The most powerful arguments to neutralize the fear of “war escalation” in Washington

The United States’ reluctance to provide military assistance to allies

Today we will discuss topics that are not particularly favored for discussion both in the West and in Ukraine. However, it is worth addressing them because they are important.

Official Washington has consistently found weighty arguments when it was not eager (for various reasons) to provide significant assistance in terms of military equipment, ammunition, and support to its allies and friends. The main argument was the reference to the danger of escalation, as the threat came from Moscow or its satellites, and we did not want to get involved with Moscow (again, for various reasons that are too long and complicated to analyze).

This happened in the early 1950s when the UN peacekeeping operation in Korea, caused by the aggressive actions of Stalin’s puppet Kim Il-Sung, reached a stalemate. It was not surprising since Mao Zedong, who was if not a puppet of Stalin, then a junior partner of Moscow at the time, generously supplied the front lines with fresh millions of “cannon fodder,” overwhelming the positions of the UN forces with corpses. American generals demanded from the presidential administration the use of tactical nuclear weapons (in which the USA had a colossal advantage over the USSR) or strategic bombing with conventional bombs (also a tremendous advantage) on military targets in Chinese territory (the reserves of “Chinese volunteers” and Soviet air forces), but Washington refused to escalate to such a level, despite the potentially significant human casualties. It was hoped that the outcome would result in a historic defeat of communism or, at the very least, the beginning of a severe crisis and self-destruction.

In 1956, the United States refused to support both the Hungarian Revolution and the joint military operation of Britain, France, and Israel against Egypt, which, with the support of the USSR, had seized the Suez Canal — citing the danger of escalation. Indeed, escalation was truly dangerous, especially in the case of Hungary. Well, the British and French drew their own conclusions by accelerating the implementation of their nuclear programs and the development of delivery systems for nuclear bombs and warheads.

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Betrayal and consequences: the case of South Vietnam

Then there were several more cases of the United States refusing to assist allies and friends under the pretext of avoiding escalation of international dangers, the most shameful (and least known) of which is the betrayal by the democratic majority of Congress and the “unelected president” Ford of Republic of Vietnam in 1974-75. During that time, Washington not only reneged on the agreed-upon supply of crucial weapons and financial aid, which demoralized the army but also failed to conduct the evacuation of those who genuinely believed in democracy and Western values.

As a result, millions of South Vietnamese were imprisoned in concentration camps, and hundreds of thousands drowned at sea trying to escape the communists on makeshift rafts and boats. Moreover, taking advantage of the situation, the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, seized Cambodia and began the most violent totalitarian terror in the history of mankind with the aim of building communism. Well, one can understand this: why spoil the recently established good relations with China and the USSR just because of Vietnam where the Americans got themselves into trouble?

The abrupt change in the US position during the Yom Kippur War

However, there is also a case when the US leadership abruptly changed its position 180 degrees in less than a day and rejected the “escalation” bugaboo. We are talking about the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 in the Middle East.

Earlier this year, Russian historian Mark Solonin, who resides in Kyiv, shared insights in his series of programs on YouTube about interesting stories of this war. When Solonin talks about Ukraine — whether its past or present — it is usually filled with nonsense and distorted facts. However, when he discusses Israel, it is worth listening to him. Although a critical approach is also necessary. I was already familiar with many of these things from my military service. It so happened that my boss was the chief of intelligence of the fighter air defense regiment at Belbek, and I was a sergeant in the operations department of the headquarters and a commander of tablet specialists on flights. And so I talked to a lot of officers, not only pilots but also from the support services. Some of these officers had served in Egypt and participated in the 1969-70 and 1973 wars. And after graduation, I worked at the department with an associate professor who was once a political advisor to the government in Egypt. So I have information from various sources, which allows me to have a stereoscopic view of the scenes there.

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Solonin is right: it was not just a war of Arab states against the “Zionist entity” with the aim of the “final solution to the Jewish question” but also a Soviet war with practically the same objective. However, the intention for Israel was not to exterminate everyone, but perhaps to transfer them under the joint control of Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat and the head of the Israeli Communist Party, Meir Vilner (yes, such an option was indeed considered!). The offensive of Egyptian and Syrian forces was brilliantly prepared by the Soviet General Staff. Weak points of the Israeli forces were identified accurately, which led to significant initial successes for the Arab soldiers and significant losses for the Israelis, especially in aviation. Israeli representatives in the United States turned to the Nixon’s administration in the morning of the second day of the war, seeking assistance. They were told that the requests were significant and the risks of escalation were even greater, so the pleas would be considered, but it was uncertain when and how they would be fulfilled. But in the evening of the same day, Israeli representatives were summoned to the State Department and told: “We will provide everything we can and even more!” In a short time, an aerial bridge was established from the United States to Israel, through which combat aircraft (refueled in the air) and military transport giants carrying heavy equipment were ferried. Tanks, artillery, ammunition, and fuel were transported by sea. This (along with certain maneuvers on the diplomatic front) enabled Israel to repel the Syrian offensive with all its might and subsequently cross the Suez Canal, encircle the Egyptians, defeat their striking forces, and advance towards Damascus and Cairo. This assistance, it should be noted, was provided despite the fact that its scale threatened to completely ruin the détente between the USSR and the USA and return the world to the era of the Cold War.

What significant argument did Israel find to convince the United States? It is not precisely known, but there are rumors that when the threat of military defeat and the destruction of the Jewish state became real, the Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads were brought to a state of readiness. It was impossible to imagine a greater escalation, so the Americans quite rightly chose a lesser escalation.

Originally posted by Serhii Grabovskyi on the Day (Kyiv). Translated and edited by the UaPosition – Ukrainian news and analytics website

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