• With Afghanistan no longer a distraction, and the 2022 US elections looming, withdrawing from a stalemate not being an option, finding fresh distraction became necessary.
  • The objective in Ukraine is not to win but to pace the war so that it peaks sometime before the US elections in November.
  • The primary objective in Ukraine is to prevent the election in November of a US populist leader determined to clean house.

The primary motivation for the war in Ukraine is not simply about winning. Many discussions frame this conflict as mere action and reaction, which oversimplifies the complexities involved. It’s tempting to portray it as a tale of two sides, but that only scratches the surface. The real dynamics run deep and permeate our social structures.

The threat perceived by the players in this game gained momentum with the populist uprisings around 2016, exemplified by events like the UK Brexit vote and the unexpected victory in the US presidential election. These outcomes were seen as deviations from the expected path, signalling a spreading ‘disease’ of dissent. Suppression was inevitable; if all else failed, escalation to war was on the horizon.

In 2020, people believed their votes would count. However, it turned out that many populist candidates, who had initially led in the polls, ended up finishing the elections in second place. Amidst authoritarian measures due to COVID-19, forced vaccinations, above-average death rates, a faltering economy, a disenchanted populace, and the rise of Chinese power, there was a sense of urgency to push forward with the ‘reset’.

The establishment recognized early on that it would likely lose the November US presidential elections, and many feared facing retribution. So, why a war in Ukraine? With Afghanistan no longer distracting, and the 2022 US elections looming, withdrawing from a stalemate war and finding fresh distraction became necessary.

But why does it persist? Because it’s not being fought to win; rather, it’s being paced to peak sometime before the US November elections. There will be room for manoeuvring, likely in late summer to autumn. In the meantime, the war must be kept ongoing.

It’s a game, and the main players are highly experienced, strategising for multiple outcomes. Nearly every action carries various potential benefits for these players. Furthermore, there are different tiers of players, each with its objectives, allegiances, and levels of awareness.

At the top tier, the primary objective in Ukraine is to prevent the election in November of a US populist leader determined to clean house. They aim to avoid being held accountable, knowing they’ve gone too far. For them, it’s a do-or-die situation.

The top-tier Western players cannot afford to concede. They’ve demonized another nuclear power that also cannot back down. The game’s ideology revolves around timing brinkmanship. The strategy is to utilize the Russian bogeyman to stoke fear among Western populations, triggering ’emergency powers’ sometime before November—a plan that erodes constitutional rights and SUSPENDS ELECTIONS!! It’s a win for the players and a dictator’s dream, an unfortunate example of history repeating itself.

The major danger they fail to grasp, perhaps due to their youth or isolation from understanding the Cold War, is that the demonized enemy also has a stake in this.

The game is insane, and what’s more, under enough pressure, the players are willing to burn the house down with everyone inside. They think we’re oblivious—distraction and confusion reign supreme. Israel is in a similar position. It has its top-tier players. For Washington, the Gaza War serves as a backup if Ukraine loses momentum—a convenient distraction. Seems ‘brown lives’ do not matter to them. Even though it appears that the Gaza war might lose steam soon, there are always multiple options for intelligence community operations.

(Srijan Kumar is pursuing a PhD in South Asian studies from Delhi University. He is a writer and a columnist for various digital media houses. Opinions expressed are the author’s own)

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