Sunday 27 March 2022

President Biden, India is not shaky, your base is (The Sunday Guardian)


Why the leadership of NATO is eager to convert a European country into another Syria, Libya or Afghanistan is unclear.

The more things change, they say, the more they remain the same. There were several from the professional and business classes who fled Iraq under Saddam Hussein to safer locations. Over the years, since their arrival in the US in particular, the new citizens began working the phone lines convincing those involved with policy that the rest of the population of Iraq was very similar to them. That they were closet liberal democrats, waiting for deliverance from Saddam Hussein. That last part was not wrong at all, so far as the Shia majority in Iraq was concerned. Saddam filled his government with Sunnis, and very few Shias, and with a disproportionate number of high positions going to those from Saddam’s home province, Tikrit. It was not accidental that Saddam launched an attack on Iran soon after the clergy under Grand Ayatollah Khomeini took charge in 1979. Most of those sent to the front line as fodder for Iranian artillery were Shia, sent to battle and perish facing the almost entirely Shia military mobilised by Tehran. The Kurds were also suppressed, not by sending them into battle but by bombing their villages and towns once President George H.W. Bush obligingly allowed the Iraqi Air Force to once again take to the skies to “establish order”. For an Iraqi resident in her or his own country, being opposed to Saddam Hussein was likely to end badly for the opponent and much of his family and friends, barring those who had reported the enemy of Saddam (sorry, Iraq) to the Mukhabarat. Almost as risky was to be close to him, for with rare exceptions, the dictator was less than constant in his choice of favourites, and before a new batch was selected and placed in suitable positions of trust, many of those in the earlier batch of favourites found themselves either in graves or in prison. Those were horrible times, with pulses racing with dread each time the doorbell rang. Ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein was deliverance. The manner in which the country was subsequently occupied and ruled by President Bush with help from Labour grandee Tony Blair was a disaster for the world. As is the manner in which the Biden-Johnson duo is “helping” the Ukrainian people, much the same way as “a hangman’s rope supports the hanged”. The transparent reprise of US strategy followed in 1980s Afghanistan of Cold War 1.0 enemy the USSR will inevitably choke to dangerous levels the very survival of the people of that unfortunate country. President Zelenskyy and many of his advisors are Jewish, but seem not to have had much contact with Israel or they would have understood better how to ensure that their policies enable Ukraine to survive the war launched on it by the Russian Federation on 24 February.
Judging by the trajectory of events, the probability is rising that in about six more weeks of Russian countermoves to what passes for “generous NATO assistance” Ukraine would be converted into a wasteland, with almost half its population newly resident in countries to its west, excepting the two having the most vociferous Cold War 1.0 warriors, the UK and the US, the two countries that are most complicit in what from the start has been a hopeless battle against a military machine that has long prepared itself for war, not just with Ukraine but with NATO. In case there are still some realist minds within the Pentagon working in Net Assessment, they may wish to consider the probability of Russia starting a war to regain control of the Baltic states and afterwards, grabbing as much territory in Poland as to close the land corridor into Russia provided within that country from invaders moving in from the west. The land, sea and air corridors leading to the Baltic states are, of course, eminently vulnerable to an attack from Belarus and the Russian Federation.
This is just the good news. The bad news is that President Putin, who from his KGB days has been taught (correctly, it would seem to him, looking at the manner in which events have evolved since 1992 and especially since February 2022) to consider the threat from the west an existential hazard. There is a difference between what the giant intellects that act as strategists for NATO consider existential to the Russian Federation and what is regarded as existential in Moscow. If a russian attack on the Baltic states is launched through use of a low-fallout yield battlefield nuke that has been under development in Russia (and presumably in the US as well), would NATO respond with a nuclear strike on Russia that would inevitably trigger an Existential Alert in the Kremlin, thereby beginning a cycle of escalation, the end of which may not be a pretty sight for the world? NATO has failed first in deterring President Putin from invading Ukraine, a country that was eager to become the bridgehead of NATO looking into the Russian Federation, then in holding back the Russian advance, and afterwards in preventing the destruction of civilian infrastructure that has partially been used to supply with kinetic reinforcements, mostly irregular groups fighting Russian forces. It would have been logical to assume that Biden and Johnson would have understood by now the risks their alliance is running by climbing up the ladder of sanctions and supply of deadlier and deadlier weapons systems and ammunition to the Ukrainian forces battling against “Putin’s army”. Why the leadership of NATO is eager to convert a European country into another Syria, Libya or Afghanistan is unclear.
The defenders of the Atlanticist Alliance military alliance have till now avoided fighting any foe that is not defenceless against it, although being scared away even by such groups, as in Afghanistan. The lawful military there could have held the Taliban at bay and finally overcome it, had Biden not kneecapped it in his wholesale adoption of the shoddy Trump-Taliban deal at Doha in 2020. This is a lesson that Taiwan certainly must be looking at, vulnerable as that country has now become as a consequence of NATO’s serial missteps in Afghanistan and Ukraine. NATO as an existential threat is not just in Putin’s mind but in the entire consciousness of the Great Russian mind—for there is such a construct in Russian minds. This is similar to the idea of Great Britain in so many minds in the UK, including those of Boris Johnson and his ally, Keir Starmer.
Europe, this time with not just the participation from the start but under the leadership of the United States, is “stumbling towards World War”, much as Germany, Russia, France and the UK stumbled into a war that made inevitable the end of European overseas empires. Not having understood this, European colonial occupiers sought to continue to stifle freedoms in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, although their exit as occupiers became obvious after 1945. This was obvious to the British people, if not to Churchill, but was not so to the French, who (having been affected relatively lightly during World War II, sought to retain control of countries such as Algeria and Vietnam. Alas, the US under Truman stood by the side of the colonial power and not with the forces of history, just as the US under President Biden is now standing and acting side by side with those in Europe who appear to believe in the effective control of a Russia after, of course, Putin.

President Biden, India is not shaky, your base is

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