"How A Misguided Grand Strategy Led To This U.S. Defeat"
Moon of Alabama (February 2, 2022)
In response to Russia's demand for security guarantees, especially to its request to remove foreign NATO forces from the territory of East European countries, the U.S. and Britain are moving more forces to the east:
President Joe Biden has formally approved additional US military deployments to Eastern Europe, the Pentagon announced Wednesday, with US troops deploying soon to Poland, Germany and Romania.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the deployments include roughly 2,000 troops from the United States to Poland and Germany in the coming days. In addition, approximately 1,000 troops currently based in Germany are being deployed to Romania.
Kirby said that the troops being deployed are separate and in addition to the 8,500 US troops that were placed on heightened alert last week that could be moved to Europe to support NATO's response force if it's activated.
The troops will operate on a bilateral basis with their host countries, since NATO has not yet activated a multinational response force.
This is a rather token amount of forces in the wrong places and with little combat value but it is serious in its symbolic character.
It was the U.S. that launched the 'Russia's imminent invasion of Ukraine' propaganda campaign. On October 30 2021 the Washington Post published the first stenographed piece on it:
A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said the troop movements have reignited concerns that arose in April, when the largest buildup of troops by Russia near the Ukrainian border in years sparked an international outcry.
The March/April build-up of Russian troops had come after Kiev had deployed more forces towards its rebel held Donbas area and had made public statements about regaining it by force. The Russian show of force was sufficient to cool Kiev down and soon the troops on both sides went back to their barracks.
By fall Russia was moving only a few troops from and to regular exercises in a normal manner. There was no surge activity. So why was the U.S. screaming alarm and continues to do so?
This information operation must be seen in the larger context of China's rise, Russia's resurgence and the loss of U.S. supremacy.
In an essay to his mailing list Professor Michael Brenner explained the motives behind it:
The situational logic of the emerging international constellation of forces pointed to two possible American strategies. The most obvious would aim at preventing the solidification of an alliance between Russia and China. Together, they represent a formidable bloc now capable of challenging the U.S.-led Western bloc in just about every sphere.
The alternative strategy was to ratchet up pressure on Russia so as to nip in the bud Putin/Moscow’s aspiration to become once again a major player – one dedicated to denying the United States its privileges as global hegemon and sole master of Europe. The driving force came from the ardent Victoria Nuland and her neo-Con comrades ensconced in the power agencies, in Congress and in the MSM. Since Anthony Blinken and Jake Sullivan were themselves partisans of this confrontational strategy, the outcome of whatever modicum of debate occurred was preordained.
Nuland and Blinken have ancestral roots in east Europe. To them Russia is evil. But there is more to this. These people would like to see Russia balkanized into many small parts.
Jon Schwarz @schwarz - 20:10 UTC · Jan 31, 2022
In Robert Gates's memoir "Duty," he describes how at the end of the Cold War, Dick Cheney—then secretary of defense—wanted to dismantle not just the Soviet Union but Russia itself. No one in the US knows or cares about this, but I bet lots of people in the Russian government do.
The current State Department point person running U.S. Russia policy is Victoria 'Fuck the EU' Nuland:
From 2003 to 2005, Nuland served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cheney and Nuland have the same nefarious neo-conservative mindset.
Back to the non-action around the Ukraine as analyzed by Michael Brenner:
The events of April kicked-off the turbulent maelstrom that we’ve experienced to this day. What scenario did the Biden people want to see unfold? Any attempt at an answer must take account of the cardinal fact that nobody in official Washington cared very much what it meant for the stability of Ukraine or the welfare of the Ukrainian people. Their eyes were fixed on Russia. Their objective was to create a reason for imposing a crippling load of economic sanctions that would put paid to Putin’s supposed ambitions in Europe – and beyond. At least, that would free the West to devote its full energies to dealing with China. Ideally, it would return Moscow into a beggared facsimile of the pliable Yeltsin model or an innocuous neo-liberal satrap. Everything the United States has done vis a vis Ukraine over the past year has been dictated by that overarching goal.
They set about manufacturing a scenario that would enable them to reach that end. The key would be some Russian counter-action to a Ukrainian provocation, of uncertain magnitude, that could serve as a casus belli for the draconian sanctions and for gaining the full cooperation of its allies. The unexpectedly forceful, unaccommodating response from Moscow threw a monkey-wrench into the plan, but did not alter the course Washington was committed to.
[T]he Biden people went all-out to convince the continental Europeans that they should sign onto a package of severe economic sanctions that would be triggered with near automaticity were the Russians to do something egregious. They assumed that Washington would make the judgment as what constituted an egregious action.
