How Ukraine could destroy NATO

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — If Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t order the invasion of Ukraine by Wednesday, February 16, as American intelligence in consultation with the Pentagon suggested he would (and as U.S. President Joe Biden repeated in a call to NATO allies), then, hey, he may just do it the next day. Or next week. Or next month. Or next decade. Well, you never really know, right? With Russian soldiers moving around within their own country for various exercises — sometimes close to their own border — one can never be too careful. One also cannot dare be too conservative in predicting exactly how much defense spending will be required from American taxpayers to funnel into the pockets of private defense contractors (particularly ones that house cronies) in preparation of a potential eventual Russian attack. If not in Ukraine, then maybe somewhere else. So best make sure those coffers are always overflowing.

And by “attack”, if you think that means just bombings or a full-scale invasion, then you’ve been reading too many fantasy novels written by former NATO generals about Russian invasions. (Seriously, that’s how some of them actually occupy themselves post-retirement.) The real Russian attack may exist only in cyberspace, don’t you know, and be largely invisible. In fact, the war on Ukraine may already have begun, “involving cyberattacks, economic disruption and a new tactic: hundreds of fake bomb threats.” That is, if you believe the unnamed “Ukrainian officials” cited by the Wall Street Journal. So after warning of potential future Russian warfare that hasn’t materialized, we’re now being told that it could very well be underway – but that we just haven’t noticed. (Insert new funding appeal here.)

If the mere threat of a bomb now amounts to a declaration of war, then the transatlantic alliance may have to start leveling high schools and colleges during exam season all across the western world. To secure safety and zero risk to our way of life, of course.

If cyber shenanigans and propaganda are now considered war, then why does NATO get to have all the fun? We’ve been hearing scare propaganda virtually nonstop for weeks in what increasingly seems like an attempt to pressure Russia or Ukraine into making the kind of mistake that would enable NATO to say, “Told you so!”

So far, neither of the two principally concerned parties — Russia or Ukraine — are taking the bait. On the contrary, some are apparently even finding yuks amid the drama — like the actual president of Ukraine.

Comedian turned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested proof from the U.S. of this rumored pending attack on his country, something about which you’d think Washington might have informed him in detail at least before the average dude sitting in Traverse City, Michigan, or Bozeman, Montana, caught it on the news over their morning coffee. Zelensky was then apparently so concerned about this information that he returned to his comic roots and joked about it. "February 16 will be the day of the attack,” Zelensky said, before one of his advisers, Mykhailo Podoliak, was forced to clarify that the comment was meant to be ironic rather than literal.

Zelensky has called for “invasion day” to be one of national unity, with a decree to boost troop pay (which seems like a valid use of all the dough rolling into Ukraine from western nation-states looking to “help,” though the help seems more like bribery practiced at the nation-state level) and to create an information system to keep citizens informed of their own security. Presumably so they can get the “ironic” pending invasion jokes directly from the Ukrainian administration without having to rely on the hysterical nonsense and innuendo relayed by the western media that effectively serves to justify U.S.-led NATO’s flimsy existence in the post-Cold War era.

It’s hard to recall how many seasons we’re currently into with this drama, but at least one person may have noticed that it’s on the verge of jumping the shark. And that someone is Ukraine’s own ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystaiko, who suggested to the BBC last Sunday that withdrawing NATO ambitions in exchange for averting war be on the table. Although Zelensky has since walked backed Prystaiko’s statement, he also acknowledged that NATO integration is more of a “dream”. So then why bother sacrificing the geopolitical existential reality – and potential huge economic benefits – of being sandwiched between Russia and Europe by playing war footsie with NATO: Washington’s power extension apparatus? Continuing to play host to Washington’s military fantasies in providing it with the ring to shadowbox with Moscow up against the Russian border ultimately hinders trans-European economic rapprochement and the emergence of a global powerhouse that stretches from Western Europe all the way to Vladivostok and could ultimately compete with the U.S. globally.

If Ukraine’s NATO ambitions are taken off the table in favor of normalization of relations with its neighbors — meaning both Europe and Russia — then the alliance has to find another cause to justify its increasingly strained existence that continues to serve primarily as a front for defense spending to the benefit of special interests.