The New Observer Uncategorized War aims – divergence

War aims – divergence

That is why there is no alternative to Ukraine’s Peace Formula: strengthening the army, accelerating the supply of weapons, de-occupation of the territory, regime change in Russia, compensation from the new government, and mandatory punishment of war criminals. [Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy]

Trading territory for a Nato umbrella? It is ridiculous. That means deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy, encouraging a global criminal, preserving the Russian regime, destroying international law and passing the war on to other generations. [Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy]

This row has blown up after a NATO official mused publicly about the possibility of a deal under which Ukraine would join NATO and give up land to Russia.

In these quotes it is unambiguously stated that Kiev’s war aims include regime change in Russia.

What are the wars aims of the West? Actually, it is difficult to be clear. There seem to be two camps. One camp, led by Poland and the Baltics is, or was, focussed more on the idea of a military defeat for Russia. Western Europe and at times the US seems to be more focussed on “strengthening Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table”. In this version Ukraine puts Russia under pressure sufficiently to force negotiations. The problem with this latter position is that the best negotiated settlement Ukraine can hope for is they cede Crimea, there is some deal about Donbas and the provinces of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson and they agree to some kind of non-aligned status. This was available in March 2022.

In March 2022 Biden appeared to call for regime change in Russia in a speech in Poland but this was swiftly walked back. “The U.S. does not have a policy of regime change in Russia. Full stop.” [1] A more careful statement of US war aims was made by Biden in June 2022 when he, apparently, focussed on securing a sovereign Ukraine. [2]

In short then, publicly, the US position does not include regime change in Russia. But the state which it is supplying with billions of dollars worth of military hardware does have this aim. I want to make two points; firstly, this is surely a huge deal? There is a huge divergence in (publicly stated) war aims between Ukraine and the its main backer, the US. Surely the media should be homing in on this and asking about it? Nothing (at least not in the media I look at; Guardian, Washington Post and Times radio). Secondly, this reminds me of the words of Barrack Obama explaining why, after 2014, he was still reluctant to supply arms to Ukraine: “Can we be certain that any lethal aid that we provide Ukraine is used properly, doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, does not lead to over-aggressive actions that can’t be sustained by the Ukrainians” [3] Does not regime change in Russia sound exactly like an “over-aggressive action which can’t be sustained?” This is what Obama was worried about.

My main point is that the media is hardly discussing this question – but, surely, it is a massive deal? Why are they not?