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CNN — More than two dozen liberal House members are calling on President Joe Biden to shift course in his Ukraine strategy and pursue direct diplomacy with Russia to bring the months-long conflict to an end.
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All other NATO powers, including the USA, and despite some strategic ambivalence and mischeivous fudge from Poland, concede that the missile was indeed fired by Ukraine.
Mercouris does not support theories to the effect that it was fired deliberately or that its presence in Poland is the result of some Ukrainian-Polish red flag designed to pressure NATO to escalate.
Mercouris critically analyzes the role of AP in citing an unnamed senior administration source (AP has since issued a story correction) that, had it been trusted, might have led to escalation, even to World War Three. Such dependence on untrustworthy anonymous sources cannot be justied (at any time, in my view), least of all on matters of such huge importance. (One might hope for some critical reflection right now in AP).
Mercouris also critically analyzes Trudeau’s role in disclosing to western media the contents of private discussions between Canada and China as to the possibility of a meeting between Trudeau and Xi Jinping at the G20 (China turned down the proposal, actually Trudeau’s request) -which lead to an embarrassing (for Trudeau) impromptu exchange between the two men. Mercouris recalls comparable concerned expressed by Putin recently when he was seduced into a supposedly “private” telephone call with Macron when, in fact, and unbeknownst to Putin, Macron had allowed various members of western media to “listen in.”
Mercouris correctly notes that this fits a pattern of obliging cooption of western media into the war strategies of western governments and has led to a further decline in Russian and Chinese trust in the ability of western leaders to observe even the basics of diplomatic protocol (something they will surely come to rue).
(Western media behavior merely compounds their clearly existential inability to move beyond the fortified cage of their dependence on Ukrainian and NATO sources).
A lot of fighting is reported around Zaporizhzhia and Vuhledar. Russia is steadily grinding down Ukrainian resistance at Vuhledar (where there have been recent Ukrainian reinforcements), perhaps in support of a pending Ukrainian offensive from Zaporizhzhia, but which seems to have been stalled or repelled. A lot of fighting continues around Bakhmut.
Milley Gives Up on Ukraine
US General Milley has said that he does not believe that Ukraine can reasonably expect to made any further advances for the next few months. Milley may also be aware of the depletion of 155mm ammunition in western arsenals (see below).
A Russian source claims there have been new US orders for 155mm ammo and suggests that if fighting continues at existing intensity, then the US will be entirely out of 155mm ammo even for its own armed forces by the second half of 2025. The same article suggests that the US would never allow its stocks to fall that low and estimates that the point where the US will no longer be willing to supply such ammo should be reached between July and November 2023, consistent with the arguments of Brian Berletic at New Atlas.
Ukrainians in the meantimes are only increasing their demands/pleas for more equipment, particularly for air defenses, an area in which western powers are weak. Ukrainian energy and rail systems, ciurrently under intensive Russian missile assault, are of Soviet origin and the West does not supply Soviet-era spare parts. Most of those spare parts are probably made in Russia itself. And what is the point of supplying spare parts for equipment that continues to be vulnerable to Russian missile attacks?
As Putin noted a couple of months ago, Russia hasn’t really got started yet in Ukraine. At some point, the Russians will likely attack the Dnieper bridges with hyposonic missiles. It is not clear what response the West can make in those circumstances. As Milley says, we are still in the calm before the storm as the country itself faces bankruptcy (which would have been reached long ago without massive subsidies from the western countries even as European shiver and face hunger).
These considerations help explain Milley’s plea for negotiations. Given Ukraine’s behavior over the S-300 missile in Poland and its top Commander’s refusal to negotiate, one cannot be particularly hopeful.
There are universal expectations of very heavy tax increases and cuts to public services in Britain. If the British government allowed its current budget hole of $70 billion to get any worse then the road to collapse is inevitable. At the same time the German government is planning for blackouts, food shortages, and protests. Yet neither Britain nor Germany are looking for any credible way out from their counter-productive US-induced sanctions wars. They act like gamblers who are running out of throws.