The conflict in Ukraine could quickly escalate to involve the NATO and US troops on the ground unless Kyiv and its allies are successful in “defeating” Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday.
“I want to end the war in Ukraine by defeating Putin.
If you don’t, he keeps going, and we’re going to have a conflict between NATO and Russia, and our troops will be involved,” Graham said during remarks on the Senate floor.
Graham’s remarks came in opposition to a bill negotiated by US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which would raise the United States’ debt ceiling in exchange for limited fiscal reforms. Graham criticized the bill for its potential impacts on military readiness, as well as its lack of funding for Ukraine.
Has the war in Ukraine provided a new opportunity for the West to realize its “real objective” of “Russia’s disintegration” or “oblivion of Russia from the world map?”
This question no longer seems as irrelevant as it appeared when Russia invaded Ukraine last year. More and more voices, not only from the United States but also from Europe, are now emerging for Russia’s disintegration.
Many Western strategic elites are now openly advocating for Russia’s collapse, seeing in it a solution to Moscow’s international behavior.
And, what is significant, these voices are being supported or promoted by the Western governments, including that of the US, in some way or other.
These voices are aired more and more whenever there are pragmatic suggestions for a peaceful settlement of the issues between Russia and Ukraine. And these voices become stronger when the Western nations and their allies decide to make sanctions against Russia more and more stringent.
As it is, last week, Japan announced fresh sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, targeting its military and the construction and engineering sectors. The European Union (EU) is currently discussing its 11th sanctions package against Russia after the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
Reportedly, the EU thinks that its earlier ten sanctions focusing on measures to empty Vladimir Putin’s war chest have been circumvented. Therefore, the block’s coming package could target other countries helping Moscow dodge its trade embargo, it is said.
All this is being done by as per the decision of the latest Group of Seven summit at Hiroshima to “starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war.”
It may be noted that a continental-sized Russia and the future geographical expansion of Moscow’s influence through the then Soviet Union (USSR) had always evoked Western envy.
As a recent feature by the Washington-based Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) points out, the breakup of Russia has been British imperial policy for centuries. But the current operation is “using Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, especially, as an external battering ram against Russia (Czarist, Soviet, or today’s Russian Federation equally), while simultaneously fomenting and arming ethnic and regional revolts inside the country.
The operation is founded upon the sweeping, false premise: that the Russian Federation, like the Soviet Union before it, was never and cannot be anything but an expansionist empire, oppressing its population and threatening its neighbors. Ruled out is the reality that a large, multiethnic country can exist and progress. Ruled out is the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation between neighboring countries.”
There is a long list of organizations that have become very vocal in the last one and half years, which the organizers and leading opinion makers, including serving retired Western officials and legislators and leading media personalities, are using entirely through seminars and talks to spread the message for the disintegration of Russia.
Since the start of 2023, the pace of such campaigns has escalated. And these campaigns have been given further weightage by the association of the exiles from Russia’s ethnic minority groups and Russian opposition figures.
EIR has given complete backgrounds of the organizations, publications, and individuals associated with these campaigns. Some important institutions among them are the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, created, incidentally, by US law in 1976 as a government agency to coordinate US policy related to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), The Hudson Institute, the Jamestown Foundation, Free Nations of Post-Russia Forum (FNPRF, founded in Warsaw, Poland in May 2022) and Center for European Policy Analysis (a pro-NATO think tank).
In essence, these campaigns’ fundamental premise is that unless dismantled, Russia will continue to threaten the rest of the world.
The US government’s CSCE agency has held a hearing titled “Decolonizing Russia: A Moral and Strategic Imperative,” passed a resolution, and entrusted it to the FNPRF for implementation. The resolution calls for “all citizens of indigenous peoples and colonial regions to immediately begin active actions for the peaceful decolonization, liberation, declaration/restoration of sovereignty and independence of their countries [and on] the peoples and governments of the UN Member States to support and assist us … in our efforts to streamline the uncontrolled process of disintegration of a nuclear state.
