US is Using Ukraine to Split Eurasia
THE news of impending destruction and chaos in Kyiv is the new love of the global strategic community that relishes wars and is constantly on a lookout for hotspots where the US military can intervene and reiterate the American primacy. The western media has launched a propaganda blitzkrieg to tell the world that there is a massive Russian military build-up along Ukraine’s borders and President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of launching a large-scale invasion. According to US intelligence, Russia has moved 70,000 soldiers to its border with Ukraine.
The apologists of US imperialism are drumming up the threat of war and calling it a global security threat. The exaggeration of fears is aided by Washington and London’s decision to evacuate their respective diplomatic families and allow non-essential personnel to leave Ukraine. These Anglo-American powers have initiated extreme measures despite the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, clearly stating “we do not see a bigger escalation”. The Ukraine government is not seriously preparing the nation for war. To play down the prospects of a full-blown invasion, Ukraine’s tourism department has adopted the slogan: “Keep calm and visit Ukraine’.
At the United Nations Security Council, Washington has warned of a “horrific” war should Moscow decide to invade its neighbour and the Russians are playing down the threat of military conflict. Russia wants to address the transatlantic security concerns through dialogue. Moscow wants the US-led alliance to halt its expansion into former Soviet republics, and roll back the deployment of troops and weapons in central and eastern Europe. But Washington and NATO are adamant and have rejected the proposal. The Russian draft security pacts – a Russia-US security treaty and a Russia-NATO security treaty – have also called for a ban on sending US and Russian warships and aircraft to areas from where they can attack each other’s territory as well as a moratorium on NATO military drills near Russia’s borders. In order to secure its borders Russia is also asking the US and its allies to refrain from setting up military bases on the territories of Ukraine, Georgia and other ex-Soviet nations which are not members of NATO.
In a formal response to Russia, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that Ukraine's sovereignty and its right to choose to be part of security alliances such as NATO formed its core concern. He has further added that "There should be no doubt about our seriousness of purpose when it comes to diplomacy, and we're acting with equal focus and force to bolster Ukraine's defences and prepare a swift united response to further Russian aggression.”
The current state of Ukraine’s economy is not very promising. Inflation has shot above 10 per cent and its currency, “Hryvnia has lost 6 per cent of its value against the US dollar in a month.” According to many western analysts, Moscow is the main culprit behind Ukraine’s economic downfall. They see Putin engineering a regime change in Kyiv.
But is the Kremlin really interested in launching a large-scale invasion? Moscow is not likely to commit its military resources in a long drawn out battle. Ukraine has a professional army of 250,000. Russia does enjoy air superiority over Ukraine but Ukraine too has some ageing Soviet-era air defence system which can offer resistance to Russian jets. Russia will not let war mar its historical ties with Ukraine. Putin will not oblige the west by giving them a conflict on a platter to further tar his image and promote their interventionist and imperialist agenda. According to a security expert in Ukraine, “The Russians don’t have a single plan. They have strategic goals and then they have options to meet them. They try something and then they step back. They are very receptive to the response.” Putin's aim is to check US influence in Ukraine and to prevent its neighbour from being usurped by NATO. Gaining territory doesn’t motivate the Russian leader’s strategy. Imperialist forces are using the fear of invasion to encourage Ukrainian households to take up arms and form civil defence units to defend their country.
The US problem is not just Russia but also Germany that has refused to send weapons to Ukraine and adopted a relatively softer line on Russia. Germany has offered only medical aid to Ukraine and has also banned Estonia from supplying German-origin Howitzer weapons to Ukraine. Poland on the other hand has led in display of solidarity with Kyiv by sending arms, including “surface-to-air weapons of the Grom class and light mortar systems, as well as drones.”
Germany’s economic linkages and its Nord Stream 2 pipeline gas pipeline project with Russia, is one reason that Berlin is refusing to tow the American line. Moscow and Berlin have said it is a purely commercial enterprise that will safeguard European gas supplies. The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – owned and built by Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom under the Baltic Sea, tops the list of potential sanctions that western countries threaten against Russia in the event of invasion of Ukraine. In July, Biden signed a deal with Scholz’s predecessor, Angela Merkel, in which Germany made a commitment to block the pipeline if Russia used it as a weapon against Ukraine. German chancellor Olaf Scholz has also said that Germany may consider halting Nord Stream 2 if Russia attacked Ukraine.
Washington fears that Moscow is using the pipeline to increase its leverage in Europe – is meant to bring natural gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine. When fully operational, the pipeline is likely to send 55bn cubic metres of gas to Germany every year, equivalent to about 15 per cent of the EU’s annual gas imports. America is not happy with the pipeline because its sees connectivity and bonhomie between continental powers as a threat to the primacy of maritime powers in guiding the global political economy.
The American strategic aim is to keep China-Russia and Germany from forming a concrete continental block. It is applying pressure on all three major continental powers – Germany, China and Russia to ensure that Eurasian continent remains divided and multilateralism continues to suffer.
War in Ukraine is distant mainly because the US current strategy is to use Ukraine as a bargaining chip against Russia. The American realists are advocating restraint that allows Russia to have its say in Ukraine and bring it closer to the west, weaning it away from China.