Why The US Wants The Ukraine War To Continue – OpEd


No country in modern history has been subject to the combination of military and non military action which Russia is experiencing in Ukraine, Europe and elsewhere in the world where various forms of pressure and sanction have been applied to ensure a Russian military defeat and political capitulation.

A first meeting of 41 countries on 26 April 2022 against Russia has since been enlarged to a larger coalition of 54 countries (all 30 member states of NATO and 24 other countries) at a meeting of countries contributing to Ukraine’s war against Russia held on 14 February 2023. 

All European Union member states, except for Hungary, Cyprus and Malta, have provided military aid individually and collectively via the state and public and private institutions and companies.

However, this is far from being just a European war.

The country that has emerged as the most pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia in the coalition is the United States. The Biden administration has provided more than US$44 billion in military assistance for Ukraine since the war started. This is more than the next four European country’s largest contributors combined – Germany, Britain, Norway and Denmark. 

At last count, the US has spent more than US$75 billion to ensure that the Zelensky government is kept alive and continues to fight what many observers increasingly view as a proxy war. It is a war that is seen to sacrifice the Ukrainian population although it does not have US troops directly engaged as has happened elsewhere in the recent wars that the US has waged. 

Biden has repeatedly stated: 

“We do not seek to have American troops fighting in Russia or fighting against Russia.” 

The US president has made it clear to Americans and the rest of the world that keeping US troops out of the war, while at the same time deeply engaged, is his first priority as well as the American strategy after learning from the war in Afghanistan.

This is clearly because there is no way the American public will support the war if US participation leads to casualties returning to America in body bags.

Hence Biden is counting on Ukraine to continue to fight the Russians. Thus extraordinary efforts and sums are being spent by the US to keep the war against Russia going. US involvement runs the full gamut of financing, training, and supplying Ukraine’s military, helping Ukraine to battle Russia through targeting the Russian army, sinking Russian ships, and blowing up Russian military installations. That the Crimea civilian population is also collateral casualty has not been a deterrent to the US war machine.

Why the US is playing a leading role in this war in a different continent which some critics say the US really should have no business in intervening or determining its outcome is due to a combination of factors.

The first is that the US has made it a continuation of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The Cold War dominated the global geopolitical battle for over 50 years. It continues today even after the breakup of the Soviet Union as seen in the US-led, NATO policies and actions against Russia. Ukraine has become the new battleground for the US in its desire to maintain global political and military supremacy.

In this war, the US and other Western public have been kept ignorant of the fact that it is US and NATO betrayal and broken promises that played a key role in Putin’s decision to act in the Crimea region which triggered the war against Ukraine.

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Putin accused Western powers of reneging on a pledge not to expand NATO eastwards to the boundaries of Russia

His concern : “What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?”  

Despite Putin’s repeated expression of concern and warning that Russian legitimate interests and security fears were being  encroached upon and eroded, NATO has not stopped expanding. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO membership has grown from 17 countries in 1990 to 30 today, and includes several countries which were once part of the Soviet-led Warsaw pact.

In addition to American encouragement of NATOs anti Russian policies and expansion to Russia’s borders, the US has also supported “colour revolutions” against Moscow’s neighbours, undermined Russia’s historic relationship with its neighbours and refused to negotiate with Moscow over security policies.

The second major reason is that the war is a bonanza for the US armament industry and military contractors.The US Pentagon spent US$13 trillion for its war in Afghanistan with one-third to one-half of the total estimated to have gone to military contractors. Five major corporations listed in the US stock exchange – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman – were major beneficiaries in the past and they, and new armament companies, will prosper from the war in Ukraine.

The Pentagon will spend much less in Ukraine against Russia since it has roped in the military and financial support of NATO and other allied countries. However the US armament industry and US military contractors will be the main beneficiaries of the war windfall. During the period 2018 to 2022, the US was estimated to be responsible for 40% of the world armament exports. Other national armament and military contractor beneficiaries of the Ukraine war include those from France, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan and South Korea.  

A full list of military aid provided to Ukraine in the last two years is available in Wikipedia.

This post also provides details of the military assistance provided by Japan and South Korea, the two Asian nations, supporting US foreign policy.

A third major reason as to why the US wants the Ukraine war to continue is that it sees the war as necessary to cripple the Russo-Sino alliance. On 12 October 2023, a bipartisan panel appointed by the U.S. Congress maintained that Washington must prepare for possible simultaneous wars with Moscow and Beijing by expanding its conventional forces, strengthening alliances and enhancing its nuclear weapons modernization programme. 

Continuation of the Ukraine war and defeat of Russia will mean that China will be left without a key strategic partner to fight against the US policy to take down China.

This logic is subverted if Russia remains undefeated. For now, the opposite has happened as it has strengthened the Russo Sino alliance to an unprecedented level of solidarity.

