What kind of war?

Matejko, Jan (1838-1893); Bitwa pod Grunwaldem

How do you assess this war: a regional conflict between Ukraine and Russia, a proxy war between Russia and NATO, or an already emerging war for world dominance between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the USA? And does such assessment influence your judgement about the specific policies of the parties involved?

I foremost understand this war through the prism of the Russian GenStab: as a continuation of Pudding’s politics through other means. Several times over the last 20+ years, Pudding clearly said that Russia is in the state of war with the entire West (and especially the USA). Secondly, I understand it as Pudding’s war of extermination of Ukraine: for him, it’s entirely unacceptable for Ukraine to exist (at least not as an entity separate from Russia).

As next, I see this conflict in which Ukraine was forced to realise that it must completely (re)establish itself as independent from Russia: as a sovereign country with its own history, traditions, language, politics, and future. And it must enforce that way of thinking upon not only the Russians – but its ‘Western allies’, too. Thus, I see this conflict as an ‘ultimate version of the Ukrainian independence war’.

With other words: I do not see this conflict from the typically Western-centric point of view (think it was Mark Galeotti who described it as ‘Western narcissism’), and thus can’t see it as a ‘proxy war’. It’s a ‘proxy war’ only for those who think Ukrainians have no own minds (or are some sort of ‘misguided Russians’) and were played around by outside powers into separating from Russia: as a war based on some sort of sinister plot. I find that way of thinking outright dumb, definitely primitive, and certainly misguided. 

From my point of view, the situation is the same like in Libya or Syria of the early 2010s: nope, there wasn’t any kind of ‘Western regime-change plot’, but the people of Libya and then the people of Syria rose against murderous regimes that were terrorising them for 40+ years. Neither needed some sort of ‘CIA-Mossad-al-Qaeda conspiracy’ to come to that idea and it was only after that point that the West became involved, and even then: only to a limited degree (indeed, in both cases the country went down the sink precisely because the West then refused to impose itself upon the locals and preferred to accept interests of other foreign powers for the sake of apeasment). 

Of course, there are lots of foreign powers involved in Ukraine. There is lots of playing with Ukraine – especially by the Biden-Blinken-Sullivan gang (the EU has no coherent enough foreign policy to do anything similar; it’s rather so that Scholz is doing his stuff, Macron doing his, and everybody else their own….). And yes: because the West is supplying arms, money, and political support, the war is likely to ‘resemble’ a ‘proxy war’ for many. However, it was nobody else than the Russians who drove Ukrainians into taking things into their own hands, it was nobody else than Russians who invaded Ukraine (Pudding admitted this already back in 2015), and it is nobody else than Ukrainians who are defending their country, nation and their sheer existence as Ukrainians. That’s the bare essence of this conflict, and that’s always going to remain that way.  Which is why this is also a war that is going to force Ukrainians into re-defining the role of themselves as a country and a nation in the future. 

(….where I think Ukrainians should always keep in mind: when there is a huge country in Eastern Europe, with a population of some 37 million… then the West is not ‘horny’ about accepting it as ‘equal’, at least not without securing its own interests as first. ….and mind that the ‘West’, actually, needs Ukraine more than the other way around.)

Finally, this is a war I hope might force the West into fundamental reforms of the way it’s ruled (because what we have right now is, simply expressed, a ‘kleptocracy with limited pluralism’, but by no means ‘democracy’). This is what is adding the element of ‘war for the World dominance’ to the entire situation: if our oligarchy and its private and corporate interests continue dominating the politics and governance, and remain dependent on extracting profits from their cooperation with the PRC (and, latest analyses of the situation are indicative of both the USA and the EU being hopelessly unable of disentangling their commercial interests from Beijing, i.e. remaining neck-deep involved  there), then our systems are not an inch better than any other dictatorships out there.


Comment: I agree with this succinct analysis by Tom Cooper on the nature of this Ukraine-Russia conflict. It’s a far more reasoned discussion than me shouting “THE UKRAINIANS ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR VERY EXISTENCE, YOU DUMB SON OF A BITCH!” But that’s the bottom line of Cooper’s answer. However, he doesn’t give the West a free pass.

