The West Has Put Itself in a Bind in Ukraine: Either Withdraw or Move Towards Nuclear Confrontation.
April 16, 2014 • 1:22PM

Such was the judgment of a military specialist consulted by EIR in Paris yesterday morning, based on the fact that the anti-terrorist offensive announced by Ukraine's illegitimate government against the pro-Russian forces in the East, never occurred because it doesn't have the means, and that the U.S. cannot move decisively there and at the same time maintain its Asia pivot deployments. While this military strategist leaned toward seeing a tendency of a decline in U.S. military power internationally, after the Syrian "fiasco," he agreed with our assessment that a "weakening power" can go into a flight-forward suicidal mode when feeling threatened.

That the West has put itself in dire straits in Ukraine was also raised indirectly by a top "unofficial" military analyst of the French army, Jean-Dominique Merchet. In his most recent editorial in the daily L'Opinion, he describes the terrible shape of the present Ukraine army. Should Ukraine want to use force against the pro-Russians in the east, it is not certain it could do so, says Merchet, quoting the head of the Russian center of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), Thomas Gomart, who says the Ukrainian government seems to be "paralyzed and indecisive."

On paper, the Ukrainian army might seem impressive with its 150,000 men plus the Interior Ministry forces and border patrols. But, other than the key question of the loyalty of all these forces to Kiev, which is not unimportant, the army is in a sorry state, says Merchet, something of which "Yats" himself is aware, since he often accuses the former President of having "deliberately sabotaged" the country's defense. Almost nothing has been done to maintain the forces since Ukraine's independence in 1991; they are a vestige of the old Soviet army, without the nuclear forces, which Ukraine voluntarily renounced, but which today would have allowed it to make its territory a sanctuary.

The essential heavy elements are still concentrated in the Western part of the country, as in the Cold War. Materials are obsolete or aging, the budget is scarcely $2 billion, and the troops are poorly trained.

Evaluation is that barely one-third of the 160 aircraft (Su25-Su27 and MiG 29) are operational, and the navy only has one modern frigate (Hetman Sahay dachniy). Half the troops are draftees, but the military service was eliminated in October. Since 1997, elements of the Ukraine army have worked more closely with NATO. Some participated in operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as part of common units with Poland and Lithuania, or to ensure security in the Indian Ocean. Officers have been trained at NATO schools or at the NATO Reaction Force, but at this time, there are only some dozens, or, at best, hundreds, of officers, not more.

So, the illegitimate government of Ukraine is entirely dependent on Russia's good will to get gas, just as is the rest of Europe, and on top which it has no army to fight Russia —another reason, as the military analyst said, that either the West withdraws, or it has to go for a nuclear chicken game.