Ukraine Is Sinking. Are Western Elites Bailing Out?

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    by Mike Whitney, The Unz Review:

    What makes the RAND Corporation’s latest report on Ukraine so significant, is not the quality of the analysis, but the fact that the nation’s most prestigious national security think-tank has taken an opposite position on the war than the Washington political class and their globalist alliesThis is a very big deal. Keep in mind, wars don’t end because the public opposes them. That is a myth. Wars end when a critical split emerges between elites that eventually leads to a change in policy. The RAND Corporation’s new report, “Avoiding a long war: US policy and the trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine conflict”, represents just such a split. It indicates that powerful elites have broken with the majority opinion because they think the current policy is hurting the United States. We believe this shift in perspective is going to gain momentum until it triggers a more-assertive demand for negotiations. In other words, the RAND report is the first step towards ending the war.

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    Consider, for a minute, this excerpt from the preamble of the report:

    “The costs and risks of a long war in Ukraine are significant and outweigh the possible benefits of such a trajectory for the United States.”

    This quote effectively sumarizes the entire document. Think about it: For the last 11 months we have been told repeatedly that the US will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” The above quote assures us that that’s not going to happen. The United States is not going to undermine its own interests to pursue the unachievable dream of expelling Russia from Ukraine. (Even the hawks no longer believe that is possible.) Rational members of the foreign policy establishment are going to evaluate Ukraine’s prospects for success and weigh them against the growing likelihood that the conflict could unexpectedly spiral out-of-control. That, of course, would serve no one’s interest and could ignite a direct clash between Russia and the United States. Also, US policymakers will decide whether the ballooning collateral damage is worth the expense. In other words, are the ruptured supplylines, the rising inflation, the increasing energy and food shortages, and the declining weapons stockpiles a fair trade-off for “weakening Russia”. Many would say, “No.”

    In some respects, the RAND report is just the first in a long line of falling dominoes. As Ukraine’s battlefield losses mount –and it becomes more evident that Russia will control all the territory east of the Dnieper River– the flaws in Washington’s strategy will become more apparent and will be more sharply criticized. People will question the wisdom of economic sanctions that hurt our closest allies while helping Russia. They will ask why the United States is following a policy that has precipitated a strong move away from the dollar and US debt? And, they will wonder why the US deliberately sabotaged a peace deal in March when the probability of a Ukrainian victory is near zero. The Rand report seems to anticipate all these questions as well as the ‘shift in mood’ they will generate. This is why the authors are pushing for negotiations and a swift end to the conflict. This is an excerpt from an article at RT:

    The RAND Corporation, a highly influential elite national security think tank funded directly by the Pentagon, has published a landmark report stating that prolonging the proxy war is actively harming the US and its allies and warning Washington that it should avoid “a protracted conflict” in Ukraine…

    (The report) starts by stating that the fighting represents “the most significant interstate conflict in decades, and its evolution will have major consequences” for Washington, which includes US “interests” being actively harmed. The report makes it very clear that while Ukrainians have been doing the fighting, and their cities have been “flattened” and “economy decimated,” these “interests” are “not synonymous” with Kiev’s.” (“Rand calls for swift end to war“, RT)

    While the report does not explicitly state that ‘US interests (are) being harmed’, it certainly infers that that is the case. Not surprisingly, the report doesn’t mention any of the collateral damage from Washington’s war on Russia, but, surely, that must have been foremost on the minds of the authors. After all, it is not the $100 billion or the provision of lethal weapons that is costing the US so dearly. It is the accelerating emergence of international coalitions and alternate institutions that has put the US empire on the fasttrack to ruin. We assume that the analysts at RAND see the same things that every other sentient being sees, that Washington’s misguided conflagration with Moscow is a ‘bridge-too-far’ and that the blowback is going to be immense and excruciating. Hence, the urgency to end the war quickly. Here’s a excerpt from the report that was posted in bold print halfway through the text:

    “Since avoiding a long war is the highest priority after minimizing escalation risks, the United States should take steps that make an end to the conflict over the medium term more likely.”

    Interestingly, while the report details the main escalation risks, (The main risks include a broader war with NATO, a spillover of the conflict into other EU countries, and a nuclear war.) it fails to explain why exactly a ‘long war’ would be so damaging to the United States. We believe that this omission is intentional and that the authors do not want to concede that the backfiring of sanctions and the forming of anti-American foreign coalitions is clearly undermining US plans to maintain its grip on global power. Among elites, such talk is verboten. Here’s how Chris Hedges summed it up in an article at Consortium News:

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