WaPo Belatedly Admits 'Proxy War' Nature Of Ukraine Conflict In Wake Of Leaks

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2023 - 05:32 PM

Below is how Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin responded when asked by The Washington Post whether the Ukraine conflict is a proxy war...

"This is a war of choice by Putin," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an interview. "We are not in a war with Russia, and we won’t be in a war with Russia. … It was Russia’s choice to begin with."

But then WaPo points out the obvious: "That may be true, but the administration has given Ukraine more than $40 billion in military and economic aid, along with real-time targeting assistance and sophisticated weapons systems on which it has trained Kyiv’s forces."

DoD photo as US forces trained Ukrainian troops in 2019 as part of the ​​​​​​Joint Multinational Training Group.

The report also highlights the trove of Pentagon leaks which give an inside view of the war well over a year in, showing also that despite long-running White House denials, there are actually US special forces on the ground in Ukraine, and they've likely been for a long time (also after a longer-running CIA covert program).

The Kremlin, and even some US domestic opponents of the Biden administration (foremost among them Donald Trump, who has been referencing a "proxy battle"), have long considered what's happening to be a proxy war aimed at 'defeating Russia'. As early as a year ago Lloyd Austin was explicitly saying it's US policy to "weaken Russia"  in supporting the Ukrainian cause.

But all along WaPo and other major US news sources have actively fought against the proxy war label. Yet now, in the wake of the Pentagon leaks, the Post is belatedly reevaluating, based on the newspaper's following definition offered: 

Whether Ukraine has become a “proxy” war between great powers has itself become an intellectual and political battlefield. The word has a dictionary definition — a person or entity authorized to act for another. More popularly, it has come to mean sending someone else to do your own dirty work.

In this vein, The American Conservative last year declared that it's Washington's plan to "fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian."

Interestingly, the new Washington Post analysis recalls President Biden's own statements leaning in the direction of a proxy conflict

The administration itself has provided rhetorical grist for Putin’s proxy portrayal. “We want to see Russia weakened” so that it can never invade another country again, Austin said early in the conflict.

At a NATO summit in Madrid last June, Biden said Americans should be prepared to pay higher energy and gasoline prices "for as long as it takes" to defeat Russia, a phrase he has subsequently used in nearly every statement since then about Western aid for Ukraine. While insisting there will be no U.S. or NATO troops in Ukraine, he has said the war must end in a “strategic failure” for Russia.

"Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Never," Biden said as he marked the anniversary of the war’s beginning during a visit in February to Kyiv.

Very tellingly, WaPo then points out classic end of Cold War era proxy wars, which appear parallel to the type of support the US is now giving the Ukrainians: 

Others apply a more technical explanation, noting that U.S. support for the Nicaraguan Contras under the Reagan administration in the 1980s — including U.S. assistance in the creation and active supply of a nonstate force, overflying Nicaragua’s territory and covertly mining its harbors to overthrow the Sandinista government — was a classic proxy war. The International Court of Justice found in 1986 that the U.S. harbor-mining and other activities had breached international law.

U.S. support for Afghan mujahideen fighters against the occupying Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s is widely considered a proxy conflict, as was backing for Libyan dissidents who overthrew the government of Moammar Gaddafi during the Obama administration.

After all, both the US and UK are currently openly training Ukrainians in Europe and on US and UK soil, particularly on how to operate advanced war machines like battle tanks and Western-made fighter jets.

Here's former CIA Director Leon Panetta on March 17, 2022. He spelled out clearly that Ukraine is a PROXY WAR whether the US says it or not. He says this starting at the 2:00-minute mark:

Trip down Cold War memory lane...

With this new Post report it seems the mainstream media is only now now much too late beginning to recognize the true nature of the conflict, and the immense role that foreign powers are playing in terms of driving and heightening the fight with Russia. 

This is perhaps at least one of the main positive achievements of the classified Pentagon document leaks: it's hard or impossible for the establishment to deny that Ukraine is indeed a proxy war, at the very least, and a conflict possibly even aimed at future regime change and destabilization within Russia itself.