|Is Russia’s Offensive Underway and Is The U.S. Trying to broker a Deal? |
30 January 2023 by Larry Johnson.
I doubt if there is anyone reading this blog that remembers D-Day, June 6, 1944. I call your attention to that date because it was the start of the Allied offensive to retake Europe from the Nazis. When the operation started, however, Hitler and his Generals did not realize it was the real deal. They were still convinced that the main Allied attack would come at Pas de Calais. It took them at least a week to realize that the genuine invasion was underway.
With that historical precedent let me suggest that the “spring” offensive by Russia actually is underway. The Russian attacks along the Ukrainian defensive lines in the Donbass are significant. At the same time, Russia is punching north in the Zaporhyzhia region. Is the Russian presence in Belarus just a feint designed to tie up Ukrainian forces that otherwise might have been sent to reinforce bloodied troops in the Donbass?
Ukraine lacks armor and air power and is compelled to rely on throwing untrained troops into the front lines, where they face unrelenting bombardment from artillery and missiles. Russia is not launching human wave attacks. They are content to saturate Ukraine’s defensive positions with a volume of fire not seen since the Second World War. And Ukraine’s ability to return fire is constrained by lack of ammunition.
The gravity of Ukrainian desperation is evident in the latest effort to deal with mounting casualties:
Every male between 20 and 55 years of age to be conscripted in Ukraine—regardless of family status, profession, physical or mental health, or any other consideration.
Lists are to be prepared by every employer, organization, or institution (the document concerns the Kiev region specifically).
A country that is winning a war does not do that. Fifty-five year old men are good at drinking beer and playing golf. Fighting in a trench and dodging shells? Not so much.
On the diplomatic front there are some unusual moves. Secretary of State Blinken visited Egypt to chat about “regional issues.” Really?
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry is set to head to Moscow on Monday evening to follow up on bilateral ties between both countries, said Ahmed Abu Zeid, the foreign ministry spokesman.
The visit comes just a few hours after he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who paid a two-day visit to Cairo in the first leg of his Middle East tour. During his visit, Blinken met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Shoukry to discuss a host of regional issues.
But that is not all. Israel’s Foreign Minister is on his way to Kiev:
Eli Cohen made the announcement during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken who said the U.S. expects “to discuss ways to further support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people at this critical time”
So what is going on? Let me suggest one possibility. Egypt agreed to carry some water for Washington and try to sound out the Russians on a possible diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine and Israel agreed to do the same in Kiev. If that is the plan it is a fool’s errand.
Biden and Blinken do not realize that the relationship with Russia is broken. Traditional diplomatic tactics no longer apply. Russia learned, to its chagrin, that agreements with the West can no longer be trusted. Thanks to Hollande and Merkle, Putin learned that Minsk I and Minsk II were shams to buy time. Then you have the intemperate talk by Baerbock in Germany, who said that Europe is at war with Russia, and a couple of Polish legislators who talked openly about plundering Russia and breaking it up. Would you be willing to entertain a deal with people making those kind of blatant threats?
Putin and his key diplomats and generals know how to read and they see growing rifts in the NATO alliance. Turkey put the kabosh on Sweden joining NATO and President Erdogan is quite open about his disdain for France’s Macron:
“In fact, the man who is the head of France is not qualified to be the head of this state. Look, they are currently exploiting African countries,” he said.
Erdogan cited the example of Mali, which is now in a state of the complete breakdown of relations with France. He also referred to Burkina Faso and Togo, which he said “do not want to see French soldiers” on their territories.
Relations between Germany and Poland are not warm and fuzzy. Poland continues to press Germany to pay $1.5 trillion in reparations. Germany is scathing in its rejection of this demand. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Did you see the Sky News report today that the U.K. Army is a toothless, paper lion incapable of sustaining a brigade in industrial combat for two weeks? If you were in Putin’s shoes would you want to cut a deal with this clown show? NATO is in the process of eating itself and I think the Russians are quite content to do all they can to help it implode.