As Russia prepares for a new offensive in the eastern Donbass region, the West is doubling down on what has been an unprecedented program of military aid to Ukraine. Washington is not just giving Ukraine weapons but telling it where to point them. According to recent reporting, the Biden administration has significantly loosened internal guidelines with the aim of allowing the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services to share real-time targeting information with the Ukrainian military. The Biden administration is still reportedly reluctant to provide Ukraine’s armed forces with targeting information against Russian forces in Russia. But with mounting pressure from Republicans and Democrats who argue that the United States is not doing enough to support the Ukrainian war effort, it appears to be only a matter of time until that line is crossed as well.
A majority coalition of Western governments appears to be working not to facilitate a negotiated settlement to end the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ukraine, but to draw the Kremlin into a years-long quagmire that would make the Afghan mujahideen pale by comparison.
Kiev is being encouraged by its Western benefactors not to consider pragmatic, creative solutions aimed at swiftly ending the bloodshed, but to pursue a maximalist agenda on the battlefield and the negotiating table. Some congressional Republicans are pressuring the Biden administration to facilitate Ukrainian counter-offensives to retake all territories occupied by Russia, including Crimea and the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DNR and LPR). As the fighting shifts eastward, calls to help Ukraine take the fight to Russia will likely grow louder. The intention among many Western lawmakers is to back Moscow into a corner; but what might happen if they succeed?
There is no indication that the Kremlin, which is convinced its existential interests are at stake in the ongoing conflict, has any intention of backing off in the face of the West’s maximum pressure campaign. To the contrary, all current signs point to further escalation. CIA director William Burns warned on Thursday that if Russia proves unable to reverse its military setbacks in Ukraine through conventional means, Moscow could eventually make the decision to employ low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. As hopes for a diplomatic off-ramp fade, the war in Ukraine is poised to roil the European continent—and further destabilize the international system—with no end in sight.
Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Tuesday Serbia was a target of hybrid war due to its independent policy.Serbia target of hybrid war because of independent foreign policy
Australia and the US have tried to persuade the Solomon Islands to reconsider signing a security agreement with China. A high-level delegation is scheduled to arrive in Honiara this week as Washington sought to prevent the island nation from forging a security pact with Beijing.China Announces Signing of Security Pact With Solomon Islands Amid Biden’s Attempt to Sabotage Deal
America is following an “arsenal of democracy” strategy in Ukraine: It has avoided direct intervention against the Russian invaders, while working with allies and partners to provide the Kyiv government with money and guns. That strategy, reminiscent of U.S. support for Britain in 1940-41, has worked wonders. Yet as the war reaches a critical stage, with the Russians preparing to consolidate their grip on eastern Ukraine, the arsenal of democracy is being depleted.
That could cause a fatal shortfall for Ukrainian forces in this conflict, and it is revealing American weaknesses that could be laid bare in the next great-power fight.
Pentagon officials say that Kyiv is blowing through a week’s worth of deliveries of antitank munitions every day. It is also running short of usable aircraft as Russian airstrikes and combat losses take their toll. Ammunition has become scarce in Mariupol and other areas.
Germany has declined to transfer tanks to Ukraine on grounds that it simply cannot spare them. Canada quickly ran short on rocket launchers and other equipment that the Ukrainians desperately need. The U.S. has provided one-third of its overall stockpile of Javelin anti-tank missiles. It cannot easily deliver more without leaving its own armories badly depleted — and it may take months or years to significantly ramp up production.
For the same reason, the war in Ukraine is a sobering preview of the problems the U.S. itself would face in a conflict against Russia or China. If forced to go to war in Eastern Europe or the Western Pacific, Washington would spend down its stockpiles of missiles, precision-guided munitions and other critical capabilities in days or weeks. It would probably suffer severe losses of tanks, planes, ships and other assets that are sophisticated, costly and hard to replace.
American economic leadership is no longer based primarily on manufacturing. Shortages of machine tools, skilled labor and spare production capacity could slow a wartime rearmament effort. The U.S. can’t quickly scale up production of Stinger missiles for Ukraine, for example, because the workforce needed to do so no longer exists.
