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Analysts: Poland Operating on 'Hair Trigger' Seeking Any Excuse to Drag NATO Into Ukraine Conflict

© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.11.2022
The Tuesday incident in eastern Poland triggered a momentary frenzy over the potential invocation of NATO’s collective defense charter, but experts with Pentagon experience told Sputnik the issue would soon blow over since NATO hopes to accomplish its goal of weakening Russia without fighting World War III.
On Tuesday, a missile exploded in the Polish town of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border, killing two civilians, and was immediately blamed on Russia by the Ukrainian government and numerous Western media outlets. However, just hours later, the Polish and US governments said the projectile was most likely an S-300 (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) air defense missile of a type used today only by Ukraine.
Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, told Sputnik that the reversal had “ripped apart the credibility” of NATO’s claims it is not seeking escalation of the conflict.
“When these reports first came out, based on [fragmented], incomplete data, Poland together with the Baltic states were screaming for NATO to consider Article 5 and Article 4 procedures - in effect asking, demanding that NATO interfere in the Ukraine conflict,” he noted. “This tells you that these nations, Poland and the Baltic states, are operating on a hair trigger, that they are leaning forward when it comes to seeking any excuse to escalate the conflict in Ukraine so that NATO gets involved.”
However, he noted that even as they are forced to back down amid “unequivocal” evidence that the missile was a Ukrainian S-300 5v55-series missile and not a Russian one, NATO is still “looking for any excuse whatsoever to escalate this crisis.”
“And indeed, it appears that even though it's now acknowledged that the missiles that hit Poland were Ukrainian S-300 air defense missiles, the blame is being shifted to Russia by these and other NATO players who claim that these missiles would never have been fired if it were not for Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. Therefore, Russia is to blame. And now they're using this as an excuse to begin a larger discussion about air defense in Poland, air defense capabilities that would have the potential of reaching into Ukraine. So this in itself is an escalation.”
© Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry  / Go to the mediabankS-300 surface-to-air missile system during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District
S-300 surface-to-air missile system during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.11.2022
S-300 surface-to-air missile system during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District
Ritter predicted that Moscow’s pursuit of its military objectives and its decision-making process would be “unimpeded” by the incident, since the targets of their cruise missiles had been legitimate military targets.
“I believe that this is an issue that nobody will be discussing in a week or two,” he said. “It's a non-issue. It's been blown way out of proportion by the West.”
“NATO will, of course, have their meetings. At that point in time, there might be some discussion about increasing air defense, but ultimately, Russia is blameless and beyond simply doing what NATO normally does, which is to blame Russia regardless,” Ritter added.
However, he said it would be an “impossible task” for Western media to rehabilitate its image as an entity independent from NATO governments.
“The media has long ago stopped asking the relevant questions. It's not up to the media to wait for Poland to make a decision about the kind of missile that struck. The media is supposed to be able to carry out [an] independent investigation. Any expert on Russian military hardware could have seen, simply by looking at the debris, that these were S-300 missiles that belonged to Ukraine. This is something that the media should have reported and could have reported, but instead they got involved in the hype blaming Russia. Blame Russia first and then help turn that blame into an argument for intervention. The media was literally working with the Polish and Baltic authorities to try and manufacture a case for NATO intervention. You can't rehabilitate that.”
Ritter predicted that “by and large, NATO's policy towards Ukraine will remain the same,” and the incident will be used to justify even more military assistance for Kiev, although it could hardly hope to reverse Ukraine’s fundamentally weak position vis-a-vis Russian forces. However, he predicted “a very interesting debate” about whether or not it would be wise for NATO air defenses to seek to engage Russian missiles or aircraft over Ukrainian airspace.
“A debate between those NATO members, including the United States, who are looking to de-escalate this conflict, and those NATO members, in particular Poland and the Baltic states, that are looking to escalate this conflict,” he said.
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“If left unaltered, the trajectory that appears to be in motion in Ukraine is that of a total Russian victory sometime next year,” he predicted. “This is something that has led many of the old NATO partners to talk about a diplomatic solution, to try to pressure Ukraine, to walk away from the inevitability of military defeat, and seek a diplomatic solution.”