German, France and Italy inter alia refused to go along with this trip-wire strategy. They don’t trust Washington, they don’t want a confrontation with Putin, and they dread the disruptive impact on their own countries of sanctions (with evident domestic political consequences). Germany’s reluctance to line up obediently behind Washington was especially frustrating.
To make their case to Germany, France and like-minded allies, Biden, Blinken et al began in October to stoke the war fever with dire predictions of an ‘imminent’ Russian invasion. They conjured a “lightening strike,” – i.e. the sort of ‘cold start’, straight to the Channel, that agitated NATO planners back in the Cold War days. Bad metaphors never die, they just await the next paranoid episode.
Washington was thrown off stride when Moscow refused to play the role assigned to it. They said and did nothing to substantiate the claim. The Russo-phobia had taken on a life of its own that left the White House painted into a corner. The level of desperation was evinced by the CIA Director William Burns’ tour of European capitals with a briefcase filled with CIA generated ‘infallible’ evidence that an invasion was in the offing – and that, therefore, the Europeans immediately should commit to the trip-wire sanctions so as to deter the in fact fantastical invasion. The hottest material were satellite photographs purporting to show Russian armored units in battle formations “at the Ukrainian border” (just 180 miles away). We now know that the photographs were doctored. The tanks and other equipment were at their permanent bases adjacent to barracks and other fixed facilities. The CIA’s pictures had been cropped. The CIA, the White House and attendant Washington agencies were trying to palm off fraudulent goods whose sophistication was worthy of a 5th-grader.
That is the state we are still in. The U.S. is screaming for war and increasing the chance for it in the hope to get Russia to do something that justifies 'crushing new sanctions'.
But in mid December Russia started to counter the U.S. move. It published two draft treaties, one with the U.S. and one with NATO, that included stringent security demands:
• No more NATO expansion towards Russia's borders.
• Retraction of the 2008 NATO invitation to Ukraine and Georgia.
• Removal of foreign NATO forces from east Europe.
• Legally binding guarantee that no strike systems which could target Moscow will be deployed in countries near to Russia.
• No NATO or equivalent (UK, U.S., Pl.) 'exercises' near Russian borders.
• NATO ships, planes to keep certain distances from Russian borders.
• Regular military-to-military talks.
• No U.S. nukes in Europe.
Russia requested written responses and threatened to take 'military technical' measures should the responses be negative. Russia also planned for and launched new military exercises.
The responses were received but, following a U.S. request, Russia refrained from publishing them. They were leaked to El Pais, published today and can be downloaded here (pdf).
The U.S. response to Russia's draft treaties is professional. While it rejects Russia's main demands, especially a neutral status for the Ukraine, it concedes on minor issues and offers additional talks on them. The NATO response is in contrast highly ideological and rejects all of Russia's points while making new demands towards Russia which are designed to be rejected. (Future negotiations are now likely to exclude NATO.)
Russia has yet to officially respond to the received letters. During a news conference after talks with the Prime Minister of Hungary the Russian President remarked on the letters:
[W]hile ignoring our concerns, the United States and NATO are referring to the right of states to freely choose specific methods to ensure their security. But this is not only about providing someone with the right to freely choose methods to ensure their security. This is only one part of the well-known indivisible security formula. The second inalienable part implies that it is impossible to strengthen anyone’s security at the expense of other states’ security.
Russia's Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to several NATO countries in which it requests their official opinions on several agreements they have signed which include clauses on the indivisibility of security:
The very essence of the agreements on indivisible security is that either there is security for all or there is no security for anyone.
How is the signing of those treaties and indivisible security for all compatible with the aggressive NATO expansion aimed at Russia? 'Western' foreign ministries will find it difficult to answer that question.
The U.S. strategy to 'fix' Russia in Europe by imposing 'crushing sanctions' on it to then attack China is failing. That is because it was completely misconceived.
Russia is the most autarkic country in the world. It produces nearly everything it needs and has highly desirable products that are in global demand and are especially needed in Europe. Russia also has huge financial reserves. A sanctions strategy against Russia can not work.
To use the Ukraine to gaud Russia into some aggression to then apply sanctions was likewise a rather lunatic attempt. There is nothing in the Ukraine that would tempt Russia to invade. Everything that may have do be done in the Ukraine can be done from Russian territory by Russian missiles or its air force and navy.
Instead of splitting Russia from China the U.S. has unintentionally done its best to push them into a deeper alliance. It was the most severe strategic error the U.S. could make.
Instead of a taking a new strategic posture that would support a pivot to Asia strategy the U.S. is now moving troops back to Europe.
The narrow-minded bigotry of U.S. decision makers, fed by believe in U.S. exceptionalism while lacking any conception of real power, has led to this defeat.
