The new geostrategic reality that the US-led West is solely responsible for triggering through its irresponsible miscalculations in refusing to encourage Kiev to implement the UNSC-backed Minsk Accords for ending the Ukrainian Civil War and its lack of interest in respecting Russia’s security guarantee requests is expected to accelerate the decline of the US’ unipolar hegemony over International Relations. It’ll of course take time for that to more fully unfold, but it appears inevitable since the US cannot simultaneously ‘contain’ Russia and China, with the second-mentioned expected to take maximum advantage of its grand strategic folly.
Politico published an opinion piece on Saturday by Zoya Sheftalovich titled “Putin’s Miscalculation”, which argues that the Russian leader’s decision to commence a special operation in Ukraine is doomed to fail due to what’s misportrayed as his personal delusions about the conflict’s multisided dynamics. As is usually the case whenever consuming information from the US-led Western Mainstream Media about sensitive issues, the reality is actually the inverse in that it was that same US-led West that miscalculated in Ukraine and not President Putin. This piece will explain everything that’s wrong with Sheftalovich’s polemic, but prior to doing so, the author recommends that readers at the very least skim through 11 of his analyses on this topic in order to bring them up to speed with his interpretation of the conflict:
To sum it up for those who don’t have the time to review every piece above, Russia had no choice but to militarily act to preemptively thwart NATO’s plan to attack it from Ukraine in the coming future from its secret military infrastructure that it established in that neighboring country. This would have happened after the undeclared US–provoked missile crisis in Europe neutralized Russia’s nuclear second-strike capabilities. The global public was preconditioned to expect a Nazi-like “blitzkrieg” from Russia in anticipation of the US’ prediction that Moscow might militarily defend the integrity of its national security red lines there. This false expectation made the targeted audience susceptible to Kiev’s Snake Island psy-op for cleverly transforming that narrative into one of “glorious Ukrainian resistance” instead.
Having clarified that, it’s now time to comprehensively debunk the many inaccurate points raised in Sheftalovich’s piece. She begins by framing President Putin as a man who lives in in the bygone Soviet-era past even though this isn’t truly the case. Saying such, however, is intended to get her audience to immediately expect him to make mistakes in formulating contemporary and future policies, especially those of grand strategic significance connected to his country’s national security red lines. He’s also not surrounded by sycophants like she claims but by world-class experts in every field. No world leader takes advice from unelected members of the self-proclaimed opposition like she implies that President Putin should do. It’s narratively manipulative to hold him up to that false standard and not others.
Her next inaccurate point is to compare the US’ chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan to Ukraine even though the dynamics of these two conflicts have nothing in common. Sheftalovich is pretending to read President Putin’s mind by claiming that he expected the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and their fascist militant allies to fall to the Russian Armed Forces (RAF) as rapidly as the Afghan National Army (ANA) did to the terrorist–designated Taliban last August. That’s pure speculation on her part which lacks any credible basis in reality but nevertheless conforms to the false expectations that she sought to manipulate her audience into holding by initially describing the Russian leader as a man from a bygone era who’s lost touch with both the present and future.
She then resorts to spewing the latest information warfare narrative against Russia by falsely alleging that “The country’s troops have resisted hard and have largely held their cities against a Russian attempt at blitzkrieg”, which the author debunked in his two earlier cited analyses about the Snake Island psy-op (which she references at the end of her article) and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister’s desperate plea for foreign mercenary assistance. Sheftalovich then switches to explaining why she thinks that President Putin underestimated his Ukrainian counterpart, praising the latter as someone who’s “not cut from the same fabric of oligarchs who made billions in shady business enterprises.” That’s misleading though since the UK’s Guardian reported that he’s actually intimately tied to them.
Their 3 October 2021 investigative journalism piece titled “Revealed: ‘Anti-Oligarch’ Ukrainian President’s Offshore Connections” debunks her false description with facts, including allegations during his election campaign that oligarch Igor Kolomoisky sent $41 million to Zelensky’s accounts. For those who aren’t aware, Kolomoisky is widely considered to be the oligarch that pulls the incumbent president’s strings. RT cited a report at the beginning of the year from a Kiev-based think tank whose research discovered that Ukrainians consider Kolomoisky to be one of the country’s most powerful oligarchs and a whopping 55% “now view Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as an oligarch”. Most are also skeptical of the intentions behind his so-called “deoligarchization laws’.
Sheftalovich’s manipulative cultivation of her audience’s false expectations about a Russian “blitzkrieg” that she then slyly sought to debunk by referencing Ukraine’s so-called “resistance” for the strategic purpose of misportraying the special operation as a “miscalculation” reached its climax when she wrote that “Putin expected Afghanistan in 2021. But he got Afghanistan in 1979.” Since that Old Cold War-era intervention is considered by many to have contributed to the USSR’s collapse over a decade later, she’s also implying that the same fate might befall the modern-day Russian Federation with time too. This feeds into the emerging narrative of the “glorious Ukrainian resistance” supposedly stopping a military superpower in its tracks even quicker than the Afghan Mujahideen did, ergo the “miscalculation” claims.
