Washington’s self-defeating foreign policy – Global Courant

Omar Adan

Global Courant

If I were a shovel manufacturer, I could make a lot of money in Washington, as Washington policymakers dig deeper and deeper holes for the United States.

Washington is not alone: ​​Biden’s people are getting “help” from the Europeans and Japan. But how long will that last and in any case what is it worth?

By now, anyone who can read should realize that the the best case for Ukraine is a stalemate, but the more likely it is that the Kiev regime will collapse. There are plenty of alternative scenarios, but if we’re just talking about the numbers, it makes little sense for Kiev to keep playing the existential roulette wheel.

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It is true that the war puts great psychological pressure on Russia. But the appearance of Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, who is physically present and leading the battle in the Zaporizhia region, where part of the Ukrainian offensive may have started, indicates that the Russians are stepping up their efforts not only to to block the offensive, but also to start one of them.

Vladimir Putin still faces many operational problems on the war front, and some at home: but so did Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower.

This is not to say that the wars these US presidents have led are in any way comparable to Ukraine, operationally, politically or morally. It just says that wars cause confusion and political problems.

Ukraine is more adept at psychological warfare than the Russians (see e.g Ukraine’s latest fake transmission of Putin), and that also causes difficulties.

But probably Russia’s biggest problem is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the “private” Wagner Group. Prigozhin has become an uncontrolled troublemaker and it harms Putin as much as Prigozhin harms the Russian military.

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It goes without saying that Putin must understand this and will have to act. If Putin sits on his hands, he will lose and he should certainly understand that.

The missing ingredient, as far as I know, is that the Russian military leadership (not Shoighu, the defense minister, who is really a non-factor) should take its complaints directly to Putin. That is up to Gerasimov and probably awaits the outcome in Zaporizhia.

Prigozhin (middle). Photo: www.pravda.com.ua

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Assuming the Russians stay in the war despite their difficulties and make a strong effort, Ukraine will pay a huge price in material and manpower.

In their latest operations, stretching along the entire eastern front as far as Zaporizhia, the Ukrainians are making minimal gains at great cost. They are attacking in many sectors at once, but so far not gaining much that can be considered strategic.

The two best efforts were a counter-offensive on the flanks of Bakhmut, targeting Soledar, and the attack towards Zaporizhia – so far with three settlements, which the Ukrainians may be able to hold for a short time.

In Zaporizhia, the Ukrainians use at least two reserve brigades, the 23rd Mechanized and the 31st Mechanized. These brigades only revolted last February, but they are supported by numerous tried and tested units. There are reports that the Ukrainians in the Novodonetsk settlement used Bradley fighting vehicles and possibly other Western equipment Leopard tanks.

In these battles, the Ukrainians have so far lost 17 armored cars, 11 infantry fighting vehicles and nine tanks. They also lost 900 men, according to the Russians. If you add to that the other fighting in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian manpower losses on June 4 and 5 amount to 2,000 dead, wounded or missing.

(Here’s an update from 5 p.m. US Eastern time: The Ukrainians are said to have made significant gains and, at least for now, taken Novodonetsk. They brought the 37th Marine Brigade from Odessa, which reportedly had British Challenger tanks as well as German- made Leopard tanks. We will probably see the Russian response tomorrow, although it seems that while responding to these raids, the Russians are waiting for the Ukrainians to commit more troops to the battle. Then I suspect we will see more Russian artillery and air power , so far missing.)

The 23rd and 31st Mechanized Brigades have no western equipment, meaning that other more experienced units were thrown into the fray.

The Russians have set up extensive defenses in Zaporizhia. extends all the way to the Kherson area. This can be interpreted as meaning that the Russians do not intend to go on the offensive in these areas, but rather intend to block the Ukrainians and save them very high costs in terms of equipment, war supplies and manpower.

It therefore seems that if the Russians decide to launch an offensive operation of their own, it will be elsewhere, probably from Donetsk or Luhansk in the direction of the Dnieper River. If the Russian military were to move in that direction, it could cut off communications and supply lines from Ukraine to its clustered forces east and south, even threatening Kiev if it wins a number of battles along the way.

