31/01/2023 strategic-culture.org  4 min 🇬🇧 #223343

The West Is Running Both Out of Time and Excuses in Ukraine

Martin Jay

The latest media gimmick - tanks - will only place NATO on a higher elevation to fall from, that is of course if the tanks themselves even arrive in Ukraine and are not sold on the black market

The latest media gimmick - tanks - will only place NATO on a higher elevation to fall from, that is of course if the tanks themselves even arrive in Ukraine and are not sold on the black market

Remarkably it was Zelensky's own request for tanks from the West, in particular the Leopard II tank made in Germany, which caused a media stir in January. Initially, Germany hesitated as the spineless Scholz who always gives into public opinion rather than stick to any of his own policies, didn't want German-made tanks, whether they are part of the German military or even those used by Poland, to be sent to Ukraine. The worry is always the same: revenge by Putin.

Scholz worries about this constantly and he looks back at history and reflects on what happened in WWII when Russians fought Germans. He dug his heels in and was defiant initially to the tanks being sent. And then he caved in to what many thought was public and political pressure. It's a scenario that is played out time and time again as Germany is confused about what it hopes to achieve in Ukraine. It certainly doesn't wish to beat Putin fairly and squarely in the battlefield as it fears reprisals later on, given that there is only the open ground of Poland between the two countries.

But did Joe Biden lean on Scholz? Interestingly, just moments after Scholz made the announcement, news came through from the Biden camp that in fact America would, after all, send Abrams tanks to Ukraine which was a total U-turn on what Biden had always insisted himself all along.

So what's going on?

It's the author's view that it is just another smokescreen to delay and buy time for the West whose leaders are struggling to come up with a viable justification why NATO's expensive campaign is going on and not reaching a conclusion. It's as though the tanks idea was created by PR experts as a perfect way of throwing journalists a few pounds of meat to chew on while NATO leaders reassess how to make any new ground in the war itself, which has slowed down due to the harsh weather.

The numbers initially are so small, that it is hardly believable that tanks from the U.S., UK and Germany will make any impact on a 'border' stretching a 1000 km. Also, it is highly unlikely that up to 50 tanks in the first batch possibly to arrive in spring will be used in a 'spearhead' way, as described by western military analysts as this would put them directly into the lion's jaw and the causalities would be too much for the NATO war machine to bear, in terms of negative press coverage. In addition to that, they will almost certainly not be used in urban warfare as this places them as a distinct disadvantage to Russian forces.

Training Ukrainian soldiers as well as the support team to service them will also take minimum two months and so one has to wonder what the point of the entire tanks idea really is other than to buy more time for the West and also to deplete European tank numbers for the EU's own governments so that they are forced to buy American tanks to plug the gap.

Ukrainian tanks on the battlefield in any serious number will only backfire on Zelensky, Washington and the Europeans who are sending them. Most likely they will be used in a defensive capacity to tactically be placed on the perimeters of cities which Ukrainian forces already hold and not used in an offensive capacity risking high numbers of them being blown up. The American, German and British latest generation tanks are superior to the Russian ones, certainly, but the critical question is the experience of the men in them, which in the case of the Ukrainians will be 'rookies'. In reality, the tanks story is really fake news as tanks are not the sliver bullet which they are claimed to be by Zelensky, who is hardly a military expert. Tanks may well be quite the opposite. Once the West starts losing them in considerable numbers, it may well direct the conflict to another level which involves much longer-range missiles or even tactical air strikes, which until now Putin has avoided. In the shorter term of course, journalists will now be able to keep the momentum of the war going and please their NATO masters, so expect a LOT of stories about tanks, tanks, tanks. The only story you won't be reading will be the one of Pentagon generals telling journalists that there is no tracking system in U.S. tanks so as to verify that they even arrived in the country as this is the biggest lie of the entire war.