Thursday, May 25, 2023
Guest Editorial: Alistair Crooke Ret MI6
The endless, bitter antagonism to Putin and Russia has allowed a self-imagined reality to detach, ultimately becoming a delusion.
The recent G7 summit should be understood as, firstly, the shaping of a battlespace in the ‘War of Narratives’ whose principal ‘front’ today is the Team Biden insistence that only one ‘reality’ — the US-led ‘Rules’ ideology (and it alone) — can predominate. And, secondly to underline pointedly that the West is ‘not losing’ in this war against the other ‘reality’. This other reality is the multivalent ‘otherness’ that self-evidently is attracting more and more support worldwide.
Many in the West are unaware of how fast the geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting: The original plate bifurcation (the failed economic war declared on Russia), has already led to a building wave. Anger is growing. People now no longer feel alone in rejecting Western hegemony – they “no longer care”.
In just a week that preceded the G7 summit, the Arab League literally ‘went multi-polar; It quit its former pro-US automaticity. The embrace of President Assad and the Syrian government was both the logical consequence to the secondary tectonic-plate shift set in motion by China with its Saudi Iranian diplomacy — a revolution that Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) then logically extended to the entire Arab sphere.
MBS sealed this ‘break-free’ of US control by having President al-Assad invited to the Arabi League Summit to symbolize the League’s act of generalized iconoclasm.
For the West, it is ontologically impossible to tolerate their reality being disassembled: to see their society and the world split in two. However, the narrative reality is so embedded in the well-honed effectiveness of MSM messaging that politicians have become lazy. They do not have to argue their case and have no incentive to hold back on untruths.
The dynamics are exorable: an over-hyped ‘monolithic reality’ evolves into a Manichaean fight to the death. Any backsliding by ‘principals’ could result in the collapse of the Media narrative ‘house of cards. (This notion of a monolithic reality is not shared by most other societies that see reality as multi-faceted).
Denial becomes endemic. So, we witness a hawkish G7, diverting from the narrative setback (of Bakhmut falling) by the casual embrace of a ploy to supply F-16s to Ukraine, chastising China for not making President Putin ‘back off’ in Ukraine, and using the meeting to set a narrative framework for the coming confrontation with China on trade issues and Taiwan.
One commentator (at the summit) wondered, “Am I still in Europe or in Japan?”, as she listened to rhetoric as though lifted from Von Der Leyen’s earlier speech to the EU. Von de Leyen had crafted the formulation of ‘de-risking’ with China to disguise the creeping EU-China bifurcation in production on the EU Commission factory floor. However, this remark underlines how Von der Leyen has become a de facto member of the Biden Team.
China angrily responded to the G7 summit allegation that it had become a workshop for “smearing” and slandering China.
This extensive narrative-shaping for China confrontation is seen to be necessary by the G7 as the rest of the world does not view China as a genuine ‘threat’ to the US: Rather, they understand that the actual ‘threats’ to the US derive from its internal divisions, and not from external sources.
The G7 salience lies not so much with the anti-China narratives launched but, plainly said, because the entire episode expresses a Western hubristic denial, which portends extreme danger in respect to Ukraine. It speaks to the reality that the West — in its present mental mode — will be unable to put forward any credible political initiative to end the Ukraine conflict. (Recall that the earlier Minsk episode badly mauled Moscow).
The G7 language abjures all serious diplomacy and signals that the imperative remains to stick with the ‘not losing’ mantra: The fall of Bakhmut is no defeat for Kiev, but a Pyrrhic loss for Putin; Ukraine is winning, Putin is losing, was the G7 messaging.
The hubris resides in the perennial Western condescension towards President Putin and Russia. Washington (and London) cannot disabuse themselves of the conviction that Russia is fragile; its’ armed forces barely, if at all, competent; its economy cratering, and that, therefore Putin likely would seize on just about any ‘olive branch’ America cares to offer him.
That President Xi could – or would – pressure Putin ‘to back off’ in Ukraine and accept a ceasefire on EU terms- the ‘Zelensky terms’ – is delusional. Yet some key EU leaders genuinely seem to think Putin can be arm-twisted by Xi or Modi into exiting Ukraine on terms wholly favourable to Kiev. These European leaders are dangerously hostage to the psychological processes fueling their denialism.
