Western media, once pro-kyiv, increasingly warn that sanctions are failing and Ukraine must make peace
Even as the Western collective continues to insist – against all observable reality – that the conflict in Ukraine is going well for kyiv, the mainstream media is increasingly worried about the situation on the economic front. More and more observers are admitting that the embargoes imposed by the United States and its allies are not crushing the Russian economy, as originally expected, but rather their own.
Meanwhile, major publications began to report on the real situation on the front lines, rather than uncritically quoting myths like the “Ghost of kyiv” or “Snake Island 13” propagated by Volodymyr Zelensky’s office. , as they did at the beginning. There have even been hints, albeit half-hearted, that perhaps the West should stop unconditionally supporting Kyiv and promote a negotiated peace instead.
“Russia is winning the economic war” Guardian economics editor Larry Elliott said Thursday. “It has now been three months since the West launched its economic war against Russia, and it is not going as planned. On the contrary, things are really bad. he wrote.
Elliott actually argues that the recent US announcement to send rocket launchers to Ukraine is proof that sanctions don’t work: “The hope is that modern U.S. military technology will achieve what energy interdictions and the seizure of Russian assets have so far failed to do: force [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to withdraw his troops.
In a May 30 essay, Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins also said the embargo had failed to force a Russian withdrawal, but argued the EU should “stick to helping Ukraine’s war effort” instead, while withdrawing the sanctions because they are “self-destructive and cruel foolishness.”
As Jenkins points out, the sanctions have actually raised the price of Russian exports such as oil and grain – thus enriching rather than impoverishing Moscow while leaving Europeans short of gas and Africans short of food.
Note that Jenkins is wrong about the supposed effectiveness of Western weapons, given that Russian and Donbass troops have won a series of victories over the past month – from Popasnaya to Liman. On May 26, The Washington Post of All Places published a shockingly candid account of how a Ukrainian unit lost more than half its strength near Severodonetsk and retreated to the rear. Its commanders were actually arrested for treason after speaking to the American media.
This reality could not be ignored even by the Telegraph’s defense editor, Con Coughlin, who became something of a meme for prophesying Russian defeat on a weekly basis. He now says that Moscow could pull off a “shock triumph” – albeit in service of his argument that kyiv needs even more weapons.
The West’s collective failure to break Russia was evident even to The Economist, not exactly a Moscow-friendly publication. The newspaper reluctantly admitted a month ago that the Russian economy had rebounded from the initial sanctions shock. Meanwhile, it is the West that must deal with energy shortages, soaring costs of living and record inflation. It’s the Americans, not the Russians, who can’t find formula in stores and can’t afford gasoline.
Maybe that’s why “Spring of Discontent” with the Western sanctions policy was not limited to the European side of the Atlantic. On Tuesday, the New York Times published an op-ed by Christopher Caldwell in which he criticized the Biden administration for “close the avenues of negotiation and work to escalate the war” by sending more and more weapons to kyiv.
“The United States is trying to maintain the fiction that arming its allies is not the same as participating in combat,” Caldwell wrote, pointing out that this distinction becomes “more and more artificial” in the information age. A day later, the head of the US Cyber Command admitted to carrying out offensive operations against Russia on behalf of Ukraine.
The United States has “given that the Ukrainians have reason to believe that they can prevail in an escalating war”, Caldwell wrote, this is why kyiv is not eager to make peace. Indeed, when none other than Henry Kissinger tried to plead in Davos to settle the dispute quickly, Zelensky’s office cursed him. He was soon designated an enemy of the Ukrainian state.
There were calls for an exit ramp from war even earlier – though few and lost amid the continued cacophony of media encouragement for Kyiv. On May 18, Charles Kupchan, usually a warmonger at the Council of Foreign Relations, advised Ukraine in the pages of The Atlantic to “take the W,” therefore, to say.
“Russia has already suffered a decisive strategic defeat,” he wrote. “For both NATO and Ukraine, strategic prudence argues in favor of pocketing these successes rather than rushing the fight and running the same risks.” NATO, Kupchan added, should advise the Ukrainian government on how to end the bloodshed, and soon.
The very next day, the editorial board of The New York Times echoed his argument, saying that a decisive Ukrainian victory over Russia was ‘Not a realistic goal’ and that US President Joe Biden should tell Zelensky that there is a limit to which the United States will go.
“It is imperative that the decisions of the Ukrainian government are based on a realistic assessment of its means and the amount of additional destruction that Ukraine can withstand,” he added. they wrote.
Judging by official statements from both the White House and kyiv, however, the conversation advised by Kupchan and the NYT never happened. Instead, the United States continues to give Ukraine a blank check, the kind Germany gave Austria-Hungary in 1914.
Speaking of World War I analogies, a senior political scientist at RAND Corporation — a think tank advising the Pentagon — made one in Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. According to Samuel Charap, the creation of Belgium as a neutral state by its neighbors benefited everyone for nearly a century, with Britain ready to fight Germany in 1914 to preserve it. The neutrality deal offered at the Istanbul talks in late March could provide Ukraine with the same, he said.
Too bad, then, that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally intervened to derail those talks in April, telling Ukrainians that if they wanted to make a deal with Moscow, the Western collective wouldn’t.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.