Graham Allison has Thoughts about Ukraine

A good friend sent me an article about the Ukraine written by Graham Allison that the latter recently published in ‘National Interest.”  Here is the link What Americans Owe Ukraine | The National Interest

My friend evidently liked the article. I do not. I think his article is highly representative, emblematic even, of an ugly special interest, not the ‘National Interest’. The following points I make about it are not in good order. It would take me too long right now to set my ire in chapter and verse or produce the concept map.  It is more a list of particulars that somehow weave into one-another.

  1. Countries as named rarely constitute the identity that has the ‘interest.’ ‘National interest’ is usually a finesse by a government. Nation is too often a usurped identity. Correspondingly, it is a linguist allowance and assumption within PoliSci to use country names as common units of global action. ‘Britain’ says this or the ‘United States’ does that. It is a way under-noticed habit. The Biden administration (and the uniparty) has a very particular set of desires as regards the Ukraine. Let’s stop letting them tell us their interests are the nation’s. In some cases, the regime, for all practical purposes, IS the voice of a nation. The Chinese Communist Party is so in total control in China that it is a bit less annoying to me to hear it said that China did this or said that, but it is still the Chinese Communist Party doing this and saying that – not China. Venezuela does and says nothing. The Cuban Communist Party leadership does whatever thinking Maduro is allowed to voice in public. I do not think Zelensky speaks for the Ukraine. Ukraine is not an actor on the world stage. A clutch of men behind Zelensky, an elite circle, is. And ethically, as a leader, Zelensky is not a better person than Putin, nor is he better than Erdogan, for that matter. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

In any case, Zelensky’s actions and statements at this moment are done and made in view of his no longer being the legitimate president after March. By the end of March, the Russian Army may very well be on the east bank of the Dnieper all the way up to Dnipro.  Odessa could very well be surrounded.

  • In the early stages of the War, when the Ukrainians pushed the Russians back, they did so before the real flow of help from the west had kicked in. Some intel, mostly. Regarding the overall capabilities of the Russian ground forces, I believe we can say in retrospect that the Russan threat to Western Europe was not as great as the bulk of our defense establishment had been claiming.
  1. Folk like Allison have been part of a community of Russianists that has been self-sustaining and self-promoting for a long time.  It has been in their self-interest to make Russia seem ominous and aggressive.
  2. A look at the map can do wonders for the memory. There is a whole belt of countries between what NATO had in it in the 1980s and the Ukraine. Ukraine was not a Warsaw Pact country. It was in and part of the Soviet Union. NATO was able to keep West Germany safe hundreds of kilometers farther to the west, and at time when Russian military might was greater than it would be in 2015 or 2020.
  3. Russia has not grown weaker militarily or strategically during the past two years.  That just can’t be what Allison should be allowed to assume or purport. Russian military production has been given a great boost.
  4. There is and was no good strategic reason to want Putin’s Russia to be weaker militarily. The idea that it was threatening Germany is and was absurd. The two were becoming more and more intertwined economically. The strategic reality is that the Chinese Communist Party some time ago became a far greater actual and potential threat to our national interests and to the health of our constitutional republic.  Putin should have been cultivated as an ally. Hillary thought about doing that, but clubbed it up. There is no longer any chance.
  5. The purposes of NATO have been mostly fraudulent since the early 1990s.  It is a military club for Generals. It should not have been expanded.  Allison sees it as a wonderful thing, but it is not.  The Warsaw Pact was created after NATO. When the Soviet Union went away and the Warsaw Pact with it, NATO should have closed shop.
  6. Much of what Putin told Tucker Carlson was propaganda, but much of it was also true.  There was no military need to expand NATO and we should not have.  We should have shut it down. Its existence, like the alliances before WWI, contributed to the outbreak and lethality of the current war.
  7. Tens of thousands of young Ukrainian and Russian men and women have died. Millions of Ukrainians emigrated from their country to escape the war. Many of them may have gone to Russia and certainly to Russian-occupied Ukraine. Allison thinks wow what we wouldn’t have paid for that!  It’s obscene. The result for the Ukrainians, at very best, will be a rump Ukraine.  It may very well lose Odessa.  It will not be in NATO and will not be allowed to have a military.  In the future, young Ukrainians who want a military life will go to Russia for it.
  8. To have won a hot contest during the Cold War, we practiced massive logistical moves.  The idea was to have enough power on the ground to slow the Ruskies down enough.  Everyone at that time, including you, including me, were of the opinion that to stop them and to win, and probably conversely for the Russians to win, someone was going to have to poop the nukes.  All our exercises ended that way.  It became a cliche. Even the end of the most innocuous birthday party ended with a figurative nuke.  The idea that nobody was gonna win without the nukery was a sold hypothesis. To take a European power meant nukes – and it still does today.  Nobody gonna beat the Russians otherwise.
  9. To win, a party at war has to go to take the fight to real leadership of the enemy, has to take the fight to the capital and find that guy. 
  10. We cannot speak of United States policy goals as though they have actually made sense outside the sphere of special interests (corrupt interests). They are not policy goals of the United States. They are policy goals of the regime in charge. What were those goals — for this particular warfare?  To weaken the Russians?  Why and what would the measure of ‘weaken’ be, how much and how?  Using economic sanctions? Allison brags as though they did something positive. How many times does it have to be proven that economic sanctions don’t work as intended? How else do they want to weaken Putin? By killing as many of Russian young men as possible?  What the Hell!?
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