Russia is ‘winning’ on the economic war front and the global diplomatic front. It has the overwhelming advantage in force numbers; it has the edge in weaponry; it has the advantage in the skies and in the Electromagnetic sphere. Whereas Ukraine is in disarray, its forces decimated, and the Kiev entity is crumbling fast.
Don’t they ‘get it’? No. The endless, bitter antagonism between Putin and Russia has allowed a self-imagined reality to detach, to drift further and further from any connection to reality, and then to transit into delusion — always drawing on like-minded peer cheerleaders for validation and extended radicalization.
This is a severe psychosis. Because instead of addressing the conflict rationally, the West consistently comes up with ‘non-starters’ such as a ‘frozen conflict’. Do they seriously think that Russia will ‘sit back’ whilst the West ‘stands up’ an ‘armed to the teeth’ NATO proxy in the West of Ukraine? A proxy that will stand as a festering sore in the Russian side and bleed Russian resources over the long term. Do they imagine the lesson of Afghanistan is lost on the Russian High Command? I can tell you it is not. I was a part actor in that tragedy.
What next? Russia likely will wait to see whether Kiev can mount an offensive. If Kiev does launch an offensive, it will make sense for Russia to let the Ukrainian forces throw themselves upon the Russian defensive lines and expend their forces further in a new ‘meat grinder’. Moscow will test whether Kiev’s patrons are ready to acknowledge ‘facts on the ground’, rather than some imagined reality by acquiescing to Moscow’s terms. If not, the Russian attrition might continue, and continue, right up to the Polish border. There is no other option — even if it be Moscow’s last choice.
The F-16s diversion will not change the strategic balance of the war, but it will extend the war. Yet the European leaders at the G7 grabbed the proposal.
Lt Col. Daniel Davis, Senior Fellow at Defence Priorities in Washington, has warned:
“There is no reason to expect a dramatic change in Kyiv’s fortunes in the war because of them [the F-16s]. Even the 40 to 50 jets Ukraine reportedly requests will not fundamentally alter the war’s course. However, the bigger question “Americans should be asking of Biden is this: to what end? What does the Administration expect the delivery of the F-16s to accomplish? What do we hope to accomplish physically? What end-state does the president envision for the war, and how would the presence of F-16s improve the chances of success?
“So far as I can determine, these questions haven’t even been asked, much less answered, by administration or Pentagon officials” … Washington should start to focus far more on concrete means of safeguarding American interests and ending the war and less on inconsequential weapon deliveries which don’t seem to be part of any coherent strategy”.
The same question should be posed to the EU: “To what end?” Has the question even been asked, much less answered?
Well, let’s answer it: What will 50 F-16s accomplish? European leaders say they seek an early end to the conflict, yet this initiative will achieve the opposite. It will represent another milestone in escalating towards the ‘forever war’ against Russia, for which some earnestly wish. Russia than likely will see little alternative but to proceed to an entire war versus NATO.
The Europeans seem incapable of saying ‘no’ to America. Yet Col. Davis clearly warns that the US intends to “shift the burden for physical support for Ukraine to our European partners”. Implicitly, this suggests a ‘long war’ in Europe. How did we reach this point, for heaven’s sake? (By not thinking things through from the start – with the economic war on Russia, so enthusiastically and unreflectively embraced by Europe).
Recently, the Financial Times wrote that Ukraine has five months to demonstrate some “advances” to the US and other Western backers to convince them of its plans for the conflict with Russia: “If we get to September and Ukraine has not made significant gains, then the international pressure on [the West] to bring them to negotiations will be enormous”.
Col Davis says, “There is little likelihood the [the F-16] fighters will see combat over the skies of Ukraine this year”. So, Biden just casually extended the war well beyond September.
If Europe wants an early end to the war, it must hope for the Kiev ‘project’ to implode soon. (And it might do just that, F-16s notwithstanding.)
Distributed by the Stand Up America US Foundation
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