by Hugo Dionísio for the Saker blog
Something is changing on Mount Olympus and it is leaving in tatters the union of tendencies connected to the U.S.-state falconry. To understand and predict the actions of the political elite that commands, through their transnational mandataries, our destinies, implies knowing what one of the most important US defense think tanks reflects and publishes. This research leads us to an entity that rarely appears in the “informative” moments of the North Atlantic press: the RAND Corporation.
RAND’s best-known moment with regard to the conflict in Eastern Europe is signaled by the publication of the report “Extending Russia – Competing from Advantageous Ground”. This report contains the entire menu of malfeasance that, in the claims made public and repeated by the US power summit, would lead to a fulminating defeat of the political, economic, and military power of the Russian Federation.
The analysis expressed publicly, by the various political actors, was that the Russian Federation was nothing more than “a gasoline bomb with nuclear weapons,” a “paper tiger” with a GDP equal to that of Holland, and a people gagged by a “mad dictator” who remained in power only through “authoritarianism” and “repression”.
Based on an analysis whose information seemed to substantiate such political positions, the RAND report advocated a type of intervention, some of which were well reported – others not so well reported – in the official press. This was the case with the attempted “colored” revolutions made in CIA in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian countries, which, together with Georgia and Moldova, would probably be “promoted” and “supported” to the condition of an actual Ukraine. The Russian Federation, having to meet all the fires, some because they would become proxy armies (like Ukraine), others turned into bases of destabilizing operations launched by the CIA, would eventually “extend” itself until it broke into pieces and collapsed, putting an end to the current threat. Even without this partition, a point could always be reached where, after the destruction of the incumbent political power, a more docile “regime” would be installed, pointing to a more “advantageous position on the ground.”
Given to be known only in 2019, we are forced to note that this strategy had long been in preparation, especially since the Russian president lost hope that he could count on a Western “partnership” and announce the end of the unipolar world. Fact is, the report has a logical connection with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (US national defense strategy).
At any rate, this strategy points to the “Yugoslavization” of the Russian Federation. The truth is that the constant itinerary of this work has been followed almost scrupulously by the U.S. security and defense establishment: “colored” revolutions; states transformed into proxy armies; communication and disinformation campaigns; destabilization and sabotage operations; economic sanctions and embargoes. A menu of fulminating “democratic” activities on the rise!
And why is it important to talk about this today? It is important because in the last few days a new paper from the RAND corporation was published, but this time in reverse, a study entitled “Avoiding a Long War U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict.”
If the previous works pointed to the goals that Anthony Blinken, Biden, Nuland and Kirby have so often trumpeted, namely, a long-lasting conflict that would exhaust Russian energies so that the obstacle could be removed by force if necessary, the study published this time points to the realization of a cost-benefit ratio between the costs and risks resulting from a long war with Moscow and the benefits that the U.S. can derive from a trajectory that is expected to escalate and could result in a direct confrontation.
Something has changed and in what ways. First it was triumphalism and threat destruction, now a long conflict brings risks and costs that prevent the US from focusing on more pressing priorities. Where do we stand? At first it was intended, precisely, a long-lasting conflict… Now, not only does it carry costs and risks, but it seems to be Russia itself that is more comfortable with the foreseeable extension of the conflict in time, to the point of appointing Gerasimov as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, envisaging more than one theater of operations simultaneously (RAND pointed to the bilateral Polish possibility).
According to the site www.moonofalabama.org , one of the best sources on US foreign policy, the publication of this study does not come by chance, but after an attempt by the US Chief of Staff, Mark Milley, to promote an internal debate on possible peace negotiations with Biden. Having lost the battle in the White House, and unable to persuade Biden, as he only listens to Nuland, Blinken and Sullivan (the hawks on duty), he opted for the public display of his claim, calling for the start of negotiations first and, perhaps, leading to the publication of this study later.
The problem is, as Tyler Durden writes in one of today’s best opinion sites www.zerohedge.com , in his article “The most egregious Mistake”, going back and reversing the direction of US policy in this matter is simply not an option. The White House has taken the entire West in such a direction and speed of triumphalism, arrogance and “egregious” imbecility that there is no going back or reversal possible without a total defeat of the official narrative and the consequent eternal shame. Hence, these efforts by Mark Miller should result in very little, except the deepening of internal fractures, which may be positive. The fact is, there are already people who intend to step out of this path to the abyss.
