World can learn profoundly from February 16, 2022: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 16, 2022 11:55 PM
A drone carries a Ukrainian National flag above the Independence Square to mark a Day of Unity in Kyiv on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

A drone carries a Ukrainian National flag above the Independence Square to mark a "Day of Unity" in Kyiv on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Wednesday, February 16, was the date "calculated" by US intelligence agencies on which "Russia was planning to invade Ukraine". US President Joe Biden had officially notified the EU and NATO. But what happened ran contrary to the playbook choreographed by the US. As the hands of the clock struck 3 am and Russia announced one day earlier to partly withdraw its troops from the Russia-Ukraine border, the bubble of a Ukraine war crisis, bloated hard by the US and the West, finally burst. 

Some netizens scoffed, "The battlefield of the Russia-Ukraine war was changed to an online warfare due to the pandemic. Sorry for the inconvenience." 

The world has once again witnessed the shamelessness and absurdity of a group of "professional screenwriters" in the US intelligence services. People have also seen the complicated tricks of the US when setting an agenda and mobilizing public opinion. Perhaps this is exactly the "intelligence" American politicians need. As the spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry pointed out on Wednesday, it is exactly the persistent hype and dissemination of disinformation by some in the West that has added more turbulence and uncertainty to the world already fraught with challenges and intensified distrust and division. We hope relevant parties can stop such disinformation campaigns and do more things that benefit peace, mutual trust and cooperation.

This "intelligence farce" by the US is rare in the current international political narratives. The two sides who are hyped heading into a clash expressed their unwillingness for a war. Russia repeatedly said it won't attack Ukraine, and the latter clarified that the situation hasn't been that tense. Yet the US and West have hyped the imminent war non-stop, and even predicted the precise time when the war will break out. Ukraine suffered a huge loss in the panic atmosphere as exchange rates plummeted, capital fled, and flights were grounded…

Recklessly fabricating lies of an "invasion day" shows that the US is not afraid of being embarrassed. It believes that with strong discourse power in the world, it can manipulate public opinion at will. In this crisis, the US is playing a game of two-side bets: whether or not Russia invades Ukraine, the US "wins." If Russia indeed invades, the US side will say it had expected it long ago and warned repeatedly; if not, the US would say the war was avoided or postponed because of the deterrence of their sanctions.

As to why the US made such a farce, everyone can only speculate based on the facts: although the predictions and hype about war from the US are groundless, they have realistic motives. A common saying is that the US wants to make the situation in Europe very tense, alienate the relationship between Russia and Europe, further strengthen the cohesion of NATO, deal a heavy blow to the EU's "strategic autonomy" tendency, and promote the flow of capital to the US, so as to rip off Europe.

By hyping the Russian threat theory, the US obscures the fact of its increase in troops, diverts the discussion of NATO's eastward expansion, and makes itself a "guardian" of regional security and a "messenger of peace." As a result, it was clearly a crisis caused by NATO's eastward expansion, but the US and the West made it into a question of whether Russia would invade Ukraine. This is a typical geopolitical maneuver to shift the focus.

However, the US' gains come at the expense of others, including its allies and quasi-allies. The US is still the one whose interests come first. This time, the US trapped its quasi-ally Ukraine - by creating war panic, the US made Ukraine suffer hugely. Europe also got the short end of the stick. Even if Russia withdraws its troops, there is a serious crack in the trust between Russia and Europe.

Nonetheless, even if the US manipulates public opinion, it can only fool some people. In the long run, this matter will, like the Iraq war and the Afghan war, further consume Washington's international credibility that has already been left little. The attitude of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has changed significantly. He asked for evidence of Russia's "invasion" and complained about the outflow of assets, apparently distrusting the US. More people also know from this matter that running behind the Americans will not only get no benefit at all, but may also bear consequences.

February 16, 2022 has passed, and it will since become a mirror of history, illuminating the real America more clearly and leaving a permanent reflection on the world.