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Shadows over America’s Midterm Elections
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Lt Gen Prakash Katoch | Date:14 Oct , 2022 0 Comments
Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army.

With the national debt of America breaking all previous record by exceeding $31 trillion, coupled with rising prices and energy shortages, the Joe Biden Administration is apparently getting nervous with the approaching midterm elections scheduled on November 8; wherein all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested.

Biden has already indicated that he would seek a second term as the POTUS. He appears buoyed with ‘some’ success in the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces. He also hopes that the US Supreme Court would bar Donald Trump from contesting the presidential elections in 2024; though it appears a farfetched dream!  In the same pursuit, the US-led NATO continues to stoke the fires in Ukraine, with a more than willing Volodymyr Zelenskyy unconcerned about the death and destruction of his own country and countrymen.  

There is every indication that the sabotage of the Nord Stream undersea pipeline was engineered by the US, as was the blast on the 19.2 km long Kerch Straits Bridge linking Russia and the Crimean Peninsula. The apparent motive was to show a helpless Russian President Vladimir Putin, accuse Russia for the pipeline sabotage and fouling the sea with the methane leak, and showcase the bridge blast as an inside job because of dissent within the Russian military. There was no concern about the repercussions of such acts of sabotage given the perception building that a Ukrainian victory is round the corner.

But the fury with which Putin reacted to the above acts would have shocked the US and NATO even as they are busy garnering support for condemning Russia at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). What would have surprised them most is the ease with which Russia retaliated by hitting targets across the board in Ukraine including in Kiev.    

Russian missiles and loitering munitions rained down on some 10 cities and critical infrastructure across Ukraine on October 10. Reports talked of some 11 people killed while electricity and water supply was interrupted in many areas and the internet was knocked out. In a video broadcast Zelenskyy lamented, “They want panic and chaos. They want to destroy our energy system. They are hopeless.”  But in accordance with his mentors in Washington, he wants no talks with Russia for a ceasefire.

The Western propaganda about total US-NATO hi-tech support to fight Russia together with weapons and weapon platforms, long range HIMARS and whatnot proved no match to the Russian attacks on October 10.  Though not connected to the Ukraine Conflict, if the high-end successful test of China’s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), surprised the US, waves of loitering munitions (Iran-supplied included) created havoc across Ukraine on October 10. 

The Western media naturally would not like to mention the Russian air superiority and missile defences in the Ukraine conflict. The lethality and precision of Russia’s hypersonic missiles was evident with the destruction caused and limited human casualties against the West-supplied and augmented air defences of Ukraine. The Western focus has been on Russian bombings of civilian areas although Ukraine continues to use these areas for its military also. But we should also remember that the US incessantly bombed Iraq continuously for 42 days before deliberating invading that country on ‘false’ pretext that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons.   

Many scholars have opined that the Biden Administration forced Russia to launch special operations in Ukraine to get over the disgrace from the American rout in Afghanistan. The West had equipped the erstwhile Afghan National Army with weapons of different origin and sorts. The same is happening in Ukraine; mix of Soviet-era to the modern with better lethality. Special Forces and mercenaries or proxy forces are also getting pumped in, like it was in Afghanistan. Zeleskyy is now set to receive German air defence systems in the near future, as indicated by the German defence minister. France has also promised to support Zelenskyy’s war effort. Media will never bring out what quantity of these foreign arms has been destroyed in Ukraine.

America’s global standing received a huge setback with the OPEC decision to cut down oil production to the tune of two million barrels per day. This happened despite officials of the Biden Administration spending weeks to intensely lobby OPEC officials in their countries – not to cut oil production. According to an OPEC diplomat, these efforts were desperate, as was Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting the Crown Prince to convince him to boost oil production to bring down oil prices in America. Biden would not admit but he would be regretting how he had condemned the Crown Prince with reference to the killing of Adnan Kashoggi during his pre-election speeches. 

The Iran Nuclear Deal appears down the drain. Iranian Oil Minister Javad Ouji has said that Iran and Russia have concluded a number of deals in the oil and gas industry worth more than $40 billion. The parties also signed a memorandum of understanding, according to which, it is planned to develop fields, build gas pipelines and installations for the production of liquefied natural gas. According to Deputy Iranian Minister Ouji Ahmed Asadzadeh, Russian specialists plan to develop six oil and two gas fields in Iran. The corresponding agreement is planned to be signed before the end of 2022. Also, the Iranian National Oil Company (NIOC) plans to purchase nine million cubic metres of gas from Gazprom every day. Gas is planned to be delivered through the territory of Azerbaijan. A similar Iran-China oil pact is well known.

Was the US quitting the JCPOA or the Iran Nuclear Deal a blunder of blunders? America’s officialdom may not be behind Elon Musk’s suggestion for Taiwan becoming a protectorate of China but Beijing could certainly help Iran conduct a nuclear test on Chinese soil. There is also speculation that Saudis may be creating a uranium processing facility near Al-Ula with Chinese (and Pakistani) help, which is why Saudis are giving $8 billion support to Pakistan after Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Riyadh. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud had said in the past that Saudi Arabia will have a nuclear weapon if Iran has one.

If Mao Zedong had said “power flows from the barrel of the gun”, the US has also bulldozed the world with its principle of “might is right”. But all said and done the US appears to be making a bigger blunder by stoking the fires in Ukraine that is leading to worldwide recession, hunger and energy shortages; diminishing its own global stature in the process. No amount of ravings at international forums including UNGA makes any difference because the P-5 (America included) have always used their veto in their own national interest.  

Which way the Ukraine conflict is headed remains a question mark? But the indicators would likely be coming from Washington since the Biden Administration appears intent on continuing to raise the stakes and hoping that the Democrats would sweep the midterm elections next month. Tulsi Gabbard, who served as the US representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2021 and is also a US Army reserve officer, while leaving the Democrats has called them “an Elitist Cabal of War Mongers”. But there is little hope of the Biden Administration veering away from the destructive path it has chosen which is causing collateral damage world over.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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