Now, unlike the various writings on the subject, which tend to explain the impossibility of reversing the direction of the current suicidal strategy, with the sectarianism of the official narrative, which only offers certainties and unequivocal results, according to which, initially, this strategy did not result from a necessity but from a choice, translated into the so-called “egregious error”, I, personally, tend to consider that it was not an “error”, nor even less a choice, but rather, an act of desperation.
The alternative – American – narrative to the official current says that the outlined strategy represented an existential threat for Russia, but not for the United States. For the US, it would be possible to take other paths than that of creating this conflict.
In my view, this is a condescending position that devalues the feelings of urgency that resulted from the catastrophic analysis (never made public) that many have probably made of the state of American hegemony. The fact is that while the US has spent 8 trillion dollars on the war on terror, channeling all its diplomatic, economic and military efforts into it… What have Russia and China done?
While the U.S. used the pretext of terrorism (which they themselves have so often fomented and used as a weapon against political opponents – Syria, for example) to dominate the world’s largest oil reserves (in the Middle East), sidelining other natural resources, which today are important (such as lithium, for example), China developed its infrastructure, industry, army and, above all, its international trade platform, today known as the Belt and Road Initiative. During this period, the global south was able to experience a new form of “soft power”, which instead of demanding privatizations, dollarization of the economy, and reformulation of the political system in the manner that was most convenient, of which the IMF and the World Bank were the proxies on duty, the integration into the BRI only requires that the projects facilitate trade between countries (hence the infrastructure). In exchange for natural resources, these countries – instead of Western corporations and “investment” translated into the purchase of public companies – receive schools, hospitals, 4G and 5G networks, ports, airports, bridges, and the bigger and more challenging the better.
Not even the propaganda of the “debt trap”, well known to the IMF and the association treaties with the USA, prevented more than 120 countries from joining this network. Meanwhile and in the same period of time, Russia was able to get back on its feet from the neoliberal nightmare of the 1990s, recovering its industry and, above all, its self-esteem and national pride. A mortal sin in the eyes of the white house. Eurasian integration (EUEA), international cooperation (BRICS) and infrastructure (INSTC) projects have been made that circumvent US influence across the seas, which helps shield the economies of the countries involved.
While this multipolar world was being born in the beards of the most arrogant and sectarian hawks, the military industrial complex focused its attentions on the war on terror. Our news reports at the time, instead of Ukraine, began and ended with suicide bombings and time bombs. Until…
When information about this world began to emerge in the form of hard data, panic began to set in. It was around the time of 2017/18. Of course, from my perspective, this panic cannot be confessed. Its externalization began to emerge through Euromaidan, pressure and destabilization on less aligned Latin American nations, with the arrest of Lula da Silva and other national leaders with whose policies the white house was not comfortable. Gradually we saw U.S. foreign policy shift back toward dominance of natural resources and markets and less toward terrorism. They even “abandoned” the Middle East, leaving only the Zionist and Kurdish watchdogs. It was the time of the news that opened and closed with Venezuela.
However, this reversal of course already denoted, in my opinion, a kind of race against time. Time that had to be won.
Faced with the continuous loss of ground, we have reached the time of Covid (which according to many is a White House “card”, provoked or opportunistic, we shall see in due time) and the construction of a military strategy that has been elected as the last of the means – far from being remote – to “contain” China, recently classified as an “existential threat”. The confrontation in the Pacific would pass through the creation of an Eastern NATO, baptized AUKUS. In this strategy, the obstacles that could tip the balance in favor of the enemy had to be removed. That obstacle is the Russian Federation. The conclusion of a true strategic alliance between the Russian Federation and China shows that the leaders of these two countries no longer have any illusions about the real intentions of the United States. The more they are together, the greater their protection and the greater the threat to the United States.
This is where the “Ukrainian” option comes in! The strategy of extending Russia until it left was not an option. It was a desperate action. Absolutely! And why?
I say this not only because of what I mentioned earlier and the urgency that the elite leaders of the Transnational Corporations (the backbone of the U.S. Empire) must have felt at the information that was reaching them. At this stage, it must be said that the “failure” of the Chinese strategy played a part in this desperation. For the corporate elite who control the political power in the US, the economic “opening” of China would certainly lead (I don’t know what science they based their opinion on) to the destruction of the Communist Party’s power and the installation of a neo-liberal type government. Hong Kong will have already been a forced step, as these folks believed that the process would be more or less “natural”, resulting in a “USSR” type collapse, this time in China. But no… By around 2018 it was already being said in the white house that they would have to learn to live with China as it was. There would be no new “Tiananmen” in sight.
