In what may be the most provocative escalation of the US-NATO war against Russia to date, the White House has confirmed that the US is planning to send NATO-made fighter jets to Ukraine.
John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, confirmed that the Pentagon is discussing “providing fighter aircraft to the Ukrainians.”
Kirby’s statement marks a rejection of the Biden administration’s previous refusal to send fighter aircraft to Ukraine because, in Biden’s words, such a move would lead to “World War III.”
Friday’s announcement confirms the earlier statement by Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., that “discussions are ongoing” to send US-NATO fighters to Ukraine.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Conference, Brown was asked, “[i]s it possible the U.S could sell or provide Ukraine more U.S fighter platforms?” To this, Brown replied, “[i]t’ll be something non-Russian, I could probably tell you that.”
In May, the Pentagon rejected an earlier proposal by Poland to send Soviet-made MiG fighters to Ukraine, calling it “high risk.”
At the time, Biden declared that the move could start “World War III,” saying, “The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III.”
In announcing the Pentagon plan, Kirby said the Pentagon is looking to solve logistical issues including training, maintenance, and spare parts.
The Wall Street Journal reported: “A former Pentagon official said F-15 and F-16 fighter jets have been discussed as options for Ukraine, though both aircraft require significant training and maintenance. The former official, now in private industry, says a separate contingent is pushing to get Ukraine A-10s.”
Also on Friday, the White House announced a further $270 million in weapons deliveries to Ukraine, in the 16th weapons package since the start of the war. The new package includes four additional HIMARS missile weapons systems, as well as hundreds of phoenix ghost “kamikaze” drones.
A clear strategy of the US in the proxy war against Russia is emerging. Washington apparently believes that by abandoning all restraints on the type of weapons systems being deployed to Ukraine, Kiev will be enabled to regain territories lost since the start of the war and achieve their aim, first stated in March 2021 as the official military doctrine, of retaking the entire Donbass (East Ukraine) and the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.
“Our assistance is making a real difference on the ground,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said this week. “Russia thinks that it can outlast Ukraine — and outlast us. But that’s just the latest in Russia’s string of miscalculations.”
Under these conditions, Ukraine officials have categorically rejected peace talks. “All the territories must be liberated first, and then we can negotiate about what to do and how we could live in the centuries ahead,” Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. “Our people are convinced we can do it. And the faster we do it, the fewer will die.”
In the process of building a fighting force they hope will be able to defeat the Russian military, the United States is supplying Ukraine with the exact same weapons systems used by the US military, and training Ukrainian forces to operate them just like the US military does.
To date, the United States has given Ukraine sixteen of its most advanced ground-based guided missile systems, the HIMARS, as well as its standard anti-ship missile, the Harpoon, and the anti-aircraft system used to guard the White House, the NASAMS, as well as over 100 top-of-the-line long-range artillery pieces, as well as hundreds of armored personnel carriers, and over a thousand lethal aerial drones.
In addition, the United States has provided hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition, and millions of rounds of small-arms ammunition.
Since the start of the war, the US has committed $7.6 billions in military aid to Ukraine. The flow of US weapons to Ukraine has been so enormous that military officials have expressed whether this would deplete the United States’ own military stockpiles.
US President Joe Biden has repeatedly placed limits on the level of US involvement in the war, only to then overstep those limits.
After claiming the US would not provide Ukraine with weapons capable of striking within Russian territory, Biden announced that the US would provide long-range missiles to Ukraine. Now, the White House is moving rapidly to send fighter jets in a massive escalation of the conflict.
Even as the US is recklessly escalating the war with Russia, US officials told the media that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would travel to Taiwan, prompting Chinese officials to demand a “military response.” After Biden said Thursday that the trip is “not a good idea right now,” broad sections of the Republican party demanded that the trip go forward.
In its second editorial on the proposed trip this week, the Wall Street Journal demanded to know whether “The Pentagon fears China might shoot down a U.S. aircraft carrying the person third (sic) line to the Presidency,” and declares, “If China can stop a senior U.S. official from visiting Taiwan, how resolute is America going to be in a shooting war?
Under these super-charged conditions, Foreign Affairs ran an article this week entitled, “What If the War in Ukraine Spins Out of Control,” declaring, “a nuclear attack is still in the realm of possibility.”
Originally published in WSWS.org