansionism of the NATO alliance, which the head of NATO himself recently confirmed. What this means is that the NATO alliance can facilitate peace in Ukraine by agreeing to roll back the aggressions which led to this war in the first place. 

NATO powers have always been fully aware that they could bring about peace in Ukraine in this way, but they choose not to move NATO war machinery away from Russia’s borders and grant Moscow the same freedom from military threats in its immediate surroundings that Washington insists on in its own immediate surroundings. The managers of the empire chose not to do this, and indeed actually sabotaged peace negotiations in the early days of the conflict, because they firmly believe that this war advances their interests.

This is what empire apologists are omitting from the story when they claim that Putin can end this war by withdrawing troops from Ukraine; they are leaving out their own government’s role in starting and perpetuating this war. To demand that Russia cease its aggressions, without the western empire ceasing the aggressions which provoked the war in the first place, is to demand that Russia lie down and submit itself to the dictates of the empire. People who call for an end to Russian aggressions but not the western aggressions Russia is reacting to don’t really want peace, they just want the empire to conquer and subjugate the insolent curs who dared to defy it.

It’s good to be clear on this, because it shows who the obstacles to peace really are. The longer we pretend the only people keeping this war going reside in Moscow, the longer any path toward peace will elude us.

Reprinted with permission from Caitlin's Newsletter.
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