Ukraine Conflict: Dynamics, Trends and Narratives

It’s difficult to predict the course of the conflict with exact precision but comparatively easier to pinpoint the dynamics and trends that can influence its outcome. First, the conflict can more accurately be framed as a US-led NATO proxy war on Russia through Ukraine than as a Russian-Ukrainian conflict. This leads to the second observation, which is that Kiev’s forces are entirely supported by its Western allies after Moscow destroyed its domestic military-industrial complex by late March. Third, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was correct when remarking that the US wants to fight his country to the last Ukrainian. Fourth, this resulted in America pressuring Kiev into pulling out of the Istanbul peace talks. And fifth, CNN recently reported that the West is now deliberating the terms of a prospective ceasefire behind Zelensky’s back following the latest Russian advances in the Battle for Donbass that they didn’t expect.

Before proceeding, it’s important to review the reason why President Putin initiated his country’s special military operation in Ukraine and the goals that he set out to achieve. Russia was concerned by the growing regional deployment of “anti-missile systems” and strike weapons that aimed to gradually erode his country’s nuclear second-strike capabilities. It also feared that NATO’s clandestine military infrastructure in Ukraine could one day be used to launch conventional attacks against Russia upon achieving the aforementioned strategic objective. Furthermore, it believed that Kiev’s Western-backed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) programs could be a game-changer if they succeeded. The most immediate trigger for the special operation, however, was to protect the indigenous Russian people of Donbass from Kiev’s genocide against them after it refused to implement the Minsk Accords.

Accordingly, Russia’s first goal is to liberate the two newly recognized Donbass Republics from Kiev’s forces in order to sustainably ensure the human rights of their indigenous Russian population. Second, Russia set out to neutralize the conventional and WMD threats against it emanating from Ukraine, which includes the destruction of that country’s domestic military-industrial complex. This leads to the third goal of demilitarizing it and subsequently ensuring that Ukraine amends its constitution so as to become an officially neutral country instead of officially aspiring for NATO membership. The last goal is to denazify that former Soviet Republic, which hasn’t been explained in detail but is thought to concern the elimination of its Neo-Nazi battalions, removing fascist historical revisionism from school textbooks, and restoring the rights of the indigenous Russian minority there.

Having explained the dynamics, trends, and goals that are shaping the conflict, one can now have a better grasp of what’s going on. The full liberation of Donbass is non-negotiable from Russia’s perspective, after which other presently liberated areas of Ukraine like the entirety of Kherson Region and parts of Kharkov and Zaporozhye Regions might vote to reunite with their historical Russian homeland in order to ensure their indigenous Russian population’s human rights as well. Kiev’s domestic military-industrial complex has already been destroyed and its WMD programs are considered to have been stopped too, which satisfies Russia’s conventional and unconventional security goals. It remains unclear whether Ukraine will ever reform its constitution to become officially neutral but that’s pretty much a moot point at the moment since it’s unlikely to join NATO anytime soon.

As for the denazification goal, this is much more difficult to completely fulfill since fascist ideology already influences large segments of Ukrainian society to the point of being wrongly regarded as an integral part of its national identity. It’s also difficult to imagine Ukraine voluntarily restoring the rights of its indigenous Russian minority and removing historical revisionism from school textbooks just like it’s difficult to imagine it agreeing to become officially neutral. These two goals might therefore only be fully achieved in the event that Russia militarily forces Kiev to capitulate on those issues, which implies its opponent’s total defeat on the battlefield. That, however, appears unlikely for now at least since its forces are artificially being kept alive solely by unprecedented amounts of Western support. Moreover, Zelensky would need to remain in office in legitimize those reforms in the world’s eyes.

All of this being the case, there are three probable scenarios right now. The first is a mutual compromise upon Russia’s impending victory in the Battle for Donbass whereby Moscow acknowledges being unable to completely fulfill its neutrality and denazification goals while Kiev accepts the irreversible loss of all the liberated areas up until that point (Donbass, Kherson Region, and parts of Kharkov and Zaporozhye Regions). The second, meanwhile, is a protracted conflict where each side continues attempting to achieve their maximum goals: Moscow would continue fighting until it forces its opponent to become a constitutionally neutral state that also fully denazifies while Kiev would keep fighting until it reconquers the liberated territories, including Crimea and Donbass. The last scenario is that a relative freeze in the conflict follows Russia’s victory in the Battle for Donbass where nothing is formally settled.

The US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) is actively engaged in the most intense and far-reaching propaganda operation in human history. It’s simultaneously demonizing President Putin as being worse than Hitler while deifying Zelensky as a “Second Jesus” in the eyes of its targeted Western audience. That same audience, it must be said, it also a captive audience since most don’t have convenient access to alternative sources of information nor the desire to even search for such after their governments either censored Russian media or made it impossible for them to operate.

These two primary goals – the demonization of President Putin alongside the deification of Zelensky – are meant to manipulate Westerners into supporting whatever their governments claim they need to do in order to “save Ukraine and stop Russia”. This includes unparalleled amounts of taxpayer-funded aid that in reality also functions as a means of laundering tens of billions of dollars through the military-industrial complex and the other corruption schemes their elite are invested in. This also serves to solidify the US’ successful reassertion of its declining unipolar hegemony over Western civilization.

All of these goals have thus far been achieved, which is why this information warfare campaign is now spreading to the Global South, which is the real cognitive battlefield of the New Cold War. With few exceptions, folks there have comparatively freer access to multiple sources of information. Some countries’ societies are also configured in such a way that those among them who support the US against their Russian-friendly governments could be manipulated into carrying out Color Revolutions or at the very least inconveniently destabilizing their societies as proxy punishment.

From the Russian perspective, those societies whose people genuinely support its role in the New Cold War will be more resilient in the face of the aforementioned Hybrid War destabilization scenario that was just described. Moreover, their refusal to sanction Moscow enables them to participate in its complementary GEP, Neo-NAM, and multipolar grand strategic visions, thus resulting in them functioning as additional vales from the US-led West’s pressure. That in turn maximizes Russia’s strategic autonomy in the global systemic transition and increases the odds of its policies succeeding.

The American goal is therefore to turn societies (or at least critical masses within them) in specific and highly strategic Global South states against Russia while that indirectly targeted country’s goal is to reinforce those that support it in parallel with expanding the number of those that do. Those Great Powers under the US’ control like France, Germany, Japan, and the UK will aid their American overlord while the ones that share Russia’s multipolar vision like India, Iran, and Turkey – not to mention the Chinese superpower – will back Moscow since their grand strategic interests are aligned with it.

The overarching trend is therefore that observers should expect an intensification of cognitive/information warfare across the Global South that’ll persist for an indefinite period of time and might very well result in some political changes too. This means that those countries’ governments must urgently ensure that their people have proper media literacy to discern the wide variety of information products that they’ll be exposed to instead of naively interpreting agitprop and fake news as reliable reports. They must also be made aware of the dangers that Color Revolutions pose to their societies.

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