CLAY: We’re joined now by Raheem Kassam. Does fantastic work. You can find him on Twitter @RaheemKassam. You can also read him at FundRealNews.com, and he’s got a great piece up in Newsweek, I believe, right now. The headline is, “Why Do American Elites Want War in Ukraine?” and the argument basically here is — and I think it’s really kind of a fascinating angle that you’re hitting here, Raheem. It’s basically as bad as things are in the United States on so many different fronts — and maybe we’re seeing this a little bit with the Supreme Court distraction — that the Biden administration needs a Wag the Dog-style theory to distract people from all the things that are going wrong domestically here in the country.
KASSAM: Yeah, that’s right. Thank you for having me to talk about this. I’ve been trying to raise the alarm on this for some months now as I started to see the foreign policy establishment and the foreign policy talking shops — the magazines, the groups that get together here in Washington, D.C. — start chuntering on about, “What are we gonna do about Ukraine’s border sovereignty?” and my upon us often has been what are you doing about America’s border sovereignty?
Because there are crises upon crises going on on the southern border — crises going on in people’s communities, in their supermarkets, in their ordinary lives — right now. And Joe Biden, of course… I mean, it only takes a cursory glance at the polling data, the approval data, and just talking to ordinary people every day to realize that the establishment now has in its mind the idea that it can change the narrative — the entire course of the Biden regime — by taking the United States and its allies into a war over Ukraine’s border sovereignty.
What it also thinks is that, hey, we have problems at the moment. We have economic problems. We have a lot of things to sell to the American people in terms of the inflationary data and where spending is going and Build Back Better and all of this. And what better way to stimulate an economy and to stimulate a people than by taking them into war? But the problem with those premises is that the American people, much like the rest of the Western world, are so tired of these wars.
And a war in Ukraine against Russia — backed by China, by the way — would be another decades-long incursion. People don’t want it, and now… You know, you saw the whole, “Oh, we’re gonna be at war by Christmas.” We weren’t at war by Christmas and now they’re having to backtrack. “Well, maybe by February, maybe by the end of February.” It’s risible on the face of it, and I want everybody out there — as much as you might care about the democratic integrity or the border integrity of somewhere like Ukraine, if you care at all, this is not the way to go about securing it.
BUCK: Raheem, it’s, Buck, my man. I want to know what you think Putin, if we could just have you sit on the other side of the chessboard for a second, so to speak. What if he goes in, do you think he’s trying…? First of all, do you think he’s gonna go in with something serious on a military scale? And what is he trying to get out of this?
KASSAM: So I saw a friend of mine that works in the national security apparatus on Capitol Hill about a month ago; I said, “The thing that you guys are getting incorrect is that Putin doesn’t want a prolonged, 20-year war with NATO or even against Ukrainian troops, quite frankly. He’s not stupid enough to do something like that. He knows that…” and you get the counterarguments, right, that say, “Yeah, but Puten needs the approval rating boosters.”
Well, sure. You might get a temporary one from thumping your chest, but when this turns out to be a 10-, 15-, 20-year excursion, suddenly those things don’t matter, and the legacy is destroyed as well — and if Putin cares about anything, it’s legacy. So here’s what he wants: He wants NATO to take its troops out of Ukraine and to return Ukraine to being the buffer state that it once was. Does he want to exercise influence over there? Of course. That’s Russia’s region, right?
There’s that meme you see that, you know, shows all the NATO bases and says, “How dare Russia establish their country so close to our bases,” right? So you can understand that when you’re surrounded like that, when you see the European Union and the State Department and NATO sort of pushing further and further into Ukraine up to Russia’s border. You can sort of understand that, hey, they might not like that.
That might be something that they don’t want. So that’s his end goal, push ’em out, change the whole perspective of Eastern Europe, and allow Russia some breathing room. I don’t particularly believe that he wants to enlarge or expand the Russian Federation territorially because I think that he understands that it would be an ungovernable situation were he to try to take the parts of the Ukraine that are very Ukrainian — the parts Ukraine that doesn’t feel Russian, that don’t speak Russian — and are predominantly more liberal and modern.
And they want to be more part of Europe. So I don’t think he wants that. The part of this where I think you can actually have some sense brought to the table here is for us to say, “Well, what’s end goal of all of this?” Look at Afghanistan. What was the end of everything in Afghanistan? Well, the Taliban’s in power again and now we have to talk to them on a diplomatic level. So after a 20-year war with Russia over Ukraine, what are you gonna expect to happen here?
You’re gonna have a status quo ante, and you’re probably gonna have to deal with Russia back to, you know, diplomacy as we have known it for the last 10-20 years. Let’s skip the war. Let’s skip to the good part — and the good part is trying to bring Russia into the sphere of influence of the West to repel Chinese incursions into the Western world. That’s… You know, that is the ideal thing.
It will take 20 years itself to do, much like a war, but there will be less spending, less bloodshed, and a whole lot more goodwill afterwards. I know it’s weird. I know it’s a weird idea, because we tend to, you know, just think about settling our disputes with troops and guns and bombs. But you can actually get this done with serious, long-term diplomacy.
CLAY: Raheem, what’s the time frame here? There’s a lot of talk about the fact that there’s all these troops on the border with Ukraine. And certainly, we’ve had talking back and forth in terms of media questioning surrounding Ukraine for what feels like a month or more now. When is this all going to be resolved one way or the other, in your mind?
KASSAM: Well (sigh), as I understand it now, there’s a lot of nothing getting done, right? One side will say — well, the Russians will say — “We want everything out of Ukraine,” and then NATO comes back and says, “What are you talking about? That’s obviously a nonstarter. You know, we’re not gonna remove anything from Ukraine.” Well (chuckles), you know, at that point it’s just going to be a posturing exercise for the next probably three to six months.
After that, I suspect… Within the next three to six months or just after that, I suspect that Putin will look back at that, quote, “minor incursions” comment from Joe Biden last week where he seemed to give away a little bit of the foreign policy apparatus’ game here in Washington, D.C, the game being they’re not necessarily expecting a full-blown Russia invasion into Ukraine.
What they’re encouraging — and I really do mean “encouraging,” goading, almost — is a small incursion into Ukraine by Vladimir Putin and Russia in order, then, to provoke a full NATO response. That is the ideal situation from the warmongers in this, and I suspect that come three to six months’ time, Putin will look back at that, realize this has gone nowhere, and go, “Well, all right. If that’s what they want, let’s give them what they want; see how it plays out.” I think, unfortunately, that’s a bad-case scenario as far as I’m concerned, but that’s the trajectory I think we’re on right now.
BUCK: Raheem Kassam, everybody. Go to FundRealNews.com to support the work that he’s doing over at The National Pulse, and he is @RaheemKassam on Twitter. The Twitter game is strong with this one.
KASSAM: Thank you. Not as strong as yours.
BUCK: Raheem, thanks for being here.
KASSAM: Thank you.
BUCK: Thanks, man.