- War was in the air at least a year before 24 February 2022. Kiev repeatedly signaled what former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has recently confirmed in two interviews: that Ukraine was more interested in re-starting the Donbass civil war than in carrying out its obligations under Minsk 2. As the Carnegie Endowment’s Dmitri Trenin noted in 2021:“In February , Zelensky ordered troops (as part of the rotation process) and heavy weapons (as a show of force) to go near to the conflict zone in Donbas.” More recently, on 30 March 2021, Ukraine’s Chief of the General Staff Ruslan Khomchak announced Ukraine’s new military doctrine and noted: “We are preparing for an offensive…we have experience of the conduct of the war in eastern Ukraine,” and “the commander-in-chief has no problems for giving the command or make a decision” (https://strana.news/news/325436-voennaja-doktrina-rossii-i-ukraina-chto-tam-napisano-i-kakoj-budet-vojna.html). Russia promptly moved additional troops near the border for training exercises, leaving a force of 100,000 afterwards. The Ukrainian newspaper ‘Strana’ (strana.ua) noted on the same day that the situation in Ukraine fulfilled all six requirements in the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation: “NATO exercises are regularly held on its territory, Kiev demands Moscow to return Crimea, a war is raging in the Donbas, radical groups are operating throughout the country, and Ukrainian special services are acting against Russia” (https://strana.news/news/325436-voennaja-doktrina-rossii-i-ukraina-chto-tam-napisano-i-kakoj-budet-vojna.html).
2) The US mid-terms will not lead to any appreciable change in the US policy of support of Ukraine, because: (1) the American Republican and conservative opposition to the Biden regime is primarily motivated to resist the cultural Marxist revolution from above and its policies of open borders for non-whites, transgenderism, statization of the economy, social net censorship, a politicized FBI and CIA, and other domestic issues; there is broad Republican support for support of Ukraine and some for war with Russia and (2) the US is not the only interested party in the Russo-NATO Ukrainian war and the American people’s opinion means little to the Democratc party, which is attempting to build a single-party dominant, soft authoritarian regime. The globalists, NATO and its mammoth bureaucracy allied with Western military and intelligence interests will not challenge the new American system and has a major interest in defeating Russia and overthrowing anti-NATO Putin.
3) Ukraine’s success in the Kherson direction in November will be more than negated by: Russia’s winter counteroffensive; Ukraine’s blacked out and frigid, inflationary, and hungry winter; Europe’s dark and heatless, stagflationary and recessionary winter; growing social upheaval and anti-Ukrainian sentiment in Europe; and growing disagreement within the West over US policy of resisting negotiations on Ukraine and NATO expansion.
4) Depending on the course of the war and absence of negotiations, Moscow could make additional and likely final annexations in Ukraine in one or all of the following Ukrainian oblasts: Odessa, Nikolaev, and Kharkiv. Moscow might even be forced to go all the way the Dniepr rivers and seize Kiev, but this is another story (see below).
5) Moscow may also send forces from Belarus through northern Ukraine to seize the Rovne (Rivne) nuclear power plant and cut the railroad line by which the West sends weapons to the Ukrainian forces.
6) The course of the war in 2023 will be crucial for Putin’s reelection in 2024. If the war goes badly, the regime will be forced to increase the pressure on dissent and the level of administrative and other measures to ensure Putin’s first round victory. The same is also true for Zelenskiy will also face re-election at that time, though Ukraine may also be forced to cancel elections as a result of war inflicted social and institutional chaos (Obviously, the war will influence the US presidential elections in the same year).
7) The nuclear threat is at present secondary to the threat of an intervention into Ukraine by a US-led coalition of the willing. The point would be to begin a larger European war against Russia without the need to invoke NATO’s Article 5 and unanimous support for such an official NATO intervention. This is under consideration in Washington and likely Brussels and elsewhere as evidence by the deployment of the 101st Airborne Division to Poland and Rumania timed with General and former CIA chief David Petreus proposing just such a coalition of the willing. The strategy might be to occupy western Ukraine up to the Dniepr without attacking Russian troops; there are no Russian troops west of the Dniepr. This would risk challenging and provoking Putin, who would nevertheless be unlikely to attack NATO forces, but also save the Ukrainian government and state from a Russian takeover of all of Kiev (divided by the Dneipr with the most important governmental infrastructure in the west). At the same time, it would somewhat lock in a territorial division of Ukraine (assuming Putin refrained from attacking NATO-Ukrainian forces there) and open the prospects for negotiations once all Ukrainian troops crossed the Dniepr to the west, which could very well become a necessity after the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure and Russia’s winter offensive. On the other hand, Putin might gamble or be forced to attack those forces, perhaps under the influence of other factors (e.g., regime stability), calculating that this would not constitute an Article 5 attack on a NATO member, since NATO forces would be located outside NATO territory when attacked. Indeed, this legal technicality could also allow NATO to conduct a sort of stealth NATO-Russian war by way of the noted ‘coalition of the willing’ involving some NATO member-states, leaving Article 5 action unrequired and limiting the scale of the war to eastern Europe at least initially.
8) Putin is likely considering a second more concerted offensive to take or encircle Kiev in order to force Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian government to flee or negotiate. There are at least three reasons why this could very much be the case. First, traditional military strategy preaches targeting the capitol of your enemy, for this allows one to disorganize or behead the command of the opponent’s armed forces and could force a breakdown of the government or negotiations. Second, there have several proposals to evacuate Kiev given the destruction of electricity, water, and transportation systems. This may also be under consideration because the Maidan regime fears an advance on Kiev may be the heart of Russia’s upcoming winter offensive. Third, Ukrainian authorities recently conducted a search of the Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) central Ukrainian monastery and the ROC’s first Vatican going back to Kievan Rus’, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, suspecting the Russia-loyal institution of aiding and abetting Russia during the present war. This has two significances. One is that Kiev is panicking as the war appears to be about to take a nasty turn for the Maidan regime, or it may be trying to provoke Putin to advance on Kiev, hoping it will provoke a NATO intervention. A second is that this measure and any subsequent seizure of the sacred Lavra is likely to increase hardline — and not only hardline — support in Russia for a no holds barred winter offensive and capture of Kiev, considered ‘the mother of all Russian cities’ precisely because of ancient Kiev’s cultural and religious roots in Russian history.
