Great Turbulence ahead, Part 2
“Acknowledgement of realities is a commencement of all political wisdom”,
ex-President of Finland J.K. Paasikivi
This wisdom seems to be so difficult to keep in mind and accept, especially when looking the headlines of mainstream media (MSM). The truth has been the first victim of Ukraine war. Typically, all big and important advances and other “pro-Russian” events, have been systematically downplayed and denigrated by MSM, while all possible tiny and peripheral successes of Ukrainian side have been greatly exaggerated.
Majority of Western military analysts and other “pundits” have proved to be more as political propagandists than neutral and objective experts, capable of doing “cool” analyses. Reportage on events in Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lisichansk are depressing examples of this deliberate distortion for propagandistic purposes. Further, headlines like “Russia is running out of whatever material” (ammo, missiles, troops, money, nearly anything) have been daily claimed by “pundits” and MSM.
Yet, we should remember and take into account that massive military aid, both material, knowhow and continuous intelligence, the US and the EU have supplied to Ukraine during last few months. As to heavy weapons (howitzers, MLRS etc.), NATO’s military advisers have taken growing responsibility of firepower on the ground, thus underlining the nature of proxy war in Ukraine.
I studied the military situation in my previous article “Great Turbulence, Part 1” and stated that the AFU will soon reach a breaking point, based on Russian Grind Mill (heavy artillery) grinding day after day.
Now, after Russian troops took over Lisichansk, that breaking point is even closer. The whole Lugansk is now taken over by Russian troops and majority of Donetsk. When the next breaks will take place in Donbass or perhaps in the south that may be a decisive one. The speculated “great counteroffensive” by AFU may never materialize due to total destruction of Ukrainian military base and losses of troops by Russian Grind Mill firepower.
Stunning Request by Ukraine
Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $8.7 billion to Ukraine, including approximately $6.1 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24. Additional packages of 2022 have been so far: February 25 – $350 million, March 12 -$200 million, March 16 – $800 million, April 1 – $300 million (USAI), April 5 – $100 million, April 13 – $800 million, April 21 – $800 million, May 6 – $150 million, May 19 – $100 million, June 1 – $700 million, June 15 – $1 billion, On June 23 – $450 million.
All American military aid is debt money, created from thin air by the Fed and delivered by Biden administration directly to American military-industrial complex, which in turn delivers weapons to Europe; all this lately paid by American tax payers in the coming years.
Some days ago, Ukraine disclosed the list of requesting 1000 artillery pieces, 300 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), 500 main battle tanks and a lot of other heavy weapons and ammo. This Ukrainian request is more than the entire active-duty inventory of the US Army and Marine Corps combined and regarding tanks, more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom. In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip nearly its own defenses down to literally zero.
If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. This means that Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked. Another conclusion that these numbers reveal, that no matter what the US and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war.
The questions that need to be answered in Brussels, is how long can the West keep the Ukrainian Army in the field and at what cost, in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender. Any rational actor would quickly realize that any answer is an unacceptable answer. This is the ugly truth about Ukraine today, the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die and the weaker NATO will become.
Russia’s changing international posture since February 2022 – new world order
Russia is done with the West. The divorce is nearly complete. In the past few days, we have heard from all major Russian leaders the same thing:
“The West will play by our rules now.”
“I don’t think there’s even room for maneuver left anymore.”
“Because Western leaders say publicly: ’We must defeat Russia, we must bring Russia to its knees. Just go on, then, do it.”
Russia’s leadership has never talked in such openly blunt terms. Russia knows it has got the West on the ropes. The West needs, what Russia produces and now they are determined to set the rules on, who gets them and for what price.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, speaking at a panel at the St. Petersburg Economic Investment Forum (SPEIF) just put the situation in the starkest terms there is. “The game of nominal value of money is over, as this system does not allow to control the supply of resources. …Our product, our rules. We don’t play by the rules we didn’t create.” Miller’s statement should be thought of as a statement of principle across all theatres of operation for Russia. This doesn’t just apply to natural gas or oil. This is everything, all of Russia’s dealings with the West from here on out will be on its terms not the West’s.
Miller is clearly laying out the rules for a new, commodity-centric monetary system, one based on what Credit Suisse’s Zoltan Poszar called “outside money” (commodities, gold, even bitcoin) rather than the West’s egregious use of “inside money” (debt-based fiat and credit) to perpetuate old colonialist behavior well past its use-by date. I have studied this topic here on my website.
