Division of Labor for Aggression

KIEV/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - With informal talks on Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference approaching, German foreign policy makers are not ruling out their approbation for US arms deliveries to Kiev. Initiatives from within US government circles in Washington, to contemplate supplying anti-armor weapons and drones to the Ukraine's military, are considered by Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, to be "appropriate and important." German parliamentarians - in spite of the Chancellor's negative announcements - have made similar declarations. Washington's contemplations are based on the fact that Kiev has so far proven incapable of leading the West to victory in Ukraine's civil war. Some of Kiev's troops are in a desolate condition. Desertion is on the rise, as well as protests against the murderous combat. For western states, official delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine is considered an option for turning the tide on the battlefield. Security Conference Director, Ischinger, finds a "division of labor" between Washington and Berlin conceivable.

All Options

The Director of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, declared recent US contemplations of supplying Ukraine with lethal combat equipment "to be appropriate and important."[1] According to news reports, the idea of equipping the Ukrainian armed forces with anti-armor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored Humvees and radars that can determine the location of enemy rocket and artillery fire is gaining popularity among Washington's political and military elites.[2] Military equipment worth up to US $3 billion is in discussion. As one speaker for the government in Washington explained, these deliveries are not scheduled for the immediate future, however "all options" are on the table.[3] These "options" are the subject of Secretary of State John Kerry's talks tomorrow, Thursday, in Kiev. Other consultations are scheduled to take place back stage at the Munich Security Conference, where, alongside Secretary Kerry and US Vice President Joseph Biden, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are awaited.

Hostile Takeover

US contemplations of furnishing weapons to Ukraine are based on the fact that, until now, Kiev has been unable to lead the West to victory in its civil war. Government troops are apparently in a desolate condition. Based on official Ukrainian documents, the Ukraine expert Reinhard Lauterbach reports, there have been repeated complaints of Ukrainian soldiers' brutal attacks on civilians. Most recently, according to the prosecuting officer of the Ukrainian military, "the country's level of security is clearly deteriorating." Military weapons "are often used in the commission of crimes, in staging illegal demonstrations and for solving property disputes vis à vis companies (hostile takeovers), as well as for blackmailing courts and investigating officials."[4] The smuggling of weapons and explosives is flourishing. This is a long way from a disciplined, effective army in a civil war.

Desertion

Above all, soldiers are deserting at a growing rate from the Ukrainian armed forces. Kiev officially admits to at least 10,000 cases of desertion and 2,000 of insubordination since the civil war began. This is "also a problem in alleged elite units, such as the National Guard," as Ukraine expert Lauterbach reports. For example, "on a single day - January 5 - 25 soldiers went AWOL from one unit of the National Guard."[5] Kiev is using carrot and stick tactics to try to overcome this widespread aversion to war. Just recently, the Council of Ministers decided to award bounties. Combatants at the front will be awarded the equivalent to ten-times the minimum wage (or approx. 660 Euros) for destroying enemy vehicles, and 40 times, for destroying an enemy tank. Simultaneously, two commanders of fascist battalions, both members of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk's "Popular Front" parliamentary group, have introduced resolutions permitting commanders to apply force of arms in cases of insubordination. Blocking formations are also in planning: fascist battalion combatants, who will hunt down and capture deserters.

Fleeing the Draft

However, these measures have no effect on the growing number of "draft dodgers" fleeing induction into the military. In a very brief period, even in Volhynia, an extremely nationalist region of the country, "the proportion of conscientious objectors citing religious beliefs, rose from 0.7 to 17 percent of the conscripts," reported Lauterbach, citing one of President Poroshenko's advisors. In the just as nationalist Ivano-Frankivsk District, there are villages, where "the residents have rented two busses to bring potential conscripts to Russia."[6] Public anti-draft protests are on the rise.