Of course the Kremlin sees this differently. In their eyes, they are fighting the West and the US in particular. But most importantly, they are fighting to reestablish Greater Russia, “to reunite the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians” as Petr Akopov put it on 26 February 2022 in his RIA Novosti victory editorial.

Although the collective West does want Ukraine within the Western bloc, they have a funny way of showing it. The Eastern Europeans see a continuation of centuries of Kremlin aggression and act accordingly. Western Europe and the US seem just as focused on preserving the Russian state and avoiding a nuclear confrontation as they are on ensuring Ukrainian independence. Our insane policy of escalation management is proof of this. Insane as it is, it is not as insane as seeking a nuclear reaction from a Russia facing not just a lack of a victory, but a real loss. I think this is a fine line we are trying to straddle.


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14 Responses to What kind of war?

  1. voislav says:

    Tom Cooper shows exactly the problem with US foreign policy. It’s made by people who lack knowledge and understanding of the local politics, ethnic issues, etc. I am not going to go into Syria and Libya, how did western takeover work out in Iraq and Afghanistan? As much as I support Ukraine in its fight for independence, I also understand that Ukrainian language and identity is not a monolith. This is the root cause of the ethnic and cultural tensions in Ukraine that predate Russian invasion in 2014.

    Majority of Ukrainians do not identify with national identity and language pushed by the Western Ukrainian nationalists, which is currently the “official” language and identity. Zelensky himself is not fluent in the Western Ukrainian (Galician) dialect. Significant percentage of Ukrainians (not Russians, Ukrainians) have Russian as their native language, at least 10% according to the 2001 census.

    US made a mistake in supporting (enabling, financing, whatever you want to call it) Western Ukrainian nationalist in taking over the government in 2014 who then proceeded to alienate large sections of the population, especially in the East, with their historical revisionism, language laws and a push to codify Ukrainian culture, language and identity as Western Ukrainian. This, more than anything, opened the doors for Putin to come in as a “protector” in Eastern Ukraine. Casting this conflict as a simple Russian invasion overlooks millions of Ukrainians that did not accept nationalist takeover in 2014 and took up arms to fight against the new Ukrainian government.

    I don’t see it mentioned much that the war started in 2014, that there was a peace treaty agreed on that was never implemented, non-implementation of which directly lead to 2022. Zelensky himself was elected on a peace platform, promising to implement the peace treaty. Non-implementation of the treaty was a direct consequence of Western/NATO policy and pressure, and has been confirmed by Merkel and Hollande since 2022. The truth is that majority of people in Ukraine wanted to see the state federalized as per peace treaty so that they would have more control over their lives, their language and their culture, and not have it dictated by Right Sector and their ilk from Kiev. This was the way to preserve Ukraine and make sure it survives long enough to allow its national identity to form organically rather than by diktat.

    So casting the blame for situation in Ukraine solely on Putin, while ignoring or downplaying the role played by US and NATO is supreme hypocrisy and in my eyes discredits Cooper’s analysis. A large portion of the population in Ukraine does not subscribe to the Western version of Ukrainian identity. If their concerns are ignored they will support Russia and Putin over Kiev and Ukraine will not have a future as a country, but only as a bitter Western Ukrainian nationalist remnant with a fraction of its territory.

    • Gordon Reed says:

      I agree with your analysis on Russia/Ukraine. As far as Syria and Libya these were not organic civil wars they were uprisings by minority factions that were supported by the US and the Europeans. In Gaddafis case it was oil and in Assads case it was his alliances with Iran and Russia.

    • fredw says:

      “…millions of Ukrainians that did not accept nationalist takeover in 2014 and took up arms to fight against the new Ukrainian government.”

      Yes. And other millions of Ukrainians took up arms to fight for a future that they craved. But the Russian invasion destroyed all possibility of the Ukrainians working it our for themselves. Yes, Western countries favored the Maidan faction, but their commitment level was low. Their investment was minor and they were very distrustful of the corrupt Ukrainian elites. Only Russian actions produced significant Western levels of support.

      Now both sides are dominated by outside actors pursuing non-Ukrainian interests. “Ukrainians working it our for themselves” may sound hopelessly idealistic, but in fact that is how these sorts of issues usually do resolve. With nobody happy but everybody getting enough to make further conflict unattractive. Or with fracture and separation. But either way based on their own goals and strengths.

  2. Eric Newhill says:

    Good article.

