Foreign press about the military operation in Ukraine

Opinions and assessments vary, even in the same countries and media outlets.

It is no secret that modern wars are conducted with the use of information and psychological operations, which are aimed both at one’s own citizens and at public opinion in other countries. Russia's military operation in Ukraine is no exception. Of course, most of the Western media denounce Moscow and praise Ukraine, portraying it as a victim. But in some cases, there are also sober assessments of events.

There are emotional materials focused exclusively on the course of combat operations. Others suggest considering a broader geopolitical and geo-economic context. This is where the criticism of Western expansionism and the unwise behaviour of the American establishment begins. In addition, extensive monitoring of the press is also necessary to understand who is on the friendly, neutral or enemy side in a given conflict.

Publications close to the Pentagon, of course, consider everything from the perspective of military strategy and what the United States needs to do next.

Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Staff Command of the US Armed Forces, said in an interview that “if Putin was willing to launch a full-scale invasion of another country on the doorstep of NATO, we have to be candid with ourselves that he perceived some signal from the United States and NATO that made him think he could get away with it, and we need to understand those signals that are eroding the alliance’s deterrence.

Intuitively I think it’s unlikely that Putin would have ordered the invasion of Ukraine if he hadn’t perceived that the NATO alliance was more vulnerable than in the past, and that that vulnerability was growing over time. So lesson number one to me is that we need a reinforced US military presence in Europe, and the right kind of political statements about the value of the alliance to strengthen its deterrent value.” [i]

Earlier, back in early January 2022, former US Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter wrote about a hypothetical scenario of a conflict between NATO and Russia, clearly pointing out the weakness of the Western alliance. [ii]

"IF THE United States tries to build up NATO forces on Russia’s western frontiers in the aftermath of any Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia will then present Europe with a fait accompli in the form of what would now be known as the ‘Ukrainian model’…

Russia won’t wait until the US has had time to accumulate sufficient military power, either. Russia will simply destroy the offending party through the combination of an air campaign designed to degrade the economic function of the targeted nation, and a ground campaign designed to annihilate the ability to wage war. Russia does not need to occupy the territory of NATO for any lengthy period — just enough to destroy whatever military power has been accumulated by NATO near its borders.

And, here’s the kicker, short of employing nuclear weapons, there’s nothing NATO can do to prevent this outcome. Militarily, NATO is but a shadow of its former self. The once great armies of Europe have had to cannibalise their combat formations to assemble battalion-sized ‘combat groups’ in the Baltics and Poland. Russia, on the other hand, has reconstituted two army-size formations — the 1st Guards Tank Army and the 20th Combined Arms Army — from the Cold War-era which specialise in deep offensive military action,” writes the author

A large number of publications devoted to the Ukrainian crisis are published by the mouthpiece of globalists from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Stephen Biddle's March 11 article openly incites further militarisation of Ukraine, even if it is fully occupied by Russian troops. [iii]

He asks the question: "How can Western countries continue to provide Ukraine with arms and materiel without provoking retaliation from Putin? How severe could that retaliation be? And will the West’s material support really make much of a difference in Ukraine’s bid to fend off the Russian invasion?

Other debates regarding the provision of military resources to Ukraine—for instance, Washington’s rejection of a Polish offer to send fighter jets to Ukraine via a U.S. base in Germany—indicate enduring fears within the NATO alliance that too forward an intervention in the conflict will lead to direct confrontation with Russia. Are these fears justified?

The West’s strategy of transferring resources to Ukraine is nothing new: arms from third parties are extremely common in modern warfare. An escalation of the conflict is always possible, but arms transfers do not usually enmesh the suppliers in war.

In part this is because arms transfers alone are rarely decisive in war. Nor can they ensure a decisive victory for Ukraine against Russia now. They can certainly help, and without them the Ukrainian military is unlikely to be able to supply itself for a long war. But Russia’s superior capabilities should enable Putin to steamroll Ukrainian forces, if Moscow can overcome the logistical, command, and tactical problems that have bedeviled its invasion so far.

 If Russia can figure out how to bring its advantages properly to bear, it could eventually occupy enough territory to force the Ukrainians into insurgency. A better outcome for Ukraine will require either the continued ineptitude of the Russian army or a Western intervention that assumes a level of risk that NATO is unwilling to tolerate.

What arms transfers can do is to bridge these two options, representing a way for the United States and its allies to contribute to Ukraine’s defense, raise the cost of Russian aggression without engaging Russia directly, and give Ukraine a chance of fending off Russian forces without exceeding NATO’s risk tolerance.

