One of the perennial jokes of U.S. foreign policy is that the first U.S. troops to arrive in any foreign theater of conflict are just there as “advisors.” The U.S. intervention in Vietnam started off with just “military advisors” in 1950. Within two and a half decades, some 55,000 American soldiers had returned home in body bags from that tiny war-torn southeast Asian country on the other side of the world.
In recent days, President Joe Biden has made alleged “gaffes” about U.S. troops being present in Ukraine and removing Vladimir Putin from office, prompting administration officials, including secretary of State Antony Blinken, to make hurried correctives on his behalf that neither are official U.S. policy. While it remains unclear as to whether or not the latter is a serious U.S. policy goal, the former “gaffe” is a documented fact. There are in fact U.S. and NATO military personnel present in Ukraine at the moment, but only in a “limited” “advisory” capacity, of course. And they’ve been there since at least January–several weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Eerie echoes of Afghanistan circa late-1970s. The U.S. began supporting mujahadeen resistance to the newly installed Marxist regime in Kabul at that time and lo and behold the Soviets invaded several months after. The U.S. just officially ended its nearly 20-year occupation of Afghanistan last August.
The ability of the U.S. government to convince the vast majority of the American public of a false perception of what they’re really up to never fails to astound. The Biden administration keeps insisting that the direct involvement of U.S. troops in Ukraine is not in the cards, and yet we know for a fact that U.S. and NATO military advisors have been there for at least the past few months. They’re apparently teaching Ukrainian forces how to use all those weapons–including Soviet-made tanks being delivered by NATO allies–that were made possible courtesy of $1 billion—and counting–in U.S. military aid.
But yet we’re supposed to be convinced that Uncle Sam just isn’t doing enough in Ukraine. Never mind that this recent twist of tragic events was catalyzed by the Obama administration’s support for the Euromaidan putsch in Kiev some eight years ago. Never mind that billions of dollars in American military aid has been sent to Ukraine since then. Never mind that the U.S. and NATO are now facilitating weapons transfers to Ukraine. We’re supposed to believe that Washington has been acting with restraint and caution in regards to Russia v. Ukraine for fear of escalating into all out war with nuclear-armed Russia.
But doesn’t it appear more and more as though the opposite is true? The U.S.–which has launched a total of three regime-change and attempted regime-change wars since its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001–appears to be inching closer and closer to a direct military confrontation with Russia. Just as his “gaffe” about U.S. troops in Ukraine turned out to be an absent minded revelation of what was in fact true, perhaps Biden’s “gaffe” about Putin being forced out of power in Moscow will, in due time, turn out to be another slip-of-the-tongue that prematurely revealed the truth regarding Washington’s actual long term goal with regards to Russia.