For the transnational corporate elite there is no cooperation. There is domination. After all, that is the fuel and the adrenaline of empire. Anyone’s. But back to Eastern Europe, why do I say that the Ukrainian choice was desperate?
First it was forced. And it was forced because it resulted from the failure of people like Navalny and other neoliberal puppets, who should have been able to produce an attrition of United Russia’s power. The preferred option is always the one that involves the internal deconstruction and submission of the adversary. Failing this, the only option left is the military one. The military is the component in which the United States still considers itself superior.
The RAND report pointed to a set of “tasks” that should be accomplished in order to achieve the goal of “extending Russia” and thus achieve a “more advantageous position on the ground. Has that desideratum been achieved? No, not by a long shot.
First, the “color” revolutions in Belarus and Kazakhstan failed. Not only did they fail to remove their respective rulers, they worsened their situation on the ground by strengthening Russia’s power over those countries (the respective governments “saved” by it). Second, they failed the sanctions from 2014 onward by not destroying the Russian economy. Worse, they gave the country an ability to live with the West’s sanctions. The sanctions were “the” development opportunity, the missing pretext to move from an economy based solely on resource extraction, to an industrial, in some cases cutting-edge and full-cycle economy, i.e., with key sectors sovereign and shielded against sabotage maneuvers, from the outside. Third, Georgia did not take the bait and set itself up as a proxy army, failing the plan of creating several battlefronts. Out of all this the Russian Federation came out stronger.
While the outward discourse, for ideological and strategic reasons, continued to be that of the “fuel station,” the actions denoted only desperation. The very instrumentalization of the Minsk agreements, agreements sanctioned by the UN, as a way to gain time to arm Ukraine, totally discredited the West in the eyes of the global south. Anyone who deceives like this, a country like Russia, by relying on a process like the Minsk one, is capable of anything.
The fact that they managed to “convince” a country to sacrifice itself for the sake of the power of another, basing this “convincing” on the establishment of a neo-Nazi doctrine, recovering Bandera (directly responsible for the death of millions of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews), based on xenophobia, racial and cultural hatred, leading that country to a coup d’état perpetrated by forces comparable to the SS, and making all these people look like martyrs and heroes, and even removing the Azov battalion from the list of extremist organizations… It was another stab in the back of the confidence of a world composed of nations whose memories have not yet been erased and who know what bad things fascism and Nazism brought them. This same world also knows the decisive contribution that the USSR – and Russia, for that matter – made in the 20th century to the defeat of colonialism and to the national liberation of the majority of humanity.
It was also about liberation from the clutches of Western imperialism and colonialism. From the same West that used plunder as a moment of primitive appropriation of wealth, that allowed it to first achieve development, and then used it to further subjugate the plundered. No, this world no longer trusts the West. This world is not the same world that the corporate media claims to be with Zelinsky.
The official discourse denied all this reality and sold an illusion, according to which, Ukraine, with the help of the powerful NATO, would win, without appeal or aggravation, a war of attrition against Russia. Of course, the victory would be so resounding that the attrition would not even begin, for at the first sanctions, power would fall to the street. Even the thousands of Russian agents the CIA has in its pocket weren’t able to pull it off. Power not only fell but strengthened, demonstrating that the proud nation that, being harried from without, turns on itself is yet to be born. RAND’s assumptions kept getting further and further from being true.
According to the imbecility resulting from the superiority complex of Western elites, a country with 3% of global GDP would not stand a chance against the mighty G7/NATO/US. Which says a lot about the GDP method as a way of characterizing an economy. As “old man” Marx explained, only labor produces wealth and only the transformation of matter into something with use value translates that wealth. This is the “real economy” of which Martyanov speaks so much. Unlike the speculative and ultra-financialized economy of the West, Russia has a real economy, which produces things with use value. With “real” use value, without which we cannot live, unlike an iPhone or a Chanel perfume. In fact, the global south has been gradually discovering that it has the resources, the technology and the wealth to have a real economy. And it doesn’t need the West for that. It is the West that cannot live without the global south, not the other way around. The global south has figured it out, and so has the US.
