The U.S. Narrative Flip On Ukraine Heats Up


Although Washington, D.C. is empty at the moment, with key policymakers on holiday, the work of shaping a new narrative goes on. Two new articles this week, one in the New York Times and one in Politico, provide a road map to the Biden Administration’s desperate attempt to prevent the collapse of its Ukraine policy. The New York Times piece is an op-ed from a geriatric former editor, Serge Schmemann — Ukraine Doesn’t Need All Its Territory to Defeat Putin. Serge, despite a long career as a journalist specializing in foreign affairs, has forgotten the meaning of “defeat.” Michael Hirsh, writing in The Politco, echoes Schmemann’s message — The Biden Administration Is Quietly Shifting Its Strategy in Ukraine.

Let’s start with Schmemann. He was born in France but his heritage is Russian, Russian Orthodox Christian to be precise. Although Schmemann speaks Russian and lived in Moscow while working for the New York Times, he is completely out of touch with the reality of modern Russia. He accepts as true many provably false Western memes about Putin, the Russian military and the Russian economy. Here are the most egregious:

A painful reality check shows the 600-mile-long Ukrainian-Russian front in a figurative and literal freeze, draining Ukrainian resources and lives without much prospect for change in the foreseeable future.

No. The war is not frozen. Russia is advancing all along the front and Ukrainian forces are falling back after suffering heavy casualties. Although Schmemann acknowledges the war is “draining Ukrainian resources and lives”, he is wrong in believing this situation can continue for the “foreseeable future.” Ukraine is losing troops it has no realistic means of replacing. Russia, by contrast, is surging the size of its army and is not a victim of a war of attrition. Russia is the causing the attrition.

If Mr. Putin is seriously looking for a cease-fire, he is doing so on the presumption that the alternative is a continued slaughter of his soldiers, and that there is nothing more he can achieve through destruction, violence or bluster.

Poor Mr. Schmemann reveals in this sentence his complete ignorance of Russia’s military strategy and its control of the battlefield. Ukraine is not “slaughtering” Russian soldiers. Yes, there are increased Russian casualties because Russia is on the offensive, but the lack of artillery ammunition on the part of Ukraine and the inability of the West to supply amounts that match what Russia is firing on a daily basis means that Ukraine, not Russia, is the one being battered.

Russia’s army has been mauled and humiliated and the country’s economy has been severed from the West.

How a man like Schmemann can write such nonsense is puzzling. I can understand how someone who lives in Missouri who has zero experience in foreign affairs and knows nothing of Russia can be bamboozled by the propaganda of Western media that Russia’s army is whipped. But that’s not Schmemann. He is a cosmopolitan man. To continue to push this lie to the American public is dangerous because it promotes a false understanding of the real strength of Russia’s military. Russia is on a war footing and is building up a massive force and arsenal of weapons.

It took Russian forces, led by mercenaries, more than a year and massive casualties to capture one city, Bakhmut; another key town, Avdiivka, is still in Ukrainian hands despite wave after wave of soldiers, many of them ill-prepared reservists and conscripted convicts, thrown against it.

Untold thousands of Russian soldiers have been sent to their slaughter and untold thousands more of Russia’s best and brightest have fled the country, whether to avoid the war or imprisonment for opposing it.

“Ill-prepared reservists and conscripted convicts?” Unlike Ukraine, which has been snatching men of all ages from the streets of Ukrainian cities and forcing them to the front with minimal training, Russia has enlisted almost 500,000 new soldiers in 2023. These new recruits are not being rushed into combat. They are going through the full regimen of training.

Then we get this whopper:

Crushing sanctions have put an end to nearly all business with the West and have fueled spiraling inflation, although Mr. Putin has found ways for his cronies to profit nonetheless. And while the Russian economy got a short-term boost from feeding the military machine and filling the gaps left by sanctions, long-term prospects are bleak.

