In a video published yesterday Gonzalo Lire, currently under house arrest in Karkov, is asking a very interesting question:
Lira states, and I agree with him, that Russia will win the war in the Ukraine, take the south and east to likely create a new country and leave the rest of the cadaver for Poland, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania and others to feast on.
But then what?
The U.S. controlled NATO will still be there. It is practically guaranteed that the U.S. will use it to push for revenge for the loss of Ukraine. This will be done by a steady buildup of troops and long range missile capabilities along Russia's Nordic and Baltic borders and additional naval threats in the northern Arctic as well as the southern Black Sea. Some ten years from now the U.S. would be able to again try to wage a big (proxy) war against Russia. Then with a decent chance to win.
No negotiations or peace agreements will prevent that. The U.S. is famously non-agreement-capable (недоговороспособны). It has broken ALL promises and agreements it has ever made with Russia.
Dozens of U.S. and European luminaries had promised to Russia that NATO would expand 'not one inch' towards Russia. Look where its borders are now. The U.S. and the EU have confiscated huge amounts of Russian state owned money. They have even taken, in contradiction to their own constitutions, the properties of private Russian citizens just because those persons happen to be Russian.
In 2014 Germany and France signed on to guarantee elections for a peaceful regime change in Kiev. A day later the fascists stormed the Ukrainian parliament and those guarantees turned out to be totally worthless. The U.S. simply said fuck the EU. It does not give shit about European interests. Germany and France later negotiated and signed the Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 agreements. They continued to feed billions of EU money into Ukraine even as the Ukrainian government, controlled by the U.S., did nothing to fulfill them. Yes, they were that stupid.
The U.S. has installed 'missile defense' systems in Poland and Romania which are in fact designed to lob Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) onto Moscow. These are a serious danger to Russia.
Even after Ukraine is finished, NATO and its EU proxies will continue to be a danger to Russia. Both have proven to be unable to keep promises. Russia in consequence will have to rearrange them.
Russia could do that by force. But there will be no march towards Riga, Warsaw, Berlin or Paris. (Remember that Russia has been there and done that which every time has led to major changes in Europe.)
Russia has announced its strategic aims. In December 2021 Russia set forth two agreements which the U.S. and NATO. They included demands for a future arrangement in Europe that would guarantee indivisible security for all. On January 21 2022 the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was to meet Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Geneva to talk about Russia's proposals. Just minutes before that meeting the Foreign Ministry of Russia held a news conference to answer media questions:
Question: What will Russia’s demand that NATO return to the 1997 framework mean for Bulgaria and Romania? Will they have to leave NATO, remove US bases from their territory, or something else?
Answer: You mentioned one of the cornerstones of Russia’s initiatives. It was deliberately set forth with utmost clarity to avoid any ambiguity. We are talking about the withdrawal of foreign forces, equipment, and weapons, as well as taking other steps to return to the set-up we had in 1997 in non-NATO countries. This includes Bulgaria and Romania.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The security guarantees that Russia seeks from the West include provisions requiring NATO forces to leave Romania and Bulgaria, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.
Moscow has demanded legally binding guarantees from NATO that the bloc will stop its expansion and return to its 1997 borders.
Replying to a question about what that would mean for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined NATO after 1997, the ministry said Russia wanted all foreign troops, weapons and other military hardware withdrawn from those countries.
After more than 20 years of watching Lavrov and Putin everyone should know that they do not publicly set out aims if they have no way to achieve them. They always have well thought out plans before announcing their goals.
So how can Russia actually achieve a retreat of NATO back to its 1997 borders?
Sanctions. The U.S. has used its economic and military powers to sanction this or that country that did not do as it was told to do by Washington. Unless enacted by the UN Security Council such sanctions have no basis in international law. Despite that the U.S. even used secondary sanctions. It threatened sanctions against Europe, and everyone else, as it ordered them to not deal with Iran or Venezuela.
Alan MacLeod @AlanRMacLeod - 22:45 UTC · Jun 5, 2022
The US is thinking about "allowing" Europe and Venezuela to trade together. Think about what this story tells us about global power relations and who is in charge.Bloomberg @business - 12:13 UTC · Jun 5, 2022
The US could allow Eni and Repsol to ship Venezuelan oil to Europe as soon as July to make up for Russian crude, Reuters reported trib.al/fQ10QlX
Russia can do similar. But as it always follows international law, it will have to do it in a slightly different way.
Russia is a superpower in that it produces all kinds of raw materials the world, and especially the 'west', needs. Europe, and especially Germany, is depending on natural gas and oil from Russia. Energy prices in Germany will at least triple if it is completely cut off from Russian supplies.
German industry leader have loudly announced that they will have to close shop if the current European policies of restricting Russian energy supplies continues. The chemical giants BASF and Bayer will have to move to some other country. Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW will have to stop all production in Europe. Steel production would fall to zero. Lack of fertilizer would lead to dependency on foreign agriculture.
Mass unemployment would follow. Millions will be in the street to protest against rolling blackouts, freezing apartments and hyperinflation.
Russia can achieve this at any time. It simply has to stop supplying gas and oil to Europe.
Despite six European 'sanction packages' against Russia there has yet to be a reciprocal response from Russia. It may still hope that European leaders will recognized the deadly game the U.S. is playing with them.