Defensive Weapons and Training

Under these circumstances, Kiev recently announced a mobilization to combat duty of up to 100,000 - 16 year olds included, according to reports.[7] President Poroshenko ostentatiously turned over new weapons to his troops at the beginning of this year. Already last year, western countries - Germany included - had approved the delivery of so-called non-lethal weapons to Ukraine, such as defensive and medical equipment, thereby facilitating the continuation of the war.[8] US Ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, has already estimated the value of US supplies earmarked in 2015 for the Ukrainian armed forces at US $120 million. Beginning in March, the money is to be primarily used to train Ukrainian soldiers.[9] According to Ukrainian reports, some of the voluntary fascist battalions are already being trained by US military instructors.

Danger of Escalation

Arms deliveries from the United States or other NATO members could now shift the balance of power in Kiev's favor, further exacerbating the already growing tensions with the nuclear power Russia. According to experts, this is particularly because some of the weapons systems Kiev is supposed to receive, can only be operated by specialists. This, then means that one can expect US American troops to be engaged in offensive military activities from Ukrainian territory.[10] In spite of this, German politicians are not ruling out German approbation for these US arms deliveries. "If there is no fluctuation in Russia's policy, arms deliveries can no longer be avoided," declared the CDU foreign policy maker, Karl-Georg Wellmann. "The Ukraine must be able to defend itself," said Roderich Kiesewetter, Foreign Policy Spokesperson for the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group. "That is why I sympathize with those, who also call for indirectly supporting that country."[11]

Two Sides of a Coin

Until now, Chancellor Merkel has strictly refused to deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine, and instead she called, a few days ago, for the EU to consider cooperation with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.[12] This is not necessarily in contradiction to US weapons systems. Just recently, Wolfgang Ischinger proposed a "double strategy:" On the one hand, the struggle against Russia should be returned to the economic level, while, on the other, military "strength" must also be demonstrated, to increase the pressure on Moscow. Ischinger, therefore, declared that he does not want to rule out possible arms deliveries. "That could also be referred to as a division of labor" [13] - similar to the cold war - with a Federal Republic of Germany, economically expanding into Russia, while the USA makes a demonstration of armed force. Monday, Angela Merkel will confer at the White House with Barack Obama about the power struggle with Russia and, probably discuss these two sides of the coin.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Ukraine can be found here: The Crimean Conflict, The Kiev Escalation Strategy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Violation, The Europeanization of Ukraine, Official Government Vocative, An Unusual Mission, "Scientific Nationalists", Crisis of Legitimacy, "Fascist Freedom Fighters", The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV), For Peace and Freedom, The Finnish Model, Second-Class Stakeholders, Establish Facts, Ukrainian Patriots, Ukrainian Maneuvers, A Lesson Learned, Under Tutelage, Nationalist Upsurge, Out of Control and The Usefulness of a Ceasefire.

[1] ZDF heute journal 02.02.2015.
[2] Michael R. Gordon, Eric Schmitt: U.S. Considers Supplying Arms to Ukraine Forces, Officials Say. www.nytimes.com 01.02.2015.
[3] USA liefern Ukraine vorerst keine Waffen. www.tagesschau.de 03.02.2015.
[4], [5] Reinhard Lauterbach: Große Zahl an Deserteuren. junge Welt 31.01.2015.
[6] Reinhard Lauterbach: "Nein zum Krieg!" junge Welt 31.01.2015.
[7] See The Usefulness of a Ceasefire.
[8] See Out of Control.
[9] US-backed program for retraining Ukrainian military men will start in March - ambassador. www.kyivpost.com 31.01.2015.
[10] Florian Gathmann, Pavel Lokshin, Gregor Peter Schmitz: Obamas Planspiele gefährden Europas Einheit. www.spiegel.de 02.02.2015.
[11] Christian Rothenberg: Ukraine-Frage spaltet Merkels Koalition. www.n-tv.de 02.02.2015.
[12] See War by Other Means.
[13] ZDF heute journal 02.02.2015.