“The Russians have decided there is no way to negotiate an end to this. No one will negotiate in good faith; therefore we must crush the enemy. And that’s what’s coming.” Colonel Douglas MacGregor (9:35 minute)

“Strictly speaking, we haven’t started anything yet.” Vladimir Putin

The war in Ukraine is not going to end in a negotiated settlement. The Russians have already made it clear that they don’t trust the United States, so they’re not going to waste their time in a pointless gabfest. What the Russians are going to do is pursue the only option that is available to them: They are going to obliterate the Ukrainian Army, reduce a large part of the country to rubble, and force the political leadership to comply with their security demands. It’s a bloody and wasteful course of action, but there’s really no other option. Putin is not going to allow NATO to place its hostile army and missile sites on Russia’s border. He’s going to defend his country as best as he can by proactively eliminating emerging threats in Ukraine. This is why Putin has called up an additional 300,000 reservists to serve in Ukraine; because the Russians are committed to defeating the Ukrainian army and bringing the war to a swift end. Here’s a brief recap from Colonel Douglas MacGregor:

Washington’s proxy war with Russia is the result of a carefully constructed plan to embroil Russia in conflict with its Ukrainian neighbor. From the moment that President Putin indicated that his government would not tolerate a NATO military presence on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine, Washington sought to expedite Ukraine’s development into a regional military power hostile to Russia. The Maidan coup allowed Washington’s agents in Kiev to install a government that would cooperate with this project. PM Merkel’s recent admission that she and her European colleagues sought to exploit the Minsk Accords to buy time for the military building in Ukraine confirms the tragic truth of this matter.” (“US Colonel explains America’s role in provoking Russia-Ukraine conflict“, Lifesite)

This is an excellent summary of the events leading up to the present day although we should spend a bit more time on Angela Merkel’s comments. What Merkel actually said in her interview with Die Zeit was the following:

“The 2014 Minsk Agreement was an attempt to buy time for Ukraine. Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today.” According to the ex-Chancellor, “it was clear for everyone” that the conflict was suspended and the problem was not resolved, “but it was exactly what gave Ukraine the priceless time.” (Tass News Agency)

Merkel has been sharply criticized for admitting that she and the other western leaders deliberately deceived Russia about their true intentions vis a vis Minsk. The fact is, they had no intention of pressuring Ukraine to comply with the terms of the treaty and they knew it from the very beginning. What we know for a fact is that neither Merkel nor her allies were ever interested in peace. Second, we now know that they maintained the fraud for 7 years before she spilled the beans and admitted what they were really up-to. And finally, we now know from Merkel’s comments that Washington’s strategic objective was the opposite of the Minsk agreement. The real goal was to create a heavily-militarized Ukraine that would prosecute Washington’s proxy-war on Russia. That was the primary objective, war on Russia.

So, why would Putin even consider negotiating with people like that; people who just lied-to-his-face for 7 years while they flooded the country with weapons that would be used to kill Russian servicemen?

And what was the objective that compelled Merkel and her Washington colleagues to lie?

They wanted a war, which is the same reason why Boris Johnson put the kibosh on an agreement that Zelensky had negotiated with Moscow in March. Johnson sabotaged the deal because Washington wanted a war. It’s that simple.

But there is a price to pay for lying, and that price comes in the form of distrust, which is the pernicious erosion of confidence that makes it impossible to resolve issues of mutual concern. Russia’s deputy chair of the national Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, expressed his views on the matter just this week in the bitterest terms. He said:

The behavior of Washington and others this year “is the last warning to all nations: there can be no business with the Anglo-Saxon world [because] it is a thief, a swindler, a card-sharp that could do anything…. From now on we will do without them until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power… There is nobody in the West we could deal with about anything for any reason.” (Ex-Russian President outlines timeline for reconciliation with the West, RT)

Of course, the Washington warhawks will not be bothered by the prospect of severed relations with Russia, in fact they probably welcome it. But the same cannot be said for Europe. Europe is going to regret that it tied itself to Washington’s anvil and threw itself into the sea. Sometime in the near future –when they finally realize that their economic survival is inextricably linked to access to cheap fossil fuel– EU leaders will change course and implement a policy that ensures their own prosperity. They will withdraw from NATO’s ‘forever war’ and join the ranks of civilized nations seeking a secure and economically-integrated future. We expect that even NordStream, which was destroyed in the greatest act of industrial sabotage in the modern era, will be reconnected establishing the main energy artery that binds Russia to the EU in the world’s biggest free trade zone. Eventually, common sense will prevail and Europe will emerge from the slump brought on by its alliance with Washington. But, first, the conflagration between Russia and the West must play out in Ukraine, and the “Guarantor of Global Security” must be replaced by the one nation willing to fight Goliath on his own terms in a winner-take-all contest. Ukraine is shaping up to be the decisive battle in the war against the “rules-based system”, a war in which the United States is going to use ‘every trick in the book’ to maintain its grip on power. Check out this short blurb from political analyst John Mearsheimer who explains the means by which the US has preserved its dominant role in the global order:

