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US & World

Escalation In Ukraine Risks Broader European War

“Risking an existential war with Russia when American national security is not at risk is the height of foolishness …”

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As the war in Ukraine drags on, Western politicians’ tolerance for escalation is growing. The United States and a growing number of its allies have recently given Ukraine authorization to fire ally-supplied missiles directly into Russia. Supporters of this move argue Ukraine will benefit from no longer fighting with one hand tied behind its back – while opponents cite the growing risk of engulfing all of Europe in war.

Ukraine and its Western benefactors hoped Ukraine’s anticipated 2023 summer counteroffensive campaign would regain some of the territory lost following Russia’s February 2022 incursion into the country – yet the counteroffensive stalled before making meaningful progress.

Ukraine’s then-commander general Valery Zaluzhny made the apt comparison to the stalemate seen in the first world war when explaining the failure.

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“Just like in the first world war we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate” Zaluzhny told the Economist in an interview following the offensive, adding “there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough.”

While Zaluzhny was correct in his prediction Ukraine would prove incapable of producing a “deep and beautiful breakthrough,” the stalemate didn’t last long.

Russia’s 2024 Kharkiv offensive opened a new front in the conflict and sent Ukraine and its supporters scrambling to prevent Russian forces from taking enough territory to put the city (the second-largest in country) within range of its heavy artillery. Western politicians have cited the prevention of this outcome in their justifications for the latest ratcheting-up of western armament of Ukraine.

(Click to View)

At the onset of the war, Ukrainian allies were continuously wary of expanding the war beyond its borders by supplying the nation with weapons systems which would cross Russian ‘red lines.’ Hands were wrung over supplying anti-tank missiles, anti-air missiles, artillery and modern battle tanks – all of which were eventually approved. Even more scrutiny accompanied the approval of long range missiles and F-16 fighter jets, both of which have the capability to strike within Russian territory.

While long range precision munitions have been in the hands of Ukrainians for months, no western sponsors of the war had been bold enough to allow Ukraine to fire the munitions into Russia proper … until last week.

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S.-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them,” a U.S. administration official speaking to Reuters said under the condition of anonymity.

“U.S. policy would continue to prohibit the Ukrainian military from using ATACMS, which have a range of up to 186 miles (300 km), and other long-range U.S.-supplied weapons for deep strikes inside Russia” the official added.

Under these conditions, the vast majority of Russian territory still remains off-limits to Ukrainian commanders – but the recent rapid escalation of the war across a number of other domains by the U.S. and its allies indicates this may be a temporary state of affairs.

In an unexpected escalation this week, U.S. state department lifted it’s ban on weapons transfers to the Azov Battalion. The Azov paramilitary organization was banned by congress from receiving American arms in 2018 due to its not-so-subtle Nazi affiliations.

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At the time, Democrat representative Ro Kahana of California said “white supremacy and neo-Nazism are unacceptable and have no place in our world,” adding that he was “very pleased that the recently passed omnibus prevents the U.S. from providing arms and training assistance to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting in Ukraine.”

Although the United States’ formal support of self-proclaimed Nazis is morally distressing, other developments this week raise more practical concerns.

Ukraine’s chief of aviation Serhiy Holubtsov told media “a certain number of” the F-16 fighter jets donated by Western allies will be “stored at safe airbases outside of Ukraine so that they are not targeted here.”

As western nations continue to push the envelope of permissible attacks on Russian soil, the notion that allied air bases will never be targeted by Russian forces loses credibility. Should such an attack occur, Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s founding agreement would be invoked, compelling member nations to come to one another’s defense – a possibility Russian commanders seem to be preparing for.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov cited American “hostile decisions and actions” in his explanation of recent tactical nuclear weapon training conducted in conjunction with Belarusian troops. Russian nuclear missile submarines were simultaneously spotted conducting training operations off of the Florida keys.

A sober assessment of the likely outcome of the war’s expansion beyond Ukraine has always included Russia using tactical nuclear weapons. CNN reported that “in late 2022, the U.S. began “preparing rigorously” for “Russia potentially striking Ukraine with a tactical nuclear weapon.”

