We are seeing the classic signs of the growing discontent within some key sectors of the military and intelligence bureaucracy over the Biden policy towards Ukraine (I will touch on those in a minute), but the Biden national security team continues to stridently insist insist it will back Ukraine to the bitter end. However, despite the tough talk, Biden continues to balk on sending some weapon systems that could transform the Special Military Operation into a full blown war with Russia.
I am posting the video of Jake Sullivan’s press conference today on Biden’s meeting with Zelensky to illustrate this point. It lasts about 30 minutes and is worth listening to both for what is said and what is not.
Let me start by explaining what I meant by “classic signs” that there no longer is consensus within the US national security agencies about what to do in Ukraine. Last week I wrote about the briefing DIA’s Director of Analysis provided to some key media outlets. He presented the Administration line dressed up as “DIA intelligence.” Today we have Sy Hersh’s latest report — Zelensky’s Bad Moment — that reveals there are important contrarian voices in the ranks of the CIA:
There are significant elements in the American intelligence community, relying on field reports and technical intelligence, who believe that the demoralized Ukraine army has given up on the possibility of overcoming the heavily mined three-tier Russian defense lines and taking the war to Crimea and the four oblasts seized and annexed by Russia. The reality is that Volodymyr Zelensky’s battered army no longer has any chance of a victory.
The war continues, I have been told by an official with access to current intelligence, because Zelensky insists that it must. There is no discussion in his headquarters or in the Biden White House of a ceasefire and no interest in talks that could lead to an end to the slaughter. “It’s all lies,” the official said, speaking of the Ukrainian claims of incremental progress in the offensive that has suffered staggering losses, while gaining ground in a few scattered areas that the Ukrainian military measures in meters per week.
This is a typical leak when there are strong disagreements about a policy and its purported success, in this case the leaks concern Ukraine. But this type of disagreement does not mean the Biden team is ready to do a volte face and find a way to end the conflict. To the contrary, I think they are doubling down on doing everything they can to keep the war going.
Jake Sullivan is delusional. Consider this portion of his remarks to the press:
Well, let’s define success kind of stepping back for a moment. Number one Kiev stands, Kharkiv stands, Kherson stands. Major cities of Ukraine are not under Russian domination and occupation today because first and foremost of the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines and the people the Ukrainian people who are supporting them. But also, in no small part, because of the material assistance we have provided and that is a significant fact.
Second Ukraine is in fact taking back territory. It is doing so methodically step by step and the weapons that we have provided have allowed them to de-occupy (sic) more territory in the last 3 months than the Russians were able to take in 8 months over the course of its fall and winter offensive last year. So we will keep at this and we believe that the weapons we are providing are helping Ukraine not only make forward progress but also critically defend the territory that they continue to hold against Russian efforts to overrun it and occupy it.
Give Sullivan kudos for being a master of spin. He presents the press with a steaming pile of manure while assuring them it is a delicious plate of chocolate mousse. Slurp it up guys. He starts off with the red-herring that Russia has not yet captured Kharkiv, Kiev or Kherson. A meaningless point, proving nothing, because Russia’s military operations are concentrated on destroying the Ukrainian army — which is losing upwards of 1,000 troops a day — rather than conquering cities. So far Russia regularly bombing critical targets in Kharkiv, Kiev, Kherson, Lviv and Sumy with missiles and drones and Ukraine is impotent to stop those attacks because its air defense is no longer viable.
Sullivan deserves a Burger King crown as a reward to giving the press a Big Whopper by claiming that Ukraine has taken back more territory than Russia has. This is patent nonsense. Someone needs to get a map out and show him Bakhmut, Soledar, Lysyschansk as well as the location of the three defensive lines erected under General Surovikin’s direction a year ago. Is Sullivan really this blind and stupid? Maybe.
Sullivan’s “rah rah” nonsense did not obscure the fact that Biden is not giving Ukraine ATACM missiles. I do not know if that is out of fear of inserting a weapon that could risk Russian escalation or if it is because US military planners want to keep those missiles for themselves as a contingency. I suspect it is the latter. Bureaucrats at the Pentagon still have some clout.
Notice that not a word was said about “Patriot Missile” batteries. That was supposed to be a game changer for Ukraine’s air defense capability. It appears that the units the United States sent have been destroyed or are no longer in working order. Sullivan did claim the United States agreed to send other “air defense” systems to Zelensky but the fact is those are only window dressing. They will do nothing to alter the strategic picture or halt Russian attacks.
The Biden team confirmed that the M1-Abrams tank will make its debut in Ukraine next week. I wonder if London bookies are offering a bet on how long before a video appears on-line of the smoldering wreckage of one of those tanks in some sodden Ukrainian wheat field? If the tanks really do show up next week, we should have proof of the first destroyed Abrams by October 5.
Sullivan is correct that there is a vocal minority on Capitol Hill unwilling to pour more money and military resources into the yawning maw of Ukraine. But there are still more Democrats and Republicans insisting on sending every weapon system to Ukraine that we have in our warehouses and bases. This is madness, but just because it is crazy talk does not mean that the demands will be ignored.
I think the key factor during the next eight weeks will be how much damage Russia inflicts on Ukraine’s remaining military strength and infrastructure. Barring a mass surrender of Ukrainian forces, however, the Biden policy is to keep the war going. Politics is the guiding principle governing the Biden team’s decisions on Ukraine. The American leaders are content, so far, to ignore the military situation on the ground in Ukraine as long as it does not create political problems in the United States. They don’t give a damn about dead and dying Ukrainian soldiers. As long as they are convinced that Ukraine’s attacks on Russia are weakening Putin, Biden and his malevolent advisors will continue to fan the flames of war.
Reprinted with permission from Sonar21.Com.