By Batko Milacic for the Saker Blog
Until June 1944, the United States, the most powerful industrial power of the Second World War, had made the main contribution to the battle against Nazism in Europe through the courage of its pilots and Lend-Lease. Lend-lease was a special program authorized by the White House to supply military and civilian aid to America’s foreign allies, which assumed that whatever of those deliveries survived by the time the war was over, would either be returned or paid for by the recipients. Britain received $31 billion worth of military goods (around $400 billion in today’s prices), while the Soviet Union received similar assistance to the tune of $11 billion (140 billion). This assistance was vitally important for the British, who were losing the Battle of the Atlantic, and also for the USSR in the first year of the war, when this country suffered significant losses. However, shortly after the war, the issue of payment arose for the US-supplied military equipment that had not been destroyed in battle, and which had saved the lives of many US soldiers who had avoided direct participation in the war. The exact sum was negotiated for several years, and was repaid only during the 2000s. However, being a great power, which had made the main contribution to the allied victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union could afford not to agree with the conditions put forward by the United States.
Unfortunately for Ukraine, however, it is not even a regional power, looked down on by its Polish and Hungarian neighbors, let alone Washington. Therefore, the modern-day lend-lease program invented for Kiev is provided on different conditions. The Zelensky government is getting more and more “military gifts” from the West, forgetting that it will have to pay for every Javelin rocket, every box of cartridges and every howitzer shell. Unless, of course, there will be someone left to pay after the Russian army, which is slowly but surely advancing in Donbass, has destroyed what has remained of the combat-ready Ukrainian forces, and starts storming the big cities.
That said, someone will still have to pay for the work being done on a round-the-clock basis by Bulgarian arms factories, which are the only ones capable of supplying Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine. Add to this the paycheck for the work of Belgian, US and British gunsmiths, highly paid instructors from NATO countries, for the supply of medicines and food, most of which is not provided on a pro bono basis. Therefore, in the event of an “honorable peace with Russia,” Ukraine will face multimillion-dollar debts. After all, it lacks the status that the Soviet Union enjoyed in 1945, so the Kiev regime will accept any conditions that would allow the current Ukrainian elite to stay in power.
This means that the current lend-lease system for Ukraine is fundamentally different from the one we had during World War II. The United States and Britain are ready to support both radical Islamic groups and Ukrainian neo-Nazis both of whom are complicit in war crimes. Their shared goal is to weaken Russia and make it more compliant. At the same time, unlike the semi-terrorist groups active in the Middle East, Kiev is potentially able to pay for the supplied weapons. The main goal is to save the territories and then start making people pay the bill by freezing their bank deposits for “restoration” purposes, confiscating their foreign currency assets, selling off forests and subsoil – something that was actively done already before the war. If the people of a country impoverished by war are no longer able to pay jacked up direct taxes, no problem – they will have to pay indirectly via excise taxes. As a result, many European and American businessmen will receive a multi-year annuity to be paid for by ordinary Ukrainians.
Moreover, millions of Ukrainian refugees will be brought back home and start earning their living instead of just spending Ukrainian money. As a result, the average Ukrainian citizen, convinced by propaganda that despite the loss of Mariupol, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson, and possibly Kharkov and Chernigov, he has won the war, will have to pay, along with his children and grandchildren, the multibillion-dollar “war debt,” while occasionally wondering why he has to cough up so much for utilities and electricity.
The Ukrainian authorities now have to make the people believe that there is still free cheese in the mousetrap. At the same time, they keep offering the NATO countries to sell rather than donate weapons to Ukraine, even though the government was unable to fully meet its defense spending targets even before the war actually broke out. However, ordinary Ukrainians, both in the rear or at the frontlines, sincerely believe that their country is getting everything, from the latest anti-aircraft systems to body armor, just for free. This is not so, of course, but they will never be allowed to see numerous agreements on military supply payments, which are so easy to keep under wraps as “confidential.”
Once the war is over, there will be numerous conferences held on payment “restructuring” issues, which will leave many ordinary people wondering how come they are going to pay for decades for this “selfless help.” Well, their compatriots, who will end up on the territories that Russia will occupy, will also face hard times having to build new roads, rebuild cities and get high-speed trains rolling again. And the average citizen, who “saved” Ukraine will be told by the media day in and day out that the main cause of his troubles are the Russians, who have snapped up the country’s most fertile lands and money-making factories. Meanwhile, it is the neo-lend-lease that is going to be the true cause of all his troubles…