(LifeSiteNews) – With the publication of a new paper last month, the RAND Corporation signaled the need for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine. Titled “Avoiding a Long War,” its tone and objectives signal a significant break with the expectations and objectives suggested four years ago.
RAND, which has advised the U.S. military on national security issues since 1948, initially advised in 2019 a strategy designed to “overextend and unbalance” Russia through sanctions and military humiliation. With neither of these goals achieved, it concedes:
An end to the war that leaves Ukraine in full control over all of its internationally recognized territory would restore the territorial integrity norm, but that remains a highly unlikely outcome.
In a complete departure from the initial goals of destabilizing Russia, it now argues for a negotiated end to the war – in order to focus on the next.
“U.S. interests are better served by a political settlement” which “might bring a more durable peace than an armistice.”
How has the view of RAND, so long the top advisers to the Pentagon, changed so radically? Writing in 2019, RAND suggested a raft of options to undermine the Russian state and economy.
It began with suggested measures to degrade the Russian economy. As with each suggested tactic, the likelihood of success in destabilizing Russia was set beside a simple cost-benefit analysis, including the risks of the policy in question. No consideration was given, it seems, to the destruction of the European economy and the reduction in global food supply as a result of the restriction of Russian and Ukrainian grain exports. These factors, crucial to the stability of the lives of hundreds of millions, simply do not feature as significant factors in the plans of the management.
None of the above steps succeeded in “extending Russia.” No country outside the Anglosphere and the European Union has implemented any economic sanctions on Russia, which means it has simply sold its resources elsewhere. Whilst Russia enjoys a record trade surplus, Europe is experiencing the worst economic conditions since the end of the Second World War. Its energy crisis, a direct result of the sanctions and the mysterious detonation of the Nordstream gas pipelines which formerly supplied 40 percent of German energy needs, is expected to worsen this year.
RAND suggested a series of approaches whose consideration reveals much about the success and failure of U.S. geopolitical policy. Lethal aid to Ukraine has been in plentiful supply, yet by RAND’s own assessment it has left Ukraine in a position where
An absolute Ukrainian victory is also unlikely…it is fanciful to imagine that it could destroy Russia’s ability to wage war.
The military victory so often championed in the press is deemed impossible. We have since the war’s beginning in 2014 been subjected to a systematic campaign of information warfare designed to mislead the public about the motivations and actions leading to this war.
It remains a curious feature of this propaganda campaign that the only person to admit the existence of biolabs in Ukraine is Victoria Nuland herself. The architect of the 2013 regime change in Ukraine conceded the existence of these laboratories in video testimony to a U.S. congressional hearing. This did not prevent their existence being described as ‘Russian propaganda.” Practically every fact about this war has been smeared in a similar fashion. To notice reality is to side with the enemy, it appears.
Yet facts have never been allowed to impede the project of Forever War.
Neocon war faction’s policies are rapidly degrading the West at home and abroad
A military victory was never possible without regime change in Russia. This is the reason for the inclusion of plans to undermine Russian influence. How did that work out?
No support was given to the Syrian rebels, whose chief sponsor President Erdogan of Turkey is currently moving towards a peace agreement with President Assad of Syria. Brokered by the Russians, and with talks taking place in Moscow, this outcome has strengthened Russian influence in both the Middle East and with NATO member Turkey, whilst leaving the U.S. isolated with its sole remaining proxies, the Kurds, who will be treated as a mutual enemy by the Turks and Syrians alike.
An effort to “promote liberalization in Belarus” took place in the autumn of 2020, where protests broke out following President Lukashenko’s re-election. By July of 2021 it was clear the promotion of liberalization had failed, with Lukashenko accusing “Lithuania, Poland, the US, Ukraine and Germany” as the instigators of a failed attempt at regime change.
The Belarusian President went on to denounce the smuggling of weapons into the country and a plot to kidnap his children and assassinate him. Lukashenko had made overtures to the West in the recent past, preferring to maintain independence from Russia. Indeed, the perception before the alleged plot was that the Russians were moving to replace him themselves, and install a more sympathetic leader.
The result of “promoting liberalization” was to force Lukashenko into the arms of Putin. It is a measure which echoes the backfiring of the economic aim of isolating Russia through sanctions, which has resulted in a far stronger Russian relationship with China. Belarus is now firmly aligned with Russia, its influence reinvigorated by the RAND-inspired plot.
This shows the disastrous consequences of the ideology, best expressed as a corrupt death cult, being permitted to direct the affairs of the West. It has never been held to account for its uninterrupted record of devastation, and the managers who have staked their reputations on victory will simply be replaced with components yet to be compromised. Its every adventure has left the enemy stronger, with stronger alliances and extended regional influence. The policies of the neoconservative war faction are rapidly degrading the West at home and abroad.
