Jan. 30 — By sending tanks to the Kiev regime in Ukraine, Washington and its NATO cronies have once again escalated the war they have been waging against Russia for the past nine years.
On Jan. 25, President Joe Biden met by phone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to coordinate their participation in the U.S.-led war.
Biden announced that the U.S. would send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had been publicly hesitating to send tanks without open U.S. participation, said Germany would send an initial 14 Leopard 2 tanks. The French, Italian and British prime ministers pledged additional military equipment.
Biden called the Abrams M1 the most powerful and effective tank in its arsenal, also the most complex and difficult to maintain. He added that the U.S. would send spare parts and would train Ukrainian troops to service the tanks.
The tanks may take months to deliver. It’s unlikely they will change the balance of power on the battlefield. They can prolong the war and will add to the suffering of the people in the war zone.
The tanks’ complexity raises the question if U.S. “advisers” will deploy to the war front, adding even more risks of direct confrontation.
Germany’s ‘war against Russia’
Up to now, the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance has waged a proxy war against Russia, “to the last Ukrainian,” some have said. The casualties are mostly Ukrainian and Russian troops, with civilian casualties in Western Ukraine and the Donbass region, whose population had chosen to separate from Kiev in 2014, after a coup put reactionary and even fascist elements in power there.
Sending tanks reveals, more than ever, that it’s NATO waging the war against Russia. The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a Green Party politician and top warmonger of Scholtz’s cabinet, said outright, in a Jan. 24 speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that “We are fighting a war against Russia.” (Reuters, Jan. 27)
This embarrassing statement brought a flurry of denials from the French and German governments. Baerbock tried to take it back — too late. In a strong reaction to this statement, the German Communist Party demanded that the government dismiss Baerbock and pointed out that the decision to supply tanks makes Germany a war target.
Role of the working class
This latest escalation threatens to drag the working class in Europe into the war, with all its consequences. Workers are already paying higher prices for power sources; their tax money is shifted to buy weapons instead of paying for social services. Now their bodies could also be at risk.
The European ruling class might see it in their imperialist interest to follow the U.S. lead into risking a disastrous war, rather than challenging Washington’s hegemony. European workers have opposite interests and can still make the opposite choice: It’s better to fight your own rulers and Washington’s domination than to be victims in a war against your interests.
In France and Britain, workers are already fighting with massive strikes for their interests against private and government bosses. The reactionary propaganda machine has held back a mass antiwar movement — but for how long?
Is Kiev sinking?
The pledge to send more arms is an attempt by the Western imperialist powers to keep the regime in Ukraine afloat. While the Western propaganda machine presents the government as heroic, democratic and stable, when real news slips out, it exposes the Zelensky gang as corrupt puppets of the West, incompetent and ridden with infighting.
On Jan. 18, a helicopter crashed on a kindergarten in a Kiev suburb, killing five members of the Ministry of the Interior, including the minister along with all others onboard and victims on the ground. The cause of the crash was unknown.
The Associated Press reported Jan. 24, “Several senior Ukrainian officials, including frontline governors, lost their jobs Tuesday in a corruption scandal plaguing President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government as it grapples” with running the war.
The Kiev regime’s reaction to the announcement of tank deliveries was to ask for an additional 300 tanks and other weapons, including long-range artillery.
Since the corporate media here overwhelms the bandwidth with pro-Kiev war propaganda, people might get the impression the Ukrainians are winning the war on the ground. This is false — despite some apparent territorial gains last fall, analysts report that the Ukrainian Army has taken heavy casualties and that it is overextended.
In a talk show on Russian television reported in the Jan. 30 junge Welt, Russian military experts downplayed the potential military effectiveness of the tanks promised to Ukraine.
Jan Gagin, a military adviser to the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (part of the Donbass region), said that “in Ukraine there is only a limited number of railroad bridges over which a tank like the German Leopard 2, which has a dead weight of 80 tons, can be driven.” Moreover, he said, “it could sink into wet black earth and get stuck.”
It’s up to the worldwide anti-imperialist movement, including that in the United States, to get unstuck before the U.S. and Germany’s tanks do, and put an end to the U.S.-NATO aggression in Ukraine.