by Finian Cunningham, Strategic Culture:
By sending massive shipments of offensive weapons to a rabidly Russophobic regime Washington is demonstrating its witting culpability.
Following his set-piece video call with Vladimir Putin this week, U.S. President Joe Biden said there would be no American military forces sent to Ukraine to defend against alleged Russian invasion.
Answering media questions at the White House, Biden categorically dismissed any possibility of U.S. troops being deployed to Ukraine. The president pointedly noted that Ukraine is not a member of the NATO military alliance and therefore there was no legal obligation to defend that country.
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“The idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now,” said Biden. “We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies under Article 5 [a collective defense provision]. It’s a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to Ukraine,” he added.
That restraint expressed by Biden is a rather curious anomaly. For several weeks, the Biden administration and U.S. intelligence have been broadcasting grave concerns that Russia was planning an imminent invasion of Ukraine. An incursion with up to 175,000 troops, armored divisions and aircraft might happen next month, according to American intelligence and dutiful media outlets.
Ukrainian military officials have been echoing the dire warnings. Defense minister Oleksii Reznikov has declared that Ukraine is “committed to defending Europe against Russian aggression”.
After all, the simmering tensions were the reason for the hastily organized video conference between Biden and Putin on Tuesday. Both leaders were engaged to reduce the danger of confrontation. Biden, according to the White House, warned the Russian president to de-escalate military threats towards Ukraine.
For its part, Russia has dismissed all Western media reports claiming it has a plan to invade its neighbor. Moscow says all such talk is baseless hysteria and actually a cynical distraction from the real danger of aggression from the buildup of Ukrainian and NATO forces in the region.
President Putin told Biden not to shift responsibility from NATO to Russia for the mounting tensions. The Kremlin leader also adamantly reiterated that Ukraine joining NATO or the installation of U.S. missiles is a red line that would necessitate a Russian military response to safeguard its existential security.
The following day, Biden then tells reporters that U.S. troops in Ukraine are “not an option on the table”. That suggests Biden got the stern message from Putin.
Biden’s legalistic argument about Ukraine not being presently a member of NATO and therefore not qualifying for military support sounds like the president is hiding behind a veneer. It doesn’t sound convincing as a stated reason for not sending American troops.
Ukraine is an official “partner” of NATO since 2008 – albeit not yet a full member. Ukrainian troops have joined NATO combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. For Biden to make a big deal about the propriety of the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense obligations and it not being applicable to Ukraine sounds excessively pedantic and prissy.
It also sounds jarring against the background of dire predictions of a Russian invasion. Think about it. On one hand, the Biden administration was only days ago rallying European allies with warnings about Russian tanks rolling across Ukraine. Then, on the other hand, Biden abruptly says the U.S. will not be sending troops to help its Ukrainian ally in its purported desperate hour of need. It doesn’t add up.
In other words, what we can conclude is the “Russian invasion” warnings are all hyped-up propaganda, as Moscow has been saying. If they had any substance, would Biden so easily and blithely rule out defending Ukraine?
But let’s dwell on that for a while. The American authorities and their corporate news media have for several weeks been peddling stories – psychological operations in the guise of “news reports” – that have ratcheted up explosive tensions with Russia that could have ignited a war if they had led to miscalculations. That in itself is a form of aggression that qualifies as a war crime.
In any case, while Biden is now saying there will be no American boots on the ground in Ukraine there are plenty of arms – tonnes of them – and more on the way.
This week the U.S. Congress passed a new annual military budget that includes $300 million in weaponry and other support to the Ukrainian armed forces. Since the Kiev regime was installed in 2014 by a CIA-backed coup d’état, Washington has already supplied it with $2.5 billion of military aid. That’s close to $3 billion total in less than eight years.
The new weaponry includes helicopters, warplanes, warships, artillery and Javelin anti-tank missiles.
As Russia’s top commander General Valery Gerasimov noted this week this funneling of war material to Ukraine by the United States and other NATO allies is the driving force behind the Kiev regime’s repudiation of the 2015 Minsk peace accord. Washington has emboldened the Ukrainian authorities to believe they can resolve the civil war against the Donbas region through force. If the Kiev regime launches a new offensive against the ethnic Russian people of the Donbas, Russia will be under pressure to intervene. It seems that the United States is trying its best to lure Russia into a quagmire conflict as commented on in a previous column.
So, Biden is not sending troops to defend Ukraine. He knows or his latest CIA briefers have told him that there is no such Russian threat. Biden knows too from Putin’s call that Russia is deadly serious about a red line in Ukraine. That’s why the U.S. president is suddenly coming over all proper about NATO’s legal limitations. It’s a handy get-out.
Nevertheless, simultaneously the U.S. weapons flow to Ukraine is being stepped up. NATO is already on the ground with trainers and special forces from the U.S., Britain and Canada, as well as in the air with aerial attack and surveillance drones from Turkey.
Biden appears to have taken onboard Putin’s security concerns for Russia stemming from NATO’s eastward expansion. The American president has said he will consult with other NATO allies on how to allay Russian apprehensions. However, if he were genuinely reciprocating with Russia, Biden would be calling off the dogs of war barking and snarling in Ukraine. The Kiev regime is not the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Washington is whistling Ukraine into a proxy war against Russia.
Ultimately, by sending massive shipments of offensive weapons to a rabidly Russophobic regime Washington is demonstrating its witting culpability.