© AFP 2022 / FAYEZ NURELDINE
As Russia continues its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, the West is sending billions of dollars on aid, weapons, and equipment for Kiev.
Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, offers his views on the West's motivation to provide continued financial and military assistance to Ukraine, the reasons why the US and EU are choosing to fuel the hostilities instead of encouraging Kiev to negotiate, and reflects on how long Ukraine's beneficiaries in the West will be able to afford such expenses.Sputnik
: The European Union on Wednesday moved to pour additional 500 million euros into Ukraine's military. In a statement on Twitter, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that EU states remain "focused and steadfast" in their support of Kiev. What goals are the US and EU pursuing by pouring more money into the Ukrainian military?Scott Ritter
: The hope is to transform the conflict that is ongoing in Ukraine as a result of the Russian special military operation into a protracted conflict that can lead to a stalemate that would result in significant Russian costs, both in terms of manpower and military equipment, but also financial costs, and thereby weaken Russia. Ultimately what they are visualizing would be a Ukraine strong enough to evict Russia from its borders.
It's not possible, this is fantasy in the extreme, but it's politically inspired fantasy, meaning that the United States and its European allies have invested so much political capital into propping up the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian economy that even though most sound analysts understand that not only is Ukraine losing the conflict, but they can never win the conflict. Politically, Western politicians cannot divorce themselves from these policies. So in order to maintain a public perception at home of the chance of a Ukrainian victory, they will continue to squander the wealth of their respective nations.Sputnik
: Why are Western states prolonging the hostilities despite the growing discontent of their populations with economic problems?Scott Ritter:
There's an old saying in the United States that I believe translates into most politics: "when you're explaining, you're losing." And right now, these politicians would have to explain to their constituents why they were wrong about Ukraine, why they were wrong about Russia. And especially here in the United States, we're dealing with the lead-up to very critical midterm elections. No politician wants to be explaining anything to anybody. They want to be shaping perceptions that build upon past performances. This is all about domestic politics. This has nothing to do with reality.Sputnik
: How dangerous is the decision to provide Ukraine with fighter jets?Scott Ritter
: This is just a fantasy. The people coming up with this apparently are not pilots. They've watched, perhaps, one too many Top Gun movies, and they think that you could just take a pilot, put him or her into any airframe, and have that airframe perform viably in combat situations. Any effort to take a Ukrainian pilot and put that Ukrainian pilot into an American or European fighter with minimal training and then have that fighter employed in combat operations in Ukraine against the Russian Air Force would 100% of the time end up with the Western fighter jet being shot down.
I don't mean to be rude here, but this is a very stupid idea. But we're talking about politics, not sound policy. So it sounds good for a politician to be telling his or her constituents that we are providing the Ukrainians with the best equipment possible to include the top of the line fighter aircraft. What they really should be saying is we are guaranteeing that every Ukrainian pilot we train will die at the hands of the Russian Air Force, because that's what the ultimate outcome will be.
The thing about, especially American, generals is that they are political animals. They didn't get that fourth star necessarily because of their military competence. They got it because they impressed a politician with their political acumen. And so what we have is a general playing politics, a general who is saying what the politicians want to hear. And that's not what his role is. His role is to provide sound military assessment, military advice to the politicians.
But if an American military officer did that today, they couldn't agree with anything that the Biden administration or the US Congress was seeking to do in Ukraine, and therefore they would never get promoted. They would never get a good job. I don't like to denigrate serving military officers, but this is a political decision, not a military decision, even though the man making it wears a military uniform.Sputnik
: Can the West collectively really afford such spending now, at a time of harsh polarization and soaring prices?Scott Ritter
: No, they can't afford it. And we have some nations that are starting to realize this. The German defense minister, who is very hawkish against Russia, has acknowledged that Germany simply has no more weapons to give and they're not in a position to build new weapons. They're worrying about other economic realities. The same holds true with the United States.
At some point time in time, we are going to run out of materiel to give to Ukraine. I read somewhere that with all the HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems we're providing to Ukraine, we're also providing Ukraine with one third of the ammunition stockpiles for the HIMARS, meaning that we, the United States, only have two thirds of our ammunition stores available if we had to go to war, which means we will run out of ammunition.This is insane, literally insane to be sacrificing the national security of the United States or of a European nation so that politicians can look and sound good for the next couple of weeks.
But it will not change the equation on the battlefield in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Army is in an impossible situation. They literally cannot recover from the debacle that has befallen them.
The sad thing is that Ukrainian leaders are buying into the fiction provided by the West of if they just get more weapons, they can successfully defend against Russia. This means that more Ukrainian soldiers are going to die, more Russian soldiers are going to die, and tragically, more Ukrainian civilians are going to suffer.Sputnik
: Leaders of the Group of Seven recently pledged to stand with Ukraine "for as long as it takes." How feasible is this pledge?Scott Ritter
: When the Group of Seven made that, one of the leaders was a guy named Boris Johnson. He's not the leader anymore. The other guy was a gentleman whose last name was Draghi
. He's not the leader anymore. I think as the summer and the winter come along, more and more of these leaders are going to be removed from office because it's an unsustainable policy. Politicians have a proclivity for saying things that have no basis in reality. It's very inexpensive for a politician to say "we are going to support you forever."Forever in what sense? Boris Johnson is not supporting them forever - he's out of power. Draghi is not supporting them forever - he's out of power. And just about everybody who was on that stage at the G7 meeting will be out of power. Suddenly, we have a whole new definition of what "forever" means. It means "not now, not anymore."