Monday 6 March 2023

Robert Kagan, the American neo-conservative, says the Ukrainian war was partly provoked by the USA



This is true, but he has not changed his neo-con spots.

Robert Kagan and his wife Victoria Nuland are famous American neo-conservatives, leading advocates of liberal interventionism. She is back in the State Department where she was when she chose the Prime Minister who came to power after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution which she backed. 

Some blame her for the present war. Ron Paul does, for one.

From a recent interview with Robert Kagan in the Wall St Gazette.

Gerry Baker, Editor-at-large of the WSJ: We will continue to help Ukraine prosecute this war until, if we can imagine that, Russia is completely withdrawn from Ukrainian territory.

Robert Kagan: Again, the question is as opposed to what? Wherever any negotiation withdraw the line now, that line will just be a temporary sort of ceasefire line until Russia and Putin reconstitute their capabilities and come back again. I think we really have enough evidence to suggest that he's not going to be satisfied with whatever corner of Ukraine he has. He's shown his determination. So the goal needs to be establish a situation that is stable and it doesn't have us back in a conflict two years later. So therefore the goal is to find a defensible position for Ukraine that doesn't just open it up to the next attack. Where exactly that line has to be or what in exactly that entails, we can see that the objective has to make it impossible for Russia to repeat this episode, otherwise we could be doing this for decades. Russia spent decades conquering various parts of its empire in the past, so that's what we need to do. We need to harden Ukraine so that it can't be attacked again.
He might be right about a ceasefire being temporary but how does he know?

Later on Mr Kagan says:
The answer is gearing America up. We spend less than 4% of GDP on defense now. Throughout the Cold War, we routinely spent in the double digits. In the Reagan years at the end we were spending close to seven and 8%. We are underfunded. We used to have a policy of being able to fight in two wars in two different theaters, meaning Europe and Asia. We've longed since let that capability lapse and it's time for us to get serious again about the challenges that are out there in the world.

This is what a lot of people in Washington DC want, a cold war fought on two fronts, though neither Russia nor China is a threat to America or her Nato satellites.

But it is easy to start a war and hard to end one, unless one side wins a decisive victory or quits the field.

It looks to me like Vietnam or Iraq or Libya all over again. 

Like the Vietnam war, and unlike the Iraq war which Mr Kagan supported and for which he has not apologised, this one is a just one. 

South Vietnam's cause was just, of course, and so is Ukraine's, though the Ukraine war is the product of insane mistakes by the Americans. 

But how to end it? 

Will Ukraine be destroyed like Iraq?

The dissident left who oppose American intervention will probably win the argument in the end, as they did with Vietnam, but only after a world of pain has been created. Meanwhile Mr Kagan wants conflict with China too.

Gerry Baker apparently describes himself as a "right-wing curmudgeon" but he seems like a right-wing liberal, rather than a conservative, to me. 

In a column in The Times in 2006 he argued that "we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran". 

That's not Metternichian. In fact, it's not sane.


  1. Ultimately this is all about money.
    For those in the military industrial complex salivating over double digit military spending as mentioned in your article. Then there are the not entirely unbelievable rumours of money laundering in the corrupt nation of Ukraine.


  2. Tim, a friend, makes some interesting comments on my post:

    Nuland has made a career out of goading Putin into taking one ill-considered action after another. IMHO what the US appears to be aiming for us a North/South Korean situation, with Russia relegated to pariah status for the indefinite future.

    Did she want a war?

    Hard to know, precisely.

    In 2014, her goading came to light because Russia recorded her phone call. But they should’ve known it was theatre - USS’s don’t make policy calls on open lines. More recently, she’s tried to excuse her actions by saying she did it to keep Russia “informed.”

    But, basically, she, and SOS Hillary Clinton did it because they knew that sooner or later, Russia would grab back Crimea, and the point was to impose sanctions. Which were severe enough that Russia was forced to make a gas deal with China on favorable terms. One of the Obama Administration’s goals being to get China off coal for power generation.

    Do you just imagine that they knew Putin would take Crimea or is there any evidence out there?

    Well, Sebastopol is of course headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, which Russia would hardly willingly abandon, right? It would be like Britain letting Portsmouth go without a whimper.

    So the chances were pretty high that Putin (or any Russian leader) would make a try for it under the circumstances.

  3. And for about 75 (not quite continuous) years, Subic Bay was the headquarters of the US Asiatic fleet. Whether the US could be said to have willingly abandoned it, I don't know. But when the US uses it again as a base, it will be thanks to Chinese pressure, not American.

  4. We are where we are. I do not believe that if Donald John Trump was still President that Mr Putin would have invaded Ukraine - but elections (including rigged elections) have consequences.
    It is dangerous to write openly about Ukraine - unless one repeats (word-for-word) the official line. I was accused of racism for expressing doubts about whether democracy could be spread to Iraq., To express any doubts about our war in the Ukraine - our war against Mr Putin, would attract swift punishment.
    And Mr Putin is, mostly, to blame. Mostly.

  5. more than partly...but is just one of several agent provocateurs national!