CrossTalk: Long war?
Peter Lavelle (March 29, 2023)

[partial Video Transcript]

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Kiev has made it abundantly clear it cannot wage a counteroffensive without more weapons and ammunition from the West. The West, especially Washington, has shown no interest in a negotiated end to the conflict. In the meantime, Ukraine becomes smaller and smaller.

CrossTalking with Nick Brana, Ray McGovern, and Lawrence Wilkerson.

Peter Lavelle: "This whole conflict has been about narrative control. Zelenski is being pressured to have a counter-offensive, grab back as much land as possible before entering into negotiations. He says he hasn't got the ammo and other military hardware to fulfill that. . . .

Lawrence Wilkerson: "I think you have to consider that one of the most powerful elements in national security decision making that exists in my country, and that's domestic politics. You can't have Winking, Blinking, Nod, and Nudge -- which is what I call President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, Jake Sullivan National Security Advisor, and Victoria Nuland -- interpret what they want to do unless you look at it through the domestic political lens. And right now, President Biden can't be seen in such a – and I hate to say it – "popular" conflict as Ukraine has become with the electorate in this country, he can't be seen as cutting and running from it or even negotiating over it. So, it is a big problem for him politically. That's a show-stopper. Not to mention all the money the United States – defense contractors and others are making off this conflict. That's a terrible disadvantage, too, if you want a negotiated settlement, or Peace. So, it's domestic politics. It's money. It's re-establishing U.S. hegemony over the European Union and Europe in general. It's all these things keeping us from doing what we should do, which is sit down and talk."

Peter Lavelle: "So if I've got you right, it's about a lot of things, but it's not about Ukraine. Ray, same question to you, what party benefits from a Long War?

Ray McGovern: "The party that says they're going to give it their all for as long as it takes. That's clearly the party that benefits. Larry is right and Putin has excplictly acknowledged that domestic politics explains a heck of a lot, what foreign policy advisers heed."

"I would just add this: that we are approaching the denoument in Ukraine. In my view, it will not be more than another month or so before Russian forces have decimated what's left of the Ukrainian army and will have pretty much a freeway to the Dnieper River. That's going to be very embarassing. That's going to happen real soon, in my view. And that's when Biden is going to have to decide what to do. And if he's guided by domestic considerations, the temptation to up the ante still more will be even more intense and that's precisely, in my view, why Putin said 'We're going to put nuclear warheads in Byelorus, because that's what the Americans have done in the rest of Europe, so we're upping the ante, too. We're prepared to use them if you do really stupid things.' So, in my view, it's quite a dangerous thing whether it's mostly foreign policy based on domestic politics, or wether it's this strategic thing. Biden's not going to get off with this easy because he's going to have to make – well, Larry is right. It's not he. It's those others, that other crew. They're going to have to make decisions. And we'll have nothing to say about it, we specialists in this area."

Peter Lavelle: "Yes. The same crowd that probably made the decision surrounding the Nord Stream pipeline. I'll leave it at that there. Nick, where is the debate about this? The debate about this is invading the GOP. I've been watching them bend themselves into a pretzel because Trump says one thing. DeSantis says another thing. And then you look at public opinion polls among GOP voters [and] this is not a popular war here. It's invading domestic politics just in the same way Larry and Ray have said here. Go ahead, Nick."

Nick Brana: "It's amazing. The Democratic Party, which I used to be a part of until I left and helped form The People's Party has become the party of outright, unquestioned war and authoritarianism in their censorship online of any critic and their call for censorship of any critic of the war. And working with intelligence agencies to enact that censorship. So, you are right. There has been no public discussion or debate about the war in the first place. Ukraine, of course, doesn't have any interest, the American public does not have any benefit in continuing the war. It's only the Military-Industrial Complex that benefits. The members of Congress from the Democratic and Republican parties that get the kickbacks. And I'll add to what Larry and Ray said – and I completely agree with what they said – I would say that the U.S. is so invested in this, and so is the Pentagon, because they have staked American hegemony on this war, and it has become incredibly symbolic, after advancing NATO for thirty years up to Russia's border. When they lose this war, as they inevitably will, it will symbolize that the rest of the world is no longer kowtowing to American imperialism."

Peter Lavelle:

Lawrence Wilkerson: ". . . The Democrats are just as big warmongers as the Republicans. They just sometimes pick different targets. That's part of the problem in our country. We have no politcal party of substance tackling the real threats in the world . . . We have a Luddite, purblind legislature in this country. And that's what the Founders meant to be the entity in our government the closest to the people, representing the people's interests. We no longer have that."

Peter Lavelle: ". . . One of the lessons learned since the Second World War: Great powers don't go toe-to-toe. You're not supposed to do that. Because you can lose. And when one side loses, it can take everyone with them. This is what this administration has done."

Ray McGovern: " . . . the Big Picture. Russia and China are not going to abide their core interests being violated. . . . the kind of sophomoric advice that Winken, Blinken, and Nod are getting from academia."

Peter Lavelle:

Nick Brana: " "

Peter Lavelle:

Lawrence Wilkerson: ". . . The ICC was a tool of the United States in every respect, as the UN is a tool of the United States when it does its bidding. . . . "

Peter Lavelle: " . . . the US military is the biggest polluter in the world."

Nick Brana: "They say that when the Intelligence agencies in the United States want to put out some kind of false propaganda narratie they go to the New York Times first. That's what we saw when the dutifully went to the New York Times and came up with this ridiculous story – more ridiculous than 'Russia blew it up' a 'Ukrainian Justice League' somehow pulled off the biggest act of terrorism since 9/11 and it's ludicrous. And I want to add to what Ray and Larry said about the ICC. The United States actually passed the Hague Invasion Act that allows it to violently invaded the Netherlands to jailbreak any servicemember or American that the ICC attempts to try. Just three years ago the US called the ICC an embarrassment and said that it did not recognize its juresdiction. And so American hypocrisy is fully on display when it comes to that, when it comes to saying it won't support a ceasefire. Much more of the world is seeing the US as the aggressor in this war."