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Ukraine is finished - Lira
But what happens next?
Ukraine’s defeat is inevitable, says Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American writer and vlogger based in-country. The end is only some months away; what matters more is how things will go from there, and there will be difficulties for winners as well as losers.
The Western news media have been alleging all sorts of Russian setbacks during this fight (failure to take Kiev, etc.) Lira doesn’t buy that narrative: back in April he was castigating historian Niall Ferguson for reading the campaign as territorial. Instead, said Lira, the aim was to destroy Ukraine’s defences through mobile warfare, firstly making the latter’s forces disperse in response to a multi-pronged invasion, and then crushing its elements piecemeal. He seems to have called that correctly.
Yet a peace cannot be agreed, says Lira. The right-wing extremists around President Zelenskyy will not allow any concession to the Russians, who for their part cannot accede to Ukraine’s absurd demand that they withdraw from Ukraine and Crimea altogether as a precondition of talks. It looks as though only complete defeat and unconditional surrender are possible.
What then? There will be a ‘rump’ of Ukraine that the Russians may not have set out to acquire, but cannot now leave alone as it is a potential source of future trouble. Lira thinks it will have to be run as a Russia-friendly puppet state.
The ‘rump’ is also becoming a ruin. It is the poorer part of a poor country and the many people who have fled the area are unlikely to return once they have found a better life in e.g. Poland and put down roots.
Nor will the conflict end with Ukraine’s defeat, because all along it has been a proxy war by the US on Russia. Lira’s worry is that the US will try to continue the struggle by involving other parties, e.g. dragging Sweden and Finland into NATO (a proposal opposed by Turkey.) (Remember how WWI started?) Russia’s response two months ago was to warn that the Baltic could cease to be a nuclear-weapon-free area.
Lira pins his hopes on Russia finding some other issue to distract the US while the latter thrashes about in its decline. Since he seems unable to imagine what that distraction might be, we have reason to be very concerned: in the nuclear age, the collapsing American empire is a threat to us all.