"West MSM Ukraine Soldiers Bakhmut 4 hours Life Expectancy; Scholz Macron Urge Zelensky Make Peace, West Without Plan"
by Alexander Mercouris,
The Duran (February 25, 2023)
". . ."
37:11 “... Mr Macron told Zelensky that he had been a great war leader but that he would eventually have to shift into political statesmanship and make difficult decisions, these people said. Speaking after a security conference in Munich last weekend, Mr Macron became one of the first Western leaders to publicly question whether either Ukraine or Russia could achieve their battlefield aims, saying neither side could prevail militarily. He told the French media 'What we need now is for Ukraine to launch a military offensive which pushes back the fresh Russian front in order to open the way for a return to negotiations,' which is, I would have said, an absurdity. A Ukrainian offensive pushing the Russians back to launch negotiations? What if the Russians launch a counter-offensive? What if the offensive fails? What if the offensive succeeds? Why would Ukraine want to stop if its offensive succeeded. One gets the sense here of Western leaders, really, having very little sense any longer of what to do. They are trying to find some way to influence events, to get themselves out of this hole they are in, but they don't seem to know exactly how to go about it.”
38:49 "And we have more comments like this from the Wall Street Journal: 'A British official said that another goal of the NATO pact would be to change the Kremlin's calculus if Moscow sees that the West is prepared to scale up its military assistance and commitments in Ukraine over time, it could help persuade Moscow that it can't achieve its military objectives. But what if it doesn't? That it then, in that case, needs to scale up its commitments at well. We'll come to that in a moment."
"But then we have the contrary comment from General Piotra Pavel, President-elect of the Czech Republc and a former NATO commander at the Munich security conference: 'We may end up in a situtation where liberating some parts of Ukrainian territory may deliver more loss of lives than will be bearable by Society. There may be a point when Ukrainians can start thinking about another outcome.' And, in fact, I would suggest that we are long past that point given the scale of the losses that Ukraine is now suffering in places like Bakhmut."
40:07 "Anyway, these doubts, which were stilled to a certain extent -- or there was an attempt to still them by President Biden's visit to Kiev and Warsaw -- are now resurfacing again and the Daily Telegraph in Britain, and I shoud say the Daily Telegraph has again been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Ukrain in the war. And it demonstrates two things: firstly, the extent to which the West has been unsettled by China's diplomatic moves, by China's position paper. They've been profoundly unnerved about it. They must also have been very unnerved by the tepid support the West got in the General Assembly the other day when they were only able to get their resolution through the General Assembly after it was heavily watered down. But then festering doubts that things in Ukraine really are going as Westnern leaders want to pretend. And this is the final paragraph in this editorial:
'China is able to manipulate events because it is operating in a diplomatic vacuum. No other power is discussing how the war might end or the steps to get there. The West's unwavering financial and military support is critical. But it is not a long-term strategy. This leaves the field clear for Beijing's unreasonable proposals. We can expect similar interventions until we begin to outline what the end could look like. As time goes by, not doing so carries the growing risk of being dangerously overtaken by events.'
42:33 "Now, this is the first such comment I've seen on the editorial page of a British newspaper since the war began. It is the first hint of doubt about the fact that things are going either according to plan or that world opinion is mobilized behind the West over Ukraine. It's clearly another example of the West heavily unnerved by China, itself, and by China's diplomatic moves: the ones that I discussed in my recent programs. And you can see the doubts that the West has on wavering financial and military support that is critical. But it is not a long-term strategy. ... in other words, somebody stepping in and settling the war in ways that the West doesn't like: either the Russians through an outright military win, or the Chinese through some diplomatic coup. "
44:05 "That's all very well, but as I've said already, the peace plan that Blinken is talking about isn't a realistic one. In fact, as I've said, on the contrary, expressed in the way that it is and as it has been taken up by the French and the Germans, it actually incentivises the Russians to go on fighting. It gives the Russians a reason for continuing and indeed escalating the war."
"Now, having said that, I do wonder whether all the Western leaders are so blind that they cannot see that. It's interesting that one Western leader who has left the door open on the Chinese proposal -- if it is a proposal -- the Chinese position paper perhaps, is Macron who has always been, privatly, the most skeptical about the whole Ukrainian adventure. And perhaps it is not entirely coincidence that he is apparently working towards visiting China in April. So Xi Jin-ping will be traveling to Moscow in March and then Macron plans on traveling to Beijing and, presumably, to meet Xi Jin-ping there.
45:46 ". . ."
50:00 "In the final analysis, China and Russia in combination on the Ukrainian battlefield and probably everwhere else have an overwhelming advantage against the West and there is nothing the West can do to rectify that.
50:30 “So, this is something, like I said, that Westerners probably know, or at least are aware of, even if they cannot admit it to each other. And one can understand why they might be spooked, both by these Chinese diplomatic initiatives and by the possibility that the Chinese might, just might, start supplying the Russians with drones and ammunition in quantities that the West can never hope to match.”
