The United States may be approaching in the near future a hot war or direct conflict with Russia, which could possibly escalate into a nuclear exchange or World War III. This may occur for numerous reasons, and not just because two Russian fighter jets downed an unarmed American surveillance drone (MQ-9 Reaper) on March 15 in international air space over the Black Sea located seventy-five miles southwest of Russian occupied Crimea.
Three weeks earlier on February 24 on the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden unequivocally stated to President Volodymyr Zelensky during an unannounced trip to Kyiv that he would support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in order to defeat Russia. Biden also made these same remarks verbatim in supporting Ukraine at the NATO summit in Madrid on June 30, 2022.
Unfortunately, his comments have not helped the U.S. Treasury with a national debt of approximately $31.7 trillion, and the interest increasing at an astounding pace. Victor Davis Hanson has written that during “the First Gulf War in 1990-1991 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq — the ratio of American debt to GDP was respectively 40 and 50 percent. Today it hovers at nearly three times that figure at 129 percent, ….”
So why did two Russian fighter jets attack our $30 million drone, and cause it to crash into the Black Sea after twice “dumping fuel” onto it? Putin is extremely angry because his armed forces have reached an embarrassing military stalemate resembling the bitter trench warfare of World War I in eastern Ukraine.
This stalemate has been epitomized by the mini-Stalingrad and hell of Bakhmut, which has been described as a three month “meat grinder” requiring repeated and resigned Russian waves of Stalinesque suicide assaults by penal battalions and inhumane homicidal “anti-retreat units” in the rear.
On March 15 the Kremlin could have cared less that our drone was in international air space because it was gathering military intelligence, which would inevitably be given to Ukraine in order to kill more Russian soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
There is no question that the Russians committed an act of war in response to NATO’s precarious proxy war waged against them since February 24, 2022. However, the U.S. may also have committed an act of war when Biden most likely ordered the destruction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline near Denmark on September 26, 2022.
Putin assuredly knows that if NATO had not heavily armed Ukraine with state-of-the-art weaponry, he most likely would have overwhelmingly defeated Ukraine in 2022. The Kremlin autocrat is now indirectly fighting every continental European country except for Switzerland, Austria and Serbia.
Both before and since March 15 there have been increasingly numerous examples of the Russo-Ukrainian war escalating into a far more dangerous conflict. For example, Germany agreed on January 25 to send eighty Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine with Berlin delivering their first eighteen tanks on March 28. That also includes the recent additional delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv by such other NATO countries as Spain, Norway, Poland and Finland.
Likewise, Great Britain agreed on January 15 to send fourteen Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine along with thirty “AS-90s, which are large self-propelled guns,” and considered to be both extremely destructive and accurate mobile artillery.
On March 16 Poland gave four MiG-29s fighter jets to Ukraine “as a first installment” while on March 17 Slovakia agreed to give thirteen operational and non-operational (for spare parts) Mig-29s to Kyiv “in the coming weeks.”
However, one of the greatest examples of escalation between NATO and Russia may be a game-changing military and economic alliance between Moscow and Beijing. After Xi Jinping traveled to the Kremlin on March 20 for a three-day visit, he ominously stated to his gangster ally on March 21 that “right now there are changes the likes of which we haven’t seen for one hundred years”, and “we [my emphasis] are the ones driving these changes together.”
However, I suspect that this Sino-Russian military axis actually began over a year ago with the secret and much needed Communist Chinese delivery of $12 million worth of suicide or kamikaze drones to Russia.
Perhaps this alliance will give Putin some solace and comfort after the Hague indicted him on March 17 for such war crimes as the abduction of “16,221” Ukrainian children and the “crime of aggression,” which the Allies charged Nazi Germany with at Nuremburg on November 20, 1945? Time will tell.
Other troubling examples of increasing escalation between NATO and Russia include Finland joining NATO, Sweden wanting to join NATO and Putin’s suspension of any “advance notice” of Russian nuclear missile testing on March 29 along with his threatened deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus during the summer of 2023.
Perhaps it is time for both Biden and Putin either to read or reread Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August or Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers, which both discuss the preventable origins of World War I? Hopefully, both NATO’s and Russia’s increasing escalation of military tensions in Ukraine will not be a similar tragic incremental repetition of the aftermath of June 28, 1914 when Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, which directly precipitated the start of World War I on July 28, 1914.
In my opinion, the only realistic solution to stop the Russo-Ukrainian war is a negotiated peace agreement not to admit Ukraine to NATO, have Ukraine adopt a policy of military neutrality like Switzerland, Austria or Serbia, allow the predominantly Russian speaking areas of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea to remain a part of Russia in exchange for allowing Ukraine to join the European Union and receiving war reparations from both Russia and Belarus.
Unfortunately, if Putin were to use tactical nuclear weapons in eastern Ukraine, detonate an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) blast over central Ukraine or simply destroy the massive Kyiv Reservoir located less than twenty miles north of Kyiv with a hypersonic weapon by inundating the entire west bank of Ukrainian capital along the Dnieper River and depriving the city of water, electricity, communications and transportation, Putin could still easily conquer much of Ukraine.
Putin fully realizes that losing the war is not an option. If he loses the war, he could easily be overthrown in a coup d’état, and suffer the cruel and ignominious fate of Muammar Gaddafi on October 20, 2011.
America’s globalist or endless-wars for-endless-peace foreign policy, fueled by our hubristic “military-industrial complex,” bloated 2024 defense budget of $886 billion and epitomized by our past two multi-trillion dollar debacles in Vietnam (1954-75) and Afghanistan (2001-21), is most likely not going to result in a Ukrainian victory. Our misguided and half-hearted military strategy will certainly not enable Pax Americana, which replaced the British empire or Pax Britannica in 1945, to succeed for the remainder of the 21st century.
The bottom line for the U.S. comes down to one simple question: Is Ukraine worth risking World War III? The answer is no, and Putin knows it. As Victor Davis Hanson has written, “Russia plans to leverage its extra 100 million people, its 10-times larger economy, and its 30-times larger territory to pulverize Ukraine and wear down its Western patrons — whatever the costs to Russia.”
America’s foreign policy needs to focus on the South China Sea, Taiwan, a future Communist Chinese bioweapon involving genetic viruses and especially cybersecurity. However, we may want to focus first on the Bahamas, which is located 50 miles off the Florida coast, where Communist China has recently “built the largest embassy in the world,” and the United States has not had a “permanent ambassador” since December 31st 2020.
– Robert L. Maronic