Lim Teck Ghee

Lim Teck Ghee PhD is a Malaysian economic historian, policy analyst and public intellectual whose career has straddled academia, civil society organisations and international development agencies. He has a regular column, Another Take, in The Sun, a Malaysian daily; and is author of Challenging the Status Quo in Malaysia.

5 thoughts on “Why The US Wants The Ukraine War To Continue – OpEd

  • January 10, 2024 at 12:47 am

    Fear of Russian aggression is what caused the former Warsaw Pact nations’ desire to join NATO. Nobody “twisted their arms”. Without NATO do you believe Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia stood a chance at remaining sovereign after declaring their independence for very long? Think of the situations of Georgia, Moldova, and now Ukraine. Yes, the “West” has been involved in wars this century, but not wars of territorial possession. The main tenant of the UN Charter is based on the prevention of wars of territorial possession like that of WWI and WWII. Russia has broken the tenets of that Charter. Putin wants not more than to restore the territories of the old Soviet Union. The European Colonial Powers gave up their control of their colonies of the 1600’s to 1800’s during the middle of the last century. The countries that fell to Russian colonial expansionism to the east were still under the heel of Moscow. Russia’s expansion into Eastern Europe last century lasted less than 50 years. It needs to stay that way.

  • January 10, 2024 at 3:05 am

    Bob Markham’s commentary is as good only as far as it goes but then even that concession goes too far.
    Markham’s boldish suggestion that the West has not been involved in wars of territorial possession in the 21st century only has a filigree of truth to it. Territorial possession is not the only form of possession. “The West”, America in particular, still has a giant size appetite for hegemony and forms of neocolonial control. Containment of China is but one major example. America’s interventionist impulse all over the world is surely evidence aplenty.
    Readers of Mr. Markham’s brief piece and Mr. Markham himself would do well to read Manvir Singh’s excellent comprehensive review article in The New Yorker, “Genghis The Good”, January 1 & 8, 2024, pp. 58-61. A global perspective is important. Global history is important. The West is not the measure of all things. As Professor Singh says in the last paragraph of his review: “…we [need to] learn to revise our sense of significance….. the greatest gift that a more global history offers us: greatness redefined.” Western hegemony, American hegemony are in urgent need of redefinition.
    And while we are at it — if reconceptualization —
    as well.

    • January 10, 2024 at 6:56 am

      Mr. Anthony seems to have a somewhat pro-Chinese or pro-Russian view of American hegemony. Hegemony is about imposing control or lordship over the people of a region.

      By that definition, China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea, or Russia’s aspirations to reincorporate old Soviet Republics back into a new Russian Empire are hegemonic in nature.

      America does not generally impose its ways onto an unwilling foreign government or populace. As commented on by Mr. Markham, American forces in Europe, South Korea and Japan are supported by the local populations and therefore cannot be considered as hegemonic in nature.

  • January 11, 2024 at 6:19 am

    Come on Mr. Markham, you surely have a better understanding of international politics than is reflected in your lame, shallow reply to what I had to say.
    The record of American murderous interventions beyond its shores are writ large and clearly in open sources. Here’s a short list in no particular order: Vietnam, Iran (Mossadeq), the Congo (read The Congo Cables, Kalb), Chile,
    Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Guatemala, multiple interventions in Lain America, Panama, the Philipines, Hawaii (1893). That’s just a short list. Surely you don’t want me to do your homework for you. You want it darker?
    When you next have some spare time, Mr. Markham, may I suggest that you read just a wee bit of Noam Chomsky, perhaps some Chalmers Johnson, perhaps a great classic like Red Star Over China.
    And of course Mr. Markham face it: American/Western hegemony is under assault on a multiplicity of fronts across the world. The American/Western inspired so called rules based international order is also being questioned all across the globe. There’s a pithy Malay saying: “Katak di bawah tempurong” — the toad that lives under half a coconut shell tends to think that what’s under its perimeter is the whole world. Far be it for me to suggest that you are, or might be, a toad, Mr. Markham, but this I would say out of a spirit of collegiality: it would be an awful mistake to think like one.

  • January 12, 2024 at 2:41 am

    Time now to turn to American/Australian Neo colonial client State, Marape’s P-NG, its capital, Port Moresby: riots, mayhem, rebellion, disorder. A witch’ long festering brew. Marape’s false, empty promise explodes in his face. Marape cooked up a coconut cup full of words in English and in Melanesian pidgin: “his” country would be the greatest, most robust and prosperous black civilization on planet earth! In the face of things coming apart in the capital does he now as Biden to send in the Marines or Albanese to send in his storm troopers to restore law and order and get the “rebellious natives to stop being uppity?”
    We’ll see.


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