Friday, 25 November 2022 — The van says…
Von der Leyen and Zelenskiy might see eye to eye, yet with European fortunes looking bleak, other European politicians may be again be viewing ties with Russia.
The last six months have presented Western leaders with first the opportunity to wave a big stick at Moscow, then realize that the Russian Bear is a good deal less frightened of the stick than those economies that need Moscow’s materials. This article will look at certain events over the last month that may indicate that at least a few Western leaders are getting cold feet concerning the economic Cold War they were so enthusiastic to start.
More than Two Sides
It is very easy to look at the overall situation in the Ukraine and think that it is simply a case of NATO and the Ukraine fighting against Russia. This sits very nicely with what most Western leaders want their people to think, but there are other factors in play that are not apparent at first glance.
The calamitous situation that had been brought about due to sanctions backfiring is now well-enough documented to not need repeating here, yet earlier in the year, military rather than monetary considerations took precedence, it being presumed that Russia would just back down. Nine months and one looming recession later, politicians are now beginning to appreciate the failings that their lack of forethought have produced.
Black Hole Benevolence
The Ukraine has been holding a begging bowl out for decades, yet the last twelve months have seen ridiculous sums going to Kiev, not to mention that the country is now a badly-organized arms dump as a result of the West throwing every spare weapon at its armed forces. Western powers are now not only fighting off the ravages of an economic downturn, but they also have to restock their stores with tens of billions worth of weapons.
A Resolute Russia
Even after Kiev has been given everything it needed, the Russians have simply followed their own script. They are still conducting operations, the Ukrainian armed forces incapable of making headway in spite of all the intelligence and assistance the West could give. The ‘sanctions from hell’ that were promised by Western leaders have just not worked, a slow advance by Russia being the only result.
A Used-Up Ukraine
Ten months of hostilities have not only decimated the Ukrainian Armed Forces in both men and machines, but the country is now falling to bits under a slow but gradual onslaught from Moscow. The power grid is in tatters, this also causing untold nightmares concerning water and heating; the train system is going off the rails and normal life is becoming impossible. Matters are now so serious that the mayor of Kiev is advising inhabitants to move out of the city to rural areas, there being no hope of recovery in the foreseeable future. Many said that the West would fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, and little by little, it is beginning to happen.
The Biden administration is now implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, new legislation which may help American industry fight the effects of the recession. This would be all well and good were it not for the fact that this new law tramples on existing trade agreements, the EU already voicing concerns over the way that Washington is ignoring its pleas as it acts as it wishes. If that were not bad enough, the US is attempting to cover the shortfall in gas supplies to Europe by charging through the nose for its own exports. After following Uncle Sam down his path, Europe is now being extorted for the privilege.
Summing it Up
The EU is always willing to be Washington’s lapdog, yet looking at how its policies concerning Russia have backfired, it would be fair to say that Brussels has really screwed the pooch over the last year. After throwing everything it has at Kiev, Russia hasn’t budged whilst the Ukrainians are just being knocked from pillar to post. Moreover, the leader of the Western gang is now attempting to shaft its European ‘ally’ as Brussels falls into the hole that it dug under Washington’s orders.
Onto the Offramp
With the support to Kiev effectively being money and resources down the drain, neither Washington nor Brussels can credibly carry on with this farce forever. It is simply not feasible that whilst suffering the worst recession in nearly a century, nations give hand over fist to a beggar state that can neither perform as expected nor has any chance of holding its own. It is for that very reason that Western nations after attempting to ram Russia with the Western bandwagon for so long are now tentatively looking for a reverse gear.
After an S-300 missile landed in Poland, Zelenskiy was slavering at the prospect that Article Five of the NATO Charter could be brought into play, the Atlantic Alliance now coming to his rescue. Mere hours after the incident, it became obvious that the rocket was Ukrainian and that the fault lay with Kiev. Notwithstanding the blatant evidence, Zelenskiy refused to admit any wrongdoing on his country’s part, his pigheadedness over the next few days an embarrassment to those in the West who support him. The fact that his supporters told him to back off may have just been them distancing themselves from the situation, or this may have been the first step in a gradual plan to distance the Ukraine from their nations.