Her next inaccurate portrayal comes when she touches upon some of the unauthorized protests in several Russian cities against their country’s special operation in Ukraine. Sheftalovich leaves out the fact that the outspoken celebrities and sports figures who she mentions are part of Russia’s pro-Western liberal elite, the same as can be said for those academics who also oppose President Putin’s decision. Many of the average folks among them who participated in these protests are mostly youth who aspire to become part of their country’s pro-Western elite as well. They’re the same social class of anti-government activists who always oppose the state on whatever it may be. Importantly, their numbers pale in comparison to their country’s 145 million people, making them an over-hyped fringe minority.
She then ends her article on the note of hinting at forthcoming unrest inside the country sparked by the economic consequences of the US-led West’s unprecedentedly harsh sanctions against Russia. Unlike during the Soviet era when she says that “Russians were suffering for what many saw as the great good”, she’s skeptical that the people will return to their traditional resilience and stoicism in the context of the current conflict that served as the public pretext for those preplanned restrictions. Sheftalovich’s framing of the conflict as supposedly being started unilaterally and without provocation by President Putin personally for allegedly self-interested financial reasons suggests that she’d support forthcoming Hybrid War information provocations aimed at inciting a Color Revolution in Russia.
To summarize the top fallacies in her polemic, Sheftalovich heavily relies on misportraying President Putin personally based solely upon her own speculation about his thought process. That in turn is intended to influence her audience into expecting that he’s bound to have made a major “miscalculation”, which she attributes to her unfounded theory that he inexplicably drew a connection between Afghanistan and Ukraine’s dynamics. From there, she references the false narrative of “glorious Ukrainian resistance” – even citing the debunked Snake Island psy-op at the end – to manipulate her audience’s preconditioned expectations of a Russian “blitzkrieg” by decisively reframing everything as an unexpectedly sudden Afghan-like loss for this military superpower.
The author already clarified the reality of what’s happening in the second paragraph of this analysis, but to recap at the end thereof, Russia’s special operation in Ukraine is proceeding with the utmost caution due to President Putin’s order to pay particular attention to limiting civilian casualties and collateral damage among this fraternal people taken hostage by US-backed fascist radicals from 2014 onwards. There are no so-called “setbacks”, simply a Great Power behaving with the highest degree of military responsibility unlike what the global public came to expect as a result of the American Hyper Power recklessly flexing its military muscle across the world since the end of the Old Cold War and especially after 9/11. Since Russia isn’t conforming to those false expectations, folks wrongly think that it’s losing.
Everyone should also remember that this isn’t a conflict about territorial conquest like Sheftalovich falsely presents it as when writing that Russia “is attempting to become an occupying force”, but was most immediately triggered by Kiev’s US-encouraged initiation of a third round of civil war hostilities in Donbass that occurred within the context of the undeclared US-provoked missile crisis in Europe. The second-mentioned lies at the true heart of the current crisis and was sparked by the US’ simultaneous aims to neutralize Russia’s nuclear second-strike capabilities while clandestinely establishing military infrastructure in neighboring Ukraine from which to conventionally attack it afterwards. Sheftalovich is therefore lying by omission in eschewing any mention of these officially declared Russian concerns.
The “miscalculation”, as she calls it, wasn’t Russia’s but the US-led West’s. It doesn’t seem to have truly thought that Moscow would employ military means as the last resort for ensuring the integrity of its national security red lines in Ukraine. It certainly countenanced the scenario as evidenced by its information warfare campaign aimed at preconditioning the public to potentially expect that but it’s unclear whether they really thought that it would happen. The US arguably seems to have been caught off guard by the scale, scope, and speed of Russia’s special operation there, hence why it’s doubling down on the most extreme information warfare narratives such as flat-out lying about the “glorious Ukrainian resistance” and amplifying the voices of those who compare President Putin to Hitler.
The US-led West’s grand strategic miscalculation was to not encourage Kiev to implement the UNSC-backed Minsk Accords while also dismissing the legitimacy of Russia’s security guarantee requests for diplomatically resolving the interconnected Ukrainian Civil War and the undeclared US-provoked missile crisis in Europe within which the former is unfolding. The new geostrategic reality that they’re solely responsible for triggering through their irresponsible miscalculations is expected to accelerate the decline of the US’ unipolar hegemony over International Relations. It’ll of course take time for that to more fully unfold, but it appears inevitable since the US cannot simultaneously “contain” Russia and China, with the second-mentioned expected to take maximum advantage of its grand strategic folly.