The United States is not the only country taking the risk of the conflict expanding beyond Ukraine seriously, multiple European nations have for months been focusing on reviving conscription and acquiring armaments, while NATO war-planners created recently publicized “land corridors” which Newsweek reports are “designed to speed up the transport of U.S. troops” should “a wider war with Russia break out on the Continent.”

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r/Military -  "NATO is planning corridors to deliver US troops and equipment to the front lines in the event of a possible major Russian attack on Europe.
New NATO land corridors (Via: lgun_mashanov)

Many U.S. politicians have long lusted for this war, which has been all but inevitable since the United States intelligence community overthrew the duly elected Ukrainian government a decade ago.

As FITSNews has previously reported, in 2014 the United States – which prides itself on making the world “safe for democracy” – led a coalition of some unseemly allies (including literal Nazis) in overthrowing the administration of pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych

In Yanukovych’s place, our intelligence community installed a diplomat fresh out of Hillary Clinton’s state department as Ukraine’s finance minister. Meanwhile, another American diplomat, Victoria Nuland, joined U.S. ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in hand-picking the country’s next prime minister – Arseniy Yatsenyuk – and frog-marched him directly to the Oval Office to receive his orders from then-president Barack Obama.

“(The 2014) coup was not only supported by the United States and European Union governments – much of it was actually planned by them,” former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul wrote at the time.

Audio recordings of Nuland’s plotting published after the installation of U.S. friendly government confirm Paul’s assessment. The Kremlin reacted by annexing the Crimean peninsula and inciting a simmering military conflict that continued up until its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

South Carolina U.S. senator Lindsey Graham eagerly anticipated a fight to retake the annexed territories in 2016, telling Ukrainian troops “your fight is our fight” and that “2017 is the year of offense.”

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(Via: YouTube)

While that math would have checked out had Hillary Clinton won the presidency, Graham’s timeline was delayed a few years by former president Donald Trump‘s repudiation of the Atlanticist foreign policy establishment.

“We don’t want to be the policemen of the world,” Trump said.

Fortunately for Graham, Joe Biden played a central role in the 2014 coup, and his election in 2020 meant a return to the provocations that originally set NATO and Russia on a path to war.

When Russia invaded Ukraine two years later, Graham wondered aloud if there was “a Brutus in Russia” willing to assassinate Vladimir Putin – adding the war would only end if there was “somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

Graham traveled to Kyiv in 2023 to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. During the meeting, Graham noted “Russians are dying” – and called the United State’s contribution to the war effort the “best money we’ve ever spent.”

Just this month, Graham reversed his position on sending American soldiers to Ukraine.

“Yes, I do support us training inside the country,” Graham told reporters, envisioning U.S. weapons transfers as a catalyst for a successful Ukrainian offensive.

“It’s now time to give them the F-16’s, let them fly the planes,” and to use “long-range artillery to hit targets inside of Russia,” Graham said.

Graham next took to CBS News’ Face the Nation to explain how America must remain in the fight to protect the “trillions of dollars worth of critical minerals” under Ukrainian soil.

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Graham’s primary election challenger, Thomas D Murphy – a retired U.S. Navy corpsman who lost his left leg on deployment – told FITSNews he was “appalled with the statement that the United States must take over Ukraine for its resources” adding that “so many South Carolinians” were also appalled with “American debt financing the war in Ukraine.”

Despite this, Trump’s steadfast support of Graham – and the steadfast support he continues to receive from the SCGOP – make him South Carolina’s least electorally assailable “sister senator.”

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Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham (Via: White House Archives)

While South Carolina may be stuck with neoconservative senatorial representation for the foreseeable future, recent European election results indicate a growing discontent with the prospect of a continental war in some of the nations currently providing Ukraine with military aid.

In an election held earlier this week, Germany’s anti-war AfD party gained seats while the pro-war Green party lost a significant share of it’s support.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron – who proposed sending French troops into Ukraine – suffered a surprise humiliation when his party received less that fifteen percent of the vote in the latest French elections.

