Five years ago, President Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” upon north Korea if Kim Jong Un didn’t comply with Washington’s demands. Within a year after that comment, Trump was the one complying with Kim Jong Un’s demands, hosting a meeting between the two that the imperialist media was infuriated by. This was because as the journalist Daniel Lazare said, “North Korea outmaneuvered the U.S.” well before Trump made this threat. The DPRK’s attainment of nuclear weapons had made it in Washington’s rational self-interest to start showing the country respect, at least insofar as an imperialist country can “respect” a country it wants desperately to turn into a neo-colony.
The Americans can be racist towards Koreans by calling their socialist project a “monarchy,” they can be bitter about the north’s resilience, they can threaten to commit another genocide against them. But they won’t attack the north, because if they do, the imperial center will be hit by the north’s own nuclear missiles.
“With our reliable and effective self-defensive nuclear deterrent, there will be no more war on this earth, and our country’s safety and future will be secured forever,” declared Kim in 2020. The DPRK has also overcome Washington’s economic warfare, getting the sanctions to backfire. Lazare described how “To the extent sanctions had any impact at all, they may actually have backfired by encouraging the DPRK to diversify its economy much as they did in Iran prior to the 2015 nuclear accord. Mitsuhiro Mimura, a Japanese expert who has visited the North 45 times since 1996, calls the DPRK ‘the poorest advanced economy in the world,’ meaning that while output is low for the moment, technological knowhow is high. This allows the country to marshal its resources so as to produce a wide range of capital goods.”
For someone who’s been following the side of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that the pro-NATO media doesn’t talk about, these ways in which the DPRK has managed to overcome imperial provocations look familiar. Russia is doing the equivalent to what Kim did, both in military and economic terms. By holding last month’s referendum to have the former Donbass republics join Russia, Putin has carried out his own version of Kim’s nuclear leveraging against Washington. Putin didn’t even need to threaten to use nuclear weapons for the imperialists to see that if they go too far in backing Ukraine’s counteroffensive at this point, they’ll destroy the equilibrium that Mutually Assured Destruction depends on.
Russia would act on its stated practice of striking if it’s existentially threatened, a scenario which the imperialists will never intentionally bring about. Even they can’t afford nuclear war. So they now have no choice but to surrender the newly annexed territory to Russia. That’s why they’re threatening nuclear war with Russia, and even bringing back their nuclear threats against north Korea, but won’t act on these threats. If World War III happens, it will be either an accident born out of a nuclear close call gone wrong, or an initially non-nuclear war between the major powers that the U.S. instigates in a cold war focal point like Taiwan. Washington knows that as Pepe Escobar writes, “The Empire will ‘lose’ its pet project, Ukraine,” because Russia has outmaneuvered the U.S. like north Korea did.
NATO’s backing of Ukraine will continue, at least until the imperialists forsake Ukraine like they forsook the Mujahideen, the Kurds, and their other former proxy warfare partners. But even as the weapons flow and economic warfare continue, and we’re fed a narrative about Ukraine’s victory being inevitable, it’s increasingly clear that the imperialists are no longer backing Ukraine with a genuine hope of winning against Russia. To win, they would need to prevent Russia from achieving what its operation’s goal has been from the start: disabling Ukraine’s military to the effect that Kiev can no longer menace the Donbass.
This goal is already on track to being accomplished. Ukraine’s military is increasingly exhausted. Its capacity to inflict damage has been diminished so much that its operations have come to primarily consist of local battalion fights, exploratory in nature rather than being guided by a coherent military strategy. To manage even this random, ill-conceived warfare model, it’s having to tap into its retirees, launching a mobilization of all men up to 60 years old.
“In the Ukrainian battlefield, NATO’s crusade against Russia is doomed – even as in several nodes as much as 80 percent of the fighting forces feature NATO personnel,” writes Escobar. “Wunderwaffen such as HIMARS are few and far between….Ukraine, by the spring of 2023, may be reduced to no more than an impoverished, rump black hole. The imperial Plan A remains Afghanization: to operate an army of mercenaries capable of targeted destabilization and or/terrorist incursions into the Russian Federation.”
A year from now, when Ukraine has been defeated by any definition based upon the terms of symmetrical warfare, we’ll still be told Ukraine’s victory is at hand. The day will never come when our media and politicians say “dang, looks like we’ve lost this war,” the narrative will always be that Russia is on the verge of losing. The context NATO’s propagandists will be leaving out is that Ukraine will at that point only be substantially fighting on the front of asymmetrical warfare, utilizing terrorist attacks like the one it recently committed at the Kerch bridge.
The narrative managers will try to spin these attacks as falling within the international laws of warfare, as they did after the Kerch attack. But the reality is that Washington is about to find itself having to portray a defeated, bombed-out terrorist hub as still being a country with a functioning military and a fighting chance. Ukraine’s recent campaign to retake many territories hasn’t represented a loss for Russia, as Russia’s goal was never to gain as much land as possible but to neutralize a threat. And it’s doing this, first by exhausting Ukraine’s military forces and now by taking out its tools for carrying out terrorism.
Escobar assesses just how ineffectual these terrorist operations are at fulfilling NATO’s goal to destabilize Eurasia:
From an imperial perspective, the prospects in the Ukrainian battlefield are gloomy. Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) has seamlessly morphed into a Counter-Terror Operation (CTO): Moscow now openly characterizes Kiev as a terrorist regime. The pain dial is incrementally going up, with surgical strikes against Ukrainian power/electricity infrastructure about to totally cripple Kiev’s economy and its military. And by December, there’s the arrival on the front lines and in the rear of a properly trained and highly motivated partial mobilization contingent. The only question concerns the timetable. Moscow is now in the process of slowly but surely decapitating the Kiev proxy, and ultimately smashing NATO “unity.” The process of torturing the EU economy is relentless. And the real world outside of the collective West – the Global South – is with Russia, from Africa and Latin America to West Asia and even sections of the EU….in coordination with China, Iran and major Eurasian players, Russia is working to eventually decommission all those US-controlled international organizations – as the Global South becomes virtually immune to the spread of NATO psyops.
As the imperial sphere undergoes this collapse, Russia is managing to gain the same kinds of economic advantages amid sanctions that the DPRK gained. The sanctions have increased Russia’s revenues, not decreased them. Russia has shown to be a self-sufficient economy. It’s repeating the patterns the DPRK created a precedent for: a country is menaced by imperialism, then it outmaneuvers the U.S. while coming to function regardless of the sanctions, leaving the declining empire further diminished. The success of Operation Z is not a vindication of Russian capitalism. Just as Operation Z can’t be considered Putin’s operation, as Putin only happened to be in power when intervention in Ukraine became necessary, Russia’s victory can be considered not a victory for Russian capitalism but rather a victory for Russian anti-imperialism. That’s why Marxists with the correct analysis support Z. Not because we like Putin, but because we’re anti-imperialists.
The Russians, even as they have yet to restore socialism, are combating imperialism. They’re going off of military knowledge passed down from the effort to defeat Nazi Germany, kept relevant by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (which helped pressure Putin into taking action). They’ve mastered the art of war, unlike their flailing enemies have.
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