Is Biden's Refusal to Send Long-Range Rocket Systems to Kiev a Harbinger of US Policy Change?
12:00 GMT 01.06.2022 (Updated: 12:07 GMT 08.08.2022)
Joe Biden has ruled out supplying Ukraine with rockets that can reach into Russia, as Washington is weighing up delivering multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Kiev amid the Ukrainian army's retreat from the Donbass region.
"That such an idea [to supply MLRS to Kiev] existed anywhere in the Biden administration and the corridors of the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence agencies is absolutely terrifying," says former US Senate candidate and investigative journalist Mark Dankof.
An American MLRS includes a variety of launchers and precision-strike rockets and missiles: the longest range weapon can fire as far as 185 miles away, while others use shorter-range missiles capable of travelling 20 to 40 miles.
Kiev has been asking the US for MRLS and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a lighter wheeled system capable of firing many of the same types of ammunition as the MLRS, according
to CNN. A HIMARS unit can simultaneously launch multiple precision-guided missiles. Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the US will send advanced M142 HIMARS
, which has a striking range of 50 miles, to Ukraine but ruled out delivering long-range systems.
The White House has concerns that providing the long-range MLRS could result in Ukraine's army firing rockets into Russian territory. According
to the Washington Post, US State Department officials fear that this would cause a "major escalation" between Washington and Moscow.
"The introduction of long-range missiles (that could also land inside Russian territory) would likely mean reprisals upon NATO territories - a promise that Moscow has made," says Bruce Gagnon, director of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. "And Russia does not bluff. Thoughts of Russia sending new hypersonic missiles at US-NATO targets in Poland and Romania (where the US has built Aegis Ashore launch facilities that can fire first-strike attack nuclear- capable cruise missiles into Russia in minutes) comes to mind."
In addition to that, Western leaders have finally admitted that the Russia-backed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics militias have been making steady advancements with Moscow also prevailing in the economic war unleashed on it by the US and its NATO allies, notes Dankof. These could have apparently cooled down the West's enthusiasm, according to him.
US Warmongers vs Realpolitik Advocates
Still, it is likely that the American hawks in Washington will increase pressure on Biden to send missiles to Ukraine, according to the observers.
On 30 May, the Wall Street Journal's editorial lambasted
the US president for withholding rocket launchers: "Mr. Biden’s ambivalence in aiding Ukraine encourages the Russian to believe he can still achieve a strategic victory," the op-ed read. Ex-ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has also slammed Biden for not sending the missiles to Ukraine.
"The statements by people like McFaul and US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin make it clear that NATO is not a defensive military alliance but a janissary force for the imposition of a World Government controlled by an American and European political elite," says Dankof. "It is designed to destroy Russia’s status as an independent sovereign nation-state with the imposition of 'regime change,' coercive membership in a Western Central Banking system undergirded by American fiat petrodollars, and the theft of Russian commodities and natural resources."
There is no doubt that Washington is waging nothing short of a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine with an aim to prolong the conflict indefinitely, the former Senate candidate notes.
Nevertheless, the New York Times, Washington Post, and even ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger have recently raised public doubts
about Kiev's "path to victory" against Russia, according to the think tank director. It appears that Washington does not have a clear plan for the Ukraine conflict "except creating more instability and chaos along Russia's border", says Gagnon.
In broader sense, the US foreign policy establishment's original goals "involved a continuation of an American global hegemony in a unipolar world which simply no longer exists," echoes Dankof. This policy has proven to be unsustainable; therefore Kissinger has urged Kiev to hold talks with Russia, according to him.
Global Inflation is Stinging Hard
At the same time, the Ukraine conflict does not appear to be particularly popular with the American public, whose major concern now are soaring inflation and looming recession, according to the scholars.
"Recent polls reveal that the majority of US citizens do not want the war in Ukraine to escalate and turn nuclear," Gagnon says. "In addition the recent $40 billion aid package to Ukraine has many Americans wondering why those funds could not be spent on health care, education, infrastructure repair and more. Inflation is emptying the wallets of American voters."
Given that the US midterms are around the corner, "Biden has to walk a tightrope that is increasingly unstable," he notes. The US president's approval rating is in a free fall and the Democratic Party is facing a resounding defeat in the November congressional elections.
The US and Eurozone inflation have reached over 8 percent from the last year with the Federal Reserve and EU central banks struggling to curb the tide of rallying costs.
"The astronomical price increases in energy and food in the West are going to result in blowback for these warmongers and Russophobes in the political elites," says Dankof.
According to him, with the strengthening of the rouble and the latest Russian military victories in Mariupol, Popasnaya, and soon in the Severodonetsk-Lisichansk Region, Biden, US neocons, NATO, and the EU "are now trying to determine how to get out of what they started, cannot finish, and will ultimately lose".