Photo: Blinken at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Sept. 8. Credit — @SecBlinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Kiev on a surprise visit with a clear mission: make the spiraling crisis even worse. Arriving this morning [Thursday], Blinken met with the Ukrainian president Zelenskyy and vowed that U.S. backing for his country’s war effort will continue “for as long as it takes.”
Coinciding with the visit, the Biden administration announced two new packages of weapons shipments together totaling $2.9 billion. One component amounting to nearly $700 million was announced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who is today on a seperate trip to a U.S. airbase in nearby Germany. This includes heavy weapons and ammunition for Ukraine’s military. Another $2.2 billion is for long-term military upkeep, roughly half of which will go to Ukraine. The other half will be divided up among 18 different Eastern European countries – a clear signal that this war is about the comprehensive militarization of the region to surround Russia, not simply a matter of self-defense for Ukraine.
While inflation causes huge hardships for workers and basic infrastructure like water systems are failing, the administration’s priority is yet again war and the profits of the weapons manufacturers.
This visit and arms shipments were timed to coincide with a major counter-offensive being waged by the Ukrainian military. While it is unclear to what extent the recent gains claimed by the country’s armed forces are in fact real, it is clear that the fighting has entered a new and intensified phase that Ukraine and its backers are portraying as the moment when they can turn the tide against Russia.
Statements from top U.S. officials make it clear that they view themselves as effectively co-combatants in this offensive – a profoundly reckless and dangerous position that brings the world closer to catastrophic conflict. Speaking today in Germany, Austin bragged, “now we’re seeing the demonstrable success of our common efforts on the battlefield.” Meeting with Zelenskyy, Blinken said, “We know this is a pivotal moment … your counteroffensive is now under way and proving effective.” Zelenskyy then thanked Blinken for “this enormous support that you’re providing on a day-to-day basis.”
As the fighting rages, the fallout for the global economy is getting worse and worse every day. In retaliation to Western sanctions, Russia has cut off gas exports flowing to Europe through the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline. This has sent energy prices soaring and gravely deepens an already massive inflation crisis. The effects of this will ripple out into the United States, especially if the energy crisis grows so severe that major European economies slip into recession.
In the face of this extraordinary volatile situation, the Biden administration has decided to throw fuel on the fire. Instead, they should be sitting down at the negotiating table to bring an end to this terrible conflict. This would require them to abandon plans to turn the entire region into a block of militarized states completely hostile to Russia – a long-term objective of U.S. empire, but one that is of no benefit at all to the people.