With the overwhelming support of both parties, Congress just passed another military aid package to Ukraine. This one is for forty billion in weapons, but like most things that come from Congress, it has other items. There is money to resettle Afghans into your neighborhood and money for friends of the empire. This package is on top of similar packages passed this year and the passage of lend-lease, which will let the neocons managing Biden flood Ukraine with weapons.
Unlike prior aid bills, only the dullest, most insulated members of Congress were out in front of the cameras taking credit for it. That means it was the leadership of both parties and select lifers with no connection to their home state. Most were nowhere to be found, as they suspect their vote was not a great career move. A few Republicans opposed the bill and made sure to let everyone know it. This latest package has the feel of last call at a party that should have ended long ago.
The aid package, of course, will have no impact on the war. The situation has settled into a decidedly one-sided affair. The Russians pound the Ukrainians with missiles, artillery and rocket fire. The Ukrainians lack the ability to do much about it other than hunker down in their fortifications and hope for the best. Artillery shells are cheap, so the Russians are happy to rain steel on Ukrainian positions, slowly grinding them down until one day soon the army collapses.
This was not what the State Department promised. By now, the Russian economy was supposed to be collapsed, the army in chaotic retreat and Putin awaiting execution by the revolutionary mobs. That was what the planners promised the Biden administration, who made the same promise to NATO and the EU. The plan was to make sure the Ukrainians could hold out for a few months. The magic of the economic shock and awe campaign would do the heavy work against Russia.
Not only have none of the promises materialized, but it is also becoming clear that the war against Russia was poorly conceived and executed. It has had little impact on the Russians, but the West is taking it on the chin. Energy costs in parts of Europe are 30% higher than the start of the war. Food prices are rocketing upward with the promise of more to come later this year. Then there is the ten million or so Ukrainian refugees that are camped out in various parts of Europe.
Reason should lead Washington and its various puppet governments in Europe to reconsider the war in Ukraine. No one cares about Ukraine, but the point of this war was to harm Russia, maybe even bring about regime change. The payoff would then be easy access to Russian natural resources. The West would get cheap energy from Russia as its war booty. With that off the table, logic says it is time to rethink the strategy and maybe cut a deal with Russia.
On top of the geopolitical blinders, the plan also seems to have been remarkably tone deaf with regards to domestic audiences. The massive public relations campaign at the start of the war worked on the dullards who also always fall for these things, but a large minority remained skeptical. Having been conned by the Covid swindle, many people are simply unwilling to accept anything from the media now. A good forty percent of the public in the West is now permanently skeptical.
The economic cost of this war is bringing the politics of the war back to the usual ground that favors the skeptics. In the United States there is a long list of things that are not working and could use government attention. The southern border is the most obvious example, but the leaders of both parties call you a bigot and demand the FBI investigate you if you mention it. Ukraine is looking like another boondoggle to avoid addressing domestic concerns.
A similar problem is turning up in Europe. The deranged dingbat installed as head of the EU, Ursula von der Leyen, has been trying to engineer a boycott of Russian energy products, but that plan has collapsed. The stated reason was that the member nations needed time to find new energy sources. The real reason is the mood in Europe is darkening as reality settles in with the puppet governments. They have little power, but they are still subject to popular revolt.
The question that is starting to circulate around Western capitals is if there is an off-ramp for this growing disaster. Ideally, the EU would be tasked with engaging the Russians in high level talks to put an end to the war. Everyone knows what the Russians want as they have made their position clear. Zelensky will have to accept the deal the EU makes, as he is just an actor hired to play a role. He and his co-stars have already been granted British passports.
The problem is Washington and many EU leaders have branded Putin a war criminal and declared there can never be a deal with Russia. The problem is obvious. If you declare someone evil and then turn around a make a deal with that person, you are now in league with evil. Washington has been demanding regime change in Russia, calling on locals to assassinate him if necessary. It is safe to assume the Russians are not going to be overly generous in negotiations.
There is also the greater problem of the situation on the ground. Putin is the moderate in the Russian political elite. The military wanted to vaporize the Ukrainian strongholds with airpower, but Putin insisted on the slow approach. Now that success on the ground is guaranteed, those hardliners are not going to go along with a deal that does not get the Russians more than they wanted before the war. They will demand the south and east of Ukraine as reward for their support.
What is shaping up for the West, particularly America, is a modern version of the Vietnam conflict in the 1970’s. The political class is locked into a strategy that cannot work, but they cannot reverse course. They believe their only option is to keep doing the same thing, despite the results. At the same time, the public is becoming quickly skeptical of the enterprise, but unable to find a political outlet for it. This makes for a very unstable political situation.
The big difference between Ukraine and Vietnam is that America has not committed troops to the war. On the other hand, this is the age of privatization of government policy, which means there are private military contractors operating in Ukraine, being paid for by the Pentagon. It will not be long before the extent of this becomes clear as foreign fighters are captured on the battlefield. Vietnam started with loads of advisors initially and then led to troops on the ground.
The other difference is that in the 1970’s there were realist in the political class who understood the problem. Nixon was able to craft a way out of Vietnam, even though it cost him his presidency. The political class in the 1970’s was also more in touch with the general public than it is today. Most of Washington is so deranged now they think it is good politics to mock the baby formula shortage as Putin propaganda. No one in 1970’s Washington was this demented or obtuse.
In the 1970’s, Vietnam was a cancer on the American empire. It was not the only cancer, but it was a serious one. The ruling class recognized it and removed that cancer from the body politic. A series of difficult reforms were implemented that removed the disease from the system. This was possible because the country was still dominated by a sensible middle-class and the political class had plenty of reasonable men who actually cared about the country.
This new cancer on the body politic promises to be much more aggressive, because the body is much weaker. The public is atomized, cynical and exhausted by years of revolution from the top. Of course, the demographics are much different. The millions of paperwork Americans created over the last thirty years lack the human capital to survive the required surgery. The political class is now devoid of anyone who cares enough about the country to champion the necessary reforms.
In another example that shows the universe has a sense of humor, baby boomer politics were forged in the antiwar protests of the 1960’s. The end phase of baby boomer politics will now be determined by the pro-war policies of the boomers. The people who cut their teeth shouting “baby killer” at men in uniform are now baby killers demanding that young men put on a uniform and fight a pointless war of choice. The baby boomer generation of politicians have become the thing they hated.
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