9) 2023 will see intensified Western efforts in the former Soviet Russian periphery to include the efforts to: turn Armenia and Central Asia west and away from Russia; continue Western, Ukrainian, and Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in and around the Russo-NATO Ukrainian war; foment color revolution in Belarus, including infiltrating Ukrainian-based and Western-trained partisan and/or diversionary groups into the country; and increased Western intelligence efforts to do the same against Russia using Ukraine as a base; and a crisis in Moldova that could expand the war beyond Ukraine, transforming it into a regional or European-wide ‘World War III.’
10) No matter what the outcome in the Russo-NATO Ukrainian war the world will continue to be split apart between the Western-dominated ‘world ocean’ and the Sino-Russian-dominated, Eurasia-centered ‘world island’, creating a bipolar system with potential to produce a tripolar system that will include a more or less organized non-aligned third pole. “The most dangerous scenario [for America] would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complimentary grievances” — Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard. It’s happened and then some. History will never forgive Washington, Brussels, and NATO for undermining the only international configuration that might have countered a non-democratic China: an alliance between the West, democratic India, and the sufficiently democratic Russia of the 1990s and early 2000s.
11) China and the NATO-Russian Ukrainian war. As Newsweek’s Owen Natthews reports, just prior to Russia’s February 24th escalation of the NATO-Russian Donbass civil war during Putin’s February 4th visit to Beijung, the Russian President and China’s President Xi JinPing concluded a mutual defense alliance, under which both countries committed to come to the defense of the other if their territory is invaded by a third force. The agreement intentionally excludes mutual defense obligations in cases where one or the other party is attacked on territory that has been acquired as a result of war (www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-red-line-biden-and-xis-secret-ukraine-talks-revealed/). This can be read as an anti-NATO pact—a direct consequence and part of the ongoing geostrategic catastrophe for the West resulting from NATO expansion begun in the 1990s. This likely means Russia is not obligated to come to Beijing’s assistance in any attempt to take Taiwan by force (unless another force invaded the island first), but might not necessarily exclude a commitment for China to help Russia defend Crimea as it would exclude such action for other Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia since February. At the same time, as Western and Ukrainian sources report, it has been revealed that Russia has been receiving military assistance, with ten weekly flights of large Russian transport planes with materiel’ between China and Russia occurring since the war (https://t.me/stranaua/77452 and https://ctrana.media/news/416725-desjat-rejsov-za-nedelju-rossija-postroila-vozdushnyj-most-v-kitaj.html). But this is just a drop in the bucket regarding the economic benefits the war in Ukraine brings to China. With Russia and the West sanctioning and counter-sanctioning their trade relations to death, both Russia and the West have run to Beijing to replace lost commerce. Witness German Prime Minister Sholtz’s recent trip to China in an attempt to bolster foreign trade with the eastern giant in order to compensate for lst trade and business with Russia and with its own European allies as a result of the economic shock caused by the war and said sanctions. This may explain China’s unwillingness to step in and offer to mediate the warring sides, despite Beijing’s repeated calls for an end to the fighting. One can argue, putting aside the risk of failure, that China’s successful mediation could be a watershed in the country’s rise to global superpower drawing up equal to the US. However, the recent protest disturbances in Shanghai and elsewhere against Xi’s extreme anti-COVID measures raise two issues: (1) Can Beijing focus on the Ukrainian conflict while busy with ending the protests? (2) Could Beijing be so shaken by political crisis that it cannot only not move to propose peace talks but cannot continue supporting Moscow’s war effort, if the noted reports of such support are accurate?
12) Finally, the year 2023 will be a pivotal one for the outcome of the Democratic Party-State authoritarianizing revolution from above. Republican majorities in the House and Senate will be followed by congressional investigations of ‘Russiagate’, January 6, FBI and CIA politicization, the Biden family’s criminal operations, and rigging and falsification of the 2020 presidential electoral process and results. This will face the Democrat Party-State with a fateful decision if it hopes to complete and consolidate its authoritarian revolution from above: whether to make a great leap in order to guarantee a DP victory in the presidential and other elections in 2024 (emergency rule, arrests of Trump and other major opposition political and media leaders, and or the like) and prepare mass falsification of the 2024 election results or risk leaving the executive and legislative branch to the Republicans and the arrest of many of its leaders. There is likely to be pivotal assassination of a leading American political or media leader in 2023-2024 carried out by Americans. U.S. and even more so European materiel’ support for Kiev will wane somewhat and then collapse if Russia can gain a clear upper hand in the fighting that threatens the further existence of a Ukrainian state.
EUROPE BOOKS, 2022
MCFARLAND BOOKS, 2021
MCFARLAND BOOKS, 2018
About the Author –
Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, www.canalyt.com. Websites: Russian and Eurasian Politics, gordonhahn.com and gordonhahn.academia.edu
Dr. Hahn is the author of the new book: Russian Tselostnost’: Wholeness in Russian Thought, Culture, History, and Politics (Europe Books, 2022). He has authored five previous, well-received books: The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (McFarland, 2021); Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the “New Cold War” (McFarland, 2018); The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.
Dr. Hahn taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and was a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group.