Nonetheless, the more munitions the United States and others can send to Ukraine now, the less effective Russian border security will be at starving a future insurgency of arms. Arms transfers now are an investment in an anti-Russian resistance later, even if Russia does crush Ukraine’s regular army," Biddle concludes.

A similar view is reflected in the article "America must do more to help Ukraine fight Russia”. [iv] The article lobbies for the idea of supplying weapons to Ukraine via lend-lease. Clearly, the US military-industrial complex and hawks from the political establishment will be interested in this.

A more moderate position in the same publication is represented by Emma Ashford and Joshua Shifrinson. [v]

They have a pronounced humanitarian approach in the sense of the importance of an early cessation of hostilities and the necessary assistance to the civilian population. The authors write that "the coming weeks are likely to be more perilous. The United States should be especially attuned to the risks of escalation as the next phase of conflict begins, and should double down on finding ways to end the conflict in Ukraine when a window of opportunity presents itself.

This may involve difficult and unpleasant choices, such as lifting some of the worst sanctions on Russia in exchange for an end to hostilities. It will, nonetheless, be more effective at averting an even worse catastrophe than any of the other available options."

A fairly sane position on the situation in Ukraine was taken by a well-known international scholar, professor at the University of Chicago John Mearsheimer. In an interview with the New Yorker, he said that "the strategically wise strategy for Ukraine is to break off its close relations with the West, especially with the United States, and try to accommodate the Russians. If there had been no decision to move nato eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war in Ukraine.” [vi]

This interview caused a storm of indignation among American hawks and globalists, who launched a campaign of harassment of the famous scientist.

The same publication later published an article about the reaction of Germany and what they are going to do there, given the dependence on Russian energy supplies. [vii]

It is stated that "Scholz’s military shift calls for an immediate expenditure of a hundred billion euros on the armed forces and, in years ahead, a return to spending more than two per cent of G.D.P. on defence. Reaching the two-per-cent threshold would meet Germany’s commitment to NATO.

Notably unresolved, though, is how Germany plans to survive with much less of the Russian fossil fuels it has sought all these years. According to Bloomberg, the country now relies on Russia for two-thirds of its natural gas, half its coal, and nearly a third of its oil. Extending reliance on nuclear energy won’t be an easy stopgap.

Last fall, energy experts told me that prolonging the life of Germany’s three remaining nuclear plants wasn’t feasible; once the process of closing starts, it’s difficult to reverse. On Tuesday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party, ruled out a nuclear extension.

The country could delay its exit from coal, but that would imperil its goals for sharply reducing carbon emissions. And electricity production is far from the only concern: natural gas is used to make fertiliser and, crucially, for home heating in the winter.

So assured had Germany been in its Russian pipelines that it is only now building two terminals on the North Sea to receive liquefied natural gas from other countries. The terminals will take at least two years to complete, and the gas itself will likely be far costlier. (The European Union, as a whole, announced plans this week to reduce annual imports of Russian natural gas by two-thirds.)

Berzina, of the German Marshall Fund, told me that the most immediate concern will be buying enough natural gas this summer to put in storage for next winter, at what will likely be painfully high prices. Beyond that, the country will need to invest heavily in switching as many households as possible from gas boilers to electric heating sources, which she said could cost thousands of dollars per home.

To provide the energy for that additional electricity, she added, the country should reconsider its opposition to nuclear power, an aversion stemming from a combination of deeply rooted naturalist conceptions of the inviolability of German soil and Cold War-era fears about being caught in the middle of a nuclear war."

However, materials about the future global consequences of anti-Russian sanctions are appearing more and more often. And the conclusions are disappointing - the devastating consequences will affect, first of all, the EU countries, but also the United States and the whole world, due to the disruption of supply chains and the upcoming energy crisis.

Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul also noted that there are no "innocent" or "neutral" Russians. [viii]

In fact, McFaul voiced what has long been known - the West's deep-rooted racism towards other countries and peoples.

The Pakistani media drew attention to the facts of discrimination against refugees of non-European origin, because thousands of students from African and Asian countries tried to leave Ukraine.

One of the leading publications noted that "by ‘racialising’ the immigrant threat, normalising anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and terming and presenting refugees as economic migrants trying to steal resources — in an attempt to take away from their plight — these parties have a history of cashing on votes and the public sentiments by spreading xenophobia and making their already sceptical populations fearful and wary of the ‘unwanted outsiders’, mainly brown Muslims <...> Most of the xenophobic statements are on record”. [ix]

Zamir Akram writes in his column in the Tribune that "the Russian narrative has been virtually blocked through effectively censoring their media outlets and comprehensive sanctions have been imposed against Moscow. The reality, of course, is quite different. In fact, the Ukraine crisis is a classic case of a geopolitical power play between Russia and the US which has been building up ever since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

This showdown has now finally taken place in Ukraine. Its outcome will have far-reaching implications for the future global geopolitical order <…> Pakistan has pursued the correct policy by remaining neutral in this crisis. The Prime Minister was also correct in going ahead with his pre-planned meeting with Putin in Moscow.