Unfortunately the leaders of Europe are dumb and compromised. The 'olive green' German Minister for Economic Destruction Robert Habeck still dreams of bringing Russia's economy to its knees even as the ruble rises and Germany's economy is falling apart. Chancellor Olaf Scholz was never the brightest bulb in the room. He is deeply compromised through his involvement in the Wireguard scandal. He was the Minister of Finance when reports of the company's billion dollar fraud were suppressed by his ministry. And don't get me going about Ursula van der Leyen who has been proven to be corrupt and incompetent ever since she took her first public office. U.S. secret services will know of many other crimes these people have been involved in.
The current ideological leaders of Europe will have to be replaced by clean ones who follow the German tradition of Realpolitik:
Realpolitik (German: [ʁeˈaːlpoliˌtiːk]; from German real 'realistic, practical, actual', and Politik 'politics'), refers to enacting or engaging in diplomatic or political policies based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than strictly binding itself to explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism. It is often simply referred to as "pragmatism" in politics, e.g. "pursuing pragmatic policies" or "realistic policies".
Only with new and decent leaders will Europe come to its senses.
Russia can help to achieve that while at the same time solving its NATO problem.
It can publicly declare that:
THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER RUSSIAN SUPPLIES OF ANY KIND TO EUROPE UNTIL IT BREAKS WITH WASHINGTON.
What would follow?
Millions of discussions under candlelight would be held in freezing and hungry European households. Political opinions would change. Governments would be replaced with more pragmatic ones.
France and Germany would either have to leave NATO or become impoverished and irrelevant. U.S. troops on European grounds would be asked to leave or be attacked and thrown out by an enraged public. Germany would prohibit the U.S. military from using its airspace. The U.S would lose its grip over the continent.
That can't happen? Well, Gonzalo Lira disagrees and so do I. In early February, before the Russian intervention in Ukraine, I had warned of the consequences of current 'western' policies:
The U.S. strategy to 'fix' Russia in Europe by imposing 'crushing sanctions' on it to then attack China is failing. That is because it was completely misconceived.
Russia is the most autarkic country in the world. It produces nearly everything it needs and has highly desirable products that are in global demand and are especially needed in Europe. Russia also has huge financial reserves. A sanctions strategy against Russia can not work.
The consequences for Europe were obvious:
The U.S. and its proxies in the EU and elsewhere have put up very harsh sanctions on Russia to damage its economy.
The final intent of this economic war is regime change in Russia.
The likely consequence will be regime change in many other countries.
All energy consumption in the U.S. and EU will now come at a premium price. This will push the EU and the U.S. into a recession. As Russia will increase the prices for exports of goods in which it has market power - gas, oil, wheat, potassium, titanium, aluminum, palladium, neon etc - the rise in inflation all around the world will become significant.
[Russia and China] have spent more brain time on the issue than the U.S. has.
The Europeans should have acknowledged that instead of helping the U.S. to keep up its self-image of a unipolar power.
It will take some time for the new economic realities to settle in. They will likely change the current view of Europe's real strategic interests.
Europe is fortunate in that Russia, even before re-entering the Ukraine, has offered a very decent alternative to U.S. hegemony in Europe:
A man who has Putin's ear, Professor Sergey Karaganov who is the honorary chairman of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, has written an op-ed that points to an alternative.
The piece was requested by and supposed to be published in the Financial Times, which means that it is directed at the European leadership. But the FT has now rejected it for unstated reasons. It was then published in the Russia in Global Affairs journal and has now been re-published by RT.
[Karaganov] states:The security system in Europe, built largely by the West after the 1990s, without a peace treaty having been signed after the end of the previous Cold War, is dangerously unsustainable.
There are a few ways to solve the narrow Ukrainian problem, such as its return to permanent neutrality, or legal guarantees from several key NATO countries not to ever vote for further expansion of the bloc. Diplomats, I assume, have a few others up their sleeves. We do not want to humiliate Brussels by insisting on repudiating its erroneous plea for the open-ended expansion of NATO. We all know the end of the Versailles humiliation. And, of course, the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
But the task is wider: to build a viable system on the ruins of the present. And without resorting to arms, of course. Probably in the wider Greater Eurasian framework. Russia needs a safe and friendly Western flank in the competition of the future. Europe without Russia or even against it has been rapidly losing its international clout. That was predicted by many people in the 1990s, when Russia offered to integrate with, not in, the continent’s systems. We are too big and proud to be absorbed. Our pitch was rejected then, but there is always a chance it won’t be this time.
That last paragraph is the gist of Russia's real strategic aims. They require to destroy the current system of U.S. hegemony over Europe. Europe will have to be de-NATO-sized. Regime changes in European countries will probably be necessary to see to that.
Russia's leaders now have a once in a century chance to achieve those aims. They will be condemned by their compatriots if the refrain from doing so. The U.S. has no way to prevent or counter a Russian sales boycott and its consequences.
When will European politicians, or those behind them, finally wake up to those facts?
Update (11:45 UTC):
A soundbite from a press conference Lavrov is currently holding:
Russian Embassy, UK @RussianEmbassy - 11:41 UTC · Jun 6, 2022
FM #Lavrov: To all appearances, no one is going to even reform #NATO. They are going to turn this “defensive alliance” into a global alliance claiming global military dominance. This is a dangerous path that is definitely doomed to failure.