“…The United States is not ready to enter into a war over Ukraine [as it did with Iraq], White House Press Secretary Joshua Ernest told reporters on Tuesday, May 26. He clarified the US position when answering a question about the difference between Washington’s approaches to the situations in Ukraine and in Iraq…”
The Press Secretary said nothing new. The goal of the United States is not to send troops to Ukraine, but to create a situation in which Russia will be forced to involve its military forces in the region. Moreover, it is not even relevant if Russia is forced to commit its troops in response to a direct military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, or simply because a threat is emanating from Ukrainian territory.
Despite all the absurdity of this assumption (about a threat), it is not at all fictional. Ukraine has become a critical threat for Russia regardless of all possible future scenarios of events that may follow. In essence, the goal of the Unites States is to force Russia to repeat the US’s own mistake—when the US froze its military in Iraq and in Afghanistan, it rendered itself ineffective in global politics as it was unable to threaten further direct military intervention.
The fact that the United States aims to undermine China’s “Great Silk Road,” a gigantic infrastructure project that would connect all the continents—by disrupting it in Central Asia and in the Pacific region—is not being concealed, nor is it practically possible to hide an intention of this kind. The former Soviet Central Asia is a focal point, a node—so a strike is being prepared using the well-developed methods of colour revolutions. Except that this time the familiar scenarios will be seriously augmented by the actions of the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS), corridors for which are being prepared to guide the direction of their expansion.
Considering the serious tensions between the Afghan Taliban and the IS, the Americans are trying to build these corridors in such a way as to avoid creating an intersection between these two powerful destabilizing elements of the looming construction. At least during the first stage of this expansion.
In order to bring down Central Asia, the United States needs as much as possible to exclude from regional politics the region’s leading players, who are exceedingly concerned about the development of events—first and foremost Iraq and Russia, but also, to some extent, Pakistan. For each of them conflicts are being created in which they are expected to get bogged down, and the further away these conflicts are from the future theatre of new military operations, and the more intensive they are, the greater the chance the United States has for a complete destabilization of the Central Asian region. Having disrupted this area of the Chinese Silk Road, the United States will then have to finish the campaign in the Pacific Ocean. Here they will be forced to act in a personal capacity—the opportunities for indirect actions being too few in this area.
It is already quite apparent what exactly will be used as a distraction for Russia—a difficult and protracted conflict along the entire Western border from the Baltics to the Black Sea. It is difficult to predict whether this will indeed transform into direct military clashes, but the fact that Russia will be forced to build up its military presence in this area is beyond doubt. Considering that there are not nearly enough combat-ready units and formations in our army, the southern direction will inevitably be left substantially bare.
To exclude the possibility of a manoeuvre, we may well be faced with an expansion of Russian-speaking foreign legions of the Islamic State in the Caucasus. That is, of course, if the United States manages to divert the attention of the exceedingly difficult to control Shura (Council) of the Islamic State from the southern direction against Saudi Arabia—which, in itself, has a considerable importance for the United States because the Arabian peninsula plays a key role in supplying China with hydrocarbon fuels.
In essence, the two diametrically opposed points of view in the American establishment arise from a conflict of interests: between which of the two goals appears to be a greater priority in constructing a corridor of expansion of the Islamic State—the Arabian Peninsula or the North Caucasus (and, with it, the Lower Volga region).
One way or another, the conflict in Ukraine, and now the escalating problem of Transnistria, has a much greater importance for the global plans of the United States than simply resolving regional problems in Europe. It is imperative for the US to maintain and continue to inflame the conflict to keep the Russian Armed Forces in a state of readiness to repulse a variety of threats from the western direction. The period over which this conflict will continue is determined by the state of preparedness of the United States to launch destabilizing processes in Central Asia. By the looks of it, we are talking about one and a half to two years.
Naturally, all this is not binomial theorem and can be calculated well in advance. However, the Russian leadership appears to expect that it will have enough opportunities either for a manoeuvre or for the simultaneous repulsion of various threats. The bad news is that all counteractions being prepared have the form of purely straightforward responses.
Indirect actions, as can be seen from the example of the Donbass, appear to be extremely inefficient. The Minsk Collusions had as their goal the task of substantially tying down Kiev and in general to lower the level of the threat coming from Ukraine. To some extent this worked; however, tensions immediately arose in Transnistria, and the direction they will take is still unclear. The errors and mistakes made last year, when it was possible and necessary to eliminate the threat emanating from Kiev by liquidating the Junta, have now translated into a complete loss of initiative on Moscow’s part, and, therefore, into being forced to play second fiddle. There are no doubts that if Russia will somehow be able to solve the problem of Transnistria, then the United States will create another—most likely in the Baltic States.
On a strictly rational basis, the Kremlin’s indecision on the Ukrainian issue can be explained precisely by the realization that the initiative has been lost, and that any move will immediately create a new node of tensions, which would then have to be prevented by the same direct means—by strengthening the military grouping in the western direction, which, as it is, appears to have exceeded all levels of tolerance.
The ineffectiveness in using indirect methods that would exclude the need to apply direct military force or the threat thereof, the absence of instruments for conducting modern hybrid warfare, and the talentless policies in the Donbass and in Crimea render Russia’s opportunity to regain the initiative quite illusory.
There is, of course, an opportunity. And not just one. It would require a complete revision of the policies in the Donbass, the removal of all the marionettes, the creation of proper governmental authorities that are able to effectively control the territories, and the creation of proper armed forces in the place of the Militia—and the resumption of hostilities for the purpose of a march on Kiev.
If such a decision appears to be impractical because of the obligations accepted by Moscow in Minsk, there remains the possibility of creating yet another structure of an indirect struggle with Kiev through the establishment of a government in exile and a Ukrainian Army of National Liberation under its command. This structure had no part in the Minsk accords and therefore has no concomitant obligations.
It is clear that non-trivial methods require non-trivial approaches; however, so far everything has been going strictly in accordance with the American scenario, for which a variety of versions are perfectly acceptable—all of which would mire Russia ever deeper in a tangle of problems. What we need is to seize the initiative, to exit the conflict by transferring our role “by agreement” to a new or to another entity. In so doing, Russia would substantially free its hand to secure room to manoeuvre in geopolitical space and with adequate resources.