A US-based military and strategic affairs analyst has questioned President Joe Biden’s move to send main battle tanks (MBT) to Ukraine and raised the alarm over the possible transfer of fighter jets.
Slamming these measures as escalatory that are aimed to provoke Russia rather than promote ways to end the conflict, former US Army officer Colonel Douglas Macgregor also warns Ukraine losing its population if more citizens are made to fight in the war.
Macgregor, a former adviser in the then-President Donald Trump administration, said the military aid to Ukraine is a “scam” and a “money laundering scheme,” which will not be accounted for once Russia wins and Ukraine is left more dysfunctional.
In a clip of an interview with a TV channel, Macgregor says towards the end that the US should announce a ceasefire and call for unconditional talks with Russia, which he mentions had always been open to dialogue.
The interviewer also sarcastically asks if the US would be willing to send advanced fighters like the F-35 since it had already abandoned its previous position of not sending tanks earlier in the war.
4,00,000 Casualties & A Falling Population
Macgregor also quotes staggering figures of Ukraine’s military casualties against their current population status and other development indicators, which indicates the country is headed for depopulation if it continues to fight Russia.
In the context of Western tanks being approved for Ukraine, Macgregor says that, for one, Ukrainian “military power is disintegrating” and is on its “last legs,” while the tanks themselves will not be available for a few months.
According to Macgregor, Ukraine has sustained 4,00,000 military casualties, with nearly 1,57,000 killed (and counting) from among a population of 18 to 22 million, that is, within the country.
Ukraine’s total population is 37.5 million, of which 8 to 10 million are refugees, 4-5 million are in the areas under Russian control, and over 2 million are workings overseas in the European Union and United Kingdom (UK).
Four hundred thousand casualties are a massive chunk among 18 to 22 million people. Of these, only a few might recover and return to the battlefield. With the country already having seen 12 rounds of mobilization and people being allegedly recruited at “gunpoint,” Macgregor warns that the US is “killing an entire nation.”
Ukraine already has the lowest birth rate in Europe, according to the former armored corps officer. The situation has all the makings of an unprecedented economic crisis.
A small young, working-age population and many senior citizen retirees entail little economic and business activity, triggering high inflation, recession, and a massive fall in government revenue. Such crises happening suddenly over a few months to a year is even more disastrous, as with Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
But these countries still have the potential to extricate themselves from the situation since they still have large populations between the ages of 25 to 55. Economic investment and industrialization that generate employment are broadly effective during such situations.
Europe’s Lowest Birth Rate
Douglas implies that for Ukraine to repopulate might take decades when certain economic effects will have become irreversible. Ukraine’s low birth rate can be a significant causative factor behind the consequence. A Lancet report predicted in July 2020 that Ukraine would lose a fifth of its population by 2050.
An average of 2.1 babies are required per family to keep the population steady. In Ukraine, fertility rates have remained under that threshold since 1990, and over the last two decades, it has dropped below a meager rate of 1.3, marking a population shrinkage.
In January 2021, a full year before the war, Ukraine’s fertility rate was 1.16, according to Ukraine government statistics.
This would also defy the usual trend where nations see a spurt in birth rates (or a “baby boom”) after big wars, as was the case in the United States after World War 2.
President Vladimir Putin’s recent address to Russian lawmakers blames this impending doom on the West. He does not explicitly refer to the population issue but gives a broad socio-economic background.
Putin Blames West For ‘Destroying’ Ukraine
“We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. I have made that clear many times. The people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kyiv regime and its Western handlers, who have occupied that country in the political, military, and economic sense and have been destroying Ukrainian industry for decades and plundering its natural resources.
“This led to social degradation and an immeasurable increase in poverty and inequality. Recruiting resources for military operations was easy. Nobody was thinking about people, who were conditioned for slaughter,” Putin added.
The war will complete its anniversary on February 24, with the latest comments from Putin suggesting a downright hostile and disenchanted view of the West, promising to continue fighting until all its geographical aims are achieved.
But the Russian determination to keep fighting for the pro-Russian regions doesn’t mean its SMO will be permanent. It instead signifies that it will end whenever the targeted regions are in Russian control – whenever that may be.