“You cannot underestimate how ruthless the United States is. This is all covered-up in the textbooks and the classes that we take growing up because it’s all part of nationalism. Nationalism is all about creating myths about how wonderful your country is. It’s America right or wrong; we never do anything wrong. (But) if you really look at the way the United States has operated over time, its’ really amazing how ruthless we’ve been. And the British, the same is true of them as well But we cover it up. So, I’m just saying, if you are Ukraine and you’re living next to a powerful state like Russia Or you’re Cuba and you’re living next to a powerful state like the United States, you should be very, very careful because this is like sleeping in bed with an elephant. If that elephant rolls over on top of you, you’re dead. You’ve got to be very careful. Am I happy about the fact that this is the way the world works? No, I’m not. But it is the way the world works for better or worse.” (John Mearsheimer, “How the World Works“, You Tube; 1 minute)

Bottom line: The prospects for peace in Ukraine are zilch. The US foreign policy establishment has decided that the only way it can reverse America’s accelerating decline is through direct military confrontation. The war is Ukraine is the first manifestation of that decision. On the other hand, Russia no longer puts any stock in negotiations with the West, because western leaders cannot be trusted to honor their commitments or fulfill their treaty obligations. The irreconcilable differences of the two main parties makes escalation inevitable. Absent a partner that can be trusted, Putin has just one option for resolving the conflict: Overwhelming military force. That’s why he called up 300,000 reservists to serve in Ukraine, and that’s why he’ll call up 300,000 more if they are needed. Putin realizes that the only way forward is by lowering-the-boom quickly and imposing his own settlement on the vanquished. This is exactly what Mearsheimer predicted just weeks ago when he said this:

“The Russians are not going to roll over and play dead. In fact, what the Russians are going to do is crush the Ukrainians. They are going to bring out the big guns. They are going to turn places like Kiev, and other cities in Ukraine into rubble. They’re going to do Fallujas, they’re going to do Mosuls, they’re going to do Groznys …. When a great power feels threatened…the Russians are going to pull out all stops in Ukraine to make sure they win. …You want to understand that what we are talking about doing here, is backing a nuclear-armed great power– that sees what’s happening as an existential threat– into a corner. This is really dangerous.” (John Mearsheimer, Twitter)

So, if we know that Russia is going to try to end the war by defeating the Ukrainian Army, then what should we expect in the near future?

That’s a question that has been answered by a number of analysts who have followed the war closely from the very beginning. We will provide a few paragraphs from each of them in a minute, but first, here’s a recap of the meetings that took place last week that suggest a major Russian offensive may be just weeks away. The excerpt is from an article at Consortium News by Patrick Lawrence:

Alexander Mercouris… recently listed the exceptional series of meetings Putin has held over the past couple of weeks with the entire…. military and national security establishment. In Moscow, the Russian leader met with all of his top military commanders and national security officials (including) Sergei Surovikan, the general he put in charge of the Ukrainian operation….

Putin subsequently flew to Minsk with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for exchanges with the Belarus political and military leadership. Then it was onward to meet with the leaders of the two republics, Donetsk and Lugansk, that were incorporated via referenda into the Russian Federation last autumn.

It is impossible to avoid concluding that these back-to-back meetings, barely covered in the Western press, portend a new, near- or medium-term military initiative in Ukraine. As Mercouris put it, “Something very big is on the way.”

Among the most interesting encounters in all of this took place in Beijing last week, when Dmitry Medvedev, currently deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and long close to Putin, had talks with Xi Jinping….

At some point in the not-distant future, the war of hollow rhetoric in behalf of imperial hubris will weaken and drift toward collapse. This degree of Surreal detachment from reality simply cannot be sustained indefinitely — not in the face of a new Russian initiative, whatever the form it turns out to take.” (PATRICK LAWRENCE: “A War of Rhetoric & Reality“, Consortium News)

Is Lawrence, right? Is “something big on the way?

