As we watch Ukrainian military position after position surrender to Russian troops, and as the remainder of Ukraine’s demoralised and exhausted soldiers witness the genuinely humanitarian treatment of prisoners by their Russian captors (in direct contradiction to the claimed torture and execution that Kiev’s ruling elite had told them they could expect), Nato warrior chiefs are worrying.
They are worrying that Ukraine might collapse totally before Nato can open a second and/or third front. Having finally got Russia to enter the ring, the US-led Nato wants to keep the war going by any means necessary, desperate to weaken Russia as a preliminary to overthrowing its independent government, breaking up its vast territory and looting its valuable resources.
The economies of the USA, the European Union, Britain and other assorted Nato fiends are sinking faster than the Titanic, and they have staked a lot on having (and, of course, winning) this war with first Russia and then China. Defeat in eastern Europe will see those western economies go down faster still.
As this article is being written, Nato is guiding the militaries of 14 countries (surprisingly, or maybe not, these include Ukrainian forces) through massive war drills in Estonia. Nato claims that this ‘exercise’ of 15,000 plus soldiers, the largest such gathering in Estonian history, will see all branches of the armed forces taking part in air, sea and land drills, as well as in cyberwarfare training near to, and possibly along, the country’s 183-mile border with the Russian Federation.
The drills began barely a day after Finland and Sweden officially announced their suicidal intention to apply for Nato membership – a move that Russia has clearly stated would necessitate a military response. Finnish and Swedish troops are among those involved in the Estonian wargames, which include the US navy’s Wasp-class landing ship Kearsarge.
Let’s not forget that Finland, which gained its independence from the Russian empire at the hands of the Bolsheviks, signed a treaty with the Soviet Union promising to remain neutral in perpetuity, in return for being allowed to continue to exist as an independent state. This was despite having allied itself with Nazi Germany in WW2 and facilitated the deaths via starvation of a million Soviet citizens through the terrible ‘900 day’ siege of Leningrad, which lasted from September 1941 to January 1944.
For Finland even to apply to join Nato would be an act of war against Russia and an existential threat to that country – as a quick glance at the map will show.
Meanwhile, in Lithuania, which has a 65-mile border with Russia, the ‘Iron Wolf’ exercise is also playing out. This ‘exercise’ includes 3,000 Nato troops and 1,000 pieces of military equipment, including German Leopard 2 tanks.
Nato chiefs have issued a statement saying that two of their largest exercises – ‘Defender Europe’ and ‘Swift Response’ – are taking place in Poland and eight other countries, involving a further 18,000 troops from 20 nations.
At the same time, a Nato response force is participating in drills dubbed ‘Wettiner Heide’ in Germany with a force of 7,500, while ‘Neptune series’ naval drills featuring the USS Harry S Truman carrier strike group, to be placed under Nato command, are scheduled to take place imminently in the Mediterranean Sea.
If all that were not enough more ‘exercises’ are scheduled for June, when the Baltic states and Poland will host what Nato describes as “Europe’s largest integrated air and missile defence exercise”, involving 23 countries.
And against this backdrop there are widely-circulating rumours of a possible invasion of western Ukraine by Poland to reoccupy land that was once Polish (and in the process to increase its land border with Russia from 120 to 450 miles). What is certainly happening is that Nato-trained Polish pilots are being used to fly Ukrainian planes and Polish territory is being used to facilitate the Nato-funded rest, retraining and rearming of the exhausted Ukrainian troops.
Clearly, the imperialists are determined not to let the war come to its inevitable conclusion any time soon, but are willing to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ – or even the last European – to keep Russian forces on the battlefield and weaken them as much as possible.
While it is not possible for us to know Nato’s precise plans, it is worth noting that while US-backed Poland is making increasingly belligerent noises regarding Russia and Ukraine, US-backed Israel is also making regular threats against Iran, and various US-backed east Asian and Pacific countries are making ever-more menacing moves towards China.
Everywhere one looks on the global scene, impelled by the global capitalist economic crisis and by the desperation of US imperialism to shore up its waning hegemony, the possibility of an earlier than expected third world war looms large.