The U.S. perceives the Ukrainian crisis as an opportunity to damage Russia and bring Ukraine into NATO, says Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles Magazine. He says a decision to ship lethal weapons to the Kiev regime has already been made.
RT: Despite an improving situation in Ukraine, we are still witnessing aggressive rhetoric from some US officials. Why is that?
ST: Because strategically the US political elite perceives it as an opportunity to damage Russia. They have not given up the geopolitical objective of bringing Ukraine into the Western fold, and eventually even having it join NATO. What we are witnessing right now is just the political preparation for a decision which, I believe, has already been made—and that is to deliver lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian regime. Of course the Europeans are opposed to that, but this would not be the first time that the US has sabotaged and torpedoed European peace initiatives.
A good example was the intervention of then U.S. ambassador in Belgrade Warren Zimmermann, who sabotaged the Portuguese plan for Bosnia under the EU auspices which could have avoided the Bosnian war exactly 23 years ago, in March of 1992. I believe that it is both the Republicans and interventionist Democrats who are acting in unison in providing the political pressure which Victoria Nuland actually treats as welcome, because it will only provide the alibi for the Obama administration to concede to their demands and do what I believe they are already preparing to do.
RT: At what point will they supply lethal aid if, for example, the peace agreement works?
ST: First of all, they will deny that Minsk-II works at all. There will be constant accusations of fresh Russian incursions. We had one of those from Victoria Nuland on Wednesday, even though there was no evidence to substantiate the claim. So we will continue to hear this rhetoric of Russian non-compliance and demands for those poor, defenseless Ukrainians to be supplied with weapons to defend themselves. But if they do go ahead, I think that there will be something of a rift within the Western alliance, because the Germans and the French in particular, will know that this is a deliberate sabotage of Minsk—and not an action that reflects the realities on the ground. I also believe that in that case the Russian government will be much less circumspect about actually helping the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and effectively doing what they have already been accused of having done.
RT: How could arms shipments from the West impact the situation?
ST: First of all let’s look at the kind of weaponry they are likely to supply: artillery suppression radar systems, communication equipment, and anti-tank weaponry. For all of those it will take a few months for the Ukrainians to be trained in their use, because at the moment they have Soviet stock which is out of date and which is certainly not up to NATO standards. So I think that if they do so, we are looking at perhaps a new government offensive sometime in mid-summer, probably not before that; but the point is that in strategic terms the US government—both the executive and the legislative branches—are obviously treating this as a major geo-political game in which Russia is the one who is in the crosshairs and the Ukrainians are treated as collateral damage.