Sifting through the Mess of the Ukraine War

Almost a year has passed since the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine.  Counting aggressions in 1917–1918 and 2014, it would be the Third Russo-Ukrainian war.  From the outset, it was an unusual conflict.  For example, this war, even if it is waged on land, resembles a war on the high seas.  On the battlefield, everything is observable during the day and visible at night via infrared optical systems.  There is nowhere to hide from drones and satellites.

However, the fundamental feature of the war is that nobody was ready for war — not Russia, Ukraine, or their allies.  By the day of the invasion, the Russian army was embezzled, the Ukrainian army was disassembled and had not reassembled, and NATO armies were depleted.   

With artillery, for detail, the American industry currently produces about fifteen thousand 155-mm howitzer shells per month; typically, Ukraine uses five thousand shells daily.  Thus, Ukraine uses a month’s worth of American shell production in three days.  That is not sustainable.  Overall, the present war demonstrated widespread ammunition shortages, exacerbated by the mostly peaceful post-WWII decades.

From the White House perspective, the war in Ukraine is out of control.  The working hypothesis is that President Biden, in a Chamberlain-like move, had committed to giving about one-fifth of Ukraine to Putin.  According to the AP, the U.S. planned to “press Ukraine to formally cede a measure of autonomy within its eastern Donbas region, which is now under de facto control by Russia-backed separatists.”  Most likely, the deal was made during Biden’s and Putin’s meeting in Geneva in July 2021.  After that meeting, CIA director Burns visited Moscow at least four times.  One of his “achievements” was the unprecedented Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine, dubbed “military exercises.”

It appears that the Putin-Biden pact limits Russia’s appetite to the Donbas and Crimea only.  Recall the logically unexplained withdrawal of Russian forces from Kyiv.  Also consider the collapse of the Russian frontline in the Kharkiv region in the north of Ukraine and the Kherson sector in the south.  All things considered, these embarrassing events for Putin could easily be explained as necessary steps to comply with his side of an arrangement with Biden.

But surely Biden will soon realize that this is the same disastrous gentlemen’s agreement as with the Taliban.  (Note that the Afghanistan fiasco was happening practically in parallel with the Kremlin negotiations.)  He must have felt double-crossed, for instance, when Putin attacked areas of Ukraine (like the capital city of Kyiv) that were not part of the Putin-Biden deal. 

Russian propaganda dubbed the inglorious Russian withdrawal from Kyiv a “goodwill gesture.”  As such, it was ridiculed by mass-media punditry, which grossly misinterpreted it.  It was, in fact, a “goodwill gesture,” but not regarding Ukraine’s territorial integrity.  Instead, it was a “goodwill gesture” to affirm the Putin-Biden deal to partition Ukraine.

So, in February 2022, Putin violated the agreement, Biden went ballistic, and the dollar waterfall into the Ukrainian Treasury commenced.  The money and armaments will pour into Ukraine from the United States Treasury until Putin withdraws back to February 24, 2022 borders, or American funds run out — whichever comes first.

To facilitate monetary support for Ukraine, Biden reactivated a money-laundering conveyor that had lain comatose since President Trump’s time.  The original laundering mechanism operated like this: the cash flood from American taxpayers was returned (after the Ukrainians got their cut) to American soil — into the coffers of the DNC in the form of “foreign investments” and “donations.”  Next, of course, the “big guy” got his cut from these “investments” and “donations,” too.   

That scheme of financing Democrats using American voters’ funds was operational during the previous Ukrainian cabinet.  Then, after the Ukrainian elections in 2019, two months into Zelensky’s presidency, President Trump gently expressed the desire to shut the conveyor down.  Democrats considered that, quite correctly, an existential threat.  So Trump got his first impeachment.

Can the American Treasury run out of money?  Easily.  The United States is on the verge of another debt ceiling political fight.  Since the debt ceiling was reached in mid-January 2023, the United States Treasury can no longer borrow money.  As a result, the overall balance of tax payments (credit) and the budgetary obligations of the federal government (debit) will turn red in June.  Unless the House gives in, June will mark the United States’ insolvency and the last massive infusion of greenbacks Ukraine gets.  Such are the consequences of Keynesian economics, which lives on borrowed time (and money).

Another fast-approaching deadline is October 1, 2023, the federal government’s beginning of the new fiscal year.  The current remittance influx into Ukraine was approved by Congress (the “old” Congress, that is).  The brand new balance of power in Washington means dangerous uncertainty for Ukraine.  Therefore, Ukrainian military commanders have clearly defined deadlines to drive the aggressor away.  Unless European allies step in, October 2023 should be considered the hard stop for Ukraine.  On or around that date, the uncontrolled, non-audited, and presumably wasteful stream of payments from the United States into one of the most corrupt regimes (at least before the war), but still prone to endemic graft scandals, will probably end.   

Why are other NATO members reluctant to share more weapons and ammunition with Ukraine?  Everyone has at least two examples before him.  First, when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, Ukraine suddenly became the third-largest nuclear military power on Earth.  Ukraine surrendered its nuclear missiles to Russia in 1996 and decommissioned its launch silos by 2001, but what did it get in return?  The second example is that Ukraine gave Russian-made Buk air defense missile systems to Georgia when Russia attacked Georgia in 2008.  Georgia has not returned the Ukrainian Buk systems.

The assistance NATO participants provide to Ukraine has reached a staggering one-third of the military budgets of these countries.  Consequently, some Western artillery in Ukraine began to exceed its corresponding numbers in several NATO members.  At first, NATO threw away its army surplus.  Afterward, some, but not all, NATO countries began to give away everything available.  For instance, the Danes gave away 19 French-made Caesar howitzers, which was all they had.

As strange as it sounds, Ukraine’s sole feasible option to repel invaders is to boost corruption on both sides of the Atlantic.  Such Machiavellian cynicism is necessary because the next Russo-Ukrainian war is practically a given.  Ukraine’s young leadership quickly learned the lesson and acquiesced to restart the money-laundering conveyor.  From there, nobody should expect any drastic change in Ukrainian strategy until they conclude that the money game is over.  No Ukrainian offensive operations will materialize until the cash windfall is exhausted.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians are trying to collect as much in arms as possible.  They undoubtedly understand that it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and there will be no second chance.  Nobody will be able to reassemble the current anti-Russian coalition in the future because arsenals worldwide have been severely depleted.

The primary culprit, Putin, opened Pandora’s box by attacking Ukraine.  Instead of closing the lid at the first sign of trouble, he brainlessly threw himself into it.  Then Putin barricaded himself in and sealed Russia from the outside world.  The next entity foolhardy enough to start this process again will set loose Russia’s never-dormant imperial ambitions, triggering the Fourth Russo-Ukrainian War.

[Originally published at American Thinker]