“But this is an unsatisfactory result for nations like Poland and the Baltics, who fear that the Russian victory will only further weaken NATO. And that's in their interest at this point in time to get NATO deeply involved in Ukraine, so that NATO won't, as they fear, abandon this issue sometime next year,” Ritter explained. “So this is why I see Poland and the Baltic states behaving in a grossly irresponsible and extremely dangerous fashion, trying to create the conditions for a NATO escalation of involving them in Ukraine, while the rest of NATO is seeking a diplomatic offering.”
Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik that while the US has long and openly aimed at weakening Russian economically and militarily in order to dismantle it territorially, that strategy has never included a direct NATO-Russia war.
“Ukraine is a major, but not the only, aspect of this US strategy. This strategy does NOT include a direct US/NATO war with Russia - and this is why the attacks on Russia and Europe have been occurring by US/NATO in ways that are not being publicly recognized by any side.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 attacks, NATO destructive activities in the Black Sea, and other acts of war are being conscientiously ignored because there is no NATO or Russian desire for a World War III on the continent,” she noted. “But all of these things are being pursued in a long-term bid to destroy a unified Russian Federation that could be relied on to support and supply China in any future US/NATO conflict. In the US elite foreign policy fantasy, the US engineered collapse of the Russian Federation will produce a kind of new frontier of smaller, resource rich countries to politically manipulate, and from which to wage the current and future US-China competition.”
Kwiatkowski said that “every aspect of state media coverage of Europe and Russia is a part of the Ukrainian/US/UK war effort. Yet the war perspective is losing popularity in the west, as the costs of war and sanctions are now being added to growing opportunity costs, as money spent in Ukraine is increasingly seen as more urgently needed at home by dozens of donor nations.”
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“Reports of Ukrainian government corruption, past and present, will not go away. Yet western governments, mostly the US as the largest donor by far to the Ukrainian government, are not completely finished sending cash to Kiev. More money needs to be funneled into political donors, mainly the US defense industry but also the political parties here. Rush to judgment is actually modern western journalism, which has little to do with journalistic analysis or objective data gathering, but spreading rumors that cause US and European politicians to promote the current agenda. Before the internet, we would say this is what sells newspapers, and it still works.”
To counter this, Kwiatkowski said Moscow should use “transparency and openness” to allow “NATO and the western state media” to reframe their stories and de-escalate the situation.
Kwiatkowski predicted that the western press, rather than deny the facts, would try to reframe the incident as "no matter whose missile it was, it's still Russia's fault, and Ukraine needs more and more, faster and faster."
© AP Photo / SANG TAN / Property for sale signs are seen on a street in Croydon, south LondonProperty for sale signs are seen on a street in Croydon, south London
Property for sale signs are seen on a street in Croydon, south London - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.11.2022
Property for sale signs are seen on a street in Croydon, south London
She said that NATO’s arming of Ukraine is “largely about eliminating western and NATO stockpiles of weapons that they no longer need and do not produce, and creating domestic justification for new major domestic defense spending and innovation. Of course, political money laundering and serving as a western ‘war’ to shift the public focus from pressing financial problems with western fiat, monetary policy and debt is also a valid reason for US foreign policy here.”

“I believe the real story is that the mop-up phase may be upon us now, as Russia controls most of its SMO [Special Military Operation] territorial objective, and has effectively bisected Ukraine and absorbed Russo-philes in that territory as Russian citizens,” Kwiatkowski predicted. “Ukraine has already tapped out the in-kind donation capacity of the US and NATO, and now wants cash and guarantees, and the people of Ukraine just want to go home and rebuild. I doubt [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken is up for the challenge - but there are subtle signs that [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark] Milley is awake, and willing to claim a US strategic victory and help a newly smaller and internally at peace Ukraine become a little Israel on the east bank of Europe.”

“In 2024, [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky may well become just another wealthy Floridian with an Israeli passport, and a new Ukraine will be rebuilding and modernizing its energy infrastructure and industry. This may not be the best solution, but it would satisfy both the corrupt elites as well as the Ukrainian-speaking part of Ukraine, and may even be able to continue the Washington-Kiev ‘10% to the big guy!’ business plan long into the future,” she added.
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