The West’s Goals in Ukraine
by Emmet Scott
In a speech delivered, or stumbled through, in Poland on March 26, Joe Biden declared that Russia was in need of regime change, a sentiment echoed throughout the Western media. Many commentators and media talking-heads agreed that “regime change” is and should be a fundamental goal of Western policy towards Russia. One or two went so far as to argue that this is the reason for the West’s effort to prolong the war by continuing to pour arms into Ukraine — rather than call for an immediate ceasefire, as is the normal procedure in modern wars.
One such commentator has been Niall Ferguson, who has cautioned Western leaders that the desired regime change will almost certainly not be materializing in the foreseeable future. Writing in Bloomberg News, Ferguson concludes that the Biden administration “is making a colossal mistake thinking that it can protract the war in Ukraine, bleed Russia dry, topple Putin and signal to China to keep its hands off Taiwan.”
But is regime change the primary goal at all?
The is no question whatsoever that the Western elites loathe and despise Vladimir Putin, and they would indeed be glad to see him go — into retirement, or better still, into the grave. The source of that animosity, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with Putin’s real or alleged brutality, far less with his warmongering or aggression.
The “West” itself has been a reasonably enthusiastic warmonger over the past few decades, invading and destabilizing dozens of countries in numerous parts of the globe, often under the most mendacious of pretexts. The destruction of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and yes, Ukraine, can all be chalked up to Western “humanitarian” interventions over the past thirty years. Nor is Putin’s (alleged) contempt for the democratic rights and freedoms of his own people a problem: Western “elites” have displayed a commendable contempt for the rights and freedoms of their own citizens, or subjects, over the past two years. None of these things bother Western “elites” at all. Whence then comes the loathing for Putin? That’s a question I’ll address presently.
Notwithstanding the Western elites’ hatred of Putin, do they really think a prolonged war in Ukraine will achieve the goal of removing him? That is highly unlikely. As Niall Ferguson pointed out, wars tend to unite countries behind their leaders, and this is particularly the case with Russia, which has a “heroic” national narrative that glorifies the sacrifice of its people and its soldiers in wartime situations. This narrative, Ferguson notes, can be traced back to the time of the Russian people’s struggles against the Mongols, and manifested itself again during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and during the Nazi invasion in 1941. Western leaders, I assume, are as aware of this as Ferguson, and must know that nothing short of catastrophic casualties, involving the loss of quite literally millions of men, is likely to shift the Russians away from their patriotic support for their army and their leader. But if this is the case, what then do Western leaders hope to achieve by prolonging the war?
And that point is very much worth emphasizing: It is the West which is prolonging the conflict. Indeed, it was the West which provoked the conflict in the first place. If the West had wished to avoid war, all it had to do was give Moscow a guarantee that Ukraine would not be joining NATO and insist that Kiev implement the provisions of the Minsk Accord, which provided a limited autonomy for the ethnic Russian populations of Donetsk and Lugansk. This was never done; on the contrary, the West encouraged Kiev to provoke the Russians by launching periodic attacks upon the inhabitants of the above two regions, and by providing the Ukrainians with high-tech weaponry to launch those attacks.
So, we are back to the original question: What does “the West” — or the West’s leadership — hope to achieve by a prolonged conflict between Russia and Ukraine? This was a topic I touched upon in an article published towards the end of January this year (“The Great Reset: Why Now?” New English Review, February), where I predicted a war in Ukraine within a few months. As it turned out, the war kicked off even earlier than I had imagined. In that article I said that the “West” actually wanted war with Russia, which is what made its occurrence all the more likely. I explained at length that when we speak of “the West”, we are actually talking about an immensely wealthy oligarchy comprising no more than a few thousand people, an oligarchy which effectively dictates the policies of Western governments. It does this through its control and ownership of 90% of the world’s wealth, a stranglehold which is augmented by its near-total control of the media. The latter allows the oligarchs to shape the narrative and therefore, to a great extent, what people think. “Public opinion” is therefore ultimately what the billionaire and trillionaire class decrees it to be.