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24.01.2023 Author: Salman Rafi Sheikh

Why’s the West Desperate to Win in Ukraine?

Some powerful people – especially, the Neo-conservatives (Neocons) – in the US are getting desperate to defeat Russia in Ukraine. They think the US and NATO are not doing enough, leading Russia to win in Ukraine. Their basic premise is that the US must do much more than it has been doing i.e., providing weapons worth billions, to Ukraine, because the basic aim of the Russian president is to establish a “Russian Empire.” The US must do everything in its power to prevent, or, as Condoleezza Rice (former US Secretary of state and Robert M. Gates former Defence Secretary) recently wrote in The Washington Post, Russia will become too powerful, which is an “unacceptable” position for the US. They argue that “the only way to avoid such a scenario is for the United States and its allies to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability — sufficient to deter a renewed Russian offensive and to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces in the east and south.”

In short, US support for Ukraine – which is just a little short of an all-out war of NATO on Russia – is indispensable for the West to win and maintain a global order that serves the Neocons’ interests i.e., global domination with hegemony. They see the conflict not as an outcome of the US politics of NATO expansion, but as an “unprovoked aggression” and “attack” on the “international order” by Russia.

These concerns about protecting US hegemony – which unwittingly expose the western myth of their strong position and imminent victory in Ukraine – are now echoing in the White House as well. In a January 6 press briefing, Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary Laura K. Copper said that,

“From an overall strategic perspective, it is hard to emphasise enough the devastating consequences if Putin were to be successful in achieving his objective of taking over Ukraine. This would rewrite international boundaries in a way that we have not seen since World War II.”

The core purpose behind pushing NATO’s expansion was to strengthen this alliance in the face of a resurgent Russia. Now that Russia has resurged against the combined forces of the West (US/Europe), the conflict in Ukraine has become an existential crisis not only for the Biden administration but for all those Neocons who, almost a year ago, thought this conflict will end only in one way: a devastating defeat for Russia.

But this is not happening, even as the said ‘deep state’ Neocons wrote in their own words in the article that despite the US support, “the country’s economy is in a shambles, millions of its people have fled, its infrastructure is being destroyed, and much of its mineral wealth, industrial capacity and considerable agricultural land are under Russian control.”

Everything that is in shambles in Ukraine reflects the state of Neocons’ own state of affairs: their world order is collapsing under their own weight, as they push to revive it via the same militant means they have been using across the world for the past many decades to keep it intact.

Their situation is exacerbating, as not all countries in the alliance share Washington’s, or the Neocons’, interests and perspectives. Germany is one fine example. France is another. To add to this list and to make matters worse for the West, even Ukrainian officials now believe that they are fighting a conflict not for their own sake but for NATO.

In a “bombshell” interview with a Ukrainian TV show, Ukraine’s defence chief said that Ukraine, because it is receiving heavy funding from NATO, is already a de facto member of NATO. Secondly, he said that the ‘war’ that they are fighting is also NATO’s mission i.e,. tied directly to the politics of expanding NATO and ensuring Western hegemony. To quote him,

“At the NATO Summit in Madrid” [in June 2022], “it was clearly delineated that over the coming decade, the main threat to the alliance would be the Russian Federation. Today Ukraine is eliminating this threat. We are carrying out NATO’s mission today. They aren’t shedding their blood. We’re shedding ours. That’s why they’re required to supply us with weapons.”

What is that mission? According to Atlantic Council, a think-tank closely tied to NATO itself, the mission is to defeat Russia. “Defeat in Ukraine would relegate Russia from the ranks of the world’s military superpowers and leave Moscow facing years of rebuilding before it could once again menace the wider region. Crucially, by supporting Ukraine, the West is able to dramatically reduce Russia’s military potential without committing any of its own troops or sustaining casualties.”

But, as mentioned above, mere enthusiasm for defeating Russia has not been enough so far. Hence, the despair in Washington to ‘do more’ for Ukraine. The idea that these Neocons and ‘Atlanticists’ are peddling is that NATO’s defeat in Ukraine will have devastating consequences. First, it will upend the post-Second World War global order. Secondly, NATO’s defeat in Ukraine could also lead Russia to attack other NATO members as well.

These unnerved predictions project a doomsday, or World War III, scenario in which the West will no longer be able to manipulate the world. In this scenario, if Russia can single-handedly defeat the combined forces of NATO, the balance of power will dramatically change once China militarily joins the ‘Eastern bloc.’ This is not a distant possibility only; it is very much real, as the “no limits” friendship between Moscow and Beijing indicates. This alliance is only serving to dismantle the global order that the Neocons and the Atlanticists have been trying to shield for the past many decades from any challengers.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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