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New York Times Op-Ed Demonstrates Danger of Pitching Ukraine Conflict as ‘Democracy vs. Autocracy’

May 15, 2022 (EIRNS)—An interesting op-ed appeared in the New York Times on May 11, entitled “America and Its Allies Want To Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t.” by Tom Stevenson, a reporter who covered the Ukraine conflict in its first weeks. Noting the statements by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, with regard to the new goals set by the U.S. and U.K. to reduce Russia’s ability to fight wars, he argues that the conflict has now entered a new and most dangerous phase. “By expanding support to Ukraine across the board and shelving any diplomatic effort to stop the fighting, the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict. They are taking a risk far out of step with any realistic strategic gain.” And the initiative and decision-making are now clearly in the hands of the U.S., and not the Ukrainian leadership, he writes.

“When I was in Ukraine during the first weeks of the war, even staunch Ukrainian nationalists expressed views far more pragmatic than those that are routine in America now. Talk of neutral status for Ukraine and internationally monitored plebiscites in Donetsk and Luhansk has been jettisoned in favor of bombast and grandstanding,” Stevenson writes.

“At present, the only message to Russia is: There is no way out.... Nuclear weapons are discussed in easy tones, not least on Russian television.” He states there is the “tenfold increase” of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, and greater military spending even by second- and third-tier NATO countries. “A general rearmament of Europe is taking place, driven not by desire for autonomy from American power but in service to it. For the United States, this should be success enough. It is unclear what more there is to gain by weakening Russia, beyond fantasies of regime change.”

He concludes: “Diplomatic efforts ought to be the centerpiece of a new Ukraine strategy. Instead, the war’s boundaries are being expanded and the war itself recast as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, in which the Donbas is the frontier of freedom. This is not just declamatory extravagance. It is reckless. The risks hardly need to be stated.”

But the risks do need to be stated, since the current “narrative” fed to the populace is leading the world to nuclear conflagration.

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