The US Is Losing Sight of the Consequences of Putting Pressure on Russia*

*Editor’s note: On March 4, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.

The patriarch of American politics, Henry Kissinger, issued a new warning to President Joe Biden and his administration. Kissinger believes that the U.S. has reached a level of international politics where a war between the U.S. and China and Russia is possible at any time. The Chinese media are already explaining the root cause of what is happening.

“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to.”

This statement was made by one of the leading figures of American diplomacy, former U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger. And, apparently, a significant part of the American academic community is ready to stand alongside it, as they apprehensively look at the Biden administration’s position toward Russia and China. A position which led to the U.S. staging a real war on the periphery for Moscow, on Ukraine’s territory, and almost provoking a war with Beijing in Taiwan.

Kissinger blames the Biden administration, which is pursuing policy in the wrong direction, unable to separate personal feelings toward the opponent from the objective necessity to continue the negotiation process, while adding too many emotions into international relations and disrupting the existing equilibrium.

“This is a 99-year-old person educating the 79-year-old,” Chinese experts joke, hinting at Kissinger’s and Biden’s ages. However, they essentially agree with Kissinger. “Apparently, the current U.S. government has no idea about what the equilibrium is, as first, you have to admit the legitimacy of your counterpart. If you challenge the legitimacy including the sovereignty of your counterpart, it’s impossible to reach an equilibrium,” reported the Global Times.

And it’s not just about Taiwan, where Chinese sovereignty over the island was blatantly challenged by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit. The U.S. blatantly refused to recognize the legitimacy of Russia’s current government and challenged its sovereign rights in the post-Soviet space. Rights, which every great power (not to mention the superpowers) has at its periphery.

Furthermore, Russia’s last warning, the list of security guarantees proposed for discussion by Moscow at the end of 2021, was rudely rejected. As a result, Russia had to launch a special military operation in Ukraine, and the U.S. intervened, creating a situation of war on the periphery.

And if it took place in the same manner as the historical wars on the periphery between the USSR and the U.S. (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, etc.), then it is possible that the risk of a direct war between the two powers would be minimal. However, there are no Kissingers in power in Washington as there were during the Cold War, who back then knew the rules of such wars and scaled their actions by considering potential consequences, and who didn’t expand or deepen involvement in wars by crossing red lines that could have led to direct military action between the countries.

The U.S. is already crossing these red lines by supplying Ukraine with the most modern weapons systems; covering up, and even encouraging, Kyiv’s nuclear terrorism; and also by pushing Taiwan toward recognizing its independence. This isn’t done out of ignorance, since the U.S. is aware of where the lines are drawn, but out of negligence and to challenge sovereignty.

As a result, Washington is on the verge of war with Russia. Unfortunately, the development of events in Ukraine will not have an impact. This is what Kissinger is warning the Biden administration about.

“The U.S. fears being dragged in if it puts its chips on Ukraine, and Ukraine starts losing, and also if Ukraine starts winning. In fact, almost any victory scenario might require NATO intervention to seal the deal, to draw a red line against a Vladimir Putin desperation play,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

In other words, the U.S. is already on the verge of a real clash with Russia. Moreover, it is dragging its NATO allies with it. Those allies, who in recent days proposed that Moscow resolve the issue of Ukraine’s shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and not by punishing nuclear terrorists in Kyiv, but by surrendering the power plant to them. To make it easier for them to carry out terrorist attacks, so to speak.

Furthermore, European disregard for the rules of the game can also become a casus belli. “He [Putin] has to worry every time a Western prime minister or parliamentary delegation sets out on the roads of Ukraine,” the Wall Street Journal continued. Of course, no one feels bad about a conditional Boris Johnson visiting Ukraine; however, his death from a missile strike or as a result of a Kyiv-staged terrorist attack, which can be presented as a Russian strike, could become a reason for war.

In fact, the only way out of this situation may be an urgent start of a negotiation process between Russia and the U.S. Some European politicians believe this may happen in the coming months. However, they are skeptical of the potential results.

“I know what awaits us. As soon as Vladimir Putin has done his work in Seversk, Bakhmut and Soledar, after reaching the second line Slaviansk-Kramatorsk-Avdeevka, he will come up with a proposal. And if they [the West] don’t accept it – and they won’t – all hell will break loose,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said.

They won’t accept the proposal because the West will not be ready to recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the newly freed territories. And also because they are not ready to recognize Russia’s selfhood and new status, equal and equivalent to the West.

“For me, democracy is the more desirable system. But when this preference is made a primary goal in the international relations of today’s world, it leads to a missionary impulse. This could result in another military conflict like the Thirty Years’ War,” Kissinger said.

And he is right again. So maybe the 79-year-old should still learn from the 99-year-old.

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About Svet Voskoboinik 16 Articles
Svet Voskoboinik grew up speaking Russian, Latvian and English in Riga, Latvia. Svet earned a BA in Linguistics with a minor in Applied Language Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Birmingham in the UK, in addition to a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from the California Culinary Academy. Svet currently speaks Russian, English and Spanish, and has extensive experience working in hospitality and finance. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Svet enjoys cycling, sailing, learning languages, writing, travel, and cooking with friends.

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