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Can Zelenskiy’s Ukraine End the War?

 A series of European developments have demonstrated recently the accelerating dissipation of American hegemony at the hands of the Sino-Russian bandwagon seeking to organize the world’s ‘Rest’ away from the West and the US hegemonic system. Now the leaking has turned into a flood. Chinese president Xi has lassoed Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy for negotiations to end or at least stop the NATO-Russian Ukraine war despite apparent US opposition to any such talks or even a ceasefire as stated by numerous US officials in recent weeks. Ukraine’s defection from the American NATO-Ukraine project-turned Russian regime change by proxy war puts Washington in a tight spot and might produce drastic measures.

As I noted recently, a series of European leaders were preparing for trips to the Forbidden City to consult on economic and political issues with Chinese officials. Brazil’s President added the weight of South America’s most powerful state when he met with Xi and called for for a Ukraine peace conference to be led by China. But it turned out that the most important pilgrimage to Beijing was that of French President Emmanuel Macron. The leader of one of NATO’s and the EU’s key members and contender for leadership in Europe announced what many conservative dissidents from across Europe have been stating for years. After meeting with XI, Macron noted in an interview on his flight back to Paris that Europe should avoid “vassal” and “follower” status in relation with the US and instead seek “strategic autonomy” as a “third pole” in the international system along with the US and China. Such a development would obviously represent the removal of the key building block in the American or Western pole in the international system. Washington and Brussels, which had enjoyed hegemony since the Cold War’s end, would see the end of the unipolar system they sat atop of and begin to vie for Beijing’s favors, even as the last protects the hated Russians.

Now comes Zelenskiy’s call to XI and the latter’s acknowledgement that they discussed involving Ukraine in pursuit of a peace process with Russia and the announcement that Beijing is appointing a special envoy to Kiev to coordinate preparation for talks. The fact that Zelesnkiy initiated the contact with Xi and that it came as Ukraine’s hold on the pivotal Donbass transport hub of Bakhmut was being completely broken suggests that Zelenskiy, understanding that Western aide will be too little too late to prevent a Russian march to the Dnepr River which will force the government’s withdrawal from Kiev, sees the handwriting of Ukraine’s total and utter defeat is on the wall. This is a wise move but what that may be too late for him, the Maidan regime, and even Kiev’s sovereignty over Ukrainian territory–the latter being under threat not just from Russia but also by dint of its dire circumstances by Poland and even the US and NATO.

I recently noted Seymour Hersh’s reports that CIA Director William Burns while in Kiev earlier this month handed Zelenskiy a list of 35 Ukrainian generals who were involved in actions skimming $400 million of Western assistance to Ukraine since the war began. Burns reportedly told Zelenskiy that he, the Ukrainian president, should have been at the top of the list. Zelenskiy was thus forced to fire the most ambitious military corruptionaires on the list. This suggests that Washington has serious hold over Zelenskiy and can control Ukraine’s war policies, putting aside Kiev’s full dependence on Western financing for its state budget. But not only does this mean that Washington and Brussels can now manipulate Zelenskiy even more than they had prior to presenting their intelligence acquired from eavesdropping on Kiev’s internal communications and that more than ever Ukraine is a de facto NATO member and a Western satellite state fully reliant on the alliance, especially Washington, for its survival but that Washington can deploy intelligence to raise the tensions in Ukrainian civilian-military relations and those specifically between Zelenskiy and his generals among others. The compromising materials gathered on Zelenskiy could be deployed in future to peak the temperature and then recruit generals, in particular chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Zalyuzhniy, ultranationalists, neofascists, or others to mount a coup against and/or an assassination of Zelenskiy for any betrayal of the interests of US President Joe Biden, NATO, and other core Western interests by making peace with Putin under Chinese auspices. This would not only out an end to the Western hopes of parlaying the NATO-Russian Ukraine war into the demise of Putin and his regime but would place Beijing above the ‘indispensable nation’ as the chief arbiter of international politics. In Washington and Brussels avoiding such an outcome is valued far more highly than Zelenskiy’s life and the survival of Ukraine.

It is not exactly clear what connection there is in Zelenskiy’s mind between his reaching out to Beijing has, if any, with previous pronouncements made by Zelenskiy and Polish President Andrzej Duda about the ‘dissolution’ of borders between Poland and Ukraine and what I suggested many months ago was the real possibility of Polish or NATO forces into Western Ukraine to black any Russian advance beyond the Dnepr. However, it is clear that such a plan can be carried out without Zelenskiy at Kiev’s helm. In sum, if there is no US imprimatur on Zelenskiy’s contacts with Beijing and feelers for possible talks with the Kremlin, then Zelenskiy has put himself in a very precarious position. Whether its Nord Stream, Trump, his son Hunter, or simply approximation of the truth, Biden has shown he is no less ruthless than any other tyrant. Biden’s audacity and that of those who help determine his policies in Washington, Brussels, Davos, and elsewhere will only be emboldened to take desperate actions, given the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Ukrainian front as the Russian winter offensive slowly and methodically gains steam and now encircling troops in Bakhmut, Avdeevsk, and elsewhere, the beginning of the 2024 presidential campaign, and the high stakes of the presidential and congressional election’s outcome for Biden, his family, patrons, and allies.         










About the Author 

Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, Websites: Russian and Eurasian Politics, and

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.


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