Biden’s Long War Strategy and Ukraine


One of the most notable phrases uttered by the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, who gave a speech in Warsaw with historical emphasis, is the Long War. We are in an age where the concept of war changes a lot. This Ukraine-Russia War is an example in terms of clarifying the methods between those who are in the military field and those who are fighting for dominance in global values.

Without understanding the US Strategy, it is difficult to come up with an explanation of the issues related to Europe, Russia or China. As a military expert and a strategy thinker, I would like to explain this big picture to you as in the image below.

The US has enacted the Biden Doctrine as of 2020. Accordingly, it would briefly use Smart Power with the Alliance and Partners (G-7, EU, NATO, AUKUS) and advance its global policy in the context of Democracy. To uphold this doctrine, he was actually declaring some kind of war on the world. But the type of this war was Full Spectrum War. This is a type of war consisting of two steps. The United States chose the path of wisely applying the blurred side in terms of the law of war in primary care. (Blurred: also allows to carry out Gray Zone Operations.) If this was explained by traffic signs, he would give himself a “green light” to move forward. The detail of his plan included strategy, operative and tactical levels. With the CAATSA applications, which he enacted in 2017, he developed the method of imposing sanctions on his enemies (Russia is reported). In fact, it was seen that these sanctions were applied on a global scale, which was a Global Strategic Isolation. The USA chose to use the Strategic Deterrence function in terms of Hard Power, as a requirement of Smart Power. To this end, it would mobilize the power of the Alliance and Partners globally and effectively. The main competitor in the US National Strategy Document was China. However, since he would use the “single target” principle, he had to walk like this in order to kill many birds in one stone, by focusing correctly, using his global persuasion ability, without confronting China. He described the intermediate goal to achieve his main goal, and that was Russia. The US has called Russia the “enemy”. He had to move forward on one topic so that they could focus on the world (the Western, the modern, etc. world, whatever you call it) and specifically the Alliance and its Partners. That is, the justification had to be sound and convincing. The USA drew the front of the operation against Russia to Eastern Europe. Alliance and Partners deployed in Eastern Europe (eg NATO forces, military aid, etc.), focused. It was not far from the attention that President Biden gave his historic speech in Warsaw. The operation was on Ukraine. In this operation, Russia, which was the “enemy”, was going to attack Ukraine. After all, on February 24, Russia gave all this opportunity to the United States. (In this respect, a scenario such as Saddam’s attack on Kuwait can be considered.)

After examining the strategy and details of the USA, let’s look at the Russian side. But by the way, let me remind you that the traffic lights I use in the image are important. It indicates the position of a war in terms of international law. Here the “red light” is on for Russia. It is also possible to say Russia and the color red, which has already been declared “enemy”, from this aspect. But that is not the main thing. The main thing is the situation under the law of war. For the USA, whose “green light” is lit in the image, the application and firearms will not cause any problems (as indicated in a different tone) for the USA and will relieve its Partners in this direction. Again, for Russia, whose “red light” is lit in the image, the application and use of firearms are problematic in terms of international law (law of war). Because Russia is the Hard Power implementer corresponding to the concept of “war” and it officially wages war by bringing its conventional troops into the territory of Ukraine for an invasion.

Russia, in accordance with the known Near Environment Doctrine, launched its offensive plan on February 24 in order to realize the “solution phase” of the Non-Linear War type (Gerasimov Doctrine) in the Ukraine problem. While the USA and England predicted this attack date, other EU countries could not see much at first, and the Continental European Countries hesitated for a while while determining which side they should stand on.

The main target for Russia was Ukraine, which it saw in its sphere of influence. Russia also used troops, weapons and logistics (and even politics) from Belarus. Therefore, the front of the war became the Belarus and Ukraine line. Russia essentially attacked Ukraine altogether, but the places it pointed to were Donbass and Crimea. When the operation started, it was thought that he would enter Kyiv in the first 3-5 days and achieve his goal by making President Zelensky kneel. Perhaps that was Russia’s initial plan. Deployment, advance of troops, objectives covered in offensives, statements, etc. it was in this direction. This could be called a maximalist method. With this method, Russia would bring Ukraine to its knees on the one hand, and pull NATO out of its sphere of influence on the other. The first month passed like this. It was only on March 25 that the world learned that the clear name of what Russia was doing was Special Operations. Ministry of Defense officials made a statement on this date, indicating that they changed their targets. According to their statements, Phase One of Special Operations had been completed. Again, the world learned clearly that the main purpose of this Special Operation of Russia was to liberate Donbass, the reason for attacking other places was to confuse the target.

