While this piece will touch on the war in Ukraine it is more about the U.S., and the Biden administration, and how they will cope with their defeat in their war on Russia. Please keep that in mind when commentating.
Washington’s moment of recognizing the defeat in Ukraine, and its consequences, has yet to arrive.
There are significant elements in the American intelligence community, relying on field reports and technical intelligence, who believe that the demoralized Ukraine army has given up on the possibility of overcoming the heavily mined three-tier Russian defense lines and taking the war to Crimea and the four oblasts seized and annexed by Russia. The reality is that Volodymyr Zelensky’s battered army no longer has any chance of a victory.
The war continues, I have been told by an official with access to current intelligence, because Zelensky insists that it must. There is no discussion in his headquarters or in the Biden White House of a ceasefire and no interest in talks that could lead to an end to the slaughter. “It’s all lies,” the official said, speaking of the Ukrainian claims of incremental progress in the offensive that has suffered staggering losses, while gaining ground in a few scattered areas that the Ukrainian military measures in meters per week.
The American intelligence official I spoke with spent the early years of his career working against Soviet aggression and spying has respect for Putin’s intellect but contempt for his decision to go to war with Ukraine and to initiate the death and destruction that war brings. But, as he told me, “The war is over. Russia has won. There is no Ukrainian offensive anymore, but the White House and the American media have to keep the lie going.
“The truth is if the Ukrainian army is ordered to continue the offensive, the army would mutiny. The soldiers aren’t willing to die any more, but this doesn’t fit the B.S. that is being authored by the Biden White House.”
The differences between the current CIA and the more neoconned Defense Intelligence Agency extend to their view on China:
A byproduct of the Biden administration’s neocon hostility to Russia and China—exemplified by the remarks of Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who has repeatedly stated that he will not currently countenance a ceasefire in Ukraine—has been a significant split in the intelligence community. One casualty are the secret National Intelligence Estimates that have delineated the parameters of American foreign policy for decades. Some key offices in the CIA have refused, in many cases, to participate in the NIE process because of profound political disagreement with the administration’s aggressive foreign policy. One recent failure involved a planned NIE that dealt with the outcome of a Chinese attack on Taiwan.
I have reported for many weeks on the longstanding disagreement between the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community on the prognosis of the current war in the Ukraine. CIA analysts have consistently been far more skeptical than their counterparts at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on the prospect for a Ukraine success. The American media has ignored the dispute, but the London-headquartered Economist, whose well-informed reporters do not get bylines, has not.
The DIA is still saying that the Ukrainian army has a chance, a small one though, to break through the Russian lines. The White House still seems to believe in that. The CIA knows that the Ukraine is done.
Alastair Crooke, in a talk (vid) with Judge Napolitano, says that the moment of truth will only arrive in November.
But what will happen when everyone recognizes and acknowledges, if silently, that the war on Russia has failed?
Michael Brenner argues that the US Can’t Deal With Defeat:
Ukraine, today, has suffered huge losses of even greater (proportional) magnitude [than the German Wehrmacht in the Battle of Kursk], without achieving any significant territorial gains, unable even to reach the first layer of the Surovikin Line. That will clear the road to the Dnieper and beyond for the 600,000 strong Russian army equipped with weaponry the equal of what the West has given Ukraine. Hence, Moscow is poised to exploit its decisive advantage to the point where it can dictate terms to Kiev, Washington, Brussels et al.
The Biden administration has made no plans for such an eventuality, nor have its obedient European governments. Their divorce from reality will make this state of affairs all the more stunning — and galling. Bereft of ideas, they will flounder. How they will react is unknowable. We can say with certainty one thing: the collective West, and especially the U.S., will have suffered a grave defeat. Coping with that truth will become the main order of business.
Here is a menu of options for handling it:
Redefine what is meant by defeat, victory, failure, success, loss, gain. There is a new narrative that is scripted to stress these talking points: …
This narrative already has been given an airing in speeches by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Its target audience is the American public; nobody outside the Collective West buys it, though — whether Washington has registered that fact of diplomatic life or not.
Retroactively Scale Back the Goals & Stakes
It is likely that the administration will use all four options to make the pain and memory of defeat go away. Declare victory over Russia because Russia was stopped at the border with Poland. Then forget about all the details and consequences and move towards war on China.
That could end catastrophically.
The focal shift from Russia in Europe to China in Asia is less a mechanism for coping with defeat than the pathological reaction of a country that, feeling a gnawing sense of diminishing prowess, can manage to do nothing more than try one final fling at proving to itself that it still has the right stuff — since living without that exalted sense of self is intolerable.
The U.S. was fortunate, in the case of Vietnam, that the United States’ dominant position in the world outside of the Soviet Bloc and the PRC allowed it to maintain respect, status and influence.
Things have now changed, though. The U.S. relative strength in all domains is weaker, strong centrifugal forces around the globe are producing a dispersion of power, will and outlook among other states. The BRICs phenomenon is the concrete embodiment of that reality.
Hence, the prerogatives of the United States are narrowing, its ability to shape the global system in conformity with its ideas and interests are under mounting challenge, and premiums are being placed on diplomacy of an order that seems beyond its present aptitudes.
The U.S. is confounded.
Major offices in the CIA, according to Hersh, have recognized the danger of such plans. It may well be the reason why the CIA’s informal spokesmen, David Ignatius, and others wrote that Biden should step down.
If he doesn’t the neoconservatives around him will have a great incentive to move on China as fast as possible. As Biden will have difficulties in winning next year’s election he needs some objective that can unify the country. A war that he can claim the U.S. will win is one. Some hostile naval exchanges with China will follow.
(Please don’t use the comments of this thread for details from the war in Ukraine. The current thread for such is here.)
Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.
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