Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 18.12.2017
Russia is invading Europe in Ukraine. Putin’s assault on the largest country that is wholly within Europe has been underway for 3 years, 9 months, 28 days. Russia illegally occupies Crimea and part of Donbas, and Putin’s army attacks across the battlefront near the cities of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Mariupol relentlessly. In order to achieve his war aim of destroying Ukraine, Putin needs Western leaders to make two colossal mistakes. The first mistake Russia needs the West to make is to refuse to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine. The second mistake Putin desperately hopes appeasing Western leaders will make is to lift sanctions on Russia before Russia leaves Crimea and Donbas and while Russia continues to kill, loot and destroy.
Putin does not want Ukrainians to have effective weapons to defend themselves from Russian attacks. Putin wants sanctions to disappear, so he will have the money to pay for a final all-out war to destroy Ukraine. These are the war aims that Putin was pursuing when he decided to back Donald Trump for United States president, in the late summer-early autumn of 2015. Ex-KGB man Putin has extensive ‘kompromat’ on Trump, and Russia’s intelligence services have a massive trove of emails from the US Democratic Party and the US Republican Party. Early in 2016, the Putin regime offered to “Team Trump” that it use the considerable powers of Russian hybrid and information warfare to make Trump appear to win the US election. Russia promised it would conceal the Trump kompromat and the Republican Party emails, selectively reveal the Democratic Party emails, and use its considerable expertise in election falsification that it had gained attacking Ukraine – most successfully with the falsified 21 November 2004 election in Ukraine that sparked the Orange Revolution. In return Trump, Trump family members, and other Trump co-conspirators promised to do the two things Putin most wanted. “Team Trump” promised to remove the Republican Party platform plank supporting lethal weapons for Ukraine. When ensconced in the White House, Trump promised Putin that he would lift sanctions without any mention of Ukraine.
At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, held 18-21 July 2016, Putin’s “grey cardinal” Paul Manafort took control of the “Grand Old Party” from the traditional leadership. The Putin-Trump agreement was carried out with respect to the party’s platform. The only policy change that was made at the GOP convention in Cleveland was to strip away the promise that the United States should provide lethal weapons to Ukraine for its self-defence. This was the first time the general public became aware that Trump-for-President was a pro-Russia operation.
Trump continued to praise Putin and to criticize American democratic institutions throughout the campaign. When damaging information came out about Trump, the “Podesta emails” and the “Clinton emails” were released in a timely way, and distracted an easily-duped US media. Russia carried out its part of the unholy bargain to falsify the US election and to make a compromised asset of Russia’s intelligence services the US president.
Fortunately neither Putin nor Trump have anything approaching the political skill needed to lift sanctions against Russia while Russia continues to attack Ukraine. Although the Republican Party – compromised by Putin’s grey cardinal Paul Manafort – is out of the picture on lethal weapons for Ukraine, the rest of official Washington is decidedly not. The Pentagon has a plan for arming Ukraine ready to go, and it is believed to be backed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump has been resolutely ignoring the Pentagon plan to arm Ukraine, as he has been stalling on implementing the sanctions on Russia which Congress has demanded because of Russia’s falsification of the US election.
Trump may believe he can stall and delay indefinitely on lethal weapons for Ukraine and on new sanctions against Russia. Putin may believe he can stall and delay indefinitely as he continues to attack Ukraine and violate the Minsk Agreements. But in the past week, two developments have made endless delay an unviable option, and have sparked a crisis at the heart of the Putin-Trump conspiracy. First, Canada changed its regulations so that now Ukraine may buy lethal weapons from the Canadian defence industry. Second, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is known to have obtained thousands of emails from Trump officials, which almost certainly shed light on the extent of Russia’s effort to make Trump the US president. Putin and Trump are in such a panic that they have telephoned each other twice in the past few days, on December 14 and on December 17.
Putin is afraid that the US will follow Canada’s lead, and provide Ukrainians with effective means to defend themselves from Russia’s invasion of their homeland. Russia’s invasion of Europe in Ukraine will fail, and Putin’s stupidity in invading in the first place in early 2014 will be exposed to the Russian people. Trump is afraid the Russians will abandon him as a no-longer-useful asset, and perhaps expose the kompromat they have on him. Trump has little comprehension of the legal and political jeopardy he is in, but he is aware that his window of usefulness to Putin is closing. Trumps criminality and treason will be exposed to the American people.
Providing lethal weapons to defender Ukraine and increasing sanctions against invader Russia will save Europe and will save the West. It is therefore a positive development that the Putin-Trump conspiracy is unravelling so quickly and so publicly. The Ukrainian people have suffered three and three quarter years of relentless attacks by aggressor Russia, and they have not been helped to any substantial degree by other Western democracies. That’s going to change now. In the discomfort of Putin and Trump there is hope for the Revolution of Dignity and in the quintessential European nation, the vanguard of the West: Ukraine.