Pentagon hesitates to give more weapons to Kiev, considering the possibility of direct war with Russia. Writes Lucas Leiroz
There is no doubt among military experts that NATO is currently at war with Russia – just using Kiev as a proxy. However, the possibility of something even worse – a direct full-scale war – limits American participation in the current conflict. Internally, Washington’s political scenario is divided between parliamentarian warmongers, interested in taking assistance to Kiev to the ultimate consequences, and experienced, cautious military, interested in keeping the country’s internal stocks ready for any need.
According to a recent Foreign Policy’s article, US lawmakers are pressuring Pentagon’s officials to send more weapons to Ukraine. The objective would be to allocate the largest possible number of combat equipment in Kiev, allowing the local forces to continue to face the Russians and possibly “win the war” – since, according to the narrative of the American media, Russia would be frightened and weakened, which obviously does not correspond to the reality of the battlefield.
Pentagon’s agents, however, act more rationally, avoiding making strategic mistakes that could bring problems to national security. Unlike congressmen, whose reasons for supporting Kiev are based on ideological alignment or economic interest, the American military think based on calculations and solid data, so it seems irrational to send Kiev military aid at a level that threatens the country’s ability of defense.
The dialogue between the Pentagon and the US Congress for the production, purchase or allocation of weapons and ammunition works through the Department of Defense’s periodic reports on its war plans. These reports are called operational plans (or OPLANs). In theory, the Pentagon has an OPLAN for every situation considered a risk to American security, which includes relations with enemy countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea. After considering the evaluation of its experts, the Pentagon prepares a list of equipment considered necessary to face such countries, submitting the reports to the Congress for approval. If approved, the Pentagon purchases such weapons from private companies affiliated with the “military industrial complex” and eventually allocates them to overseas bases.
In principle, military assistance to Kiev was supposed to be restricted to an exclusive OPLAN for the Ukrainian conflict, but congressmen want to change that. For politicians, who do not think strategically, this is a “mistake” and more weapons to Kiev are needed. Congressmen consider it appropriate to invest all available resources in Ukraine, as Kiev is the state that is currently actually fighting Russia. For them, betting on sending weapons on a large scale is the right attitude, even if the stock reserved for other OPLANs is running out – which is already happening.
As a response to the stock supply crisis, parliamentarians suggest thinking about measures to speed up production and replenishing. According to them, the problem is not the transfer of weapons to Ukraine, but the fact that there is a difficulty in filling stocks quickly, as they are dwindling with assistance to Kiev.
However, this narrative does not seem consistent with reality. As previously reported, the American military industry is entering a vicious cycle, where there is no modernization of its arsenal, only a race by military companies to replace weapons which are wasted by the systematic transfer to Ukraine. In this sense, expanding aid and violating the stocks of other OPLANs would only worsen this critical scenario.
In its decisions, the government oscillates between supporting realism and warmongering. For example, a new aid package was recently announced, valued at 275 million dollars – one of the smallest since February. Warmongers criticize this attitude and say that it is time to increase assistance as much as possible, taking advantage of the opportunities of the supposed “Ukrainian counteroffensive” and “imminent victory”. Apparently, many politicians in the US believe the lies created by the American media itself and actually plan strategies based on these fallacies.
Experts, however, know that this rhetoric is unsubstantiated. Ukraine is suffering significant losses day after day. The great victory of Russian forces in Bakhmut makes this absolutely clear. There is no chance of victory for Kiev and, given the defeat in this proxy conflict, the most rational thing to do would be to reduce support and encourage peace negotiations, while replenishing internal stocks for an eventual situation of direct war.
In fact, the case illustrates the US internal scenario well: the dispute between those who want to prepare for a future war with Russia and those who want to do it now, through Ukraine. To solve this problem, the most appropriate thing would be to avoid any possibility of war, taking the simple attitude of interrupting support for Kiev and talking to Russia about a policy of non-expansion of NATO in Eurasia.