U.S. president Joe Biden‘s historically low approval ratings indicate he may well receive similar electoral repudiation in the 2024 presidential election. Viewed in this light, the United States’ recent escalations vis-à-vis Ukraine could indicate Biden is initiating a conflict that a new administration could not back down from prior to his potential ouster from office.

(Click to View)

Joe Biden (Via: White House Archives)

Combat veteran and columnist Daniel Davis doesn’t doubt the risk involved with escalation, and asked an important – although not often publicly discussed – question in a recent National Interest column.

“How does this escalation serve America’s interests?”

Davis (a man who deployed in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and twice in Afghanistan) concluded “there is no evidence that anyone in the White House, State Department, or Defense Department charted a well-reasoned strategy ahead of the decision to allow American-enabled lethal actions on Russian soil.”

“The belief in the West that allowing the use of long-range weapons and F-16s to attack targets on the Russian mainland would change the course of the war is embarrassing in its naiveté,” he wrote. “Any elemental analysis of the balance of power between the Ukraine side (along with the support from the West) and the Russian side shows that Putin’s forces have decisive advantages in air power, air defense, armor, missiles, drones, industrial capacity, and manpower.”

Davis sees no long-term gain to be reaped from authorizing these attacks.

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“Launching a handful of long-range shots into Russia will hurt them, but it will do nothing to change the course of the war, much less its outcome,” he wrote. “Consider that even the Russian campaign of consistent and devastating long-range missile strikes into critical Ukrainian military infrastructure has never brought Kyiv’s forces to heel. A sustained and large-scale campaign from the West against Russia would have similarly minimal results – but it might push Russia to retaliate.”

Still, administration officials green-light the attacks (and were applauded by members of the GOP for doing so). But Davis warns this could have dire consequences.

“There is nothing for the United States to gain and a great deal to lose by expanding the allowed target list of our weapons and ammunition to Ukraine,” he noted. “Risking nuclear escalation is foolish to the highest degree … the most prudent course of action at this point is to seek a negotiated settlement on the best terms available, end this current war, and do all in our diplomatic power to prevent the outbreak of a future one. Risking an existential war with Russia when American national security is not at risk is the height of foolishness.”

As America stands on the brink of a potentially unfathomably catastrophic war, we would do well to recall the final presidential statement America’s first executive, who recognized the advantages America’s geographical blessings and encouraged our nation to avoid the type of policies that put us in the position we now find ourselves.

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Washington Crossing the Delaware, painted by Emanuel Leutze in 1851

George Washington‘s farewell address reads:

“Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?”

Count on FITSNews to continue report the truth about local, national and international affairs without fear or favor.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: Travis Bell)

Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.

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6 comments

Dale Akins Top fan June 13, 2024 at 12:57 pm

Ta a

Reply
lol June 14, 2024 at 8:40 pm

Putin isn’t getting much bang for his ruble with these bargain basement bots.

Reply
JustCallMeAva Top fan June 13, 2024 at 4:07 pm

Yes, let’s just let Putin have Ukraine and Europe. Let’s see how well that goes for the USA and the World. Oh, right. The GOP is now beholding to Putin and continues to spew his propaganda on the regular. Pathetic.

Reply
Frank June 13, 2024 at 6:17 pm

Yes, it never ceases to amaze me how the Republican party has become the party of Trump and Russia. Putin would destroy the US in a heartbeat if he could. Yet they treat him, as though he could be trusted. He wants Europe, and if Trump is President he will get a lot of it. And don’t try to convince me, that Trump will not benefit financially, because he admires Putin’s ability to become the richest man in the world by stealing from the Russian people and will happily take money to sell out the US.

NATO will die in a Trump administration. And his spineless stooges will help him do it.

Reply
Squishy123 June 14, 2024 at 8:35 pm

“Spineless Stooges” should be the name of this blog.

Reply
Squishy123 June 14, 2024 at 8:33 pm

Young boy Dylan shows us that you’re never too young to be a useful idiot in the classic sense.

How bad do you have to fail at accounting to end up on a third rate, MAGA blog?

Reply

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