Pakistan’s strategic interests require a balanced policy in a multi-polar world. The upward trajectory in relations with Russia must, therefore, be maintained. We must also remain mindful of Russia’s legitimate security interests in response to Western provocation.” [x]

The Indian media, which has extensive experience in specialising in fakes and disinformation, seems to have taken the Ukrainian side. It is likely that having received a certain payment for this.

So, in a report by India Today, it was said that Russian troops attacked the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, and the Ukrainians were able to return it to their control, which was not true. [xi]

In another report by the same media outlet, a platform was provided for the fugitive opposition leader (who was virtually forgotten about in Russia itself) Garry Kasparov. [xii]

Hindustan Times mixed up various facts, passing them off as the valiant resistance of Ukrainian citizens. For example, a video where a man carries a landmine from the road to the side of the road was presented as resistance to the Russian army, while the mining was carried out by the Ukrainian military (or Nazi formations), and the mine was carried by a local resident of pro-Russian views. [xiii]

But the most odious presentation was on the WION channel in the episodes of the Gravitas program, where it was said against the background of a briefing of the Belarusian leadership that "Putin's next target will be Moldova.” [xiv] Other releases of this program were also made in line with anti-Russian propaganda.

Professor Masahiro Matsumura of Osaka believes that in this story, it is important to understand Biden's role in the macro-historical dynamics of world politics, where for two decades the US has faced the rapid rise of China, parallel to the decline of its hegemony, as evidenced by President Obama's well-known statements in September 2013 that the US is no longer the world's policeman. This decline is seriously compounded by the overstretching of the empire in the face of the growing structural vulnerability of the economy caused by hyperdynamic globalisation.

This has created a deep-seated rift between American elites and the public over whether to continue or end the policy of hegemony. And this led to the arrival of President Donald Trump (2017-2021).

There was supposed to be some kind of diplomatic coordination with Russia in order to strategically counterbalance China as the main competitor of the United States. But globalists have sought to maintain antagonism toward Russia, while simultaneously seeking to maintain the status quo in a globalised world, including strong interdependence with China.

So the globalists concocted the so-called “Russiagate" to impeach President Trump.

Matsumura believes that "should President Trump have been re-elected for the second term, he would have adopted at least a partially accommodative approach to Russia in a way to enable formation of a common front against China, with efforts to abandon the long-time hegemonic policy toward multipolarity.

This would certainly involve making a deal with Russia to maintain regional stability centred on Ukraine, by transforming the country into a buffer state such as a neutral state or a Finlandised state. In doing so, it would have been possible to strike more favourable terms than those to be set possibly by a catastrophic Ukraine’s defeat in the current war with Russia.

Evidently, the current Russia-Ukraine war has been consequent on the globalist mismanagement of the U.S. hegemonic decline in which President Biden has continually played a central role for more than a decade, in the geopolitical context that constrains the possible scope of outcomes.” [xv]

Phyllis Bennis of the American think tank “Foreign Policy in Focus” also points out that the West itself is guilty of provoking Russia. And Russia's actions in Ukraine should be reacted to exclusively through diplomatic means. [xvi]

It points out that "NATO remains and has only encroached toward Russia further, resulting in new NATO countries — bristling with NATO arms systems — right on Russia’s borders. Russia sees that expansion — and its integration of neighbouring countries into  U.S.-led military partnerships —  as a continuing threat. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. But in the past the U.S. and other NATO members have urged its acceptance, and Russia regards Ukraine’s drift toward the West as a precursor to membership <…> President Biden was right when he called Russia’s war “unjustified.”

But he was wrong when he said it was “unprovoked.” It’s not condoning Putin’s invasion to observe there certainly was provocation — not so much by Ukraine, but by the United States. In recent weeks, the Biden administration made important moves towards diplomacy.

But it undermined those crucial efforts by increasing threats, escalating sanctions, deploying thousands of U.S. troops to neighbouring countries, and sending tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine — all while continuing to build a huge new U.S. military base in Poland just 100 miles from the Russian border."

Bennis believes that sanctions are unlikely to help stop Russia from carrying out the operation, only negotiations and an early cease-fire can restore peace. In fact, Russia takes the same position, but the Western puppets in Kiev continue to pursue a self-destructive policy, refusing to sign the provisions proposed by Moscow.