The ire felt by Western leaders regarding Zelenskiy’s greed has all become apparent over the last few weeks, Biden rebuking the Ukrainian president in a phone call last month and the MSM slowly altering the storyline concerning Russia in a way that would have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago. The fact that there are so many who support Russia in areas held by the Ukrainians is now being reported as well as the shooting of Russian POWs by Kiev’s troops. Cracks are appearing in the great Eastern European project and they are slowly being shown to the public.
Operation Lost Cause
Aside from the previous matters, it is becoming increasingly obvious that irregardless of the money and support that is given to the country, it is simply too far gone to be saved. With huge cultural divisions, an economy and infrastructure in tatters and people leaving like rats off a sinking ship, the general public in the West do not want more good money thrown after bad as their own livelihoods suffer as never before.
To the Last Ukrainian
Another matter of concern to Western powers is the number of casualties. The plan was always to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, yet with Kiev suffering the losses that it has, there are simply not enough ground troops left to fight a war with any chance of winning. Kiev’s troops do still outnumber the Russians on the battlefield, yet with poor training and inadequate kit, as winter approaches, things will not improve. There are thousands of mercenaries in theater, yet they have neither the motivation nor numbers to tip the balance. Casualties are now so high that requests are being made not to place Ukrainian flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. Photos are now circulating on the internet showing fields of these flags, and with every flag representing a death, Kiev not want its people to know the true casualty figures.
Going Forwards in Reverse Gear
The West will have to be careful how it disengages from this situation, both in public as well as in private. After spending the billions they have on a cause that has led to nowhere, administrations will be left with a lot of egg on their faces as the fortunes of the the Ukraine fall just as fast as the assistance being given to Kiev. Many in the West have banked their entire careers on pushing a pro-US narrative onto the European political arena, and a volte face will cause an explosion of public opinion against those who have forced a failed narrative for so long.
Winter is Coming
As the cold of winter makes itself felt, apart from the advantage this will give Russia on the battlefield, it is one of the prime drivers behind the discord seen amongst European lawmakers regarding matters such as oil cap prices. If the Western public begins to suffer power outages and suffer from the cold, should certain measures be enforced, we may see disturbances on the streets of capital cities. Aside from energy, a number of other critical materials are now in short supply, sanctions being the reason for so many industries across the Old Continent to be suffering as they are. Not only are those who have chosen to stymie Russia going to have to drop Kiev like a hot potato, if they are to extricate themselves from their current mess, they will also have to warm to Moscow.
A number of European leaders are less convinced of the path that Brussels has chosen to follow than others. As some nations were talking of an oil price cap of $60, Poland wanted this to be just $30. This is typical of not only the divisions between the member states, but also between the bloc as a whole and the pro-US leadership in Brussels. Whether these differences will become fractal to the point of major political upheavals is as yet uncertain, but the stresses that Brussels’ posture vis-à-vis Russia are causing on the EU will certainly test the unity of the union over coming months.
After spending so much time looking at the West, it must not be forgotten that Russia plays a bigger role in the overall situation than any nation or bloc. As much as it has suffered from the effects of sanctions, its responses and countermeasures have been cannily applied, the West damaging itself more than it has Russia. For now at least, Moscow can sit back and let Washington and Brussels sink in the mire of their own making. The onset of winter will hamstring both the Ukraine and its sponsors, the colder months of the year giving both the chance to reflect on their current positions.
Exactly how the next few months will pan out is still anybody’s guess. After a decade-long crusade against Moscow, the West and its lackey-in-tow are both learning the lessons of messing with Russia. Moreover, with Washington attempting to profit at the expense of Europe in more than one way, transatlantic divisions are making themselves apparent, a pack of Western dogs now attempting to bite lumps out of each other.
Relations between East and West are colder today than they have ever been, but the cold will continue to adversely affect Europe until it again warms to Moscow. The foundations of so many political careers have been based on hatred of Russia, yet unless European lawmakers start showing a little love for their own people, this situation will bring the European house down…