Seeing this, and watching the deplorable spectacle that is the constant confiscation of sovereign amounts deposited in dollars or euros, which the West, at the behest of the US, steals so much, today we are witnessing a movement away from the dollar…
In this, too, we have much despair, such as the process that led to the “installation” of a Guaido in Venezuela or the successive attempts at a “colored” revolution in Iran. In both cases, the two countries saw their reservations “frozen” in the G7/NATO/EU space. If this move by itself had already put many countries on their guard, since it was no longer only the “communist” Cuba and the People’s Republic of Korea, this time, the freezing and intended confiscation of Russian reserves clearly pushed the panic button. Any country, regardless of size, if it does not accept submission, is subject to confiscation of everything it has in currencies of the collective West.
The result? The result is BRICS+ and the basket of currencies, the proposal for a Latin American currency between Brazil and Argentina, the return to gold, cryptoyuan and the multiplication of exchanges in national currencies, as is already happening between the Eurasian countries, Iran, China, India, Turkey and Russia, recently joined by Pakistan, or the case of Saudi Arabia and China. The challenge seems to be simple: escape the “cursed” currencies, but without appearing to do so urgently, lest everything fall into place.
This result was obvious and has been predicted so many times over the past decade. Even in unsuspecting channels from the point of view of neoliberal ideology like Bloomberg or Politico. But not even these warnings have deterred the suicidal arrogance and prepotency that results from 500 years of Western racial supremacy.
Today, after Annalena Berbock confirmed to us that we have been dragged into a war, without any democratic background discussion and public reflection, except for endless hours of “slava Ukraini” propaganda in the corporate media; such a war also starts from an underestimation of the military and industrial capabilities of the Russian federation itself. If we read the report made by the Congress a couple of years ago about the military capabilities of the Russian Federation, we would see that the general conclusion was something like: a lot of weapons, but unsophisticated, with precision problems and outdated in relation to the U.S. But this is not the story told by the more than 7,500 tanks shot down, the more than 300 planes, more than 200 helicopters and, most important of all, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, mainly of soldiers (Zaluzhny reportedly told the Pentagon that there were 232,000, CIA sources say 305,000, and Chinese intelligence is already talking about 500,000 to 680,000). Whether it is the smallest or the smallest, especially when compared to the Russian losses, it gives us a catastrophic idea of the disproportion of forces. We are indeed witnessing a process of demilitarization and denazification.
With this background, the sending of tanks was discussed, in another episode of “wonder weapons”. But this time, and after the others did not have the desired effect, the US no longer wants to throw more arms sales deals on the back burner, as happened with the “wonderful” HIMAR or M777. Send their Abrahms tanks there and soon the number of sales would drop. So, let the Germans send their Panzer-Gepard there. Sholz didn’t want to? When I heard him say that he would only send them if… I immediately thought, “he still hasn’t received the non-refusable request from Biden and friends”. It didn’t take a day for pictures of the tanks to appear on their way to Poland, even before the public announcement. This is the Germany of today: a cluster of Teutonic identity riders mounted on unicorns, wearing pink armor, and holding sunflowers instead of swords. How sad!
Be that as it may, a spring campaign is being prepared in which, to defend the USA, another 100,000 forcibly recruited Ukrainian soldiers will be sacrificed in the name of Bandera (the videos of people being caught in the streets, in shopping malls, hiding from the police… are multiplying at breakneck speed)!
Having already guaranteed the defeat of the offensive (come on… a country like FR would rather sacrifice millions of its best children than submit to some Western empire), the US is already preparing for the next desperate maneuver. Playing Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile follow the so far frustrated attempts at “colored” revolution (the others are learning how to disarm the CIA’s NGO army), to get more candidates for the post of “ukraine” in the pacific.
The RAND study points precisely to this “priority”. One more that will lead to actions whose prerequisites are not verified and, therefore, doomed to failure. But as someone, from the US, said some time ago: “there are no more good options”. Only the desperate ones. It reminds one of the last days of the Reich with its search for the “wonder weapons”.
But if the rest of the world has already seen the scenes of the next chapters, here in NATO territory, the corporate media is still in delusional mode, according to which, the world is a US backyard and the collective West is the civilizational reference… It’s like the cliché “Ukraine is winning the war”.
It will be my pleasure to watch a whole crowd of newsmen, analysts, politologists, and other charlatans doing the pin-up… and saying “no one saw this coming”!
Isn’t that what they always do? In a sign of desperation?
And some people still believe in them!
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