51:11 “Now, here I’m going to make my own point. These peace ideas that Scholtz, Macron, and Blinken and all of these people are floating around. They’re not going to achieve peace. On the contrary, as I’ve said, they incentivize the Russians to continue the war. The Russians, at one and the same time, hearing that the West believes that Ukraine cannot win a military victory; that it may not be able to recover territory; that Crimea is beyond its reach. So, they see all of that and at the same time they see that if they stop the war, then the West is going to rearm Ukraine to a level beyond anything it has been armed to until now. So, in combination, what those two messages say to the Russians is, 'It makes more sense for us to continue the war because we are simultaneously winning it and Ukraine is losing, and at the same time, the proposals for peace that are coming from the West are absolutely unacceptable, and indeed dangerous, for us. So, let’s forget this peace plan. Let us also come to an acceptance that these offensives, Ukrainian offensives, if they ever happen, are not going to turn the war around. They’re not going to help Ukraine. They’re simply going to add to those enormous losses that Ukraine is already suffering.' People like Macron and President-elect Pavel of the Czech Republic are talking about levels of losses which are becoming unacceptable for Ukrainian society, more than Ukrainian society can perhaps sustain. And I saw a deeply upsetting opinion poll that has apparently been carried out in Ukraine that said that 17% of Ukrainians now know someone who was killed on the battlefields. And given that large numbers of Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and this hasn’t yet been reported, that one suspects that by now every Ukrainian family is affected to a greater or lesser degree by the war.”
53:56 “There was even an article in the New York Times recently that showed a picture of a Ukrainian cemetery. And another article, in the Wall Street Journal that talked about Ukraine’s missing soldiers who were sent into the war, but of whom there has been no further word, most of whom, it must be assumed, are dead. So Ukrainian losses, I would suggest, are already unsustainable. How bad do losses have to be before they become unsustainable? If Ukraine is losing up to 1,000 men a day, dead and seriously wounded a day, which it could be – I’m not saying it is but not implausible – I would regard that as horrific and unacceptable.
55:05 “So let’s put aside this idea that the way to achieve this peace is to send more weapons to Ukraine, pressure the Ukrainians into more offensives which will only result in further loss of Ukrainian lives and which are unlikely to be properly prepared and actually, instead, open negotiations with the Russians, now. And instead of engaging in this double-talk with the Ukrainians in which you come along and you tell the Ukrainians in public that we’re behind you 100% right up until the end. The decision on whether to negotiate is entirely yours. We’re not going to effect it or pressure you into talking with the Russians in any conceivable way. Well, let’s have no more of this public talk if it’s happening alongside private warnings to Ukraine such as we’re now hearing from all sorts of directions that the Western powers, the Pentagon, European governments, some people in the Biden administration are all telling Ukraine that Western support for Ukraine is not unlimited; there’s only so much we can do. We’re reaching the point where we won’t be able to do much more. Come the summer, things might start to become much more difficult for us to sustain the level of support we’re been giving you up to this point. And therefore and for that reason we can’t go on supporting you. You can’t rely on us beyond the summer. You must consider peace talks now.”
57:03 “Let’s end this charade of saying one thing in public to the Ukrainians and to our own public in the West and saying something completely different – in fact almost the opposite – in private. Let’s start saying straightforwardly and openly: we’ve now reached that point where we’ve done all that we can. We can’t do more. Ukrainian losses are unsustainable. We can see that. And it’s time to talk peace. Now that may mean accepting that the Russians have achieved some kind of success in Ukraine. But it’s worth saying that the Russians and the demands they have made of Ukraine at the outset of the war and the months after it started were pretty moderate. Recognition from Ukraine that it had lost Crimea and that it had lost Donbas, two territories that, arguably, probably never wanted to be part of Ukraine in the first place. And acceptance that Ukraine must be a neutral country and cannot join NATO, which is what the West has done in the past with countries like Austria, for example. And certain steps to be taken within Ukraine society to protect the rights of Russian-speaking people there. Which, of course, are fully consistent with what we claim to be in the West, our own values. We’re always very solicitous, so we claim, of the rights of minorities. And we should be equally solicitous, if we actually believe in any of that, on the rights of Russians.”
59:20 “Now, why can’t we return to something like that? Obviously, we're not going to get back to the position we were in Istanbul. The Russians, at the very least, are probably going to say that the whole of Zaporozia, the whole of Kherson region, all of Donbas: Donetsk and Lugansk, Ukraine must leave and they must be incorporated into Russia. Now, we might not be able to prevent that. It may be that we have to tell the Ukrainians to pull back from these territories. The West, by the way, doesn't need to recognize these Russian annexations but it would be unwise to think that it can ever reverse them. But, you know, if it's the deal, if it ends the war, isn't that better than carrying on as we are?”
1:00:18 “Becaause, when the Daily Telegraph says 'We are out of ideas,' that 'We have no long-term strategy,' they're absolutely right." And, as has become absolutely obvious over the last few weeks, it's the Russians who hold the initiative on the battlefield and it's the Chinese who hold the initiative now on the diplomatic front. And we are at sea in respect to both. We have no plan with respect to both. Honesty, straightforwardness, both with ourselves and the Ukrainians, is always the best strategy. Leading Ukraine on, telling Ukraine that if it holds out a little longer it can get Crimea back, that we are going to help them win, is not just dishonest. It is cruel to Ukraine, and it sacrifices Ukrainian lives to save Western face.”