When will it sink in? While the brainwashed-whose-name-is-legion dance to that Zelenski good, Putin baad number we move closer to the unthinkable than at any time, Cuba ’62 not excepted, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Here’s former UK diplomat Alastair Crooke, writing just yesterday in Strategic Culture (whose banishment from billionaire owned Facebook, Twitter and You Tube predates both February 24th and the outlawing of corporate media use of content from RT and Sputnik). 1
Mr Crooke first appraises geopolitical realities. One, Russia cannot be coerced into submission by sanctions. Two, for Russians this proxy war with the US empire is existential: neither defeat nor capitulation are options. Since the smarter sort in Washington know that fiscal/economic war won’t work, the voices for escalation – no-fly zones, boots on the ground and, yes, ‘limited’ use of nukes – have gained traction.
Which leads him to appraise the US political scene, on which he offers the surprising and to my mind – insufficiently au fait as it is with Beltway calculations – improbable conclusion that de-escalation may yet come from the Donald Trump wing of the GOP. 2
Finally he surveys a Europe if anything even more gung-ho. Britain’s embarrassing tendency to dress up nauseating subservience as “the special relationship” aside, there’s little comfort here for either the gushing “I love the EU” set – not that its mass membership has ever been strong on detail or for that matter logic 3 – or the slightly more critical “we can reform it” tendency:
The euphoria of the EU élites – so completely de-coupled from national identities and local interests, and loyal rather to a cosmopolitan vision in which men and women of consequence network endlessly amongst themselves and bask in their peer approval – is opening deep polarisation within their own societies …
As for the EU’s rooting for escalation over Ukraine:
… the EU has less of a reverse-gear than the U.S. The Brussels zeitgeist is set in concrete. Structurally, the EU is incapable of self-reform, or of radically changing course and wider Europe now lacks the ‘vessels’ through which decisive political change can be effected. 4
To quote the closing words of Alastair Crooke’s scarily lucid piece, hold onto your hats guys …
The Dynamics of Escalation: ‘Standing With Ukraine’
Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars
As it dawns on the West that whereas sanctions are deemed capable of bringing countries to their knees, the reality is that such capitulation never has occurred (i.e. Cuba; North Korea; Iran). And, in the case of Russia, it is possible to say that just ain’t going to happen.
Team Biden still has not fully grasped the reasons why. One point is that they picked precisely the wrong economy to try to collapse via sanctions (Russia has minimal foreign supply lines and oodles of valuable commodities). Biden’s staffers too, have never comprehended the full ramifications of Putin’s monetary jujitsu linking the rouble to gold, and the rouble to energy.
They condescend to Putin’s monetary jujitsu as yet another forlorn strike versus the dollar’s ‘impregnable’ reserve currency status. So they choose to ignore it, and assume that if only the Europeans would take fewer hot showers, wear more woollen jumpers, forego Russian energy, and ‘stand with Ukraine’, the economic collapse finally would materialise. Hallelujah!
The other reason why the West misconstrues the strategic potential of sanctions is that the Russia-China war on western hegemony is assimilated by its peoples to be an existential one. For them, it is not just about taking fewer hot showers (as for Europeans), it is about their very survival – and consequently their pain threshold is much, much higher than the West’s. The west is not going to smoke their challengers out so ridiculously easily.
At bottom, the Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars.
The strategic problem though, is two-fold: Firstly, the window for a Plan ‘B’ de-escalation via a political deal in Ukraine has passed. It is all or nothing now (unless Washington folds). And secondly, albeit in slightly differing context, both Europe and Team Biden have elected to take the stakes sky-high …
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- “Liberal” complacency – indeed, positive enthusiasm – over rising censorship by those billionaire owned platforms is even more worrying than the censorship itself. On the same day as the Crooke piece, MintPress posted this, on “intellectual no fly zones”. Here’s how it opens:
Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”
Note the blanket nature of the censorship. No exemption for claims which happen to be evidentially based. Seriously scary. Postmodernism has found its logical resting place in a post truth era.
- In this context see my 2017 post, Why Trump rolled over on Russia. But Trump aside – ditto the widespread failure to understand the new war on Russia because we were sorely misled about the true motivation of the old one – I take cold comfort from any analysis which looks for deliverance to Washington’s internecine machinations. Which I guess makes me even more worried than Mr Crooke.
- My unflattering remarks on the EU Fan Club are quite separate from the Brexit issue, and doubly so from its car-crash implementation. As set out in my several posts on the matter, I voted Remain for reasons including but not confined to the fact that most Leavers laboured under the mirror opposite delusion that Whitehall was somehow more accountable than Brussels, while the more sophisticated Lexiteers never did persuade me that, in this political climate, the interests of British workers would be served by Leaving.
- Here too Mr Crooke overstates the case. Should Washington find a ‘reverse gear’, the EU would find its own in the blinking of an eye.