This merits the expletive, BULLSHIT! Too bad Mr. Schmemann was not with me trying to walk through the crushing crowd of happy Christmas shoppers at the GUM department store. That might have awakened him from his delusional claim that the Russian economy is faltering. Schmemann ignores Russia’s burgeoning new trade with China and India. Russians now realize they do not need the West. Just the opposite. The West needs Russia’s oil, natural gas, rare earth minerals, fertilizer, aluminum and nickel, just to mention a few items. Russia is now producing its own commercial jet liners and its defense industry is firing on all cylinders.

Schmemann’s vision of Ukraine’s victory is based on a Ukraine that no longer exists:

True victory for Ukraine is to rise from the hell of the war as a strong, independent, prosperous and secure state, firmly planted in the West.

Ukraine has lost 50% of its population to emigration and war casualties. It has lost the Donbas, which is a rich region in terms of natural resources and industrial capacity. Ukraine has no path forward as a viable, strong country. Yet, Schmemann’s bottomline is that Ukraine should negotiate with Russia, accept a freeze in place and then allow the West some time to figure out how to subvert and destroy Russia. Yeah, that’s a sweet deal that will certainly appeal to Vladimir Putin.

Michael Hirsh’s piece in The Politico is more firmly grounded in reality than Schmemann’s. Here are the salient points:

The administration official told POLITICO Magazine this week that much of this strategic shift to defense is aimed at shoring up Ukraine’s position in any future negotiation. “That’s been our theory of the case throughout — the only way this war ends ultimately is through negotiation,” said the official, a White House spokesperson who was given anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the record. “We want Ukraine to have the strongest hand possible when that comes.” The spokesperson emphasized, however, that no talks are planned yet, and that Ukrainian forces are still on the offensive in places and continue to kill and wound thousands of Russian troops. “We want them to be in a stronger position to hold their territory. It’s not that we’re discouraging them from launching any new offensive,” the spokesperson added. . . .

Over the past year — with U.S. military support flagging fast on Capitol Hill and Zelenskyy’s once-vaunted counteroffensive failing since it was launched in June — Biden has shifted from promising the U.S. would back Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” to saying the U.S. will provide support “as long as we can” and contending that Ukraine has won “an enormous victory already. Putin has failed.”

Some analysts believe that is code for: Get ready to declare a partial victory and find a way to at least a truce or ceasefire with Moscow, one that would leave Ukraine partially divided.

“Biden’s victory comment has the virtue of being true,” said George Beebe, a former chief of Russia analysis for the CIA who is now head of strategy for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. But “time has become a stark disadvantage when it comes to Ukraine’s manpower and industrial capacity, and that’s true even if the West continues its support. The longer this goes on the more we’re going to have to concede up front just to get the Russians to the negotiating table.”

The last sentence is the key — what does the West have to concede to get the Russians to negotiate? Simple answer. Nothing. Russia no longer trusts the United States or any of the NATO states to negotiate in good faith. These two articles, along with the previous NY Times article claiming that Putin is secretly negotiating, have one purpose — create a false narrative that will allow Biden to cut Ukraine loose before next year’s Presidential election. At some point I think we will see a story saying that the U.S. had Russia all lined up to negotiate a true but that Zelensky sabotaged any chance for an agreement.

There are a couple of astonishing oversights in this attempt to “flip” the narrative. Under current Ukrainian law President Zelensky is proscribed from negotiating with Russia. The Rada will have to pass a law granting Zelensky permission to re-enter negotiations with Moscow. Then there is the crazy assumption that Russia can be enticed to negotiate. It appears that the Biden national security folks really believe the myth that Russia is suffering because of this war and is looking for an escape hatch. They are not paying attention to what the Russian leadership is saying. Putin and Lavrov in particular have made it very clear that they no longer trust the United States or NATO to be honest brokers. This war will grind on until Ukraine is broken and the West is forced to accept that reality.

The post The U.S. Narrative Flip On Ukraine Heats Up appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

By: Larry Johnson
Title: The U.S. Narrative Flip On Ukraine Heats Up
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Published Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2023 12:00:25 +0000

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I'm a writer for lifestyle publications, and when I'm not crafting stories, you'll find me cherishing moments with my family, including my lovely daughter. My heart also belongs to my pets—Sushi, Snowy, Belle, and Pepper. Besides writing, I enjoy watching movies and exploring new places through travel.