Caitlin Johnstone Forever Wars Ukraine

US Empire Views Ukrainians and Russians as Lab Rats for Weapons Testing

In addition to advancing longstanding U.S. geo-strategic aims, it seems the proxy war in Ukraine is also being used to sharpen the imperial war machine’s claws for a looming hot war with China and/or Russia.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcoming Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky to a meeting at the Pentagon, Aug. 31, 2021. (DoD, Jack Sanders)

By Caitlin Johnstone /

A surprisingly frank article by The New York Times titled “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” describes how the imperial war machine is capitalising on the US proxy war to test its weapons for future use.

“Ukraine has become a testing ground for state-of-the-art weapons and information systems, and new ways to use them, that Western political officials and military commanders predict could shape warfare for generations to come,” write’s NYT’s Lara Jakes.

Jakes writes that “new advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight.” These new technological advancements include an information system known as Delta, as well as “remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use.”

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A former Lithuanian president is quoted as saying, “We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,” adding, “It is shameful for me because Ukrainians are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”

Yeah, no shit.

At some point The New York Times article was re-titled from “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” to the slightly less obvious “For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test.”

News that the west is using Ukraine to test weapons systems for future wars aligns with recent comments by the commander of the US nuclear arsenal that the proxy war is a test run for a much bigger conflict that’s on its way.

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said US STRATCOM head Charles Richard at a naval conference earlier this month. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

So in addition to being used to advance longstanding US geostrategic objectives, apparently this war is also being used to sharpen the imperial war machine’s claws for a looming hot war with China and/or Russia. The US would certainly have an advantage in military test runs over the years in such a conflict.

As an aside, it’s probably worth noting that all the testing of new western weapons technology would likely explain reports from Ukrainian astronomers that the skies over Kyiv have been “swarming with unidentified flying objects (UFOs).” The aforementioned New York Times article quotes Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov as saying that the weapons testing he’s seen has convinced him that “the wars of the future will be about maximum drones and minimal humans.”

One of the many reasons the US and its complex network of allies, partners and assets are always fighting so many wars is because new weapons technology needs to be tested in battle before it can be deemed effective. What this means in practice is using human bodies as test subjects, the way a scientist uses laboratory rats or guinea pigs.

The US-centralized empire pretends to care about Ukrainian lives, but in reality it only cares about them to the extent that a researcher cares about his lab rats. And for exactly the same reason.

What could be more sinister than that? Well, the agendas that they are running those tests in preparation for, I suppose.

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Caitlin Johnstone
Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.


  1. As NYC cops oft say, “Nothing to see here folks. Just keep on walking”.

    And as far as “these ‘TIMES’ they are a-changing” are concerned, the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ of our ‘Times’ seems to be concerned, there’s certainly no Empire in the Empire State — nor our obvious ‘State of Empire’ having any chance of being exposed by “these ‘Times’ rolling on under the night” of this well disguised and prosperous turn of the ‘TIMES’ advertising revenue in this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal ‘Children Killing’ & ‘War-Starting’ EMPIRE.

    “These ‘TIMES’ they been berry berry good for Chico”, eh?

  2. {The aforementioned New York Times article quotes Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov as saying that the weapons testing he’s seen has convinced him that “the wars of the future will be about maximum drones and minimal humans.”}

    Minimal humans as in minimal soldiers – but many civilians? The global west has finally gone off its rockers. I hope the western economy crashes before that happens so we can fight these barbarians away from their death wishes.

  3. I’m finding these Scheerposts to be less and less informative. In the article the author couches her position with snarky attacks on US policy instead of being up front. Sure, US hegemony is the cause for much suffering in the world. But the author sees the world in black and white.

    Just say it. The author knows full well that the only way to end the war now is for Putin to be given all annexed territories with a NATO promise not to accept Ukraine. That’s one position that needs to be justified and debated. But the author seems reluctant to be truthful about her own stance. Instead she picks on the military for doing what any military would do in time of war – evaluate its effectiveness.
    For the author, the good news is that it looks like the pro-Putin Republicans with hold up any more US spending on Ukraine so the debate on Ukraine will be moot.

