Is it possible that the US is strategically and economically profiting from the war in Ukraine?
Caitlin Johnstone is a reader-supported independent journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Her political writings can be found on Medium. Articles are re-posted from Caitlins Newsletter.
Cross-posted from Caitlin’s Newsletter
Image via the office of Senator Richard Blumenthal.
One of the most glaring plot holes in the official mainstream narrative on Ukraine is the way US officials keep openly boasting that this supposedly unprovoked war which the US is only backing out of the goodness of its heart just so happens to serve US interests tremendously.
In a recent article for the Connecticut Post, Senator Richard Blumenthal assured Americans that “we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment.”
“For less than 3 percent of our nation’s military budget, we’ve enabled Ukraine to degrade Russia’s military strength by half,” writes Blumenthal. “We’ve united NATO and caused the Chinese to rethink their invasion plans for Taiwan. We’ve helped restore faith and confidence in American leadership — moral and military. All without a single American service woman or man injured or lost, and without any diversion or misappropriation of American aid.”
As Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp recently observed, this type of “investment” talk about Ukraine has been getting more common. Last weekend Senator Mitt Romney called the war “the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done.”
“We’re losing no lives in Ukraine, and the Ukrainians are fighting heroically against Russia,” Romney said. “We’re diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money … a weakened Russia is a good thing.”
Last month Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that Americans should support the US government’s proxy warfare in Ukraine because “we haven’t lost a single American in this war,” adding that the spending is helping to employ Americans in the military-industrial complex.
“Most of the money that we spend related to Ukraine is actually spent in the US, replenishing weapons, more modern weapons,” McConnell said. “So it’s actually employing people here and improving our own military for what may lie ahead.”
McConnell has been talking about how much this war benefits the US since last year. During a speech back in December the ailing swamp monster argued that “the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests.”
“Helping equip our friends in Eastern Europe to win this war is also a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies and contest our core interests,” McConnell said.
As we’ve discussed previously, US empire managers have been talking about how much this war serves US interests ever since it began.
In May of last year Congressman Dan Crenshaw said on Twitter that “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”
“It is in America’s national security interests for Putin’s Russia to be defeated in Ukraine,” tweeted the perpetually war-horny senator Lindsey Graham.
Last November the imperial war machine-funded think tank Center for European Policy Analysis published an article titled “It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia,” subtitled “The cost-benefit analysis of US support for Ukraine is incontrovertible. It’s producing wins at almost every level.”
“US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability seems like an absolutely incredible investment,” gushed the article’s author Timothy Ash. “If we divide out the US defense budget to the threats it faces, Russia would perhaps be of the order of $100bn-150bn in spend-to-threat. So spending just $40bn a year, erodes a threat value of $100–150bn, a two-to-three time return. Actually the return is likely to be multiples of this given that defense spending, and threat are annual recurring events.”
And of course the mass media have been all aboard the same messaging. A few weeks ago The Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote an article explaining why westerners shouldn’t “feel gloomy” about how things are going in Ukraine, writing the following about how much this war is doing to benefit US interests overseas:
“Meanwhile, for the United States and its NATO allies, these 18 months of war have been a strategic windfall, at relatively low cost (other than for the Ukrainians). The West’s most reckless antagonist has been rocked. NATO has grown much stronger with the additions of Sweden and Finland. Germany has weaned itself from dependence on Russian energy and, in many ways, rediscovered its sense of values. NATO squabbles make headlines, but overall, this has been a triumphal summer for the alliance.”
I suspect I’ll be periodically reminding my readers of that paragraph — and Ignatius’ parenthetical “other than for the Ukrainians” aside — for the remainder of my writing career.
So on one hand the western political/media class have been hammering us in the face with the message that the invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked” and that the US and its allies played no antagonistic role in paving the road to this conflict whatsoever, and on the other hand you’ve got all these empire managers enthusing about how much this war benefits US interests.
Those two narratives seem a wee bit contradictory, do they not?
A critical thinker can reconcile this contradiction in one of two ways. First, they can believe that the world’s most powerful and destructive government is just a passive, innocent witness to the violence in Ukraine, and is only benefitting immensely from the war as a complete coincidence. Second, they can believe the US intentionally provoked this war with the understanding that it would benefit from it.
From where I’m sitting, it’s not difficult to determine which of these is more likely.
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