Ties in the South Caucasus could be said to be strengthened with the recent E.U. gas deal with Azerbaijan. On closer inspection the Azeris appear to be buying Russian gas to meet this new European demand. This means that the E.U. will be buying less gas for more money, with the profits accruing ultimately to Russia.
Black Sea Turkstream gas pipeline
Elsewhere in the region, Turkey has developed the Black Sea Turkstream gas pipeline to Russia, with a network extending to the Turkish-European border. This strategic partnership between Russia and Turkey remains decisive in European energy security, particularly concerning the Central European nations and the Balkans.
Here is the latest projection of European gas demands versus supply over the coming year.
The first line shows gas demand in Europe. The second – UA/TS – shows a scenario where Russia continues to supply Europe with gas across Ukraine, as it does to this day, combined with supplies through Turkstream.
The third shows Turkstream only, and the fourth (“NRPG”) means “No Russian Pipeline Gas.”
This graph shows that even with warm weather the current gas supply to Europe is inadequate. The leverage given to both the Russians and the Turks is obvious.
This can hardly be described as a weakening of Russian influence in Central Asia.
The permanent war bureaucracy
The final set of suggestions RAND presented in 2019 was directed at destabilizing the Russian government. Support for Putin has risen throughout the war, and is bolstered by the perception of Russophobia, again driving former moderates in Russia and even those unsympathetic to Putin towards a sense of collective identity.
It is clear that the objectives set out in RAND’s 2019 plan for Russia have not been met. In their own view, a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield is highly improbable. This makes their revised assessment noteworthy inasmuch as it refers once more to the high-risk strategy of forcing regime change in Russia:
Therefore, Kyiv would probably need regime change in Moscow in addition to victory on the battlefield to avoid living under the constant threat of reinvasion.
One thing that RAND has learned, and that Kiev has not, is that
…there is little historical evidence to suggest that regime change in Russia would necessarily ensue following battlefield failures…
This paper is a startling departure from form for any major publication in the West.
It admits there is no chance of military victory, nor of the restoration of lost Ukrainian territory, and concedes that Ukraine will never join NATO.
Further, it states that a long war brings the most significant cost to U.S. interests, making little of the devastation of the economies of Europe its measures have incurred. The report does observe that closer Chinese-Russian ties are a challenge to U.S. interests, but falls short of admitting that its economic sanctions have extended and unbalanced its European allies, leaving Russia in a stronger position at home and abroad.
It proposes a quick political settlement to the war, suggesting the leveraging of U.S. aid to Ukraine as a condition of genuine peace talks. Talk of any kind of restraint regarding the donation of money and weapons to the bottomless pit of Ukraine is viewed as scandalous. RAND’s suggestion that Ukraine be compelled to negotiate or face the withdrawal of funding is bold but necessary, given that no one can explain where the all weapons or the money have so far gone.
Finally, the concession of Ukrainian territory combined with the sane attempt to end, and not escalate the war, is likely to be met with howls of outrage. RAND recognizes this, noting that
A dramatic, overnight shift in U.S. policy is politically impossible—both domestically and with allies—and would be unwise in any case.
Yet nonetheless insists the best course is to
… bring this war to a negotiated end in a time frame that would serve U.S. interests…
Though the RAND report appears as a breath of fresh air in the foetor of war fervor, it should not be taken as an appeal to a lasting peace. Their haste for a lasting settlement is explained by their emphasis on the prime neoconservative objective – China.
A longer war that increases Russia’s dependence could provide China advantages in its competition with the United States.
This RAND paper seeks to bring one conflict to a close in order to refocus on another. One crucial lesson emerges from a closer reading, and it is that the decisions over this war have been political.
This means that there has to be some tapering of the narrative before something it does not permit can happen. With Biden and Zelensky being managed out of the picture, some final obstacles to a swift exit are being removed. It is important to recall that Biden’s connections to Ukraine are allegedly detailed in the secret documents he kept in his garage, over which the FBI has raided him three times to date. Both Biden and Zelensky are tarnished with the failed campaign to remove the Russian government and dissolve its federation into a manageable client state. Even presidents, it seems, fall victim to the plans of the permanent war bureaucracy which continues regardless of the outcome of elections.
What is done is what is possible in the current climate of opinion. It would appear we are heading for a mere break in the weather, rather than a cooling of forever-war fever.
A new consensus will likely appear over the sensible drawdown of the war in Ukraine, with sober talk of de-escalation and of peace. It will allow for politicians to appear both wise and relevant. A far greater war is risked if this impression goes unchallenged.
Has the secret state which engineers these adventures left its allies in a severely diminished state in order to shift to a greater campaign? There will be no end to Forever War for as long as the population is content to remain spectators in a process which delivers leaders as little more than components in a vast and inhumane machine, whose means and ends amount to the degradation of every valuable aspect of human life.
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