By Dr. Dmitry Radyshevsky
The Putin regime is a merciless monster. Why does the US feed innocent victims to it? The Carter Administration lured the Soviets into Afghanistan to speed up the collapse of the USSR. It took 10 years and 1 million Afghan lives. Obama-Biden teams lured Russians into Ukraine. How many Ukrainians are they ready to waste to change the Kremlin regime?
In December 1979, when Soviet paratroopers landed in Kabul, a triumphant Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Advisor, in his own recollection, happily reported to the President: “Now the Soviets will have their own Vietnam!” And so they did. Zbig admits: We wanted the Soviets to enter there and get stuck – so that a long war would weaken and destroy the USSR.
A long war on foreign territory, with other people’s lives wasted. A war by proxy. Someone in Washington aptly defined it in early 1980s: Zbig would fight the Soviets to the last Afghani. That’s an exaggeration of course. The last Afghani did not have to be spent. For 10 years of the Afghan war, it took “only” a little more than one million Afghani lives.
It was a brilliant American “special operation”, as it seemed then to many in the CIA and NSA. The U.S. secretly worked for years to lure the Soviets into the Afghan trap — weakening and overthrowing pro-Soviet regimes there, arming the Mujahedeen, nurturing confidence in the Kremlin that a regime with American missiles aimed at the USSR was about to emerge on the southern Soviet border, and Islamic fanatics will start radicalizing Soviet Muslim republics – Tajikistan and others.
The strategy worked – the Soviet bear swallowed the bait and got stuck in Afghanistan for 10 years. Gorbachev finally withdrew the troops in 1989. In 1991, the Soviet Union was gone.
Did the war in Afghanistan hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union much? Hardly. The USSR would have collapsed on its own without the Afghan war.
What did the United States gain by raising Osama bin Laden and the Taliban to fight the Soviets? We got 9/11, the return to Afghanistan as infidel occupiers for 20 years instead of the Soviet 10, as well as 2,400 American soldiers killed, 20,750 mutilated American veterans, and more than 200,000 dead Afghan civilians. And in conclusion – a shameful retreat from Afghanistan, with abandoned weapons and abandoned allies. Well done, Zbig!
Now we are doing the same in Ukraine. The Obama Administration made Ukraine a proxy (Biden is just finishing the job), a tool in the struggle of their liberal imperialism against Russian imperialism. The catastrophe of the Arab Spring and the destruction of Libya and Syria were not enough for Obama. In 2014, the US helped the Ukrainian pro-Western opposition to topple pro-Russian President Yanukovich in a bloody street revolution and began to prepare Ukraine for war with Russia.
This is not my opinion – search the testimonies of former CIA and NSA officers, or just look at open sources for 2014-2017. The Obama administration deliberately began to fool Ukraine with the prospect of joining NATO (Ukrainian President Zelenskyy admits this), and deliberately trained the Ukrainian military with the help of NATO instructors and re-arm the Ukrainian army. They deliberately increased the Kremlin’s paranoia that American missiles will be soon on the Russian border, in a three minute flight from Moscow, and that Ukraine’s attempt to retake Crimea will lead to a war with the NATO bloc and a third world war.
Putin has been openly saying all these years – either give us guarantees that Ukraine will not join NATO, or we will invade. Dictator? Yes. Russian imperialist interfering in the free choice of a free Ukraine? Yes. A ruthless autocrat who will not spare the lives of his soldiers and Ukrainian citizens if Ukraine does not commit itself not to join NATO? Yes. So what?
If Putin is a monster putting Russian imperial interests above the cost of human lives, then American politicians should be the direct opposite! They should put American values, Biblical values, where the highest value is a human life above all geopolitical calculations, and the goals of liberal imperialism in particular!
So why have they been creating the Ukrainian bait for the Kremlin’s beast for so many years? Why lure him to Ukraine and push thousands of lives into his mouth? Because that was the grand strategy: get Russia bogged down in Ukraine, create yet a new Vietnam for Russians, and bring the Kremlin’s regime to collapse. Brilliant! Rejoice – the Russian bear has again swallowed your bait!
Alternatively, the US could have given Putin the security guarantees he demanded: not just to allow Ukraine, but to force it – because Kyiv is doing what Washington says – to sign a treaty on neutrality and pledge not to join NATO.
Yes, to do this in order to avoid war, to save Ukraine from destruction, and most importantly, to save the tens of thousands of human lives that have already been lost, and hundreds of thousands of bodies and destinies already mutilated during the 6 weeks of the war. Of course, only if you are not bloody and cynical “geostrategic players” like Putin’s team, but real humanists.
Am I proposing just to bend to the dictator and hand him the prize? No. Work on the democratization of Russia in parallel and in any other way – just not a war through a proxy. It was pivotal to impose sanctions only on a narrow circle of Putin’s cronies, to encourage democratic reforms by stick and carrot, to pull Russia away from China and closer to Europe, to transform it patiently and gradually.
Yes, maybe it would take another 10 years: Putin will be replaced in some fake elections by Putin-lite, a technocrat without a KGB past but loyalty to the retired Putin’s gang, then by some Western-educated scion of Russian elites – a Putin-even-liter. Gradually Russia will be integrated into the West. Anything is better than the current rivers of blood.
Yes, the Kremlin’s police regime would remain, in that case, in power for another few years – and would keep killing opposition activists and journalists, as it killed several of my close friends. But choosing between the death of dozens of heroes and carpet bombings that lead to thousands of dead civilians, moral American politicians must choose the first. Otherwise, of course, they can sell themselves to the Media as fighters for democracy, but in reality remain cynical warmongers.
What’s next for Ukraine? I’m afraid that the failed liberal imperialism (the Obama doctrine) will keep fighting Russian imperialism to the last Ukrainian. This is exactly what the Biden administration is preparing for: a protracted war, Russian occupation of Ukraine, NATO deliveries of weapons to the Ukrainian army and insurgents, tens of thousands more dead Ukrainians, then – years later – Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, the change of Putin’s regime … and the emergence of unexpected and even more dire problems for America, as it happened after the victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan.
No other scenario? Well, I do hope there will be a negotiated peace soon. It had better be. Because sanctions against Russia don’t work – just as they didn’t work in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela. They will only lead to the impoverishment of middle class Russians, Europeans, Americans, and people around the world. Moreover, the sanctions are pushing Russia towards a closer alliance with China, as well as dangerous regimes like Pakistan and North Korea, and towards the creation of a Russia-China-Islam Eurasian bloc. Even closer to the third world economic collapse or to the third world war. Congratulations, Joe. Well done!
Dr Dmitry Radyshevsky is a Moscow-born Harvard-educated Israeli-American theologian, political analyst and writer. Author of “Universal Zionism” and “The New Maccabees”. He’s the founder of Jerusalem Summit – a think-tank dedicated to uniting the free world around Jerusalem and developing a joint strategy against the twin dangers: “Man without God” of Post-Liberalism and “God without man” of totalitarian states’ Statism and Islamism.