There's a crass new Washington talking point in the Ukraine conflict

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — Why are tone-deaf Washington elites treating Ukraine like a Black Friday bargain?

“Even Americans who have no particular interest in freedom and independence in democracies worldwide should be satisfied that we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment,” wrote Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-NY) in a recent Connecticut Post opinion piece in the wake of a US delegation meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

Also on the trip was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who during a previous meeting with Zelensky back in May, noted that “Russians are dying,” and called it the “best money we’ve ever spent.”

And last December, former first lady and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) said in an interview with CNN that “the Ukrainians have proven that they are a really good investment for the United States.”

An obvious follow-up question: A good investment compared to what, exactly? It’s not like the US would otherwise have an obligation to be involved in a conflict between Russia and a non-NATO country. So what is this even pricier alternative to which all these Washington establishment fixtures are comparing the tens of billions of taxpayer dollars being sent to Ukraine?

Blumenthal seems to have blurted out the answer. “For less than 3 percent of our nation’s military budget, we’ve enabled Ukraine to degrade Russia’s military strength by half.”

Oh, so the alternative would be for the US to get into a direct military confrontation with Russia in order to weaken it. Got it.

The fact that the US is only sacrificing Ukrainian lives and not American ones to keep Russia tied up would also explain why they aren’t in any hurry to wrap things up, either. This, despite CNN last month citing “four senior US and western officials briefed on the latest intelligence” who described “increasingly ‘sobering’ assessments about Ukrainian forces’ ability to retake significant territory.”

Critics of Western meddling in Ukraine have long accused NATO of exploiting Ukrainians as proxies to weaken Russia. And why might they want to do that? Because on the global chessboard, countries that the West has isolated and sanctioned – from Iran to Venezuela – have found relief by allying with Russia (and also China). So hamstringing Russia as a global player means strengthening the Western grip on virtually the entire world by leaving sanctioned countries with fewer alternatives to the Western agenda.

NATO had been pushing Kyiv into provoking conflict with Moscow since at least 2014. In the wake of the Western-backed coup that ousted Kyiv’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, members of the transatlantic alliance armed and trained Ukrainian “rebels” on the Russian border. Nonstop shelling of the Russophone locals had long risked serving as a pretext for a Russian riposte. But when the conflict went red-hot last February, Western leaders were quick to underscore that they weren’t actually at war with Russia.

But now it’s emphatically clear that they most certainly are – as Washington players talk like it’s one big Amazon Prime Day deal. “We’ve united NATO and caused the Chinese to rethink their invasion plans for Taiwan. We’ve helped restore confidence in American leadership — moral and military. All without a single American service woman or man injured or lost,” Blumenthal wrote.

Where exactly, in that long list of perks, is the benefit for Ukraine as it’s locked in a seemingly hopeless fight with more citizens dying every day and no exit ramp in sight?

As the average American loses interest in spending cash on Ukraine instead of at home, expect to hear more disgusting analogies comparing Ukrainians and Russians dying in a conflict flooded with Western weapons to a blue-light special at Kmart. And they aren’t even talking yet about all the cash that Big Oil has made from Europe switching out its reliance on cheap Russian gas via the mysteriously blown up Nord Stream pipeline network for an over-reliance on much pricier US liquefied natural gas. Another nice gain for which Ukrainians are dying while Europeans suffer under a crushing cost of living – as is the convenient pretext for laundering taxpayer cash into the coffers of military industrial contractors, who have contributed to $283 million in political donations to federal candidates and parties over 10 elections between 2001 and 2020 according to the li online database.

Regardless of who ultimately declared victory between Moscow and Kyiv, the big winners are clearly those who qualify as a great deal the fact that they’ve successfully enabled Ukrainians into doing Washington’s dirty work and paying with their lives rather than seeking peace with their neighbor.