  4. Can anyone please explain to me what exactly is reprehensible about learning from the Ukraine war?

    For those who might have forgotten, there are people who’s profession it is to know how to fight wars (and to actually fight them if the need arises). Such people are usually known as ‘the military’. Most of what such people do is to learn from how _others_ fought wars for a simple reason: that way you can learn and correct mistakes in your knowledge without dying from actually making those mistakes.

    From ancient babylonia to present day has mankind fought wars. Much of what we now know about warfare is based on object lessons from before 2000. So, is there anyone, anyone at all, who would seriously propose we do _not_ learn from contemporary wars?

    And as to testing weaponry, you have weaponry not because you like to hand out pork-barrel projects, but because you believe you need such weaponry. You’d be colossally stupid (not to mention incompetent) not to learn what features in weapons from your current arsenal do or do not work, and why.

    Take drones for example. Those weren’t on everyone’s conciousness before the Ukraine war started. Now however there isn’t a military in the East or the West who hasn’t taken note of the enormous advantage drones provide in knowing precisely what’s where on a current battlefield.

    And take HIMARS and self-propelled howitzers for example. Reaction time between detection of the launch of a missile or firing of an artillery shell to counter-battery fire is measurable in minutes. The ability to leave a firing site before that happens determines whether you will be caught in the counter-battery fire or whether you’ll be able to fire again. This in turn explains why Ukrainian artillery was able to be a factor despite being outnumbered about 20 to 1.

    And consider tanks. The widespread destruction (and ultimately rout) of Russian tanks that tried to capture Kiev was due mainly to the use of Western anti-tank missiles fired from close range. Tanks proved hugely vulnerable to such weapons. That’s why conventional military doctrine calls for protection of tanks by dismounted infantry, precisely to prevent such missiles from being used against tanks at close range. The Russians didn’t protect their tanks because they felt it wasn’t necessary: in their frame of reference their troops would be welcomed as ‘liberators’. This error of judgment exposed their tanks’ vulnerability and proved very costly. In addition, Western missiles quite rightly were designed to fly above a tank and attack its cupola from above (its weak point) instead of trying to penetrate layes of active and passive defense on the front and the sides.

    In every case such knowledge prevents everyone who is able to spend the time to learn others from paying for such lessons with their lives if and when they themselves enter an armed conflict.

    Given that every professional military anywhere tries to learn from the mistakes of others, I can only conclude that the tone, phrasing, and content of Johnstone’s is deliberately biased against the West. It is, in other words, not a journalistic piece, but a propaganda leaflet.

  5. We seem to be moving towards Total War. Not just the specter of tactical nuclear weapons, which would have been unimaginable 30 years ago but also bioweapons.
    It is curious and perhaps coincidental, but of the only 15 countries with worse Covid death rates than the US, most are in Eastern Europe (where masking is mandatory in many countries.) Only Peru and San Marino are not very close to those US Ukrainian biolabs that Nuland warned us were dangerous. Surprising that Ukraine (with a very low vaccination rate) and Russia were spared; both have a lot of Eastern Slavic genes, while the affected countries (many with high vaccination rates) may have high populations of Western and Southern Slavs. Another CIA operation gone awry?
    The US used biological weapons in Korea on people, and have devastated livestock in many countries. Bioweapons are cheap and easy to make, by EVERY COUNTRY.

  6. For me, what’s so heartbreaking is the fact that America’s leaders are hopping mad to start an unnecessary war with China and/or Russia. I have an 11-year-old son. I do not want him to be sucked into a major regional or world war as a soldier. This scares me to no end. I resent my leaders for not caring about the lives of young people, such as my son. Damn them! How dare they!?

  7. I think it’s high time for a strong peace movement. The Dems are too cowardly to do it. The Squad is useless. The Republicans are too corrupt. It has to the Left — a reconstituted Left without the woke BS and militant on labor issues. The DSA is a joke. We need a resurgence and resurrection of the Old Left.

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