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US ambition to weaken Russia makes the world more dangerous

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (4th from right) and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (4th from left) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (3rd from left) meet in Kyiv, Ukraine on 24 April 2022. /Xinhua

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (4th from right) and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (4th from left) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (3rd from left) meet in Kyiv, Ukraine on 24 April 2022. /Xinhua

Editor’s note: Tom Fowdy is a British analyst of political and international relations and a graduate of the universities of Durham and Oxford. He writes on topics relating to China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Britain and the United States. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, during an official visit in support of Ukraine on April 24, remarked that the goal of US foreign policy now was to use war to “weaken Russia” and to ultimately degrade its military capabilities, stepping up its support for kyiv. The comments were interpreted by the media as unusually provocative and ultimately served to up the ante in the dispute. The United States has also made it clear that its objective is not to resolve the war, but to impose defeat on Moscow.

Moreover, such remarks also serve to illustrate the strategic realities of Russia’s own narrative which argues that the United States has long sought to contain the country and assert its hegemony over it, which sparked the controversy over the Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO. By extension, Austin’s comments also reflect the American agenda for the world as a whole.

Zero-sum hegemony

American foreign policy strategy is based on the attempt to maintain absolute domination over all regions of the world at all costs. Sensitive to potential shifts in the balance of power, the United States has long avoided compromise and coexistence with potential adversaries, but instead strives to exert maximum leverage through containment policies with a view to preserve their strategic advantages.

In Europe in particular, the United States has long sought to shore up its own order by calling for continued expansion of the NATO alliance into the former Soviet sphere. In doing so, the United States seeks to subjugate Russia as a competing power and sees Moscow as an obstacle to the primary target of broader geopolitical competition against China. Washington is finally trying to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin and recreate another “Boris Yeltsin state”, as in 1991, subordinate to American interests.

This absolutist foreign policy doctrine, as observed by many international relations scholars, was a direct factor in triggering the war in Ukraine and is now a key driver of its further escalation. Instead of attempting to seek a quick peace between Russia and Ukraine and restore stability in Europe, the United States made the strategic decision to turn the conflict into a broader proxy war between the United States and Russia by providing more military aid and larger caliber weapons to kyiv in an effort to turn it into a strategic quagmire against Russia, a long-running conflict in which Moscow not only fails to achieve its goals, but degrades also its own military capabilities in the process and therefore weakens it as a direct military competitor to the United States

People walk in the streets surrounded by sandbags to protect them in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 14, 2022. /CFP

People walk in the streets surrounded by sandbags to protect them in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 14, 2022. /CFP

On top of that, prolonging the war also allows the United States to more deeply articulate a “Cold War environment” in its favor globally. Washington believes that if Russia can resolve the conflict in its favor, it can expand its influence in Europe.

Such an outcome is at odds with the US strategic objective of seeking to exert greater strategic hegemony across the Atlantic and to force European countries to follow its own agenda, while achieving greater profits for the military- industrial. He also recognizes that by entrenching this new strategic environment, he can not only seek to eliminate Russia from the picture, but also to solidify opposition to China. He does not want “business as usual” in any way, only a zero-sum defeat for Russia, regardless of what happens to Ukraine along the way.

“To the Last Ukrainian”

However, there is no guarantee that the United States will be able to prevent Russia from ultimately defeating Ukraine, whose dependence on Western aid and resources will only increase as the conflict continues. Not only have heightened political stakes forced Moscow to raise the bar after initial setbacks around kyiv, accelerating the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, but new assessments increasingly show that Russia has learned from its initial mistakes and is avoiding the same. pitfalls in the Donbass offensive, making slow but solid gains.

Western cheerleading for Kyiv, combined with the largely one-sided interpretation of events as portrayed in mainstream Western media, means that the public has failed to recognize this creeping reality. In every sense, Ukraine is the big loser from such an escalation.

Since the beginning of the war, a saying has circulated on the Internet that the United States will “fight Russia to the last Ukrainian” and in light of Austin’s recent comments, there could not be a more direct statement. from the presidential administration that this is indeed the case. Politics.

The United States hopes that the protracted conflict will strategically cripple Russia, but on the other hand, Moscow will almost undoubtedly see it as an opportunity to win a political and strategic victory over the West itself, which ironically , could strengthen the legitimacy of Putin’s government.

Either way, this war will have a long-standing negative impact on the global security environment as a whole and will increase uncertainty across Europe.

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