Whatever Russia says, the situation is not seen that way by me. Russia understood the US strategy very well; but when, in the war. He could not advance the war as quickly as he wanted; this revealed the weaknesses of the Russian army. He also understood from the first week of the war that, due to the Global Strategic Isolation (wide-scale sanctions) imposed, Russia had to somehow re-provoke its socio-economic and socio-political ties with Continental Europe in order to breathe. The first 3-4 weeks passed as a loss for Russia. He needed to re-strategize. Therefore, the March 25 statement came. Now Russia had to “downsize”. Even the will to negotiate a peace (ceasefire) in Istanbul may have emerged in line with these aims of Russia and the reasons I have listed.

Russia was interested in downsizing. The US strategy, on the other hand, continued as it was originally. The view of the USA was to create a frozen conflict zone on the Russian border, in other words, in Eastern Europe. The USA has achieved a consolidation with the European Union countries with its actions so far. In fact, Europe pointed out that you are returning to security policies again. It was announced that the shares allocated to defense increased. This is for the US to prolong the war against Russia (actually in Ukraine), which Biden used the term “Long War” in Warsaw and later, to continue his pressure, that a peace deal would not come easily, if there is to be peace, it would be in the context of Ukraine. rather, it was supposed to take place in the form of Russia’s worn out and weakened state, a kind of surrender to the United States. In fact, the statements made by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the Istanbul meeting contain hints in this direction.

As Russia weakens and its dependency on the United States increases, it will also get rid of China to some extent. The Silk Road project of China in the longitude of Eurasia passes largely through Russia and Ukraine. Why should this strategic project of China develop jointly with the USA and its Partners, when it is possible to develop with the initiative of China alone and in a way that will benefit Russia? China’s strategic Great Rejuvenation target is dated 2049. The USA wants to keep its rival China under surveillance until this date, and wants to gain from the competition itself.

Politically, we should also say that; People need enemies to fight for. According to the USA, today’s enemy is actually described as “authoritarian governments”. The USA did not withdraw this rhetoric; Whoever is authoritarian, the USA marginalizes it and puts it on the target board. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are therefore the first targets. Biden calls Putin a “murderer” or a “butcher”. He also has harsh expressions for President Xi. Xi is targeted especially because of the practices of Uyghurs, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. If there is an enemy or a targeted description of ideas (here the authoritarian ones), in the opinion of the USA; It will be democracy that will bring solutions for the world and develop humanity. Let’s continue the explanations in the same context, authoritarian regimes are making the problematic geographies in the world, a peace and stability, a savior is needed to ensure this. At the base of the policy, it is intended to say, “USA, this is the savior”. The United States had developed an understanding of security in the Atlantic with NATO. To the Alliance with the vision of NATO 2030; Additional missions such as the Arctic Region, Cyber-Space, China were given, in fact the target area was globalized. The AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) project was launched, which may be more necessary for the Pacific in 2021.

I think I have explained the strategy of the USA with its main lines so far. If there are those who want to call it Grand Strategy, I will not object. In this case, President Biden continues what he calls the Long War. US war; It is shown as “libertarian, democratic, humane” and there can be room for progress with the legal “green light”. If authoritarian governments try to move forward by giving a “red light”, as Russia is now, the USA immediately shows them in front of humanity.

Today, Russia is seen in a way as a “strategic proxy” in the great competition conducted by the USA by targeting China. Putin seems to have realized this situation only in the war he tried to continue with Ukraine and in mid-March. Now he seems to have withdrawn a little to tidy up the situation and make his strategic moves. The war is not over yet, of course, moves will follow. But it should not be forgotten that this is a great war, great powers are at work.

On this occasion, I have had the opportunity to explain the strategy, today’s war or competition methods, based on a more concrete example of Ukraine. There is a case study for these classrooms.

NOTE: Due to intellectual property rights, you can use this information by reference.

Gursel Tokmakoglu

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