US weakens in the rest of the world

Whatever Zelensky wants, he has crippled America’s combat capability in the rest of the world. This is already clear in the Middle East, where the creators, partly for ideological reasons, have lost their position with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE has suspended his participation in the US-led Maritime Force in the Persian Gulf. That’s what the Saudis have decided reduce oil production again, forcing a price hike for petroleum, challenging Biden who demanded lower prices.

Meanwhile, the creators continue “secret” negotiations with Iran (at the expense of all US regional allies and friends), trying to counter the initiatives of the Chinese and Russians. The Iranians will take free alms from Washington, including $9 billion in frozen Iranian funds in South Korean banks.

They won’t change their nuclear plans, of course, but Washington wants a bogus deal so it can have a “strategic” relationship with Iran, which anyone in their right mind knows is worthless when dealing with religious zealots.

Israel is organizing its own approach to the growing threat from Iran. The existing Israeli formula, maximum defense at home, will not save the Israeli public for long. There are too many missiles and major metropolitan areas are under threat. Either Israel will attack Iran directly, which is a real option, or they will try to push back Iran’s influence in the neighborhood: Gaza or Syria or southern Lebanon. This means a boots-on-the-ground operation, something we haven’t seen in Israel for years.

An important takeaway is that the US has lost much of its influence in the Middle East, and its clumsy and doomed attempt to placate Iran tells everyone in the region that the real loser is Washington.

It also gets quite unpredictable in the Pacific Ocean, especially near Taiwan.

A Chinese warship, LY-132, a fast corvette built in 2016 and likely named the Xuancheng, a Type 056 Jiangdao-class ship, overtook the USS Chung-Hoon, an Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer in the Taiwan Strait. (For the record, Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon was an admiral in the United States Navy during World War II. He was the first Asian-American flag officer, and the destroyer is named after him.)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93). Photo: Sean Furey, U.S. Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class

The Chung-Hoon was on a “freedom of navigation” mission when the Xuancheng overtook it on the port side and then ran 500 feet in front of the US destroyer. In foggy, overcast weather, the Chung-Hoon had to perform evasive maneuvers to avoid collision.

More importantly, the Chinese announced that they rejected the legality of “freedom of navigation” exercises in the Taiwan Strait and elsewhere in the South China Sea. regard these exercises as a provocation. While the US has so far stuck to its stance on conducting such operations, it remains to be seen what the Biden administration will do next. The bet is that freedom of navigation operations won’t take place for a while, maybe longer.

Of course, the Department of Defense, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, wants to continue these operations, but the Biden administration is leaning toward China, sending all sorts of high-level delegations to Beijing. Taiwan and the US Navy are inconsistent with the policies of the Biden administration in this context.

China is one economic mess and many foreign companies are pulling out where they can. Even a large company like Foxconn, which makes iPhones and other consumer products and employs nearly a million Chinese, is starting move some of its activities, aimed at India. Foxconn is owned by Hon Hai Precision Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer. It is a Taiwanese company with sales of about $215 billion.

It would make sense for Washington to pull back and not fuel China’s recovery and growth. But the Biden administration is going the other way.

Washington is also behind the power curve in supporting Taiwan, pushing vital war materials to Ukraine at Taiwan’s expense. Some delays – for example those related to the HIMARS weapon system – are directly caused by the war in Ukraine. Others are domestic manufacturing problems in the US, including supply chain problems and a shortage of qualified personnel in US defense companies.

But some delays, especially the F-16, raises serious questions that remain unanswered. The Biden administration says it is working to solve the problem, but the proof will come when F-16s are delivered soon. That’s not likely. According to Lockheed and reports from Taiwan, the problem is not the manufacturing, but the software.

That is incredibly strange because this type of F-16 is the same as ordered by Bahrain and the first F-16V has already been delivered in that country. The delays seem more like a politically fabricated mess than an assembly line or coding problem.

China is believed to be happy that Taiwan won’t be getting its new F-16V plane any time soon. Is this another Biden kick operation?

Hooray for the shovel business!

Stephen Bryen is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the Yorktown Institute. This article was originally published about his substack, weapons and strategy. Global Courant republishes it with permission.


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Washington’s self-defeating foreign policy – Global Courant

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