On a regional level, the Khan administration has also taken steps that have angered the world’s sole superpower. Khan has attempted to increase close bilateral collaboration to improve trade and transport links with Iran, describing their 517-mile border as a frontier of “peace and friendship” and expressing his happiness at the “positive momentum in brotherly relations between the two countries.” In 2019, he also tried to broker peace negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, an agreement that could have brought considerably more peace to the Middle East. The Trump administration vehemently opposed these negotiations, scuppering them weeks later by assassinating Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
While he has supported Iran, he has also publically opposed many of the policies of key U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. Khan successfully campaigned against Pakistani involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, while he has consistently championed Palestinian rights and demanded the Muslim world do more to help them. “A day will come when Palestinians will get their own country, a just settlement, and they will be able to live as equal citizens,” he said last year, comparing their struggle to that of the worldwide campaign against Apartheid South Africa. Meanwhile, he has also publicly supported imprisoned publisher Julian Assange.
The Pakistani military is thought to possess around 165 nuclear warheads. The country’s nuclear status came into sharp relief just as the campaign to oust Khan was heating up. While the world was concentrating on Ukraine, a potentially far more deadly incident occurred when India mistakenly fired a BrahMos cruise missile – the sort it uses to deliver its nuclear warheads – into Pakistan. In the course of routine maintenance, the rocket was accidentally launched. India did not immediately inform its neighbor of its mistake.
A Greek member of the Azov Battalion, who controversially spoke in the Greek Parliament, was killed in a battle near the Azofstal Steel Plant in Mariupol.
Mikhail is said to have fallen dead after a battle that took place near Azofstal, SKAI news reported on Tuesday morning.Greek Azov Battalion member killed fighting Russian forces in Mariupol
Caveat lector: you may find this intensely dull.
I hope to explain below the parallel war being waged against the Orthodox church and how it impacts on the events in Ukraine. It is a long tale but worth telling.Orthodoxy and Ukraine
It’s unimaginable that Le Pen can devise a rapprochement plan with Russia that’s attractive enough for it to simultaneously distance itself from China while abandoning its decree demanding that newly designated unfriendly countries pay for gas with rubles. That being the case, it’s possible that she had some ulterior motives behind publicly sharing her provocative proposal.Le Pen’s Proposal To Divide Russia From China Is Unrealistic
On the other hand, for several months, the opposition has been trying to lobby for military and economic equipment, people’s aid from the West and the United States, military and strategic support, and recognition of their legitimacy.
In addition, the trend of former forces joining the opposition increases the risk of civil war in Afghanistan’s complex and mountainous geography. In the meantime, some foreign actors may strengthen their position on helping the opposition.
Beijing is pursuing two main objectives through its outreach to the Taliban. The first is assurance from the Taliban that they will mitigate threats posed by extremist groups that operate close to China’s borders. In particular, Beijing wants the Taliban to stop the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which supports Uyghur separatism, from expanding and potentially carrying out attack targeting Chinese interests [AKA BRI] in the region.
Second, Beijing wants to protect the investments it has already made in Afghanistan and plans to make through programs like the BRI. Proposals by Chinese companies to extract and develop Afghanistan’s copper and oil deposits have been on hold for more than a decade due to political instability. With the United States gone, China hopes the Taliban can stabilize the country enough to resume these projects.
China’s willingness to partner with the Taliban undermines American efforts to influence the extremist group’s behavior through pressure campaigns and sanctions. Beijing has directly lobbied on Kabul’s behalf, demanding that Washington return Afghanistan’s frozen assets, a step that would only weaken U.S. leverage. At the aforementioned foreign ministers meeting, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s statement called for more aid for Afghanistan and made no mention of the Taliban’s human rights record.
Although Washington cannot stop China from working with the group, the United States and likeminded partners can take steps to mitigate China’s growing influence in Afghanistan.
To be sure, India has historically been reluctant to serve as the balancing power to China that Washington seeks in South Asia. Yet the Biden administration should understand India’s national interest in preventing regional dominance by Pakistan and China. A hostile Afghanistan supported by Pakistan and China would diminish India’s positive regional influence and further place New Delhi at the mercy of its rivals. China’s outreach to the Taliban also reaffirms the necessity for future conversations about mitigating Chinese influence in the broader Indo-Pacific as part of continuing dialogue among Australia, India, Japan, and America, also known as the Quad.
Recent meetings between representatives from Beijing and Kabul threaten to subvert American [corporate] interests for
peace[😂] and stability[😂] in Asia. China’s actions undermine U.S. leverage and further legitimize the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan.
No chance for peace, and stability, with the US and their vassal states [Pakistan, etc] involved!