These comments came after Gazprom began cutting gas flows to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, while Gazprom increased gas supplies to China by 67% in the first five months of this year. Day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their second phone call since the Ukraine war began. Xi told Putin that China is “willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” as quoted in state broadcaster CCTV.
Based on many recent Russian statements (like Dmitry Trenin), it seems now obvious that the chain of events has reached the point of no-return:
- The War in Ukraine will extend beyond the borders of proper Ukraine. This proxy war with NATO can balloon into a real one between Russia and the US in next 2-3 years or less.
- China vs. the US military confrontation is coming in next 2-3 years.
- Russian supply chains in the industry and trade are under reconstruction, going to east and southward.
- Gold/commodity backed alternative (Russian ruble!) to US dollar will be created, obviously in the framework of enlarged BRICS.
- What is evolving between America and Russia (through NATO) and between America and China, geopolitically will change the balance of the world and many structures, which have been in place since the end of World War 2. In other words, New World Order is in the making.
Recently President Putin declared the old world-order dead. He finished his speech, where he detailed how the West was committing suicide to suit the wishes of The Davos Crowd with the following definitive statement: “Russia is entering the coming era as a powerful sovereign country. We will definitely use the enormous new opportunities that time opens up for us. And we will become even stronger.”
Putin clearly identified the real culprits for Europe’s and the US’s problems, subservience to an oligarch class who feel entitled to rule the world. Putin realizes there are two types of countries, “sovereigns” and “vassals.” It has been his life’s work to make Russia into a “sovereign” state free from the West. From Russia’s perspective their military operation in Ukraine was their Declaration of Independence from the old “US rules-based order” of the post-WWII era. Justified or not, we all are now in a new age.
The arrogance and imprudence of EU commissars seems to be again amazing. These people all but declare war on Russia and then act shocked, when Russia then treats them alike. The inability of the EU elite to use realism in their planning and considering the world affairs around is shocking.
On the same day that four members of the EU Commission — France, Italy, Germany and Romania — approve fast-tracking Ukraine’s membership application, France’s Emmanuel Macron urges Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to go to the bargaining table with Russia. Even if Zelensky were to make those overtures to Russia, given his public statements on what his terms are, there would be absolutely zero chance that Russia would agree to show up for talks.
At this point, as far as can be seen, Russia continues to grind out the Ukrainian army and Ukrainian military base, taking what territory they want and then shepherding through local elections by the conquered territory to either become independent states or part of Russia.
Russia is now issuing Russian passports in regions they’ve taken from Ukraine, which the EU, of course, will refuse to honor until no one cares what they think anymore. The rules are changing rapidly. Looking ahead there is a real danger that what Russia has set in motion leads to something no one wants to contemplate.
Of course, the West helped create this situation by inciting Putin to invade Ukraine, so who’s to blame about where this all leads to may, ultimately, be an irrelevant point.
Scenarios – outcomes of Ukraine crisis and all new endeavors
This current chain of events will have far reaching effects on global business and international organizations, relations between countries as well as finance and currency markets. We are not going back to the way things were. These changes will occur over the next three years; some slowly, others all at once, none reversible for decades. Their effects will be felt globally. Military conflicts or expectations of conflicts will be in our future for years now.
The strategic defeat that the West led by the US was preparing for Russia, has not materialized and will not bring peace and a subsequent restoration of relations. It is highly likely that the theatre of the “hybrid war” will simply move from Ukraine further to the East, into the borders of Russia and Russia’s existence in its current form will be still contested by the West. From western viewpoint, Russia’s strategy should be actively countered. The immediate and most important task of this western ambition is to achieve strategic success in Ukraine.
From Russian viewpoint, strategic success in achieving Russia’s objectives in Ukraine will provide a solid foundation for bringing other countries into “the building of a new system” of international relations together with non-Western countries.
In other words, winning militarily in Ukraine is the major change of paradigm: either Eastern or Western World Order. This is now globally a crucial moment of the world history.
When this is the case, then these new rules will be grudgingly accepted only after a lot of borders have been redrawn, new alliances formed and a different world order established.
Kissinger’s scenarios: Three possible outcomes of the Ukraine crisis
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has spoken about three possible outcomes of the conflict in Ukraine.
