Will the US Salvage What’s Left of Ukraine or Provoke Russia Into Completely Destroying It?

The scenario of America provoking Kiev to escalate the conflict to a new, dangerous, and very unpredictable phase can’t be discounted, which is why everyone across the world is on edge.

This weekend’s referenda that the liberated parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk, and Zaporozhye will hold on joining the Russian Federation and President Putin’s subsequent decision to partially mobilize his country’s reserves are actually defensive-oriented responses to Russia’s recent setback in Kharkov Region and not offensive-oriented “escalations” like the US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) are misportraying them as.

The first development is aimed at de facto freezing the line of control (LOC) or at the very least expanding it only to the borders of those four polities that might soon be considered by Moscow to be its new international frontier, while the second is intended to either defend the existing LOC or slightly expand it as was just predicted might happen. If the US accepts that emerging geopolitical reality, then this declining unipolar hegemon and its vassals can focus on the home front ahead of the coming winter.

US decisionmakers might not appreciate President Putin’s pragmatic effort to de-escalate the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict, however, ergo why everyone should be very concerned about that selfsame conflict dangerously entering a new phase upon America’s choice. Washington is essentially left with two choices: salvage what’s left of its Ukrainian proxy or provoke Russia into completely destroying it by pushing Kiev to attack its neighbor’s new borders with NATO arms.

There are arguments for and against each choice from the perspective of the US’ subjective interests. Regarding the first scenario, it’s the most rational since it’ll prevent the Ukrainian Conflict from becoming a wider one by miscalculation. America can also consolidate its newly reimposed hegemony over Europe by maximally exploiting its vassals’ efforts to manage the upcoming socio-political and economic crises that are expected to climax in the next few months.

As for the second scenario, this is the most irrational and dangerous, and would only be commenced from a position of weakness belying a lack of confidence in the US’ aforementioned consolidation plans absent an even more intensified continental crisis. Moscow could very well unleash its full military might to totally destroy Washington’s Ukrainian proxies, thus catalyzing an unprecedented crisis, especially if it’s compelled to resort to tactical nuclear arms to defend its territorial integrity as a last resort.

About that, while the Kremlin has consistently denied that it has any such intentions thus far in the conflict unlike what the MSM has fearmongered since the latest phase began and Biden recently reminded everyone of, it could theoretically happen if one of its national security red lines is crossed. According to its doctrine, this includes “a conventional attack that threatens the very existence” of Russia as a sovereign state. As scary as it would be, the US might be trying to provoke such a scenario.

After all, President Putin just warned the West against threatening Russia’s territorial integrity (with it being implied that this would include its predictably expanded frontiers following the forthcoming referenda), promising that his newly restored world power “will certainly use all means” to defend itself. In the event that NATO-backed Kiev makes a major military push against Russia’s new or legacy borders before its partial mobilization is completed, then tactical nukes might be Moscow’s only defense.

To be absolutely clear, Russia would only employ such arms as the absolute last resort and if it was convinced that no other means would suffice for removing the urgent threat to its territorial integrity represented by such an overwhelming conventional attack. It has no illusions about how this act of self-defense would be weaponized by the West to transform it into a so-called “pariah state”, but it might literally have no other choice since failing to contain that urgent threat could endanger its existence.

Cynically speaking, this sequence of events might be exactly what the US wants, which would explain why Biden just revived that fearmongering scenario in order to ensure that it’s fresh in everyone’s minds. Should this come to pass, God forbid, then the following could be expected: Ukraine would be completely destroyed; Europe would never recover from the chain reaction of socio-political and economic consequences; Russia would become more “isolated”; and the US would refocus on China.

To elaborate on each: symmetrical overwhelming conventional attacks against Ukraine would likely follow Russia’s use of tactical nukes as a last resort and thus eliminate all threats both immediate and latent; the US would immediately complete the consolidation of its newly reimposed hegemony over the EU by exploiting their resultant weaknesses across all spectrums; America would maximally pressure neutral states to distance themselves from Moscow; and then attempt to repeat all of this with China.

About that last expected consequence, Taiwan would play the role of an Asia-Pacific Ukraine in the sense of becoming the US’ bridgehead for putting China in a position of nuclear blackmail and thus provoking the People’s Republic to commence its own Russian-style special military operation. That would in turn be exploited by the US to consolidate its newly reimposed hegemony over the region, especially if Beijing is forced to employ tactical nukes for similar self-defense reasons as Moscow might.

Having explained the contours of the second course of action that the US could undertake in response to Russia’s de facto de-escalation moves in Ukraine – its four former polities’ referenda on joining the Russian Federation and Moscow’s partial mobilization – it should be said that it’s far from guaranteed. There’s always the chance that cooler heads will convince decisionmakers to accept President Putin’s unofficial olive branch to freeze the LOC or let it slightly change in accordance with those four’s borders.

Nevertheless, the scenario of America provoking Kiev to escalate the conflict to a new, dangerous, and very unpredictable phase also can’t be discounted, which is why everyone across the world is on edge. Everything will become clearer by next week after those referenda are completed and the US makes its fateful decision, but until then, all efforts should be made to warn everyone about the worst-case scenario, why Washington might want it to happen, and why Moscow wouldn’t be at fault if it does.

By Andrew Korybko
Source: OneWorld

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