Notes made prior to my appearance on RT's flagship programme CrossTalk which is hosted by Peter Lavelle.
Q. Just what exactly is NATO’s goal in this proxy war against Russia?
NATO's goal appears to be in the words of U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin “to see Russia weakened”, or, as it has been termed, a “bleed Russia” strategy.
However, NATO conduct is predicated on an overarching desire to bring about regime change in Moscow which facilitates the coming to power of a leader who will surrender Russia’s sovereignty.
The present proxy war provides an avenue for the hybrid war which has been ongoing for decades, that is, military, economic and informational.
Thus, NATO’s military aid ensures that Russia continues to be threatened both directly and indirectly. Ideally, Russia will be forced to expend its resources to the point of exhaustion so that it is forced into what would be seen as an ignoble retreat as occurred in the Soviet-Afghan War during which the West gave aid to foreign and domestic mujahideen.
NATO also serves as the enforcer of America’s economic interests. The military contractors are not the only ones to profit, the involvement of Black Rock investment as a purported vehicle of future national reconstruction is an avenue through which U.S. commercial interests are catered to.
And on the information front it provides the optics for painting the Ukrainians as “heroic” and the Russians as “bestial” and “incompetent”. It is a suitable vehicle to “smash Putin” to use the words of the former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennet.
Q. NATO says it is not part of the conflict and does not want Russia to escalate. At the same time, long-range missiles are being sent to Ukraine. Isn’t that NATO escalating?
Objectively speaking, the introduction of Britain's long-range "Storm Shadow" missiles represents an escalation since it is a weapon which would inject an increased capability to the Ukrainian armed forces not previously at their disposal.
Also, given the presumed sophistication of such a missile and the amount and level of specialist training that would be required to be given to Ukrainian military personnel, it not unreasonably invites the conjecture that British military personnel would be required to operate such missiles.
Assurances purportedly given by Kiev to London that they will not be used to target mainland Russia are meaningless given previous Ukrainian attacks inside Russia.
Q. Agree or disagree: NATO has no interest in a negotiated end to the conflict and Russia has no reason to trust the west.
Thus far all mechanisms set up to ensure peace have been evidently frustrated by NATO states. Starting with the Minsk Agreement which former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Francois Hollande have admitted was only entered into to "buy time" to build up the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was responsible for flying into Kiev to dissuade President Volodymr Zelensky from accepting a peace formula after the Russian intervention in 2022 and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet is also on record as having his efforts to serve as a mediator blocked by Western powers.
It is difficult to see how the Russian government can trust the West since relations have been littered with one broken promise after the other beginning with the pledge decades ago not to expand NATO "an inch" eastwards in return for enabling German reunification within NATO.
Q. Do Kiev’s western backers actually care all that much about Ukraine and Ukrainians?
On the evidence no.
The belligerent neoconservative-driven foreign policy agenda which has fuelled U.S. foreign policy for decades, and which appears to have permeated the thinking of EU states, appears impervious to the idea of seeking diplomatic solutions. The result has been catastrophic in terms of the depopulation of Ukraine, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of members of its armed forces and the certain dismemberment of the Ukrainian state.
The part played by the political and military leaders of Poland in facilitating war over peace is regrettable and brings to mind the famous words of Roman Dmowski, the Polish nationalist, who said that there were many among his countrymen who "hate Russia more than they love Poland".
It appears that the neoconservative logic is now firmly impressed on the minds of Ukraine's European backers. Twenty years ago, Robert Kagan had argued in his book Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order that "Americans are from Mars and Europe is from Venus". Alas, being co-opted into that logic is causing economic distress to European economies and even greater distress to Ukraine.
I don't quote former U.S. President Donald Trump often, but he absolutely nailed it when asked by a CNN interviewer the rather asinine question as to which side he would prefer to see win or lose in the conflict. His response that he wanted to end the conflict and prevent more people from dying was the correct one.
The attitude among Western leaders and the Western mainstream media that Ukraine must win or that Russia must bleed or to use the words of Naftali Bennett using the war as a means of continuing "to smash Putin" will only lead to the suffering and degradation of Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Q. Agree or disagree: There will be no lasting peace in Europe until the west recognizes Russia’s security interests.
Beginning in the aftermath of the ending of the ideological Cold War between the United States and the U.S.S.R., the need for an innovated security architecture for the European continent was a pressing one. It could have developed out of the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (O.S.C.E.) and might have included an economic dimension centred on measures aimed at integrating the German economy with that of Russia; a development of Ostpolitik.
A continuing proactive policy on the part of the West of seeking to force Russia to surrender its sovereignty is a recipe for continuing conflict. The basis of peaceful co-existence between Russia and the West ought to be predicated on trade and Ukrainian neutrality. Neutrality would not merely serve Russia's interests; it would have contributed to a new raison d'etre for Ukraine which could have plotted a national destiny much in the manner as Austria and Finland did after the Second World War.
Europe also needs to recognise that its own security needs are not being met by slavishly following U.S. foreign policy which appears to be the ultimate determining factor. What is needed are European leaders of stronger fibre who can push back at the excesses of American policy as the likes of Charles de Gaulle and Helmut Schmidt were able to do during the Cold War. If such leaders were to emerge, this would arguably lead to the security interests of Europe and Russia being met.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England. He has an interest in Global Security issues.