The Dangers of Slow Boil in Ukraine: A Cuban Missile Crisis In Reverse
Defense News, a defense industry trade publication, just released a report entitled, Ukraine Signs Defense Deal with UAE. It led with — “ABU DHABI — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a deal for unspecified military and technical cooperation with the UAE on Tuesday, and said negotiations are ongoing with the United States and unspecified European nations. Poroshenko told reporters at the IDEX show here that he hoped talks with the US would yield an agreement to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia. Poroshenko reportedly planned to meet with chief Pentagon weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, at the show.” An arms deal between Ukraine and the UAE — what gives?
The UAE is not a major producer of high technology weapons, but it is a big buyer of U.S. weapons, including missile defense systems, ground vehicles and rockets, and F-16s and Apache Helicopters, etc. Nicknamed by some as Little Sparta, the UAE has been and is a major ally of the US in most of the US wars since 1991. Today, the UAE is home to some of the most important US military facilities in the Middle East, including its only overseas F-22 base. More US strikes on ISIS come from the UAE than any other source. The UAE also is home to a spooky private mercenary army run by the secretive billionaire founder of infamous Blackwater Worldwide, Erik Prince, who now lives part time in Abu Dhabi. Note the pregnant suggestion of some kind of involvement by the Pentagon’s weapons acquisition czar in the second paragraph of the Defense News report. Is there a possibility that the UAE will end up being a back door for funneling arms and military assistance to the Ukraine? No one can say, but all of this is very mysterious.
More to the point of this posting, the UAE connection illustrates yet another seemingly unrelated thread in the increasingly complex tapestry of the growing confrontation between the US and Russia over the Ukraine. This confrontation is being created insensibly by a weaving of seemingly inconsequential but growing connections between the US and Ukraine, without any respect for Russia’s legitimate security interests. These connections grew out of what first appeared to be an unrelated NATO enlargement; and lead to our behind-the-scenes participation in the coup of February 2014 that overthrew the legally elected, if unsavory, government of President Victor Yanukovich. The coup, in turn, opened the door for the civil war and the eventual rise of President Petro Poroshenko, the man who is now making arms deals with one of the best customers of US arms manufacturers. And at the same time, there is a tense internal US debate over whether or not to send arms to Ukraine.
Americans may see the UAE gambit may seem to be just one small disconnected event, but the Russians might see it as another part of an evolving tapestry of an increasingly confrontational plan to isolate Russia. Attached herewith is a very interesting analysis of how this slowly boiling confrontation with Russia could evolve insensibly into Cold War II, or even a nuclear confrontation. It is written by my good friend, William R. Polk, a prominent historian. His point of departure is the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and he is drawing from his personal experience as an aide to the most senior decision makers in that crisis.