    I argue that for most of the article you could substitute “Israel” for “Ukraine” and “Muslims” for Russia and the article’s validity would change an iota.

    Both Ukraine and Israel even have a “West Bank” where other ethnicities exist in conflict with the governing majority.

    Funny how someone can support one cause and not another when the underlying principles are the same.

    • fredw says:

      Eric Newhill
      And for both, the “West Bank” is located to the East. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Ha ha. I know. I guess whoever gets to name the bank after a direction is all a matter of whose perspective takes hold first.

        IMO, Israel should take back the meme and start calling it the “East Bank”.

        People get hooked on memes and the memes become their reality

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          It’s the west bank of the Jordan River so that name makes perfect geographic sense, but I’m sure you knew that. The east bank is Jordan.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Not if you’re looking down from above the North Pole. Then East is left and West is right.

  3. leith says:

    Putin wants it to be seen as a proxy war. He needs that excuse as a whitewash for the public to cover up for their dead sons and husbands. A half a million Russian boys are sent home without an arm or a leg, or in a coffin if they are lucky, or rotting in a field in Ukraine. He now has to recruit soldiers from Africa or use press gangs to forcefully conscript Central Asians into uniform and ship them to the killing fields. Meanwhile he keeps driving Russians to the poorhouse. Being raped economically by India and China who are gorging themselves on Russian oil at prices below cost. Buying weapons from North Korea and Iran at high ticket prices. And his fatcat buddies are staying in the rear and becoming billionaires ripping off the public with arms contracts that they cheat on by using substandard components.

    Ruining Russia in order to punish Ukrainians solely because they wanted what the Europeans in the EU have enjoyed for years. He, Putin, should have applied for EU membership instead of invading a separate sovereign nation just because they requested EU membership. The Italians and the Czechs tried to get him in the EU but he refused. Back ten years ago a huge percentage of young Russians “viewed the EU as an important economic and strategic partner for their country”. Putin’s Russia used to be the EU’s largest trading partner. It’s unfortunate for the Russian people that he threw that all away by stealing land from his neighbors and bombing their cities when they objected to his theft.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Really? Who in their right mind would want to be part of that pathetic mess called “The EU”. Next they’d be trying to make Russia go “green”, leave farm land fallow, and allow a gazillion damn muslims to migrate there, among other retarded EU initiatives that are destroying Europe. Screw that.

      However, no need to invade Ukraine, I’m with you on that (though I care orders of magnitude less than you do)

      • TTG says:

        Eric Newhill,

        There’s still a line of countries that are candidates for EU membership. Only Greenland and Britain have left.

  4. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Larry Johnson spent a week in Russia, where he met with the likes of Alexander Dugin and Maria Zakharova.
    He has made a trip report, of sorts, through several videos and blog posts.
    Of course this maybe a filtered or sanitized version of what conditions in Russia are really like, but even so what he says may be of some value.

    LJ 2024-06-06
    St. Petersburg, Put It On Your Bucket List

    LJ 2024-06-09
    Back in the USA

    LJ 2024-06-10
    My Week in Russia



  5. mcohen says:

    It would seem in the long term,30 years or maybe less that russia has looked to the usa and has decided that it is headed for a hispanic majority possibly anti European and is setting in motion the weaning of Europeans away from us influence.The immigration policies of the us are now firmly tilted in a latin american direction.I believe that the catholic church has much too gain from this.

    From the time of the conquistadors arriving in south america and putting an end to human sacrifice up till now the church has had considerable influence.I believe this to be a good thing in the same way that islam spread amongst the arab and north african tribes and did way with cannibalism and voodoo etc

    So what does this mean

    After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “signed a decree enacting a National Security and Defense Council decision to impose personal sanctions against representatives of religious organizations associated with Russia”.[7] Ukraine’s government will specifically examine the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and ban any activities relating to pro-Russian

    Not sure

    Could russia see itself as the guardian of white European man and oppose the us and the wests idea of diversity and inter marriage.possibly.

    I once said that in south africa the brown people are the nation of the future.
    The gene pool needs diversity but if it comes at the cost of either race then i am not so sure.
    Intermarriage of ashkenazi jews with people of indian descent in one such way of boosting the gene pool of jews

    These are all my own ideas and not to be taken seriously.

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