Adding: I consider this to be the White House's acknowledgment of its strategic failure.
Kevin Liptak @Kevinliptakcnn - 17:55 UTC · Feb 2, 2022
The White House says it's no longer using the word "imminent" to describe the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was sending an unintended message, Jen Psaki says.
'Unintended imminence'? These people are clowns and bad at it.
Posted by b on February 2, 2022 at 18:36 UTC | Permalink
1 February 2022 20:56
Text of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov`s written message on Indivisibility of Security addressed to the Heads of Foreign / External Affairs Ministers / Secretaries of the US, Canada and several European countries
You are well aware that Russia is seriously concerned about increasing politico-military tensions in the immediate vicinity of its western borders. With a view to avoiding any further escalation, the Russian side presented on 15 December 2021 the drafts of two interconnected international legal documents – a Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Security Guarantees and an Agreement on Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation and Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The U.S. and NATO responses to our proposals received on 26 January 2022 demonstrate serious differences in the understanding of the principle of equal and indivisible security that is fundamental to the entire European security architecture. We believe it is necessary to immediately clarify this issue, as it will determine the prospects for future dialogue.
The Charter for European Security signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999 formulated key rights and obligations of the OSCE participating States with respect to indivisibility of security. It underscored the right of each participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements including treaties of alliances, as they evolve, as well as the right of each State to neutrality. The same paragraph of the Charter directly conditions those rights on the obligation of each State not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of other States. It says further that no State, group of States or Organization can have any pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE area or can consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.
At the OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010, the leaders of our nations approved a declaration that reaffirmed this comprehensive package of interconnected obligations.
However, the Western countries continue to pick up out of it only those elements that suit them, and namely – the right of States to be free to choose alliances for ensuring exclusively their own security. The words ‘as they evolve’ are shamefacedly omitted, because this provision was also an integral part of the understanding of ‘indivisible security’, and specifically in the sense that military alliances must abandon their initial deterrence function and integrate into the all-European architecture based on collective approaches, rather than as narrow groups. The principle of indivisible security is selectively interpreted as a justification for the ongoing course toward irresponsible expansion of NATO.
It is revealing that Western representatives, while expressing their readiness to engage in dialogue on the European security architecture, deliberately avoid making reference to the Charter for European Security and the Astana Declaration in their comments. They mention only earlier OSCE documents, particularly often – the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe that does not contain the increasingly ‘inconvenient’ obligation not to strengthen own security at the expense of the security of other States. Western capitals also attempt to ignore a key OSCE document – the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, which clearly says that the States will choose their security arrangements, including membership in alliances, ‘bearing in mind the legitimate security concerns of other States’.
It will not work that way. The very essence of the agreements on indivisible security is that either there is security for all or there is no security for anyone. The Istanbul Charter provides that each OSCE participating State has equal right to security, and not only NATO countries that interpret this right as an exceptional privilege of membership in the ‘exclusive’ North Atlantic club.
I will not comment on other NATO guidelines and actions that reflect the aspiration of the ‘defensive’ bloc to military supremacy and the use of force bypassing the prerogatives of the U.N. Security Council. Suffice it to say that such actions contravene the fundamental all-European obligations including the commitments under the aforementioned documents to maintain only such military capabilities that are commensurate with individual or collective security needs, taking into account the obligations under international law, as well as the legitimate security interests of other States.
Discussing the present situation in Europe, our colleagues from the United States, NATO and the European Union make constant appeals for ‘de-escalation’ and call on Russia to ‘choose a path of diplomacy’. We want to remind: we have been moving along that path for decades. The key milestones, such as the documents of the Istanbul and Astana summits, are exactly the direct result of diplomacy. The very fact that the West now tries to revise to its benefit these diplomatic achievements of the leaders of all OSCE countries raises serious concern. The situation demands a frank clarification of positions.
We want to receive a clear answer to the question how our partners understand their obligation not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of other States on the basis of the commitment to the principle of indivisible security. How specifically does your Government intend to fulfil this obligation in practical terms in the current circumstances? If you renege on this obligation, we ask you to clearly state that.
Without having full clarity on this key issue related to the interconnection of rights and obligations approved at the highest level, it is impossible to ensure the balance of interests embodied in the instruments of the Istanbul and Astana summits. Your response will help to better understand the extent of the ability of our partners to remain faithful to their commitments, as well as the prospects for common progress toward decreasing tensions and strengthening European security.
We look forward to your prompt reply. It should not take long as the point is to clarify the understanding on the basis of which Your President/Prime Minister signed the corresponding obligations.
We also expect that the response to this letter will be given in the national capacity, as the aforementioned commitments were undertaken by each of our States individually and not within any bloc or in the name thereof.