“That assistance must include official recognition of ‘the independence and sovereignty of the following states of indigenous peoples and colonial areas: Tatarstan, Ingria (a historical region in the north-west of Russia, including the current St. Petersburg region), Bashkortostan, Karelia, Buryatia, Kalmykia, the Baltic Republic (Königsberg, East Prussia), Komi, Cherkessia, Siberia, the Urals, the Republics of Don, Tyva, Kuban, Dagestan, the Pacific Federation (Primorsky Territory and the Amur Region), the Moscow Republic, Erzya Mastor ([in] the territory of Mordovia), Sakha, Pomorie, Chuvashia, Chernozyom region, Mordovia, Volga region, Khakassia, Udmurtia, Tyumen Yugra, Mari El, Altai, Ingushetia, etc.”
The Declaration likewise mandates the formation of “National Transitional Governments/Administrations”; regional parliaments to declare state sovereignty and start inter-parliamentary consultations on a mechanism for seceding from the Russian Federation; and constitutions to be prepared.
Interestingly, the FNPRF’s “Northern Eurasia 2023” map depicts a would-be “post-Russia” utopia with 41 new “countries” carved out of the Russian Federation.
It is alleged that Russia is a failed state which pursues a policy of ethnic and linguistic homogenization and denies any powers to the country’s 83 republics and regions at present. Therefore, columnist Casey Michel argues, “The West must complete the project that began in 1991 (dissolution of the USSR). It must seek to fully decolonize Russia.”
The Nobel Prize winner and former Polish President Lech Walesa have advocated for the “60 peoples who got colonized by Russia” to break away so that Russia would be reduced to a country of about 50 million people (as opposed to one of 140 million).
In this context, one may recall that in 1997, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski had also recommended that Russia be split into three “loosely confederated” republics. But now the demand has gone up to 43 Republics!
Are these demands realistic? And more importantly, are they desirable? Marlene Laruelle, Director and Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University and author of “Is Russia Fascist? Unraveling Propaganda East and West,” argues that though the Russian regions are disenchanted with the growing centralization by Moscow, none of them are in favor of secession and happen to be highly patriotic.
“Advocating for Russia’s collapse is an erroneous strategy, founded on a lack of knowledge of what ties together Russian society in all its diversity. More important, such a strategy also fails to consider that a Russian breakup would be disastrous for international security. A collapse would generate several civil wars.
“New states would fight with one another over borders and economic assets. Moscow elites, who control a huge nuclear arsenal, would react violently to secessionism. The security services and law enforcement agencies would crush any attempts at democratizing if that meant repeating the Soviet Union’s dismemberment. Although decolonization sounds like liberation, in practice, it would likely push the whole of Russia and ethnic minority regions even further backward,” Professor Laruelle argues.
Even famous Henry Kissinger, no stranger for his strong views against Russia in the past, wrote two articles in quick succession last December in “The Spectator,” arguing: “The preferred outcome for some is a Russia rendered impotent by the war. I disagree…. the dissolution of Russia or destroying its ability for strategic policy could turn its territory encompassing 11 time zones into a contested vacuum.… All these dangers would be compounded by the presence of thousands of nuclear weapons which make Russia one of the world’s two largest nuclear powers.”
Christopher McCallion, a Fellow at “Defense Priorities” think-tank, makes two more significant points. One, he doubts the geostrategic benefits to the US if Russia collapses. “Were a series of new states to increase in Russia’s vast, resource-rich but sparsely-populated east, they possibly would become satellites of China. By contrast, a unified Russia provides a lumbering giant to divert some of Beijing’s strategic attention away from the Pacific and to limit its command of Central and Northeastern Asia,” he argues.
Two, and what is thought-provoking, he asks, “The paternalistic impulse to break up someone else’s country could blow back on our humble multiethnic empire.
What if China or Russia tried to make us return the half of Mexico we annexed not long ago — including California, now the world’s fourth-largest economy? Or to give the rest of the country back to its original owners, who remain subject to the shockingly abject conditions of the reservation system? Would this solve our own country’s problem with repeated interventions abroad?”
It is tough to disagree with McCallion when he says, “Let’s remember the adage involving stones and glass houses.”
- Author and veteran journalist Prakash Nanda has been commenting on politics, foreign policy, on strategic affairs for nearly three decades. A former National Fellow of the Indian Council for Historical Research and recipient of the Seoul Peace Prize Scholarship, he is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. VIEWS PERSONAL OF THE AUTHOR
- CONTACT: prakash.nanda (at) hotmail.com
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