John Kerry, at a joint press conference with Yatsenyuk, has said that the United States is considering the question of supplying “defensive” arms to Ukraine.
By this, the United States has traditionally meant arms used to counter tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft—a weapon they believe is defensive. Evidently, previously ‘leaked’ information about the supply of “Javelin” systems, which are used against tanks and helicopters, seems to be quite accurate in this context. However, “defensive” weapons do not exist in principle—the same “Javelin” can perfectly well be used in offensive operations against an enemy’s fortifications. Everything depends on the problems to be solved with its help.
The Americans, catching the extremely nervous reaction of Moscow to the possible supply of arms to Ukraine, are now going to use the topic as blackmail, probing the limits of Moscow’s patience and capabilities. As a result, the arms will be delivered anyway—the question is what the United States will be able to bargain for the delay. If nothing—they will be delivered as soon as possible.
The expectation, if there is any, that there is a possibility of making an agreement with the Americans, looks either naïve or, frankly, treacherous. They are more than protected by shifting the conflict on to foreign territory, which, moreover, they do not need at all—at least not intact.
The USA’s aims are furthered the more crudely and visibly they become manifest: they need to drive Russia into a direct conflict with Ukraine and (if possible) with Europe. Simply put, they want to force Russia to take a direct part in the conflict. Whether by the introduction of troops or by the legalised supply of equipment, weapons and experts—it does not matter. Russia has failed to demonstrate her ability to fight a modern war through indirect participation. The Kremlin managed to subjugate the Militia, but any control of it is possible only in a situation of its complete dependence on illicit and unacknowledged aid. Additional control via vacationers and demonstrative killings of unruly commanders finally made the Militia a guerrilla detachment of Moscow and stripped it of its independence.
Why this happened is clear. The Militia is actively resisting the attempts of Moscow oligarchs to build the same kind of thieves’ state against which the rebellion broke out. The Militia can be coerced to fight for the interests of thieves and robbers only by force—and Moscow now has to continue its destructive policy of “seeming non-participating”—over which the US toys with the Kremlin as does a cat with a mouse. The political failure will have to be camouflaged by military force: the later it happens, the worse will be the consequences. In this case, Moscow can no longer drop everything—Crimea became a trap; the war in the Donbass and the genocide of its population conducted by Kiev allows a delay of the final settling of the Crimea question. The idea that it is necessary to finish the war in Kiev, can no more visit the heads of Moscow politicians—time was foolishly wasted, the situation turned around 180 degrees.
Even if Russia suddenly decides to intervene in the Donbass in one form or another and legalise its military presence, it will still be the worst possible scenario, except that the surrender of everything will be even worse. But the pace has been lost, any action now will only be responsive. The initiative has passed into the hands of others.
Kerry made a proposal that, if adopted, would mean the capitulation of Russia: “… All we ask is that Russia and the separatists support and respect the commitments they undertook and that they implement a meaningful ceasefire, including export of arms and equipment, withdrawal of foreign troops from the territory of Ukraine, release of hostages, respect of Ukraine’s borders and its sovereignty. I guarantee you that the United States will be the guarantor of the peace, if this can be achieved…”
One interesting detail: the US does not officially recognize the presence of Russian troops on the territory of Donbass, but are urging Russia to withdraw some foreign troops. Thereby Kerry with a grin demonstrates that the US is well aware of the Russian presence, but still prefers to pretend that it does not notice. For the time being.
Kerry’s proposal also means that after the capitulation of Russia they will define how the situation in Ukraine is going to develop further. Kerry names the United States as the only guarantor of peace—without even mentioning any Europe. The natives remain natives. The sheriff worries little which tribe they are from.
It is clear that Moscow will not surrender. At least for now. Then Obama will make a helpless gesture with a sigh and say something like “Well, we did offer…,” and launch a new round of escalation.
All of this is payment for cowardice, inconsistency and betrayal. Supporters of the Kremlin’s various cunning plans, of course, will say that everything is going as it should be. Nothing special—they would say as much about any decision of the authorities. There is such a job—licking superiors. However, in real life, 2014 was a year of complete and total failure of the Kremlin’s foreign policy, which brought in its wake an internal crisis. Thus far, only an economic one. But betrayal always costs dearly, there is no sense even to discuss it. What 2015 will be is hard to say. Judging by what is happening—a logical extension of 2014.