It certainly looks like it. In the space below I have transcribed quotes from recent videos with Colonel MacGregor and Alexander Mercouris, two of the best and most reliable analysts of the war in Ukraine. Both agree that a Russian “winter offensive” will take place in the near future, and both agree on the strategic objectives of the operation. Here’s a clip from MacGregor:

The American people don’t really understand that the Ukrainian Army in the Donbas is on the verge of collapse. They’ve taken hundreds of thousands of casualties… (and) they’re closing in on one hundred and fifty thousand dead. The 93rd Ukrainian Army Brigade was just withdrawn from Bahkmut– which has been turned into a Ukrainian bloodbath by the Russians– and they left after suffering 70 percent casualties. For them, that means that out of 4,000 men… they pulled out with about 1,200 men. That is a catastrophe, but that is what’s really happening. And when the Russians finally launch their offensive, Americans are going to watch this entire house of cards collapse. Then the only question is, will someone finally stand up and put an end to this utterly false narrative.” (“Colonel Douglas MacGregor”, Real America, Rumble; 8:45 min)

And here’s more MacGregor:

It is looking more and more like the Russians would like to complete their task in Donbas first. They want to eliminate all the Ukrainian forces that are in the Donbas… Remember, this was always an economy-of-force measure. It was designed to grind up as many Ukrainians as possible at the lowest possible cost to the Russians. That’s what’s been going on in southern Ukraine (and) it continues. It has worked brilliantly. And Surovikin, the theatre commander, has said that will continue until he’s ready to launch his offensive. When the offensive is launched, it will be a very different battle. But the interesting thing is, that the Ukrainians have taken so many casualties in the South, we are beginning to hear reports that they are on the verge of collapse. And that’s why we’re hearing about teenage boys age 14 or 15 pressed into service. …and we’re getting videos from Ukrainian soldiers saying,”The people in Kiev had better hope that the Russians get to them before we do… because we’ll kill them.” They are talking about people in the government, because they see no evidence that Zelensky’s government …gives a damn about them. They are running out of food and clothes; they are freezing, they are taking heavy casualties, and they are being driven back.” (“Will Ukraine have enough Fire Power?”, Col MacGregor, Judging Freedom, You Tube; 17:35 min)

Both MacGregor and Mercouris appear to agree that the Russian strategy involves “grinding down” the enemy, (killing as many Ukrainian troops as possible) consolidating Russian gains while expanding their control over areas in the east and along the Black Sea, and, eventually, partitioning of Ukraine into 2 separate entities; a “dysfunctional rump state” in the west, and an industrialized, prosperous state in the east. Here’s Alexander Mercouris from a recent update on You Tube:

My strong impression is that ...the focus of the Russian winter offensive –which is indeed coming– will be on ending the battle in Donbas, breaking Ukrainian resistance in Donbas, clearing Ukrainian forces from the Donetsk People’s Republic. It does not look to me as if the Russians are planning some great advance on Kiev or on western Ukraine. That is not what these comments of General Gerasimov say. …the Russians are focusing on Donetsk… It’s ‘low risk’ but it is highly-effective. It is grinding down the Ukrainian Army exactly as General Surovikin said. It is weakening Ukraine’s future ability to continue the war and — at the same time– it fulfills Russia’s primary mission which, from the start, has been the liberation of Donbas.

Now, it is not going to end there. Other Russian officials have been saying that in 2023, we should see the recapture of Kherson region … and there will most surely be other Russian advances in other places. But the main battle was, and remains, Donbas. Once that battle is won, once Ukrainian resistance is broken, the Ukrainian army will be fatally weakened… which means that Ukraine will not only have lost its most heavily industrialized region, and its most heavily fortified zone. It will also mean the Russians will have unimpeded access all the way to the east bank of the Dnieper River. At that point, they will be in a position to cut Ukraine in half. This seems logical to me and it seems clearly to me that this is the Russian plan. They are not making a secret of it, but they are keeping people on-their-toes and guessing about the troops that are in Belarus. But I suspect the primary purpose of those forces is to pin Ukrainian soldiers down …around Kiev from a possible Russian offensive there, and to counter the very big buildup of Polish troops. So that is what Gerasimov has been saying.” (“Alexander Mercouris on Ukraine”, You Tube; 31:35 min)

While no one can predict the future with absolute certainly, it seems that both MacGregor and Mercouris have a good-enough grip on the facts that their scenario cannot be dismissed out-of-hand. In fact, the present trajectory of the conflict suggests that their predictions are probably “dead on”. In any event, we won’t have to wait long to find out. Temperatures are dropping fast across Ukraine which allows for the unencumbered movement of tanks and armored vehicles. Russia’s winter offensive is probably just weeks away.

Source: The Unz Review