- In the first scenario, the Russian troops will remain in their positions. In this case, Russia will get: 20% of Ukraine, most of the Donbass, main industrial and agricultural areas, a strip of land along the Black Sea. Such an outcome would obviously mark a victory for the Russian side.
- In the second scenario, Ukraine may try to kick Russia out of Crimea. The politician believes that a question of war with Russia itself may arise in this connection.
- In the third scenario, Ukraine will be able to contain Russia, and the line of confrontation will be pushed back to the borders before the start of the special operation. For Moscow, such a scenario would mark a defeat. Kissinger noted that in this case: Kyiv would be rearmed, close ties would be established between Ukraine and NATO, Ukraine will become part of the alliance.
In May, Kissinger urged Ukraine to make territorial concessions to avoid further aggravation of the conflict. He is convinced that the West should stop trying to defeat Russia militarily. If the parties do not conduct negotiations, tensions will only continue growing. Kissinger advised Moscow and Kyiv should return to the previous state of affairs, otherwise a huge hotbed of instability would emerge in Europe. He also urged European countries to consider the bigger picture and remember that Russia has been an integral part of Europe for 400 years.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, also admitted a possibility of territorial concessions that Ukraine could make. Peace in the country is possible, he said, the only question is what it will cost to Kyiv.
“Ukraine Fatigue” is beginning to intensify as sanctions are backfiring ravages in Western economies.
In the beginning of Ukraine crisis, late February, the political West sounded decidedly self-confident as it expected Russia was heading back to the disastrous 1990s, with the country’s social and economic prospects seemingly in tatters. Russian forex reserves were stolen, banks cut off from SWIFT, Western airspace banned, while anything remotely connected to Russia and its historical, civilizational contributions were effectively “canceled”.
In time, however, the political West is starting to lose its self-confidence. As the Kiev regime kept suffering defeats and despite a massive media campaign to portray it as winning, people became less enthusiastic. This has worsened after sanctions started affecting the West more than Russia itself. Western leadership tried spinning the narrative, claiming sanctions supposedly had no boomerang effect but that “Russia’s unprovoked, brutal invasion” was the reason behind everyone’s troubles.
The economic pain is creating political problems for European governments – Ukraine fatigue. The European politicians assure that “pain is far higher in Russia, of course, than here in the West”. European leaders Macron, Scholz and Draghi have made some discreet attempts to see if the Russian leader might consider negotiations. Putin rebuffed all three. At one point he even refused to take a telephone call from Macron.
As Gideon Rachman of Financial Times noted last month, the war in Ukraine is being fought on three fronts and the West is involved in all three. The first front is the battlefield itself. The second front is economic. The third front is the battle of wills. The greatest challenge on that third front may come this fall, when the demand for heating fuel increases. The stakes will be high. Can Western leaders rally their people to endure economic sacrifice for the sake of Ukraine or is that a contest only Putin can win?
Putin put it bluntly in his speech during SPIEF-2022: “Authorities of Western countries cling to the shadows of the past and believe that the dominance of the West will be constantly preserved. However, nothing lasts forever. The changes that are currently taking place in the world are fundamental in their nature. The world will not be as it was before. The changes are fundamental, “crucial and inexorable” in nature. The European Union has finally lost its political sovereignty. The actions of European politicians will lead to degradation, serious socio-economic changes and to a future change of elites. Western countries wrongfully believed that their sanctions against Russia would crush the Russian economy. On the contrary, Western sanctions crush Western economies. Russia is building the new world order right now.”
So far only a few researchers and experts (e. g. John Mearsheimer, Glenn Diesen, Scott Ritter) have come out and expressed their honest statements regarding the Ukraine crisis and its current trajectory, the bitter end is coming to Ukraine and the West.
My assessment is that the final stage of Ukraine crisis is approaching, based on conventional weapons supplied by NATO and the US and with Ukrainian troops on the ground.
Within next weeks, if/when Ukraine is in the real risk of losing militarily / surrendering, what may be the US & NATO reactions, upping the ante? To what extent? To sending “NATO boots on the ground”? To take the final step of escalation ladder? … maybe that last step ahead! Nuclear Armageddon?
We are living in historical times and facing historical changes in the balance of power and world order. The trajectory seems to be going eastward, “ex oriente lux”.